Ing. Gebhard Fidler is President of the International active peace organization “Verein zur Förderung der Völkerverständigung” – “Association for the Advancement of International Relation”. The NGO is accredited by United Nations with ECOSOC consultative status, OSCE, EU-Grundrechtagentur (EU Fundamental Rights Agency) and Austrian Standards. Fidler works as an expert in the field of “Islam” considering rules of law, economy, finance, insurance, HALAL and CSR, and collaborated with the Austrian Standards Insitute to develop standards for HALAL food, Islamic Banking, and Islamic Insurance and for the ASI HALAL mirror committee for CEN in Brussels; moreover, he deals with the issues of integration, migration, asylum and religious aspects of Muslims Membership in various UN committees.
For the content of the comment in German written by Gebhard Fidler, he is solely responsible, and his views do not necessarily reflect the views of the UN NGO Committee on Sustainable Development and its members.
Women in Islamic countries remain, second-class citizens – unless there is a real revolution. Mona Eltahawy urges in her book ““Why the Middle East Needs a Sexual Revolution”, and in her lectures, (https://youtu.be/U61w2Ou3yFk) held worldwide to induce this revolution. She has traveled through the Islamic countries of North Africa to the Middle East collecting the life stories of women with different backgrounds. Mrs. Eltahawy wants to eliminate or at least continually lessens this “toxic mix of religion and culture” which infuses the whole Islamic world and continues her fight for Muslim women around the world despite the physical and psychological threat. Eltahawys points out in her new book that the repression of women is increasingly brutal: Humans in the name of Allah are abused, exploited, held without rights – simply because they are female, see http://iranian.com/posts/notes-on-mona-eltahawy-s-new-book-why-the-middle-east-needs-a-se-49692
Remarks from the Author:
Many years ago my neighbor was a young Muslim couple and the neighborhood voiced suspicion that the husband beats his wife. However, I could observe that the woman (she had no headscarf) was wearing the pants at home, and she screamed without being touched by her husband.By another Muslim couple (he Shiite and she Sunnite) the man forced his wife to wear a veil completely covering her hair and body and did not allow that a man was shaking her hand. Later I met her again without a headscarf and smartly dressed with much confidence. Because of the aggressive religious behavior of her husband she left him and joined an Austrian man from Tyrol. She told me that she feels now much worthier and has a better chance to get a good job. I know about two women, one with an elegant headscarf and the other without, – but both always dressed elegantly-, enjoyed a higher diplomatic status in the Egyptian politics than their spouses, but it didn’t matter. During business trips and holidays in Egypt, I realized that not a few women are managers and among others supervised in hotels the cleaning staff including men. Many modern young women born in Austria, mostly well educated, didn’t wear a headscarf before, but now changed their mind: they want to emphasize their identity. My conclusion is that the problem is not the toxic mix of culture and religion alone, but the missing tolerance, empathy, and ethical education: Can it be learned in a short time to speed up the integration of young Muslim men?
The gender equality is an important goal of SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) and correlated with the other 16 SDG goals. I propose the dimension “culture and religion” to position as the fourth dimension in the middle of the “Triple Bottom Line“ triangle to indicate the relationships between this four dimensions.
Roland Leithenmayr VfV
The United Nations Special Representative on Sexual Violence Mrs. Zainab Hawa Bangura reports about the inhumanity of ISIS militants selling women and girls as sex slaves to sheiks and fighters. Bangura told the MiddleEastEye.net that one girl who refused an extreme sex act was burned alive. Suicidal girls are stripped of their headscarves so they can’t hang themselves. Source: The world at a glance, The Week, June 5, 1015, Issue 722.
Sheik means for Austrians a man of vast power and nobility! So we suspect that the Sheiks bought the women and girls on the slave market to free them from fighters. The UN NGO Committee on Sustainable Development in Vienna/Austria would like to cooperate with those “Sheiks” to redeem the women and girls from inhumanity.
Austrians respect all religions and strive to understand their values and to build bridges. “On the ethical level, there are constants that make such bridge-building possible: … Thus, in all religious, philosophical, and ideological traditions there are simple ethical imperatives that remain of the utmost importance to the present day: You shall not kill – or torture, rape. Or in positive terms: have respect for life. Its a commitment to a culture of non-violence and respect for life. You shall not commit sexual immorality – or humiliate, abuse or devalue your partner. Or in positive terms: Respect and love on another. Its a commitment to a culture of equal rights and partnership between men and women. Kofi Annan said in his Global Ethic Lecture in Tübingen in 2003: “But if it is wrong to condemn a particular faith or set of value because of the actions or statements of some of its adherents, it must also be wrong to abandon the idea that certain values are universal just because some human beings do not appear to accept them” (Hans Küng).
For me (the Author) applying the Golden Rule is useful for making any decision: What you do not wish done to yourself, do not do to others (human, animal, environment, etc.).
Roland Leithenmayr VfV
Hans Küng, The Three Abrahamic Religions”, page 15, Bridging the Divide, Religious Dialogue and Universal Ethics, Papers for The InterAction Council, Foreword by Helmut Schmidt. http://www.un.org/sg/management/senstaff_details.asp?smgID=174
Years ago I worked with Muslims in Vienna and abroad (diplomats, projects, and investments). Although religious and strictly adhering HALAL, the practice of religion was not so fundamental as now. Today their thinking and actions are more Sharia-oriented: secular Muslims are probably in the defense. Particular young people whose understanding of their religion is problematic and alienated from our values. The integration particularly of young men looking for a better life and status in Austria, – mostly grown up in a traditional society and gathering their clan later -, entails the risk that parallel societies develop in our democratic society not sharing our values and Sustainable Development Goals: SDG 4 – Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education; SDG 5 – Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls, SDG 16 – promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all. Fortunately, modern Muslims living in Austria appreciate our attitudes and values and are critical like modern Christians to their religion when it comes to humanity, equality, education, freedom, peace and empowerment of all women and girls.To avoid the risk of creating parallel societies liberal Muslim associations (like in Austria) should be involved in the process of integration of those young men harboring opportunities as well as to defend threats. However, Islam experts agree: most extremists remain to be an extremist.
“… those refugees looking for shelter (in Germany), must obey our laws and traditions and learn German, multiculturalism leads to parallel societies, multiculturalism remains an illusion…”. (Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel to the refugee crisis)
Roland Leithenmayr VfV
The world community is stunned how geographical areas dissolve caused by the territorial gains of the IS (Islamic State of Iraq and Levant). In spite of military threats, drones and military professionals the situation is not stabilizing. Edit Schlaffer, – Women without Borders -, recalls that who are directly on the front are the mothers whose children left for Syria. Schlaffer points out that women have the most impact on their families and communities. This growing group of women, – labeled as “Jihadi mothers”-, break through their invisibility by supporting and strengthening other women in the same situation. The goal is to discourage children to fraternize with Jidahists and to make the terrible decision to go to Syria. Edit Schaffler is providing their experience, knowledge and platform “Women without Borders” – http://www.women-without-borders.org/ – to achieve this goal. For her work Edit Schlaffer was awarded the Soroptimist International of Europe Peace Prize 2015 at the Soroptimist International Convention in Istanbul.
The most significant event today is the aggressive movement of the Islamist to restore their holy law. The Islamist view the introduction of the Sharia as the only mean to solve social, moral, political and economic problems. Because of their mordant behavior, the global international order is shaken. To blame are politicians and other groups supporting or tolerating Islamist activities for reasons of their own particular in the past. Unfortunately, those people don’t understand Islamic-Law or know much of its content or what it is supposed to achieve. Islamic law means different things to different people with different interpretations. One of the pressing questions is to what extent, – in theory and practice -, confirms the Islamic law to the “Rules of Law” applied in democratic countries. The application of the Islamic Law varies enormously. Constitutional scholars view the Islamic Law as the political function. Every Islamic group puts its priority on particular aspects ignoring much else. Religious Islamic scholars are recognized as guards, interpreters and transmitters of Islamic Law; therefore, they dominate how the Islamic Law should be applied in private, business, social and political matters. Contrary to most democratic countries the rulers of Islamic countries are accountable to Islamic Law. Liberal educated citizen consider the influence of conservative and radical Islamism in Europe with significant concerns while their opponents see the Sharia as a cultural asset. They could well imagine that in addition to our justice, – complying to our mentally and culture -, the Sharia shall be launched establishing a form of parallel society. Liberal citizens trust that Muslim thinkers in Europe will force a European-style Islam. Most experts are against the ideology of multiculturalism, but also warn of intolerance.The Sharia has a substantial impact on Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) not only in Muslim countries. ; It is an important issue which needs to be addressed and shall be further elaborated in religious dialogue and Global Ethics, Government Accountability, equal access to justice and the political process, and efficiency of the legal, political and economic systems, clear and stable laws, protection of human rights, property rights and trust.
Roland Leithenmayr VfV
Gebhard Fidler and Richard Löffler of VfV are involved among others to draw an Austrian Standard ONR 142001 for Islamic Finance.