Gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls (SDG 5) will make a significant contribution not only to the economic development of the world but to progress across all the 17 SDGs and targets of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development as well.
Currently, in countries where conservative Islam and/or the patriarchal structure predominates, women and girls are discriminated to visit higher schools and universities; although, women want to contribute to science. However, there are Islamic states (such as Saudi Arabia) which promote the education of women, but the women stay mostly unemployed after graduation because of gendered seclusion in job opportunities. The attitude of male superiority and female subjection contributes to the general misinterpretation of the Quran (Muslim people’s main religion text) and misunderstanding of the Muslims: So many Islamic experts say that this patriarchal viewpoint is unrelated to Islamic values.
What could women and girls do to fight against this women-hostile Islam or patriarchal attitude? Should women and girls living in democratic countries demonstrate in front of embassies of arch-conservative countries and/or use the social media more effectively Many Muslim women or women coming from Islamic- or patriarchal controlled countries studied successfully at universities in Austria, and their parents are very proud!
In the democratic countries like in Austria, the situation is different for women and girls, but still needs improvement: flexible working time, work-balance, enlightenment and opportunities for women and girls, etc.
“When a woman is helpless, without rights and ignorant, half of the nation is sick and paralyzed”
– Mammad Amin Rasulzade, Chairman of the National Council of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic.
Roland Leithenmayr, VfV, 16. February 2017
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.
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