Muslim activists’ message to Rutgers: Gender inequality goes beyond Islam

Islam is not the sole cause of inequality between men and women in the Middle East, two human rights activists said. That’s the message Shirin Ebadi, the first Muslim woman and only Iranian to win the Nobel Peace Prize, and Sheikha Haya Rashed Al Khalifa, president of the U.N. General Assembly, sent a crowd of about 300 people at Rutgers University yesterday. “It is very important to inform the world about Islam,” Rashed Al Khalifa said. “Islam can absorb all the differences in the world. Concepts like jihad are against all principles we live and learn, and I can’t make justifications for it because we consider it an illness for our society.” Rashed Al Khalifa, who is from the Middle Eastern island Bahrain, also is a human rights advocate and lawyer. A descendent of the royal family there, she is the third woman and first from the Middle East to take the U.N. General Assembly presidential post.