In conjunction with International Women’s Day, a Meeting in Trento entitled “Educated Women, Protagonists” was organized by the Muslim Women of Trento, the Association of Muslim Women in Italy and The women of GMI Trento. The meeting broadly discussed women in Islam, and the importance of women in the immigrant community of Trento.
Germany’s best known Islamic cleric, Pierre Vogel, delivered a pro-Islam speech in front of approximately 1100 sympathizers in Hamburg on Saturday, July 9th. Vogel is a Salafi-Muslim who is known for his strict (and fundamentalist) interpretation of Islam, his rejection of liberal ideals and religious diversity, as well as his sympathy for former Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden (as reported earlier). Unlike other cities or even countries (e.g. Vogel is forbidden to enter Switzerland and the city of Koblenz banned him from publicly speaking earlier this year), the city of Hamburg did not prohibit Vogel’s speech last week. However, prior to the event, which Vogel had advertised via various media sources, the Police imposed a number of specific conditions, such as restrictions on completely covering up and the separation of sexes.
For several hours, Vogel talked on an improvised “stage” on the back of a truck about the role (and oppression) of women in Islam, the hijab and niqab, as well as the German army’s mission in Afghanistan. After he had finished his speech, seven sympathizers came up to the stage and converted to Islam, which is indicative of Vogel’s charismatic appeal.
In an interview on Dutch television Ayaan Hirsi Ali announced that she will not make sequals to her controversial 2004 film Submission. Although the script is written, Hirsi Ali claims that making the film causes too great a risk to the cast and crew. Currently living in the United States, Hirsi Ali released Submission with director Theo van Gogh in the Netherlands in 2004, alleging to illustrate violence towards women in Islam. Van Gogh was subsequently murdered by a Muslim extremist. Hirsi Ali’s sequal was to depict the oppression of homosexuals in Islam.
On Saturday March 8th, Greek Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis defended the right of Muslim women to cover their heads, refuting claims that the headscarf poses a threat to secularism. Human rights and the secular nature of a state are not threatened by the headscarf. Nor are they safeguarded by a ban said Bakoyannis. Bakoyannis blamed western media as ignorant in its propagation about misconceptions of women in Islam, saying that the so-called Western world has more stereotypes than we care to admit. In addition, Greece’s top diplomat insisted that women and men are ensured equality in Islam.
A discussion and debate on women in the three Abrahamic religions is planned to take place on Monda, February 4th, to discuss values common to the religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Among the goals included in the seminar, is to dissuade misconceptions of women in Islam as repressed and dominated by misogyny, and to assert that while Muslim women in Spain do face difficulties, the origin of those difficulties are not organically Islamic. The chairman of the Islamic Board, Mansur Escudero stressed that the stereotypes about Muslim women have nothing to do with the basic doctrine of Islam, a religion that is consubstantial with the freedom of conscience and expression.