International Women’s DayOn this day, we welcome The International Women’s Day with both bitterness and hope. Bitterness towards persisting injustice faced by women all over the world, and hope to see their condition the voice of women remain too often neglected, and this statement is all the more striking when it comes to Muslim women.

Indeed, these women face double discrimination both related to their gender and their religious beliefs. Moreover, in the current European context characterized by a rise of populism, these difficulties are reinforced by the effects of race discrimination.

Muslim women are therefore exposed to serious acts of physical and psychological violence, which tend to become commonplace and even institutionalized through laws intending to exclude Muslim women from economic and social participation – whereas they strongly aspire to get fully and actively involved in the civil life. The European Forum of Muslim Women condemn these discriminatory measures ignoring fundamental rights, and consider that possibility for each citizen to live his faith with dignity is as a necessity for effective democracy and social peace.

These ideals of peace, freedom and democracy sound particularly powerful in our minds and hearts in a time when some Arab societies are plunged into political chaos and face serious economic and social hardships.

Since the Arab Awakening was supposed to carry democratic revival and enhance female involvement in the civil life, women stand for the first victims of political repression in Egypt, Syria… Imprisoned, mistreated, humiliated, these women plunged into deep distress, need to be considered and actively supported by all people attached to values of freedom and human dignity.

We indeed deplore the fact that violence perpetrated against Muslim women usually generates very timid response, even within the feminist spheres. The fight for recognition and promotion of all women and their fundamental rights, have to be conducted through collective and harmonized efforts from civil society actors, political authorities and citizens, in a spirit of dialogue European Forum of Muslim Women express on this occasion its renewed support to oppressed women all over the world, and is committed to pursue with faith and determination its struggle against all kinds of discrimination perpetrated against women, with the ambition to enhance the emergence of societies driven by justice, inclusiveness and prosperity.

Brussels, 8th March 2014