EFOMW participated in the seminar “Hate, threats and violence: A muslim woman’s everyday life”, organised by Ibn Rushd Studieförbund (Ibn Rushd educational association) 17 November in Stockholm. The seminar was a part of the program at ‘The Swedish Forum of Human Rights 2018‘ conference, which is Scandinavia’s largest human rights annual event. The theme for 2018 was ‘The right to a life free from violence’.
EFOMW’s advocacy coordinator Hajar El Jahidi was part of the panel that discussed situation of Muslim women in Sweden and in Europe today, and how rise in hatred and violence against Muslim women in European societies affects their everyday life and their choices.
For many women, different forms of harassment are a part of their everyday life. It happens on the bus, at work, in the store and has been common for a long time.
Together with Mehek Muftee, researcher from Uppsala University, the panel discussed questions such as:
- What are the consequences of the frequent violence on Muslim women’s freedom of movement?
- How is their self-esteem and mental health affected by constantly being the object of discussion of some journalists, debaters and politicians?
- What is being done today to counter this development?
- What does religious freedom mean in practice?
- and what is needed to ensure Muslim women’s right to live a life free from violence?
EFOMW brought European perspective at the panel and highlighted the issues of:
The internalisation of discrimination by Muslim women: Many muslim women across Europe are normalising the discriminations they face which has an underlying impacts in form of lack of reporting, avoidance strategies ect. This leads to reduced participation in the society and can be another source of suffering for these women.
The intersectional and institutional aspects of the discriminations faced by these women, and importance of understanding this specific nature of the violence faced in order to be able to adopt the right approaches to counter it.
and on the bright side, we can see the rise of an pan-european movement of Muslim women who are coming together, raising their voices at multiple levels (EU, national, local). This is important as it highlights the awareness of many muslim women that this is a pan-european issue and necessitates a european response, a lot of the debates around muslim women spread from one country to the other, the islamophobic and mysoginistic rhetoric are spread from one politician to the other across european borders and the sustainable way to tackle this phenomenon is to rally Muslim women also across borders.
See video from the seminar below or watch it on Facebook here