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INFO   :::  Educational Outreaches > Youth Groups > Islam and Feminism


Islam and Feminism

Novi Pazar, February 8, 2016


The Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Serbia and its Novi Pazar-based youth group, “The Youth in Action,” organized a youth seminar in Novi Pazar. Sociologist of religion Srđan Barišić discussed with the seminar participants notions such as extremism, fundamentalism, traditionalism and conservatism. One of the participants argued, “Everyone associates extremism with something excessive, or with political, media and other forms of violence. What comes to my mind first when I hear the word extremism is sports violence,“ while others thought that extremism is „insisting on one’s views to the extent that violates the rights of other groups’ rights, particularly the rights of minority groups.“

Director of the Balkan Centre for the Middle East Ivan Ejub Kostić spoke about secular and Islamic feminism, two main directions of the development of feminism in the Islamic world. Secular feminism developed on the basis of Islamic modernism and in the framework of the newly emerged secular nation states. It promotes equal access of women to the public sphere, education, political rights, etc. Islamic feminism focuses on rereading of Quran and other religious texts by emphasizing social justice and equality of men and women in the religious life. „It is only the language of Islamic feminism that can reach out to the women of all strata, cutting through the division between the urban and the rural“, he said explaining, „It is most likely that Muslim women will identify themselves with Islamic feminism.“

Participants in the seminar also had the opportunity to talk to local police officers about the pressing problems in the local community. The youth identified domestic, peer and sports violence as some of the biggest problems of their community and together with police officers discussed possible solutions.

The youth also participated in the workshop “Contribution of the Youth to Countering Extremist Ideologies” held by human rights activist and workshop leader Demir Mekić. Seminar participants said that young people “initiate everything and if they work together, they can accomplish much.” They also said that the youth can “motivate other members of the community to take affirmative action,” and “initiate social changes.”

The youth seminar was organized within the project “Reach out Sandzak II” that Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Serbia and its Novi Pazar-based youth group implement with the assistance from the US Embassy, Belgrade.


















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