President of FIOE: Islam calls for equality between man and woman on the basis of humanity

Praise is to Allah, Lord of all creation, and peace and blessings on Prophet Muhammad, his family and companions, and those who follow his guidance until the Day of Judgement…

Allah, the Almighty, says in the Quran: (O mankind! We have created you from a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may come to know one another. Indeed, the most honourable among you with Allah is the one who has most piety [Taqwa]. Indeed, Allah is All-Knowing, All-Aware) Surah al-Hujurat 13

Allah, the Almighty, has raised the status of the human being, and appointed him vicegerent on Earth; this elevation in status includes all the children of Adam—men and women, without distinction.

Today, as we embrace the theme of women, we understand that Islam calls for equality between man and woman on the basis of humanity, and within a framework of mutual respect. Islam considers that balanced human life is established on the basis of complementary roles and harmony between man and woman. Thus, Islam rejects any idea or practice that treats women with disdain or takes away their legitimate rights. Moreover, Islam recognises the essential role of women in society, and as such opposes their exploitation, or mistreatment by relegating them to the status of mere object.

On this occasion, we offer abundant praise for the efforts, and patience of mothers, and express our pride in the older generation of women; they have our devotion and gratitude for their contribution over the course of an eventful lifetime, to which many generations of children and grandchildren bear witness. Our appreciation, also, for the working mother; in her home, or in the diverse areas of employment, as well as the young woman in those positions of academic learning and vocational practice, scaling the heights of knowledge, which is what we encourage and support with all our resources.

In this regard, we, in the Federation of Islamic Organisations in Europe, commend the continuing achievements of Muslim women and girls across Europe; those who succeeded in the areas of academic and working life, and are a positive presence in many fields, role models to be followed, and mentioned with pride.

Despite this, we are aware that there is much more that must be done, and that there are obstacles that need to be overcome. In particular, we appreciate the scale of difficulties, and the gravity of challenges, confronting women and girls in the worlds of study and work, in the restrictive measures on choice of dress, or discriminatory practices that target, quite sadly, Muslim females. In this regard, we stand firmly in support of the right to education and learning, and the right to work and self-fulfilment, and will confront every form of discrimination and restrictive measure, through effective societal participation, and conscientious and focused civic action, in cooperation and partnership with defenders of justice and rights in our European societies.

In this respect, we are fully aware that improving the condition of Muslims in Europe, cannot be achieved in isolation from an effective role for Muslim women and girls, in the various spheres and at all levels; as such, the bird can only fly with two wings. Therefore, the responsibility for establishing this, and overcoming the difficulties along the path, is shared by all concerned.

We ask Allah to bless the efforts of our women and girls in what is good, and help us all achieve the goodness and success of this life and in the hereafter.

Wa assalamu alaykum wa rahmat Allah

Your brother, Chakuib Ben Makhlouf

President of the Federation of Islamic Organisations in Europe (FIOE)

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