Musawah Vision - Issue 14: December 2013
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Issue 14: December 2013

An update on Musawah issues and activities
Muslim Family Law News

Egypt: Women are some of the winners of the new constitution - openDemocracy

India: First all-women Sharia Court in Pune will deal with various family issues, including marital discord - The Indian Express

Maldives: Fiqh Academy rules abortion is permissible under five circumstances, including when a woman is pregnant as a result of rape - Sun

Morocco: Activists welcome parliament's repeal of a law that drops rape charges if the rapist marries his underage victim - OnIslam

Pakistan: For the first time in its 33-year history, the national Shariat Court appoints a female judge - Dawn

Saudi Arabia: Shoura Council to discuss revolutionary new personal status law that 'aims to achieve parity between men and women in all aspects of life' - Saudi Gazette
Building Our Knowledge

Global Life Stories Project

The Gambia Life Stories project team coordinated by Musawah Advocate in Gambia, GAMCOTRAP, has made new partnerships in working on the Musawah Global Life Stories Project, which is part of the Musawah Knowledge Building Initiative on Qiwamah and Wilayah. The Newfield Foundation now supports GAMCOTRAP in creating awareness and documenting issues on the life stories of women in Gambia. This joint collaboration intends to empower women to understand their rights as accorded in Islam and guaranteed by the Personal Status law based on their lived realities. For updates from Musawah's knowledge building work, click here.

Musawah I-nGEJ Course

The Musawah Course on Islam, Gender Equality and Justice (I-nGEJ, pronounced 'I engage') is designed for women's and human rights activists from Muslim countries and communities throughout the world who wish to play a critical role in building a tradition of public debate on Islam, and shaping a public discourse that recognises equality and justice for Muslim women. The course, which is an initiative of the Musawah Capacity Building Programme, addresses the knowledge gap of participants with no formal or traditional education on Islam, and who are keen to understand the differences and diversity of Qur'anic interpretations, juristic opinions, and conceptual tools that exist within the tradition justifying reform as both necessary and possible in Islam. Continue reading

If you are interested in hosting the course, please write to

Musawah I-nGEJ Course in the Maldives and Future Courses

Musawah conducted the I-nGEJ Course in November 2013 for women's and human rights activists, government representatives, legal practitioners, and members of the National Human Rights Commission in the Maldives. This course was hosted by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in the Maldives. The next Musawah I-nGEJ Course will be conducted for women’s and human rights activists from Afghanistan, and will be hosted by the Afghan Women’s Network. Musawah is also in the early stages of planning the course for South Asian activists later this year. For more information on the Musawah I-nGEJ Course, click here.
Building Our Movement

Musawah Advocate Updates

Musawah Advocate and former Musawah International Advisory Group member Dr Amira Sonbol spoke on ‘Modern Arab Women: Discourses and Alternative Narratives’ at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London in December 2013. Speaking to a packed lecture hall, Dr Sonbol explained that scholarly research on the lived realities of Arab women is crucial towards bringing to light a more ‘realistic’ record of Arab women’s daily realities. In her own research Dr Sonbol documents the active role women play as providers and sustainers of their families across the Arab world. Continue reading
For a more detailed report of the lecture, click here.


Musawah Advocate in Indonesia, ALIMAT, also known as the Family Justice Movement, are now supporting PEKKA (the Program for Women-Headed Households) in an advisory capacity. In providing PEKKA with legal empowerment trainings and consultations, ALIMAT envisions the Musawah Framework for Action to underpin and further strengthen the mission of PEKKA.

United Kingdom

In September, Musawah Advocate in the United Kingdom, Muslim Women’s Network-UK (MWNUK), published astonishing data based on 35 case studies of British-Asian Muslim girls and young women. The report, Unheard Voices: The Sexual Exploitation of Asian Girls and Young Women, reveals that girls continue to be sexually exploited and authorities are failing to identify or support them. Girls are most vulnerable to offenders from their own communities who manipulate cultural norms to prevent them from reporting their abuse. 

The full report (PDF) can be accessed here.
Musawah News and Events

International Strategy Meeting on Facing Religious Fundamentalisms

The Initiative on Resisting and Challenging Religious Fundamentalisms of the Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID) together with Musawah, Catholics for the Right to Decide (Mexico) and Global Rights Watch, a project of Ipas and PPFA, co-organised a strategy consultation on 'Advancing Women’s Rights and Gender Justice in the Face of Religious Fundamentalisms.' The meeting was held in Istanbul, Turkey, in December 2013, also with the support of the Asian-Pacific Resource and Research Centre for Women (ARROW). Continue reading

Consultative Meeting with Religious Scholars

On 8 November 2013, Musawah held a two-day consultative meeting in Rabat, Morocco, with religious scholars from Morocco and Egypt, and Moroccan women's rights activists and scholars. The meeting was co-organised by Musawah and the Research Center on Women's Studies in Islam of Rabita Mohammadia des Oulémas in Morocco. The meeting intended to begin a series of discussions between Musawah, the Research Center and religious scholars from both Morocco and Egypt about reform in the Islamic knowledge tradition, and discourse with a focus on qiwamah and wilayah. Continue reading
To watch a short video (in Arabic) of the meeting, click here.

Communications Strategy Meeting 2013

Musawah held its second Communications Strategy Meeting on 1-3 September 2013 in order to draw up a revised communications strategy document for 2014-2016. This involved discussions around (i) strategic priorities, (ii) new activities, and (iii) targets and indicators. Participants of the meeting included members of the Communications Working Group (CWG), members of the Musawah Global Secretariat and a few invited media practitioners. Continue reading

To view new social media integrations and our first poll on the Qur’an and equality in the Musawah website, click here.

Curriculum- and Capacity-Building Workshop 2013

Thirty-one participants from 16 different countries participated in a capacity and curriculum-building workshop in Port Dickson, Malaysia in August 2013. The goals of this workshop were to fine-tune the Musawah I-nGEJ 7-day curriculum and to grow the pool of Musawah facilitators and resource persons. 
International Advocacy

Musawah Statement to the OHCHR

Musawah submitted a statement to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) on child, early and forced marriage in December 2013, pursuant to the Human Rights Council (HRC) resolution A/HRC/RES/24/23. This contribution was submitted in preparation for the panel discussion on the prevention and elimination of child, early and forced marriage, which is to take place at the 26th Session of the Human Rights Council in May 2014. Continue reading

Musawah and Allies Engage with Indonesian Government Officials

In November 2013, Musawah was invited by International Women's Rights Action Watch Asia Pacific (IWRAW Asia Pacific) to provide expertise in a consultation with Indonesia's national women's machinery, the Ministry of Women's Empowerment. The consultation was held to identify and explore strategies to support the implementation of the follow-up issues identified in the CEDAW Committee’s 2012 Concluding observations for Indonesia, namely reforming laws and practices pertaining to female genital mutilation and discriminatory laws on marriage in compliance with CEDAW Article 16. Continue reading

Musawah Thematic Report on Article 16: Afghanistan

The Musawah Thematic Report on Afghanistan was submitted to the CEDAW Committee for review at its 55th Session in Geneva, Switzerland in July 2013. In this report, Musawah takes a critical look at the status of marriage and family relations in Afghanistan, examining closely the governing legal structure and critical issues such as the equality of spouses, their rights and responsibilities, minimum age of marriage, forced marriage, polygamy, divorce, and the custody and guardianship of children. The Government of Afghanistan reported to the CEDAW Committee for the first time since ratifying CEDAW in 2003 without reservations. Continue reading

To access the Musawah website's feature on Afghanistan, click here.

Musawah List of Issues and Questions on Article 16

In July 2013, the Musawah List of Issues and Questions on Article 16 in Bahrain (PDF) was submitted to the CEDAW Committee for consideration. This was Musawah’s first contribution to the CEDAW List of Issues and Questions. This was followed closely by the submission of the Musawah List of Issues and Questions on Article 16 in Qatar (PDF). Continue reading

For the website's feature on Musawah's international advocacy efforts, click here.
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Musawah in
the News

Journalist Elizabeth Segran documents the journey taken by the movement since its launch in February 2009, and its role in reconciling Islam and feminism in The Nation (Dec 2013). The article firmly posits Musawah as a primary catalyst in articulating a vision of the future that upholds gender equality and social justice, posing a genuine challenge to proponents of a dogmatic, narrow vision of Islam. To read the full article, click here.
In her online blog post dated 7 November 2013, Qur'an and Woman author and Islamic scholar Dr Amina Wadud draws similarities between the significance of the Saudi women's initiative Women2Drive and the larger message that Musawah drives home. To read the full blog post, visit Feminism and Religion.
France 24, an international news and current affairs television channel based in Paris, interviewed Musawah Director Zainah Anwar during the 9th Women's Forum Global Meeting, held 16-18 October in Deauville, France. To watch the full interview, click here.
The Carter Center’s Human Rights Defenders Initiative featured Zainah Anwar and her speech at the Center on ‘Mobilizing Faith for Women’. For the Carter Center's video interview, click here.
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