Sunday, February 27, 2011

Religions for Peace!

Religion has often been used as a source of division and violent conflict, but the panelists today discussed ways people of various religions can come together to promote peace and end gender violence. The first speaker was Layla Alkhafaji of the Al-Hakim Foundation, an organization that has participated in an effort to eradicate violence against women in Iraq. Al-Hakim has designated the first day of Safar (in the Arabic calendar) to be an Islamic Day For Anti Violence Against Women. Recently, the foundation conducted a national survey of representational Iraqi families from ten different provinces regarding the types of violence to which they were exposed. The results were troubling. Ms. Alkhafaji related that the majority of women polled were exposed to one form of violence or another, whether it be physical, verbal, or emotional—though the majority refused to report this to the authorities (such as they are in American-occupied Iraq). As a partial solution she argued for the need to increase awareness in the community, especially calling on respected religious leaders to categorically condemn violence against women.

The other panelists who spoke were; Facia Harris from Liberia, Jasmin Nario Golace from Philippines, Leonida Kwamboka from Kenya, and Delores Scott Brathwaite from the United States and some of the highlights from these panelists were :
--War, structural violence, socio-cultural violence, sexual violence were faced by many women around the globe.
-- Religion plays a vital role in most communities around the world and we need the voices of religious leaders to teach peace and gender equality.
--There is a need for inter-faith dialogue and coming together with shared beliefs.
--Other subjects that were touched upon were security, work, education, laws that protect the rights of women, prosecution of victimizers.

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