Imams for Women's Rights
Our research found that if we can change the mindset of todays children and youth, we can make a difference in the present culture of violence against women. However our Mullahs (Islamic leaders) are influential and they play a critical role in the way people lead their lives. There are over 250,000 mosques in Bangladesh. This indicates that the people of Bangladesh are devout and we need the help of Imams to improve the record of human rights in this country.
We know that some Mullahs (Islamic Leaders) use Islam as a tool to subjugate women. And some Imams, though still a minority, are knowledgeable about and committed to the way in which women are respected and are regarded as equal to men in the Quran and Hadith.
We began working with who we call enlightened Imams in 2005 on our STOP Violence against Girls Program. 14 Imams attended our December 2005 seminar titled Islam and Women Rights from the Chittagong region coming together to discuss womens rights to property inheritance, women's participation in civil society and gender violence. The participants agreed to work with PHREB in ending violence against women and girls and the Imams Movement for Women Rights was set in motion.
Today (May 2009), 234 Imams in the south of Bangladesh are involved with this movement and this number is increasing. We are seeing these leaders take a stand against all forms of violence against women at home, at school, at work and in the street. The Friday Speech at mosques is reaching around 200,000 men every week, as well as at Waj Mahfils (community based religious gatherings).
Imams are now playing an important role in promoting the issue of womens abuse. They are teaching people to read the Quran with different eyes - learning that in Islam women and children are much more respected than they tend to be in Bangladeshi culture. Our network of Imams is delivering justice according to the holy Quran.
PHREBs Imams Movement for Women Rights members are dedicated to promoting women's rights in Bangladesh. Your support in terms of technical and financial help is much appreciated so we can continue this work.