IIIT- BIIT International Seminar on ‘Gender and Society’

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Gender discrimination, inequality and all forms of injustice have no place in Islam. Islam asserts the elimination of gender discrimination by empowering women- self dependence, individualism, and freedom. The justice in Islam stems from the clear instructions of the great Almighty Allah. In Islam, the excellence is determined only by a person’s piety and good deeds, not by the gender. Professor Dr. Syeda Sultana Razia, Head of the department of Chemical Engineering at BUET, the member of the Advisory board at Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Netherland and the assembly member at International Islamic Charity Organization (IICO), Kuwait mentioned those words while presenting her paper titled “Towards a Just Society through Gender Mainstreaming” in an international seminar as keynote speaker.

International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT) – the US based International think tank and its Bangladeshi affiliate – Bangladesh Institute of Islamic Thought (BIIT) jointly organized an international Seminar (Webinar) titled “Gender and Society” held on 30th October 2020 as part of IIIT-BIIT Intellectual Discourse Series where Asian Muslim Action Network (AMAN), Indonesia and Asian Resource Foundation (ARF), Thailand co-partnered the event.

Professor Sultana Razia further said that Islam has emphasized special role for men and women in considering their differences physically. Except this, Islam has offered no other differences in regard to their worth, dignity, privileges and social rights. She also mentioned that Bangladesh is ranked 50th out of 153 countries across the world in according to the “Global Gender Gap Report 2020” on Gender Equality.

Addressing as the Guest of Honor, Professor Dr. Masuda M Rashid Chowdhury, Member of National Parliament for Reserved Constituency of Women said that women empowerment in Bangladesh requires removing the obstacles in terms of educational, political, social and economic.

Professor Dr. Omar Hassan Kasule in his inaugural speech said that the Prophet (peace be upon him) came with the ideals of justice in a society, which was full discrimination, injustice and violence in then Arab societies.

Taking part in the discussion as panelist, Ms Ruby Khalifa, the Secretary General of AMAN said that social justice, which guarantees human and social rights for all is fully compatible with Islam regardless of their respective gender, religion or caste. She focused on some case studies with her Indonesian experiences.

Participating in the discussion as another panelist, Senior Academic Fellow of the Oxford-based think tank Atlantic Council and Professor of the Faculty of Medicine, University of Technology, (MARA) Professor Dr. Rauda Mohd Yunus said that though Islam is the only religion that protects women’s rights based on equity, but there is still gap between theory and practices even among Muslims.

The seminar was chaired by Dr. M Abdul Aziz, the executive director of BIIT and faculty at Islamic University of Technology (IUT), OIC. In his concluding speech, Dr. Aziz said that reconstruction of thought and existing mind is pre-requisite to build a just society as social structure in most cases and the mind sets of Muslim female in few cases are responsible for imbalancing gender.

Around hundred participants including Academics and scholars have joined the international seminar from many countries across the world including the US, the UK, France, India, Malaysia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Maldives and Bangladesh.

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