Header Image Liberal Islam Series
Mariia Arsonova / iStock / Getty Images Plus
Thursday, 20 April 2023

Women's Rights and Islam

Attendance Event

The violation of women’s rights in the name of sharia or Islamic values is a sadly recurrent pattern, both in Muslim countries as well as among Muslim communities in the West. Is discrimination against women really enshrined in Islam or is it a cultural phenomenon that misinterprets religious norms? While certain Muslim or Muslim-born feminists argue that women’s rights are a secular achievement won by standing against the patriarchy intrinsic to monotheistic religions, others have striven to ground those rights on an updated interpretation of the Islamic scriptures. 


Maryam Namazie is an Iranian-born writer and activist living in the UK. She is the spokesperson of "One Law for All" and the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain, and she has sat on the board of several atheist and humanist organizations. She has spoken and written numerous articles on women’s rights issues, freedom of expression, Islamism and secularism, and she has organized multiple public events and nude protests in favour of Muslim women, LGBT Muslims and ex-Muslims. She is the author of “The Woman’s Quran”, as well as the organizer of the “Apostasy Day” and of the largest gatherings of ex-Muslims in history. More recently, she has been speaking on and organising protests in solidarity with the “Mahsa Amini” women’s revolution in Iran.

President of the Italian Islamic Association (UII), of the Associazione Donne in Rete per lo Sviluppo e la Pace and the Forum Musulmani Laici Italiani, Maryan Ismail has obtained the certificate of Spiritual Guide and Imam at the University of Padua. She serves as member of the Council for the Relations with Italian Islam at the Ministry of the Interior and of the National Table with Islamic Associations. Ismail is also a lecturer in the anthropology of immigration at the Institute of Religious Sciences in Milan, as well as a trainer for linguistic and cultural mediation. Previously, she was responsible of the committee for the health of migrant women and against female genital mutilation at Regione Lombardia. 


Dilek Kurban is a scholar of human rights law and a postdoctoral research fellow at the School of Law at the University of Copenhagen as well as a visiting researcher at the "Migration, Integration, Transnationalization" department.

The event is part of the Event Series "Islam and Liberalism in Contemporary Society".


The event will be recorded. The data protection notice on photo and film recordings can be found here.

The WZB is wheelchair-accessible.