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Advancing Gender Equality in Muslim Mindanao : Training and Promoting Gender-Sensitive Religious Leaders to Effect Change. Philippines. Atty. Laisa Masuhud Alamia Program Manager, Nisa Ul Haqq Fi Bangsamoro , Inc. Outline of presentation. Context

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Advancing Gender Equality in Muslim Mindanao: Training and Promoting Gender-Sensitive Religious Leaders to Effect Change


Atty. LaisaMasuhudAlamia Program Manager, NisaUlHaqqFiBangsamoro, Inc.

outline of presentation
Outline of presentation
  • Context
  • Background and Objectives of Project
  • Strategies for Change
  • Challenges and Successes
  • The Moro situation:
    • 10% of Philippine population; 13 Islamized indigenous peoples; concentrated mostly in 5 provinces and 1 city of ARMM
    • Struggle for right to self-determination
    • Minoritized by law and policy of resettlement from the Spanish, Japanese, and American colonization to current government
    • Displaced from ancestral domains, discriminated against, suffering from effects of long-standing conflict
  • Moro women against backdrop of poverty, war, and displacement:
    • Other forms of oppression and discrimination under formal laws such as the Code of Muslim Personal Law and traditional and cultural practices
    • Gender Issues:
      • Early, arranged and/or forced marriage
      • Polygyny
      • Gender-based violence
      • Inequitable rights and responsibilities between husband and wife
      • Loss of inheritance rights
background objectives
Background & Objectives
  • Through efforts of Muslim women advocates, discussions on gender issues in the context of Islam:
    • Marriage and family
    • Economic rights
    • Participation in politics and decision-making
  • Gender issues arise from different interpretations of Qur’an by MRLs
  • Recommendation: return to basic teachings of Qur’an to clarify roles of women and men
background objectives6
Background & Objectives
  • Gender issues intended to be addressed by project:
    • Early, arranged, and/or forced marriage
    • Violence Against Women (VAW)
  • NISA research shows early marriage is prevalent in ARMM among girls as young as 13 with harmful & wide-ranging consequences
  • VAW such as rape, prostitution, trafficking of women, wife battery, taking of mahr, child abuse and VAW in situations of armed conflict and displacement are present
strategies for change
Strategies for Change
  • Khutbaon gender and reproductive health rights of women
  • Consultations and workshops by MRLs and other experts to guarantee authenticity and faithfulness to basic teachings of the Qur’an and Hadith and human rights principles
strategies for change8
Strategies for Change
  • Pre-tested, used in trainings
  • Compiled in handbook in English, later translated to 5 widely spoken dialects in the ARMM
  • Handbook to be used by Imams during Friday sermons, marriage counselling, nasihat, and in other appropriate occasions as reference for gender equality in Islamic context
strategies for change9
Strategies for Change
  • 15 Khutbas:

1. Realization of Allah-Man Relationship as the First Duty of a Muslim

2. Man and Woman as Partners

3. Education in Islam

4. Building a Righteous Family

5. Mahr in the Teachings of Islam

6. Marriage Counselling (to be used as KhutbaNikah)

7. Early and Arranged Marriage in the Light of Islam

8. Family Planning in Islam

9. Maternal and New Born Health Care

10. The Hikma of Hijab

11. Women’s Economic Rights

12. Violence Against Women

13. The Meaning of Polygamy

14. Divorce in the Perspective of Islam

15. Islamic Inheritance

strategies for change10
Strategies for Change
  • Capability-building of MRLs using 4-pronged approach:
  • 1) Gender justice in the context of Islam using the Qur’an, ahadith and fiqh, particularly on the issues of early and arranged marriage, polygyny, and violence against women, with
  • techniques on how to deliver the compiled khutbas;
strategies for change11
Strategies for Change
  • 2) National laws and instruments on women’s rights, such as the Anti-Violence Against Women and Children Act (RA 9262);
  • 3) International human rights instruments on gender, particularly the provisions of the CEDAW and its Committee’s
  • Concluding Comments to the last Philippine report; and
strategies for change12
Strategies for Change
  • 4) the lived realities of Moro and other Muslim women in predominantly Muslim countries through the social sciences and research projects on the impact of such practices.
challenges and successes
Challenges and Successes
  • Four-pronged approach proven effective since the drafters of the 15 khutba came up with more progressive interpretations of the Qur’an and Ahadith.
  • Confronted with the lived realities of Muslim women vis-à-vis international and national human rights instruments, the MRLs applied Qur’anic principles of justice and equality to the khutba that they drafted.
challenges and successes14
Challenges and Successes
  • Khutba on early marriage
    • Provides that “Islam clarifies important requirements before marriage can take place, which include the age of maturity or capacity to distinguish right from wrong, mental capability, emotional preparation, and physical capability and finally, the consent of the concerned parties.”
  • Although no specific age for marriage has been recommended in the khutbas, nevertheless, it has not taken the general stand that puberty is equal to marriage-age.
challenges and successes15
Challenges and Successes
  • Khutbaon violence against women
    • Recognizes the existence of many forms of violence against women in the Moro communities.
    • MRLs declarethat women are equal partners of men and that Islam’s mandate is equality between men and women.
    • This necessitates that all forms of violence against women must be eradicated, “for so long as women suffer abuses, women cannot achieve their full potential as free and equal members of society,” citing relevant Qur’anic text and ahadith.
challenges and successes16
Challenges and Successes
  • Partnership with MRLs immersed in gender advocacy proved to be productive
  • Inclusion of the Aleematsand giving them initial training on delivery of Nasihatbased on the core messages of the 15 Khutba on Gender and RH gave added value to the project
  • Need to involve and train more Aleematsin advocating gender and RH in Muslim communities
  • Engaging with the DarulIfta crucial in getting support of the MRLs in the ARMM
challenges and successes17
Challenges and Successes
  • Many MRLs at the grassroots level still retain the same traditional, discriminatory and repressive beliefs on women; challenge is to continue to advocate at the grassroots level, train more gender- sensitive MRLs and promoting their work


Thank you very much!