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Project group: Role models in Muslim contexts

Promoting gender equality is one of the key themes of the German Islam Conference. During 2011/2012, the "Role models in a Muslim context" project group (abbreviated to Role models PG) has been tackling this subject in concrete terms by studying role models and their practical  implications. Conservative role models amongst Muslims are not always specifically Islamic but have a more patriarchal character. However, they are often justified on religious grounds or by supposedly Islamic traditions. The aim of the role model project group is to encourage girls to engage consciously with different role models, and to develop guidelines to support advisers in their work who are confronted with role-specific issues.

Role models from an empirical, Islamic and legal perspective

In a total of four meetings, the project group discussed the topic from various points of view. In the first two meetings in June and September 2011,  role models in Muslim contexts were initially examined in lectures by a constitutional expert, an Islamic studies expert and a sociologist.

Rabeya Müller, Director of the Institute for Interfaith Pedagogy and Didactics (IPD) in Cologne, gave a lecture entitled "Normative framework of gender roles from the point of view of Islam"; Dr. Monika Fahland, Director of the "Grundrechte" department in the Federal Ministry of the Interior presented "Gender roles and the Basic Law". The education expert Professor Ahmet Toprak from the Fachhochschule Dortmund reported on current academic results on the subject of "Role models and sex equality in Germany taking the context of Muslims into particular account".

The task of the role model project group

In the second phase of the German Islam Conference's work programme, the project group's task is to look at "the rigid role models that can compromise the self-determination and social participation of women and girls even beyond the professional arena." Likewise, fixed expectations of men's roles, even if those roles are more active, also curtail men's freedom to decide what they do. In extreme cases, these expectations can result in domestic violence. In the German Islam Conference we want to look for practical ways as to how Muslim women and girls affected in this way can discern their rights more clearly and pursue them. In this context, we also wish to broach the issue of difficulties that men encounter when attitudes to and expectations of roles that have been handed down come into conflict with actual ways of behaving.

Participants in the project group are individual Muslim delegates of the German Islam Conference, representatives of associations and staterepresentatives in the German Islam Conference.

Supporting the Girls' Day 2012

The role model project group is supporting the Girls' Day 2012. The Girls' Day is an annual day of campaigns offering girls the opportunity to have a 'taste' of  of careers in technology, trades and sciences - that is, careers in which women continue to be under-represented.

In 2012, the Girls' Day will also focus on appealing to girls with an immigrant background. The role model project group will be supporting the organisers of the Girls' Day with advice and providing contacts.

Further information on the Future for Girls' Day can be found on the Girls' Day website: Girls'Day - Mädchenzukunftstag

The results from the role models project group will be presented at the plenary meeting of the German Islam Conference in Spring 2012.

DIK Editorial board, 6.12.2011

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