PETALING JAYA: Muslim women must be given greater recognition for their role as the “prime resistor” against extremism, says Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir (pic).
She said Muslim women’s roles and their personal capacity in the fight against rising extremism must be given urgent attention, especially in the face of the antagonism and vilification they face because of it.
“Women as prime resistors of Muslim extremism is a topic greatly underserved and important to focus on, in the drive to curb the increasing normalisation of extremist behaviour.
“These include viewing multiple wives as a measure of a man’s wealth and success, the public shaming of women not wearing the hijab, and the increasing media depiction of wearing the niqab as normal, ” she said in a statement issued by Sisters in Islam (SIS) on Wednesday (Oct 16).
The conference was attended by members of civil society from over 14 countries from South-East and South Asia, as well as Muslim-minority countries.
Marina said women’s voices were missing from anti-extremist narratives for various reasons.
Among these reasons were that the perpetrators were largely male and victims mostly female.
Both women and men also maintain stereotypical models of male strength and female submissiveness and silence, no matter how violent the abuse.
“There is a disconnect between what Muslim women expect and what happens to them, particularly their inability for them to challenge the realities of life.
“We are taught that we are forced to live with it, that things cannot change, ” she said.
Marina also noted that Muslim men often get away with standing up for their rights, while women are vilified in print or online media and are forced to defend themselves in court. -The Star