Picture: Musawah I-nGEJ South Asia Regional Course held in Kandy, Sri Lanka (Dec 2015). More photos here.
"The course was more than a breath of fresh air to the mind and the heart - it felt more like a journey, bringing you finally back home."
The Musawah Course Islam & Gender Equality and Justice (I-nGEJ)
The Musawah I-nGEJ Course is designed for women's and human rights activists from Muslim countries and communities throughout the world who wish to play a critical role in building a tradition of public debate on Islam, and shaping a public discourse that recognises equality and justice for Muslim women. It addresses the knowledge gap of participants with no formal or traditional education on Islam, and who are keen to understand the differences and diversity of Qur'anic interpretations and juristic opinions, and the conceptual tools that exist within the tradition that makes reform possible in Islam.
The Course helps build the knowledge and courage of participants to critically speak out on the impact of laws, policies and practices justified in the name of Islam, and their impact in particular on women's rights and fundamental liberties. It is Musawah's hope that the Course will contribute to building a public voice of women leaders demanding for an alternative understanding of Islam, one that recognises equality and justice in the context of changing times and circumstances.
History and development
The 2-week Short Course - Understanding Islam from a Rights Perspective - was developed by Sisters in Islam (SIS) in Malaysia as a result of many years of its engagement with activists globally who expressed an urgent need to better understand Islam. Together, they sought to critically adress the rising challenge of religious conservatism and extremism, and their adverse impact on human rights and women's rights, in particular, campaigns for law reform.
The first Short Course in 2006 brough together 14 Muslim women activists from 11 countries: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Egypt, Gambia, Nigeria, Palestine, Philippines, Sudan, Tanzania, Thailand and Yemen. The second short course in 2009 brought together 24 participants from 17 countries: Afghanistan, Bahrain, Egypt, Gambia, Iran, Jordan, Kenya, Malaysia, Morocco, New Zealand, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Sudan and the United Kingdom. A special three-day course was designed for the Egyptian Network of NGOs in 2010.
Given the increasing demand for the SIS Short Course, Musawah has developed a new curriculum and has taken to organising subsequent courses:
Course format and participants
The Musawah Course, I-nGEJ, is run in a seminar format and consists of lectures, presentations and group discussions. Readings will be assigned before arrival and there will be time allotted for additional reading and consultations with resource persons. The course is designed for a maximum of 24 participants, and a minimum of two resource persons and two facilitators, one from the local context. A needs analysis will be conducted to shape the final design of the course to meet the needs and priorities of participants.
By the end of the Course, Musawah hopes that participants will be able to come to an understanding of the 'traditional' and 'patriarchal' modes of knowledge production in the Islamic legal tradition; be introduced to egalitarian, reformist modes of knowledge production; and develop arguments and strategies to advance a rights-based approach in their own contexts that is also grounded in Islam.
Sample seminars and resource persons
Contact us: If you and your network of women's and human rights activists and practitioners would like to receive training by Musawah resource persons on Islam, gender equality and justice, and are willing to host the Course, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org detailing your interest.
"Educative, built my confidence to dialogue with Islamic scholars in my context. It has dropped some water in my throat to quench my thirst for understanding that the Qur'an is just and the injustices are committed by humans."