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Muslim Feminists Visit Copenhagen
by Nancy Graham Holm
"There is absolutely nothing in the Qur'an that supports or justifies forced marriage," says Tehmina Kazi, who has a law degree from the London School of Economics and is director of British Muslims for Secular Democracy. This was news to many Danes who are currently focused on enforcing the abolition of forced marriages inside some of its Danish-Muslim communities.
When the issue appeared on the Internet as an open invitation to a public forum, over 250 people showed up to hear a panel discussion on "There Are Many Ways of Being a Muslim." Sponsored by KVINFO, the Danish Center for Gender Equality and Ethnicity, the event took place at the spectacular national library in Copenhagen, otherwise known as The Black Diamond. The audience listened, argued, learned and went home with new information about a progressive movement of Islam that is slowly but steadily growing in the UK, U.S., France, Germany and the Netherlands; a western form of Islam for the 21st century.
Apparently, people mistakenly conflate geographically determined cultural practices with Islam. "Marriage is a legal contract in Islam and a woman must sign the nikah papers to demonstrate her consent. Unfortunately," Kazi continued, "just because the majority of girls forced into marriage happen to be Muslim, people assume it is Islam that asks for it. It's the particular culture you should be criticizing, not Islam the religion."
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