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    Saudi foreign minister sheds light on Muslim women’s challenges amidst Islamophobia


    Nov 7, 2023

    Saudi Gazette report

    JEDDAH — Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal Bin Farhan highlighted that Muslim women face numerous challenges, harassment, and discrimination in some countries due to restrictive legislation affecting their rights, particularly in wearing the hijab, stemming from Islamophobia.

    This contradicts the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women adopted by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in 1979.

    Under the auspices of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman, Saudi Arabia hosted the “International Conference on Women in Islam: Status and Empowerment” on Monday in Jeddah, organized by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.

    Prince Faisal expressed gratitude to the participating delegations for responding to the Kingdom’s invitation to hold this important conference on women in Islam.

    During the opening ceremony, Prince Faisal addressed the various and compounded challenges faced by women in war-torn areas, including violence, poverty, fear, marginalization, and a lack of healthcare and education for their children.

    He emphasized the need for concerted efforts to protect and support the most vulnerable and disadvantaged groups.

    The minister condemned in the strongest terms the continuous Israeli violations of international laws and humanitarian principles against Palestinian women in Gaza, expressing concern over the international community’s silence and reluctance to fulfill its duties and responsibilities to halt escalation, preserve lives, and ensure immediate access to urgent humanitarian aid.

    Prince Faisal expressed the Kingdom’s condemnation of the violations and illegal practices committed by the Israeli war machine against Palestinian women and the entire Palestinian people. He praised the significant role and sacrifices of Palestinian women in their pursuit of justice.

    Highlighting Saudi Arabia’s strides towards empowering women in line with the ambitious Vision 2030, Prince Faisal mentioned the significant increase in women’s participation in the workforce from 19.3% to 37% since 2016, their ownership of 45% of small and medium-sized enterprises, and the rise in their representation in leadership positions from 17% to 39%.

    He commended the efforts of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation in empowering women and placing them at the forefront of its priorities. Notably, he mentioned the establishment of a specialized organization dedicated to women’s development, led by Saudi female expertise.

    In conclusion, the foreign minister announced the official document of the conference titled “Jeddah Document for Women in Islam,” covering the rights of women in Islam comprehensively. This document is intended to be a legal, legislative, and ideological reference contributing to the realization of empowerment as a lived reality in our Islamic societies.

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