The role of actors in nonstate sectors in bringing about a social change and facing socio-political and economic challenges were the main focus of the second session of the US-Islamic World Forum at Ritz Carlton on Wednesday.
An august panel — moderated by Stephen R Grand, fellow and director, project on US relations with the Muslim world at Brookings — comprised of Zainah Anwar, founder, Sisters in Islam and director, Musawah, Malaysia; Tawakkol Karman, 2011 Nobel Peace Laureate, Yemen; Rami Nashashibi, executive director, Inner-City Muslim Action Network, the US; and Iqbal Noor Ali, senior advisor, Aga Khan Development Network, the US.
The Forum, convened by Brookings Institute on US relations with the Islamic world, began on May 29. It will conclude on Thursday. The second plenary highlighted the dominant global issues such as political instability, violence and extremism. Innovative civic and philanthropic initiatives taking place in Muslim communities globally also came up for discussion.
Shedding light on some of their experiences in Muslim societies, the panelists spoke about projects and works by the Sisters’ Foundation in Malaysia, the Islamic Action Network (also called ‘Iman’ Arabic for ‘faith’) in the US, and the Aga Khan Network for development in Pakistan.
Speaking on the occasion, Yemeni activist Tawakkol Karman underlined the role of women in social and political change. Zaina Nour, for her part, focused on the foundation’s works which is struggling to ensure the rights of Muslim women.
Another panelist Rami Nashashibi stressed on the activity and social role of Iman network in Chicago and its efforts to integrate Muslims, especially immigrants within the American society, while Iqbal Noor Ali talked about Agha Khan Network for development, noting that the network was operating in more than 30 countries.
Karman spoke on the efforts of Yemeni women in particular, and the Arab women in general, in bringing about change in the Arab world. “Today is the first anniversary of the burning of Freedom Square in Taiz.
Greetings to all the martyrs and the wounded! And to all the Taiz revolutionaries and to the youth who took part in the revolution in all the squares. We renew our call for trial of the ousted leader Ali Abdullah Saleh and his supporters, who were responsible for massacres and other atrocities committed in the country,” Karman said.
Last year, the forum took place in the middle of the ‘Arab Awakening’. From Tunisia to Egypt to Yemen, ordinary citizens did the ‘impossible’ by triggering political and social changes in their country. This year’s Forum examines the impact of these changes and the continuing challenges they pose in the Muslim communities, including in places like South and Southeast Asia, as well as the strategic implication on the US.
source: Qatar Tribune
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