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What Islam Really Says About Women by Alaa Murabit (Full Transcript)

Alaa Murabit

Full text of Alaa Murabit, The Voice of Libyan Women Founder, on what Islam really says about women at TED conference…

Listen to the MP3 Audio here: What Islam Really Says About Women by Alaa Murabit – TED Talks MP3


So on my way here, the passenger next to me and I had a very interesting conversation during my flight. He told me, “It seems like the United States has run out of jobs, because they’re just making some up: cat psychologist, dog whisperer, tornado chaser.”

A couple of seconds later, he asked me, “So what do you do?”

And I was like, “Peacebuilder?”

Every day, I work to amplify the voices of women and to highlight their experiences and their participation in peace processes and conflict resolution. And because of my work, I recognize that the only way to ensure the full participation of women globally is by reclaiming religion.

Now, this matter is vitally important to me. As a young Muslim woman, I am very proud of my faith. It gives me the strength and conviction to do my work every day. It’s the reason I can be here in front of you. But I can’t overlook the damage that has been done in the name of religion, not just my own, but all of the world’s major faiths. The misrepresentation and misuse and manipulation of religious scripture has influenced our social and cultural norms, our laws, our daily lives, to a point where we sometimes don’t recognize it.

My parents moved from Libya, North Africa, to Canada in the early 1980s, and I am the middle child of 11 children. Yes, 11. But growing up, I saw my parents, both religiously devout and spiritual people, pray and praise God for their blessings, namely me of course, but among others. They were kind and funny and patient, limitlessly patient, the kind of patience that having 11 kids forces you to have. And they were fair. I was never subjected to religion through a cultural lens. I was treated the same, the same was expected of me. I was never taught that God judged differently based on gender. And my parents’ understanding of God as a merciful and beneficial friend and provider shaped the way I looked at the world.

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