India: World Social Forum workshop on Muslim women and sexuality

Muslim Women's Rights Network
This workshop aims to bring attention to issues of sexuality in interventions related to Muslim Women.
Date and Time: January 18th, 9.00am - 12.00pm (noon)
Venue: D 130

This is a women only workshop.

The Muslim Women's Rights Network (India), a coalition of various groups working for the rights of Muslim women in India. The Safra Project (London) is a resource project on issues relating to lesbian, bisexual & transgender women who identify as Muslim religiously and/or culturally. The Safra Project is not a faith group and does not seek to promote any one belief.

As such we are proposing a workshop on Muslim Women and Sexuality. The existing discourse on sexuality focusses on the sexuality of mainstream communities. Often the complex strategies employed by women from marginalised communities to express their sexuality do not feature in this discourse. Different communities have different mechanisms for regulating and controlling women's sexualties (purdah, child mariages, "honor" killings, etc) while women have at the same time resisted these controls. We need a discourse which will truly appreciate the circumstances in which women from marginalised communities find themselves. We hope that this workshop will take into consideration the diversity of experiences based on the the demography of nation-states, the political formations around them, their social, historical and economic trajectories which have influenced the way in which Muslim women’s sexualites are inscribed within state institutions and in the public imaginary. The workhsop will have presentations on the following topics.

1. The State and Sexuality

2. Sexuality and Right wing

3. Gender & Sexual Pluralities & Muslim Women.

4. The construction of Muslim woman’s body and sexuality in the Koran

Workshop process

The workshop is envisaged as a space for in depth discussion around the themes reflected in the concept paper. Following the presentation by the speakers, we would form small groups to ground the presentations in our local contexts and identify points of resonance as well as contestation. The basis of the regrouping would be the nature of the state that governs us (Muslim majority in a democratic state, Muslim minority in democratic state, Muslim majority in a theocratic state, Other forms of governance/from conflict situations). We hope that this would bring out the diverse ways in which different states in the same category respond and also identify common strands. Each group would then make a brief presentation of the points discussed. The speakers would have some time to respond and then the space would be opened up for discussion. We also hope that one of the outcomes of this workshop will be an alliance of various groups and individuals based on a common understanding of marginalisation and the need for visibility of the struggles of marginalised groups within marginalised groups.