International Conference: Women, Religion, & Human Rights
On June 27 and 28, 2022, The AiW and the Department of Social & Education Sciences, co-organized with Adyan Foundation, and Danmission an International Conference on: “Women, Religion and Human Rights” at the Lebanese American University (LAU). The conference convened scholars and different religious figures to discuss the stance of women in the interpretations of biblical and qur’anic texts and in personal status codes in Lebanon, the Arab World, and South Asia (particularly Hinduism).
On June 27, the first panel titled “Reading and Reinterpreting Scriptures”, considered the possibilities of re-interpreting the scriptures of holy books to deconstruct the patriarchal understandings of biblical and qur’anic texts. Then, the second panel titled “Unreading Patriarchy and Producing Feminist Knowledge” discussed, in an attempt to uplift the status of women in religion, possible alternative feminist interpretations of traditional and conservative exegeses. Building on the rereading of holy texts, the third panel titled “Negotiating with the Discourse and the Perception of Women” assessed the social and legal statuses of women in religious texts with respect to the private and public spheres. Finally, the fourth panel titled “Different Stakeholders in Conversation: Religion, State, CSOs and International Documents” discussed the work of different organizations, of which are religious institutions, in developing strategies to accommodate and safeguard women’s rights in religion, yet through an acknowledgment of equality standards and human rights.
On the second day, on June 28, the first panel titled “Between Theory and Practice: Personal Status Laws in Lebanon” ushered an in-depth discussion of women’s rights in marriage, divorce, and custody in Muslim and Christian courts. This discussion set the ground for the second and third panels titled “Reforms in Personal Status Laws: Examples and Best Practices” and “Possible Reforms in Personal Status Laws and their Challenges” which addressed the challenges to instate an absolute recognition of women’s rights in personal status codes. Finally, the last panel titled “Raising Awareness and Advocating for Change” presented prospects for legal reforms and for countering misunderstandings and patriarchal interpretations of holy texts.
On a final note, the conference organizers shed light on some of the most important ideas shared, presented their concluding remarks and agreed to produce future publications on the topics discussed. They further reiterated the importance of pursuing collaborative work between Adyan and LAU.