Open Letter to Tunisian President
Geneva, September 6, 2018
Your Excellency Mr. Beji Caid Essebsi President of the Republic of Tunisia,
The Alliance of Inclusive Muslims (AIM), and the undersigned organizations and individuals from across Muslim societies, full-heartedly support and praise Tunisia for the report of COLIBE and its recommendations, particularly on equality of inheritance between men and women, that are aligned with gender equality and universal human rights principles.
By doing so you have taken a strong lead in the Muslim world and will encourage Muslims around the world to follow in instituting political and juridical reform, and adopting a form of Islam that more accurately reflects the principles of al ‘adālah (justice) and al maslaḥah (social needs). It is important to protect women from economic disadvantages and empower them to contribute fully in the human, political, social, economic, and cultural development of the society, shoulder to shoulder with men.
We fully understand the challenges that Muslim-majority countries face in implementing democratic reforms, especially in matters pertaining to women in Islam. Reforms will not be effective without public awareness; they must go hand in hand with amplifying counter narratives through education, thereby breaking long-held mindsets promoted by fundamentalist individuals and groups.
We condemn the negative and hateful campaign against the members of COLIBE by those who claim to speak in the name of Islam. Islam, after all, does not promote injustice and discrimination. We affirm that Tunisia does not stand alone; like-minded community and religious leaders, academics and civil societies around the world can formally assist in counter-narrative initiatives. This includes developing fiqh al mu’aṣirah al taqaddumiah (progressive Islamic jurisprudence) and educating the general public and vulnerable groups with an intersectional Islamic understanding of gender equality and universal human rights values.
We applaud the exemplary progressive steps Tunisia has taken and wish for other Muslim-majority countries to quickly follow suit. With these positive developments in Tunisia, we hope your country be granted with consistent political, social, economic stability and prosperity. We would be very pleased to work with Tunisia on strategies to ensure that the recommendations made by COLIBE come to fruition.
Mr. Aizat Shamsuddin
Chair, Alliance of Inclusive Muslims