Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Europe "weak on Islam rights"

The main global humanist organisation and a group of former Muslims on Monday accused European countries of ignoring violations of human rights in their Islamic communities to preserve "multi-culturalism". "Western society tends to turn a blind eye to the plight of European Muslim women and girls because 'Muslim culture is different'," Roy Brown, president of the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU), told the 53-member Commission. "Yet in Europe many women find themselves subject to domestic violence, undergo forced marriages or are even killed by family members because of some belief that they have tarnished the family honour," Brown declared. That view was echoed later by three ex-Muslims and self-described atheists -- Somali-born Dutch member of parliament Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Iranian exile rights activist Azam Kamguian and historian of Islam Ibn Warraq. Hirsi Ali, who fled to the Netherlands in 1992 to escape an arranged marriage, told the news conference she condemned "the moral relativism in Europe whereby women from Third World countries do not enjoy the same freedoms as native European women enjoy."


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