For a number of decades immigrant Muslim communities struggled between holding on to the “myth of return” and considering their new societies as home.
We, as Muslim Women have to use our understanding of liberal European politics to protest against the exclusion from the public sphere, we are caught between our parents´ countries of origin and our own countries of residence, even if you do not practice Islamic values, they are still a layer in our complex minority identity. I do no longer desire to be a victim of” the game of identity and nationality, the game of residence permit and passport” I crave to find a stance of cultural dignity, to find a moral community of mutual acceptance and purpose. The crucial issue for us has been to achieve a status in which it is legitimate and acceptable to be both Muslim Women and Danish at the same time, so we as Muslim Women have to help create a new dynamic and strengthen relations between Islam and Danish identity, and all strive for dialogue and avoid confrontation. We must define the real challenges, without theologization or politicization and strive to interpret differences and similarities in real contexts and defining common goals and interests, so in the words of Nicolas Sarkozy contribute to the “dedramatization of the problem [of Islam].
Pluralism is based on trust and the recognition between people, whether we want it or not religion plays an important role in cultural encounters, partly because they highlight differences and open up a new understanding of plurality and community. Islam is an important- and for many the main or even sole legitimate - solidarity and cohesive force in society. The public discourse is now calling on religion in order to move forward, it partly takes form in interiorized reflexive religious consciousness, and it is my conviction that Islam has to be rediscovered as something beyond, and more than a set of rituals, in order to ensure that we remain Muslims, living as Muslims.
If I think about liberation, the main liberation is that which is developed in the individual woman. Without individual strength and power it is impossible to fight neither for rights, or a better society, this instrumentalism of oneself is totally different than submitting to patriarchal norms, it is already freedom.
Religion in freedom, freedom in religion
Nadia Helmy Ahmed is a Muslima Ambassador.