Women Call For Resistance To Fundamentalism

Dr Angela Dwamena Aboagye, the Founder of the Ark Foundation, has called for a module which “does not force faith or beliefs into people’s throat”, saying it is a form of fundamentalism.

Dr Dwamena explained that fundamentalism bred hatred and divisiveness among the segments of society.

“My faith does not allow fundamentalism because it does not allow other voices to be heard,” she stated.

The Gender advocate was a panellist at an event to mark the International Women’s Day Celebration, organised by the African Women Development Fund (AWDF) on the theme: “Faith, Feminisms and Fundamentalism”.

She said she believed in the rights of women and gender equality, arguing that, Jesus Christ was interested in the rights of women.

She said people needed to move away from fundamentalism to create the needed space for other human activities and voices that may differ from their beliefs.

Professor Mercy Oduyoye, a retired Theologian, who was also a panellist, said Christianity embraced women of all faiths.

Therefore, Christian women should struggle and fight for justice with fellow women who may not share the same faith.

Prof Oduyoye said there were religious, social and theological fundamentalists among others.

“Religious fundamentalists believe and insist that their practices remain unchanged”, she said pointing out that interpreting scripture out of its context was a challenge in the church today.

She noted that fundamentalism had its root in people’s culture and this cultural context had been a challenge in the improvement of the rights of women in society.

She called for discouragement of fundamentalism in all sectors.

The retired theologian said feminists should not be stigmatized, saying ‘a feminist is a person who responds to a woman as a human.

“Jesus is the Master Feminist because he championed the cause of women,” she said.

“Jesus was a feminist because he cooked and served food for his disciples. Jesus did not allow stones to be thrown at women. When he was dying it was women who stood under his cross and Jesus first appeared to a woman after the resurrection.” She expressed disappointment that the Church was not telling the women story well in the Bible adding that, “Jesus loves feminists because my Bible tells me so”.

Mrs Roslyn Mould, President of the Humanist Association of Ghana, said: “As a humanist, we advocate the right of association. Humanist help religious people worship the way they want to, as long as they don’t infringe on the rights of others. It is about using humanity to empower others and yourself. For her part, Ms Kausthar Khamis, a lecturer at the Islamic University College, stated that the Holy Qur’an never distinguished between mankind arguing that God said, “I am creating a ‘human being’ ”.

“The Qur’an said the best among you is the one who is ‘God Conscious’ not ‘man conscious’”.

She explained that the wearing of the hijab was not really a necessity as far as fundamentalism in some formal offices were concerned.

“When a Muslim woman in this jobless environment is able to secure a job and management pre conditions that she cannot wear the hijab to work and she takes it off in that environment, I don’t think God would be upset with her”.

Ms Khamis said some Muslim women were doing a lot in recent times and standing up for their cause and called for their encouragement to empower more women on their respective rights.

The African Women’s Development Fund (AWDF) is a grant making foundation that supports local, national and regional women’s organisations working towards the empowerment of African women as well as the advancement and recognition of their rights.

Inspired by the aspirations of the African women’s movement, the African Women’s Development Fund (AWDF) was created as an independent resource for gender equality and development across the continent.

Over the past 15 years, AWDF has worked to build relationships with, and mobilise resources for close to 1,200 women’s organisations in 42 African countries across the continent. It was awarded the second Human Rights Fund Award Globally.

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