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Drafting a New Story: Women's Rights in the Middle East

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The American Islamic Congress (AIC) announces the publication of its latest report, “A Modern Narrative for Muslim Women in the Middle East.” The study will be formally launched today on Capitol Hill by visiting women’s rights advocates Rana Husseini, a Jordanian campaigning against “honor” killing, and Fawziah al-Hani, a leading Saudi social education activist.

“The narrative marks the culmination of two years of fieldwork in countries across the Middle East challenging the growing Islamist movement limiting women’s right in the region,” said AIC Executive Director Zainab Al-Suwaij, who will chair the Capitol Hall panel. “The narrative outlines a positive way forward to empowering women as equals in all sectors of society.”

Written and developed by some of the region’s leading women’s rights reformers, the publication critically analyzes women’s status in the social, legal, political, religious, and economic spheres – and concludes with provocative recommendations for bolstering women’s equality. Husseini and al-Hani, two influential figures who contributed sections of the study, are coming to Washington to share their insights with policymakers.

“Working on the ground in the region for the past decade, we have seen that the status of women is a key barometer of progress and that women are essential agents of civil rights reform,” observed Al-Suwaij. “This study is written for women by women – but it also aims to enlist the support of husbands, fathers, and sons, who can be part of the problem or the solution.”

The report will be formally unveiled at a Capitol Hill luncheon today from 12-2 pm (Rayburn B-338) and on AIC’s website at

On Thursday, the study authors will present at 10 am at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, followed by a panel discussion hosted by AIC’s student-led initiative Project Nur at George Washington University. An Arabic edition of the report will debut shortly via AIC’s office in Cairo, Egypt.

The American Islamic Congress is a civil-rights organization promoting tolerance and the exchange of ideas among Muslims and between other peoples. With the motto “passionate about moderation,” the organization leads initiatives around the world and has offices in Washington, Boston, Egypt, and Iraq.

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