It is the responsibility of religious leaders to ensure that the Quran, the holy book of Islam, is correctly interpreted, Mufti Naim Ternava, the head of Kosovo’s Islamic Community, said at a UNFPA roundtable on the role of Islam in preventing gender-based violence on 8 May.
“Men and women are equal according to the Quran, and violence against women has no basis in Islam,” said Mufti Ternava, stressing that verse 34, which describes the relation between men and women, needs to be interpreted in this sense.
Some 120 religious leaders from municipalities across Kosovo, representatives of the Islamic Community’s Women Department, government officials, civil society activists and media representatives participated in the event, which was supported by the Finnish Government.
Osnat Lubrani, UNFPA’s Representative in Kovoso, said religious leaders, due to their moral authority, have a special responsibility to help promote and protect the dignity of women and girls: “As people of faith, you have a unique and unparalleled potential, as moral and spiritual leaders, to be powerful agents of prevention, education and advocacy to end violence against women.”
The roundtable was the first of its kind in Kosovo. It will be followed by a series of similar events with Kosovo’s other religious communities.