At WISE, we embed the three important values of pluralism, equality, and justice into our work, strategy, and mission:
Why Pluralism? Pluralism denotes that there is unity in diversity. In a world that is bogged down by conflict, we must ask ourselves what it is that prevents us from living as one and why our human identities, racial, spiritual, etc., seem to be dividing us instead of uniting us. The Quran teaches us that every human being is created in the Divine image, therefore we are one. We stand true to the Islamic value of pluralism, whose divine purpose is human diversity, that aims at promoting peace, harmony, tolerance, and cooperation between peoples and nations.
Why Equality? We believe that both human and gender equality are intrinsic within the Islamic faith. This means that a denial of any of those rights constitutes a violation of Islamic principles. We all stand on a footing of equality, because ultimately, we all spring from a single source. Regardless of sex, race, nationality, and so on, every human being deserves dignity and certain fundamental human rights. The Quran heavily emphasizes human equality and promulgates equal pay for men and women, and the equality of rights and opportunities as just a few examples.
Why Justice? We believe that our work should reflect the principles of justice because justice is a supreme virtue in Islam that is as much of a priority as the belief in one God. Justice transcends considerations of race, religion, color and creed and Muslims are taught to do justice to their friends and foes alike, to be just at all levels. We believe in gender justice and juvenile justice, as well as the social justice in Islam. Justice is not just an individual endeavor, but should be spread to establish moral excellence in societies throughout the world.
At WISE, we believe that the fight for Muslim women’s equality starts with fostering, collaborating and supporting the diverse work of Muslim women leaders worldwide. Admirable individual achievement can become part of a larger collective action project that the WISE women’s network has and will continue to assemble. We believe that working from the bottom up as a grassroots movement will help foster pluralism among a diverse range of groups and people who, when united, can bring equality to Muslim women worldwide and establish justice that is rooted in Islamic law.
WISE has developed a strategy for change that reflects these beliefs and supports the diverse efforts of women and organizations around the globe. WISE prides itself on using a comprehensive approach to transform the position of Muslim women in the following unique ways…
Muslim women’s movements remain hampered by their inability or unwillingness to confront destructive religious interpretations. Activists have tended to ignore or avoid religion, thus failing to mobilize large portions of their grassroots constituencies who draw upon religion within their daily lives. WISE, in contrast, offers a Muslim voice. It directly addresses the need for a Muslim women’s movement with religious legitimacy and authenticity.
Though numerous organizations have wrestled with Muslim women’s disempowerment, rarely have they accounted holistically for the various factors contributing to their disempowerment. Due to a lack of specific knowledge, these approaches often have a Western framework for understanding the problem. WISE approaches change from a holistic perspective that addresses the many interrelated factors that contribute to gender-based inequality.
While Muslim women’s advocacy efforts have often fragmented along geographic, ideological, political and socio-economic lines, WISE breaks ground as an inclusive initiative, fostering cooperation amongst divergent and sometimes opposing groups. Facilitated by this national, ideological and professional diversity, WISE women have united behind Islamic ideals and the commitment to creating positive, sustainable and much-needed change.