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. The Quran teaches us that every human being is created in the Divine image, therefore we are one. We stand true to this divine purpose which is human diversity, that aims at promoting peace, harmony, tolerance, and cooperation between peoples and nations.
Why Equality? We believe that a denial of gender and human equality constitutes a violation of Islamic principles. Regardless of sex, race, nationality, etc., all people deserve dignity and human rights. The Quran heavily emphasizes human equality. For example, it promulgates equal pay for men and women, a struggle that continues today.
Why Justice? We believe that justice is not just an individual endeavor, but should be spread to establish moral excellence in societies throughout the world. It 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. We believe in gender justice and juvenile justice, as well as the social justice in Islam.
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.
Why Religion? Over 80% of people worldwide profess a religious faith and understand intimately that a religion is defined not only by the letter of its teachings, but by how its communities actualize its wisdom and implement its virtues in their lives. Faith communities are often politically active, socially involved, and vital champions of human rights. They are capable of mobilizing people against intolerance, hate, and extremism. Despite religion’s influence, secular activists, Western governments and United Nations agencies overlook the importance of religion, thus failing to mobilize large portions of grassroots constituencies who draw upon faith in their daily lives.
Our fresh strategic approach leverages the power of faith to combat deep-seated social ills and uses Islam’s egalitarian teachings as a rallying cry to promote women’s empowerment, human rights, and religious pluralism.
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.