Together with 34 other women from around the globe I was a founding member of SAVE in 2008 in Vienna.
The global SAVE initiative, standing for Sisters Against Violent Extremism, brought women from around the world together in Vienna for a strategy conference from November 28 to December 1st 2008 in order to engage in courageous dialogue about the importance of mobilizing women against violent extremism.
This innovative female powerbase from all walks of life discussed the vital role that women can and will play in rejecting violent extremism, all while building political, religious, and emotional bridges.
With Smart Power and courageous dialogue that transcends borders, the participants- survivors of terrorist attacks, relatives of 9/11, 7/7 and Madrid victims, and community activists from Columbia to Kosovo, Africa to Asia - developed strategies to mobilize against terror and violence.
After 3 days conference each participant of the first SAVE-conference declared:
1. I, as a woman, will use the local and global networks of women to stop the killing.
2. I will inspire a new response to prevent terror, violence and discrimination.
3. I will create awareness for not stigmatizing the families of the extremists/terrorists.
4. I will support the young generation with non-violent alternatives in their search for a better life.
5. I will engage all forms of media for spreading the message of non-violence.
6. I will insist on peaceful resolutions to prevent escalation of conflict and violence.
7. I will promote a global dialogue for a future without fear.
8. I will raise my voice against all hostile states and politics that cause suffering.
9. I recognise the urgency to create ‘SAVE’ spaces for a peaceful coexistence.
10. I will always remember those affected by violent extremism.
Shaista Gohir, one of the founding members of SAVE and whom I met at this conference wrote an op-ed in The Guardian. It's an article on child abuse and child marriage in Muslim countries—difficult subjects to tackle, but well worth discussing. You can read her article here.
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