The 2006 Pew Global Attitudes Survey found that Muslims living in Europe are generally positive about the conditions in their host country. However, Muslims in the West, especially Muslim women, still perceive a large divide between themselves and those among whom they live. This view is often reinforced by native Europeans and Americans, who view Muslim immigrants as purposefully isolating themselves from the rest of society. In response to this divisive climate, Women without Borders (WwB) organized its ‘The Future is Now: Strategies for a Culture of Optimism and Understanding!’ conference in Vienna on 18 Oct. 2007 to gather the voices of Muslim women and men living in Western countries, and to provide them with a forum to present their views, strategies, hopes and ambitions.

Speakers:

Susan, McCaw, U.S. Ambassador to Austria

Dr. Hans Winkler, Austrian State Secretary, BMEIA

Dr. Edit Schlaffer, Founder and Executive Director of Women without Borders

Shirin Tahir-Kheli, Senior Adviser to the Secretary of State for women’s empowerment, US State Department

Dato’ Seri Shahrizat Binti Abdul Jalil, Minister of Women, Family, and Community Development, Kuala Lumpur

Haifa al Kaylani, Chairwoman of the Arab International Women’s Forum, London

Ed Husain, author of the book ‘The Islamist’

Farah Pandith, Senior Advisor, Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, US State
Department, Washington

Parvin Ali, OBE, Founder and Director of the FATIMA Women’s Network, Leicester

Zümrüt Gülbay, youngest university professor ever in Germany, member of the German Muslim Summit, Berlin

Amr Khaled, Media presenter; founder and chairman of the Right Start Foundation International, Birmingham

Moderator:
Madeleine Bunting, The Guardian, London
Manal Omar, Oxfam, Oxford

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