My virginity is not your honour - II.

A conference organized by the Network against Honour Related Violence - to support women's organization and the work against discrimination and violence in the name of the honour.

Time: November the 22, 2017   –  11.00 – 15.30
Place: Swedish parliament


We follow up on the two NGOs – Women’s Rights and the Network’s – previous seminar about the issue of why young girls threatened in the name of honour need “virginity certificates” in today’s Sweden. Then we raised the issue of the responsibility of traditional men as the author Eva Moberg pointed out, “it is the men who have to get rid of the myth of virginity”. Now we ask the question of what opportunities and responsibilities our multicultural religious communities have, especially in our gender segregated suburbs. There are many religious societies that sanctions prohibition for premarital love relations and without the involvement of these communities we will not be able to prevent discrimination in the name of honour (affecting more than 100,000 adolescents in Sweden). This time we have invited two lecturers from the largest groups of minorities – Muslim and Syrian Orthodox – who are doing a ground-breaking renewal work. They challenge traditions by consistently prioritizing individual human rights before culturally and religiously based ancient, collective norms.



Welcome – Marco Venegas, Member of Parliament, Green Party


Introduction – The organizers and the minister of gender equality

Maria Rashidi – women’s rights activist, president for Women’s Rights (NGO)
Nicklas Kelemen – ethnologist, member of the board: Network Against Honour Related Violence

11.20 – 11.30

Minister of gender equality – Åsa Regnér


11.30 – 12.10

Human rights before religion – Keynote speech by:


Seyran Ates, Defence Lawyer – Human Rights Activist – author – imam, from Berlin.
Seyran was born in Turkey, grew up in Germany and acquired a name as a lawyer for defending women exposed to honour related violence. She is also a feminist Muslim and as a female imam founded the first liberal mosque in Berlin where Shia and Sunni, women and men, hetero- and homosexuals pray together. Also chancellor Angela Merkel expressed her warm support for her, most recently in the midst of the TV-broadcast election-duel with Martin Schultz. Seyran´s book “Islam Needs a Sexual Revolution” attracted much attention.


12.10 – 12.30

Seyran Ates answers questions – opportunities for more discussions will be later in connection with the press conference.


12.30 – 13.00

Lunch – We offer drinks and sandwiches (good ones)


13.00 -13.30

The Myth of Virginity and the Syrian Orthodox Church


Broula Barnohro Oussi, Doctor of Italian Literature / Women’s Rights activist
Broula has been project-manager for the Syrian Orthodox Church’s first gender equality project in Sweden (perhaps, the first in the world). She is a teacher, mother of two children and woman rights activist in her Christian groups, including her work through the St. Ignatio’s Academy.


13.30 – 13.45

Broula answers questions – opportunities for more questions will be later in connection with the press conference.


13.45 – 15.00

Multicultural Human Rights? – Panel discussion / politicians

To say no to female priests, no to premarital love relations and no to homosexuality are often the norms of many of our multicultural religious societies. At the same time Sweden’s Prime Minister, Stefan Löfven, states: “No priest in the Church of Sweden should be able to refuse to bless couples of the same sex”. Consequently, equality applies toSwedes meanwhile our multicultural societies are not present on the Swedish map of gender equality. The question is: Why? – After the discussions, we ask the panel to take a stand on our three conflict prevention proposals.


Social Democratic Party: Carina Ohlsson (MP)
Christian Democratic Party: Desireé Pethrus (MP / Member of Parliament)
Green Party: Marco Venegas (MP)
Liberal Party: Birgitta Ohlsson (MP) – in the previous government minister for the EU.
Moderate Party: Ulrika Karlsson (MP)
Participate also: Seyran Ates and Broula Barnohro Oussi


Moderator: Samiran Ishak and Birgitta Ornbrant


15.00 – 15.25

The floor is open for the public – questions and comments


15.25 – 15.30

Closing time – Birgitta Ohlsson (MP, Liberal Party)