THE TANDEM PROJECT
UNITED NATIONS, HUMAN RIGHTS,
FREEDOM OF RELIGION OR BELIEF
MUSLIM GIRLS IN
Issue: Preserving Cultural, Religious and Non-Religious Identity by International Human Rights Law.
For: United Nations, Governments, Religions or Beliefs, Academia, NGOs, Media, Civil Society
Extracts: Extracts are presented under the Eight Articles of the 1981 U.N. Declaration on the Elimination of all Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief. Examples of Extracts are presented prior to an Issues Statement for each Tandem Project Review.
Objective: Build understanding and support for Article 18, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights –Everyone shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion - and the 1981 UN Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief. Encourage the United Nations, Governments, Religions or Beliefs, Academia, NGOs, Media and Civil Society to use these international human rights standards as essential for long-term solutions to conflicts based on religion or belief.
Challenge: In 1968 the United Nations deferred work on an International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Religious Intolerance, because of its apparent complexity and sensitivity. In the twenty-first century, a dramatic increase of intolerance and discrimination on grounds of religion or belief is motivating a worldwide search to find solutions to these problems. This is a challenge calling for enhanced dialogue by States and others; including consideration of an International Convention on Freedom of Religion or Belief for protection of and accountability by all religions or beliefs. The tensions in today’s world inspire a question such as:
Response: Is it the appropriate moment to
reinitiate the drafting of a legally binding international convention on
freedom of religion or belief? Law making of this nature requires a minimum
consensus and an environment that appeals to reason rather than emotions. At
the same time we are on a learning curve as the various dimensions of the
Declaration are being explored. Many academics have produced voluminous books
on these questions but more ground has to be prepared before setting up of a UN
working group on drafting a convention. In my opinion, we should not try to
rush the elaboration of a Convention on Freedom of Religion or Belief,
especially not in times of high tensions and unpreparedness. - UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief,
Extract Examples: Extracts are presented under the Eight Articles of the 1981 U.N. Declaration on the Elimination of all Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief.
4. 1 All States shall take effective measures to prevent and eliminate discrimination on the grounds of religion or belief in the recognition, exercise and enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms in all fields of civil, economic, political, social and cultural life.
By NEIL MacFARQUHAR
MINNEAPOLIS — Sometimes when Asma Haidara, a
12-year-old Somali immigrant, wants to shop at Target or ride the
Scattered Muslim communities across the
By teaching girls to roast hot dogs or fix a flat bicycle tire, Farheen Hakeem, one troop leader here, strives to help them escape the perception of many non-Muslims that they are different.
Scouting is a way of celebrating being American without being any less Muslim, Ms. Hakeem said. “I don’t want them to see themselves as Muslim girls doing this ‘Look at us, we are trying to be American,’ ” she said. “No, no, no, they are American. It is not an issue of trying.”
The troop leader distributed supplies: hot dogs followed by s’mores for dessert. All was halal — that is, in adherence with the dietary requirements of Islamic law — with the hot dogs made of beef rather than pork.
But a more common concern among parents is that the Girl Scouts will somehow dilute Islamic traditions.
Troop leaders win over parents by explaining that
various activities incorporate Muslim traditions. In
Ms. Hakeem, the troop leader, said she tried to find projects to improve the girls’ self-esteem, like going through the Eddie Bauer catalog to cut out long skirts and other items that adhere to Islamic dress codes.
Girl Scouts of the
“It is kind of cool to say that you are a girl scout,” Asma said. “It is good to have something to associate yourself with other Americans. I don’t want people to think that I am a hermit, that I live in a cave, isolated and afraid of change. I like to be part of society. I like being able to say that I am a girl scout just like any other normal girl.”
ISSUE STATEMENT: The Secretary-General of the United Nations has
launched an initiative, sponsored by the Prime Ministers of
The Alliance of Civilizations website, http://www.unaoc.org, states; “Events of recent years have exacerbated mutual suspicion, fear and misunderstanding between Islamic and Western societies. This environment has been exploited throughout the world.”
“Only a comprehensive coalition will be able to avert
any further deterioration of relations between societies and nations, which
could threaten international stability. The
The Minneapolis article “To Muslim Girls, Scouts Offer a Chance to Fit In” is an opportunity for local and international discourse on how to build respect for cultural, religious and non-religious identity, in tandem with international human rights law that protects theistic, non-theistic and atheistic beliefs, as well as the right not to profess any religion or belief, against intolerance and discrimination in all matters relating to freedom of religion or belief.
The Constitution of the Boy Scouts of America requires
an oath to do my duty “to God” and my country. This has been a problem in the
The Constitution of the World Association of Girl
Guides and Girl Scouts founded in 1910, safeguards the Fundamental Principles
an Original Promise; “On my honor, I promise that I will do my best: To do my
duty to God and the King; or God and my country.” This may have been a
major stumbling block to Muslim girls in
The Minneapolis Girl Scouts make their pledge in this way: “On my honor I will try: To serve God* and my country, To help people at all times, and to live by the Girl Scout Law.” The asterisk in their pledge states; “The word ‘God’ can be interpreted in a number of ways, depending on one’s spiritual beliefs. When reciting the Girl Scout Promise, it is okay to replace the word ‘God’ with whatever words your spiritual beliefs dictate.”
This allows Muslim girls
and their families to adhere to their Islamic beliefs and traditions as
Americans and girl scouts. The Tandem Project is not aware if the Girl Scouts
of America have an official affiliation with the
The Tandem Project proposes human rights education dialogue with Muslim organizations at the local level in Minneapolis and internationally through the Alliance of Civilizations and the United Nations, on Article 5.3 of the 1981 UN Declaration on Freedom of Religion or Belief; a discourse on how to preserve religious or non-religious identity in tandem with international human rights standards on freedom of religion or belief:
5. 3 The child shall be protected from any form of discrimination on the grounds of religion or belief. He shall be brought up in a spirit of understanding, tolerance, friendship among peoples, peace and universal brotherhood, respect for the freedom of religion or belief of others and in full consciousness that his energy and talents should be devoted to the service of his fellow men.
Our educational systems need to provide children with a broad orientation: from the very beginning, children should be taught that their own religion is one out of many and that it is a personal choice for everyone to adhere to the religion or belief by which he or she feels most inspired, or to adhere to no religion or belief at all. - Mr. Piet de Klerk, Ambassador-at-Large of the Netherlands on Human Rights, Prague, Czech Republic, 25 year Commemoration of the 1091 UN Declaration on Freedom of Religion or Belief, November 25, 2006
The Tandem Project: a non-profit, non-governmental organization established in 1986 to build understanding and respect for diversity of religion or belief, and prevent discrimination in matters relating to freedom of religion or belief. The Tandem Project has sponsored multiple conferences, curricula, reference materials and programs on Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights – Everyone shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion - and the 1981 United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief.
The Tandem Project initiative was launched in 1986 as the result of a co-founder representing the World Federation of United Nations Associations (WFUNA) at a 1984 United Nations Geneva Seminar, Encouragement of Understanding, Tolerance and Respect in Matters Relating to Freedom of Religion or Belief, called by the UN Secretariat on ways to implement the 1981 UN Declaration. In 1986, The Tandem Project organized the first NGO International Conference on the 1981 UN Declaration.
The Tandem Project Executive Director: Michael M. Roan, email@example.com.
The Tandem Project is a UN NGO in Special Consultative Status with the
Economic and Social Council of the United Nations