Tuesday, January 26, 2010

News from SAVE Yemen's Second Chapter Meeting

Recently, terrorist acts and the increased presence of Al-Qaeda in Yemen have attracted the attention of the world, and Yemen is in the headlines of world media more than ever. Yemen today has become more closely associated with terrorism and extremism and as a haven for al-Qaeda. This has alerted the international community, which plans to hold a conference in London at the end of this month to discuss "Yemen and Terrorism."

In light of these events, the voices and point of views of Yemeni people, whose lives, security, and country stability are fundamentally threatened by terrorism, are missing and not heard. 
In this respect and believing in the role of women in building peace and disseminating tolerance, the Yemen Chapter of Women Without Borders/Sisters Against Violent Extremism (SAVE Yemen)—in collaboration with Women Journalists Without Chains—held its second meeting on Thursday, January 21, 2010, to discuss the role of Yemeni women in facing terrorism and extremism. About 20 women from all walks of life took part in the workshop and discussed a number of topics, among which was the impact of terrorism and extremism on women, their lives and their family members.
The women participants also discussed possible ways to get women involved to confront these negative forces and the roles that could be played by women inside or outside their families within the current atmosphere.
Helping out the families whose members or relatives fell victim to terrorist and extremist ideologies has been one of the topics that participants elaborated on. Participants recalled some real cases they knew about to try to discover the reaction of the families, and whether they have tried to deal with the 'victims of extremist ideologies' correctly. The participants further looked for possible solutions and better ways to deal with these families and victims of terrorism and extremism. These families usually feel stigmatized and tend to isolate themselves. Therefore, participants recommended providing legal and psychological support for these families or for those who abandon terrorism and extremist thinking.
Participants stressed the important role that women could play in challenging the increasing terrorism and extremism in Yemen. The women asked to hold more meetings in the future to continue discussing these important issues. They further recommended that SAVE Yemen raise awareness and spread the message among more women and society as a whole. They concluded that addressing the issue of terrorism and extremism needs the support and cooperation from the whole community, government, and civil society.
Fahmia al-Fotih' is the chapter coordinator for SAVE Yemen, which is organized under the auspices of SAVE International. For more information, email office@women-without-borders.org.

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