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Jean-François Berger
ICRC editor
Jean Milligan
Federation editor

Discussions on women in Islam are frequently caught up in political tugs-of-war and cultural clashes. The difficult situation of women in Afghanistan is an extreme case, but it has brought attention to a woman's place in Islam. We set out to highlight the role that women are playing within National Societies in Moslem countries, and selected Bangladesh, Iran, Kuwait, Algeria and Sudan to give as broad a perspective as possible.

Some common themes emerged. While Moslem women may be segregated and some facets of their lives restricted, in most places possibilities do exist to pursue careers. The veil is considered by most a mark of respect for their religion and not, as some in the West perceive it, an obligation imposed upon them. And more generally, women in many parts of the world - both inside and outside the Movement - are still denied access to the 'corridors of power', and much needs to be done to promote them to leadership positions.

Women also played a vital role in another article. Two female journalists - one Georgian and the other Abkhaze - co-author a feature on the 'frozen' conflict in Abkhazia. This is the first time journalists from the two sides give a common point-of-view on the situation. Let us hope this initial attempt to overcome the barriers between these divided communities does not stop here.

We thought it useful to reflect in this edition on the results of the 27th International Conference. Five conference participants offer opinions and open the debate on the different conference initiatives and attempts to follow them up.



Jean-François Berger
ICRC editor
Jean Milligan
Federation editor
And last but not least, an electronic version of the magazine now exists on the Movement's web site. (www.redcross.alertnet.org). We hope this new technology increases the dialogue between the editors and readers on issues of concern to the Red Cross Red Crescent.




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