Resource from national government

  • How to work on Women’s Health issues across cultural differences


    Female genital mutilation (FGM – also known as Female genital cutting), is a practice linked to cultural traditions that leads to severe physical and mental health consequences. It origins from earlier than Christianity and Islam, and is practiced heavily in certain parts of Asia and Africa. Despite an international protocol to end FGM and laws forbidding the practice in most countries, FGM remains an important tradition in many regions.
    In Europe and North America, issues related to FGM are very often quoted as one of the challenges of adaptation that migrant families deal with in their new countries. Different initatives illustrate concerted efforts to end the practice with the help of the concerned communities:

    • In Ireland, the prevalence of FGM amongst African women has demonstrated that it is a real issue for service providers. Health professionals feel ill equipped to deal with the issue, noting a deficit of knowledge and skills on the subject and on how to meet the needs of concerned women. In partnership with the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, the NGO AkiDwa has developped a program and a training manual on “Female Genital Mutilation, Information for Health-Care Professionals Working in Ireland”.
      In addition to health-specific recommendations, the manual highlights several findings that are relevant to community work on culturally sensitive topics, such as approaches based on ethical and practical concerns when discussing the sensitive and complex issue of FGM with women affected, and methods to develop stronger prevention of FGM and how to reach out to migrant communities. The importance of building the capacity of migrant women and their families to challenge the practice of FGM and of increasing awareness from and within the communities were highlighted, in addition to translation services in clinics and the active engagement of religious community leaders to condemn the practice of FGM.

      • Download the training manual here
      • Read more about the evaluation of the program here
      • Ireland’s National Plan of Action to Address Femal Genital Mutilation
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    • In Norway, the Muslim religious leader Imam Abdinur Mahamud has taken a leading role in fighting against FGM. In addition to making public statements against FGM based on Quran and Sharia analysis, he has written a book on the subject, that will be translated in Norwegian, English and in Somali. In his book, the Imam from the city of Trondheim makes clear that all forms of female circumcision are in conflict with Islam.

    These examples of initiatives involving local communities, and in particular religious and cultural leaders, could prove to be valid models for grass-roots consultations and empowerment on other sensitive topics, such as for instance the current European debates on the full veil.

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  • Islam lessons to promote integration in Germany


    In an interview, the German Minister of Education, Annette Schavan defends that introducing Islam lessons in German schools will help Muslim migrants to integrate. She believes that Muslim communities in Germany should understand themselves as part of German society. For that to happen, there must be an open dialogue between Islam and Christianity. Prejudice can only be reduced if Islam becomes transparent to the German society. The integration of Islam courses as part of the curricula is therefore essential.

    Schavan also shows her support to university Islam courses. Germany needs religious leaders who “have learned about their religion scientifically and thus also critically.”

    Read this article here

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  • UK’s minister: banning the burka would be “rather un-British”


    UK’s Immigration Minister Damian Green has stated that banning the burka in UK would run against the conventions of a “tolerant and mutually respectful society.”

    In an interview to the Daily Telegraph, Green has presented the new government’s policies on immigration. They aim to control the migratory flows by changing the perception that migrants have towards the UK as a ‘soft’ country with regard to migration issues.

    Although immigration policies will be tougher starting from mid-2010, Green reaffirms his decision to rule out a burka ban and any rule against religious minorities’ rights, especially Islam. The new head of the Muslim Council of Britain, Farooq Murad, has indeed praised the important freedom Muslims are given in UK. For Murad, this freedom is the proof of Great British’s sense of fairness and justice.

    Read this article here

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  • Soccer contributes to integration in Australia


    The Mock World Cup in the city of Hume in Australia promotes the participation of soccer players with different backgrounds and cultures. Immigrants from eight countries representing Nigeria, Nepal, China, Zimbabwe, Ghana, Eritrea, Tanzania and Sudan took part in the event.

    The initiative contributed to overcome language, cultural and social barriers with the universal language of sport and team work. The event has been supported by important local and national, governmental and sports institutions.

    Read this article here

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  • Caribbean Multicultural NAPA Festival 2010


    Trinidad and Tobago brings to a close the NAPA festival organized by the Ministry of Arts and Multiculturalism. This internationally recognized festival is celebrated every year in one of the most multicultural countries in the Caribbean.
    Indeed, Trinidad and Tobago has been a melting pot since the eighteen century. More recently, newcomers have enriched the cultural diversity of the country even more.
    Trinidad and Tobago receives one-third of all Caribbean migrants in the region. These migrants have their origin in Venezuela and to a lesser extent, Guyana, Grenada, St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

    Read about this here

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  • Jeb Bush calls for more efforts to integrate newcomers in the USA


    In this article published in the Washington Post, the former governor of Florida Jeb Bush and Robert D. Putnam put the current heated debate on immigration into a historical perspective. They retrace America’s past experiences in migrant integration, and highlight the fact that this process has always been gradual and progressive.
    The article calls for communities and governments to increase efforts in providing education and language classes to newcomers, while rethinking the repartition of immigrant-related responsabilities and duties between local and national governements.

    Read the article here

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  • Allez la France! Crossed stories between football & immigration


    The French Museum on History of Immigration (Cite Nationale de l’histoire de l’immigration, located in the Palais de la Porte Doree) examines the relation between soccer and immigration. This exhibition is launched at the occasion of the opening of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

    Alternatively described as a factor of rapprochement between cultures, as a meeting point for migrants or as a sport responsible of creating xenophobia and racism, Soccer and its practice constitute a mirror of construction of national identities. As such, it reveals central issues of the French society of today.

    The aim of the National City of History of Immigration is to give immigrants their real place in the history of France. The mission of the Museum is to collect and show a variety of elements relating to the history of immigration in France since the beginning of the 19th century.

    The exhibition is open from May 26 to October 17, 2010.
    Click here for more info regarding this event

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