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Outrage over disruption to Islamic Women’s conference in Simferopol


IOn Saturday evening, the Insaf League of Muslim Women issued a statement regarding the extraordinary events on 5 October in Simferopol (the Crimea).  As reported, the venue for the Crimean Islamic Women’s Conference “Culture and Civilization. On the Path to Development” was first prevented was changed the day before the conference was due to take place, and then the conference was effectively stopped altogether. 

The statement explains that the contract hiring the premises – the Trade Union Palace of Culture – had been signed back on 20 August.  The event was not open to the public, and the organizers were expecting around 650 women from different cities in the Crimea.

The League stresses that a very considerable amount of work had gone into preparation for the conference, which was the 5th such conference since 2007/

Two days ago, they received a phone call from the Palace of Culture saying that they could not use their premises and offering to return the money. The official reason was a leaking roof. Since all efforts to reach a compromise were rejected, the League believes the leaking roof to have been an excuse.

On 4 October a new agreement was signed with the management of the Simferopol Tchaikovsky Musical College to rent their hall.

Yet 20 minutes before the conference was due to begin, when all the participants had taken their seats, the lights suddenly went off. They sat in darkness – and without any heating – for some 30 minutes.  They were given various reasons for the blackout.   

The authors of the statement say that the women were prepared, even under these conditions,   to remain, but then the management began insisting that they leave the premises, and then claimed that a bomb had been planted.

The Ministry of Emergencies and police turned up in force. They gave 5 minutes for the “evacuation”, but it sounds as though only the conference participants were actually asked to leave making nonsense of the bomb alert.  The management and all the police were quite relaxed, they say, and as they were herded out, they passed students at the entrance watching bemused as to what was going on.

The League of Muslim Women expresses its concern over the events and considers it to have been an outrageous attempt to obstruct their activities.

As reported, Elvira Yanikova from the League stated earlier that attempts by the authorities to obstruct her organization’s activities have become more frequent in recent times.  She says that this is not done at an official level and no grounds are given.

The organizers of the conference explain that the aim of the project “Islamic Culture and Civilization. On the Path to Development” is to inform the public about the harmonious combination of Islamic culture and objects of culture.  The Muslim women are endeavoring through this project to explain to women that Islam does not demand fanatic asceticism or that they distance themselves from progressive life in contemporary society. They assert however that it is important for Muslims to preserve their culture, not adopting, together with objects of civilization, an alien culture which they say is destructive for Islam mentality.

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