New podcast series on religious inequalities and development

The IDS-led Coalition for Religious Equality and Inclusive Development (CREID) is launching a new podcast series looking at the interconnections between belonging to a minority faith or belief and social, political and economic inequalities.

Launching ahead of the International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief, the first edition of The CREID podcast discusses a new and sinister phenomenon uncovered by CREID research: ideologically motivated sexual grooming.

CREID Director, Professor Mariz Tadros, whose interview opens the series, explains how young women from religious minorities, particularly those from poor and marginalised backgrounds, are being deliberately targeted by men from the majority faith.

Speaking to Emily Buchanan, the award-winning British journalist who is hosting the new podcast series, Professor Tadros explains how, lured into relationships with flattery, gifts and promises not to be forcibly converted, young women often eventually experience sexual violence. They are then forced into marriage and conversion. This can result in them being rejected by their families and communities. If they do go the police, their cases are often dismissed. It is difficult to gather adequate evidence for prosecution, and the legislation in their countries means they are unable to convert back to their original faiths.

Download the CREID Briefing Note Ideologically Motivated Sexual Grooming on ideologically motivated sexual grooming.

Forthcoming podcast episodes will focus on gender-based violence and religious inequalities

The first four episodes of the new CREID podcast series will focus on gender-based violence and religious inequalities, the intersection of which is often overlooked by women’s rights activists, on the one hand, and freedom of religion or belief (FoRB) activists on the other.

Forthcoming interviews in the series include:

Naumana Suleman is a human rights researcher and trainer. In her interview, Ms Suleman discusses recent CREID research with poor women from religious minorities in Pakistan.

As well as working in low-paid and precarious positions, minority Christian and Hindu women face additional discrimination, for example, they do not get paid leave for religious festivals, are frequently pressured into converting to Islam and, where they are younger and unmarried, they are vulnerable to abuse, such as forced conversion sexual grooming. She also offers expert insight into how the law does little to protect women experiencing forced conversion and explains why there is so little political representation for minority women. This podcast is due out in September.

  • Fatima Suleiman, Executive Director, Islamic Counseling Initiative in Northern Nigeria (ICIN).

Fatima Suleiman is an advocate for interfaith mediation and women’s inclusion in peace and governance processes.

In this interview, Ms. Suleiman shares findings from her research for CREID which found high rates of violence against women in northern Nigeria, including rape, kidnapping, sex trafficking and being forced into terrorist activities. Poor and uneducated women are particularly vulnerable, whether they are Christian or Muslim, and they have become caught up in violent conflict and power struggles over land and resources. This situation is compounded by a pre-existing patriarchal culture which accepts, for example, domestic violence against women, or that women should not pursue an education. In Ms. Suleiman’s experience, education is empowerment and this is a key route out of being continuously trapped in this current situation. This podcast is due out in September.

May Sabe Phyu’s works is focused on the prevention of violence against women, law reform and women’s engagement to bring peace.

In her interview, Ms. Phyu discusses the prevalence of violence against women in Myanmar, but describes some of the many barriers for addressing this at both national and local levels, for example, domestic violence and marital rape are not recognised in the penal code, multiple layers of customary law and religious practices across religious groups muddy the waters around what rights do exist under the penal code, for example, around divorce, while four decades of conflict across the countries sees conflict-related sexual violence meted out as a weapon of war, reinforced by a culture of impunity for perpetrators from the military or the police. This podcast is due out in September.

Don’t miss these forthcoming issues by signing up to the CREID newsletter and follow us on Twitter.