Because it upholds fundamental values, including equality between women and men, the Council of Europe must promote the full participation of Muslim women in public life, take action to ensure that they are seen and heard and combat the multiple forms of discrimination they suffer. In addition, the Council of Europe must commit itself to combating and preventing violence against these women - and ensure that they have access to means of protection and rehabilitation.
However, the situation of women in Islam encompasses a wide variety of situations in Europe, depending on the countries of residence and origin, the social background, their personal, family or collective history and their place within society. Their manner of practising and interpreting Islam in Europe is also diverse. This multi-faceted reality is all too often overlooked. Muslim women's voices are rarely heard and their contribution to the development of society and intercultural dialogue is underestimated.
The debates held in a number of Council of Europe member states on the wearing of the burqa/niqab have exacerbated the stigma felt by Muslim men and women, with the danger that some Muslim women could be intimidated and excluded from life in society. Unfortunately, these debates further reinforce stereotypes of Muslim women living on the European continent.
The Parliamentary Assembly intends to draw up an inventory of the situation of Muslim women in Europe. It invites the member states to promote policies aimed at education and integration, to encourage the involvement of men in this process and to create the social and economic conditions that will enable women, whatever their situation, to shape their own lives and make enlightened choices within an environment that respects human rights, equal opportunities and diversity.