Malaysia: NGO Sisters in Islam wins the Casa Asia Award 2011

Casa Asia

The Casa Asia Award 2011, in its eighth edition, has been awarded to the Malaysian NGO Sisters in Islam for its solid committment in promoting women's rights in the Muslim world from Malaysia. Sisters in Islam is a Non-Government Organization of Muslim women that searches to articulate women's rights in Islam, highlighting the need to interpret Koran in its own historical and cultural context. This group, made up of several Malaysian women, who are lawyers, activists, academics and journalists, advocates for the right of women to hold public positions, and directs its efforts towards the promotion of rights, in global, of Muslim women, on the basis of principles such as equality, justice and freedom imposed by the Koran.

Throughout its 21 years of life, Sisters in Islam (SIS) has opened a public space for debate in Malaysia and given voice to Malaysian women regarding their rights under the Islamic law or sharia. Through its forums and educational programmes, SIS has proved that there is space for women in Islam. The main contributions of the NGO focus on the areas of research, law, the legal reform and publications. The founder of Sisters in Islam is Zainah Anwar, who has also been member of the Commission of Human Rights in Malaysia.

The jury of the Casa Asia Award 2011, brought together at Casa Asia Headquarters in Barcelona, is made up of Luis Felipe Fernández de la Pena, General Director of North America, Asia and the Pacific of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation; Senén Florensa, General Secretary of Foreign Affairs of the Catalonian Autonomous Government (Generalitat); Ignasi Cardelús, Delegate of Presidency and Institutional Relations of the Barcelona City Council; Fernando Delage, Director of International Relations of the Madrid City Council; Xavier Torras, Director of We are Water Foundation; Inma Riera, MP of the Parliamentary Group of CiU; Manuel Ollé, teacher at the University Pompeu Fabra; Ángel Sala, Director of the Fantasy Film Festival of Sitges and Anne-Hélène Suárez, teacher of the University Autonomous of Barcelona. The General Director of Casa Asia, Jesús Sanz, acted as president of the jury.

The Casa Asia Award is annually granted to those people, institutions and entities that stand out in the promotion of dialogue, understanding and knowledge among the societies of Spain and the region of Asia and the Pacific. The prize consists of a cash award of 6000 Euros and of a commemorative trophy. In precedent editions, the Casa Asia Award was granted to professor Raimon Pannikar and the Department of Spanish Language at the University of Beijingand to CEIBS of Shanghai (2004); to the Pakistani Mukhtar Mai, to the journalist Rosa María Calaf and David Álvarez, of the group of NGOs (2005); to the collection “Suma” of Spanish art of the Nagasaki Art Prefectural Museum and to the Marugame Museum Hirai of Japan (2006); to the Spanish Jesuit Kike Figaredo and to the Publishing House of the People's Chinese Literature (2007); and to Chingari Trust, Non-Government Organization (ONG) and to the Pakistani writer and journalist Ahmed Rashid (2008); to the Efe Agency and the Australian composer Peter Sculthorpe (2009); and to the International project of Dunhuang (China) and to the Philippine Senator Eduardo J. Angara (2010). One year later the award presentation will be held.