MEK Iran: Bishop Williams AT Online Conference Marking International Women’s Day 2021
Transcript of remarks by Bishop Williams at the online conference marking International Women’s Day 2021.
The empowerment of women
It’s a very great pleasure and privilege to be able to address this meeting and to recognize the presence of Mrs. Rajavi here with us. We are celebrating International Women’s Day and whenever we do this, we need to bear in mind the crucial role which the empowerment of women plays in the advancement of any society.
It’s a commonplace recognition now, that raising the status and recognizing the skills of women is an essential part of driving forward a society that is more participatory and democratic but also one which is more effective in its education and its healthcare. That is why any regime, any society, in which women’s skills and capacities are systematically denied or oppressed is one that must cause great concern in the global community.
The forefront of protest and resistance within Iran
We know that this is one of the great problems facing Iranian society under its present regime. It is a very striking fact indeed, that women have been at the forefront of protest and resistance within Iran, especially within the last couple of years and of course beyond its borders in the International community.
The fact that women have played so prominent, and so transforming courageous a role in the politics of Iranian society in resistance to tyranny tells its story. It tells a story of repression and discontent, but also of confidence and hope.
Hope for an Iranian future
This event today is not simply about the history of repression but also about the renewal of hope. Hope for an Iranian future which will be good news for all its citizens. A future for the Iranian people in which women can play their full and proper part in developing a society that is sustainable and compassionate and just.
It’s important to say as we think of these things, that this discourse about the rights of women is not some kind of Western agenda, not some kind of foreign imposition on Iranian society.
Concern about the rights and dignities of women
Concern about the rights and dignities of women comes from the deepest roots in that shared Jewish, Muslim, and Christian civilization and religious perspective which has so transformed our world. This is not a stalking horse for alien values.
It is an expression of what is most deeply rooted in the values we share and care about. The values which will truly transform human possibilities. So, we are meeting in that hope; the hope of a future where a common vision shared by the great religious and cultural traditions of the region will come to flower.
A future where women are able indeed to play their part. A future where sectarian, partisan, and bigoted policies, state-sponsored violence, state-sponsored untruth will, at last, be something of the past. In the confidence and the hope that a just, compassionate, and democratic future.
I send greetings for this event and assure you and the Iranian people of my continuing prayers and support for a just future. Thank you for the opportunity of sharing this event and speaking to you.