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Jamail A. Kamlian - Research Project
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The purpose of this project is to trigger a discourse on traditional Islamic practices (with respect to women and gender justice) within minority groups in the Philippines. The project will also monitor how Islam is being practiced in the Tausug community and suggest better ways to couple Islam with human rights.

Jamail A. Kamlian - Interview

Describe your motivations for conducting this research project.
Social scientists attribute Islam to the marginalization of Muslim women. I want to examine the dynamics of Islamic practice and how it contributes to the high illiteracy rate and the lack of family planning, and reproductive and economic rights. The Muslim population accounts for about 3 to 5 million of the 75 million people in the Philippines. Comparing the Philippine government's ideal of protection of human rights to that of Western states should show that the Philippine government lags behind in this respect. If this is true, the research will advocate some methods for improving women's rights and gender justice.

What is your research plan for the project?
In the first phase of my research, my goal has been to collect data on traditional Islamic practices in the Philippines. The data focuses on women's rights, equality, and gender justice. This collection will help me to develop a conceptual model for fieldwork.

What are some of the challenges you have faced so far in the research project?
One of the most challenging aspects of my research at Emory has been to re-conceptualizate my ideas of advocacy, from a theoretical understanding to a more practical approach. Coming up with a concrete methodology for advocacy-- in other words, transforming a theoretical approach to collective violations of human rights into concrete and tangible advocacy project-- was a major challenge.

Another kind of challenge relates to my recent difficulties in physically accessing Yemen, following September 11.

What are some of the challenges you expect in the course of your fieldwork?
I suspect that articulating these sensitive issues to the community might be problematic. That is why I selected my tribe first because they will be more willing to open up to this study and discuss controversial issues like human rights and politics. Expressing the need for change and obtaining cooperation from Fundamentalists might also be problematic since fundamentalist ideas discourage women from talking. I need to be creative enough so that the community will give me maximal participation. Fundamentalists don't want to talk about democracy and rights, and they believe in the hierarchy of men.

What are your future plans for the project or for work in the field of human rights?

I would like to publish my writings in book form so that the facts will be accessible to women. Women need to know about their rights because the most effective change can only take place from within.

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Jamail A. Kamlian - Research-in-Progress Documents

Presentation - Ethnic and Religious Conflict in Southern Philippines: A Discourse on Self-Determination, Political Autonomy and Conflict Resolution
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Images from presentation-- Ethnic and Religious Conflict in Southern Philippines: A Discourse on Self-Determination, Political Autonomy and Conflict Resolution
November 4, 2003

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Images credit: Islam and Human Rights Fellowship Program

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