Hundreds of Muslim women gathered near Tunis Saturday to call for the return of the caliphate, the defunct Islamic system of governance which they said was the only means of guaranteeing their rights.
The members of the Hizb ut-Tahrir party came from Islamic countries including Arab states, Indonesia and Turkey, as well as from Europe to debate the benefits of the system that disappeared nearly 90 years ago.
"This conference raises questions about the secular liberal way of life and asks whether it is a system that has succeed in securing the dignity and rights of women," chief spokeswoman Nasrin Nawaaz of the British branch of the party told AFP.
"Muslim women are gathering together saying that we no longer want to live under secular liberal democratic systems," she added.
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"We want a new system, we want the khalifa system that historically has been tried and has succeeded in securing the rights of women."
Nawaz said that countries such as Saudi Arabia and Iran that promote themselves as Islamic states "in reality they implement nothing but the rules of dictatorship."
Men were banned from the conference, which opened with a film castigating Western political systems and calling for "patient and determined work to re-establish the law of Islam."
Founded in 1953, Hizb ut-Tahir has members and sympathisers in more than 50 countries. It seeks the return of the caliphate, based on Islamic charia law, by political means.
The caliphate was introduced after the death of Mohammed to govern the Muslim world and held by a succession of dynasties based in different cities before the emergence of nation states.
The fifth and last caliphate held sway under the Turkish Ottomans and was abolished in 1924 by the founder of modern Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.