November 14 - December 15, 2011
November 14, 2011
Egyptian women lament how they have been marginalized in the discussion process of the new Egyptian government. "We were at the front of the protests, getting beaten and supporting the future of Egypt," recalls Heba. But now, she says, "Women are not being heard from and this is causing a lot of frustration among myself and my friends who want the ability to choose our lives and what we do."
The role of women in Egypt's transitional government has been very limited, and no women were included on the committee that drafted Egypt's transitional constitutional declaration. The new elections law does away with the Mubarak-era quota, which allocated 64 seats in parliament for women. The new law requires that at least some candidates be women, but some have complained that their parties are assigning them spots on election lists that will make it hard for them to win a seat in parliament.
The controversy over the status of women in post-Mubarak Egypt came to a head at the start of November after Hazem Saleh Abu Ismail, a leading presidential candidate and Muslim cleric, gave two television interviews in which he outlined an Islamic future for the country that would impose Saudi Arabian-style dress and behavior on the public.
November 15, 2011
Kuwaiti citizen has been arrested for allegedly beating his Ethiopian housekeeper to death, a Kuwaiti newspaper reported on Tuesday.
Citing legal sources, Al-Jarida daily said the man, who was not named, confessed that he "brutally beat up" the maid for seven days because she refused to work.
November 16, 2011
A man from the southern city of Tafilah killed his sister in public by slitting her throat for being involved in a romantic relation, police sources said on Wednesday.
The killer told police he wanted to kill his sister to cleanse the family honour after the victim admitted involvement with a man who wanted to marry her, said the police sources.
Women with sexy eyes in Saudi Arabia may be forced to cover them up, according to the spokesperson of the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice (CPVPV) in the conservative Gulf kingdom.
Spokesman of the Ha'eal district, Sheikh Motlab al-Nabet said the committee has the right to stop a women whose eyes seem "tempting" and order her to cover them immediately. Saudi women are already forced to wear a loose black dress and to cover their hair and in some areas, their face, while in public or face fines or sometimes worse, including public lashings. More HERE.
November 22, 2011
Kuwaiti Shaykh Yasir al-Habib, a Shi'a, explains and justifies the Islamic practice of zawaj al-mut'a, or temporary marriage (lit. 'pleasure marriage'), which is in a sense Islamically-sanctioned prostitution.
A bomb attack on a girls' school in northwest Pakistan on Tuesday killed a policeman, wounded eight others and destroyed a wall, police said. The remote-controlled bomb was planted at the outer wall of the government-run middle school in the outskirts of Mardan town in troubled Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, which borders Afghanistan. The bomb exploded after police arrived to investigate complaints about a suspicious plastic bag outside the school, which was closed at the time.
"One policeman was killed and eight other people including five civilians were wounded," Zeshan Haider, Mardan police chief, told AFP by telephone. Three policemen were also wounded but no pupils were hurt. Haider said the target was the school. Islamist militants oppose co-education and have destroyed hundreds of schools, mostly for girls, in northwest Pakistan in recent years.
November 23, 2011
Each year, 6,500 girls in central London could undergo female genital mutilation. Now the city hopes to curb the practice by raising awareness through the integration of FGM education in secondary school curriculum.
Although female genital mutilation (FGM) is most commonly performed in Africa, where some 30 countries have subjected approximately 92 million girls to this practice, it is also an issue in Western countries. Parents from immigrant communities in countries including Germany, France and the United Kingdom are taking their young daughters abroad to subject them to FGM. Anecdotal evidence also points to it taking place in large European centers like London.
November 24, 2011
Afghan prosecutors announced Wednesday that a young rape victim, jailed for adultery after reporting the crime and pushed into marrying her attacker, would have her sentence reduced from twelve to three years. The prosecutor said she would, for now, remain in jail -- with her child -- for not reporting her attack fast enough.
In a remarkable case that is all too common in Afghanistan but has drawn international attention, 21-year-old Gulnaz was attacked by a relative two years ago, but sentenced to 12 years in jail for adultery.
She has since given birth to a girl from the attack. Because of the dishonor of sex outside of wedlock, she had been given the choice of marrying her attacker to get out of jail and legitimize her infant daughter in the eyes of Afghanistan's conservative society. Update HERE.
November 25, 2011
A woman blinded and horrifically disfigured in an acid attack by a spurned admirer is suing Iran's judiciary after accusing senior officials of cheating her out of compensation when she agreed to spare her attacker from a similar fate.
Ameneh Bahrami, 34, suffered severe injuries to her eyes, face and hands when a former university classmate, Majid Movahedi, threw acid in her face after she rejected his advances. In November 2008, a criminal court in Tehran ordered Movahedi to be blinded in both eyes under Iran's application of the sharia code of qisas, which allows retribution for violent crimes. But he was given an eleventh hour reprieve in July when Ms Bahrami exercised her right to pardon him. Prison officials had been preparing to drop acid into his eyes when the pardon was delivered.
For the past week Tahrir Square has seen mass protests and violent clashes between regime forces and pro-democracy campaigners demanding an end to trial by military tribunal and a faster transition to civilian rule.
French television reporter Caroline Sinz from the state network France 3 was subjected to a violent sexual assualt by a gang of young men and boys and her cameraman was beaten as they tried to cover the [Eyptian] revolt. The attacks came shortly after Egyptian-American journalist Mona Eltahawy reported that she had been the victim of a grotesque sexual assault by police after she was arrested during the protests.
Both cases recalled the February 11 sexual assault on South African CBS correspondent Lara Logan, who was seized by a mob as she worked in the square. Several other women, both Egyptian and foreign, have complained of sexual aggression from both protesters and security forces.
A New Jersey resident whose daughter and son-in-law were gunned down while on a trip to Pakistan was named as the chief suspect in their deaths. Muzaffar Hussain is suspected of murdering his New York native daughter Uzma Naurin, 30, and her husband, Saif Rehman, 31, in an "honor killing," the Daily Mail reported.
Naurin and Rehman were shot dead Nov. 1 when their car was ambushed near the northeastern Pakistan city of Gujrat. The car's driver and several other passengers were uninjured. The couple -- who were living in Scotland but planning to relocate to the US -- were in Pakistan to attend a family wedding which Hussain was also attending. Hussain has since returned to his home in Jersey City, N.J.
November 26, 2011
One in five Iraqi women is subjected to either physical or psychological abuse, often inflicted by family members, Minister of State for Women's Rights Ibtihal al-Zaidi said on Saturday.
"One-fifth of Iraqi women are subjected to two types of violence, physical and psychological, constituting a very serious danger to the family and society," Zaidi said at a conference dedicated to fighting violence against women. "The most dangerous violence against woman is family violence, from the father, the brother, the husband or even the son," she said.
The government will not allow debates to be held in the Maldives on issues that are against the fundamentals of Islam, Foreign Minister Ahmed Naseem said today. The minister's comments come two days after the UN human rights chief called for a public debate in the Maldives on the practice of flogging women found guilty of extra-marital sex.
Minister Naseem told Haveeru that the government would not open a basic Islamic principle such as flogging for public debate in the Maldives despite requests to do so. "What's there to discuss about flogging? There is nothing to debate about in a matter clearly stated in the religion of Islam. No one can argue with God," he said. "Our foreign ministry will not allow that to happen."
November 28, 2011
A woman and her two young daughters received severe burnt injuries when an infuriated youth threw acid on them over a marriage dispute on Saturday.
More than three thousand London girls are at risk of genital mutilation every year, experts warned today.
The report by black and ethnic minority women's organisation Imkaan found that in the city 3,500 baby girls are born every year to mothers who have suffered female genital mutilation, and therefore are at risk themselves. This is an increase of 65 per cent in 10 years.
Imkaan is calling for all school teachers to be trained to help girls who are facing violence and is calling on David Cameron to tackle the issue. Marai Larasi, director of Imkaan, said: "It is not acceptable that in 2011 many girls and women living in Britain face extreme, violent threats to their safety and even to their lives. These issues are neglected because of fears of being labelled at best culturally insensitive and at worst racist.
November 29, 2011
The Iranian government calls it the Family Protection Bill, but activists call it the "Anti-Family Protection Bill."
It would give men the right to take a second wife without the permission of the first, and it would enshrine a man's right to have an unlimited number of temporary marriages, which can last from 10 minutes to 99 years. Those arrangements come from Shariah law and have always existed in Iran, but the Family Protection Bill would make them official.
A group of Salafists disrupted classes on Monday at a university west of the capital Tunis, demanding a stop to mixed-sex classes and for female students to wear full face veils, officials said.
The mob of Salafists also took hostage the dean of the University of Letters, Arts, and Humanities of Manouba along with several other professors. One of the professors who witnessed the protest said the group threatened him and verbally abused other professors. The professor called on the protection of the army, but no security forces had yet been confirmed arrived.
November 30, 2011
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Tuesday introduced legislation that would make it a crime under U.S. law to take young girls out of the U.S. for the purpose of genital mutilation.
Reid's bill, the Girls' Protection Act, follows up on the successful passage of another Reid bill in 1996 that criminalizes this procedure in the U.S. on girls under the age of 18. But he said that law has what he called a "vacation loophole" that allows female genital mutilation, or FGM, to take place on U.S. girls when they are out of the country. See more info HERE.
December 1, 2011
Repealing a ban on women drivers in Saudi Arabia would result in 'no more virgins', the country's religious council has warned.
A 'scientific' report claims relaxing the ban would also see more Saudis - both men and women - turn to homosexuality and pornography. The startling conclusions were drawn by Muslim scholars at the Majlis al-Ifta' al-A'ala, Saudi Arabia's highest religious council, working in conjunction with Kamal Subhi, a former professor at the King Fahd University. Read a Muslim man's reply HERE.
December 2, 2011
A teenage student stabbed to death and dumped in a canal was groomed for sexual exploitation by adults from the age of 12, it has been revealed. Laura Wilson, 17, had been tracked by social services since 2005 after she was identified as being 'at risk' of sexual exploitation by British Pakistani men.
But their work focused on other girls who were more closely associated with abusers in Rotherham, South Yorkshire. The white teenager was the victim of a cycle of sexual abuse and little was done to help her, Laura's family have claimed.
Gunmen attacked and sprayed an Afghan family with acid in their home after the father rejected a man's bid to marry his teenage daughter, authorities said Thursday.
All five received medical treatment, with the mother and two daughters later discharged, medical officials said. The teenager is in intensive care and her father is still hospitalized, said Abdul Shokoor Rahimi, a doctor at the provincial hospital. The attack came on the heels of her family's refusal to marry off the teen to another local gunman.
December 3, 2011
Nearly 3,000 so-called honour attacks were recorded by police in Britain last year, new research has revealed.
According to figures obtained by the Iranian and Kurdish Women's Rights Organisation (Ikwro), at least 2,823 incidents of 'honour-based' violence took place, with the highest number recorded in London.
The charity said the statistics fail to provide the full picture of the levels of 'honour' violence in the UK , but are the best national estimate so far.
December 5, 2011
Mohamed El Ayani (39), a Moroccan living in Brescello, killed his wife, Rachida Radi (35), since he suspected she was converting to Christianity. The victim was killed with a hammer by her ex-husband, from whom she was divorcing. Once the investigation into her death is finished, her body will be flown for burial in Morocco.
Mohamed El Ayani turned himself in to the police shortly after the murder, holding his 4-year old daughter. He told the investigators his wife often went to chruch since she wanted to convert to Catholicism.
The prominent human rights organization American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI), its Stop Islamization of America (SIOA) program and the Virginia Anti-Shariah Task Force (VAST) will be hosting the first-ever human rights conference dedicated to exposing the plight of women under Islamic law in Dearborn, Michigan on the anniversary of the honor murder of Jessica Mokdad: the Jessica Mokdad Human Rights Conference.
December 7, 2011
Egyptian belly dancers vowed Wednesday not to retire if Islamists take over in the predominantly Muslim country. "My job is not against religion, so I will not quit," said celebrated Egyptian belly dancer Lucy.
The Islamists have made big gains in the first round of Egypt's parliamentary elections, triggering fears that they will restrict freedoms and entertainment. Belly dancing, popular for decades in the Middle East, is branded by the Islamists as immoral and un-Islamic.
"This is our job, which we will not give up," Al Shorouq quoted Safwa and Samara, two other Egyptian belly dancers, as saying. "Belly dancing is an art like any other form of art," they added.
Recent statements by ultra-conservative Salafists have raised worries among Egyptian entertainers, some of whom have said they were considering leaving the country.
December 8, 2011
A prosecutor in Sieradz says that Poland has probably seen its first case of honor killing. 34-year old Agnieszka, a mother of four, was murdered 2 years ago in June. The prosecution has accused a 40-year old Pakistani called Naaem, who has lived in Poland for 10 years.
The investigation, according to prosecutor Józef Mizerski, is not a typical a one in Poland. It is known as the honor killing. "In Pakistan, in 2007 alone, 1261 women lost their lives and none of the perpetrators was held responsible", says Mizerski.
December 9, 2011
The Supreme Court must decide whether women may keep their faces covered in court. Or rather whether Muslim women can, but other women can't.
A young Muslim woman in her thirties, known as N.S., claims that the psychological distress of testifying with her face uncovered against two male defendants, relatives she has accused of sexually assaulting her as a child, trumps the long-honoured right of the defendants' lawyers to see her expression under cross-examination.
The case went to the Ontario Court of Appeal in June of 2010. There, irony was heaped on irony in the presentations of two intervening groups whose perspectives sum up the conflict - the ideology of multiculturalism versus the sacred tenets of democracy - that sits at the heart of this case.
The Women's Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF) - a bastion of feminist activists - argued that the alleged victim should be allowed to wear the veil if her religion demands it, stating that forcing a Muslim woman to uncover her face while testifying "could very well be seen and experienced as an act of racial, religious and gendered domination."
Opposing LEAF's viewpoint was the Muslim Canadian Congress. MCC spokesman Tarek Fatah maintained that religious freedoms are not absolute. They must be balanced against the right of a criminal defendant and his advocate to look his accuser in the face and assess her expression: "[Muslim women] should be treated like any other woman and receive the same protections." Fatah also objected to the Charter being a vehicle for gender inequality: "The covered female face is a reminder to the wearer that she is not free and to the observer, that she is a possession."
"This is about mosques being a space for women," declared Kadriye Avci Erdemli, Istanbul's deputy mufti, the city's second most powerful administrator of the Islamic faith. "When a woman enters a mosque, she is entering the house of God and she should experience the same sacred treatment. In front of God, men and women are equal; they have the same rights to practice their religion."
As part of the "Beautification of Mosques for Women" project, Erdemli sent 30 teams to visit all of Istanbul's mosques and report back on the facilities for women. What the teams found was shocking, she claimed. "Many of the mosques have no toilets for women, no place for women to wash before praying," Erdemli recounted. "Most of the places allocated for women were used as storage places, and those that weren't were usually filthy and freezing cold in winter."
But it's not only a push for cleanliness and improved sanitation that is underway. The way mosques are arranged is also being changed, according to Erdemli. "In most mosques, the women's area was divided by a curtain or a wall, and this is not fair," she elaborated. "They are sacred places and women have the right to take advantage of their spiritual feeling as well."
In Istanbul's mosques, to reflect the beautification project's goal of equal worship space, "all the curtains and walls are coming down," Erdemli said. "But segregation will remain; men and children will pray in front of women."
December 12, 2011
The head of the Presidency of the Two Holy Mosques Affairs argued in Riyadh on Saturday that general perceptions about Western lifestyle and culture have played a major role in influencing public opinion on women's rights in a Muslim society. Fuad Abdul Kareem Al-Abdul Kareem, RCWS' secretary-general, said the forum's main focus, among other issues, is on the socioeconomic factors of Saudi women based on Saudi law.
In an interview on the sidelines of the conference on the current campaign in favor of allowing Saudi women to work for the first time at shopping malls, Al-Abdul Kareem said that there are discussions on this matter among Saudi intellectuals. They [Muslim women]should not be accused of being backward because of their religion, he added. He said if Westerners want to know the reality about Muslim women, they should read books available on this issue, he observed.