Afghan MPs block divisive women’s rights law #WTFnews


Legislation was approved by President Karzai in 2009, but stalled by conservative MPs who deemed it un-Islamic.

Last Modified: 18 May 2013 14:27

President Hamid Karzai approved the law by decree in 2009, but it needs parliamentary approval [Reuters]
Afghanistan’s parliament has failed to pass a law banning violence against women, a severe blow to progress made in women’s rights since the Taliban was toppled over a decade ago.

President Hamid Karzai approved the law by decree in 2009 and parliament’s endorsement was required. But a rift between conservative and more secular members of the assembly resulted in debate being deferred to a later date.

Religious members objected to at least eight articles in the legislation, including keeping the legal age for women to marry at 16, the existence of shelters for domestic abuse victims and the halving of the number of wives permitted to two.

“Today, the parliamentarians who oppose women’s development, women’s rights and the success of women…made their voices loud and clear,” Fawzia Koofi, head of parliament’s women’s commission, told Reuters on Saturday.

Women have won back the hard-fought right to education and work since the Taliban was toppled 12 years ago, but there are fears these freedoms could shrink once NATO-led forces leave Afghanistan by the end of next year.

Increasing insecurity is deterring some women from seeking work outside the home, and rights workers accuse the government of doing too little to protect women – allegations rejected by Karzai’s administration.

“2014 is coming, change is coming, and the future of women in this country is uncertain. A new president will come and if he doesn’t take women’s rights seriously he can change the decree,” Koofi said.

The election for a new president is expected to be held in April 2014. The constitution bars Karzai from running again.

‘Morally corrupt’

After almost two hours of clashes between Koofi and the more religious members of the 244-member parliament, speaker Abdul Rauf Ibrahimi said the assembly would consider the law again at a later date, but declined to say when.

Some members sought amendments, such as longer prison terms for crimes committed against women, such as beating and rape.

Many legislators, most of them male, cited violations of Islamic law.

“It is wrong that a woman and man cannot marry off their child until she is 16,” said Obaidullah Barekzai, a member from southeast Uruzgan province, where female literacy rates are among the lowest in the country.

An Afghan man must be at least 18 years old to marry.

Barekzai argued against all age limits for women, citing historical figure Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddiq, a close companion of the Prophet Muhammad, who married off his daughter at age seven.

At least eight other legislators, mostly from the Ulema Council, a government-appointed body of clerics, joined him in decrying the law as un-Islamic.

Abdul Sattar Khawasi, member for Kapisa province, called women’s shelters “morally corrupt”. Justice Minister Habibullah Ghaleb last year dismissed them as houses of “prostitution and immorality”, provoking fierce condemnation from women’s groups.

 

Maldives girl gets 100 lashes for pre-marital sex #Vaw #WTFnews


26 February 2013 Last updated at 20:26 GMT

MaldivesRights groups have urged the government to abolish the punishment

A 15-year-old rape victim has been sentenced to 100 lashes for engaging in premarital sex, court officials said.

The charges against the girl were brought against her last year after police investigated accusations that her stepfather had raped her and killed their baby. He is still to face trial.

Prosecutors said her conviction did not relate to the rape case.

Amnesty International condemned the punishment as “cruel, degrading and inhumane”.

The government said it did not agree with the punishment and that it would look into changing the law.

Baby death

Zaima Nasheed, a spokesperson for the juvenile court, said the girl was also ordered to remain under house arrest at a children’s home for eight months.

She defended the punishment, saying the girl had willingly committed an act outside of the law.

Officials said she would receive the punishment when she turns 18, unless she requested it earlier.

The case was sent for prosecution after police were called to investigate a dead baby buried on the island of Feydhoo in Shaviyani Atoll, in the north of the country.

Her stepfather was accused of raping her and impregnating her before killing the baby. The girl’s mother also faces charges for failing to report the abuse to the authorities.

The legal system of the Maldives, an Islamic archipelago with a population of some 400,000, has elements of Islamic law (Sharia) as well as English common law.

Ahmed Faiz, a researcher with Amnesty International, said flogging was “cruel, degrading and inhumane” and urged the authorities to abolish it.

“We are very surprised that the government is not doing anything to stop this punishment – to remove it altogether from the statute books.”

“This is not the only case. It is happening frequently – only last month there was another girl who was sexually abused and sentenced to lashes.”

He said he did not know when the punishment was last carried out as people were not willing to discuss it openly.

 

Real War on Women -Saudi Arabia implements electronic tracking system for women


By Agence France-Presse
Thursday, November 22, 2012 10:54 EST, Thde raw story
RIYADH — Denied the right to travel without consent from their male guardians and banned from driving, women in Saudi Arabia are now monitored by an electronic system that tracks any cross-border movements.
Since last week, Saudi women’s male guardians began receiving text messages on their phones informing them when women under their custody leave the country, even if they are travelling together.
Manal al-Sherif, who became the symbol of a campaign launched last year urging Saudi women to defy a driving ban, began spreading the information on Twitter, after she was alerted by a couple.

The husband, who was travelling with his wife, received a text message from the immigration authorities informing him that his wife had left the international airport in Riyadh.
“The authorities are using technology to monitor women,” said columnist Badriya al-Bishr, who criticised the “state of slavery under which women are held” in the ultra-conservative kingdom.
Women are not allowed to leave the kingdom without permission from their male guardian, who must give his consent by signing what is known as the “yellow sheet” at the airport or border.
The move by the Saudi authorities was swiftly condemned on social network Twitter — a rare bubble of freedom for millions in the kingdom — with critics mocking the decision.
“Hello Taliban, herewith some tips from the Saudi e-government!” read one post.
“Why don’t you cuff your women with tracking ankle bracelets too?” wrote Israa.
“Why don’t we just install a microchip into our women to track them around?” joked another.
“If I need an SMS to let me know my wife is leaving Saudi Arabia, then I’m either married to the wrong woman or need a psychiatrist,” tweeted Hisham.

“This is technology used to serve backwardness in order to keep women imprisoned,” said Bishr, the columnist.
“It would have been better for the government to busy itself with finding a solution for women subjected to domestic violence” than track their movements into and out of the country.
Saudi Arabia applies a strict interpretation of sharia, or Islamic law, and is the only country in the world where women are not allowed to drive.
In June 2011, female activists launched a campaign to defy the ban, with many arrested for doing so and forced to sign a pledge they will never drive again.
No law specifically forbids women in Saudi Arabia from driving, but the interior minister formally banned them after 47 women were arrested and punished after demonstrating in cars in November 1990.
Last year, King Abdullah — a cautious reformer — granted women the right to vote and run in the 2015 municipal elections, a historic first for the country.
In January, the 89-year-old monarch appointed Sheikh Abdullatif Abdel Aziz al-Sheikh, a moderate, to head the notorious religious police commission, which enforces the kingdom’s severe version of sharia law.
Following his appointment, Sheikh banned members of the commission from harassing Saudi women over their behaviour and attire, raising hopes a more lenient force will ease draconian social constraints in the country.
But the kingdom’s “religious establishment” is still to blame for the discrimination of women in Saudi Arabia, says liberal activist Suad Shemmari.
“Saudi women are treated as minors throughout their lives even if they hold high positions,” said Shemmari, who believes “there can never be reform in the kingdom without changing the status of women and treating them” as equals to men.
But that seems a very long way off.
The kingdom enforces strict rules governing mixing between the sexes, while women are forced to wear a veil and a black cloak, or abaya, that covers them from head to toe except for their hands and faces.
The many restrictions on women have led to high rates of female unemployment, officially estimated at around 30 percent.
In October, local media published a justice ministry directive allowing all women lawyers who have a law degree and who have spent at least three years working in a lawyer’s office to plead cases in court.
But the ruling, which was to take effect this month, has not been implemented.

 

Woman’s access to Dargah –Shrines to tolerance


Mohammed Wajihuddin | November 10, 2012, Times Crest

Some Mumbai dargahs have banned the entry of women devotees into the sanctum. When the Sufi saints lying buried there didn’t discriminate between men and women, why should religious busybodies, ask liberal activists.

Covered with green chadars and rose petals, the shrines of Sufi saints are usually enveloped in a fragrant haze. And if you happen to be at there at the right time, you can catch Sama, the session of devotional music dedicated to the inclusive, tolerant character of the saints. In the durbars of the saints young and old, rich and poor, men and women are treated equally;discrimination is the antithesis of the Sufi cult.

This air of easy egalitarianism took a beating last week. Mumbai’s leading Sufi shrines, including the iconic Haji Ali and the Makhdoom Mahimi, have banned the entry of women devotees from entering the sanctum of the shrines. Leading the protest against this move are members of Bhartiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA) which, through a survey done in September this year, found that seven out of 20 dargahs in Mumbai prevent women from going closer to astana (graves of the saints).

While dargah committees cite Shariat to justify their action, scholars and activists call it an insult to the Sufi tradition which is based on a moderate variant of Islam. “We are not antiwomen. We are just accepting what many senior clerics have been demanding for long, ” says Sohail Khandwani, managing trustee of Mahim dargah and one of the trustees of Haji Ali. “Dargahs are basically premises which house graves of the saints and Shariat prevents women from visiting graves. ”

Many scholars are aghast at this gross “misreading” and “misinterpretation” of the Shariat. “The Quran doesn’t say anything about visiting of graves. They call it Shariat rule just because the Prophet is believed to have asked women not to visit graves. The authenticity of this tradition is doubtful and in this case we must follow the Quran which is silent on it, ” explains Islamic scholar Asghar Ali Engineer.

Other scholars cite instances from early history of Islam when women did visit graves. “The Prophet’s daughter Hazrat Fatima visited her father’s grave. Do the dargah committees want to tell us that daughters should not visit graves of their parents, ” asks Ali. He adds that there is anyway a difference between grave of an ordinary person and that of a Sufi saint. “Sufis are sacred souls. People visit mausoleums of saints not to worship, but to pay homage to the Waliallahs, friends of Allah, ” says Ali. BMMA activist Noorjahan Safia Niaz says earlier women would touch the shrines at Haji Ali, the new rule would obviously put an end to that proximity.

However, Dr Syed Liyaqat Hussain Moini, scholar of Sufism and a khadim gaddi nashin (direct descendant ) of famous Sufi saint Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti of Ajmer, says Sufism doesn’t discriminate against human beings on the basis of caste, creed or gender. “At Ajmer, both men and women have visited the sanctum for centuries, ” says Moini.

Spiritual tourism is booming and many dargahs in India see a large number of celebrity devotees. Will the ban stem this flow? Moini says it will. “How will it help if women are banned? It will only discourage members of other communities from visiting dargahs. Unlike mosques, dargahs are purely secular spaces and this feature of the Sufi shrines will be affected if women are banned, ” he adds.

Dargahs are a magnet for those seeking relief from distress and grief. Devotees seek the “intercession” of the saints in their destiny. “Women dealing with emotional troubles often find solace at dargahs. This ban will seem to them like a divine rejection, ” says Mumbai-based senior Hindi commentator Feroz Ashraf.

The government is refusing to step into the debate. In Mumbai when activists of BMMA requested minority affairs minister Arif Naseem Khan to intervene, he refused calling it a purely “religious” issue. “Only muftis and clerics can decide on this, ” he says.

Urdu poet-lyricist Nida Fazli quotes a famous incident from the life of Sufi saint Hazrat Nizamuudin Aulia (incidentally women are banned from entering sanctum of Nizamuddin too). One day the saint’s disciple, Amir Khusrau, found his master watching Hindus devotees offering libation to the sun on the banks of the river Yamuna in Delhi. “What do you think of sun worship?” asks Khusrau. “Every follower has his own Kaaba and that is the right path, ” replies the saint.

“Such was the tolerance of a Sufi who was a devout Muslim as well as a great human being. Those who want to restrict women’s access to the dargahs are fanatics who are shattering the tolerant image of the saints, ” says Fazli.

 

Haji Ali dargah trustees defends restricting women’s entry, activists protest #discrimination


DON’T COMPARE HAJI ALI WITH MECCA, SAYS TRUSTEE

‘This is a dargah, and women aren’t allowed in cemeteries’

Suhail Khandwani, trustee of the Mahim and Haji Ali dargahs, defends the rule that places restrictions on women

 Nov 6, 2012 Jyoti.Punwani @timesgroup.com , Mumbai Mirror

The decision of the trustees of the Mahim and Haji Ali dargahs to ban women from entering the mazaar (inner sanctum) has drawn a sharp reaction, even from within the community.
“Muftis are turning Talibani,” some sufis who visit dargahs regularly have said, while Islamic Scholar Asghar Ali Engineer has pointed out that no ban on women entering mosques or mausoleums exists either in the Koran or the Hadees. However, Suhail Khandwani,trusteeoftheMahimand Haji Ali dargahs, defends the recent rule that prohibits women from going up to the mazaar, terming it a belated improvement on existing tradition.
Whythisnewrule?
Earlier women were allowed in both Haji Ali and Mahim dargahs right up to the mazaar. Then the management changed. We were informed by our Mufti Mehmood Akhtar Raza thatunderShariahlaw,womenwere not allowed. So we created a space two feet away where women can pray. Seventy to 80 % women have said they are fine with this. I had thoughtpeoplewouldsay:whynot? I’m surprised the question being asked is: why?
But the big question remains – whynow?
Improvements can take place at any time. We tried to implement the Islamic law as soon as we learnt about it.
But Islamic scholars say that there is nothing in the Koran about women not being allowed. In fact, according to Asghar Ali Engineer, Prophet Mohammed has said: ‘Don’t stop the female servants of Allah fromenteringAllah’shouse.’
Is Mr Engineer a mufti who can pronounce a fatwa? And this is not Allah’s house. You can’t compare it with Mecca. This is a dargah. Women are not allowed in cemeteries. We are not forbidding women – we are creating a separate space for them withinthepremises.Thatwayweare also protecting women. Often there’s too much rush, they are forced to mix with men. That’s also notgood.Youknowwomenaresupposed to be accompanied by their sons or husbands when they travel.
In SaudiArabia,not in India…
That’stheShariah,it’snotthatSaudi Arabia has invented it. If somebody starts practising it here, it’s a desirable thing. And the dargah is the right place to implement this.
Women may not find this desirable. In Mumbai, women are used to going to dargahs without men. As a trustee, shouldn’t you be respecting tradition instead of breaking it?
As a trustee, I am improving the existing tradition. And we are not beingrigid.Weareleavingthedecision to women. We are educating them gradually, we have not directly stoppedthem.AndinMahim,wearegetting a good response. People are getting convinced.
There’s a fear that tomorrow some mufti may say that unless you wear a veil, you won’t be allowed. Or that a non-Muslim may not be allowed.
No, nothing like that (will happen). We are a very secular trust. There’s no dress code, except that it must be respectful. Even men can’t go in without a cap.
There are progressive interpretations of the Shariah too. In moderntimestoforbidwomen–isn’tthatgoingbackwards?
If Shariah law does not permit something, we need to correct ourselves. As Muslims, we have to be guided by it.

Suhail Khandwani, trustee of Mahimand Haji Ali dargahs, tells Mirror how banning women from dargahs is justified
Haji Ali dargah restricts women’s entry, activists protest
HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, November 06, 2012
Haji Ali dargah restricts women’s entry, activists protest

The Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA), a women’s group, plans to write to the state authorities over the restricted entry to women at dargahs in the city.

the sanctum sanctorum triggered their survey. Of the 20 city dargahs visited in September, seven did not allow women near the grave.

“When we asked with the trustees, we were told that the decision was taken after the authorities noticed that a woman came inappropriately dressed last year,” said Noorjehan Safia Niaz, founder, BMMA.

The dargah trustees said that the decision at the Haji Ali dargah was taken almost seven years ago.

“Eventually, this will be done in every dargah, as the Sharia law claims that no woman can visit a cemetery or a grave,” said Suhail Khandwani, trustee of the Haji Ali dargah and managing trustee of Mahim’s Makhdoom Shah Baba’s Dargah, where religious leaders have been educating women visitors about the law.

“We will write to minorities minister Arif Naseem Khan, the state minorities commission and the trustees of Haji Ali. They need to take steps to curb such a regressive trend,” said Niaz.

“Managements can’t run dargahs according to their whims and fancies,” said Hasina Khan, Awaaz-e-Nizwaan, an NGO.

Related articles

Muslim man’s power to divorce not unrestricted: J&K High Court #goodnews


Published: Thursday, Nov 1, 2012, 15:20 IST
Place: Srinagar | Agency: PTI

The Jammu and Kashmir High Court has held that a Muslim man’s power to divorce his wife is not “unrestricted or unqualified”. Justice Hasnain Masoodi in his 23-page judgment extensively went into details of the Shariah law and Quranic injunctions to hold that a “husband cannot have unrestricted or unqualified power to pronounce the Talaaq.”

The court delved into the fundamental sources of Shariah law to understand the concept of marriage in Islam, the rights of the parties to the marriage contract and the mode and manner the contract is dissolved.

“Though Islam visualises a situation where a marriage may run into rough weather for reasons beyond control of the parties to the marriage contract, and provides for a mechanism to end or dissolve the relationship in such case, yet the device of divorce is to be used as the last option when the marital relations have irretrievably broken down,” the court said.

It maintained that in Islam divorce or talaaq by the husband may take three forms including Talaaq-e-Ahsan which is single pronouncement of divorce made during a tuhr (period between menstruations) followed by abstinence from physical relationship for the period of iddat (waiting period).

The second form is Talaaq-e-Hasan which is three pronouncements of divorce made during successive tuhrs, without any physical relationship during any of the three tuhrs.

The third is Talaaq-e-Bidhi which is three pronouncements of divorce made during a single tuhr either in one sentence or in three sentences or in any other form like in writing, indicating intention of the husband to irrevocably dissolve the marriage.

 

Free and fair: Saudi Arabia to build a women-only city


Saudi Arabia is planning to build a new city exclusively for women as it bids to combine strict Sharia law and career minded females, pursuing work.

It is thought the Saudi Industrial Property Authority (Modon) has been asked to bring the country up to date with the rest of the modern world with the controversial city, which is now being designed with construction to begin next year.

It is hoped it will allow women’s desire to work without defying the country’s Islamic laws.

Mono-city: A women only city is set to be built in Saudi Arabia to allow women to pursue a careerMono-city: A women only city is set to be built in Saudi Arabia to allow women to pursue a career

The municipality in the Eastern city of Hafuf is expected to attract 500 million riyals (£84m) in investments and it will create around 5,000 jobs in the textiles, pharmaceuticals and food processing industries.

There will be women-run firms and production lines for women.

Although Saudi Sharia law does not prohibit women to work figures show that only 15 per cent of women are represented in the workforce.

SHARIA LAW: HOW IT WORKS IN SOME ISLAMIC STATES

Sharia Law is the moral code and religious law of Islam dealing with crime, politics, and economics, as well as personal matters such as sexual intercourse, hygiene, diet, prayer, and fasting.

In general Sharia doesn’t guarantee equal rights for women and men.

For many it does but for rights including marital and inheritance laws, it doesn’t.

Married women have the right to seek employment although it is often thought in patriarchal societies that the woman’s role as a wife and mother should have first priority.

Islam allows both single and married women to own property and the right to inherit from other family members but a woman’s inheritance is different from a man’s, for instance, a daughter’s inheritance is usually half that of her brother’s.

Islamic jurists have traditionally held that Muslim women may enter into marriage with only Muslim men, while the Quran allows a Muslim man to marry a chaste woman from the People of the Book, a term that includes Jews and Christians.

In 2003, a Malaysian court ruled that, under sharia law, a man may divorce his wife via text messaging as long as the message was clear and unequivocal.

The plan coincides with the governments ambitions to get women to play a more active part in the development of the country. Among the stated objectives are to create jobs, particularly for younger women.

‘I’m sure that women can demonstrate their efficiency in many aspects and clarify the industries that best suits their interests, their nature and their ability’, Modon’s deputy director-general, Saleh Al-Rasheed, told Saudi daily newspaper al-Eqtisadiah.

Saudi’s existing industrial cities already have factories owned by women, as well as companies that employ a small portion of the female population and Saleh Al Rasheed added: ‘We are now working on a second industrial city for women.

‘We have plans to establish a number of women-only industries in various parts of the kingdom’.

As part of a mass overhaul of its workforce and its bid to get women into work the state is also attempting to replace foreign salespeople with Saudi women.

This summer, women started replacing staff in cosmetics and perfume shops, only half a year after they replaced male sales staff in lingerie stores.

But despite some progress, women’s rights in Saudi Arabia are still defined by Islam and lack basic freedoms found in many Western cultures.

Last September, King Abdullah announced that women will be able to vote and run in the 2015 local elections but Saudi Arabia is still the only country in the world that prohibits women from driving and it took huge efforts from the International Olympic Committee to persuade them to enter women in the Games for the first time ever.

Wojdan Shaherkani’s Olympics lasted just over a minute, but the fact she made it to her judo bout with Puerto Rico’s Melissa Mojica meant it was a revolutionary moment for the women of Saudi Arabia.

The Saudi judoka Wojdan Shaherkani, who was embroiled in a political and religious row in her home country before being allowed to compete
The 100m sprinter Tahmina Kohstani of Afghanistan runs in a hijab and long clothing to conform with Islamic modesty laws

Making history: Saudi Arabia’s Wojdan Shaherkani and Afghanistan’s Tahmina Kohistani were the first women to represent their countries in the Olympics

The country’s ultra-conservative clergy tried to destroy her ambitions to be Saudi’s first female Olympian, before an argument about the type of headscarf she should wear jeopardised her place at the eleventh hour.

The Games in London were also a first for Afghanistan, also bound by strict law, when Tahmina Kohistani ran in the 100m, despite months of harassment from men who believed she should not be allowed to compete.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2187072/Saudi-Arabia-Women-city-planned-allow-more-females-pursue-career.html#ixzz23Pf2p0Xq

Sri Lankan woman faces beheading on witchcraft charge


Accused of witchcraft: A Sri Lankan woman faces being beheaded after allegedly casting a spell on a 13-year-old girl during a shopping trip in Saudi Arabia (file picture)

 Mail Online, April 19-Accused of witchcraft: A Sri Lankan woman faces being beheaded after allegedly casting a spell on a 13-year-old girl during a shopping trip in Saudi Arabia

A Sri Lankan woman has been arrested on suspicion of casting a spell on a 13-year-old girl on a shopping trip in Saudi Arabia.

She may face the death penalty as the Middle Eastern country is known to behead convicted sorcerers.

Police spokesman Mesfir al-Juayed confirmed yesterday that details of the woman’s arrest published in local media were correct.

The daily Okaz reported that a Saudi man had complained his daughter had ‘suddenly started acting in an abnormal way and that happened after she came close to the Sri Lankan woman’ in a large shopping mall in the port city of Jeddah.

‘He reported her to the security forces, asking for her arrest and the specialised units dealt with the situation swiftly and succeeded in arresting her,’ Okaz said.

Saudi Arabia, a U.S. ally, is an absolute monarchy that has no written criminal code and where court rulings are based on judges’ interpretation of Islamic Sharia law.

‘The punishment is always beheading for anyone found guilty of witchcraft,’ a Saudi lawyer and human rights activist, Waleed Abu al-Khair said.
Condemned: An executioner lines up his sword as he prepares to behead Abdul Hamid Bin Hussain Bin Moustafa al-Fakki for being a 'sorcerer' last yearCondemned: An executioner lines up his sword as he prepares to behead Abdul Hamid Bin Hussain Bin Moustafa al-Fakki for being a ‘sorcerer’ last year

In December, Amnesty International condemned the beheading of a woman in Saudi Arabia convicted on charges of ‘sorcery and witchcraft’ saying it underlined the urgent need to end executions in the kingdom.

Amnesty said the execution was the second of its kind last year.

A Sudanese national was beheaded in the Saudi city of Medina in September after being convicted on sorcery charges, according to the London-based group.

Open Letter to Kenneth Roth of Human Rights Watch


Separate  Between Religion and State

Having experienced the ways in which religious fundamentalists have used both armed violence and state power to attack fundamental freedoms, we want to express our alarm at the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood and other representatives of political Islam. We believe that secularism is a minimum precondition for the freedom and equality of all citizens. It is intrinsic to democracy and the full realisation of human rights.

Rather than becoming complicit with religious fundamentalists in power, we call on Human Rights Watch to report violations and threats against those targeted by fundamentalists and to support the call for secularism, and the continuing struggle for social justice.

Dear Kenneth Roth,

In your Introduction to Human Rights Watch’s World Report 2012, “Time to Abandon the Autocrats and Embrace Rights,” you urge support for the newly elected governments that have brought the Muslim Brotherhood to power in Tunisia and Egypt. In your desire to “constructively engage” with the new governments, you ask states to stop supporting autocrats. But you are not a state; you are the head of an international human rights organization whose role is to report on human rights violations, an honorable and necessary task which your essay largely neglects.

You say, “It is important to nurture the rights-respecting elements of political Islam while standing firm against repression in its name,” but you fail to call for the most basic guarantee of rights—the separation of religion from the state. Salafi mobs have caned women in Tunisian cafes and Egyptian shops; attacked churches in Egypt; taken over whole villages in Tunisia and shut down Manouba University for two months in an effort to exert social pressure on veiling. And while “moderate Islamist” leaders say they will protect the rights of women (if not gays), they have done very little to bring these mobs under control. You, however, are so unconcerned with the rights of women, gays, and religious minorities that you mention them only once, as follows: “Many Islamic parties have indeed embraced disturbing positions that would subjugate the rights of women and restrict religious, personal, and political freedoms. But so have many of the autocratic regimes that the West props up.” Are we really going to set the bar that low? This is the voice of an apologist, not a senior human rights advocate.

Nor do you point to the one of the clearest threats to rights—particularly to women and religious and sexual minorities—the threat to introduce so-called “shari’a law.” It is simply not good enough to say we do not know what kind of Islamic law, if any, will result, when it is already clear that freedom of expression and freedom of religion—not to mention the choice not to veil—are under threat. And while it is true that the Muslim Brotherhood has not been in power for very long, we can get some idea of what to expect by looking at their track record. In the UK, where they were in exile for decades, unfettered by political persecution, the exigencies of government, or the demands of popular pressure, the Muslim Brotherhood systematically promoted gender apartheid and parallel legal systems enshrining the most regressive version of “shari’a law”. Yusef al-Qaradawi, a leading scholar associated with them, publicly maintains that homosexuality should be punished by death. They supported deniers of the holocaust and the Bangladesh genocide of 1971, and shared platforms with salafi-jihadis, spreading their calls for militant jihad. But, rather than examine the record of Muslim fundamentalists in the West, you keep demanding that Western governments “engage.”

Western governments are engaged already; if support for autocrats was their Plan A, the Muslim Brotherhood has long been their Plan B. The CIA’s involvement with the Muslim Brotherhood goes back to the 1950s and was revived under the Bush administration, while support for both the Muslim Brotherhood and Jamaat e Islaami has been crucial to the “soft counter-terror” strategy of the British state. Have you heard the phrases “non-violent extremism” or “moderate Islamism?” This language is deployed to sanitize movements that may have substituted elections for bombs as a way of achieving power but still remain committed to systematic discrimination.

Like you, we support calls to dismantle the security state and to promote the rule of law. But we do not see that one set of autocratic structures should be replaced by another which claims divine sanction. And while the overthrow of repressive governments was a victory and free elections are, in principle, a step towards democracy, shouldn’t the leader of a prominent human rights organization be supporting popular calls to prevent backlash and safeguard fundamental rights? In other words, rather than advocating strategic support for parties who may use elections to halt the call for continuing change and attack basic rights, shouldn’t you support the voices for both liberty and equality that are arguing that the revolutions must continue?

Throughout your essay, you focus only on the traditional political aspects of the human rights agenda. You say, for instance, that “the Arab upheavals were inspired by a vision of freedom, a desire for a voice in one’s destiny, and a quest for governments that are accountable to the public rather than captured by a ruling elite.” While this is true as far as it goes, it completely leaves out the role that economic and social demands played in the uprisings. You seem able to hear only the voices of the right wing—the Islamist politicians— and not the voices of the people who initiated and sustained these revolutions: the unemployed and the poor of Tunisia, seeking ways to survive; the thousands of Egyptian women who mobilized against the security forces who tore off their clothes and subjected them to the sexual assaults known as “virginity tests.” These assaults are a form of state torture, usually a central issue to human rights organizations, yet you overlook them because they happen to women.

The way you ignore social and economic rights is of a piece with your neglect of women, sexual rights, and religious minorities. Your vision is still rooted in the period before the Vienna Conference and the great advances it made in holding non-state actors accountable and seeing women’s rights as human rights. Your essay makes it all too clear that while the researchers, campaigners, and country specialists who are the arms and legs and body of Human Rights Watch may defend the rights of women, minorities, and the poor, the head of their organization is mainly interested in relations between states.

Organizations:

Canadian Council of Muslim Women (CCMW)

Centre for Secular Space (CSS), global

Marea, Italy

Nijera Kori, Bangladesh

One Law for All, UK

Organisation Against Women’s Discrimination in Iran, UK

Secularism Is a Women’s Issue (SIAWI), global

Southall Black Sisters, UK

Women’s Initiative for Citizenship and Universal Rights (WICUR), global

Women Living Under Muslim Laws (WLUML), global

Individuals (organizations listed for identification purposes only)

Dorothy Aken’Ova, Exercutive Director, INCRESE, Nigeria

Codou Bop, Coordinator, Research Group on Women and the Law, Senegal

Ariane Brunet, Co-Founder, Urgent Action Fund, Canada

Lalia Ducos, WICUR-Women’s Initiative for Citizenship and Universal Rights

Laura Giudetti, Marea, Italy

Asma Guenifi, President, Ni Putes Ni Soumises, France

Lilian Halls-French, Co-President, Initiative Féministe Européenne pour Une Autre Europe (IFE-EFI)

Anissa Helie, Assistant Professor, John Jay College, US

Marieme Helie Lucas, Secularism is a Women’s Issue

Alia Hogben, Canadian Council of Muslim Women

Hameeda Hossain, Bangladesh

Khushi Kabir, Nijera Kori, Bangladesh

Sultana Kamal, Executive Director, Ain O Salish Kendra (ASK), Bangladesh

Frances Kissling, Visiting Scholar, University of Pennsylvania Center for Bioethics

Maryam Namazie, One Law for All and Equal Rights Now; Organisation against Women’s Discrimination in Iran, UK

Pragna Patel, Southall Black Sisters, UK

Gita Sahgal, Centre for Secular Space, UK

Fatou Sow, Women Living Under Muslim Laws (WLUML)

Meredith Tax, Centre for Secular Space, USA

Faizun Zackariya, Cofounder, Muslim Women’s Research and Action Front (MWRAF), Sri Lanka

Afiya Zia, Journalist, Pakistan

PL SIGN AN ONLIEN PETITION TO HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH

SIGN AND SHARE THE PETITION 

MUSLIM DIVORCE IN INDIA: Board to Divorce “Triple Talaq”


English: picture of girl signing a 'nikahnama'...

Image via Wikipedia

In what may come as a big relief to the Muslim women, their husbands would not be able to get rid of their wives in future by simply reciting talaaq, talaaq, talaaq.

The All-India Muslim Personal Law Board is set to ban this practice from next month and ratify the new model talaqnama.

The Board is likely to adopt a resolution at its annual meeting of 41-member working committee on July 4 at Nadwa College, here.

The new talaqnama, carefully drafted by the Board clerics after carrying out deliberations for three years, disapproves of the age-old three-talaaq system and replaces it with the Shariat-approved ‘phased-talaaq’.

Though the draft of the new talaqnama was already approved in Board’s Patna meeting in October 2003, it was awaiting a final nod from the 41-member working committee, Board’s highest-decision making body.

Under the new talaqnama, the separating couples would be given a minimum of three months to reconcile, instead of shauhar (husband) just firing talaaqs to separte without giving any chance to his begum.

Board also recommends increase in ‘Mehr’

Muslim women, who virtually had no separation rights till now, have also been given equal rights to approach the Qazi for separation against their erring husbands.

“It’s all being done as per Shariat. Instead of three talaaq at one go, couples would be given three months to reconsider their decision and if they insist on separation even after the expiry of the said period, the Qazi is empowered to formalise talaaq as per the new talaqnama,” said Zafrayab Jilani, a Board member.

The Board would print the new talaqnama forms in large numbers in Urdu as well as in regional languages and make it mandatory for all the couples to fill it at the time of marriage.

The Board is also recommending increase in ‘Mehr’, which is fixed at the time of marriage. Parents would be advised to fix a staggering amount to protect matrimony of their daughters.

However, the Board has fixed no upper or lower limit for it. The amount would be decided mutually by both parents. It’s being done mainly to discourage talaaqs.

“It will be a welcome step in the direction of reforming the Muslim society in India. The new talaqnama would drastically bring down the number of talaaq cases as no sensible husband would dare to breach the new talaqnama,” claims Jilani.

Previous Older Entries

Archives

Kractivism-Gonaimate Videos

Protest to Arrest

Faking Democracy- Free Irom Sharmila Now

Faking Democracy- Repression Anti- Nuke activists

JAPA- MUSICAL ACTIVISM

Kamayaninumerouno – Youtube Channel

UID-UNIQUE ?

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 6,231 other followers

Top Rated

Blog Stats

  • 1,801,479 hits

Archives

August 2020
M T W T F S S
 12
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930
31  
%d bloggers like this: