Canada’s Polygamy Law Court Decision in this issue

Dear Friends,


Happy new year to you all!


Here is an alphabetical summary of items posted on the Women Living Under Muslim Laws website during December 2011.


All the Best,



–French follows—








Afghanistan: Women included into Afghan delegation to Bonn

Update on: WLUML Statement on Afghan women’s exclusion from participation at Bonn


Women Living Under Muslim Laws welcomes the recent decision to include women delegates in the Afghan delegation to Bonn: 13 women will now attend and participate in this meeting. Now that women have finally been included, we second the call from theAfghan Women’s Network and demand that the relevant parties ensure that women’s voices are heard; a demilitarised peace process shaped by civil society is pursued; and the security of women activists is guaranteed. Although we are encouraged by women’s inclusion, we are also wary; nothing has been determined yet and women’s rights and the safety of women’s activists are still at risk in Afghanistan. We wait anxiously for the decisions of this conference, and hope that the women delegates are heard, their recommendations incorporated, and their impact felt.







Electoral Politics: Making Quotas Work for Women

The goal of reducing gender inequalities in political representation has been elusive in many different kinds of political systems, even though women have made substantial progress in legal rights, education, economic resources, employment opportunities, and healthcare in the same polities. This book argues that gender quotas are an important strategy to improve women’s political representation in legislatures and political parties and it lays out the history of this approach across the globe.





Iran: Zanan TV Launches!

Zanan TV was launched on 25 November 2011, International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. This day was chosen because Zanan TV is an alternative space for marginalized women who are violated by the state and silenced by mainstream media in Iran. It is a space for building the women’s movement and the democracy movement in Iran.


Zanan TV was launched at Zuccotti Park Encampment, the alternative space created by Occupy Wall Street Movement. We believe this was the right place to launch Zanan TV, because of many similarities between Iranian cyber-activism and the Occupy Wall Street Movement. Occupy Wall Street activists occupy a public area — a square or a public park — and change the character of this space into a location where the organization of the movement takes place. Cyber-activists occupy cyber-space in social networks and websites where they change the character of these for the purpose of movement building. The occupation of spaces to enable activist voices to be heard is a strategic process for movement building. Without such spaces, activists would not be able to come together to speak out, express their views, and share their visions of the future.






Afghanistan: ‘Afghan TV Challenges Attitudes Towards Domestic Violence’

Afghanistan has been called one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a woman, and much of that danger lies in the home. According to the United Nations, more than 87 per cent of all women there suffer from domestic violence. But now, a radical television show is challenging attitudes to this abuse, inviting women to speak candidly and anonymously about their problems at home.



Afghanistan: ‘Karzai Orders Release of Rape Victim’

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has ordered the release of an Afghan woman imprisoned for adultery after a relative raped her. The move comes after Afghan judicial authorities met to consider the case and proposed a pardon for her on Thursday. CNN is identifying her only as Gulnaz to protect her identity.



Afghanistan: ‘Afghan woman to be freed from jail after agreeing to marry rapist’

An Afghan woman jailed for adultery after she was raped by a relative is set to be freed – but only after agreeing to marry the man who attacked her. The case, which has highlighted the plight of Afghan women jailed for so-called moral crimes, was to be the subject of a documentary film funded by the European Union – until diplomats censored it out of fear for the woman’s welfare, and for their relations with the Afghan government.



Canada: ‘B.C. Supreme Court upholds ban on polygamy

A judge in British Columbia has decided that Canada’s ban of polygamy does not violate the country’s Charter of Rights. B.C. Supreme Court Chief Justice Robert Bauman issued his decision Wednesday, saying that while the ban does indeed violate the freedom-of-religion rights of those practising polygamy, polygamy brings such harm to women and children that they outweigh those rights.



Egypt: ‘Female Protesters Systematically Targeted’

Local human rights watchdogs on Sunday accused the Egyptian military of systematically targeting female political activists, and demanded that Egypt’s military rulers admit to violations committed against demonstrators. In a joint statement, five human rights organizations accused military rulers of exercising “unprecedented violence against protesters, with the targeting of female activists being a distinctive feature of the proceedings to disperse sit-ins, as depicted in pictures and video clips showing protesters being arrested, beaten, dragged and stripped of their clothes.”



Update: Indonesia: ‘Aceh Punks File Report with Human Rights Commission’

A number of Aceh youths wearing punk hairstyles and attire reported to Banda Aceh authorities and to the National Commission on Human Rights’ Aceh branch on Monday over last week’s concert raid.

They were joined by human rights activist Hospi Novizal Sabri, Banda Aceh Legal Aid Foundation director Evi Narti, Tikar Pandan and community artist Azhari. Felix and Juanda, the two youths representing the Aceh punk community, met with commission members Romi Mulya and Eka Azmiyadi.



Indonesia: ‘Aceh: “Morally Rehabilitating” Young Punks’

Indonesian sharia police are “morally rehabilitating” more than 60 young punk rock fans in Aceh province on Sumatra island, saying the youths are tarnishing the province’s image. Since being arrested at a punk rock concert in the provincial capital Banda Aceh on Saturday night, 59 male and five female punk rock fans have been forced to have their hair cut, bathe in a lake, change clothes and pray.



International: ‘Women’s voices must be heard during times of transitions and reform / Statement by the Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women and the Working Group on discrimination against women in law and in practice’

“Recently we have witnessed the active participation of women in public protests in many parts of the world which reflect their strong desire to promote societal change, including in respect of the rule of law and human rights generally, and women’s human rights in particular. Moments of political transition provide a unique opportunity to ensure that women participate equally in public life and that their rights in legal and social systems, including the elimination of all forms of discrimination and violence in law and in practice are addressed.



International: ‘Who wrote the Universal Declaration of Human Rights?’

On the anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we might consider whether the idea of human rights with their firm assertions, their belief in the ‘rule of law,’ and their globalised vision remain relevant in the world. The idea that there are absolute standards has come under attack from both the left and the right. The philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre, author of ‘After Virtue’, said, Natural rights and self evident truths proclaimed in the American declaration of independence are tantamount to belief in witches and unicorns. While from the left, in ‘Human Rights and Empire’, Costas Douzinas has called human rights the political philosophy of cosmopolitanism and argued that human rights now codify and ‘constitutionalise’ the normative sources of Empire.



International: ‘Rape: a basic tool of militarism’

Women’s groups such as Women in Black have long led the way in challenging the mindsets and structures of patriarchal power and militarism, but men must recognise that they have the primary responsibility to make the changes, says Rebecca Johnson.



Iran: ‘“Unforgettable Butterflies”, Women’s resistance movement of Iran’

The International Day against Violence against Women is observed on the anniversary day of the “Unforgettable Butterflies” of the Dominican Republic, when three sisters, the Mirables, were killed in the struggle against the dictatorship in their country. It was this heartbreaking incident that caused the United Nations to designate one day for publicising opposition to violence against the women the world over. We Iranian women also have many “unforgettable butterflies” in our civil nonviolent resistance Movement, such as Parvaneh Eskandary, Haleh Sahabi, and Neda Agha Soltan, our three generations of Unforgettable Butterflies, who were victims of brutal violence that is blazing more heatedly today.



Iran: “Iranian Women fight controversial ‘polygamy’ bill”

On a summer night in 2008, the wives of some Iranian members of Parliament started receiving phone calls.

“Would you mind if I married your husband – just for a week?” asked the female voice on the end of the line.

The callers argued that taking another wife is a Muslim man’s right. By allowing it, the MPs’ wives would be performing a good Islamic deed. Some of the wives hung up in shock.



Mali: ‘Mali’s New Family Law: Women’s Rights Denied, Discrimination Upheld’

For more than 10 years, women in Mali have been waiting for the adoption of a Family law to protect their fundamental rights. Last week (2 December 2011), the Malian Parliament adopted a text which – far from increasing protection – eliminates rights and perpetuates discrimination.



MENA: ‘Will the Arab Spring Backfire on Women?’

While the Arab Spring has provided women with space to make their voices heard, “It has also become clear that there are real risks, especially [for woman] in places like Egypt and Libya,” said Head of Human Rights Watch’s Women Division Liesl Gerntholtz. “[Arab] women were visible, they went out and demonstrated for changes, but unfortunately right after the ousters of [Tunisian President Zeineddine] Ben Ali and [Egyptian President Hosni] Mubarak, we saw a backlash,” added her colleague, Nadya Khalife, the Middle East North Africa researcher in HRW’s women’s rights division.



Mexico: ‘Mexican Women’s Rights Activist Shot in Cuidad Juarez’

CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico – A group of gunmen shot and wounded a women’s rights activist in this northern Mexican border city, civil society groups said. Norma Andrade, one of the leaders of the May Our Daughters Return Home non-governmental organization was shot several times Friday by a group of armed men while leaving work in Ciudad Juarez, the All Rights for All national network of human rights organizations said in a statement.



Syria: ‘Outspoken Syrian Activist Arrested at Jordanian Border’

Prominent Syrian blogger, feminist, and human rights activist Razan Ghazzawi, who has championed the cause of political activists locked up by the Assad regime, was reportedly arrested Sunday at the Syrian-Jordanian border. Ghazzawi was on her way to attend a workshop in Amman about freedom of the press in the Arab world as the representative of the Syrian Center for Media and Free Expression, the center said in a statement reporting the arrest.



Turkey: ‘Can Turkey Make Its Mosques Feminist?’

A campaign to make Istanbul’s roughly 3,100 mosques more welcoming for women could set off a gender revolution in Turkey’s places of Islamic worship – and one that may not be uniformly welcomed.

“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.”









Afghanistan: ‘Niqab, une émission qui ose donner la parole aux femmes’

Sami Madhi, un Afghan de 27 ans, a décidé que les choses devaient changer dans son pays. Il a créé une émission de télévision où les femmes peuvent parler en toute liberté de la violence dont elles sont victimes: de leur mari qui les frappe, de leur père qui les marie à l’âge de 10 ans ou du silence de la société qui ne fait rien pour les aider. L’émission fait fureur. Au moment où le procès Shafia se déroule à Kingston, notre journaliste Michèle Ouimet et notre photographe Ivanoh Demers se sont rendus à Kaboul.



Algérie: Déclaration de l’ANPLA – Association Nationale Pour la Laïcité en Algérie_Immigration

Les nouvelles de Tunisie, de Lybie, du Maroc, d’Egypte , du Moyen-Orient de façon générale sont bien inquiétantes et assombrissent lourdement le climat politique. A la lame de fond démocratique et l’euphorie des premiers mois de l’année 2011 succède aujourd’hui la perspective d’une gouvernance islamiste dont les effets néfastes et dévastateurs sont largement sous estimés voire sciemment passés sous silence.



Egypte: ‘femmes en danger’

Elle parle à voix basse, chuchotant presque, d’un timbre fluet. Mais, derrière cette timidité, se loge une volonté farouche. Celle d’une jeune fille qui pose nue pour affirmer sa liberté, les yeux plantés dans l’objectif, et publie ensuite sa photo sur Internet, provoquant un gigantesque scandale chez les Egyptiens. « Je ne regrette rien, affirme Aliaa el-Mahdy. Ce ne sont pas les menaces de mort qui me feront changer d’avis, au contraire… » Du haut de ses 20 ans, la jeune étudiante veut changer le monde, propager la révolution et faire sauter les tabous, à commencer par ceux du machisme et du conservatisme écrasants qui pèsent sur l’Egypte. Cette image en noir et blanc montre Aliaa debout, en bas et en ballerines rehaussées de rouge, une fleur dans les cheveux. La jeune femme dénudée regarde le spectateur droit dans les yeux, comme l’« Olympia » de Manet qui scandalisa la France il y a plus d’un siècle.



Liban: ‘Citoyenne de seconde zone’

Depuis le 30 novembre 2011, les femmes émiraties peuvent transmettre leur nationalité à leurs enfants issus d’un mariage mixte. Une première dans un pays arabe du Golfe. Joli cadeau qu’offre par décret présidentiel Khalifa ben Zayed el-Nahyane aux femmes de son pays, à l’occasion du 40e anniversaire de la création des Émirats arabes unis. Bel exemple d’une volonté d’évoluer, dans un monde arabe où la femme n’est toujours pas l’égale de l’homme, mais encore mise sous tutelle, voire infantilisée.



Mali: ‘Le nouveau Code de la famille malien : droits fondamentaux bafoués, discriminations consacrées’

Depuis plus de dix ans, les femmes maliennes attendent l’adoption d’un Code de la famille pour que leurs droits fondamentaux soient respectés. Or, le 2 décembre 2011, l’Assemblée nationale malienne a adopté un texte qui, au contraire, perpétue les discriminations.



Tunisie, Egypte, etc.: ‘les femmes toujours trahies en 2011!’

La femme, c’est décidément leur faille à tous ! La faille des islamistes, des néo-islamistes, des crypto-islamistes et j’en passe, en saluant au passage ( avec mon foulard salafiste de fabrication égypto-révolutionnaire) les admirateurs parisiens de tous ceux que je viens de citer.


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