Here is an alphabetical summary of items posted on the English section of the Women Living Under Muslim Laws website during January 2011.
Women Living Under Muslim Laws
International Coordination Office
Please also check out the new WLUML Facebook page!
Women of Egypt/ نساء مصر/ Femmes d’Égypte
Click on Women of Egypt link above for a very graphic picture!
CALLS FOR ACTION
UPDATE: Gambia: Trial continues of WHRDs Dr. Isatou Touray & Amie Bojang-Sissoho
Dr. Isatou Touray and Ms. Amie Bojang-Sissoho are, respectively, the Executive Director and Program Coordinator for the Gambia Committee for Traditional Practices (GAMCOTRAP), and have for many years been active in the promotion of gender equality, rights of women and children, particularly in the fight against female genital mutilation and other discriminatory practices. In May 2010, the Presidency set up a commission of investigation into the allegation that GAMCOTRAP had been mis-managing donor funds from an organization called Yolocamba Solidaridad.
NEWS & VIEWS
Afghanistan: Taliban ready to lift ban on girls’ schools, says minister
The Taliban’s leadership is prepared to drop its ban on girls’ schools, one of Afghanistan’s most influential cabinet ministers has claimed. According to Farooq Wardak, the country’s education minister, the movement has decided to scrap the ban on female education that helped earn the movement worldwide infamy in the 1990s. Wardak said the Taliban’s leadership had undergone a profound change since losing power after the US-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001.
Azerbaijan: Hijab Ban Controversy
Azerbaijan’s education ministry has banned schoolgirls from wearing headscarves to class, causing outrage among the more devout in this Muslim-majority country. On December 10, a day after Education Minister Misir Mardanov announced that headscarves must not be worn with school uniform, hundreds of parents and children staged a protest near the ministry.
Egypt: “We’ve waited for this revolution for years. Other despots should quail”
My birth at the end of July 1967 makes me a child of the naksa, or setback, as the Arab defeat during the June 1967 war with Israel is euphemistically known in Arabic. My parents’ generation grew up high on the Arab nationalism that Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser brandished in the 1950s. But we “Children of the Naksa”, hemmed in by humiliation, have spent so much of our lives uncomfortably stepping into pride’s large, empty shoes.
Gambia: Police did a poor investigations in GAMCOTRAP case, says former Solicitor General
Former Solicitor General Amie Bensouda has expressed dissatisfaction with the way, and manner the police investigated the GAMCOTRAP alleged theft case saying that the work of the police was the least satisfactory. She told a court in Banjul that the police investigations were improper. Lawyer Bensouda argued that Gamcotrap is not a central bank licensed micro-credit organisation, and therefore not legally permitted to give-out micro-credit, as alleged by the state. But the state witness maintains that he did not know that a central bank license is required for one to operate a micro-credit.
Iran: ‘Objection by Nasrin Sotoodeh and her Lawyers to Court Procedures in Latest Hearing’
Nasrin Sotoodeh’s court hearing to review the latest charges of not observing the Hejab in a video, was scheduled to take place on December 27, 2010 in Branch 26 of the Revolutionary Court. But the court hearing was disrupted after Nasrin Sotoodeh and her lawyers objected to the procedures of the hearing. In response Judge PeerAbbassi, issued a five day mandatory prison sentence for Nasrin Sotoodeh for disrupting the court hearing.
Iran: ‘Iran Jails Another Lawyer’
This week Iran’s judicial authorities sentenced my friend Nasrin Sotoudeh, a human rights lawyer, to 11 years in prison. Her case has attracted only modest attention in the West, but it is the latest example of Iran’s unrelenting crackdown on dissent. It deserves greater notice. Nasrin belongs to a younger generation of Iranian human rights defenders who are being systematically bullied by the state into abandoning their work. The government has forced many into exile abroad, while meting out harsh prison sentences to others, like Nasrin, in order to intimidate the remaining few.
Iran: Nasrin Sotoudeh’s Husband Arrested, Released
Reza Khandan was released on January 17, 2011. Reza Khandan, husband of imprisoned human rights lawyer, Nasrin Sotoudeh, was arrested early this morning when he arrived to the Prosecutor’s office to comply with the summon he received last week. According to reports by the website Change for Equality, the charges against Reza Khandan remain unclear. According to the family members, even though the court set a $50 thousand USD bail for his release, the bail amount posted by Nasin Soutoudeh’s sister has not been accepted.
International: ‘To see Muslim discourse in politics as a vicious anachronism is to see very little’
Last month in Kuala Lumpur I met the Malaysian politician Nurul Izzah Anwar. Just 30 years old, and formidably well-educated, Nurul Izzah is an MP as well as the mother of two children. Thrown into the political fray by the persecution of her father – Anwar Ibrahim, Malaysia’s former deputy prime minister – Nurul Izzah has risen rapidly within the opposition People’s Justice party. Admiring glances and whispers from other diners bounced off our table at a fusion restaurant in the smart suburb of Damansara Heights as she spoke frankly and persuasively about Malaysia’s frustratingly racial politics, its restless youth population, the changing role of Islam, and the country’s foreign relations. Towards the end of our conversation, she said: “You haven’t asked me the big question.” Puzzled, I asked: “About what?” Laughing, she replied: “Many western journalists only want to know why I wear a headscarf.”
Israel/Palestine: ‘High Court: Gender segregation legal on Israeli buses – but only with passenger consent’
The High Court of Justice ruled Thursday that public bus companies could continue the practice of gender segregation on dozens of lines serving the ultra-Orthodox sector, as long as there is no coercion or violence involved. “A public transportation operator, like any other person, does not have the right to order, request or tell women where they may sit simply because they are women,” Supreme Court Justice Elyakim Rubinstein wrote in his ruling. “They must sit wherever they like.”
Maldives: Females cannot perform marriage ceremonies under Islam, declares Fiqh Academy
The Islamic Ministry’s Fiqh Academy has declared that women are not allowed to perform marriages or lead a marriage ceremony according to Islam, and therefore cannot be a judge when performing marriages. The declaration was announced by the President of Fiqh Academy and Islamic Minister Dr Abdul Majeed Abdul Bari, together with eight other scholars of the academy.
North Africa: People Power
(Part 2 of IntLawGrrl Karima Bennoune’s series on developments in North Africa; Part 1 appeared 1st at IntLawGrrls.) Today the Algerian government tried to hold back the winds of change blowing westward from neighboring Tunisia by besieging its own capital city. A peaceful protest called by the Algerian opposition party, the Rassemblement pour la culture et la démocratie (RCD), on the Place du 1er Mai was forcefully disrupted by large numbers of heavily armed riot police. One report claimed that 10,000 police had been deployed. Meanwhile, as many as 42 people were injured, several seriously, and others arrested, including a photojournalist.
Pakistan: Asia Bibi facing suicide attack threat
Bibi, the Christian woman who triggered a blasphemy furore in Pakistan and in whose defence Punjab governor Salman Taseer lost his life, is facing a threat of a suicide attack inside a jail, where she is currently lodged. The “Moaviya group”, a militant organisation plans to mount a suicide attack on Sheikhupura district jail, where 45-year-old Asia is being held, The Express Tribunequoted its sources as saying. An intelligence report issued last week has corroborated threat to her life.
Pakistan: Lesbians Live In Silence, Love In Secret
The names in this story have been changed to protect the women’s identities out of concern for their safety. Five years ago, Fatima was 23 and studying law in Lahore, Pakistan. She wore blue jeans and a loose shirt and sported short boyish hair. That was the first sign she wasn’t a typical Pakistani woman. She leaned in to share a secret she had revealed to only a few other people before: “I’m lesbian,” she said hesitantly.
Pakistan: Women’s Action Forum condemns murder of Governor Punjab Salman Taseer
Women’s Action Forum condemns in the strongest terms the brutal murder of the Governor of Punjab, Salman Taseer, whose principled stand for justice was deliberately and maliciously distorted by extremist elements in the country in the pursuit of their own political ends. Incitement to violence in the name of religion has become widely prevalent in the country and the state has failed in its duty to curb this mischief. The murder of Salman Taseer is part of a strategy adopted since the time of Zia ul Haq to misuse religion in order to undermine democratic dialogue and to establish religious autocracy. This is unacceptable in a Muslim majority country no particular group should be allowed monopoly over religious views.
Sudan: Women Dream of Independence
John Garang, the revered late leader of the Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement, once said that women are the “the poorest of the poor and the marginalised of the marginalised”. As the reality of an independent South Sudan approaches, the region’s women have vowed they will not remain second class citizens. Margaret Michael Modi, the head of women’s affairs in Central Equatoria State, cast her vote on the first day. “The first day (of the vote) we did not sleep. I went to the polling station and women were crying as they cast their vote,” she told IPS over the phone from the southern capital, Juba.
Turkey: ‘A tangled web: the politics of gender in Turkey’
On 18 July 2010, the Prime Minister of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, held a consultation meeting with women’s non-governmental organisations in the context of the ‘Democratic Initiative and National Unity and Brotherhood Project’, also dubbed ‘the Kurdish Initiative’ in the popular press. This initiative aims to resolve the conflict that has plagued the South-east of the country, pitting the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) against the Turkish military. The PM addressed the women in attendance as mothers “whose voices would drown out the sounds of bullets” – thus enlisting them to the cause of peace. Among the 80-odd attendees were members of NGOs with established feminist credentials such as KA-DER and the Foundation for Women’s Solidarity, among others.
Uganda: VNC statement on brutal killing of Ugandan LGBT rights defender David Kato
The Violence is Not out Culture campaign condemns the brutal murder on 26 January 2011 of LGBT human rights defender, David Kato, of Uganda and extends its condolences to his colleagues at Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG). David was a long term activist for rights based on sexual orientation and gender identity in Uganda, and was a highly respected and admired human rights defender within his community and worldwide.
Yemen: Physical assault of human rights defenders
On 14 December 2010, human rights defenders Ms Tawakkol Karman, Ms Bushra Alsorabi and Mr Ali Hussain al-Dailami were physically assaulted during a peaceful protest in Sana’a, Yemen.
Tawakkol Karman and Bushra Alsorabi are Chairperson and Executive Director respectively of Women Journalists Without Chains (WJWC), an organisation which campaigns for freedom of the press and other human rights in Yemen. Ali Hussain al-Dailami is the executive director of the Yemeni Organization for the Defence of Democratic Rights and Freedom.