Sunday, February 28, 2010

International Women’s Day

A friend forwarded me this notice. She knows how I personally, and my group, ALAH, communally, have been struggling to become more public with our viewpoints. We had an inaugural event in December, testing the waters so to speak, and most of us felt in the closet was the most comfortable place for us to be now. Why are we condemned as disloyal when we speak for equality and moderation? Why do we need to fear for our lives and our safety when we speak our minds? And where are our allies in this struggle?

So we're silenced and marginalized by our own, and we're silenced and marginalized by the feminists as well.

International Women's Day in San Francisco is most notable for what is not deemed worthy of protest:
Their announcement follows:

Mothers Speakout…with grandmothers, non-biological mothers & other women doing caring work… an action for Mothers March Globally!

United Nations Plaza, San Francisco, 4-6pm

Market St & Hyde (nr Civic Center BART)

Make our voices heard on * criminalizing poverty * racism * war and occupation * anti-mother, anti-caregiver policies * housing * welfare * valuing payment for caring work * pay equity * fighting for justice * immigration policies which attack children and break up families * prostitution & other struggles for survival * the right to home care by those of us who are older &/or have a disability * children unjustly taken from mothers by social services * healthcare * rape & violence * breastfeeding * childcare * lesbian/gay/bi/trans discrimination & violence ….The voices of women must be heard

Coups, wars and occupations continue from Palestine to Iraq and Afghanistan, Haiti and Honduras…and everywhere, as the economic crisis deepens and cuts are made across the board, mothers must pick up the pieces, to ensure everyone’s survival….

Whats missing, sisters? If you are tackling international issues, what about female genital mutilation? What about honor killings? What about child marriages? What about polygamy and its destruction of the social order?

Yeah, sisters. I'll be waiting for an answer, and until I get one, I won't be marching with you.

British Muslims for Secular Democracy

Organizations like British Muslims for Secular Democracy give me hope for a better future. The West needs to realize that the best weapon in the war against radical Islam is moderate Islam.

For a breathe of fresh air, read here:

The goals of BMSD are as follows:

•to get Muslims properly engaged in the democratic process;
•to counter the prevalent negative stereotype of Muslims;
•to break the destructive stranglehold which the lunatics (helped by some in the media) seem to have on the image, identity and psyche of the Muslim communities;
•to ensure that theology does not stifle education and democracy;
•to ensure that no individual, group or gender has any theological or regressive cultural values imposed upon them.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Uganda: Rights Not Repression

Gay Ugandans may be sentenced to death if legislation being debated right now passes.

High level international condemnation has just pushed the President to send the bill for review, but Ugandan allies say only a worldwide outcry could tip Parliamentarians away from discrimination, alarming them with global isolation.

We have just days left -- sign the petition to oppose Uganda's anti-gay law below and send it on to friends and family and it will be delivered to Uganda's politicians, donors and embassies around the world.

To President Museveni of Uganda, Members of the Review Committee, and donor governments:
We stand with citizens across Uganda who are calling on their government to withdraw the Anti-Homosexual Bill, and to protect the universal human rights embodied in the Ugandan constitution. We urge Uganda’s leaders and donors to join us in rejecting persecution and upholding values of justice and tolerance.

Read more Here

Sunday, February 21, 2010

”I don’t call it marriage, but rape" Child Brides in Yemen

Full story here

- It was every little girl’s dream - she was to get a new dress, jewellery, sweets and a party for all her friends.

What 10-year-old Aisha* did not know was that after the wedding party she would have to leave school, move to a village far from her parents’ home, cook and clean all day, and have sex with her older husband.

“He took out a special sheet and laid me down on it,” Aisha told IRIN, wringing her small plump hands. “After it, I started bleeding. It was so painful that I was crying and shouting, and since then I have seen him as death.”

After a week of fighting off her husband every night, Aisha’s father was called. He had received 200,000 Yemeni Rial (US$1,000) for his daughter in `shart’, a Yemeni dowry, which he could not pay back.

A bill passed in parliament in February 2009 setting the minimum age for marriage at 17 was rejected by the Islamic Sharia Codification Committee which said it was un-Islamic, according to local women’s rights organizations.

So, for now, there is no law protecting children against early marriages in Yemen.

”I don’t call it marriage, but rape,” said Shada Mohammed Nasser, a lawyer at the High Court in Sanaa. She has represented several child bride divorce cases in court, but admits she has lost most of them. Only a handful of child brides have successfully managed to divorce their husbands.

“The law on marriage stipulates that a girl should not sleep with her husband until she is mature,” said Nasser, which according to the law is the age of 15. “But the law is not enforced.”

A girl can be married at just nine, but cannot legally seek a divorce until she is 15 or older. The money paid by the husband for his “wife” is a further obstacle to divorce, while the case can only be heard in a court in the governorate where the marriage took place.

“Usually the marriage will have been signed in the husband’s governorate and the judges may look more favourably on their own kinsmen,” said Nasser. “Many judges are governed by arcane views on women.”

Just under half of Yemeni girls, 48 percent, are married before they turn 18, according to the Washington DC-based International Centre for Research on Women (ICRW). This is classified as underage, according to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Honor Killings Increase on the West Bank

There has been an unusal increase in the number of honor killings in the West Bank, Feras Press reported today

Hanan Abu Ghosh documented the killing of women . 2010 marked the beginning of a significant increase in the number of women killed. There were seven murders in the West Bank. Investigations indicate that at least five were honor killings.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Its About Time: Honor Killings Now Classified as "Murder" by the Palestinian Authority

According to an article published today in Ma'an Palestinian ministers voted to alter the penal code on "family honor" killings, upgrading the crime to murder.

"No one can take the law into his own hands," the cabinet said, adding that they agreed to the change "to ensure that the principles of equality and justice are in line with the Palestinian Basic Law, the Declaration of Independence, and the Palestinian Authority's commitment to national conventions and international treaties."

Its about time. Will this be enforced? We can only hope so.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

South Carolina Subversive Agent Registration Act No, I Am Not Making This up.

There is a new law in South Carolina, the "Subversive Registration Act", which states: “every member of a subversive organization, or an organization subject to foreign control, every foreign agent and every person who advocates, teaches, advises or practices the duty, necessity or propriety of controlling, conducting, seizing or overthrowing the government of the United States … shall register with the Secretary of State.” Registration requires a modest $5 fee, well within the range of the most under-funded terrorist organization.

Failure to register is punishable by a $25,000 fine and up to 10 years in prison.
Have I mentioned that I'm not making this up?

Form available here

You have 2 1/2 lines to outline your plan for overthrowing the government.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Honor Killing in Turkey

From Turkish national news

A 16-year-old girl was buried alive by relatives in southeastern Turkey in a gruesome honor killing carried out because she reportedly befriended boys, the Anatolia news agency reported Thursday.

Acting on a tip, police discovered the body of the girl, identified only as M.M., in a sitting position with her hands tied, in a 2-meter-deep hole dug under a chicken pen outside her house in Kahta, a town in the southeastern province of Adıyaman, the news agency reported.

The body was found in December, around 40 days after M.M. went missing. She is being identified by her initials because she was under the age of 18. Her father and grandfather are suspected in the murder.

A subsequent postmortem examination revealed that M.M. had a significant amount of soil in her lungs and stomach, indicating that she was buried alive and conscious, forensic experts told the news agency. “The autopsy result is blood-curdling. According to our findings, the girl – who had no bruises on her body and no sign of narcotics or poison in her blood – was alive and fully conscious when she was buried,” one anonymous expert said.

The girl’s father and grandfather have been formally arrested and jailed pending trial over her killing, according to the agency. The father is reported to have said in his testimony that the family was unhappy that M.M. had male friends.

The girl was reported as missing and no clues about her disappearance were found for 40 days. Her mother was arrested along with the father, Ayhan, and grandfather, Memi, but later released. The two men were sent to prison by a local court and did not speak in the court.

Police had found the body of the girl using an anonymous tip saying that M.M. had been killed based on a decision by a family council and buried under the chicken pen, daily Milliyet reported. The family has nine children, including the girl, and was reported to have told neighbors that she was missing. The girl had made a complaint to police about her grandfather two months before she went missing, saying that he beat her because she talked to boys.

Family councils consist of family elders; honor killings are usually decided by such groups.