Monday, June 28, 2010

A feminist in Gaza

From an article in the LA Times

Naila Ayesh is a rare voice for women's right and progressive values in Gaza.
Today Ayesh, 49, founder of the Gaza Strip-based Women's Affairs Center, has become one of the only feminist voices in the seaside territory that was seized three years ago by Hamas, an armed Palestinian group that aspires to impose Islamic law.

Besides being married to Jamal Zakout, a top advisor to Prime Minister Salam Fayyad of the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority — Hamas' political rival that rules the West Bank — Ayesh also raises eyebrows in Gaza as she moves in public without covering her head and sometimes even partakes of a shisha water pipe.

Read the interview. Ayesh discusses violence against women , the humiliating trend of collective weddings and the rise in honor killings in Gaza

No, its not easy to be a feminist in Gaza

Friday, June 25, 2010

Free Nathalie Morin

Nathalie Morin was born in 1984 in Quebec. She is a Canadian citizen who is being held against her will in Saudi Arabia by the father of her children, Saeed Al Sharahni, since March 2005. She is physically and psychologically abused and lives under lock and key in an apartment for which only Saeed Al Sharahni has the key. Her 3 young children, Samir, Abdullah and Sarah endure the same treatment.

MWA Joins Call to Action in Support of Saudi Guardianship Reform and Release of Nathalie Morin

Saudi journalist and activist, Wajeha Al Huwaider will lend her support at Saturday's protest.

Muslimah Writers Alliance (MWA) urges the Muslim community to join Muslims for Progressive Values and the Comit´e de Soutien `a Nathalie Morin, on Saturday, June 26,2010 , at 1:30 PM for a protest in front of the Embassy of Saudi Arabia, 601 New Hampshire Ave., NW, Washington, D.C. 20037, denouncing the involuntary confinement of Canadian National Nathalie Morin and her three children—an issue related to the ongoing call of MWA for guardianship reform in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia pertaining to male control or 'guardianship' over women.
Nathalie Morin, 26, and her three children have been willfully held within the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia by her common-law husband since 2005; a victim of conjugal violence, confinement and abuse—bound by an archaic law that necessitates any emancipated (or not), sane, married, or unmarried female be enslaved by 'guardianship', regardless of the fact that by the law of the Kingdom's own faith (Islam), grants these same free-willed women the right to chose their partner in marriage, the right to divorce, the right to hold jobs, own property, give birth, etc.—in utter disregard for these basic human rights, the Kingdom's 'guardianship' laws allow for women to be involuntarily and even forcefully held against their God-given free will.
"President Obama, when you welcome Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz to the White House on June 29, I invite you to revisit words from your June 2009 speech to the Muslim world, made from Cairo, Egypt, wherein you stated having 'an unyielding belief that all people yearn for certain things: the ability to speak mind and have a say in how are governed; confidence in the rule of law and the equal administration of justice; government that is transparent and doesn't steal from the people; the freedom to live as choose'—and in recalling your words, I implore you to ask King Abdullah to address the need for guardianship reform within the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia," stated MWA Director, Aishah Schwartz.
Schwartz added, "I put King Abdullah on notice in February 2007 that I would remain steadfast in support of guardianship reform in the Kingdom when I petitioned him online in support of a Fatima Azzaz and Mansour Al-Timani, a couple forcefully divorced in abstentia, based on allegations of 'tribally incompatibility', lodged by male 'guardian' family members. Nearly five years later the lower court decision was overturned and the couple reunited, however, it remains a travesty of justice that the initial court decision was granted and this family torn apart by a 'judicial system' in dire need of reform. And yet today, there remain cases such as that of Nathalie Morin, and many more, held against their will; virtual prisoners of fractured judicial system.
"President Obama, MWA stands in solidarity with Muslims for Progressive Values and the Comit´e de Soutien `a Nathalie Morin, in declaring to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the U.S. Government, that Americans are demanding the release of Nathalie Morin and her children, as well as any other foreign nationals involuntarily held captive by their 'male guardians'. We further call for their immediate release and safe passage to their countries immediately, in respect for the human rights that you spoke so eloquently of in Cairo; to quote you, 'these are not just American ideas; they are human rights. And that is why we will support them everywhere'."

MWA's support of guardianship reform within the Kingdom was cited in the 2008 Human Rights Watch report titled, "Perpetual Minors: Human Rights Abuses Stemming from Male Guardianship and Sex Segregation in Saudi Arabia".