January 2011

Chechnya, Russia: Islamic Religious Ideology Impacts Women

Publication Date: 
January 21, 2011

AWID speaks with a women’s rights activist in Chechnya about the growing use of religious ideology to threaten, control and attack women there.

In the summer of 2008, Europe’s largest mosque to date was erected in Grozny, Chechnya, a federal republic within Russia. Two years earlier, the land where the USD$20 million mosque was built saw intense conflict between Chechen and Russian military forces. At the mosque’s opening, the Kremlin-appointed President of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadirov declared his loyalty to both Moscow and “traditional Islam.”


Update: Iran: Shiva Nazar Ahari’s Four Year Sentence Is Final, Says Lawyer

Publication Date: 
January 11, 2011
International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran

While various media have published news of an appeals court’s ruling of four years in prison and 74 lashes for human rights activist Shiva Nazar Ahari, her lawyer, Mohammad Sharif has not yet been served with the ruling.  ”I have not yet been officially served with the verdict, and unfortunately, the news was publicized in the media without my knowledge. I learned about the ruling through the press, too,” he said.

Cameroon: Attacks and Arrests on basis of Orientation

Publication Date: 
November 4, 2010

Government Should Decriminalize Consensual Activity, Protect LGBT Rights

 (Yaoundé, November 4, 2010) – Cameroonians are attacked by police, politicians, the media, and even their own communities if they are suspected of having sexual relations with a person of the same sex, four human rights organizations said in a joint report released today.

Pakistan: clerics say anyone who mourns murdered politician is a “blasphemer” and will suffer the same fate

Publication Date: 
January 7, 2011
National Secular Society
Salmaan Taseer: Governor of the Punjab region, murdered this week for opposing the country’s blasphemy law

More than 500 Muslim clerics in Pakistan have said that anyone who mourns the murder of Salmaan Taseer, the Governor of the Punjab region who was murdered for opposing the country’s blasphemy law, will suffer the same fate. They also praised the “courage and zeal” of Taseer’s killer, saying his action has made Muslims around the world proud.

Religious Divorce Dispute Leads to Secular Protest

Publication Date: 
January 3, 2011
The New York Times
Rabbi Jeremy Stern leading a protest to pressure Aharon Friedman to give his wife a religious divorce

This should have been a good New Year’s for Aharon Friedman, a 34-year-old tax counsel for the Republicans on the . He spent time with his 3-year-old daughter, and could have been thinking about the influence he will have starting Wednesday, when his boss, of Michigan, becomes chairman of the powerful tax-writing committee.

Afghanistan: Violence and tradition keep millions of Afghans from school

Publication Date: 
January 1, 2011
Alert Net / Reuters
This photo shows Afghan schoolgirls reading at a primary school on the outskirts of Bamiyan. REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra

KABUL, Jan 1 (Reuters) - Worsening security and enduring conservative Islamic customs prevented almost five million Afghan children from going to school in 2010, a government official said on Saturday.

The strict Islamist Taliban were ousted from power by U.S.-backed Afghan forces nearly a decade ago, but many women are still not able to work outside the home and girls are prevented from attending school in remote parts of the country.

Muslim Women Unite Against Sexual Violence

Publication Date: 
November 19, 2010
[Jamel Arfaoui] A Tunis forum was among the "One Day, One Struggle" global campaign events on November 9th.

A major grassroots campaign recently called international attention to the underreported issues of sexual harassment and assault against women in Muslim states.

Scores of women's organisations from Africa, Europe, the Middle East and Asia joined forces last week for a sensational campaign led by the Coalition for Sexual and Bodily Rights in Muslim Societies (CSBR).

Pakistan: Alarming development - Shariat Court Challenges Protection of Women Act

Publication Date: 
December 23, 2010
Asian Human Rights Comission

Statement by the Asian Human Rights Commission  - December 23, 2010

On 22 December 2010, after three years and four petitions, the Federal Shariat Court (FSC) of Pakistan declared several critical clauses of the Protection of Women (Criminal Laws Amendment) Act of 2006 unconstitutional. In place of this act that created protections for women, the FSC supports the reinstatement of the Hudood Ordinances VII of 1979, which were used to discriminate against, falsely convict and imprison, and otherwise destroy the lives of hundreds of women.

Zambia: Marriage of Young Girls a Tradition - Risks, Rights

Publication Date: 
December 20, 2010
A young mother bathes her baby in Luapula Province, northern Zambia. Photo: Nebert Mulenga/IRIN

MANSA, 20 December 2010 (IRIN) - The minimum legal age for marriage in Zambia is 18, and parental consent is required if a girl or boy is 16-17. Anyone under 16 is a minor, and defilement of a minor is a serious offence, punishable by imprisonment of up to 25 years.

Iran Special: A Plea to Western Media About "Sakineh", Political Prisoners, and Human Rights (Alinejad)

Publication Date: 
December 22, 2010
Enduring America
Iran Prison

Sakineh Ashtiani is a 43-year-old Iranian woman who has been under threat of death by stoning since 2007 on charges adultery and complicity in murder. Over the last year, her cause has been taken up in the "West" by politicians, human rights activists, film stars, and musicians. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicholas Sarkozy have made statements demanding her release. The European Council passed a resolution condemning the stoning sentence. Ashtiani's face adorns the front pages of newspapers across Europe, who report every twist and turn of her case.