Afghanistan: Proposal Would Clamp Down on Women’s Shelters
KABUL, Afghanistan — After her parents threw her out of the house for refusing to marry a 52-year-old widower with five children, Sabra, 18, boarded a bus that dropped her, afraid and confused, in downtown Kabul. She slept in a mosque for days, barely eating, until a woman took pity on her and put her in touch with human rights workers, who escorted her to a women’s shelter.
That journey — terrifying enough for a young woman who had never ventured beyond the corner bazaar — would become harder still under new rules being drafted by the Afghan government that women’s advocates say will deter the most vulnerable women and girls from seeking refuge and are placing shelters under siege.
Saudi Arabia: Away from the cities, women take to the roads
JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia -- Whenever Hawazen Ebrahim’s family spends an evening picnicking in the desert outside of Medina, it’s her job to jump into the car and drive to the nearest village to load up on extra supplies. During the week, she is responsible for taking the kids to school and picking them up each day.
Indonesia: Activists Criticize Clerics Over Dress Code
The Network for Civil Society Concerned with Sharia (JMSPS) in Aceh has criticized clerics and asked them not to overly interfere in enforcing the Muslim dress code, especially for Muslim women in the province.
“Aceh clerics should not stunt their important position by dealing with trivial matters related to the daily lives of Aceh residents,” said Hendra Fadli from the Aceh Legal Aid Institute (LBH).
The Aceh LBH is one of 15 NGOs affiliated with the JMSPS in Aceh.
Indonesia: Clerics ban Valentine's Day
The Indonesia Council of Ulema has made its annual — and regularly ignored — call for Muslims to avoid celebrating Saint Valentine’s Day on Monday.
Roza’i Akbar, head of the Dumai, Riau, branch of the council, also known as MUI, said Valentine’s Day — an annual celebration of love — was a Western occasion and not permitted (haram) under Islam.
Roza’i said the celebration was inappropriate as it was identified with pre-marital relationships among teenagers.
USA: If abortion isn't healthcare, what is it?
Congressman Chris Smith (Republican, New Jersey) introduced his party’s third highest priority for the new congress, , or “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act” with a puzzling statement: “Abortion is not health care.”(Congressional Record, Vol. 157, No. 8). Just what is it then? I guess he would call it a sin and try to outlaw it. Perhaps Mr. Smith, and his Democratic partner on this bill Congressman Dan Lipinski know something the rest of us do not. I doubt it. Resorting to their Catholic beliefs this time just doesn’t cut it.
Iraq: Toying with polygamy as solution for war widows
Years of conflict in Iraq have left the country with more than one million war widows and a shortage of young unmarried men - pressures that may be bringing about the return of polygamy.
Hanan lost eight members of her family in the war, including her husband, and was left to bring up three children alone.
The experience has not broken her. She continues to work as a hairdresser in her noisy and lively home on Haifa Street in Baghdad.
Egypt: Beware of wave of rights
It behoves on governments and their religious apparatus to watch current developments in the Arab world closely.
I went to Egypt for the first time in 1981 and promptly fell in love with the country and its people. Until then, I thought I had never encountered the same warmth, generosity and hospitality as Malaysians had to offer.
And there, everyone, including strangers you just met, wanted you to visit their home, their farm, their village. They were proud of their history and their country – and wanted to feed you endlessly.
Islam’s religious pluralism in context
The question of whether Islam accepts religious pluralism depends on an understanding of the term and hinges on the Quranic verses, writes Mohamad Hashim Kamali.
THE current debate as to whether Islam accepts religious pluralism as opposed to mere religious plurality calls for further reflection. Much would depend, it seems, on how one understands religious pluralism and then the three Quranic verses that characterise Islam.
Indonesia: Sisters in Islam (SIS) denounces controversial plans to “check” sinful activities of youth
PETALING JAYA: Sisters in Islam (SIS) has hit out at PAS Youth over its controversial plans to “check” sinful activities and play the moral police on Valentine’s Day.
Its media and communications senior programme officer, Yasmin Masidi, said moral policing was against Islamic values and fundamental liberties.
She added: “It violates personal dignity and privacy, which is forbidden in the Quran and Hadith.”
International: UN Intensifies Campaign Against Female Genital Mutilation
UNITED NATIONS, Feb 7, 2011 (IPS) - The United Nations is intensifying its global campaign to eliminate one of the most widely-condemned religious and cultural rituals in the world today, mostly in Africa and Asia: female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C).
The joint efforts by two U.N. agencies - the U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA) and the U.N. children's agency UNICEF - have resulted in over 6,000 communities abandoning the physically-harmful practice in countries such as Ethiopia, Egypt, Kenya, Senegal, Burkina Faso, the Gambia, Guinea and Somalia.