Egypt: Secularists unite to take on Islamists
CAIRO, May 21, 2011 (IPS) - Liberal and secular Egyptians at the core of mass protests that toppled the regime of Hosni Mubarak are scrambling to form a unified political front ahead of critical parliamentary elections in which they will face the better-organised Islamists.
"Time is short, and we are trying to unite the 12 million protesters who took to the streets to topple the old regime," says Gameela Ismail, co-founder of the Madaneya movement to protect Egypt’s civil state. "We welcome all the revolution’s various political forces, but we are against anyone who would bring religion into politics."
Kyrgyzstan: Bride Kidnapping - A Tradition Or A Crime?
Some 200 people took to the streets in a northern Kyrgyz province earlier this week to protest the longstanding practice of bride kidnapping.
The custom -- in which single young men kidnap their bride of choice and pressure them to agree to marriage -- is not uncommon in Kyrgyzstan.
But bride kidnapping has recently come under sharp criticism in the Central Asian country after two kidnapped brides committed suicide in a matter of months.
Saudi Arabia: Female Saudi doctor appeals to top court for right to choose a husband
Samia fled to a women's shelter rather than be forced by her male relatives to marry a less educated cousin. Her case illustrates women's growing fight against Saudi Arabia's guardianship system.
Samia is a surgeon who, as she says, is "supposed to be a grandma by now."
Saudi Arabia: Arrest of Woman Leading Right-to-Drive Campaign
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — The government of Saudi Arabia moved swiftly to extinguish a budding protest movement of women claiming the right to drive, a campaign inspired by uprisings across the Arab world demanding new freedoms but at risk Monday of foundering.
Manal al-Sharif, 32, one of the campaign organizers, was detained Sunday in the eastern city of Dammam for up to five days on charges of disturbing public order and inciting public opinion by twice driving in a bid to press her cause, said her lawyer, Adnan al-Saleh.
Saudi Arabia: Free Woman Who Dared to Drive
(Beirut) - King Abdullah should immediately order the release of Manal al-Sharif, who was arrested on the morning of May 22, 2011, after she defied the kingdom's de facto ban on driving by women, Human Rights Watch said today.
She had posted a video on YouTube showing herself behind the wheel and describing the inconveniences not being able to drive causes women. Prosecutors charged al-Sharif with besmirching the kingdom's reputation abroad and stirring up public opinion, according to Saudi press reports. King Abdullah should lift the de facto ban, Human Rights Watch said.
Child Marriage: Barrier to girls' empowerment
An adolescent girl living in poverty could be the most powerful person in the world. If she is reached early enough, she can accelerate economies, arrest major global health issues and break cycles of poverty.
When a girl gets a chance to stay in school, remain healthy, gain skills, she will marry later, have fewer and healthier children, and earn an income that she’ll invest back into her family and community. When she can grow into a woman and become an educated mother, an economic actor, an ambitious entrepreneur, or a prepared employee, she breaks the cycle of poverty. She and everyone around her benefits.
Indonesia: Government must repeal caning bylaws in Aceh
The Indonesian government must end the use of caning as a form of punishment and repeal the laws that allow it in Aceh province, Amnesty International said today after at least 21 people were publicly caned since 12 May.
In Langsa city, 14 men were caned outside the Darul Falah mosque on 19 May, following the caning of seven men a week earlier.
All 21 were found to have violated an Aceh bylaw (qanun) prohibiting gambling and were given six lashes each as hundreds of people looked on.
Yemen: Child brides, Too young to wed
Because the wedding was illegal and a secret, except to the invited guests, and because marriage rites in Rajasthan are often conducted late at night, it was well into the afternoon before the three girl brides in this dry farm settlement in the north of India began to prepare themselves for their sacred vows. They squatted side by side on the dirt, a crowd of village women holding sari cloth around them as a makeshift curtain, and poured soapy water from a metal pan over their heads.
Australia: A push for sharia
THE nation's peak Muslim group is using the Gillard government's re-embracing of multiculturalism to push for the introduction of sharia in Australia, but it says it would be a more moderate variety of Islamic law that fits with Australian values.
The Australian Federation of Islamic Councils, in a submission to a parliamentary inquiry into the government's new multiculturalism policy, argues that Muslims should enjoy "legal pluralism".
UN Women: Bachelet says ending pandemic violence against women is priority
UN Women's Executive Director Michelle Bachelet, who was formerly Chile's president, has told Today's Zaman for Monday Talk that ending pandemic violence against women is one the top priorities of the United Nations, which created UN Women in September of last year.