Middle East: Women and the Revolution

Publication Date: 
March 25, 2011
Gulf Times

Among the most prevalent Western stereotypes about Muslim countries are those concerning Muslim women: doe-eyed, veiled, and submissive, exotically silent, gauzy inhabitants of imagined harems, closeted behind rigid gender roles. So where were these women in Tunisia and Egypt?

Shirin Ebadi: who defines Islam?

Publication Date: 
March 21, 2011
Shirin Ebadi

"Egyptian women are lucky in one way. They have witnessed the predicament of Iranian women and seen how the Islamic state has hijacked the Iranian revolution, changed the laws and reversed women’s gains. My advice to Egyptian women is “do not give way to a government that would force you to choose between your rights and Islam”. I believe that Iran was a lesson for the women in the entire region". Shirin Ebadi in conversation with Deniz Kandiyoti

Zainah Anwar - In search of what Islam really says

Publication Date: 
March 8, 2011
The Star
The Quran, as the word of God, shows that Islam is a religion that treats both men and women with kindness, love and compassion.

The nation’s leading Muslim feminist activist explains what drove her to open the Quran and search for answers to what it means to be Muslim and feminist.

I AM an eternal optimist. I cannot believe that anyone would not want a world where everyone is treated as a human being of equal worth and dignity. I don’t understand why this should be a problem. I don’t understand how anyone can use God to justify injustice and oppression of half of the human race. And yet, religion, be it Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, is often used to justify discrimination against women.

Middle East: Growth of Social Networking Media

Publication Date: 
March 15, 2011
Khaleej Times

"The freedom conferred by anonymity encouraged Saudi Arabia women to embrace the Internet. Since more than half of Saudi blogs are reportedly written by women, gender issues are regularly addressed."

For more than 30 years, the subject of political reform in most of the Middle East was largely a part of covert debates. In little more than 30 days, however, it has forcibly entered the realm of the overt.

UN Human Rights Council: A Stunning Development Against Violence

Publication Date: 
March 22, 2011

Unprecedented Support for Statement
on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity<--break-> 

 (March 22, 2011) In a stunning development for the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva, today, Colombia delivered a Joint Statement during General Debate (Agenda Item 8 – Follow-up and implementation of the Vienna Declaration and Program of Action) that called on States to end violence, criminal sanctions and related human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity, and urged the Human Rights Council to address these important human rights issues. The statement was delivered on behalf of a broad grouping of 85 States from all regions of the world.

Child Brides Often Stop Education & Continue Poverty

Publication Date: 
February 28, 2011
The Economist

In South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa 38% of women marry before they are 18 years old. Child marriages, as defined by UNICEF, the United Nations’ children’s agency, are those undertaken by women under the age of 18 and include unions where a woman and a man live together as if they were married.

The rightful place of gender equality within Islam

Publication Date: 
February 24, 2011

An animated discussion is taking place about the relationship between Islam and equality and justice in the context of women’s human rights. How will the democratic uprisings sweeping across the Arab world affect this conversation?

‘Women in the 57 Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) member states should be respected, developed, empowered, considered full active participants in social, political, cultural and economic spheres’ says the , adopted in 2008. 

Egypt: Beware of wave of rights

Publication Date: 
February 6, 2011
The Star Online

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

Publication Date: 
February 8, 2011
New Straits Times

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.

International: UN Intensifies Campaign Against Female Genital Mutilation

Publication Date: 
February 7, 2011

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.