News and Views by Region
Jordan: Interview with Leila Hammarneh - "Women's Rights Are Now On the Table"
Leila Hammarneh is the Project Director of Arab Women Organization, Jordan, and a member of the Coalition Equality without reservation.
What is your perspective on the ongoing events throughout the region? What do you think are the potential implications for women’s rights?
I consider what happened in Tunisia then in Egypt, and the impact these events have had on other Arab countries, as a step forward for women’s rights. I think that especially in Egypt the revolution clarified that women and men stand side by side. They stood together in protest for 18 days in Tahrir square in Cairo. They were calling for freedom and social justice.
Canada: New insights on 'honour killings' in report by Ontario police
The phrase “honour killing” is a misnomer that should be shunned because it emphasizes a twisted rationale for murder rather than the murder itself, and even in Canada the notion has spawned instances of judicial leniency toward the killer, a landmark report on domestic violence among South Asian immigrants concludes.
The report, released Thursday at Toronto Police headquarters, cites numerous other factors as explanations as to why Ontario’s justice system sometimes falls short in addressing family violence – which overwhelmingly means violence toward women and the elderly – among the province’s largest visible-minority group:
Canada/USA: Investigation of Cross-Border Underage Polygamous Marriages
VANCOUVER — The RCMP is preparing to head to Texas to look for more than two dozen brides from Bountiful, B.C., who were allegedly sent across the border as teens to marry older men, including a polygamous leader now facing a life sentence for sexually assaulting two teenage girls.
The Mounties launched a new criminal investigation into Bountiful earlier this year after a constitutional case examining Canada's anti-polygamy law heard allegations of cross-border marriages in the 1990s and early 2000s.
B.C. Supreme Court heard that more than two dozen girls were sent to the United States to marry older men, while several American girls were married to Canadians.
Time To Lead: Islam in Canada
This summer, thousands of people will become new Canadian citizens. Many of them will be Muslims. They have come to Canada from every corner of the globe and, like my parents did 24 years ago, they will make this peaceful, progressive nation their home.
My parents left behind Pakistan and chose Canada for the same reasons many other Muslim immigrants came here 20, 30 or 40 years ago: for democracy, freedom, stability and modernity.
And herein lies a common misconception amongst “mainstream” Canadians: They’re convinced that, in the average Muslim household, it’s the parent who represents conservatism and tradition, and the Canadian-born children who are modern and fighting against this oppression. This is a falsehood.
USA: Women have abortions whatever their religion
We are in the midst of very painful debates in Congress over family planning and abortion care. It’s time to catch our breath, step back and take a broader perspective. There’s an ongoing search for “common ground” on abortion, dreams of reaching an agreement that, once and for all, satisfies everyone involved. For those seeking this elusive “common ground,” a recently released Guttmacher Institute holds the key.
The study finds that women of a wide range of faiths have abortions, even when the “official” faith teachings are opposed. So it’s time to stop pretending and get one step closer to our “common ground”—the abortion will happen.
United States: Muslim clerics sign up for evolution
The Imam Letter, launched this week in the US, is the latest challenge to Creationists of the three Abrahamic religions who reject evolution in favour of Creationism.
Creationism is the religious belief that all species were created in exactly the form they appear today.
Biological evolution is a scientific theory which posits that modern species have undergone major changes over time and can be traced back to earlier species from which they descended.
USA: Catholic Bishops' Attack on Book Concerns Scholars
Is God male? The Old Testament uses the masculine pronoun to describe him. Jesus refers to the divinity as Father. So does that make the creator a masculine force — and mean that men are more godlike than women?
These are questions that theologians like Sister Elizabeth A. Johnson, a professor, have been mulling for years. At 69, Sister Johnson is among the pioneers of a generation of feminist scholars who examine how cultural biases among biblical scribes may have led to women’s diminished roles in Western religious traditions, especially the .
Canada: Few disagree that polygamy can cause harm
After more than two months of hearing evidence on polygamy, there’s no one in the Vancouver courtroom who disagrees that the practice can be harmful.
The most disturbing evidence the B.C. government presented is that as many as 31 under-aged girls — the youngest only 12 and 13 — were trafficked by their fathers and brothers between the fundamentalist Mormon communities in Bountiful, B.C. and the United States.
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.
USA: The Tea Party and the new right-wing Christian feminism
Why have American women become so active in the right wing Tea Party movement? Could it be that they are drawn to the new conservative Christian feminism publicized by Sarah Palin? Without its grassroots female supporters, the Tea Party would have far less appeal to voters who are frightened by economic insecurity, threats to moral purity and the gradual disappearance of a national white Christian culture.