[fund] resisting fundamentalisms

Egyptian feminist writer and activist Nawal El Saadawi on her country's long-awaited revolution and why Egypt still has a long way to go. Watch the video at the Guardian: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/video/2011/jul/25/nawal-el-saadawi-revolution-video.

"My concern is the Toronto District School Board (is) using tax money to tell girls that they are second-class citizens," Tarek Fatah, founder of the Muslim Canadian Congress, told the Toronto Sun. He's talking about the District's decision to allow a Muslim Friday prayer session in the Valley Park Middle School cafeteria, where it forces girls to sit behind the boys, and sends menstruating girls to the back where they can only listen, but not participate.


Two more ’punitive’ actions against women have taken place in less than one month in the southern city of M’sila, Algeria (night of June 11 and July 2-3, 2011). Their houses were burnt down by hundreds of youth, and they barely escaped being lynched. The police did not intervene. This is not the first time similar events take place (see background information below). Since the 80s, there were not just attacks on individual women but real pogroms against working women, living with or without their children, but definitely without the male guardians (wali) that the Family Code still prescribes for women. Sign the petition here.

The freedom to drive is rarely considered a human right, or even a subject worthy of a heated discussion; however, in Saudi Arabia this normal daily activity has been the source of mass debate amongst the population because it happens to be the only country in the world which prohibits women from driving. On Friday 17th of June, approximately 45 women decided to defy the driving ban by driving in cities across the country. They also documented their defiant actions by taking videos and pictures and posting these online. The campaign called Women 2 Drive (W2D) and was launched via the internet - through social media sites such as twitter, youtube and facebook - by a group of Saudi Arabian women. W2D encourages women with an international driving license to use their right to drive, and to do so in the cities where they can be publically seen to be defying the ban.

Comme toutes les autres religions, l’islam doit prendre conscience d’un fait capital : pour survivre dans le monde moderne, il doit se justifier d’un point de vue universel. Seul ce point de vue rend une idée ou une proposition acceptable par tous, en tant que moralement supérieure. L’auteur s’interroge sur une conception moderne des droits de l’homme existant dans l’islam.

The establishment of the Republic of South Sudan came with high hopes that it might improve the lives of women there. But women’s rights activists in the country left behind–the mostly Muslim Sudan–are bracing for a battle against an escalation of Islamic fundamentalist law. Following South Sudan’s independence, its neighbor to the north, Sudan, is left in the hands of the widely-acknowledged-to-be-corruptNational Congress Party. President Omar al-Bashir, who took power in a 1989 military coup, was criticized for introducing Sharia law (based upon patriarchal interpretations of the Koran) in 1991, in a move that was opposed by the country’s Christian and Animist population. 

This week’s FirstCast features Shehrbano Taseer, the daughter of Salmaan Taseer who was assassinated for publicly condemning the misuse of blasphemy laws in Pakistan. She is continuing her father’s work and has become an international voice for the victims of extremism and religious intolerance. Shehrbano has been speaking out against the forces that killed her father and against laws that persecute in the name of religion. Follow the link to listen to the podcast.

The demand for equal religious, gender and other treatment for all Lebanese citizens has gained pace with some saying the time has come to review laws that confer inequality, especially on women. “As a women, I am not equal to my brother, husband or male friend," Rita Chemaly, a researcher and women’s activist in the capital Beirut, said. "My state doesn’t guarantee my rights. The constitution says that all Lebanese are equal, yet the laws do not [guarantee this]."

مضى أكثر من ست سنوات ولم نشهد من حينها بحثاً أو مراجعة للموقف الشرعي من قضية قيادة المرأة السيارة! على رغم الضرورة والحاجة الملحة في مراجعة وإيضاح الموقف الشرعي والتي كان من المفترض أيضاً أن تكون سابقة لذلك الوقت، ولعلي أشير هنا إلى ما ذكره مدير إدارة البحوث والدراسات في مجلس الشورى الدكتور حمد العسعوس حين قال: كنا في زيارة لبلجيكا بمعية وفد من مجلس الشورى برئاسة رئيس مجلس الشورى آنذاك وعضو هيئة كبار العلماء الشيخ محمد بن جبير - رحمه الله – وأثيرت قضية قيادة المرأة السعودية السيارة، وحينها اندفع أحد أعضاء المجلس ضد مبدأ قيادة المرأة، وبرر موقفه بأن هناك فتوى صادرة من هيئة كبار العلماء بتحريم قيادة المرأة السيارة، فرد عليه الشيخ ابن جبير قائلاً: فتوى التحريم لم تصدر عن هيئة كبار العلماء. وإنما أصدرها عالم واحد، وكانت عبارة عن ردة فعل للمظاهرة التي حدثت في الرياض وأضاف قائلاً بأن ركوب المرأة بمفردها مع السائق الأجنبي أخطر عليها من قيادتها السيارة بنفسها».

Cheikh Adel est entouré de plusieurs dizaines de personnes, parmi elles des enfants, auxquelles il donne cet après-midi un cours sur ce qui est permis et ce qui  ne l’est pas dans l’usage du texte coranique. Cette séance soft, tenue dans la mosquée Awn Allah, dans l’arrondissement At’tadhamoun, prépare un autre cours donné entre les prières du maghreb et d’el îcha par cheikh Ahcen. Ce dernier, qui prétend avoir fait les guerres d’Afghanistan et du Soudan, prêche depuis des mois dans cette mosquée et consacre ses enseignements à convaincre son auditoire de la guerre nécessaire entre, selon sa vision, les croyants (ceux à l’intérieur de la mosquée) et les impies (ceux à l’extérieur de la mosquée).

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