[fund] resisting fundamentalisms

Les expéditions punitives contre les femmes continuent… Encore une fois, des femmes sont lynchées ! Après Hassi Messaoud, M’sila, où en l’espace de deux mois (El Watan du 5 juillet 2011), des hommes «honorables» s’en prennent à des femmes sans défense considérées par eux comme «des femmes de mauvaises mœurs» ! Nous nous élevons fermement pour condamner vivement les agressions dont sont, de plus en plus, victimes les femmes algériennes.

Dozens of people par0ticipated Saturday in a sit-in in the center of Tunis to warn against "fundamentalism, extremism and violence", AFP noted. Gathered on the steps of the City Theatre, the participants came following calls on social networks, waving placards saying "no to violence, yes to tolerance," "against any religious extremism", "No to Algeria of the 90s."

L'attaque récente par des salafistes d'un cinéma de Tunis a catalysé les craintes dans les milieux culturels et associatifs tunisiens qui s'inquiètent d'une montée de la pression islamiste et multiplient les appels à la vigilance. Dimanche dernier, une cinquantaine de militants brandissant le drapeau du parti salafiste Tahrir (non légalisé) envahissent le cinéma Afric'art pour tenter d'empêcher la projection du film de Nadia el Fani "Ni Allah, ni maître" (rebaptisé depuis d'un titre plus neutre, "Laïcité Inch Allah!").

Une fois de plus, les salafistes ont agressé des femmes. Ils ont choisi,ce matin, 28 juin,  l'hôpital  Charles  Nicolle. Il ne s'agit plus de dénoncer leurs agissements en signant des pétitions, en publiant des communiqués. Nous devons exiger la sécurité et la justice et manifester en masse devant le Ministère des affaires religieuses et - pourquoi pas?- devant les locaux des partis islamistes qui, en parents complaisants, réprimandent si gentiment leur progéniture. Comme tous les malfrats,comme tous les terroristes,  ils doivent être jugés.

There has been much furore over the formation of the Obedient Wives’ Club by a fringe Islamic group causing heated debate among women and men, alike. Ipoh Echo sought the views of two Malay Muslim women who helm a women’s rights movement here in Ipoh. Dr Sharifah Halimah Jaafar and Puan Halida Mohd Ali are from the Perak Women for Women Society. 

This is one of those cases where the authorities seem to be blaming the victim for the crime of the perpetrators. Almost 3 weeks ago, a private party in Khomeini Shahr, in Central Iran was attacked by gang members. The gang put all the men in a room, locked them in, and then raped the 12 female attendees in the party. The story quickly became a national scandal and now the authorities say they have set up a "special court"  and a "police task force" to expedite the trial of 14 men who are arrested in relation to this heinous crime.

The ASEAN Progressive Muslim Movement (APMM), a network of twenty one (21) non-governmental organizations working for the protection and promotion of women’s rights in the ASEAN region, jointly with Women Living Under Muslim Laws and the Global Campaign to Stop Violence Against Women in the name of "Culture" (Violence is not our Culture Campaign), view the recent formation of The Obedient Wives’ Club (OWC) in Malaysia as disturbing and offensive. The Syarie Lawyers Association (PGSM) in Malaysia has attacked the Club for encouraging women to fulfill their husbands' needs by being "good prostitutes". See attached APMM's statement of concern.

Since the start of the wave of uprisings that have swept the Arab world, "establishment" figures, especially women, have been celebrated as the "icons" of the revolution – symbols of its homegrown, indigenous nature. Tawakkol Karman in Yemen, and Saida Saadouni in Tunisia are examples of this fierce matriarchy. They are of the tradition, and respected more so because of it. Hijab-clad, religiously conservative and socially conventional, they reserve their rebellion for the political arena, rendering them relatively immune to accusations of immorality or harsh personal attacks.

This report is part of a WLUML three-part series on women’s rights in the context of the ‘Arab uprisings’. Next week: Syria: Debates on women’s bodily autonomy and sexual violence.


In the wake of the 25 January Revolution in Egypt, and throughout ongoing political developments, women’s and human rights organization in Egypt have been fully aware of what they have to gain – or lose. Seeking to build on women’s participation in the revolution and capitalize on a moment of immense hope and possibility, different groups have joined forces to demand greater representation for women in parliament and on national councils and committees. Their main concerns are the need both to expand women’s roles in a new, democratic Egypt and to safeguard hard-earned gains in women’s rights achieved over the past few decades.

On 29 May, proceedings brought by the prosecutor of the Press and Publications Court against Professor Omar el Gerai, a journalist and activist, and Abdallah Sheikh, the editor ofAjras Alhurria, began in Al Shemali Court in Khartoum North. The two journalists are being tried for an article published 6 March by Professor el Gerai in Ajras Alhurria entitled “Rape…under Sharia law”, (available here in Arabic). The article detailed the brutal treatment of the youth activist and Girifna member Safiya Ishag, who was raped multiple times and subjected to torture in National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) custody following her participation in the 30 January demonstrations in Khartoum. In his piece, Mr. el Gerai called for a formal investigation.

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