Monthly Archives: December 2011

But They Still Can’t Drive a Car

There’s great news from Saudi Arabia, desert land of the sword and crescent.

Women in Saudi Arabia will not need a male guardian’s approval to run or vote in municipal elections in 2015, when women will also run for office for the first time, a Saudi official said.

The change signifies a step forward in easing the kingdom’s restrictions against women, but it falls far short of what some Saudi reformers are calling for.[…]

Despite the historic decision by the king to allow women the right to participate in the country’s only open elections, male guardian laws in Saudi Arabia remain largely unchanged. Women cannot travel, work, study abroad, marry, get divorced or gain admittance to a public hospital without permission from a male guardian. […]

The male guardianship laws are particularly stifling for women, Saudi female activist Wajeha al-Hawidar said. “These laws make the woman like a child in all aspects of her life. She is not dealt with as an adult with a fully developed brain,” al-Hawidar said.

The restrictions are practically all-encompassing. Saudi women cannot study abroad unless a male guardian approves and accompanies them throughout their studies. Government-run hospitals are allowed to perform surgery on women only with approval from a male guardian, except in emergencies. Male guardians in Saudi Arabia are allowed to remove their daughters or sisters from school at any time. In the case that a father, uncle or brother is not available, mothers turn to their sons for approval to work or travel.

Read the rest: Saudi Women to Run in Local Elections without Male Guardian Permission

It’s Sunna according to hadith  of Bukhari and Muslim that women can’t make trips longer than two days with out the accompaniment of a male family member.

Okay, but what about zipping out to the grocery store or to the mall to go shopping or to the coffee shop to meet a friend (another female, or course)? It turns out the Saudis want their wives to emulate the wives of Mohammed he is the pattern for all men. And here’s what the Koran 33:32-33 says about their behavior:

O wives of the Prophet! You are not like any other women. If you keep your duty (to Allah), then be not soft in speech, lest he in whose heart is a disease (of hypocrisy, or evil desire for adultery, etc.) should be moved with desire, but speak in an honourable manner.

And stay in your houses, and do not display yourselves like that of the times of ignorance, and perform As-Salat (Iqamat-as-Salat), and give Zakat and obey Allah and His Messenger. Allah wishes only to remove Ar-Rijs (evil deeds and sins, etc.) from you, O members of the family (of the Prophet ), and to purify you with a thorough purification.

Here’s what Rania al-Baz, the newsperson in Saudi Arabia who was beaten almost to death by her husband, said about the lack of rights in this misogynistic primitive culture.

“The structure of [Arabian] society – the fact that a woman cannot drive or travel without authorization, for example, gives a special sense of strength to the man. And this strength is directly connected to the violence. It creates a sense of immunity; that he can do whatever he wants, without sanction.”

Of course this sanction is from Islam. HERE’s  a summation, taken from the Koran and Sunna, of the differences between the genders in this complete ideology of culture, religion and politics.

But don’t give up on the Saudi women. They can be pistols. So I hope in my lifetime to see pictures of them driving down the road talking and laughing, heading to the coffee shop for a simple pleasure of life.

“War on Muslim Women and Girls”

Vlad Tepes  brings us an interview about honor killings of young girls with Ezra Levant and Aruna Papp, who dares not utter the “Islam” word.
But make no mistake, Aruna is a stand-up kind of woman who has worked tirelessly to educate the Canadians about the abuse of women and honor killings and has achieved much success.

Here’s an excerpt from one of her articles:


Past July, Rona Ambrose, the Minister Responsible for the Status of Women publically endorsed my latest report, sponsored by the Frontier Centre for Public Policy, “Culturally Driven Violence Against Women.”

Given past experience, I was prepared for an avalanche of backlash and hate mail. But I was pleasantly surprised. This time around the feedback came from around the world, not just Canada. Ninety percent of the Canadian calls were from parents whose daughters were living in abusive in-law situations, feeling threatened by demands for more dowry, for a common example, and in general too intimidated to speak out for themselves.

The largest response came from young girls and service providers who shared their personal stories of culturally-driven abuse, and expressed gratitude for my exposure of the subject.


Read the rest: Honor Killings

Asma Marwan



“Rights Can’t Flower in an Arab Spring”


Thank goodness for Ida Lichter. She’s a feminist (one of the few) who writes about women in Islam and beats the drum for them and their lack of human rights. Here are excerpts from her recent article about the Arab Spring.


The swing toward Islamism in the Arab Spring is deeply disturbing for liberal Egyptian women who see the country’s election captured by religious parties that could strangle women’s rights.


So far, the Arab Spring has not yielded reforms that promote women’s rights. In Egypt, women were not invited to join a committee preparing amendments to the constitution, and many who rallied in Tahrir Square to celebrate International Women’s Day in March were subjected by soldiers to humiliating “virginity tests“. Recently, an Egyptian court ruled such tests were illegal.


Read the rest of the article: “Rights Can’t Flower in Arab Spring”

Muslim Feminists Speak

Here is the voice of a Muslim woman:

Islam is a pure faith, with the Holy text guiding us to live a good life. But that text is now lost under the thinly-veiled abuse of men who have interpreted it to what they want it to mean. Islam no longer exists in its pure form. It has been bastardised in order to wage war on others, and specifically women.

Basically, Islam does not exist anymore, except in the hearts of very few people. The ruling majority in Islamic states are not true Muslims. They are corrupt dictators who use and abuse the Holy text to get what they want, including multiple wives, sex and an excuse to abuse the women in their family.

Islamic law is on the side of men. That is a fact.

Here  is a web page portal to most of the major Muslim feminist organizations. Many sites no longer exist, but there are many that are functioning and represent an activist presence in their communities.


Here is Equality Now, a great organization fighting the oppression of women that is not afraid to address injustice under Islam.


Here are my heartfelt questions.

Why don’t we hear more about this organization and why is it not more high profile in the news? Why are the feminist organizations not more vocal about the oppression of women in Islamic countries? Where are the liberals, the left, the sanctimonious women’s libbers, the political activists who scorn the religious bourgeoisie? Why are they not standing up for their counterparts in the Islamic World? Do they cower in a corner, afraid of the bullying CAIR reps and scorn from their fellow travelers who might shun them for speaking out?

Iranian Government Approved Apparel

In the Islamic republic of Iran, the law requires women to cover their hair and bodies in public. But how to do so remains up to them, and the result is persistent confusion in the streets.

Though leading Shiite Muslim clerics advise women to wear chadors — the traditional head-to-toe cloak, usually black — Iran’s urban fashionistas increasingly prefer tight-fitting coats and scant head scarves.

Now, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is stepping into the dispute. He wants to settle it by promoting government-approved apparel for women, garments intended to introduce an array of clothes that are “Islamic and beautiful” at the same time.

Hard-liners are not amused. They say that the new designs encourage “Western values.” But at a recent government-sponsored fashion show, young women and their mothers gazed approvingly at the plastic mannequins showcasing the new coats and scarves.

Read the rest: Ahmadinejad steps into Iran’s dress-code debate.

“Justice for Women in Pakistan – Too Little and Too Slow”

Steps to improve women's rights in Pakistan and to fight honor violence are not enoughFrom a commentary on the gender equality laws recently passed in Pakistan by Tanveer Jahan:

This month, both Houses of parliament unanimously passed two bills to further bolster legal protection for Pakistani women against nefarious practices, denoting gender-based discrimination in society. The first bill has increased the punishment of acid attacks against women to a minimum sentence of 14 years that could extend to life imprisonment, besides a mandatory fine of Rs 1 million. The second law mandates a minimum prison sentence of three years for forcing a woman to marry, including marriages contrived to settle tribal feuds, five years for preventing a woman from inheriting property and three years for a practice known as ‘marriage to the Holy Quran’.

The significance of the legislation cannot be overstated as more than 8,000 acid attacks, forced marriages and other forms of violence against women were reported during 2010 alone. The World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report (2011) placed Pakistan at third from the bottom with only Chad and Yemen lagging behind Pakistan. The report encompassed the magnitude of gender-based disparities in sectors like health and education.

Read the rest: Justice for women: too little and too slow

Cool Turkish Women Like the Koran and Elvis Too

Roger Friedland has written a peculiar piece in the Huffington Post titled, Muslim Lite: Women, Islam and the Turkish Way. Much of the article concerns women in Turkey who voluntarily Islamacize themselves and welcome the return to stricter ideological rules enforced by peer pressure. These women are admired by Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan, a pious and more militant Muslim, who has been quoted saying:

The mosques are our barracks
The domes our helmets
The minarets our bayonets
And the faithful our soldiers.

Roger and his co-writers romanticize the wearing of hijab headscarf as a political action and laud the idealism of the young women (and men) who think that “Islam is the answer” to the cultural and economic power of the secular West and its relentless modernity.

As elsewhere in the Muslim world, many of these [Turkish] young people were looking for the way, for the “pure” Islam that would redeem their honor and their value in a secularizing state that disparaged them. They had grown up with people looking down on their newcomer parents as irtijah, “backward” or “reactionary,” as coarse and uncultivated. It was these young women who started showing up at school wearing headscarves. It offered them a way to move in the anonymous metropole jostling with strange men. Their chic, silk headscarves marked them as women who, unlike their mothers, had chosen their modesty. They were modern and on the way up. They refused the traditional binaries of the Republican state: Religious girls could be modern, too.

Continue reading

Egyptian Women Protest Update


Women in Burkas at Egyptian protest

Photo credit:

Thousands of Egyptians rallied in Cairo and other cities on Friday to demand the military give up power and vent their anger after 17 people were killed in protests where troops beat and clubbed women and men even as they lay on the ground.

One image in particular from the five days of clashes that ended this week has stoked their fury: that of soldiers dragging a woman lying on the street so that her bra and torso were exposed, while clubbing and stamping on her.

Demonstrators in Tahrir chanted, “Down with military rule.” Nearby, new concrete walls bar access from Tahrir to the cabinet, parliament and Interior Ministry, areas where clashes flared in November and December. The November death toll was 42.

By early afternoon, the Tahrir protest was still relatively modest compared to some of the huge rallies since Mubarak’s ouster.

In the northern city of Alexandria, thousands marched towards an army base chanting: “Women of Egypt raise your heads, you are more noble than those who stamp on you.” Other small rallies to protest the treatment of women were staged in other cities around Egypt, according to witnesses.

Read who was and wasn’t at the protest and more details HERE.

FYI: Here’s a discussion from 2007 by Egyptian women about wearing the hijab. Now, in the waning days of 20011, many, many Egyptian women wear the burka.

Honor Killings in Pakistan, a “Pervasive Violence”

Honor killing epidemic in Pakistan


At least 675 Pakistani women and girls were murdered during the first nine months of 2011 for allegedly defaming their family’s honor, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan report said Tuesday.

“A total of 675 women and girls were killed in the name of honor across Pakistan from January to September,” a senior official with the commission told the AFP. “They included at least 71 victims under the age of 18.”

“According to the report around 450 of the women killed from January to September were accused of having ‘illicit relations’ and 129 of marrying without permission,” the official explained.

“Some victims were raped or gang raped before being killed, he said. At least 19 were killed by their sons, 49 by their fathers and 169 by their husbands,” he added.

The report underscores the pervasive violence against women in conservative Muslim Pakistan, where there are no domestic violence laws and authorities faced with ‘honor killings’ prefer to leave such matters in the hands of local elders.

Read the rest HERE.