Tunisia: Thousands of Tunisians angered by the increasing prominence of ultra-conservative Islamists in a country only recently freed from dictatorial rule took to the streets in protest Saturday.
An AFP correspondent estimated several thousand activists, professors, artists and other demonstrators flooded the streets of the nation’s capital, including along Bourguiba Avenue, a well-known thoroughfare that became a centre for dissent during protests that led to the ouster of dictator Zine el Abidine Ben Ali a year ago.
Some in Tunisia are angry by the growing influence of radical Islamists, known as Salafists, who have dominated headlines in recent weeks. Police on Tuesday ended a weeks-long sit-in by Salafists at the university in Manouba, about 25 kilometres (15 miles) from Tunis. The Salafists were angry the university had banned the full-face Muslim veil, or niqab, over security concerns if students were concealed from head to toe.
Journalists have also suffered attacks at Salafist protests. “We are here to speak out against aggression against journalists, activists and academics,” said Ahmed Nejib Chebbi, founder of the Democratic Progressive Party. “And to tell the government that Tunisians’ hard-fought freedoms must not be compromised.”
In “The West’s Imprudent Investment in Islamist Movements”, Raghida Dergham writes in-depth about the results of the “Arab Spring” revolution in Tunisia and what it has meant for secularists and women and why there is a huge protest once again in the streets of Tunis. To the detriment of the human rights of women, the Salafists and the Muslim Brotherhood have become the two major forces for governmental power, just as they have in Egypt. Here are some excerpts from her excellent report:
In Tunisia, some find strange the prominence of the Salafists, and there are rumors of women being paid to wear the niqab and men to grow their beards. The Salafists and the Muslim Brotherhood have placed women at the forefront of their promotional and social strategy, not just with the aim of subjugating them, but also as an object of religious competition between them. They are making of women the defining feature of conservative society, dictating what they should wear, what they should study, how they should walk, and with whom they should mix. Women are in their opinion a commodity they have the right to make use of in the name of tradition. That is how their democracy is truncated and lacking – women have no civil rights, and they are second class citizens. Even in Tunisia, where the laws established by former President Habib Bourguiba are more progressive than those of any other Arab country, the laws have not yet been eliminated, but effective practices indicate that the laws are not being applied, and that fatwas are finding their way to become laws.
A Montreal couple and their son were convicted Sunday of murdering four female relatives in what the judge described as a “cold-blooded” and “heinous” crime.
Mohammad Shafia, 58, his wife Tooba Yahya, 42, and their son Hamed, 21, were each found guilty of four counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Shafia’s three teenaged daughters and his first wife.
Foreign Policy Magazine has an interview titled “Talking with the Brotherhood” with Dr. Mohammed Ghanem, the Muslim Brotherhood’s spokesman in London. Below is Mr. Ghanem’s response to questions about Egyptian women in the new government.
FP: What about the political role of women in Egypt?
MG: Women have a stronger position in the Qur’an and Islamic principles than men. If a woman is elected President in Egypt, I would not stand against it. If a woman shows the ability to run the country, why not? The Qur’an contains a story of a strong and good woman leader: Bilquis, the Queen of Sheeba. At the same time, women are not as mentally alert as men — they cannot be, because they give birth to children, look after them, suffer monthly periods, and so on. All this takes the concentration of ten men. Their mental status is not constant and they can’t have the same duties as a man.
FP: So does this mean that you think women’s political rights should be curtailed?
MG: Women should share in every aspect of life. But due to the different nature of men and women, in order to reach equality you have to allocate men and women different jobs. This is actually a condition for equality. I would never say that women should not participate in something. If they are qualified to do so, and it is legal, then they can.
A foreign woman was stripped and sexually assaulted on Wednesday evening[January 24, 2012] in Egypt’s iconic Tahrir Square, one eyewitness said on Twitter and another confirmed in an email to Bikyamasr.com.
The woman, who’s identity has not been revealed, was taken away in an ambulance after being assaulted for 10 minutes. Her husband reportedly was unable to intervene and witnessed the incident.
“I saw the woman and then dozens of men surrounded her and started grabbing her, when she screamed for help some people came, but they were hit in the face,” wrote one witness.
What happened next was “appalling,” said the trusted witness, who asked for anonymity. “The men just started tearing at her clothes and grabbing her body all over. When she fought back, they pushed her. It was chaos.”
There were unconfirmed reports that the men “violated” her with their hands.
The nationality of the woman is unknown at the current time.
And what’s in store for Egyptian women? In case you haven’t been keeping up:
The Muslim Brotherhood won by far the biggest share of seats allocated to party lists in Egypt’s first freely-elected parliament in decades, final results confirmed, giving it a major role in drafting the country’s new constitution.
Only one woman was among the appointees which is likely to further disappoint feminist groups after women won only a handful of seats in the elections. Mubarak had traditionally used the quota to boost the representation of women and Coptic Christians.
Islamists won the Egyptian elections and women have been marginalized and scarcely represented. Women won only about 8 seats, fewer than 2 percent of Egypt’s Parliament. Dalia Abdel Hamid, the gender officer at the Egyptian Initiative for Human Rights, described the results as “disastrous.” An activist who ran for Parliament, Dalia Ziada, recalls protesting in Tahrir Square with Egyptians of different beliefs, backgrounds and genders and now feels “betrayal from our companions.”
A Muslim man who raped women to ‘teach them a lesson’ for being on the streets at night was jailed indefinitely today because of the danger he poses to women.
Sunny Islam, 23, who comes from a strict Muslim family, dragged his terrified victims – including a 15-year-old – from the street at knifepoint, bound and assaulted them during a two-month reign of terror.
Police fear that Islam may have attacked many more.
Judge Patricia Lees, sentencing him to a minimum of 11 years, said: ‘The harm you have done to your victims is incalculable.
‘The nature and extent of these offences drives me to the conclusion that you represent an extreme and continuing danger to women, particularly those out at night.’
He was traced through the number plate of his girlfriend’s car after he kidnapped and raped the 15-year-old in September 2010.
He grabbed her from behind as she walked home with a friend and bundled her into the car at knifepoint before driving to a secluded spot where he raped her twice despite her claiming she was only 11 years old.
Judge Lees said: ‘You told her you were going to “teach her a lesson”, and similar things were said to the other women.
‘Those words are a chilling indictment of your very troubling attitude towards all of these victims.
‘You seem to observe women out at night as not deserving respect or protection.
Judge Lees said: ‘The fact that you have attacked these women not withstanding your background must represent your own wholly warped personality.’
So that the horrible suffering of these poor girls won’t be in vain, let us use these events as a learning opportunity. One motivator of Sunny’s “wholly warped personality” that is immediately apparent is his strict Muslim upbringing. From this we know that his family follows the Koran and the Sunnah of Mohammed. But exactly what does that mean?
These horrific words were from an Afghan immigrant father who lives in Canada, talking about the death of his three teenage daughters and their protector, his secret polygamous wife. The father, Mohammad Shafia, his son and another wife are accused of the honor killings of these female family members.
The Shafias are on trial now for these honor killings but the trial has been delay according to Macleans.
The Kingston courtroom where the trial is being held has been evacuated due to a security threat. A defence lawyer leaving the building reportedly indicated that there may have been a bomb threat, but that has not been confirmed by Kingston police. The trial, which was scheduled to hear more closing arguments from the Crown Thursday, has been delayed until 1 p.m. EST, and the three accused were taken away in a van.
Background on this Horrific Honor Killing
HERE’s the story of the Shafia case. JihadWatch has an excerpt from an article in the Canadian Press October 2011 (unavailable on-line) that reveals even more of the disgusting conversation of the Shafias discussing their dead family. There is more HERE on the Shafia case from AtlasShrugs.
HERE is a complete listing of articles by Atlas Shrugs Pam Geller who constantly crusades to expose honor killings, a travesty perpetrated on Muslim women on honor killings in the past.
The concept of vengeance is an overwhelming factor in Islamic civilization that is based on honor and shame. There are verses in the Koran that speak to exacting retribution from sinners who don’t follow the rules of the doctrine. Mohammad Shafia believed his daughters were sinners because they freely associated with males, didn’t cover up and would not obey their father. As he said, “They betrayed Islam. They betrayed our religion.”
. . . the Maldivian President, Mohamed Nasheed, conceded an emergent religious fundamentalism had changed the way women were viewed, and treated, in his country.
He said he was distressed by religious groups who campaigned for girls to be circumcised or to be kept home from school.
”We were a matriarchal society. Our inheritance, also, in the past was from women. But, with a new kind of radical Islam, the perceptions some of them have on women are not familiar to many Maldivians,” Mr Nasheed said.
Anecdotal reports suggest female circumcision is undergoing a resurgence in the Maldives, particularly on the outer islands, where local imams hold significant influence.
Shadiya Ibrahim, member of the newly formed Gender Advocacy Working Group and a long-time campaigner for women’s rights, said Maldivian society was growing more oppressive towards women.
”Being a woman is harder now. The religious Wahhabist scholars preach more forcefully than anyone else can. They have this backing of religion as a tool.
”No one can make the argument to have a more liberal, a more positive attitude towards women. Day by day, it is becoming harder for women to live in this country,” she said.
Ms Ibrahim said women were excluded from positions of power, from taking jobs and even from education, particularly beyond primary level.
The core team of the magazine, which is currently the talk of the country, are perusing the sixth issue of Alâ. It’s a complete success, as were the preceding issues, so much so that the magazine has to increase its circulation again, from 25,000 to 30,000 copies. These are impressive sales figures for such a high-gloss product, which only uses models that wear headscarves and only advertises brands specializing in women’s clothing that conforms to Islamic customs. Alâ is the avant-garde of “Tesettür,” or “veiled” fashion. The name of the magazine, which stems from the Ottoman era, means “the most beautiful of the beautiful.”
The liberal daily newspaper Radikal called the fashion magazine “the Vogue of the veiled.” The first issue came on the market in June 2011, at a price of 9 lira (€3.90, or $5.10). A smiling model covered in pink material and black lace, looking bashfully at the floor, appeared on the cover. Inside, were articles such as “The Colors of Summer,” photos of love-struck, freshly married couples and all kinds of shopping tips — chaste, but somehow cool at the same time. All of this seemed to suit the taste of conservatives to a T.
A fashion magazine for the devout but consumption-oriented “türban” women — it was exactly the sort of niche they had envisioned. For years, successful Muslim women have gone to their own hair and beauty salons and vacationed in luxury hotels exclusively for women. Nowadays, especially deep-pocketed members of the Muslim bourgeoisie are turning up in the same fashionable Istanbul shopping centers that were once reserved for the secular elite.
For all fashion mavens, read the rest of the article HERE.
I have to agree with their desire to have a woman’s fashion magazine that is not plastered with pictures of weird looking anorexic models, children in sexually provocative poses and partially or completely nude celebrities. Where is the Western woman’s Ala?
Watch the You Tube video that Manal made about the problems that Saudi women have traveling around the city. Few women in the West understand how courageous this woman was. As she says in the video, “Things will change, God willing.” Things will change but I wonder how long it will take?
I would like to know more about the circumstances of this crash. Was this cosmic irony or suppressive foul play?
Kuwaiti police have reportedly arrested three women for not wearing any clothes underneath their abayas at a cafe in the Salmiya commercial complex, the al-Rai daily newspaper reported.
The report said that a local boy told his mother that he had seen one of their naked bodies. The mother then called the police and they were arrested.
The newspaper added that the women, one of whom was a minor – allegedly told police that they had just had sex in an apartment, consumed alcohol and “had become drunk.” They had then gone to the cafe afterwards.
Police reported to have phone the father of the two GCC girls, but he said he could not come to Kuwait as he was busy. The girls have been referred to the Criminal Investigations Department.
According to Marwa Tarek, a women’s rights activist and blogger in Kuwait, the women could face a number of criminal charges, especially if they are accused of being lesbians.
These women are in big trouble. They have flaunted Islamic doctrine, gone into the public space and shamed their families and their civilization. I hope that by some miracle, they are not sacrificed to the primitive god of their ancestors in the name of familial honor.