Interview with Marfua Tokhtakhodjaeva: In 1995, WLUML’s sister organization in Pakistan, Shirkat Gah – Women’s Resource Centre, published an English translation of Between the Slogans of Communism and the Laws of Islam by Marfua Tokhtakhodjaeva, which is available on the WLUML website here. The original appeared in Russian in 1992, just one year after the collapse of the USSR and the creation of an independent state of Uzbekistan. The book looks at the Sovietisation of Central Asia and argues that from 1917 the Soviet attitude to religion was confrontational and its goal was to destroy the Muslim religion through misleading tactics: while slogans regarding freedom of conscience were pronounced by the authorities, there were secretive directives ordering the suppression of the clergy.

A female sports photojournalist who had campaigned for Iranian women to be allowed to attend men's soccer games is missing amid reports she has been taken into custody in Tehran, RFE/RL's Radio Farda reports. Maryam Majd, 24, was supposed to go to Duesseldorf on June 17 to prepare for the women's soccer World Cup in Germany and to work on a photo project with Petra Landers, a former German soccer player.

Maryam Majd, an Iranian photojournalist, has disappeared on her way from Tehran, Iran, to Dusseldorf in Germany, according to Petra Landers, a former national football player. In a letter to the German Foreign Office, Landers who met Maryam Majd earlier this year during a trip to Iran, explains what happened: "When I wanted to pick her up at 10:30 am on the 17th of June 2011 from Düsseldorf airport, I realized that she was not on the plane. (Mahan Airlines confirmed that Ms. Majd was not on board). By phone she was no longer reachable because the phone was switched off. Since that day nobody in Iran or in Germany has heard from Maryam Majd." This is Majd's blog (in Persian)

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.

Britain has called on Iran to launch an immediate investigation into the death of Haleh Sahabi, the daughter of a veteran Iranian dissident who died during scuffles with security forces at her father's funeral on Wednesday. Sahabi was leading the procession at the ceremony by holding a picture of her father, Ezatollah Sahab. She died from a heart attack after reportedly being attacked by an agent and falling down.

On Wednesday 11 May 2011, Iranian security forces arrested Maryam Bahreman, an Iranian women’s rights and civil society activist in Shiraz. Bahreman is a founding member, and was the general secretary, of the Association of Women of Pars (Anjome Zanan Pars), which was established in 2003. As a member of this association, she was active in many women's movement activities including the One Million Signature Campaign. Bahreman was also a participant at the 55th session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) conference in New York in March of this year, where she was on a panel about women and ICT. 

Justice for Iran (JFI) commends the decision of the European Union (EU), as announced this month, to sanction 32 Iranian state officials complicit in or responsible for human rights abuses in Iran.  The council decision published in the official Journal of the European Union obliges the 27 Member States of the EU to enforce travel bans and asset freezes against a list of judges, law enforcement officials and commanders in Iran’s Revolutionary Guards.  It also calls upon third States, outside the European Union, to adopt similar restrictive measures.  

Tous deux sont au cœur du débat sur la laïcité qui vire, ces dernières semaines, à la stigmatisation des musulmans. Sihem Habchi, présidente du mouvement Ni putes ni soumises (NPNS), très impliquée dans la loi anti-burqa, et Richard Malka, avocat du journal Charlie hebdo (les caricatures de Mahomet) ou de la crèche Baby Loup (et le licenciement de son employée voilée) ont le sentiment qu'un piège est en train de se mettre en place sur cet « enjeu de civilisation ».

PEN American Center today named Nasrin Sotoudeh, a writer, lawyer, and leader of the women’s and children’s rights movement in Iran, as the recipient of its 2011 PEN/Barbara Goldsmith Freedom to Write Award. Sotoudeh was arrested on September 4, 2010, and is now serving an 11-year sentence for her outspoken advocacy in defense of her clients arrested after the June 2009 presidential elections and interviews she gave to human rights organizations and media about their cases.

Israeli troops have stormed Awarta village in the northern West Bank, arresting more than 100 women as they hunted the killers of an Israeli family from the illegal settlement of Itamar, officials said. The military also used bulldozers to destroy Palestinian houses in a northern farming village east of Tubas, in an area under Israeli control, according to Palestinian security officials. In Awarta, hundreds of troops entered the village shortly after midnight on Thursday and imposed a curfew after which they began rounding up women, many of whom were elderly, local council head Tayis Awwad told the AFP news agency.

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