The terrorist attacks of 7 and 9 January against Charlie Hebdo and a Jewish supermarket in Paris have caused deep emotions and hurt feelings. Those events were experienced almost live by many Africans via the media. Across Africa fundamentalism allows and justifies unbearable violence. We must have the audacity to denounce it.

We are facing a political threat, a totalitarian Islamist threat that manifests in terrorism. Journalists are defending something which is elementary to our democracy: our freedom to breathe and to laugh.

Militant group Boko Haram killed between 150 and 2,000 civilians in Baga on 3rd January but Nigerian politicians appear more focused on their election campaigns than on security issues, according to the BBC.

A Voice of Courage Stilled in Libya

By Peter Bouckaert

June 26, 2014, Tripoli - The Libyan lawyer and human rights activist Salwa Bughaighis always made a head-turning sight on the streets of Benghazi. Unveiled and striding confidently to meeting after meeting, she was one of the few who continued to challenge Islamist militias despite increased threats and violence. After years of standing up to Muammar Gaddafi’s tyranny and defending Islamist activists, some of whom were now trying to impose their views on her and other women, she continued to stand up for herself and other Libyan women.

Not one bullet was fired, not one smoke bomb was dropped as scores of Muslims were attacked and some were burnt alive in Myanmar last week. The security forces just looked on. In a country where they routinely use brute force against political dissidents, villagers who protest land grabs and even monks, their passivity was sadly revealing.

Farida Afridi was shot dead in cold blood for the crime of being a decent, caring human being. As the executive director of the human rights NGO, Sawera, Afridi was working in Fata performing the most thankless of jobs: trying to improve the plight of women in an area where many people have never even considered the concept of women’s rights. For that, she had to pay the ultimate price as she was killed by armed gunmen, most likely members of the Taliban, as she drove from her home in Hayatabad, Peshawar to Jamrud in Khyber Agency. Apart from taking away a valuable activist, the militants, through their brutality, will also ensure that there is a chilling effect as fewer NGOs and women will be willing to risk working in an area that needs their efforts the most.

القاهرة، 28 مارس 2011: تلقي المركز المصري لحقوق المرأة بقلق بالغ الخطورة حادثة محافظة المنوفية التي تعد  سابقة خطيرة في تحدي دولة القانون في مصر والتي تمثلت في حصار نحو 350 من السلفيين منزل سيدة  في مدينة السادات بالمنوفية، واقتحم عدد منهم المنزل وطردوها منه وألقوا بالأثاث في الشارع وأحرقوه وهددوها بالقتل في حالة الرجوع لمنزلها مرة أخري،  وكان ذلك بإدعاء ممارسة أعمال منافية للآداب، ولم يجدوا أحداًُ لديها في المنزل فأخرجوها عنوة وقاموا بعدة أعمال إرهابية، الأمر الذي يشكل تطورا خطيرا.

 (Cairo, March 28, 2011) The Egyptian Center for Women's Rights received the news on incidents in Minufiya governorate, for it witnessed a dangerous incident for the first time: 350 Salafis confronted the state law and surrounded a house of a woman in Sadat city, forced her out of her house, threw her house's furniture on the street, burned the house and threatened to kill her if she returned to her home. They did so claiming that her conduct was immoral and dishonorable. When they broke into the house, she was alone; they terrified her and took her out of the house by force. This is considered a dangerous incident, especially as it is not the first time something like this happened.

Jantho, Aceh.With heads bowed, two young women walked toward a wooden stage outside Al Munawwarah Mosque in Jantho, Aceh Besar. Friday prayers had just ended, and hundreds of residents surrounded the platform, keeping a respectful distance but keen to watch. 

The eyes of Murni binti Amris, 27, and Rukiah binti Abdullah, 22, began to water. They feared the worst when officers of the Shariah Police dragged them to the center of the stage. The women had dared to sell cooked rice in the daytime during Ramadan, violating the 2002 Islamic bylaw in Aceh. With a quivering voice, Murni said: “Wait, sir.” She wanted to correct her sitting position. However, the man standing over her brandishing a rattan cane took no heed, lashing her three times across the back. 

I have to admit it's always hard to ever approach homosexuality here in Egypt. Homosexual people (or behavior) here is usually seen as one of three views: deviant people who deserve to be punished or even executed; sick people who need medical attention; or normal people only with a different sexual orientation (hardly ever adopted or expressed, even by gays themselves).

I hesitated to write about the upcoming account of events, but I felt it's too disturbing to ignore. The story goes as follows:

A young boy, Kareem (16 year old) was walking by in downtown area, Cairo. He was followed by four guys who were shouting insults to the young boy calling him a faggot. The boy just ignored their insults and kept going, the thing that seemed to provoke them, so they chased him until they caught him and started slapping and beating him violently (they were older and much stronger). It's not very clear why they decided to be that violent and abusive; although it seems to be basically driven by homophobia as Kareem's appearance looked “different”. Kareem screamed and ran towards police informers nearby but they didn’t bother to help the boy.

لَقِّم المحتوى