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.

The Iranian woman facing death by stoning after being convicted for adultery appeared on the Islamic republic's state TV channel last night to say she has not been whipped or tortured.Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, whose stoning sentence was suspended in July, was allegedly given 99 lashes on 2 September after the Times ran a picture of an unveiled woman mistakenly identified as her, her lawyer said at the time.

Often called the Switzerland of Central Asia, mountainous and ethnically diverse Kyrgyzstan was once touted as a success case for peaceful coexistence. Now, following violent clashes in June between Kyrgyz and Uzbeks, ethnic tension is threatening to topple the stability of the entire region. But, a well-organized and thriving women's movement could pull Kyrgzstan back from the brink.

Since we issued our first update on Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani’s case last Friday July 9, the Global Campaign to Stop Killing and Stoning Women has received new information that she is still facing the imminent threat of being executed.  We also received the news that her young son, Sajjad Qaderzadeh, who publicly expressed his concern on the plight of his mother has been summoned by the Iranian authorities for some questioning about his activities.

Please see here for more information on the case

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