United Kingdom

As part of the British Government’s drive to cut costs and increase transparency, accountability and efficiency, the role, size and scope of government quangos have formed part of a broad Coalition Government review.

 فوجئت الأوساط الثقافيّة والفنيّة في العراق بنبأ اغتيال التشكيليّة العراقيّة غادة حبيب في منزلها في لندن. الفنانة التي فقدت حاسة السمع في الـ 14 من عمرها، كانت تستعد لإقامة معرضها في العاصمة البريطانية، قبل أن ينتقل إلى بغداد، لكنّها لقيت حتفها بطريقة مروّعة زادت من الأسى على رحيلها بعيدةً عن وطنها. الناقد التشكيليّ صلاح عباس لفت إلى «أنّ مجموعة من الفنانين داخل العراق وخارجه طالبت بتأليف لجنة للتحقيق في اغتيال فنانة نالت جائزة سفيرة السلام عام 2008». ويأسف عباس لكون ردود الفعل على اغتيال غادة حبيب، في الإعلام العراقي، جاءت باهتة قياساً إلى حجم الفجيعة: «وزارة الثقافة لم تضع حتى لافتة نعي على مبناها، وجمعيّة الفنانين التشكيليّين العراقيّين لم تقم بدورها. كأنّ الفنان العراقي غريب خارج البلاد وداخلها».

In response to an interview with Salil Shetty, the new secretary general of Amnesty International, WLUML made the following comments on Guardian online: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/aug/15/salil-shetty-amnesty-international-leader

Some British Asian gay Muslims are embracing a new identity, based as much on race and religion as on sexual orientation with a number trying to do it with the help of their local imams. When Khalid Habib decided it was time to come out about his sexuality, the first person he chose to confide in was not anyone in the family but his local imam. "It was really important to me because I am a practising Muslim. It was about my personal relationship with Allah," said the 35-year-old media professional from the north of England.

A woman led Muslim prayers in Oxford last week. Her actions and those of others like her, across faiths, deserve our support. Only Muslim women from abroad dare lead men in Friday prayers in the UK.  Canadian, Raheel Raza, became the second Muslim woman to do so at the Muslim Educational Centre in Oxford last week. African American convert, Amina Wadud, was the first Muslim woman to lead mixed prayers at the same centre in 2008.  It’s not surprising that British Muslim women are not brave enough to follow their footsteps - both have been demonised, labelled as heretics and have received death threats after leading men in prayers in their own countries.

Press Release: Roj Women is an umbrella site that seeks to publicise the work of Roj Women’s Association, a women’s charity working on community development in the UK, and of its political branch, Roj Women’s Assembly, that campaigns for far-reaching legal and political reforms in Turkey. Roj Women strives to give Kurdish women, whether in their countries of origin or in the diaspora, a voice to publicise the gender and racial discrimination they face. Beyond raising awareness at the national and international levels, Roj Women campaigns for change and offers services to support Kurdish women and child victims of male and military violence.

Le 09 avril 2010, Amnesty International annonçait mon départ de l’organisation. Selon notre déclaration commune, « il était convenu que Gita quitte Amnesty International, en raison de différences irréconciliables de points de vue entre Gita Sahgal et Amnesty International sur les relations entre l’organisation et Moazzam Begg et Cageprisoners ».

The picture shows Aqila, aged 18, celebrating her marriage in front of relatives and friends. At the time she dreamt of coming to England for a happy, long life with her new husband and his family. Two years later, the young bride is stranded in her village in Pakistan after, a court has heard, being drugged and forcibly taken back by her husband and father-in-law without her newborn baby. Aqila, 20, was dumped outside her parents' house in March without her passport and British visa, leaving her stranded with little hope of return, the High Court was told last week.

Last month Nelson McCausland, DUP assembly member and Northern Ireland culture minister, wrote to the trustees of National Museums Northern Ireland about how "to ensure that museums are reflective of the views, beliefs and cultural traditions" of the region. This included a more specific stipulation – referring explicitly to the Ulster Museum, the letter called for alternative views of the origin of the universe to be accommodated. In other words, creationism was to be incorporated into the museum's natural history displays. That an elected minister should make such a suggestion is a development that should be taken seriously.

A new report by One Law for All has found Sharia Councils and Muslim Arbitration Tribunals to be in violation of UK law, public policy and human rights (see report here). The report is being launched to coincide with a 20 June 2010 rally on the issue of Sharia law.

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