• Excerpts from: New York
Times, November 28, 1999
Sufia Kamal, Bangladeshi
Writer and Women's Rights Advocate, Dies By Douglas
Sufia Kamal, a Bangladeshi poet, political activist and
feminist, died at age 88 on Nov. 20 1999 and was buried [...] with full state
honors, the first woman to receive that recognition from Bangladesh. [...]
[Thousands] of people paid their respects to Ms. Kamal at her funeral [...] in
Dhaka. [...] [Begum Kamal] ...
The question of Muslim personal law
has become not only a question of Muslim identity but also a question with
deeper political implications. The Muslim leadership doggedly resist any reform
in certain aspects of the law particularly pertaining to marriage and divorce
and the Hindu communal leadership would not accept anything short of complete
abolition of personal law pertaining to Muslims.
ISLAMABAD, Nov 10,  (IPS) -
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's attempt to Islamise Pakistan has been checkmated
by the imposition of Governor's rule in the troubled Pakistani province of
controversial 15th Constitutional Amendment Bill, popularly called the Shariat
Bill, has lost even the slimmest chance of ratification in the Senate, but
rights activists who are alarmed by the loss of freedom say the reprieve is at
Just last Wednesday, Prime
Minister Nawaz Sharif made the bill the main plank of a public speech in the
We live in an era where
relativism and humanism affect almost every facet of our lives. Not least among
these facets is the discourse of Islam vis a vis women’s human rights. The
importance of such factors as relativism, humanism and gender sensitivity has
not come about in a vacuum.
The objective of this paper
is to provide a historical overview of the processes of communal identity
formation in Sri Lanka with special reference to the Muslim community . Sri Lanka is a
multi-ethnic society in which Sinhalese, Tamils, Muslims and others have
coexisted for centuries. However, in more recent times, ethnic relations on the
Island have been consistently strained by the rise of communalist politics which
have deepened ethnic and religious divides.
The violence of Islamism has roused
anxious concern throughout the world, especially the Muslim world. In the United
States, the media and policy makers wage a campaign to demonize Muslims and
Islam as a threat to Western interests and civilization itself. This politically
motivated propaganda has been aided by the Islamic resistance to Israel's
occupation of Lebanon, the West Bank, Gaza, and Golan, along with such incidents
as the plot to blow up New York's World Trade Center.
Dominating the courtyard of
the homestead of Abdul Hossain is a large and ostentatious shrine. Decorated
with Arabic designs and words, and surrounded by flags, the shrine (mazaar) is
similar to hundreds of similarly venerated graves scattered over the landscape
of rural Sylhet, in north-east Bangladesh. It proclaims for all to see that the
late Abdul Hossain is a pir.
An attempt is made in this
paper to trace the development of ethnic consciousness and religious
fundamentalism among Sri Lankan Muslims and the bearings of this development on
Sri Lankan Muslim women.*
At the outset, I should clarify the
use of the terms ethnic consciousness and fundamentalism. Both these terms are
very popular and controversial in the current socio-political discourse. There
are a number of definitions and disagreements about them.
We have to take stock of various developments
which took place in India in last fifty years of our independence. It is also
important to take stock of developments among Muslims in this period, especially
with reference to reform movements in Indian Islam.
India opted to be a secular
country and this decision had several repercussions. Right at the stage of
constitution making there were debates about uniform civil code. There were
heated discussions. Muslim members opposed adoption of uniform civil code.
Ultimately a compromised was accepted.
Bihar is among the most
socially and economically backward states in India. Social inequality in Bihar
is amply visible. In order to illustrate the socio-economic context within which
underprivileged groups (including Muslim communities) exist in Bihar, it is
necessary to highlight a few statistics from the state. While there does not
exist a direct causal relationship between customary practice and socio-economic
conditions, both are also not mutually exclusive.