[law] secularism

Last Nov. 28, the dean of the Department of Letters, Arts and Humanities of Manouba University refused to give in to pressure from a group of protesters using violence to demand that classes be accessible to young women wearing the niqab, or face veil. Faced with this refusal the protesters erected barriers to block the professors and students from their classrooms and prevent classes from taking place. Numerous parents, students and professors quickly moved to protest these actions and defend the institution’s rules.

Les nouvelles de Tunisie, de Lybie, du Maroc, d’Egypte , du Moyen-Orient de façon générale sont bien inquiétantes et assombrissent lourdement le climat politique.

A la lame de fond démocratique et l’euphorie des premiers mois de l’année 2011 succède aujourd’hui la perspective d’une gouvernance islamiste dont les effets néfastes et dévastateurs sont largement sous estimés voire sciemment passés sous silence.

Police in Bangladesh broke up angry protesters blocking a main highway in the capital Dhaka, over a new law giving women equal property rights. Dozens were arrested and injured as police used tear gas and batons. Schools, businesses and offices across the country remained closed in a nationwide strike enforced by a group of Islamic parties. Bangladesh has a secular legal system, but in matters relating to inheritance it follows Sharia law. Under Bangladeshi law a woman normally inherits half as much as her brother. But under the new rules, every child would inherit an equal amount.

نمرّ، في المنطقة العربية، بظرف تاريخي أشعلته الثورات الشعبية التي انطلقت بدايةً من تونس الخضراء، مروراً بمصرنا الأبية وانتهاءً بليبيا واليمن والبحرين والجزائر، ومن يدري من سيلحق بالركب التحرري. ألقت هذه الثورات بظلالها على تفاصيل الحياة في هذه البلدان، وفرضت على الجميع مراجعة النفس وضرورة التعرف إلى واقع المرحلة الراهنة ومحاولة استشراف المستقبل. هذا ما حاولتُ القيام به، مع المدرسة النسوية التي أنتمي إليها فكرياً، وهي مدرسة النسوية الإسلامية. حاولت أن أدرك أين نحن وما نحن مُقبلات عليه.

Azerbaijan’s education ministry has banned schoolgirls from wearing headscarves to class, causing outrage among the more devout in this Muslim-majority country. On December 10, a day after Education Minister Misir Mardanov announced that headscarves must not be worn with school uniform, hundreds of parents and children staged a protest near the ministry.

Pour la première fois dans l’Algérie indépendante, une formation politique, le Parti pour la Laïcité et la Démocratie (PLD), a rendu publique cet été une charte relative à la nécessaire instauration de la laïcité, en Algérie. Une charte qui vient à point nommé, tant méconnaissance et confusions de cet ordre institutionnel ou juridique sont grandes, même en France pourtant berceau de la laïcité.

A one-day event will be held on “Challenges of Change: Religion, Secularism & Rights” in Washington, DC on 21 September 2010. The event is organized by the Women’s Learning Partnership (WLP) in cooperation with Cultural Conversations of the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), Johns Hopkins University.

Contrairement à ce qui est dit ici et là, nous vivons l’émergence d’un camp laïque progressiste dans nombre de pays arabo-musulmans. Bien évidemment, la nature répressive et corrompue de leurs régimes politiques et les risques mortels que leur font courir également les mouvements islamistes obligent parfois ces groupes à agir dans la clandestinité ou la semi-clandestinité

The first issue of Contestations, an online peer-review journal dedicated to creating a forum for discussion and debate about women's empowerment and gender justice, has just been released. The first issue contains an article by Hania Sholkamy about Islam and Feminism, as well as responses to Hania's article from Ziba Mir-Hosseini, Islah Jad, Heba Raouf, Mulki el-Sharmani and Mariz Tadros.

The Islamic state is a controversial issue in the West, as recent news confirms. Last October, an imam was killed and six men arrested by the FBI in Detroit for allegedly conspiring to establish an Islamic state in the United States. In the United Kingdom, government officials worry that extremist groups like Hizb-ut-Tahrir have infiltrated Muslim schools to propagate their vision of an Islamic state. Public opinion in the West reflects the fear that radical Muslims are trying to impose their values on the rest of the world. But the nebulous term "Islamic state" is not merely a concern for the anxious Western world, it is actually a point of discord and contention within the Muslim world itself.

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