Celebrations for International Women’s Day on March 8 and the days leading up to it were as diverse as Malaysian women themselves. There were concerts, dinner theatre shows, workshops, readings and, if you had followed Sisters in Islam (SIS) and the Musawah Young Women’s Caucus, a pleasant stroll through Taman Jaya. But the placards carried by the women participating in the SIS and Musawah event indicated that it’s no walk in the park for these two organisations in their work to improve the lot of Muslim women. “One Husband = One Wife”, “No Religion Condones Violence”, “Women’s Rights = Human Rights”, said the signs the women carried on their chests and backs and across their arms.
Two prominent Malaysian women have been included in a New York-based global advocacy’s list of 100 most inspiring people around the world for their work in advocating the rights of women and girls. Zainah Anwar - who founded Sisters In Islam (SIS) and is the project director of Musawah, an international collaborative group for equality and justice in the Muslim family - and blogger, women’s rights and HIV/AIDS awareness advocate Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir were named in the list put out by Women Deliver.
Sisters in Islam (SIS) welcomes the withdrawal of the appeal by Dewan Pemuda Masjid Malaysia (Malaysian Assembly of Mosque Youth, MAMY) against the High Court decision to strike off MAMY’s application for a court order to stop SIS from using its pen-name, ‘Sisters in Islam’. SIS maintains its position on the importance of civil dialogue to address differences of opinions in any democratic society, and remains concerned over the use of police reports and frivolous suits as intimidation tactics to silence progressive voices. Update to Malaysia: Sisters in Islam get to keep name
Sisters in Islam (SIS) expresses its utmost concern over news reports of a 14-year-old child married off to an adult man in July this year. This only came to light when the child and the man who married her participated in a mass wedding celebration at the Federal Territory Mosque on 4th December 2010, where couples were given RM1,000 and Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom was in attendance as guest of honour.
Women Living Under Muslim Laws is nominating WLUML board member Ms. Zarizana Abdul Aziz from Malaysia as the most knowledgeable and experienced candidate for the Asia representative of the UN Working Group on Discrimination against Women in Law and Practice. You can find a copy of Zarizana Abdul Aziz’s CV here: http://www.wluml.org/sites/wluml.org/files/CV_Zarizana%20Abdul%20Aziz_2010.pdf and instructions on how to make your endorsement follow.
Malaysia's population of 27 million is, according to the UK government, 55% Muslim. The U.S. State Department maintains that 60% of the population is Muslim. Ethnic Malays are automatically classed as Muslim on their identity cards (MyKad) which are issued to everyone at age 12. Any changes to religious status, as defined on the MyKad, must be approved by the National Registration Department (NRD).
Sisters in Islam (SIS) can continue using the word ‘Islam’ in its name, the High Court ruled here today. The court struck out an application by Muslim non-governmental organisation Malaysian Assembly of Mosque Youth (MAMY) to prevent SIS from using its Sisters in Islam name on grounds that the word ‘Islam’ was controlled and limited by the Registrar of Companies. Update to Malaysia: Open letter by FORUM-ASIA regarding lawsuit against SIS
Les associations féminines, à commencer par la mienne, Sisters in Islam (SIS), se sont félicitées de cette mesure longuement attendue, car les femmes rencontrent de multiples problèmes dans les tribunaux islamiques, surtout s'agissant d'affaires de la famille. Dans le cadre de ses revendications pour la justice et l'égalité des musulmans, le SIS réclamait ces nominations depuis 1999 et plus.
Women leaders from both the government and non-governmental organisations have slammed the move by the Malacca government to allow underage Muslims to marry. Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil, while acknowledging that marriages involving Muslim minors would still require the approval of the Syariah Court, hoped the judges would continue to exercise their discretion.