Nihal Saad Zaghloul is an Egyptian WLUML networker. Here, she talks to Christopher Reeve of Community Times.
Nihal Saad Zaghloul is not afraid to get her hands dirty. Literally. After meeting with Community Times in a Zamalek coffee shop, Zaghloul was making a U-turn, when a young rookie driver, unfamiliar with Cairo’s traffic conventions, drove into her path. Zaghloul slammed her car’s brakes, but contact was inevitable. Luckily, there was no major damage, except for a flat tire. A policeman arrived at the scene, and all parties agreed that the tire simply needed to be changed. The rookie driver, a young man, did not know how to change a tire.
“I’ll do it,” Zaghloul offered. The police officer objected: what would people think if they saw a woman changing a tire as men looked on?
TEHRAN, Iran—When Shadi Amin was growing up in pre-revolutionary Iran, she began experiencing sexual feelings toward other girls. “I thought there was something wrong with me,” she says. “I thought, maybe I should change something.” By “something,” Amin was referring not to her identity or lifestyle, but to her gender. “If I was that young girl living in Iran today, I would have considered having a sex change operation,” even though she has never identified with being male.
The Sudanese civil society organizations conventionally celebrate the International Women Day on the 8th of March every year through many events to commemorate and promote the role of the Sudanese women in the society by organizing activities that demonstrate the various issues which reflect women`s contributions to improving their conditions and achieving social and gender justice from their different positions.
This year, after the extensive arrangements carried out by more than 30 organizations, including the formation of committees and designing the programmes and activities which had been planned to be held at the Nubian Club on that day, and which included following-up the procedures of getting police and security permissions a long with the early preparations for the entre details of the celebration which reflected the solidarity among women and the power of collective action, and depicted the organizational skills of each organizing group.
In honour of the determination of people like Algerian TV producer, Aziz Smati, who was shot exactly twenty years ago today, we must support all those who wield song against suicide belt, and wage art against fundamentalism, writes Karima Bennoune
>Using case studies from Pakistan, Iran, Indonesia, China, Bangladesh, Israel and India, Sexuality in Muslim Contexts argues that Muslim religious traditions do not necessarily lead to conservative agendas but can promote emancipatory standpoints. This book is one that should be read by all those interested in sexuality, religion, Islam, or gender, writes Olivia Mason. The wide range of case studies make it suitable for both an academic and general audience while the examples make it a stimulating and accessible read.
Public Statement by the Strategic Initiative for Women in the Horn of Africa (SIHA)
22nd January 2014
In August 2013, soon after Eid Al Fatah, a young Ethiopian woman was lured to an empty property where she was pinned down and brutally gang raped by a group of seven men. The rape was filmed by one of the participants and then circulated through online social media months later. Since the film became publically available, six of the perpetrators have been arrested by police (on the 15th Jan) as well as the young woman in question (on the 17th Jan). One of the perpetrators, notably the individual that lured the victim, is still unaccounted for despite attempts by police to find him.
Helping women worldwide share their stories and work for change
On the 19th of November 2012 Konda Delphine (Cameroon), Rose Wachuka (Kenya), and WLUML networker Aya Chebbi (Tunisia) started the Voice of Women Initiative (VOW). The main and core essence of VOW was to collect stories from women and about women all around the globe in a bid to inspire and change lives. They then expanded and invested in a website that carried more stories and hosted more contributors.
A short story by Rawa Jelizada, WLUML networker and women's rights activist from Iraqi Kurdistan who participated in WLUML’s training on Political and Public participation in Cairo, December 2013 (where she was introduced to the Stop Stoning Women Campaign)
She was 15, from a zone called Monsterstan, the land of beasts... Eyes chocolate brown and hair night black.
She was in love with the moon. She holds best childhood memories with the moon... As she was swinging under the full silver moon 3 years ago, she swayed back and forth so high that she thought she'd catch the moon. That night she turned 12. Early signs of her chest, the length of her hair and her height forbid her to step outside the door. But the moon, the moon remained her best friend. The swing and the full moon were her last memories in the road ahead her home.
I've always felt that I have an inside voice which guides me and opens my eyes to the kind of things that many other women feel nothing towards and just cope with. I was born in a country which suffers from a hierarchical authority. What makes this worse is that the women inside it are often part of that; they remain neutral or, even worse, support this authority. As women are an integral part in the dilemma, their negativity towards being subjected by men is perhaps the worst part of the equation.
In 2002, a woman by the name of Amina Lawal was sentenced to be stoned to death in Katsina state in Northern Nigeria. The local Nigerian women’s groupBAOBAB for Women’s Human Rights filed an appeal and launched a domestic campaign against the ruling while reaching out to international networks for specific requests. After some high-profile Western women’s rights groups raised the stoning issue internationally, a wave of support for Amina was orchestrated by various groups across the globe, including a flurry of petitions and letter writing campaigns, many of which presented inaccurate informationabout the case. Some protest letters represented negative stereotypes of Muslims, inflaming anti-Muslim sentiments that were already on the rise following the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.
Rather than guiding appropriate action, these negative and inaccurate portrayals about the plight of women, Islam, and Nigerian culture damaged the credibility of local activists and encouraged the threatening, hostile, and violent behaviour of vigilantes. Local Nigerian activists were accused of working with foreign governments and groups to embarrass the country of Nigeria, and some officialsbecame even more committed towards carrying out Amina’s death sentence after receiving various protest letters with Western postage. Although Amina Lawal was eventually released, the local women’s rights activists fighting on the frontlines in the battle to keep her alive were faced with ongoing harassment and repression by State and non-State forces, who continued to accuse them of being Western pawns or puppets, even spies working actively to destroy Islam from within.