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30/1/2003
Editors note:The work of Prof. Nasr Abu-Zeid has been subject of concerted attack by fundamentalist groups in Egypt. He is currently in exile following charges of apostasy brought against him and the ruling of the Apex court in Egypt ordering his divorce from his wife Dr. Ithal Younis.

The following extracts from the book "Women in the Discourse of Crisis" by Prof. Nasr Abu-Zeid have been translated from Arabic by Marlene Tadros.

The discourse over women in the Arab world is generally discriminatory.
30/1/2003
The seizure of power by the Taliban has reduced the Afghan capital to a ghost city. Half of the men are out of work, the women find themselves forbidden from the work place. To top it all, winter is particularly trying.
30/1/2003
The innumerable bans imposed by Taliban renders everyday life a veritable punishment.

The latest orders for regulating the life of Afghans came into force yesterday. Their severity reveals the determination of the Taliban, out to capture the parts of the country that have so far evaded them.

In Kabul, life has become a never-ending punishment. Since the enforcement of law on "the commandment of the good and interdiction of the evil", whose latest measures are applicable as of yesterday, everything is forbidden. For the Taliban government, gaiety is suspect.
30/1/2003
We the undersigned representatives of Muslim women’s organizations concerned about the negative media reports of the apparent transgressions and abuses against our Muslim sisters in Afghanistan.

Wish To:


Ask the leadership of the Taliban to clarify their position on the status and role of Afghan women in society.

Recall That:


Fourteen centuries ago Islam liberated women and guaranteed them dignity and full rights to participate in the building and well-being of their communities at all levels.

The right of women to work outside
30/1/2003
We seek to have a large international response to stress to the Secretary- General the outrage that women feel. We also want to show our solidarity with our sisters in Afghanistan, who have been asking what we in the international community are doing to assist them. Therefore, it is important to have NGOs from as many countries as possible sign-on to this letter.
30/1/2003
In referring to Middle Eastern cultures, writers and speakers often allude to the Arab, Persian, Turkish etc. Cultures. What do these terms mean? What do they imply? Are these the true cultural boundaries in the Middle East?
30/1/2003
Women in Algeria must negotiate their access to the public sphere in a society torn between the residual patriarchal reflexes of the modern state and Islamist revivalism.
30/1/2003
Editor’s note

Women migrants in Europe or North America have long started to denounce the dangerous softness with which oppressive laws, customs and practices against women, imported from our countries and cultures, are tolerated or encouraged in the host countries, - in the name of tolerance, of respect of the Other, of the right to difference, of putting at par different cultures or religions, etc...

Like our own governments, governments of the countries of immigration are prepared to sell out the well being, the human rights and the civil right
30/1/2003
Farida Rahman MP’s Private Member’s Bill on a proposed amendment to section V1 of the Muslim Family Laws Ordinance 1961 has become a much-talked-about subject because of its unconventional and contentious nature. Particularly, various women’s activist groups have shown tremendous interest in it. The subject of the bill raises the whole issue of women’s rights of general interests.
30/1/2003
We, the women participating in the Arab Court of Women, held in Beirut, June 28-30, 1995, as testifiers and audience to those testimonies; we, who had the opportunity to take part in this great event, jointly assume the responsibility of what we heard of words of truth which broke the ring of silence that had long stifled our voices and sufferings of women.