Walking a Tightrope: Women and Veiling in the United Kingdom by Ayesha Salma Kariapper examines the ways in which public debates over the headscarf and the full-face veil have shaped the strategies of women from Muslim communities, strategies developed to deal with the limitations imposed on them in the name of religion, culture, tradition and identity within the community, and with racism and exclusion from mainstream society. You can now download the book for free!
On Tuesday 13th January 2015, women’s rights groups, including Southall Black Sisters, One Law for All, Nari Diganta and the Iranian & Kurdish Women’s Rights Organisation (IKWRO), met with Mark Stobbs, the Law Society’s Director of Legal Policy at the SBS office. Our organisations welcomed the Law Society’s decision to withdraw its guidance on ‘Sharia’ compliant wills that endorsed discrimination against women and children. We also thanked the Law Society for making a public apology. The Law Society showed that it had listened to the voices of BME women’s rights campaigners and other secular organisations that had been alarmed by the original decision.
Efua Dorkenoo, widely seen as the mother of the global movement to end female genital mutilation, has died after undergoing treatment for cancer, her family have confirmed. She was 65. Dorkenoo – known affectionately to many as “mama Efua” – was a leading light in the movement to bring an end to FGM for more than 30 years, campaigning against the practice since the 1980s.
On the Religious-Right, Secularism and Civil Rights
11-12 October 2014
The Tower Hotel, St Katharine’s Way, London E1W 1LD, UK www.secularconference.com
WLUML's International Director, Fatou Sow, Board member, Karima Bennoune, and Co-Founder Marieme Helie-Lucas are amongst the event's distinguished international speakers.
Join notable free-thinkers, atheists and secularists from around the world for a weekend of discussions and debates on the religious-Right, its attacks on civil rights and freedoms, and the role of secularism for 21st century humanity. The exciting two-day conference will discuss the Arab Spring, Sharia and religious laws, the limits of religion’s role in society, free expression, honour killings, apostasy and blasphemy laws, faith schools, women’s rights, secular values and much more.
Women Living Under Muslim Laws (WLUML) condemn the Law Society’s recent guidelines for ‘Shari’a-compliant’ wills in the UK, which make provision for gender-discriminatory inheritance practices. The Law Society’s practice note includes the following points:
“... No distinction is made between children of different marriages, but illegitimate and adopted children are not Shari’a heirs.”
“The male heirs in most cases receive double the amount inherited by a female heir of the same class. Non-Muslims may not inherit at all, and only Muslim marriages are recognised. Similarly, a divorced spouse is no longer a Shari’a heir”.
Clearly, inheritance conducted in this manner discriminates on the basis of gender. When inheritance follows these lines, economic violence against women becomes viable – financial assets follow the male line and women, even if they have previously invested in property for example, can become impoverished as assets are handed to male heirs. In this sense, the guidelines offer a mandate for the financial abuse of women and their children. Such inheritance practices also blatantly discriminate against ‘illegitimate’ and adopted children.