United Kingdom

The Iranian and Kurdish Women’s Rights Organisation welcomes the news that the remaining two suspects in the Banaz Mahmod murder trial, Mohammed Ali and Omar Hussain, have been found guilty at the Old Bailey today.  Ali was sentenced to a minimum of 22 years and Hussain to 21 years. 

Ofcom has ruled that Islam Channel, a London-based broadcaster, broke the broadcasting code for advocating marital rape, violence against women and describing women who wore perfume outside of the home as "prostitutes". Five programmes broadcast on the satellite TV channel were ruled to be in breach of broadcasting guidelines, the media regulator said today. Ofcom launched its investigation into the programmes, which aired in 2008 and 2009, following a report by the Quilliam thinktank that was published in March.

Muslim women fighting for women’s rights have been largely abandoned by the left, by human rights organisations, and by anti-racist campaigners. That sums up the basic argument put forward by Gita Sahgal at a meeting held in Glasgow on 28 October as part of Black History Month 2010. Sahgal left her post of Head of Gender Unit at Amnesty International earlier this year after Amnesty had ignored her complaints about the organisation’s collaboration with Islamists (specifically, Moazamm Begg and his “Cageprisoners” organisation).

The Forced Marriage Unit (FMU) has reported an increase in the number of LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) teenagers coming forward to ask for help from them: This year, the FMU has dealt with 29 confirmed cases of forced marriage involving gay men and women. Last year, the unit offered support and advice to nearly 1,700 cases in total. Just how many of those involved lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) victims is unknown, because not everyone is willing to divulge their sexuality. However, it is thought this emerging trend is just the tip of the iceberg, as more gay men and women seek assistance.

As part of the British Government’s drive to cut costs and increase transparency, accountability and efficiency, the role, size and scope of government quangos have formed part of a broad Coalition Government review.

 فوجئت الأوساط الثقافيّة والفنيّة في العراق بنبأ اغتيال التشكيليّة العراقيّة غادة حبيب في منزلها في لندن. الفنانة التي فقدت حاسة السمع في الـ 14 من عمرها، كانت تستعد لإقامة معرضها في العاصمة البريطانية، قبل أن ينتقل إلى بغداد، لكنّها لقيت حتفها بطريقة مروّعة زادت من الأسى على رحيلها بعيدةً عن وطنها. الناقد التشكيليّ صلاح عباس لفت إلى «أنّ مجموعة من الفنانين داخل العراق وخارجه طالبت بتأليف لجنة للتحقيق في اغتيال فنانة نالت جائزة سفيرة السلام عام 2008». ويأسف عباس لكون ردود الفعل على اغتيال غادة حبيب، في الإعلام العراقي، جاءت باهتة قياساً إلى حجم الفجيعة: «وزارة الثقافة لم تضع حتى لافتة نعي على مبناها، وجمعيّة الفنانين التشكيليّين العراقيّين لم تقم بدورها. كأنّ الفنان العراقي غريب خارج البلاد وداخلها».

In response to an interview with Salil Shetty, the new secretary general of Amnesty International, WLUML made the following comments on Guardian online: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/aug/15/salil-shetty-amnesty-international-leader

Some British Asian gay Muslims are embracing a new identity, based as much on race and religion as on sexual orientation with a number trying to do it with the help of their local imams. When Khalid Habib decided it was time to come out about his sexuality, the first person he chose to confide in was not anyone in the family but his local imam. "It was really important to me because I am a practising Muslim. It was about my personal relationship with Allah," said the 35-year-old media professional from the north of England.

A woman led Muslim prayers in Oxford last week. Her actions and those of others like her, across faiths, deserve our support. Only Muslim women from abroad dare lead men in Friday prayers in the UK.  Canadian, Raheel Raza, became the second Muslim woman to do so at the Muslim Educational Centre in Oxford last week. African American convert, Amina Wadud, was the first Muslim woman to lead mixed prayers at the same centre in 2008.  It’s not surprising that British Muslim women are not brave enough to follow their footsteps - both have been demonised, labelled as heretics and have received death threats after leading men in prayers in their own countries.

Press Release: Roj Women is an umbrella site that seeks to publicise the work of Roj Women’s Association, a women’s charity working on community development in the UK, and of its political branch, Roj Women’s Assembly, that campaigns for far-reaching legal and political reforms in Turkey. Roj Women strives to give Kurdish women, whether in their countries of origin or in the diaspora, a voice to publicise the gender and racial discrimination they face. Beyond raising awareness at the national and international levels, Roj Women campaigns for change and offers services to support Kurdish women and child victims of male and military violence.

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