Fundamentalisms

Two local Sharia laws in Indonesia's Aceh province violate rights and are often enforced abusively by public officials and even private individuals, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The country's central government and the Aceh provincial government should take steps to repeal the two laws, Human Rights Watch said.

Zarghoona* has completed her three-month sentence at a prison in Kandahar Province, southern Afghanistan, but she is not allowed home because no male relative has shown up to guarantee that she will not run away from home again. “All my family has abandoned me. I am dead for them but they [prison authorities] say they will only release me to a man from my family,” the woman told IRIN in a phone interview facilitated by an official who preferred anonymity. 

Pour la première fois dans l’Algérie indépendante, une formation politique, le Parti pour la Laïcité et la Démocratie (PLD), a rendu publique cet été une charte relative à la nécessaire instauration de la laïcité, en Algérie. Une charte qui vient à point nommé, tant méconnaissance et confusions de cet ordre institutionnel ou juridique sont grandes, même en France pourtant berceau de la laïcité.

The Women Living Under Muslim Laws (WLUML) international solidarity network expresses concerns and reservations regarding the decision of the Centre for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) to represent the Yemen-based radical Anwar al-Awlaki's interests pro bono, in response to the US decision to authorise the targeted assassination of Awlaki.

طالب كاتب وإعلامي قطري المنقبات بعدم الظهور في وسائل الاعلام لأن ظهورهن وهن يرتدين النقاب يخالف أصول وحتميات العمل الإعلامي الذي يتطلب وضوح الصوت وأن يرى المتلقي عين من يخاطبه وتعابير وجهه. وحث أحمد عبد الملك المنقبات بعدم "جرح" نقابهن من أجل مقابلة تلفزيونية، وعدم نشر صورهن لأنها تفتقد الدلالة الحقيقية على صاحبة الصورة. واعتبر عبد الملك في مقال بعنوان "النقاب والشاشة... رؤية مهنية!" نشرته صحيفة "الاتحاد" الاماراتية، ظهور المنقبات على شاشات التلفزيون "مخالف لقواعد الإعلام وعلوم الاتصال"، مقترحا على المنقبات إرسال نص مكتوب يوضح وجهة نظرهن بدلا من الظهور بتلك الصورة.

In an article titled "Women's Breasts and Their Importance," posted on the liberal website Aafaq, Saudi reformist and women's rights activist Wajeha Al-Huweidar mocked the breast cancer awareness campaign recently conducted in Saudi Arabia. She said it is ironic that the Saudi authorities are so concerned for the health of the women's breasts, when they fail to regard them as full human beings with rights in the domains of education, family, housing, and employment. She added that women cannot be physically healthy when they suffer social and political repression.

International human rights law is not a sufficient basis for responding to religious fundamentalism. Fundamentalisms are about power as well as prejudice, Vijay Nagaraj tells Cassandra Balchin.

The International Solidarity Network, Women Living Under Muslim Laws (WLUML) is deeply shocked that a court in Nankana Sahib, Pakistan, has sentenced a 45-year-old Christian woman, Asia Bibi, to death on the charge of having committed “blasphemy”. Although illiterate, she has been accused of denying the institution of prophet-hood by citing copious examples from the key texts of Islam. We join local human rights organizations, international women’s groups and religious minorities in calling for Pakistan to urgently repeal its Blasphemy Laws. We also appeal to the authorities to guarantee the safety of Asia Bibi and her family from the rage of local extremists, as well as investigate the violent persecution of the Christian community in the Punjab.

The International Solidarity Network, Women Living Under Muslim Laws (WLUML) is deeply shocked that a court in Nankana Sahib, Pakistan, has sentenced a 45-year-old Christian woman, Asia Bibi, to death on the charge of having committed “blasphemy”. Although illiterate, she has been accused of denying the institution of prophet-hood by citing copious examples from the key texts of Islam. We join local human rights organizations, international women’s groups and religious minorities in calling for Pakistan to urgently repeal its Blasphemy Laws. We also appeal to the authorities to guarantee the safety of Asia Bibi and her family from the rage of local extremists, as well as investigate the violent persecution of the Christian community in the Punjab.

Campaigners in Pakistan say the case of Asia Bibi – the first woman to be sentenced to death for blasphemy – highlights the need for urgent reform of laws that are routinely used to persecute minorities and settle grudges. The 45-year-old Christian, who has at least two children, was sentenced to death by a court in Sheikhupura, near Lahore, after prosecutors accused her of insulting the Prophet Mohamed and promoting her own faith. Her family have rejected the allegations and launched an appeal. "We have never ever insulted the Prophet or Islamic scripture, and we will contest the charges," said her husband Ashiq Masih.

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