[31 July 2001] What started in Hassi Messaoud, Algeria on
the night of July 13-14, 2001 is NOT one more crime/violence/violation in the
wartime situation that our country has now become famous for. A qualitative
change has taken place.
Freedom of religion and belief is clearly stated in
all the three well recognised international human rights instruments: the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), the International Covenant on
Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) (1966) and the International Covenant of
Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1966).
Islamisms, or diverse
representations of political Islam, have become very difficult to ignore and
even more difficult to categorize and explain satisfactorily. This is
particularly the case when addressing a western audience, which is unfamiliar
not only with the multifaceted aspects of Islam, but also with the crucial role
Islamic faith plays, in the everyday lives of Muslim people.
Willy Claes, the Secretary
General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), gave Western
misperceptions and misrepresentations of Islam and Islamisms a new twist.
On January the 18th 1985, Ustadh
Mahmoud Mohamed Taha was executed in Kober Prison in Khartoum Sudan after a
short trial on the previous day. His trial reflected the collapse of the rule of
law after the promulgation of the September 1983 Laws, the declaration of
emergency and the "Prompt Justice Courts" of 1984. Ustadh Taha's trial was a
classic example of an unfair trial.
Ustadh Mahmoud Mohamed Taha
was born in a sufist family, in the town of Rufaa (160 miles south of Khartoum)
in 1909. His mother died when he was one year old and his father died when he
The current violence in Algeria is
both tragic and deeply alarming in its scope and intensity to all observers, but
it is especially heartbreaking for those who have followed the country's history
for the last 40 years. Algeria was once a symbol of progressive anti-colonial
struggle which brought women and men together to fight for their basic human
rights. Djamila Bouhired and the other women fighters in the war of national
liberation became the international symbols of Algeria's freedom struggle and
were revered throughout the Arab World.
This research is an
examination of the relationship of the Sudanese state to issues of gender,
religion and class. It is one
component of my interest in the mechanisms the state employs for achieving both
political and cultural hegemony.
Today, in Algeria, the execution
and murder of women, foreigners and intellectuals by Muslim extremists have
become systematic. Such typically fascist acts have given rise to feelings of
outrage. Logically, therefore, one would expect that the most lucid would rally
around a struggle against such a political vision or, at the very least, in
defense of the memory of the victims.
Human Rights Watch's
Women's Rights Project and Middle East division today deplored the assassination
by suspected Islamist militants of Algerian women's rights activist Nabila
Djahnine. Ms. Djahnine, a thirty-year-old architect who led an organization
called the Cry of Women, was killed on February 15 in Tizi Ouzou, the capital
city of the Kabyle region. According to a February 16 El-Watan report, she was
gunned down by two men in a car as she walked to work.