International

Robert Fisk, The Independent newspaper's Middle East correspondent, gave the following address to the fifth Al Jazeera annual forum on May 23: Power and the media are not just about cosy relationships between journalists and political leaders, between editors and presidents. They are not just about the parasitic-osmotic relationship between supposedly honourable reporters and the nexus of power that runs between White House and state department and Pentagon, between Downing Street and the foreign office and the ministry of defence. In the western context, power and the media is about words - and the use of words.

"There is a struggle to be had. It is time to challenge the hegemony of the formal human rights movement and its uncritical embrace of identity politics". Gita Sahgal in conversation with Deniz Kandiyoti. Part two.

Human rights are essential tools for an effective intercultural dialogue: On this World Day for Cultural Diversity, let us celebrate the richness of our common humanity embodied in cultural diversity which is as essential for humankind as bio-diversity is for nature and recognise the imperative of defending this diversity which cannot be dissociated from respect for the dignity of the individual and complete commitment to human rights and fundamental freedoms. 

Religious women make change happen, whether it’s by seeking peace or inciting war. Strong beliefs can inspire social justice or block a woman's access to freedom or equality. Join the International Museum of Women as they explore the relationship between faith and politics in the lives of women around the world. 

The first issue of Contestations, an online peer-review journal dedicated to creating a forum for discussion and debate about women's empowerment and gender justice, has just been released. The first issue contains an article by Hania Sholkamy about Islam and Feminism, as well as responses to Hania's article from Ziba Mir-Hosseini, Islah Jad, Heba Raouf, Mulki el-Sharmani and Mariz Tadros.

Welcome to AWID’s new online portal that brings together young feminists working on gender equality and women’s rights all over the world. The idea is simple: we believe in the powerful opportunities the internet presents for activists today. This Wire is a resource for feminists of all genders and ages, especially young women.

In a televised sermon on April 16, 2010, a senior Iranian cleric, Hojjat ol-eslam Kazem Sediqi, declared a need for a “general repentance,” warning of the “prevalence of degeneracy” in the country. He pointed to the real consequences of immodesty and promiscuity among women, noting that “many women who do not dress modestly lead young men astray and spread adultery in society which increases earthquakes.”

Feminist concern about the violation of women’s rights by male clerics in Muslim countries is slowly producing a response from some states. At the same time, rights activists are increasingly reporting examples of clerics who are standing up for women’s rights. This isn’t about the progressive male and female scholars that are increasingly visible in the Muslim world, nor about the occasional female imam; it’s about male preachers on the streets and in the villages.

Director of the New Delhi-based Centre for Peace and Spirituality, editor of the monthly Al-Risala journal and author of almost two hundred books, Maulana Wahiduddin Khan is one of India’s best known Islamic scholars. In this interview with Yoginder Sikand, he talks about issues related to Islam and women.

One of the most contentious issues within Islam today is the role of women in society. Conservatives endorse a narrow reading of Islamic texts to justify restrictions on women's mobility, legal rights and access to the public sphere, including health care, education and the workplace. Extremists among them use violence to impose their views. Moderate Muslims, on the other hand, find plenty within the Qur'an to support a full role and equal rights for women.

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