[fund] resisting fundamentalisms

Since the recent controversy surrounding the French government’s ban on total face coverings (burqa or niqab), the head scarf issue has once again attracted the world’s attention. Indeed, only very few Muslim women cover their face completely, which is a reflection of the attitude preached by Sayed al Tantawi, an imam of Al-Azhar in Cairo, who boldly stated that total face coverings are not in accordance with Islamic teachings. It is therefore not surprising that the education ministry in Syria, a Muslim majority country, has also issued a ban on niqab in all state and private universities.

The Hadi al-Mutif Program for Human Rights at the Institute for Gulf Affairs is launching a multi-year international campaign this week to raise awareness on the status of women in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.  Saudi Arabia is one of the world’s worst violators of women’s rights, as the state declares women legally inferior to men. 

The challenge to platforms for gender equality comes not just from actors with fundamentalist agendas, but from a conjuncture where women’s rights have been opportunistically instrumentalized to serve geopolitical goals, and neo-liberal policies have severed social justice from gender equality concerns

The report “Rules and Challenges for Malay Muslim Women in the Restive Southern Border Provinces of Thailand” was first presented at the Conference on Religious Activism & Women’s Development in Southeast Asia: Highlighting Impediments, Exploring Opportunities, organized by Centre for Research on Islamic and Malay Affairs (RIMA), Singapore National University, on 20 November 2009. This report focuses on the roles of Malay Muslim women in the Southern Border Provinces of Thailand who have to face life amidst problems, obstacles and difficulties in bringing up their families in a time when violence forces them to stand forward as leaders.

In a new campaign of its kind, created by a group calling itself the ‘Centre of al-Kadamiyya for Civil Society’, in June 2010 the group started a campaign called ‘Reform of the Hijab’. Some activists in Iraq believe that the government has a role in distributing tens of adverts in the streets of the neighbourhood of al-Kadamiyya (North Baghdad), placing them near the military checkpoints that are spread all over the city. Some of these adverts and pictures show uncovered or partly-covered women in such a way as to suggest they are somehow disgusting or ugly.

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.

Dear Mr. President, Allow me to introduce myself: I am Wajeha Al-Huwaider, Saudi writer and women’s rights activist in the Kingdom Of Saudi Arabia. When you meet with King Abdullah Bin Abdul-Aziz next week, we kindly request that you bring to his majesty’s attention the issue of reforming the Saudi male guardianship system.

"If the conflict is to be wound down, real compromises will have to be made on the constitution, women's rights and civil liberties." These are the words of an editorial comment in Afghan Scene, a magazine written by and mainly for the international community in Afghanistan. After years of fierce fighting and numerous counterinsurgency initiatives, the Afghan government and some of its international allies seem to have reached to the peak of desperation. They are now even exploring whether Afghan women's rights can be sacrificed in order to declare "mission accomplished".

Le 09 avril 2010, Amnesty International annonçait mon départ de l’organisation. Selon notre déclaration commune, « il était convenu que Gita quitte Amnesty International, en raison de différences irréconciliables de points de vue entre Gita Sahgal et Amnesty International sur les relations entre l’organisation et Moazzam Begg et Cageprisoners ».

Le tournant date du 1er novembre 2009, jour anniversaire de la chaîne. Al-Jazira fête ses 13 ans en innovant, avec une opération "new-look". Présentateurs et présentatrices ne sont plus des hommes et des femmes troncs, ils se déplacent face à la caméra. Et ce jour-là, ironise une présentatrice, la direction fait une découverte : lorsque l'on met une femme debout, elle a des jambes.

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