Day: February 21, 2012
International Olympic Committee rules require that countries allow both men and women to compete as a prerequisite for their participation in the Olympic Games. Saudia Arabia, a country that has never sent a female athlete to the games, has been warned of this, promised to correct the situation, and then sort of did nothing for awhile and hoped that no one would notice.
Now, one human rights group says enough is enough and is encouraging the IOC to bar the Middle Eastern Kingdom from the Games, on account of the fact that they’re clearly dragging their feet on this. In a letter to the IOC on Wednesday, the organization demanded Saudi Arabia be barred from the upcoming London Olympic Games if they fail to send a lady to compete.
A Saudi court sentenced a local man and his girl friend to 50 lashes each and ordered him to wash 10 dead people after they were caught in a car parked in a deserted place under the cover of night.
There are no national teams for women, and physical education for girls does not exist in state schools (although it does in private schools). Fitness clubs open to women are few and costly. Many of the swimming pools and running tracks that did exist for women were closed by the government in 2009 for being unlicensed, leaving women to search out gyms operating under the radar or to exercise at home.
Shakila, 8 at the time, was drifting off to sleep when a group of men carrying AK-47s barged in through the door. She recalls that they complained, as they dragged her off into the darkness, about how their family had been dishonored and about how they had not been paid.
It turns out that Shakila, who was abducted along with her cousin as part of a traditional Afghan form of justice known as “baad,” was the payment.
Although baad (also known as baadi) is illegal under Afghan and, most religious scholars say, Islamic law, the taking of girls as payment for misdeeds committed by their elders still appears to be flourishing. Shakila, because one of her uncles had run away with the wife of a district strongman, was taken and held for about a year. It was the district leader, furious at the dishonor that had been done to him, who sent his men to abduct her.
[ . . .]
“Despite being denounced by the United Nations as a “harmful traditional practice,” baad is pervasive in rural southern and eastern Afghanistan, areas that are heavily Pashtun, according to human rights workers, women’s advocates and aid experts. Baad involves giving away a young woman, often a child, into slavery and forced marriage. It is largely hidden because the girls are given to compensate for “shameful” crimes like murder and adultery and acts forbidden by custom, like elopement, say elders and women’s rights advocates.
Read the rest here.
The honor/shame belief system of the mid-East is the engine that drives the oppression of women in these cultures. Islam is the fuel that provides the machine with its power.
Born in Tehran, Raboudan danced at parties and birthdays as a child. Her family fled Iran in 1989, 10 years after the Islamic revolution.
“Among other rules, women had to wear much more conservative clothing after the revolution and there has been no public belly dancing since then,” she says.
[ . . .]
Just back from Egypt — considered by many to be the longtime centre of belly dancing — Raboudan says the Muslim Brotherhood is dropping the curtain on belly dancing.
“It’s sad,” she says. “I fear Egypt will go the way of Iran. Fortunately, there are many Muslims in Edmonton who understand and enjoy belly dancing.”
Read the article here.
For those of you who have never had the pleasure of seeing a belly dance, here is a video of the best belly dancer in the world, Tito Seif, who happens to be a man, dancing with one of his students! Here is another video of the Classical Egyptian style belly dance by Zaheea.
Singing and dancing are disputed by various Islamic sects. However, even some of the most fundamentalists in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan allow dancing at celebrations when it is gender specific and men dance with men, and women dance with women. Also, some Muslims say that it is permissible for wives to dance for their husbands. Here’s a typical discussion about these arts.
Several years after the little-known procedure became a topic of political debate, doctors are reporting that demand for hymenoplasty operations has not decreased.
Doctors who perform these operations have come under sharp criticism for legitimising the procedure and thereby protecting what critics say is the chauvinism and oppression that underlies the demand that new brides must be verified virgins.
“I don’t have any scruples about helping. The important thing is that these girls have good lives moving forward. You could call it my form of foreign aid,” Dr Christine Felding, who performs 30 to 40 hymenoplasty procedures each year, told Berlingske newspaper.
The procedure involves reconstructing the hymen – the membrane that partially covers the opening to the vagina, and which is presumed to tear and bleed the first time a woman has sexual intercourse. The doctor literally sews bits of the vaginal lining together to narrow the opening. It takes a little over an hour and is done under local anaesthesia. Felding charges 5,000 kroner. Other doctors charge as much as 12,000 kroner.
Felding estimates that three or four women with immigrant backgrounds call her each week asking about the procedure. Most of them, she said, are frightened about what will happen if their fiancés or their families find out that they are not virgins.
Women have been known to suffer rejection, public shaming and even violent retribution at the hands of men in their own families if there is a lack of ‘proof’, in the form of a bloody bed sheet, on the wedding night.
It is more cultural than religious. If the bride is not a virgin and does not bleed on the wedding night, it is a big shame on the family. There have been honour killings in extreme cases,” Dr Magdy Hend, a UK surgeon who performs several hymenoplasties a week, told the UK tabloid Daily Mail.
Doctors in the UK, France, Germany and Belgium also report that the procedure is highly sought after in Muslim communities. The irony, as Time magazine’s Bruce Crumley writes, is that “the increase in the procedure reflects the growing emancipation of women from tradition-rooted communities, but also the ongoing male oppression signified by the obsession with female virginity.”
Read the rest here.
(h/t to NewEnglishReview)
Deaf Mute Girl Kept as a Sex Slave in Britain
A woman allegedly imprisoned in a cellar, raped and kept as a virtual slave while a child was stabbed in the stomach for smiling, a jury was told.
The woman, who is deaf and unable to speak, is said to have been subjected to years of abuse after being trafficked into Britain from Pakistan. It is alleged that she was locked in a cellar by Ilyas Ashar, 83, and his wife Tallat Ashar, 66, at their home on Cromwell Road in Eccles, Salford, and forced to sew, wash, cook and clean without pay.
Deaf mute girl allegedly kept in a cellar in Eccles was raped and treated as slave, court told. A jury at Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court was told she slept on the cellar’s concrete floor without access to a toilet until she was rescued by police in June 2009.
She is also said to have been regularly beaten, repeatedly raped and assaulted. The couple are on trial and deny any mistreatment.
Read more here.
Afghan woman burnt to death in Iran
The charred body of an Afghan refugee, allegedly killed by her in-laws in neighbouring Iran, was brought to southwestern Nimroz province, the victim’s father said on Monday.
Abdul Basir told Pajhwok Afghan News his daughter was burnt by her mother-in-law and husband in Iran’s Sistan Baluchistan province five days ago. She had been sprinkled with gasoline before being set on fire, the father alleged.
Basir, who is currently living in Iran, said her daughter was married to a young boy of an Afghan refugee family a year ago. But her mother-in-law would always encourage her son to rough up his wife.
Read more here.
(h/t to the thereligionofpeace.com)
What links these stories? The answer is: the ideology of Islam.
Ahmadinejad in Islamabad for a trilateral Pakistan-Afghanistan-Iran summit – The three leaders stressed the need for economic cooperation and completion of all projects, especially gas pipelines, one to import gas from Iran and the second from Turkmenistan via Afghanistan and will be extended to India.
Foreign Ministry Spokesman: Military intervention in Syria will be “very dangerous” – Ramin Mehmanparast said that a military intervention in Syria will be “very dangerous” to regional security and stability. He added that the legitimate demands of the Syrian people should be met, and reforms should be made in Syria. He added that Bashar al-Assad’s government has so far implemented considerable reforms. Hossein Amir Abdollahian, Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs, praised the Syrian government for planning a referendum on Syria’s new constitution, and urged the Arab League, Europe and the UN to support the Syrian government’s bid. He also called on the Arab League to fulfill its duty to prevent any foreign interference in Syria.
Intelligence Minister: There is an ongoing all-out war against the Islamic Republic Iran – Heidar Moslehi stated that “Based on accurate information, Iran is currently in a ‘heavy soft war’ situation.” He added that the enemy has hatched different plots in almost all fields and that the Ministry of Intelligence has so far countered enemies’ countless plots. Moslehi noted that the plots have caused many threats, but have also created opportunities. He stressed the importance of crafting new strategies to face the new threats that have changed in nature etched against Iran.
Strong criticism of the Iranian chargé d’affaires in Egypt and Iranian policy towards Egypt in general – An editorial in Asr Iran directed sharp criticism at the positions taken by Mojtaba Amani on the chargé d’affaires of Iran on Egypt. Under the headline, “Are you protecting the interests of Iran or Egypt?!” Asr Iran comments on an interview Amani gave to Al-Ahram in which he expressed Iran’s immediate willingness to strengthen diplomatic ties with Egypt and provide urgent economic assistance to the Egyptian people as they face pressure and threats from the US. He also noted that Iranians are eager to visit Egypt. This is not the first time that senior Iranian officials express such positions towards Egypt. He remarked that Iranians have not forgotten that President Ahmadinejad announced at a press conference in 2008, “I declare emphatically that if the Egyptian government expresses readiness, by the end of the day I will open an Iranian Embassy in Egypt.” Egyptian officials at the time received his words with apathy and disregard, in Iran with surprise and shock. After the Egyptian revolutionaries won, they received a similar message from Iran, and they continued to ignore them, claiming that now is the time for a transitional government, and these matters should wait until later.
Now representatives from Iran’s Interest Section in Egypt are making statements, saying that the Iranian people are even willing to pay for renewing diplomatic ties with Egypt. They also promised that if the US stops financial aid to Egypt, Iran is ready to immediately provide alternative assistance to Egypt. Read the rest of this entry »
Gunmen believed to be members of the Islamist sect Boko Haram stormed the fish section of Baga market and sprayed stallholders and vendors with bullets, traders said, reporting that women and children were among the dead.
“The number of dead could not be less than 30,” a Maiduguri hospital nurse told AFP.
The military confirmed the assault on the market but denied any civilian deaths, saying security forces had killed eight assailants and safely detonated bombs planted by the attackers. Read the rest of this entry »