In 1856 when Mount Everest was definitively identified as the world’s highest mountain what began was a series of early Everest expeditions, mostly led by the British, which, in 1933, included efforts to deploy the British Union Flag on top of the mountain by flying a formation of aircraft over the peak (an expedition funded by a British millionairess, Lady Houston).Read More
In retrospect, it wasn’t that unusual of an event but would be one that finally broke the silence surrounding violence against women in the world’s second largest country.
On December 16, a 23-year-old medical student travelling with a male companion on a bus in New Delhi was beaten and gang raped by a group of 6 men for over an hour as the bus traveled across the city. When they were done, they threw her from the bus onto the road leaving her in critical condition.
Shabana Khan* speaks from behind a screen put up to protect her identity at a recent women’s assembly. I cannot see her. I do not know what her age is. I have no way of observing her non-verbal communication. But what I do know is that this is a person in pain. Intense pain has resulted in eloquence as well as a defiant, almost rebellious fearlessness. She is a young woman from the Shia Hazara community and lives in Quetta. This is an excerpt of the story she tells of herself and her community.Read More
As someone who writes and lectures about women and gender in Islam, I am often asked if women had any role in the making of the Islamic tradition. Happily, the answer is always yes. There were in fact many prominent women in the early history of Islam.
At the top of the list would have to be Aisha, the widow of the Prophet Muhammad who was renowned for her learning and wit.The Prophet in fact is said to have counselled his followers to “take half of your religion” from Aisha – in recognition of her learning.
Whether or not it turns out (as I expect it will) that Middle-Eastern Muslim mobs were duped by jihadist radicals — provoked by an old, fringe video to provide cover for their own planned attacks on Muslim-friendly American forces in Egypt, Libya and Yemen — those mobs are a worse insult to Muhammad and Islam that anything an ignorant non-Muslim could ever do.Read More
Thirteen years ago, I married a tall, handsome, shambling, funny, religious Egyptian man. Since then, this ancient land of pharaohs and pyramids has never been far from my thoughts. I’ve visited the country twice. Most of my husband’s family still lives there. We are far away from the turmoil here in the United States, but we’re only one Skype call away from his brother, his cousins, his uncles and aunts, his nieces and nephews.Read More
“Violence emanates from the man, so we have to have projects that make him aware of this circumstance,” said Zainab Sadeq Jaffer, an Iraqi human rights attorney who presented at the US Institute for Peace Conference entitled “Women Fighting for Peace”. Others may argue that violence is not a gendered concept, but in a post-conflict country such as Iraq addressing specific trends in aggressive behavior has become vital.Read More
With the anniversary of 9/11 fast approaching and the awareness that terrorism is still a real threat for the United States, we should consider what we might do differently to make our country a safer place.
Looking back on the last 10 years, one thing is clear: the violence of terrorism cannot be defeated with more violence. Afghanistan and Iraq are convincing proof of that; both countries remain ravaged by terrorism and al Qaeda forces seem much more resilient than the architect of the war on terror, George W. Bush, ever imagined.Read More
Wearing a bright pink hijab and contrasting blue sweater, a young woman who appears to be in her mid-20s leads a male dominated crowd in a piercing Arabic chant. “What does Mubarak want anyway? All Egyptians to kiss his feet? No, Mubarak, we will not! Tomorrow we’ll trample you with our shoes!” Since January 25, hundreds of thousands of young Egyptians have taken to the streets in Cairo and other major Egyptian cities, pounding the pavements in what has become the largest challenge to President Hosni Mubarak’s regime in a generation.Read More
Naturally it is gratifying, for those of us who spend significant amounts of time in the Arab world, to see the region get the recognition it deserves. Last month, it was good to see commentators in Europe seize on Syria and Egypt as examples to be followed. The reason for the praise? Syria’s decision to ban the niqab from university campuses and to bar teachers who wear the niqab from teaching in public schools.Read More