International

Gender and conflict in Iraq

“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.

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Muslim women in the push for peace

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.

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Women rally against Mubarak

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.

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How do the French and Syrian bans on the niqab differ?

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.

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Dear Monsieur Sarkozy

Dear Monsieur Sarkozy: I have never in my life wanted to wear a niqab or a burqa, but I do want to wear one now, thanks to you. Perhaps it’s something to do with being British, and doing the opposite of whatever the French want to do. I might even fashion my new niqab out of a Union Jack and ‘invade’ French soil via Eurostar, a cup of nice English breakfast tea and a traditional buttery scone with home-made jam. Or maybe it’s to do with the fact that I’m a woman, and no man is going to tell me what to wear, (except maybe Gok Wan) and no politician is going to determine how I dress.

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The untold story of Egyptian women’s rights

In a report published last month on violent crimes committed against women in 2009, Karam Saber Ibrahim, Executive Director of The Land Center for Human Rights, a Cairo-based non-governmental organisation, spoke of a belief that some Egyptians continue to hold, that “women are fundamentally lacking…. They are not complete, because they are not men.” Attitudes like these, as well as laws that discriminate against women, create significant hardship for Egyptian women. In order to address these issues and solidify rights for Egyptian women, many governmental and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are joining hands to put new laws into effect and ensure that women are aware of their rights.

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