International

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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Muslim women are not silent

Afghanistan’s new law – one that essentially legalizes marital rape – is just one of a series of recent developments that undermines the rights of millions of women. In early April, a video turned up on the Internet of a 17-year old girl being mercilessly beaten in public by the Taliban in the Swat valley of the Northwest Frontier Province in Pakistan. But in response, politics comes first, and women second.

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