Politics

Abuse, asylum and America

A new policy by the Obama Administration has provided an opportunity for abused women, including those under threat of death from karo kari, to claim asylum in the United States. Concerns about notions of Western patriarchy should be seen in the context of the lack of options that hundreds of thousands of women, from Mexico to Pakistan, currently have.

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To burqa or not to burqa?

As a secular nation, France has no right to espouse interpretations of any religion or delve into theological discussions of Islam in particular. But we should acknowledge that France’s discussion of a burqa ban stems from an internal need for Muslims to address outstanding, blatant inequities in religious interpretations.

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Headscarves and hymen

I wish Muslim women didn’t need their own part in Barack Obama’s Cairo speech earlier this month. Many wondered whether Obama would take the safe route and avoid women’s rights. But that would have given a free pass to the denial and defensiveness of too many Muslims about the abuse of girls and women committed in the name of our religion.

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Empowering the average Mo

In the traditional Arab mindset, men who do not fit the conventional ideal of manhood are regarded as inferior. As long as conservative circles continue successfully to equate female emancipation with male emaciation, the quest for gender equality will stall. What we need are mainstream, “average Mo” role models who demonstrate that believing in gender equality squares with being a man.

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Women win in Kuwait

Four Kuwaiti women made history on May 17th by winning seats in their country’s parliamentary elections. Their victory was made all the more delicious because the fundamentalists who had long opposed women’s suffrage simultaneously lost several of their seats in the Kuwaiti parliament. And just as women faced down the fundamentalists in Kuwait, they will eventually win in Saudi Arabia.

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