27th December 2014 by Maryam Namazie
category: News Flash
Bangladesh - Transgender women are calling for changes to the law to enable them to inherit property. Although individuals were granted the right to identify as Hijra and have been recognised as a third gender in law they are still barred from inheriting or even claiming their inheritance under the laws that apply in Bangladesh. It was recommended that if the law was enacted Hijras should be allowed to choose whether or not to inherit as a male or a female, since men are entitled to more than women under Sharia law.

27th July 2014 by Maryam Namazie
category: News Flash
Afghanistan - Taliban gunmen stopped two vehicles in central Afghanistan and shot dead 10 men, four women and one child police in Ghor province said. Most of the slain were labourers heading to Kabul. "They ordered all passengers to stand in one line, and then they shot them dead one by one”. A newly-wed couple amongst those killed. The group may have been on the way back from celebrating the marriage. A 10 year old girl was raped in a mosque by a mullah who invoked the familiar defence that it had been consensual. The authorities said her family members openly planned to carry out an “honour killing” against the young girl. The mullah offered to marry his victim instead. The police then removed the girl from the shelter that had given her refuge and returned her to her family despite complaints from women’s activists that she was likely to be killed. The head of the Women for Afghan Women shelter where the girl took refuge, Dr. Hassina Sarwari, was at one point driven into hiding by death threats from the girl’s family and other mullahs. The doctor said she now wanted to flee Afghanistan. The head of the women’s affairs office in Kunduz, Nederah Geyah, who actively campaigned to have the young girl protected from her family and the mullah prosecuted, resigned on May 21 and moved to another part of the country.

27th May 2014 by Maryam Namazie
category: News Flash
Afghanistan - Nearly 100 women, accompanied by children, staged a protest rally in northern Faryab province, accusing a local commander of sexually abusing and murdering young girls and children during a bloody clash with civilians. They said the local warlord, Qader Rahmani, had subjected women and children to sexual harassment during the clash, asking the government to punish him and his armed supporters. Egypt - 3-year-old Soheir al-Batea from a village in Egypt’s Nile Delta died last June whilst being mutilated by Dr. Raslan Fadl, an imam and employee of the local government hospital who performed the illegal procedure as he had done on dozens of other girls. This little girl’s case, like many before her, would normally have been buried and forgotten. Since FGM was criminalized in Egypt in 2008, both parents and practitioners fearful of arrest have kept quiet when there are complications. But now, for the first time in Egyptian history, both Soheir’s father and Dr. Fadl are to stand trial charged with illegally mutilating the child’s genitals and with manslaughter. Egypt has one of the highest rates of FGM in the world:

27th March 2014 by Maryam Namazie
category: News Flash
Afghanistan - Mariam Koofi, a woman Afghan Member of Parliament was shot and wounded in the capital Kabul after an argument with a member of the security forces, who was later arrested. Her injury was reportedly not life-threatening. Iran - A convicted prisoner in Iran has been saved from public execution at the last possible moment, after the family of the victim decided to spare his life. Balal Abdullah, now in his 20s, was found guilty of murdering Abdollah Hosseinzadeh during a fight in the street seven years ago when they were both 17. According to the “eye for an eye” ruling of qisas, the sharia law of retribution, the victim’s family were to take an active role in the punishment of their son’s killer – it was expected that they would push away the chair on which he stood. Screaming for his life, Balal was dragged out to the gallows by officials and had his head placed in the noose. Yet instead of sealing his fate, Abdollah’s mother slapped Balal’s face and then signalled her forgiveness. The victim’s father then removed the noose. This has stoked campaign against executions in Iran.

27th February 2014 by Maryam Namazie
category: News Flash
An Afghan law that protects perpetrators of domestic violence, new Sharia criminal laws in Brunei that allow stoning, sexual assaults in Arab Spring countries, and virginity tests in Indonesia are just a few examples of a rollback of women's rights in recent years. Libya's Supreme Court has effectively lifted restrictions on polygamy requiring a first wife's consent, and the country's religious leadership has called for a ban on women marrying foreigners and for greater use of the hijab, or head scarf. According to Indonesia's official Commission on Violence Against Women, as of August 2013 Indonesian national and local governments had passed 60 new discriminatory regulations so far that year. These included dozens of local bylaws requiring women to wear the hijab, and others permitting female genital mutilation or banning women from straddling motorcycles. Mandatory virginity tests have been proposed in several parts of the country. Brunei will see new criminal Sharia laws going into effect this spring that, among other things, allow the stoning of adulterers. Historic gains in women's rights have been made in some countries, such as Tunisia—the birthplace of the Arab Spring—with new rights for women enshrined in their constitutions.

27th January 2014 by Maryam Namazie
category: News Flash
General - A new social-attitudes survey of men and women in Tunisia, Egypt, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Iraq and Pakistan has found small levels of support for the wearing of a full-face veil in much of the Middle East. On whether women should be able to choose their own clothing, 14 per cent agreed with this in Egypt, with 22 per cent in Pakistan and 27 per cent in Iraq. The idea won support from 47 per cent in Saudi Arabia, 49 per cent in Lebanon, 52 per cent in Turkey and 56 per cent in Tunisia. Professor Mansoor Moaddel, principal investigator in the report by the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research, said attitudes to women’s dress were closely related to wider views on gender equality and social values. “All of the countries except Egypt are showing trends towards increased equality for women and a move towards political secularism”, he said. “People from these countries have seen the extremism of Islamic governments or witnessed terrorism and political violence, and are taking the position that it’s not something valuable for their countries”.

27th December 2013 by Maryam Namazie
category: News Flash
General - A UN General Assembly committee has agreed a landmark first resolution on women's rights defenders, despite a hard fought campaign by an alliance including the Vatican, Iran, Russia, China and others to weaken the measure. A Norwegian-led coalition, which has prepared the resolution for months, had to delete language that condemned "all forms of violence against women" to get the text passed by consensus. Iran - The Department of Women and Family affairs in President Rouhani’s government has been given the task of determining policies aimed at increasing the Iranian population. A work-group had been set up to provide the government with recommendations and advice. In recent weeks Iranian officials and politicians have expressed their concern about the low rate of population growth in the country and called for a solution. One major factor is that many of those born after the 1979 revolution are postponing marriage until too old to have many children.

27th November 2013 by Maryam Namazie
category: News Flash
Afghanistan - Twelve years after the fall of the Taliban, Afghanistan's government is considering bringing back stoning as a punishment for sex outside marriage. The sentence for married adulterers, along with flogging for unmarried offenders, appears in a draft revision of the country's penal code being drawn up by the ministry of justice. It is the latest in a string of encroachments on hard-won rights for women, after parliament quietly cut the number of seats set aside for women on provincial councils, and drew up a criminal code whose provisions will make it almost impossible to convict anyone for domestic violence. Locals shot dead a girl and her boyfriend in northern Baghlan province after they eloped. Javed Basharat, the provincial police spokesman, said police tried to mediate and rescue the pair, but tribal elders promised to surrender both victims yet failed to do so. Egypt - A survey of 22 Arab states by the Thomson Reuters Foundation found Egypt lowest in the women’s rights listing and with the highest rates of violence against women – including sexual harassment and female genital mutilation (FGM). Egypt was followed by Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Yemen.

3rd October 2013 by Maryam Namazie
category: News Flash
Afghanistan - Even though several million Afghan girls are attending school, more than half are married before the age of 18 and about one-quarter are wed by their mid-teens, often because their families afghan_oct13cannot afford to support them. Many are virtually sold as teenage brides, and if they run away, they are branded as ‘bad women.’ The number of women and girls fleeing intolerable domestic conditions has skyrocketed, keeping the handful of urban shelters constantly full. In addition, according to rights organisations, the number of girls and women charged with moral crimes (usually some variation of zina, or sex outside marriage) has increased 50 percent in the past several years. Brunei - The Sultan of Brunei is to introduce a new code of Sharia law which could see stonings for adultery, amputations for thefts and public flogging for drinking alcohol.

3rd September 2013 by Maryam Namazie
category: News Flash
Iran - There has been a marked increase in CCTV cameras being installed in girls’ schools, particularly private ones causing concern for girls and their parents. The Islamic Assembly or Majlis in Iran passed a bill allowing a male guardian to marry his adopted child upon court approval. Children’s rights advocates denounced the bill saying it would endanger the welfare of the child, violate her rights, and is nothing more than legalised paedophilia. According to Children First, one Majlis representative said that sexual relations with adoptediran_legalised_pchildren is permissible under Sharia under marriage as they are not considered real children. According to one report, officials in Iran have tried to play down the sexual part of such marriages, saying it is in the bill to solve the issue of hijab [head scarf] complications when a child is adopted. An adopted daughter is expected to wear the hijab in front of her father, and a mother should wear it in front of her adopted son if he is old enough. As many as 42,000 children aged between 10 and 14 were married in 2010, according to the Iranian news website Tabnak. At least 75 children under the age of 10 were wed in Tehran alone.

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