Latest from Progressive Muslims United

Check out our bookstore...

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Muslim Women Call for Change; Reinterpretation of Islamic Teachings

Muslim women call for change

Rasha Elass

Last Updated: July 18. 2009 12:54PM UAE / July 18. 2009 8:54AM GMT

KUALA LUMPUR // More than 200 female Muslim scholars and community
leaders from around the world have gathered in the Malaysian capital
this weekend to launch an ambitious initiative to reinterpret Islamic
teachings, in the hope of improving the lot of Muslim women around the

They will establish a shura council as well as a fund to support local
initiatives and a website. Daisy Khan, one of the organisers, said the
conference was an "historic moment for Muslim women's activism and an
opportunity to build on the change President Obama highlighted in his
speech in Cairo.

"We're thrilled to build upon the collective experiences of Muslim
women from around the world and establish a true global support
network of Muslim women working for social change at the dawning of
this new political era."

The 15-member shura council will operate this year under an umbrella
campaign called Jihad Against Violence, which will tackle issues from
female circumcision to domestic violence and terrorism.

Yesterday's bombings at two Jakarta hotels provided added urgency to
its first official statement: "It is time for peace. We, the Muslim
women's shura council, stand for non-violent and peaceful means alone
to create change. In the wake of yesterday's tragic incidents in
Indonesia, we unconditionally denounce violence, regardless of who
perpetrates it and for whatever objectives. We urge all to join our
global Jihad Against Violence."

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Supreme Court of Pakistan Directs Govt to Help Eunuchs Live with Dignity

 SC directs govt to help eunuchs live with dignity
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
By By our correspondent
ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed the government to provide financial support as well as protection to eunuchs so that they could lead a respectable life in society.

A three-member bench of the Supreme Court, comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Justice Sair Ali and Justice Jawwad S Khawaja, was hearing a petition of Dr Muhammad Aslam Khaki.

The court directed the government to provide financial support to the transgender individuals from Baitul Maal or the Benazir Income Support Programme. The court also directed the Interior Ministry to issue instructions to the law-enforcement agencies to provide protection to eunuchs from 'Ghunda' elements.

Dr Aslam Khaki, while appearing before the court, submitted that eunuchs were deprived of their basic rights as citizens of Pakistan and were facing humiliation in society. He said the parents expelled them from homes due to their feminine characteristics like dancing and wearing feminine dresses.

He said they could opt for a specific sex through surgery. Dr Khaki further stated that there was no column in identity card to specify sex of the transgender individuals. Dr Khaki provided the court with an identity card on which the photograph tended to be that of a female while in the respective column gender of the bearer of the card was listed as male.

He further said eunuchs were not owned by their parents and were deprived of their share in property. At this, the chief justice observed that it was the responsibility of the parents and State to support and protect them.

The chief justice said the government could support eunuchs by providing them respectable jobs or financial support through the Income Support Programme or Baitul Maal, while the NGOs should also come forward.

He also directed the secretary social welfare to come up with projects for the social uplift of transgender individuals. The provincial departments of social welfare were also directed to provide lists of the registered eunuchs in the next hearing of the case.

Shazia, an educated eunuch, informed the court that transgender individuals born in well-off families were accepted, and added, "They get education and do jobs but those belonging to poor families resort to dancing etc for earning bread." She said they faced humiliation in society and torture at the hands of their gurus and other miscreants while the police too registered false cases against them. She said her father and brothers were not allowing her to enter home. The court adjourned the hearing till third week of August

Pakistan Supreme Court Orders Federal and Provincial Governments to Provide Financial Support to Transvestites

 State responsible for rights of eunuchs: CJ
Updated at: 1730 PST, Tuesday, July 14, 2009  
ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court directed the government to give financial assistance to eunuchs for adopting respectable profession, holding them a common citizen entitled to all civic rights in Pakistan.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammed Chaudhry heard the Khawja Sara registration case.

The CJ said in his remarks that Khawja Sara are Pakistani citizens and the state is fully responsible for their rights protection, directing the police high-ups to listen to the their complaints and take action against police personnel who do wrongs against them (eunuchs).

The Chief Justice directed the federal and provincial governments to offer small loans from Benazir Income Support Program or Baitul Maal for honourable profession.

The court adjourned the hearing till third week of August.


From the Pakistan Observer - July 15, 2009

CJP directs govt to help eunuchs

Tanvir Siddiqi

Islamabad—The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed the government to give financial assistance to eunuchs for adopting respectable profession, saying they are entitled to all civic rights.

A bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry heard the Khawjasara registration case and remarked that "Khawjasara are citizens of Pakistan and the state is fully responsible for their rights' protection."

He directed the police high-ups to listen to their complaints and take action against police personnel who do wrong against them.

The Chief Justice directed the federal and provincial governments to offer small loans to eunuchs from Benazir Income Support Programme or Baitul Maal for taking up honourable processions. The court adjourned the hearing till third week of August.

Pakistan to Recognise Eunuchs

Bronwyn Curran, Foreign Correspondent

June 30. 2009 5:50PM GMT

Bobby, 43, a Pakistani eunuch and president of the She Male Rights Association at her home in Rawalpindi, Pakistan.
Katherine Kiviat for The National

RAWALPINDI, PAKISTAN // After decades of ignominy and exploitation as painted dancers, singers and beggars, Pakistan's "third sex" is to be officially surveyed and registered under the direction of the Supreme Court.

Iftikhar Chaudhry, the liberal-minded chief justice, ordered the establishment of a commission to conduct the survey after a prominent jurist filed a petition drawing attention to the plight of Pakistan's several hundred thousand eunuchs.

Until the registration takes place, the number of eunuchs is unknown. Community leaders estimate it is at least 400,000.

Full Article from The Nation - June 30, 2009

Pakistan's Supreme Court Orders Equal Benefits for Transvestites

SC orders equal benefits for transvestites

By Nasir Iqbal
Wednesday, 15 Jul, 2009 | 09:00 AM PST |
Transvestites Roop and Shazia come out of the Supreme Court after the decision is taken in their favour in Islamabad. –Dawn

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court has ordered that transvestites, being equal citizens of Pakistan, should also benefit from the federal and provincial governments' financial support schemes such as the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP).

Full Article from DAWN - July 15, 2009

Trikone Hails Pakistan Supreme Court's Verdict on Equal Benefits for Transgender Pakistanis

Historic Decision:
Trikone Hails Pakistan Supreme Court's Verdict on Equal Benefits for Transgender Pakistanis

For Immediate Release
July 15, 2009
For more information contact:
Rakesh Modi, Co-Chair,, (510) 757-5726
Priti Narayanan, Co-Chair,
Islamabad, Pakistan – In an unprecedented decision, the Supreme Court of Pakistan, led by Pakistani grassroots hero Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, reiterated equal rights for Pakistan's transgender community by declaring that they must receive equal benefits from government agencies.  Their decision came on the heels of an equally ground-breaking verdict in which the Court ordered Pakistan's government to develop programs for the empowerment of transgender Pakistanis. Both of these are remarkable decisions by a just court.
The Supreme Court's verdicts relied on Islamic jurisprudence as well as Pakistan's constitution to strengthen equal rights for the transgender community, which is among the most repressed minorities across South Asia. Their decision is a victory for all who desire equality under the law.
Dr. Khaki, the lead petitioner in the case, is a respected Pakistani Islamic scholar.  His detailed petition and the Supreme Court's subsequent decision deserve great praise.  Even more impressive was the bravery of transgender citizens and their allies, who despite facing death threats appeared before the Court to bear witness to the violence and repression their community faces.  We applaud them for their courage, as we do for the entire community and allies who fight daily for transgender equality in Pakistan.
The Supreme Court's verdicts will have very real results. The judges directed that the government provide transgender Pakistanis not only equal protections as guaranteed to them under the constitution, but also equal government benefits.  They directed that government agencies develop effective programs to survey and rehabilitate transgender citizens.   They have also ruled that Dr. Khaki work with specific NGOs who are already working hard for the same goals. We hope this is just the beginning of better lives for all transgender Pakistanis.

For more information please visit:

Trikone is a registered 501 © (3) non-profit support and advocacy group for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender South Asians.  Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, Trikone is the oldest LGBT South Asian group in the world.  Visit us at
For more information, including NGO names and contacts, on helping Pakistani transgender communities, please contact Ms. Narayanan or Mr. Modi.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

No Man's Land: Gay Iranian Refugees Caught Between Persecution and Alienation

No Man's Land
Gay Iranian refugees are caught between persecution at home and alienation abroad. Out's exclusive expose.
By Tim Murphy
"In Iran, we don't have homosexuals, like in your country...we do not have this phenomenon. I don't know who's told you that we have it."
-- Remarks by Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in a speech at Columbia University, September 24, 2007

Full Article from Out Magazine - July 2009.

Valentine's Day Across the Muslim World (2012)