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Saturday, October 6, 2012

AP Mobile: Women in north Mali protest veil leader

TIMBUKTU, Mali (AP) - A resident says about 200 women have marched in protest in the Malian city of Timbuktu, where Islamists are requiring women to wear veils.

Mahi Toure said the Islamists fired shots into the air Saturday morning to disperse the women protesting against the man in charge of implementing veil requirements.

The women accuse Mohamed Mossa of carrying out abusive arrests since the Islamists began enforcing their interpretation of Islamic Shariah law.

Women have been subjected to curfews, and have been publicly whipped for failing to wear veils. It's also forbidden for them to be in the streets with men who aren't their husbands or relatives.

The Islamists now control an area as large as France in the north of Mali.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Conversations: Rep. Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress, discusses the current crisis in Libya and Muslims in America

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Thursday, October 4, 2012

Kyrgyzstan: Film Ban Violates Free Speech

From Human Rights Watch (

Allow Screening of Gay Documentary; Protect Activists Promoting Film

October 4, 2012


(Bishkek) – The Kyrgyz government should lift a ban on a documentary film about gay men in Morocco and allow the film to be screened in Kyrgyzstan, Human Rights Watch said today.

The film, I am Gay and Muslim, shows gay men in Morocco describing their lives and their religious views. On September 27, 2012, Kyrgyz authorities illegally confiscated one copy of the film the day before it was scheduled to be screened at a local cinema in Bishkek, the capital. The next day, police prevented film festival organizers from showing another copy at the same cinema.

"The Kyrgyz authorities have no legitimate basis for banning this film," said Graeme Reid, director of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Rights Program at Human Rights Watch. "Although not everyone in Kyrgyzstan may like this film or agree with its content, the authorities should respect free speech by allowing the film to be screened."

The documentary is one of dozens of films included in the "One World" film festival, organized annually by local human rights groups for the last five years and shown in numerous cities across Kyrgyzstan.

In response to a complaint filed by the chief mufti of Kyrgyzstan to the General Prosecutor's Office and the State Committee onReligious Affairs, National Security Service (KNB) officers on September 27 took a copy of the film from the Manas cinema in central Bishkek, where the film was to be screened the next day. Festival organizers informed Human Rights Watch that the KNB officials had no search warrant and provided no official documentation permitting them to confiscate the film.

The Kyrgyz State Committee on Religious Affairs assessed the content of the film and determined it to be "extremist," "offensive to Muslims," and "inciting interreligious hatred." Citing this analysis and the Kyrgyz law on "counteracting extremist activities," the General Prosecutor's office ordered the film festival organizers to refrain from screening I am Gay and Muslim.

The festival organizers refused to comply and attempted to show another copy of the film at the Manas cinema on September 28, as scheduled. Over a dozen law enforcement officers arrived and prevented the screening. Police ushered members of the audience out of the theater after they were allowed to participate in a short discussion about the film with its director, Chris Belloni of the Netherlands.

The 59-minute documentary, released in March, has been screened in over a dozen countries, including the Netherlands, the United States, Ukraine, and Serbia.

Using "extremism" legislation to ban this film is a misuse of the law to stifle protected speech, Human Rights Watch said.
Tolekan Ismailova, head of Citizens against Corruption, a local group and one of the festival's organizers, told Human Rights Watch that government officials, journalists, and private individuals had pressured her, other festival organizers, and the Manas cinema director not to show the film. Unidentified people had also threatened to set the Manas cinema on fire if the film was shown.

Kyrgyzstan is party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which guarantees the right to free speech. Article 19 provides, "Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice." Free speech is protected in Kyrgyzstan's constitution. Article 31 states, "Everyone shall have the right to freedom of thought and opinion," and "Everyone shall have the right to free expression of opinion, freedom of speech and press."

In respecting and protecting the right to free speech, governments have an obligation to refrain from censoring free speech, including speech that may offend.

"The authorities should in no circumstances harass or pressure people who wish to screen or view this film," Reid said. "The effort to show the documentary as part of a human rights film festival should not be condemned, but rather welcomed. Like anyone else, LGBT people of faith have a right to be heard."

Feminism in the Muslim World - Council on Foreign Relations

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How the West Is Exploiting the Labor Class - The Huffington Post

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Wednesday, October 3, 2012

BBC News - Saudi Arabia religious police chief announces new curbs

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AP Mobile: Saudi religious police losing some powers

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) - The director of Saudi Arabia's powerful religious police says his forces are losing some of their key powers, including arrests, investigations and raiding houses.

Abdul-Latif al-Sheikh was quoted Wednesday by the Saudi pan-Arab online newspaper Al-Hayat as saying some powers will be reassigned to regular police or to judicial authorities. He admitted that there have been complaints about his force's behavior.

The religious police enforce a ban on mingling by unrelated men and women, and they patrol public places to ensure women are dressed modestly and that men go to mosques for prayers.

Saudi authorities instructed the religious police, run by the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, to draw up guidelines to keep individual officers from imposing their personal interpretations of Islamic rules.

Monday, October 1, 2012

LA Times - World - Ikea's Saudi Arabia catalog erases women; company expresses regret

LA Times - World - Daystar, TBN ready for Messiah in Jerusalem

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My 7-Year-Old Son Wants a 'Likes Boys' T-Shirt, and Here Is Why He's Going to Get It - The Huffington Post

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When Your 7-Year-Old Son Announces, 'I'm Gay' - The Huffington Post

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Pakistan : Supreme Court directs Chief Secretaries to attend to the complaints of transgenders.

Big news from Pakistan!
> Ensuring equality: Transgenders equal citizens of Pakistan, rules SC
> By Qamar Zaman
> Published: September 26, 2012
> Supreme Court directs Chief Secretaries to attend to the complaints of
> transgenders.PHOTO: AFP/ FILE
> The Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday that members of the transgender
> community are entitled to every right enjoyed by other citizens.
> Transsexuals and eunuchs have finally won recognition following some
> three years of interest shown by the Supreme Court. On Tuesday, a
> three-member bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry
> disposed of the case and ruled that eunuchs were entitled to all the
> rights guaranteed in the Constitution to all citizens including the
> right of inheritance.
> The apex court order said that eunuchs should not be deprived of their
> legitimate rights — particularly the right of inheritance of all
> movable and immovable properties and the right to adopt any
> profession.
> The court directed that the judgment be forwarded to the chief
> secretaries, as well as the inspectors general of all provinces, for
> their information and to ensure adherence of their fundamental rights.
> The issue had surfaced back in 2009 after police arrested some eunuchs
> by raiding a party in Taxila.
> Dr Mohammad Aslam Khaki, an Islamic jurist and human rights activist,
> stood up for their rights upon discovery that not a single human
> rights group or non-governmental organisation (NGO) was working for
> the rights of this community in the country.
> Consequently, Dr Khaki had filed a petition seeking the establishment
> of a commission to safeguard the rights of the transgender community.
> He contended that these people were denied the right of inheritance
> and other fundamental rights that citizens of Pakistan enjoy.
> While concluding the proceedings, the bench appreciated the
> appointment of focal persons among the eunuch community in all the
> provinces to represent the community and help address issues being
> faced by them.
> The chief justice also directed the interior secretary and provincial
> police officers (PPO) to appoint a focal person in every district and
> tehsil to look after security-related issues of the neglected
> community.
> In addition, the court directed all federal and provincial health and
> education secretaries and the chief commissioner of Islamabad to
> coordinate with the representatives of the transgender community in
> order to provide free healthcare and education to them.
> In November last year, the court directed the National Database and
> Registration Authority (NADRA) to speed up the process of issuing
> CNICs to eunuchs and later directed the Election Commission to
> register eunuchs as voters as well.
> Published in The Express Tribune, September 26th, 2012.

Pakistani women drive retail boom

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Exploring home abroad: Afghan-Americans in Kabul - PhotoBlog

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Colonial sins return to haunt former world powers - World News

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AP Mobile: Iran swipe at Web brings angry reply

A story from AP Mobile:

Iran swipe at Web brings angry reply

thumbnailTEHRAN (AP) - Iran's cyber monitors often tout their fight against the West's "soft war" of influence through the Web, but trying to block Google's popular Gmail appeared to be a swipe too far. Complaints piled up - even from email-starved parliament members - and forced authorities Sunday to double down on their promises to create a parallel Web universe with Tehran as its center. The strong back...

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Sunday, September 30, 2012

BBC News - Tehrangeles: How Iranians made part of LA their own

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Women as Priests -

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Valentine's Day Across the Muslim World (2012)