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Islam, Women and Feminism ( 22 Aug 2012, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Iranian Parliament Wants to Legalize Marriage for Girls As Young As 9-Years-Old

New Age Islam News Bureau

22 Aug 2012 

 Christian Girl’s Blasphemy Arrest Incites a Furor in Pakistan

 Muslim asks HPD to revise frisking rules on headscarfs

 Girls school blown up in South Waziristan

 Government needs to act fast to restore confidence in Hindu population of Pakistan: Pakistan Hindu Council

 Palestinian women racers find freedom behind the wheel

Yemeni women say equal rights are compatible with Islam

 Women’s continuous struggle for share of Tunisia’s new democracy

 UN Panel Concerned Over Tunisia's Draft Constitution That Discriminates Women

 The situation of women rights activists in Pakistan

 'Honor' murderer boasts of triple killing

 Ghanaian teenager shortlisted for $75,000 Anzisha Prize award

 Girl who escaped Assad’s army struggles to prove Saudi citizenship

 Indonesian LBT Women Exposed to Backlash

 Death of Saudi kidnap child's mother not suspicious: police

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

Photo: Girls school blown up in South Waziristan





Iranian Parliament Wants to Legalize Marriage for Girls As Young As 9-Years-Old

Ximena Ramirez

August 21, 2012

When I was in fifth grade two of my classmates got married on the playground at recess. We were 10-years-old. The wedding was long forgotten the next day as we were just kids playing a game, but in Iran underage marriage is not a game. It’s a reality.

The Iranian Parliament recently issued a statement saying they regard the country’s law prohibiting marriage for girls under 10-years-old as “un-Islamic and illegal.”

As such, girls as young as nine would be permitted – and in reality forced – to marry men much older than them.

“We must regard nine as being the appropriate age for a girl to have reached puberty and qualified to get married,” said Parliament member Mohammad Ali Isfenani.

Forcing girls to marry at such a young age carries many serious consequences.

A 9-year-old girl is not physically or emotionally ready to start in engaging in sexual activity, not to mention carrying a child. If a young girl does become pregnant, her health risks increase dramatically. In fact, girls under 15-years-old are five times more likely to die during childbirth.

Forcing a girl to marry a man much older than her would thus effectively legalize sex between a minor and adult man and endanger a girl’s health and safety.

Marrying at such a young age also rips a girl of her chance to a full education with the added burden of household and family responsibilities.

Nine-year-old girls should be spending their time in school learning not having sex, managing a household, or taking care of children.

Join members on Care2 in asking the Iranian Parliament to put an end to child marriage by signing the “Iran: Don’t Legalize Marriage for Girls Under 10!” petition.

Over the summer 75 girls under 10-years-old have been forced to marry men much older than them. How many more girls need to suffer before child marriage is taken seriously?



Christian Girl’s Blasphemy Arrest Incites a Furor in Pakistan



ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — The arrest and imprisonment of a Christian girl accused of violating Pakistan’s blasphemy laws stoked a public furor on Monday, renewing international scrutiny of growing intolerance toward minorities in the country.

The police jailed the girl, Rimsha Masih, and her mother on Friday after hundreds of Muslim protesters surrounded the police station here where they were being held, demanding that Ms. Masih face charges under Pakistan’s blasphemy laws. A local cleric had said Ms. Masih had burned pages of the Noorani Qaida, a religious textbook used to teach the Koran to children.

By Monday night, as Pakistani Muslims celebrated the feast of Id al-Fitr, Ms. Masih and her mother were being held in Adiala jail, a grim facility in nearby Rawalpindi, awaiting their fate. Meanwhile, a number of the girl’s Christian neighbors had fled their homes, fearing for their lives, human rights workers said.

Senior government and police officials agreed with Christian leaders that the accusations against Ms. Masih were baseless and predicted that the case would ultimately be dropped.

Still, the case has already grabbed global headlines and inspired a hail of Twitter posts, even though several details are in dispute.

Christian, and some Muslim, neighbors said Ms. Masih was 11 years old and had Down syndrome. Senior police officers dismissed those claims; one described her as 16 and “100 percent mentally fit.”

Whatever the truth, experts said Ms. Masih’s plight highlighted a wider problem. “This case exemplifies the absurdity and tragedy of the blasphemy law, which is an instrument of abuse against the most vulnerable in society,” said Ali Dayan Hasan of Human Rights Watch.

While non-Muslims have long been vulnerable to persecution in Pakistan, the state’s ability to protect them is diminishing. Last week, gunmen executed 25 Shiites after taking them off a bus near Mansehra, in northwestern Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Province. On Saturday, Hindu leaders in Sindh called on the government to protect their community from forced conversions by Muslim extremists.

But it is the emotionally charged blasphemy issue that has most polarized society. Ever since the governor of Punjab Province, Salmaan Taseer, was gunned down by his own bodyguard in January 2011 for his support of blasphemy reforms, the space for public debate has narrowed in Pakistan.

Violent mobs led by clerics have framed the argument, as appears to have happened in Ms. Masih’s case.

Neighbors said the girl’s family were sweepers — work shunned by Muslims but common among poor Christians — and lived in a slum area in Islamabad.

Malik Amjad, landlord of the family’s rented house, said the controversy started early last week after his nephew saw Ms. Masih holding a burned copy of the Noorani Qaida. The nephew informed a local cleric, Khalid Jadoon, Mr. Amjad said.

Desecration of Muslim holy texts is illegal in Pakistan and punishable by death. But Mr. Amjad said the incident bothered few local residents initially and caught fire only at the instigation of the cleric and two conservative shopkeepers.

“He tried to shame people by saying, ‘What good are your prayers if the Koran is being burnt?’ ” Mr. Amjad said.

Mr. Amjad said he handed the girl over to the police for her own protection and criticized the cleric’s role. “He exaggerated the incident and provoked people,” he said.

It was not clear how, or even if, Ms. Masih had come across the burned religious book. One neighbor, Malik Shahid, said it might have simply become accidentally swept up in a trash pile she was collecting.

The Pakistani police often are forced to register blasphemy cases against their wishes, human rights campaigners say, either to save the accused blasphemer or their own officers from attack.

In July, a large crowd, prompted by inflammatory statements from local mosques, swarmed a police station in Bahawalpur district in southern Punjab, searching for a blasphemy suspect who was being interrogated by police. The mob seized the man, beat him to death and burned his body outside the station.

A similar mob attack occurred in June in Karachi, Pakistan’s most populous city, although in that case the police beat back the protesters.

The turmoil comes just days after Pakistanis marked the country’s 65th independence anniversary amid muted ceremonies and considerable soul-searching across the political spectrum.

“Desecrating graves, arresting 11 year old with Down syndrome, targeting of Shias — the list goes on. This is not what r religion is about,” Shireen Mazari, a staunch nationalist commentator, said on Twitter.

The adviser to the prime minister on national harmony, Dr. Paul Bhatti, said he hoped to defuse Ms. Masih’s situation through talks with moderate Muslim leaders. Dr. Bhatti is the brother of Shahbaz Bhatti, a minister for minorities who was gunned down outside his Islamabad home in early 2011, weeks after Mr. Taseer’s death.

Even if Ms. Masih avoids blasphemy charges, her family is unlikely to ever return home. Although nobody has been executed under Pakistan’s blasphemy laws, even suspected blasphemers are in danger for the rest of their lives.

Several have been killed by vigilantes; others have been forced to flee Pakistan.



Muslim asks HPD to revise frisking rules on headscarfs

By Safiya Ravat

 August 19, 2012

A Muslim protester is calling for revision of the frisking process at the Houston Police Department after she said she was stripped of her religious headscarf during a recent arrest this month while rallying for janitor wages.

The incident highlights the varying policies local police agencies have regulating when religious head coverings are allowed during the arresting and booking process. It also shows the fine line law enforcement must straddle when trying to respect one's faith while ensuring that people who are arrested do no harm to themselves or others.

Ilana Alazzeh, 23, was arrested by HPD Aug. 1 while participating in a roadblock protest at a busy intersection in the Galleria area. She and two dozen other protesters sat in the middle of the intersection with arms interlocked.

Alazzeh, who has Israeli, Palestinian and Pakistani roots, was the only protester wearing a hijab - the headscarf - worn by female adherents of the Islamic faith while in the presence of men.

After their arrest for obstruction of traffic, HPD officers took the handcuffed protesters to the Police Department's gymnasium to ID and process them before incarceration.

"Initially they were very cordial," said Alazzeh, a communications specialist from Washington, D.C., who works for the Service Employees International Union.

She was called up to a table of officers for basic identification questions. One officer chatted with her about Ramadan, she said, and another asked about her headscarf.

A female officer at the table noted down in her file, "headscarf religious reasons," Alazzeh said. "She told me, 'I put that in there so you won't be bothered because of it.'"

Minutes later, Alazzeh was approached by a different female officer who began the frisking process and started unwrapping her headscarf in plain view of male officers and protesters.

"Whoa, whoa! This is my religious headscarf," she told the officer as she tried to back away. "Can't you just feel through it?" she asked.

"The officer said, 'No, if you want your religious headscarf, you shouldn't protest,'" Alazzeh said.

She said she pleaded with the officer, asking if a nun would be treated the same way, to which Alazzeh said the officer replied, "This is just procedure … I don't know what you have in there. You might be hiding a gun."

Not seen as stripping

HPD Lt. Patrick Dougherty said frisking is an integral part of the arresting process.

"At the scene, the officer's responsibility is to ensure there are no weapons or contraband," Dougherty said. "It's for the safety of the officer."

A general pat-down is conducted on the exterior of clothing, he said, but if an officer deems it necessary to remove an outer garment to ensure safety, that can be done.

"We don't consider removing an outer garment such as a coat or scarf to be stripping somebody," he said. "If we were stripping, it would have to be done in private by the same gender."

That's where the difference lies. Alazzeh considered the headscarf part of her necessary clothing.

"In many different religions and cultures, taking off the headscarf is equivalent to taking off my shirt in public," she explained.

Muslims are not the only ones who wear religious head coverings; nuns can be seen wearing hair veils, and male Sikhs often wear turbans.

"We do work with people on their unique religious issues," said Dougherty.

If a request was made, he said, a supervisor could have asked the officer to handle the situation differently, perhaps removing the headscarf in private to check for a weapon. "But there's no documentation that there was a request," he said.

Both the Harris County Sheriff's Office and the Sugar Land Police Department said removal of any type of religious head covering is not necessary during arrest.

"We require an exterior pat-down," said Sugar Land police spokesman Doug Adolf, "but that doesn't require removal of their clothing."

Incarceration different

In fact, as long as no weapon is found, religious head coverings are allowed even during incarceration at the Sugar Land holding center cells where inmates are detained before being sent to county jail.

While things are less rigid during arrest, incarceration is a much stricter matter, said Harris County Sheriff's Deputy Thomas Gilliland.

During incarceration, most jails - including HPD's and the Harris County jail - strictly prohibit items of clothing like scarves, turbans, habits and even shoelaces, to keep inmates from using them to commit suicide or hide contraband.

However, even that rule had exceptions in the Harris County jail.

"We had only one incident I can remember in the past 20 years of a woman with a headscarf being incarcerated," said Gilliland. The woman had asked to be held in an area of the jail where only female officers made rounds, the deputy recalled, and her request was accommodated.

"You have to understand the different cultures in order to better serve them," said Gilli­land, whose units have had extensive cross-cultural training, especially after an incident in 2008 where a deputy responding to a burglary at a Sikh family's home harassed and handcuffed them, in part,  for having a kirpan, a small ceremonial dagger that is important to the Sikh faith.

After her scarf was removed in the gym, Alazzeh said, it was tossed back on her head, then taken away again during incarceration. She used an extra shirt to cover her hair during her 12 hours in jail until her employer posted bail for her and other union protesters.

She is filing an internal affairs complaint against HPD.

"All of these horrible things that happen to people, are perpetuated by people who say they are just following orders," said Alazzeh. "When you're doing your job, there's a way to do things that's not infringing on people's rights and liberties and dignity."



Girls school blown up in South Waziristan

August 20, 2012

PESHAWAR: The Government Higher Secondary School for girls located in Dab Kot village, South Waziristan was blown up when explosive materials planted near the building detonated on Monday, a political administration confirmed to The Express Tribune.

The bombs, placed at three different places close to the school building, exploded and damaged classrooms, porch and boundary wall of the school building, the official added.

Jan Muhammad Khujal Khel, a resident of the area, told The Express Tribune that he heard three blasts at around 2am and then came to know that the girls was targeted.

He added that the school building was very “badly damaged”.

The girls school was the only functional higher secondary school in the area and there were more than 500 female students enrolled in it.

Khel added that there was no casualty in the blasts as the building was vacant due to Eid holidays.



Government needs to act fast to restore confidence in Hindu population of Pakistan: Pakistan Hindu Council

Yudhvir Rana

 Aug 21, 2012

AMRITSAR: Forcible conversion of Hindu girls into Muslim, illegal occupation of places of worship of Hindu's, misuse of blasphemy law are some of the reasons which has filled the Hindu community of Pakistan with discontentment forcing many of them to leave their country and settle in India.

Patron, Pakistan Hindu Council (PHC) , Ramesh Kumar Vankwani told TOI on Tuesday that the current spell of taking away Hindu girls and forcing them to embrace Islam had given a fatal blow to the Hindu's honour and dignity .

"Despite all type of excesses, Hindu's had been staying in Pakistan but forcible conversion was unbearable and a law should be enacted to thwart this menace" he said.

There was discontentment among Hindus due to forcible occupation of their temples too.

"The occupation of our temples by individuals and groups has shattered our inner feelings" he said.

Giving example he said that Krishan Dwara attached with the Samadhi of Sri Param Hans Maharaj at Teri in district Karak which was an Evacuee Trust Property , was under forcible occupation.

"These issues can be resolved to win the confidence of Hindu minority community of Pakistan" he said.

Full report at:



Palestinian women racers find freedom behind the wheel

August 22, 2012

RAMALLAH: With her bright orange pedicure, Michael Kors handbag and skinny jeans, Maysoon Jayyusi hardly looks like a Palestinian speed racer – until she gets behind the wheel.

The minute she starts up her SUV, she’s off – coursing ahead of the rest of the traffic, weaving among bewildered locals in the crowded streets of the West Bank city of Ramallah.

It’s easy to see why the team she heads — the Middle East’s first female speed racing team — has been dubbed the “Speed Sisters.”

The group of six women, Muslims and Christians from their 20s to mid-30s, have battled skeptical parents, the realities of the Israeli occupation and a sometimes disapproving public to become local stars and even the subject of a documentary.

“We feel we are free when we’re doing this,” teammate Mona Ennab, 26, said. “It’s a way to escape everything around us.”

Jayyusi, 36, said her love of speed was born out of frustrating hours stuck in long lines at Israeli checkpoints.

“I feel such depression at the checkpoints, but this speed makes me feel like I’m powerful, it helps me expel my depression,” she told AFP.

“When the soldier finally lets you past, you feel like you want to fly.”

Jayyusi had to take lessons behind her parents’ backs after graduating with a business degree from Bir Zeit University, saving up her salary to pay for them.

“They didn’t think I needed my license, and it was expensive,” she said.

But it paid off. In 2010, the skills displayed in her daily commute drew notice and she was approached by the head of the Palestinian Motor Sport and Motorcycle Federation, Khaled Qaddoura.

Full report at:



Yemeni women say equal rights are compatible with Islam

August 22, 2012

Inroads to equality hindered by accusations that feminists are acting 'un-Islamic'

While many nations in the Middle East were reborn the fire that was known as the "Arab Spring," tiny Yemen, a desperately poor country still under the yoke of tradition continues to struggle with basic human rights. Most noticeably lacking in Yemen is equality among the sexes, which became apparent when many women took part in popular uprisings in the nation's capital of Sana'a last year. More women have since come forward to speak out against inequity there.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - When tens of thousands of women were prominent among the demonstrations, Yemen's president at the time, Ali Abdullah Saleh accused the women of "un-Islamic" behavior.

Saleh has since turned over power to Vice President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi last February. Tawakul Karman, female journalist, politician and women's rights activist who became the first Arab woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize says that there is no merit in this accusation.

"Islam, like other religions, is not in conflict with women's rights, democracy or any human rights principles or values like equality, justice and dignity," Karman says. "These are the values of the divine faiths."

Yemen remains in the grip of a very poor and deeply traditional society where women have a literacy rate only half that of men. Yemeni women continue to push ahead, many using social media techniques to press their case. The Internet blogger who calls herself "NoonArabia" declares that there "is nothing in Islam that says a woman cannot work or play [a] vital role in society beyond the walls of her home. Fundamentalists always misuse Islam as a means to suppress women."

The main things hindering women's progress in Yemen according to NoonArabia are such social customs and tribal laws - and not religion. Women in local demonstrations are making a "huge step in breaking the taboo barrier."

"Yemeni women have proved themselves as partners in the struggle for change," NoonArabia says.

Full report at:



Women’s continuous struggle for share of Tunisia’s new democracy

September 21, 2011 

 Kaouther Larbi

The status of women in Tunisia has for decades been among the most advanced in the Arab world, but even after this year’s democratic revolution politics has remained a man’s world.

Women had high hopes the October 23 polls would land them some top jobs. Up until now, female political power has been embodied by Leila Trabelsi, the feared and reviled wife of toppled dictator Zine el Abidine Ben Ali.

While a new parity law requiring an equal number of men and women on electoral lists competing in next month’s first post-revolution polls was respected, women were still largely excluded from leadership positions.

According to newspaper reports, less than five per cent of the 1,600 lists entered by Tunisia’s myriad political parties are headed by women.

“I am disappointed and a little shocked,” said Larbi Chouika, an electoral commission official.

“I would have wanted parties to make a symbolic gesture.”

A key article in the electoral law adopted in April – three months after Mr Ben Ali was ousted – institutes gender parity and alternating male and female candidates on all lists.

Under Mr Ben Ali’s former ruling Constitutional Democratic Rally, women accounted for around a quarter of Parliament, and many women were hoping to improve on that in the upcoming constituent assembly elections.

“There’s still a long way to go,” said Maya Jribi, secretary general of the Progressive Democratic Party and Tunisia’s only female party boss.

“But one of the problems we have is that women themselves are hesitant. They participate but do not promote themselves enough,” she said. Ms Jribi’s own party has only three women heading up lists out of 33. “Our goal is to win the election not to field women simply to play to the gallery,” she explained.

Full report at:



UN Panel Concerned Over Tunisia's Draft Constitution That Discriminates Women


(RTTNews) - The United Nations Working Group on discrimination against women in law and in practice called on the new Tunisian government to take all necessary steps to safeguard the country's achievements on equality, non-discrimination and women's human rights in accordance with its international human rights obligations.

The experts emphasized actions taken by successive Tunisian leaders to promote gender equality since the country's independence.

Kamala Chandrakirana, who currently heads the U.N. expert panel, said on Tuesday that "the Working Group is concerned that in the drafting of a new Constitution, in particular, its article 28, gains on equality and women's human rights and women's status in society achieved in the last five decades risk being rolled back."

The draft text places women on unequal footing with men and does not consider them as independent, full individuals. It delineates their role as "complementary to the one of the men in the family" and fails to ensure that this provision is reciprocal. "Rights are guaranteed to women not on the basis of them being entitled to human rights by virtue of the fact that they are human, but rather, them being complementary to men," she stressed.

"Although the text refers to women's role in nation-building, it conditions this on women being 'complementary to men,' thereby failing to establish the basis for full independence and empowerment of women, and their participation as active citizens for change," she explained.

Full report at:



The situation of women rights activists in Pakistan

By Shaker Shukraan

August 19, 2012

ISLAMABAD: She is soft-spoken and optimistic. She is famous and friendly, even though her life has been one continuous struggle to steer Pakistani women out from the clutches of injustice, discrimination and oppression.

Fouzia Saeed, a PhD from the United States, is one of Pakistan’s strongest voice for women rights.

“It is difficult to become a women rights activist in a country like Pakistan where women cannot move freely like men,” says Dr Saeed, but “difficult” could never stop her. She says she never accepted those boundaries set by society.

“Discrimination motivated me from my childhood to ask questions such as why girls are always stopped doing works boys are allowed to do.” She was not ready to simply accept that a girl had to be restrained. Why? “Why could I not go out of the house to play like boys? Why could I not attend musical programmes like boys?” For her it was evident; she had to become a women’s right activist.

She recalls when General Ziaul Haq, the then president, visited a college in Peshawar where she was studying Home Economics and she dared to stand up to him and be outrageously courageous. “I accused him of not doing enough for our college.” Recalling it, she says makes her now smile about her own audacity. “I demanded from that very conservative general to allow TV in the girls’ hostels and to resolve some other issues.” She admired Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, and let the general feel her anger. “I was so harsh to Ziaul Haq that his guards came up to me and made me sit quietly,” she remembers. Fouzia Saeed has not softened since.

Full report at:



'Honor' murderer boasts of triple killing

By Reza Sayah, CNN

August 20, 2012

Kot Chutta, Pakistan (CNN) -- From behind the steel bars of his jail cell, Muhammad Ismail described with uncanny ease how he shot and killed his wife, his mother-in-law, and sister-in-law.

"The first shot hit the side of her body," Ismail said. "I left her there and went next door and killed my wife's mother and sister. I made sure they were all dead. Then I locked the door and left the house."

Without any apparent regret, Ismail said he would do it again.

"I am proud of what I did. That's why I turned myself over to the police."

Ismail's confession to the triple-murder that took place last February in a village in central Pakistan is a rare and chilling first-hand account of a so-called "honor" killing -- the murder of women who are usually accused of dishonoring their families by being unfaithful or disobedient.

Ismail accused his wife of eight months of repeatedly flirting with other men and spending long hours away from home.

"My wife never made me happy," said the 20-year-old who played drums in a traditional Pakistani wedding band before his arrest. "She was like a prostitute. She never took care of me."

Full report at:



Ghanaian teenager shortlisted for $75,000 Anzisha Prize award

August 22, 2012

For the first time in Anzisha history, 19 year old Ghanaian, Yaw Duffour Awuah has made it to the final thirteen (13) of 2012 Anzisha Prize award ceremony to be held this Friday, august 24th, in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The 2012 Anzisha Prize garnered great interest across the continent, with thirteen finalists selected from a competitive initial pool of 270 young entrepreneurs from 23 African countries.

The 2012 finalists represent some of the most remarkable entrepreneurial journeys on the continent.

The African Leadership Academy and The MasterCard Foundation announced the finalists for the 2012 Anzisha Prize, the premier award for Africa’s young entrepreneurial leaders.

The goal of the Anzisha Prize is to recognize talented young entrepreneurs in Africa whose businesses and social ventures have a positive impact in their communities.

Yaw Duffour Awuah is the founder of Student Aid Plus, a financial services company that offers financial literacy education and a savings and loan program that helps students pay school fees.

As finalist, Yaw will join the other 12 finalists in to compete for a share of $75,000 in prize money.

Full report at:



Girl who escaped Assad’s army struggles to prove Saudi citizenship

August 22, 2012

JORDAN – Ghala Khalaf, a 9-year-old Saudi girl, and her mother, recently managed to escape Syrian President Bashar Assad’s brutal military clampdown on a nationwide uprising against his rule. However, Ghala, who was born in Syria to a Saudi father and Syrian mother, is currently stranded in Jordan as she and her mother struggle to prove her Saudi citizenship.

In comments made to Al-Madinah newspaper, Ghala’s mother said she married a Saudi man in 2001. The marriage was registered in Syria. Two years later, Ghala was born and the birth was registered at the Saudi Embassy in Damascus. She remained in contact with her husband and his family until her husband’s death in 2006.

“After my husband’s death, his brother came to me and asked me to give him power of attorney so he could act as the executor of my late husband’s estate. He showed me a document that showed me and Ghala as the principle inheritors of the estate. Six year later, we haven’t received our share of the inheritance and my daughter still does not have a Saudi passport,” explained Ghala’s mother.

After regime forces stormed their house twice, Ghala’s mother said she called her late husband’s family in the Kingdom and asked them to send the necessary documents so she and Ghala could cross the border into Jordan and go the Saudi Embassy there and apply for a passport.

Full report at:



Indonesian LBT Women Exposed to Backlash


Lesbians, bisexual women and transgender (LBT) people in Indonesia have been part of the women’s movement for over a decade, fighting for equality for all Indonesian women.

Yet because LBT rights are not seen as women’s rights by the Indonesian state, the global beacon for women’s rights, the Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), does not apply to LBT people in the country.

At the CEDAW Committee’s review of Indonesia held at the United Nations headquarters in New York City in July 2012, even Komnas Perempuan (the Indonesian National Commission of Women) was reluctant to raise LBT issues.

“The fundamentalists are saying that when we push for women’s rights we are pushing for same-sex marriage,” said one Komnas Perempuan commissioner. “If we bring up LBT, it will weaken our advocacy.”

That was terrible news for LBT people, who are in dire need of support.

The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission has been aware over time, through activists reports, that since 2008 fundamentalist thugs have been leaving threatening phone messages for LBT groups. They are stalking LBT activists and violently disrupting human rights workshops. They are using the conservative media to incite violence against LBT people.

Full report at:



Death of Saudi kidnap child's mother not suspicious: police

August 21, 2012

PARIS: A French woman who had a child with a Saudi prince and then wrote a book about the girl being kidnapped by her father has died after falling from her Paris flat.

Police sources said Tuesday they did not suspect foul play in the death of Candice Cohen-Ahnine, 35, who had been battling since 2008 to get her 11-year-old daughter, Haya, back from the desert kingdom.

Cohen-Ahnine slipped and fell to her death while trying to pass along a narrow ledge between two windows of her fourth-floor flat in a chic Paris district on August 16, witnesses said, according to police.

"She was taking anti-depressants. It looks like a purely accidental death," a police source told AFP, adding that the fall had followed a row between Cohen-Ahnine and her current partner.

The case of Haya has been a persistent source of tension in Franco-Saudi diplomatic relations.

In January a French court ruled that the girl should be returned to her mother and French consular officials in Saudi Arabia had recently secured agreement that she could visit her daughter next month.

Cohen-Ahnine's book, "Rendez-moi ma fille!" (Give me back my daughter) was published in October 2011.