WASHINGTON (BP) — Muslim clerics and scholars — including representatives of radical groups — have voiced support for a Pakistani Christian girl accused of blasphemy. An official medical review, meanwhile, has revealed she has mental difficulties.
According to media reports, the All Pakistan Ulema Council, an organization of Muslim clerics and scholars, denounced the climate of fear and vigilantism surrounding Rimsha Masih, who was accused of blasphemy for burning religious texts and then arrested when an irate mob demanded action. The facts of the case — including what the young girl burned while cleaning — are in doubt, and some media reports say she has Down syndrome.
“The law of the jungle is taking over now and anybody can be accused of anything,” Allama Tahir Ashrafi, chair of the council, told the BBC.
He called on the government to impartially investigate the accusations and punish the accusers if they falsely pointed the finger, according to Toronto’s Globe and Mail.
“We see Rimsha as a test case for Pakistan’s Muslims, Pakistan’s minorities and for the government,” Ashrafi told a news conference in Islamabad, according to the McClatchy news service. “We don’t want to see injustice done with anyone. We will work to end this climate of fear. The accusers should be proceeded against with full force, so that no one would dare make spurious allegations.”
CAIRO – In an effort to clear misconceptions about the term of jihad, a group of British Muslim women have initiated a new campaign to fight against all types of violence, terrorism and domestic abuse.
“People think ‘jihad against violence’ is a contradictory statement but our jihad is for peace,” Sara Khan, the director of Inspire campaign, told The Guardian on Monday, June 6.
Themed “Jihad against Violence”, the campaign, launched on Sunday, aims to fight all forms of violence.
It focuses on combating crimes, including terrorism, domestic abuse and female genital mutilation that some perpetrators attempt to justify in the name of Islam.
The Arab revolutions are not only shaking the structure of tyranny to the core – they are shattering many of the myths about the Arab region that have been accumulating for decades. Topping the list of dominant myths are those of Arab women as caged in, silenced, and invisible. Yet these are not the types of women that have emerged out of Tunisia, Egypt, or even ultra-conservative Yemen in the last few weeks and months.
Not only did women actively participate in the protest movements raging in those countries, they have assumed leadership roles as well. They organised demonstrations and pickets, mobilised fellow citizens, and eloquently expressed their demands and aspirations for democratic change.
Like Israa Abdel Fatteh, Nawara Nejm, and Tawakul Karman, the majority of the women are in their 20s and 30s. Yet there were also inspiring cases of senior activists as well: Saida Saadouni, a woman in her 70s from Tunisia, draped the national flag around her shoulders and partook in the Qasaba protests which succeeded in toppling M. Ghannouchi’s provisional government. Having protested for two weeks, she breathed a unique revolutionary spirit into the thousands who congregated around her to hear her fiery speeches. “I resisted French occupation. I resisted the dictatorships of Bourguiba and Ben Ali. I will not rest until our revolution meets its ends, for your sakes my sons and daughters, not for mine,” said Saadouni.
Whether on the virtual battlefields of the Internet or the physical protests in the streets, women have been proving themselves as real incubators of leadership. This is part of a wider phenomenon characteristic of these revolutions: The open politics of the street have bred and matured future leaders. They are grown organically in the field, rather than being imposed upon from above by political organisations, religious groups, or gender roles.
London, England (CNN) – The ban imposed by French President Sarkozy on wearing a face-covering veil, or niqab, is simply dangerous gesture politics, representing little more than pandering to the far right in France.
The full force of the state is coming down on fewer than 2,000 Muslim women out of a population of 6.5 million French Muslim citizens. For what purpose? We are told it is for security, the preservation of “French values” and to alleviate the oppression of women.
For security purposes, women who wear the veil should be ready to remove their face covering in places where security and identity checks are necessary, such as airports. The argument that criminals could abuse the niqab is not compelling enough to deny the fundamental freedom of religious expression to a group of French citizens — or indeed visitors to France.