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Western Feminists Mute on Ravages of Shariah

World  (tags: world, sudan, government, africa, middle-east, violence, flogging, whipping, stoning, honor, killings, rape, beatings, islamic, sharia, law, women, human, rights, western, feminists, freedom, repression )

- 3602 days ago -
An angry Khartoum journalist who works for the UN in Sudan started a campaign against shariah law by elevating a local police matter into an international embarrassment: She's invited the world to witness her judicial flogging. Where are the feminists?


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Stan B (123)
Tuesday August 4, 2009, 11:05 pm
That's a very interesting question Tom and I'd love to know the answer. Thanks.

Rosemary Rannes (642)
Tuesday August 4, 2009, 11:20 pm
In Sudan, Lubna Ahmed Al-Hussein has declared, “I am fighting for all women.” But in our world, not all of them understand or care." I admire Lubna Ahmed Al-Hussein's courage and passion ... and I am ashamed that women whether feminists or not cannot seem to embrace her dignity if not her courage and passion as well ! Western feminists who choose to 'ignore' the ravages of Shariah, obviously take for granted the Freedoms they enjoy!
Thank you Tom for posting this important news article.

mary f (200)
Wednesday August 5, 2009, 3:51 am
thanks you tom god bless them

Sheryl G (359)
Wednesday August 5, 2009, 5:54 am
I do not understand this either, we are having Honor killings even here in the United States yet I hear or read so little spoken upon it by the feminists or otherwise.
Thank you Tom for bringing this to the attention of others on here. Women around the world who are oppressed depend upon women with more freedom to speak out for them as their voice, to help those women is to help all women. As the woman who do not live under Shariah law, haven't spoken up loud and clear enough for those women, is the reason it is creeping into our own society.
We all need to realize that we are all part of the same web, that just because someone lives far away does not mean it doesn't affect us.

Anne E. (1)
Wednesday August 5, 2009, 7:44 am
Hi. Your point about Western feminists not writing about Lubna's case is correct. But also not true, and a bit frustrating.

If you Google "Lubna Ahmed Hussein" -- the name Lubna uses on her Facebook page, you will find that Anne of Carversville has four of the first 12 citations on Google, page 1. I have 4 or the first 6 Google image citations. And I'm working around the clock with Lubna's team, trying to broadcast Lubna's story and a much larger one of an erosion of women's rights. One of the Google page 1 articles is entitled "Feminists Fail to Stand Up for Lubna Ahmed Hussein."

I think your website is great, and I will add it to Again, I agree with your critique, but it would also be nice for you to do the research and help the woman who's truly trying to make a difference here. I ran into the same issue with a guy in Canada, and I'm a tad sensitive on this topic, when my Google presence is so huge and front of the pact. Peace. Anne

Mandi T (367)
Wednesday August 5, 2009, 12:26 pm
Tks Tom

Tierney G (381)
Wednesday August 5, 2009, 12:45 pm
Believe it or not not much has changed in the western part of the country. I believe women are so strapped with responsibilities these days be it children,taking care of aging parents and juggling full time or part time work not to mention still cleaning and cooking etc etc. How can they have time? Pile ot top of that women still do not recieve the same wages that men enjoy and more women are in poverty than men. A lot has to do with failing health care!!! Women are discriminated in that area too. Women stop being wimps think about your daughters get tough take a stand if not for yourself for your daughters. Teach your sons respect ful behavior of all!!
Thanks Tom

Gillian M (218)
Wednesday August 5, 2009, 1:17 pm
Evil will win if good (wo)men do nothing.

Catherine Turley (192)
Wednesday August 5, 2009, 1:30 pm
it is not imposing western standards to insist that all of the citizens of any country be allowed to come to a democratic decision on the rules and regulations of their own land.

Nancy L (141)
Wednesday August 5, 2009, 1:31 pm
They are too busy attacking thier own.

Karen S (106)
Wednesday August 5, 2009, 4:15 pm
Where's the mainstream media on this one. This is an issue that should elicits outrage. Why has it been minimized? Is it for the sake of politics? trade? I don't mean to let feminists off the hook on this one, but we ALL bear the responsibility of speaking out against this.

Amylia P (1)
Wednesday August 5, 2009, 5:44 pm
Funny this author should choose to attack western "feminists" for being silent on this issue, when I have heard very few westerners talk about it (the few who have mentioned it were in fact western feminists). Are the rest of the people as bad for not addressing the issue or just the feminists? IA with Tierney G. that a lot of women are overwhelmed and don't have extra time and energy to address every issue. Is that a good excuse? Maybe not, but it's reality. Women are expected to be everything to everyone, and no matter how hard we try there's always going to be one area in which we fail. And when you are a feminist especially, there's always plenty of people around to judge you.

Alejandra Vega (139)
Wednesday August 5, 2009, 10:52 pm
As a western feminist belonging to a third-world country I want you to know that I am constantly accussed of being pro-imperialist if I criticize shariah law. Feminists are here and there, struggling everyday in many different fronts against our own oppressive systems. By the way, I believe all the feminists fight for all women's rights since they set an example for the rest of the world, and that's considered so dangerous that the mainstream media prefer to talk about anything but Feminism.

Amalia Ahuva k (105)
Thursday August 6, 2009, 11:12 am
Would the answer have anything to do with the very fashionable agenda of the "liberal" western media to support the Islamic cause no matter what?

Alejandra Vega (139)
Thursday August 6, 2009, 12:06 pm
Dear Ahuva,
If you refer to my answer I should say that the answer is very complex from the Latin-American perspective...

Amalia Ahuva k (105)
Thursday August 6, 2009, 12:35 pm
Dear Alexandra,
My comment had nothing to do with yours, it was a general remark having to do with my belief that women around the globe should 1st of all stand for each other, before they would almost blindly support causes which are not always clear to them through and through.. After all who can better understand a woman than another one?

Abdessalam Diab (145)
Thursday August 6, 2009, 2:29 pm
The title of this article is misleading when it connects what is going on with Lubna to what it calls " Shareaa '. Shareaa has nothing to do with this . Extremist pretend it is Shareaa but actually it is not but extremism.

Alejandra Vega (139)
Thursday August 6, 2009, 7:08 pm
I completelly agree with you, Ahuva.

greenplanet e (155)
Thursday August 6, 2009, 10:09 pm
I have read articles about "honour" killings by Western feminists. I don't think the journalist, Robert Fulford, is being quite fair.

In the past, Western feminism has been accused of being white, middle class and imperialist for not taking into account other women's realities, or imposing what is seen as Western values on other women.

Now Western feminisits are accused of not getting involved - can't win.

Why are women made to be responsible for male violence against women?

Why aren't Western and non-Western MEN not speaking out about this? Men should take responsibility for male violence against women - and call other men on it. I'm sick of women always having take responsibility for male violence - as Tierney said so well above, women already have many other responsiblities, and have to cope with a sexist society day in day out.

Men have more power to influence other men - some men don't even listen to women. More men should speak up against male violence against women and stop blaming women for not doing enough.

Stan B (123)
Friday August 7, 2009, 12:06 am
KooJ. Whilst I agree totally with your sentiments, I would like to set the record straight. People like Tom, and to a lesser degree myself, have spoken tirelessly for women's rights and have been vociferous in our opposition to any form of abuse against women. We both realise the need to " keep the pot boiling " on any issue which highlights male violence against women which you would know if you monitored our posts.
Another reality is that most of the contributors to Care 2 are in fact women which would appear to give an uneven perspective to the whole issue.

Tom M (814)
Friday August 7, 2009, 12:38 am
I agree that, whatever it's called, all cruelty such as flogging, stoning, amputation, beheading, rape and so-called honor killings are not just feminist issues, they are human rights issues for both men and women everywhere to fight against. also, the point isn't to demonize one religion or country or group of people. Islamic countries don't have a monopoly on torture -- America has been doing a pretty good job of proving this for the past eight years under President Bush.

The point is that, in whatever country state approved human rights abuse takes place, that country's leaders should not be immune to global criticism, UN sanctions or even prosecution by the ICC just because of some claim to traditional values or religious custom like witch burning in Kenya. When it comes to animal rights issues, such as live skinning of dogs in China for their fur, I don't hear anybody saying, "Hey, it's their custom, leave the Chinese alone." Don't suffering humans deserve the same consideration wherever they happen to live?

It's as complicated as we want to make it, or as simple as agreeing that cruelty is wrong wherever it takes place and should be stopped. I think we already resolved that question with World War II, when the rest of the world finally stepped in and took responsibility for stopping the Nazi "custom" of torturing and exterminating all non-Aryan segments of the world population.

Cruelty is cruelty, wherever it takes place, and it is wrong, period. As Martin Luther King said, "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. Speak up now. For starters, here is a care2petition to sign "Against Domestic Violence, Acid Attacks, Honor Killing, Female Genital Mutilation and Forced Marriage."

Tom M (814)
Friday August 7, 2009, 12:51 am
The petition is sponsored by Muslims for Progressive Values and targets The Organisation of the Islamic Conference, saying...

We the undersigned affirm that:

* - Assaults on women and young girls, especially domestic violence, acid attacks, honor killings, FGM and forced marriage that have become a growing problem in some Muslim countries, are barbaric, inhumane and completely contrary to Islamic teachings.
* - Islam never condones humiliation, beatings, mutilation, or outright murder, especially not as a means to exert one's own authority, or to enforce one's own opinions upon other people. Rather Islam teaches us to approach differences in opinion with tolerance and forbearance, saying even to the clear disbeliever, "To you your way, and to me mine" (109:6) and "There shall be no compulsion in religion" (2:229).

In particular, men are commanded to treat women with respect and kindness. "Live with them [your wives] in kindness; even if you dislike them, perhaps you dislike something in which Allah has placed much good" (4:19). In fact, in Surah Baqara the importance of kindness is emphasized with direct reference to marriages where conflict has arisen: "Then keep them in kindness or part from them in kindness" (2:229). The Prophet left no room for doubt as to how men should treat women, saying, "The most perfect of believers in belief is the best of them in character. The best of you are those who are the best to their women" (Tirmidhi 1/217).

In light of the clear teachings that women are to be respected and treated with kindness -- not subjected to the vilest attacks, endangered by the very individuals who should have their best interests at heart, or murdered by those who should love them the most dearly -- and at the prompting of our consciences, our reason, and the Quranic verse which says "O ye who believe! Be staunch in justice, witnesses for Allah, even though it be against yourselves or your parents or your kin" (4:135), we call upon the governments of Muslim countries to:

* - enact laws prohibiting and criminalizing domestic violence, acid attacks, honor crimes, female genital mutilation and forced marriages
* - strengthen laws against domestic violence, acid attacks, honor killing, FGM and forced marriages with stiff punishments and/or fines
* - ensure that these laws are enforced and that perpetrators are brought to justice consistently and swiftly
* - provide resources for women who must flee dangerous familial situations, such as protection orders, safe houses and long-term shelters
* - engage in educational campaigns to foster a national culture of respect for women's human, civil, and Islamic rights
* - allocate resources and funding to eliminate violence against women and girls, and
* - provide leadership in condemning acts of violence against women and girls.

Only when women and girls can live with dignity, in safety, not fearing bodily harm from family members, and with freedom of conscience as the Qur'an demands, can a country rightfully call itself "Islamic."

Anne E. (1)
Friday August 7, 2009, 6:38 am
Hi, I've been following your conversation since the other day when I posted. Two comments concepts that did resonate were 1) flogging and honor killings are not a feminist issue, per se. They're a human concern. 2) men aren't exactly sounding the trumpets either on global women's rights issues.

Having said that, I still believe that western feminists are remiss here. I personally wrote to, asking them to write about Lubna -- or let me. Nothing.

On my end, we pulled together all Lubna and Amal news, into a new intl women's rights channel on Anne of Carversville, We will track this topic by country/region, probably adding the Congo next.

I spoke with a Lubna insider last night regarding her lawyer Soumia Sandali's now press-stated position that Lubna's is not a women's rights case. He insists the problem is her UN status -- Sudan is pissed at the UN -- and is determined to get the case dismissed on an immunity angle. See

I can't publicly share our conversations about her lawyer, but I've advised Lubna that this is a PR issue that must be contained. With friends like him, well . . . you fill in the blanks.

With regard to the petition, which is here:

I will be signing the petition, but have suggested that some of the supporting quotes will turn off my readers. I'd prefer the team keep the focus strictly on women's rights, and not poverty, class differences, etc. that emerge in the supporting quotes from the Sudanese opposition. The flogging is about sharia law in conservative Islamic regions.

Nobody wants to fight the issue at hand. They always want a piece of the action for their own agenda.

I can promote women's rights. I'm trying to get money from the 'big Barons' to support enlightened capitalism projects around the world, so I can't insult them while I'm asking for money.

It's also important for prospective petition signers to know what will happen to their names. Will a list be published on the Internet? I can't recommend petitions to readers and friends, without conveying how they will be used. We talked last night to get clarification around that question.

I was surprised to finally read that several embassies in Khartoum sent agents to Lubna's court hearing. Perhaps the organizers in France can reach out to the embassies who did attend court, seeking support, guidance, promotion and dare I say money from those embassies. That idea was well received last evening.

I'm committed on my end to setting up the information "broadcast" channel on the subject of international women's rights. You've sent a LOT of traffic to Anne of Carversville and major the return visits. Thank you VERY much. I have no interest in running a discussion or commentary on this topic. I'm in way over my head, as it is and looking for help???

The tone of Care2News Network and the discussions I've read suggests that you can (and are) facilitating high quality conversation on this subject. Keep it going, whatever you do, but perhaps you want to be even more in the loop with news on Lubna and other major women's cases? Or perhaps there's a way we can work together to help these women.

Her Facebook page isn't OK, because the opposition is also writing in Arabic - hang the woman. I've had no problems and I'm very tied to her Facebook profile.

A of C will be publishing articles and videos, interviewing women in the dark. We're attracting significant numbers of Muslim women, who are reaching out to us. Our next focus -- until Lubna goes back to court on Sept. 7 -- will be a then and now; what was life like in 1988 for women in Sudan vs life now.

There must also be a strategy around Amal Habbani, because the court could just decide to throw out the case on a UN immunity ruling. Amal's case is getting no attention. And there are two other women arrested that night who are going to trial.

Women are really losing ground in many of these countries. That's the big story for me. 'Progress' is turning the other direction for millions of women. It remains an open topic, just what national borders are safe from this determined effort to return women to the Dark Ages.

Personally, I take nothing for granted in life. Thanks. Anne


. (0)
Friday August 7, 2009, 10:04 am
Thannnx Tom... girl power, lets hope this will bring about a worldwie condemnation... made man laws like this suck, and have no foundation, but on built on the very foundations of lies, deceit, control and manipulation ...

Tom M (814)
Friday August 7, 2009, 6:18 pm
Thanks everyone for your comments. Anne, I just posted Lubna's Petition to Support Sudanese Woman's Rights in C2NN I hope everyone signs and forwards it to their friends. Thanks Anne for your links!

"This petition is requesting your support to eliminate article 152 from Sudan’s criminal law. This article is what the Public Order Police (PoP) in Sudan uses to harass women about their dress code. Article 152 has been implemented in Sudan since 1991. It stipulates that any conduct or clothes in violation of public decency should be punished with 40 lashes or a bail or both."

greenplanet e (155)
Friday August 7, 2009, 7:15 pm
Stan, hats off to you, Tom and others for standing up against violence to women and human rights abuses in general. I was more thinking about men in general than men specifically on Care2 - I know there are many good people here ;)
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