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Saturday, March 17, 2012

No Divorce for Women

If an Egyptian woman asks her husband for a divorce and he refuses, she can appeal to the judge to get a divorce (khul3) if she gives back to the husband the marriage settlement: i.e. is she gives up her financial rights. Only women who could afford to do that benefited from this. Even they had to to face legal obstacles and unsympathetic courts.

But the Islamists in the Egyptian parliament want to make sure this crumb of a law is repealed: they argue it encourages women to get divorces and ruin the Muslim family. Only men should have the that exclusive right. Although it is based on Islamic laws, they reject it as unIslamic. They tarnish it by associating it with Susan Mubarak, the wife of deposed Husni Mubarak--a strategy they will be using to dismantle whatever few rights Egyptian women won with long had work (not with the largess of rulers). 

Is anybody surprised?

Friday, March 16, 2012

Culture? Who Cares about Culture?

Well, Egyptian Islamists care a LOT about culture. They always did. So they are now trying to institutionalize their culture wars instead of just depending on the "charity" of the Musbarak regime. How would this influence literary (and artistic) works? Well.  They thought about that and according to one of their leaders:

"controversies about literary works should be resolved either by means of “the popular choice or by “resorting to Al-Azhar.”  

Here you have it: either popular choice or Al Azhar will determine if a literary work is worth reading. This might actually lead to censoring most of humanity's literary heritage, including the Muslim one. 

To sum it up in Egyptian colloquialism: "Ya Kharabi!!!!!"

Three hundred Egyptians

Three hundred men and women demonstrated in Egypt to protest on behalf of Samira Ibrahim and the other victims of the military virginity tests. Three hundred??????? Three hundred??? By the standards of Egyptian demonstrations, this is like Nobody Showed UP!!! What happened to the mobilizers of millions?  What happened to the mobilizers of thousands?? Is Samira Ibrahim not a worthy enough cause?

The good news:

There are three hundred gutsy men and women in Egypt who refuse to shut up! As long as they are speaking, there is hope for us all.

I always thought Umm Kulthum needs updating...

Rape her then Marry her Law

After the suicide of the teenager who was forced to marry her rapist, and the pressure by Moroccan women activists, Morocco is to amend the law that states a man who marries his rape victim will not face criminal charges. About time. Of course, that does not mean it's the end. It's only the beginning.

فحص عذرية Virginity Test

Be afraid! Be very afraid!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Women and Hell

1. will go to hell for being naked.
2. will go to hell for being made up.
3. will go to hell for being uncovered.
4. will go to hell because her eyes provoke lust.
5. will go to hell because her eye may provoke lust (just in case)
6. will go to hell because she went outside her house to begin with.

Egyptian Parliament: A (S)Nap Shot?

The above is a picture of the first session of the newly elected Egyptian parliament that have been circulating on fb! When I first saw it, I thought we should all relax; at this rate, they won't be up to much mischief! But then I learned that one of the sleepers is actually blind and the other had a particularly tough day. In other words, things are not as they seem.

And to prove that they were not actually sleeping some of those folks tried to rock the boat by insisting on adding a few words to the regular parlimentarian oath.

More posturing of this sort is to be expected, but what matters is how much the salafis are going to force the Muslim Brotherhood to move more to the right.

Of course, the liberal (or non-Islamist) opposition, though a minority, does need to exert its own influence to hopefully pressure the dominant Brothers to move in the other direction, or at least stay where they are. Well, they can try.

But frankly the MB seem to be confident in their own power and are reaching a deal with the Military Council on their own, a deal that will not rock the boat of SCAF. In other words, it will not challenge the military economic privileges and will protect them from prosecution for murdering Egyptian citizens.

As to the women in the new parliament, I had a hard time finding them. I may need to get a more powerful prescription for my glasses.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Who is Afraid of Tawakkul Karaman?


The Salafi preacher Khalid Abdullah seems determined not to let any woman activist escape his venomous attacks. His latest victim is Tawakkul Karman (also Tawakel Karman), the Yemeni activist who won the Nobel Piece Prize for her role in the Yemni revolution against Ali Abdullah Saleh. On his show, he plays a tape of an interview with her, but not before blurring her so she is unrecognizable. She doesn't even deserve to have rose substituted for her face the way salafi election posters did in the recent elections in Egypt. Instead, she appears as a blotch, a ghostly figure, not to be seen, and to be heard, grudgingly, and only to hang with her words.

But why is Karman the target of Abdullah's anger? For unlike the other women that Abdullah and his salafi friends have been character assassinating, such as Nuwara Negm, she has solid Islamist credentials as a high-ranking member of the main Islamist party in Yemen, Al Islah. She is the aristocracy of Islamist women activists and politicians.

Not according to him. "Who is she to be given the Nobel Prize and to be going here and there to give talks and and lectures?"

Here is why Khalid decided to take her down:

One: She believes Islam should be a source of inspiration not legislation. That is a no no in his book! And I would say in the book of the Muslim Brotherhood as well. Karman is clearly pushing the envelope on this one.

Two: She believes in a civic state as opposed to a religious state because she wants the state to be for all its citizens, including Christians and Jews. She believes a Yemeni Jew has the right to be president of the country. This is a big NO No for the salafis.

Three: She doesn't believe the Niqab, the full face covering (in case you still don't know what that is) is not of Islam and that she wore it for many years but eventually found it a barrier to communication. She calls on other women to do without it because she wants them to participate in public life without any barriers. Women should not be speaking from behind any walls, she says. Khalid's response to that is to blur the heck out of her. Clearly, the salafi version of women's choice is that a Muslim woman is allowed to say her opinion of the Niqab only if she agrees with it wholeheartedly and recommends it to all Muslim women.

Four: She doesn't have any problem dealing with the United Sates and the west generally as long as she uses their support to advance her agendas. In response, Khalid accuses her of being brainwashed and used. And to trash by association he mentions "training in Serbia"!!!

Khalid concludes his attack by expressing his regret that this woman is considered a Muslim at all. Clearly, on his Salafi measuring scale of who is a Muslim and who is not, she gets a zero.

Whose next on his assassination list? I'll keep you posted.

Liars: Powerful Rap from Egypt

This song is part of the "Liars" alternative media campaign that is touring Egypt trying to get the truth out to the people about what is going on.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Shokran: Thank You!

Thanking many of the activists that made up the Egyptian revolution and are being attacked and character assassinated...Based on a Sayyid Darwish song. Love it!