Islamists threaten legislation outlawing child marriage

SANAA, 23 February 2009 (IRIN) – Although Yemen’s parliament has agreed to set the minimum age for marriage at 17, there are concerns the decision may be rescinded as some members of parliament (MPs) say the amendments violate Sharia (Islamic) law.

On 11 February, most MPs agreed on amending some articles in the law regarding women and child rights.

However, Horiah Mashour, deputy head of the National Women’s Committee (NWC), a government body, said there was still some resistance to the amendments by a minority of extremist MPs.

“They want to bring the amendments into discussion again. They say there is no marriage age set by Sharia,” she told IRIN.

One MP, Abdulbari Dughaish, told IRIN that some MPs sought to re-open discussions on the new amendments.

“Withdrawing the agreed decision on setting the marriage age at 17 is possible. The MPs who agreed on it might change their minds,” he said.

The new amendments were meant to elevate the status of children and the family. Early marriage deprives a child from enjoying life, entertainment and education, he said.

He said Yemen and Saudi Arabia were the only Arab countries that had not legally set the marriage age.

Under the new amendments, children younger than 17 are not allowed to marry unless it is deemed by a judge to be in their best interests.

The new amendments stipulate that the husband or the girl’s guardian have to document the marriage contract, listing their ages, to the authorities within a month of marriage. Failure to do so would result in the husband and the girl’s guardian being financially penalised.

Horiah said that before the reunification of Yemen in 1994, the law set the marriage age at 15 in southern and northern parts of the country. But five years later the law was amended and a girl’s custodian had the authority to decide if a girl should marry.

Awareness needed

She said people, especially in rural areas, might outwit the new legislation by not revealing the true age of child brides.

“Although a birth registration certificate is issued [by the government] for free, there are still people who won’t get it at all. In this case, they can decide any age for the girl.”

Horiah pointed out that awareness campaigns were necessary to help spread news of the amendments, adding that “local radio can play a big role in educating people”.

In a recent study by the NWC and Sanaa University’s Gender Development Research and Study Centre on early marriage in the governorates of Hadramaout and al-Hudeidah, 52 percent of 6,000 female respondents were married underage.

A 2007 report by the International Centre for Research on Women (ICRW) ranked Yemen 13 out of 20 worst countries in terms of the prevalence of child marriage. The report said 48.4 percent of women were married before 18.


The Real Face of Muslim Extremism: Osama takes cues from Heredi Jews

By Fauzia Rafiq

All indicators point to the fact that Muslim Extremism led by the Tehrik-e-Taliban (TIP) is on the rise in Pakistan, and no one can disagree after the Mariott hotel blast in Islamabad last week, and the increased instances of threats and violence against women throughout the country.

As a woman from Pakistan, the embodiments of Muslim extremism/fundamentalism/conservatism are my identified enemies . So, let me show you the face of my enemy but before that, here is a saying: ‘the face of my enemy’s enemy is like my enemy’. You will see that its not just a tongue twister.

‘... M had scandalised members of her … community by leaving her husband and embracing a secular lifestyle. The men, all … theologically conservative …, tackled her to the ground, slammed her head against the floor and tied a rag around her mouth. One assailant sat on her head as the others kicked her while demanding to know the names of the men she was seeing… They also threatened to kill her if she did not leave the neighbourhood…

Sounds like the Lal Masjid Squad who abducted, held and tortured local and foreign women for not following the favored moral code, in Islamabad.
Its the militants of the Heredi sect of Judaism in Jerusalem.

Here are a few more gems.
1. Socio-Political Bullys
Both Muslim and Jewish extremists bully their respective populations into following their own lists in music, literature, art and films by destroying every thing that does not please them, and so usurping the right of others to self-expression and enjoyment.
‘Self-appointed moral guardians, dubbed the ‘modesty police’ by Israel’s modern secular media, roam Jerusalem’s ultra-religious neighbourhoods enforcing the voluminous and ever growing list of rabbinical laws such as the recent decree banning the sale of MP4 players.’
Sounds familiar!
The heaps of burning tapes, CDs, DVDs in city squares in Islamabad and in various parts of the NWFP; the unforgiveable destruction of Budha statutues in Afghanistan; the bans on singing, dancing, painting.

2. Obsession withh Women’s Fashion
Both Muslim and Jewish extremists appear obsessed with Women’s fashion, clothing and lifestyle/s.
About 100 Haredi women have taken to wearing scarves and veils to cover themselves much like Muslim women.’
‘… a library housing copies of the enormous notices pasted on the walls of Mea Shearim and other religious neighbourhoods berating women for wearing wigs instead of scarves and advertising appropriate dress on buses.’
Here Taliban lead Heredi.
Taliban blow up primary and high schools where girls appear without veils; women are issued public threats to ‘mend their ways’ and if they don’t, their faces are disfigured with acid attacks.

3. Adam and Eve Story Promoters
Both buy into, and apply, the perverted myth of Adam and Eve as the basis of their understanding of a family nucleus.
‘Non-religious girls don’t dress properly. They encourage me to sin’
It sounds different but it is the same thing.
The myth of sinful Eve misleading poor Adam that permeates the Muslim collective and individual concsiousness, and is the basis of the Shariah Laws, and other edicts and cultural norms regarding women, relationships and family.

4. Increased Levels of Appeasement
Both Muslim and Jewish extremists are gaining ground and being more aggressive in bullying weaker population groups such as the women and petty criminals.
The transport ministry, which regulates and funds bus transport through private companies, has allowed operators to provide ‘kosher’ or ‘pure’ routes, where women are required to sit at the back and cannot board unless appropriately dressed.’
Appeasements galore!
The history of Pakistan provides many lists of appeasements to religious extremists by the army generals and politicians, and we can see the outcomes of that in our syllabus, education system, and our laws.
But one of the most unexpected ‘appeasements’ came the other day when the Awami National Party (ANP) announced that Shariah Laws ‘…as per the desires of the local people and the Taliban’, would be implemented during the current month.
The ANP is the successor of the National Awami Party (NAP) of Wali Khan, the party that was established by the Lal Khan, Pride of the Subcontinent, the Sarhadi Gandhi, the Great Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan who taught us how to run political movements without assimilating into the opposition. He taught us this lesson at his own cost of a lifespan spent in jails.
Sardar Asfandyar Wali! What a sad position to take. In my view, what you are trying to protect by giving in to the Taliban at this point, is what will destroy ANP in the NWFP. This is not what we wish for the brave movement of Pashtuns that you have inherited.

5. Desire to control technology
An unexplicable negativity for computers, facebooks, chat programs.
If we discover someone has a computer at home we throw the children out of school
A father in Saudi Arabia had killed his daughter for using Facebook.

6. Segregation of Sexes
Both parties appear content after achieving segregation/sepration between sexes.
‘Inside the Haredi neighbourhoods separation between the sexes is becoming increasingly strict. Husbands and wives socialise separately and during Jewish holidays men and women walk on opposite sides of the street. …in a few weeks, when religious Jews will dance to celebrate the receiving of the Torah, men and women would rejoice separately, breaking a 50- year tradition of the sexes mingling in this neighbourhood during this event.’
Pakistan thrives on a culture of exclusion; we bar women from mosques, and keep them segregated in shrines, schools; social, religious and cultural events.

7. Tactics of Aggression
Both Jewish and Muslim extremists are gaining ground in their societies, and are way more aggressive in attacking women
According to Menachem Friedman, a sociology professor at Bar-Ilan University in Ramat Gan, Tel Aviv, the orthodox are imposing their rules more forcefully than before and the lives of the city’s women are becoming more circumscribed, and sometimes more dangerous, as a result.’
In Pakistan, the lives of urban and rural women are becoming more humiliating and life-threatening’.

8. Extremist women are equal to extremist men
Well, both Jewish and Muslim extremist women are as much up to the task as their men, defeating the myth of the superiority of the male in an environment where it will never amount to much.
Haredi women also participated in the bullying.’
We know the Burqa-clad weapon-weilding moral police of Lal Masjid unleashed on the capital city of Islamabad.

And all these years i thought, Taliban were taking their cues from Saudi Arabia via Osama Bin Laden. Now, i think Osama takes cues from the Heredi Jews.

Israel: Aggressive campaign against secular women By Toni O’Loughlin