religion

arvan's picture

Teenage Pregnancies Soar as Church Looks the Other Way

By Pavol Stracansky

WARSAW, Jun 1, 2010 (IPS) - Pressure from the Catholic Church to effectively stop sex education in schools is threatening the health of tens of thousands of teenagers who fall pregnant every year because they have little or no knowledge of safe sex, education groups in Poland have warned.

They say many youngsters go into their first sexual relationships with little or no idea of contraception and the health consequences of unprotected sex, as conservative clergy covertly stifle any school sex education that does not conform to the Church’s strict Catholic teachings.

Anka Grzywacz, educator with the Polish Ponton Group of Sex Educators, told IPS: "The Catholic Church has a huge influence in Poland and in schools. The Catholic Church does not want sex education to be taught and, therefore, schools simply do what the Church wants and just do not teach it."

More than 20,000 Polish girls below the legal age of consent give birth each year, according to official figures. But it is believed that many more teenagers fall pregnant, and because of Poland’s strict abortion laws and the unwillingness of doctors to perform even legal abortions, they undergo dangerous illegal abortions or head abroad to have the procedure carried out.

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Muslim Conservatives Blocking New Family Law in Mali

By Soumaïla T. Diarra

BAMAKO, May 19, 2010 (IPS) - A new family law has raised tension in Mali. This controversial law, intended to give greater freedoms and rights to women, has been sent back to the National Assembly for a second reading after protests from Muslim radicals.

These Muslim are threatening to make the country ungovernable if the law is enacted in its original form as voted by Parliament in August 2009.

"Those who oppose the new family law have started threatening legislators, railing against them in sermons and organising protest meetings. They're also using newspapers and radio since they learned that the law is on the agenda of the current parliamentary session," Salimata Kouyaté told IPS. Kouyaté is an activist with the Malian Network of NGOs and Women's Associations.

The next full session of parliament is scheduled to begin on May 20, but for now there is no confirmation when the legislation will be reviewed and put to a vote.

arvan's picture

Women Intensify Push to Pass Law Against Acid Attacks in Pakistan

By Zofeen Ebrahim

KARACHI, Pakistan, May 31, 2010 (IPS) - Almost seven years after Naila Farhat, 20, became another victim of an acid throwing attack by a spurned suitor, she is finally seeing more vigorous efforts toward the passage of a law seeking to amend existing legislation to reinforce protection of women against violent assaults.

Farhat is the first to admit, though, that beneath her physical scars is a smoldering anger that refuses to be pacified until she has exacted vengeance against her violators.

"I want him to be doused in acid so he can feel not just the searing pain but live with disfigurement day after day, for the rest of his life," she said of her main assailant over telephone from Layyah, a town in the southern part of Punjab province.

Yasmeen Rehman, advisor to the prime minister on women’s development and a legislator, told IPS that the Ministry of Women Development (MoWD) was doing further research on a draft law against acid attacks.

"It is seeking help from the Acid Survivors Foundation (ASF) and the United Nations Development Fund for Women, she said.

The ASF, in turn, is getting assistance from its parent organisation in Britain and Cornell Law School in the United States, said Sana Masood, a lawyer working with the Foundation, which provides medical, psychosocial, socioeconomic and legal aid to acid survivors. "We are currently involved in extensive research to help the MoWD in coming up with another bill," she revealed

"Realistically speaking, I should say we will be able to present it in the (legislative) assembly by July," said Rehman

In November 2009, six years after Farhat filed a case against her perpetrators – a tailor and her elementary science teacher, who acted as an accomplice – Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhary urged the government to pass a new law that would restrict the sale of industrial strength acid and increase the punishment for acid attacks.

This came with his landmark verdict upholding the original lower court ruling sentencing Farhat’s violators to 12 years in prison and ordering them to pay 1.25 million rupees (about 14,775 dollars) in damages.

arvan's picture

Iran: Imprisoned activist Shiva Nazar Ahari to go on trial for 'acts against national security'

(From Women Living Under Muslim Laws)

In March 2010, Women’s human rights defender and WLUML council member, Shadi Sadr, took the extraordinary step of dedicating her International Women of Courage Award to Shiva Nazar Ahari, a young human rights activist and a member of the Committee of Human Rights Reporters (CHRR), currently imprisoned in Iran for ‘acts against national security’. Sadr refrained from attending the award ceremony in the U.S. in the hope that her absence would draw the international community’s attention to Nazar Ahari’s dire situation, urging the audience in a speech recorded for the event that “any measures available to you [be taken] to help to free Shiva along with other human rights activists and journalists in Iranian prisons”. According to Nazar Ahari’s mother, she will be brought to trial at Revolutionary Court No. 26 on Sunday 23 May. The offences she is being accused of carry severe penalties.

Please see attached our sample letter:

WLUML sample letter to Head of Judiciary of the Islamic Republic of Iran.pdf

You can follow this link (and scroll down) to watch a series of films in Farsi on Shiva by Iranian WHRD, filmmaker and WLUML ally, Mahboubeh Abbasgholizadeh.

The Women Living Under Muslim Laws (WLUML) International Solidarity Network calls on civil society organisations and UN member states to ask the Honourable Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani to do everything in his powers, as head of the Judiciary of the Islamic Republic of Iran, to address our grave human rights concerns and immediately release Shiva Nazar Ahari. 

Sarraltmuslimah's picture

There are Just no Good Muslim Women Out There



I shouldn’t take this any further. Apart from not being true, it’s a diatribe that obfuscates something deeper (just as the parallel, but unnervingly more standard retreat, "Where are all the good Muslim men?" does). The degree of intelligent, sincere, socially conscious, and admirable Muslim women I meet is staggering, many of whom in a previous life I wouldn’t have hesitated asking out to dinner to get to know better. Yet, I find myself simply put off by Muslim women.

I need to be honest; it isn’t just Muslim women, but the whole relationship process in Muslim communities that utterly perplexes me. I can’t help but feel as though I am wandering aimlessly confused through two concurrent tempestuous storms – that of the normal bafflement that marks emotional relationships between people, and that of the Muslim relationship paradigm, the absurdities of both obscuring my ability to progress to something meaningful.

This is exacerbated by the context from which I come. As someone who converted to Islam, the difference in male-female dynamics can be astounding. More than the physical barriers that I learned to adopt, it is the emotional ones that have proven the most difficult. Charles Blow wrote an article for the New York Times last year on the demise of dating in American relationships, where he described the dissolution of traditional dating and the shift to ‘hooking up,’ where you “just hang out with friends and hope something happens.” Approaching relationships from this background, and then inverting it to fit the Muslim experience that, even when it involves dating seems to be primarily focused on practical matchmaking, is difficult. It takes what was a personal, intimate, organic process and changes it into something that feels hollow and decidedly detached. I miss how things used to be.

ptaguy's picture

Christian or Heterosexual Bigotry?

(Originally published on http://www.gaywarfare.blogspot.com/)

 

arvan's picture

Women's rights and Kenya's constitution: Challenging 'men of faith'

By Beth Maina and Cenya Ciyendi

What gives a church in which celibacy is equated with holiness, in which males have all the undemocratic power, the right to a place at the table where laws are made about women’s bodies?

A large number of contradictions have arisen in the Kenyan debate on the new constitution just passed through the Kenyan parliament in preparation for a referendum scheduled for 2 July 2010, and particularly around the clauses on the right to abortion.

We are Kenyan women in the diaspora who have struggled with other women in Kenya and other nations on the right to life for the mother as well as the unborn child. With CEDAW (Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women) and the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights, particularly the Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa, established, we wish to join a debate which is a fundamental concern over the fundamental right to life and which is critical in the bill of rights and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

However, we would like to state from the outset that this debate is currently moribund as far as the referendum is concerned as time has lapsed in relation to the act. Opening the door now to one group of people will raise further questions about democracy and the rule of law. As women, whose lives and bodies this is all about, we therefore cannot remain silent as we do not believe that those who purport to represent us either seek our view or care about our humanity. We have to question the protests by religious groups and politicians such as William Ruto, who hope to manipulate the ignorance and vulnerability of the faithful to jettison the new constitution on this specific aspect on emotive and pseudo-religious grounds. We believe that they are seeking power and hiding behind religion to derail what is a very important document in our lives as Kenyans, the new Kenyan constitution, which we unequivocally support as it gives all Kenyans greater protection, rights and freedoms than the old one.

arvan's picture

Young Arab Feminist Network hopes to build dialogue with older generations, non-feminists

By Heba El-Sherif / Daily News Egypt

CAIRO: When historians and political analysts first discussed a clash of civilizations, they were referring to a conflict that would arise due to cultural and religious differences in the post-Cold War years. In the world of feminism, however, such clash is born from a difference in age.

In the Arab world, young feminists are finding it hard to carve a space for themselves among an older, more experienced generation of female activists.

Last week, 20 participants from across seven Arab countries came to Cairo for a four-day meeting to kick off the first Young Arab Feminist Network (YAFN), an initiative fueled by a determination to seek gender equality, and a desire to “be taken seriously,” according to one Egyptian founder, Engy Ghozlan.

Ghozlan, who worked with several women’s organizations, recalls a recurrent conversation that, to her, describes the clash between old and young feminists in Egypt.

“This is what they tell us: ‘Where have you been in 1987 when I was doing this and that?’”   “Well I wasn’t here,” she quickly replies, “but now I’m here and I have something to say.”

arvan's picture

Catholic Church Goes "All In" on Victim Blaming, Denial and Depravity.

Holy Jesus fuck!  What a douchebag.

"Jesus help me, I'm gonna tap that boy's ass tonight!"

In this story from the AP, some Bishop in Mexico is choosing to blame sex education for causing priests to molest children.  The public education system in Mexico, in seeking to provide services that actually benefit the citizens of Mexico, choose to have a sex education system that uses facts about biology, reproduction, disease and prevention.  This of course is a direct challenge to the Roman Catholic Church, who seek to suck the money out of people while glorifying themselves as special messengers of an invisible being they refer to as "God". 

In an effort to keep the population stupid, diseased and gullible as well as provide cover for the continuing and historical raping of children by priests, some bishop in Mexico said this:

On Thursday, Bishop Felipe Arizmendi said that "when there is generalized sexual licentiousness, it is more common to have pederasty."

"In the midst of the invasion of so much eroticism, it is not easy to remain faithful in celibacy, or in respecting children," Arizmendi, the bishop of the San Cristobal de las Casas diocese in Chiapas state, said at a meeting of Mexican bishops. (Source AP)

It's an example of the worst abuse of power imaginable.  The Catholic Church goes around telling people to fork over their money, breed themselves into illiteracy, disease and poverty and trust that while the Pope makes the ultimate sacrifice of eating filet mignon every goddamn night - those poor saps will be rewarded with eternal bliss after they fucking die. 

arvan's picture

Driftglass & BlueGal podcast with special guest...me!

This week, I had the extreme pleasure to be a guest on the weekly podcast of political bloggers BlueGalDriftglass.  If you haven't heard this wonderful series, then you are in for a treat.  BG & DG are not only smart, savvy bloggers but they are fun people.  In addition to their own individual sites and the others that they participate at, they have a site devoted solely to hosting their podcast series - dgbgpodcast.blogspot.com.

The intended topic was: Republicans and Sex.  We ended up all over the place in the half-hour show that we somehow turned into a 74 minute blab-fest.  Along the way, we covered the old standards of pedophile priests, kinky hypocrite fundraising and how some people embrace the unknown while others vilify it and try to pretend it's not there.

If you want to hear the podcast, there are two versions.  The edited, 30 minute time slot version and the unedited, full monty are both available.  Both of them are available at their podcast blog.  They have an email address that goes to both of them: dgbgpodcast@gmail.com.

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