Some are going mad

Alexis Okeowo at the New Yorker blog on the kidnapped schoolgirls in Borno, Nigeria.

“I thought it was the end of my life,” Deborah Sanya told me by phone on Monday from Chibok, a tiny town of farmers in northeastern Nigeria. “There were many, many of them.” Boko Haram, an Islamist terrorist group, kidnapped Sanya and at least two hundred of her classmates from a girls’ secondary school in Chibok more than two weeks ago. Sanya, along with two friends, escaped. So did forty others. The rest have vanished, and their families have not heard any word of them since. [Read more...]

The Jaafari Personal Status Law

Another one it would be good to sign.

Tell Iraq: Don’t Legalize Forced Child Marriage

Any minute now, the Iraqi Council of Representatives will vote to legalize forced child marriage.

The specifics of the legislation (part of the Jaafari Personal Status Law) are terrifying:

  • There will no longer be a minimum age to legally marry (it’s currently 18) but the law provides policies for divorcing a 9-year-old;
  • A girl’s father would legally be able to accept a marriage proposal; and
  • The girl would be legally prohibited from resisting her husband’s advances and leaving the home without his permission. It’s a recipe for a life in domestic and sexual slavery.

Currently, Iraq has one of the most progressive policies on women’s rights in the Middle East — setting the legal marriage age at 18 and prohibiting forced marriage.

Brave Iraqi women have been fighting against removing the minimum age for marriage, for their sake and for the sake of their daughters. Last month on International Women’s Day, countless women attended demonstrations in Baghdad protesting the Jaafari Personal Status Law. They called it the “Day of Mourning”.

We may not have much time to stop Iraq from legalizing forced child marriage and a lifetime of domestic and sexual slavery for girls and women. Call on the the Iraqi Council of Representatives to vote “no” to the Jaafari Personal Status Law today.

In partnership with the Arab Human Rights Academy (AHRA).

It’s not a recipe for slavery, it is slavery.

What’s in a name

In more tooth-grinding news from Pakistan, a mosque in a suburb of Islamabad has been named after the guy who murdered Salmaan Taseer.

Taseer was shot and killed by Mumtaz Qadri, a member of his own security detail, at the Kohsar Market in Sector F-6 on January 4, 2011. The shooter Qadri has become a divisive figure in Pakistani society. He is hailed as a ‘hero’ by some and denounced as a cold blooded murderer by others. Clerics from the Barelvi school of thought are among those proclaiming Qadri’s ‘heroism’.

Perhaps this is why a mosque in the suburbs of the very city Taseer was killed in, has been named after Mumtaz Hussain Qadri. [Read more...]