Women in Public Life Awards

I was just informed that I have been shortlisted for the Journalist of the Year Award at the Dods Women in Public Life Awards. I’m really surprised (especially to be called a journalist!). Nonetheless I am delighted, particularly given some of the other women shortlisted like our young hero Malala Yousefzai who has been shortlisted for the International Women’s Rights Champion Award.

To see the shortlist for all awards, click here.

By the way, you can vote for a People’s Choice Award. I would suggest that you vote for our Malala; I just did. Get your vote for her in now. [UPDATE: It seems only parliamentarians can vote for the people’s choice awards.]


Doing the Taliban proud

The bad news is that a Pakistani court has sentenced 25 year old Hazrat Ali Shah to death for blaspheming against Mohammed and the Koran during a quarrel in his village in northern Pakistan in March 2011. Mother of five Asia Bibi also remains in prison whilst appealing her death sentence for ‘derogatory’ comments about Mohammad.

At least Pakistan has dropped blasphemy charges against 14 year old Rimsha for allegedly burning verses of the Koran (most likely only because the imam in question has tampered with the evidence).

Now all that the government needs to do (in this matter) is to rescind the blasphemy legislation altogether and immediately free all those imprisoned on blasphemy charges.

Isn’t it ironic how the Pakistani government tries to give itself a more humane portrayal by defending Malala Yousefzai vis-a-vis the Taliban whilst simultaneously issuing blasphemy rulings that would make the Taliban proud? If the Taliban and their Islamist brethren could, they would easily and LEGALLY sentence Malala to death for blasphemy.

Not that they aren’t trying.

The disgusting Sharia4Pakistan has called for Malala to be put on ‘trial in a Shariah court for the crimes she has been accused of’ – which according to them include insulting and belittling Islam and espionage!

By the way, Al-Mohajiroun – and the British Islamist Anjem Choudhary – are even holding a conference on 30 November to issue their fatwa against Malala and more.

Well it is a fight after all. They want to defend their medieval and barbaric rules in the face of the immense tide of support for Malala with their usual threats and fatwas.

What they haven’t realised is that they have already lost…

Malala’s Lessons

The shooting of the wonderfully brave Malala Yousefzai by the Pakistani Taliban has brought to the fore many of the issues that I have been banging on about for a long time.

Not all Muslims (or those labelled as Muslims) support Islamism and the likes of the Taliban.

Many of them are its first victims and at the frontlines of resistance.

And because of who Malala is and what she represents, this ever-present resistance and dissent is pushing its way into mainstream consciousness and demanding to be seen and heard.

The far-Right keeps asking where the ‘Muslim’ voices of dissent are (and this question has become the question of the day within many circles). Of course, they ask this not because they care but because it implies that Muslims are one and the same with the vile Islamists so that the far-Right can justify its racist, anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim agenda.

Well, here they are…

On another related matter, what I find most ironic in all this is how the Taliban’s propaganda is so close to the nice, lovely, liberals and post-modernist and relativist Left who keep calling for tolerance and respect of the intolerable (as if the Islamist perspective is that of all Muslims).

I personally have lost count of the amount of times I have heard these lovely people tell me that the demand for universal rights is a demand for – shall we just put it in the Taliban’s words as they are one and the same – ‘western culture’ …

Like the far-Right, this lot sees Islamists and Muslims as one and the same but from another ‘progressive’ angle. Defending Sharia law, the Islamic regime of Iran’s right to nuclear technology, the veil, and every other bit of misogyny and barbarity is to them an act of anti-imperialism because they see Islamism as a force of resistance against US-led militarism (when it is in fact the other side of the same coin) and a defence of Muslims from bigotry. I suppose, to justify their inhuman position, they have no choice but to see Islamism as the representative of every single ‘Muslim’ no matter how many bodies pile up in prisons, in city centres, and alleyways across the Middle East, North Africa and right here in Europe.

How shameful. How very sorry I feel for this lot and how angry. Because in this colossal fight against the beast of Islamism, they knowingly or inadvertently have decided to side with the beast and not the likes of Malala.

Hopefully, this can be a turning point for them, though I won’t be holding my breath.

With or without them, the likes of Malala will bring – is bringing – Islamism to its knees.

The fact that the Taliban has to shoot a 14 year old girl who merely wants the right for girls to go to school shows how afraid they are of her and the dissent she represents and how very potent and effective this resistance is. Not bombs, not regime change from above, not economic sanctions but people power and sheer human will and defiance.

In the meanwhile, our young hero, Malala, has been able to walk with help, and has managed to converse in writing, even asking for her supporters to be thanked.

Islamists – and your cowardly apologists – be afraid, be very afraid…