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The King, the Mufti & the Facebook Girl: A Power Play. Who Decides What is Licit in Islam?

April, 2012

Abstract: Saudi Arabia enforces a ban on woman driving on the grounds that it is prohibited by sharia law. Women’s associations have actively denounced this ban for years, arguing that it was the only Muslim country which had such a peculiar interpretation of Islamic law. A power play is taking place online on this subject between the ulema (who support the ban), the Saudi authorities and feminine associations. This situation raises the question: “Who decides what is licit or illicit in Islam?” Muslim women’s associations merely ask for the implementation in Muslim countries of the “best practices” in Islamic law which exist anywhere, as a substitute for those laws which are unfavorable to women’s rights or do not protect their interests adequately.

Stoning in Muslim Contexts: A Mapping Report

March, 2012

Women Living Under Muslim Laws, the Violence is not our Culture Campaign, and Justice for Iran are pleased to announce the release of a new publication:  Mapping Stoning in Muslim Contexts. This report locates where the punishment of stoning is still in practice, either through judicial (codified as law) or extrajudicial (outside the law) methods.   

“Steps of the Devil” Denial of Women’s and Girls’ Rights to Sport in Saudi Arabia

February, 2012

This report documents discrimination by Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Education in denying girls physical education in state schools, as well as discriminatory practices by the General Presidency for Youth Welfare, a youth and sports ministry, in licensing women’s gyms and supporting only all-male sports clubs. The National Olympic Committee of Saudi Arabia also has no programs for women athletes and has not fielded women in past Olympic Games.

Year of Rebellion: The State of Human Rights in the Middle East and North Africa

January, 2012

Repression and state violence is likely to continue to plague the Middle East and North Africa in 2012 unless governments in the region and international powers wake up to the scale of the changes being demanded of them, Amnesty International warned today in a new report into the dramatic events of the last year.

In the 80-page Year of Rebellion: State of Human Rights in the Middle East and North Africa, the organization describes how governments across the region were willing in 2011 to deploy extreme violence in an attempt to resist unprecedented calls for fundamental reform.

Key Measures to End Gender-Based Discrimination and Violence Against Women in Saudi Arabia

October, 2011

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia signed and ratified the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW Convention) in 2000, yet maintained certain reservations, especially in regards to Article 2, stating that “In case of contradiction between any term of the Convention and the norms of Islamic law, the Kingdom is not under obligation to observe the contradictory terms of the Convention.”

Looser Rein, Uncertain Gain: A Human Rights Assessment of Five Years of King Abdullah’s Reforms in Saudi Arabia

September, 2010

This 52-page report assesses five years of Saudi reforms under King Abdullah from a human rights perspective. It finds that reform has manifested itself chiefly in greater tolerance for diverse opinions and an expanded public role for women, but that royal initiatives have been largely symbolic, with only modest concrete gains or institutional protection for rights.