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Visibility and Visuality: Reframing Gender in the Middle East, North Africa, and Their Diasporas

October, 2012

In conjunction with the Fertile Crescent: Gender, Art, and Society project initiated by the Rutgers Institute for Women and Art, Signs presents a special virtual issue addressing the complexity of women’s lives, livelihoods, and circumstances in North Africa, the Middle East, and their diasporas.

Survey on Forced Marriage in Immigrant Communities in the United States

September, 2011

The Tahirih Justice Center (Tahirih) is one of the nation’s foremost legal defense organizations protecting women and girls fleeing human rights abuses. Through direct legal services, public policy advocacy, and public education and outreach, since 1997, Tahirih has assisted over 12,000 immigrant women and children from all over the world fleeing such abuses as domestic violence, sexual assault, human trafficking, torture, female genital mutilation, “honor” crimes, and forced marriage. Tahirih also leads national advocacy campaigns on a range of issues, building on our direct services experiences, to press for systemic changes in laws, policies, and practices to better protect women and girls from violence.

Guide to Establishing the Asylum Eligibility of Victims of Human Trafficking and Forced Marriage

January, 2011

Every year, hundreds of thousands of people become victims of human trafficking or forced marriage. Some are taken away from their home countries and moved abroad, where they are forced to engage in prostitution, other forms of labor, or marriage. Others are trafficked internally within their countries of origin. Those who escape or are rescued may want nothing more than to return home. Others may legitimately fear being punished or re-trafficked if they return. Trafficked persons who do not wish to return home must seek protection in another country.

What Afghans Want

June, 2010

Over a year ago on July 20, 2010 world leaders met to discuss the future of Afghanistan at the Kabul Conference. Oxfam International asked ordinary Afghans what they want to come out of the talks. In spite of intense lobbying, women were largely excluded from the conference. “…only two women beside government ministers took part in the Kabul Conference. 

Religiosity, Christian Fundamentalism, And Intimate Partner Violence Among U.S. College Students

January, 2010

Student survey data show general religiosity did not correlate with violence approval, psychological aggression, or intimate partner violence, but Christian fundamentalism did with violence approval and intimate partner violence. Read the study here.

In the Name of the Family

January, 2010
Shelley Saywell (WMM)

Schoolgirl Aqsa Parvez, sisters Amina and Sarah Said, and college student Fauzia Muhammad were all North American teenagers—and victims of premeditated, murderous attacks by male family members. Only Muhammad survived. Emmy® winner Shelley Saywell examines each case in depth in this riveting investigation of "honor killings" of girls in Muslim immigrant families. Not sanctioned by Islam, the brutalization and violence against young women for defying male authority derives from ancient tribal notions of honor and family shame. 

Interview: Mona Eltahawy on iMuslim

February, 2010
Rachel Kohn

Radio Show: The Spirit of Things - February 14, 2010

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An Egyptian-born Muslim journalist living in New York is one of the new wave of iMuslims who are using the internet to push reform in Islam. Like the "Men in Headscarves" campaign by Iranian men who've posted pictures of themselves on the internet, Mona protests the covering of women as a human rights issue. She was recently awarded the Anvil of Freedom Award from the University of Denver for outstanding contributions to the field of journalism. Rachael Kohn interviews her at home in New York.

Interview: Dr. Ida Lichter on her book Muslim Women Reformers / Amina Wadud on leading Muslim prayers

March, 2010
Rachel Kohn

Radio Show: The Spirit of Things - March 28, 2010

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A book by Sydney-based Dr. Ida Lichter, Muslim Women Reformers brings to light the many Muslim women around the world who are risking their lives to bring changes to the way Islam is interpreted and imposed especially on women and children. As well, we hear from the African-American Islamic scholar, Amina Wadud, who made headlines when she led Friday prayers of men and women in New York City. But her major work is through Qur'anic studies that are intended to liberate the text from a male-centred view.

USA - RELIGION, POLITICS & GENDER EQUALITY (Draft)

January, 2009
Janet R. Jakobsen, Elizabeth Bernstein

Despite the official separation of church and state in the United States, religion and politics are closely intertwined. This intertwining can be attributed both to the profound influence of religious organizations on the political process and to the secular institutions of public life which operate by presuming Protestant norms and values. The authors of this paper argue that the problem for gender equality in the United States is not the influence of religion alone, but Protestant hegemony in terms of both religious influence and secular presumption. They demonstrate this through two contrasting cases studies: policies around human trafficking during the Bush and Obama Administrations and “welfare reform” during the Clinton years. In the case of trafficking, they show how the Bush Administration’s coalition of secular feminist and conservative religious groups has given way under President Obama to a different coalition of faith-based and secular actors characterized by certain continuities of policy aims and method. The most important continuities are the persistence of carceral feminism and militarized humanitarianism. In the case of “welfare reform,” which was supported by a bipartisan coalition of conservative evangelicals and secular advocates, all of the parties used a conservative rhetoric of gender, race, and sexuality to support the policy. This coalition of conservative evangelicals and secular neoliberals easily overwhelmed the direct religious influence of both Catholic and mainline Protestant groups who stood in opposition to “welfare reform.” In both of these cases, it is argued that the major policy alternatives are those that raise not just the issue of religious influence on policies affecting gender equality, but also question neoliberalism and its impact on gender relations and women’s lives. In forming political alliances, the authors emphasize, feminists should situate gender within a broad array of political and economic concerns while challenging Protestant dominance in both its religious and secular guises.

Honor Killing through the eyes of Asylum Law

January, 2009
Jessica L. Darnell

HONOR KILLING: A Misclassification under the Gender Nexus.

Ms. Darnell argues in her paper that the threat of honor killing provides potential victims the opportunity to make asylum claims in the United States.

Report of the secretary general on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran

October, 2008
United Nations General Assumbly

The present report, submitted in accordance with General Assembly resolution 62/168, is intended to reflect the broader patterns and trends in the human rights situation in the Islamic Republic of Iran on the basis of that country’s international treaty obligations and the observations made by treaty monitoring bodies and the special procedures of the Human Rights Council.