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Freedom of Religion

Uzbekistan: Scarf or Hijab Debate, Law Bans Religious Attire

October 12, 2011

Was it a “traditional white scarf” or a hijab? That is what rights groups in Uzbekistan would like to know from the state after the secular Muslim republic issued its first reported dress code fine since implementing a tough new law three years ago banning religious attire.

UN: Special Rapporteur Calls on States to Embrace Inter-religious Dialogue as Means to Fight Intolerance

November 2, 2011

On 20 October 2011, Mr Heiner Bielefeldt, the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, took part in an interactive dialogue with the General Assembly Third Committee. His report and oral presentation focused on the promotion of inter- and intra-religious communication as a means to combat religious intolerance and hate speech. Mr Bielefeldt also called attention to the possible adverse side effects that may occur in the context of interreligious dialogue projects; including if religious communities are portrayed stereotypically or if full inclusiveness in projects is falsely claimed.

Tunisia: In the Name of Democracy - What Secularists and Women Have to Lose in the Tunisian Elections

October 22, 2011

On the eve of the elections in Tunisia that will shape the future of the country and even that of the Arab world as well, Western do-gooders and Islamic fundamentalists hand in hand rejoice in ‘Tunisia’s first free elections’ and its access to ‘ democracy’. The recent history of Iran and Algeria have taught us better… And women in Tunisia watch in horror the rise of Muslim fundamentalists, as a possible replication of the Algerian scenario of 1989 .

Tunisia: 'In the Name of Democracy - What Secularists and Women Have to Lose in the Tunisian Elections'

October 22, 2011

On the eve of the elections in Tunisia that will shape the future of the country and even that of the Arab world as well, Western do-gooders and Islamic fundamentalists hand in hand rejoice in ‘Tunisia’s first free elections’ and its access to ‘ democracy’. The recent history of Iran and Algeria have taught us better… And women in Tunisia watch in horror the rise of Muslim fundamentalists, as a possible replication of the Algerian scenario of 1989 .

Pakistan: Child Expelled For 'Blasphemous' Spelling Error

October 10, 2011

There’s no shortage of reminders nowadays of how dangerous Pakistan has become. Kidnappings are rampant, suicide bombers strike crowded markets, and sectarian violence is commonplace. Even sitting for a school exam comes with risks.

In the Pakistani village of Havelian, a Christian Grade 8 student named Faryal Bhatti has been accused of blasphemy after making a spelling mistake on a test, a miscue that has had drastic and life-changing consequences for her whole family.

Secularism vs Communalism: Learning from the Ban on Full Face Covering Veil in France

April, 2011

Three days after the enforcement of the French law that prohibits full face covering, and after the first women law breakers have been fined, international media focus on ’protesting Muslims’, while the voices of the vast majority of presumed Muslims in France are ignored.

One has to raise issue with the absence of proper coverage by English language international media regarding the public stands taken by French citizens of migrant Muslim descent.

Malaysia: Sisters in Islam Remains Firmly Opposed to the Implementation of Hudud Law

October 4, 2011

Sisters in Islam (SIS) is unequivocally opposed to the adoption and implementation of Hudud law in Malaysia. This has been our considered position since 1993. Our stand on Hudud law is based on the following reasons:

Malaysia: Hudud Laws - Between the Implicit and the Explicit

September 27, 2011

The hudud controversy has now returned to the eyes of the media after it was discussed at the National Syariah Seminar sponsored by the Department of Islamic Affairs of Kelantan.

PAS indeed had taken a step forward in their comprehensive proposals for a welfare state but their preoccupation with the hudud issue clearly shows that they are still stuck in the framework of antiquarian politics.

Malaysia: Why Hudud Law Is Everybody’s Business

September 23, 2011

SEPT 23 — Once again the familiar argument has surfaced, or been desperately invoked, this time in the latest stand-off between the leading Pakatan Rakyat allies Karpal Singh and Anwar Ibrahim.

Hudud law, if implemented, will apply only to Muslims, Anwar Ibrahim again insists, so the question is one that concerns only Muslims, not Malaysian citizens of other faiths — or no conventional doctrinal allegiance at all. So non-Muslims have nothing to fear, no legitimate interest in the matter, and no right to express any opinion. The matter is for Muslims alone.

Between Power and Freedom: The Challenge in the Future of Islamic Feminism

September 20, 2011

Ahmad Fuad Rahmat | Research Fellow, Islamic Renaissance Front (IRF)It is an evident, although often unacknowledged, fact that Islam’s long history and intellectual tradition is comprised of a rather impressive list of important women thinkers and figures. The Qur’an itself included “believing women” in its scope and statements. Further precedent was set through the leadership of Aisha and the historical significance of Fatimah.

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