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oD 50.50 Editorial highlights 2016

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Frontline voices against fundamentalism

The Sharia debate in the UK: who will listen to our voices?

Over 300 abused women have signed a statement opposing Sharia courts and religious bodies, warning of the growing threat to their rights and to their collective struggles for security and independence.

A move to set free child sex abusers: in the name of “our culture”

Recent law reform initiatives on sexual crimes against children in Turkey reveal the growing danger for women and girls, and the need to interrogate the myths and biases underlying the “our culture” discourse.

What will it take to end honour based violence in the UK?

‘Honour killings’ represent the tragic consequences of the failure to tackle honour based violence. Greater state action in supporting black feminist leadership, and ensuring protection and provision is essential.

One woman’s brush with Sharia courts in the UK: "It ruined my life forever"

“My daughter and I appeared before the Sharia court at Regent's Park mosque in London. They were not interested in anything we had to say, the whole process was shocking.”

Táhirih unveiled: poet, theologian and revolutionary

Táhirih – an important figure in Persian history – helps us imagine a more diverse feminism and a more progressive Middle East. Her legacy is not limited to Bahá’ís but belongs to all of us.

Resurgent Sikh fundamentalism in the UK: time to act?

Growing confidence among resurgent Sikh fundamentalist networks in the UK was evident in recent protests against inter-faith marriage. A desire to control Sikh women’s relationship choices is a key focal point for their mobilisation.

Sharia, security and the church: dangers of the British Home Office Inquiry

Does the UK’s Sharia Review resemble the sharia ‘courts’: secretive procedures and discriminatory advisors? Are the Home Office and the Church ignoring conflicts of interest and evidence of discrimination?

Feminist Dissent: why a new journal on gender and fundamentalism?

The journal Feminist Dissent creates a space to interrogate the multi-faceted links between historical and resurgent religious fundamentalism and gender.

Refusing to recognise polygamy in the West: a solution or a soundbite?

Polygamy in the UK and the West raises many questions and challenges: integration of migrant communities, ensuring adherence to State laws, the role of Sharia courts and balancing freedom of religion and gender equality.

Whitewashing Sharia councils in the UK?

In an Open Letter to Theresa May, hundreds of women’s human rights organisations and campaigners warn against a further slide towards privatised justice and parallel legal systems.

Islamist terrorism: chilling echoes of Pastor Niemoller

The Islamists have us all in their sights. We are all targets. It is incumbent upon us all to speak up. Being Muslim is not enough. Are you the right kind of Muslim in the eyes of the Islamists?

Furthering freedom of religion and belief in Muslim-majority countries

Ballot boxes before a culture of toleration for diversity of beliefs takes root in the minds of people can make things worse. Secularization and freedom of religion are a precondition of democracy.

Jihadist "crimes that surpass all understanding": a letter from 1995 Algeria

In this letter written during Algeria’s “dark decade” of fundamentalist violence - sadly relevant today - Mahfoud Bennoune argued that movements purveying “Islamic states” through terror are ultimately “doomed to failure.”

The truth about Charlie: one year after the 7 January attacks

The Charlie Hebdo attack one year ago was part of a long tradition of fundamentalist assaults on artists.  Understanding this tragic event is critical to defeating Islamist terror today.

UN calls for women’s engagement in countering violent extremism: but at what cost?

Women are already on the frontlines of violent extremism. Engaging with them is not about instrumentalizing them but about building and recognizing their agency.

Preventing violent extremism: a noose that is both too tight and too loose

The British government's programme to counter violent extremism hands religious fundamentalists the gift of a narrative of victimhood, narrowing the political space for secular feminists and others to challenge fundamentalism.

Your fatwa does not apply here

The UN Human Rights Council has appointed Karima Bennoune as Special Rapporteur in the field of Cultural Rights. Bennoune is the author of the book, Your Fatwa Does Not Apply Here: Untold Stories from the Fight Against Muslim Fundamentalism.

The UK's missing girls: preventing online radicalisation

Less than 4% of Muslim mothers who attended a programme in Britain to equip them with basic IT skills knew who ISIS were. Education is key to enabling them to prevent the online radicalisation of their children.

Iraq's female citizens: prisoners of war

Iraqi woman human rights defender Yanar Mohammed spoke to Jennifer Allsopp at the Nobel Women’s Initiative conference about grass-roots responses to the atrocities women are facing under ISIS.

Sabeen Mahmud: “I stand up for what I believe in, but I can’t fight guns”

Sabeen Mahmud alleviated intellectual poverty until the day she was murdered, 24 April 2015. In an interview with Karima Bennoune in 2010 Mahmud explained why she founded a politico-cultural space in Karachi.

Men in charge? Rethinking authority in Muslim legal tradition

The new book Men in Charge? shows that the assumption that God gave men authority over women is a theological fiction that became a legal fiction, whose main function now is to sustain gender inequality.  

Sharia law, apostasy and secularism

Opposing religious fundamentalism is a dangerous political activity. It is not a distraction from ‘real’ politics - the demands of social justice and civil liberties - but a pre-condition for achieving them.

Farkhunda paid for Afghanistan's culture of impunity

How can we interpret the lynching of Farkhunda by an angry mob in the heart of Kabul city? What are its implications for the future of Afghanistan?

Building "a new Turkey": gender politics and the future of democracy

Can Turkey's government eschew gender equality, demonise the country's dynamic women's movement, and still prevent gender-based violence? Can a party that rejects gender equality be a force for democratisation?

Opposing political Islam in Tunisia: Mohamed Brahmi's widow speaks out

On the first anniversary of Mohamed Brahmi’s assassination, his widow, Mbarka Brahmi, denounces fundamentalism and terrorism in Tunisia.  This article is republished following the murderous attack on the Bardo Museum in Tunis.

Tunisia's fight against fundamentalism: an interview with Amel Grami

In conversations with Karima Bennoune, Tunisian intellectual Amel Grami shares her analysis of the political crisis in Tunisia during the rule of the Ennahda party, and the strategies needed to defeat fundamentalism.

Islam and the "culture of offence": missing the point

In the age of ISIS, dissent and criticism of religion is a life and death necessity. It has been - and remains - key for human progress.

To take a stand is more important than to take a distance

Instead of distancing ourselves from terrorist crimes, as progressive Muslims we should confront the ultra conservative, violent Wahhabi/salafi version of Islam that is practised by both professional terrorists and despotic nations like Saudi Arabia.

"Support the right to make fun of extremists": an interview with Caroline Fourest

We are facing a political threat, a totalitarian Islamist threat that manifests in terrorism. Journalists are defending something which is elementary to our democracy: our freedom to breathe and to laugh.

Freedom of expression: a sacred right

There is a disconnect between the teachings of the Qur’an and much of the Muslim population’s understanding of the Qur’an. How do we address and resolve this issue?

Charlie Hebdo: "There is no way they will make us put down our pens."

Pen against Kalashnikov: courage against atrocity. People of Muslim heritage call for combatting Islamist ideology by political means and mass mobilisation.

"Truth needs witnesses"

The column Saïd Mekbel published the day before he was assassinated in 1994 remains sadly topical today - recalling murdered journalists everywhere. Republished in tribute to the people killed today at the offices of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo

Progressive Muslims in a world of ISIS and Islamophobes

Ani Zonneveld, president of Muslims for Progressive Values, explains the struggle to organize progressive Muslim communities and institutions in a fight back in the era of ISIS.

Young feminists: resisting the tide of fundamentalisms

Fundamentalism is a root cause of multiple forms of violence experienced by young women and trans*youth worldwide. Young feminists human rights defenders are key actors in this space.

Iran: a 'bloody stain' on the nation

The war on women continues to manifest itself in different forms and intensity globally; tarnishing all societies with a ‘bloody stain’. In Iran, hard-liner interpretations of Islamic principles dictate gender norms, violation of which can be fatal.

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