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Frontline voices against fundamentalism

Kashmir abuses: women searching for justice challenge state use of forensics

Thousands of young men have 'disappeared' in Kashmir and there have been numerous allegations of sexual assaults. But the fight for answers and justice continues.

70 years after partition: is India, like Pakistan, turning to religious extremism?

Pakistani director Sabiha Sumar's brave new documentary, Azmaish, looks at retreats from liberal democracy on both sides of the border.

The right to blasphemy: is this the boundary between civilisation and barbarism?

Former Charlie Hebdo journalist Zineb El Rhazoui collects fatwas like badges of honour. Her recent book outlines similarities between the Islamic and European far right.

“I don’t want to die because I’m an atheist”: ex-Muslims speak out

In the UK and beyond, filmmaker Deeyah Khan has documented the experiences of ex-Muslims and the “extraordinary levels of persecution, abuse and discrimination they face”.

Surviving a machete attack: the story of Bangladeshi-American freethinker Bonya Ahmed

The growth of religious fundamentalist forces in Bangladesh poses life-threatening challenges to atheists and secularists.

Where is the line between Islam and Islamism?

A recent conference on freedom of expression threw up issues around relationships between ex-Muslims and reformist Muslims – and the ideological confusion of their allies.

The politics of nudity as feminist protest – from Ukraine to Tunisia

Frontline activists, including women who use their topless bodies as political statements, are gathering in London to deplore threats to free expression worldwide.

Horn of Africa: there are no quick fixes in ‘countering violent extremism’

An effective response to violence and harmful ideologies is important. But projects are failing to adequately engage with root causes.

Pakistan’s jirgas: buying peace at the expense of women’s rights?

Why are foreign donors so enthusiastic about alternative dispute mechanisms when they deliver second class justice for women?

Violence against women and extremism are intrinsically linked: overlooking this puts rights at risk

Religious groups we work with, in the fight against extremism, must have a commitment to universal rights – as well as peace.

How do we fight anti-rights fundamentalism at the United Nations?

An extract from the first report of a new initiative tracks how fundamentalist groups have embraced the UN as a site to foster conservative social change.

There are more women at Sri Lanka’s universities – but they remain spaces dominated by men

Now is not the time for complacency. Universities should produce critical thinkers – and questioning gendered norms and expectations is a crucial part of this.

Copts of Egypt: Pope Francis, Al-Azhar, and the reality of sectarianism on the ground

The Pope’s meeting with Al-Azhar this week may create goodwill at a high-level, but on the ground, the situation for Copts is different.

Copts of Egypt: more than political pawns for ISIS and el-Sisi

Recent attacks on Copts cannot be understood exclusively as militant resistance to authoritarianism in Egypt.

Copts of Egypt: from survivors of sectarian violence to targets of terrorism

Recent bombings mark a new era in the religious targeting of Copts – one which is qualitatively different from previous patterns of sectarian violence.

Gender-just laws versus “divine” law in Sri Lanka

The heated debate over reforming Muslim personal law in Sri Lanka has resulted in an unprecedented mobilization of Muslim women across the country calling for progressive and gender-just laws.

Gender and fundamentalism: when religion muscles in on development

The truism that there cannot be real development without women’s participation needs a caveat: women’s rights cannot be achieved while religious forces are involved in development.

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.

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