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This week's editor

NSS, editor

Niki Seth-Smith is a freelance journalist and contributing editor to 50.50.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

A midnight 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.

Erdogan's war on women

Kurdish women in one of the strongest and most radical women’s movements in the world are taking a battering from the Turkish state with impunity - as Europe looks the other way

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.

Repeal the Eighth: putting intersectionality into practice

A long-established conservative media frames the terms of abortion politics in Ireland. The pro-choice activism challenges dominant discourses with the inclusivity and diversity of the movement exemplifying how to put intersectionality into practice.

What has Hindu law ever done for women?

India’s long overdue Uniform Civil Code, a set of common personal laws for all citizens, guaranteed by its constitution, is under renewed debate. It should not be based on Hindu law.

Egyptian women: depression or oppression?

Women continuing to push for change in Egypt are bearing the psychological toll of a rigid post-revolution politics and society.

The dishonourable killing of a Pakistani social media celebrity

Qandeel Baloch’s murder fuelled the debate over women’s sexuality, their lives, and their deaths. Her ‘honour’ killing could bring about changes in Pakistan’s legal structure.

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?

A new journal, Feminist Dissent, aims to create a space to interrogate the multi-faceted links between historical and resurgent religious fundamentalism and gender.

Who are they, these revolutionary Rojava women?

Meredith Tax just had to find out who they were - the revolutionary women of Rojava, bearing arms against ISIS, building a new world...she had to find their story, for herself, and in her new book, for us.

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.

Disembodying honour and exposing the politics behind it

The reaction to the public stripping of a Coptic grandmother in Upper Egypt reminds us of the power of popular campaigns to shame those who use embodied concepts of honour politically.

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. Being Muslim is not enough. Are you the right kind of Muslim in the eyes of the Islamists?

Rojava revolution: how deep is the change?

Is optimism in the future of revolutionary change misplaced in a region torn apart by war and a society where patriarchy has been so entrenched?  Part 6 of Witnessing the Rojava revolution.

Rojava revolution: reshaping masculinity

Rojava's battle with ISIS stronghold  Raqqa is not simply a military one, but an ideological one in which the position of women could not be more polarised. Part 4.

'The Devil is in the Details': development, women's rights and religious fundamentalisms

Dealing with the escalation of violence against women across the world requires a wider adoption of a feminist approach to working at the nexus of development, religious fundamentalisms and women’s rights.

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.

Yazidi women after slavery: trauma

Mental health care and support services are in short supply for the traumatized women who have escaped from ISIS slavery to the camps around Dohuk, exacerbating their long term trauma.

UN CSW: debating women’s reproductive rights or a “culture of death” ?

In a cynical ploy, conservative religious groups based in the Global North now frame reproductive rights advocacy in the Global South as the neocolonialist imposition of a uniquely western value system.

Mona Eltahawy and sexual revolution in the Middle East

'Traumatised into feminism,' Mona Eltahawy speaks of her decision to unveil and understanding that 'Muslim women’s bodies are the medium upon which culture is engraved, be it through headscarves or cutting.'

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.

Narendra Modi, gender violence, and the Hindu Right's agenda

India is facing a relentless nightmare of violence against minorities, Dalits and those who dissent from the agenda of the Hindu Right. Gender violence is central to this agenda.

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.

Lifting the ban on women’s shelters in Iraq: promoting change in conflict

There is a crisis-level need for shelter in Iraq, so why does the Iraqi government maintain a policy that stymies critically needed temporary housing and threatens the safety of those willing to provide it?

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.

Adam and Eve still leading Religious Studies in Spain

As the autumn political agenda gets off the ground in Spain with this weekend's vote on Catalunyan independence and the forthcoming General Election, will the antiquated education system get a look in?

Freedom to speak? No-go areas and unsafe spaces

At the heart of the debate on free speech and censorship are contested understandings of where power resides. Where should the line be drawn?

Jeremy Corbyn: Labour’s gift to British women?

Jeremy Corbyn's Working with Women policy document has been well received by feminists, but the silence on the intersectionality of religious fundamentalism and women’s oppression, and on prostitution, raises questions.

Believing women's narratives in Sweden and Norway

Too often women's oppression is sidelined as a lesser cause, and women's experiences dismissed, as two cases in Sweden and Norway show.

Those who believe in freedom: Yara Sallam

Yara Sallam is starting the second year of her sentence in Qanater Women's prison outside Cairo. She says, "I do not feel any regret or self-defeat, the prison is not inside me." 

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