This week's editors

Darian Meacham, Europe the Very Idea team Francesco Tava, Europe the Very Idea team Darian Meacham and Francesco Tava introduce this week's theme: Old ideas for a new Europe.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

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.

Egyptian women's rights: no time for dissent

The act of dissent should match the need for equality, rather than the time for equality. In the fight for a right, there are no divisions.

Amnesty International: some alliances are more impartial than others

The recent furore surrounding Cage’s defence of ‘Jihadi John’ has reopened the debate on appropriate alliances between Cage and human rights organisations.

Disposable Girls

The fight to protect the world's girls, whether from sexual exploitation or abduction, is not about saving individuals. It is about profound structural change in the hierarchical power relations of patriarchy.

Our bodies as battlegrounds

From Kyrgyzstan to Brazil and Sri Lanka, young feminists are trying to shift the debate over sexual and reproductive rights away from a focus on population control and the family unit, to the right of women to have bodily autonomy.

Are we all beheaded Copts?: outrage in Libya

Is the beheading of 21 Egyptian Christians by ISIS in Libya associated with a broader political project of cleansing the region of religious minorities? Would this not deserve demonstrations of solidarity?

Rest in power, Assia Djebar

Why is it that the homeland always rejects its most erudite children? Latefa Guemar pays tribute to the feminist writer remembered for her intellectual honesty and unflinching stance against Algerian patriarchy, even from beyond its borders.

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.

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.

Gendered paradoxes of Egypt’s transition

Four years after the downfall of Mubarak, women face a new patriarchal bargain: abandoning all forms of independent organizing in return for protection of their rights.

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.

The ethics of feminist engagement: discussing feminism-as-imperialism

The responses by Saadia Toor and Deepa Kumar to Meredith Tax's article depend on a one-dimensional and tired discussion of a collusive feminism as the continuing source of justifications for imperialism.

"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

Article 11: feminists negotiating power in Egypt

Faced with unequal power relations at the negotiating table and authoritarian consolidation, a member of the 50-committee explores how feminist voices achieved leverage when drafting the 2014 Egyptian Constitution to include article 11. 

Egypt: a reality too dark in which to glimpse hope?

The last known message from the Egyptian activist Zainab Mahdy reads, " It's like we're digging in water...There is no justice…I am aware of that…there is no victory coming…we are just lying to ourselves so that we can live."

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.

The stories we tell about ISIS and women

Political and popular discussions about strategies to confront ISIS are doing women in Iraq and Syria a disservice, and playing into the hands of ISIS.

Sexualized violence in Iraq: how to understand and fight it

Sexualised and gender-based violence in Iraq, highlighted in recent weeks in relation to ISIS atrocities, has been at the heart of sectarian and authoritarian politics and developments since 2003. How can we talk about it and mobilise against it?

The Handmaid's Tale of El Salvador

Poverty, misogyny, and Christian fundamentalism in El Salvador lie behind the prison sentences of up to forty years handed down to seventeen women who were arrested for the crime of abortion, but sentenced for murder.

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.

The Antis: anti-imperialist or anti-feminist?

A recent article on "imperialist feminism" accuses the US women's movement of being a cheerleader for American empire from the war in Afghanistan to the present. Is this a sectarian strategy that misses the target and attacks the liberals instead of the right?

State racism and sexism in post-war Sri Lanka

Central to the resurgence of Sinhala Buddhist nationalism in post-war Sri Lanka is a redefinition of gender role and identities. Familial ideology is a key pillar of this discourse with serious adverse implications for women and gender equality

Speaking with a forked tongue: whither Malaysia’s moderate Islam?

Responding to the fatwa against their group, Sisters in Islam are calling for the promotion of love and compassion in Islam, in the face of rising extremism and intolerance in Malaysia.

'Shariafication by stealth' in the UK

Access to justice is being denied in the UK in the shadow of neoliberalism and religious fundamentalism. Minority women are being denied the right to participate in the wider political community as citizens rather than subjects.

Being Malala

Recipients of humanitarian awards often invite controversy. In Pakistan, religious and political identities are valued more than the contributions of such recipients. Malala Yousafzai may have the Nobel Peace Prize, but she remains the target of criticism from Pakistani conservatives and also many 'progressives'.

Secularism at risk in Sub-Saharan secular states: the challenges for Senegal and Mali

Secularism is being challenged in several Sub-Saharan African states which have long guarded it as a principle of governance. Its preservation is important for the protection of women's citizen rights from religious interventions. In French.

La laïcité à l’épreuve dans les États laïques d’Afrique au Sud du Sahara : Les défis pour le Sénégal et le Mali

La laïcité est mise à l’épreuve dans plusieurs États d’Afrique subsaharienne qui l’ont gardé comme principe de gouvernance. Or sa préservation est importante pour les femmes, car elle permet de protéger leurs droits citoyens de toute intervention religieuse qui n’a jamais été aussi conservatrice et liée à la ‘droitisation’ complice du politique.

Conquering fear with hope: Secularism 2014

The Secularism Conference taking place in London this weekend is a chance to hear activists who are transforming human rights. As western academics teach that secularism has had its day, many activists from the global south consider that it is vital to oppose the religious right.

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