All entries by this author

The Veil: a Non-Muslim Feminist Perspective

Oct 11th, 2006 | By Helen Gray

Well, everyone knows what Jack straw thinks about women wearing the veil, so I thought I’d share my thoughts.

Whilst I understand and accept that people like to wear various apparel to show an allegiance to the particular religion they subscribe to, the wearing of the veil overspills the religious and even the cultural arena. The veil demands of a woman an extreme form of modesty which both isolates and subjugates her. Anything that does this to women, be it in the name of religion, culture, or whatever else, is wrong.

It subjugates because one of the many things a veil does is put the responsibility for controlling male sexual desire squarely on a woman’s shoulders. She must cover-up or … Read the rest

Rushdie on Veil-wearing

Oct 11th, 2006 3:14 am | By

Salman Rushdie on the ‘Today’ programme on Tuesday. The subject is a collaborative exhibition with Anish Kapoor, based on Scheherezade. Rushdie points out that people forget or don’t realize how murderous the sultan is – he doesn’t point out, but could have, that the reason the sultan murders all those very young women after he’s had sex with them is so that no one else will have sex with them. He gets a new virgin every night, and she is killed in the morning. The subject has echoes of recent discussions, and the reporter asks them about Jack Straw. Kapoor says it’s a matter of respect, and Rushdie asks to disagree. Then he proceeds to do so as thoroughly as … Read the rest

Women Have Faces

Oct 10th, 2006 11:33 pm | By

Yasmin Alibhai Brown gets it.

I now find myself in the unusual position of agreeing with Straw’s every word. Feminists have denounced Straw’s approach as unacceptably proscriptive, and reactionary Muslims say it is Islamaphobic.

Not this feminist. (See? This is why the word ‘some’ comes in handy. It’s similar when people over there get going on the subject of Americans. ‘Americans love sentimental movies, Americans are religious fundamentalists, Americans are fat, Americans mispronounce “Victoriar and Albert”.’ Not all of us, except for the last one: we all do make that mistake.) This feminist has not denounced Straw’s approach as unacceptably proscriptive; instead I’ve wished he hadn’t skated over the feminist issues.

But it is time to speak out against this

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Taken away

Oct 10th, 2006 7:20 pm | By


Like many girls, Nabila has a boyfriend. However, as the daughter of a conservative Muslim family, this puts her at risk…[H]er two elder brothers have subjected her to repeated beatings, one of which was so serious it resulted in a trip to hospital. Nabila’s schoolwork has suffered, partly as a result of the emotional trauma and partly because of the raging migraines she now gets through being repeatedly beaten about the head…Nabila is one of many victims of “honour-based” violence, which, at its most extreme, can see young women of south Asian and Kurdish origin being murdered by their families. This kind of abuse has its roots in the cultural concept of women’s chastity being in the control

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What else is disposable?

Oct 10th, 2006 6:53 pm | By

The BBC also discussed the limbo question.

But limbo has long been a problem for the Church. Unease has remained over reconciling a Loving God with one who sent babies to limbo and the Church has faced much criticism.

So – there’s unease about a loving god who sends babies to limbo, but what about a loving god who gives babies diseases, or one who lets babies get scalded, or raped (it happens), or beaten, or crushed (slowly) after earthquakes? What about a loving god who hands babies and children over to parents who neglect them or tell them they’re ugly and stupid or sell them into slavery or yank them out of school and force them to marry … Read the rest

Honour, Beatings, Migraines, Forced Marriage *

Oct 10th, 2006 | Filed by

Every year, hundreds of schoolgirls disappear from UK classrooms.… Read the rest

BBC Wonders About Papal Limbo-banishment *

Oct 10th, 2006 | Filed by

‘Then, of course, there is the argument that if this can be abolished, what else is disposable?’… Read the rest

Rod Liddle Reviews The God Delusion *

Oct 10th, 2006 | Filed by

Resorts to familiar drivel about atheism as religion and god-shaped holes.… Read the rest

Tax Exemptions for Religious Organizations *

Oct 10th, 2006 | Filed by

Many have been granted in the last 15 years — sometimes added to legislation with little attention.… Read the rest

The War on Religion

Oct 10th, 2006 2:09 am | By

You know the US is in the grip of a war on religion, right? Sure. That’s why there are all these religious exemptions cluttering up the place.

Alabama exempts church day care programs from state licensing requirements, which were tightened after almost a dozen children died in licensed and unlicensed day care centers in the state in two years.

Well that’s good thinking. State licensing requirements were tightened presumably to improve the safety of day care centers – but church day care programs are exempt. On what grounds? Because if children in those programs crack their skulls on the concrete under the swing set, they’ll go to heaven so it’s okay? Because the church needs the money? What?

In recent

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Polish Consulate Cancels Talk After Phone Calls *

Oct 9th, 2006 | Filed by

Kasprzyk said ADL and American Jewish Congress phoned; he concluded Judt was too controversial.… Read the rest

Why the Face Matters *

Oct 9th, 2006 | Filed by

Times readers offer reasons.… Read the rest

Religious Right Shapes US Foreign Aid *

Oct 9th, 2006 | Filed by

Secular groups are losing funding.… Read the rest

Bush Injects Religion into Foreign Aid *

Oct 9th, 2006 | Filed by

Has systematically eliminated or weakened rules designed to enforce separation of church and state.… Read the rest

BBC Analyst Remembers Anna Politkovskaya *

Oct 9th, 2006 | Filed by

Despite huge pressures on Russia’s media to submit and conform, she investigated and reported abuses.… Read the rest

Custodians of their own morals

Oct 8th, 2006 6:54 pm | By

I usually disagree with Cristina Odone, but she makes a reasonable point here.

In our romantic vision, these bearded men and apron-clad women offer the possibility of etching out a distinct path, removed from the ugly materialist world of big business and commercialism. The families’ tragedies is unbearably moving, yet the way this community is dealing with a gunman killing five young schoolgirls (and then himself) is disturbing…It’s not just TV and iPods they reject: it is schooling beyond 14, the emancipation of women and scholarship that questions a single interpretation of the sacred texts…Given their uncompromising ways, the Amish live in an apartheid of their own choosing. This can be dangerous, as we have seen with Catholic paedophile

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Anna Politkovskaya 1958-2006 *

Oct 8th, 2006 | Filed by

Her reporting won international recognition for exposing human rights abuses in Chechnya.… Read the rest

Russians Mourn Anna Politkovskaya *

Oct 8th, 2006 | Filed by

Politkovskaya was due to publish an article on torture and kidnappings in Chechnya on Monday.… Read the rest

The Sunlight Foundation on Dennis Hastert *

Oct 8th, 2006 | Filed by

The Prairie Parkway will run right past his new property. How handy.… Read the rest

Dennis Hastert’s Real Estate Deals *

Oct 8th, 2006 | Filed by

Speaker’s net worth went from c. $300,000 to $6.2 million, partly thanks to an earmark he authored. … Read the rest