All entries by this author

Orhan Pamuk Wins Nobel for Literature *

Oct 12th, 2006 | Filed by

He has faced prosecution for talking about the murder of Armenians and Kurds.… Read the rest

To Tell the Truth – Scott McLemee on I F Stone *

Oct 12th, 2006 | Filed by

Hoover’s agents despaired of ever establishing a connection between Stone and the CPUSA.… Read the rest

Scott McLemee on I F Stone *

Oct 12th, 2006 | Filed by

Stone tells Soviet citizens that the “thaw” will mean nothing if they don’t acquire the right of habeas corpus. … Read the rest

Picking and choosing

Oct 12th, 2006 12:28 am | By

But David Edgar sees things differently. He sees them strangely, too.

For most of the past 30 years, being in favour of free speech meant being in favour of good things (notably honesty about sexuality) and against denial and repression…Now we are having to defend things we disapprove of, such as the glorification of terrorism or, indeed, calls for censorship. The conundrum that one of the things liberals have to tolerate is intolerance hasn’t needed to be at the forefront of debates on free expression before. It is now, and it should be.

‘One of the things liberals have to tolerate is intolerance.’ No it isn’t. I don’t subscribe to any principle that requires me to tolerate intolerance or to … Read the rest

Houzan Mahmoud

Oct 11th, 2006 11:55 pm | By

Houzan Mahmoud says it clearly enough.

The veil is not merely a piece of “cloth”, but a sign of the oppression of women, control over their sexuality, submissiveness to the will of God or a man. The veil is a banner of political Islam used to segregate women born by historical accident in the so-called “Islamic World” from other women in the rest of the world.

She’s surprised to find herself agreeing with Jack Straw, but also thinks he’s a bit late.

Jack Straw’s government has always been proud of its “multicultural society”, in which all kinds of backward and anti-human cultures are respected and given space by the state. Women from an Islamic background will be among the

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Everything Must Be Tolerated, David Edgar Says *

Oct 11th, 2006 | Filed by

‘Sorry, but we can’t just pick and choose what to tolerate.’ Interesting notion.… Read the rest

Rushdie Says Veils Suck; Guardian Frowns *

Oct 11th, 2006 | Filed by

‘[H]is comments have angered moderate and extremists within the Muslim community.’… Read the rest

UN Urges Global Backing for Violence Report *

Oct 11th, 2006 | Filed by

Painting a grim picture of the extent of violence against women in all parts of the world.… Read the rest

Ethiopian Women World’s Most Abused *

Oct 11th, 2006 | Filed by

UN’s Ending Violence Against Women report says nearly 60% are subject to sexual violence.… Read the rest

Kiran Desai Wins Booker Prize *

Oct 11th, 2006 | Filed by

For The Inheritance of Loss.… Read the rest

Houzan Mahmoud Says It’s not a Matter of Choice *

Oct 11th, 2006 | Filed by

Not just a bit of cloth: a sign of the oppression of women and submissiveness to the will of God or a man.… Read the rest

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