I think it is interesting that in just a few days we heard from the daughter of Emir of Qatar that MENA radical intervention into Syria was turning into a ruination of a legitimate struggle because of the violence and barbarism of the religious extremists. Then we heard from the daughter of Khomeini, father of the Iranian Revolution, that the current leaders may be ruining the revolution and replacing it with a dictatorship. What’s up with the new daughters of MENA? These women are not radicalized hippie eighteen year old children of farmers from the countryside. They are from the top elite of each country’s leadership. What gives with these women’s preference for nonviolence? Could this be a kindler, gentler effect of the Arab Spring? Or perhaps the culmination of longer processes at work?
The answer is that the slow and steady increase of women’s voices …
Please read this amazing proclamation from 1870 by an amazing American woman, Julie Howe. I grew up with the Battle Hymn of the Republic ringing in my ears, played on so many patriotic occasions, and so very violent. You come to define patriotism and your national spirit by a very few cultural artifacts that are most familiar to you. But so often, digging deeper into history, it turns out that those selections had an agenda at the hands of someone who wanted to define a country in one way, with one spirit, in this case a very militant spirit. I lost that sense of patriotism due to the bad taste that Vietnam and the Cold War left in my young mouth. But I did not have to lose patriotism, I just had to contest its formulation exclusively with ante bellum Julia Howe, and not the whole Julie Howe. We need …
This month, I have the pleasure and honor of introducing you to one of my dear friends, Nurish Amanah. Nurish is an educator and student from Java, Indonesia.
As I’ve mentioned before, the point of this column isn’t just to highlight well-known figures in the Muslim community. It is also to introduce you to women who are working for positive incremental change within and beyond their communities – but whose efforts aren’t seen by the mainstream media or general public.
The current European headlines are dominated by France and Belgium’s impending face-veil legislation, but there is another, more important, story that isn’t getting as much attention—that of a quiet revolution throughout Europe of Muslim women emerging onto the political scene.
One of the most prominent examples is that of Salma Yaqoob in the UK. Yaqoob, a prospective parliament candidate, is the most prominent Muslim woman in British public life today. She herself wears a headscarf, a powerful symbol of a faith she has accommodated with her passionate leftwing politics. She represents UK’s Respect party and has a pretty good chance of making history as one of the first British Muslim women MPs. There are other Muslim women running for seats in Birmingham, Bethnal Green, Bolton South and other cities.
Sadly, however, by virtue of being both Muslim and women, Yaqoob and others face opposition from all sides who don’t believe …
Meet our friend, Hanan, a fabulous new peacemaker, a cool mother, a deeply progressive and courageous Muslim woman, one of a legion that we are discovering around the world. This is the hope of the Middle East.
For one Israeli Arab woman, peace begins within
By Karin Kloosterman
Real peacemakers are often the quiet ones, like Hanan Gaffaly – who works at the NGO Kids Creating Peace and volunteers for Sulhita, an NGO that brings together Palestinian and Israeli youth. Thousands of peacemakers like Gaffaly are not high profile activists like Ghandi and Martin Luther King were. They work from deep within, starting with themselves and their communities, and move on to take small, bold steps to influence the ‘big picture.’
ISRAEL21c first met Gaffaly, a 34-year-old Israeli Arab woman from the city of Jaffa near Tel Aviv, while at a San Francisco-based United Religions Initiative conference. At the annual
“None but a noble man treats women in an honorable manner. And none but an ignoble treats women disgracefully.”
– The Prophet Muhammad (At-Tirmithy)
Last year, I was approached by MarcGopin.com to write a column focusing on positive incremental change.
While I am always in favor of an optimistic approach, I confess that it is sometimes hard to remain positive. This is especially difficult considering the many challenges women – and especially Muslim women – continue to face in establishing and preserving their rights.
For example, it is true that the tribal practice of honor killing – in which women are slain to restore the “honor” of their families and communities – is not exclusive to Islamic societies and even existed in pre-Islamic times. However, it is also true that the perpetrators of these crimes are often Muslim – and their victims, numbering in the thousands each year, are Muslim …
Elana Rozenman and Ibtisam Mahmeed
THIS LETTER FROM ELANA ROZENMAN:
February 26th, 2009
TRUST- WIN visit to “Cordoba” school, Hebron
The ongoing conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians in the aftermath
of the violence in Gaza and southern Israel has put a strain on the ability
and willingness of many Israelis and Palestinians to engage in
peace-building activities. In that context last Thursday morning a group of
Israeli women (Jewish and Christian) set out from Jerusalem with enthusiasm
and some trepidation to meet with Reem Alshareef who is the Muslim director
of the Cordoba school in the H2 area of Hebron which is under Israeli
control. For pictures, press here and search under ‘Women Hebron’.
The Israeli women were from the left, the right, and the center politically.
All of them are in our wonderful book “Sixty Years, Sixty Voices: Israeli
and Palestinian Women” (www.sixtyvoices.org) One was an Armenian …
A REPORT BY DR. KATRIEN HERTOG
International Women’s Conference Celebrates Women’s Leadership
Bangalore, 6-8 February 2009
“If the Lehman Brothers would have been ‘Lehman Sisters’, would we be in the same mess as the one we are in now?” This provocative question characterizes the lively atmosphere of the Third International Women’s Conference, organised by the International Association for Human Values (IAHV) in Bangalore at the beginning of February. The Conference was dedicated to ‘The Light of Leadership: Integrating Global Perspectives’ and brought together 700 women from 68 countries and the most diverse cultures. All these women have taken up a leadership role in the world, whether on grassroots level or at the top, and this in the most diverse areas, such as health, politics, business, media, education, art or science. A top manager of the World Bank was sitting next to the first …
A report by Dr. Katrien Hertog:
Imams and Rabbis from the USA, Europe and the Middle East, joined by Christians and other religious experts, came together for the third time to move forward on the road to peace in the Middle East. The Congress, under the patronage of UNESCO in Paris, reflected some of the common opportunities and challenges related to religions’ engagement for peacebuilding but also clearly highlighted the distinct added value of a spiritual approach to peacebuilding.
To start with, there were some clearly differing views on the role of religious leaders in peacebuilding, a question which relates to the interrelationship between religion, mysticism and politics. Some clerics were clearly afraid of too much politics. As one rabbi expressed it: “We didn’t come to talk about politics, but about peace.” Others were emphasizing that religious leaders should be concerned with changing the reality on the ground. It was …
This is a wonderful video about yet another way that people without any training in conflict resolution or diplomacy can become a part of the solution rather than part of the problem when it comes to global conflicts. I call them citizen diplomats, and I think they represent the infinite and creative ways that individuals can choose to move beyond the boundaries of group hatreds and fears.
A Slim Peace
Starting after the Muslim Ramadan and the Jewish New Year, group of Palestinian and Israeli women will be meeting face to face in Jerusalem. Not for political reasons, not to cast blame on who’s right or wrong in the Middle East conflict – these women will be focusing on their waistline, and sharing a simple and common desire to lose weight.
“A Slim Peace” is a group founded in 2006 by Yael Luttwak, a 36-year-old American-Israeli filmmaker who grew up