We Stand With Noor Salman

Statement from Justice for Muslims Collective & other advocates and organizers…

We Stand With Noor Salman

Over 100 plus organizations stand with Noor Salman and demand an end to the prosecution against her. If you would like to sign on or get involved, please email westandwithnoor@gmail.com. We are also thankful to ICE Free Queen and IMI Corona for translating the statement into Spanish.

Organizational Endorsement Letter For Noor Salman  

We Stand With Noor Salman

Noor Salman currently stands trial in Orlando, Florida in a case related to the 2016 mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub by her deceased husband, Omar Mateen. On Monday, January 15, 2017, Ms. Salman, a 31-year-old Muslim mother of a three year old and a domestic violence survivor, was arrested on two charges, which include aiding and abetting Mateen in providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization, and obstruction of justice for providing conflicting statements to the FBI. If convicted of the charges against her, Ms. Salman faces life in prison.

Our organizations work for gender and reproductive justice, LGBTQ justice, racial and economic justice, disability justice, civil rights and human rights in different communities across the United States. We share the grief and pain for those whose lives were lost, those who survived and their loved ones and communities. And, we oppose this prosecution, which scapegoats Ms. Salman in the quest to ensure that someone pay the price for Mateen’s actions. We stand with Noor Salman, a mother and survivor of domestic violence.

The prosecution of Ms. Salman is rooted in gendered Islamophobia and patriarchy. She is  being prosecuted under the guise of guilt by association as a Muslim woman married to a Muslim man who committed mass violence. As noted in theIntercept, there are numerous weaknesses in the prosecution’s case against Salman, which essentially serves as a test case to prosecute partners of accused terrorists on the grounds of complicity. The FBI has aimed to hold girlfriends and wives accountable for their partners’ actions for some time, especially when the couple is Muslim. Furthermore, Ms. Salman’s religious identity has been used by the FBI to threaten her. During the initial interrogation by the FBI which took place over 17 hours in which she was detained and questioned, including hours in which her infant child was present and no legal counsel was present, FBI officials threatened to take her son away from her and place him in a Christian home. She is a victim of the domestic War on Terror, through which the government has used racial and religious profiling tactics to subject Arabs, South Asians, and Muslims to investigations, interrogations, deportations, and prosecutions simply because of their faith, relationships, and guilt by association.

Ms. Salman is also a domestic violence survivor. The government’s charges against Ms. Salman disregard the history of domestic abuse, rape, and threats that Ms. Salman endured during her marriage to Mateen and the impact of intimate partner violence on  her and her child’s life. This abuse has been documented, for example, in a recent New York Times article that reported that “Ms. Salman has said her husband punched her, choked her, threatened to kill her, and coerced her into sex and left her isolated in their home.” Ms. Salman  publicly disclosed the abuse she endured within six months of being married, which included physical abuse during her pregnancy and threats to take sole custody of their child.  Ms. Salman’s cousin, Susan Adieh, also affirmed that Mateen mistreated his wife. Upon seeing the news about the mass shooting, Ms. Adieh worried that “[Mateen] had killed [Ms. Salman] at the house before he went [to Orlando].” Accusations of abuse against Mateen were not only made by Ms. Salman, but by his first wife, Sitora Yusify. Domestic violence expert Jacquelyn Campbell evaluated Ms. Salman’s case, and asserted that based on the dynamics of violence in the relationship, Ms. Salman could not have been aware of Mateen’s plans.

This prosecution punishes Ms. Salman for the actions of Omar Mateen and the violence he inflicted upon those around him, including her. This criminalization of Ms. Salman continues the cycle of dehumanization and terror that she experienced in her marriage to Mateen, and does not allow her to heal and re-build her life. The prosecution of Ms. Salman in today’s climate of Islamophobia and the War on Terror has alarming repercussions for Muslim women and for all survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault who are criminalized for the actions of their abusive partners.

We stand with Noor Salman and demand an end to the prosecution against her.

Estamos en Solidaridad con Noor Salman

Mas de 100 organizaciones nos levantamos en solidaridad con Noor Salman y exigimos un fin al enjuiciamiento en contra de ella. Si usted quiere agregar su firma o mantenerse involucrado, por favor envíenos un correo electrónico a: westandwithnoor@gmail.com

Declaración de Respaldo Organizativo para Noor Salman Estamos en Solidaridad con Noor Salman

Actualmente Noor Salman enfrenta juicio en Orlando, Florida en el caso relacionado con el tiroteo masivo del 2016 en el club nocturno Pulse por su esposo ya fallecido, Omar Mateen. El Lunes 15 de enero del 2017, la Sra. Salman, una mujer musulmana de 31 años de edad, madre de un niño de 3 años y sobreviviente de violencia doméstica, fue arrestada y acusada de dos cargos , incluyendo ayudar e instigar a Mateen en proveer apoyo material a una organización terrorista en el extranjero, y obstrucción a la justicia por proveer testimonio contradictorios al FBI. Si es declarada culpable de los cargos en contra de ella, la Sra. Salman enfrentará una sentencia de cadena perpetua.

Nuestras organizaciones trabajan en defensa a la justicia de género y reproductiva, la justicia de la comunidad LBGTQ, la justicia racial y económica, la justicia de discapacidad,y los derechos humanos y civiles en diferentes comunidades en todos los Estados Unidos. Compartimos el dolor y aflicción por aquellas vidas que se perdieron, por lxs sobrevivientes, sus seres queridxs y sus comunidades. Y también nos oponemos a este juicio, el cual erróneamente culpa a la Sra. Salman en busqueda de que alguien pague el precio por las acciones de Mateen. Estamos en solidaridad con Noor Salman, una madre y sobreviviente de violencia doméstica.

El juicio de la Sra. Salman está enraizado en una islamofobia machista y el patriarcado. Ella está siendo juzgada bajo la excusa de que es culpable por asociación al ser una mujer musulmana casada con un hombre musulmán quien cometió un acto de violencia masiva. Tal como fue reportado en el diario The Intercept , hay varios puntos débiles en el argumento que se están usando para el caso en contra a Salman, el cúal básicamente está sirviendo como un experimento para poder justificar el juicio de las parejas de personas acusadas de terrorismo bajo argumentos de complicidad. Desde hace ya un tiempo el FBI ha buscado culpar y hacer rendir cuentas a las parejas románticas y esposas de personas acusadas de terrorismo, tratando de hacerlas responsables por las acciones de sus esposos, especialmente cuando las personas son musulmanas. Adicionalmente, la identidad religiosa de la Sra. Salman ha sido usada por el FBI para amenazarla. Durante la interrogación inicial, el FBI la detuvo y la interrogó por más de 17 horas, incluso en frente de su hijo menor de edad, y si ningún abogadx presente. El FBI amenazó con separarla de su hijo y mandarlo a un albergue Cristiano. Ella es víctima de la Guerra contra el Terrorismo que ocurre domésticamente dentro de los Estados Unidos, la cual se ha utilizado como estrategia por el gobierno para poner en práctica tácticas de vigilancia de perfil racial y de religión para arrestar a personas árabes, sudasiáticas, y musulmanas para investigarlas, interrogarlas, deportarlas y juzgarlas simplemente por sus creencias religiosa y relaciones, culpándolas por asociación.

La Sra. Salman también es sobreviviente de violencia doméstica. Los cargos del gobierno en contra de la Sra. Salman no toman en cuenta la historia de abuso doméstico, violación, y amenazas que la Sra. Salman a sufrido durante su matrimonio con Mateen y el impacto que la violación por su pareja íntima ha tenido sobre su vida y la de su hijo. Este abuso ha sido documentado, por ejemplo, en un artículo reciente del New York Times , que reporta que “La Sra. Salman ha dicho que su esposo la puñeteo, la ahorcó, la amenazaba con matarla, la forzaba a participar en actos sexuales y la aislaba en su hogar.” La Sra. Salman reveló públicamente el abuso que ella sufrió durante seis meses de matrimonio, el cual incluye abuso físico durante su embarazo y amenazas de perder la custodia de su hijo. La prima de la Sra. Salman, Susan Adieh, también confirmó que Mateen maltrataba a su esposa. Al ver las noticias del tiroteo masivo, la Sra. Adieh estaba preocupada de que “[Mateen] hubiera matado a [la Sra. Salman] en la casa antes de que él fuera a [Orlando].” Las acusaciones en contra de Mateen no solo fueron hechas por la sra. Salman, más también por su primera esposa, Sitora Yulsify. Jacquelyn Campbell, experta en violencia doméstica, evaluó el caso de la sra. Salman, y determinó que basado en las dinámicas de violencia en la relación, la sra. Salman no pudo haber estado al tanto de los planes de Mateen.
Este juicio castigará a sra. Salman por las acciones de Omar Mateen y la violencia que el causo a otrxs a su alrededor, incluyendo a ella misma. La criminalización de la sra. Salman continúa el mismo ciclo de deshumanización y terror que ella vivió durante su matrimonio con Mateen, y no le permite sanar y reconstruir su vida. El juicio de la sra. Salman durante este clima político de islamofobia y de la Guerra contra el Terrorismo tiene repercusiones alarmantes para las mujeres musulmanas y para todxs lxs sobrevivientes de violencia doméstica y de violencia sexual, quienes son criminalizadxs por las acciones de sus parejas abusivas.

Estamos en solidaridad con Noor Salman y exigimos el fin al juicio en contra de ella.

Signed (list in formation),
Firma (lista en proceso),

A Safe Place
About Face: Veterans Against the War
Advocates for Youth
Alaska Network on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault
American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC)
APIENC (API Equaity – Northern California)
Apna Ghar, Inc. (Our Home)
Arab Resource & Organizing Center (AROC)
Arizona Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence
Asian Pacific Institute on Gender-Based Violence
Asian Women’s Shelter
Asian/Pacific Islander Domestic Violence Resource Project
Black and Pink, Inc.
Boston Feminists for Liberation
BYP100 DC Chapter
CAAAV Organizing Asian Communities
California Partnership to End Domestic Violence
CodePink
Collective Action for Safe Spaces (CASS)
Committee to Stop FBI Repression
Community Acupuncture Project
Community Responders Network
Community United Against Violence (CUAV)
CONNECT – Preventing Interpersonal Violence, Promoting Gender Justice
Creative Interventions
DC Coalition Against Domestic Violence
Defending Rights & Dissent
DIVAS: Discussing Intimate Violence & Accessing Support ~ A Program for Incarcerated Survivors of Domestic and Sexual Violence
Domestic Harmony Foundation
Dove, Inc.
DRUM – Desis Rising Up & Moving
18MillionsRising.org
End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin
Equality Labs
Facing Abuse in Community Environments (FACE)
Feminist Islamic Troublemakers of North America
Free Marissa Now Mobilization Campaign
Futures Without Violence
Gay Asian Pacific Islander Men of New York (GAPIMNY)
Gender Violence Clinic, University of Maryland Carey School of Law
Georgia Coalition Against Domestic Violence
HEART Women & Girls
ICE Free Queens
Idaho Coalition Against Sexual & Domestic Violence
Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence
IMI Corona, Queens
INCITE! Women & Trans People of Color Against Violence
Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Inc
International Muslim Women’s Initiative For Self-Empowerment
Iowa Coalition Against Domestic Violence
Jahajee Sisters
Jewish Voice For Peace
Jewish Voice For Peace DC
Jews Against Anti-Muslim Racism
Justice For Muslims Collective
Kankakee County Coalition Against Domestic Violence / Harbor House
KhushDC
Korean American Coalition to End Domestic Abuse
Law@theMargins
Make The Road NY
Massachusetts Women of Color Coalition
Middle Way House, Inc.
Mijente
Mirror Memoirs
Montana Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence
Montgomery County Civil Rights Coalition
MPower Change
Muslim Advocacy Network Against Domestic Violence
Muslim Alliance For Sexual And Gender Diversity (MASGD)
Muslim Anti-Racism Collaborative (MuslimARC)
Muslim Justice League
Muslim Women For
Muslim Women Kreate
Muslim Womxn at Ryerson
Muslimmatters.org
Naree-O-Shonghothok ; Bangladeshi Feminist Collective
National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF)
National Council for Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls
National Domestic Violence Hotline
National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center
National Lawyers Guild
National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA)
National Resource Center on Domestic Violence
NC Coalition Against Sexual Assault
Ohio Domestic Violence Network
Partnership For The Advancement of New Americans
Philadelphia South Asian Collective
Quanada
Raha Iranian Feminist Organization
RAKSHA
Sakhi for South Asian Women
South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT)
South Asian Youth Action
Southerners On New Ground (SONG)
STEPS to End Family Violence
Sugarlimb Consulting, LLC
Survived & Punished
The Aafia Foundation, Inc.
The Arab American Action Network (AAAN)
The Campaign to TAKE ON HATE
The Minnesota Coalition for Battered Women
The New School Expanded Sanctuary Working Group
Transgender Law Center
Turning Point for Women and Families
Ujima Inc: The National Resource Center on Violence Against Women in the Black Community
Vermont Network Against Domestic & Sexual Violence
Virginia Sexual & Domestic Violence Action Alliance
WA State Coalition Against Domestic Violence
War Resisters League
Witness Against Torture
Women of Color Network, Inc.

Link

Feminist scholars to Obama: End prosecution of Palestinian survivor of sexual torture

Originally published in The Electronic Intifada
Sign petition here: http://www.iacenter.org/rasmeaodehpetition/
Learn more about the Nov 4th Court Action in Detroit.

Feminist scholars to Obama: End prosecution of Palestinian survivor of sexual torture

10708529_866559093356974_8244619295410734892_oBetween 1969-1979, Rasmea Odeh served ten years in an Israeli prison. Her sentence was based on a confession she made in the midst of 45 days of sexual and physical torture while in detention. Following her release, she was exiled from her Palestinian homeland and eventually immigrated to the United States from Jordan in 1994 as a legal resident where she tried to put her memories of torture behind her. She later became a naturalized citizen.

In the US, Rasmea settled in Chicago where she became the associate director of theArab American Action Network, a social service and community organization. There, she established the Arab Women’s Committee, a grassroots collective that promotes leadership among Arab immigrant women, challenges systems of oppression that impact Arab women’s lives and secures a positive and safe political, economic, social, and cultural environment for Arab women and their communities. In 2013, the Chicago Cultural Alliance granted Rasmea its Outstanding Community Leader Award in recognition of her devotion of “over forty years of her life to the empowerment of Arab women.”

Now, Rasmea is being persecuted again for not giving account of her time in jail after her torture 45 years ago on her naturalization application in 2004.

On 22 October 2013, the US Department of Justice arrested Rasmea Odeh at her home in the Chicago Suburbs. The Department of Justice alleges that Odeh failed to disclose on her naturalization application that she had served time in Israeli jail – even though her sentence was based on a confession she made in the midst of weeks of torture. Rasmea faces up to ten years in US prison, fines up to $250,000 and potential deportation and de-naturalization.

The Israeli state avoids any blame for the politically motivated abuse and imprisonment of Rasmea. The criminal charges she faces for alleged immigration fraud in the US are also politically motivated. They are based upon naturalization papers she filed ten years ago in 2004 and sprang from an illegal federal investigation of 23 Palestinian and anti-war activists that violates First Amendment rights.

They are also connected to a long history of federal authorities using fear and repression to silence Palestinian-American activists and intimidate immigrant women from participating in social justice movements.

Rasmea Odeh has suffered enough already. When the Israeli military arrested her, they also arrested her family members shortly after her arrest and destroyed her family’s home. Odeh’s 1969 conviction in Israel was determined by a court system that systematically abuses Palestinians’ due process rights, has a record of torture and sexual abuse of Palestinian women, men, and children, and convicts Palestinians at a rate of 99.74 percent.

As feminist scholars, we call on the Department of Justice to drop the charges against Rasmea Odeh. We extend our deepest support to Rasmea in the face of injustice. We recognize her as a leader in the international struggle to empower women and end violence against women. We recognize the pain and suffering she endured in Israeli prisons and we honor her for testifying before a United Nations Committee in Geneva as a survivor of sexual torture.

We honor her decades of feminist activism on behalf of Arab and Muslim immigrant women living in poverty in Chicago. Rasmea built the Arab Women’s Committee and its base of nearly six hundred Arab immigrant women from scratch when she went door to door as a recent immigrant herself and made phone calls to households with Arabic names from the white pages.

She developed an infrastructure for disenfranchised Arab immigrant and refugee women to obtain social services and support and she established English as a second language courses through which immigrant women perform plays, write their immigration stories and form deep friendships, sisterhood, and solidarity.

Because of Rasmea’s work, immigrant and refugee women who came to the US from countries facing war and political crises – like Iraq, Palestine, Yemen, Syria, and beyond – now have a place to seek support, gain empowerment and community and call their home.

Rasmea’s story encompasses some of the most urgent feminist struggles of our times – violence against women and the use of sexual violence as a tool of colonization and war; the impact of racism and anti-immigrant policies upon women; the criminalization of women of color; and the use of intimidation to thwart feminist activism.

Rasmea’s trial is set to begin 4 November 2014, in Detroit, Michigan.

We call upon all feminist movements to stand with gender justice and centralize Rasmea Odeh’s struggle within all of our movements.

We call upon President Obama and the United States Department of Justice to drop the charges against Rasmea Odeh.

  1. Sarah Abboud, Post-Doctoral Fellow, University of Pennsylvania
  2. Stéphanie Latte Abdallah, Researcher, CNRS (IFPO)
  3. Diya Abdo, Associate Professor, Guilford College
  4. Rabab Ibrahim Abdulhadi, Associate Professor, San Francisco State University
  5. Lila Abu-Lughod, Professor, Columbia University
  6. Fida J. Adely, Associate Professor, Georgetown University
  7. Jocelyn Ajami
  8. Nadje Al-Ali, Professor, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS)
  9. Dina Al-Kassim, Associate Professor, University of British Columbia, Vancouver
  10. Deborah Al-Najjar, University of Southern California
  11. Lori Allen, Lecturer, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS)
  12. Paul Amar, Associate Professor, University of California, Santa Barbara
  13. Anjali Arondekar, Associate Professor, University of California, Santa Cruz
  14. Barbara Aswad, Professor Emerita, Wayne State University
  15. Sa’ed Atshan, Postdoctoral Fellow, Brown University
  16. Elsa Auerbach, Professor Emerita, University of Massachusetts Boston
  17. Kathryn Babayan, Associate Professor, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
  18. Paola Bacchetta, Associate Professor, University of California, Berkeley
  19. Joanne Barker, Professor, San Francisco State University
  20. Janet Bauer, Associate Professor, Trinity College
  21. Leila Ben-Nasr, Ohio State University
  22. Sherna Berger-Gluck, California State University, Long Beach
  23. Amahl Bishara, Assistant Professor, Tufts University
  24. Elizabeth Bishop, Associate Professor, Texas State University
  25. Jennifer Brier, Associate Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago
  26. Victoria Brittain, Journalist and Author
  27. L.M. San Pablo Burns, Associate Professor, University of California, Los Angeles
  28. Louise Cainkar, Associate Professor, Marquette University
  29. Piya Chatterjee, Scripps College
  30. Julia Chinyere Oparah, Professor, Mills College
  31. Andreana Clay, Associate Professor, San Francisco State University
  32. Maria Cotera, Associate Professor, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
  33. Ephrosine Daniggelis
  34. Angela Davis, Distinguished Professor Emirita, University of California, Santa Cruz
  35. Lara Deeb, Professor, Scripps College
  36. Christine Taitano DeLisle, Assistant Professor, University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign
  37. Gina Dent, Associate Professor, University of California, Santa Cruz
  38. Lisa Duggan, Professor, New York University
  39. Zillah Eisenstein, Distinguished Feminist Scholar, Ithaca College
  40. Omnia El Shakry, Associate Professor, University of California, Davis
  41. Nada Elia, Independent Scholar
  42. Hoda Elsadda, Professor, Cairo University
  43. Anita Fábos, Associate Professor, Clark University
  44. Roderick Ferguson, Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago
  45. Ellen Fleischmann, Professor, University of Dayton
  46. Cynthia Franklin, Professor, University of Hawai’i
  47. Rosa Linda Fregoso, Professor, University of California, Santa Cruz
  48. Nancy Gallagher, Research Professor, University of California, Santa Barbara
  49. Ruth Wilson Gilmore, Professor, Graduate Center, City University of New York
  50. Sherna Berger Gluck, Emerita Faculty, California State University, Long Beach
  51. Layla Azmi Goushey, Assistant Professor, St. Louis Community College
  52. Marame Gueye, Associate Professor, East Carolina University
  53. Elena Gutiérrez, Associate Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago
  54. Elaine C. Hagopian, Professor Emerita of Sociology, Simmons College
  55. Sondra Hale, Research Professor, University of California, Los Angeles
  56. Hala Halim, Associate Professor, New York University
  57. Najla Hamadeh, Independent Researcher
  58. Michelle Hartman, Associate Professor, McGill University
  59. Nadia Hijab, Author and Human Rights Advocate
  60. Grace Kyungwon Hong, Associate Professor, University of California, Los Angeles
  61. LeAnne Howe, Professor, University of Georgia
  62. Constantine Inglessis
  63. Jacqueline Khayat Inglessis
  64. Joyce Inglessis
  65. Bushra Jabre, The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
  66. Lynette Jackson, Associate Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago
  67. Amira Jarmakani, Associate Professor, Georgia State University
  68. Suad Joseph, Distinguish Research Professor University of California, Davis
  69. Mohja Kahf, Professor, University of Arkansas
  70. Ronak Kapadia, Assistant Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago
  71. J. Kehaulani Kauanui, Associate Professor, Wesleyan University
  72. Laleh Khalili, Professor, School of Oriental and African Studies
  73. Sharon Heijin Lee, Assistant Professor/Faculty Fellow, New York University
  74. Pardis Mahdavi, Associate Professor, Pomona College
  75. Lisa Suhair Majaj, Writer and Editor
  76. Jean Said Makdisi, Writer
  77. Harriet Malinowitz, Lecturer, Ithaca College
  78. Rania Masri, Associate Director, American University of Beirut
  79. Victor Mendoza, Assistant Professor, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
  80. Hasna Mikdashi, Arab Women’s Studies and Research, NOUR, Cairo
  81. Maya Mikdashi, Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow, Rutgers University
  82. Minoo Moallem, Professor, University of California, Berkeley
  83. Chandra Talpade Mohanty, Distinguished Professor, Syracuse University
  84. Scott L. Morgensen, Associate Professor, Queen’s University
  85. Norma Claire Moruzzi, Associate Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago
  86. Susan Muaddi Darraj
  87. Nadine Naber, Associate Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago
  88. Margo Okazawa-Rey, Professor Emerita, San Francisco State University
  89. Jennifer Olmsted, Professor, Economics, Drew University
  90. Geeta Patel, Associate Professor, University of Virginia
  91. Suvendrini Perera, Professor, Curtin University
  92. Jasbir Puar, Associate Professor, Rutgers University
  93. Michelle Raheja, Associate Professor, University of California, Riverside
  94. Aneil Rallin, Associate Professor, Soka University of America
  95. Barbara Ransby, Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago
  96. Robin L. Riley, Assistant Professor, Syracuse University
  97. Eleanor Roffman, Professor Emerita, Lesley University
  98. Judy Rohrer, Assistant Professor, Western Kentucky University
  99. Rachel Rubin, Professor, University of Massachusetts Boston
  100. Rosemary Sayigh, Researcher and Visiting Professor, Center for Arab and Middle East Studies, American University of Beirut.
  101. Susan Schaefer Davis, Independent Scholar
  102. Laurie Schaffner, Associate Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago
  103. Malini Johar Schueller, Professor, University of Florida
  104. Sarita See, Associate Professor, University of California, Riverside
  105. May Seikaly, Associate Professor, Wayne State University
  106. Sima Shakhsari, Assistant Professor, Wellesley College
  107. Simona Sharoni, Professor, State University of New York, Plattsburgh
  108. Setsu Shigematsu, Associate Professor, University of California, Riverside
  109. Irene Siegel, Assistant Professor, Hofstra University
  110. Andrea Smith, Associate Professor, University of California, Riverside
  111. Samera Sood
  112. Ahdaf Soueif, writer
  113. Rajini Srikanth, Professor, University of Massachusetts Boston
  114. Maria Francesca Stamuli, National Library of Naples
  115. Neferti X. M. Tadiar, Professor, Barnard College
  116. Kim TallBear, Associate Professor, University of Texas, Austin
  117. Sunera Thobani, Associate Professor, University of British Columbia
  118. Miriam Ticktin, Associate Professor, The New School for Social Research
  119. Judith E. Tucker, Professor, History, Georgetown University
  120. Karyn Valerius, Associate Professor, Hofstra University
  121. Sherry Vatter, California State University, Long Beach
  122. Maurice L. Wade, Professor, Trinity College
  123. Lee Ann Wang, Assistant Professor, University of Hawaii
  124. Jessica Winegar, Associate Professor, Northwestern University

The Feminist Wire Forum on Muslim Feminisms

The hunger and thirst we endure from sunrise to sunset during this holy month is not only for food and water – the food and water too many of our sisters and brothers all over the globe lack. It is also a hunger and thirst for knowledge, for piety, for humility, for social justice, and for equality. At its most basic, Ramadan is about love. It is a period of reflection and engagement, a path for developing what feminist activist Cathy Cohen calls “radical empathy.”

Dana Olwan and Sophia Azeb, Muslim Feminisms Forum: An Introduction

This month, The Feminist Wire hosted a forum on Muslim feminisms featuring a diverse collection of writing reflecting on critical topics such as colonial violence, imperial feminism, human rights, the politics of the hijab, gender violence, and liberatory practices.  Below we’ve shared the list of articles from the forum and the concluding remarks from the editors, Dana Olwan and Sophia Azeb.  Reprinted with permission.

The Feminist Wire Forum on Muslim Feminisms:

Muslim Feminisms Forum: An Introduction
by Dana Olwan and Sophia Azeb
http://thefeministwire.com/2012/08/muslim-feminisms-forum-an-introduction/

Defining Muslim Feminist Politics Through Indigenous Solidarity Activism
by Shaista Patel
http://thefeministwire.com/2012/08/defining-muslim-feminist-politics-through-indigenous-solidarity-activism/

Seeing Muslim Women With Western Eyes
by Josh Ceretti
http://thefeministwire.com/2012/08/seeing-muslim-women-with-western-eyes/

Striving for Muslim Women’s Human Rights
by Gwendolyn Zoharah Simmons
http://thefeministwire.com/2012/08/striving-for-muslim-womens-human-rights/

The Hijab and the Pitch
by Laurent Dubois
http://thefeministwire.com/2012/08/the-hijab-on-the-pitch/

Salam in the City
by Sinat Giwa
http://thefeministwire.com/2012/08/salam-in-the-city/

In honour of the leadership of US-born African-American/African-Caribbean/African-Latin@ Muslim women in responding to HIV/AIDS
by Prof Dr. Ibrahim Abdurrahman Farajajé
http://thefeministwire.com/2012/08/in-honour-of-the-leadership-of-us-born-african-americanafrican-caribbeanafrican-latin-muslim-women-in-responding-to-hivaids/

Pot Roast and Imperial Justifications
by Amal Rana
http://thefeministwire.com/2012/08/pot-roast-and-imperial-justifications/

Reframing the Discussion: Concluding Thoughts on the Forum on Muslim Feminisms
by Dana Olwan and Sophia Azeb
http://thefeministwire.com/2012/08/reframing-the-discussion-concluding-thoughts-on-the-forum-on-muslim-feminisms/

***

Reframing the Discussion: Concluding Thoughts on the Forum on Muslim Feminisms
by Dana Olwan and Sophia Azeb

For too long, Muslim feminists have endured the question of whether Islam and feminism can coexist. This seemingly innocent question, asked on the part of concerned feminists and others, presumes (and sometimes even enshrines) the claim of Islam’s incongruity with feminism. The underlying assumptions that frame this tired debate are often articulated in this way: Can religious practice, which often hinges on patriarchal authority and interpretation, be amenable to feminist thought, action, and praxis? Can feminist ideals be sought and attained within a religious (thus patriarchal), as opposed to a secular (and therefore egalitarian), framework? And, more specifically, can Islam, as a religious identity, doctrine, and practice, work in tandem with the principles and ideals of democratic feminism?

Overwhelmingly, the responses from Muslim feminists have highlighted Islam’s inherent egalitarian nature and the Quran’s gender progressive teachings and edicts.[1] They have argued that Muslim teachings enshrine a politics and practice of gender equity. They shore up important examples of the gains historically made by Muslim women all over the world. Muslim feminists, a diverse group that includes scholars, activists, and practicing men and women, eschew and challenge patriarchal readings and interpretations of both the Quran and the hadith (that is, the body of works that reference and document the prophet’s sayings, actions, and doings) in order to support their belief in the mutually reinforcing relationship between feminism and Islam.

Such work, while profound, often cedes too much ground to the charged and often predetermined frames of reference on which the political question of whether Islam and feminism can coexist often hinge. In other words, while Muslim feminists have confronted these questions in real, determined, and sustainable ways, their confrontations leave unturned the terms that shape this debate in the first place. Why, for example, do Muslims feel compelled to answer the question of whether Islam is compatible with feminism by repeatedly defining and defending Islam and showcasing its gender equal principles to non-Muslims? Why don’t we alter the frames of the question, asking, instead, what feminism actually means and whether feminism, as a both a political movement and analytical tool, is amenable to Islam and religious identity and practice? How does our constant re-engagement with this question of the ostensibly contradictory, uneasy, or nonexistent relationship of Islam and feminism obscure predetermined relationships of power and reinforce hegemonic discourses?

As Muslim women, anti-racist feminists, teachers, and scholars from two different backgrounds and positionalities, we have found ourselves reflecting on these questions and repeatedly grappling with the troubling narratives that shape discourses about Muslim women and Islam in Western and non-Western contexts. So, rather than responding to the question of Islam’s compatibility with feminism from a defensive standpoint, we have utilized this forum to refocus our energies on understanding our varied but interconnected religious and political experiences and struggles and to think through both our alliances and complicities. In short, we want to reflect on how our critiques can be imagined and mobilized in the service of revolutionary causes in a period of intense social, political, and economic local and global change.

For her part, Sophia’s faith has served as her political, spiritual, and social anchor. Both her scholarly and activist work engage her own particular experience as an Afro-Arab anarcha-feminist Muslimah missing the whimsy and traditions of her neighbourhood in Alexandria, Egypt, and a homestead in Beir Nabala, Palestine — a home(land) that she has never set foot upon. Sophia’s Muslim politics are shaped by a Third Worldist devotion to disrupting the imperialist binary of Arab vs. African that many of our sisters and brothers in Islam, the West, and SWANA (Southwest Asia and North Africa) replicate. But, as Sinat Giwa articulated in a loving narrative of finding the peace in “Salam’ing to strangers” (only a little pun intended), Sophia’s Islam remains her own. It is a self-aware, anti-racist, and feminist Islam devoted to building solidarity by owning and respecting the complexities of her intersectional identities and those of her peers and allies.

As a Palestinian feminist scholar based in the settler colonial state of Canada (who will soon be moving to the United States), Dana has often struggled to find her own faith amidst pressures to conceal religious practice, to sever ties with religious communities, and disavow violent acts perpetrated in Islam’s name. Dana’s faith is driven by her desire to understand Muslim women’s acts of resistance against interpersonal and state-sanctioned acts of violence. Like Shaista Patel, Dana seeks to enact “feminist theories and practices that recognize the critical and urgent need of intervening in the interlocking workings of state power and gender violences, and that engage with histories of the land we are on.”

Both of our Muslim feminist politics are informed by our commitment to confronting patriarchal acts of violence committed by the state andinstitutionalized forms of patriarchy and imperialism perpetrated by individuals, both Muslim and non-Muslim, without fueling Islamophobia, settler nationalism, or racism. Our Muslim feminist politics are about forming connections between Muslim and non-Muslim justice-seeking men, women, and children and supporting their struggles against colonial and gendered oppressions and sexual violence. Like Josh Cerretti, our feminist politics necessitate that we think about Islam in a way that does not obfuscate the longer histories of Muslim women’s resistance. And, above all else, our Muslim feminist politics are characterized by a refusal to be haunted by pre-scripted narratives that misrepresent the voices of Muslim women and men and overlook their complex lives, multiple interests, and varied experiences.

It is our belief that a singular focus on addressing the question of whether Islam and feminism can co-exist risks missing how Muslim women from all around the world engage questions of gender equalityfight gender oppressions, and secure women’s rights on a day to day basis. The articles we have chosen for this forum offer a sampling of such radical practices and provide insights into the plurality of our religious beliefs and political commitments. We do not wish to romanticize our relationships to our faith. Rather, we aim to ask deeper, more thoughtful, and more urgent questions about the role of faith in these troubled and troubling times. This is why, instead of asking whether we can reconcile Islam and feminism, we choose to think about how the tenets of Islam, its principles of justice, and gender equity inform Muslim women’s struggles on a day to day basis. We ask how Muslim women, individually and collectively, invoke Islam’s authority in their lives and what their actions as Muslim women reveal about Islam’s gender politics. The answers to these questions  are complex, contradictory, and manifold. We believe that asking questions that center Muslim women’s lives can highlight their rich and multifaceted encounters with patriarchal, gendered, colonial, imperialist, and local state oppressions. These questions may yield more interesting and honest conversations about the status of Muslim feminism, its practice, and its influence. It is our hope that our forum has contributed in some small way to these conversations which are already unfolding all around the world in creative and significant ways.

*Update: We are deeply saddened and horrified by the senseless killings of innocents at a Sikh gurdwara in Oak Creek, Wisconsin today. We are equally distressed that Sikh spokespersons have been asked to defend and define their faith on national television during such a time. Our thoughts are with the victims and their families, as well as with our Sikh relatives whose communities have suffered greatly from the ignorance and hatred of their fellow citizens since September 11, 2001.


[1] See, for example: Kecia Ali’s Sexual Ethics and Islam: Feminist Reflections on Qur’an, Hadith, and Jurisprudence (Oxford: One World, 2006). Margot Badran’s Feminism in Islam: Secular and Religious Convergences. (Oxford: One World, 2009) and Feminism in Islam: Secular and Religious Convergences (Oxford: One World, 2009). Amina Wadud’s Qur’an and Woman: Rereading the Sacred Text from a Woman’s Perspective (Oxford: Oxford University Press,1999) and Inside the Gender Jihad: Women’s Reform in Islam (Oxford: One World, 2006).

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Dana Olwan is the 2011-2012 Ruth Woodward Junior Chair in the Department of Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies at Simon Fraser University. In Fall 2012, she starts her position as Assistant Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies at Syracuse University. Her research focuses on gendered and sexual violence and the politics of naming honour killings.
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Sophia Azeb is an Egyptian-Palestinian anarcha-feminist teacher, writer, and organizer pursuing her PhD in American Studies & Ethnicity at the University of Southern California. She organizes with a number of anti-racist and feminist initiatives, namely the Palestinian American Women’s Association of Southern California. Sophia is also a writer for the popular media blog collective, Africa Is A Country (http://africasacountry.com/).  You can follow her on twitter @brownisthecolor.

Imperial Feminism, Islamophobia, and the Egyptian Revolution

Imperial Feminism, Islamophobia, and the Egyptian Revolution
by Nadine Naber

Originally published at www.jadaliyya.com, republished with permission.

“. . . I’m making this video to give you one simply message: We want to go down to Tahrir Square on January 25. If we still have honor and want to live with dignity on this land, we have to go down on January 25. We’ll go down and demand our rights, our fundamental human rights…The entire government is corrupt—a corrupt president and a corrupt security force…If you stay home, you deserve what will happen to you…and you’ll be guilty, before your nation and your people…Go down to the street, send SMS’s, post it post it on the ‘net. Make people aware…you know your own social circle, your building, your family, your friends, tell them to come with us. Bring 5 people, or 10 people; if each of us manages to bring 5 or 10 people to Tahrir Square…talk to people and tell them, this is enough! It will make a difference, a big difference…never say there’s no hope…so long you come down with us, there will be hope…don’t think you can be safe any more! None of us are! Come down with us and demand your rights my rights, you family’ rights. I am going down on January 25th and I will say ‘no’ to corruption, ‘no’ to this regime.”


These are the words of Asmaa Mahfouz, a 26 year old woman whose Jan. 18 vlog is said to have helped mobilize the million that turned up in Cairo and the thousands in other cities on Jan 25. Asmaa’s vlog, like the stories of many Egyptian women of this revolution offer up a challenge to two key questions framing U.S. discourse on the Jan. 25 Egyptian revolution:

1) Where are the women?

2) and…”but what if Islamic extremists take over?”

Often ignored in U.S. discussions on Egypt is how protests led by labor unions—many women-based labor unions in the manufacturing cities of Egypt—have catalyzed the Egyptian revolution (Paul Amar, 02-05-11).[ii] The women now holding down Tahrir Square as we speak—are of all ages and social groups and their struggle cannot be explained through Orientalist tropes that reduce Arab women to passive victims of culture or religion or Islam. They are active participants in a grassroots people-based struggle against poverty and state corruption, rigged elections, repression, torture, and police brutality. They are leading marches; attending the wounded, and participating in identity checks of state supported thugs. They have helped create human shields to protect Egyptian Antiquities Museum, the Arab League Headquarters, and one another. They have helped organize neighborhood watch groups and committees nationwide in order to protect private and public property. They are fighting against dictatorship among millions of people-not guided by any one sect or political party—united under one slogan: we want and end to this regime. Master Mimz—protest rapper in the UK best represents my point in the lyrics to her song: Back Down Mubarak…where she states:

“First give me a job—then lets talk about my hijab[iii]

For anyone wondering about the oppression of Arab women, the women of this revolution have indeed suffered—Professor Noha Radwan was attacked by beaten half to death by Mubarak thugs who ripped her shirt open and had stitches in her head.[iv] Several women—and men are now martyrs (they are now over 300).  Amira -killed by a police officer; Liza Mohamed Hasan, hit by a police car; Sally Zahran—hit by a Mubarak thug in the back of the head with a bat, went home to sleep and never woke up.[v]

Since the demonstrations pushed the police out of the center of Cairo, several women have made statements such as this: “It’s the first time that I have never been harassed in Cairo”—Egyptian police are notorious for sexual harassment and gender-based violence.

Some Egyptian women are also on the frontlines of the war over ideas—fighting the Egyptian state TV and exposing the contradictions between U.S. discourses on democracy and U.S. practices. As Mubarak’s regime pays thugs to run over peaceful demonstrators, stab them and kill them, many women have expressed outraged over Obama and Clinton’s advice that: “both sides need to refrain from violence.”

Aida Seif Al Dawla is a leading human rights activist with Nadeem Center for psychological rehabilitation of victims of violence and torture. By extention, her work, like the work of many Egyptian feminists and human rights activists fighting against state violence, involves confronting U.S. imperial relations with the Mubarak regime.[vi] Today, the people of the revolution are outraged over the U.S.’ unanswered loyalty to Mubarak as well as Obama’s backing of vice president Omar Suleiman and the lack of discussion about Suleiman’s role in Egyptian torture and his important role in the US rendition-to-torture program. U.S. leaders have called Suleiman a distinguished and respected man. They use these words to describe the coordinator of the CIA’s extraordinary rendition program, an extrajudicial procedure in which suspected terrorists are transferred illegally to countries like Egypt that are known to use torture during interrogation. Consider, for instance, the case of the Pakistani man Habib—in which the CIA passed Habib to Omar Suleiman in Egypt. Habib was then repeatedly zapped with high-voltage electricity, immersed in water up to his nostrils, beaten, his fingers were broken and he was hung from metal hooks. After Suleiman’s men extracted Habib’s confession, he was transferred back to US custody, where his testimony became the basis of his eventual imprisonment at Guantanamo.U.S. policy helps sustain the structures of torture and violence in Egypt. As Egyptian American media pundit Mona Tehawy puts it: U.S.’ “stability” comes at the expense of freedom and dignity of the people of my or any country.”

Of course a democratic Egypt would benefit women. The government recently passed a law restricting the work of civil society organizations, many of them led by women. The current regime is responsible for widespread human rights violations, including intense forms of harassment and violence against women, which many organizations such as Nazra for Feminist Studies, the Egyptian Center for Women’s Rights, and the Egyptian Association for Community Participation Enhancement, have well-documented.[vii]

So rather than asking, “where are the women,” we might ask:

Why does much of U.S. public discourse frame the revolution through Islamophobia logics and why has the corporate media focused mostly on images of Egyptian men?

Islamophobia fuels popular U.S. discourses on Egypt and drives the question: what if Islamic fundamentalists take over Egypt? And it this very discourse that legitimizes the U.S. administration’s complicity in Mubarak’s violent efforts to quell the revolution. This explains why my public expressions of hope for the success of the revolution and for democratization in Egypt are often been met with a sense of grave concern: “but what if Islamic fundamentalists take over?” These questions must be understood in terms of an imperial psyche, a state of consciousness that is driven by panic over Islamic fundamentalism and that works as a blocking operation, or a rationale against supporting the Egyptian revolution. These questions must be located in the historical trajectory of the post-Cold War era in which particular strands of U.S. liberal feminism and U.S. imperialism have worked in tandem. Both rely upon a humanitarian logic that justifies military intervention, occupation, and bloodshed as strategies for promoting “democracy and women’s rights.” This humanitarian logic disavows U.S.-state violence against people of the Arab and Muslim regions rendering it acceptable and even, liberatory, particularly for women. Islamophobic panic over the future of Egypt similarly de-centers the U.S.-backed Mubarak regime’s past and present repression. It denies historical conditions such as the demographic realities in Egypt, the complex, multidimensional place of the Muslim Brotherhood in the revolution,[viii] and the predominance of secular visions for the future of Egypt. Islamophobia thus legitimizes complicity with dictatorship and U.S. empire, producing this message for the Egyptian people: “Its best that you continue to live under tyranny.” Gender fuels Islamophobia, requiring “the Arab woman” to be nothing more than an abject being, an invisible sisters, wife, or mother of “the real revolutionaries.” Islamophobia legitimizes itself through the disappearance of Egyptian women as active agents in the revolution.

I do not intend to be overly celebratory. We have learned from history that following the revolution, women are often pushed back to the sidelines, away from center stage.

We might also then ask, if Egypt enters a democratization period, will the voices of the women of Tahrir remain center stage? And what are the possibilities for a democratization of rights in Egypt– all civic rights—in which women’s participation, the rights of women, family law, and the right to organize, protest, and express freedom of speech remain central? And what are the possibilities for international solidarity with Egyptian women and Egyptian people—amidst a war of ideas that often obstructs the possibility to see Arab or Muslim women and as human– and as rightful agents of their own discourses, governments, and destinies? It has become increasingly clear that this revolution is much greater than a conflict between Egyptian state and non-state actors. Egyptian women’s rights, like the rights of all Egyptians are entangled in the global, imperial relation between the U.S., Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, and other repressive regimes of the region and beyond. Only when we can take these local and imperial forces seriously can we begin to understand the oppression millions of Egyptian people are determined to end. The people of Tahrir and all the demonstrators of Egypt have spoken and said, we will not betray the blood of our martyrs–we will not give up until Mubarak steps down. It remains to be seen what the transitional period will look like but one thing is clear: it must be led by the people of Egypt. And as the Egyptian movement for freedom and democracy continues, will U.S. social movements—whether feminist, anti-war, or beyond—forget the imperial past and the blood of the Egyptian martyrs or commit to holding the U.S. and Israel accountable for complicity with dictatorship and thirty-plus years of repression in Egypt?


[viii] See Paul Amar, here at Jadaliyya

Nadine Naber is an Assistant Professor in the Program in American Culture, Arab American Studies, and the Department of Women’s Studies at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She is co-editor of Race and Arab Americans (Syracuse, 2007); Arab and Arab American Feminist Perspectives (Syracuse, 2011); and The Color of Violence (South End Press, 2007). She is author of Articulating Arabness: Gender and Cultural Politics in the Diaspora (NYU, 2011).  Nadine is also a former member of the INCITE! National Collective and a co-founder of Arab Movement for Women Arising for Justice.  She prepared this piece as a public speech for a public event at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Feb. 7, 2011.

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‘Women’s Rights’ in Canada in the Age of Border Control, Imperialism, and Colonialism

[tweetmeme source= ‘yourtwittername’ only_single=false]No One Is Illegal Radio:  ‘Women‘s Rights’ in Canada in the Age of Border Control, Imperialism, and Colonialism
by Robyn Maynard

LINKED HERE:  http://www.rabble.ca/podcasts/shows/no-one-illegal/2010/10/no-one-illegal-radio-womens-rights-canada-age-border-control-i

The October 2010 edition of No One Is Illegal Radio focuses on ‘Women’s Rights’ in Canada in the Age of Border Control, Imperialism, and Colonialism. It examines the way that the Canadian state affects the lives and self-determination of migrant women, indigenous women, and women in Afghanistan.

Featured interviews:

Bridget Tolley, an indigenous women living in Kitigan Zibi who’s mother was killed by the Quebec police, leading her to co-found the annual Sisters in Spirit Vigil commemorating missing and murdered indigenous women. She is discusses her ongoing struggle to find the truth regarding the death of her mother, and she also addresses more broadly the lack of attention or justice for indigenous women in Canada.

Gillian Balfour, the author of: Criminalizing Women: Gender and (In)justice in Neoliberal Times . She will address the massive over-representation of indigenous women in Canadian prisons, and the way that this relates to the on-going Canadian theft of indigenous territories, the legacies of residential schools, and the massive incarceration of indigenous women in Canadian prisons.

Mubeenah Mughal, a Muslim woman and feminist organizer based in Montreal, discussing the “burqua ban” in Quebec, Islamophobia and the way that immigrant women, or women perceived to be immigrants are treated in Canada.

Shazia from the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA). RAWA is a women’s rights organization in Afghanistan trying to fight for women’s freedom, oppose the rule of the Taliban, and survive amidst a nearly ten-year military occupation. Shazia demonstrates the way that Canadian imperialism imperils Afghan women’s ability to fight for liberation.

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Muslim Women Respond to Proposed “Niqab Ban” in Quebec

NO to Quebec Provincial Bill 94

Naema Ahmed, a 29-year-old immigrant in Canada, filed a human rights complaint after she was taken out of a French class for not removing her face veil, or niqab.  She was expelled from school and Quebec Premier Jean Charest and his cabinet proposed legislation Bill 94, which would ban Muslim women from wearing the niqab. The ban polices women who wear the niqab by denying them essential services, such as receiving health care, getting a driver’s license, going to school, voting, or finding employment from the public sector.

Sheema Khan, writing for The Daily Beast, reflects on the high support the ban receives from Canadian women:

The most vehement reactions against face-veiling have come from women, who have projected their own fears, assumptions, and judgments onto attire worn by a minority within a minority. They think of the bad old days when the Catholic Church controlled women’s lives in Quebec. They pity the present-day lives of women in Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia. “We will save you from your own foolishness and your own delusional beliefs, for your own good,” they seem to say. “We will bring you to liberation by force. You Muslim women really aren’t independent until you embrace our lifestyle choices.”

In the meantime, they would deny us access to language lessons, hospitals, courts, schools, and public transportation—all services that help immigrants assimilate.  But at the same time, they condemn the Saudi religious police for hounding women who don’t dress according to that government’s dictates.

Shahina Siddiqui, president and executive director of the Islamic Social Services Association, writes in the Montreal Gazette,

What people are ignoring  is that Muslim women are human and deserve to be treated with dignity regardless of whether we agree with their choices or not.

This outrage is not about a piece of cloth on my face or head, it is about what I believe and the lifestyle I have chosen. It is about my refusal to be exploited for my physiology, my refusal to fit in a frame that society imposes on me, and my courage to demand my right as a Canadian.

For this we are being punished, deprived of our basic human right to choose.

Unfortunately it is becoming socially acceptable to belittle Muslim women, treat them as sub-human, and to make political gains at their expense, but this is not something to be proud of or to celebrate.

Although touted as a step toward gender equality, Bill 94, if approved, will perpetuate gender inequality by legislating control over women’s bodies and sanctioning discrimination against Muslim women who wear the niqab. Instead of singling out a minuscule percentage of the population, government resources would be better spent implementing poverty reduction and education programs to address real gender inequality in meaningful ways. Barring any woman from social services, employment, health, and education, as well as creating a climate of shame and fear around her is not an effective means to her empowerment. If Premier Charest’s government is truly committed to gender equality it should foster a safe and inclusive society that respects a woman’s right to make decisions for herself. Standing up for women’s rights is admirable. “Rescuing” women is paternalistic and insulting. Further marginalizing Muslim women who wear niqab and denying them access to social services, economic opportunities and civic participation is unacceptable.

Visit their call for action.

There are more discussions on the ban at Racialicious, Bitch Media, and Muslimah Media Watch where writer, Krista, reflects on the numbers of women who the ban would target, and draws a connection between the niqab ban and ableism.

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