In The Name Of Amina Filali

photo of amina filali pictures photos
Amina Filali was a 16-year-old girl who was raped. When her story was brought before a judge, he ordered that Amina marry her rapist, which fell under something called Article 475 in the Moroccan penal code. It allows judges to contract underage marriages in certain circumstances. This one was contracted out of a religious stand point that a woman must remain chaste.

After the marriage, Amina committed suicide, and her death has prompted Moroccan feminists to act. Fatima Outaleb is one of those feminists; she sits on the board of directors of Union de L’Action Feminine, an organization in the Moroccan city of Rabat that is aimed at stopping discrimination against women. She is also in charge of a shelter that helps women victimized by domestic violence, rape, incest and other forms of abuse.

Fatima and other activists are pushing to get Article 475 banned. She says, “Just think of a perpetrator who is supposed to be punished and go to jail, instead he can marry that girl?  But the government is still debating it. It’s a violation of children’s rights, in the name of honor, I don’t know what, to put a girl in the hands of her perpetrator.”

Fatima says it’s important for Morocco to take this step in banning Article 475, because it has been seen as a leader in changing legal framework to be fairer when it comes to women. But this law, and the fact that judges can still contract marriage sometimes for girls as young as 14, is still practiced today. The loophole in this would be that the marriages are done with “the child’s consent,” but can a 14-year-old or in this case a 16-year-old rape victim, make that kind of decision? Hardly.

Fatima also says that Morocco needs to work on guardianship laws. As of today, it’s all in the hands of the men. “I am a professor, but I cannot sign anything related to my child. If I want to move my daughter from school to school, I need my husband’s permission because he is the one who is the guardian of the family,” says Fatima. But this does not take away from what Morocco has done so far, and according to her, “Morocco is still the leader or in a leading position with regard to the reforms made so far. But there are some obstacles. Public opinion, that’s the big problem. Sincerely speaking, the king on many occasions has been more courageous than all those political parties and other decision-makers.”

But it seems there is still a long way to go.



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Feminist Mosque?

photo of feminist mosque in turkey pictures
Mosques have been a touchy subject for a while now – there’s always an issue. “Is one being built in the vicinity of Ground Zero?”  ”Is the call to prayer is ‘noise pollution’?” “Does Islam oppresses woman by separating women from men while they worship?”  I could attack each of these topics in depth, but I have a lot to cover so I’ll just say that all of those questions are unfounded. For example, questioning a mosque being built in a gym miles away from Ground Zero (no big whoop; those who worship at mosques are in hospitals closer to the site and there’s no uproar). I spent some time in the Middle East and actually enjoyed hearing the call to prayer at five AM the first few mornings, and by the third I was sleeping through it. Therefore, I vote B.S on that concern as well. This last concern, the oppression of women—it’s a fine line. Does the religion oppress them? I’m not sure, because I haven’t studied it, but I know of many religions that separate women and men simply for the fact that they feel women distract men from focusing on prayer. The bigger picture is ‘do women feel comfortable coming to pray.’ I’ve toured Mosques in Dubai and Abu Dhabi and they are breathtaking, but feeling comfortable? Well, that’s not always the case. Many Middle Eastern cultures have allowed the women’s section of their mosques fall to the wayside, but one country is taking a step to make their mosques more feminist.

Unlike men, women are not required under Islam to attend a mosque; their presence is allowed, but, traditionally, female Muslim believers have prayed more frequently at home. Mosques in Turkey, believe it or not, and not in “progressive” America, are stepping up to make coming to pray a joy for women:

“This is about mosques being a space for women,” declared Kadriye Avci Erdemli, Istanbul’s deputy mufti, the city’s second most powerful administrator of the Islamic faith. “When a woman enters a mosque, she is entering the house of God and she should experience the same sacred treatment. In front of God, men and women are equal; they have the same rights to practice their religion.”

Alright. Sounds good to me. Erdemli sent 30 teams to visit all of Istanbul’s mosques and report back on the facilities for women. What the teams found, however, was shocking:

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Is It Sexist To Be Especially Bothered By Female Jihadists?

Photo of Female Jihadists in Court

Fact: terrorists scare the hell out of me.

I do not understand the drive to slaughter other human beings in the name of a holy war.  As far as I’m concerned, mass murder seems to contradict the tenets of love, forgiveness, and making an effort to do good for others that I learned in ten years of CCD.

Of course, I’ve read the Bible extensively since then and have studied other religions, learning to my grief and eventual cynicism that there’s an unfortunate correlation between organized religion and violence.  From the Crusades to the Israeli-Palestinian mess to 9/11 and everywhere in between, shedding the blood of the innocent as a necessary by-product of God’s glory has been a recurring theme.

Even with that knowledge, however, it’s still possible to be taken by surprise at the ingenuity—and truly depraved nature—of terrorists.

Especially when they’re women.

I know that sounds sexist, that extremist women are just as likely to exist as extremist …

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Taliban Claims First Female Suicide Bomber

Photo of a Female Militant
I can think of very few instances where women moving up the proverbial ranks could be construed as a bad thing.  The inclusion of a female suicide bomber in a recent Pakistani Taliban attack would be one of those times.

A “husband and wife suicide squad” were set loose on a Pakistan police station, resulting in the deaths of ten people.

Evidently the Taliban, infamous for their anti-woman mentality, figured that the presence of a female would allay possible suspicions.  Tragically, they were right.

From Fox News:

The pair entered the police station in Kolachi on Saturday and said they were there to lodge a complaint, said Imtiaz Shah, a senior police official. Once inside, the two attacked with grenades and machine guns, triggering a five-hour standoff with police.

Both attackers, including the woman wearing an all-covering robe known as a burqa, eventually blew themselves up. They killed eight police officers and two civilians, said …

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