Friday, April 6, 2007

Sharia Law, meant to protect us, now oppresses us.

Sharia Laws four Sunni schools of Islamic jurisprudence plus the Jaafri school of thought support women,though only one reference of how Sharia has favored our women rights on marriage, divorce, voting and inheritance written 1400 years ago.
These rights man-made are open to so much misuse as has been the case for many centuries. Dictatorial and oppressive regimes have used it to suppress the rights of women and minorities. The countries where religion is used as a bait to gain power or vet votes. Stoning, flogging and honor killings were never a part of Sharia and it’s up to us to see that it never happens in Western Society, though it is starting to begin in Western Societies. Sharia must be updated and brought to par with modern life and ensure our rights and freedom.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

South Asian Women Against Male Violence in Canada

Had enough' of domestic violence, Asian women say they are organizing a rally to protest a series of attacks in their community

Vancouver Sun
Published: Tuesday, April 03, 2007
South Asian women who want to fight back against domestic violence are organizing a rally Thursday to protest a series of high-profile attacks and murders in their community in recent months.

"We are angry and distressed about the recent attacks on us. We have had enough!" says a poster for the event organized by Vancouver Rape Relief and a new group called South Asian Women Against Male Violence. It will take place at 6 p.m. at Main Street and 49th Avenue in the heart of Vancouver's Punjabi Market.

Daisy Kler, of Rape Relief, said the new organizations came together last fall after three South Asian women were attacked, allegedly by their husbands. Two died and their spouses have been charged. A third is recovering and her husband committed suicide.

In February Surrey mother Amanpreet Kaur Bahia was stabbed to death in her home and on the weekend, Vancouver resident Avtar Singh Grewal was charged with killing his wife Navneet Kaur in Phoenix.

Kler stressed domestic violence exists in all communities, but she said Indo-Canadian women want to make themselves more visible on the issue by taking to the streets.

"We want the men in our community to take responsibility," she said. "We are distressed by the instances of violence."

The rally is being held on the anniversary of the 1996 Vernon massacre of Rajwar Gakhal and eight members of her family by her ex-husband, who later committed suicide.

A candlelight vigil marking the anniversary is also being held at the same time in the Okanagan city by the Vernon Women's Transition House Society, with relatives of the victims in attendance.

Kler said that despite a review of policing after the Gakhal massacre 11 years ago, little has changed.

"We have not seen a significant change in policing in Canada," Kler said, adding that some officers responding to domestic cases still threaten to charge both the man and the woman.

Community activist Raminder Dosanjh was shocked when she heard Sunday that there had been another murder allegedly committed by a South Asian woman's husband.

"It is appalling. We need to do something," Dosanjh said in an interview. "This highlights the seriousness of the attention that's needed to deal with this situation."

Dosanjh, a founder of the India Mahila Association, said law enforcement, community groups, and people in the justice system need to put their heads together to strategize on how to tackle domestic violence. "I am dumbfounded. It is hard to believe this is really happening," Dosanjh said.

Reporter Kim Bolan

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Reasons why we must go against Shari Law and attain equality for Women

Real Lives

Women's rights, women's plights

Despite our strides toward equality, women around the world continue to be mistreated. This special report documents the 10 most horrific crimes against women, and honours the victims and heroes.

By Karen Mazurkewich

Imagine a life with no rights or freedoms at home, school and work. Picture a future as a sex slave spirited away from loved ones and sold for profit. What if refusing an arranged marriage meant death? Suppose school at any age was forbidden? Around the world, thousands -- perhaps millions -- of women and young girls face this kind of desperate destiny.

Despite Herculean efforts to promote a woman's right to a life free of violence and injustice, basic freedoms are still prohibited, and brutal injustices are common around the globe. There are countries where women are banished from classrooms and parliaments. The majority of the world's women cannot own, inherit or control property, land or wealth on an equal basis. Slavery, female genital mutilation, honour killings, bride burnings and forced prostitution still exist.

Even in Canada, women are not guaranteed safety. Every 17 minutes, a woman is raped somewhere in this country; the CIA has identified Canada as a major transit port for trafficking women into the United States; 700,000 women here have been victims of domestic violence; and the current percentage of Canadian women elected to Parliament is lower than in countries such as as the central Asian republic of Turkmenistan.

Which violations are the most grave? There is no master list or index. Human rights organizations document abuses by country. So in this report, Homemaker's has compiled stories from women around the world. Behind the documents assembled every year by groups such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International are countless stories of real women. Here are some of them.

For more than five years, David Feingold, head of the NGO Ophidian Research Institute, has documented the trafficking of women in the Golden Triangle, the notorious border region between Burma, Laos and Thailand. Ten years ago, most sex workers were from big cities like Bangkok. Today, he says, "Networks of recruiters are now reaching into the remote mountain villages to buy, abduct or lure minority women into the pipeline that feeds the lowest levels of the Thai sex industry."

Comments collected from brothel owners are chilling. "If I can sell her virginity twice, I double my investment," says one.

Feingold believes up to 250,000 women are in the Thai sex trade. Mami Sato of the Global Alliance Against Trafficking Women in Thailand says fewer urban women are prostituted, but the number trafficked from hill tribes is rising by 10,000 every year. The sex-trade industry is worth at least $22 billion annually as a by-product of the drug trade, and represents up to 14 per cent of the country's gross domestic product.

A 1999 CIA report says 40,000 to 80,000 women are trafficked from Thailand each year; 20,000 to 50,000 from China; and 25,000 to 50,000 from the Philippines. Worldwide, an estimated 700,000 to two million women are used as barter. Many go to Japan. According to the Japan Immigration Association's statistics, 46.5 per cent of illegal female migrants in 1993 were "hostesses" or in direct prostitution. Many women voluntarily start the journey but end up in debt bondage, compelled to submit to dozens of clients a night. Very few manage to escape, and most who do have sexually transmitted diseases such as AIDS. This modern form of slavery is not restricted to Asia or to uneducated women. Born in Ukraine, Olexandra, 23, had a university education and a two-year-old daughter to support. When a distant relative from Germany promised work, she left with a false passport. At the Polish border, her fake passport was confiscated and she was locked into a building, raped, beaten and forced into prostitution. When the brothel owners were finally arrested, Olexandra was deported back to Ukraine. Now she is under the wing of La Strada, a Ukrainian organization helping trafficked women.

Canada is often used as a way station for women being smuggled into the U.S. In 1999, the American embassy in Seoul issued an alert about traffickers capitalizing on Canadian visa waivers. Koreans were apparently delivering women through Canada into the U.S., where they enter without inspection.

One Vancouver-based organization called West Coast Players was convicted of transporting teenage girls into the U.S. for the sex industry. Recently, the United Nations approved the first treaty to bolster international efforts to fight trafficking of women.

When 21-year-old Amneh Abdullah began gaining weight, her mother became suspicious. The young woman from Wadi Seer, Jordan, was dragged to see a doctor, who pronounced her six months pregnant. Hysterical, her mother told Amneh's 25-year-old brother, Fares. There were no words, no accusations - only bullets. "Her brother could not endure the shock, so he killed her," says Amneh's tearful mother, Shrouq. Fares, sentenced to one year in jail, was released at half term because his was a crime of passion. The Jordanian judiciary has repeatedly failed to abolish the law giving immunity to men who kill female family members for honour. Parliamentarians justified their defence of honour killings as protection of Jordan's traditional and moral values against western influences. Jordanian King Abdullah II, however, has pushed to rescind the law. In many Middle Eastern countries, perpetrators of honour killings are subject only to manslaughter charges and fined or sentenced to less than three years in jail.

Women who have sex outside of marriage, whether forced or willing, are the usual targets of honour killings. Some are killed for refusing to enter into an arranged marriage. An estimated 5,000 women worldwide are murdered by their own families. Countries with the most appalling records include Bangladesh and Pakistan, but the practice also exists in Afghanistan, Lebanon, Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Yemen, Brazil, Ecuador, India, Morocco, Turkey, Uganda, the United Kingdom - and even Canada. Amarpardeep Kaur Rai, 24, of Mississauga, Ont., was stabbed in the neck by her father after she refused to marry her cousin. Her father, 68-year-old Piara Singh Rai, was found guilty of attempted murder in June.
1. The sex trade industry and honour killing
2. Slavery, genital mutilation and abuse
3. Rape, female infanticide and the vote

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Sunday, March 25, 2007

Muslim women visit Que. town

Muslim women visit Que. town that passed code of ‘norms’
Canadian Press (National Post)

HEROUXVILLE, Que. — Clad in traditional Islamic head scarves, a delegation of Muslim women paid a visit Sunday to the Quebec town that passed a controversial code aimed at potential immigrants.
Six women, accompanied by a handful of male and female Muslim students, appealed for changes to a so-called “code of life,” which lays out societal norms for Herouxville, 165 kilometres northeast of Montreal.

The declaration, passed by the town council last month, says a person’s face should not be covered, except at Halloween, and that children should sing Christmas songs in December.

It warns would-be immigrants that women can vote, drive and dance if they choose. It says adults can drink alcohol and children cannot bring weapons, religiously symbolic or not, to school despite a Supreme Court of Canada ruling that has already upheld that right for Sikh Canadians.

Although the list has no legal weight, it clearly targets religious minorities, said May Haidar, one of the women who made the journey to the community of 1,300 on Sunday afternoon.

“We’re disappointed by this `code of life,”’ Haidar said.

“It’s apparent there is a misconception and a wrong view of Muslim women, so we want to open a dialogue to let them know us and, of course, we want to know them.”

The town has already toned down the declaration, handing out another version Sunday that removed references to stoning women to death or burning them with acid.
The council said in a statement that the media misinterpreted some aspects of the documents. But much of the code remained the same and the council repeated a call for changes to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms to avoid “unreasonable accommodation” of minorities.
Andre Drouin, the town councillor behind the list of norms, said residents were eager to welcome the visitors and prove they are not racists.

But Drouin was unrepentant about the list and said it will stay put.

“No major change,” he told reporters.

He said the council has received thousands of e-mails from all over the world. “We’re not alone in this,” Drouin said. “The e-mails we’ve received… they all say the same thing: `We’re behind you.”’

One nearby town has passed a resolution in support of Herouxville but has not adopted their own “norms.” Another has passed a resolution in support of multiculturalism. The debate over accommodation of ethnic, cultural and religious minorities continues to rage in Quebec and Premier Jean Charest has named a special commission to study the issue.

The Canadian Islamic Congress is still considering a human rights complaint against the Herouxville council.

Haidar, a member of the congress, said no decision has been made.
“We’re going to see what is the reaction from officials in Herouxville and then we’ll see,” she said. About 50 residents came out to meet the women Sunday, sipping coffee as they waited.

Louise Trudel spoke at length with one of the visitors. She said it was nice but accomplished nothing. “We didn’t even speak about the `code de vie,”’ she said. “At a certain point it (accommodation of minorities) must stop.”

Her debate partner, Samira Laouni, felt differently. “For me it was very beneficial,” she said. “I didn’t leave my kids with my husband for nothing.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

BBC News on Herouxville Canada

No stoning, Canada migrants told Welcome sign in Herouxville
Herouxville has one immigrant family in its 1,300 population
Don't stone women to death, burn them or circumcise them, immigrants wishing to live in the town of Herouxville in Quebec, Canada, have been told.

The rules come in a new town council declaration on culture that Muslims have branded shocking and insulting.

Quebec is in the midst of a huge debate on integrating immigrant cultures.

Montreal police are investigating an officer who wrote a song called That's Enough Already, which says immigrants are undermining Quebec culture.

'Not racist'

Herouxville, which has one immigrant family in its population of about 1,300, is 160km (100 miles) north-east of Montreal.

Its council published the new rules on the town's website.

I was shocked and insulted to see these kinds of false stereotypes and ignorance about Islam and our religion Salam Elmenyawi, Muslim Council of Montreal

"We wish to inform these new arrivals that the way of life which they abandoned when they left their countries of origin cannot be recreated here," the declaration reads.

"We consider it completely outside norms to... kill women by stoning them in public, burning them alive, burning them with acid, circumcising them etc."

It points out that women are allowed to drive, vote, dance and own their own homes.

The rules ban Sikh children from carrying ceremonial daggers to school, even though the Supreme Court has ruled they can.

The man behind the declaration, councillor Andre Drouin, told the National Post newspaper the rules were not racist.

"We invite people from all nationalities, all languages, all sexual orientations, whatever, to come live with us, but we want them to know ahead of time how we live," he said.

Mr Drouin said there had been a number of recent incidents of culture clashes that meant the new rules were needed.

In one a Toronto judge ordered a Christmas tree removed from a court so as not to offend non-Christians. In another a Montreal gym installed frosted windows after a Hasidic synagogue complained the sight of adults exercising was offensive.

Andre Drouin
Mr Drouin said most e-mails were supportive of the new declaration

However, the president of the Muslim Council of Montreal, Salam Elmenyawi, condemned the council, saying it had set back race relations decades.

He told Reuters news agency: "I was shocked and insulted to see these kinds of false stereotypes and ignorance about Islam and our religion."

A poll in a Montreal newspaper this month revealed that 59% of Quebecers admitted to some kind of racist feelings.

Montreal police are considering disciplinary action against the 37-year-old officer who wrote the song urging immigrants in Quebec to assimilate.

The song includes the lines: "We want to accept ethnics, but not at any price... if you're not happy with your fate, there's a place called the airport."

Police spokesman Yan Lafreniere said the song did not uphold the values of the Montreal police force and that the officer would be questioned as to his motives.