Islamabad, October 13, 2016: The Pakistan Supreme Court on Thursday adjourned for an indefinite period the hearing of a Pakistani Christian woman on death row for blasphemy after a judge refused to hear the case.
Asia Bibi, accused of insulting Prophet Mohammed during an argument with a Muslim woman over a bowl of water, was convicted and sentenced to death in 2010 despite her advocates maintaining her innocence and insisting the accusers held grudges against her, Dawn online reported.
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The hearing was adjourned after one judge on the three-member bench, Justice Iqbal Hamid-ur-Rehman, recused on the grounds that he also heard the Salman Taseer case.
Taseer was the governor of Punjab province. He was killed by his own bodyguard in Islamabad in 2011 after speaking out for Asia Bibi.
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After the judge recused, a letter was sent the Chief Justice to appoint another judge to the bench.
It is unclear when the hearing will now resume.
Thousands have protested against Asia Bibi and said they would kill her if she were ever released. Among the protesters was the imam in her own village.
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Her husband and four daughters live in hiding and say they have received many death threats.
Asia Bibi is the first woman to be sentenced to death under Pakistan’s blasphemy laws and her case is one of the most controversial. (IANS)
Mumbai, Sep 12, 2017: The Catholic Secular Forum (CSF) on Monday raised strong objections to a new Australian advertising campaign featuring revered Hindu and Christians gods and other mythical figures to ‘sell’ its red meat and meat products.
CSF Founder-General Secretary Joseph Dias said the latest advertising campaign by Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) is “bad in taste and offensive to all” and sought boycott of MLA and a ban of their products.
The advertisements feature the elephant-headed God, Lord Ganesha, revered in India, Lord Buddha, Jesus Christ, Thor, Zeus and others seated at a table enjoying what is a sumptuous non-vegetarian feast.
The ads have reportedly made an oblique reference to Prophet Mohammed, who is not pictured but is heard excusing himself from the party through a mobile phone call since he has to pick-up a child from daycare.
What has hurt Christians is that the caricature of Jesus Christ who performs what is termed as a ‘reverse miracle’ by turning wine into water so a Grecian goddess, who is a ‘designated driver’ can drive home safely, Dias said.
“We have written to Minister for External Affairs Sushma Swaraj to take note of these ‘insensitive advertisements’ and raise the issue with the top authorities in Australia immediately. We also demand that MLA Chairman Michele Allan and MD Richard Norton withdraw the ads and tender an apology,” Dias told IANS.
Besides writing to Sushma Swaraj, the CSF has shot off emails to Australian Deputy High Commissioner in Mumbai Martin Huber, Indian High Commissioner to Australia Harinder Sidhu and other top officials raising serious objections to the MLA campaign.
“The CSF has always protested against commercial exploitation of religious figures for profit, irrespective of which religion the figures belong to. The MLA ads have hurt not only followers of different faiths, but atheists and agnostics all over,” Dias pointed out.
He termed the campaign as ‘culturally insensitive’ to vegans and communities like Hindus, Jains or Buddhists and said Lord Ganesha is a vegetarian and meat is never offered to him, as depicted in the MLA ads.
Dias warned that unless MLA yanks off the offensive ad campaign and apologises, the global Catholic community would be compelled to boycott its products as “there are many alternatives available worldwide”. (IANS)
Sheshadri lost his mother when he was only 2 years old and he also lost his father while he was studying in class 10
No one from his community came to help him and to survive he had to take odd jobs at hotels in Mysore and Bengaluru
He adopted Islam religion as he developed a liking for that religion
Mysore, Karnataka, August 25, 2017: Sheshadri, an old man from Mysore who is 59 yrs old and earlier belonged to a Brahmin family and Shree Vaishnava Pantha Brahmin community. He later adopted Islam religion. Now, after a long duration of time, Sheshadri and his 20-year-old son Syed Ateek have converted back to Hinduism.
Here’s how a Brahmin man who first converted to Islam and later came back to his own religion- Hinduism:
Sheshadri is a resident of Jakkanahalli (a small village which falls in Mandya district) town Shree Ranga Pattana in Karnataka. His profession is that of a lorry driver in Mandya.
His father’s name was late B Govindaraju, who was a priest and follower of Ramanujacharya, a Hindu theologian and held a belief in Vishishtadvaita (non-dualistic school of Vedanta philosophy).
His mother’s name was Kamalamma, who was a Shaiva Brahmin and follower of Adi Shankara’s Advaita Vedanta (a type of Hindu philosophy and religious practice, they believe that their soul is not really different from God).
But his parents didn’t have an easy life as they had to leave the town as the community opposed their marriage.
Sheshadri didn’t have a normal childhood. He lost his mother when he was only 2 years old and he also lost his father while he was studying in class 10.
During those tough days no one from his community came to help him, to survive he had to take odd jobs at hotels in Mysore and Bengaluru.
In 1993, he started working as a lorry driver with Syed Keezer from Kollegala. At that time, Sheshadri adopted Islam religion as he developed a liking for that religion.
Sheshadri married Fahmida, who was a relative of Syed Keezer and with her, he had two sons- Syed Ateek and Syed Siddiq.
But even his marriage didn’t last long as Fahmida left Sheshadri 2 years ago because of some conflict and after it, she started living with her parents and took her younger son Syed Siddiq along with her.
This event affected him in a huge way, leaving him frustrated and thus he decided to convert back to the religion he originally belonged to that is Hinduism.
His elder son Syed Ateeq joined him in conversion and changed his name to Harshal.
Sheshadri talked about the reason for conversion from Islam to Hinduism. According to Banglore Mirror report, he said “I embraced Islam and married a Muslim woman due to restrictions from our community. I was always eager to come back to Hinduism. I will now persuade my wife and the other son to convert to Hinduism.”
There was a Ghar Waapsi (homecoming) programme held for Sheshadri, conducted by Pramod Mutalik, Sri Ram Sene chief at the Arya Samaj Mandir, Mysore.
Despite an active feminist movement, women in Islamic countries continue to remain outside areas of attention
Outrage emerged following Muslim chess player’s decision to not wear a hijab during a game, an issue that is yet to come under the radar of the Western feminists
August 22, 2017 : Unless you have been living under a rock, you would know the magnanimity of the worldwide feminist movement in support of women’s rights to be treated as equals irrespective of their nationality, religion or sexual orientation.
Upon comparison to the mainstream Western feminism, mentions of Islamic feminism do not occupy evident, or for what matter, visible part of conversations.
In 2014, artist Atena Farghadani was sentenced to an imprisonment of 12 years for posting a satirical caricature on Facebook as a protest against the proposed legislation against women’s rights and birth control. She was held guilty for ‘spreading propaganda’.
In 2015, 26-year old Iranian-British Ghoncheh Ghavami was arrested in Tehran for trying to attend a men’s volleyball match.
In 2014, Loujain al-Hathloul, a human rights defender in Saudi Arabia was first arrested for driving cars in a kingdom where it is forbidden. She was more recently re-arrested in June 2017, the exact reason for which has not been made public. However, Amnesty International believes the arrest has been made to curb her peaceful efforts to defend women’s rights.
Today, Farghadani, Ghavami and Loujain al-Hathloul have been reduced to mere names on a list of millions of women whose basic rights have been mercilessly desecrated.
Feminism’s guilty secret: It does not support All Women but only those it approves of.
But American feminists are yet to speak up about these injustices- they continue to be too occupied with their own victimization to raise voice against the injustices meted out to women like Farghadani.
The Western activist-feminists today are undoubtedly absorbed in struggles to liberate themselves from the grasp of the oppressive male hegemony. However, in their fights against phantom epidemics and unnecessary grievances, the gender activists today have deviated from the real fight against inequality.
In the last two years, Western feminists have often turned to social networking platforms to raise issues, draw attention and mobilize support. While the increasingly global reach of online networking sites like Twitter, and Facebook, and the inherent power of ‘hashtag activism’ can largely assist women find solidarity , the latest trend has been a far cry from the real cause.
In the last two years, some of the widely used hashtags were #FreeTheNipples, #LesPrincessesOntDesPoils or #PrincessesHaveHair and #BigUndiesOutForSam.
The former was a campaign to de-sexualize women’s breasts and the next promotes acceptance of body-hair on women. The third campaign drew support from women in favor of comfortable under-garments for women. Imagine, if the imprisoned Muslim women of Iran and Afghanistan, who lack political rights and are vulnerable to physical violence because of their faith, were to tweet, what would they say about these struggles? Will these be the issues they would raise, I doubt.
The World Economic Forum asserts an inverse relationship between women rights and states with Islam as dominant religion.
The Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2016 placed Islam as the dominant religion in the lowest ranking 44 states for women rights and equality (that means states un-supportive of womens’ rights). Evidently, in states that the report claims most supportive of women rights, the density of Islam followers is very low.
It will be wrong to say that because women in Islamic countries suffer at the hands of misogyny, the Western women should compromise with less serious prejudices. However, what needs to be highlighted is why feminist actions continue to be restricted to physical borders. Women in different corners of the world today have one thing in common – their fight for basic rights as upheld in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Why then are the so-called liberal women’s rights activists only raising issues of one section of people and not for all?
Feminism includes all races, genders and sexualities. If your feminism isn't intersectional, it isn't feminism at all.
In the Western liberal societies, the hijab has very recently emerged as a symbol of resistance to Islamophobia, against policies from President Trump’s administration aiming to establish divisions between ‘them’ and ‘us’. Western feminists have, since long, defended a woman’s right to wear the hijab. However, very little is talked about girls who ‘choose’ to not don the veil.
In January, Dorsa Derakhshani, an 18-year old Iranian chess grandmaster refused to wear a hijab at a tournament in Gibraltar and instead chose to wear only a headband. Her decision to defy the Iranian law which calls upon all women to wear a headscarf in public drew massive flack from staunch radical Muslims, following which she was kicked out of the national team.
The Somali born Ex-politician and feminist critic, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who herself wore the burqa as a teenager, strongly believes that the debate over the controversial head covering is no more about religious or cultural practices but about the equality of women. “Expecting half of humanity to go around covered in black sacks is just evil sexism,” she had written for a report published in The Australian.
The author has repeatedly expressed her concern over the apathetic stance of western feminists in support of liberal Muslim women for which she has been increasingly labeled as ‘Islamophobic’.
However, what needs to be understood here is that raising questions on cultural practices in Islam does not make one Islamophobic.
American philosopher, Martha Craven Nussbaum had rightly pointed out that the feminist theory heeds diminutive consideration to struggles of women outside United States. While this may come across as demeaning to some, that does seem like the present day state of affairs.
The need of the hour is to shatter the dominant opinion which holds that Islam and feminism are not consistent and that one can either be a Muslim or associated with feminism but not both. This, however, can only stem from a larger understanding that human rights- including rights of women, are meant for all and not just a few and definitely must not be restricted by religion.
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