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Then They Came for the Apostates

A torn family snapshot from the horrific and many-sided civil war that is convulsing Syria. Released in a prisoner exchange last week, Nadia Abdel Karim Stif was once an important civil servant, proud mother of a son and daughter. A Sunni Muslim, she had married a man who was a member of one of the country’s minority Shi’ite sects. For that, she paid a savage price when Islamist militants conquered her home city of Idlib last year.

From the minute she was detained, they applied every page in the catalog of torture to her body.

Emergency Medical Marriage

Saudi Arabia’s strange gender relations produce endless challenges and contortions for situations that are elsewhere straightforward. Here, for example, Al Safir Al Arabi ponders the question of how ambulances and paramedics must deal with female patients in medical emergencies. If they have no male relative nearby, should they be rescued at all? The answer turns out to be generally, no.

A woman was recently arrested for driving a car in Safwa City, in Saudi Arabia’s Qatif province. According to newspaper reports, [Aaliya al-Farid] had been driving herself to a hospital during an attack of a chronic illness she suffers from.

Unsuitable Boys

Cover art from Hitched. Courtesy Random House India.

The starting point for any Indian arranged marriage is the ladki dekhna, the ‘bride viewing,’ in which the prospective couple meet for the first time, sit down together for a glass of tea, and hopefully hit it off swimmingly. Then again, though, maybe they don’t. From Nandini Krishnan’s , potential brides tell horror stories about the boys their aunties mistakenly thought would be absolutely perfect for them.

There are some women, and I must include myself in this lot, who believe that a groom hunt...

Corporate Harems of the West

Picasso, Le repos.

Fatima Mernissi, Moroccan academic and feminist, perturbs and eventually infuriates a French journalist in this interview, as she intentionally inverts Western cliches about the status of women in the Western and Arab worlds.

Psychologies: You claim that Western women live in harems. Are you just being provocative?

Burning the Muslim Witches in France

Photo CC: Wikemedia commons.

Can a “secular” state tell its citizens how to bear the emblems of their religion? As France debates yet another anti-Muslim law under the guise of secularism, Laurent Bazin writes that the burden of the French state’s strange crusade falls most heavily on women.

For some decades now, France has been carrying out an increasingly insidious and implacable witch hunt.

Egypt: Exploitive Marriages to Syrian Refugees

The fear that local men would exploit refugee women by ‘marrying’ them has raised the hackles of women’s groups in several Arab countries. Citing staggering marriage figures-of uncertain provenance-Egyptian women’s groups hope to force Cairo to intervene.

Describing it as human trafficking, the Egyptian National Council for Women has said there were 12,000 cases of marriage between Syrian refugee women and Egyptian men in one year alone.

‘Okay, Let’s Grab Her, But Then Take Turns, Guys’

In this blog post addressed to other victims, a woman describes in excruciating detail her rape at the hands of a huge mob of men at a revolutionary demonstration. Cairo’s Tahrir Square, the central stage of the country’s ongoing revolution, has been the scene of numerous mob rapes and sexual assaults.

This is my story, one like many other women's stories. It is the story of what happened to me-and what happened to you. You and I know how it was: death came near, though it didn't arrive.

Jersey Shore Meets Laguna Beach in Cape Town

Clifton Shores, American airheads on African shores.

National Women’s Month has occasioned a fair bit of ranting about sexism by South Africa’s commentariat this year. In that vein, the Mail and Guardian’s Rhode Marshall laments one of America’s less fortunate cultural exports.

Is the month we celebrate the strength and dignity of women the best time to debut Clifton Shores, a show which preaches just the opposite?

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