Thursday, 24 July 2014

Syrian mother's agony: why I made my teenage daughter become a child bride


Um Rulla

We left in February last year: me, my husband Ahmed and our seven children – two sons and five daughters. I borrowed 5,000 Syrian pounds (£20) from my mother to hire a car to drive us from our home in Deraa to the border with Jordan.
When we got to the borderlands, we had to walk with other Syrian families who were fleeing Syria too. We were walking at night to avoid being spotted by Syrian security, who would shoot at us. It was so risky, but I was more scared of what would come next, what sort of life we would have in the refugee camp.

Finally we got into Za'ateri camp, which was like paradise compared with the hell of Deraa. And yet I became worried about the safety of my five daughters. My husband is old and not well, and my sons are little boys. There is no one to protect us. The tents are too close to each other, young men would pass by and stare at our tent.
My eldest daughter, Rulla, was 13 and is attractive. She and her other sisters could not even change their clothes in the tent. We were so scared that my daughters and I might be attacked by strangers. The camp was full of men of different ages. I could not let my daughters go alone to the bathroom, I had to take them one by one even though the bathrooms were far away. Along the way we would be harassed by young men. If any of my daughters wanted a wash, we would have a basin in the tent, and I or my mother would keep watch in case anyone came.
Looking around I could see that families were trying to get their daughters married by any means, even if they were only 12 or 13. They were not asking for dowries, they just wanted a man for their daughters.

My daughters were a huge burden to me. I never thought I would think of them like that. I was so glad when they born. You can't imagine the fear of a mother when she looks at her daughter and she thinks that she might be raped at any moment. It is horrible to think if the rape story became known publicly, her uncles would kill her immediately. I felt like dying when I thought of that moment.
Most of the marriages in the camp are for girls of 12, 13 or 14, but even 10-year-olds might get engaged if they are tall and developed. The way it works is that a female relative of the groom tours the tents to find a girl. When she finds someone suitable, she brings her to the man, who asks for her hand. The groom might be Syrian or Jordanian or from other Arab nationalities.
A 70-year-old Saudi man married the daughter of my neighbour. She was already engaged to a Syrian man but her family could not believe their luck in getting a rich Saudi, so they dumped the first groom to make way for the second. The Saudi man had to pay the family 1m Syrian pounds to marry their young daughter.
It was a big shock when an old Jordanian man came to my mother's tent asking for her hand. He said that he wanted to provide her with a better life and spare her humiliation. These Jordanians are really exploiting Syrian refugees' terrible circumstances.

An acquaintance in a nearby tent had an 18-year-old nephew, Omer, who worked in an embroidering workshop. She told him about our daughter, came to our tent and told us that she wanted Rulla for her nephew. Rulla blushed in astonishment. For me, it was hard to accept the idea. She was still a child, playing with kids in the camp. But the war, hunger, humiliation and fear forced me in the end to accept the offer. It was difficult to throw my daughter into a new life I do not know and she herself does not know either. Rulla knew nothing about marriage, I had to teach her every single thing.
We rented two houses in Amman, one for Omer and one for us. The groom brought jewellery and even paid for a wedding ceremony. We had to take in the wedding dress to make it fit Rulla's tiny body. I had to tell her how to behave with her husband. I asked her if she loved her groom. She said she did, but I was not sure that she knew the real meaning of love.
I fumbled to illustrate things to her bluntly. I told her that her husband might get too close to her, he would kiss her and she should not shudder but welcome that. I did not want to scare her with the whole story of marriage. I told her that her husband would teach her how to be a good wife. I sat for two hours with the groom himself before he married my daughter. I tried to prepare him for the fact that he was getting married to a child, not a mature woman, and that he needed to be more tolerant with her.

The second day after the wedding, I ran to see Rulla and asked her how her night had been. She told me it was OK and that everything went well. I'm praying all the time that her marriage will last. The problem is Rulla can't forget that she is still a child though she is married now. In one of my visits, it was terribly shocking to see her wearing socks and slipping about on the floor like other children in the house. I told her she should not do that because she is a married woman now. She said:"Oh mum, I really like to run like before and play with other girls."
Rulla now lives with her husband's family because she needs her mother-in-law to guide her. She has been married for five months now. I do not think her husband will allow her to complete her studies. He wants her to focus on her house and kids.
Ten days ago, I took Rulla to the hospital, thinking she was pregnant but the doctor found that she had an ovarian cyst. That was bad and good news for me at the same time. Deep in my heart I was content that she won't get pregnant soon because she herself is still a child and her marriage is not documented, which means the baby would not have a birth certificate. I still ask myself every day if I was fair to Rulla.

pls read full article its harrowing.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

This Group Faces Terrifying Persecution, And You May Have Never Heard About It

Anti-Muslim sentiment has a long history in Myanmar, dating back to the colonial period when large numbers of Indians followed the British into the country, as theCrisis Group details in its report. Many of them were Muslims, although Hindus and members of other religions moved in as well. Tensions between Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine State became violent for the first time during World War II, when the Rohingya supported the country's colonial rulers and the Buddhists sided with Japanese invaders.
Violence and repression flared in the decades that followed and intensified in earnest in the spring of 2012. The rape of a Buddhist girl by several Muslim men set off a wave of reprisal violence in Rakhine State, and members of both communities took part in attacks.
Months later, in October of 2012, a new wave of violence by ethnic Buddhists against Rohingya Muslims broke out, this time in a much more organized way. Local authorities and extremist Buddhist monks riled up Rakhine's Buddhist majority, releasing pamphlets that demonized the Rohingya and public statements that called for their expulsion. Buddhist mobs responded by razing and torching Muslim villages, forcing the inhabitants to flee for their lives.
More than 200 people were killed in the violence of 2012, and about a hundred thousand people -- mostly Muslims -- were forced to leave their homes. The majority ended up in segregated makeshift camps, where their movements became more restricted than ever before.
The following year, attacks spread to the center of the country and were no longer restricted to the Rohingya community, instead targeting Muslims as a whole. Dozens of people were killed and entire neighborhoods destroyed in two waves of riots in the spring and fall of 2013.

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Protests against Israeli Terror from around the world

Comment: I think for years Israel has taken advantage of the collective guilt the world and especially Europe feels due to the Holocaust to continue their oppression, but for how much longer? Public opinion is changing. Now is the time to continue to protest and push for sanctions, boycotts and divestment.

More than 150k Jews in NY protest against Israel the press is silent.

More than 150k Jews in NY protest against the press is silent. Embedded image permalink

 This is Marseille, France where protestors risk arrest and imprisonment to protest.

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Belfast, Northern Ireland.

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Albany, NY, USA

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Germany for #FreePalestine

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 Belgium says NO to Zionist attacks on Gaza.

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 Glasgow, Scotland #WorldWithGaza

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 Anti-Israel protesters defy French ban on demonstrations

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  Cape Town, South Africa. #WorldWithGaza

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 Milan Italy #WorldWithGaza

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 Aligarh, India #WorldWithGaza

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 Porto Alegre, Brazil #WorldWithGaza

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And I was marching alongside 100,000 protestors in London, a rally which the BBC barely mentioned. Shame on you BBC!

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Saturday, 19 July 2014

Ramadan Reflection Day 18: No Woman Left Behind

A man once come to the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, asking for financial support. The Prophet asked him what he owned in his home and other than a blanket that he and his wife used to sleep on, they owned a plate. The Prophet asked him to bring the plate and then following one of the congregational prayers, he asks the people in attendance who would purchase the plate. He received a bid for it and then asked who would give more for it. The money that was raised was then used to purchase the blade of an axe. The Prophet then put a piece of wood in it to serve as its handle and gave it to the man so that he could cut his own wood and sell it to make money. His solution was long-term, not just in the moment.
Since Ramadan began, I've seen and been in contact with numerous women who are in need of support and help. Amongst them are three women whose husbands have been unfaithful to them, a woman who became pregnant and then abandoned by the man who impregnated her, a convert on the verge of homelessness whose family has disowned her and local community won't invite her into their homes let alone provide her with support, and a survivor so frustrated with the lack of resources available to her that she is starting to doubt her faith because she doesn't understand why Muslims haven't built a support system for people in her situation. For each one of these women, there are thousands more who need our help. And for each one of these women, there are hundreds of thousands of us who can help.

#MBC1 - #OmarSeries - Ep14 - English Subtitles

Thinking about truces/treaties difficult decisions that have to be made. #hudaibiyya #propheticexample

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Mob of 200 Women Murders Serial Rapist In Indian Slum, Every Woman Who Lives There Takes Responsibility

 So I think these women are awesome. And Usha Narayane should be given a Padmashri.
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The trial of a woman accused of organizing a lynch mob that killed a known rapist and murderer in India has been ongoing since 2004, but ten years later, the same issues that caused it are still prevalent in the country.
According to The Hindu, Usha Narayane is still on trial for allegedly organizing the massive mob that killed Akku Yadav. Since the incident, Narayane has denied that she organized the mob or that she was even there when they killed the serial rapist, but she has not come out against the killing, acknowledging that the hundreds of women from the Kasturba Nagar slum who take responsibility for Yadav’s murder did the right thing.
Reports say that on August 13, 2004, Yadav was brutally murdered by a mob of women who ambushed him at a courthouse while he was under police protection. The hundreds of women of the Kasturba Nagar slum all accused Yadav of rape, murder, and a slew of other crimes, and although the evidence against the man was overwhelming, local police refused to do anything about it. Many women claimed that when they reported their rapes to police, they were either laughed at or told that they deserved to be raped. When Yadav was actually arrested for three separate murders, he was let go each time. Yadav also continuously terrorized the community, abused the women, and continued his chain of sexual assaults for years without any police intervention.
Two weeks prior to his death, Yadav reportedly approached Narayane, who at 25 was an outspoken advocate for the women in her community, and threatened to rape her.
"He raped only poor people whom he thought wouldn't go and tell, or if they did, wouldn't be listened to,” said Narayane, who herself was educated and set to take a managerial position in the north of India prior to the incident. “But he made a big mistake in threatening me. People felt that if I were attacked, no woman would ever be safe."
The week before the lynching, Yadav disappeared from the area after hearing chatter that action was going to be taken against him. Hundreds of residents proceeded to destroy his home, and at that point, police took him into custody to protect him, the alleged serial rapist and murderer, from harm.
The women of the slum heard that Yadav was going to be given a hearing for accusations against him, but the belief was that he would once again be granted bail. Fearing for their safety, a group of 200 women went to the courthouse on the day of his hearing and brutally murdered Yadav. The rapist had two police officers protecting him when the women entered the courthouse wielding knives, but they fled out of fear for their own lives. The 200 women proceeded to cut off Yadav’s penis, repeatedly stab him, and throw stones at him until he was dead on the floor. Five women were immediately arrested, but ultimately, they were released when every single woman from the slum claimed responsibility for the attack.
Narayane said that while the mob attacked Yadav, she was actually collecting signatures for a petition against the serial rapist, but police still arrested her and accused her of planning the lynching.
"It was not calculated," Narayane said. "It was not a case that we all sat down and calmly planned what would happen. It was an emotional outburst. The women decided that, if necessary, they'd go to prison, but that this man would never come back and terrorise [sic] them."
The trial is still going on to this day, even though Narayane was reportedly released from custody in 2012. Sadly, as The Hindu’s Mythili Sundar writes, the mistreatment of women by India’s male dominated society, especially as thousands of rape cases are dismissed by authorities every year, is still as strong today as it was in 2004.
“What can be done to dent the rigid frame of patriarchal values? A change in thinking should begin at home,” writes Sundar. “Girls should be encouraged to speak, ask questions. Schools should include in their curriculum lessons on equal treatment of boys and girls. They should conduct activities encouraging equal participation. Stereotypes should be broken and boys should be sensitized [sic] on gender issues. Even if the programmes [sic] succeed marginally, the impact will be huge in the long run.”
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