Demonstrations

9 Nov, '05

I’ve attended two demonstrations this afternoon in Bahrain, one was FOR the codification of personal and family status laws now, while I drove past the other which was AGAINST the codification of these laws without a perpetual guarantee to not tamper with the resultant laws by anyone other than approved clerics.

The first demonstration was attended primarily by Bahrain’s liberals. Ibrahim Sharif the president of the National Democratic Action Society was there as were other liberal/socialist society leaders like Dr. Hassan Madan (Minbar) in addition of course with quite a number of women activists including Ghada Jamsheer and Wajeeha Al-Baharna. The attendance was impressive with numbers probably around 200 in my guesstimate which is very significant given that it was organised on short notice, and the attendees were not threatened with eternal damnation.

Driving past the other demonstration it was quite clear that the numbers should be in the thousands, probably more than 5,000 to be sure judging by these pictures, a demonstration that was called explicitly by Shaikh Isa Qassim and other clerics who told their congregation that their attendance at the demonstration was a religious duty.

I call this religious emotional blackmail.

But even without going to that level, Bahrain is a deeply religious country for the most part and they would not walk, but run to execute the religious leadership’s requests, and run they did this afternoon by their thousands.

Regardless of where anyone stands about this issue, this is democracy in action and I am privileged to have experienced it.

There will be those usual voices that will try to escalate ethnic and sectarian tensions, as they will try to force through bills that would limit this freedom, but those voices should be defeated. These are people expressing their opinions democratically in legal and authorised demonstrations for things they believe in deeply.

What will happen now is anyone’s guess. Mine is that the government, backed into a corner by impractical demands of these Shi’a clerics will promulgate the Family Status Laws for the Sunni sect and let the Shi’as stew in their own juices. Maybe in a couple of years when the Shi’a women see for themselves how the Sunni Shari’a courts are running and how their judgments suddenly started to support women and their children in family disputes with consistency, they will wake up and demand their right even if it runs against their husbands and clerics.

I hope it won’t be too late by that time, because by then, the Shi’a would have been relegated to third-class citizens by their own doing and by their own obstinacy.

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Comments (38)

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  1. anonymous says:

    Demonstrations

    On one level its very sad seeing people following the clerics like sheep, but on another you’re right its democracy in action even if it means that the clerics will have destroyed a much needed reform that would greatly improve women’s lives.

  2. anonymous says:

    Demonstrations

    I am quite positive that 95 % of the shia who participated in “ against family law demonstration� did not read any thing about this law, and they do not know what is the current status even.

    I wonder till when would this congregation continue in depending on Qassim and the rest of the thugs to tell them what they should stand for, when and how. They are silent and totally blind as along as those clerics are silent, once those beards start to shake, every one moves blindly to execute the call raising the mantra of everlasting obedience to clerics orders

    Profundity Ferret

  3. anonymous says:

    Demonstrations

    Politics aside, religion aside…

    Can anyone explain to me why I spent 3 hours stuck in traffic?

    I’m all for democracy… I would love to have the ability to participate in politics if the issue is of relavence to me, but if I’m not interested in something and choose to be narrow minded, then I should have that choice as well.

    I don’t care about this family law, whatever it means. I might be wrong, but all I cared about after finishing work at 4:00 was to get back home as soon as possible to have lunch. I can read about this in tomorrow’s newspapers…

    Now I ask again, why were 5000 people blocking the highway from Pearl roundabout all the way to Seef Mall so that no cars could pass? Why are they even allowed to do this? Can we please hose them down or something? (Sorry I get very frustrated when I miss a meal… I’m usually nice)

    I don’t care about your stupid demonstrations… and I don’t think any of the other hundreds of cars on the road did. I just wanted to get home. Some people wanted to get to work. Some people wanted to get to the airport. Why must certain groups choose to disrupt everyone’s life just because they want to deliver a message they don’t even understand?

    During those three hours I passed hundreds of people. I stopped the car for a while and went for a short walk since nothing was moving… I did interact with a couple of the people there..

    “Excuse me,” I said.. (in arabic of course) “why are you demonstrating here on a busy street?”

    “Because if we go somewhere else nobody would see us”

    Ohh smart, exposure… any publicity is good publicity as they say…

    Let’s try someone else.. “Excuse me, sir” I said politely, trying to sound stupid so they don’t hate me. “Why are you blocking the road? I’ve been in the car for 2 hours”

    He snapped. “Well at least you have a car! Half of the people here don’t have a car or a job! We can barely support our families! We dream about owning a car so that we can be on this road!”

    Err.. huh? Wait.. I thought this was about something else… I didn’t know we were demonstrating the fact that people can’t afford cars… So because you don’t own a car you are allowed to torture those who do… because life was unfair to you… or the government… it’s all a conspiracy I tell you.

    I wanted to ask him if he knew why he was there but I didn’t want to get beaten up by the group that started forming around “the outsider” (a.k.a me)

    That’s three hours of my life I’m never getting back. Thank you for wasting my time. And you ask that I take you seriously… meh

    e.

  4. anonymous says:

    Demonstrations

    I got out of work around that time… it was nice really… ain’t freedom great?
    Note to wefaq and other massive demonstration organizers: can you guys please get back to the old “friday demonstrations” happy hour like the old days? I got out of work late, and I really had to attend a night class. Please? Friday good-wednesday bad

    The Joker

  5. anonymous says:

    Demonstrations

    Mahmood,
    I really feel sorry for your biased coverage!
    Neither my feelings however nor your biased coverage change the fact that people have aired their saying very loud and clear!. What’s funny though is the 5,000 demos figure..

    OK. You based that figure on the photos you referred to. What would you do after seeing these photos, would you have the courage to revise your estimation or you will still stick by your 5,000 figure?

    [img]http://olamaa.com/olamaa/images/news/09.jpg[/img]

    [img]http://olamaa.com/olamaa/images/news/12.jpg[/img]

    [img]http://olamaa.com/olamaa/images/news/02.jpg[/img]

    [img]http://olamaa.com/olamaa/images/news/05.jpg[/img]

    See more stunning photos at the source:

    Source http://www.olamaa.com/olamaa/

  6. mahmood says:

    Re: Demonstrations

    What has guesstimating the size of a crowd have to do with courage? What I clearly said is that I was DRIVING past the Islamist’s demonstration, how do you expect me to get a good headcount?

    By the pictures posted both my myself and you the figure most definitely is larger, I would GUESTIMATE even above 20,000. Happy?

    Try to give people the benefit of the doubt rather that throwing worthless accusations.

  7. mahmood says:

    Re(1): Demonstrations

    Oh I see, the Ulama wants it to be 120,000. Okay, there were 120,000 people there. Happy?

    Now tell me, how many of those bozoes actually know what they were demonstrating about? And how many were blackmailed to be there because of “religious duty” imposed on them by these Ulama?

  8. anonymous says:

    Demonstrations

    By saying that people don’t know why they are demonstrating for or not knowing the content of the law that they’ve left home and suspended their daily life duties just to demonstrate against, by saying that you’re REALLY humiliating the people of Bahrain. Yet, posting at flikr account photos of two 6-years-old children carrying slogans boards that are taller than them make it all clear that the law is legitimate and supported by these 6 years old children. I know you wouldn’t want to understand the fact that Muslims do have family law stated very clear in Quran. That law could be itemized for practical reasons provided no one change it just because he/she does not like it.

    I know my language isn’t helping me but let’s talk about democracy that both of us believe in. There were two demos; one with 200 (including infants and children) and the other demo with tens of thousands. If majority counts, the then according too the two demos, those against the law win and the minority must respect that! Wasn’t that fair?

  9. mahmood says:

    Re: Demonstrations

    by saying that you’re REALLY humiliating the people of Bahrain

    If the reason for them being there was due to threats of eternal damnation and the vast majority of Bahrainis are religious in varying degrees, then they’ll be there, regardless of what they are demonstrating for. Blackmail in the name of Heaven carry a very big weight, so I’d better get some “ajir” and go on the demo. It’ll be fun and I’ll confirm my piety to my friends and neighbours.

    Yet, posting at flikr account photos of two 6-years-old children carrying slogans boards that are taller than them make it all clear that the law is legitimate and supported by these 6 years old children.

    You’re desperate to pin something on me there. Those pictures were of nice kids, artistically the pictures look nice. On a more practical issue though, can you confirm that these two children didn’t suffer because on iniquitous application of the Shari’a law by a less than educated judge?

    I know you wouldn’t want to understand the fact that Muslims do have family law stated very clear in Quran.

    Desperation again. I do recognise that the Quran does have these laws and do respect them and in fact demand that they be applied. What I do want however is that they be applied universally and equally and fairly regardless of the judge applying these laws. The only way to ensure that will happen is if you write them down on paper, distribute that resulting book to every judge and tell them that they have to follow the rules set in that book regardless of how they feel and how they themselves would have interpreted the situation at hand. That’s called codifying the laws. Why have you got a problem with that?

    If majority counts, the then according too the two demos, those against the law win and the minority must respect that! Wasn’t that fair?

    Yes. Absolutely. The majority win, although I patently do not agree with them, but I defer to their numbers and so be it.

  10. anonymous says:

    Re: Demonstrations

    Congratulations on getting 5000? 20000?120000? out to protest against women’s rights. Wefaq must be very pleased with the result especially as most of the protesters seem to be women. A fantastic day.

    If there’s an argument for keeping the Shura council its the size of this joyless demonstration. Gives an idea of the type of society you’re in for if there’s no checks and balances in the political process.

  11. anonymous says:

    Trackback :: Bahrain: Demonstrations

    TrackBack from Global Voices Online

    Mahmood describing one of yesterday’s demonstration in Bahrain for codification of personal and family status laws, he says: “Bahrain is a deeply religious country for the most part and they would not walk, but run to execute the religious…

  12. mahmood says:

    Re(1): Welcome to the Islamic Kingdom of Bahrain

    Is this the start of forcibly changing the country into an Islamic state? Will the clerics now demand that their congregations go out and demonstrate for every issue they are against until in the end we wake up to a mini-Iran/Saudi/Afghanistan?

    Can anyone help in immigration procedures? New Zealand? Australia? Canada?

  13. anonymous says:

    Demonstrations

    [quote]I am quite positive that 95 % of the shia who participated in “ against family law demonstration� did not read any thing about this law, and they do not know what is the current status even.[/quote]
    and how did you get this brilliant thought !! i hope its not from your arse.

    well done guys may allah protect you all.
    Hashem

  14. mahmood says:

    Re: Demonstrations

    Hashem being crass doesn’t solve the problem. You disagree that the premise of the majority of the demonstrators don’t know what they’re demonstrating against, fine, say so and prove your point using logic if you can’t back it up with numbers.

    I personally don’t think that the majority of those demonstrating against the law actually know or care about it, what they do know and care is that they have been told by a religious authority to get out and demonstrate.

  15. anonymous says:

    Demonstrations

    So you guys think all these people are sheeps and you are the only ones who got brain to think and know whats goin on!! COME ON is that a logic?
    in another blog maybe 1 week ago Mahmood you yourself told me is the biggest mistake is imopsing a view on the whole and here we go, and the other guy is 100% certain that they know a “shizel”
    most of these people are educated and this demonstration had a big media echo and Shaikh Essa Qassim and a many others spoke about it, and what is it all about in the mosques in every where.
    so how did assume that the majority of those peple above dont know what they are demonstrating against?

    Hashem

    [i]Mahmood thanks for calling me “Crass”[/i]

  16. anonymous says:

    Demonstrations

    Check this article out:
    http://www.aliran.com/monthly/2004b/9m.html
    Furore over marital rape

    It should be seen as a criminal offence

    by Prema Devaraj
    Aliran Monthly, Vol 24 (2004): Issue 9

    ——————————————————————————–
    Please support our work by buying a copy of our print publication, Aliran Monthly, from your nearest news-stand. Better still take out a subscription now. If you prefer to read our web-based edition, please support our work and make a donation.
    ——————————————————————————–

    MARITAL RAPE: A VIOLENT ACT

    From the experience with the DVA, we know that legislation alone will not make the problem disappear; however, it will send a very strong message to society that violence in the home (including the sexual abuse of a wife) is a crime and a public matter.

    Prema Devaraj

    Given the marked increase in violent crimes including sexual abuse and domestic violence, Suhakam (the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia) recently submitted a report to the Parliamentary Select Committee proposing amendments to the Penal Code and Criminal Procedure Code. Although not specifically mentioned as such, the issue of marital rape was subsequently highlighted in the press, stirring up a hornet’s nest. Religious intellectuals and others described Suhakam’s suggestions as going against Islam and ruining the marriage institution (Mingguan Malaysia, 21 Aug 2004). In response, Suhakam commissioner Prof Hamdan Adnan stood firm and defended Suhakam’s recommendations. “Rape is violent and cruel and indeed should not happen between a husband and wife� (NST 24 Aug 2004).

    The call for the recognition of marital rape is not new. The Anti-Rape Task Force representing Women’s Centre for Change, Sisters in Islam, Women’s Aid Organisation, All Women Action Society and Protect and Save the Children submitted a memorandum in September 2003 to the Attorney General’s chambers, the Ministry of Women and Family Development and members of Parliament which, among other things, called for marital rape to be recognized as an offence. Their frequent dealings with women who had been abused sexually by their husbands have spurred women’s groups to push for legislation against marital rape.

    Discussions in the press show that there is some acknowledgement that sexual abuse of a wife by her husband does indeed occur; however, the phrase ‘marital rape’ and the suggestion that it should be made an offence under the Penal Code has evoked a strong negative response from some quarters. Some of the arguments used by individuals who oppose not only the criminalization of marital rape, but the concept itself, are discussed below.

    1. The rights of a husband in a marriage

    It is often believed that once a woman is married, she is her husband’s property and the marriage contract is an entitlement to sex. Sir Matthew Hale, Chief Justice in 17th Century England wrote:
    “ The husband cannot be guilty of rape committed by himself upon his lawful wife, for by their mutual matrimonial consent and contract, the wife hath given herself in kind unto the husband which she cannot retract.�
    Perak Mufti Dr Harussani Zakaria would seem to support this same thinking when he was recently quoted as saying that the act of a husband forcing his wife to have sex with him cannot be construed as rape and as a wrongdoing in Islam:
    “A husband has the right to be intimate with his wife and the wife must obey. If the wife refuses, the rule of nusyus (recalcitrant) can be applied and the husband will no longer be responsible for his wife (23 Aug 2004, The Star).
    Comment: There is a huge difference between having consensual sexual intercourse with a spouse and raping a spouse. Sexual intercourse between consenting spouses does not entail abuse, violence and force. Rape on the other hand occurs where consent is absent and often, coercion (both physical and mental) prevails. One must consider to what extent a spouse can claim conjugal rights. In terms of conjugal rights, while some may argue that sexual intercourse between husband and wife jima’ is a religious duty and that the wife must submit, others have argued that the husband should perform jima’ with adab (courtesy). All religions value human dignity and life. None of them condone the use of force or cruelty in a marriage; however narrow interpretations of religious texts have often been used to justify the oppression of women. This has to stop.

    2. Existing laws and sufficient

    Malaysian Syariah Lawyers Association deputy president Zainul Rijal Abu Bakar felt that existing laws were sufficient to tackle the issue. Religious Adviser to the Prime Minister Tan Sri Abdul Hamid Othman was reported as saying that Islamic Family laws already gave Muslim wives an appropriate remedy (NST 23Aug 2004). He said that a Muslim wife could turn to the Syariah Court if she is dissatisfied or treated with cruelty and demand a divorce.

    Comment: There is no specific provision on marital rape in either the Islamic Family Law Enactments or the Penal Code. Although a woman may lodge a complaint of ill treatment against her husband in the Syariah Court, how likely would a complaint of ‘forced sex with one’s husband’ be interpreted as ill treatment or sufficient grounds for divorce? Furthermore, suggesting that a woman should demand a divorce implies that the offence is a merely a marital offence and not a criminal one.

    As for the Penal Code, Section 375 states clearly, the circumstances that define rape. However if the act of sexual intercourse between a man and his wife falls under any of these circumstances set out in S.375, the man is protected from being charged with raping his wife due to the exception clause in S.375. Women’s groups have called for the removal of this exception clause so that the marriage institution will no longer protect husbands who sexually abuse or rape their wives. One might argue that marital rape could come under the purview of the Domestic Violence Act (DVA) 1994 which also includes in the definitions of domestic violence “ (c) compelling the victim by force or threat to engage in any conduct or act, sexual or otherwise, from which the victim has a right to abstain�. The problem with the DVA is that in order to prosecute a person, it has to be a crime under one of the provisions of the Penal Code. Because marital rape is not recognized in the Penal code, forced sexual relations with a husband becomes an act from which a wife has no right to abstain. And so, there is no legal protection for women on this matter, be they Muslim or non-Muslim wives.

    3. The relationship between a man and his wife is a family issue

    Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil reportedly said “ Marital rape is a family issue and as Muslims we have to look at the matter this, way, studying it from all aspects and not pointing fingers� (NST 24 Aug 2004). A letter in NST (6 Sept 2004) entitled “Do not meddle with the family� suggests that “some things are beyond legislation and best left to the conscience of man himself�.

    Comment: When a person is assaulted or abused, it is no less a crime when the perpetrator is a family member. Violence within the family cannot be considered a family matter. The DVA is an example of a legislation that deals with violence/abuse in a domestic situation. Domestic violence (or child abuse for that matter) is no longer considered a private family issue. It is an act of violence that society does not tolerate. Marital rape should also be seen in the same light.

    4. Legislation would lead to extra-marital affairs

    A letter to the press (NST 25 Aug 2004) suggested, if wives have the right to say “no� to their husbands, then the husbands would be “faced with the dilemma of either committing marital rape or the matrimonial offence of adultery in seeking sexual release with another woman�.

    Comment: Once again women are held responsible for men’s actions. Marital rape is often trivialized as an issue of a man wanting sex and the woman being difficult and forcing the poor sex-starved husband to compel his wife to have sex. Marital rape is not about sexual release. It is a violent act. It is to do with the abuse of power and the domination of a wife. It has been said that one marriage partner can make the other miserable, but can’t make the other unfaithful. Adultery is about choice and the adulterer must take full responsibility for his/her actions.

    5. Marital rape is a Western idea

    There are those who argue that marital rape is a western concept and designed to disrupt the family unit. Perak Mufti Datuk Seri Dr Harussani Zakaria was reported to have said that Suhakam’s proposal came about as a result of Western influences, adding that Western society felt guilty over the way its men had treated women in the past and that was why it strove to give women additional rights now (NST 23 Aug 2004).

    Comment: It makes no difference what the origins of the phrase ‘marital rape’ are. The point is that this form of abuse occurs throughout the world irrespective of culture, religion or ethnic background. That we learn from and share our experiences with women from different parts of the world, does not negate the issue. It is also high time we stop blaming the West for everything we disagree with.

    Resistance to recognizing marital rape (let alone criminalizing it) is not unexpected. Proponents of the DVA know only too well that it took them more than 10 years to get the Act passed. Recognition is just the first step towards accessing justice for marital rape victims. From the experience with the DVA, we know that legislation alone will not make the problem disappear; however it will send a very strong message to society that violence in the home (including the sexual abuse of a wife) is a crime and a public matter. It cannot be tolerated or condoned. In addition to legislation, greater public awareness on this issue and support systems for women in these circumstances are urgently needed.

    As a signatory to the Convention of the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), albeit with some reservations, Malaysia is morally obliged to take appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against women, whether Muslim or non Muslim. The existing legislation on rape discriminates against women who are raped by their husbands. They have no legal protection. An AFP article Asia divided over the issue of marital rape (NST, 28 Aug 2004) lists Australia, Japan, Taiwan, New Zealand, Philippines and South Korea in a growing list of Asian countries that recognize rape in a marriage. More recently, Indonesia has joined this list. Perhaps one day soon, Malaysia will have the courage to do the same.

    Now e-mail us and tell us what you think. Your comments might be published in the Letters section of our print magazine, Aliran Monthly.

  17. anonymous says:

    Re: Demonstrations

    Thousands of women demonstrating against women’s rights. How can the Arab world go anywhere when people are given freedom but then they use it like this?

  18. mahmood says:

    Re: Demonstrations

    Hashem what you’re doing is just taking us away from what we are debating and simply concentrating on minute things that have nothing to do with the discussion. If you want to go to that route, then by all means do, but it will be lonely.

  19. anonymous says:

    Demonstrations

    The way I see it is this:
    Democracy is good but its more than just an electoral system.
    First, get a seperation of mosque and state and other checks and balances to prevent crazy things from happening.
    Then give the idiot masses the right to democracy…There is such a thing as a tyranny of the majority.
    Sorry to plug my site here Mahmood…remove it if you want, but I explained my position on the issue here:

    http://www.tariqkhonji.com/main/societies.html

    Oh and regarding the figure…I estimated it to be around 5,000 too. There was just no way of telling by looking. It was impossible…although I still don’t buy that it was over 14,000.

    Tariq Khonji

  20. anonymous says:

    Re: Demonstrations

    I think u need stronger eye lenses khonji….

  21. anonymous says:

    Re: Demonstrations

    Just because someone says they are a feminist doesn’t mean they are one.

  22. anonymous says:

    Re: Demonstrations

    Biased my ass! some people like you just don\\\’t want to accept the truth when you hear it – and then to top it all off you provide an indirect escape exit for yourself by going \\\”but it\\\’s your blog\\\”.

    Really doubt democracy is good for Bahrain anymore given the current state of events that we have but if we are to continue with the democracy porject then the think tanks of Bahrain need to decide and come to a firm stance and policy on 3 main things (of some parts):

    1) Does Bahrain want investors/investments to keep flowing in and to what extent?

    2) Since human rights is on everyone\\\’s agenda these days, does Bahrain want to get with the international treaty on human rights by involving local/international civic/grass roots organizations to monitor the situation without any redtape and thereby, put a stop to these organizations that are parading our country as political movements and defenders of human rights?

    3) On citizenship, equal treatment and unemployment, what exactly does Bahrain expect the business community here to do? Will the racist crimes and maltreatment of both Western and Eastern expats be dealt with more seriously & with more transparency and accountability? If the problem has been identified as free visa employees, then why can\\\’t Bahrain clampdown on this openly by stopping whoever it is who\\\’s issuing these free visas and dealing with free visa employees in a more humane manner?

    Honestly, its just a small bag of rotten apples or tomatoes for that matter that\\\’s messing up Bahrain\\\’s image in the world and destroying the potential this nation has! We\\\’re not here to take sides, that rotting bunch exists on both sides of these issues! Many people are trying their best to get Bahrain back on track once again, all the way from the Crown Prince (his hardwork with the F1 being held in Bahrain as the start point) and members of the press like Tariq Khonji and Les Horton (their reality check columns in the newspapers) to your everyday bloggers like Mahmood and Chanad and others.

    At the rate we\\\’re going, you honestly can\\\’t just blame it all on any one individual or entity! If we don\\\’t clean up our crap, you can say for sure that Qatar & Dubai will take away and attract whatever investments and accomplishments we have left!

    Good day to you from another Anon…

  23. anonymous says:

    Re: Demonstrations

    Biased my ass! some people like you just don\\\’t want to accept the truth when you hear it – and then to top it all off you provide an indirect escape exit for yourself by going \\\”but it\\\’s your blog\\\”.

    Really doubt democracy is good for Bahrain anymore given the current state of events that we have but if we are to continue with the democracy porject then the think tanks of Bahrain need to decide and come to a firm stance and policy on 3 main things (of some parts):

    1) Does Bahrain want investors/investments to keep flowing in and to what extent?

    2) Since human rights is on everyone\\\’s agenda these days, does Bahrain want to get with the international treaty on human rights by involving local/international civic/grass roots organizations to monitor the situation without any redtape and thereby, put a stop to these organizations that are parading our country as political movements and defenders of human rights?

    3) On citizenship, equal treatment and unemployment, what exactly does Bahrain expect the business community here to do? Will the racist crimes and maltreatment of both Western and Eastern expats be dealt with more seriously & with more transparency and accountability? If the problem has been identified as free visa employees, then why can\\\’t Bahrain clampdown on this openly by stopping whoever it is who\\\’s issuing these free visas and dealing with free visa employees in a more humane manner?

    Honestly, its just a small bag of rotten apples or tomatoes for that matter that\\\’s messing up Bahrain\\\’s image in the world and destroying the potential this nation has! We\\\’re not here to take sides, that rotting bunch exists on both sides of these issues! Many people are trying their best to get Bahrain back on track once again, all the way from the Crown Prince (his hardwork with the F1 being held in Bahrain as the start point) and members of the press like Tariq Khonji and Les Horton (their reality check columns in the newspapers) to your everyday bloggers like Mahmood and Chanad and others.

    At the rate we\\\’re going, you honestly can\\\’t just blame it all on any one individual or entity! If we don\\\’t clean up our crap, you can say for sure that Qatar & Dubai will take away and attract whatever investments and accomplishments we have left!

    Good day to you from another Anon…

  24. anonymous says:

    Demonstrations

    OK another Anon..

    You keep looking after your ass and your investment,
    and we’ll keep looking after the rule of Allah ..
    And we shall see the end results!

    Good day to you from another another Anon…

  25. anonymous says:

    Demonstrations

    dear another another anon ..

    i thought only allah looks after the rule of allah? not man? shame on you …thinking you can act for Him and on behalf of Him …

    JJ

  26. anonymous says:

    Demonstrations

    another question .. pertinent to the issue of size.

    is democracy the rule of the majority against the minority? or is democracy the protection of minortity rights?

    if it is sheer numbers – then yes, the poster above was right in saying that the personal status laws were borken down. if it is viewed in terms of the protection of minority rights, then the need for personal status laws has never been greater.

    my personal take is that size doesnt matter. its the issues that do. and as far as i am concerned, the ulama will fight tooth and nail not to lose power in the courts. nothing to do with individual rights, but power.

    so – its up to the women to make their voices heard and to realize that there is a difference between voting on an issue beause of perceived religious duties, and because they beleive in it.

    democracy takes time.

    who should be ashamed of themselves are the so called ulama. because they are using the fear of god to try and get mem/women to take positions on something that is inherently and entirely political. and, as far as i am concerned, the organizers of the anti rally are flexing muscle to the government by declaring that they, and only they speak for the people of bahrain. hence – our ‘tool’ is bigger than ‘yours’. 5,000 vs 50,000.

    will someone please tell them that size doesnt matter?? ask any real woman who knows what she is talking about and she will concur … 🙂

  27. anonymous says:

    Demonstrations

    Mahmood, shame on you for this biased coverage.

    You need to connect with the grass roots of Bahrain instead of giving opinions based on personal prejudice.

    You’re clearly out of touch with many things as was evident in your coverage of the event. But it’s your blog and you can paint Bahrain in whatever colours you want I guess.

    Bye

  28. anonymous says:

    Demonstrations

    Hi,

    Im a real Bahraini woman. The argument as totally misconstrued here isnt FOR or AGAINST the family law. From what I understood, both are FOR the codification. Except the religious camp wants to ensure that any codification doesnt defy the Islamic teachings. They have proposed their own version of this codification of which I have no QUALMS. I attended Issa Qassim’s friday prayers last week, read all the leaflets, spoke to many women and the fact that the supreme council paid 6 million dinars, YES 6 million dinars for a massive campaign to propogate the law has unfortunately led to this showdown and it is 6 million dinars down the drain.

    In my point of view, I really have faith that those from the secularist and the religious (shia and sunni) can sit down and negotiate a set of laws that suits all. In my opinion I am totally with Issa Qassim in that these laws are too religiously and quran-specific to be overridden by parliamentarians. Their needs to be a religious authority to make sure that laws do not go against islamic teaching, for example, if we go by the Tunisian personal law, polygamy is not allowed, this is a clear contradiction with our teachings. Although even the Netherlands recently passed a law allowing polygamy. Whatever my opinion, it is a clear right given under my religion and no one has authority to ban it.

    Further, what I also understand is that it is not a problem with the law itself that traps women for years in long court cases, it is the judicial process itself. This needs to be seriously addressed. I heard this from a former head of the Jafari judiciary – Al-Oraibi who proposed an extended list of reforms that got thrown down the bin before he thought best to resign as all his efforts to change from ‘within’ came to no avail.

    SO PLEASE DO NOT MAKE THIS INTO A PRO-WOMEN’S RIGHT AND ANTI-WOMEN’S RIGHT THING. All I see is sheer ignorence coming out of this debate…’the progressive secularists and the backward islamists’…can’t we move on from this stereotyping. Although I know this blog is totally biased towards the former, please have respect for th MAJORITY of people in this country who are deeply relgious – and brush them aside.

    Its been over two years since these laws were proposed, and I have been following Issa Qassim’s campaign asking for dialogue with the government over these laws. I really wish it didn’t come to this showdown, but unfortunately it has. But its disgusting the arrogant way that most ppl here dismiss the will of a large majority as the ignorence of sub-human beings – a herd of sheep led by their shephard. Such intellectual redundancy and cultural insensitivity in argument shouldn’t really be tolerated but is not surprising coming from what is most like westerners or western-minded ppl with no clue or who probably can’t even speak arabic.

    The minute you see women shrouded in black you assume she is some beaten-up oppressed housewife who has been threatened with rape if she doesnt follow her husband’s orders to march. Hell, she probably can’t even read the placards she’s carrying, her father must have locked her up at home and she never learnt to read. Actually, these women were probably gagging to march in such a demonstration as an excuse to leave their house prisons. Man, you people don’t even realise how unobjective you are – shrouding your views in long vocabularly and sarcastic comments.

    Hell, someone even suggested that this is clear evidence that Bahraini doesnt even deserve democracy in fear of these islamists getting to power – another intellectually redundant western argument …some ppl deserve democracy other’s dont…. but hell, we gotta force it to work in Iraq..although who cares if Saudi isnt democratic… Man, the West really needs to sort its head out, cos this confusion over democracy is screwing us up…I mean as imperialists, our destiny is in your hands…at least decide what political decor you want the ME to have.

    A muslim feminist

  29. anonymous says:

    BCHR and women’s rights

    I like the way the Bahrain Centre for Human Rights is lining up with the clerics in opposing a unified personal status law.

    If they were a human rights group it would be shocking, but given their past record is anyone surprised?

  30. anonymous says:

    Re(1): Demonstrations

    I’m willing to burn my bra right here and now to prove it…
    (if u know anything about ‘feminism’ then u’d know what i mean).

    muslim feminist

  31. anonymous says:

    Re(2): Demonstrations

    ..besides the laws didnt come as a result of some massive grass roots feminist movement. Although i respect Jamsheer who has had her own bad experiences through court, this family law codification is in essence a top-down initiative led by Sabeeka and her “Supreme Council of freshly_manicured_botox_pumped Women” and their army of Gucci handbags.

  32. mahmood says:

    Re(2): Demonstrations

    can I help you do that in any way?

    okay, can I just watch then?

    oh COME ON! 😉

  33. anonymous says:

    Re(3): Demonstrations

    hahaha suggest it next time you’re in the Jamsheer camp -.a public bra-burning protest… *chokes at the thought of bra-less Jamsheer*…. man u aint a feminist till u do…

  34. Alireza says:

    Re(3): Demonstrations

    [quote]
    this family law codification is in essence a top-down initiative led by Sabeeka and her “Supreme Council of freshly_manicured_botox_pumped Women” and their army of Gucci handbags. [/quote]

    Beats the traditional stereotype of feminists as dungaree wearing hairy armpits. 😉

    There’s a bit of a difference between you and Germaine Greer isn’t there – didn’t she burn her bra to protest against women’s inequality, not to demand it continue?

  35. mahmood says:

    Re(4): Demonstrations

    that’s no problem to me.. I ain’t a feminist!

  36. anonymous says:

    Re(1): Demonstrations

    “Although even the Netherlands recently passed a law allowing polygamy.”

    I missed this. As someone who occasionally puts on wooden shoes, dances in the street at tulip time, and otherwise relishes a Dutch heritage (note: my heritage left the Netherlands and it probably only continues here in the States), this is intriguining. 🙂 Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think that the real Dutch passes laws regarding homosexual marriage which have been used to achieve polygamous marriage. AGA

  37. anonymous says:

    Demonstrations

    After this demonstration the idea that its the Al Wefaq opposition is a force for democracy has gone out of the window. On a touchstone issue such as women’s rights they’re saying that MPs have no authority or even right to legislate; only clerics have such a right.

    I thought they boycotted parliament for the last three years on a point of principle that only elected MPs should have the right to legislate. A very casual way to get rid of this supposed principle.

  38. anonymous says:

    Re(2): Demonstrations

    Who cares what the size of the demonstration was – all those who took part are nominees for the 2005 TWITBTHIFD Award.

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