Syrian young woman now free from ISIS oppression


Souad tramples her niqab underfoot, Reuters photo

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

Once ISIS fighters are expelled from a region in Syria, then one of the first things many women do is to get rid of their niqabs. Similarly, the 19-year-old Souad from the newly liberated town of Manbij in northern Syria.

ISIS was recently driven from Manbij by the Syrian Democratic Forces. According to Wikipedia, a 60% Kurdish, 40% non-Kurdish force. This secular, pro-women’s rights organisation has to deal with not only ISIS, but also with artillery fire by the Erdogan regime in NATO member state Turkey, allies of ISIS; and with violence by other jihadist paramiltaries, some of them financed by the Saudi Arabian monarchy and/or the United States CIA.

Souad tramples her niqab underfoot, Reuters photos

The young woman not only threw off her niqab, but also trampled the face-covering clothing underfoot, which is one of the worst insults in the Muslim world. For her the niqab is a symbol of the oppression by ISIS.

“I feel liberated,” says Souad, who has replaced her niqab with a headscarf. “We had to wear this. By trampling this garment, I take care of them.”

ISIS occupied Souad’s village in 2014. … Women then had to be fully covered. “People who did not adhere to the rules were punished severely. Sometimes we had to stand together for days in graves that we dug ourselves. ”

“Now we are free, we can live again,” says Souad surrounded by her family.

Being raped, a ‘crime’ in Qatar


This video from the USA says about itself:

Woman Convicted Of Being Raped In Qatar

14 June 2016

A 22-year-old Dutch woman was raped while on vacation in Doha. She has been convicted of having sex outside of marriage. Ana Kasparian, Sam Shacher, Kenny Hamilton, hosts of The Young Turks, break it down.

“A court in Qatar has convicted a Dutch woman of having sex outside marriage after she told police she was raped.

The 22-year-old was handed a suspended sentence and fined $824 (£580). She will also be deported.

Her lawyer said her drink had been spiked at a Doha hotel in March and she had woken up in a stranger’s flat, where she realised she had been raped.

Her alleged attacker, who said the sex was consensual, was sentenced to 100 lashes for having sex outside marriage. He will be given a further 40 lashes for consuming alcohol.

The woman has been detained since making the allegation three months ago, but her case only came to light over the weekend when her family decided to go public.”

Read more here.

The woman’s name is Laura. Read more here and here.

Raped Dutch Laura expelled from Qatar


Laura, arrested for having been raped in Qatar

Translated from Dutch NOS TV:

Qatar expels Dutch Laura

Today, 09:32

The Dutch woman Laura (22) who was jailed in Qatar has been given a suspended sentence of one year and expulsion. …

Laura was not present in court. …

Earlier proceedings had been in Arabic, which Laura does not understand.

According to her lawyer, she was arrested after she had reported rape. Extramarital sex is illegal in Qatar. …

The man who allegedly raped Laura was found guilty as well. He was sentenced to a hundred lashes for “sexual intercourse” and forty lashes for alcohol consumption.

Though rape is a horrible crime, which should never ever be equated which voluntary sexual intercourse, as happens in Qatar: there should never be flogging in any country.

The rapist claimed that Laura was supposedly a prostitute. Algerian Dutch columnist Hadjar Benmiloud points out in Metro daily today that Dutch Internet site Vlinders Crime agreed with the rapist, calling Laura a “whore”. Vlinders Crime is an Islamophobic hate site unable to write Dutch without spelling and grammar errors in half of all words.

Also from NOS TV today:

Laura’s mother is overjoyed; her daughter will come home. “I can not even describe my joy. She may have been convicted, but she will come home.”

Woman arrested for having been raped in Qatar


This video from Kenya says about itself:

17 July 2015

We hear stories of Kenyans who have been tortured while working in countries such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Dubai and many more. Here are a couple of tips you might consider before searching for a job outside or saying yes to one.

Laura, jailed in Qatar

Translated from Dutch NOS TV:

Parliament worried about Dutch woman in Qatar

Today, 15:46

The Lower House is concerned about the situation of a Dutch woman who has been jailed in Qatar for months. According to the lawyer of her family the 22-year-old Laura was arrested after she had reported having been raped.

MPs of VVD, PvdA, CDA, SP, D66, Christian Union, GroenLinks and SGP political parties have together asked [Foreign Affairs] Minister Koenders questions on the issue. They want to know what the government has so far done for the woman and ask how the contact with the family of the arrested woman is. They put question marks to whether the Dutch embassy in Doha is sufficiently equipped to assist both the woman and her family.

Parliament also wants to know whether it is true that the embassy did not attend a session without telling why and that diplomats visited Laura only after three weeks. …

On Monday there will be an important session and an embassy person will attend then. The department will not say whether Minister Koenders himself works on this case.

See also here.

Sanders, Clinton, elections, a young Californian woman’s view


This video from the USA says about itself:

California Primary Results + 3 Million Ballots Left to be Counted

9 June 2016

Hi, I’m Tiffany! Welcome to Socially Unacceptable. Today I’m discussing my voting experience in the CA primary, the results, and the millions of ballots that have not been counted yet.

This 10 June 2016 video from the USA is called As California Admits 2 Million Ballots Remain Uncounted, Sanders Pushes for Changing Primary Process.

This video from the USA says about itself:

10 June 2016

Hi, I’m Tiffany! Welcome to Socially Unacceptable. Today I’m discussing why I cannot celebrate Hillary Clinton as the *presumptive* first female nominee of a major political party.

Hillary Clinton signed off on drone assassinations, emails reveal: here.

This video from the USA says about itself:

10 June 2016

Pretty much everyone is wondering if Bernie Sanders will stay in the race until the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia. A recent poll indicates that many people want him to. John Iadarola host of ThinkTank breaks it down.

Ultra-orthodox Israeli ban on girls riding bikes


Girls with their bikes in Israel. Photo by dnaveh/ iStock

As this blog has pointed out repeatedly, Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world where it is illegal everywhere for women to drive cars (even though officially there is no law against it).

Are Saudi religious misogynists unique in the world? Unfortunately not.

In London, England Jewish ultra-religious extremists decided to ban women from driving cars. They also decided that children driven to school by women would be banned from school classes.

Though women cannot drive cars in Saudi Arabia, recently they were allowed to ride motorbikes and bicycles (though only in restricted recreational areas).

Even that small concession to women’s rights seems to be too much for some religious fanatics in Israel.

From daily The Independent in Britain:

Ultra-orthodox Israeli rabbi bans girls over five from riding bikes because it is ‘provocative’

Ruling is latest in series of restrictions imposed on groups of Haredis

Kayleigh Lewis

Friday 3 June 2016

An ultra-orthodox Jewish leader has reportedly banned girls aged five and older in some areas of Israel from riding bicycles – claiming it is “immodest”.

The rabbi of the Jerusalem neighbourhood of Nahloat distributed the stringent decree to his followers in synagogues across the area.

He had said young girls riding bicycles could “cause serious damage to their modesty” and that bicycle seats caused young girls to sit in a way men found “provocative”, according to the Arutz Sheva 7 website.

The ruling said: “We inform parents that they are obligated to forbid their daughters from age five and up from acting in this illegitimate way.”

Those affected by the ruling are members of the ultra-orthodox Haredi branch of Judaism.

In December ultra-orthodox rabbis requested women in Israeli city Bnei Brak refrain from studying in higher education, according to Yeshida World News website.

They claimed institutions which teach secular subjects presented a real danger, and that girls and women should not study.

Haredi leaders have also attempted to effectively ban the internet from their communities, even declaring smartphones non-kosher.

However, studies suggest this interdict has had little effect, with ultra-orthodox Jews in Israel using the internet just as much as anyone else, according to the Washington Post.

 

Christian fundamentalist schools teach misogyny, homophobia


Textbooks seen by The Independent depict biblical passages and advice among science and maths worksheets (Image from Accelerated Christian Education textbook)

A passage from an Accelerated Christian Education textbook about the role of a 'homemaker' woman

From daily The Independent in Britain:

Christian fundamentalist schools teaching girls they must obey men

Former pupils reveal homosexuality is being taught as unnatural, while Creationism is favoured over evolution in science lessons

Siobhan Fenton

Sunday 5 June 2016

Christian fundamentalist schools are teaching children creationism is fact, that gay people are “unnatural” and that girls must submit to men, according to a series of claims.

Former pupils and whistle-blowers have told The Independent that the schools, which originated in the US but are now dotted around the UK and registered as independent or private schools, teach children at isolated desks separated by “dividers” from other students. It is thought more than a thousand children are being taught at dozens of schools, although little is known about them.

“No one outside the schools knows about what happens inside them, that’s why they’ve been able to go on like this for so long,” a former pupil said.

More than a decade after leaving, she says she is now horrified at the education she received.

Called Accelerated Christian Education schools (ACE), the schools originate from an education system developed in southern Baptist

The Southern Baptist church in the USA originated because white southern Baptists did not like criticism of slavery by northern Baptists.

states in the US which has developed off-shoots around the world including in Britain. Between 20 and 60 pupils aged between four and 18 attend each one.

The Independent can reveal a number of serious concerns have been raised about the schools, including allegations that children are given no formal educational qualifications beyond “Christian certificates”, thereby failing to equip them for opportunities and employment beyond the Church.

Former pupils claim a key aspect of the schools’ ethos comes from a belief in individualistic self-salvation, whereby people must actively accept God’s salvation to enter heaven.

By extension, it is believed that children must teach themselves in order to get closer to God. Children are therefore expected to spend the first half of each school day teaching themselves by reading textbooks in silence, while facing the classroom walls in specially designed booths, which mean they cannot see children around them or interact with them. …

Former pupils say this self-teaching format resulted in poor education standards, with pupils who have learning difficulties such as dyslexia often particularly struggling. A number said they felt socially isolated by the segregated booths and failed to develop social skills by interacting with peers.

One former pupil said: “By the time I left the school, I hadn’t really learnt anything that was of any relevance. I was taught facts and figures from reading the books, but there was no social learning in terms of interaction.”

The textbooks used by the schools have also been criticised for providing allegedly inappropriate material. A number of textbooks seen by The Independent and which are reportedly used in schools appear to include worrying content about gay people, women’s rights and also appear to teach creationism as fact.

One textbook says: “Homosexual, adjective: having unnatural sexual feelings towards one of the same sexHomosexual activity is another of man’s corruptions of God’s plan.

Accelerated Christian Education textbook which former pupils say are used in the schools

Textbooks say of the role of women and girls and society: “God has given both the husband and the wife certain areas of responsibility in the home. The husband is to be the leader of the home, loving his wife even as Christ loved the church… The wife is to obey, respect and submit to the leadership of her husband, serving as a helper to him… She is available all times day or night.”

A section titled ‘Testimony of a Homemaker’ in one textbook reads: “God desires for me to submit to my husband, train up my children, see that my house is properly supplied, pray without ceasing, teach other women to love their husbands and children, and be discreet, pure and a keeper of my home.”

Former pupil Cheryl Povey who attended an ACE school in Bath, said: “I came across a lot of sexism. I remember as a girl finding it quite shocking. We were taught that if you’re a woman, you should be subservient to men; your husband, your pastor and other male figures.

“There was a strong culture of men being revered and women being dangerously sexual and having to cover up. It made me self-conscious of being a woman.”

Dr Pocock said attitudes towards women and ethnic minorities in the ACE curriculum also worried him. He said: “It taught me men were superior to, and should be in charge of, weak women, that the various different ethnic and social groups were ordained by God to have different roles and positions.”

Another textbook warns that anyone who has sex outside marriage “will someday face God’s judgement”.

Other textbooks seen by The Independent, and which the former pupils claim were widely used as part of the curriculum during their time at ACE schools, appear to state creationism as fact and describe evolution as “absurd”.

One biology textbook states: “Although man’s characteristics are unique, evolutionists still insist that man descended from apes. Even from a strictly scientific standpoint, the theory of evolution is absurd. …

Another textbook states as ‘scientific fact’ that the sun is six thousand years old and the world was created in six days.

Former pupil Peter* (name changed to protect identity) said: “A huge amount of time and effort was given over to arguing against evolution and for creation, it’s a fundamental building block of the curriculum. The curriculum is stuck in the past like the rest of the fundamentalist southern Baptist churches it was born out of.”

Another concern raised about the schools is that the children are allegedly not entered for formal education qualifications such as GCSEs or A-levels.

Former pupils say they are instead taught towards an ICCE- an International Certificate of Christian Education. The ICCE is not an officially recognised qualification meaning those who hold it can struggle to find employment or to be accepted into higher education such as university. Former pupils say this disadvantages children and deprives them of opportunities later, unless they retrain as adults to gain additional, mainstream qualifications as well as the ICCE.

Jonny Scaramanga is a writer and campaigner who has extensively researched the ACE school system. He is a former pupil of an ACE school in England and recently completed a PHD thesis about ACE at the UCL Institute of Education, which included analysis of the ACE textbooks illustrated throughout this article.

He told The Independent: “I have read numerous Ofsted reports in the course of my research, and the issues most commonly raised by former ACE students are almost never mentioned, let alone satisfactorily addressed. In allowing ACE schools’ failings to go unchecked for decades, the government has failed in its duty of care to students in ACE schools. In future, inspectors should be specially briefed on the issues frequently found in ACE schools.”

He added that he is concerned by the ‘Christian certificates’ children sit instead of official qualifications, telling The Independent: “Since 2014, the Advertising Standards Authority has upheld three complaints against ACE schools for exaggerating the acceptability of the certificates [International Certificate of Christian Education] they offer. I have met numerous former ACE students who have had to return to college as adults to gain qualifications that they would have earned as a matter of course in mainstream schools. All English secondary schools should be required by law to prepare and enter students for qualifications recognised by Ofqual, the exam watchdog.”

When The Independent contacted forty UK universities to ask whether they have or would accept pupils on the basis of ICCE awards, none of them said they officially accept the qualification other than in exceptional circumstances or if a student had other additional qualifications such as GCSEs or A levels to support their application.