The Price of Modesty

From Huffington Post:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ayaan-hirsi-ali/the-price-of-modesty_b_8481776.html


11/05/2015

Rokhshana was 19-years-old when a gang of men in Afghanistan stoned her to death this week. The men who stoned her were enforcing Islamic law, otherwise known as Sharia. According to the governor of the province, Ghor, she lived in a Taliban-controlled village. Rokhshana was forced to marry someone she did not want and she fled with another man, hence the accusations of adultery that led to her sentencing and brutal execution.

Sharia codifies Islam’s many rules and governs everything from how to worship daily to personal behavior, economic and legal transactions and the governance of a nation. However, it is most commonly used as a tool to rob women of their most basic rights, including sexual autonomy.

Before Rokhshana’s tragic death, the world’s attention was caught for a while by the plight of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, who was sentenced to death for adultery in Iran, a country governed by Sharia law. Sakineh was ultimately not executed after an international outcry in her defense.

Before that, the world knew of the plight of the girl from Qatif, in Saudi Arabia, who was gang-raped by seven men and sentenced to 200 lashes and six months in prison for being alone with a man who was not her relative (see this from Katie Couric’s Notebook when she was at CBS).

The girl from Qatif was ultimately pardoned by the late King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia under pressure from President Bush. Unfortunately, the pardoning did not mean that a precedent was set to quash the law in such cases; it was nothing more than a gesture of politeness to the US.

Sometimes a publicity campaign here in the West followed by strong diplomatic action can work to save the life of a victim. Thanks to pressure from Western governments, Meriam Ibrahim, the Christian woman who was sentenced to death by the government of Sudan for apostasy and adultery, was able to get out of Sudan last year.

The problem is that so few cases make it to the headlines of the Western or even local media. What I find to be a double tragedy is that when the life of a woman is lost or threatened, we in the West condemn the act of cruelty but fail to take a stand against the principle upon which the punishment rests. It is like denouncing the Sharpeville Massacre of 1960 while saying nothing about the South African government’s doctrine of racial apartheid.

The only way to stop these ghastly punishments against women is to campaign forcefully against the principle of Sharia — to stop the Islamist narrative that says Islamic law protects the modesty, honor and well-being of the family.

Continue reading at:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ayaan-hirsi-ali/the-price-of-modesty_b_8481776.html

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Israeli academic shouted down in lecture at University of Minnesota

Shutting up Germaine Greer, shutting up Israeli academics, where does it all stop.  This way lies the path to tyranny.

From The Washington Post:  https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2015/11/04/israeli-academic-shouted-down-in-lecture-at-university-of-minnesota/


November 4, 2015

On Tuesday afternoon an Israeli academic was shouted down by two dozen protesters as he tried to begin a lecture before about 100 students and faculty at the University of Minnesota. The speaker was Moshe Halbertal, a professor at NYU Law School and a professor of Jewish thought and philosophy at Hebrew University. He was invited to deliver the Dewey Lecture in the Philosophy of Law, which is organized annually by the law school. That the freedom to present a lecture is threatened in this way at a public university is appalling, calling not only for punishment of violations but for a clear statement by university officials defending the free exchange of ideas.

The lecture, which I attended, was delayed half an hour as one by one the protesters stood up to shout denunciations of Israel and were escorted from the hall by university police. One young woman came screaming back into the lecture after having been ejected. Outside the hall, the protesters chanted so loudly that it was difficult to hear Halbertal, much less to concentrate on what he was saying, until 45 minutes after the lecture was to have begun.

The protests were apparently organized by a group calling itself the “Anti-War Committee,” which bragged on its Twitter feed about having disrupted the lecture and complained that the protesters’ “free speech” rights were violated when a few were arrested. It appears that no law students were involved, but many of the demonstrators were college-aged and the protest was endorsed by a group called Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), a university group. According to its Facebook page, SJP “promotes justice, human rights, liberation, and self-determination for the Palestinian people.”

The lecture was entitled, “Protecting Civilians: Moral Challenges of Asymmetric Warfare.” The talk did not directly address the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, though Halbertal drew in part on his experience helping to draft the Israeli army’s code of ethics. When he was finally able to speak, Halbertal argued that in fighting “asymmetric wars” (typically, wars between professional militaries and insurgencies or resistance movements) professional combatants should err on the side of protecting noncombatants from casualties, even when they thereby increase risks to themselves or to their cause.

It was a careful and nuanced presentation, one that was far more dovish and human-rights oriented than caricatures of Halbertal as a “war crimes apologist” by protesters suggested. But the protesters had no interest in hearing the lecture or in allowing the audience to hear it. Halbertal told me that in all of his lectures on the subject of warfare, including at Columbia University, this was the first time he had been subjected to a disruptive demonstration.

Continue reading at:  https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2015/11/04/israeli-academic-shouted-down-in-lecture-at-university-of-minnesota/

GoFundMe Gone Wild

From The New York Times:  http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/08/fashion/gofundme-gone-wild.html

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