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Issues and Analysis

IFPC Calls for permanent solution to the Global Gag Rule

Members of the International Family Planning Coalition (IFPC) in the United States are working hard to find a more permanent solution to the Global Gag Rule. Currently, the policy is instated, repealed, reinstated, and so on from Administration to Administration. I do not have to tell you the harmful effects this policy has had on service delivery and most importantly the lives of women and young people. We want to ensure that this policy can no longer be used as a political football, and to achieve that, we need your help.

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The Great Catholic Cover-up

On March 10, the chief exorcist of the Vatican, the Rev. Gabriele Amorth (who has held this demanding post for 25 years), was quoted as saying that "the Devil is at work inside the Vatican," and that "when one speaks of 'the smoke of Satan' in the holy rooms, it is all true--including these latest stories of violence and pedophilia." This can perhaps be taken as confirmation that something horrible has indeed been going on in the holy precincts, though most inquiries show it to have a perfectly good material explanation.

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When 'traditional values' are used as a stick to beat women: the president's debate ought to address the subjugation of most of his electorate

When he opened the House of Traditional Leaders this week, President Jacob Zuma reiterated his call for a national debate on a moral code and on the values of South Africans. He argued that traditional leaders could play an important role in service delivery and rural development. The president quoted Albert Luthuli's famous model of leadership: "A chief is primarily a servant of his people."

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The struggle of being a woman journalist in Saudi Arabia

Fatima Sidia

The difficulties women journalists face in reporting an event in Saudi Arabia illustrates the wider difficulties experienced by women in the Kingdom. It starts with the press release. They arrive in abundance announcing outside events, seminars or conferences.

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France's burka dilemma

France could become the first country in Europe to ban the burka. A draft law submitted to the French parliament would make it illegal for a woman to cover her face in public spaces such as hospitals and trains. But the proposal has divided the country's five million-strong Muslim community.

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Religious leaders can help the fight for reproductive justice

A recent article in the Times of India described how some religious leaders in Afghanistan (called mullahs) have been encouraging their communities to use contraception, using quotes from the Quran to support their claims.

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Stoning is Not our Culture: A Comparative Analysis of Human Rights and Religious Discourses in Iran and Nigeria

Stoning is a cruel form of torture that is used to punish men and women for adultery and other 'improper' sexual relations. It is currently sanctioned by law and carried out by state actors in at least two countries, and at least seven individuals have been stoned to death in the last five years. This briefing paper analyses the stoning punishment through several lenses. First, we explain how stoning violates basic human rights. Stoning is a form of torture that is often characterised by gender discrimination and unfair judicial processes. Second, although stoning is often justified in the name of Islam, the use of stoning today is wholly un-Islamic and religiously illegitimate.

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No Justice in Justifications: Violence Against Women in the Name of Culture, Religion and Tradition

This briefing presents a survey of culturally justified violence against women, including how violence against women is justified by 'culture', the diff erent forms this violence can take, and recommendations for change. The SKSW Campaign is undertaking projects on `culture', women and violence, with partners in Senegal, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Pakistan, Indonesia, Iran, and Sudan.

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Negotiating Bliss

The bliss of an egalitarian and just relationship between spouses cannot be achieved through a sheet of paper. But Cassandra Balchin writes that in Muslim contexts efforts to take a fresh look at marriage contracts is certainly a step towards this goal.

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In Africa, a step backward on human rights

Desmond Tutu - Hate has no place in the house of God. No one should be excluded from our love, our compassion or our concern because of race or gender, faith or ethnicity -- or because of their sexual orientation.

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