Friday, June 29, 2007

Monday, June 25, 2007

California- 9 hours to go

I believe I mentioned before to the world's largest economy. I will get on the plane in about 9 hours and hopefully I will arive in Newyork 10 hours later. It will take me 6 more hours to get to LAX (LA airport) and it will take me another 3 hours to get to me destination (inside California ofcourse).
I really can't contain my excitment but I also can't get over the fact that its such a loooooong flight. Not to mention...I hate planes!

Keep reading, I will post from California pics and many interesting stuff!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Famous Darfurian Face

This is a picture I came across many times. She is a little girl from Darfur. I will let the picture speak for itself.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

New claims about the "killing" of the Sudanese leader -John Garang

On the 30th of June,2005, a Ugandan presidential helicopter carrying John Garang and other passengers crashed on its way back to South Sudan.
Even though, it was an "accident" . Many people believed he was assasinated. Nearly two years later, the case is still investigated and lately, Ms.Garang revealed new discoveries.


-THE Sudanese Embassy in Nairobi yesterday described as “too sensitive” claims by the widow of former Sudanese Vice-President John Garang de Mabior that he was assassinated.

Ambassador Majok Guandong said he was not ready to comment on the issue raised by Rebecca Garang, over the weekend, which he described as “personal.” He, however, said they were still studying the claims before making an official statement later this week.
Speaking through his press attaché Somaya Abdel Sadig, Mr Guandong said the widow did not accuse anyone or group of people of master-minding the alleged assassination plot.

The ambassador said he was among the scores of guests who had attended one of the two functions held over the weekend in honour of the former VP and founding leader of the Sudanese Peoples Liberation Army/Movement.Mr Guandong was in the company of Ms Garang in one of the functions held to commemorate the second anniversary of his death in a helicopter crash in South Sudan.

He attended the public lecture at the University of Nairobi in the afternoon, but not the dinner party at the Grand Regency Hotel, thereafter.At the dinner, Ms Garang said: “When my husband died, I did not come out openly and say he was killed because I knew the consequences. At the back of my mind, I knew my husband had been assassinated.

I want to add that if it was proved that he was "assasinated" then a third sudanese civil war might occur!

Balad Na7s( arabic for CURSED country!)

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Travelling in a post 9/11 world.

If you think that the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks is limited to the United States....Think Again!
Just so you know- 9/11 was condemned by many Muslims and it wasn't even organized by the international Muslim community. However, the people who organized the attacks will most probably not pay for what they did but of course the moderate Muslims will suffer and pay for it.

I'm a young African Muslim belonging to a "terrorist-supporting" country (at least it is portrayed this way!). I was raised in a liberal and tolerant household and taught to respect other religions and cultures. I lived in many countries and I attended many international schools. Being a third culture kid, I love getting to know about new cultures and I love travelling!

Sadly, in a post 9-11 world travelling is not as fun and comfortable as before. I
'm not generalizing here...I should be more specific- travelling while "Muslim" or "Arab" is very discomforting now!
In my case, not only Muslim but also Sudanese.Keep in mind that Sudan is one of the world's least favorite countries, Bin Laden lived in my country for a short time and if I want to travel to America, I have to go through "special procedures" along with my fellow Iranians, North Koreans, Cubans and Syrians. Goodies!


My friends brother ( a 14 year old Sudanese boy who attends a prestigious American school here in Cairo) was denied a visa to Belgium a week ago. Ironically, his 29 classmates were given visas so he was the only person not allowed to go on this "school trip".

I applied for an American visa a month ago. Please keep in mind that I'm going with 5 other Egyptian classmates and two American professors. My fellow classmates got their visas 2 weeks before me because my passport was sent to Washington for "Special procedures". Of course, being a sophomore at university with a diplomat father..I'm definitely a danger to the American society!Anyways, I received my visa three weeks later only to o find out that my visa only lasted 3 months ( keep in mind: my friends visas lasts 5 years!)Additionally, I paid extra because of my "Special visa procedures".

I'm not going to be surprised if I was taken to a special "interrogation room" at JFK! Everything is possible now.

Turkey's Airport (2004)- please keep in mind that I wasn't travelling to Turkey (because I was denied a visa to Turkey of course!) but I stopped in Turkey on my way to Bulgaria.
Anyways when we stood in lines ready to board the plane, I was surprised to find two lines.
First line: Americans and Europeans
Second line: Yes...THE REST OF THE WORLD!
I have to quote a fellow Sudanese blogger here who said that after 9/11 "airports are like big bedrooms". Everybody is getting naked! etc....
Not to mention the liquids confiscated!This is what I recall from Turkey's airport. ..Not to mention the toilet I used many times during my 12 hours stay there ( I couldn't leave the airport for some reason...go figure!)

All Eyes on the Muslim World

After 9/11, the Muslim world became very interesting. Middle-Eastern studies is a very popular major in America now. Not to mention the large numbers of western study-abroad students coming to the Muslim world for a semester or even a year( most of them are Americans). Many universities started offering Arabic language courses and learning Arabic will definitely land you a great job with the Department of State (I was told so!).I find it fascinating how the west is suddenly interested in the lives behind the veils, mosques, the political structure of Syria and life in post-revolutionary Iran.I was part of a web-conferencing program called Soliya last year. We met with four students from different universities in the United States and discussed the core problems between the United States and the Arab/Muslim world and other current issues such as the Palestinian/Israeli conflict and the Iraq war. This is just another way of opening dialogue between two very different parts of the worlds.

More about my American visa problems and frustrations.
I started writing this post after I received my passport because I was frustrated and angry. I considered cancelling my trip because 1- I thought I was discriminated against because of something not in my hands 2- I don't deserve this treatmentafter all, I paid a lot for this trip (yes Africans don't like wasting their money:) ) and I think I deserve it because I'm interested in the topic we are going to study and I'm not going to let the sour American-Sudanese relations stop me from going to graduate school there.However, I would like to add that if this trip was a "holiday", I would've cancelled it.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

light blogging, the UN, China and Darfur

I'm preparing for my California trip so I might not post for a while!;)

so...the UN troops is finally joining the AU troops to "save darfur"

The United States is blaming the death of 200,000 on China, Sudán's ally.

Olypmics are currently known as "the genocide olympics".

Saturday, June 9, 2007

A reply to Popovich's post about FGM

This is a reply to Popovich, an Australian blogger who read my post on FGM at Pommygranate's blog.
Here it is,

I have to admit that his reply was well-searched and well-written however, I would like to point out a few things.
"Except the part where she uses the term Female Genital Circumcision, but than refers to it as FGM thereafter, which actually stands for Female Genital Mutilation. A telling manifestation of double-think right there, I’d say.""

Female Genital Mutilation( FGM) or Female Genital Cutting (FGC) or Female Circumcision are all terms used to describe the same practice. I just used the terms interchangeably.

"Anyway, what is important is how a person justifies their actions - is it because “that's just how we do things round here” (ie. a cultural practice, like shaking hands in the West or rubbing noses amongst the Eskimos), or is it because the practice is made compulsory or recommended by their religious belief system? "

Ok..are all cultural practices derived from religion?

"The question is does Islam give justification for the practice?"

In a Hadith not in the Qu'ran. I will explain the difference in a while.
"Anyhow, are there any Christian priests in Ghana giving religious justification for FGM or does it exist despite the opposition of the Church? "

"In primarily Christian countries (for instance, Ghana), women undergoing circumcision make reference to the practice in the Old Testament, being performed by one of Abraham's wives, Sarah. However Genesis 17:23-27 only mentions circumcision being performed on male members of the household, and not by Sarah."

I also want to add that FGM was discouraged by priests, female Muslim activists and christian missionaries in Ghana but it still continues to exist because it is a cultural practice of course.

"FGM is certainly “obligatory” in most schools of Islam. In most schools it is seen as “noble”, “honorable” and “recommended”, but not obligatory."
The Maliki school holds that female circumcision is Sunnah, while Hanafi school as well as a reported view from the Hanbli school maintain that it is not sunnah; rather it is merely a makrumah (customarily recommended act, but no provisions in the Qur’an or Sunnah obligate nor recommend it). The Shafi`i school, on the other hand, and the famous view of the Hanbali school are of the opinion that it is mandatory as in the case of male circumcision.

"Anyhow, Kizzie sites three example here, two of conferences and one of a “meeting” of Muslim scholars where FGM was denounced. Note that all three events are from the last 2 years."

Fair enough!
I just mentioned recent conferences. I didn't know that I have to present a whole list of conferences held in the 20th and 21st century.

You have to keep in mind that:
-Most of the action taken to stop this practice was initiated by the UN for e.g:-
"n 1989, the Regional Committee of the WHO for Africa passed a resolution urging participating governments "to adopt appropriate policies and strategies in order to eradicate female circumcision" and "to forbid medicalization of female circumcision and to discourage health professionals from performing such surgery."
"In 1980, UNICEF announced that its anti-FGM program is "based on the belief that the best way to handle the problem is to trigger awareness through education of the public, members of the medical profession and practitioners of traditional health care with the help of local collectives and their leaders."
-Many of the conferences held in Africa in the 1990's discussed fgm in the context of "HIV prevention".
-Most of the conferences held in Africa to discuss fgm alone were held recently (e.g:- Al Azhar conference/international conference against fgm in 2001).

"I do wonder though whether these denouncement draw a distinction between “female circumcision” and FGM, by which some Muslims only refer to infibulation.
Female circumcision and FGM are two different terms referring to the same thing. Infibulation is a type of fgm, it is the most severe type.

"I also wonder why it took 14 centuries for these denouncements to come out. Where are the Fatwas banning the practice, other than those against Infibulation, the most severe of the four forms, prior to the the 21st century? Why did the scholars not try to rid of the Islamic world of this barbaric practice before Western influence shamed them into doing so? Why was a German human rights group needed to start the conference in the first place?"

I agree with you. In fact I'm asking myself the same question. I can't answer this question but I do have some ideas. First of all, I'm going to talk about Sudan for now. Sudan was the first country to ban fgm (1946 I believe!) but fgm has become part of the traditional sudanese culture and not only were the laws not properly enforced but even if they were properly enforced, it was going to take more than just laws to stop this practice. It's going to take a few generations to completely stop this practice.

I want to add that the Egyptian Health Minister did ban fgm in the 1990's but sadly, it didn't last long. In other words, the fgm debate is not at all recent but the action taken against it is recent.

"As for “Muslim scholars from all over the world [..] working together to ban its practice” (I am only seeing scholars from Al-Azhar)""
When conferences are held in Al Azhar, muslim scholars from all over the world are invited to attend.
"TARGET, a German human rights group, sponsored a conference on FGM in Cairo, Egypt. Muslim scholars from many nations attended"
""Egypt's two top Islamic clerics, Mohammed Sayed Tantawi, the Grand Sheik of Al-Azhar, the foremost theological institute in the Sunni Muslim world, and Grand Mufti Ali Gomaa, attended the conference, which drew scholars from as far afield as Russia."

"well, what about all the Muslim scholars all over the world encouraging it and using the Sunnah to justify it? They certainly seem to have the superior numbers."

I never said that all Muslim scholars or even all Muslims are against fgm. I just said that a lot of people are becoming aware of its dangers and are recognizing it as a social costum not a religious "fard".

"Before I start quoting some of these scholars, here are some quotations from the Hadiths that are commonly used to justify the practice"

You have to know that there is a difference between Hadith and the Qu'ran. The Qu'ran takes precedence because it’s the words of God. A similar thing is found in Judaism. I was discussing the similarities between Islam and Judaism with a Jewish guy a couple of months ago and he told me that they have a similar thing in Judaism (Hadith and Talmud/ Torat and Quran). He said that the Torah (Old Testament) takes precedence, like the Qu'ran does. And if things in the Talmud go against the Torah, then it is not permitted. Same type of deal as hadiths/sunnah vs qu'ran. There are many Jewish laws in the Talmud that most Jews are not aware of or don't practice.

"In Egypt we have four and a half million spinsters. The definition of a spinster is a woman who has reached 30, without ever receiving a marriage proposal. We have a spinster problem in the Arab world, and the last thing we want is for them to be sexually aroused. Circumcision of the girls who need it makes them chaste, dignified, and pure. "

personal opinion.

"FGM is a part of Islamic culture, it is an Islamic practice, which came to Indonesia with Islam and did not exist there prior."

-ok..I believe it is an old african practice that was incorporated into Islamic culture. I mentioned before that culture is heavily influenced by religion and vice versa. (e.g:- many people believe that many of the sufi traditions in sudan come from cultural values not religious ones).

"“The religious view is, if you are not circumcised you won’t have clean genitals after urinating. If then you pray, your prayer won’t be legal.”

This is not a religious view at all.

"The above dove-tails perfectly with what the religious arguments above - it is not an obligation, but an “honourable practice”. But far disturbing still are stories about the hundreds, if not thousands of Christian women from Indonesia’s Molucca Islands who were forcibly converted to Islam and in the process forcibly circumcised:""

I'm not even going to comment on this simply because I'm against forced conversions!

"Well, Kizzie, in a post-9/11 world Westerners have begun to take greater note of the fact that many Muslims use religion as justification for murder."

Is it fair to assume that all the crimes commited by muslims are committed in the name of Islam? ( this might answer the very interesting verses you presented)

Friday, June 8, 2007

Women and Men in Islam, are they equal?

In the next few days, I'm going to be discussing several issues according to the "Islamic laws"
My posts will be based on extensive research and articles written by respected professors and experts.

Women and Men in Islam, are they Equal?

Quran 3:195 tells us :
"Their Lord responded to them: "I never fail to reward any worker among you for any work you do, be you MALE OR FEMALE, YOU ARE EQUAL TO ONE ANOTHER........."

"Treat your women well and be kind to them for they are your partners and committed helpers."From the last sermon of Prophet Mohammed

Many of the Muslim countries who claim to follow Islam are treating women as a second class citizens, and some of these women accepted this situation thinking that is what Islam (Submission in English) is advocating.
As mentioned previously, God, in the Quran made a complete spiritual equality between men and women, See 3:195.
Most of the degrading, humiliation and poor treatment in these Muslim Countries for women, came from the desertion of the Quran , and refusal of the word of God in favor of some fabrications written in Hadith books that put women on the same level with animals, monkeys , asses or dogs.
The total respect and rights guaranteed by God for the Muslim women can not be taken away by a lie written in another man-made book. While God made men and women spiritually equal as seen in 3:195 the traditional Muslims who prefer Hadith over Quran always remind the women of this alleged Hadith:

" Anyone who works righteousness, MALE OR FEMALE, while believing, we will surely grant them a happy life in this world, and we will surely pay them their full recompense for their righteous works."
and yet again in 40:40,
"Whoever commits a sin is requited for just that, and whoever works righteousness - MALE OR FEMALE - while believing, these will enter Paradise wherein they receive provisions without any limits. "

The record set straight: Women in Islam have rights
by: Noha Ragab- Duke University

"What do women and Islam have in common? Besides the stereotyped images that each suffers from individually, the status of women in Islam is one of the most extremely misunderstood and incorrectly portrayed things in western society. We can investigate why this is so later. First, a brief introduction to the actual status of women in Islam is in order"

Quranic Verse
"O humankind, be conscious of your Sustainer who has created you out of one living entity, and out of it created its mate, and out of the two spread abroad a multitude of men and women."
- This is to confirm that Eve wasn't created from the rib of Adam ---This is a common example used to confirm the so-called superiority of men over women.

"The concept of gender equality in Islam is stressed by the non-superiority of either sex over the other. It came at a time when it was necessary to elevate the demeaned status of women and grant them rights equal to those of men. The equality of women in Islam is evident by the unprecedented legal rights given to them under a monotheistic religion as defined in the Quoran."

-Keep in mind that women and men are given equal rights in marriage and divorce. A woman can get married and can get divorced if she feels unhappy/dissatisfied etc...

"As for social rights, Islam has always recognized the prominent role that women play in society. They are given the freedom to pursue any profession including political positions. "

-A common belief is that Muslim women can't work. Absurd. Khadija, the prophet's wife was a businesswoman.

"Even in the earliest day of Islam, Aysha, the wife of the prophet, lead an army of 30,000 soldiers. Muslim women lead two Islamic countries: Benazir Bhutto served as the prime minister of Pakistan and was a strong and remarkable leader. Turkey was also headed by a Muslim woman, Tansu Ciller, who was elected the prime minister in 1993."

Current Islamic laws

"Much of the practices and laws in "Islamic" countries have deviated from or are totally unrelated to the origins of Islam. Instead many of these practices are based on cultural or traditional customs which have been injected into these societies. For example, in Saudi Arabia, women are not allowed to drive by law. This rule, in a country which is supposed to derive its law from Islamic legislation, is completely an invention of the Saudi monarchy. This horrific rule as well as a host of others are residues of old pre-Islamic tribal traditions where women were not entitled to the same rights as men. As another example, in some "Islamic" countries, many civil laws remain those that were imposed upon them during European colonization. Much of the civil law that legislates personal and family matters in Egypt, for example, is directly based on old French law. As a result, an Egyptian man can divorce his wife much more easily than the reverse. Consequently, women often have to suffer long and expensive court procedures and have to prove that they were mistreated by their husbands before being granted a divorce. Often times, laws in Middle Eastern countries, which are legislated and enforced by men, only take bits and pieces of Islamic law and combine them with concocted rules based upon some cultural or foreign practices. "

Quranic Verses

"GOD promises the believing men and the believing women gardens with flowing streams, wherein they abide forever, and magnificent mansions in the gardens of Eden. And GOD's blessings and approval are even greater. This is the greatest triumph." "9:72

"The submitting men, the submitting women, the believing men, the believing women, the obedient men, the obedient women, the truthful men, the truthful women, the steadfast men, the steadfast women, the reverent men, the reverent women, the charitable men, the charitable women, the fasting men, the fasting women, the chaste men, the chaste women, and the men who commemorate GOD frequently, and the commemorating women; GOD has prepared for them forgiveness and a great recompense." 33:35

"Oppression is worse than murder" (Quran 2:191, 2:217)


Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Hello development, care to stay?

Picture 1- AL Fateh Tower
Picture 2-Al Sunut project

I'm assuming many of you heard about El Fateh Tower/Burj al Fateh. (see picture 1)

El Fateh Tower- A massive Libyan-financed five-star hotel, shaped like a boat's sail, has already changed the city's low-rise skyline and work is well underway to transform parts of the sleepy city centre into a bustling, gleaming 24-hour metropolis.

For me, El Fateh tower is not only a shopping mall and a hotel, it is also a clear sign of development and of Sudan gracefully entering the 21st century. Almost.

Thankfully, we have oil! Both a blessing and a curse. In the case of Sudan it was both. Literally. Oil was a key cause of the second sudanese war and other conflicts. However, it is also a blessing seeing that in less than a decade, my beloved Sudan became Africa's third largest oil-producing country.

ok, many sudanese didn't see any "oil" yet but in some parts of Khartoum, oil could be seen ( not actual oil, I'm talking about the oil money).

Recently, the International Monetary Fund has praised Sudan's reforms and expects the economy to grow by 11% this year - one of the highest rates in Africa.

Another important project taking place in Sudan now is "Al-Sunut"- a vast building site consisting of 10 hotels, shopping malls and a huge residential area located in Al-Mugrun.

People like to refer to it as Africa's Dubai or mabye even New York City. All I know and all I'm sure of is that it will be amazing.

Amir Diglal, from the al-Sunut company behind the project, says the first of several international banks is due to open its doors later this year, with the entire project to be completed by 2014. (see picture 2)

Although many superpowers imposed severe sanctions on Sudan (such as Britain's largest ex-colony), many Arab, African and even South-Asian businessmen are investing their money in the Sudan.

Amir Diglal added that ""The Americans will miss a great opportunity in Sudan," .
Will El-Sunut affect the culture as well?
Here is the interesting part...
Mr Diglal hopes the project will do more than just provide an economic boost.
"The challenge is not money or engineering but changing the culture."
He paints a picture of, no-doubt wealthy, Sudanese people strolling along the banks of the Nile from a top class restaurant to a cinema showing the latest releases.
Some go even further.

"One day, we might even have nightclubs," says one of those involved in the project.
( keep in mind: this person wanted to remain annoymous because he doesn't want problems with the authorities).
Surprisingly, unlike many African and ehm ehm "Arab" countries, alchohol is banned in Sudan. In other words, it is not served anywhere unlike the good old days! Before our very own Islamic revolution ( we did have an Islamic revolution in Sudan although it wasn't a revolution and a shah wasn't involved if you know what I mean!) alcohol was served in places and till this day, you can see the empty bars in the Khartoum hotels.
2-My mind

FGM from an African, Muslim and Female point of view....

In Islam, if a woman is not sexually satisfied, she has the right to divorce her husband.

Female Genital Circumcision or simply Female circumcision is the excision of any part of the "female genitalia". FGM is common in African countries such as Burkina Faso ( 70%), Djibouti(90%), Egypt (97%), Guinea (98%), Somalia(90-98%), Sudan(90%) and some Arab countries in the Middle East or even the immigrant population in Europe and North America.
There are four types of FGM:
1-Clitoridectomy: total or partial removal fo the clitoris.
2-Excision: removal of the clitoris and the partial or complete removal of the labia minora.
3-Infibulation: removal of the clitoris, the labia minora and the labia majora.
4-Other types: usually found among isolated ethnic groups and it involves "cutting". There is no removal of tissues.

Part 1
Why is FGM not Islamic?
Their are three main arguments against this widespread belief
A- FGM predates both Christianity and Islam since it is believed to date back to time of the Pharaohs.
Evidence 1- It is mentioned in an ancient Greek document that it was a common practice in Egypt (the document dates back to 163 B.C.)
Evidence 2- In Sudan, infibulation(type three) is referred to as the "pharonic circumcision".
B- FGM is found in non-Muslim societies example: Christians in Ghana and other non-Muslim societies in India and South America.
C-If FGM was obligatory in Islam then Muslim scholars from all over the world wouldn't be working together to ban its practice.
1-At a conference on female genital mutilation in Cairo, Muslim scholars from around the world called for female genital mutilation to be banned and for those who carry it out to face punishment carried out by the government.
2-Last year, a meeting was held at azhar university( the top Islamic university in the Middle East and North Africa ) and they finally banned FGM from all Muslim societies and they classified it as a "Crime".
3-In 2005, at an African Regional Conference on "Islam and the Family Well-Being" ,Dr Ahmend Talib, Dean of the Faculty of Sharia, Al Azhar University, Cairo, said: "All practices of female circumcision and mutilation are crimes and have no relationship with Islam. Whether it involves the removal of the skin or the cutting of the flesh of the female genital is not an obligation in Islam".
I would like to add this very important piece of information.
"Infibulation, or Pharaonic Circumcision is mutilation (Arabic: Muthla) and as such is chargeable as a crime in Islamic law. The practice, if perpetrated, would obligate that the defendant pay the full price of blood-money to the plaintiff for removal of the labia. If sexual stimulus is lost then another compensatory payment would be paid equal to the first, and if procreation is impossible then another of equal value. This view means that FGM in Islamic law is equal to wrongful death. The judge presiding over the case may opt for jail time as a deterrent, or public reprimand, or any other non-proscribed punishment that is seen as fitting to deter the rest of the public for the act "". (

Part 2
Social custom...Yes..No...Mabye?

The evidence presented above leads us to to believe that FGM could be a "social custom" or a "cultural practice" and not a religious one. It is true that FGM is very prevalent in Africa but it is also found in parts of Asia such as Indonesia.
"Type I (commonly referred to as clitoridectomy) and less invasive procedures (Type IV) are the forms of female genital mutilation (FGM) or female genital cutting (FGC) practiced in Indonesia. The practice is generally referred to as female circumcision in Indonesia. It occurs in parts of East, Central and West Java, North Sumatra, Aceh, South Sulawesi and on Madura Island, as well as in many other parts of the archipelago
Virginity in Africa
-It is very important to understand that a girls virginity is very important in almost all African societies. It is assumed that FGM controls a woman's sexuality. In other words, it makes sure a woman stays a virgin until marriage ( For example:- After infibulation, the labia majora are held together using stitching so when a girl gets married she must undergo reverse infibulation which involves her husband using a "knife") .
-In some African societies, social conformity is always emphasized upon ( e.g:- my aunt told me a story about a girl who wanted to be circumcised because her friends and cousins were circumcised and she felt singled out).

Why is FGM a symbol of Islam's oppression?

In the last few decades, FGM started to be considered as another symbol of the "woman-hatting", "gender apartheid enforcing "and "oppressive" religion called "Islam". This is mainly due to the constant association of Islam with FGM perpetuated by "literature". Beyond the veil: Male-female dynamics in a modern Muslim society by Fatima Mernissi, Desert Flower by Waris Dirie, Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali are all books that portray FGM as a savage practice mandated for Muslim women.
Interestingly, old researches about FGM in Africa usually concentrated on FGM as a social costum or tradition but now it is usually discussed from a religious perspective. Living in a post-9/11 world we should expect things to be very religionized and not culturized . Let's say a Christian man is killed by a Christian man, it will be reported as " man killed man" but if a Muslim man killed a Christian or a Jewish man, it will be reported as "Muslim man killed Christian man". I don't see why we should blame religion for everything or even view religion as the only cause of things. We should look at other factors affecting a society such as "culture. I know that the cultures of both African and Arab societies are generally affected by "religion" but there are things that are banned by religion but accepted by culture (A common example is forced or arranged marriages. There is no evidence in Islam to justify "arranged marriages". In fact, a girl has the right to marry any man she believes is the right one for her even if her family disapproves.) In other words, arranged marriages are usually influenced by the society a personal lives in and the culture they have to conform to.
My favorite culture vs. religion example is "pre-martial sex". I believe that pre-martial sex is prohibited in Islam/Christianity and Judaism but one can't help but notice that most Muslim societies are very strict about this. This is not necessarily because of religious beliefs, it is also because of pre-martial sex being so culturally-unacceptable here.
This brings us back to the importance of virginity in the Muslim world.

Wholeheartedly Not oppressed Sudaniya

Monday, June 4, 2007

Afrospear is recruiting!

This is an official invitation to interested bloggers of African descent who want to make a difference.

Dear Blogger,

You are invited to become a member of the Afrospear. We are a group of concerned African Diaspora bloggers who discuss problems that affect people of African descent, create solutions and action plans to solve those problems, and inact those plans using internet resources.

The purpose of Afro Spear

We want to change the world and we can do it with your help. Everyone has a value in this project whether it be contributing ideas, finding resources, doing research, connecting with bloggers, contacting the media, recruiting other members, spreading the word, connecting us to other organizations, or signing petitions. Every African Diaspora blogger is IMPORTANT and VALUABLE to our cause. No one is a leader and everyone is a leader here. If you come up with a campaign then please tell us about it in the campaign section or refine your idea in the other forums. Visit the Brainstorming Ideas forum to read and submit possible solutions to our problems. If you find another organization we should know about or help then please tell us about them. If you have a great action plan then please make it happen. You don't need anyone's permission to do so. We are all independent bloggers here and we want to stay independent. Participate as much or as little as you want, when and how you want. We hope that together we can improve all of our lives and CHANGE THE WORLD!

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Why Sudan rejects UN troops

Many of my non-sudanese readers asked me the same question " If the Sudanese government can't stop the conflict in Darfur then why on earth are they rejecting the UN troops".
I answered a couple of them but my answer was half satisfying.
Here you go, this is a very good answer from Sara Flounders who travelled to Sudan after the bombing of El Shifa pharamceutical plant in 1998.
She is very anti-west and anti-US but her answer is similar to that of the Sudanese government when they were asked to accept the UN intervention.