The way democracy is imposed on Yemeni women [Archives:2008/1163/Opinion]

May 12 2008

By: Khdija Al-Hashidi
Good morning women and congratulations on democracy and freedom! How happy the woman that takes off her veil and goes to visit the U.S embassy is. Our uncle Bush has promised to make us “democratic” people. Poor the one who asks his wife to get him his lunch, because the next day, he'd find himself in Guantanamo.

There is one thing you should learn: “now, it's fifty, fifty”. We do not know where Mr. Bush wants to take us with his democracy and reports of human rights.

Sometimes, he wants to liberate our women! Other times, he threatens us because we do not allow woman to travel unless she has a 'mahram' (a man form her relatives next to her). And sometimes, he wants to modify our “qura'an”.

Besides, those people of NDI are working very hard with “women”- they have nothing to do but to seduce those women and “those women” repeat what they hear from them like “parrots”: No for polygamies, No for 'mahram' (that goes with a woman while she's traveling), no for the man's guaranty on the woman, no for preventing women from wandering in markets and parks.

My sisters, democracy is neither running after Americans and Europeans from “a hotel” to another nor seeking dollars that Americans and Europeans distribute to “support women”.

Do not trust those who want “women” to be “free and democratic”. Because they are fooling America with some silly words just to get money to buy meat and “qat” and

America is fooling them with the money it gets from “oil-producing countries”

It is really a shame to let “a dancer”, under the name of democracy and freedom, run for president in any election, because if our President is a “dancer”, what would people do???

Women's access to democracy threatened:

Women's access to democratic processes is threatened even further in the current climate of economic rationalism, which favors notions of customers over citizens . Since the late 1980s many governments worldwide no longer see people as citizens whose rights to education, health care and welfare have to be met, but as customers who can purchase services provided by the state.

In Australia for instance, women still earn less then men (women's average full-time weekly earning constitute 85% of men's) their experiences as participants in a user-pays democracy may move prove to be very challenging.

Despite the current economic and political climate, or maybe even because of it, this article will not end on a pessimistic note. Although feminism, democracy and economic rationalism have not delivered everything they promised to women, we should not forget how much has changed since the first suffragettes started their movement, or even since Anne Summers wrote her first edition of “Damned Whores and God's Police”. As long as we acknowledge how much more needs to be done to secure women's access to democracy and recognize new challenges, the process of positive change will continue.

Islam and Democracy:

In order to succeed, reform from within must be in harmony with its cultural and civilization context. The erroneous idea that there is a contradiction between Islam and democracy must be refuted.

The rights of expression and information cannot be separated from rights to think and believe. Many national and international documents which declare human rights acknowledge the fact that freedom of expression and the freedom of thought are intertwined.

Freedom of thought and belief is repeatedly emphasized in the holy Quran. The Quran repeatedly reports the arguments of atheists and polytheists and reply to them objectively in order to teach Muslims how freedom of expression and information should be maintained to make such a dialogue fruitful.

According to Islam, freedom of expression and information is a basic human right. Islam condemns spreading lies and false information as well as passiveness and reluctance when the truths should be spoken.

The issue of women's rights is a controversial subject. The status of women varies greatly from society to another, but as a general rule, the status of women and their access to education is improving. In Egypt, for example, women have struggled for their rights since the beginning of the twentieth century. Today Egyptian women from all walks of life play an active role in the Egyptian society. Moreover, women's status in most Muslim countries is better than in many non-Muslim societies.

Islam emphasizes justice, equality, and human dignity. Islam also emphasizes democratic values of consent, consultation, and consensus. The Quran asserts the concept of 'Shura', or consultation, signifying that the leader must consult his followers, and rule with their consent. This is a basic tenet of Islam and a major element of democracy.