The shiekh from al-Islah says YWU is making women "rebellious"

Time to support the women in Yemen

2011-12-16 | Mai Abdulmalik padlock


Tawakul Karman has received the Nobel Peace Price for her contributions in the struggle for democracy and peaceful change in Yemen. At the same time Mai Abdulmalik appeals in this open letter for the West not to support her political party, al-Islah. In her opinion representatives of the party have kidnapped the revolution and is putting her and other women's rights activists lifes at stake.

Dear all,

Here is a new Fatwa about the Yemeni Women Union.  The Shiekh in this video announces that the Yemeni Women Union is a “suspicious” organization that women should not join and participate in its activities.  He says that the YWU is making women” rebellious” and therefore not serving their husbands as they should even though it is man’s greatest right to be served by his wife.

Please note that such Fatwa’s may prevent thousands of women from using our centers and benefiting from our services that they desperately need.  Similar Fatwas have endangered the lives of our staff and volunteers all over Yemen. Two months ago our Taiz branch and our Abyan branch were burned down along with the house of our chairwoman in Abyan,  Amna Mohsin.  Back in 2008 our center in Bani Heshaish was burned down following a Fatwa by Al-Zendani.

Please let’s stop pretending to support these “moderate” Islamic movements as they are not moderate and they will never be.  They have repeatedly violated women’s rights and yet we are portraying them as human rights defenders.

 Let’s not forget what happens to women’s right activists who their reputation and morals are frequently attacked such as Ra’aofa Hassan when she stood up to these “moderate” Islamic movements and how her life was threatened and how she had to leave the country.  Last week a colleague of mine attended a workshop for a project funded by USAID and met a Parliamentarian who was brought as an expert on advocacy.  He said “the problem you women had with the early marriage law is that you brought Amal Albasha to the parliament with the way she dresses to ask for the early marriage law to be passed.  How did you expect my colleagues to react to her?” She replied “we expected you to respect her!”  

Let’s not forget their stand in the Parliament when the early marriage law was about to be approved and them using women to demonstrate in the streets, all covered up in black, holding signs that said “Yes to the legal rights for Muslim women” so they don’t pass the law.   

Let’s not forget how women have been caged lately and forced to stay in one place during demonstrations and only set free when they need them to burn veils (not their veils, God forbid!).  These “moderate” Islamic movements had enjoyed the support of the current regime for many years which caused a huge deterioration of women’s rights since 1994 and now they are enjoying a regional and international support and it looks like that they will enjoy the support of any upcoming governments. 

What I am asking is that you take a stand against these movements and support women in Yemen as it is enough that we are the worst country in the world when it comes to women’s education, women’s   access to health, women’s legal rights, women’s political rights, and women’s social rights.  I am asking you to join efforts and not let our political views stand between us.  Political parties have never stood up to us and always failed us so let’s not continue being disposable tools in their hands.  We should demand more rights and better laws and I think this is the best time to do it.  I don’t want history to look back to us and say that we could’ve done more for women and we had a chance and we lost it.


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