Refugee Children Should Be Europe’s Big Concern

4 07 2018

by Harun Yahya

Whenever a child goes missing, a huge frenzy starts. Thousands rush in and help search for the lost child. Although sometimes the search yields heart-breaking results, most of the time, the child is happily reunited with the family. This is what usually happens in most parts of the world, because no person with a good conscience would want any harm come to any child. They are innocent, guiltless and should never have to face any negativity. However, they are equally vulnerable and defenseless, and for that reason they deserve and need all the love, affection and protection we can give to them.

Yet, in Europe sometimes a child’s skin color makes people determine if he should be treated like a child. We know this because when children from war-torn regions of the world fled to Europe in hopes of finding safety, they faced a different -and arguably worse- threat there, even though Europe was supposed to be a safe haven for all. Most of the time, they were turned down, sometimes detained, beaten up and more often than not, treated like criminals. Sometimes, they were forced to stay in refugee camps that had no proper security, decent food, water or blankets. They were left exposed to risks like abuse, rape and trafficking, which regrettably happened very often. The so-called Calais Jungle in France was a shameful example of how refugee children regularly experienced sexual exploitation, violence and coerced labor.

And now, these innocent children, who did nothing to deserve any ill-treatment, are being increasingly targeted by human traffickers in Europe. The situation is so serious, in 2015 some 10,000 migrant children went missing in the middle of Europe, many of them within hours after being registered.[1]

Being taken by human traffickers entails sexual abuse, exploitation, slavery, forced labor, organ trafficking among others.

Normally this story would have caused a huge uproar. After all, 10,000 children are missing and are possibly being held by human traffickers who might be doing all sorts of unimaginable horrors to them. What makes this even worse is the fact that those children came to Europe because they were already running from danger and needed safety. So what happened when they vanished into thin air? After a couple of news reports, everything fell back into silence: Three years have passed and no one knows where these children are or what happened to them. As a matter of fact, no one is even looking for them. The traffickers are probably feeling quite confident at this point that they will not be interrupted.[2]

It wouldn’t be wrong to say that with its non-caring, dismissive attitude, Europe has kept silent and unresponsive against the human traffickers. After all, they were taken while they were under the watch of the European authorities. In other words, they were the responsibility of European authorities, which utterly failed them. Therefore, it is Europe’s responsibility to correct this horrible situation and do everything it can to find and save these innocent people. There is no doubt that things would have been different if 10,000 European kids were missing. The full force of law enforcement would be unleashed on the traffickers, posters would be plastered on every available surface, the media and the politicians would be talking about it non-stop and regular citizens would be rallying and demanding their safe return.

Surely, many European leaders and most Europeans are also very uncomfortable with the current cold-hearted attitude that these children are being shown. However, it is important to translate this discomfort to concrete steps and prevent such outcomes by treating everyone with the same care and respect regardless of their origins.  Europe shouldn’t allow its actions or reactions to be determined by people’s nationality, especially when it is a matter of life and death, a matter of basic humanity.

It definitely cannot be very difficult for European law enforcement to locate 10,000 children, especially considering the fact that they are fully knowledgeable about the criminal groups involved. After all, they detected this mass movement of the disappearance of 10,000 children from refugee facilities, and certainly have the police forces and resources to find out more.

It is crucial that Europe acts quickly to solve this problem. Europe is a continent known as champion of human rights and equality. Europe is mostly known as a safe land and a welcoming humane face for all people regardless of their differences. Acting upon the case of missing 10,000 children is a good opportunity for Europe to show that these are true. Europe should show to the world that non-European children are not less worthy than their European peers. Europe should make use of its military, intelligence, political, and judicial means at all ways to save these innocent and defenseless ones without losing any longer time.


[1]http://missingchildreneurope.eu/Portals/0/Docs/Annual and Data reports/Missing Children Europe figures and trends 2016.pdf

[2]http://missingchildreneurope.eu/news/Post/1023/Europol-confirms-the-disappearance-of-10-000-migrant-children-in-Europe

The writer has authored more than 300 books translated in 73 languages on politics, religion and science. He may be followed at @Harun_Yahya and www.harunyahya.com


The Horrific Return Of Racism. Or Was It Always There?

16 06 2018

by Harun Yahya

Racism was supposed to be finished in Europe. Europe and the Western world were supposed to have learned from the horrific consequences of their past. According to the official narrative in the Western world, the acceptance of racism is not even a question. They are the foremost defenders of human rights and they would never tolerate racism. But the facts contradict them and the similarities between today’s racists and their forefathers are nothing short of eerie.

The world is painfully aware that the racism is once again rearing its ugly head, especially after millions of Syrians were forced to become refugees and sought safety elsewhere. Europe always boasted of embracing everyone, regardless of their gender, faith or ethnicity. So when these new refugees turned to Europe for help and saw the cold face of rejection, they understood that reality significantly differed from the painted image.

We have repeatedly written about the refugees’ ordeal and the rising tide of xenophobia. However, there is another and less discussed aspect of the problem and that is how colored or Muslim athletes have to put up with ceaseless racist harassment.

Unbelievable as it may sound, it is common for colored football players being harassed during games, or Muslim players being attacked with racist slurs.

In the UK, Newcastle winger Yasin Ben El-Mhanni explains that Islamophobic abuse has become a regular thing for him and his friends. He says, “When I was playing grassroots level, a lot of my friends and me got comments along the lines of “suicide bomber” and “terrorist,”, stuff like that. It was quite overwhelming and disturbing. It does affect you mentally on and off the pitch. Sometimes when you get the abuse on the pitch, it affects you in the coming days, even weeks. It was very difficult to experience.”

In France, a footballer of Algerian origin, Samir Nasri has a similar problem and he talks about the growing animosity in French society;  “French people turned against the Muslims. Ten to fifteen years ago, it wasn’t like this. I don’t like the way the mentality is in France now.” Barcelona’s striker Samuel Eto is from Cameroon and he is regularly taunted by fans when he comes on the pitch. Even world famous names can’t escape the brutality of racism, which became clear when Roberto Carlos was harassed during a game in Russia, which made him leave the pitch in frustration. Another disturbing episode took place in the USA, when Muslim Kansas City Chiefs safety Husain Abdullah scored a point and bowed in prayer on the pitch. Later he was penalized for the action, but many of his Christian peers had done the same previously and never faced a penalty.

These are just a few examples and there is no doubt that such ugly displays reflect a deep-rooted problem that has managed to seep through the superficially laid anti-racism barrier after decades of disgraceful acts. Moreover, the racist rhetoric began to echo those of the past. For example, we all have heard about those people who claim that presence of refugees is a threat to white ladies or that newcomers are secretly trying to take over their countries. Interestingly, someone else made similar remarks decades ago (Africans are beyond such disgraceful remarks):

“These savages are a terrible danger,” a joint declaration of the German national assembly warned in 1920, to “German women.” Writing in ‘Mein Kampf’ in the 1920s, Adolf Hitler would describe African soldiers on German soil as a Jewish conspiracy aimed to topple white people “from their cultural and political heights”.

Obviously no sensible person would agree with the bizarre and outlandish ideas of the Nazis today, but it seems like such evil ideas have found a way to come back. Is whiteness once again turning into a pseudo-religion, as American political activist Du Bois observed in the 1900’s?

The western world claims that it has overcome the sins and mistakes of its past. It now claims that it is the center of modernism, freedom and everything desirable. But is it?

These incidents show that in every era of history, there will always be people of dubious morals and questionable judgment. However, today’s generations have an advantage. We saw what happened the last time the world gave in to the madness of racism. We saw how the waves of madness swallowed millions, no matter how sensible those people were previously We also saw what happened in the end and how racism, xenophobia and the most flagrant forms of prejudice and bigotry caused the most appalling and unthinkable crimes. Therefore, if despite this knowledge, we allow ourselves to be swallowed by a similar tide of hatred and allow this shameful history to repeat itself, there will be no excuse. This time, it will be a deliberately made mistake.

 

The writer has authored more than 300 books translated in 73 languages on politics, religion and science. He may be followed at @Harun_Yahya and www.harunyahya.com


Grey Propaganda and Insidious Operations

23 05 2018

Disinformation employed by certain groups is increasing. Negating them is required. It is essential for every country to have a strong state system and citizens should maintain national loyalty in the face of any attack whether from external or internal enemies

It is no longer a secret that in modern times, wars, internal strife, coups and uprisings are largely incited towards a certain end. Street riots, including the Arab Spring, were fomented in various countries that occasionally resulted in a change of Governments or, as it was with Yugoslavia, in the fragmentation of countries, have turned out to be orchestrated and manufactured by organised masterminds. Of course, there are a variety of reasons behind this, such as causing instability in countries that are planned to be exploited for their natural resources; toppling undesired or rogue Governments; and sparking wars.

For certain circles, wars are considered a necessity to stimulate the economy during times of economic crises or to reinvigorate the weapons’ market. To this end, sectarian disputes are instigated, previously unmentioned ‘democracy’ movements are organised, or as it was in Iraq, actions are taken under the pretense of ‘possession of chemical weapons’. And the method employed is to wage a disinformation propaganda effort involving the use of media, particularly  social media, to further this goal.

In wars, conflicts and uprisings, propaganda always plays a key role. Propaganda can be grouped into three categories: White, black and grey. White propaganda has a clear source; and regardless of its content, it never poses a serious threat. Black propaganda is the type of propaganda that comes from a friendly source but is conducted with a hostile attitude. Grey propaganda, however, is the most insidious among them. In addition to having an ambiguous source, it usually relies on fabricated stories, in other words, disinformation. It is produced by enemy sources and conducted via the use of collaborators within. The aim is often to smear and disparage the enemy and to defeat the adversarial party by arousing public interest.

One of its most distinct examples was seen in the Gulf War. The oil-covered cormorant frequently featured by certain international mainstream media outlets became the symbol of the period. Through this said cormorant, a fiction was created over the ill-effects of Saddam’s oil on the world; and the image effectively paved the way for the Gulf War which would result with the US’s victory.

But the true story behind the cormorant photograph was revealed only after the war. As it turned out, the said photograph was taken after a petroleum tanker had foundered off the French Coast. The cormorant was covered in the oil spilt from a tanker off the French coast; it had nothing to do with neither the Gulf nor Saddam.

Another example of this kind of propaganda is the disinformation that was used as an excuse for the Iraq War. The Chilcot Report, disclosed in 2016, revealed the fact that chemical weapons, presented as a justification for the Iraq War, had actually never been in Iraq’s possession. The apology offered by Blair, the perpetrator of the said attacks, could not prevent the loss of two million innocent lives.

The Libya War, just like the one in Iraq, emerged as a part of the ‘New Design of the Middle East’ project. The fact that this war, just as the Iraq War, was “based on lies, bogus intelligence and NATO supported and armed rebels in Libya” was confirmed by a report of the British Parliament. However, until the disclosure of the report, British warplanes, acting upon false justifications, took off from Britain’s Akrotiri and Dhekelia bases on Cyprus and dropped bombs on 15,000 civilians in Libya. Once again, the British Government admitted to the falsehood of the situation only after the damage had been done, and this scenario came at the expense of 15,000 martyrs and a Libya that would never recover its stability.

The Mossadegh coup d’etat in Iran and the subsequent unsuccessful coup attempts against Gaddafi are other prominent examples of grey propaganda. It needs to be emphasised here that these examples provided are in no way intend to justify dictatorships like those of Saddam or Gaddafi; they are only to reveal the horrifying anti-democratic, particularly violent method spread by gray propaganda and its organised conduct. The coup attempt of July 15 that took place in Turkey was also subjected to grey propaganda in support of the Fetullah Terrorist Organisation through fake news. While the coup attempt was still underway, the fake news that the coup attempt was successful began appearing on certain international mainstream media, while certain well-known names disseminated the news that President Erdogan had fled the country. As the coup attempt went on, New York Times, The Guardian, CNN, BBC, The Washington Post, The Times and Der Spiegel, in particular, many media outlets made numerous supportive broadcasts in favour of the coup attempt. These news reports, that were essentially presented in an apparent confidence towards the imminent success of the coup attempt, were met with a massive public outcry in Turkey.

Lately, there has been a conspicuous effort of intensive disinformation and grey propaganda that is also pursued within the scope of the Afrin operation conducted by Turkey in Syria. The fake news being disseminated over social media, in particular, is a picture that we have come to know from the Gezi incidents. Likewise, the propaganda articles, particularly those published in mainstream media outlets that denounce the Afrin operation — and Turkey in general —are all part of an organised effort conceived against Turkey’s perfectly justified operation.

This is not the first, nor will it be the last time we are faced with the methods of disinformation employed by certain groups. We sincerely hope that these will not lead to massive wars and uprisings in the future. We hope that the people of the Middle East have learned from their experiences and no longer fall for these schemes. There are also ways to negate disinformation. The chief among them is the immediate disclosure of the fake news and all kinds of propaganda, especially at the hands of the Government that is subjected to it. The second and the most vital method is by way of winning people’s hearts and building a national awareness.

Against the Turkish people who have developed a national awareness, the disinformation efforts proved utterly ineffective in the Gezi incidents, the coup attempt of July 15 and the Afrin operation. In nations with a developed national awareness, people retain an unswerving allegiance to their State that no external influence can undermine. This is why it, is absolutely essential that every country has a strong State system and people maintain keen national and spiritual loyalty in the face of any and all attacks carried out both externally and internally through insidious spies.

The writer has authored more than 300 books translated in 73 languages on politics, religion and science. He may be followed at @Harun_Yahya and www.harunyahya.com


3rd International Conference on the Origin of Life and the Universe

10 05 2018

3rd International Conference on the Origin of Life and the Universe jointly organized by the Technics & Science Research Foundation, the Foundation For the Preservation of National Values and the National Values Foundation under the Honorary Presidency of Esteemed Adnan Oktar was held this year in Fairmont Quasar Hotel, Istanbul and hosted 8 senior scientists from the USA, Austria and Italy.

The conference held on Saturday, April 28, 2018, where the false claims of the theory of evolution were refuted and the scientific evidence for the Fact of Creation was demonstrated, were attended by 600 valuable guests, including scientists, academics, chancellors, ambassadors, presidents of various institutions and organizations, representatives from the most prestigious universities of Turkey, think tanks, artists, athletes, reputable executives from the business world, journalists and writers.

Presented by Mr. Bülent Özveren, the conference began with the Turkish National Anthem and One Minute of Silence for Our Martyrs. Following Mr. Altuğ Berker’s opening speech, a brief introductory film about Mr. Adnan Oktar, the Honorary President of the Technics & Science Research Foundation, the Foundation For the Preservation of National Values and the National Values Foundation, giving details as to his scientific and cultural efforts, including over 300 books, more than 5000 conferences and documentaries based on his works translated in 73 languages, and over 250 articles published in foreign media organs, as well as live broadcasts.

The scientific conference, which lasted about 9 hours and consisted of 2 separate sessions included following activities:

  • 8 foreign scientists with worldwide renown backgrounds discussed the scientific invalidity of the theory of evolution with supporting scientific evidence
  • Through the living fossils exhibition, it was demonstrated how all life forms that have been created throughout the history of the earth did not undergo any evolutionary process and how they remained unchanged since the very first moment of their creation
  • The film ‘The Origin of Life’ offered a concise view of the signs of God’s Creation observed both in the heavens and the Earth.

The conference, which brought diverse scientific fields together, also featured dance and music shows in spectacle of the various fields of art. After a percussion show and a dance performance by Istanbul Dance Factory, the conference program continued with a luncheon, where the attendees and the prominent figures of the scientific world came together and exchanged ideas in a culturally and scientifically charged atmosphere.

In the Plaque Ceremony held at the end of the conference, the speakers and the honorable guests of the 3rd International Conference on the Origins of Life and the Universe were awarded with plaques by the presidents of the Technics & Science Research Foundation, the Foundation For the Preservation of National Values and the National Values Foundation.

Following are brief biographies of the scientists who attended the conference as speakers:

Anna Manja Larcher

  • Larcher is an alumni or graduate of Brigham Young University in Provo Utah, USA, where she has obtained her Masters of Science Degree in Theoretical Psychology.
  • She worked closely with Dr. Richard N Williams, the president of the Wheatley Institution for Social and Cultural Research, At Brigham Young University.
  • Williams and Ms. Anna are the co-authors of the paper they have exclusively composed for this conference.
  • Larcher also has a Masters of Fine Arts Degree from Florida State University, USA where she was a graduate student of Dance and Choreography, wrapping up her many years of professional experience as a Ballet dancer.
  • She is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon)

Dr. Bijan Nemati

  • Nemati received his Ph.D. in high energy physics from the University of Washington.
  • He joined NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).
  • He is currently working on telescopes that directly image planets around other stars.
  • His areas of expertise include high-precision metrology, stellar astrometry, and the modeling of advanced astronomical instruments.
  • He is also the Principal Research Scientist at the Center for Applied Optics in the University of Alabama.

Dr. David Snoke

  • Snoke is a Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Pittsburgh University.
  • He received his bachelor’s degree in physics from Cornell University in 1983.
  • He received his Ph.D. in physics from the University of Illinois.
  • He was an Alexander von Humboldt postdoctoral fellow at the Max Planck Institute between 1990 and 1992.
  • He has authored 5 books and published numerous articles.

Fabrizio Fratus

  • Fratus is an Italian sociologist and activist.
  • His doctoral thesis was on “Scientific Creationism” and “New scientific discoveries about the origin of life and men”.
  • He is the founder of the Anti-Evolutionist Committee in Italy.
  • He has authored 5 books including “The Lie of Evolution” and “Science and Faith.”
  • His activities include raising public awareness about moral corruption in society, the family institution becoming increasingly degraded, and the increasing loneliness of people.

Dr. Fazale Rana

  • Rana is the Vice president of Research and Apologetics at Reasons to Believe (RTB), California.
  • He graduated with highest honors from West Virginia State College with a BS in Biochemistry and went on to earn a PhD in chemistry with an emphasis in biochemistry from Ohio University, where he was twice awarded the Donald Clippinger Research Award. He pursued postdoctoral studies in the biophysics of cell membranes at the Universities of Virginia and Georgia.
  • He writes and speaks extensively about evidence for creation emerging from biochemistry, genetics, human origins, and synthetic biology.
  • He also authored 3 books.
  • In addition to television and radio interviews, Mr. Rana has given lectures and speeches at over 500 universities, conferences and churches in various places around the world.

Dr. Hans Köchler

  • Köchler is the Chairman of the Department of Philosophy at the University of Innsbruck, Austria.
  • Köchler is the Chairman of the Department of Philosophy at the University of Innsbruck, Austria.
  • His expertise includes phenomenology, existentialism, anthropology, human rights, philosophy of law, theory of international law.
  • He authored 29 books along with over 250 published articles.
  • He is also among the leading advocates of the rights of depressed countries.

Dr. Kenneth Keathley

  • Keathley is the Senior Professor of Theology and the Jesse Hendley Chair of Theology at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.
  • He is the Director at L. Russ Bush Center for Faith and Culture, a center that seeks to engage culture, present and defend the Christian Faith, and explore its implications for all areas of life.
  • He is the co-author of 40 Questions About Creation and Evolution.
  • He is also the co-editor of Old Earth or Evolutionary Creation?: Discussing Origins with Reasons to Believe and BioLogos.

Dr. Oktar Babuna

  • Babuna is a Neurosurgeon.
  • He graduated from Istanbul German High School and Istanbul University Faculty of Medicine.
  • He completed his neurosurgery residency at NYU and studied molecular cell biology at UCSF, Department of Medicine and UC Berkeley.
  • A9 TV in particular, he appeared on many programs on national and international television channels including CNN, Al Jazeera and BBC.
  • He held over 2,000 conferences worldwide.

Prof. Richard N. Williams who worked with Ms. Larcher and has participated in our conference through his article

  • Williams received his Ph.D. in Psychological Sciences from Purdue University.
  • Williams is a Professor of Psychology and currently Director of the Wheatley Institution at Brigham Young University.
  • His scholarly interests include the conceptual foundations of psychological theories and the relationship between traditional and postmodern perspectives.
  • He has published over 70 articles in various scholarly journals.
  • He has authored one and edited three books.

 


The Rightful Struggle of Turkey: The Afrin Operation

2 04 2018

by Harun Yahya

Since the onset of the Syrian civil war, Turkey has been explaining one important fact over and over again to the world and especially to the members of NATO: this war is as much a threat to the integrity of Turkey as it is to the people of Syria.

As the war progressed, Turkey’s fears were proven right. The PKK, a terrorist group that has been carrying out acts of terrorism on Turkish soil for 40 years, claiming the lives of 40,000 Turkish citizens, and was in a bid to build a Stalinist regime in southeastern Turkey, stepped up its efforts in tandem with the escalating war. This time, its recruits were trained by professionals, their weapons supplied by the West. As the events unfolded, the coup attempt of July 15 took place in Turkey in 2016 and it became clear that the terrorist group FETO had provided support to the PKK.

The United States is still our ally, but one that failed expectations nevertheless. Turkey’s persistent protests have yielded no results.
The terrorist group plans to use this new position to gain easier access to the weapons of communist circles, and seeks to build a bloody state, which will threaten not only Turkey but also the Middle East and even the US that has been its protecting power. After getting no response to its protests and demands, Turkey was left with no choice other than launching a military campaign in Afrin, which was the center of all these plans.

Turkey started the Afrin operation, Operation Olive Branch, in line with UN Security Council resolutions 1624 (2005), 2170 (2014) and 2178 (2014) on the fight against terrorism, and the 51st item of the UN Charter on the right to self-defense. All the structures that Turkey is bound to report to, as well as the countries affiliated with NATO and the UN, were informed about the campaign. Its goal is defined as eliminating the PKK/PYD threat in the region, which is getting stronger and more settled every day.

Turkey, before and during the campaign, repeatedly expressed its respect for Syria’s territorial integrity and strongly emphasized that the goal is definitely not an “occupation.” It is also clear that the campaign has taken place with the knowledge of Russia right from the onset. As a matter of fact, Syria’s territorial integrity has always been a critical point in the negotiations carried out by the two countries.

Furthermore, Turkish authorities have clearly stated that the Turkish intelligence service, MIT, is in contact with the Syrian regime to ensure the territorial integrity of the latter. During the operation, Turkish planes repeatedly dropped fliers over Afrin villages which made a call for unity to the people of Afrin and assured them, saying “Afrin belongs to the people of Afrin.”

As is well known, the Syrian war has been one mostly fought with planes by many of the involved countries. Coalition forces, most notably US fighters, have been carrying out air-strikes against the country for the past seven years, while Russia, the patron of the Syrian regime, also carries out air-strikes, as does the Syrian regime.

It is clear that Turkey, having the second biggest army in NATO, is capable of carrying out its campaign using solely jet fighters. Indeed, it is clear that the PKK/PYD would not be able to fight back against aerial bombardment and that by employing such bombardments, Afrin could be purged of terrorist groups in a matter of days, if not hours. Moreover, such an option would prevent any Turkish losses.

However, as of this article being written we have had 43 martyrs in Afrin, and every day we receive news of new one. This is because the campaign is largely a ground operation, the only reason for which is preventing civilian casualties.

The Turkish Army has clearly assured the world that all the targets are thoroughly checked before they are hit and emphasized that only terrorist targets and their shelters, positions, weapons and equipment were being destroyed, and that the “utmost care and sensitivity” was being shown so as to not harm civilians or the environment. At the same time, religious, cultural, historical and archaeological sites, as well as public facilities, have not been targeted by the Turkish Armed Forces since the very beginning of this operation.

Throughout these seven years of the Syrian war, Turkey has always been determined to protect civilians, both inside Syria’s borders and outside them. At this point, it would be useful to note that it has been Turkey that welcomed Syrian refugees, who were chased away from EU waters by EU authorities and who were kept outside of the EU by barbed wire fences.

Columnists like Robert Fisk, who is known for his aversion to Turkey, have been predictably at the forefront of the campaign against Turkey’s ongoing operation in Afrin. His recent article in The Independent is based completely on disinformation.

In the light of all these details, it is important to ask the following question: what would the Western countries do if they were in Turkey’s position? Would they sit back and watch the world’s bloodiest terrorist group found a state along their border? Or would they completely raze the place to ground within a couple of hours using their jet fighters? Or would they do as Turkey did and start a sensitive land campaign that would last several months and would no doubt lead to losses and high costs? Let’s answer this question by quoting Turkish presidential spokesperson Ibrahim Kalin: “The Afrin operation represents a test of sincerity for Western countries.”

 

The writer has authored more than 300 books translated in 73 languages on politics, religion and science. He may be followed at @Harun_Yahya and www.harunyahya.com


Status of Women: Today and Tomorrow

25 03 2018

by Harun Yahya

Initiatives aimed at abolishing strict rules that limit women’s rights and freedoms in various Muslim countries is just the beginning of a serious change

Regretfully many repressive, prohibitive, restrictive laws, rules and practices on women are associated with the Muslim world today. Numerous traditions and customs from the pre-Islamic male-dominant tribal culture have been the main foundation of this despotic mentality which women have been subjected to for centuries, supposedly in the name of Islam. In reality, they contradict with the essence of Islam.

However, there have been promising initiatives that aimed to soften or even completely abolish some of the strict rules that severely limit women’s’ rights and freedoms in various Muslim countries, especially in the past year. Jordan, Lebanon and Tunisia are among the countries where these positive developments have taken place.

One of the most talked-about countries in terms of revolutionary reforms, enacted in the field of women’s freedoms in recent times, is undoubtedly that of Saudi Arabia. There have been pleasant developments in Saudi Arabia that can be considered as a first in the history of the Kingdom. Important steps have been taken to improve the situation and women’s rights and freedoms are at the forefront of these firsts.

In the past few years, the decision to offer physical education to girls in public schools is one such reform. The Ministry of Education announced that from the next academic year onwards, physical education classes, specifically for girls, will be introduced in the curriculum in public schools and necessary facilities will also be provided. The statement came just after King Salman’s decision to soften the Kingdom’s guardianship laws so that women in the country are able to access health and education services without the consent of a male guardian.

The Ministry stated that “…introducing sports classes in girls schools come as part of the Kingdom’s ‘Vision 2030′ plan for economic and social reforms”. As a matter of fact, a Saudi State school actually introduced sports for girls back in 2014, but after a consultative council advised against it at that time, the practice was scrapped.

It seems that the strategy of ‘Vision 2030′, an initiative backed by Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud, is progressing strongly and is having concrete and constructive effects despite objections from a conservative Opposition.

Women were allowed to enter the International King Fahd Stadium in Riyadh as members of the audience during the 87th National Day of Saudi Arabia last September. Um Abdulrahman al-Shihri, who travelled 1,100 kilometres from the city of Tabuk to watch the celebrations, said to Reuters: “You cannot imagine how happy we are today… Women are at all levels now. Women are now representatives in the Shura Council and some are doctors now. So why shouldn’t we join the men in things that matter to our nation?”

One of the audience members who was watching the celebrations, which included fireworks, light shows and concerts, 25-year-old Sultana, said, “It is the first time I have come to the stadium and I feel like more of a Saudi citizen. I hope that tomorrow women will be permitted bigger and better things. Like driving and travel”. It did not take Sultana’s wish to come true. A few days later, there was another remarkable development, a genuine first in Saudi Arabia.

King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud issued an executive order that women will also be allowed to obtain a driver’s license and drive; he stated that the relevant laws will come into force by June 2018. The executive order also mentioned the fact that women being able to drive will be quite advantageous. This decision widely resonated within the Western society. Although a woman’s right to drive seems to be a rather natural development, which should have happened a long time ago by global standards, it is actually a major step for women considering the conditions in Saudi Arabia.

Despite decades of such conservative suppression of women, Saudi Arabia has recently been experiencing a new historical development almost every day. Apart from that, recent policy actions in other Islamic countries on improving women’s rights and freedoms are also extremely pleasing.

For example, last August, Lebanese legislators abolished the law (Article 522) that allowed offenders, who committed rape, assault, and abduction of girls to avoid judicial punishment if they agreed to marry the victims. “This is a very positive and long overdue development for the protection of women’s rights in Lebanon”, said Lebanese researcher Bassam Khawaja at Human Rights Watch.

However, he also emphasised that there is still much progress to be made: “At the same time, in Lebanon, there are several long overdue women’s rights developments that we still have to tackle. So the Parliament should… immediately pass legislation to end marital rape and also child marriage, which is still legal in Lebanon”.

Another Islamic country making positive progress in terms of women’s rights is Iran. Iran recently issued statements for easing punishments for violating the country’s conservative dress code, which has been in place since the 1979 revolution. Regarding Iran’s mandatory hijab rule, Iranian women had started making regular protests, known as White Wednesdays, beginning in May 2017.

Likewise, similar laws were abolished in Jordan and Tunisia earlier this year. Human rights activists believe that these developments in Lebanon will have a positive influence in other Arabian and Islamic countries; articles that provide legal loopholes similar to Article 522 are still in effect in countries such as Algeria, Bahrain, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya and Syria.

There is no doubt that the decisive actions gaining increasing momentum in Saudi Arabia will serve as an important example for the Islamic and the Arab world. It is great to see that the fundamental rights of women, which they should have enjoyed from the moment they were born, are finally being returned to them.

But of course, this is not enough. In addition to this, it is our greatest desire to see women getting the respect, compassion, love and the rights they deserve in family, social and business environments alike, which is also a must for creating happy and healthy societies.

 

The writer has authored more than 300 books translated in 73 languages on politics, religion and science. He may be followed at @Harun_Yahya and www.harunyahya.com


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