Posts Tagged ‘honor’

Woman’s fight against genital mutilation, honor killing gets big boost from #Google boss

Ayaan Hirsi Ali is an internationally known women’s rights advocate and a best-selling author, but now she has some Silicon Valley muscle behind her in her battle to end two of radical Islam’s most barbaric practices.

Ali, a Somali-born activist who went on to become a member of the Dutch parliament and now lives in the U.S., won over Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt, along with his personal pledge of $100,000, in her fight to put a stop to female genital mutilation and honor killings.

“I don’t see how anyone who believes in the rule of law and the rights of women could do anything other than support efforts to end female-genital mutilation, forced marriage and honor-killings — practices that have no place in the 21st century,” Schmidt told Ali after the two met at a recent conference.

Ali, whose courageous fight against radical Islam and the toll it takes on women has earned her a spot on Al Qaeda’s hit list and gotten her disinvited to a Brandeis University ceremony in which she was to have received an honorary degree, said Schmidt’s backing is a huge boost to her AHA Foundation.

“I feel massive gratitude,” Ali told Fox News. “I find him to be incredibly brave when so few people, especially in his league, make this choice. I think he has a very sound understanding of the creed of liberalism.”

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Women call for laws to fight forced marriage in U.S.

Mariam was a sixth-grader in Toronto when her family started pressuring her to get engaged. They sent her on a summer trip to their native Pakistan, ostensibly to study but actually to meet a fiance chosen by her aunt. When she protested after returning home, she said, her mother kept insisting and wearing her down.

Mariam, who left her family when they pressured her to marry a man in Pakistan chosen by her aunt., wrote "Caged," a digital story with autobiographical roots about forced marriage.

Mariam, who left her family when they pressured her to marry a man in Pakistan chosen by her aunt., wrote “Caged,” a digital story with autobiographical roots about forced marriage. Amanda Voisard for The Washington Post

“She cried a lot. She prayed loudly to God that I would change. She refused to speak to me for days. She told me the family’s honor was at stake,” recounted Mariam, now 20, who asked that her last name not be published. “I wanted to finish school and go to college, but at times I almost said yes, just so she would stop crying.”

Finally, when she turned 17, Mariam decided to leave home — an unthinkable act in her culture. With encouragement from a women’s rights group, she slipped out early one morning, taking a small bag. No shelter would accept her, because she had not been physically abused, and she felt wracked with guilt and loneliness. Eventually, though, she found housing, friends and a measure of emotional independence.

Today, Mariam is active in a growing movement in the United States and Canada to promote public awareness and legal protections for victims of forced marriage. She visited Washington last week as part of a nationwide tour organized by the Tahirih Justice Center, a legal aid and advocacy group in the Virginia suburbs that helps immigrant women facing abuse.

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