Age Islam Edit Bureau
08 May 2017
the Case for Women’s Rights in Saudi Arabia
By Abdulrahman Al-Rashed
Implosion Endangers Global Trade
By Baria Alamuddin
Chance For Eternal Legacy Centres On Iran
By Dr. Majid Rafizadeh
Gulf Visit Reflects Germany’s Growing Regional Clout
By Dr. Manuel Almeida
Can Saudi Arabia Agree With Iran?
By Turki Aldakhil
Safe Zones Or Concentration Camps?
Priest Karmali’s Advice to Haider Al-Abadi Would Be
By Mashari Althaydi
Hypocrisy of the Religious Slaughter Ban
By Mimi Bekhechi
By New Age Islam Edit Bureau
6 May 2017
Over the past few years, women have been
increasingly active in Saudi Arabia as they sought to take part and have
respected positions in the country. At the same time, the challenges women are
facing continue to rise. Women in Saudi Arabia found themselves facing more
closed doors and greater hindrances as the society tightened its noose around
them in the name of religion, traditions or even through government
These restrictions on women were aggravated
to the extent that their existence were limited to a “male guardian” who can be
any male member from their families. These conditions involved the right to
finish her studies, find a job, get access to treatments, open bank accounts,
own and run a business and many other rights. These decisions do not have a
legal basis in the country, but are mere jurisprudence that considers the woman
as a minor, and thus, anyone may impose more constraints on her.
However, it is important to note that these
snowballing restrictions did not succeed in convincing women to stay at home,
but rebelliously, women were keen on pursuing their higher education, to the
extent that the number of female university students was greater than male
students’ numbers. Today, Saudi universities embrace more than 250,000 young
women. The increasing number of educated and qualified women shows that these
two contradictory trends cannot go hand in hand. Moreover, the government cannot
encourage women to education and employment, while at the same time, allow for
such restrictions and hindrances to exist concurrently.
Last week witnessed an important step
toward addressing the issue when the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King
Salman bin Abdul Aziz, intervened and ordered to review the current procedures
and practices, considering that all requirements imposed on women be exempt.
This royal intervention opened the door to some groups and bureaucrats who were
using these provisions to prevent women from doing quite anything unless with
the consent of a male member of the family.
If the regulations are amended, and in case
arbitrary restrictions and arrests came to an end, the society will definitely
change for the better. It is unreasonable and unacceptable for half of the
population to remain disabled and deprived of their jobs and services due to
the desire of a radical group.
We are now seeing two opposite categories
in Saudi society: Those who are with granting women their full rights and
others who want to stop and limit them. We see how the government opens schools
and universities with free access for girls; the government provides women with
employments and allocate 20 percent of Shoura council seats for them and this
is one of the highest quotas for women in the world’s legislative councils. The
government is also encouraging women to run for municipal elections and allows
them to sit in the first rows in the chambers of commerce and service and media
associations, as well as in senior government positions.
However, the other category refuses to
recognize women’s eligibility, and considers them as minors, even if they have
been qualified as brain surgeons, limiting them to the consent of their
guardians on all levels!
Despite all these restrictions, do not
underestimate the determination of Saudi women; there are those among them who
are challenging these erroneous practices, seeking to correct them under the
dome of the Shoura Council or in the Saudi media. All these issues have been
the subject for an open debate about the right of women to travel or even drive
a car. Hopes are high for women to achieve their goals, or at least for most of
them and meet halfway the positive spirit of the vision’s project, so that the
development project of the whole society reaches a happy ending.
7 May 2017
The Yemen war is often regarded as a
remote, localized conflict in Saudi Arabia’s backyard. But US military
strategists warn that developments in Yemen pose a geostrategic threat to world
trade and the regional balance of power.
For those concerned with global shipping,
the Suez Canal and Bab Al-Mandab at either end of the Red Sea represent two
vital chokepoints. The severing of either would have catastrophic consequences
for world trade and energy security, not least because of the 4 million barrels
of oil passing through the Mandab Strait each day.
In almost every global and regional war
over the last 150 years, control of Suez and safe passage through the Red Sea
was a strategic priority and sometimes a trigger of the conflict itself.
Likewise, hegemonic control of the Aden coast and Mandab over the centuries
often signalled who was the dominant world power.
The Houthis from the north and the
Saudi-led coalition from the south are today battling for control of this
coastal region. Even though the Houthis have been pushed back from the
narrowest point of the Mandab Strait, their patrons in Tehran have given them
military hardware that poses a lethal threat to shipping, including
medium-range missiles, explosives-laden boats, mines and drone technology.
The largely indiscriminate nature of such
weapons means it matters little whether you are a direct participant in the
conflict or involved in commercial shipping. The threat is growing as the
Houthis master the technology and Iran gives them more military hardware. By
supporting the Houthis, Tehran clearly seeks to dominate Yemen and menace the
Gulf States. But the ability to strike at a crucial global shipping corridor
gives Iran new options.
As a brinkmanship tactic, it previously
threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz. The ability to strike Mandab gives
Iran a new chokepoint. Its access to the Mediterranean via its hegemonic role
in Syria and Lebanon could be seen as the apex of a triangle, giving Iran
maritime control bestriding the entire Middle East.
I recently interviewed Vice Admiral Kevin
M. Donegan, commander of the US Fifth Fleet. He reiterated to me the dangers of
allowing an Iranian proxy to threaten Red Sea shipping. He said while the
conflicts in Syria, Iraq and Libya are primarily land-based, the violence in
Yemen is increasingly “spilling into the maritime.”
Donegan questioned why any nation would try
to impede shipping at a key node “for the lifeblood of the world economy,”
citing attacks on Saudi and Emirati ships and a recent attempt to use a boat of
explosives against Saudi oil infrastructure.
Donegan has been at the center of
international efforts to halt illegal Iranian arms shipments into Yemen. While
the boats successfully intercepted may be the tip of the iceberg, he noted the
escalatory dangers of giving the Houthis heavy armaments such as anti-tank
weapons, RPGs, rifles and technology for attacking shipping. “When you look at
the evidence that was on the ships,” he added, “those weapons originated from
With Iranian proxies in the north, Al-Qaeda
in the center and separatists in the south, perhaps the greatest threat is the
Somalia-style fragmentation of Yemen into multiple failed states and extremist
fiefdoms. This could make Yemen a permanent exporter of terrorism, regional
instability, piracy and threats to trade.
Recent tensions between President Abed
Rabbo Mansour Hadi and the UAE are largely due to security successes in the
south fueling separatist aspirations there, which undermines coalition efforts
to further progress against the Houthis and Al-Qaeda.
After Russian President Vladimir Putin
propped up Bashar Assad’s genocidal regime in Syria and sought to stir the pot
in Libya, Moscow now appears inclined toward Iran and former Yemeni President
Ali Abdullah Saleh’s camp over Yemen. Saleh has reciprocated with promises of
granting Russia military basing rights on the Yemen coast, allowing Moscow to
project its power in the Mandab Strait.
Like a slow-motion car accident, Yemen
experts have long warned that the country is sliding into the abyss. Yet
international responses come too little, too late. The humanitarian
ramifications are similarly terrifying.
Last month, the World Food Programme could
only afford to feed 3 million out of 7 million Yemenis at risk of starvation;
with one child under 5 dying of preventable causes every 10 minutes. “Nowhere
on Earth are as many lives at risk.” warned humanitarian coordinator Jan
When Donald Trump travels to Saudi Arabia
later this month on his first presidential foreign travel, he will get a
bird’s-eye view of Yemen’s strategic location in the Arabian Peninsula. He may
even catch a glimpse of the narrow and precarious Mandab Strait, and how easily
this international trade corridor could be severed. We hope he will be
attentive to reasonable arguments about why efforts to block Iranian arms
proliferation and restore peace in Yemen are in America’s domestic strategic
There is an ongoing ideological battle over
Trump’s foreign policy doctrine, between the isolationist nationalism that he
campaigned on, and strategic voices of wisdom such as Defence Secretary James
Mattis and National Security Adviser Herbert McMaster, who perceive a strong US
role in underpinning international security and guaranteeing open trade routes
between friendly nations.
Figures such as Donegan therefore have a
window of opportunity to ensure that world leaders recognize that restoring
peace in Yemen is not just a pressing humanitarian priority, but a prerequisite
for regional geopolitical security, the safe circulation of oil and flourishing
Chance for Eternal Legacy Centres on Iran
Dr. Majid Rafizadeh
A historical legacy is something that can
be remembered for centuries and millennia.
Any leader whose name has remained in
people’s memories for years was someone who helped usher in fundamental and
deep socioeconomic, sociopolitical, military, or territorial changes.
An everlasting and unforgettable legacy
does not emerge from the day-to-day or short-term-orientated policies that some
leaders pursue. Sealing a business deal with another country or signing a
flimsy nuclear agreement (which is already falling apart) are not legacies that
remain. They will soon disappear from history and the memory of people, because
they are trivial when compared to the larger picture.
Few leaders in the world get the chance to
leave an everlasting legacy.
for Monumental Change
President Trump has that opportunity. His
crowning legacy lies in making a fundamental change. That change lies in the
Iranian government, and changing it for the better, for the world. If Trump
does not seize this opportunity, other leaders will in the future. It is
inevitable that an autocratic government such as that in Iran will not last.
Such a shift would be monumental. Any
fundamental change in Iran’s clerical and political establishment would
reverberate like thunder throughout the world. The impact will remain for
countless generations to come.
First of all, the international community
would be relieved of the constant security concerns and tremendous threat of
the Iranian rogue and authoritarian state, which is ranked as the top state
sponsor of terrorism.
Iran has repeatedly and covertly attempted
to pursue its nuclear program. Tehran is intervening militarily in Syria, Iraq,
Yemen and Bahrain, to name a few. The Iranian government continues to inflict
damage and scuttle other nations’ foreign policy objectives.
Since 1979, Iranian leaders including
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and Iran’s military generals have
clearly stated that they desire to pursue their revolutionary ideals, and view
Washington as Iran’s top enemy. Their slogans of “the Great Satan” and “Death
to America” are deeply embedded in the political system.
In other words, many nations are hoping to
see a fundamental change in Iran’s political establishment. The environment is
ripe for it.
The hope is not limited to other countries;
the Iranian people’s aspiration is to see a democratic and secular government
that respects human rights, social justice and the rule of law.
Many Iranian people are disaffected and
extremely dissatisfied with the government. They tried to make a change in the
2009 popular uprising, but they were brutally crushed. No external global power
came to their help; former US President Barack Obama left them alone — being
beaten or shot with the bullets from Iran’s police.
The overwhelming majority of Iranian people
do not desire to see their government stealing their national wealth, or
haemorrhaging billions of dollars on Syrian President Bashar Assad, terrorist
groups, and Shiite proxies.
When it comes to respecting human rights,
Iran is ranked among the top violators. It is ranked top in the world for the
number of executions per capita. It brutally suppresses any oppositional voice.
It subjugates, dehumanizes and tortures women and children. Iranian leaders
crack down on religious and ethnic minorities. The list goes on and on. Iranian
people welcome and seek a fundamental change.
In addition, a fundamental change in Iran’s
political establishment would significantly alter the political chessboard of
the Middle East and wider world.
A democratic Iran would be once again an
ally of the US. This means Assad would lose Iran’s support as well. He will be
more likely to be toppled after Iran becomes democratic. A democratic Syria
would also be more likely allied with the US rather than Russia. With a change
in Iran, the region would become overwhelmingly on the side of Washington. The
regional balance of power would shift significantly. The global balance of
power would also shift in favor of the US and Western allies. Russia would lose
its major foothold in the Middle East.
Powerful terrorist groups, which are funded
by the Iranian government, would lose their power as they lose their funding
and access to armaments. The Shiite and Sunni divide will subside as Shiite
militias lose one of their powerful promoters; Iran’s sectarian agenda will be
more likely eliminated; and groups such as Daesh will lose momentum. The region
and the world will gain peace again.
This is the enduring, extraordinary,
timeless, and unforgettable legacy; this is the breathtaking change that would
carve the name of its founder, or founders, in history.
Dr. Manuel Almeida
The media’s fixation with German Chancellor
Angela Merkel’s uncovered head seized the spotlight in her otherwise
characteristically discreet visit to Riyadh and Abu Dhabi earlier this week.
Her low profile is a good analogy for Germany’s post-war approach to the Middle
East and the world more generally: Sober, assertive only on trade matters, and
willingly punching below its weight.
Yet some things seem to have changed since
Merkel’s previous visit to the Saudi capital in 2010. Challenges and
opportunities emanating from the Middle East, coupled with a shift in attitudes
at home, have been driving a gradual transformation of Germany’s regional role.
This promises to increase its relevance in the Gulf and the wider region, and
not only on the business and trade fronts.
In March 2011, Germany’s abstention in the
UN Security Council vote that approved a no-fly zone over Libya prompted a
debate in Germany about its global position. The point of contention was not so
much the pros and cons of the military intervention to protect the armed
opposition to Muammar Qaddafi.
There was displeasure with Merkel’s
government siding with Russia and China while giving the cold shoulder to its
traditional NATO allies such as France, the US and UK. The resolution even had
the backing of the Arab League.
Germany’s foreign policy establishment saw
this moment as vexing, a deliberate step toward irrelevance. As a result, the
Foreign Office conducted a major foreign policy review, published three years
later. It concluded that the country needed to be more willing to assert its
interests in global politics.
Germany was one of the six powers involved
in negotiations with Iran leading to the nuclear deal in 2015. Apart from
concerns about nuclear proliferation and the strategic aim of breaking European
dependence on Russian gas imports, German actions on the Iranian nuclear file
seem to have been heavily influenced by the goal of restoring economic
relations with the Islamic Republic.
Attesting to the eagerness to re-establish
full economic ties with Iran — before the imposition of international
sanctions, Germany was Iran’s biggest trading partner — the vice chancellor and
minister for economy and energy, Sigmar Gabriel, visited Tehran just a week
after the nuclear deal, with a delegation of business executives and lobbyists.
A warning by Germany’s domestic
intelligence agency in 2016 about ongoing Iranian efforts (including extensive
illicit activities in Germany) to acquire material for its nuclear program did
not deter the leap toward Tehran.
While the nature of Germany’s mercantilist
foreign policy remains the dominant factor in its relations with Iran, the
Syrian crisis opened up new questions about the European power’s hands-off
approach, and further pushed Germany’s rethink of its ties to the Middle East.
Merkel’s admirable stance of welcoming
hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees brought closer to home the effects of
a devastating conflict that would otherwise feel quite distant to most Germans.
Terrorist attacks by Daesh across Europe, and the ensuing scaremongering by
populist and far-right politicians about migration and the refugee crisis, gave
it even more prominence.
In 2014 came the decision to arm and train
Kurdish Peshmerga fighters in Iraq, seen in Berlin as the most effective and
reliable fighting force against Daesh. This move was surprising for German
standards, given the constitutional restrictions on the use of the army
overseas and longstanding skepticism among the public about military
Then there is the substantial increase of
German arms sales to the Middle East under Merkel. While the overwhelming
majority of these exports went to Israel, particularly since 2011 Saudi Arabia,
the UAE, Qatar and Oman have been important recipients.
Merkel’s visit to Saudi Arabia and the UAE
a few days ago should be seen as part of an effort to deepen ties with
Germany’s leading trading partners in the region. Her discussions with Saudi
and Emirati leaderships included the search for diplomatic solutions to the
conflicts in Libya, Syria and Yemen, the role and rights of women, investment
and support for local efforts at economic diversification, and the resumption
of talks on an EU-Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) free-trade agreement.
Other developments such as Brexit may
contribute to Germany’s growing relevance for the Gulf. With the exit of a key
partner of the Arab Gulf states from the EU, and with political uncertainty
promising to stick around in France following the presidential election, Berlin
is likely to become even more influential on key Middle East decisions by the
Everything suggests Germany’s more visible
regional policy and its closer involvement in economic, political and security
issues in the Gulf are not a temporary trend. Instead, it corresponds to a deeper,
if gradual, foreign policy shift.
Iranian media outlets voiced their anger
following Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s recent interview. He
was clear and frank as he stated that Iran must choose to either be a civil
state which is possible to agree with within the framework of mutual interests
and according to the pillars of secular work or it can remain a revolutionary
state that bases its foreign policy on doctrinal myths.
The prince also spoke about Moscow during
the interview. He said Russia is a country that’s possible to agree with as no
matter how different its projects and orientations are, it’s still possible to
agree with it because there is a common background and because the basis of
negotiations is based on developments on the ground, on the calculations of
interests and on seeking points of weakness and strength.
Talks with Rafsanjani
He recalled negotiations with former
president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and said this was a stage that “bit” them,
adding that: “A believer is not bitten from the same hole twice.”
It’s easy. Iran must be a civil state that
respects international charters and commits to not interfering in the affairs
of other countries and not harming their sovereignty. If Iran commits to this,
most of its problems with neighbouring countries will end.
8 May 2017
The plan for “de-escalation zones” in Syria
is not bad at all, but the devil is in the detail. Years ago, when the idea of
allocating areas for those fleeing the bombing and war was raised, it was
quickly opposed by the Syrian regime, Iran and Russia. Former US President
Barack Obama helped them by claiming it was impractical.
Damascus, Tehran and Moscow have continued
to destroy cities to inflate the number of refugees and export the problem
abroad. That number has reached record levels, with about 2.5 million Syrian
refugees in Lebanon and Jordan. Similar numbers have fled to Turkey.
In one year, a million Syrian refugees fled
to Europe via Turkey, the scale of which the continent has not seen since World
War II. Infiltration by terrorist organizations and regime intelligence has
made the world afraid of Syrian refugees. Europeans have pressed for havens for
refugees inside Syria, but Russia rejected the idea. Syrian President Bashar
Assad’s allies considered these havens an opposition ploy to establish
The regime has continued airstrikes to
displace millions from cities with large populations. In Aleppo, the largest
Syrian city, only a small percentage of the population remains. After the
closure of all borders, there are now about 7 million displaced people in Syria
and 5 million refugees abroad, the largest numbers in modern history.
President Donald Trump has changed US
policy toward the conflict in Syria. His government includes generals who have
worked in the region and know the realities on the ground. The Trump
administration punished the Assad regime and its allies by striking Shayrat air
base near Homs, signaling a new policy and demanding safe zones.
This idea dates back three years, but
surprisingly it was implemented in less than a week of the date of its
announcement. It is supported by the relevant powers — the US, Russia, Turkey,
the Gulf states and Jordan — and strongly opposed by Iran and the Assad regime.
Nonetheless, the plan is good. The creation
of safe zones means people’s fate is no longer at the mercy of Damascus, Tehran
and Moscow. The havens halt the project of exporting refugees that threatens
the stability of Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon and Europe.
They also halt the process of demographic
change that Iran and Assad are devising by rearranging regions in a sectarian
way, controlling strategic areas and adopting a geographic passage linking the
new colonies of Iran to Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. The havens will give the
Syrian civilian opposition the opportunity for the first time to work
politically on the ground.
But the havens have potential risks. They
have divided the Syrian map politically. The US has been given areas of
interest to the security of its allies, including territories bordering Jordan,
Israel and the Kurds. Moscow has been given areas adjacent to Lebanon and
others inhabited by minorities, which house Russian military bases. Turkey has
been entrusted with the adjacent area.
One potential risk is terrorist groups
infiltrating the havens and recruiting from their populations. It will not be
easy to secure the living and security needs of crowded areas, which could make
it difficult to control them and may lead to infighting. Without a political
solution or decisive military victory, heavens will become like concentration
camps for millions of people.
Despite these dangers, there remains a need
to stop the humanitarian tragedy and rid millions of innocent people of the
regime and its allies. This move has annulled the two-month-old solution that
granted the regime the upper hand by the power of international recognition,
and will push everyone to seek a reasonable alternative solution.
Priest Karmali’s Advice To Haider Al-Abadi Would Be
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi
recently told the Iraqi Shiites that they must understand that Iraq is for all
the Iraqi people and it fits them all.
We hope this sophisticated call succeeds as
this will be good for Iraq, the Iraqis and Iraq’s neighbors. This would be
tantamount to victory for the human inside every Iraqi.
It’s as if the Iraqis are realizing their
religious, sectarian and national diversity now! History has always narrated
how people co-existed in Iraq since ancient times.
An example to that is what Priest Anastas
Al-Karmali, or Boutros Awwad as this is his original name, wrote about
Karmali was a Christian priest born to a
Lebanese father and an Iraqi mother from Baghdad. He was a master of Arabic
language and one of the most prominent scholars in history and literature as
well as pioneering figure in Iraqi journalism.
When he passed away in 1947 aged 80, author
Ahmad Hamid al-Sarraf lamented him saying:
In our country
which existed for ages,
Our mosques were
near our churches
The people will
live in unity
Where priests in
caps stand by clerics in turbans
I recently read Karmali’s book “A history
of Iraq” which students in Iraq are supposed to read for school. While talking
about Haroun al-Rashid, the fifth and most prominent Abbasid caliph, he said:
“Sports and intellectual games are two things which Haroun introduced to the
world of civilization. Foreign kings from different countries followed suit.
Today, all civilized people in foreign countries have followed suit as well.
Rashid was the first caliph to play with the wand in the field. He practiced
archery and played birjas, i.e. archery from horseback, and he played with the
ball. Englishmen fell in love with these games. Many became very skilled at
them and sought to win prizes in playing these games that Rashid mastered and
they also wanted to attract Rashid’s attention. Rashid was also the first one
to play chess from among the Abbasids, and he was the first one to play
backgammon. The people called these blossoming and rich days ‘the days of the
God Bless The Days Of The Bride!
In a sad chapter about the Mongol invasion
of Iraq, Karmali wrote: “You know that a country that does not rest will not
have the chance to trade or to sell or to work in agriculture or in
manufacturing. It will thus become poor. If a country becomes poor, its people
will invade each other’s lands to live. The strong will take what the weak has.
The country will thus decline and its people will be humiliated. They will
decrease in number if not become extinct. All this is due to the scourge of
ignorance where decadent people reject sophistication and do not want to owe a
wise and reasonable man to show them the truth which is clear even with the
smallest amount of observation.”
I hope today’s leaders of Iraq listen to
the advice of Karmali, the wise priest of Baghdad.
Hypocrisy of The Religious Slaughter Ban
On Friday, the Parliament of Wallonia in
Belgium voted to accept a proposal that would ban all ritual slaughter of
animals by 2019. The new law will require small animals - including chicken and
sheep - to be electrically stunned before their throats are slit, which some,
but not all, believe would contravene the dietary laws of Islam and Judaism,
which dictate that animals must be healthy at the time of their death.
In fact, today, many animals slaughtered
for the Muslim market in the UK are stunned and certified as Halal by some of
the many bodies responsible - as long as all other aspects of the slaughter are
consistent with Islamic law. Orthodox rabbis have also accepted laws in
countries such as Norway and Sweden, where stunning is required.
Conversely, in today's high-speed,
mechanised "conventional" abattoirs, millions of animals are
improperly stunned every year and face the fatal incision awake, alert, and
terrified. In fact, if you're buying "conventional" meat - including
that touted as "high-welfare", "organic", or
"free-range" or carrying any other misleading label - there's no way
of knowing whether the animals who were killed for it were fully conscious as
their throats were cut open.
There's no question that animals in
abattoirs are absolutely and understandably petrified when chains are shackled
to their legs and they're hoisted upside down into the air. Birds thrash wildly
in panic and excruciating pain, since their legs can break under their own
weight and may be pulled out of their sockets. Research shows that when cattle
and sheep are killed without prior stunning, they may only lose consciousness
several unimaginably agonising seconds after their throats are cut. Animals
often witness the slaughter of their companions and sense their terror.
Slaughter Is A Myth
In truth, the idea of humane slaughter is a
myth and a distraction - because whether animals are stunned and killed or just
killed, the final moments of their lives make up only one part of the long and
blatantly cruel process of modern meat production. The reality of these
practices is an affront not only to Islam's and Judaism's teachings of
kindness, but also to any decent human being's most basic sense of right and
Animals slaughtered according to Halal
regulations come from the same un-Islamic, unhygienic, miserable factory farms
as animals killed in standard abattoirs. On factory farms, animals are crammed
by the thousands into filthy, windowless sheds, wire cages, crates, and other
confinement systems. They'll never raise their families, root in the soil,
build nests, or do anything else that is natural and important to them.
PETA and our international affiliates have
released eyewitness footage around the world showing frightened animals who are
sexually abused, burned with cigarettes, tormented, and mocked in their final
Even at so-called "organic"
abattoirs, video evidence has shown pigs were viciously beaten and kicked by
workers. On the way to slaughter, animals are often crammed so tightly into
trucks for many agonising hours that they suffocate, get crushed to death, or
even freeze during transport in the winter. It's no wonder that there are
numerous accounts of animals that tried desperately to break free on the
journey towards their death.
Every single aspect of the mass breeding,
farming, and killing of sensitive and intelligent beings goes against the basic
principles of compassion and reverence for life shared by virtually all
If the basis of the recent decision in
Belgium, which is the outcome of a debate that has also taken place here in
Britain and in many other countries, is the belief that cruelty to animals is
wrong and that we should act to prevent it, then the only conclusion any of us
can reach in good conscience is that we must not only try to legislate against
the most egregious cruelty, but also stop supporting industries that are built
on animal suffering entirely - by adopting a vegan diet. There's no passage in
the Quran or the Torah - or the Bible, for that matter - that dictates that
their followers must eat animals.
As the daughter of a Belgian-Algerian
father who taught me that Islam mandates kindness to animals and that the Quran
describes animals as communities and nations unto themselves, not mere
resources, I welcome any law that aims to reduce animal suffering while knowing
that none of us needs a law to do what's right.
The meat, egg and dairy industries are hell
on earth for animals, and we already have the power to put an end to this
misery simply by choosing to eat plant-based meals. And with the vast array of
vegan meats and dairy-free milks of all descriptions available today, making
kinder dietary choices isn't just right, it's also easy.