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Middle East Press (08 May 2017 NewAgeIslam.Com)



Re-Evaluating the Case for Women’s Rights In Saudi Arabia: New Age Islam's Selection, 08 May 2017





New Age Islam Edit Bureau

08 May 2017

Re-Evaluating the Case for Women’s Rights in Saudi Arabia

By Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Yemen’s Implosion Endangers Global Trade

By Baria Alamuddin

Trump’s Chance For Eternal Legacy Centres On Iran

By Dr. Majid Rafizadeh

Merkel’s Gulf Visit Reflects Germany’s Growing Regional Clout

By Dr. Manuel Almeida

How Can Saudi Arabia Agree With Iran?

By Turki Aldakhil

Syria’s Safe Zones Or Concentration Camps?

By Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

What Priest Karmali’s Advice to Haider Al-Abadi Would Be

By Mashari Althaydi

The Hypocrisy of the Religious Slaughter Ban

By Mimi Bekhechi

Compiled By New Age Islam Edit Bureau

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Re-Evaluating the Case for Women’s Rights in Saudi Arabia

By Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

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 regulations.

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.

Changing Society

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.

Source: english.alarabiya.net/en/views/news/middle-east/2017/05/06/Re-evaluating-the-case-for-women-s-rights-in-Saudi-Arabia.html

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Yemen’s Implosion Endangers Global Trade

By Baria Alamuddin

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 Iran.”

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 Egeland.

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 interest.

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 international trade.

Source: www.arabnews.com/node/1096106/columns

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Trump’s Chance for Eternal Legacy Centres on Iran

By Dr. Majid Rafizadeh

7 May 2017

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.

Chance 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.

Iranian Public Opinion

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.

A Global Shift

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.

Source: www.arabnews.com/node/1096101/columns

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Merkel’s Gulf Visit Reflects Germany’s Growing Regional Clout

By Dr. Manuel Almeida

7 May 2017

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 interventions.

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 European bloc.

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.

Source: arabnews.com/node/1096096/columns

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How Can Saudi Arabia Agree With Iran?

By Turki Aldakhil

7 May 2017

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.

On 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.

Source: english.alarabiya.net/en/views/news/middle-east/2017/05/07/How-can-Saudi-Arabia-agree-with-Iran-.html

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Syria’s Safe Zones Or Concentration Camps?

By Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

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 independent cantons.

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.

Source: arabnews.com/node/1096121/columns

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What Priest Karmali’s Advice To Haider Al-Abadi Would Be

By Mashari Althaydi

7 May 2017

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 Iraq. 

A Pioneering Figure 

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 bride’.”

O 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.

Source; english.alarabiya.net/en/views/news/middle-east/2017/05/07/What-priest-Karmali-s-advice-to-Haidar-al-Abadi-would-be.html

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The Hypocrisy of The Religious Slaughter Ban

By Mimi Bekhechi

7 May 2017

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.

Humane 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 wrong.

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 moments.

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 religions.

Going Vegan

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.

Source: aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2017/05/hypocrisy-religious-slaughter-ban-170507093018384.html

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URL: http://www.newageislam.com/middle-east-press/new-age-islam-edit-bureau/re-evaluating-the-case-for-women’s-rights-in-saudi-arabia--new-age-islam-s-selection,-08-may-2017/d/111058




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