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Kuwaiti Author Ibtihal Al-Khatib Fears for Women's Rights Fo...

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Kuwaiti Author Ibtihal Al-Khatib Fears for Women's Rights Following Rise of Islamic Movements to Power

Sep-04-2012 at 06:54 PM (UTC+3 Nineveh, Assyria)


Kuwaiti Author Ibtihal Al-Khatib Fears for Women's Rights Following Rise of Islamic Movements to Power
Kuwaiti Author Ibtihal Al-Khatib Fears for Women's Rights Following Rise of Islamic Movements to Power
by The Middle East Media Research Institute, MEMRI.
August 14, 2012 Clip No. 3557

Following are excerpts from a TV interview with Kuwaiti author Ibtihal Al-Khatib, which aired on Mayadeen TV on August 14, 2012.

Interviewer: As an Arab woman, are you intimidated by the rise to power of the religious Islamic movements? Do you fear for your rights and the rights of all Arab women? I'm talking about societies in which women's rights exist in the first place, because in some societies, women have yet to enjoy even the most basic rights.

Ibtihal Al-Khatib: Women are the first to lose when any religious movement rises to power in any country. This is instantaneous. When a religious movement comes to power, women are the first to lose. Yes. This scares me on a personal level. I think that we are going to lose many of our rights, and that our upcoming struggle will be a harsh one. But in the long run, I believe that this is a natural interim period.


Interviewer: Is the separation of religion and state possible in Islamic societies? Is this a realistic call, when many Islamic movements consider the Koran to be the constitution?

Ibtihal Al-Khatib: It depends on what one means by separation of religion and state. Separating religion from society is impossible in the Arab world, as well as in the most secular countries in the West. Most societies were founded on religion, and have a need for it on the human, psychological, and spiritual levels.

Interviewer: A spiritual and existential need.

Ibtihal Al-Khatib: That's right. However, if we are talking about separation of religious law from civil law – in my view, this is not only possible, but truly an urgent necessity. It is necessary for the sake of stability in Iraq and in Lebanon. It is necessary for the sake of stability in Egypt at present – between the Copts and the Muslims. I believe that the Islamic groups that have come to power are also aware of this, and therefore, their rhetoric has changed. I still have doubts with regard to what will follow this rhetoric...

Interviewer: You are apprehensive...

Ibtihal Al-Khatib: Yes, I am. But the rhetoric of the Al-Nahda Party in Tunisia, and of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, contains many secular aspects. Only time will tell.


If we do not reexamine our religious texts, and interpret them in a way that befits the time and place in which we live, and the development of the human mind over the past 1,000 years, we will be losing a lot. We will be running a race against time, which we cannot win – a race against cultures that we cannot overtake.


I have been asked whether homosexuals deserve to have rights, and I have said – and I will say it again – that any human being on the face of the earth has rights – whether he is good or bad, whether you think he will go to Heaven or Hell. These rights are inalienable.

The scope of laws pertaining to these rights expands in countries with greater freedom, and contracts in countries with less freedom. It depends upon the nature of the society in question. When I was asked about same-sex marriage, for example, I said that it was not appropriate in Arab societies for the simple reason that a family is defined as consisting of a father, a mother, and their children. In such a society, you cannot legalize such marriages. When you legislate laws, you have to ensure the safety of those for whom you are making them. It is wrong to legislate laws if you cannot protect these people.


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Assyria \ã-'sir-é-ä\ n (1998)   1:  an ancient empire of Ashur   2:  a democratic state in Bet-Nahren, Assyria (northern Iraq, northwestern Iran, southeastern Turkey and eastern Syria.)   3:  a democratic state that fosters the social and political rights to all of its inhabitants irrespective of their religion, race, or gender   4:  a democratic state that believes in the freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture in faithfulness to the principles of the United Nations Charter — Atour synonym

Ethnicity, Religion, Language
» Israeli, Jewish, Hebrew
» Assyrian, Christian, Aramaic
» Saudi Arabian, Muslim, Arabic
Assyrian \ã-'sir-é-an\ adj or n (1998)   1:  descendants of the ancient empire of Ashur   2:  the Assyrians, although representing but one single nation as the direct heirs of the ancient Assyrian Empire, are now doctrinally divided, inter sese, into five principle ecclesiastically designated religious sects with their corresponding hierarchies and distinct church governments, namely, Church of the East, Chaldean, Maronite, Syriac Orthodox and Syriac Catholic.  These formal divisions had their origin in the 5th century of the Christian Era.  No one can coherently understand the Assyrians as a whole until he can distinguish that which is religion or church from that which is nation -- a matter which is particularly difficult for the people from the western world to understand; for in the East, by force of circumstances beyond their control, religion has been made, from time immemorial, virtually into a criterion of nationality.   3:  the Assyrians have been referred to as Aramaean, Aramaye, Ashuraya, Ashureen, Ashuri, Ashuroyo, Assyrio-Chaldean, Aturaya, Chaldean, Chaldo, ChaldoAssyrian, ChaldoAssyrio, Jacobite, Kaldany, Kaldu, Kasdu, Malabar, Maronite, Maronaya, Nestorian, Nestornaye, Oromoye, Suraya, Syriac, Syrian, Syriani, Suryoye, Suryoyo and Telkeffee. — Assyrianism verb

Aramaic \ar-é-'máik\ n (1998)   1:  a Semitic language which became the lingua franca of the Middle East during the ancient Assyrian empire.   2:  has been referred to as Neo-Aramaic, Neo-Syriac, Classical Syriac, Syriac, Suryoyo, Swadaya and Turoyo.

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