Tuesday, December 13, 2005
  Detainee Deaths and Honor Killing
NPR has been doing some powerful stories lately.

December 7th, Anne Garrels did a story on honor killings in Iraq. She profiled one young woman, Fatima, a 16-year-old who was kidnapped by unidentified assailants in West Baghdad. The kidnappers threatened to rape and kill Fatima unless her brother quit the Iraqi police force. He did, and Fatima was released, but not, Garrels says, into safety. The mere possibility that she might have been raped was unbearable to her family. They couldn't live with that kind of "disgrace," and in order to preserve their "honor," her cousin Sarhan shot her.

Sarhan, who speaks freely and with seemingly no remorse to Garrels, is chilling. Listen to the report just to hear him: "She knew the customs, but I don't think she expected we would kill her," he tells Garrels. "She was crying. I saw in her eyes that she thought we would take her in our arms and say, 'Thank god you are safe.' But she got bullets instead."

This is not honor. This is sick. It is such a perversion of justice -- punish the victim not the aggressor. Sarhan admits that this has nothing to do with Islam, that it is tribal custom... in which case, I'm beginning to believe those folks need more Islam!

The second story which really caught my attention was on December 8th, when Daniel Zwerdling told the story of Richard Rust, a man who wanted to immigrate to the US, and was detained for a security check. Thrown into prison is what that means. While he was there, he had a heart attack, and medical assistance was so delayed he died. Zwerdling chronicles a chilling story of what happened to the men who protested the treatment (or lack there of) of Rust, and follows a trail of would-be-immigrant deaths that is enough to turn anyone's stomach. It's worth listening to, so you can write your senator and ask him what the hell is going on in this country! Send us your poor, indeed!

I long ago became disgusted with the way immigration officials treated simple men and women, innocent men and women, when I tried to help a cello playing friend of mine come from China to the States to get his BA. He had a full scholarship, a host family who had bought him a $10,000 cello because it was too difficult to bring his, a mother, sister and fiancee in Beijing to ensure he would return home, and still they treated him like scum. I suppose he should count himself lucky, since he didn't end up dead like Richard Rust and so many others.

Sigh. Why can't the world be a nicer place?
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Location: Cincinnati, Ohio, United States

Progressive Muslim, feminist, mom, writer, mystic, lover of the universe and Doug Schmidt, cellist, theologian and imam.

What I'm reading now

Cane River
An interesting exploration of the gradual whiting of a family through slavery to modern days.

To see an archive of all the books I've read (well the ones I've read and review since I started the blog) with comments, please click here

Causes Worth Supporting

This is just a short list -- a few of my favorites.

English Language Islamic Fiction. We need more of it. Lots more.
Pay a Teacher's Salary in Afghanistan. The Hunger site actually has a lot of worthwhile programs. You can find them all here .
Muslims for Progressive Values. My organization. We can always use donations, of time or money!
Human Rights Campaign for the glbt community
National Religious Campaign Against Torture
The ACLU I'm a card carrying member. Hope you'll become one too.
MoveOn.org. The organization that has done the most, as far as I can tell, to pull the countries progressive side together.
Network of Spiritual Progressives. Working to reclaim religion and morality for the religious left.

Blogs Worth Reading

Wanda Campbell also known as Nochipa A very gifted poet and a gentle, compassionate soul. Nochipa and I are on the same page on sooooo many things
Writeous Sister Aminah Hernandez, she's got some excellent latino pieces and always has good writing info on her blog.
Sister Scorpion aka Leila Montour - Leila is a fount of energy, quirky humor, and bad attitude. She's also a talented poet.
Muhajabah Very interesting commentary here. I don't always agree with her, but her pieces are always thought-provoking.
Georgie Dowdell Georgie is a great writer and a good friend.
Louise Marley Another great writer. I think Louise is one of the best sf writers exploring faith themes.
Ink in My Coffee Devon Ellington (who has numerous aliases) who is also the editor of Circadian Poems. A truly inspiring woman with a seemingly endless supply of energy.
Ethnically Incorrect With a name like that, isn't a given I'm going to enjoy this writer?
Freedom from the Mundane Colin Galbraith, another excellent writer, from Scotland.
The Scruffy Dog Review This is a new e-zine with an ecclectic mix of fiction, poetry, and non-fic, some really enjoyable pieces here.
Ramblings of a Suburban Soccer Mom Lara, another gentle soul, very thoughtful.
Circadian Poems A journal of poetry, new stuff up all the time.
Ye Olde Inkwell Michelle writes romance and is one of my writing buddies.
Muhammad Michael Knight The original punk Muslim writer. Like him or love him, Mike is always coming up with the unexpected.

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