Thirteen Iraqi Kurdish women’s rights activists fear for their lives and have complained to the police after a well-known Mullah has accused them of “blasphemy and demoralizing Kurdish society” in a recent controversial pamphlet.
The pamphlet, entitled “A Lost Truth,” was distributed by Mullah Farman Kharabaiy of Majidawa Mosque, a mosque in Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan.
The pamphlet focuses on women’s rights issues in Kurdish society, but more specifically targets Iraqi Kurdish women’s rights activists and their push for gender equality in the region, an issue which has been under the spotlight in recent weeks as a hot topic of discussion in the Kurdish parliament.
In his pamphlet, Kharabaiy claims that the issue has been widely used by women’s rights activists “as a business to get rich.”
The activists targeted in the pamphlet have now lodged a complaint with the Erbil police, because they view the pamphlet as a direct “threat to their lives.”
However, Kharabaiy defends his words merely as critical literature.
“The pamphlet does not include any defamation or libel,” said Kharabaiy in an interview with Rudaw. “It is simply research conducted on some of the writings published by Kurdish women activists defending women’s rights. I wanted these women writers to regret their opinions; it is because of them that divorce has increased and more women burn themselves to death [in Kurdistan].”
Taman Shakir, a writer and women’s rights activist who was named in Kharabaiy’s pamphlet, says she believes the pamphlet is “dangerous” for the women writers mentioned in it, and so she is urging the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to protect them.
“There is a threat to the lives of those named in the pamphlet,” said Ms. Shakir. “The government needs to draw a line in the sand for those Mullahs who are using their religious status to target journalists and women’s rights organizations.”…
January 4, 2011