Saturday, January 26, 2008

Bill O'Reilly, I Applaud These Secular Progressives!

This week on my commute to the office I heard this interesting interview on NPR radio. It was part 5 of a 6 part series
The report is that French President, Nicholas Sarkozy has appointed Muslim women to his cabinet.

After taking office, President Nicholas Sarkozy announced the appointment of the first Muslim — who is also a woman — as justice minister. Rachida Dati, 41, was the 12th child of a Moroccan laborer and an Algerian mother.

The foreign undersecretary for human rights is Senegal-born Rama Yade. The undersecretary for urban affairs is Fadela Amara, an activist from the immigrant housing projects.

Amara, 43, known as the ghetto warrior, organized the first town hall meeting in this desolate, graffiti-laced project. Facing a mostly female audience, Amara lashed out at sexist patriarchal cultures that, she says, harm young women.

She tells the audience members that they must speak out and denounce violence against women in the ghetto — and against the growing number of forced marriages. And, Amara warns, they must be more vigilant against Islamist preachers who pollute the heads of young men with fundamentalism.

The daughter of Algerian immigrants, Amara was a political activist as a teen.

After a young Muslim girl was burned alive by a Muslim thug who thought she was too independent, Amara founded a movement with a provocative name: Ni Putes Ni Soumises, or Neither Whores Nor Submissives.

It put the spotlight on abuse of women in the high-rise ghettoes.

After I got home from working I let Google be friend again, and I googled "Ni Putes Ni Soumises", and I found this web site. I clicked on the little Union Jack flag and the screen refreshed with English text.

I came across this petition on the site
Towards a new feminist struggle

Because we want to defend women’s right to decide over their body. Because we believe gender should not determine a person’s destiny. Because the principles of secularism and mixity guarantee the equality between the sexes. Because the most urgent battle to secure the emancipation of women is the fight against fundamentalism and obscurantism.

Today, facing the threats against our lives and our rights, we can no longer remain silent without becoming accomplices.

The law of silence has relegated many victims of violence to humiliating circumstances, whether in the private or the professional world. Those that speak up are singled out, in the ghettos or elsewhere. Across the world, women and men are speaking out against the tyranny of archaic traditions. It is a universal struggle towards a free, democratic and egalitarian society.

Cultural relativism and the “respect” for different “cultures” have allowed violence against women in ethnic minority communities to continue unchecked. In the name of “respect” for different “cultures” and freedom of choice, the principles of human rights have been compromised by tolerating violent acts against women such as polygamy, genital mutilation, forced marriages, so-called “honour” crimes, etc…. Bilateral agreements have turned the West into an accomplice of sexist traditions that relegate adult women to the status of minors.

Under the pressure of fundamentalists mixity is coming under increasing attack.

Now is the time to join the struggle for women’s rights, sexual equality and against all forms of discrimination and violence. The anniversary of the Veil law, which legalised abortion in France in 1975, is symbolic : it is a reminder that the law touches everybody, male or female. Secularism is a non-negotiable value of our struggle against violence and the principle that fuels our aspiration to create a more just and equal society.

We call on women and men, from here and elsewhere, to join our fight for the emancipation of women and men across the world. It is in our interest to carry the torch for those that fought for women’s rights before us. A democratic society is one that upholds women’s rights. We call on all women and men to stand up and fight to ensure that all women can take advantage of their rights.

Join us for the international women’s day demonstration!

The collective for a new feminist resistance

If you want to support us by your signature please send an e-mail to :

Well, first of all I am not applauding this secular group for the first sentence of the petition which promotes women to have abortions if they choose.
Second the translation word from site "mixity" should really be "misogyny"

I do applaud this group for standing up against hatred of women. I applaud this group for acknowledging how the Muslim ghetto law of silence humiliates victims of violence, and for speaking out against the tyranny of archaic traditions.

I agree with them that cultural relativism and the “respect” for different “cultures” have allowed violence against women in ethnic minority communities to continue unchecked.

I applaud them for standing up against violent acts against women such as polygamy, genital mutilation, forced marriages, and so-called “honour” crimes.

Amara, president of this group is a firm believer in the secular values of mainstream French society, and she demands that France live up to its ideals of liberty, equality and brotherhood for all its citizens. I applaud her for this.

What they want is acceptance and inclusion in French society. For example, rioting ghetto youths don't brandish religious symbols but rather their French ID cards.

This desire for inclusion was also expressed by French Muslims surveyed in a major Pew poll in 2006, in which 78 percent said they want to adopt French customs.

And the 2004 law banning headscarves in schools was much more sharply criticized abroad than by French Muslims.

I also find it noteworthy that it took a new conservative victory in France's elections to get these appointments into the Cabinet. The liberals didn't want to include them. They wanted them to be pitied poor ghetto dwellers who depend on the state for their every need.

I hope that as you read my diary your displeasure over the issue of abortion does not blind you to other good and worthy goals of these folks.

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