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Archive for February 7th, 2010

Amnesty International And Gita Sahgal.

with 16 comments

Amnesty International do terrific work, but you get the impression sometimes that internally they’re playing games, games with people’s lives.

The appalling treatment of Gita Sahgal is one such example, Flesh is Grass highlights the issue:

“Amnesty International is one of the most serious and rigorous human rights agencies we have. I’m rooting for Amnesty.

I am deeply nervous about the way Amnesty is going.

They have suspended the head of their international secretariat’s gender union Gita Sahgal, ostensibly because of this interview with The Times. Sahgal objects to Amnesty’s involvement with the apologist for terror, Moazzam Begg, in the charity’s Counter Terror With Justice campaign.”

The Spittoon has more:

“Sahgal, a senior official at Amnesty International, has accused AI of legitimising the jihadist Moazzam Begg and his organisation Cage Prisoners. This is a hugely significant intervention which, we hope, will finally point much-needed spotlight on Amnesty’s continued patronisation of this known jihadist group and the activities of its directors.

Sahgal’s accusations are based on a fundamental point of principle, which is this: It is correct for Amnesty hold human rights positions on fair trial, torture, diplomatic assurances and work against renditions and the closure of Guantanamo Bay. However, these positions should also require us to hold salafi-jihadi groups and other religious absolutists accountable. Human rights abuses of torture, for example, should not be used to justify, legitimise and finally partner with proponents of violent jihad such as Moazzam Begg.”

Update 1: I’m still trying to make head or tails, of who said what and who believes what. This is not my subject area, so I am not terribly familiar with the various combatants, but David Aaronovitch adds some, How Amnesty chose the wrong poster-boy.

Update 2: I think this may have been the original contentious article at the Times.

Update 3: Paul Stott seems to know more than most on this topic, Amnesty International Begins To Wise Up To Moazzam Begg.

Update 4:Thanks to Stroppy for following events and highlighting how those people at Islamophobia Watch are now attacking women with the epithet of “nutty” and “cranks”.

You can’t get much lower politically than that, but I am sure the proprietors of Islamophobia Watch will try.

I think the comments by one of my readers, Leni, comes to the nub of the issue:

The abysmal treatment of women is unquestionably of paramount importance – one that is too often subsumed into a more general political perspective – in simple terms one of ‘don’t rock the boat’. I am trying to separate the women’s issue from all others. Without the genuine liberation of women and until attitudes towards them are fully freed from outmoded and repressive thinking societies cannot themselves be free – children continue to suffer and girls are often denied education and individual autonomy from early childhood.

Challenging repressive ideologies which trap women in a subservient position is to challenge the whole society and the foundations on which it is built. External pressure will not succeed until the women within have the courage and the backing of enough men to guarantee that women will not suffer even more.

Western women , in the early days , were imprisoned and force fed when necessary – they were not in danger of being killed or whipped.

It is tragic that Ms, Saghal has been silenced – or that an attempt to silence her has been made – by an organisation which supports the liberation of women. We have a long way to go.” [My emphasis]

Written by modernityblog

07/02/2010 at 21:40