Shipley MP Philip Davies sends abusive responses to local resident who questioned him over his blocking or filibustering of safer housing Bills.

Copied and pasted, with permission, from Russell Waldron, a Shipley constituent – today’s email correspondence between him and Philip Davies.

“This is a long post. It directly quotes my communications with Philip Davies MP following last night’s horrifying tragedy in the Grenfell Tower. 
If you don’t want to read it, the crux is that Mr Davies is the lowest form of scum currently comprising our political class. 
“Dear Mr Davies,
 I am writing to express my dismay at the tragedy in Kensington today, an horrific and avoidable event in which you must surely find yourself directly complicit.
 Your debating history with regards to tenants’ rights and the obligations of landlords has directly led to an environment in which events of this nature are a much greater risk. That you filibustered the Fitness for Human Habitation bill demonstrates your unswerving commitment to representing the needs and interests of yourself and your associates rather than those of your constituents and the wider public.
 More broadly, it would seem that your government was party to information (which remained on file without action for four years, if today’s reporting is accurate) directly regarding the risks leading to this event, and has failed to intervene following similar events occurring in other properties managed by KCTMO. Continuing budget cuts to local authorities increasingly blunts their abilities to ensure that rented accommodation is safe. Although our brave emergency services continue to operate to their fullest abilities, continued funding cuts make a mockery of their crucial role in protecting us.
 The general culture arising from this climate is one of callous distain towards the populace; a distain which has historically proven, and continues to be, of fatal consequence to many thousands of people.
 Despite your recent re-election, I must assert that I consider you unfit for office due to you having directly endangered the lives of ordinary people who you are mandated to represent and whose basic interests you are avowed to protect.
 I must insist that you acknowledge (though I know you will not) your direct involvement in today’s tragedy, and issue a full apology (though I know you will not) to your constituents and your country for your political negligence.
 Though I take no pleasure in the use of such crass analogy, it is no exaggeration to say that you (in particular) and your party have literally left our citizens to burn.
 Reticent regards,
 Russell Waldron”
“Dear Mr Waldron
Thank you for your (utterly revolting and disgusting) email.
To use such a terrible tragedy to make such a partisan political attack is one of the lowest things I have ever seen in my 12 years in Parliament. Quite frankly you are sick.
You are also talking utter garbage. Please can you tell me which clause in the Human Habitation Bill would have prevented this fire and save lives.
If you can’t (which you can’t because it is wholly irrelevant) then I expect a full and groveling apology.
I cannot tell you how disgusted I am with your baseless, insensitive attack.
You perfectly sum up the nature of the Momentum dominated Labour Party under their Marxist leadership.
Philip
Philip Davies MP”
“Dear Mr Davies,
  (or Sophie Dean, who seems to have been your nominated advocate to respond on your behalf, though I would have happily awaited a direct response from my MP. Forgive me if this is an incorrect interpretation of the nuts and bolts of my e-mail thread),
  Thank you for your calm and measured response. It is exactly such grace and restraint that has typified your party’s approach to the recent election, and it’s paternal clemency when dealing with the socially democratic (not Marxist – correct understanding of basic political history goes a long way) leader of the party who received my vote.
  You will note, upon careful reading of my communication, that I did not assert that the proposed Fitness for Human Habitation bill directly concerned fire safety, rather that rejection of this and such other attempts to protect tenants’ rights exhibits contempt of my fellow citizens, and preserves the interests of you and your associates. There are other occasions where you have voted against tenants’ rights, with direct regards to conditions and safety in rented properties, which are available to read on your voting record. The concerns of the residents of the Grenfell Tower with regards to the KCTMO management company (whose interests you represent) are evident, and now reside in full public view. I reject your previous public assertions that you, as a landlord and tenant, have a uniquely balanced perspective on these issues. Your voting record does not substantiate this claim.
  I reject your assertion that my contact is a partisan political attack. I have written to you in the past regarding other matters, but regrettably felt that my efforts had fallen on deaf ears. You failed to represent my interests, and I have therefore not contacted you since. That I have decided to get in touch today is the culmination of my ongoing dismay regarding your and your party’s treatment of my fellow citizens. Suggesting that this is a partisan political attack is yet another example of your failure to properly and maturely address the opinions and concerns of your constituents. I stated my opinions moderately and without abusive language. Indeed, I am unaccustomed to being labelled “sick” by the type of person who would filibuster a bill (purely for example) to end exploitation of wild animals in circuses.
  As an aside, may I point out that your party has never failed to use national and international tragedies to bury abhorrent (or at the very least inevitably unpopular) legislation in the past, and I utterly reject your horrified rhetoric as entirely cynical.
  I take no discomfort from the personal attacks in your frankly immature response to my communication Mr Davies, as in my experience it is the wounded animal, backed into a corner, which attacks with the greatest ferocity.
  I welcome your comments when they come from a more balanced, and less personally abusive, perspective. Your hysterical treatment of one of your constituents will not go un-noted.
  Regards,
  Russell Waldron
“Dear Mr Waldron
Thank you for your further email. You (and all my constituents) get personal responses to emails.
So there we have it. You come back and now acknowledge that the Bill to which you referred had no bearing on today’s tragedy. But it didn’t stop you from originally making that baseless and disgusting allegation. Your backtracking does not excuse your original email.
I suppose that is the closest I will come to an apology from a disgusting partisan Momentum-style hard core left-winger.
There are clearly no depths (no matter how baseless you now have to accept they are) you will stoop to in order to make untrue political attacks.
Try having some respect for the people who were victims of a terrible tragedy instead of using it as a political tool.
Your sick and baseless allegations will also not go unnoticed.
Philip
Philip Davies MP”
“Dear Mr Davies,
I thank you for your personal response, which on this occasion does show as coming from you directly. 
Unfortunately a response does not always constitute a considered answer. My concerns, which remain entirely justified, are underpinned by my strong sense of social connection to every person on this earth who labours beneath a self-interested political class, of which I consider you to be a particularly obnoxious representative. I would not have written to you today were I not brought to tears by the plight of the residents of Grenfell Tower, their families, their friends, and their children. 
You will note, from careful reading of my communications, that I have not backtracked on any of my points. I remain convinced of your considered culpability in the struggles of tenants across the U.K., and of your government’s failings; which have created conditions whereby today’s tragedy was inevitable. Your failure to accept, or even respond to, these convictions solidifies my assessment that you are unfit to represent me and my fellow citizens. 
Allow me to be frank: I have no apology to make to you or your peers. Were I in the privileged position to determine the quality, or indeed the longevity, of the lives of my fellow citizens, I would be eternally grief-stricken should my decisions prove to be such grave and callous folly. You have demonstrated no such humanity. You are unprofessional and presumptive when you dare to question my own. Your urgency to label me politically (using frankly hilarious terminology) clearly demonstrates your inability to represent the broad church which comprises your ward. 
I am impressed by the timeliness of your (and your delegate’s) responses to my communications today and I again thank you for this, but I am sadly not surprised by the unhelpful and abusive content of these replies. 
I feel no further value in continuing this conversation, unless you feel it pertinent to directly address my politely (and admittedly forcefully) addressed concerns. 
Regards,
Russell Waldron”
“Dear Mr Waldron
I will give you one final chance.
Tell me which Clause in the Bills to which you refer would have prevented today’s tragedy. Given you have failed to do so it is clear that you haven’t the first idea what you are talking about and instead rely on morons on Twitter for your information.
So I will give you a final chance to substantiate your allegation.
If you can’t then you should have the decency to apologise. Instead I suspect you will head off to your Momentum meeting instead where I am sure you will fit in very well.
To use such a tragedy to make unfounded political smears disgusts me.
Philip Davies MP

Member of Parliament for the Shipley constituency”
“Dear Mr Davies,
My sincere gratitude for being issued one final chance. 
There are indeed many morons on twitter. Without being able to emulate your proficiency in arrogance, I have been blessed with, and have worked upon, the faculties to determine what is and what is not worth listening to. For the record, I use Twitter primarily for following news relating to Bradford City FC. I have never attended, nor do I plan to attend, a Momentum meeting. Please dispense with your tiresome prejudice. 
Your insistence in focussing on the minutiae of fire safety legislation entirely misses the point which I have carefully laid out in my correspondences. My assertions are based on your inability regarding (or probably disinterest in) objectively representing the interests of tenants in our country, due to your blinkered incentives to maximise profit as a landlord and as an associate of landlords. 
I am loathed to repeat myself, but the residents’ association of the Grenwell Tower repeatedly raised concerns regarding fire safety in their homes, and concluded that the only way their voices would be heard was in the event of a tragic failing of the systems that should have been in place. 
Please allow me to reframe this discussion, by now offering you the opportunity to affirm that your voting record regarding tenant safety has been at best misguided, and at worst negligent, and that you will henceforth engage in constructive (non-abusive) discussion to improve the living conditions of our citizens in rented accommodation. 
Policy after policy in the last seven years has been designed to demonise the poor whilst protecting the interests of the privileged. You have, I am afraid, been largely on the wrong side of this debate. 
Finally, and I do mean finally, you do not deserve, nor shall you receive, an apology from me for expressing my deep concerns regarding your and your government’s savage disregard of my fellow citizens. This is not a Daily Mail comments thread. I have not yet requested an apology for your abusive responses to my polite correspondence. I am a realist, and I feel I have the measure of you, therefore any such request would be sadly pointless. 
I once again thank you for your diligence in promptly engaging with me this evening Mr Davies, which does at least adhere to rule number one of your role as Member of Parliament. 
Regards,
Russell Waldron.”
I’ll add any further responses from my MP (my political representative in parliament, the man paid to represent my concerns and to conduct himself honourably within our great political institution) as and when they arrive.”

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Defence lawyer to victim in two-hammer attack: ‘you’re not injured enough’. 

Defence lawyer Andrew Kendall implies that domestic violence victim may have lied about her attack because her injuries are not sufficient enough for an attack involving two hammer. Please see my letter of complaint to Mr Kendall’s firm Apex Chambers. (Apexchambers.net) 

KeighleyWest Yorkshire

Apex Chambers

Harlech House,

20 Cathedral Rd

Cardiff

CF11 9LJ

 

1st May 2017

 

FOA All Partners

 

Dear Sir/ Madam

 
A barrister instructed by your firm has been reported in the press over the weekend as making deeply worrying and unacceptable comments while defending a client charged with Occasioning Actual Bodily Harm (ABH)

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4462694/Pakistani-asylum-seeker-beat-wife-hammer.html
http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/asylum-seeker-attacked-facebook-bride-10335407
Andrew Kendall suggested that the injuries sustained by the victim at the hands of his client, Mohsin Akram, should have been ‘drastically worse’ considering the vicious attack involved the use of not one but two hammers.
This type of language is wholly unacceptable and deeply insulting to not only the victim but also to all victims of domestic violence and abuse. It gives the impression that the victim has either been untruthful or has embellished her account of what has happened to her. In this case, there were multiple witnesses who came across the victim immediately after attack as well as medical evidence that backed up the claims made by the victim.

 

Less than two weeks ago, I was the principle organiser of an event held at the House of Commons, sponsored by Khalid Mahmood MP, to discuss whether the UK legal system was letting down victims of domestic violence, abuse and harassment. At the event, both Khalid Mahmood MP and Dawn Butler MP called for a public enquiry into the way victims are treated by the legal system in this country.

 

It seems clear to me that the attitudes of defence solicitors and barristers also need to be subjected to public scrutiny to see whether they have crossed the line from questioning the victims to disparaging and bullying them.

 

I now call on you, as partner, to distance yourself from the comments made by Mr Kendal while representing your firm and to further condemn all types of actions that may lead to victims feeling further attacked and their horrendous experiences of violence and abuse trivialised while they are giving evidence of their abuse. I further ask that you request Mr Kendall to undergo further training so as to understand the full, long term impact of domestic abuse and harassment on a victim, often exacerbated when he or she has to give evidence against their abuser.

 

 

Yours faithfully

Aisha Ali-Khan

Writer and Editor,

Asian Mums Network

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Judge Penalised For Having Compassion 

 
The Judicial Conduct Investigations Office were wrong to admonish Judge Jonathan Durham Hall QC for showing compassion and humanity to victim of convicted paedophile.
On Friday it emerged that a judge who had offered to pay the victim surcharge on behalf of the defendant himself was admonished for having failed to show impartiality and was given ‘formal advice’ by the Judicial Conduct Investigations Office to that effect.

The Law Society Gazette reported “The lord chancellor and lord chief justice ‘considered this failed to demonstrate impartiality, and that his (His Honour Judge Jonathan Durham Hall QC) comment amounted to misconduct’, the JCIO said. Hall has been issued with formal advice”.
Judge punished for offering to pay child abuse victim’s court fine
As someone who has had intimate dealings with the case from 2009, I can assure the reader, that instead of admonishments, His Honour Judge Jonathan Durham Hall QC should have been praised for showing compassion and understanding to the defendant. Although she was guilty of a serious offence, she was also a victim of the leniency shown to her attacker by the legal system for over seven years.
In 2009, I acted as an appropriate adult for the then 8 year old victim and supported the family throughout their horrendous experience to secure justice for the victim, which spanned two and a half years.
After a much fought for guilty verdict, despite a concerted campaign of harassment and intimidation to stop the family from testifying at court, the now convicted paedophile was allowed to return back to the same address as before, next door to his victim, who was by now 10 years old. Many in the community therefore believed that he had been acquitted and that the victim and her mother had lied about the whole saga. The family of the paedophile set about making the lives of the victim and her family living hell.
The close knit Pakistani community turned against them, and her older siblings would be regularly taunted by their school friends for having a ‘slag as a sister’ which led to huge long term emotional and behavioural problems for all the family.
After a year of this torment, the victim and her entire family were forced to uproot and relocate many miles away from the crime scene. To date, the paedophile remains in the same home in which he carried out his crimes.
There was a chronic and systemic failure of all the services that should have helped this child for years. The social services did not put any safe guards in place even after her attacker was convicted. He was allowed to continue to live next door as well as with his own children which included two daughters of a similar age to the victim. The housing association, to which many complaints were made, ignored the pleas of the mother to rehouse the paedophile; instead they offered to relocate the mother which reinforced the notion amongst the community that the mother and victim were the guilty party.
The front doors of the semi-detached properties were next to one another, and the attacker would sit on a chair outside his front door and swear loudly at the victim and her mother, calling them ”whores, slags and prostitutes” daily. The police, instead, would accuse the mother of the victim of making up lies and issue her with harassment warnings while no punishments would be given to the attacker.
The family were unable to leave their home without incident, so the mother became a recluse and suffered a nervous breakdown, something the young victim felt great guilt for.
There are of course, many other incidents, but I am sure you get the gist of what it was like for this young girl.
Even after she relocated, she was forced to return back to the same area after her secondary school relocated their building there. She was back to being only two streets away from her attacker, whose own teenage son now attended the same school. After her new school friends found out about her history, she was taunted daily for being ‘dirty, used, unclean’ by members of the attacker’s family and friends. She got into regular fights and was eventually excluded permanently. She would go on to be excluded from a number of other schools for her acute emotional and behavioural problems.
By now, her ambitions of going to university and getting a degree were in ruins and her relationship with her mother and other family members fraught. She was isolated and vulnerable. Eventually, she snapped, feeling that she was denied justice first time round, took a large knife and plunged it into her attacker.
She then handed herself into the local police station, telling them she had killed her attacker. He, of course, survived and now lives with a scar which he has to see every time he goes to the toilet.
I was asked to act as an appropriate adult again for the now-defendant, who was charged with attempt murder, later reduced to GBH with intent to wound.
The system failed the young child first time round in giving her attacker a suspended sentence. The only thing His Honour Judge Jonathan Durham Hall QC is guilty of is recognising this fact and trying to make amends to the young victim who will never be able to recover her childhood or undo the damage being a victim of her paedophile attacker brought to her life.
His Honour Judge Jonathan Durham Hall QC should in fact be commended and I intend to write to Judicial Conduct Investigations Office to express this view.
Tags: Judicial Conduct Investigations Office JCIO Judge Jonathan Durham Hall QC Paedophile Sexual Abuse Pakistani community
 

 

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Press release for immediate use: Shipley Feminist Zealots urge MPs to vote in favour of the Istanbul Convention on 24/2/17

Spokespersons Aisha Ali-Khan (07718990706) and Sue Easterbrook (07967 351901)

Dear Members of Parliament,
 

We are writing to you ahead of the 3rd reading of the Bill on ratifying the Istanbul Convention on violence against women and domestic violence, which is due to take place on Friday. We urge you to show up and support this important Bill, to bring about the urgent reforms needed for the 1 in 4 women in the UK who experience domestic violence in their lifetimes.

 

Why take the step of writing to you, and not our local MP? We are constituents of Philip Davies MP appalled by his attempts to obstruct this Bill at previous readings. In December he spoke for an hour and derailed the debate by putting forward his own agenda of men’s rights. His slogan is “Your interests, not self-interest” – but nothing could be further from the truth. When we try to engage with him, he brands us “extremists”, “socialists” and “feminist zealots”.

 

We have alerted Philip Davies to the fact that the Istanbul Convention recognises that men can be victims of domestic violence, and also to the disproportionate number of women who suffer domestic abuse, sexual violence and harassment, stalking and coercive behaviour. He persists in being dismissive of our concerns, and in his argument that the Bill is “discriminatory on the grounds of gender”. We understand he intends to oppose it at the next reading unless his proposed (and numerous) amendments to make it gender-blind are accepted. This is a wilful misunderstanding and sabotage of the Bill – and he cannot do this in our name.

 

While this Bill is delayed, people (mostly women) are being maimed and killed by abusive partners. To see this legislation filibustered is soul destroying for those who really need the protection of such a Bill. The Prime Minister herself recognises that domestic violence is “a life-shattering and absolutely abhorrent crime” and recently admitted that current legislation lacks clarity, resulting in “unacceptable” inconsistencies in local support for vulnerable women and girls. We hope therefore that this Bill will receive strong cross-party support and that common sense will prevail.
We hope that you will support the Bill, and do everything within your power to ensure that Philip Davies is not allowed to make a shambles of the parliamentary process.

 

Yours Sincerely,

 

Shipley ‘Feminist Zealots’

 
Kristina Diprose         

Sue Easterbrook

Aisha Ali-khan

Jenny Wilson

Sophie Phillips

Helen Bowman

Christine Edmonds

Janice Thornton

Esther Dixon

Eleanor Armstrong

Jed Skinner

Mandy Jackson

Catherine Warwick

Ian Warwick

Chris Turner

Jessika Osborne

Richard Osborne

Emma Collingwood

Val Turner

Louise Ross

Rachel Griffiths

Cat Crossley

Douglas Lines

Lizzie Nolan

Jan Vekaria

Thomas Dixon

Laura Firth

Natalie Sparrow

Kerrie-Anne Robb

Ruth Dunstan

Helen Walford

Melody Tavenir

Sarah Morrison

Nick Allen

Annie Jackson

Ellie Clement

Shona England-Lees

Chris Grogan

Elaine Phillips

Julie Wilkinson

Anna Watson

Kate Burnett

Annabel Holt

Lucy Hall

Christine Price

Chris Grayston

Rob Janaway

Katie Jones

Kate Ahern

Kath Jackson

Anna Sian Forman

Adam Cole

Nicole Miles

Helen Rowlands

Pete Conkerton

Anne Mackay

Natasha Jackson

Darren Butler

Kathryn Jackson

Jenny Ramsden

Nadine Bloomfield

Neil Terry

Sandra Chewins

David Slaney

Sharon Hattersley

Parvin Vekaria

Bridget Turner

Ruth Frost

Jenny Harold

Suzanne Barrett

Sue Maughan

Rachel Hesselwood

Darren Marks

Katy Witham

Wendy Spink

Claire Anderson

Lee Goater

Sophie Wainman

Bernadette Bowden

Alex James

Richard Ramsden

Claire Wellesley-Smith

Maria Crimmins

Will Lilburn-Quick

Andy Mayes

Liz Porter

Kate Sutcliffe

Ruth Bartlett

Heather Todd

Susan Martin

Vick Jenkins

Claire Nicholson

Steve Pope-Carter

Julie Pope-Carter

Catherine Pass

Gail Smith

Eve Poperwell

Aoife Aston

Lizzie Hutchinson

Holly Lyne

Andy Stanford

Anna Shakoor-Green

Paul Wrigley

Natalie Whiteley

Liz Kingsley

Andrew Calvert

Jude Wright

Mark Nesbitt

Kirstin Sawyer

Marcie Sawyer

Simone Sawyer

Joanne Jagger

Matthew Milnes

Julie Bacon

Sally Trusselle

Ian Hodgson

Kate Welsh

Kerry Hozhabrafkhan

Zac Williamson

Melissa Connor

Lorna Armitage

Tracy Glover

Joe Wheatley

Helen Owen

Marshall Owen

Jessica Owen

Becca Owen

Sara Ahern

Becca Blake

Ben Wray

Morgan Sproxton

Sophie Marfell

Sara Teresa Mollis

Rachel Kaye

Lara Thornton-Berry

Erica Lewis

Amanda Gill

Caroline Bunce

Joyce Robertshaw

Bev Winterbottom

Bob Winterbottom

Sally Allard

Anthony Johnson

Joseph Kean

Susan Kean

Georgina Dickinson

Angela Searle

Vanessa Hawkin

Lynn George

Ruth Simpson

Louise Nutton

Charlotte Furness

Jenny Harris

Lorna Faye Dunsire

Lucy Deakin

Fay Walker

Marissa Aitken

Sally Edwards

Claire Gibbons

 

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Challenging Stereotypes of Muslim Women, Islamic Divorces and Cultural Expectations in Child Sex Abuse Cases

Letter to the CPS following a recent child sex abuse trial

 

XXXXXXX XXXXXXX

Keighley

West Yorkshire

BDXX XXX

 

Crown Prosecution Service

Jefferson House

27 Park Place

Leeds

LS12SZ

 

Regina v Amer Rafiq

 

Dear Sir/ Madam

 

In late 2015, Amer Rafiq was arrested and charged with a number of offences relating to the sexual abuse of a number of minors (definition of offences: “Involves forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexual activities, not necessarily involving a high level of violence, whether or not the child is aware of what is happening”)

A retrial took place last week at Bradford Crown Court, and Rafiq gave evidence in his own defence which I found, at best, to  be dangerously misleading, and at worst, utterly untrue.

One of the key defences offered by Rafiq was the fact that he had had an arranged marriage at the age of 17 or 18 years of age. Throughout the rest of his testimony, he kept on reiterating the fact that his marriage was turbulent and unhappy but his wife could not leave due to it being arranged by the families. In short what Rafiq was trying to imply was that his marriage was a forced marriage and that his wife was therefore trapped and could not leave. Not once did Rafiq use the term ‘forced marriage’. Instead his use of the term ‘arranged marriage’ implied that all arranged marriages are in fact forced marriages and that all women subjected to such marriages were trapped and unable to leave whatsoever.

Rafiq further told the court that in his religion (Islam) only the men are allowed to give a divorce to women. This is a blatant untruth as women in Islam have the free will to divorce their husbands on a number of grounds including lack of provision, psychological and emotional abuse and substance abuse. This is known as a ‘khullah’. Furthermore, Rafiq’s was aware of a ‘khullah’ as his own sister had undergone one when she divorced her second husband. This untruth was not challenged whatsoever by either the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) prosecutor or by the judge himself, thus leaving the jury, which was predominantly Caucasian, with a deliberately skewed version of Islam. It was therefore crucial for the judge or the CPS prosecutor to point out this glaring untruth. Had Rafiq been challenged on the spot, it would have immediately undermined his credibility as a witness.

The nature of Rafiq’s testimony and the wider implications it is has for other court cases involving Muslim men is deeply concerning. By stating that only men can give divorces under sharia law, he implied his wife was desperate and trapped. By lying about the sex abuse, Rafiq alleged, his wife could have him removed from her life without a divorce. Rafiq played to the obvious and most damning of stereotypes surrounding Muslim women; that Islam subjugates and controls women; women have no rights under Islam, women are the property of men etc etc.

These are deeply dangerous grounds for defence and if unchallenged, will make it impossible for other Muslim women to come forward to report new cases of sex abuse within the family.  It takes a great deal of bravery and strength for a victim to come forward and reveal what is happening to them. This is made even harder when there are deeply entrenched cultural and religious expectations of females to stay pure and virginal until marriage within the community.

It is paramount therefore that those who are involved in the prosecuting of such cases where the defendants are from a Muslim background are given immediate training around divorces under Islamic law, the differences between forced and arranged marriages, as well as the pressure that families face to keep the honour of the victims intact so that they can challenge without hesitation or without a fear of appearing racist any misleading testimony that defendants such as Rafiq offer in order to walk free from child sex abuse cases.

 

Yours faithfully,

 

Aisha Ali-Khan

 

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Hands off our “P*ssies”! A message to US Presidential hopeful Donald Trump from a disgusted female.

 

donald-trump-smug

Donald ‘Grab them by the p*ssy’ Trump

Just last week I wrote an open letter to Elhamy Agina, the Egyptian MP who suggested that Egyptian female university  students be forced to undergo a virginity test before they enrol, telling him to keep his ‘hands off our hymens’. 

(https://womenunited1blog.wordpress.com/2016/10/09/hands-off-our-hymens-an-open-letter-to-elhamy-agina-mp/)

And now, I find myself writing a similar piece in response to another politician, Donald Trump no less, telling him to keep his hands off our p*ssies. And t*ts. And every other part of our bodies too.

(While it gives me no pleasure to use such derogatory language while describing the female anatomy, it is important to call out such distasteful and offensive language for what it is: unacceptable)

The arena of politics, regardless of which country or continent you find yourself on, is notoriously difficult for women at the best of times. However, when you have men such as Agina or Trump using certain platforms to express their misogynistic views, they are creating a world with greater gender inequality and discrimination, which impacts every single one of us.

 

 

Both men share a responsibility to their followers and others. After all, one is an elected official and a sitting MP for a prominent party in Egypt. The other, a billionaire with a celebrity status to match, is currently campaigning to be elected as the 45th President of the United States. They have followers, people who look up to them and many who also try to emulate them.

It would seem that Trump’s celebrity status has truly given him a ‘God’ complex; that he is entitled to do whatever, and most worryingly, whoever he wants. I dread to think of the subliminal messages being sent to other men.

My brother, until last year, can only be described as a Trump superfan. He watched The Apprentice religiously, bought his books, collected article on him. It has been a painful year or so watching him slowly see the true Trump emerge from the public persona. Although to be fair to Trump, he never even tried to hide his particular prehistoric attitudes to women. He would regularly appear on Howard Stern’s radio show and discuss women and their bodies. He not only revelled in reducing women to sex objects, but did not mind if others did the same, even if the subject of such objectifying was his own daughter, Ivanka. In 2004, Trump agreed with Stern that Ivanka was ‘a piece of ass’ and in 2006, he claimed that she had ‘always been quite voluptuous’.

The two male politicians may be from two continents separated by vast distance and cultural millennia but their attitudes towards women happen to be eerily identical. (Trump may actually find it offensive to be compared to and found near identical in thinking with a Muslim!) Both men’s behaviour and psyche betray a deep rooted sense of entitlement, opening expressing offensive and unacceptable views on women and their bodies.

In some of the most excruciating footage I have yet to see of the 2016 US elections, Trump states ‘You can do anything. Grab them by the p*ssy. You can do anything’. In other words, women should allow themselves to be violated and groped especially when they are in the presence of a star such as him. No consent needed. Claims of sexual assault have followed Trump around for many years. It does not now seem to be outside the realm of possibility for some of these claims to contain a grain of truth.

According to Agina, not only should female Egyptian university students allow themselves to be inspected to mandatory vaginal inspections to ensure their hymens are indeed intact but also, only a few months ago, claimed that all young girls submit to the barbaric practice of Female Genital Mutilation. FGM, for those who still reside in blissful ignorance, happens when a young girl’s clitoris and often parts of her labia too, are sliced off and then stitched up. This practice is encouraged to ensure that young girls could not fall prey to their raging and out of control natural urges and thereby jump on and sexually assault members of the unsuspecting male population in the countries that carry out such horrific practices. Agina claimed that his fellow countrymen were sexually weak, and that mutilating and sewing up the private parts of young girls was the only way to stop them from giving into their selfish sexual urges, conveniently placing blame squarely at the feet, and vaginas, of the victims.

In the aforementioned footage, Trump boasts of his fondness of kissing any woman he wants to and not needing to even seek consent. He believed that women who allowed him his little transgression of thrusting his slimy tongue down their throats were overawed by his status as a star. How can women around the world ever feel safe with politicians like Trump or Agina around?

In 2012, a British politician made comments around rape, claiming that it was not necessary to “seek consent prior to each new insertion”. I was unfortunate to have been in the position of a parliamentary aide to him at the same time and witnessed how his followers tried to silence critics of his comments using thuggery, harassment and intimidation. Suddenly, misogynistic comments about women’s bodies became normal in social gatherings. A member of the Respect Party decided to moon at me and a number of other women. Every day talk in the constituency office became more vulgar and sexualised; at one point when I objected to the use of the word ‘penis’ being shouted out by a senior partner at the law firm that had funded the party, I was told to either ‘shut up or suck on it’.

The comments made by the British politician were used by his followers to validate their own attitudes to women, and in some instances, encouraged his male supporters to behave more aggressively towards women.

Trump has given his opponent Hilary Clinton plenty of ammunition throughout the election campaign. Trump said of US journalist Megyn Kelly, who acted as a moderater during a presidential debate on Fox in 2015, ‘that she had blood coming out of her wherever’. It is widely believed that the blood he was referring to was menstrual blood. Rosie O’Donnell was branded a “a big fat pig” and Bette Midler was labelled as “ugly”. In my opinion, being unattractive may actually be a blessing if you are unlucky to happen to be in the same orbit as this misogynistic dinosaur.

Trump’s apology when his latest comments came to light simply does not cut the mustard. You cannot express such outdated views in a vacuum. His attitudes towards women have been formed over decades and will not change overnight. Trump is right now battling to save his credibility as a viable candidate in the US elections. He will say and do anything and everything to save his thatch, including, many suspect, sell his own mother down the river.

Similarly, Agina’s backtracking following the inevitable international outcry may have eased the pressure a little off the female Egyptian students who are seeking an advanced education, but there is no real incentive for men like him or Trump to ever change or treat women as equals, let alone as superiors. Women will always be viewed as commodities, as objects without sense of purpose other than to do the bidding of men.

Fighting against the objectifying of women and treating women as chattels of men has long been the bedrock of feminism in the West and beyond. Yet now it seems, as we near the third decade of the new millennia, the work on changing male mind-sets on how women are to be viewed and treated seems to be further than ever from being achieved. In Egypt, and other sharia law based countries, the sexist attitudes of men are no longer being tolerated; activists and human rights campaigners, with the help of sympathetic social media platforms, are calling out those who make outrageous demands on women and their bodies, although this is still a slow, painful process. Similarly, Trump is being forced to confront his long held, deeply unpleasant behaviour and attitudes towards women; his wealth and celebrity status no longer guaranteeing him a blanket pass anymore.

The Republican Party now need to step in now and take decisive action against allowing this sorry excuse of a sexual predator and bully from continuing as the party’s candidate in the US elections. If Donald Trump is elected in November 2016 as the next POTUS, we are facing a catastrophe. If a man with views as vile as Trump can win the most powerful position in the world, how can any of us feel safe?

 

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Hands off our hymens! An Open Letter to Elhamy Agina MP

elhamy-agina

Elhamy Agina ‘suggested’ mandatory virginity tests for female university students

Open letter to Elhamy Agina (Member of Parliament, Egypt)

 

House of Representatives

Parliament

Cairo

Egypt

 

For the Attention of the Office of Elhamy Agina MP

 

Dear Mr Agina

 

In a recent interview with local media, you ‘suggested’ that women entering Egyptian universities should be subjected to virginity tests to prove that they were virgins.

This is an appalling attack against Egyptian women and a further insult to millions of Muslim women around the world who have to defend themselves daily from gender and honour based discrimination and abuse.

How ironic that Cairo boasts one of the oldest universities in the world, Al- Azhar, yet the mind set of one of its most prominent MP belongs to a distinctly medieval era.

And what the heck has the state of our hymens have to do with our intellectual ability anyway? Do women who are no longer virgins have a lesser right to education than those who have manged to keep themselves virgin and therefore somehow ‘pure’?

What about those women who have been victims of rape? Your tests would have punished and stigmatised them further, silencing a minority that has no hope of ever securing justice in the face of a predominantly male criminal justice system that punishes women and allows men to escape justice by either marrying the rape victim or offering to pay a fine in the form of blood money. This fine is given the title ‘mahr’ (or dowry), which further dilutes the heinous nature of this abhorrent crime.

And how would you have carried out these virginity tests? Would you have advocated Indonesia’s barbaric ‘two finger’ test, used on female recruits who want to join the military or the national police, or did you have something even more hi tech in mind? Perhaps taking a camera and shoving it up unsuspected women while they come to enrol at university in a special ‘virginity booth’?

Have my Egyptian sisters not suffered enough from the years of oppression wrought by the likes of the Muslim Brotherhood and in recent decades, the corrupt regimes of Mubarak, Morsi and now Sisi? Each regime change has tried to surpass its predecessors in terms of human rights abuses, the silencing of the press and the attacks against women entering education.

You claim that you were merely suggesting virginity tests in order to stamp out marriages that take place without the permission of the bride’s guardians, so called ‘urfi’ marriages. Such marriages require just two witnesses; hence have the allusion of being ‘secret or covert marriages’. Again your comments are ill advised and unwanted, and a further attempt to subjugate women by depriving them of the right to marry whom they please. If a female of adult age wants to marry, she does not need the permission of her guardian to do so.

Let us be honest here. Your comments had little to do with education or with trying to stop ‘urfi marriages and everything about controlling the destiny of women. You decided to use your position as an elected member of Egypt’s parliament to try and deny women access to education, a fundamental human right regardless of gender, age, race or social background.

This is not the first time you have caused controversy or made inappropriate remarks about women; in January this year, you were forced into a humiliating retreat after MP Suzy Nashed, along with 89 other female MP’s, filed a complaint against your comments demanding female MP’s wear modest dress while inside parliament. In September 2016, you confirmed further your obsession with women’s vagina’s by claiming that women must subject themselves to Female Genital Mutilation because Egyptian men are ‘sexually weak’. Comments like these prove that you are a danger to women and unfit to hold a publicly elected office.

So please, stop your obsession with the state of Egyptian women’s vaginas and try to concentrate on making Egypt a safe place for the rest of us, regardless of the way we dress or the state of our hymens.

Kind regards

Aisha Ali-Khan (Women Rights Campaigner, United Kingdom)

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