By Mick Krever, CNN
Nadia Manzoor wanted to be an astronaut.
“Nadia, how can you be astronaut?,” she recalls her father asking. “Other women can't be astronauts. Who will cook? Who will clean? Who will feed your husband if you're floating about in space?”
For the Pakistani Brit, that experience was less demoralizing than inspiring – inspiration for sardonic humor, and a one-woman show, “Burq Off!”
Comedy, she told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Thursday, was a tool “that allowed me to look at difficult things like, you know, dogmatism and traditional thinking and patriarchal oppression” in a lighthearted way.
“My father from the earliest I can remember reminded me that I shouldn't get fat, I shouldn't eat too many French fries, because my inherent purpose would be jeopardized, which is to be a wife and a mother.”
Malala Yousafzai, the world’s most famous advocate for girls’ right to education, tells CNN's Christiane Amanpour that "girls in Nigeria are my sisters."
Yousafzai survived an assassination attempt by the Pakistani Taliban in her native country in 2012. The group targeted her because of our outspoken support for girls' education.
She says that Boko Haram, which kidnapped nearly 300 girls in Nigeria, does not understand Islam.
"I think they haven’t studied Islam yet, they haven’t studied Quran yet, and they should go and they should learn Islam," she told Amanpour from Birmingham, in the UK, where she has been living and attending school. (She is now the face of The Malala Fund.)
"I think that they should think of these girls as their own sisters. How can one imprison his own sisters and treat them in such a bad way?"
You can see Amanpour's full interview with Malala below. FULL POST
By Mick Krever, CNN
Major religious faiths around the world are joining forces to fight the scourge of modern-day slavery and human trafficking.
Australian billionaire and mining magnate Andrew Forrest has signed up major religious heavyweights –Pope Francis, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and the Grand Imam of the al-Azhar mosque in Egypt, Islam's highest-ranking Sunni cleric.
This week their representatives gathered at the Vatican to sign on to Andrew Forrest’s initiative, the Global Freedom Network.
Forrest joined Amanpour in her London studio, along with Archbishop David Moxon of the Anglican Church and Bishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo of the Catholic Church.
“I got dragged, really, kicking and screaming, into this cause by my daughter, Grace,” Forrest said. “When she was 15, she worked in an orphanage in Nepal and our intelligence was that there was something was suspect about the orphanage.”
When she returned to the orphanage they discovered that the only children left were “severely disfigured” or “mentally handicapped, i.e. could not be sold.”
The Global Freedom Network has ambitious goals: to get 162 governments to publicly endorse the fund, get 50 multi-national businesses to modern slavery-proof their supply chains, and convince the G20 to adopt an anti-slavery initiative.
By Tom Evans; Sr. Writer, AMANPOUR.
(CNN) –The Islamic scholar who issued a powerful fatwa, or religious ruling, against terrorism and suicide bombers said Thursday that he was not afraid of reprisals from his enemies and did not fear for his life.
"I am not afraid of any human being on the surface of Earth," Sheikh Muhammad Tahir ul-Qadri told CNN's Christiane Amanpour.
"I am working ... to bridge up the Muslim world and the Western world, to remove the hatreds, to remove all misunderstandings."
"So this is a good cause. I am not afraid of anybody. It depends upon whatever my Lord wants. If I have to live, I will live. Otherwise, I am not afraid."
Ul-Qadri was speaking to CNN just over a week after he issued a 600-page fatwa in London denouncing terrorists as "the biggest enemies of Islam."
Today we speak with Dr. Tahir ul-Qadri who has issued a 600-page fatwa against terrorism. Can it stop suicide bombings and encourage moderate Muslims to take a stand against terrorism? We want to launch a conversation how much influence you think a Fatwa has on different societies. So please read the English summary here and tell us what you think in our comment section below:
By Tom Evans; Sr. Writer, AMANPOUR.
As France moves closer to a partial ban on the burqa, a leading European lawmaker declared Wednesday that the full Muslim veil is a symbol of political Islam and has no place in Europe.
"The majority (of Europeans) don't want the political Islam and the symbols of political Islam. And the burqa is part of the political Islam that the majority rejects," Naser Khader, a Syrian-born Conservative member of the Danish Parliament, told CNN's Christiane Amanpour.
But he insisted that opposing political Islam is not the same as being "Islamophobic."
"Wearing the burqa and niqab is oppressive of women. And many Muslims are against the burqa and niqab," he said, referring to Islamic women's clothing that covers from head to toe.
// Khader said the majority of the estimated 20 million Muslims living in the European Union are well-integrated, law-abiding and loyal citizens.
"The burqa and niqab have no place in Western Europe", he added.
On AMANPOUR. today, we focus on Islam and Europe. With recent news that France is moving closer to banning the full Muslim veil, the recent attack on the Danish cartoonist by a Somali man with links to al-Shabaab, and the banning in Britain of a radical Islamic group, Europe is grappling to come to terms with its growing Muslim minority. After years of accepting Muslim immigrants, some European nations are growing fearful of the Muslims in their midst and placing new limits on immigration and the activities of extreme Islamic groups. Some politicians are capitalizing on those fears, making Islam a hot political issue in Europe. Is Europe feeling it’s had enough of Islam? There are plenty of other stories to tell you about as well. Here are some perspectives on some headlines in the news today.
Sr. Writer, AMANPOUR.
PAKISTAN/U.S. – How big is the U.S. military footprint in Pakistan?
- Three U.S. troops are among seven people killed in a roadside bomb attack in northwest Pakistan near a school
- Pakistan says American troops are in the country to help train local security forces
- Bombing could be retaliation for repeated U.S. drone strikes against Taliban and Al Qaeda targets in border area near Afghanistan
QUESTION: Will there be a political backlash in Pakistan against the use of U.S. military personnel to train Pakistani security forces?
IRAQ – Are terrorists trying to stir up ethnic hatred by attacking Shia pilgrims?
- Bombing kills 20 people and wounds 117 others in holy city of Karbala, south of Baghdad
- Attack one of four targeting Shia pilgrims Wednesday who are celebrating the Arbaeen, the end of the 40-day mourning period that closes Ashura
- Blasts raising fears Sunni extremists may be trying to disrupt the pilgrimage
QUESTION: Will the Shia community in Iraq stay calm in the face of these bomb attacks – or will Shia extremists retaliate?
SUDAN – Will decision to allow genocide case to proceed against Sudanese president lead to more vigorous international action to apprehend him?
- Appeal judges order International Criminal Court to rule again on whether to allow genocide charges against Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir for his role in campaign of violence in Darfur
- Al-Bashir, who remains in office, already facing charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity
- Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo wanted al-Bashir to face genocide charge at same time, but pre-trial judge left that off original arrest warrant, citing lack of evidence
QUESTION: Will countries that have allowed al-Bashir to visit in the past now consider arresting him if he travels again?