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Islam and Hatred: Why the Free World Civilization is at Risk

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Hatred to the other is one of the main sources as much as commandments in Islam. It is this old inherent religiously commanded hatred that is behind the terrorism of Jihad against the infidels and the criminality of the Muslims in so many places and regions around the world.

Hatred cannot be detached from Islam because it is in fact indoctrinated and motivated by Islam. The Nazi era has taught us that hatred is one of the most important policies that lead to apartheid and genocide. The Qur’an teaches hatred and commands to hate the infidels. The Islamic Caliphate State (ICS) is proving it time and again, even by destroying the archeological sites, the wonders of the old Middle East.

Consider the elements that define hate speech: drawing a moral comparison based on distinction between one’s own identity group and those outside of it; dehumanization of other groups and insistence of personal superiority against these groups; and a call to all kind of atrocities perpetuated against other groups.

The Islamic Shari‘ah qualifies as hate religion on each and every count by which we define hate speech. There is no other religion that draws such sharp distinction between its community of believers and others outside Islam.

a) Its message inspire loathing for others and the Qur’an mandates the superiority of Islam by all means. According to Muslim exegetes, there are seven major features of the superiority of Arab-Muslims over others, based on the Qur’an, among them, they are the best Ummah ever brought forth to men, bidding good (Ma’rûf) and forbidding evil (Munkar); they hold the pillar of superiority over all other world communities; and they will wage war on the people of error and the Anti-Christ.

b) It draws a deep distinction between Muslims and the others, called Kuffār, and it incites to violence and hatred. Islam is ethnocentric religion and political culture. It differentiates the world between Dār al-Islām against Dār al-Harb; between the good and righteous society and the bad and unclean society. It is Halāl against Haram; it is the right against wrong; it is the pious against the evil-doers; it is Paradise or Hell. There is nothing positive in the Qur’an and the Sharī‘ah for non-Muslims who are all infidels.

c) It perpetuate legitimizes atrocities and butchering of non-Muslims whenever they are. There are 527 verses that are intolerant to the infidels, and 109 verses calling on Muslims to make war on the infidels. As Muslims see it, Islam is for everyone in the human race and should be expanded as a winning religion, by force or persuasion, until all human beings proclaim that “there is no God but Allah and Muhammad is his messenger.” Jihad is universally understood as war on behalf of Islam, and its merits are described plentifully in the most-respected religious works.    

In ancient as much as in contemporary world, Islamic dominance is characterized by the oppression and discrimination of non-Muslims, all defined as infidels (Kuffār, Kāfirun). There are no “unbelievers” or “disbelievers” in the Qur’an and the Sharī‘ah at large but only infidels or apostates. This is not only a subjective issue, but deep categorical. ‘Unbeliever’ can get neutral in conception, ‘infidel’ is totally different. The pattern of aggressive violence and disregard for human suffering is persistent in Islam and reflects the message of the Qur’an, which is one of superiority, loath and hatred. 64 percent of the Qur’an and 61 percent of the overall Sharī‘ah is related to the infidels, and there is not even one positive stand in favor for them. They are all an integral part of the abode of Hellfire.

The Kuffār are the vilest animals and beasts; the worst of creatures and demons, perverted transgressors and partners of Satan (al-‘Imrān, 3:82, 110; al-Nisā’, 4:76; al-A‘arāf, 7:176; al-Anfāl, 8:55). The Kuffār are to be beheaded. Muslims must strike off their heads and their fingertips (al-Anfāl, 8:12; Muhammad, 47:4). The Kuffār are to be terrorized. Muslims are to cast terror into the hearts of the infidels, their abode is the Hell-fire (al-‘Imrān, 3:151; al-Anfāl, 8:12, 8:60; al-Ahzāb, 33:26; al-Hashr, 59:2). The Kuffār are to be annihilated until the religion of Allah is the only one. They are to be killed wherever they are found, since persecution is severer than slaughter. Muslims are obliged to slay them until there is no persecution, and religion is only Allah’s. This commandment includes not only the infidels and the idolaters, but also the hypocrites and the polytheists, as their abode is Hell-fire (al-Baqarah, 2:191; 193; al-Nisā’, 4:89, 91; al-Anfāl, 8:39; al-Taubah, 9:36, 73, 111, 123; al-Tahrīm, 66:9). The Kuffār are to be crucified (al-Mā’idah, 5:33). They are the constant fuel of the fire burn in Hell (al-‘Imrān, 3:10; al-Taubah, 9:17; Ibrāhīm, 14:30; al-Nahl, 16:29; al-Anbīyā’, 21:98; al-Hajj, 22:19; al-Ahzāb, 33:64; al-Saff, 61:11; al-Mû’min, 48:13). “Hostility and hate” exist between the Kuffār and the Muslim believers forever until they “believe in Allah alone” (al-Taubah, 9:28, 32, 69).

The Egyptian intellectual Sami al-Rabbā’ has elaborated:

If you say that Islam is a violent faith, you are accused of being anti-Islam and “Islamophobe”. Yet, the main of the Qur’an are passages full of incitement and hatred, Jihad-killing and war-mongering.

The educational system is the main source of indoctrination and socialization to hatred and it works almost as a production line. The Muslims start the politics of hatred and Jihad ideology from infancy. The children learn to hate before everything, even without knowing why: at home, in the mosques and in schools, Madāris. They hate the infidels, because they are what they are, and not because they know anything about them. The hatred is in their drink and foods, and this fuel directs and motivates the massacres and lynches that are so pervasive around the world.

The contemporary radicalization of the Muslim youth, the “third generation” Muslims living in the Western world is enormous and alarming. A report by the International Centre for the Study of Radicalization in London claims that “European jihadists in Syria are more numerous than official statistics indicate. Indeed, they point to the existence of entire French-speaking and German-speaking brigades in the Aleppo region.” Many of them are radicalizing through the Internet extremist websites and YouTube videos; others are led by imams at mosques; and others, converted to Islam, men and women, volunteer for sex Jihad.

Sa’id al-Hamad, a liberal thinker from Bahrain

The ‘culture of backwardness’ dominates the Arab world, and it includes ‘culture of terrorism,’ which adopts beheading and lynching people; and the ‘culture of hatred,’ which propagates in the minds and consciousness of the youth deep hatred to the world.

Islam’s conceptions and behavior

Muslim groups and organizations are violent politically and fanatic religiously. Muslims cover their activities by using religious argumentations as an excuse and motivation to their behavior towards the other. Whether they butcher and cut-off heads of infidels of the West; or terrorize their own Muslim believers, Sunnis and Shiites; or massacre minorities of all kinds, mainly Christians; or when they establish Islamic institutions and mosques in Western states; or when they commit acts of horrible homicide bombings and terrorism; or when they conquer, Islamize and Arabize vast territories; or when they commit ethnic cleansing, apartheid and mass holocausts — for example, the Hindus and the Armenians in the past, and Christians today; or when they coerce and intimidate, Muslims always claim they do it in defense.

Another astonishing issue is that Muslim exegetes, preachers and propagators speak only in complete and absolute terms about their religion’s values, without the slightest self-criticism and doubts: ‘Islam is absolutely a religion of peace and harmony;’ ‘Islam is totally devoted to promote peace around the world;’ ‘Jihad is absolutely and totally defined in terms of defense;’ ‘aggression is used only rarely, when the Muslims have no other choice to defend their religion and their self;’ ‘there is nothing in Islam that is against tolerance, democracy and peaceful relations;’ and ‘Islam tolerates all other religions, acts peacefully and preaches for human cooperation and collaboration.’

One finds these slogans abound in books, article, and media resources. It is so pervasive and so totalistic that it becomes almost impossible to argue and to debate with them. Their cultural conceptions; their totalistic approach as being always and under all circumstances the righteous side; and their ethnocentric conceptions make it impossible to argue with them in rational and according to the ‘golden rule’ values.

However, when one elaborates the many verses of the Qur’an and the commandments of the Shrī’ah, he immediately attacked and mocked off as an ignorant of Islam and dismissed as being biased evil Muslim: “you don’t understand the real true meaning of the scriptures;” “you don’t know Arabic;” “you hate Islam and prove Islamophobia exists;” “you prove by your words the white man discrimination of imperialism and colonialism;” “you are racist and oppressive;” and other accusations according to Arab-Islamic imagination and aggression.

What Arab-Islamic history and contemporary tell us?

This is the political language of the Muslim scholars, spokesmen and propagators. Yet, one has to recall the following: the origin of the Arabs and Islam is in Arabian Peninsula. All the vast areas that have been conquered from year 632 on are the result of one of the deepest colonialist and imperialist occupation characterized by process of Arabization and Islamization of the occupied territories. The Middle East was mainly Pharaonic; Phoenician; Babilonian; Ugarit; Chaldean; Jewish, and Berber in North-Africa. Iran was Sassanid; Turkey, Afghanistan and Pakistan were Buddhist. Indeed, Islamic occupations of the Middle East, North Africa, parts of Europe and Asia were all imperialist-colonialist of the worst kind, as they have constantly become Arabized and Islamized.

The invasion out of Arabia was conducted under political ideological ambitions clocked in a religious banner and as an intrinsic part of Islamic doctrine. This process of occupation ended by ethnic cleansing and deportations of the indigenous population; massacres and genocide of peoples; huge slavery by hundreds of millions; and racist policies of Apartheid.

The Palestinian sociologist, Ali ‘Issa Othman, states his conviction that

The spread of Islam was military. There is a tendency to apologize for this, and we should not. It is one of the injunctions of the Qur’an that you must fight for the spreading of Islam.

Indeed, Islam has never been a tolerant, peaceful religion. It is not intolerant as a response to other’s intolerance, but it is inherently intolerant, racist and war-mongering by itself, according to its religious doctrine. Islamic hostility that practices a policy of systematic Jihad against the other are not a modern phenomenon, but deeply rooted in the Qur’an. It has been operated systematically from the 7th century on until today.

Moreover, against the religious command to love their own fellow believers, Muslims massacre by millions other Muslims. Today, it is represented by the emergence of groups and organizations that follow the Islamic ancestors’ tradition, Salafiyah, with the following division: traditional (Salafīyah Taqlīdīyah), represented by the Muslim Brotherhood parties; Jihadi (Salafīyah Jihadīyah), represented by al-Qaeda and its regional organizations (like AQAP, AQIM, al-Shabab in Somalia, Boko Haram in Nigeria, Jabhat al-Nusra in Syria); and Takfīri (Salafiyah Takfīrīyah), represented the Islamic Caliphate State.

The objectives of Islamic hatred

The Qur’an makes it clear that Islam is not about universal brotherhood and cooperation, but the brotherhood of the community of believers. The Qur’an says that all other religions as such are cursed by Allah. Whoever does not believe in Muhammad and totally follow him; whoever contends with Muhammad and Islamic tenets it means heresy that deserves death. It is the nature of Islam to dominate and not to be dominated; to rule and not to be ruled; to be superior on all the infidels. The Muslim vision is clear: there is one universe, and it must be under the banner of Islam. All humanity must submit to Islam as the supreme religion.

The Islamic excuses of the past are no more relevant. The claims they revenge only at acts that are committed against them; acts that humiliate their honor and their souls; or for defense of their nation and soil; and all other sorts of fairy-tales for the consumption of Western media to publish and public opinion to impress – these excuses are no more relevant. The fact is that Muslim groups and organizations murder and butcher and operate all kinds of horrible atrocious acts of violence are exactly for political reasons under the cloak of religious issues and as a result of cultural reasoning. They wish to conquer the world, to impose their religion and culture, and they do not feel any shame or guilt remorse. From their vantage point, they are entitled to possess everything, as it is promised in the Qur’an. They have never given up the prophetic message that Islam must dominate the entire world, and they have all the patience (Sabr) in time to bring these ambitions come true.

The Saudi legal expert, Basem ‘Alem states it clearly:

As a member of the only true religion, I have a greater right to invade others in order to impose the Shari’ah, which history has proven to be the best and most just of all civilizations. This is the true meaning of Jihad. When we wage Jihad, it is not in order to convert people to Islam, but in order to liberate them from the dark slavery in which they live.

This is apparent in an interview with Ayat Allah Kamil, a Palestinian woman who had tried to carry out a suicide bombing. When asked by the Guardian journalist: “Do you have any dreams for the future?” She responded

My deep belief and wishes that the whole world becoming Islamic, a world in which we will all live in peace, joy, and harmony, all of us, human beings, animals, flowers, plants, and stones. Islam will even bring peace to vegetables and animals, the grass and the stones… And you will be able to remain Jewish, whatever you want; it doesn’t matter, but only in an Islamic world.

…and its consequences and repercussions

The Western world reaction to this reality if fear and intimidation. One of the fresh examples is the case of Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a victim of genital mutilation in infancy and a victim of Islamic persecution today. Now she has been subjected to yet another example of Western cowardice and hypocrisy. Brandeis University has decided not to award her an honorary degree. As Arnold Ahlert observes, Brandeis honored Desmond Tutu who was an overt anti-Semite, and asserted that the Holocaust’s gas chambers made for “a neater death” than did Apartheid. He regularly accuses the Jewish State of ethnic cleansing, and insists that Zionism has “very many parallels with racism.” Brandeis also honored the playwright Tony Kushner, despite his overt anti-Semitism for Israel. He also accused the Jewish State of ethnic cleansing, and insisted its creation “was a mistake.”

Nevertheless they have been given the honorary degree. A similar case was also the University of Haifa decision not to grant an honorary doctorate to Nobel Prize laureate Yisrael Aumann, “because of his political views,” but has awarded the extreme leftist anti-Zionist Shulamit Aloni the honorary degree without hesitation.    

The question is why the academia, the media, and governments in the West, founded on liberalism and secularism, would not only refuse to counter Islamic Jihad and Da‘wah onslaught against other civilizations but even deny that Islam is not compatible with the basic values of freedoms and civil rights? The answer is surprisingly simple: because they are frightened, because they are intimidated and terrorized. They are frightened of being accused of Islamophobia and racism; they are intimidated by brutal savage forces that threaten and actually attack them; they are terrorized by anarchic and chaotic groups of ruffians; and they are paralyzed by Islam’s real intent to bring us all to its 7th century traditions and way of life. Part of them, mainly the academia and the cultural hedonists, act along these lines because they hate the west and its values and they perceive Islam as a cure to what they call ‘Western malaise;’ as they embrace sick and twisted ideologies based on neo-Bolshevism and neo-Fascism.

The best to exhibit the mired reality of this Western world’s situation is the example of the British newspaper, the Guardian’s cartoonist and head of the British Cartoonist Association, Tim Benson. Anti-Semite in profession, he often sketches horrible graphic cartoons against Israel, but never against Islam and the Palestinians. When asked about this, his answer was pure and simple: I am afraid. It means, he can draw anything against Israel, the Jews, Christianity and Buddhism, and nothing happens, but he would not dare to do that when Muslims, Arabs and Palestinians are concerned. He does not want to be persecuted like Salman Rushdie, or be butchered like Theo Van Goch, to mention the few.      

The academia and the media worldwide are sick, and Israeli academia and media represent a pure tragic example of this sickness, because Israel is in the forefront of the war of civilizations, the last fortified dam before the deluge. Unless these two important organs of Western society’s body that hold crucial influence on the governmental apparatus decision making stop their submission and capitulation to the forces of evil, the Western world is doomed.

Those in power are still terrified of offending Islam. Honor killing is still overwhelmingly an Islamic tradition; gender equality simply does not exist within Muslim culture and jurisprudence; women still have very few rights and are treated like beasts in Muslim states; women rape victims are punished even to death in large parts of the Middle East; and women are still forced to cover their entire bodies in dark tent. Islamic immigration wrack and havoc Western societies; and the Muslim’s third generation proves to be the most extremist and fanatic, and still Western governments appease Islam and actually even unintentionally promote its victory.

The Muslim women’s clothing is the symbol to Western world’s sick era. If “Sunlight is the best disinfectant,” then Western civilization is marching courageously to a dark era in which Islam determines the values of the future. This is a darkness era that clouds the minds of those in power in the West, as much as in the academia and the media, not to see the bright sights of Islam’s brutal onslaught of Jihad; not to hear the clear voices of Islam’s targets operated by Da‘wah; and not to smell the scent of Islamic blood-hunt that wishes to smash our freedoms and civil rights and to re-mold Western civilization according to their traditions.

This almost constitutes a perpeteum mobile, which leads to a simple mathematics: if the number of the Islamic fanatics produced by hatred is higher than those the Free World can neutralize, it means that it is losing the war of civilizations. Indeed, the Western world’s mired situation is so intimidating that it refuses to tell even to itself that Islam is engaging in a Third World War against us, and we even do not fight back, but appease and pay protection money. What we are really dealing with is not Islamophobia, but the acute danger of Islamophilia and Islamization of the Free World’s civilization.

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New Social Compact

Nairobi summit: Women’s empowerment a ‘game changer’ for sustainable development

MD Staff

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UN Deputy Secretary-General, Amina Mohammed, addresses the 25th Anniversary of the ICPD in Nairobi, Kenya. Photo: UNFPA

The global goal of a sustainable future for all cannot be achieved until women, girls and young people gain control over their own bodies and lives, UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed told world leaders meeting in Nairobi on Tuesday.

The Kenyan capital is hosting a three-day summit to mark 25 years since the landmark International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD).

The conference, held in Cairo, produced a Programme of Action which recognized that reproductive health, women’s empowerment and gender equality are critical to sustainable development.

Ms. Mohammed said it must be carried forward: “Achieving gender equality and women’s empowerment and upholding women’s rights is a game changer – for poverty-reduction, inclusive growth, democratic governance, peace and justice,” she said.

“The Sustainable Development Goals cannot be achieved until women, girls and young people are able to control their bodies and their lives, and live free of violence. The power to choose the number, timing and spacing of children is a human right that can bolster economic and social development.”

SDGs deadline approaching 

For Ms. Mohammed, the Nairobi Summit is also an opportunity to mobilize political and financial momentum towards realizing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by world leaders in 2015. 

Next year will see the start of a Decade of Action ahead of the 2030 deadline. 

“We must continue to work  even harder towards preventable maternal and child mortality, achieving the unmet need for family planning, and eliminating violence and harmful practices against women and girls everywhere, not least in humanitarian and fragile settings,” the UN deputy chief told the gathering. 

As too many are still being left behind, Ms. Mohammed called for action. 

“Hundreds of millions of women and girls are still waiting for the promise to be kept. They have been waiting long enough,” she said. 

“It’s time for urgent and transformative change as we enter the decade of action to 2030. 

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New Social Compact

Joker &the Pathology of Violence

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image: Warner Bros

JOKER, director Todd Phillips and renowned actor Joaquin Phoenix’s new take on an infamous comic book villain, will hit the big screen this weekend.  It has garnered prestigious awards (such as the Golden Lion), laudatory critic reviews & is expected to attract hordes of eager moviegoers.  However, JOKER has also inspired ominous think-pieces from publications such as The Atlantic and Vox.  Additionally, the US military and the NYPD have expressed concern that the film could inspire violence.

These detractors of JOKER are arguing that the film glorifies “incel violence” and is thus likely to inspire acts as incel violence.  This logic has been used ad nauseam to condemn everything from comic books, to video games, to martial arts, to Marilyn Manson to hip-hop.  No credible study has proven that art that portrays violence causes real-world violence.  Some people may point out that extreme outliers, like white-supremacist music, could cause violence.  However, it would be more logical to argue the opposite: people who compose and listen to white-supremacist music were already enmeshed in a violent ideology.  Likewise, genocidal propaganda tends not to focus on explicitly glorifying violence for violence’s sake, but in portraying groups of people as sub-human (Tutsis being compared to roaches, Jews being portrayed as greedy and treasonous, etc.).  It’s thus a process of long, gradated inculcation.  As Nazi propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels realized, there’s no reverse-Ludovico Technique that can magically turn people into killing machines by quickly showing them a two-hour film.

Now, it is true that a few violent criminals have cited works of art as inspiration for their actions.  This is statistically inevitable, but insignificant.  There are bound to be a few outliers who have bizarre interpretations on art, just as there are a few people who have been inspired to commit acts of terrorism based on personal interpretations of religion or politics.  It’s no more logical to suggest that we ban violent video games or art because of mass shootings than to suggest we ban Buddhism because of Aum Shinrikyo’s gas attack on the Tokyo subway, or that we should ban Irish patriotism because of the IRA.  Furthermore, some violent lunatics have been inspired by works of art, such as John Lennon’s killer citing Catcher in the Rye, that aren’t even violent in nature.  Clearly, the people who commit mass killings are incredibly unhinged individuals who are in a violent frame of mind, regardless of what media they consume.  Likewise, 99.99% of people who play FPS games or who watch slasher flicks aren’t going to go on a shooting rampage or create a torture dungeon in their basement.

To return things to JOKER itself, the film in no way “glorifies” violence.  For starters, half of the violence is inflicted on the main character (the “incel hero”); there are two scenes where The Joker gets jumped mercilessly and a third scene where he gets sucker-punched in the face.  The violent acts that The Joker himself commits are portrayed in a very gruesome manner (in one scene with The Joker and a neighbor of his, the violence isn’t even shown, but is merely implied).  When The Joker bashes someone’s head in or shoots someone point-blank, there are no crass jokes, inspirational music or voiceovers quoting The Art of War. The plotline doesn’t imply any justification for the killings.  When someone gets killed in the film, audience-goers don’t hoot and holler like they would in a screening of a zombie film or a Nazi-revenge flick like Inglorious Basterds.  Rather, there is an awkward pall of silence in the theater at the nihilistic spectacle.

JOKER makes it very clear that the title character’s violence is motivated by nothing but his utter insanity.  The Joker descends into a killing machine after being released from an asylum and after he stops taking seven different psych meds (which weren’t helping him much, anyway).  When being interviewed, he admits that he isn’t compelled by any ideology whatsoever.  Rather, The Joker literally views the act of killing as a joke. 

Nor does The Joker gain any tangible reward for his violence; he gets fired from his job, arrested, hit by an ambulance and committed to an asylum as a direct result of his actions. Joaquin Phoenix’s character gets a thrill from the media coverage that his killings elicit (and a standing ovation from fellow thugs in the film’s penultimate scene), but that not’s a real reward, but rather a feeling that many real-life killers in fact get when they are portrayed in the news.  For instance, the as-yet unidentified Zodiac Killer literally played games with Bay Area news outlets, sending them letters that boasted about his kills, contained cryptic puzzles and threatened to blow up a school bus if he didn’t receive even more media attention.  Many other serial killers who were apprehended were found to have hoarded newspaper clippings that documented their crimes.  Similarly, coverage of a mass shooting often inspires “copycat mass shootings”.  The takeaway from this is that the media should be careful about inadvertently turning stories about mass shootings and terror attacks into personal biographies of the killer.  When covering these kinds of attacks, some news outlets, like The Young Turks and The David Pakman Show, deliberately choose to blur the killers’ faces and avoid naming them, so as not to give the killers the attention that they wanted to garner and to avoid inspiring other violently-deranged individuals who crave attention.

The fact that JOKER doesn’t merely portray the villain as an Evil-Incarnate caricature doesn’t mean that it is therefore glorifying violence.  The audience is meant to sympathize with The Joker when he get jumped without warning or when he talks about the crippling depression that he has felt for literally his entire life.  There are scenes showing The Joker comforting his mother and entertaining sick children.  The mere fact that The Joker is portrayed as a full human being, good traits and bad traits, doesn’t mean the film is justifying how he releases his violent rage.  No human is evil 100% of the time: there is no villain who tortures hamsters 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  It is only by studying the causes of violent criminals’ various motivations that we can ever hope to ebb the tide of violence.  Most violent criminals have suffered from childhood abuse, childhood poverty, a missing parental figure, bullying and/or mental illness (The Joker had to deal with all five of these traumas).  By empathizing with these plights, we can create programs (drug treatment programs, stamping out bullying in school, removing children from abusive households, etc.) that can reduce violent crime.

It’s not comfortable to acknowledge that history’s most evil people had humanity or that societal norms (like persecuting people, tolerating child abuse or underfunding mental illness and addiction treatment programs) can fuel violence.  It’s evident that Todd Phillips, through his direction and screenplay, and Joaquin Phoenix, through his tortured portrayal of The Joker, meant to give us a glimpse into the mind of a demented killer, not so we can sympathize with the protagonist’s brutal violence, but so we can sympathize with the myriad factors that drove the protagonist to criminal insanity.  The nearly uniform media portrayals of mentally-ill individuals as Pure Evil only serves to misinform the public and to scare those suffering from mental disorders from seeking help.  Hopefully, the discussions being generated by JOKER will encourage people to learn more about complex diseases like schizophrenia and to be more proactive in reaching out to loved ones who are displaying signs of mental anguish.

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Women outnumber men in higher education but gender stereotyped subject choices persist

MD Staff

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Education is essential to achieving gender equality. From the earliest schooling to the highest levels of post-graduate study, education influences the opportunities that can shape people’s lives.

This is why education and training of women is one of the 12 critical areas of concern in the Beijing Platform for Action, while target 4.5 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) calls for the elimination of gender disparities in education by 2030.

In the UNECE region girls tend to outperform boys in terms of learning outcomes in schools, and women outnumber men in tertiary education (university level and beyond) in almost all countries of the region.

Women remain in the minority, however, as students of stereotypically “masculine” subjects such as ICT and engineering, although in recent years they have begun slowly gaining ground.

Tertiary level graduates

In 39 out of the 47 UNECE countries with data, more than 55 per cent of tertiary graduates are women. Iceland has the highest share, with 66 per cent women.  Seven countries are close to gender parity, with the share of women ranging from 48 to 55 per cent, and only in Uzbekistan are women in a clear minority, with 38 per cent of tertiary graduates.

After decades of increase in women’s participation in higher education, women substantially outnumbered men among tertiary level graduates in most countries by 2012. Since then, women’s share has declined in 32 out of the 47 countries with data. Whilst in Azerbaijan and Turkey fewer than half of tertiary graduates were women in 2012, more women have entered tertiary education in these countries since and the 2017 data already show gender parity there. 

Subject choices of women and men

The subjects studied at tertiary level by women and men can reflect stereotypes of “masculine” and “feminine” subject areas. Some subjects may be preferred by potential employers and may affect occupational segregation once graduates enter the labour market. Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) and Engineering, Manufacturing and Construction (EMC) are two broad groups of subjects where male students have historically predominated.

Women remain a minority among ICT students in the UNECE region, with percentages ranging from 11 in Belgium to 33 in Greece. The four countries with the largest share of women among ICT students are all in the Balkan region. Among students of EMC, the share of women is somewhat higher, but still falls far short of parity, ranging from 14 per cent in Georgia to 44 per cent in North Macedonia.

In both of these subject groups, the recent trend shows small gains for women in some countries but reductions in others. Overall, progress towards gender equality in these two typically male-dominated subject areas is uneven and slow.

UNECE Beijing+25 Regional Review Meeting

Progress in achieving gender equality in education will be one of the areas in focus at the upcoming Beijing+25 Regional Review Meeting for the UNECE region, with a particular emphasis on how women and girls can enter currently male-dominated fields.

The Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action of 1995 (Beijing Platform for Action) is the most ambitious road map for the empowerment of women and girls everywhere. In 2020, it will be 25 years since the Beijing Platform for Action outlined how to overcome the systemic barriers that hold women back from equal participation in all areas of life. 

The Beijing+25 Regional Review Meeting (29-30 October 2019) will take stock of where the UNECE region stands on keeping the promises of the Beijing Platform for Action. Bringing together government representatives and key stakeholders from the UNECE region, the meeting will tackle a number of obstacles that keep girls and women from realizing their full potential. UNECE is joining forces with the UN Women Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia to deliver a two-day multi-stakeholder meeting to exchange concrete policies to accelerate the realization of gender equality. The outcomes of the meeting will feed into the global review of the Beijing Platform for Action taking place at the sixty-fourth session of the Commission on the Status of Women in New York from 9 to 20 March 2020.

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