Written By: Nasser Arrabyee
Article Date: Apr 26, 2011 - 4:57:38 PM
The peaceful revolution should be refined and the “terrorist culture of the Taliban” should be expelled from its ranks, a Yemeni opposition leader has said on Saturday.
Dr. Mohammed Abdul Malik al-Mutawakil, former chairman of the Islamist-led opposition coalition, called on opposition leaders – especially the Islamists – to stop beating up women who march with men.
He also told them to apologize to the women who were beaten up by extremists for marching alongside men last week. Al-Mutawakil is the secretary-general of an opposition party, Federation of Popular Forces, which is a small Islamic party from the Zaidi-Shiite sect and part of the opposition coalition Joint Meeting Parties (JMP).
Al-Mutawakil said that he would boycott all opposition meetings until its leaders publicly apologized to women and stopped such barbaric behavior. In total, seven women and 11 men were beaten up and arrested for hours by extremist Islamists for marching together at an anti-government protest in the capital Sana’a on April 16.
“This reckless and repeated behavior has become dominant culture and would affect our future. It would lead to the realization of local and international fears of a type of Taliban rule,” said al-Mutawakil in an official letter.
He had sent this letter to the leaders of the Islamist-led JMP which includes Islamists, Socialists and Nasserites which is a pan-Arab nationalistic group.
“President (Ali Abdullah) Saleh orally criticized men and women for marching together but the colleagues of the revolution of change and freedom beat them up with shoes and the ends of their guns and threw them down,” said al-Mutawakil “I would not attend your meetings unless you take a serious and decisive step otherwise we’ll all lose credibility (in our quest) for the freedom, democracy and respect of human rights that we want to achieve.
Then we’ll lose respect of ourselves,” said al-Mutawakil.
He also described himself in the letter as vice-chairman of the Yemeni Organization for Human Rights, chairman of the Al Jazeerah Centre for Studies of Human Rights and a professor of liberties and human rights at Sana’a University.
The 18 women and men who were attacked included well-known female activists like Arwa Othman, Huda al-Attas, Jamila Ali Raja, Elham al-Kebsi and Sara Jamal. They published a joint statement to the media and Yemen’s general prosecutor in which they demanded prosecution of perpetrators.
They also vowed to take legal action against the perpetrators and to continue marching and protesting in a manner that they chose.
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