Saturday, October 24, 2009

Q&A: "Women Will Benefit From Secularism"

Cam McGrath interviews Egyptian feminist author NAWAL EL-SAADAWI

A Good Interview

"CAIRO, Oct 23 (IPS) - Controversy stalks dissident writer Nawal El-Saadawi, whose views on women and religion have put her at odds with Egyptian conservatives.

Recently she returned to Cairo after nearly three years in exile, and has already created a stir with the launch of a local chapter of her global campaign for the separation of religion and state.

"God has no place in politics," El-Saadawi told IPS. "Religion is a powerful weapon to divide people. You are Christian and I am Muslim, and so we kill each other."

Clerics have described her secularism campaign as blasphemous and opponents are now seeking to have her imprisoned. It's nothing new for the outspoken 77-year-old civil activist, who has paid a price for outspokenness. Over the years she’s been removed from her post as a public health official, put in jail for criticising the regime, hounded by lawsuits, and marked for death by Islamists.

Yet she persists.

From her home in Cairo, El-Saadawi spoke to IPS about her efforts to counter the rising tide of religious fundamentalism and free women from all forms of oppression. Excerpts from the interview......"

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