Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Interview with Hooria Mashoor, Vice-Chairperson of the Women’s National Committee of Yemen

Fahmia al-Fotih', the Coordinator of SAVE Yemen, recently conducted an online interview with Hooria Mashoor, the Vice-Chairperson of the Women's National Committee in Yemen. The Women's National Committe was created by the Prime Minister in 1996 and is charged with highlighting women's issues in Yemen. In 2000, the Supreme Council for Women's Affairs was created, and the Women's National Committee is now a subsidiary of that institution. Hooria Mashoor is a prominent spokeswoman on behalf of the organization, and more information and links to her work in Yemen can be found below.

How are violent extremism and terrorism currently affecting your life?

Violent extremist and terrorism are only indirectly affecting my life. The effects on the average Yemeni are probably most felt in terms of the challenges they pose for economic development. For example, tourist numbers have decreased, destroying the country’s relation with some countries and international agencies who are considered the main supporters. It also restricts our movement. Also, we are concerned about changing the agenda of foreign agencies, who currently list security and terrorism as the first priority and leave gender at the bottom of their concerns.

Is there a real threat from terrorists on the ground?

Not really. In my personal opinion, it is a political issue. Sometimes it comes to the surface of the politicians’ agendas, and at other times it disappears.

Military attacks will have no success at all because their targets are believers. They are everywhere in the houses, mosques, clubs, in the work places, in the streets—how can they be targeted? The key factors for change are education and eliminating poverty among the youth who have nothing to do except become terrorists or, I would rather say, extremists because I do not fully agree with the concept. It has been misused by Bush and Blair and the other Western leaders.

Let’s have a look on what Israel has done in Dubai. Why do they keep silence towards such deeds?

About the screening of bodies in the airports—this is the worst procedure, and I am sure it will stop many people, especially Muslims, from traveling to Western countries.

The main strategies for counterterrorism must be education, poverty elimination, and awareness programs, as well as the creative use and interpretation of Islamic values that are fully against terrorism and extremism.

Yemeni women, NGOs, and the mosques can play a vital role in these efforts. Mothers can help in educating and guiding their sons well, and in society, they can be activists against violence.

There are outspoken women but they are very few.

For more information about Hooria Mashoor and her work on behalf of the Women's National Committee in Yemen, please see the following links:
Articles in the Yemen Times:

Articles in the Yemen Observer:

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