On June 11 and July 2-3 renewed ‘punitive’ night raids by mobs of youths in M’sila, Algeria, have attacked and burnt down the houses of single women accused of ‘stealing men’s jobs’ and of being prostitutes. The police did not intervene.

This is not the first time similar events have taken place. Since the 1980s, there were not just attacks on individual women but real pogroms against working women, living with or without their children, but definitely without the male guardians (wali) that the Family Code still prescribes for women.

The Algerian state has been negotiating the sharing of power with fundamentalist parties and the instigation of pogroms can be traced to fundamentalist imams, urging their followers to ’chase the devil out of the city’. The police watch without intervening to protect the women, nor arresting the perpetrators. Similarly, judges have taken very lenient measures against the few men that were actually brought to court.

Please also take action with the Algerian Embassy in your country. Details below.

People's Democratic Republic of Algeria

 Embassy of Algeria

 54 Holland Park

 London W11 3RS
 T: (020) 7221 7800
 F: (020) 7221 0448
 E: info@algerianembassy.org.uk

marieme helie lucas

Secularism Is A Women’s Issue (siawi.org)

July 7, 2011