Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Monday, March 24, 2008

Lone advocate struggles to aid abused women in UAE

For 18 years, Ms. Sharla Musabih has fought an uphill battle to protect victims of domestic violence and human trafficking in Dubai, The New York Times reported Sunday.

Musabih operates a shelter, City of Hope, for abused women and their children. In addition to offering shelter, legal advice, and public advocacy, Musabih helps victims of human trafficking return home. She claims to have helped repatriate 400 victims in the past six months alone.

Her accomplishments have come at a price, though. Accusations of “selling babies” and abuse have recently been leveled at Musabih in local newspapers in order to discredit her, she claims, while prominent clerics are beginning to decry her aggressive tactics for instigating “wives against their husbands.”

“I never thought it would go this far,” Musabih said. “These people think I’m an enemy of the state and that I need to be controlled.”

According to Musabih, these most recent attacks are simply the latest in a long-running campaign of threats and defamation that stemmed once just from angry husbands, but now from clerics and government officials as well.

The heated and growing debate over women’s rights in Dubai is a manifestation of the unavoidable friction between the conservative Muslim sentiments of the city’s indigenous Arab minority and the diverse views of its foreign majority.

For the full article, click here.


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