Fatwa Against Kurdish Writer:

Mark Thomas writes in the New Statesman:

Kurdish writer Marywan Halabjaye ... is in hiding with his pregnant wife and three children; he has been sentenced to be beheaded by the fatwa committee of Halabja. His crime was writing a book entitled Sex, Sharia and Women in the History of Islam, which includes a textual analysis of the Koran and how it is used to oppress women.

"I wanted to prove how oppressed women are in Islam and that they have no rights actually," says Marywan, "although this is really a traditional topic among progressives." In fact, he is well known among Iraqi Kurds and has written on religion before with a minimum of fuss.

So his book was published last November, after permission had been sought from the Kurdish bureaucracy. The print run was for 1,000 copies, and the work proved popular enough for a second edition to be issued within a month. "The Islamists were not happy with this," says Marywan, "because they always want to hide the oppression of women within Islam."

Islamic scholars from Halabja made an official complaint about Marywan to President Talabani. Letters followed to the Kurdish newspapers, calling for him to be punished. Throughout December the verbal attacks continued from the mosques throughout Halabja, Irbil and Kirkuk. Then three of Kurdistan's Islamic parties, the United Islamic Party, the Islamic Kurdish League and the Islamic Movement of Kurdistan, joined the debate. By which I mean they bellowed for him to be punished....

[T]he secular Kurdish politicians have allowed this state of affairs to flourish. "The Kurdish authorities have not provided any protection from threats and fatwas," says Marywan....

UPDATE: Originally mislaid the name of the person who called this to my attention, but now I have it -- many thanks to Charles Chapman (Is-Ought Problem) for pointing this story out to me.