Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Action Alert: Nazia Quazi

"A Canadian woman being held against her will in Saudi Arabia says the Canadian government is not taking her plight seriously.
Nazia Quazi was taken to Saudi Arabia by her father in November 2007. Because of that country’s archaic gender laws, women of any age are subject to male “guardianship.” In the 24-year-old Quazi’s case, her father has taken her passport, and refuses to sign an exit visa allowing her to leave the country…
Her family moved to Canada in 2001, although Quazi says her father has maintained a residence in Saudi Arabia, where he works for a bank, for 25 years. Quazi went to high school in Canada and became a citizen in 2005.
In 2007 she traveled on holiday to Dubai to visit her boyfriend. But when her parents learned of the trip, they flew to Dubai to intervene. Her father took her to India, and then to Saudi Arabia on a three-month visa. But, without her knowledge or consent, Quazi’s father changed the visa to a permanent visa.
Ever since, she says, she has been pleading with the Canadian embassy to intervene, but has gotten next to no response.
“When I try to contact them, I don’t get a positive response of any kind. They always say, ‘we’re still trying, we haven’t heard anything yet, but when we do we will let you know.’ There’s never a real straight-up answer to me, to my face. I’m just waiting for them to do something, waiting for something to happen.
…Citing privacy law, a spokesperson with the ministry of foreign affairs declined to comment specifically on Quazi’s case, but said the Canadian consulate in Saudi Arabia is aware of a Canadian citizen’s request for help and is “taking steps” to provide that help.
But a two-year-plus wait for resolution to Quazi’s case has raised accusations that the Harper government is not supportive of women generally"
Get involved:  If you’re Canadian, get involved in this Human Rights Watch campaign. If you’re not, you can still write a polite note to the Foreign Secretary to express your concern and urge prompt action:
The Honourable Lawrence Cannon
Minister of Foreign Affairs
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0A6
Email: Cannon.L@parl.gc.ca
Also, you can write the Saudi ambassador to the US:
Adel A. Al-Jubeir
Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia
601 New Hampshire Avenue
Washington, DC 20037
And to the Saudi Ambassador to Canada:
Mr. Asaad Al-Zuhair
Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia
99 Bank Street Suite 901, ,br/> Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, K1P 6B9
Join the ‘Help Nazia Quazi Come Back to Canada’ Facebook page to show your support and keep up with the latest developments"

Also Thea Lim has written a amazing article on Nazia check it out at  http://www.racialicious.com/2010/03/25/action-alert-nazia-quazi/. Thanks for the shout out Thea.

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AQSAZINE is a grassroots zine open to 16-35 year old people who self-identify as Muslim. It is a creative avenue for us to express ourselves, share our experiences, and connect with others. In Arabic, "aqsa" implies the furthermost, as in reaching out to the furthest possible point. AQSAZINE aims to motivate the utmost resistance to violence in all its forms. 16-year-old Aqsa Parvez, who was murdered on December 10th, 2007, also inspires this zine. It is to honour her and other Muslims who experience and resist violence. We strive to work from a feminist, anti-oppressive framework.