|24 Jul 2006 @ 05:56, by Salama Shaquana|
Sunday Jul 23 18:01 AEST
Nobel Peace Laureate, Muslim and human rights activist Dr Shirin Ebadi has spoken out against undemocratic Islamic countries justifying "oppressive acts" in the name of Islam.
Dr Ebadi said some Islamic countries were turning their backs on modernisation and the need for democracy and as a result were creating tensions internally.
Speaking at the Earth Dialogues 2006 conference in Brisbane, Dr Ebadi said her native Iran as well as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Yemen "among others" were guilty of human rights violations. "In these countries, Islamic rulers want to solve 21st century issues with laws belonging to 14 centuries ago," she said.
"Their views of human rights are exactly the same as it was 1400 years ago.
"Undemocratic Islamic governments justify their oppressive acts by taking advantage of the name of Islam, in exactly the same way as the United States justifies its war mongering by abusing the name of democracy."
In 2003, Dr Ebadi was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her efforts in promoting democracy and human rights in her country, particularly the rights of women and children.
Today, she works as a lawyer and teaches at the University of Tehran.
She was one of the first female judges in Iran from 1975 to 1979, but was forced to resign after the 1979 revolution because the ayatollahs decided women were too emotional and irrational to hold such positions.
Dr Ebadi, who received a standing ovation for her call for world peace, said in her mind, one could be a Muslim and also respect human rights.
"Problems arise when a group of fundamentalists close their eyes to the evolution of the world and are unwilling to reassess their value standards. They consider outside changes to be nothing but an illusion," she said. "They have stuck with persistence to their aged traditions and look on the world through the eyes of their ancestors and wish to solve today's problems with an outdated knowledge of yesterday.
Dr Ebadi lamented "horrific events" in the Middle East, particularly in Lebanon. "Peace between Palestine and Israel can only be enduring if both countries accept and recognise that two separate and autonomous states of Palestine and Israel can co-exist," she said.