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Islamic Notes

Tawakel Karman:First Arab woman, the youngest person ever to become a Nobel Peace Prize Winner

Karman became the first Arab woman, the youngest person ever to become a Nobel Peace Prize Winner and the category’s second Muslim woman.

At 32, Tawakel Karman is the youngest winner of a Nobel Peace Prize. She is younger (born 7 February 1979) than Mairead Maguire (born 27 January 1944), who was a co-recipient of the award in 1976 and previously held that record.In 2003, Shirin Ebadi was the first Persian woman and first Muslim woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize. Before the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded, only 12 other women had ever been recipients in its 110 years, and now there are 15 women.

Karman, along with Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Leymah Gbowee, were the co-recipients of the the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize “for their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work. Karman, the Nobel Committee said: “In the most trying circumstances, both before and during the ‘Arab spring’, Tawakkul Karman has played a leading part in the struggle for women’s rights and for democracy and peace in Yemen.”The Nobel Committee cited the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325, adopted in 2000, which states that women and children suffer great harm from war and political stability and that women must have a larger influence and role in peacemaking activities; it also “[c]alls on all actors involved, when negotiating and implementing peace agreements, to adopt a gender perspective.

Upon announcing the award, the committee chairman Thorbjørn Jagland said: “We cannot achieve democracy and lasting peace in the world unless women obtain the same opportunities as men to influence developments at all levels of society.” He later added that the prize was “a very important signal to women all over the world and that, despite the events of the Arab Spring, “there are many other positive developments in the world that we have looked at. I think it is a little strange that researchers and others have not seen them.” He had earlier said the prize for the year would be “very powerful… but at the same time very unifying [and would] not create as strong reactions from a single country as it did last year [with Liu Xiaobo].” The 2011 prize is to be divided equally among the three recipients, from a total of 10 million Swedish kronor.

In reaction to the award Karman, while camped out in Sana’a during ongoing anti-government protests, said: “I didn’t expect it. It came as a total surprise. This is a victory for Arabs around the world and a victory for Arab women” and that the award was a “victory of our peaceful revolution. I am so happy, and I give this award to all of the youth and all of the women across the Arab world, in Egypt, in Tunisia. We cannot build our country or any country in the world without peace adding that it was also for “Libya, Syria and Yemen and all the youth and women, this is a victory for our demand for citizenship and human rights,” that “all Yemenis [are] happy over the prize. The fight for democratic Yemen will continue that she “dedicate[s] it to all the martyrs and wounded of the Arab Spring… in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Libya and Syria and to all the free people who are fighting for their rights and freedoms and “I dedicate it to all Yemenis who preferred to make their revolution peaceful by facing the snipers with flowers. It is for the Yemeni women, for the peaceful protesters in Tunisia, Egypt, and all the Arab world. She also said she had not known about the nomination and had found out about the award via television.

Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Tawakkol Karman with her Nobel Diploma at the Nobel Peace Prize Award Ceremony in Oslo, Norway, 10 December 2011.

When Nobel laureate Tawakul Karman was asked about her Hijab by Journalists and how it is not proportionate with her level of intellect and education, she replied:
“Man in the early times was almost naked, and as his intellect evolved he started wearing clothes. What I am today and what I’m wearing represents the highest level of thought and civilization that man has achieved, and is not regressive. It’s the removal of clothes again that is regressive back to ancient times”

The solution to women’s issues can only be achieved in a free and democratic society in which human energy is liberated, the energy of both women and men together. Our civilization is called human civilization and is not attributed only to men or women.

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