Friday Links — September 5, 2008

  • Women abandoned by their husbands in Bahrain staged two sit-ins to highlight the legal challenges they face in dissolving their marriages.
  • Al-Ahram looks at a recent fatwa that allows those with mental handicaps to marry.
  • Achelois highlights the beyond-horrific treatment that some domestic maids receive in Saudi Arabia. May Allah grant them justice. Arab News gives details on the latest case.
  • Bahman Motamedian’s film Khastegi, which aired at the Venice Film Festival this week, focuses on transsexuals and the difficulties of their lives in Ahmedinejad’s Iran.
  • A study of Afghan child mortality rates links children’s deaths to war, uneducated mothers, and mothers’ lack of power in healthcare for their children.
  • Global Voices looks at the voices of Saudi women who are tired of being portrayed as helpless and backward.
  • As a result of the outcry that followed the denial of a woman who wear niqab to enter an Italian museum, Italian museums have introduced a “veil room” where women who wear face veils can identify themselves.
  • A Norwegian convert sends mixed messages if women should cover to “avoid rape.”
  • On Afghanistan’s popular Dream and Achieve reality show, which encourages small Afghan business owners, two women make it into the top five, and one wins second place.
  • Indian Muslims profiles Mahjabeen Sarwar, who runs an NGO that creates awareness in poorer areas of government aid programs.
  • I don’t know how I missed these, but here are two really great articles from Noorjehan Barmania on Comment is free.
  • The Pakistani Jamaat-e-Islami has announced that September 4 is World Hijab Day.
  • Sweden’s ombudsman for ethnic discrimination is suing a firm over the firing of a Muslim woman for not dressing appropriately on the job.
  • Muslim girls in Manipur, India, form a group to combat society’s resistance to higher education for girls and demand government reservation for Muslim women.
  • The Urban Muslim Women profiles Sis Zabrina, an inspirational storyteller.
  • In Nigeria, HIV-positive men and women are being paired up for marriage in an attempt to stop the spread of the disease. What. the. %&@#?!
  • I’m late on this, but Saudi Jeans profiles Aramco’s Iron Lady, Nabilah al-Tunisi.
  • More honor killings in Pakistan. May Allah guide us, and give these women justice.
  • A Muslim lawyer who was suspended from work after she was accused of “incited racial violence, associated herself with bin Laden, and making anti-American statements” has been reinstated to her job and given a settlement. Via TalkIslam.

  • Kawthar

    Clerics in Pakistan condemn the burial of the women and declare “Not even a husband, brother, son, father or relative has the right to kill a woman who is found in an illegal physical relation with someone,

  • Dude

    1. Perhaps I missed it, but I don’t see the relevance of the Rwandan article w.r.t this blog…

    2. Perhaps the entry about women praying in mosques could be phrased for clarity. Some people may read it and think it’s a mixed gender congregation (which would actually be an event of “smaller” relevance).

  • Fatemeh

    Dude, I include the Rwandan article because 4.6% of Rwandans are Muslim (according to the CIA factbook), so there’s likely Muslim women included in this reconstruction of Rwandan society.

  • Sobia

    I actually have to agree with Dude on this one. You could find that percentage of Muslims in most countries of the world. (Unless you meant to write 46 as opposed to 4.6 in which case I would agree with Fatemeh.)

    And I have to agree with Cyad’s critique of Noami Wolf’s piece. Although I am a fan of Wolf, I have to agree that her piece was shallow and neglected the real issues.

  • Dude

    “Dude, I include the Rwandan article because 4.6% of Rwandans are Muslim”

    Yes, but as Fatemeh said, there are plenty of countries with similar or higher percentages:

    Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Burundi, Central African Republic, Cameroon, DR Congo**, Fiji, Guyana, Madagascar, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Holland, Philippines, Thailand, Switzerland, and some more.

    ** DRC, which, BTW, has a lot of very, very nasty stuff going on in terms of women due to the long term conflict there – I can send you information if you’re interested),

  • Dude

    “Yes, but as Fatemeh said, there are plenty of countries with similar or higher percentages:”

    Or rather, as Sobia said…

  • Fatemeh

    Point taken.

  • Pingback: Hospitals for Patient Safety, and those who cry wolf « Shadjar Al Noor -Really?()

  • INAL

    The woman who says she was forced to quit her job because of the universal hospital mandate (some hospitals around the world are aggressively adhering to this policy for Infection Control) to bare to the elbows, is another one of those cases where you know before hand what is required of you and you think that your personal preferences (in this case flying the Muslim banner) makes you exempt.

    She’s a Muslim, yes; but she chose to work in a hospital- so get with the program: “First Do No Harm”.

  • Fatemeh

    INAL, you hit the nail on the head. If you work in a hospital, your first concern is about safety and hygiene. And since the hospital mandates are universal, one person can’t really complain that s/he’s being singled out.

  • Sobia

    INAL, Fatemeh:

    Ditto!! How selfish to place your own interpretation of your religion (considering for many it is perfectly Islamic to show your arms) above the safety and health of those who you swore to help. Ugh!

    Reminds me of the female Muslim police officers in Britain who refused to deal with male suspects. How would that work? You refuse to protect citizens from men, only from women, letting male suspects get away just so you don’t deal with them? Again, you chose the profession – deal with it, or leave the profession.

  • Krista

    I know I’m kind of late in responding to this, but I have been thinking about it. I’m not sure I agree with you folks on the issue of the woman being forced to quit her job.

    On one side, I do agree that she works in a place where hygiene is incredibly important, and if it is truly impossible to maintain proper hygiene standards with forearms covered (I don’t know enough about it to know if this is the case), then yeah, she should have been aware of this ahead of time, and if she isn’t able to comply with those standards, then she might be in the wrong field.

    On the other hand, I worry that we’re being too dismissive. Other women have been fired from their jobs, for example, because they wouldn’t wear the uniform (or because their adaptation of the uniform to include, say, longer skirts, was deemed unacceptable), even in cases where the clothes had no impact on the work being done. In those cases, I think it’s more obvious that there’s no reason for the women to be fired, and that the rules that are in place are discriminatory. In other cases, maybe the clothes do have some implications in terms of safety or whatever, but the women have managed to come up with other arrangements that mitigate those effects without disrupting the overall workplace (and without compromising its health/safety standards.) I’m concerned that we’re not always drawing the line in the right place here, and that when we say “you knew the requirements when you took the job, deal with it,” there are times that we might be dismissing people when really we should be re-examining the requirements themselves, which may be unnecessarily exclusionary.

    So I agree with Sobia’s “deal with it, or leave the profession” to the extent that if someone’s religious practices or beliefs are clearly incompatible with the job expectations, then yeah, they’re in the wrong place. But at the same time, I do think that it’s not always simple to distinguish the cases where the expectations are just arbitrary, or where it’s possible to fulfill the job’s expectations in alternative ways, and I think we have to be careful and not be too quick to assume that someone shouldn’t be working there. (This isn’t actually to say that any of you are jumping to that assumption, since this particular case seems a bit more clear-cut given hygiene issues, but just that it’s something to be really mindful of, that we’re not reinforcing oppressive rules just because they’re there.)

    Anyway, sorry, this thread is already off topic and I’m not really helping!

  • laila

    I’m sorry this is comment may be extremely late and irrelevant.

    Hey Gals, I change my mind! Maybe a little too late since this topic is long gone. But after reading this week’s news concerning the death of 13 babies in Turkey within a day because of bateria infection, and this is not the first time. Three monthes ago, sometime in July, 27newborn babies died within a short period of each other because of again bateria infection. That’s a total of 40 babies that died of “exposure of an infection and spread of infection”.

    This goes back to the Muslim women who refused to bare her elbows because of “religious reasons” and was consequently fired because she did not adhere to the “universal hospital mandate” for infection control. At first I thought it was no big deal, that these doctors are just exaggerating hygiene and infection claims.

    But after so many people or babies die due to infection because it’s at a high risk for them. I just underestimated what an infection may do to someone who is at a high risk of death because of it. I just didn’t know what the risk of an infection might do to someone, I didn’t know, and I feel really selfish to have believed other wise.

    My heart goes out to all those mothers (families) whose babies died because of an infection that was preventable.