Friday Links — January 2, 2009

Well, readers, it’s 2009 (and 1430). May Allah give us all peace and prosperity in this new year!

  • The Calgary Herald profiles Salima Ebrahim, an accomplished young woman.
  • The Washington Post re-examines the private issue made public in the case of the Muslim couple in France divorcing over virginity.
  • The CIA is using Viagra as a way to elicit cooperation from the Taleban. KABOBfest and Feministe discuss.
  • Sri Lanka’s Minister of Education refuted allegations that certain state-run schools have banned wearing of the headscarf by Muslim girls inside school premises.

  • SouthIndianMuslim

    response to “In the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, 15 girls were married in mass weddings. The age of the girls is not known. ”

    Mass marriages are very common in India. They are conducted for the benefit of poor, extremely poor and below poverty line people because parents cannot afford a girl’s marriage, and therefore government agencies and other people pitch in to help. Child marriages are banned in India, and underage brides would surely have been news, but it isn’t the case.

  • Dude

    I think one should be careful and not put all the Taliban into a single category. In a sense, the Taliban has become the new Al-Qaeda – people attribute themselves to the group, but it’s not necessary that they have anything to do with the main Taliban.

    In some places, the “Taliban” have changed their stance to allow for girl’s education:

    See below for an indication of people merely claiming to be the Taliban – perhaps to get some benefits:

    Overlaid on the network of local Taliban are other groups, too – from neighbouring provinces, the south, even from overseas. These latter are often the most extreme. Some units include Pakistanis, others ‘freelance jihadi militants’ from the Middle East, some connected to al-Qaeda. Then there are also pure criminals, borrowing the label of Taliban.

    I guess my point was that I’d rather you had pointed out above that a group in Swat, NWFP, Pakistan said it. I don’t know much about him, but he may have nothing to do with other Taliban groups (or vice versa).

    It’s kind of like sensationalist newspapers who tend to say, “Muslims order this”, or “Muslims advocate killings”. Too broad a brush.

  • Ruchama

    That Vitamin D article was interesting. Vitamin D deficiency is actually a pretty big problem in a lot of populations, especially in places without much sunlight and in darker-skinned people. (And even when those issues are only somewhat there. I’m a fairly dark-skinned white person, and live in DC, and I was feeling sick a few years ago and the doctors couldn’t figure out what was wrong, until one of them thought of testing my Vitamin D levels and found that they were really low. Started taking supplements and making sure to spend time outside, and felt much better.)

  • Kawthar

    IRIN news has a good report on the threats made against girls schools in the Swat region:

    “We have nothing against girls going to school,” said Muslim Khan, a spokesman of the TTP, speaking to IRIN from an undisclosed location in Swat.

    “What we are saying is that the education being given to our daughters in these schools is Western and not in keeping with the teachings of Islam. It is only making us wayward,” said Khan, who studied till 12th grade and confessed to having no Koranic teaching.

    “Before they become engineers and teachers and doctors, these young people must be trained for jihad,” said the 54-year-old TTP spokesperson.

    “We have never bombed schools and never threatened to kill girls who defy our orders. We have also said that primary schools can remain open as long as the girls and female teachers observe `purdah’ [cover their bodies].”

    “He is lying; it’s double-speak,” said Hazir Gul, who runs Swat Participatory Council, a health NGO. “Their leaders have often given interviews to the media celebrating the bombing of schools.”

    “If they are allowing girls to study in primary schools, this is a new development; it seems this is a U-turn,” said Ali.

  • Dude

    That Vitamin D article was interesting. Vitamin D deficiency is actually a pretty big problem in a lot of populations, especially in places without much sunlight and in darker-skinned people.

    There was a controversy about this in Canada a few years ago.

    Apparently, the quality of the sunlight is such that for only 3-4 months of the year can the skin actually produce Vitamin D via sunlight. In the winter months, even if one gets sunlight, almost none is produced in the body.

    Doctors generally always recommend staying out of sunlight as much as possible (for adults) to avoid melanoma and other forms of skin cancer. There was a strong push to rescind that advice, given that Vitamin D deficiencies produce much more serious problems (well, melanoma is serious, but easily curable if found early – as with most skin cancers).

  • Dude

    “We have nothing against girls going to school,”

    This only highlights the confusion. In the original article, the following was stated:

    “Female education is against Islamic teachings and spreads vulgarity in society,”

    I’m wondering if the two people saying it have little in common, or are really part of the same organization…

    You can see the conflicts on this issue in other ways. They claimed in your article that they don’t ever bomb schools. Yet schools have been bombed. Are they lying? Was it some other group with sympathies towards the Taliban? Was it some other group altogether yet did it in a way to place the blame on the Taliban?

    Was the initial quote taken out of context by journalists?

    Lots of questions, and all the information I’ve been able to gather on them is fairly contradictory. The only thesis that has stood up is that there are a number of Taliban groups, with varying degrees of fundamentalism, and that there are others committing lots of (other) attacks and the Taliban are getting blamed for it.

    Which is why I was saying the phrasing should illustrate the confusion…

  • coolred38

    Referring to the article about closing the female only park in Yanbu…apparently due to complaints about loud music…did it occur to any of them men that made that arbitrary decision to just ask them to keep the music down as a first warning…let them have a chance to rectify the problem before just closing it down without warning?

    Years ago I was commonly making statements that Muslim women seemed to suffer from Vitamin D sufficiency in much larger numbers in countries that observed complete covering more or less…other Muslims complained I was just trying to find excuses not to wear it…seems I was on to something back then.

    And referring to the article about not allowing women to have the power of divorce…its only up to men. Considering the Muslim man quoted in the article refers to divorce laws obtained from the Quran and Sunnah as the source for such laws…well all I can say to that is that the Prophet allowed women to decide on divorce…or to take the first steps to initiate it…so WTF! was he going on about…exactly what Quran and what Sunnah was he referring too?

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