Friday Links — January 30, 2009

  • Canada extends a welcome mat to Masoda Younasy, granddaughter of Afghanistan’s last king.
  • Dubai’s only women’s shelter has started a campaign against domestic violence, using a makeup case.
  • The Yemen Times asks if women marginalized by political parties will form their own. That. Sounds. AWESOME.
  • Reem Acra designs the gown that the wife of the Vice President of the U.S. wore.
  • The Dubai Women’s Establishment and the Center of Arab Women for Training and Research agree to share notes.
  • Religious discrimination in the American workplace is being met increasingly with filing complaints.
  • Saudi wives wish their husbands just call to say “I love you.”
  • An Emirati graduate who was offered a trip to Australia as part of an academic award turned it down to prove to her employers that she was committed to her new job.
  • The University of Toronto holds a forum to help dispel steroetypes about Muslim women.
  • The Guardian speaks with the author of a book that discusses how Iraqi women’s rights have been set back.
  • The Qatari cabinet approves a final draft of a bill for the elimination of all forms of discrimination agaisnt women.
  • A Canadian play about the life of an upper-class Iranian woman opens in Tehran.

  • Broomstick

    The Taliban makes my blood boil. May Allah destroy every single one of those pigs!!!! It’s pitiful what’s happening to Pakistan. What the hell happened?

  • Sobia

    “Racism on a U.S. college campus concerns Muslim students.”

    Not US college – Queens is a Canadian university. :)

  • Fatemeh

    Whoops! Fixed. Thank you.

  • Sobia

    haha…though I guess if you think about it I shouldn’t have put that smiley face there. Not something to be proud of as a Canadian. :( That’s more appropriate.

  • Sobia

    @ Broomstick:

    Eeek…that’s a bit harsh. The Taliban are not as simplistic as many media outlets make them out to be. Although so many of them do absolutely appalling things, and things that are outright unIslamic (like killing innocent people) they are not all like that. And remember, many of them are uneducated which leaves a very dangerous vacuum for people with extreme and scary interpretations of Islam to swoop in and exploit them. The way the Taliban are is not just a result of their own idiocy, but also outside forces as well.

    But yes, the story regarding the Taliban is horrific. I hope those individuals do get their just punishment for killing innocent people and I do hope that those who are trying to Talibanize Pakistan are not successful. May Allah help Pakistanis.

  • s.c.

    Congrats on the coverage Fatemeh!

    Some of the links aren’t loading, Mostly the ones from The Daily News (such as the one on Pakistan’s legal ruling on honour crimes). I noticed this problem last week as well.

  • Fatemeh


    I don’t really know what to do about news links that expire. (sigh) Any suggestions?

  • s.c.

    I don’t understand the statement, “not all Taliban are like that” certainly the ones that make decisions are ideologically violent, and promote a certain culture of violence in their lower ranks. I do think though that many of them are like that for a number of unfortunate reasons.

    Many of the Taliban’s current fighters come from that group of orphaned children who were for a very long time, living in refugee camps in Iran and Pakistan, as a result of the Soviet invasion. There’s alot of anger in Pashtun circles over being used by foreign powers, from everyone to British colonial powers, America, Russia and even anger at Iran, India and Pakistan to fight a proxy cold war for western powers. Otherwise, the Pashtuns have historically been known as farmers, merchants/traders. That entire culture has literally been dissipated and replaced with something very horrific.

  • s.c.

    Fatemeh, perhaps you could just copy and paste the text somewhere and link to that? I do know that the DAWN newspaper (its Pakistan’s largest English one I think) often carries similar stories so maybe it’s possible that they are covered there too?

  • Sobia

    What I meant by that was that not all Taliban condone killing innocent people, or shutting down girls schools. There are fringe factions even within the Taliban. This is not to say that the violent ones are in the minority. Violence is definitely a common tool but what, where, why and when of the violence is also important to look at.

    And what you said about many Pashtuns feeling used is an excellent point. Also, don’t forget, Punjabis have also not been so kind to the Pashtuns in Pakistan leading to animosities among Pakistanis themselves. Perhaps if Punjabis had been a little more accommodating the sense of alienation among many Pashtuns in Pakistan wouldn’t be as great. There are many ethnic clashes within Pakistan. In fact, many Pakistani Taliban now are not even Pashtuns. Others have joined the cause against Western invasion, occupation, and domination in the region (and a sense of neglect and alienation from the federal government).

    And, the majority of Pashtuns themselves do not agree with the extreme “religiousness” of the Taliban. From my understanding they would rather a secular government that gave Pashtun equal rights and recognition in Pakistan.In a recent poll conducted in the region it was found that the majority of the people did not support the local religious party but rather the local secular one.

    I don’t think the Taliban are a good thing for the region and their abilities and power must be limited, especially for the sake of women, but killing them or using violent tactics is not the answer either. At the end of the day the majority of them are not evil or bad people. Just terribly misguided.

    Ugh! The situation is so complex. And being partly Pathan myself I would be remiss to not consider all the angles of this issue.

  • s.c.

    Thanks for the info, its probably very complicated but I respectfully disagree with regards to the Taliban, I haven’t seen anything in the media to show me a more humane picture of them (that being said, I don’t think there ever is a humane side of war to begin with). I also didn’t know much about Pashtun and Punjabi relations except for the fact that the first few leaders of Pakistan were Pashtun like Ayub Khan and Yahya Khan etc, but I’m not from Pakistan’s Punjab, my family is from East Punjab in India so that probably explains my ignorance on the whole issue to begin with.

  • Dude

    Thanks for the info, its probably very complicated but I respectfully disagree with regards to the Taliban, I haven’t seen anything in the media to show me a more humane picture of them

    Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

    People are innocent until proven guilty.

  • Dude
  • Dude

    Just as an FYI, the first message is mine, the second – with that link – is not me – but someone else.

  • s.c.

    Very interesting article Dude, thanks!

  • s.c.

    Wow, I just finished reading that article. I had NO idea about any of this at all, and yes you are right Dude about being innocent until proven guilty, I apologize if I have offended anyone for my earlier sentiments. But given what I’ve just read, I still don’t really know what to make of what is happening in the Swat valley and if there is more context to what is going on over there. We hear things like “dancing girls are killed” or “girls schools are closed” and that is pretty much all we heard about when the Taliban took over Afghanistan. Is there more information about the medical college the Taliban opened up to train female doctors in Afghanistan?

    If you know a good book on the Taliban (All I have is Ahmed Rashid’s sources, which focuses more on the Taliban as geopolitical players) please do provide it.

    The part on sodomy is very interesting and really turns everything I’ve heard about the Taliban upside down. There’s a really interesting probe going on in the Canadian forces right now, here’s a link to the article (I cannot find it in the Toronto Stars archives, but a blog carried it here),

    It will be interesting to see who these locals are (I’m assuming they’re not part of the Taliban, or affiliated with them since they’re helping NATO forces).

  • Tickle

    Google translation of the link to coverage of this site

    Fatemeh Fakhraie is editor of the feminist and critical media blog Muslimah Media Watch. At Fagstivalen she went in bacon on the fordomsfuldhed that characterizes Western journalists’ coverage of Muslim women.

    But it may well be different, she believes.

    According Fatemeh Fakhraie should the Western media, among other things, as a matter of priority begin to hear the Muslim women, which they refer. So let them have their say.

    The problem is that Western society is afraid of Islam and Muslims, she believes. And therefore characterizes stereotypes about Muslim women, the media in the West.

    There must in turn not so much to believe her, to avoid racist statements and instead give Muslim women a fairer treatment. Hear her tender in spots.

    They were right about the feminist part

  • Dude

    <iWow, I just finished reading that article. I had NO idea about any of this at all, and yes you are right Dude about being innocent until proven guilty, I apologize if I have offended anyone for my earlier sentiments.

    Just in case anyone still is confused, I’ll re-iterate: I’m the “dude” who made the remark about innocent until guilty. I’m not the “dude” who posted that article – it was another commenter. I haven’t even read that article, nor do I endorse it.

  • Dude

    Ugh. HTML tags failed. I wish WordPress would let me preview my comments first. The first paragraph is supposed to be in italics (quoted from s.c.).

  • upset american muslim man

    this was my first week visiting mmw and I love the list, the website, and all.

  • Fatemeh

    @ Tickle: thanks for the translation! :D

    @ the real Dude: thanks for the clarification. The only way I can really tell who’s who is through IP addresses, so I can back you up on not being the “dude” who posted the link.

    @ upset american muslim man: Salam and welcome to MMW! And thanks for the kind words. We hope you’ll hang around! :)

  • Dude


    Thanks – the older site at Blogspot allowed for commenters to use OpenID. doesn’t have such a mechanism?

  • Fatemeh

    No, but Blogger doesn’t track IP addresses, which is what I like about WP. I can tell who’s who no matter how many fakey emails ya’ll put in. :)

  • Sobia

    Hm….I wonder if the second Dude then could be mindful of this and not use that name for posting here. The original Dude has been posting for a while and is a regular commentor. It would be nice if the second Dude, out of respect for the first, could perhaps even just add a number or something on after their name just so that others could know. :)

  • Dude # 2

    sorry I didn’t realize there was another dude here, the first dude seems upset, i apologize.

  • Dude


    Not at all. People on dialup often will have different IP’s whenever they connect. Even people on DSL or cable modem who haven’t paid for static IP’s may end up having frequent different IP’s.

    Also, people can browse the web through various anonymizing services (e.g. tor), which, if they do their job correctly, should have a different IP every time they come to the site.

    The benefit of OpenID is that OpenID’s are tied to users. A person certainly can have many open ID’s, but a given OpenID is tied to only one person – provided (s)he hasn’t given the password to someone else. So were someone to post using the same OpenID account, it’s very likely the same person – it’s a greater guarantee than IP addresses for someone who’s not trying to hide his/her identity.


    I wouldn’t be too picky. I don’t know if (s)he was trying to impersonate me, but likely (s)he used it for the same reason I originally did – it’s a common anonymous nickname. So I’d expect others will also use it in the future – perhaps I should change mine, but somehow I lack the incentive.

  • Sobia

    @ Dude and Dude #2:

    Looks like the confusion has been settled :D.