February 6 is the International Day of Zero Tolerance to FGM/C (Female Genital Mutilation/Circumcision); while this is not an “Islamic” practice per definition, it affects the lives of many Muslim women and girls around the world. The UN published a report on this day that almost 2,000 African communities banned the practice in 2011. Kenyan MP and FGM survivor Sophia Abdi Noor calls for alternatives rites of passage to replace “the cut.” Girls in migrant communities are at risk too. In the UK, Senegalese hip-hop artist and FGM activist Sister Fa was invited to raise awareness in the House of Commons. Kenya banned FGM this year completely, and Sudan hopes to do so by 2018. Currently, around 90 percent of the Sudanese girls are circumcised before reaching adulthood.
Kuwait’s Islamist opposition party made large gains after the recent elections, but no female MPs are expected to sit in parliament this time.
Nevine Aly Elsheikh, an American teacher from North Carolina, has to remain in custody until her trial for having allegedly been part of a plot to behead witnesses who testified against a would-be terrorist.
Yanar Mohammed has been organizing weekly demonstrations on Baghdad’s Tahrir square, even though she has been intimidated and assaulted. In These Times features an interview with her on the current situation in Iraq, and in particular the position of women.
Kurdish women in Iraqi Kurdistan seek more participation in the government, and are suggesting that a quarter of the cabinet should be made up by women.
Last week in Beirut, Lebanon on February 1: a not very inclusive two-day conference of the Arab Women Forum, with a price tag of $300 per head, was organised. The agenda did not cover any controversial topics, and afterwards there was a demonstration. Many of the women had never demonstrated before and some were even worried about the distance they had to cover. The question is then: Was the it for struggle or for show?
Scholar Yasmin Saikia wrote a book on the untold stories surrounding the 1971 Bangladesh war, especially stories related to women and rape.
In Afghanistan, the birth of a girl is a mixed blessing, and mothers who have multiple daughters and no son(s), fear for their future.
Bahraini activist Fadheela Al-Mubarak has been freed. She was arrested last year for listening to “revolutionary music” in her car.
A growing number of Darfuri women take on gruelling poorly-paid construction jobs in order to make ends meet, as there are no alternatives for women to earn additional income.
In Uttar Pradesh, India, Muslim women have been going door-to-door to encourage others, mainly women, to cast their vote in the February 23 elections.
Saudi writer Salwa Aededan wins her plagiarism case against prominent cleric Sheikh Ayad al-Qarni. For over a year, the author had suffered online abuse, while the Sheikh kept denying the accusation. Good for her!
Legalisation of the so-called “bride kidnapping bill” in Kyrgyzstan lost support in the government, as the bill would also affect those who want to enter into polygamous unions, which is illegal, but yet very common among Kyrgyz men who can afford to marry more wives. Men who have high government positions, for example….
The Daily Mail questions why Baroness Uddin, the first British Muslim woman in the House of Lords, still has a state-funded apartment.
Lebanese activist Ghida Anani tells in an interview with Women News Network how men can help protect women.
Deepika Thathaal has started a new website Memeni, which is a memorial to women who lost their lives to honour violence.
An estimated 800,000 Kashmiris are haunted by horror, due to the continuing violence in the region. Of all acute depression cases reported, over 70 percent are women.
Egypt’s feminists prepare for a long battle…
In the Gaza strip the UN organisation concerned with Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, helped to create opportunities for young women to get on-the-job experience with Red Crescent.
Remembering that we are talking the Daily Mail here, they published an article on Iran ‘s female ninja’s, complete with “impressive visuals”. Another article looks at how different media have framed this “news”.
The Deputy Governor of East Java, in cooperation the with the Indonesian Council of Ulema (MUI), promised to end prostitution in the region. Soon after, the MUI claimed that the prostitution-buyout scheme is working. Repentance and promises of better futures; the ulema can’t be more satisfied.