Friday Links | March 16, 2012

Syrian women play a central role in the revolution; the BBC features the stories and experiences of several of these activist women.

Egyptian anthropologist Hania Sholkamy asks whether there will be a place in Egypt for women’s human rights in the near future.

Iranian women activists say “no to war”. They fear that war will aggravate violence and discrimination against women.

Nisreen Karim, a Lebanese mother of four, married to a Palestinian refugee, died on the road travelling in between hospitals, as she did not receive a transfer slip from the UN agency dealing with Palestinian refugees, UNRWA. Mrs. Karim is not the first, and most likely not the last either, to die because of a delay in receiving the transfer slip proving that UNRWA will pay part of the hospital expenses.

On March 8, in the Afghan capital Kabul, the first women-only internet cafe opened and is named after the young bride Sahar Gul, who was kept in the basement and abused by her in-laws and husband. Young Afghan women are happy to finally have a safe place to come together and express themselves freely.

70-something Arifeh Malaysheh from Jaba, Occupied Palestine is determined to get an education and is now enrolled at a primary school, among young girls. Her ultimate wish is to be able to read the Quran, and be able to use a computer. Good for her!

Two award-winning Pakistani female activists, a social worker and a 14-year-old, are on the target list of the Pakistani Taliban, for promoting secularism and being pro-American.

In Australia, a Muslim family is in conflict whether their late mother’s estate should be divided according to Islamic or Australian law. One of the daughters, Fatima Omari, has taken the case to court, as she is opposed to the division under Islamic law, where daughters receive half of the share of the brother. Australian Muslim leaders have defended the use of Islamic law in Australia, saying that the court should respect the religious wishes of Muslim citizens.

Last Saturday, Lebanese activists marched in the capital Beirut, demanding that the government reject the current version of the rape law. They say the amendments to the proposed law mean that it no longer protects from domestic violence and marital rape; instead, the activists ask for the original bill to be reinstated.

Some of Pakistan’s female presenters are being criticised by conservative Muslim clerics for wearing (too much) make-up and revealing clothing. Farah Hussain, presenter of a popular morning show in Pakistan, says that even though she doesn’t cover up and wears make up on air, it does not mean she is not a practising Muslim.

Eritrean refugee Fatma Soleman who lives in Egypt, where refugees are not allowed to seek lawful employment, makes handicrafts and sells them in order to make a living. She is so successful doing this, that she has been teaching hundreds of refugee women to do the same for the last 12 years.

BBC News talks with Sadaf Rahimi, the Afghan boxer who hopes to compete in the Olympic Games later this year.

Last Monday, several girls between the ages of 14-17 were raped by pro-government militia in Darfur, Sudan. Due to the lack of hospitals in the region, some of the girls are in a bad situation. May Allah give them justice, strength and a good recovery.

The family of Iranian opposition leader Mousavi is facing harassment and threats by the Iranian regime. Last week Mousavi’s youngest daughter was involved in a car collision that was allegedly staged by security services.

Mishkat Al Moumin is the founder of the Iraqi group Women and the Environment Network (WATEO). She explains in an interview with IPS how to empower rural women in the Iraqi marshlands, a group that has stayed off the radar.

Moroccan Amina al-Filali was sixteen when a judge ordered that she should get married to her rapist. The man mistreated her so badly, that Amina did not see any other solution than to commit suicide by consuming rat poison. May Allah give her peace and justice. Moroccan activists plan protests coming Satuday against the penal code that allows the “kidnapper” of a minor to marry her in order not to have to go to jail.

In Germany the “Saba program,” named after the Queen of Sheba, aims at giving (Muslim) women not only an opportunity to integrate in German society, and also hopes to help German economy by making these women financially independent.

RFE/RL’s Radio Free Afghanistan visits the only female detention centre in Kabul, Afghanistan and talks to the inmates about the charges that put them there.

An Islamist MP in Kuwait handed in a proposal to make wearing hijab mandatory for women in public spaces. Kuwait is already discussing banning swimsuits and introducing some other restrictions as well.

For the first time in Algerian history, an all-female slate of candidates has been formed to run in the upcoming elections.

Six major Islamic organisations in Indonesia have spoken out against the gender fairness and equality bill, saying that some of its articles might hurt Islamic values.

During an all-female conference in Tunisia, hundreds of women have gathered together to call for the return of an Islamic caliphate, which they say is the only way to guarantee that women’s rights will be respected.

In an article on Women’s News Network Dr. Julie Macfarlane attempts to break the myths about sharia, women and Islam.

Last Sunday the military doctor accused of carrying out virginity tests has been acquitted by a Egyptian military court. Egyptian women are disappointed, and worried.

A follow up on the news from Thailand from last week: The alleged rape of a Thai Muslim girl by Thai soldiers, tests the relationship between Bangkok and the Southern provinces, which has been tumultuous in the past. And many of the approximately 1,000 Thai Muslim women who have been abandoned by the Thai troops are trying to make a living in Malaysia, as they often do not receive a warm welcome back home.


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