Friday Links | May 18, 2012

Twenty years after the war in Bosnia, there are still refugees living in makeshift camps that lack basic necessities, such as running water. Many of the refugees are elderly women, who are often widowed because of the war, and have nowhere else to go.

A Filipino newspaper published a picture last week of a woman in “burqa” shaking hands with the president of the island nation. The caption read: “Security Risk?” The newspaper has since apologised for this rather insensitive captioning.

Egyptian women keep showing their power by participating in pro-democracy rallies in Egypt, even though it still is considered very dangerous to do so.

The UNHCR website features the story of Rozeya, a young Muslim woman from northern Burma/Myanmar, who battled her conservative society, poverty, and skeptical teachers to get an education.

For a report on Swedish television, two women visited ten mosques in Sweden with questions concerning spousal abuse and polygamy, and six out of the ten mosques advised the women not to report their abusive, polygamous husbands to the police.

The Somali draft law includes a condition that 30 percent of the seats of the parliament should be reserved for women.

A Belgium court opened the case of the death by exorcism case of a young Muslim woman, who was deceived into believing that she could not have children because she was possessed.

Shakila Naderi is a female driving instructor in Afghanistan, where many girls and women are prevented from driving by their families, and female illiteracy is the norm.

The Saudi king fired an adviser over his comments on gender, which provoked an outcry in the Saudi press.

After last week’s election, Algerian women will now take almost a third of the seats in the national assembly. Even though this is good news, critics are worried that many of the women elected do not have the experience to deal with the challenges that come with a public position, especially because they are women.

The Jakarta Globe features a piece on Indonesian women’s rights activist Yuniyanti Chuzaifah.

Iran’s female football/soccer fans dream of returning to the stadium to watch live matches, from which they are currently banned. Watching the legs of strange men is deemed to be un-Islamic, according to some scholars.

Germany has released a Muslim woman from jail to fulfill a condition set by the kidnappers of a German construction worker in Kano, Nigeria. The woman was jailed for aiding terrorists.

Al-Jazeera’s People & Power featured an edition on young Afghan female activists on its website. The film has been taken down from the website, due to safety concerns for one of the main characters, but a description and some background on the film is still available.

Niger has the highest birthrate on the planet, 7.5 children per average Nigerien woman.  Given that Niger is one of the least developed countries of the world, and facing a hunger crisis, some families are now considering birth control, which was not considered an option before in the Niger’s conservative Muslim society.

A young Moroccan girl has been assaulted in Rabat, Morocco, by people described to be Salafists, because she was wearing a short dress, which was considered to be too revealing. This event sparked an intense debate among different groups on personal freedoms in the country.

Abortions are illegal in Oman, but for families with an unmarried girl who is pregnant, it is often perceived to be the only option. Not only is it a very expensive practice, but those girls who survive the abortion without complications are considered to be lucky.

An Indian Muslim woman, Sabina, who accused her father-in-law of raping her, has gone missing. The case is very similar to that of another woman of the same village, Imrana, who accused her father-in-law too of rape, and who, after the intervention of Muslim clerics, got her marriage annulled.

The northern Nigerian state-sponsored matchmaking programme focusing on widows and divorcees has been successful: a hundred couples got married during a mass wedding, the first mass wedding, with many planned to follow.

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