Friday Links | May 4, 2012

Chechnya’s president has openly spoken out in support of honour killings, which leaves Chechen women in fear. Chechnya’s president is known for wanting to make Chechnya “more Islamic than the Islamists.”

The Rohingyas are a Muslim ethnic group in Burma/Myanmar, and many of them have fled the country to neighbouring Bangladesh, where they often live in extreme poverty and desperate conditions. IRIN features an interview with Jaheda Begum, a female refugee who daily worries about feeding her family and the future of her family as undocumented refugees in Bangladesh.

In the Palestinian territories, the local police has now an all-female unit to deal with female lawbreakers in the more conservative areas, such as the city of Hebron/Khalil.

Egyptian MPs deny the existence of the sex-after-death law, which made headlines last week, but confirm the early marriage draft law, which would allow girls to get married at age 14 instead of 18.

Six sets of parents in southern Tajikistan have gone on trial for forcing their underage daughters into marriage. The legal age for marriage is 18 in Tajikistan, and the divorce rate is about 50%, which is linked by the authorities to early marriages.

The falling of the Dutch cabinet with Geert Wilders’ Freedom Party’s support, might also be the end of the Dutch “burqa ban”.

Osama bin Laden’s widows and children arrived in Saudi Arabia last week, after they were deported from Pakistan to a country of their choice.

Without the pressure to join the EU and with an ascendant class of religious conservatives in the country, Turkish activists say that Turkey is backsliding on women’s rights.

Successful London model Samira Hashi returned to her native Somalia, a country she fled at the age of 3, and writes about her experience on the BBC website.

Even though the numbers of girls and young women who have undergone female circumcision (FGM) in Kurdish Iraq are declining, the current number is still disturbing.

In an attempt to get the many widowed and divorced women married in Kano, a city in northern Nigeria, local Islamic police have set up a matchmaking programme to match these women with eligible men, providing health checks and money to pay for the dowry for the women in question.

It is that time of the year again: spring, and time for Iran to increase the crackdown on regulations for Islamic dress codes for women specifically.

Bosnian Rasema Handanovic is the first woman to be convicted of war crimes in Bosnia. She pleaded guilty and was sentenced to five-and-a-half years in jail.

Shaykh Amer Jamil has started a campaign in Scotland against forced marriages, trying to convince families that it is morally, ethically and religiously wrong to force young women and men to marry against their will.

In Bangladesh, more girls than boys are now attending school, which is mainly because the many efforts by NGOs, the Bangladeshi Ministry and the international community. For example, now the vast majority of the teachers in primary schools in Bangladesh are female (90%), creating an environment that is deemed safe for girls to attend school, even in the most conservative areas.

Turkish writer Elif Shafak contributed a piece to The Guardian on the rise of honour killings, not only in the Middle East, but globally. She recently published a book on this topic, called “Honour.”

Muslim and Christian women groups in Kaduna state, Nigeria, have come together to pray for peace, unity and stability in Kaduna state, and the country. May Allah answer their prayers.

Sahar Gul, the Afghan child bride who was found in the basement in a bad state, is recovering, tells about her horrible experience and is making plans for a new life. May Allah give her success!

In Bangladesh, police are looking for a female teacher from an Islamic school, who allegedly placed hot iron rods on the legs of 14 girls, ages 8 to 12, for failing to offer their prayers on time.

In predominantly Muslim, but generally not so religious Albania, the increased pressure to be a virgin when getting married means that many young women choose to undergo “virginity operations”.

The BBC reports on Ghalia Mahmoud, Egypt’s new cooking star, with a budget, who is taking the country, and the region, by storm.

Around 10% of marriages in Morocco last year involved a minor, generally a girl, a practice that is widespread and accepted by many. The debate therefore whether this should be forbidden, as demanded by activists after the death of 15-year old Amina Filali to her older rapist, leaves Morocco divided.

The Washington Post features an article which highlights the stories of two former refugees to the USA: one is a Muslim woman from Togo, West Africa who fled her home in fear of a forced marriage and female genital mutilation and the other a South Asian Sikh lady, who was pressured in a arranged marriage.

Azerbaijani reporter Khadija Ismayilova questions the pace and the way her investigation against the smear campaign is going and wonders whether her case is taken seriously at all by government officials.

Hacer Eşut, a Turkish high school student, is the first woman in Turkish parliament to take oath, while wearing the headscarf.

The new Family Code in Mali is a set back for women’s rights, according to women activists. The 2009 legislation was actually an improvement, but it was withdrawn following an uproar from conservative Muslim groups. features an interview with the first South African black (Muslim) female editor of a national newspaper, Ferial Haffajee, on her career and work as a judge for the African Journalist awards.

Anti-Muslim activists Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer hosted a conference on the “human rights of Muslim women”, to commemorate the so-called honour killing of Jessica Mokdad, but Muslim women were not welcome… Need I say more?

Welsh golfer Sahra Hassan has been named UK Sports woman of the Year by the Muslim Women’s Sport Foundation.

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