Friday Links | July 20, 2012

Last week, Hanifa Safi, an Afghan Women’s Affairs official was killed by a car bomb. While she is not the first female Afghan official to be killed, the Afghan government has not done much to prevent these murders, or to bring those responsible to justice. In the same week, a young Afghan girls, Tamana, was killed, which proves, once again, that violence against women is on the rise in Afghanistan.

When Najat Vallaud-Belkacem became the French minister of women’s rights, Muslims, and in particularly Muslim women, were hoping that she, a Muslim woman herself, would actively work to change the marginalised position of Muslim women in France, but so far she has disappointed.

The Turkish abortion debate has women wondering whether gender equality is a priority at all for the Turkish government, which is trying to position itself as an example for other countries in the Middle East.

Another Sudanese woman, 23-year-old Ms. L.I.E., has been charged with adultery and has been sentenced to death by stoning.

A report on human trafficking released by the U.S. State Department claims that many wealthy Arab Gulf tourists to Egypt “purchase” poor under-age Egyptian girls for marriages that only last for the summer. Many of these girls are left ostracized after their “marriage” has ended, and are often being forced into prostitution by their new husbands.

That Nazgul Akmatbek kyzy was brutally raped by her now ex-husband, a member of Kyrgyzstan’s KGB-successor agency, and his driver, is not that out of the ordinary, but the fact that she pressed charges is extraordinary in Kyrgyzstan, where most women are ashamed or afraid to speak about sexual crimes.

The strain of long term displacement on Darfuri refugees living in refugee camps in Chad, has resulted in a series of problems that affect refugee women in particular, such as an increase in gender based violence (GBV), early marriages and high divorce rates.

A village in Uttar Pradesh, India, has banned women under 40 from shopping, girls from using cell phones and love marriages. It is said that the predominantly Muslim population of the village is pleased with the decisions.

Amnesty International urges Iran to stop the harassment of the family of imprisoned lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh. Last week, her 12-year-old daughter and husband received notice that they are not permitted to leave the country, something they were not planning to do anyway.

Another 250 people have been married in mass weddings in the northern Nigerian city of Kano, as part of a program organised by the Hisbah Board to cut the high number of divorce cases in Kano state. There is a condition though: the men are not allowed to divorce their new wifes without their permission

A Kabul female-only internet cafe provides a safe haven for Afghan women, where they can study and socialize free from the scrutiny of men.

Deutsche Welle profiles the new spokeswoman of the German president Gauck: Ferdos Forudastan, an Iranian German media expert.

Some Syrian refugees coming to Jordan opt for early marriages for their female relatives, believing that the marital status will offer them some protection and insurance.

Deka Mohamed is a young Somali woman, who after completing a tailoring course and obtaining work experience, had acquired the funds and skills needed to start a successful business, that has changed her life and that of her family.

Al Akhbar features an interview with Saudi princess Sarah Bint Talal, who applied for refugee status in Britain and is calling for reforms in Saudi Arabia.

Thwaiba Kanafani is a Syrian Canadian business woman, who felt called to go to Syria and bring her self-perceived expertise to aid the rebels. She was met with skepticism and eventually even called out to be an Israeli spy. If she does not succeed in her own quest to bring peace to Syria on her own terms, she says she will return to Canada and will forget about everything, but surely she will keep her newspaper clippings….

This weekend Maria TV will be launched on a conservative Islamic channel in Egypt, featuring and employing only veiled women.

Nigerian president Jonathan Goodluck has sworn in Aloma Mariam Mukhtar as the first female Chief Justice of Nigeria. Mrs. Mukhtar comes from the predominantly Muslim north of Nigeria, where gender inequality is most acute.

The Indonesian markets of Pasar Tasik are the place to go for (predominantly) Muslim women from all over the region to get the latest Islamic fashions, for personal use or retail. Especially during the month of Ramadan, the crowds can top 2 million daily… Guess I will be staying home and wishing all of you a very blessed Ramadan and pray that your fasting will be accepted!

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