Friday Links | August 24, 2012

Somali runner Samia Yusuf Omar, who competed in the 2008 Olympics for her country, has drowned off the coast of Italy earlier this year. According to an earlier profile by Al Jazeera, Samia had been looking for a trainer in Ethiopia to compete at the London Olympics, but had met a lot of obstacles and resistance. Italian newspapers suggest that she was trying to get to Europe and to find a trainer there, so she could compete at the Olympics. May she be granted with eternal peace.

The ongoing conflict in Kashmir has resulted in thousands of people dead and wounded, and according to doctors, the stress related to the conflict has had a negative impact on the fertility of women in the region.

The enrollment of Muslim girls in primary schools in India is surging, with an increase of 33% against an average increase of 5% of all girls enrolling in primary school in the 2012-2013 school year.

Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender (LBT) women have been part of the women’s movement in Indonesia in over a decade, but recently the country has seen a rise in violence and harassment aimed at LBT women.

In Niger, cash grants replace the traditional food aid to the poorest families. 99% of the beneficiaries of the money are women, who are then in turn responsible in determining where the money should be spend.

Saudi columnist Mohammad Al Shaikh posted a remark on Saudi women and prostitution in a foreign country on Twitter, in a debate on female unemployment and the status of women. The remark has met strong criticism in the country, with some people even asking for capital punishment.

Disability is still seen as a bar to motherhood in Kazakhstan; pregnant disabled women more often get recommendations to have an abortion than receiving the care that they need.

The Middle East’s first female speed racing team consists of 6 Palestinian women, Muslim and Christian, who, despite the battles they faced and are facing, have big ambitions when it comes their future in (international) speed racing.

This picture of two Kyrgyz women in Afghanistan sewing is the winner of the 2012 National Geographic traveller photo contest. Image by Cedric Houin/National Geographic.

In Australia many Muslim women, who leave their husbands, find themselves in debt, as some institutions (Centrelink) do not believe that truly have left their husbands, and are just concealing their partners for financial support.

Hundreds of women and children flocked to hospitals in Chennai, India, after a rumour spreaded that two women had lost their limbs after applying mehendi via a text message that went viral, and turned out to be, not surprisingly, a hoax. Mehendi is applied on the hands and/or feet of women during festive occasions, such as the Eid.

Journalist and author Fariba Nawa profiles her friend Roya Hamid, an Afghan artist, who died earlier this year due to complications surrounding childbirth. She was in her 30s.

A judge in the UK has said that the marriage of a disabled Bangladeshi woman to her cousin should be annulled, as the woman does not understand the concept of marriage and is not able to consent to sex.

Controversial Egyptian tv channel Maria TV has been on air for over a month now, tackling diverse topics such as infidelity and beauty, but still many Egyptians find the channel offensive, but for different reasons.

A Canadian Muslim woman has been fired from her job, after she started to wear hijab to work. Even though, she took the hijab off during work hours, as it was said to her that the head scarf was not part of the uniform, she still got dismissed a mere two weeks later.

Sarah is a Dutch-Somali girl, who was forced to marry her much older relative while on holiday in Somalia at age 16. She recently has escaped Somalia, and her marriage, and is now living in a women’s shelter in The Netherlands, where she is now planning her future.

A top Malaysian lawyer encourages Muslim women to sign pre-nuptial agreements to safeguard their rights in marriage.

And finally some Ramadan and Eid related news items: Forbes profiles Senegali Hadi, as she prepares for her Eid celebrations, or  Korité as it is generally referred to in Senegal. Women in a remote fishing village in the Philippines have been getting together to learn more about Islam, and strenghten the unity of the town by organizing community iftars during the month of Ramadan. In Kolkata, India, Muslim women have broken an age-old barrier by joining the men in their outdoor Eid prayers, something that is recommended in Islam, but was traditionally not accepted. In Afghanistan, Nasima cannot wait until the Eid is truly over, claiming that the Eid and Ramadan are in her part of the world “just for men”.


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