Friday Links | November 9, 2012

The decision that women could not enter the Haji Ali dargah, a Sufi shrine, just off the coast of Mumbai, India, has caused international outrage. While some claim that this is just enforcing Islamic law (according to some, women should not visit graves), others were worried that other shrines would soon follow suit. On Thursday the state decided that it is up to the clerics to decide whether or not women can enter the shrine.

The leadership of Syria’s main opposition group in exile consists only of men; no women were voted into the decision-making body of 41 members.

The textile industry in Bangladesh mainly employs women, and this has given larger economic power for women, but many female migrant workers face exploitation and harassment away from home.

Models wait backstage before hitting the runway of a show by Firdaws fashion house by Medni Kadyrova, the wife of the Chechen president. Image via RIA Novosti.

A couple arrested in Pakistan admit to have thrown acid in the face of their teenage daughter Anusha, because she was looking at a boy. She died of her injuries. Later the couple said that they felt remorse and did this out of fear of dishonor. May Allah grant her everlasting peace and justice.

Last week, Russian activists freed 12 “slaves” from the basement of a shop in Moscow. Among them were two Kazakh women, one of whom has been kept in captivity for 10 years, and they describe their ordeal.

Cameroon’s new biometric registration for voters, which include requirements that voters have to have their pictures taken, might mean that many Muslim women will not be able to vote, as they would have to remove their veils, something that they and/or their male family members will not consent to do.

After the attack on Malala Yousufzai, parents in northern Pakistan are increasingly concerned about the safety of their (female) children at school. The CNN reports that throwing acid in the faces of women and girls is the latest tactic by the Pakistani Taliban to prevent them from getting an education. While still many Pakistani women remain illiterate, especially compared to their male counterparts, the number of girls enrolled in education is increasing fast and more Pakistani women receive higher education now than ever.

Fauzia Yusuf Haji Adan is Somalia’s first female foreign minister.

For over two decades, many Kashmiri women have been looking for their disappeared male family members and are experiencing an “immense pain” as Indian government officials and institutions remain silent about the fate of their loved ones.

Iranian actresses will be required to adhere to the Iranian dress code when participating in international events.

Women in Mali are calling for increased protection and guaranteed involvement in solving the armed conflict in the north of the country. features another interview with Afghani presidential candidate Fawzia Koofi.

A local court has ordered the Egyptian teacher that cut the hair from 11-year-old Mona Barbesh, who did not wear hijab, to pay a fine and serve a six months suspended sentence. The father of Mona Barbesh says that he does not understand why his daughter should wear the hijab, if it isn’t something she wants herself.

Krusha e Madhe is a village in southern Kosovo, which is known for its March 1999 massacre. A project started to distract widows from the grief and pain resulting from this tragic event and produce pickled vegetables has turned into a successful business.

Aiya Altameemi’s parents and sister have been given a probation from an US court for giving her a “honor beating.” Nineteen-year-old Aiya Altameemi was beaten up by her family for not “respecting her culture.” As if “honor beatings” are completely in line with, in this case, Iraqi culture….

The parents of six-year-old Bibi Roza, from Pakistan’s Swat valley, say that tribal authorities are forcing them to marry off their daughter in order to resolve a family feud.

On October 19th Sudanese journalist Somaya Hendousa was arrested, or rather abducted, by Sudanese authorities, while she went to the supermarket. Somaya Hendousa is based in Egypt, but was visiting her family in Sudan and as a journalist is at risk of torture. Last week she was found dumped in slums on the east of Khartoum, tortured and her hair shaven. May Allah protect her and give her to strength to continue her work.

On the Edge, a new film by Leila Kilani tells the story of female factory workers in the Moroccan city of Tangier, who turn to crime in order to survive.

A Muslim college in Uttar Pradesh, India, makes wearing the hijab compulsory for female students, and bans them from using cell phones.

The settlement of the once-nomadic Mbororo people in northern Cameroon has resulted that now more children, and especially girls, can pursue an education, which used to be extremely rare in the past.

RFE/RL profiles American Muslim designer Nzinga Knight.

Info Ladies is a project in Bangladesh, where women are being trained to use computers and other related equipment, who then travel by bike to remote areas to provide internet access to those who normally would not be able to go online.

The Guardian features an audio slideshow on the vulnerable position of women and girls in Somalia’s refugee camps.

The finalists in Miss Belgium 2013 beauty contest have caused uproar in Morocco for posing in casual clothes in front of the largest mosque of the kingdom.

  • Maryam Hajar

    Assalamu alaykum,
    Thank you for updating us on how horribly women and girls are being treated all over the world. A U.S. popular conservative radio talk show host said only yesterday: “Rush Limbaugh blames women (for Obama’s win). Limbaugh, the conservative radio host who seems unable to stop himself from spewing misogny at every opportunity, blamed the gender gap for Obama’s victory, and women for falling into Obama’s trap: “He treats them like vaginas and they say he’s my man,” Limbaugh said on his show. ” Misogyny is rampant globally and there seems to be no solutions in the near future. It’s out of control. I hate all of this horrible treatment of women, especially in Islam, and wonder sometimes why i ever converted 4 yrs ago. As an older woman, and social worker who is a counselor to battered women for over 14yrs, i can see how this is going..and it really makes me sick that this sexism is at the root of the establishment of much of the Muslim world. I guess I expected more from Muslims and held them to a higher standard because of our faith. But, I feel misled when told that women have more rights in Islam than any other religion. As a former Christian, Unitarian…i say: rubbish. Things like this disprove that statement. If it were true, then why do the clerics and scholars support such regimes?? saddened….Wassalam

  • anneke

    Wasalam Maryam! I was actually quite relieved that I had some “positive news” this week, see for example the Kosovar widows, who are successful and find relief in their enterprise, or the new Somali foreign minister. Unfortunately, good news hardly makes the news and horror stories are plentiful. I do not believe that the horrible treatment of women is unique to the Muslim world (which incorporates so many different cultures and traditions), when I look for news items I find equally distressing news from all kind of regions, cultures and religions. And equally frightening reactions of (male) figures and society.
    But I do share your disappointment in the Muslim community. Even though there are hardworking individuals, and groups, that are fighting to acknowledge and combat problems such as domestic violence, gender based violence and so on, the loudest voice is still that of (some) imams and scholars who keep repeating that “women are so well off in Islam”. And then leave it at that. The reality however, is that there is a huge gender bias in most (if not all) of our communities, which restricts women and girls on predominantly traditional (at times perceived to be Islamic), rather than Islamic grounds.
    People are scared to change. Scared for the shame, the talk. Women are, in every culture and society that I am aware of, easy targets for talk and shame. That perhaps explains why it is so hard and difficult for many parents, community leaders and clerics to defy the society’s expectations and norms and support those female pioneers, who (figuratively) want to burn their bras. Especially in societies where there now are “bigger” problems, more “important problems”, such as violent conflict, hunger and poverty. Unfortunately in many (Muslim) societies, due to these “bigger” problems, women’s rights are pushed back off the agenda. Let’s first make sure that we have peace, food and money, and then we can deal with the women.
    In the mean time, I hope by sharing some of the stories (positive or negative) of women in our community, I can raise some awareness and give voice to some of the stories that otherwise would just get lost in the overload of headlines that are in the news everyday.

  • Maryam Hajar

    Assalamu alaykum Anneke, thank you for your response to my comment. I realize that there are some good things that have happened for women, as stated in this article. You make so many great points which I agree with and recognize. As I said in my post, misogyny is not only seen in Islam, but in the media (ie Limbaugh’s statement) and in all patriarchal religions, secular societies, etc. Yes, we must raise awareness and articles such as this are doing that. We do have reason to be encouraged since this year’s election. 20 women were elected to the U.S House and Senate, the Tea Party and candidates who made horrible statement abt women were defeated. Yes, there is hope; but as long as women all over the world are victims of acid attacks, murder, rape, etc….there is still much to be done to offer all women human rights they deserve. It’s time for clerics, scholars, Imams, Muftis, etc to speak out against violence against women and not look the other way. If they are looked to as the people of knowledge and faith who are offering guidance, then to neglect women’s need to have peace and safety is reprehensible; they need to step down from their ivory tower of the lofty Men’s Club I see so often on their FB pages etc.
    Allah swt is Great, and deep in my heart, but the followers of Islam in these cases leave a lot to be desired. For instance in my community in the midwest: I am very discouraged when i hear that women are not encouraged to pray at our masjid/ but to pray at home with the children as it is better– since Allah swt is more likely to accept her prayers there. Hogwash….it’s just another way to shut women out. Another one of those things they don’t tell you when you convert to Islam.
    Maryam Hajar