Friday Links | February 15, 2013

Some Indonesian Muslim women are taking up a more active role in the country’s radical Islamic groups; many of these women are the wives of jailed convicted terrorists.

Despite the fact that Hizb-u-Tahrir, an Islamist group, is banned in Tajikistan, the organization continues to recruit new members, mainly targeting vulnerable women and adolescents.

Stories of sexual violence, forced marriage and abuse continue to emerge in Mali; the ethnic Tuareg group is predominantly blamed for the atrocities.

The question whether or not Muslims should celebrate Valentine’s Day has some people in Pakistan divided. VOA sees this day as an opportunity to feature an item on love marriages in the country.  Elsewhere, Muslim author Na’ima B. Roberts picks her top 10 love stories for Valentine’s Day on the website of The Guardian.

Girls in Sana’a prepare for a parade to commemorate the second anniversary of the uprising against Yemen’s former president Saleh. Image by Reuters/Khaled Abdullah

Alia Awada is a prominent women’s rights activist in Lebanon, and she states that extremism, in particular, is a threat to Muslim women. features an article on the recent advancements of Saudi women.

According to the exiting U.S. general the advancement of women’s rights in Afghanistan is key to preventing the Taliban from reimposing their rule in the country.

At least nine female polio workers were shot last Friday in northern Nigeria, by gunmen, allegedly belonging to Boko Haram.

An Islamic school in Adelaide, Australia has told its non-Muslim female employees to wear the hijab at school.

The civil marriage of Nidal Darwish and Kholoud Sukarriyeh in Lebanon is still not recognised and accepted as such by the Lebanese government, but it has sparked a debate in the country that is unprecedented.

Despite an increasing number of women in important positions in both Sudan and South Sudan, their influence on the peace process has been marginal so far.

In Russia, the Union of Muslim Women has been established, with over 50 offices across the country. The organisation has as a particular goal to revive the institution of matchmaking.

Hamas continues to further restrict (female) civilians in Gaza, with a stricter dress code for female students and the ban of a local talent show.

Cultural reasons, but as well a fear for police and other authorities, keep some Muslim women from Midwestern USA from seeking help in cases of domestic violence, for example.

Online abuse aimed at Kashmiri girl band Pragaash has led to several arrests and an ongoing investigation. The band quit last week, after a local cleric issued a fatwa, which stated that girl bands are un-Islamic.

In Kazakhstan, the number of women smokers is slowly increasing; rising spending power and shrinking social stigmas make that more Kazakh women take up the habit.

Al Arabiya reports that an Islamic group in Algeria has launched a national campaign urging girls, as young as ten, to start wearing the hijab.

The death of five-year-old Lama has sparked an online debate in Saudi Arabia; RNW talks to two prominent Saudi bloggers about the case.

For the first time since 2003, a beauty show for hairdressers and beauticians was held in Baghdad, Iraq. Hairdressers have been particularly targeted by religious extremists during the period just after 2003.

Khabar South Asia features an article on the question whether or not Muslim women should adopt Hindu fashions, such as wearing the bindi.

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