Friday Links | January 10, 2014

Thousands of people, predominantly women and children, in the Central African Republic are fleeing the violence to seek refuge in Chad, a country many of them have never been to, but are believed to have originated from.

On Sunday a young Afghan girl wearing a suicide vest was detained in Afghanistan, as she tried to carry out an attack on the border police. The girl stated during the investigation that she was forced to wear the vest by her brother, a Taliban commander. The Taliban, however, deny that they sent the girl on a suicide mission. Despite her plea for a new home, the Afghan girl might be returned to her family soon.

A recent survey by the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research conducted in seven predominantly Muslim countries indicates that most respondents think that a headscarf, that fully covers the hair, neck and ears is the most appropriate attire for a Muslim woman.

On New Year’s Eve a video circulated on the internet which shows the Kyrgyz religious leader Rakhmatulla-Hajji Egemberdiev having sexual relations with an unknown woman. Mufti Egemberdiev insists the woman in the video is his second wife for four years, though polygamy is illegal in Kyrgyzstan, which is confirmed by a elderly Kyrgyz couple in another online video, who say that they are the parents of the woman. Grand Mufti Egemberdiev has now resigned from his position and calls for an investigation, claiming that his second wife is currently in the hospital due to the allegations.

Saima Chalkoo teaches primary school children in the open air close to the border in Indian-administrated Kashmir. Image by Abid Bhat/BBC

As the situation in Syria continues to escalate, more are speaking out against the violence and call for the protection of women and children in particular.

An estimated one in three marriages in Turkey is a child marriage, most of these marriage involve (illiterate) girls, and the fact that the practice is widespread means that only aggressive action by the government will lead to a reduction of child marriages.

US court has sentenced the woman, who called herself “Jihad Jane,” to ten years in prison for being involved in a plot to kill the Swedish artist responsible for an image that many Muslims deemed offensive. Another US woman has been sentenced to eight years in prison for aiding the work of her Al-Qaida linked husband.

Around 40% of the Kurdish PKK fighters are female, who are fighting for much more than a free Kurdistan.

The Asahi Shimbun speaks to several Indonesian ex-“comfort women” about their experiences under Japanese occupation and how this has impacted their lives.

According to a Saudi survey, most Saudi men blame women, and in particularly women wearing “exaggerated” make up, for the rise in molestation in public spaces in the country.

Last Monday the vast majority of Tunisia’s constitutional assembly has voted for the approval of article 20 in the draft of the new constitution, which states that all Tunisian citizens, male or female, are equal before the law without discrimination.

Even though cohabitation of unmarried couples is still quite uncommon in Iran, the numbers have been on the rise, which is a serious concern for a government that promotes traditional values.

The BBC features the story of Pakistani Rukhsana Bibi, who eloped last year, only to witness the murder of her husband and barely survive a brutal attack herself.

A French court has convicted a niqab-wearing woman, who was arrested in the summer of 2013, of insulting and threatening the police officers during her arrest and wearing clothing that covers the face; she has been given a suspended prison sentence and a fine.

Despite the fact that Bangladeshi politics is dominated by two women, millions of female workers in the country are still being marginalised.

IWPR profiles Afghan media head Najiba Ayubi, who received the 2013 Courage in Journalism Award for her work.

Saudi Bayan Zahran has opened the first female legal office in Saudi Arabia.

A British report suggests that Muslim mothers should be trained to become more familiar with computers, so they can monitor their children better online and safeguard them from radicalisation.

In Iran’s Kurdistan province 88% of the women have reported experience with some sort of abuse, which is the highest percentage of the country according to a report by BBC‘s Persian service.

The recent complicated love story between a young Saudi woman and Yemeni migrant worker highlights the problematic relationship between the two neighbouring countries.

Yasmin Siraj is competing to represent the USA at this year’s Olympic Winter Games in Sochi in female figure skating.

IWPR features an article by a female reporter on the challenges of her work in the Syrian city of Aleppo.

Police chiefs in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province hope to recruit more women, but conservative attitudes and the dangerous nature of the job keep many women away.

Sri Lankan activist Sharmila Seyyid has published a book titled Ummath, which features the story of a Muslim woman, who learns about the female wing of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), when she works to rehabilitate them.

The vice president of the Maldives Fiqh Academy has condemned the country’s recent Sexual Offenses Bill for the conditional criminalisation of marital rape.

After having curbed the birth rate successfully for over two decades, Iran is now promoting a baby boom; vasectomy operations have been eliminated and religious sermons urge worshippers to raise more children.

Sewing groups provide many poor Pakistani women with an opportunity to provide for their families and become successful entrepreneurs themselves.

Agents are making small fortunes taking Malaysian couples to get married in southern Thailand, where the marriage procedures are more lenient, especially when it comes to polygamous marriages or marriages where the bride’s family hasn’t given consent.

Female bodybuilding is gaining popularity in Iran, but because of the dress code female athletes can’t compete on international level, nor are there are any competitions in this sport within Iran.

Arabs Got Talent contestant Jennifer Grout, known for her nearly perfect renditions of Arab classics, has reportedly converted to Islam.

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