Friday Links | April 25, 2014

A new campaign aimed at discouraging young British Muslims to go to Syria to fight, is now asking Muslim women to play an active role in convincing their male family members to stay put. Mistrust of the police among Muslim women, however, makes that many women would be afraid to report their family members, one activist says.

Unlike past elections, the number of female candidates for the upcoming Iraqi elections is actually quite promising and some are hopeful that this will actually mean that things will change for women.

Following an upsurge in Boko Haram violence, southern Niger has been flooded by Nigerian refugees and returnees, mainly women and children, which is straining the already very poor host population.
Just last week Boko Haram abducted hundreds of girls from a boarding school in Borno state, Nigeria, most of them are still missing. Local women’s organizations say that they are willing to storm the Boko Haram stronghold in order to plea the abductors to release the girls. Muslim women in a neighbouring state have gone to the street to decry the actions of Boko Haram and called on the government to take action to find these girls.

Another week, more elections. A Libyan woman holds up her ink-stained finger after voting in the municipal elections in the city of Benghazi. Image by Esam Omran Al-Fetori/Reuters

After being temporary closed after the death of its founder, the Islamic boarding school for transgender people in Yogyakarta, Indonesia has reopened.

Two Austrian teenage girls, who disappeared from their homes earlier this month, are now the subject of an international man-hunt by Interpol, as there is reason to believe that they have travelled to Syria to join the “jihad.”

A project which delivers energy efficient cookstoves in the Darfur region has local women issuing carbon credits.

Al Jazeera features a short documentary on illiterate Sahrawi poet Al Khadra, who uses her poetry as a tool to fight for the Sahrawi cause.

In an effort to reverse the declining birth rate, Iran is planning to eliminate the otherwise very successful family planning programs. Currently Iran’s birthrate is considered to be below replacement level.

In a report by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) it is suggested that close to 900 Pakistani women were killed in 2013 in so-called honour killings.

A convoy consisting of approx. a hundred Muslim women and children, escorted by French peacekeepers, is the latest to flee the Central African Republic’s capital of Bangui after fear of attacks by the Christian Anti-Balaka militia. The conflict, which started 2 years ago, has many worried about the future of the Muslim community in the country.

One young Afghan couple has found refuge in the mountains after fear for arrest and potential death as a result of their marriage, which was conducted against the opinion of both their families, who belong to different ethnic and religious groups.

Sierra Leone is sending at least 65 female peacekeepers to Somalia later this spring; it is hoped that these women can help in the peace process and can become role models for local Somali women, especially because Sierra Leone is a country with a Muslim majority too.

At the moment about 70 percent of medical students in Iran is female, but a shortage in male physicians has the government contemplating action to change this ratio.

A Saudi man has been fined for letting his wife drive the car; the couple was detained and made to sign a pledge not to repeat the offence.

An 61-years-old Omani sheikh was arrested in Hyderabad, India last week, after a 14-year-old girl ran away after she was introduced to him for marriage and reported this to the police. Many Arab men travel to the Hyderabad area to marry underage girls.

Voice of America features an article on the effect of violence and conflict on women in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Due to an increase of women joining the Kyrgyz labour migration to Russia, many children are now being raised by their grandparents, which creates a whole different set of problems.

Iranian president Rouhani has spoken out in support of gender equality in a speech marking Iran’s Women’s Day.

A Saudi female teacher has been banned by Saudi court from marrying a Muslim Briton, on request of her family, who say that the union would be incompatible because of difference in origins.

Uzbekistan has seen a recent increase in polygynous marriages, because of the increasing wealth gap and an increasing popularity of Islam.

Brunei has announced that it will temporary postpone the introduction of its controversial “stoning law.”

A hundred couples were joined in matrimony during a mass wedding in northern Nigeria; all brides received a dowry and household items from an Islamic charity.

Social media have become an important tool for Iranian fashion designers to promote their work and reach middle class Iranian women.

Football, or soccer, has become more popular among Jordanian women and girls, especially now the hijab is accepted in official matches.