#UAEDressCode: A Tool for Judgement, or Education?

Sign requesting people to wear "respectful clothing."  Image via sandierpastures.com.

A few years back, when shopping malls turned into major destination for shoppers and tourists in the United Arab Emirates, the issue of how men and women appear in public began to gain greater attention. Mall entrances have come to carry signs and instructions relating not only to pets, trash, bicycles and skaters, but dress codes as well.  In a cosmopolitan society, the idea of modesty does not have a clear definition; it just refers to wearing clothes that do not resemble wearing a swimming … [Read more...]

Female Muftis Aren’t Making Headlines. What a Surprise.

This was written by Sara Elghobashy and originally published at the elan blog.Whenever a story breaks that Muslim women are suffering somewhere in the world, the press foams at the mouth. Headlines with the words “unveiled” or “veiled” pop up everywhere and the world goes on to sing the song of “Muslim women are oppressed. Someone save them from their religion!” Yet, when news emerges that Muslim women are gaining some footing, there isn’t a peep about it in Western news outlets.This is exact … [Read more...]

Common Ground: Sexist Ramadan “Mistakes”

For many of us, the last few weeks before the start of Ramadan mark a time to prepare ourselves mentally and spiritually for gaining the benefits of the month ahead.As such, the mass email forwards began arriving in my inbox in early August, with lists prepared by various Muslim institutions gently reminding the faithful to beware of the “Common Mistakes Made During Ramadan.”The Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities Department of Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, recently published one … [Read more...]

The Emirates Fights Sexism by Exploiting Class-Based Oppression

Fatemeh already pointed out the obviousness of the title in last week's Friday Links, but Hamida Ghafour's article "Lewd stares distressing for women," published in the U.A.E.'s The National newspaper, is worth a closer look.  Although it seems to promote resistance to sexism and sexual harassment, it does so in a way that perpetuates - even strengthens - discrimination based on class and race.For example, take these two paragraphs, towards the beginning of the article: Western women are … [Read more...]

Fatwa Frenzy: Skewing the Education Fatwa Issue

The right to an education is one of the most basic rights that any person can have. Yet this right is often denied to women, including many women in various Muslim societies. We have examples of women in the formative era of Islam who benefited from education and who were scholars in their own right. Still, the right to be educated is one that is fought for by Muslim women’s rights activists and a right recently reaffirmed by an Islamic scholar. Fatemeh linked to two stories about the fatwa i … [Read more...]

The Hole Story: Sexual Abuse in a “Strict Muslim” Household

"Sexual Abuse in Islamic Society" is the title of a recently published BBC article.* Right away, I knew it wasn't going to be a good story (and by "good", I mean objective, balanced, etc.). "Islamic society," says the title, not an Islamic society, whatever that is. There is so much wrong with this BBC story and it's upsetting on so many levels, it's hard to know where to start.Here's the story: Fatima, who is 26, was raised in a "strict Islamic family" in Abu Dhabi, U.A.E. Her stepfather … [Read more...]

Arab Women Leadership Forum a good act to follow

Over 500 Arab women participated in the first ever Arab Women Leadership Forum, held in The United Arab Emirates last Tuesday. The two-day event focused on the status of women in the Arab world, and discussed ways of increasing their social, economic and political contributions. Themed, ‘Women and Leadership: Global Trends and Local Innovations’, the forum discussed the status of women in Arab countries, focusing on ways to reduce the gender gap in the workforce. A series of panel discussions an … [Read more...]


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