We’re exploring a Friday Links format here at MMW. It’s different than our usual. Let us know what you think in the comments! And, as always, feel free to include links to news about Muslim women from the past week in the comments!
News coverage of Muslim women in New Zealand is rare, but the Herald on Sunday ran a great piece on local Muslim women. It was supported by the hard work of Anjum Rahman and a great editorial from the paper itself:
It would take a special meanness of spirit not to admire the young Muslim women in our Insight pages today, building a new identity in their adopted homeland, all the while adhering to the dress code of their Islamic culture and religion.
Abseiling, kayaking, horse-riding and skiing, these women are keen to be New Zealanders, but see no reason to surrender their Muslim identity. “No one has really defined what a Kiwi-Muslim is,” says Aliya Danzeisen, one of the founders of the Waikato Muslim Association. “Traditionally we have tried to assimilate; now it’s about integration.”
The distinction between the two terms may be lost on the many New Zealanders who still wrestle with the idea that this country’s demographic make-up has transformed beyond recognition in barely a generation.
Fathima Nizaruddin, a young filmmaker from Kerala, India, is trying to break the media stereotypes of Muslim women in her film Talking Heads:
Interestingly, Fathima does not vent her spleen or froth with rage. Instead, she has used the genre of satire to poke fun at the stereotypes. In between, she also gently ridicules herself and her filmmaking venture.
“My problem was with the stereotypes of Muslim women presented in the media after 9/11,” says Fathima, an alumnus of Goldsmiths University of London and AJK Mass Communication Research Centre, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi, India.
To bring forth the way Muslim women deal with such stereotypes, she focuses her camera on three women in East London — an assertive painter whose works reflect the eroticism of women, a mature community support worker and a shy, aspirant politician.
This month, a group of men spotted the couple riding together in a car, yanked them into the road and began to interrogate the boy and girl. Why were they together? What right had they? An angry crowd of 300 surged around them, calling them adulterers and demanding that they be stoned to death or hanged.
The immediate response to the violence in Herat was heartening by comparison. Top clerics declined to condemn the couple. Police officers risked their lives to pull the two teenagers to safety and deposit them into the legal system, rather than the hands of angry relatives. And the police reported that five or six girls had fled the city with their boyfriends and fiancés in the weeks after the riot.
After discussing the case, the provincial council decided that Mr. Mohammed and Ms. Mohammedi deserved the government’s protection because neither was engaged, and because each said they wanted to get married.
Acid-attack survivorAmeneh Bahrami has pardoned her attacker, asking for bloody money instead of retribution:
“I struggled for seven years for this verdict to prove to people that the person who throws acid should be punished through qesas, but today I pardoned him because it was my right.”
Tehran prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi hailed Ms Bahrami’s decision, and said the judiciary would have carried out the blinding sentence.
“Today in hospital the blinding of Majid Movahedi was to have been carried out in the presence of an eye specialist and judiciary representative, when Ameneh pardoned him,” he said.