New Age Islam
Sat Nov 28 2020, 01:56 PM

Islam, Women and Feminism ( 15 Apr 2010, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Muslim woman files complaint against McDonald's over head covering

Female mosque leader seeks new way of Islam in Europe

I was marrying a person, not a Pakistani: Sania Mirza

UK: First Muslim women MPs to be elected

Afghan Woman Murdered as She Leaves Work

A killing unveils return to fear for Afghan women

Muslim girl was a victim of ignorance and bigotry

Controversy shrouds Muslim women's head coverings

India - Nuns educate Muslim, Hindu street girls

Feminist scholar to speak at Cornell on Islam and gender

Europe struggles with Muslim dress code

European push to ban burqas appalls Afghan women

Fatwa against modelling by Muslim women

Through the eyes of a European woman

Documentary highlights women’s political struggle

Women, Get Set, Go at Madani High School

The Pakistani woman’s crusade against the system

One woman returns to Afghanistan to build change

Kandahar’s street without women

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islam,-women-and-feminism/muslim-woman-files-complaint-against-mcdonald-s-over-head-covering/d/2708

 

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Muslim woman files complaint against McDonald's over head covering

By Jerry Wolffe

April 15, 2010

An Oakland County woman has filed a complaint with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission charging she was discriminated against in hiring by McDonald’s restaurants because she refused to not wear a hijab, the head covering traditionally worn by Muslim women.

“Outside of a quick resolution, we want McDonald’s to put in place certain safeguards that would impede anyone (from) being denied a job because of their religious attire,” Council on American-Islamic Relations-MI Executive Director Dawud Walid said Wednesday.

The woman who filed the complaint with the EEOC against the fast-food giant is 19 and a resident of Troy. “She was born and raised in America,” Walid added.

He said others besides Muslims could be victims of discrimination based on their religious attire, such as the Amish or Hasidic Jews.

“Everyone in America has the right to freely practice their religion and for anyone to be denied their First Amendment rights is a violation of the U.S. Constitution and the 1964 Civil Rights Act,” Walid said.

“We’re waiting for the EEOC complaint to be investigated before taking any further actions,” he said.

McDonald’s Corp., headquartered in Oak Brook, Ill., had no immediate comment to the EEOC complaint. The company has 385,000 full-time employees.

Traditionally, the EEOC could offer both sides mediation. If mediation is rejected, the EEOC will give the complainant a right-to-sue letter, which allows her to hire a lawyer and file a federal lawsuit arguing her civil rights were violated.

Walid also said that CAIR went to the Michigan Department of Civil Rights on Tuesday to discuss the case about McDonald’s.

“We’ve had a similar situation that started in 2008 involving two women in Dearborn relating to McDonald’s,” he said.

http://www.dailytribune.com/articles/2010/04/15/news/doc4bc7e803465dd375965969.txt

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Female mosque leader seeks new way of Islam in Europe

By BRUCE MUTSVAIRO

April 16, 2010

AMSTERDAM ---- Yassmine el Ksaihi doesn't see herself as a feminist rebel. She covers her head and wears modest clothing. She learned to read the Quran at age 5 and promotes traditional Muslim values.

Yet there is something pioneering about her nonetheless: At age 24, she is the administrator of a large mosque, an unusual position of authority for a young woman in the world of Islam, even in Europe.

In a first for the Netherlands, men and women pray together in the Polder Mosque ---- albeit segregated, with the women praying in the back of the red-carpeted prayer hall. Sermons are in Dutch rather than Arabic. Non-Muslims are welcome.

Across Europe, Muslims are seeking a formula that lets them fit into their country while maintaining loyalty to their faith, and el Ksaihi's mosque, which melds some Western secular values with deep attachment to Islam, is one solution toward resolving such tensions.

Experts say it's part of a European trend: Many young Muslims on the continent are staying away from traditional mosques and meeting in more casual settings for prayer and study groups.

Fitting into European society while remaining rooted in Islam is no easy task among native populations that often resent the growing number of Muslims, and ---- many Muslims feel ---- discriminate against them in jobs and education.

Across Europe, conservative politicians are pushing to limit further immigration or to compel Muslims to abandon foreign ways.

In the Netherlands, where Muslims are 6 percent of the country's 16.5 million people, an anti-Islam party has become the country's fastest-growing political movement. Its leader, Geert Wilders, complains that Muslims reject European liberalism, that they deny women equal rights and that they are intolerant of alternative lifestyles like homosexuality.

Wilders' popularity is partly a reaction to a spate of Islamic radical violence that sent shudders through the nation a few years ago. In 2004, a young Muslim from the Slotervaart neighborhood murdered Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh, who had produced a short film portraying alleged oppression of Muslim women. Police have broken up other alleged radical networks, and the Dutch secret service has warned that Holland remains a potential target for homegrown terrorism.

The Polder Mosque tries to find middle ground between Islamic radicalism and Dutch xenophobia. And it may be at the forefront of the effort to find, if not a European style of Islam, at least grounds for co-existence with European norms.

El Ksaihi seeks to make Islam more accessible to young Muslims born in a secular nation and make Muslims more acceptable to their neighbors. She wants congregants to embrace the religion and culture while extracting it from the homeland of their immigrant parents.

"We choose Dutch as the main language because we focus on the young people. Most of them can only speak Dutch," she said. "If non-Muslims enter the mosque, they will hear what we are discussing. There is nothing scary about what we do."

As administrator, El Ksaihi is in charge of finances and hires the imams who lead the prayers and deliver sermons. She says she finds imams who reflect the diversity of the Amsterdam Muslim community, including preachers from Malaysia and Indonesia as well as from Morocco and Turkey, where most Dutch Muslims come from.

The mosque is a cultural center as much as a house of worship. "This is a traditional model of Islam. It's not new," she said. "We are going back to the roots. There is only one Islam."

Mona Siddiqui, a professor of Islamic studies at the University of Glasgow in Scotland, says the Amsterdam mosque is part of a wider movement that is just beginning to be felt in Europe.

"The mosque does stand for something ---- namely, that Muslims in Europe are carving out new ways of addressing their own communities away from traditional and sometimes oppressive structures," she wrote in an e-mail.

"That is a good thing in my opinion, but I am not sure that it is a defining moment. There are a huge variety of different Muslim communities in Europe and women have been making and continue to make their voices heard in all kinds of ways, even if this journey is a struggle sometimes," she wrote.

Europe has an estimated 20 million Muslims, making Islam the continent's second largest religion.

"Many young people have moved away from traditional mosque settings and organized their own ways of conducting worship," said Siddiqui. That "bears witness to the changing pattern of worship in Europe."

Little evidence of change can be seen in France, however, home of western Europe's largest Muslim population. For years, authorities have been prodding Muslim leaders to inculcate what they call an "Islam of France" that would fit seamlessly into French society ---- and embrace moderate interpretations of the religion.

They have found it is easier said than done.

The estimated 5 million Muslims in France reflect a multitude of tendencies within Islam, from moderates to Salafists seeking an uncompromising return to Islam's origins. In addition, imams often do not speak French and mosques are funded with money from foreign benefactors ---- often seen as a source for terror cell funding.

Financing is another departure from the European norm for Amsterdam's Polder Mosque, which refuses to accept foreign money. "That is one of our main pillars," El Ksaihi said. "It's a Dutch initiative, so we have to keep it 100 percent Dutch."

Slotervaart, the neighborhood where the mosque is located, was the first district to benefit from the government's $38 million grant in 2007 to combat radicalism through education and dialogue.

El Ksaihi's mosque is a one-story former community center set amid tall apartment buildings in an overwhelmingly Muslim neighborhood, but it has no minarets. Young men, some with long beards and robes and some in Western garb, mingle together at the mosque entrance ahead of the Friday prayers.

It takes its name from a uniquely Dutch feature: A polder is an area of land that has been reclaimed from the marsh or sea and often turned into rich farmland. Historically, it is a symbol of cooperative effort.

Apart from fighting entrenched discrimination against women, which she considers an affront to Islam, El Ksaihi says her mosque provides a platform for interfaith dialogue.

A non-Muslim Dutch woman, Marloes Kuijer, is a member of the board of directors.

"I am not religious," said Kuijer. "I feel at home here because it's a meeting place for everyone, young or old, Muslim or non-Muslims."

It also invites Muslims of all views, even sympathizers with the "jihadists," or radicals. "We don't discriminate," said El Ksaihi. "You have to let everyone in, regardless of their views. You can only help someone if you understand their views."

That all-embracing policy may have a positive impact, says Jean Tillie, a University of Amsterdam political scientist, who conducted a six-year research project on the radicalization of Muslim youths in Amsterdam. "The chance that they will become more moderate is bigger than the chance that if you exclude them, they will become extremists," he said.

Momamed Choupi, an imam who preaches at the Polder Mosque, says the people who brought Islam with them to Holland from Turkey and Morocco must adapt to the local context and find "a Dutch way of experiencing Islam."

http://www.nctimes.com/lifestyles/faith-and-values/article_9954ef1f-df26-5652-84b4-8c7a976353af.html

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I was marrying a person, not a Pakistani: Sania Mirza

Sonakshi Babbar

April 16, 2010

In her first interview with CNN post marriage Sania Mirza said "I was marrying a person, not a Pakistani, people try to make it political but we were very clear that we were two individuals who were getting married just like normal people."

Sania and Shoaib are the first major Indo -Pak celeb couple to tie the knot setting in motion a hue and cry from both the countries. "Everyone had an opinion, everyone wanted to have a say, but the most important thing is that now we are relieved as we are married." she said.

The newly- weds are planning to live in Dubai, away from the subcontinent in a probable attempt to be away from media scrutiny.

Sania might have tied the knot but tennis continues to be her focus. "My immediate goal is to play in Commonwealth games in India. I have played in Asian games before but this time it's in India so it'll be more special for me, I am more excited about it, I'm also going to play in Wimbledon, " she added.

When asked about the change in her life post-marriage, the tennis star says that she's clear about the fact that marriage is not going to change anything for her. "I never thought I would get married so soon."

.http://www.hindustantimes.com/I-was-marrying-a-person-not-a-Pakistani-Sania/H1-Article1-531990.aspx

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UK: First Muslim women MPs to be elected

By Hamed Chapman and Elham A Buaras

15-04-2010

Up to a quarter of the 16 Muslim females standing as candidates at the next month’s general elections are in prominent positions to win parliamentary seats for the first time, according to an analysis carried out exclusively by The Muslim News.

The total number of Muslim MPs could also continue to double, including at least one of two Conservatives being elected for the first time. The first Muslim MP was elected in 1997, the second in 2001 and the number doubled again at the last election to four, all have so far been Labour.

Among Muslim women, Yasmin Qureshi, Shabana Mahmood and Maryam Khan have all been selected to defend Labour seats respectively in Bolton South East, Birmingham Ladywood and Bury North. Respect Party – Unity Coalition leader Salma Yaqoob also is seen as having an outside chance of capturing Birmingham Hall Green.

In addition among male candidates, three of the four incumbent MPs, Sadiq Khan, Shahid Malik and Khalid Mahmood are seeking re-election, while in Glasgow Central, Anas Sarwar is seeking to replace his father, Mohammad Sarwar, who is stepping down.

Among Conservatives, Sajid Javid has been selected to defend the more than 10,000 majority of resigning MP Julie Kirkbride, while Rehman Christi is standing in Gillingham & Rainham, the party’s number one target seat. In Bradord West, Zahid Iqbal is seeking to unseat Labour MP Marsha Singh in the constituencies which has changed boundaries.

One seat certain to have a Muslim MP is Bethnal Green & Bow, following George Galloway seeking re-election in the newly created Poplar and Limehouse constituency next door. Respect’s Abjol Miah is defending the seat, Labour’s Rushanara Ali is trying to regain it, while Ajmal Masroor and Zakir Khan are also candidates for the Liberal Democrats and Conservatives respectively.

Full details, analysis and articles as well as an interview with Prime Minister Gordon Brown will be published in this month’s edition of The Muslim News.

http://www.muslimnews.co.uk/news/news.php?article=17839

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Afghan Woman Murdered as She Leaves Work

April 15, 2010

An 18-year-old Afghan woman was murdered in Kandahar, Afghanistan, as she left work Tuesday. The woman, whose first name was Hossai, worked at Development Alternatives, Inc., a United States-based development consulting company. Though the Taliban have not taken responsibility for her death, the Associated Press reports that Taliban extremists particularly target women who work for foreign organizations or attend school in Kandahar.

The current violence comes at the one-year anniversary of the assassination of Sitara Achakzai, a Kandahar provincial council member and women's rights activist, who was murdered by gunmen outside her home. Taliban claimed responsibility for Achakzai's death.

In Taliban-controlled areas of Afghanistan and Pakistan, violence against schools that educate girls has also been part of campaigns against the education of women. In Pakistan's Swat Valley, more than 130 primarily all girl schools have been destroyed, allegedly by the Taliban. In total, hundreds of schools have been destroyed in Pakistan's northwest region over the past several years. During the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, which lasted until 2001, Afghan girls were forbidden to attend school. To date, more than 1,000 girls' or co-educational schools have been bombed or burned in Afghanistan.

Media Resources: Associated Press 4/13/10; Feminist Daily Newswire 4/13/09, 12/17/09

http://www.msmagazine.com/news/uswirestory.asp?ID=12351

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A killing unveils return to fear for Afghan women

By Kathy Gannon

Apr. 14, 2010

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan - A gunman lying in wait shot and killed an 18-year-old as she left her job at a U.S.-based development company Tuesday.

The killing cast a harsh spotlight on a stepped-up campaign of Taliban intimidation against women in this southern city where U.S. troops plan a major operation in the coming weeks.

Although there was no claim of responsibility and police said the motive for the attack was unclear, Taliban extremists have been particularly rough with women who work for foreign organizations or attend school.

Bands of thugs, Taliban and others, are increasingly harassing women who want jobs, education, and their own style of clothing, women and aid workers said.

In Tuesday's attack, the gunman emerged from a hiding place and shot the woman, whose first name was Hossai, after she stepped out of her office building, said deputy police chief Fazle Ahmed Shehzad. Hossai died at the hospital. The assailant escaped.

Hossai worked for Development Alternatives Inc., a Washington-based global consulting firm that "provides social and economic development solutions to business, government, and civil society in developing and transitioning countries," according to its Web site.

Eight years after the U.S.-led invasion ousted the Taliban from power, fear again dominates the lives of young women and girls in the violent south.

The region is the stronghold of a revived Islamist insurgency that curbed women's rights when it ruled most of the country until the 2001 U.S.-led invasion.

"Every day the security situation gets worse and worse," said Ehsanullah Ehsan, a clean-shaven man who has devoted 16 years to educating girls, first in the remote border regions of Pakistan and since 2002 in Kandahar.

Ehsan is head of the Afghan Canadian Community Center, which provides vocational training and schooling to men and women.

Full report at: http://www.philly.com/inquirer/world_us/90813549.html

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Muslim girl was a victim of ignorance and bigotry

April 15, 2010

t was a bittersweet experience for staffers at the Division of Motor Vehicles.

The bitter, of course, was the arbitrary and somewhat crude behavior of at least one DMV employee, and an unknown number of others who stood by and watched as the agency's refusal to take a 16-year-old girl's picture for her driver's license ended with her in tears.

The Muslim girl was wearing a headscarf, which the employee behind the camera insisted had to be taken off for her picture.

The fact is, DMV policy calls for the face of the driver to be visible. There's no requirement to remove a headscarf.

The good part of this story is that another employee who did know the DMV policy on headscarves in license pictures took the photograph.

Meanwhile, those local residents who were present who suggested the girl and her mother should be "sent back to Afghanistan" should be ashamed of themselves.

Both mother and daughter were born here and are U.S. citizens.

That DMV officials called the woman and her daughter to "apologize profusely" takes some of the sting out of the situation.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations intervened after the incident and said the apology and offer to retake the picture was appropriate.

The teen was visibly upset and crying in the picture.

Let's hope everyone learned something from this.

http://www.delawareonline.com/article/20100415/OPINION11/4150328/1004/OPINION

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Controversy shrouds Muslim women's head coverings

By Marisol Bello

April 14, 2010

College sophomore Hani Khan had worked for three months as a stockroom clerk at a Hollister Co. clothing store in San Francisco when she was told the head scarf she wears in observance of Islam violated the company's "look policy."

The policy instructs employees on clothing, hairstyles, makeup and accessories they may wear to work. When supervisors told Khan she had to remove the scarf, known as a hijab, to work at the store, she refused on religious grounds. A week later, she says, she was fired.

In February, Khan filed a federal job discrimination complaint against Hollister and its parent company, Abercrombie & Fitch. She is among a growing number of Muslim women who are filing complaints of discrimination at work, in businesses or in airports.

FAITH & REASON: A look at religion, spirituality, ethics

FRANCE: Council advises against total ban on burqa

In 2009, 425 Muslim women filed workplace discrimination complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Spokesman David Grinberg says the commission does not track filings by religious garb. The EEOC investigates complaints and dismisses or resolves them through mediation or lawsuits.

Iska Hain, an Abercrombie & Fitch spokeswoman, declined to comment on Khan's case but said in an e-mail that the company is "committed to ensuring a diverse and inclusive work environment."

Full report at: http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2010-04-14-headscarves-muslim_N.htm

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India - Nuns educate Muslim, Hindu street girls

April 14, 2010

Some Hindu and Muslim girls living on the streets in an eastern Indian city are getting quality education from some Catholic nuns.

“If given an opportunity to study, street girls would outshine others in all spheres,” says Holy Cross Sister Lissy Thomas, who directs Navjeevan (new life), a home for street girls in Kolkata, capital of West Bengal state.

Eight Hindu and 22 Muslim girls aged five to 14 now live in the provincial headquarters of the Sisters of Holy Cross of Chavnod in Kolkata.

The home began five years ago for street girls. It admits only five girls each year to provide them “the atmosphere of a home” that they miss on the streets, Sister Thomas told UCA News on April 11.

The girls can study as long and as much as they want, after which they would be initiated to a job that would help them start their own home.

The girls attend classes in the afternoon after the nuns coach them in the morning, the director explained. Five nuns and three lay people manage the home.

Sister Prasanna, who assists Sister Thomas, said the girls’ parents contribute 50 rupees (about US$1.10) every month. The nuns put in an equal amount into a bank account they open in the name of the girl as soon as she joins the home.

Full report at: http://www.cathnewsindia.com/2010/04/14/nuns-educate-muslim-hindu-street-girls/

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Feminist scholar to speak at Cornell on Islam and gender

Apr 16, 2010

Amina Wadud, a professor and Islamic feminist scholar, will speak about Islam and gender on Thursday, April 22, as part of the Small-Thomas Lecture series at Cornell College.

Wadud’s speech is titled “Islam and Gender: A New Millennium, a New Paradigm for Reform.” She will speak at 11 a.m. on April 22 in Hedges Conference Room in The Commons. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Considered one of the world’s foremost Islamic feminist scholars, Wadud was appointed professor of religion and philosophy at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Va., in 1992, and retired in 2008 as professor emerita of Islamic studies. In 2009, she served as visiting professor for the Center for Religious and Cross-cultural Studies at Gadjah Mada University in Yogyakarta, Indonesia.

Her book, “Qur’an and Women: Rereading the Sacred Text from a Woman’s Perspective,” was banned in the United Arab Emirates but is used in Malaysia as a standard text for activists and academics. In 2005, she drew criticism by leading Friday prayer at the Episcopal Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York, breaking the Muslim tradition of having only male prayer leaders. In her most recent book, “Inside the Gender Jihad: Reform in Islam,” published in 2006, she continues her advocacy of feminism and gender equity in Islam.

Full report at: http://www.mtvernonlisbonsun.com/article.php?viewID=6418

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Europe struggles with Muslim dress code

Apr. 16, 2010

ANTWERP, Belgium — Chances of seeing a burqa in Belgium are only a little better than spotting a liquor shop in Saudi Arabia. Yet Belgium soon may be the first European nation to outlaw the burqa and other Islamic garb that completely hides a woman's body and face.

Neighboring France and the Netherlands may also outlaw attire that is viewed by many in western European societies as demeaning to women. It also is considered a gateway to radical Islam, a fear that is stoking rightwing sentiment across the continent.

"There is all-party public support for this," says Leen Dierick, a conservative member of the Belgian parliament's Interior Affairs committee that unanimously backed the proposed ban March 31. The initiative is expected become law in July and would apply to all public places, including streets.

Anxieties that visible signs of Islam erode national identity are combining with complaints that immigrants are stealing jobs amid the worst economic slump in decades to deepen a sense of unease in many European countries, small and large alike, over the role of Muslims in society.

Threats against cartoonists and artists over depictions of the prophet Muhammad have also raised fears that Islam is not compatible with Western values of freedom of speech.

Full report at: www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20100416/europe_dress_100416/20100416?hub=World

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European push to ban burqas appalls Afghan women

By SAYED SALAHUDDIN

Apr 16, 2010

KABUL: A firm believer in women's rights, the only thing Afghan lawmaker Shinkai Karokhail finds as appalling as being forced to wear a burqa is a law banning it.

Karokhail is one of many Afghan women who see a double standard in efforts by some European nations to outlaw face veils and burqas - a move they say restricts a Muslim woman's choice in countries that otherwise make a fuss about personal rights.

"Democratic countries should not become dictatorships and Muslim women should not be deprived from all kinds of opportunities. It should be their choice," said Karokhail.

"Otherwise, what is the difference between forcing women to wear a burqa and forcing them not to? It is discrimination." France, which has the largest Muslim population in Europe, as well as Italy and Belgium are considering proposals to ban all-enveloping burqas and face veils called niqabs. Many in the West see them as a symbol of the subjugation of women.

In France, government and opposition lawmakers call burqas an affront to the country's secular traditions, though an advisory board has said a banning them may be unlawful.

In deeply conservative Afghanistan, the Taleban made wearing a burqa mandatory for all women during their five-year rule that ended with the U.S-led invasion in 2001. It is still widely worn in the Muslim country, especially in rural areas and the south.

Full report at: http://www.arabnews.com/world/article44065.ece

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Fatwa against modelling by Muslim women

Apr 7, 2010

Muzaffarnagar: A fatwa has been issued by Darul Uloom Deoband, the leading Islamic seminary, against modelling by Muslim women. The seminary has said exhibiting bodies by Muslim women while modelling is against the sharia.

The fatwa, which describes modelling as un-Islamic, was issued by Mufti Habibur Rehman, Mufti Mehmood Hasan, Mufti Fakhrul Islam, Mufti Zanul Islam and Mufti Waqar Ali of the seminary on Monday.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Fatwa-against-modelling-by-Muslim-women/articleshow/5768618.cms

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Through the eyes of a European woman

Apr 16, 2010

It is impossible for a woman to leave the premises of King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) as a European. First of all it is necessary to cover jeans and T shirt with the traditional Islamic gown, the abaya, and exchange the self-image gained in Europe for Arab customs.

 You hear all sorts of horror stories about the kind of life women in Saudi Arabia have: women do not hold a passport. If they want to travel, their husbands or fathers have to grant them permission. If a woman is wronged by a man then she has to painstakingly prove it before the culprit is held to account. Women are only allowed to work – if at all – under difficult conditions. In short: Saudi Arabian women in general have no say in their country.

Practical considerations

My personal concerns about the Kingdom were of a more practical kind: how do women get from A to B, if they are neither allowed to drive a car nor be seen in public together with an unfamiliar man, i.e. a non-relative? Can I wear flip-flops and a Tshirt, or do I have to wear an abaya over the top – the pitch black, all covering, full-length gown? Do I have to wear a veil? Can I ride a bike? How will my emancipated ego react if local men ignore me when I speak to or greet them?

Full report at: http://www.ethlife.ethz.ch/archive_articles/100416_Globetrotter_Sabrina3_su/index_EN

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Documentary highlights women’s political struggle

15-04-2010

ISLAMABAD: A documentary titled “Aik mumkin ke justoojoo main” was screened on Wednesday at the South Asia Free Media Association (SAFMA) Media Centre.

The documentary was about political struggle of Pakistani women. The story starts with dawn of Independence when the status of women was relatively undefined and neglected and ends on a happy note rejoicing with the election of Dr Fehmida Mirza as the first women Speaker in a Muslim country.

The documentary is abridgement of the late Begum Shaista Ikramullah’s book “From Purdah to Parliament” which described the heroic struggle of Muslim women of British India to win a free homeland for the Muslims.

The 35 minutes docu-film starts from the fact that Shaista Ikramullah and Begum Shahnawaz, were the only two women in Pakistan’s Constituent Assembly in 1947.

Directed by Sirmed Manzoor and produced by his spouse Marvi Sirmed, the documentary is about that national struggle of the women population of Pakistan which has seen the number of women legislators grow to about 250 in the Pakistan Parliament and about 200 in the four provincial assemblies.

The film makes the point that the process of women empowerment gained momentum after the late Benazir Bhutto became the prime minister and earnestly focused on women joining the workforce.

With this background the documentary has telescoped the political history of Pakistan women. In spite of the fetters that restricted their public appearances they have always remained in the forefront to win rights as equal citizens of Pakistan that Constitution awards them.

The film shows important women leaders including Mohtrama Fatima Jinnah, Rana Liaquat Ali Khan, Benazir Bhutto, Khawar Muumtaz, Fehmida Mirza, Asma Jahangir and Anis Haroon.

During the question hour, Mervi Sermid said, “It’s a political film about women’s struggle.”

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2010\04\15\story_15-4-2010_pg11_5

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Women, Get Set, Go at Madani High School

15 Apr, 2010

Muslim Girls at an Islamic Faith School in Leicester prove sport and religion can mix with the Women, Get Set, Go! course from Sports Leader UK.

This year, a group of Muslim girls at Madani High School have been given the opportunity to get involved in sport through a leadership award offered by Sports Leaders UK.

Women, Get Set, Go is a personal development programme that has been specifically designed for women and girls aged 14 and over. The award encourages women to communicate with confidence, value their own skills, understand how the world of sport and leadership works, and to develop a personal action plan for their future involvement in sports leadership.

The award, which the Islamic Faith School started in January 2010, is delivered weekly, at lunchtimes to 15 enthusiastic girls, and it is already seeing some very positive results.

Miss Shakes, PE Teacher at Madani High School said: “It is hard for Muslim girls and women to get involved in sport because of cultural boundaries. Muslim women must follow their faith by not engaging in mixed gender sports and by observing a dress code. This consists of covering their hair and wearing modest clothing, including covering their arms and legs. This course helped in overcoming some of these barriers.”

These girls at Madani High School are learning new skills in leadership, sport and communication, which will help them to progress and achieve a higher and wider range of expertise that will be reflected through all aspects of their lives.

“Candidates are thoroughly enjoying the Women, Get Set, Go course and are keen to get more Muslim females involved in sport”, said Miss Shakes.

http://www.cisionwire.com/sports-leaders-uk/women--get-set--go-at-madani-high-school

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The Pakistani woman’s crusade against the system

By Sadef A. Kully

15 Apr, 2010

KARACHI: Although, it has been twenty something odd years since Dr. Kauser Saeed Khan has been participating in and witnessing women protest for equal rights, there still seems to be some fight left in her…probably more than just some.

“We are not going to be quiet, or give up,” said Dr. Khan, one of the founding members of Women’s Action Forum (WAF), who is an Associate Professor at the Department of Community Health in Aga Khan University.

The women’s movement in Pakistan started with one woman, who married a young man against her parents’ wishes. She had committed Zina (adultery) according to the Hudood Ordinance, and her punishment was to be flogged in public.

“[WAF] actually started when a colleague called a meeting and said enough is enough, what is happening here,” said Dr. Khan. “We got women together from various organizations including individual women and from that group came WAF.”

Under President Zia-ul-Haq’s regime, the Hudood Ordinance left women socially paralyzed, and prevented them from to pursuing their rights as equal members of a society under a strict interpretation of Islam.

Full report at: http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/news/pakistan/metropolitan/21-The-Pakistani-womans-crusade-against-the-system-sk-06

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One woman returns to Afghanistan to build change

15/04/2010

According to the law, women in Afghanistan have equal rights. But the reality is that these laws are rarely heeded or enforced. For this reason, a female engineer is designing and building a different kind of police station. A site visit provides a glimpse at the kind of changes she hopes to bring about with her work for women in Afghanistan.

When Mariam Guth moves around the building site in her violet dress, giving instructions to the bricklayers and examining their work, they silently do as they are told. They give the appearance, though, that they are doing so somewhat reluctantly – just like construction workers in Europe are sometimes reluctant when it is a woman giving the orders.

But this building site is not in France, the UK or Germany, but in Afghanistan. And when Guth is not looking, the construction workers eye her like a mythical creature: a woman as their boss. "Even if it might sound strange to you, I actually have fewer problems here than on a German building site," says Guth, smiling mischievously from under her headscarf made of raw silk. "In Afghanistan, women are regarded with special respect, and a woman in a role of authority is something so extraordinary that the respect is twice as great."

At the request of the NATO protection force ISAF, the 37-year-old graduate engineer, born in Afghanistan and trained in Germany, is building police stations in her home country. She has designed a building that includes separate spaces for men and women – both for the detainees as well as for male and female police officers.

Full report at: http://www.sofeminine.co.uk/personal-life/woman-building-change-in-afghanistan-d12773.html

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Kandahar’s street without women

Apr 14, 2010

Where women really stand in Afghan society didn’t hit home to me until I walked down a busy market street in Kandahar without seeing a single woman. The birthplace of the Taliban, Kandahar is conservative even by Afghan standards.  It is also the focus of NATO’s next big military offensive in Afghanistan,  and I spent a couple of days last week embedded with a U.S. military police unit there to report on plans for the offensive and the mood on the ground.

Under a blistering afternoon sun, a group of U.S. and Canadian soldiers and military police led me down a road packed with shops on either side — a bustling market street where you could buy anything from glass plates to spare bicycle parts. At first, I was taken in by the colourful sights and smells, some of which reminded me of my childhood in India – giant bags of something resembling green and beige pasta shells, sweet shops stacked with glass containers of cookies and pastries, fruits and vegetables laid out on the ground, men sitting on a mat and drinking chai.  It was only after a while that I realized that the curious local faces staring at us were all male,  that each and every shopkeeper, assistant and hanger-on (and there were a lot of them) we had seen so far was a man.  Could it really be possible that we had walked about 200 metres along a busy market in the city center without seeing a single woman?

A Canadian soldier next to me chuckled when I mentioned it. “That’s what my wife asks me as well when I send her pictures.  Where are the women? You rarely see them here, and when you do they’re completely covered up,” he said.  The general lack of women also probably explained why the Kandaharis were staring at me like I had just showed up from outer space. At every shop we stopped at to ask questions, a small crowd of boys and young men would gather around to find out what the fuss was about and after a few minutes of giggling and staring, some would take out cellphones to take pictures.

Full report at: http://blogs.reuters.com/afghanistan/2010/04/14/kandahars-street-without-women/

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islam,-women-and-feminism/muslim-woman-files-complaint-against-mcdonald-s-over-head-covering/d/2708


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