Cairo: Egyptian pro-women groups are disappointed that several TV serials being shown on local and Arab TV feature polygamy as a recurrent theme. "I have been working in the field of women's welfare for more than 20 years and I have never seen so many polygamists in Egypt as portrayed in TV dramas," said Eman Beibers, the chairperson of the Association for the Development and Enhancement of Women. At least seven television serials with polygamists are on the air waves every night of Ramadan - when viewing rates in the Arab world peak. "These shows by no means reflect real life in Egypt where many young people cannot afford the spiralling cost of marriage," Beibers told Gulf News.My TV isn't working well so I haven't had a chance to watch this year's soaps. But Beibers does seem to have a point about TV's obsession with polygamists...
Dammam, Asharq Al-Awsat - Members of Khobar's Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice were the victims of an attack by two Saudi females, Asharq Al-Awsat can reveal. According to the head of the commission in Khobar, two girls pepper sprayed members of the commission after they had tried to offer them advice. Head of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice in the Eastern province Dr. Mohamed bin Marshood al-Marshood, told Asharq Al Awsat that two of the Commission's employees were verbally insulted and attacked by two inappropriately-dressed females, in the old market in Prince Bandar street, an area usually crowded with shoppers during the month of Ramadan. According to Dr. Al-Marshood, the two commission members approached the girls in order to "politely" advise and guide them regarding their inappropriate clothing. Consequently, the two girls started verbally abusing the commission members, which then lead to one of the girls pepper-spraying them in the face as the other girl filmed the incident on her mobile phone, while continuing to hurl insults at them. The Eastern Province's head of the commission also revealed that with the help of the police his two employees were able to control the situation. The two females were then escorted to the police station where they apologized for the attack, were cautioned and then released.Fantastic.
DHAHRAN, Saudi Arabia, Sept. 23 -- For the first time since a demonstration in 1990, a group of Saudi women is campaigning for the right to drive in this conservative kingdom, the only country in the world that prohibits female drivers. After spreading the idea through text messages and e-mails, the group's leaders said they collected more than 1,100 signatures online and at shopping malls for a petition sent to King Abdullah on Sunday. Wajeha al-Huwaider of Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, co-founded a group urging that women be permitted to drive. The group sent King Abdullah a petition with more than 1,100 names. "We don't expect an answer right away," said Wajeha al-Huwaider, 45, an education analyst who co-founded the group. "But we will not stop campaigning until we get the right to drive."Really, I don't even see why the (mostly American) press bothered to cover tiny "democratic" improvements in Saudi political life when this retard-run country doesn't even allow women to drive. Every time I am reminded of that ban I shudder at the thought that this is the most influential Arab country. If they have a lot of support, these women should give each other driving lessons and prepare for a wave of civil disobedience.
For Aysha Hussain, getting dressed each day is a fraught negotiation. Ms. Hussain, a 24-year-old magazine writer in New York, is devoted to her pipe-stem Leviâ€™s and determined to incorporate their brash modernity into her wardrobe while adhering to the tenets of her Muslim faith.(Wow, get it? Pipe-stem Levi's = "brash modernity." Muslim faith = the opposite.) And it's not just that it seems to be trying to turn a pretty mundane observation (what a Muslim woman chooses to wear â€œis a critical part of her identity," says one interviewee) into a sociological phenomenon that is unique to Muslim women. It's mostly the way the article seems to subscribe to a "liberation through shopping" theory. The title is "We, Myself and I." Presumably, in the outfits of the Muslim women interviewed, the "we" is exemplified by the veil and the modest long sleeves, and the "myself" by the brash, modern touches of Western coutoure. Theres' no questioning of the assumption that fashion and consumerism do anything but allow the individual woman to express herself.
German judge invokes Qur'an to deny abused wife a divorce A German judge who refused a Moroccan woman a fast-track divorce on the grounds that domestic violence was acceptable according to the Qur'an has been removed from the case following a nationwide outcry. The judge, Christa Datz-Winter, said the German woman of Moroccan descent would not be granted a divorce because she and her husband came from a "Moroccan cultural environment in which it is not uncommon for a man to exert a right of corporal punishment over his wife," according to a statement she wrote that was issued by a Frankfurt court. "That's what the claimant had to reckon with when she married the defendant." The 26-year-old mother of two had been repeatedly beaten and threatened with death by her husband. When the woman protested against the judge's decision, Ms Datz-Winter invoked the Qur'an to support her argument. In the court she read from verse 34 of Sura four of the Qur'an, An-Nisa (Women), in which men are told to hit their wives as a final stage in dealing with disobedience. The verse reads: "... as to those on whose part you fear desertion, admonish them and leave them alone in the sleeping places and beat them".That judge should lose her job. And incidentally, there is (as always) a wide range of interpretations and thinking about this part of the Quran. Update: NYT story on alternate interpretation, by which a rebellious woman should be spurned rather than beaten as usually interpreted.
I'm not trying to make fun of this -- people can wear what they want -- but why call it burqini? A burqa is a rather extreme form of fundamentalist gear that is not found in much of the Muslim world outside of Afghanistan and, to a much less degree, India and Pakistan. Is the Taliban what they want their product to be associated with? Incidentally, this "burqini" is now standard issue for Muslim female lifeguards in Australia.
Egypt’s Grand Mufti: Women are Permitted to Lead Modern Nations “Women have equal political rights in Islam.”
In a landmark religious decision, the Grand Mufti of Egypt, Dr. Ali Gomaa, has upheld a fatwa (religious opinion) he issued a year ago stating that, according to Islamic law, women have the right to become heads of state and lead nations. This ruling is supported by the legal reasoning of Imam al-Tabari which allows women to serve in political positions as well as judges.
The Grand Mufti, who is the highest ranking Islamic jurist in Egypt and one of the Muslim world’s most influential scholars, reiterated his position in response to reports published in the Egyptian and international press falsely claiming he issued a fatwa barring women from becoming heads of modern states. According to sources at Dar Al Ifta, Egypt’s supreme council responsible for issuing authoritative religious opinion, which is led by the Grand Mufti, the fatwa cited in the news reports referred to the historical role of the Caliph, a position that has not existed since the fall of the Ottoman Empire and the dissolution of the Caliphate in 1924.
Historically, traditional jurists ruled that a woman cannot fulfill the role of Caliph, but it is clear from the legal reasoning of the fatwa in question (Dar al-Ifta Fatwa # 4335, 2/26/2006) that this ruling does not refer to the head of a modern state. The fatwa states that a woman cannot be a Caliph since one of the roles of that office is to lead the believers in prayer, which is a function fulfilled by men, according to the agreed upon position in traditional Islamic jurisprudence.
“This ruling does not refer to the head of a modern state,” Gomaa said, “but to the traditional role of Caliph as both secular head of state and Imam of the Muslims. Nation-states in the 21st century Islamic world are nationalist entities created during the 20th century. The head of state in a contemporary Muslim society, be he a president, prime minister or king, is no longer required or expected to lead Muslims in prayer. Therefore, it is permissible for women to hold the highest office in modern Muslim nations.”
The Grand Mufti added that he has been on record with this opinion for many years and admonished reporters for not checking their facts more thoroughly. “This is the position that I have always held,” he said, “which has been clearly stated in books I have written and lectures I have delivered. I would advise the press to be more responsible in researching their subjects thoroughly before publishing misleading stories, especially in these turbulent times.”
The Grand Mufti acknowledged that other religious scholars could issue opinions contrary to his Fatwa but made it clear that they these rulings would have to be based upon the ancient and traditional understanding of the political leader as the religious head of the Caliphate, not the leader of a modern political state.
“In my view, Islam extends equal political and social rights to both men and women. This is my opinion and belief, which is based upon thirty years of intensive study of Islamic law and research into the issue,” Gomaa said.
About Dar al-Ifta A fatwa is an official non-binding Islamic legal opinion issued by a qualified scholar in response to a question posed by a member of the public. The institution of Dar al-Ifta was established in 1895 with the purpose of issuing authoritative, accurate, and practical legal opinions. It is considered one of the few institutions authorized to issue fatwas in the Islamic world, and it issues over 5,000 fatwas a month in response to the questions it receives from all over the world by all forms of communication.
Two police corporals are currently under investigation for attempting to rape a woman in Tahrir Square’s underground metro (Sadat Station) on Wednesday, Al-Masry Al-Youm reports. The woman approached a police corporal inside the underground station, asking him for directions to the nearest exit to KFC at 1:30pm. To her surprise, he pointed at the security office in the station, and told her that was her destination, before grabbing her to the office and attempting to rape her with the help of another police corporal. The woman managed to escape, in complete trauma with torn clothes.This could happen to your sister or mother.
Leading the charge is a young Egyptian female - preferring to remain anonymous due to the nature of the campaign - who has started an Arab-language feminist blog called Atralnada (morning dew). In a country where Islamic fundamentalism is on the rise, and the status of women a subject of much debate, this young activist has made her struggle public, and her blog is empowering Egyptian women to speak out in turn. "I wanted to post about my personal experiences of being harassed," she says simply, adding that the events of the last Eid celebration had sparked something inside her, compelling her to begin expressing herself in such a fashion. Particularly galling to her has been the apparent callousness by Egyptian men regarding the assaults. "I am asking women to speak up and tell their stories since most of the men have denied anything [of this nature ever] happens in this country," she points out. "[Males] write disgusting comments on blogs telling us that we are using the forum to become famous - even though [posters have to be] anonymous - and ... to attract men," she says incredulously. Despite the odds, the forum's popularity is catching on, having become the mouthpiece of a fledgling feminist movement, which, unlike the majority of other movements in Egypt, can lay claim to a truly grassroots base.Does anyone have a link to the blog? Nevermind.
Saudi Woman Ecstatic Over Permission to â€˜Marry Outâ€™ Arab News MAKKAH, 15 August 2006 â€” A court here ruled in favor of a Saudi woman seeking to marry a non-Saudi, causing the forty-something woman to emit thrilling cries of bliss that echoed through the chamber, the daily Al-Madinah reported yesterday. The woman, who had been petitioning the court to permit her to get married to a non-Saudi, was so ecstatic at the decision that she not only screamed in joy but also jumped about embracing her relatives. In Saudi Arabia it can be very difficult for Saudi women to marry non-Saudis, which, to some Saudi women, is a very unfortunate thing â€” especially to older Saudi women who live in a society where many men taken on younger second wives, or divorce their older wives, often viewing older women as â€œexpired goods.â€�
Millions of women throughout Africa use creams and soaps containing chemicals, like hydroquinone, to lighten the color of their skin. But the creams can cause long-term damage. Dermatologists say prolonged use of hydroquinone and mercury-based products, also found in some creams, destroys the skin's protective outer layer. Eventually the skin starts to burn, itch or blister, becomes extremely sensitive to sunlight and then turns even blacker than before. Prolonged use can damage the nerves or even lead to kidney failure or skin cancer and so prove fatal. "It's a very bad problem here. It sometimes kills the patient ... It's bad, bad news," said a doctor at a Khartoum hospital. He said the number of women coming to the dermatology department with problems caused by skin-whitening treatments had grown to at least one in four of all dermatology patients.This attitude about skin color is common everywhere from Morocco to India, as far as I can tell. Probably beyond.