News briefs for week of April 13, 2009

This week, Afghan women take to the streets to oppose new marriage laws, the Saudi’s begin to turn the law against unregulated child marriages, more from the Talibanized Swat Valley of Pakistan, and a Pink Eid in Amsterdam
This week, women in Afghanistan boldly took to the streets to oppose the new Shi’ite marriage law which, among other provisions, allows men to have nonconsensual sex with their wives every four days. Hamid Karzai told reporters he was unaware of this provision and will revise the law before its implementation. The law would apply to 10-20% of the population which is Shi’ite.

The Saudi Kingdom announced plans this week to regulate the marriage of young girls following a judge’s decision to refuse for a second time to annul the marriage between an eight-year-old girl and a middle aged man. The Justice Ministry plans “to put an end to arbitrariness by parents and guardians in marrying off minor girls.” The judge ordered the man not to engage in sexual relations with the girl until she reaches puberty. He also stated that once the girl has reached puberty she can decide for herself if she wants to remain married or seek divorce.

In a chilling documentary, The Children of the Taliban, Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy meets with boys and girls of the recently Talibanized Swat Valley of Pakistan. The girls’ schools have been blown up and two nine year girls speak of how they miss their education. Boys speak of how they are learning to fire Kalashnikovs and how to commit suicide attacks.

“Pink Eid” attendee and chairman of an Amsterdam borough, Ahmed Marcouch, plans to organize gay pride events in an attempt to ease tensions between Muslim and gay communities in his district.
Shazia Riaz is Associate Editor of Altmuslimah