News briefs for week of April 6, 2009

This week, a Muslim high school student is awarded $350,000 after being harassed for wearing a hijab, and a study of European Muslim women finds that they tend to be highly integrated into the larger European society.
This week the findings of the study “Europe’s Muslim women: potential aspirations and challenges” were announced. Sara Silvestri, a lecturer of international politics as Cambridge University, conducted the study. The study found that Muslim women in Europe believed that their lives in Europe were entirely compatible with their Islamic identity and the study found them to be highly integrated into society.

On Wednesday April 8, The Washoe County School District in Reno agreed to give $350,000 to Jana Elhifny and $50,000 to her friend and classmate Stephanie Hart based on allegations made four years ago that fellow students threatened to kill Jana in a school stairwell because she wore a headscarf and the staff did nothing in response. The litigation began shortly after the threats were made while both girls were students at North Valleys High School. Elhifny is currently in Egypt and Hart now lives in California.

Also on Wednesday, The Muslim Weekly published an apology on its front page to Dr. Taj Hargey, against whom they had lost a libel suit. Progressive Imam Hargey, widely known for his decision to invite the first-ever woman to lead and preach at Friday prayers in Britain, was also awarded damages in the suit against The Muslim Weekly, which openly criticized Hargey’s views and questioned whether or not Hargey was in fact a Sunni Muslim.

On Thursday April 9, the Christian Post published an interview with US resident and author Nonie Darwish, a former Muslim who claims to have lived under “sharia law” while in Egypt, about her latest book Cruel and Usual Punishment: The Terrifying Global implication of Islamic Law. Darwish commented that because sharia “is so against human nature … wherever you see sharia being practiced, it has always come and existed in society through violence.” She also stated that “Sharia law violates the human rights of women.”
Rabea Chaudhry is Associate Editor of Altmuslimah