News briefs for week of July 27, 2009

This week, Sudanese women arrested for wearing pants, gauging the few burqa wearers in France (a few hundred, perhaps) and using burqas to escape threats while running for office in Afghanistan.
Earlier in July, Sudanese arrested a group of women for wearing pants. Sudanese journalist Lubna Ahmed Hussein, among the women arrested, opted to go to trial instead of being punished by 10 lashes at the time of her arrest. Hussein printed up 500 invitations for the trial which began Wednesday. Hussein told the BBC, “I want to change this law, because hitting is not human.”

A newspaper report found that only 367 women in France wear burqas. The finding undermined a panel of legislators who are studying the issue of burqas in France and may endorse a burqa ban in the coming months.

Human rights groups are condemning the death of a 27-year-old women in Gaza last week. It is reported that her father heard the divorced mother of five speaking on the phone with a man and assumed that she was having a relationship with him. Her father began beating her and her body was brought to a hospital where officials said she died of a skull fracture.

In Afghanistan, female candidates are campaigning for the upcoming August 20 election in burqas. There are two women running for president and 328 women campaigning for seats on provincial councils. The women are facing considerable resistance, and even death threats, from the more remote areas of the country.
Rabea Chaudhry is Associate Editor of Altmuslimah

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