News briefs for December 21, 2009

This week, the widow of Ayman al-Zawahiri takes up the call of her late husband, a story on Muslim women bankers, a variety of opinions and analysis on veiling, and a book that led five young Americans to join the Taliban – The Pact
CBS News reports that the wife of Al Qaeda’s Ayman al-Zawahri released a statement calling Muslim women to support the Mujahideen. The statement from Umaima Hassan Ahmad Muhammad Hassan was the called the “first known recruitment appeal by a prominent female” on behalf of Al Qaeda. According to the AFP, Hassan’s message to Muslim women encouraged them not to join the struggle themselves but to support their men in “holy war.” She also called on Muslim women to resist pressure to shun the Muslim headscarf.

The website EFinancialCareers published an article on the growing need for female bankers in the Muslim world, citing a growing number of female customers in these countries.

The Baltimore Sun published an editorial piece by Shaukat Malik, a certified public accountant based in Potomac Maryland, which called the veil a setback for Muslim women. The author wrote that “Muslim women should focus more on their personal and intellectual development so they are better able to cope with today’s competitive world as opposed to isolating themselves behind the hijab shield. “

The LA Times reported that Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, the most senior member of Iran’s opposition movement, has passed away. Montazeri was once a central figure in the country’s revolution but eventually came to oppose it vehemently.

ABC News published a piece exploring the reasons why the Muslim veil is spreading. The story details a growing trend of wearing hijab in defiance of perceived Western Hegemony in the Muslim world.

AP also reports that five young Americans may have been lured to Pakistan to join the Taliban by a book called The Pact. The five are being held in Pakistani jails. At least two of the young men were in college – one was a business major at George Mason University and anther was a first year dental student at Howard University.
Rabea Chaudhry is Associate Editor of Altmuslimah.

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