News briefs for week of January 18, 2010

This week, the burqa ban discussion continues in France, attempts to outlaw hair straightening are rejected in Indonesia, FGM finds new opponents in Mauritania, and Hamas’s Islamic veil project is highlighted.
In France, ABC News reports that the burqa ban debate continues. The head of French President Sarkozy’s UMP party, Jean-Francois Cope, called for a law that would ban women in niqab from acquiring French nationality. France is home to an estimated 4- million Muslims, the largest population in western Europe.

In Indonesia, The Jakarta Post reports that Muslim women of Surabaya, East Java have rejected a religious edict (fatwa) that outlaws coloring and straightening of women’s hair. The fatwa was issued at the Lirboyo Islamic boarding school in East Java, where religious clerics argued that hair straightening could lead to immoral acts if the intention behind the straightening is to change one’s physical appearance.

The Associated Press reports that Mauritanian Muslim leaders have endorsed a ban on female genital mutilation, saying that the Qur’an does not endorse the practice. Checik Ould Zein, who is head of the Forum of Islamic Thought, said that the leaders are also committed to openly preaching against the practice in mosques.

China View reported that Hamas was atively working in Gaza to encourage women to veil. According to the report, women get their veils and robes for free under the Hamas Islamic Veil project. Many women in Gaza cannot afford clothes otherwise.
Rabea Chaudhry is Associate Editor of Altmuslimah.

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