News briefs for week of March 29, 2010

This week, anti-Muslim backlash affects women in Russia, Muslim-Hindu violence erupts in India, Quebec bans the burqa, France’s burqa ban may be limited, and a Detroit High School student writes to dispel stereotypes about Muslim women.
Dawn reported on the anti-Muslim backlash in Russia after two suicide bomb blasts killed 38 people earlier this week. The article reported that Muslim women in headscarves and women who were mistaken as Muslim had been beaten up by angry crowds.

Al Jazeera English reported that Indian police have imposed a curfew in the predominantly Muslim South Hyderabad after three days of Hindu-Muslim clashes. The clashes were said to have started after arguments over decorations for the Hindu religious festival celebrating the birth of the Hindu monkey god Hanuman. In total, five mosques and one Hindu temple were said to have been damaged.

The Times of India reports that the Canadian province of Quebec has officially banned the niqab. The bill was drafted in response to outrage that an Egyptian immigrant woman would not remove her niqab to be identified in classes in Montreal. According to The Times, the college met many of the woman’s other requests, including allowing her to sit in the front of the class so that all the male students would be sit behind her and allowing her to give presentations from the rear of the class with her back to the class.

The Times of India also reported that the French government was being asked by the State Council to limit its proposed ban on burqas to certain places and to impose the ban for security reasons. The Council warned that a ban an all burqas would likely fail to stand up to a court challenge.

Time published a piece by Detroit high school student Nour Soubani in which she explains that the representations of Muslim women presented to her class were not true.

In the Netherlands, AFP reports that an online Muslim sex shop has been opened up to provide erotica that does not offend Islamic law. The website features over a dozen products including lubricants, massage oils and aphrodisiacs. The website does not sell pornography or other sex toys that are considered impermissible in Islam.
Rabea Chaudhry is Associate Editor of Altmuslimah

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