News briefs for week of March 8, 2010

This week, beloved activist Aminah Asslimi dies in car accident, a group of Muslim scholars oppose full-body scans at US airports, Indian Muslim women’s group leads campaign to educate impoverished women in Muslim slums, male hairdressers banned from serving female clientele in Gaza, and an essayist writes an exposé on the lives of three ordinary Iranian women.
Aminah Asslimi, a beloved Muslim author and women’s rights activist died in a car accident on March 5th, reports the Examiner. Asslimi accepted Islam in 1975 after attempting to convert her Arab Muslim classmates who gave her a copy of the Qu’ran. She was the director of the International Union of Muslim Women, and played an instrumental role in getting the Eid postal stamp issued in 2001. Asslimi was 65.

The Fiqh Council of North America oppose the Transportation Security Administration (TSA)’s plan to add 450 full-body scanners at various airports across the United States by the end of this year. The Boston Herald reports that these Muslim scholars feel the scans violate Islamic teachings on modesty and nudity. The TSA responds that the scanners will only produce chalk-like outlines of passengers’ bodies which will be immediately deleted once the passengers are cleared. They add that the option of a pat down by a same-sex officer is offered to those unwilling to pass through the scanner.

A group of Muslim women artists, activists, teachers and doctors is conducting an awareness campaign across India for poor women in Muslim slums. Shaheen Women’s Resource and Welfare Association is fighting illiteracy and political agendas to keep women illiterate, reports the Times of India. Other subjects taught by the group includes hygiene, physiology, constitutional rights, and self-esteem.

BBC News reports a ban placed on male hairdressers serving female clients in Gaza. Hamas has reportedly been increasing restrictions related to Islamic customs since 2007 due to internal pressures. Other restrictions include banning women’s undergarments from store windows, mandating modest male swimwear, and requiring schoolgirls to wear long dresses.

To mark International Women’s Day, essayist Setareh Sabety writes an exposé for the Huffington Post on the lives of three working-class Iranian women each from a different background and each with a different life story.
Shazia Riaz is Associate Editor of Altmuslimah.

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