News Briefs for the week of June 26, 2010

This week, more of Pakistan’s richest women are attending religious schools, burqa bans continue to grow in popularity, Aquila Magazine is featured, and 10 Malaysian men compete to become Malaysia’s next great imam.
The Associated Press reported that Islamic schools for women in Pakistan are thriving. The schools belong to the Al-Huda chain of schools and have popped up throughout the South Asian country, catering to the more secular elite. To many the rising popularity of the schools symbolize a shift from the Sufi-oriented Islam traditionally popular in Pakistan to a more conservative, Saudi-influenced version of the religion.

USA Today reports that European burqa bans are growing more fashionable. According to the story, the movement to ban burqas started in Belgium, where a bill that criminalized face veils was unanimously passed in April. France has since followed and several other European countries are also considering a ban.

The AFP reports on a new bi-monthly Southeast Asian magazine described as a mix of US-based Cosmopolitan and the high-society publication Tatler. The magazine, Aquila Asia (Aquila means intelligence in Arabic) has corporate offices in Singapore and its editorial work is done in Jakarta, Indonesia. The magazine’s founder, Liana Rosnita, a Singaporean woman married to a Swiss man, said that the magazine reflects that Muslims have a sex life, are interested in careers, and are not backwards.

The New York Daily News reported on Malaysia’s new religious reality show: Imam Muda . The show chronicles ten young men competing to become Malaysia’s next top imam. Some of the challenges the men compete in include performing the traditional body wash on corpses that had gone unclaimed at a local morgue and counseling unmarried pregnant women at a women’s shelter.

Rabea Chaudhry is an Associate Editor with Altmuslimah.

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