This week, A Bangladesh court ruled that people cannot be forced to wear religious clothing, a youth organization in Massachusetts urges officials for more comprehensive cultural sensitivity training of teachers, Emirati women frequent hair salons less during the month of Ramadan, and the Christian Science Monitor describes the pro-women’s rights stance of one of the leaders behind the proposed Islamic center near ground zero.
A Bangladesh court ruled that neither men nor women can be forced to wear religious clothing in workplaces, schools and colleges, reports the BBC. The ruling came after reports that a college had forced students to wear veils. The high court also ruled that women cannot be prevented from taking part in sports or cultural activities. They stressed that wearing any form of religious clothing should be a personal choice.
A community-based youth organization in Massachusetts, Sociedad Latina, has launched an effort to encourage city leaders to provide teachers with more comprehensive cultural sensitivity training, reports the Boston Globe. The idea was sparked after a large number of students shared their concerns about the lack of knowledge many teachers have toward their cultures and customs. One girl reported that when a boy pulled her hijab off, her teacher had little to say.
The Gulf News reports that many women in Dubai decrease their visits to the salon during the holy month of Ramadan as most hair stylists in the country are males. Women reported a mixed reaction to these findings. Some say women should be the same all year-round in their religious practices, others say their is nothing wrong with trying harder to be more observant during the month of Ramadan. One salon owner reported a decline in only the first part of Ramadan for which he says he makes up for in the final days leading up to Eid when women want to look nice for the holiday.
The Christian Science Monitor describes the modernizing voice of Daisy Khan, one of the leaders behind the proposed Islamic center near ground zero. The CSM describes her history as a women’s rights activist and a proponent of creating a council of female Islamic jurists, known as muftias. These women jurists would be capable of issuing fatwas, or religious rulings particularly on issues such as domestic violence, divorce, and inheritance. Khan expressed shock over the controversy surrounding her well-intentioned interfaith community center.
Shazia Riaz is Events and Publicity Editor for Altmuslimah.