News Briefs: Week of October 25, 2010

This week, Angelina Jolie’s filming permit was momentarily revoked in Bosnia, Tony Blair’s sister-in-law converts to Islam, Pink Hijab Day is observed, and Malaysian courts ruled in favor of a vocal women’s rights group.
Angelina Jolie’s filming rights were temporarily revoked after complaints about her Bosnian war movie were made by one of the country’s most powerful lobby groups, Bosnian Women, Victims of War Association, according to the Associated Foreign Press. Culture minister Gavrilo Grahovac pulled the filming permit after the women’s group complained of rumored reports that her movie set during the 1992-95 war is a love story between a Muslim victim and her rapist. The filming permit was later reinstated after the film producer submit the movie’s script to the culture minister to quell any misinformation about the film, reports the Huffington Post. International organizations estimate that at least 20,000 women, mostly Muslim, were raped during the 1992-1995 Bosnian war. It is an issue of extreme sensitivity to the Bosnian people.

Tony Blair’s sister-in-law, Lauren Booth, has embraced Islam after having a “holy experience” during a visit to Iran, reports the Guardian. The well-known British journalist and broadcaster has started to wear a headscarf, pray five times a day, has stopped consuming alcohol and pork, and is reading the Qu’ran daily. She decided to become a Muslim after visiting the shrine of Fatima al-Masumeh. “It was a Tuesday evening and I sat down and felt this shot of spiritual morphine, just absolute bliss and joy,” she said in an interview. Booth had been “sympathetic” to Islam and has spent considerable time working in Palestine. She hopes her conversion will help change Blair’s presumptions about Islam.

The Chicago Tribune reported on the women who donned pink headscarves on October 24th throughout the Chicago region. The women were participating in Pink Hijab Day, a growing campaign that is part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The health effort started in 2004 in Missouri and has since gone global, with Muslim women around the world wearing pink headscarves to raise breast cancer awareness.

A Malaysian court ruled that a well-known women’s rights group could continue to use the name “Sisters in Islam”, rejecting a complaint by a religious activist group, Malaysian Assembly of Mosque Youth, that the title was confusing to Muslims, reports the Associated Foreign Press. The complainants argued Sisters in Islam was in breach of the law by not using its legally registered name, SIS Forum Malaysia, and that it was a pressure group for women’s rights, not a Muslim organization. A vocal women’s rights group for over two decades, Sisters in Islam drew controversy early this year for speaking out against the caning of three Muslim women accused of fornication.
Shazia Riaz is Events and Publicity Editor for Altmuslimah.

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