News Briefs: Week of November 01, 2010

This week, a new documentary ‘Sex Talk’ claims to provide a window into the sex lives of ordinary Egyptians, and Saudi Arabia’s authorization of female cashiers is met with a fatwa by its top clerics opposing the government’s decision.
Director Amr Bayoumi’s new documentary ‘Sex Talk’ lets ordinary Egyptians open up and discuss a taboo topic while concealing their identities, reports the Los Angeles Times. A review of the director’s tenth documentary, said that though the film had technical flaws, the director was courageous in exposing the “vagueness, denial and outright shame Egyptians so closely associate with sex, be it pre- or post-marital, as well as the rampant double standards that have come to define men and oppress women.” The movie was shown at the 2009 Dubai International Film Festival but has yet to find a distributor in Egypt. It has had several private screenings in Cairo.

Four months ago, in an effort to expand jobs for women, Saudi Arabia’s labor ministry quietly authorized stores in Jeddah to employ women as cashiers. This week, the country’s top clerics have challenged the government’s decision by issuing a fatwa stating that “it is not permissible for a woman to work in a place where they mix with men,” reports the Associated Foriegn Press. The ruling was issued in response to a question posed by a leading news site, Saqb.org, which asked specifically if women should work as cashiers in supermarkets.
Shazia Riaz is Events and Publicity Editor for Altmuslimah.

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