News briefs for week of March 30, 2009

This week, a disturbing video from the Swat region of Pakistan, discriminatory laws against Muslims in India and Afghanistan, and a rise in domestic violence in Gaza, following Israel’s attack on the strip (and since Hamas rule began two years ago).
Mobile phone video, emerged on Thursday, of a teenage girl being flogged in the recently Talibanized Swat Valley in Pakistan.

Banning of Muslim beards by a Christian missionary school in India has been upheld by India’s Supreme Court on the grounds that it threatens secularism in India

Lesbian Muslim novelist and filmmaker, Shamim Sarif, has the rare privilege of seeing both her films debut today, Friday, April 03, 2009.

A Jihad for Love by gay Muslim filmmaker Pervez Sharma won Best Documentary at the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) awards show on Saturday, March 28th. The documentary was filmed over 5 ½ years, in 12 countries, and is about Muslim gay men and lesbians. Watch an interview with the filmmaker here and the entire documentary (in parts) here.

After an international outcry mid-week, various clauses of the Afghan law that would make Shi’ite women sexually and financially subservient to their husbands were softened by late Thursday. Hinkai Karokhail, a female member of parliament, said: “I cannot support this law, personally I really feel hurt … it will really increase brutality in our lives.” President Hamid Karzai to speak on the law on Saturday.

Over 250 women turned out to recognize inspirational Muslim women from the greater Chicago area at the Muslim Women’s Alliance’s inaugural brunch on March 15th in Lombard, IL.

The United Nations Development Fund for Women finds anecdotal evidence that domestic violence toward Gazan women has been on the rise since Israel’s deadly operation in Gaza and in general since Hamas took control over of the strip nearly two years ago.
Shazia Riaz is Associate Editor of Altmuslimah