News briefs for week of May 4, 2009

This week, a Saudi expatriate’s campaign to promote debate about women drivers, a female architect in Turkey designs that country’s newest mosque, and thousands more flee fighting between the Taliban and Pakistani forces in the Swat valley.
Areej Khan, a 24-year-old Saudi woman who is studying design in the US, launched an online campaign using YouTube, Facebook and Flickr to get Saudis to debate the ban on women drivers in the kingdom.

In Pakistan, thousands are fleeing the Swat Valley as the Taliban extend their control of the region. Up to a half-million Pakistanis are expected to flea the area – including the women and children most effected by the Taliban’s strict edicts.

In Turkey, the award-winning female designer Zeynep Fadillioglu oversaw the opening of the Sakirin mosque. The mosque is a combination of modern and traditional design and Fadillioglu commented about the project that “especially at a time when so much is being discussed wrongly of Islam not allowing women to have equal rights, that a woman can build a mosque” is extremely exciting.

In Afghanistan a seminar was held on women’s rights in Islam in which, for the first time, female Islamic scholars from the region were allowed to participate.
Rabea Chaudhry is Associate Editor of Altmuslimah

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