News briefs for week of June 1, 2009

This week, an Iranian presidential candidate condemns non-hijabis, the murder of two Muslim women leads to major protests in Kashmir, a delegation of Pakistani women toured the U.S., and Obama speaks about hijab.
On Sunday May 31, leading Iranian presidential candidate Mir-Hossein Moussavi condemned female supporters who openly refuse to adhere to the country’s strict dress code. Moussavi has spoken publically about his commitment to women’s rights, but after his announcement on Sunday many of his supporters accused him of changing his tone to appease the conservative voting block.

Kashmir was marred by protests this week as demonstrators took to the streets in response to the rape and murder of two Muslim women. Protestors burnt tires and threw stones at police who responded with tear gas and batons.

A delegation of female Pakistani legislators touring the country at the invitation of the U.S. State Department was in Houston this week. Marvi Memon, who leads the delegation, noted that contrary to misconceptions of Muslim women, The situation is quite contrary to the general perception about us. … I have the most adjournment motions, resolutions, bills to my name. … I am one of the four parliamentarians who got their bills passed in the entire first year of the parliament.” Also, in response to the quotas for women in the Pakistani parliament Fozia Ejaz Khan, another member of the delegation, stated, “reserved seats are the best way to get women into politics in a closed male chauvinistic society. This helps women who can’t afford to pay millions to fight an election.”

The One Woman Initiative, Carly Fiornia’s charitable organization aimed at empowering women in Muslim countries, announced Wednesday that it would give away more than $500,000 to five groups in Azerbaijan, Egypt, India, Pakistan, and the Philippines. The grants will go to locally focused groups that aim to increase women’s legal rights, political participation, and economic development.

On Thursday Muslim women across the world welcomed President’s Obama’s remarks from Egypt about the hijab and Muslim women’s rights. President Obama stated that he did not view the choice to cover as a form of oppression but also underscored his commitment to Muslim women’s rights to education and freedom from social oppression.
Rabea Chaudhry is Associate Editor of Altmuslimah.

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