News briefs for week of February 15, 2010

This week, death threats for dehijabing in Spain, a ballet showcasing Muslim women’s historical accomplishments, France continues the burqa ban debate, a Pakistani woman is recognized in California, Muslim scholars question full-body scanning and Obama names an envoy to the Muslim world.
In the small Spanish town of Cunit, the Washington Post reports that Fatima Ghailan, a 31-year-old Moroccan Muslim said she was threatened by Muslim fundamentalists for taking off her headscarf. The threats resulted in formal charges against the leader of a local mosque, Mohamed Benbrahim, and the head of the local Islamic Associaion, Abderraman el-Osri. Calls were also made for Mayor Judit Alberich to resign over charges that she catered to the Muslims in the area.

Tunisia Online News reported on a ballet written by Leila Aziz that pays tribute to nine well-known Muslim women, including the sufi Rabia al Adawiya and the poet Khansa. The ballet will be performed at the Montreal Arab World Festival from October 30 – November 15, 2010.

The burqa ban debate continues in France, with the New York Times reporting that the debate has shifted to Parliament. No action on the ban is expected until after regional elections next month.

In San Jose, California, the reported on Robin Asghar, a Pakistani-woman who will be one of 10 recipients of the San Joaquin County’s Susan B. Anthony Award. Asghar’s journey began as a 15-year-old mother in her native country. She is now Executive Director of the Community Partnership for Families.

The Michigan Messenger reported that The Fiqh Council of North America has declared that Muslims should not use full-body scanners. The Council cited the scanner’s violate clear Islamic teachings that individuals should not see members of the opposite gender naked. The Transportation Security Administration does offer an alternative to the full-body scan in the form of a full body pat-down.

Reuters reported that President Obama has appointed lawyer Rashad Hussain as the U.S. Envoy to the Muslim World. The announcement was made by Obama via video at the U.S.-Islamic World Forum in Doha.
Rabea Chaudhry is Associate Editor of Altmuslimah

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