News briefs for week of June 21, 2010

Human rights group urges Kurdistan to ban female circumcisions, D.C. police department decides to no longer intervene in area mosque pray-ins, Ahmadinejad says women should not be harassed for improper hijab, Abu Dhabi woman who reported she was gang-raped receives a one year prison sentence, and slain Ontario girl’s father and brother receive life sentences for what some describe as an honor killing.
The Human Rights Watch group released a 73-page report detailing the widespread practice of female circumcisions in Kurdistan and urge authorities to ban the practice, reports CNN. The procedure involves partial or total removal of the clitoris. The report goes on to say that the previous government in the semi-autonomous state decreed that performing female circumcisions should be punishable, but Human Rights Watch says it found no evidence of the law being enforced.

The D.C. police department will no longer intervene in the ongoing protest by Muslim women over their place in area mosques, reports the Washington Examiner. Pray-in’s were being staged in the D.C area by reform-minded women who felt they should be allowed to pray next to men and not behind them in separate quarters. Police had been involved in escorting the women out of the mosques after complaints from mosque officials. “This is such a win,” says pray-in leader, Fatima Thompson. “We’re supposed to be one community. Yet the moment we walk in, we’re separated one from the other.”

In a television interview, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says women who fail to cover their hair completely should not be harassed by police, reports Reuters. His comments came in response to the morality police’s annual crackdown on women not properly observing the hijab. The president received criticism from the Grand Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati who said, “I wish he had not said those words about hijab” to the faithful during Friday prayers.

The 18-year-old Abu Dhabi woman who alleged she was raped by five men, but later recanted her claim for fear of receiving a sentence herself, has been charged with a one year prison sentence. The court found her guilty of having consensual sex with one of the five men who has also been sentenced to a one year prison term, reports the National. The remaining four men had the rape charges dropped and were convicted for the less serious charges of being in the company of a woman and for public indecency.

The father and brother of 16-year-old Aqsa Parvez have been sentenced to life in prison for her murder in their home in Ontario, Canada in December 2007, reports CBC News. Muhammad and Waqas Parvez pleaded guilty to second-degree murder on Tuesday. The case received a lot of media attention in Canada and has been described by many as an honor killing. In a police interview, Aqsa’s mother said her husband told her he killed his daughter because he said, “this is my insult. My community will say, ‘You have not been able to control your daughter.’ This is my insult. She is making me naked.” Aqsa had left the family home, stopped wearing traditional clothing, and wanted a part-time job.
Shazia Riaz is Events and Publicity Editor for Altmuslimah.

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