News Briefs: Week of August 2, 2010

Brazil offers asylum to Iranian women sentenced to death by stoning, veiled women pass through Canadian airport checkpoint without being checked, Malaysian reality show crowns its champion imam, and a few British gay Muslims find support from their local imams.
Brazil’s president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has offered asylum to the Iranian woman sentenced to death by stoning for adultery, reports the Guardian. The offer came as a surprise to Iran who considers Brazil a key ally. Skakineh Mohammadi Ashtani, a 43-year-old mother of two, was already convicted in 2006 for this offense and received 99 lashes. A court later amended the conviction from “illicit relationship” to “adultery while being married” and has sentenced her to death by stoning.

A youtube video captured two women allowed to board a flight out of Montreal without having to remove their face veils, reports the Globe and Mail. Transport Minister John Baird has issued an investigation and stressed that it is policy to check faces against picture identification. There has been public outcry over the security lapse and Muslims fear anti-Muslim sentiment. Nermine Barbouch of the Canadian Muslim Forum, an umbrella group representing nine Muslim organizations across Canada, expressed that if there was a security lapse, it is likely the fault of agents and not Muslims, reports the Toronto Sun. Muslim women surveyed at Montreal’s Trudeau airport along with other Muslim groups say the level of security is acceptable and that they are just as surprised as other Canadians that the women were allowed to pass without showing their faces.

Last Friday, Malaysian reality show Imam Muda, or “Young Imam,” crowned its champion, Muhammad Asyraf Mohd Ridzuan, reports the Guardian. The competition ran for over 10 weeks and the 26-year-old champion out-performed nine other young men for the coveted prize of a job at a prestigious mosque, an all-expense paid pilgrimage to Mecca, and a scholarship to al-Madinah International University in Saudi Arabia. Weekly challenges during the competition included Islamic ritual cleansing of unclaimed corpses and counseling unwed pregnant girls.

Few British Muslim gays and lesbians are finding support from their local imams, reports BBC News. One gay man, Khalid Habib, feels many gay Muslims want answers to some difficult questions like, “if it is wrong to be gay, should we force ourselves into heterosexual marriages? … Or, should we remain celibate?” A few imams have privately performed nikkahs (Islamic marriage contracts) for Muslim gay couples that seek religious recognition as they are not satisfied with being in just a British civil partnership.
Shazia Riaz is Events and Publicity Editor for Altmuslimah.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *