News Briefs: Week of October 11, 2010

Maldives reporter challenges court’s male-only requirement for marriage officiators, Quebec’s Orthodox Jews protest bill banning the burqa, GWU campus announces “Sisters’ Splash,” a women-only swim hour.
The Maldives’ Family Court issued an announcement seeking twenty marriage registrars, requiring applicants be male-only. The gender criteria is being questioned by Minivan News contributor, Azra Naseem. Marriage officiators being male-only is common practice in most Muslim countries, but for a country striving to move toward greater gender equality, issue is being taken. One commenter remarks on the incongruity between allowing females to sit as judges in Maldives’ courts, with the first one appointed in 2007, but not as marriage officiators. Naseem notes that Eygpt appointed the first female marriage registrar (maazouna) in the Muslim world in 2008. She goes on to note the major objections to such appointments center around the Islamic ruling that not one but two women are required for the role of one witness. The Grand Mufti Ali Gomaa who approved of the first female marriage registrar in Egypt explained that the role of a registrar should not be considered as that of a witness but rather as that of an official. Maldives’ Deputy Minister of Islamic Affairs, Ahmed Shaheem, an expert on Shar’iah, told Minivan News that he would need more time to study the issue before commenting.

The Jewish Orthodox Council for Community Relations appeared before a Quebec National Assembly hearing, in opposition of a proposed bill to ban the Islamic face veil. According to the Globe and Mail, the group argues that “by placing gender rights above religious rights, the bill would create a hierarchy of individual rights and freedoms that would be challenged in courts.” While the bill focuses on the controversy over the Islamic face veil, Montreal’s Orthodox Jewish leaders expressed fear their community may also be targeted eventually. Their community became part of the controversy in 2006, when they requested that a Montreal YMCA install frosted windows on its building. A Hasidic Jewish Congregation wanted to prevent young boys and teenagers studying at a synagogue across the street from the YMCA from having a full view of women exercising.

George Washington University announces it’s women’s only weekly swim hour called “Sisters’ Splash,” organized by the Muslim Students’ Association, reports NBC Washington. During the hour, a tarp will be placed over the glass doors.
Shazia Riaz is Events and Publicity Editor for Altmuslimah.

Leave a Reply

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