DC: MUSLIM WOMEN FROM AROUND THE WORLD JOIN A LEADERSHIP PROGRAM IN WASHINGTON
A group of Muslim women from around the world is participating in a summer leadership program at the U.S Congress and George Washington University. The program is designed to educate the participants about legal issues and conflict resolution techniques with the aim of empowering Muslim women to promote peaceful change in their communities.
At the opening of the program, 25 Muslim women from various countries listened to presentations about how Islamic law provides for principles such as freedom of expression, freedom of association and the right to own property regardless of gender.
Seyyed Hossein Nasr -- a renowned scholar of Islam at George Washington University -- told the audience that violations of women's rights in many Muslim countries should not be blamed on Islamic law, but on undemocratic governments.
But he also said there needs to be a new conceptualization of the role of women in Islamic countries. "What we need is a kind of Islamic feminine movement, not feminist, to clarify, first of all, what are the Koranic and Hadith rights of Muslim women. Secondly, how Islam sees the function of women. They do not have to be like in the West. Nobody said that American women are very happy to be superwomen, doing ten things at the same time."
He says when women in Iran were forced to remove their veils, there was a backlash decades later that forced every woman to be veiled. Nasr went on to call on the West not to make the same mistake by making the way Muslim women dress a major issue.
Aziza Al-Hibri, law professor at the University of Richmond, is the founder and President of Muslim Women Lawyers for Human Rights. She says the leadership program is designed to educate Muslim women about legal issues of importance to them. "We teach them not only Islamic law because some of them do not know it as they should, but also we teach them leadership skills that allows them to go back to their communities and converse positively towards change."
The pro-Israel outlook of the Wall Street Journal and many News Corp. outlets could waver if one of Rupert Murdoch's sons, James Murdoch, takes the helm of the publishing and broadcasting company, a new book suggests.
The just-published diaries of a communications director for Prime Minister Blair, Alastair Campbell, indicate that James Murdoch launched into a foul-mouthed tirade that suggested that the behavior of Palestinian Arabs was justified by their poor treatment by Israelis. The outburst occurred at a private dinner with his father, his brother, Lachlan, Mr. Blair, and others at no. 10 Downing St. in January 2002.
International football authorities are increasingly giving mixed signals about whether hijab should be accepted on the pitch.
Ansar Women's FC, Scotland's first female Muslim football team, has had to re-address their hopes of being admitted into the Scottish Women's Football Association league in the future, after contradicting tones from the International Football Association Board (IFAB).
The team's coach and a Glasgow based sports worker, Zubair Malik, told The Muslim News, "The IFAB say it's to do with safety. The FA in England is saying there are new types of hijab that adhere to safety rules. I personally don't see a safety problem with hijab."
FIFA members, Iran and Jordan amongst others, have reported no cases of safety issues with the headscarf.
The girls in the team, of ages ranging from 11 to 18, are currently doing well in domestic football and are hoping to enter the league competitions when they are ready. Malik added, "The girls have been playing for a few years now. We've played a few friendlies against local teams, and we've done really well. It's not great, but it's a start."
The Executive Administrator for Scottish Women's Football, Maureen McGonigle, has been supporting Ansar Women's FC in continuing their training. Malik said, "She has been encouraging us, and she wants us to enter the Scottish league. She told us not to be put off by the IFAB rulings."
McGonigle affirmed that all female footballers are supported regardless of race, religion or background.
Despite these positive sentiments, she emphasized that her organization has no say on the decisions. She told The Muslim News, "We have to abide by FIFA's rules and regulations...It's up to us to look at what the rules are and we've got to tell people 'here are the rules' and they will decide if they want to join us."