[sex] dress codes

Les derniers évènements, qui ont caractérisé le retour des pèlerins algériens des Lieux saints de l’islam, ont occupé aussi bien l’opinion publique nationale que les pouvoirs publics, faisant l’impasse sur un autre fait majeur grave qui s’est déroulé cette année à La Mecque.

In Gaza, an unspoken rule bans women from riding bicycles after they have hit puberty. But last Saturday, one young Palestinian woman decided to defy the taboo, sparking smiles - and a few threats - from fellow Gaza residents. In a spur of the moment decision, 28-year-old Palestinian journalist Asmaa Alghoul decided to join three of her friends, two Italian human rights workers and an American, on a tour of Gaza by bicycle. On a warm summer's day, the two men and two women set off from the Egyptian border town of Rafah and headed north to Gaza city, along 30km of coastal road. But to Asmaa, the ride was more than a sunny day trip: women on bicycles are frowned upon in most Muslim societies, and the young woman had not ridden a bike since she was 14 years old.

Amnesty International is urging the Parliament of Bosnia and Herzegovina to reject a draft law, prohibiting wearing in public, clothes which prevent identification which is set for debate tomorrow. “If adopted, such a law would violate the human rights of women who choose to wear a full face veil as an expression of their religious, cultural, political or personal identity or beliefs," said Marek Marczynski, Amnesty International’s researcher on Bosnia and Herzegovina. "It would violate their right to freedom of expression and religion. At the same time, a general ban on wearing full-face veils in public could result in some women being confined to their homes and unable to participate in public life.”

A Sudanese court on Wednesday sentenced 19 young Muslim men to 30 lashes and a fine for breaking moral codes by wearing women's clothes and makeup, a case exposing Sudanese sensitivity towards homosexuality. Many of the defendants tried to hide their faces from the around 200 people who watched as they were lashed straight after their sentencing. The men had no lawyers present and said nothing in their own defence. The trial judge said police had raided a party thrown by the 19 men and found them dancing "in a womanly fashion," wearing women's clothes and makeup. He said there was a video of the party and that one woman who was present had fled the scene. The defendants were charged with violating Sudan's public morality codes.

Since the recent controversy surrounding the French government’s ban on total face coverings (burqa or niqab), the head scarf issue has once again attracted the world’s attention. Indeed, only very few Muslim women cover their face completely, which is a reflection of the attitude preached by Sayed al Tantawi, an imam of Al-Azhar in Cairo, who boldly stated that total face coverings are not in accordance with Islamic teachings. It is therefore not surprising that the education ministry in Syria, a Muslim majority country, has also issued a ban on niqab in all state and private universities.

The vote by the Spanish Senate to ban the use of Burqa by Muslim women no doubt has sent multiple signals across the globe and in particular the Muslim world. The vote which was a narrow one, 131 to 129, in favour of the ban is part of the trend sweeping through Europe in the last few years.

Les étudiantes syriennes n'auront plus le droit de porter de voile couvrant leur visage à l'université, a déclaré, dimanche 18 juillet, le ministre de l'enseignement supérieur syrien Ghiyath Barakat à l'agence de presse Syria News, rapporte Al-Aribya. Toute étudiante ne respectant pas cette décision sera exclue. Le ministre a justifié ce décret en expliquant que le port du niqab allait contre les valeurs et les traditions des universités du pays. Il aurait reçu de nombreuses plaintes de parents ne souhaitant pas que leurs enfants étudient dans un environnement où règne l'extrémisme religieux, ces craintes étant plus fortes dans les universités privées. Le nombre croissant de plaintes a conduit les recteurs d'université à rencontrer le ministre de l'éducation supérieure mercredi 14 juillet, afin d'évoquer l'interdiction du niqab.

The French parliament's vote this week to ban full-length veils in public was the right move by the wrong group. Some have tried to present the ban as a matter of Islam vs. the West. It is not. First, Islam is not monolithic. It, like other major religions, has strains and sects. Many Muslim women -- despite their distaste for the European political right wing -- support the ban precisely because it is a strike against the Muslim right wing.

In a new campaign of its kind, created by a group calling itself the ‘Centre of al-Kadamiyya for Civil Society’, in June 2010 the group started a campaign called ‘Reform of the Hijab’. Some activists in Iraq believe that the government has a role in distributing tens of adverts in the streets of the neighbourhood of al-Kadamiyya (North Baghdad), placing them near the military checkpoints that are spread all over the city. Some of these adverts and pictures show uncovered or partly-covered women in such a way as to suggest they are somehow disgusting or ugly.

As the Islamic Republic of Iran's domestic and international problems multiply -- courtesy of the democratic movement and its own myopic policies -- its myriad factions are shifting blame for the system's cascading ills. One of the pressing concerns, maintenance of the mandatory veil, is not finding many willing enforcers. The problem is compounded by the fact that, in sharp contrast to the early years after the Revolution, the majority of Iranians are now opposed to compulsory veiling of any kind.

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