[sex] dress codes

France will today take the first step towards barring Muslim women from wearing the full veil when using public services, but will stop short of calling for an outright ban after critics argued that such a move would be socially divisive and hard to enforce. A cross-party committee of MPs was set up last year to explore the controversial issue in France of burkas and niqabs. The committee will recommend to ­parliament that Muslim women should be allowed to continue covering their faces in the street. Its final report will, however, recommend that anyone covering their face be barred from entering public sector property, including hospitals and schools, or using public transport.

To some it is a symbol of female subjugation. But these women believe that their Islamic headwear is a versatile, liberating way of expressing their identities. Jilbab. Niqab. Al Amira. Dupatta. Burqa. Chador. Even the language used to describe the various kinds of clothing worn by Muslim women can seem as complicated and muddied as the issue itself. Rarely has an item of cloth caused so much consternation, controversy and misunderstanding as with the Islamic headscarf or veil.

I was sitting in a majlis with a group of women when our chat on world affairs was interrupted by an urgent knock on the door; a knock that opened more than just a passage into the rest of the house. “We ran out of coffee!” I heard a male voice in distress telling the hostess as she opened the door just a tiny crack to see who it was. It was her husband, who was hosting a similar majlis in another corner of the house, with the husbands of the women here. The hostess went out to help him, leaving the door wide open to a room full of annoyed women. Several of them ran to the door to close it, because “there are men in the house”.

A Belgian Muslim woman was ordered to pay 200 euros ($300) for wearing a burka, a Islamic outfit that covers everything but the eyes, in a public place, the La Capital paper reported on Thursday. The woman was detained while taking her children to an Islamic school in the Etterbeek municipality of the Belgian capital, Brussels. She was initially ordered to pay a 35-euro fine for violating a local ban on covering faces in public places.

The Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) today regretted the ruling on 3 January by an administrative court to uphold a new decision banning students who wear the niqab, or full face veil, from sitting for exams in public universities. The EIPR said the ban's declared objective of preventing cheating during exams could be achieved through less drastic measures. Female students wearing the niqab told the court they were prepared to uncover their faces and be subjected to body searches at the beginning of each exam.

The Women Living Under Muslim Laws (WLUML) international solidarity network and the Global Campaign to Stop Killing and Stoning Women! (SKSW Campaign) join their allies in Indonesia in continuing to call for the repeal of a law (or 'qanun') passed by the Aceh Legislative Council (DPRD) on Monday 14 September 2009, that expands the range of violent punishments for alleged moral and sexual transgressions, including stoning to death for “adultery” and 100 lashes for homosexuality.

On Wednesday, The Lede looked at the response from Iranian bloggers and human rights activists to the treatment of Majid Tavakoli, a student leader who was detained after Monday’s demonstrations in Tehran, and subsequently mocked by official Iranian news agencies that published photographs of him wearing female clothes taken after his arrest.

Le Mouvement Ni Putes Ni Soumises organise ses Universités Populaires les 11 et 12 décembre prochains à Sciences Po (Paris). Dans un contexte de crispation autour du débat sur l’identité national, la burqa et les minarets, le Mouvement Ni Putes Ni Soumises réaffirme très clairement sa position sur la laïcité et sur le droit universel des femmes.

Women wearing jeans and other trousers in West Aceh will now face sharia police, as will clothes vendors selling slacks for women. West Aceh Regent Ramli M.S. issued the controversial regulation on Tuesday. Those found wearing tight trousers, such as jeans, will have them cut by sharia police, and will be forced to wear loose-fitting attire.

تقدمت النائبة الكويتية رولا دشتي باقتراح لتعديل القانون الانتخابي الكويتي من اجل إلغاء شرط تقيد المرشحات والناخبات بالشريعة الإسلامية للمشاركة في الحياة السياسية. وكانت هذه الشروط أدخلت قبل أربع سنوات بعد منح المرأة كامل حقوقها السياسية، وهي تنص على ضرورة التزام المرشحات والناخبات بضوابط الشريعة الإسلامية.

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