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Morocco: Women's Stories from Around the Globe

The blogoma is abuzz this week with a smattering of posts about issues affecting Muslim women, with topics ranging from work programs for women in Morocco to the mistreatment of gynecologists in Iraq. We'll start off with a post from The View from Fez which unveils an initiative to improve women's standards of living in the blog's namesake city:

The first project is a training and qualification centre for women and will provide them with training in income-generating professions such as cooking, hairdressing, IT, embroidery and weaving. The budget for this project is estimated at USD 361,000.
The project, to be built on an area of 950 square meters, will also provide orientation and awareness raising, with an ultimate goal of eradicating poverty and exclusion of rural populations.

Fez women

Moving north to France, Laila Lalami talks about Joan Scott's The Politics of the Veil, quoting her own article in The Nation:

In her keenly observed book The Politics of the Veil, historian Joan Wallach Scott examines the particular French obsession with the foulard, which culminated in March 2004 with the adoption of a law that made it illegal for students to display any “conspicuous signs” of religious affiliation. The law further specified that the Muslim headscarf, the Jewish skullcap and large crosses were not to be worn but that “medallions, small crosses, stars of David, hands of Fatima, and small Korans” were permitted. Despite the multireligious contortions, it was very clear, of course, that the law was primarily aimed at Muslim schoolgirls.

Next,Myrtus shares a link about Israel's first female bus driver. Margot the Marrakesh Mystic comments:

We've had women police [in Marrakesh] for three or four years now, but they are not allowed to carry guns (unlike the men) and they are not allowed to work overnight.
It seems I heard last year about the first woman taxi driver in Marrakesh. I haven't seen her, and she probably isn't allowed to work after a certain time at night, either.

Myrtus also comments upon an article about the mistreatment of male Iraqi gynecologists:

I'm having difficulty wrapping my mind around this … I mean, the thinking behind what's going on here. On the one hand, gynecologists are being threatened and murdered in Iraq for supposedly violating the sanctity of Muslim women; and on the other hand, they are being murdered for not circumcizing girls. Somehow, to the militants, preventive medicine and health care are violations of Muslim females, but cutting off part of their genitalia is not. How does that work exactly unless it's about really hating women?

On the Regular Comments Based on Issues Raised by BBC World Have Your Say blog, Abdelilah discusses the discrepancy between punishments for rape in Saudi Arabia and the United States:

In Saudi Arabia there was a strange incident in which woman who was a gang-rape victim who was sentenced to 200 lashes and six-months in jail. Seven men from the majority Sunni community were found guilty of the rape and sentenced to prison terms ranging from just under a year to five years. While a rapist is prosecuted and the victim is compensated, here we have the case of both parties subjected to punishment. This is worse than punishing a person simply on intent. At least the would-be victim will be spared being hurt by the aggressor and “disciplined” by the law.

To make a comparison, former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson was sentenced to six year imprisonment, of which he served three years for rape, although the victim was with him in his hotel room at 02:00 a.m. So in Saudi Arabia, instead of the young women being fairly treated and receiving counselling, she is thrown in prison as a criminal.

Finally, and a bit more lighthearted, is a post by A Moro in America regarding a discussion on popular Moroccan-American site Wafin about the Moroccan male desire to marry a younger woman. Adil quotes a bit of the discussion, sharing his own comments. Here is a selection:

A female by the screen name of Lamiaafikri lashes out at the “male supremacy and ignorance” :

“Posted By: lamiaafikri

I can't help but notice that in almost every ad. about trying to find the other half, the guys are requesting younger women. Seriously, what and who gives you guys that right?, and what's the reasoning if any behind it? well beside arrogance, ignorance and male supremacy???
I am yet to hear a smart, selfless ,convincing answer from either a man or a woman.Please, try to really think about it! thanks”

A male reader got technical on Lamiaafikri and started talking about Guess, Omega and all the clock-ticking that comes with a female body. He also believes Islam promotes timeliness and watching clock-ticking bodies :
“Posted By: freddie mercury

Hi there, the answer to your question lies in a science called biology, a religion called Islam and a concept called the biological clock. Hope you get it.”

Another reader said the world is not fair and everyone is free to pick his own number:
“Posted By: laamiri1

men in general like younger woman, and our culture allows it
but what u can do is post an ad for yourself and request men within ur desired age bracket and stop insulting and being too concerned about other's preferences .
mr.s”

Creative Commons-licensed photo by make_change

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