Muslim Woman Plans to Lead Prayers, Sparking Controversy
In an attempt to bring attention to the second-class status that many Muslim women face, Amina Wadud, a leading female Islamic studies scholar and professor at Virginia Commonwealth University, will lead a prayer service in Manhattan. Three mosques refused to allow Wadud to lead the prayers, and a bomb threat caused the organizers of the service to change locations, reports the New York Times. The main organizer, Asra Q. Nomani, told the Times that they “are taking actions that no one else would have dared to think about before.”
Several Muslim leaders have denounced women leading the Islamic services. Sheik Sayed Tantawi, the sheik of one of the world’s top Islamic institutions in Cairo, Egypt, responded in the local Egyptian paper Al-Ahram, stating “a woman’s body is private. When she leads men in prayer, in this case, it’s not proper for them to look at the woman whose body is in front of them. Even if they see it in their daily life, it shouldn’t be in situations of worship, where the main point is humility and modesty,” reports the Associated Press .
Muslim women are generally not allowed under Islamic law to lead prayers in a mosque. Women are often made to pray in separate areas from the men or in another room altogether. Amina Wadud previously drew public attention when she entered her mosque in West Virginia through the men’s front door and tried to pray with the men, according to the Times.
10/30/2014 Medication Abortion Access Threatened by Oklahoma Court Ruling - An Oklahoma state district court judge has refused to block a state law restricting medication abortion, clearing the way for the law to go into affect on November 1.
The Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, together with a local abortion clinic in Tulsa, challenged HB 2684 in September, arguing that the law was an unconstitutional restriction on non-surgical abortion in the earliest weeks of pregnancy. . . .
10/30/2014 UPS Switches Pregnant Worker Policy Ahead of Supreme Court Case - The United Parcel Service (UPS) is changing its policy on light duty assignments for pregnant workers, even though the company will stand by its refusal to extend accommodations to a former employee in an upcoming Supreme Court case.
UPS announced on Monday in a memo to employees, and in a brief filed with the US Supreme Court, that the company will begin offering temporary, light-duty positions to pregnant workers on January 1, 2015. . . .
10/30/2014 North Dakota Medical Students Speak Out Against Measure 1 - Medical students at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences are asking North Dakotans to vote no on Measure 1, a personhood measure on the state ballot this fall.
The students issued published a letter in the Grand Forks Herald stating that they opposed Measure 1 in part because they are against "the government's taking control of the personal health care decisions of its citizens." Nearly 60 UND School of Medicine students signed the letter, citing concerns over the "very broad and ambiguous language" used in the proposed amendment, which has no regard for serious and life-threatening medical situations such as ectopic pregnancies.
Measure 1 would change the North Dakota state constitution to create an "inalienable right to life" for humans "at any stage of development" - including the moment of fertilization and conception. . . .