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.
8/31/2015 Chicago Activists Continue Hunger Strike to Save Predominately Black Public High School - Chicago residents have entered the second week of their hunger strike protesting the closure of Dyett High School, in the predominately African-American Bronzeville neighborhood located on the South Side of Chicago.
Parents and community members are calling on the Chicago Board of Education to keep Dyett - the only open-enrollment, neighborhood school in its area - open and accept a community plan to revitalize the school with a focus on science and green technology. . . .
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .