Women Today: More Uppity Middle Eastern Women

Iranian women demonstrate for equality. Hundreds of courageous Iranian women demonstrated at Tehran University this week, calling for a boycott of the IRI regime's "elections" scheduled for this Friday. This thread at Free Iran has the scoop, along with lots of photos! SMCCDI reports: 'Women's who are the majority in Iran are considered as half of a man based on Islamic texts. many positions or study fields are forbidden to them while men can control their lives. Young girls of under 14 years of age can be forced to marry with anyone. Iranian women have at various occasions taken off their mandatory veils or set them on fire in sign of protest while shouting "Na Roossari, Na Toossari" (No Veil, No Submission). Many of them have been beaten up, arrested or heavily fined in retaliation. Some have been injured with acid thrown to their faces. ...'

Iran Focus says the protesters numbered in the "thousands": 'A protest that began with a gathering of dozens of women in downtown Tehran this afternoon drew thousands of anti-government protesters and streamrolled into one of the largest demonstrations against Iran’s clerical rulers in recent months. The protest began in front of Tehran University as a small group of women began chanting “freedom, freedom” and calling for a referendum on religious rule. The rally grew rapidly as thousands of local inhabitants and passers-by joined the protesters. Hundreds of uniformed and plain-clothed security agents quickly circled the protestors to prevent thousands more joining their ranks. Agents of the notorious secret police, the Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) and the paramilitary Bassij forces were ferried to the streets around Tehran University to disperse the demonstrators. The mainly young protesters, many in their teens, defied the security forces’ assaults and chanted slogans against the upcoming presidential elections, calling it a masquerade.' More photos at this thread.

A woman's place is in the mosque - and not in the back, either, says Asra Nomani: 'There are those who see Nomani, a self-described "overambitious child of immigrants," as a crusader, an activist lobbying for the right of Muslim women to pray side by side with men. This spring she launched the Muslim Women's Freedom Tour, traveling from city to city (including a stop in April at the Islamic Center of Washington on Massachusetts Avenue NW) to encourage Muslim women to assert themselves in their mosques. As part of the tour, women pray in halls usually reserved for men and participate in mixed-gender prayer services led by women. "It's about time," says religious scholar and historian Reza Aslan. "This conception of the separation of men and women is something that never occurred during the prophet's lifetime." He adds, "What she has done is perfectly in line with Islamic values, traditions and the prophet's own desire to have men and women working side by side, praying side by side and even fighting side by side." ...' Nadz gives a first-class rant.

Also from Nadz, a very thought-provoking post on life as a teen for Middle Eastern and Western girls: 'The relevance of this is that Arab teenage girls, while more restricted than their American sisters, often have the same kinds of feelings and problems. They both experience double standards and contradictory images in how they are supposed to behave. The movie highlighted this well - as the troubled girls run down the street, they are bombarded with images and advertisements for makeup, slutty clothes and underwear that is way too old for them. It also reveals our bizarre outlook on how girls are supposed to act. ...' Read the whole post; it's first-rate writing, even for the super-talented Nadz.