Norway’s justice ministry has paid compensation to a man after the nation’s anti-discrimination agency determined that he was the victim of gender discrimination. He complained when a younger and less-qualified woman won a judge’s position he had sought. Rune Bard said, “This has really opened my eyes to how it feels to be sidelined because of something you are, whether you’re a man or a woman, a homosexual or an immigrant. It’s a huge strain. You can do something about your education and experience, but not about other things like gender.”
Information from Aftenposten
America will shortly be confronting similar issues since a majority of college students are now female. We can expect in the coming years to witness the emergence of affirmative action program for males.
Organizers of the Moldova “Gay Pride” group were prevented from marching by city authorities of Chişinău, who threatened them with arrest if they displayed their homosexuality in public. The gays went ahead with their march even when they were assaulted by a mob that shouted insults and threw eggs at the marchers. The gay parade was simply an attempt to place some flowers at a monument in Chişinău which honors Victims of Oppression.
Fortunately, the neighboring city of Tiraspol has offered any gays the right to march, lay flowers and display affection on their city streets.
Information from The Tiraspol Times
The weekend edition of Helsinki’s Sanomat has a two page “Gay guide to the City” for foreign visitors. It lists gay bars, tips for gay tourists and even a gay history of Finland. It also notes that Helsinki’s host of the Eurovision Song Contest which resulted in, “To put it in a nutshell, the Eurovision Song Contest has become a gay icon just as have artists like Madonna, Kylie Minogue, Cher or Gloria Gaynor.”
Information from Sanomat
During the past month, President Ahmadinejead has launched a vigorous campaign against Iranian women for improper dress, known as “bad hijab.” In so doing, he has empowered the religious police to harass and badger Iranian women because their “hair is showing” or the buttons on their dress are too tight resulting in outsiders being able to ascertain their body shape.
But, alas, everything has now backfired on the conservative president. Mr. Ahmadinejad was attending a ceremony honoring the nation’s teachers when much to his surprise he noticed his old first-grade teacher in the crowd. She was wearing a long coat and had on a headscarf. With the aid of a cane, she stumbled up to the president where he gave her a kiss. But, then came the great act of indecency, he lowered his head and kissed her hand.
A conservative newspaper accused the President of “indecency,” arguing the act of kissing his teacher’s hand was contrary to sharia law which, theoretically, forbids a man to have any physical contact with a women to whom he is not related. “This type of indecency progressively has grave consequences, like violating religious and sacred values,” seethed the headline of Hizbollah on its front page. “The Muslim Iranian people have no recollection of such acts contrary to sharia law during Islamic rule.”
Information from The Independent, England
There is no question, Ahmadinejad has been playing the “dress question” in an effort to win back public support after his failures to revitalize the economy or reduce unemployment. He hoped to stir up enthusiasm among his conservative followers by taking a tough stand against the outrageous behavior of some Iranian women who actually allow strands of hair to be visible. It has backfired. To make matters worse, the Iranian foreign minister attended a conference where there was an attempt to reduce American-Iranian hostility by placing him near Condi Rice. The entire attempt blew up when a violinist in a red dress was playing the violin with bare arms. The foreign minister made a hasty exist.
A Muslim woman won her battle with a supermarket that told her she could not work if she wore a hijab. The supermarket was informed by the Ombundsman Against Ethnic Discrimination to pay her $11,700 and give her back the job. The supermarket agreed to change its dress code.
Information from The Local
Muslim female headgear continues being a divisive force in European life. At some point, European nations will have to come to some resolution about the issues arising from this topic.
A Cairo Administrative Court ruled the Ministry of Interior is not obliged to issue new identify documents for 45 Coptic Christians who converted to Islam and then decided to return to their original Christian faith. Many Copts blasted the ruling as discriminatory and a violation of basic humans rights and freedom of religion.
A majority of Islamic scholars say there is no compulsion in religion under Islamic Sharia law. They point to a 2006 Administrative Court ruling which allowed two young Coptic women whose father converted to Islam to retain their Christian identity. Anba Daniel, a bishop of the Coptic church told Al-Ahram that most Coptics who convert to Islam may be seeking to marry a Muslim woman or to resolve personal situations. The Coptic Church rarely grants divorce and allows divorcees to remarry only under very strict conditions. He deplored the judge “using his own interpretation of Sharia, essentially branding those reverting to their original faith as apostates –something which may constitute a threat to their lives.”
Information from Al-Ahram
It increasingly fascinates me how right wing religious conservatives in America continue supporting George Bush’s Middle Eastern policies. Prior to the Iraq invasion there were over 800,000 Christians living in peace with their neighbors, but due to American initiated violence a majority have left, and it appears the remainder will shortly follow. Christians are dying in the Sudan and Coptic Christians face discriminatory laws from our dear friend in the fight for democracy – President Mubarak. Thanks to conservative religious American friends, Middle Eastern Christians will shortly have disappeared from the Moslem world.
A woman in Swaziland who worked saved money, and decided to purchase property until recently had no legal right to register in her own name what she purchased since the law gave males complete power over female property. The male could also bequeath her property to someone else upon his death. The law has recently been changed to allow women to register land in her own name. But, as of this date, nothing has been done to alter the Marriage Act which still gives husbands considerable power over family assets.
Information from The Swazi Observer
A popular dance in Guinea’s capital city of Conakry is the buttock-swinging Wolosso dance which originated in the Cote d’Ivoire. Teenagers wearnings kirts or hipsters associated with Wolosso partly expose their buttocks and midriff while dancing. This has infuriated Islamic men who have resorted to beating up girls. The police have even confirmed several cases of rape in connection with the violence against the female teenage dancers. A man commented: “In a Moslem country like ours, we should not be watching and imitating these music videos. I advise all girls and women to dress themselves in proper clothes.” A young girl told the reporter: “Everyone has a right to wear what makes them happy. I’m a young girl—should I be forced to dress in a certain way?”
Information from Guardian of Nigeria
Perhaps, I am dense, but isn’t it contradictory for men who are upset at the manner in which teenage girls dress to rape them? I have never quite figured out why so many people in this world go beserk at hair and dress styles, and, for some, music and dance really sets them off. I am old enough to recall the outrageous cries against Elvis Presley when he wiggled his hips. Funny, I have never come across a story in which women attack men for the manner in which they dress or dance.
During the past three months, eleven Kurdish teenagers have burned themselves to death in the Kurdish town of Zakho. The only logical explanation being offered is that the girls wanted an easy path to heaven.
Information from Azzman, Iraq
One can only wonder if the rash of continual suicide bombings in the Middle East are impacting young children. No one in the town has an explanation for this extraordinary death rate.
A Swedish court has ordered that Orebro University pay damages to three women who were refused admission in favor of male students who were admitted with lower grades. However, the university was not required to grant the women admission. University officials argued that were applying an affirmative action program to get more males into their programs because at present males are under-represented. The court ruled this affirmative action program to secure more male students could only be applied if the men had similar grades to those of women. The Swedish government is allowing universities to apply affirmative action programs for males since, at present, 60% of all Swedish university students are female.
Information from The Local
Ironically, a similar trend of more females in colleges than males is now present in the United States. Women now constitute about 55% of American college students. Will we witness male affirmative action programs in this nation?