Monday, October 31, 2011

Stirring the Pot of Controversy

The internet is abuzz with a religious controversy that at its core now appears to have no basis other than a lawyer trying to stir up trouble for Muslims.

When I initially read this article, I just shook my head in disbelief at the absurdity of the situation: a complaint under investigation by the District of Columbia Office of Human Rights about Muslim students attending Catholic University alleging that their human rights are being violated because they have not been provided a haven on campus free of Christian symbolism in which to pray. In addition, the complaint further says that Muslim students were also being denied the right to form their own Muslim student group.

Sounds rather absurd, doesn’t it? I mean, what exactly would one expect at a Catholic university?

Well, as it turns out, there are in fact no Muslim students at all behind this complaint. It is the work of an attorney and law professor at George Washington University Law School, John F. Banzhaf III. One would have to wonder what his motivations are. Is he truly concerned with Muslim students’ rights, or is he just trying to cause trouble for Muslims by making them appear to be demanding, frivolous, and unreasonable?

To read more about this topic:

Charges Agsinst Catholic University Were Not Made by Muslims,
by The American Muslim

Attorney: Crosses at Catholic University violate human rights of Muslim students, at

Catholic University's Muslim Students Should Have Prayer Rooms Without Crucifix, Complaint States,
on The Huffington Post

Monday, October 24, 2011

Hijab in the Workplace

The topic of hijab (the cloth which covers the hair of Muslim women) has been garnering attention around the world for many years, affecting law in France, causing conflict in US courts, spurring cries of discrimination at an amusement park in the US, even inciting a woman's murder in a court in Germany, as well as a multitude of various other worldwide incidents linked to wearing hijab.

Are you a woman who has worn hijab in the workplace? Has your experience been positive or negative?

If you didn't wear hijab and then later decided to do so, did you place it on one day and show up to work with it unexpectedly? If so, how did your colleagues react?

Did you tell a superior or other colleagues that you wanted to start wearing hijab first? If so, what were the responses and how did they react once you started wearing it?

What are your thoughts on discussing your plan to begin wearing hijab first verses just showing up one day with hijab on?

Have any of you interviewed for a position without hijab and then later began working with hijab?

Are there certain working environments that seem to be more hijab-friendly than others? What environments have seemed hostile?

If you do not wear hijab but have experienced interaction with a hijabi worker, what was your impression of the encounter?

If you'd like to participate in this discussion focusing on hijab in the workplace, please be sure to indicate in your comments what country your encounters occurred in, since this factor can greatly influence one's experience.

For great tips and demonstrations on wearing hijab, check out HijabTrendz Channel on youtube.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

KSA's Crown Prince Sultan Dies

Saudi Arabia is a country in mourning as its citizens learned of the October 22nd passing of Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, who was next in line to the Saudi throne. The news opens up major speculation as to who will be named to replace him as Crown Prince of the oil-rich nation. The Prince's health in the past few years had been failing, as he reportedly battled colon cancer and Alzheimer's disease.

Reports of the age of the Crown Prince range from 81 to 86 years old, a common dispute for many older Saudis. My own husband actually has three different official birthdays. Saudi Arabia uses the lunar Hijri calendar, which is 11-12 days shorter than the Gregorian calendar used in the west. This can create disputes about someone's birthdate when trying to convert the Arabic dates into the western calendar. The Islamic calendar is purely based on the moon and does not take into account the seasons. The cycle of the seasons repeats itself in the Hijri calendar only once every 33 Islamic years.

Crown Prince Sultan was a half brother of KSA's ruling monarch, beloved King Abdullah, who himself last week underwent yet another back surgery and is still recuperating. Sultan served his country in many varied capacities over the years - as First Deputy Prime Minister, Inspector General, Minister of Defense, Minister of Aviation, Governor of Riyadh, Minister of Agriculture and Minister of Communications. A Wikileaks document of a diplomatic cable dated March 2009 revealed that the Crown Prince was "incapacitated," due to the effects of dementia or Alzheimer's.

Crown Prince Sultan was fluent in English, married at least ten wives, and was father to at least seven sons. His funeral arrangements have been set for October 25, 2011, in Riyadh.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Extreme Gender Segregation

This is a sign on the door of a Subway sandwich shop in Saudi Arabia. Women are not allowed in restaurants that do not have separate entrances and sections for families.