from India Insight:

An easier end to unhappy marriages in India?

June 11, 2010

India's cabinet this week cleared a proposal to amend the Hindu Marriage Act to allow "irretrievable breakdown of marriage" as a ground for divorce.

Skirts replace jeans as Indonesia’s Aceh enforces sharia

May 27, 2010
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A sharia police officer escorts women caught wearing tight pants during a street raid in Aceh province on May 26, 2010/Junaidi Hanafiah

After minarets, will Switzerland ban burqas too?

May 20, 2010
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Zurich and the Limmat River, April 20, 2008/Arnd Wiegmann

Full Muslim face veils could become the next divisive religious issue to take centre stage in Switzerland, where voters last November approved a measure banning the construction of new minarets. The Swiss federal government said in February it saw no need for a “burqa ban.” Politicians at the national level say there’s no “burqa problem” in Switzerland. But few thought there was a “minaret problem” either, until the question was put to a national referendum and the minaret ban campaigners won.

Sarkozy says Muslims should not feel singled out by full veil ban

May 19, 2010
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A veiled woman in Nantes, western France, on April 26, 2010/Stephane Mahe

France attempted the arguably impossible on Wednesday by presenting a bill to ban Muslim face veils and asking Muslims not to feel it was singling them out in the process.

France’s burqa debate stokes passions in North Africa

May 14, 2010
Anne, an assumed name, a 31-year old French woman who has been fined for wearing a niqab while driving, speaks to the media during a news conference with her husband Lies Hebbadj in Nantes, western France, April 26, 2010.  REUTERS/Stephane Mahe/Files

Veiled French woman Anne (an assumed name) fined for wearing a niqab while driving in Nantes meets journalists on 26 April 2010/Stephane Mahe

Church of England paves way for women bishops, traditionalist departures

May 10, 2010
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Canterbury Cathedral in England, December 23, 2009/Suzanne Plunkett

The Church of England has moved a step closer to the consecration of women bishops, setting up a possible showdown with traditionalists who back all-male clergy in the Anglican communion.  Draft legislation introduced at the weekend said women should be consecrated as bishops on the same basis as men, disappointing the Anglo-Catholic and evangelical wings of the Church which had wanted a “two-tier” system.

Saudi liberals see hope as clerics argue over gender segregation

May 4, 2010
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Saudi women praying at Eid al-Adha in Riyadh on November 27, 2009/Stringer

Divisions among senior Saudi clerics over the legality of gender segregation could mark a new drive by reformers allied to King Abdullah to push social reforms in the puritanical Islamic state.  The divisions came to the open when the kingdom’s morals police, or the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, reversed a decision to sack Ahmad al-Ghamdi, its regional head for the Mecca region.

French foreign minister gets ready for criticism over planned burqa ban

May 2, 2010


(French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner on Europe 1 radio, 2 May 2010/Dailymotion)

Belgian vote on Muslim veils could echo in Europe

April 30, 2010
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Salma, a 22-year-old French woman living in Belgium who chose to wear the niqab after converting to Islam, speaks to Reuters television outside the Belgian Parliament in Brussels April 26, 2010/Yves Herman

French Muslim rejects polygamist charge, says has wife and 3 lovers

April 26, 2010
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Liès Hebbadj and his wife Anne after she was fined for wearing a niqab while driving, in Nantes on April 26, 2010/Stephane Mahe