Roundup: Jailing Iranian feminists and more

Including: Teaching Afghan girls to sing.

By Tracy Clark-Flory
January 15, 2008 6:08AM (UTC)
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Iran tells women's rights activists to simmer down. The country is cracking down on female activists, oftentimes tossing peaceful protesters in jail for several weeks at a time. "No one wants to go to prison. But if we have to pay a price then we will, like women have all over the world," says 34-year-old Nahid Keshavarz, who was jailed in Tehran for two weeks after collecting signatures on a petition for women's rights.

American women who marry Saudis. The Los Angeles Times takes a lengthy look at life for American-born women in Saudi Arabia. There may be certain perks (for example, their kids are mostly safe from drugs and street crime), but it's no picnic (women can't drive or leave the country without their husband's written permission). Then there's this: "The religious police can spot a [partially veiled] blond head from a mile away. We'd run and hide from them in the shopping malls," says Teresa Malof. "Then there's the guys holding up signs in their cars, pressing them against the windshields and windows. 'Don't call 911, call this number.' Most of the time, these guys are harmless. They're just out cruising."


Singing in secret. The San Francisco Chronicle covers a nameless, covert music school in Afghanistan that allows female students to enroll. The teachers and students risk death by participating -- even in post-Taliban Afghanistan, many believe that men should not hear a woman's singing voice and "some conservative clerics believe it is a crime against Islam for women to sing or perform music," according to the Chronicle. If you like the sounds of this sneaky project, you can download a copy of "The Afghan Music Project," which benefits the school.

Also off-limits in Afghanistan? Male tailors in Takhar are no longer allowed to measure female customers. That's tough sartorial luck for the region's women, as the vast majority of tailors are men, reports Reuters.

Tracy Clark-Flory

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