June 27, 2010 |
Naila Ayesh's path to becoming a Muslim activist for women's rights began when she miscarried in an Israeli detention center in 1987 after being arrested for belonging to a Palestinian student union. Today Ayesh, 49, founder of the Gaza Strip-based Women's Affairs Center, has become one of the only feminist voices in the seaside territory that was seized three years ago by Hamas, an armed Palestinian group that aspires to impose Islamic law. Besides being married to Jamal Zakout, a top advisor to Prime Minister Salam Fayyad of the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority — Hamas' political rival that rules the West Bank — Ayesh also raises eyebrows in Gaza as she moves in public without covering her head and sometimes even partakes of a shisha water pipe.
November 4, 2006 |
About 200 Palestinian women broke through an Israeli troop and tank cordon around a mosque Friday to serve as human shields, allowing dozens of armed militants to flee an Israeli siege, but only after two of the women were killed. Answering a call from the Hamas radio station, the women took to the streets in a mass public intervention of a kind rarely seen in this conservative Muslim society. They carried extra robes and veils with them to disguise some of the militants holed up in the mosque.
March 3, 2005 |
Bashful and soft-spoken, Fatheyeh Rimawi concedes that she knows little about how the government works. The 30-year-old former teacher surprised many in January by being elected mayor of Beit Rima and a neighboring village, the first Palestinian woman to win such a post, during ongoing municipal balloting in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
December 28, 2004 |
Women faced pressure not to run as candidates in Palestinian local elections. But they did, and more than half of them defeated their male opponents in this conservative, traditional Arab society. Palestinian women won 51 seats in Thursday's elections, 32 of them winning their places outright without having to claim seats reserved for women by Palestinian law.
November 29, 1998 |
Women in Saudi Arabia today may not drive cars or be alone with men who are not immediate relatives. Amnesty International says women in this Arab nation are at risk of being detained and accused of immoral behavior merely for walking alone or not wearing a head scarf. Iraqi women may not appear in public unveiled. In Iran, earlier this year, three women were arrested on charges that they had voluntary sexual relations outside marriage. The penalty they faced: being stoned to death.
February 12, 1997 |
After more than a year of delays, Israel on Tuesday began freeing its female Palestinian prisoners, fulfilling a commitment made in the interim peace agreement signed in 1995. But there were hitches until the end, with last-minute legal appeals and emotion-charged pleas from Israelis seeking to block the official pardons and freedom for the 31 women, several of whom were involved in killings of Jews.