Egyptian life: On TV, in a veil
|Egyptian television presenter Ghada El Tawil was allowed back on air last week after a six-year absence, in which she won the legal right to wear an Islamic headscarf, known as hijab, on screen. She tells BBC News about her fight.
Ghada can wear what she likes on screen as long as it is doesn’t look ‘strange’
I have waited six years for this moment – to present television wearing my hijab.
I only started wearing it in 2002. The rule is, when a girl gets her first period, she has to cover her hair. I didn’t – but sometimes you don’t do many things you should.
But as the years passed, I began to feel I wanted to do what God wanted. I struggled for about a year, before deciding to wear it.
More and more women are wearing the hijab, especially here. Only one or two in 10 Alexandrian women are not covered, so I was part of a wider movement of change. But I don’t think I was aware of that at the time.
Cairo is different, because it is such a big, cosmopolitan city.
Anyway, when I put the hijab on in February 2002, I was banned from being on screen.
There have been many cases like this – female presenters losing their jobs when they want to wear the hijab on air. A colleague, Hala el-Malki and I were the first to take it to court.
We got two rulings in our favour, the most recent in July 2005. It said we could wear what we liked on screen so long as it wasn’t ‘strange’. It’s taken until now for our employers [Alexandria's Channel 5, a state channel] to apply it.
There are now five of us wearing the hijab on screen.
I don’t know for sure why the management doesn’t like us wearing it. Maybe they thought we belonged to a very religious group, or something. They never gave us a proper reason.
But the reality is, most women here cover their hair. I come from Alexandria and as a presenter, I now reflect and represent my audience more closely than before.
I present a discussion programme focussing on social issues, it’s mainly aimed at women. On my return to the programme last week, so many people congratulated me in live phone calls on air!
However, my employers still haven’t let me return to my other job of reading the English-language news bulletins. I did this job for 12 years before I was stopped – but now they said I needed to pass another test. I refused to take it on principle.
When I covered my hair, I didn’t lose my ability to read the news. I can’t see the point of the ban, can you? To let me do one of my previous jobs, but not the other.
I hope I will win this next case, too.
Category Archives: News
A recent visit to the corner Barnes & Noble store led me to a cozy corner near the magazine section where I picked up a copy of Swindle Magazine.
I love this magazine for their great artwork and neat articles. I happened to be drawn to this issue in particular because of the cover.
The issue focuses upon the city’s absorption of a rising Muslim population—and we feature the young Islamic artist Sarah Maple.
Here is an excerpt:
If you want to see where London’s future lies, look to its Muslim demographic. Today, about 40% of Britain’s Muslim population resides in London, where they make up just below 10% of the residents. And half of the city’s Muslim population is under 24—the youngest age profile in the capital. According to the BBC, over half of all British Muslims were born in the U.K., making this subgroup an increasingly intrinsic part of British society. “We’re the second generation, we’ve grown up here like the kids around us and we haven’t faced the strains most of our elders felt such as not understanding English,” says Warsan Nur, a 19-year-old anthropology student at the University of London, and aspiring journalist. “Racism isn’t so common because people are growing to accept us, so the possibilities for this Muslim generation are endless.”
Fore more visit: http://swindlemagazine.com/issue16/
Publication shows candidate dressed as a Muslim, his wife as a terrorist…
WASHINGTON – Barack Obama‘s campaign says a satirical New Yorker magazine cover showing the Democratic presidential candidate dressed as a Muslim and his wife as a terrorist is “tasteless and offensive.”
The illustration on the issue that hits newsstands Monday, titled “The Politics of Fear” and drawn by Barry Blitt, depicts Barack Obama wearing traditional Muslim garb — sandals, robe and turban — and his wife, Michelle — dressed in camouflage, combat boots and an assault rifle strapped over her shoulder — standing in the Oval Office.
The couple is doing a fist tap in front of a fireplace in which an American flag is burning. Over the mantel hangs a portrait of Osama bin Laden.
“The New Yorker may think, as one of their staff explained to us, that their cover is a satirical lampoon of the caricature Senator Obama’s right-wing critics have tried to create,” said Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton. “But most readers will see it as tasteless and offensive. And we agree.”
In a statement Monday, the magazine said the cover “combines a number of fantastical images about the Obamas and shows them for the obvious distortions they are.”
“The burning flag, the nationalist-radical and Islamic outfits, the fist-bump, the portrait on the wall? All of them echo one attack or another. Satire is part of what we do, and it is meant to bring things out into the open, to hold up a mirror to prejudice, the hateful, and the absurd. And that’s the spirit of this cover,” the New Yorker statement said.
The statement also pointed to the two articles on Obama contained inside the magazine, calling them “very serious.”
Republican John McCain‘s campaign spokesman, Tucker Bonds, agreed that the cover was “tasteless and offensive.”
Wed 11 Jun 2008, 16:27 GMT
By Omar Hassan
DJIBOUTI, June 11 (Reuters) – Djibouti called up retired police and soldiers on Wednesday after a clash with Eritrean troops killed at least two and wounded 21 others on their shared border over looking strategic Red Sea shipping lanes.
Eritrea, without confirming or denying the clashes, dismissed Djibouti’s statements as “anti-Eritrean”.
The first fighting since 1996 between two of Africa’s smallest states broke out on Tuesday, after a nearly two-month standoff. Djibouti hosts French and U.S. military bases and is the main route to the sea for Eritrea’s arch-foe Ethiopia.
Djibouti said the clash began after Eritrean soldiers deserted and the Eritreans fired on them, prompting return fire. A second outbreak followed when Eritrean soldiers demanded their deserters back.
Fighting continued on Wednesday in the Mount Gabla area of northern Djibouti, Djibouti’s Defence Ministry said.
Police officers and soldiers who retired from 2004 to 2008 were ordered to reintegrate with their units, a government statement said.
Mount Gabla, also known as Ras Doumeira, overlooks the strategic Bab al-Mandib straits, which are a major shipping route to and from Europe and the Middle East.
Eritrea’s Foreign Ministry said it would not “get involved in an invitation of squabbles and acts of hostility”.
“(Djibouti) has been making continued futile attempts to drag the government of Eritrea into its concocted animosity,” a statement said.
A Reuters witness at a French hospital in Djibouti said helicopters had ferried in dead and wounded soldiers.
“PICKING A FIGHT”
In mid-April, Djibouti accused Eritrea of digging trenches and building fortifications on the Djiboutian side of the frontier. Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki told Reuters in a recent interview that was a “fabrication”.
“It’s just another case of Eritrea picking a fight and finding itself in a position of hostility towards the main Western players in the region,” said Patrick Smith, editor of the Africa Confidential newsletter.
“Eritrea is sending out a warning to Djibouti in particular saying if it chooses to go with Ethiopia then it’s opening itself up to conflict with Asmara,” he said.
Djibouti’s army says nearly 75 percent of its 11,000 troops are now along its boundary with Eritrea, which is one of Africa’s most militarised states and has more than 200,000 soldiers as part of a mandatory conscription programme.
Djibouti and Eritrea are two of Africa’s smallest nations with populations of 820,000 and 4.7 million respectively.
Djibouti hosts two foreign military bases, including one of France’s biggest overseas contingents and a U.S. counter-terrorism task force of about 2,000 soldiers — many of them elite special forces who work with Ethiopian troops.
Former colonial power France signed a mutual defence pact with Djibouti after independence in 1977.
It is also a vital route for landlocked Ethiopia, which has vowed to protect its shipping access in Djibouti if necessary.
Ethiopia blamed Eritrea for the clash.
“Ethiopia firmly believes that such unwarranted action should be stopped immediately and peaceful and diplomatic solution must be sought for the problem,” Bereket Simon, special adviser to Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, told Reuters.
Djibouti has turned itself into a regional shipping hub after massive investment from Dubai.
Eritrea and Ethiopia fought a border war in 1998-2000 that killed 70,000 people, and lingering enmity has fuelled conflict in neighbouring Somalia and in Ethiopia’s Ogaden region. (For full Reuters Africa coverage and to have your say on the top issues, visit: http://africa.reuters.com/ ) (Additional reporting by Jack Kimball in Asmara, Tsegaye Tadesse in Addis Ababa; Editing by Bryson Hull and Matthew Tostevin)
Can’t remember what time your next meeting takes place? If you’re a Google Calendar user, you can find out in a flash: Just send a message with the word “next” to GVENT (dial 48368) and you’ll get back the time and details of your next scheduled event. Send “day” for a full list of today’s appointments and “nday” for tomorrow’s.
Google Calendar also lets you add new events via SMS — and you can use plain English to do it. For example: “Lunch with Joe at Panera Bread tomorrow at noon.” Shoot a message like that to GVENT, and Google will add it to your calendar with all the appropriate details.
If you’re watching your weight, Diet.com can help you count your calories. Text any major restaurant chain’s name and menu item to DIET1 (dial 34381) and Diet.com will shoot you back the nutrition stats: calories, fat, carbs and protein.
Quicken Online can send you a text-message reminder when a bill is due, so you won’t have to worry about racking up late fees. Other Web-based money managers like Buxfer and Mint offer even more SMS-alert options: They can notify you of low balances, unusual spending and large deposits (such as a paycheck). You can even record transactions (great for tracking expenses on the run) or request an account balance.
Most people who hate text messaging do so for the simple reason that it’s such a hassle to compose messages using a cell-phone keypad. You could always upgrade to a keyboard-equipped phone like the AT&T Tilt, LG Voyager or RIM BlackBerry Curve, but even those models are “all thumbs” when it comes to text input. Plus, it probably seems excessive to spend hundreds of dollars on a new phone just for the sake of easier text messaging.
Instead, let your voice do the legwork — or fingerwork. A free service called Jott will transcribe your spoken message into text and deliver it via SMS to anyone in your contact list (which you have to set up in advance on the Jott site). Just speed-dial Jott from your cell phone, say the name of the person you want to contact, and then start talking. (Remember to keep it short: Text messages can’t be longer than a few sentences.) This is also a much safer way to send a message while you’re at the wheel. (Note, however, that some states ban or discourage using the phone while driving, or are considering laws against it.)
If you’re away from your PC, tap Google SMS for on-the-fly navigation. Create a new message with your starting point and destination, then send it to GOOGLE (dial 466453). In return, you’ll receive Google Maps directions in one or more text messages (depending on the length of the route). You can also get an actual map by texting “map” and your location.
Need directions but don’t want to take your hands off the wheel? Dial 800-FREE-411, 800-GOOG-411 or DIRECTIONS (dial 347-328-4667) for voice-prompted assistance. State your starting address and where you want to go; all three services will whip up directions and shoot them to your phone via SMS. Best of all, they’re free. You pay only standard calling and text-message charges.
4INFO offers a similar batch of SMS services, but adds helpful extras like package tracking and a Wi-Fi hotspot finder. You’ll find fun stuff, too, such as jokes, drink recipes and pickup lines. You can also sign up for text-message alerts: 4INFO will send you the game scores for your favorite teams, educate you with a word of the day, and even deliver Craigslist ad updates (so you can swoop in the moment playoff tickets go on sale).
Jet-setters can also tap Google SMS and 4INFO for flight information. Just text your airline and flight number to receive up-to-the-minute arrival and departure times. If you’d rather have flight updates pushed to your phone, head to FlightStats, sign up for a free account, and then set up some Flight Alerts. The site will send you a status report up to three hours before departure, notifications of any flight delays or cancellations, and a notification when the flight lands (helpful if you’re on airport-pickup detail).
Fans of Twitter, the micro-blogging service that lets others know what you’re doing at this very minute, will find SMS virtually indispensable for sending and receiving updates. Start by configuring your Twitter account to support text messaging: Click the Settings link and then click Phone & IM. Follow the instructions to enable your phone, then set Device Updates to “on.” (While you’re at it, click the Notices option and set “sleep” hours so you’re not bothered by new messages all through the night.)
To receive text-message updates from your friends and family, click the Following link in your profile and set Device Updates to “on” for each person. To broadcast your own updates straight from your phone, text your messages to 40404.
Enter Beam It Up Scotty, a free Web-based service that leverages SMS to send just about any kind of file to your phone. Just browse your hard drive for the desired file — document, photo, MP3, movie or whatever — and then choose a compression setting. Beam It Up Scotty can automatically optimize video and audio files for mobile-phone playback and can compress other kinds of files for speedier transfer.
Finally, enter your cell-phone number. Within a few minutes you’ll receive a text message containing a link to download the file straight to your phone.
To preserve only a select few messages (and avoid the hassles of software and cables), check out Treasuremytext. This free Web service archives and manages all messages forwarded from your phone. Later, you can visit the Treasuremytext site to review your messages, add notes and organize them in custom folders.
Diane Siddons got the call from Brandie Darnell in the middle of the day. Darnell had seen Siddons’ house advertised for rent on Craigslist and thought it was a smokin’ deal: $800 a month for a five bedroom house in a Tampa Bay, Fla., suburb.
Only one problem: Siddons’ house wasn’t for rent. She hadn’t placed any advertisement on Craigslist. Instead, a con artist had lifted photos of her home and placed them on the site as bait.
The ad made the home sound perfect for a small family, with 2.5 baths and a nice yard. Even cable TV was included. The price wasn’t completely out of line, so Darnell got the address from the alleged seller and drove by to see the place. She spotted a “for sale” sign with a real estate agent’s phone number on it and, after a brief phone call, learned she had been caught in an attempted scam.
Put Siddons on a small but growing list of Internet crime victims who never face the prospect of losing money. Instead their property or identity is borrowed for use in a ruse.
The con is simple. The alleged renter lures an apartment seeker with a realistic-looking ad — so realistic that the pictures match the address, so the ad will pass a drive-by test. But when the home-seeker contacts the renter, there’s no way to get inside the home. The renter supposedly is traveling, or on a two-year assignment in some distant place. “Send a deposit,” the con artists writes, “and I’ll send the keys.”
“It was really unnerving,” Siddons said. “We were concerned that someone would knock on my door and say, ‘Hey, we just rented this place, get out!'”
No one knows how many people are victimized by faux Craigslist ads – the firm says it’s a tiny fraction of 30 million monthly posts – but clearly, fake ads are hitting some people hard.
Fresh from collaborating with Kano, Craig David is set to return with a new album and single this autumn.
His fourth long-player ‘Trust Me’ hits the shelves on November 12 through Warners, with the single ‘Hot Stuff’ preceding it a week earlier.
‘Hot Stuff’ features a sample of the David Bowie classic ‘Let’s Dance’ – a move that will no doubt earn the track some much needed airplay.
‘Trust Me’ was recorded in Havana, Cuba with K T Tunstall producer Martin Terefe and is said to contain Cuban influences on album tracks.
A UK tour is being scheduled to coincide with the record’s release. I can’t wait…