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Lawsuit: Gym refuses to let New Mexico woman wear religious head covering while working out

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - A gym in Albuquerque refused to let a Muslim woman wear her religious head covering when she tried to work out, according to a new lawsuit against the company. An attorney for Tarainia McDaniel, 37, recently filed the lawsuit in a New Mexico district court stemming from a 2011 clash at a Planet Fitness that prevented McDaniel from using the gym while wearing the head covering, even though court documents said another Planet Fitness in the area had previously let her do so, the Albuquerque Journal reports (http://goo.gl/lqi6Xj).

Couillard warns Liberal member to follow party line on secularism charter

MONTREAL - Liberal Leader Philippe Couillard sought to quell appearances of party divisions after the only Muslim woman in the legislature broke ranks over the party's opposition to the government's proposed secularism. Couillard warned Fatima Houda-Pepin on Friday to fall into line and not to make any declarations outside the caucus. He also said she will have to follow the party line if a vote is held on the controversial charter, which would ban public sector workers from wearing obvious religious symbols such as the hijab on the job.

Be lenient, Iran's Rouhani urges police on hijab issue

"If there is a need for a warning on the hijab (head and shoulder veil) issue, the police should be the last to give it," the moderate president told police academy graduates, Fars news agency reported.

3 Saudi Shura Council women urge female drive ban lifted

Three female members of Saudi Arabia's Shura Consultative Council filed a recommendation on Tuesday that a ban on women driving in the ultra-conservative kingdom be lifted, one of them said. The move comes ahead of an October 26 initiative by Saudi activists to defy a longstanding driving ban on women in Saudi Arabia.

Afghanistan needs more policewomen

Women make up only one percent of Afghanistan's police force and as a result women are reluctant to seek justice for rising levels of violence, international aid agency Oxfam said Tuesday. There is an average of one female police officer for every 10,000 women in Afghanistan, where reports of violence against women rose by 25 percent in 2011-2012, Oxfam said in a report. Women who join the police face huge challenges, both inside and outside the force, such as violence, sexual harassment and lack of equal treatment to their male colleagues, it said.

Sudan woman risks flogging to protest 'Taliban'-like law

A Sudanese woman says she is prepared to be flogged to defend the right to leave her hair uncovered in defiance of a "Taliban"-like law. Amira Osman Hamed faces a possible whipping if convicted at a trial which could come on September 19. Under Sudanese law her hair -- and that of all women -- is supposed to be covered with a "hijab". But Hamed, 35, refuses to wear one.

Afghan women, clerics, eye unlikely alliance to improve rights

By Miram Arghandiwal KABUL (Reuters) - A group of Afghan female lawmakers and activists are eyeing an unlikely alliance with the country's religious leaders, hoping to promote and enhance women's rights through Islam in a joint campaign. Though Afghan women have made hard-fought gains in education and work since the collapse of the austere Taliban regime in 2001, fears are growing these could suffer a reversal when most foreign forces leave by the end of next year.

Afghan women, clerics, eye unlikely alliance to improve rights

By Miram Arghandiwal KABUL (Reuters) - A group of Afghan female lawmakers and activists are eyeing an unlikely alliance with the country's religious leaders, hoping to promote and enhance women's rights through Islam in a joint campaign. Though Afghan women have made hard-fought gains in education and work since the collapse of the austere Taliban regime in 2001, fears are growing these could suffer a reversal when most foreign forces leave by the end of next year.

Taliban criticise Kabul's pink balloon art project

The official Taliban website has published an article criticising an art project in which 10,000 pink balloons were given away for free in Kabul, saying the event encouraged un-Islamic behaviour. Under the headline "Was it a balloon show or a mini-skirt show?", the piece said that the conceptual artwork was a trick to promote Western values among the young Afghan volunteers who helped hand out the balloons.

Saudi debates access to stadiums for women

Saudi Arabia is debating whether to allow access to women in sports stadiums after an official backed the idea, triggering a storm in the ultra-conservative Muslim kingdom where female sports are severely restricted. "Women would be authorised in the stadiums soon," said Saudi Football Federation chief Ahmed Eid. Eid raised the possibility of allocating 15 percent of the capacity of a stadium being built in a sports complex in the western city of Jeddah to family booths where women could attend football matches. The stadium is due to be completed in 2014.
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