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In historic shift, Saudis to allow some girls' sports

In historic shift, Saudis to allow some girls' sports | Matt's Geography Portfolio | Scoop.it

"Private girls' schools are now allowed to hold sports activities in accordance with the rules of Shariah, or Islamic law. Students must adhere to 'decent dress' codes and Saudi women teachers will be given priority in supervising the activities, according to the Education Ministry's requirements.  The decision makes sports once again a stage for the push to improve women's rights, nearly a year after two Saudi female athletes made an unprecedented appearance at the Olympics."  This news comes at a time when Saudi Arabia has allowed women to ride bikes (sort of).

 

Tags: Saudi Arabia, culture, gender, religion, Middle East.


Via Seth Dixon
Matthew DiLuglio's insight:

I never really understood the idea of telling people to or forcing them to act certain ways.  Our lives are not 'ours;' they belong to the world around us, within us and without us, not us.  I think that the girls being allowed to do certain things, like sports, is a good thing, not great.  Sports, in my opinion, are not the essence of life.  I believe in pursuing spirituality, and I think it is good that the girls are allowed to play sports in accordance with Islamic law, but in this ever-changing world that we live in, my own non-extending personal thoughts are that any law from a religion, should encourage opportunities, not prevent or encroach on them.  Cultures are different, and I'm not even really about to suggest my thoughts to anybody that might take it harshly, but it seems to me that whatever cultural laws and traits that inhibit functions such as sports, or have done so, are being put there by someone else that clearly is not as negatively affected by the 'laws.'  I know police that have smoked marijuana, I know politicians that have broken the law, and I see these things as "Eh, whatever," because it doesn't really affect me.  I wonder who, even in accordance to the cosmic beliefs of Islam (I'm open to a deity as an answer), put these laws here that have restricted school sports...

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Lena Minassian's curator insight, March 22, 2015 4:24 PM

I was happy to see an article like this. It's about time that these women are being given equal opportunities. Although they have a long way to go this is a step in the right direction. Saudi Arabian girls are being allowed to have sport related activities within their private schools. This did surprise me a little just because Saudi women's rights are very limited but this is a simple improvement just to the general health and well being of these girls. Two females competed in the last years summer Olympics representing Saudi Arabia and their efforts were not shown on Saudi TV. These women competing has opened a few doors to allowing more than just men to engage in these activities. Usually sports were only for the elite women who could afford gym memberships or attend well known colleges. Even though women cannot compete internationally or sign up for clubs or leagues this is a step in the right direction.

Kevin Cournoyer's curator insight, May 6, 2015 4:47 PM

This is an interesting article about slowly allowing women in Saudi Arabia to participate in sports. While playing soccer or swimming or running may not seem so important to us in the West, it is a big deal for Saudi women. Saudi Arabia has some of the strictest laws in the Middle East regarding women's rights, and so even a very partial and gradual allowance for women to engage in sports is a big step. It shows perhaps a slight softening of adherence to Shariah law, which would hopefully eventually allow women more freedom in the realms of education and work, as well as in everyday life. 

 

Too often are people quick to judge and characterize other cultures or religions by the most extreme examples. While it is true that laws in Saudi Arabia are extremely restrictive to women, progress such as this, though small, may well act as a stepping stone for increased freedoms for women. People outside of Saudi Arabia and Islamic culture must realize that this kind of progress does happen and is, in fact, happening right now. To simply dismiss Saudi culture as misogynistic and oppressive is to write the whole culture off. While progress is slow and less than ideal, we should look to Saudi Arabia's Islamic neighbors and see that many of them are not so oppressive to women. Allowing Saudi women to participate in sports, therefore, may be setting up the country to increase women's rights and join its relatively more liberal neighbors. This is certainly a sign of positive change, and one that should not be ignored. 

Mark Hathaway's curator insight, October 23, 2015 6:28 AM

I was quite shocked to hear of this story. There is no denying, that this is a step forward for the women of Saudi Arabia. However, women are far from free in this country. The activates still have to be in accordance with Islamic Law. The strict dress code also remains in effect for the girls. The Sports themselves, must be overseen by women teachers. I would not call this initiative the Saudi equivalent of title nine, but it is a step forward. Every little inroad, is a step towards more equality. The government of Saudi Arabia appears to be at least slightly altering its view of women. Hopefully this will be the first step in movement to gain Saudi women more rights. In generations to come, hopefully Saudi women will look back on this development as the start of a cultural revolution in Saudi Arabia.     

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European women marry, give hope to Samaritans

European women marry, give hope to Samaritans | Matt's Geography Portfolio | Scoop.it
MOUNT GERIZIM, West Bank (AP) — The Samaritans, a rapidly dwindling sect dating to biblical times, have opened their insular community to brides imported from eastern Europe in a desperate quest to preserve their ancient culture.

Via Seth Dixon
Matthew DiLuglio's insight:

I know a man who is Indian, and his grandparents came from India.  He tells me that their people do not formally or very much at all approve of interbreeding between their people and other cultures.  He says Indians stick with Indians, and that's how it's supposed to be.  I think in the future that the genetic diseases will be abolished by selective characteristic modification through reproductive alteration using technology- I think DNA modification will become a popular trick in both reproduction and everyday life that will allow for the end of illness.  This would allow people to marry into other cultures without fear of genetic complications, but they would still have that cultural barrier my Indian acquaintence referred to.  That same dude has some funny insight about Italians and other cultures, and noted that Italian-Americans are not really Italian at all.  We had a couple of interesting discussions regarding different cultures, and he told me that he is 100% Indian.  I don't mean to seem degrading AT ALL but the first thing that popped into my head was how people breed dogs to be purebreds, which are coveted and expensive, as well as pure.  I'm a blend of many different nationalities, and I'm proud of it... The universe is a blend of many nationalities, and I ever-ponder my connection with the Universe, and it's nice to know that I have a commonality with the Universe!

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Nathan Chasse's curator insight, April 1, 2014 12:14 PM

This article describes a how the small religious group, the Samaritans, have seen their numbers shrink to unsustainable levels and have been forced to turn outside to find wives. These men are importing brides from places like Ukraine because of a significant gender imbalance and heightened risk of birth defects due to genetic homogenization over the centuries. These circumstances present an fairly unique case of migration, one which should it become a standard practice, could have an effect on the culture of the Samaritan communities.

Alyssa Dorr's curator insight, December 17, 2014 9:43 PM

The Samaritans, a rapidly dwindling sect dating to biblical times, have opened their insular community to brides imported from eastern Europe in a desperate quest to preserve their ancient culture. Five young women from Russia and Ukraine have moved to this hilltop village in recent years to marry local men, breathing new life into the community that has been plagued by genetic diseases caused by generations of intermarriage. Husni Cohen, a 69-year-old village elder, said the marriages are not ideal, since there is always a risk that the newcomers may decide to leave. But in a community whose population has fallen to roughly 360 people, he saw little choice.

Gene Gagne's curator insight, December 1, 2015 7:30 PM

This is why Denmark gives plenty of incentives for women to have babies so to make sure the population growth stays above 2.06 which is the average number needed to keep a steady population.

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This Is What It's Like to Be a Muslim in Boston Right Now

This Is What It's Like to Be a Muslim in Boston Right Now | Matt's Geography Portfolio | Scoop.it
When Anum Hussain heard about the Boston Marathon bombing, she immediately panicked, worried that the culprits would be like her. The 22-year-old Muslim was in the offices of Hubspot, the Cambridge marketing-software company she works for.

Via Seth Dixon
Matthew DiLuglio's insight:

A Muslim friend of mine went through hell in high school, and was often called a terrorist.  People used to knock his books over in the hallways and took his religious cap from him.  They would talk behind his back, mock his holy garb, and blame him for events such as the bombing of the twin towers on 9/11/01, which was ridiculous because he was not even a teenager at the time that event happened.  He shall remain nameless for purposes of respect and privacy, but this allusion is in order to establish my opinion that if people had gotten to know more Muslims at a younger age, as I have in this case, they would not associate Muslims with terrorism in their first impressions with these people.  My friend is a kind, musically inclined, and peaceful artist, and I am open to believing that these qualities reflect more accurately what Muslims are about, at least to me, than the negative connotations of dangerous radicals within that religious sect.  It seems the media's portrayal of the truth is more important than the truth itself to many people, for it is weighted with shining gold credibility spoken through shiny white teeth on an HDTV screen in high resolution... not from upset protests by bearded, turban-clad Muslims, however innocent they may actually be. The Muslims that have wonderful qualities have been overshadowed not by the dangerous radicals, but by the extreme portrayals and labelings from the media.

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Courtney Burns's curator insight, November 20, 2013 3:33 PM

Being from around the area and listening and watching the tv during the boston bombings all I really thought about was how the city and families were effected by the tragic event. However I never really thought about how it impacted muslim people in the area. For people to put a blame on all muslim people is not right. We are not all the same, which means not all muslims are the same. Some muslims have lived their whole lives in the US and for people to catogorize them all as terrorists isn't right. All people should be treated them same way. It is sad to read the article and think that some muslims in Boston walk around in fear of being beat up or killed just because of their culture. The bombings effected an entire city and muslim people people should be able to mourn with the rest of the city. They grew up there just like we did. So what makes them so different from me and you? Not all muslims are killers like the two boys from the bombings. It is really sad to me that they have to live their lives in fear everyday in a place that they call home, just because of their culture. No one deserves to live like that. I can't even imagine how difficult it is for muslim people in Boston. 

Ryan G Soares's curator insight, December 3, 2013 10:38 AM

Terrorism is a huge problem in our Country today. I'm not trying to racist saying this but I feel like they do it to themselves. Coming into our country and terrorizing our nation thats okay? Yes not every Muslim is a terrorist im not saying that but you never know if they are or not. Since 911 we cant trust anyone, and theres a reason for that. I understand that they should not have to feel any different then the average American but the past is what we all dwell on.

Lauren Sellers's curator insight, May 29, 2014 10:19 AM

Some are saying that racism doesnt exist anymore but it does. Muslims still live in fear that they are being judged everyday because some Americans generalize Muslims with terrorism

Rescooped by Matthew DiLuglio from Geography Education
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Where Does the South Begin?

Where Does the South Begin? | Matt's Geography Portfolio | Scoop.it
Roads? Religion? Accent? Food? Which factor dictates where the North ends?

 

This is a great intellectual expercise to help student think about regions and how we define them.  The article can help also inform some of their thinking since one of the main problems for students in drawing regional boundaries is a lack of place-based knowledge.   

 

Tags: regions, USA.


Via Seth Dixon
Matthew DiLuglio's insight:

Borders... the first thing I think of was a giant bookstore near my hometown... it now ceases to exist, having been replaced by Barnes and Nobel...  As for the political organization of space, I could apply this situation and laugh.  Borders will cease to be, and they will be called after people's last names!  I think this has already happened, when people unite together in countries such as the USA- although borders are specific, the general federal laws and many policies still apply in all states... generally. And people's names are often the namesakes of places.  I don't like the idea of borders, though, it seems like a bunch of warmongers trying to get ahead in a world where they can't truly cheat death, so they cheat other people of land that may have been decreed in ancient documents as property of their ancestors, or even in accordance with the righteousness of the universe and what should be alloted to whom.  Ownership is a concept of denial, because no one can truly own anything, not even our bodies, which contain trillions of infinite universes the size of the large one around us that we commonly refer to.  Borders are relative, and will likely become recognized as obsolete.  I know this was abstract, but it's my thoughts on the topic.

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