All that you missed last week

From now on, we will be bringing equality and diversity related news to you every week. This is the first in our new series called ‘The week that was…’ So, if you missed anything last week, do read our weekly round up of equality and diversity related news.

1st – 5th of August 2011

Last week marked the beginning of Ramadan. Ramadan is a month of fasting for Muslims that is intended to teach patience, humility and spirituality to Muslims. Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset and cannot consume any food or drink at all during the fast. Mehdi Hasan, senior editor (politics) at the New Statesman, wrote a guide to Ramadan in the Guardian last week.

At the end of the fasting month, Muslims celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr. Al-Jazeera posted a photo gallery depicting celebrations marking the beginning of Ramadan in different countries of the world.

Speaking of Ramadan, the Malaysian television channel 8TV was forced to pull its Ramadan public service advertisements after various complaints of racism. The advertisements prescribing what should and should not be done during Ramadan cast Malaysian Chinese in all the negative what-should-not-be-done roles (wearing tight clothes, being obnoxious etc). Ethnic Chinese are a minority in Malaysia making up almost one-fourth of Malaysia’s population and often complain of being discriminated against.

Meanwhile, Theresa May and Vince Cable have been busy telling UK companies to increase their efficiency by increasing representation of women in their top jobs. May and Cable wrote a joint letter to 350 FTSE companies setting out a strong business case for increasing the number of women on the top levels and urging companies to set up a target of 25% female representation on boards by 2015.

And finally, Italy made news not only with its impending economic crisis but also for approving the draft law to ban the burqa or veil in the country. The draft law prohibits women from going out in full face veil in public and women who violate the ban can be fined. The sponsor of the ban, a member of the conservative Freedom People Party, said she wanted to help Muslim women integrate into the Italian society. Only time will tell.

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If there’s anything we have left out or something coming up that you think could be of interest, please write to a.islam1@lse.ac.uk and we’ll make sure it’s included in the next week’s round up.