Up For the Challenge

Isioma Daniel is a Nigerian journalist who now lives in Norway. Her story is actually quite fascinating and it reveals many things about different social, cultural and political issues.

In 2002, the Miss World beauty pageant was set to take place in Nigeria. Daniel covered the controversy that was taking place in Nigeria at that time among Islamic religious groups who protested against those women coming to their land and walking around with revealing outfits and (God forbid) bikinis.

Daniel wrote that religious groups should not feel offended by that because if Mohammed would have been alive today, he would have probably chosen one (or a few) of these women to be his wife. Just for that, there was a Fatwa issued against her which gave anyone the right to kill her if she was caught. Eventually, she wasn’t. She fled to Norway and she is still there today.

This just goes to show that journalists say what is on their mind. They are honest and blunt and not liars and cheaters as people like to categorize them to be. It also shows that women have the ability to be at either side of the journalistic pen, whether it is to have the guts to take part in that industry and speak their mind, or to be the competitors in the beauty pageant, waving to the crowd, looking pretty and wishing for world peace.

Another thing, is that it also shows how Islamic fundementalism is the epitome of what politics and/or religion should NOT be like – especially the mixing of these two aspects. Nigeria is not an entirely stable system yet, and freedom of the press is still somewhat limited. The northern part is still very much controlled by religious groups, more socially than politically. People living in the North are said to be more conservative in terms of language and expression, whereas the south is a little more open. It has come a long way since the Isioma Daniel affair, but it still has a way to go.

For more info, go to Reporters Without Borders at: 
http://www.rsf.org/article.php3?id_article=10191

Or to Feminist Campus at: http://www.feministcampus.org/network/chat/chat_isiomadaniel02132003.asp

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