From the BBC.

It’s the weekend in Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, and seven sisters are dressing for a wedding.

The eldest, Ashwaq, 21, a university graduate, wants to be a journalist.

Asked what she thinks about Yemen’s new self-appointed morality authority, she looks up from styling her sister’s hair.

“The first thing they’ll do is stop women from working. Then they’ll force us to wear the veil.”

The state is weak and the courts have limited reach. Instead, cultural practices – such as veiling and gender segregation – are enforced by neighbours, relatives and community leaders.

But on 15 July, a panel of Islamic clerics – supported by prominent tribal chiefs – announced the creation of a Meeting for Protecting Virtue and Fighting Vice.

The movement’s figurehead is Abdul Majid Zindani – a popular but controversial cleric who claims to have invented a cure for Aids.

The vice and virtue authority has already condemned a proposal allocating 15% of parliamentary seats to women in 2009 – and decreed a woman’s place is in the home.

“This new vice and virtue movement has the potential to undermine the government,” says Rahma Hugaira, chair of Yemen’s Media Women Forum.

“Civil society groups are working hard to modernise society, to establish a social contract grounded in our constitution and reflected in our laws. A group using religion as a weapon threatens all the progress we have achieved.”