Girls Weren’t Forcibly Converted: Pakistan Court
From Pakistan, Uzma Comes Forward To Help Women Facing Similar Situation
Giving Muslim Women Time To Grieve And Reflect After The Christchurch Attacks
Lead the Charge, And Chants, In Sudan Protests
show reunites Dutch woman with Turkish sister
Female Students Protest After Al-Azhar Campus Rape Covered Up
by New Age Islam News Bureau
Arabia Executes First Female Pakistani Prisoner in Five Years’
Arabia executed a Pakistani couple accused smuggling drugs, Saudi Press Agency
to Justice Project Pakistan, Fatima Ijaz is the first Pakistani woman to be
executed in Saudi Arabia since 2014.
rights group said that three Pakistani nationals, Ijaz, her husband Muhammad
Mustafa and Abdul Malik, were executed in the Kingdom.
story: Crown prince orders the immediate release of 2,107 Pakistani prisoners
in Saudi Arabia
Arabia has executed more than 100 Pakistanis in the past five years,” the
rights group said in a statement. “The Kingdom executes more Pakistanis than
any other foreign nationality, with 20 executions in 2014, 22 in 2015, 7 in
2016, 17 in 2017, 30 in 2018 and 14 this year so far.”
is extremely disheartening to know that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has
executed its first female Pakistani prisoner in five years,” Sarah Belal, the
executive director of Justice Project Pakistan, said in a statement.
called Ijaz’s execution a “gross failure” of the Pakistani mission to do its
government of Pakistan must utilise all diplomatic channels to compel the Saudi
government to halt the executions of Pakistanis facing the harshest
punishment,” she added.
Minister Imran Khan had informed Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin
Salman that there were 3,000 Pakistani prisoners in Saudi Arabia.
would just like you to bear in mind that they are poor people who have left
their families behind,” PM Khan said.
crown prince told PM Khan to consider him Pakistan’s ambassador in Saudi
Arabia. “We cannot say no to Pakistan … whatever we can do, we will deliver
that,” he said.
Pakistani High Court on Thursday declared that the two Hindu teenage sisters
were not forcibly converted from Hinduism to Islam, and permitted them to live
with their spouses, according to a media report.
two girls, Raveena (13) and Reena (15), and their spouses petitioned the
Islamabad High Court on March 25 against alleged harassment by police days
after their father and brother alleged that the girls were underage, abducted,
forced into changing their religion, and then married off to Muslim men.
their plea, the girls claimed that they belong to a Hindu family of Ghotki,
Sindh but converted willfully as they were impressed by Islamic teaching, Dawn
counsel for the girls’ parents, however, asserted that the case pertained to
Justice Athar Minallah constituted a five-member commission to probe whether
the conversion of the Hindu sisters to Islam was forced or otherwise.
commission comprising Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari, prominent Muslim
scholar Mufti Taqi Usmani, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan Chairperson Dr
Mehdi Hasan, National Commission on the Status of Women Chairperson Khawar
Mumtaz and veteran journalist and human rights activist I.A. Rehman probed the
matter and concluded that it was not a forced conversion, the report said.
secretary interior, Azam Suleman, apprised the the high court about the findings
of the commission, and told the court that as per the commission’s opinion, it
was a facilitated conversion, the report said.
Rehman pointed out in court that “there is no law in Pakistan against forced
conversions” and sought a court decree in this regard.
Minallah remarked that the case of the Ghotki sisters was a simple one and
would have been decided in a day or so, but a commission comprising eminent
professionals and scholars was constituted keeping in view the sensitivity of
the case since “the court wanted to ensure this was not a forced conversion”.
the issue of forced conversions, the court sought the commission’s
recommendations within four weeks and adjourned the case until May 14.
teenage sisters were allegedly kidnapped by a group of “influential” men from
their home in Ghotki district in Sindh on the eve of Holi. Soon after the
kidnapping, a video went viral in which a cleric was purportedly shown
soleminising the Nikah (marriage) of the two girls, triggering a nationwide
Minister Imran Khan also ordered probe to ascertain if the two girls were
abducted and forcibly converted and married.
war of words broke out between India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj
and Pakistan’s Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry over the reported abduction,
forced conversion and underage marriages of the two Hindu teenagers.
spat started soon after Ms. Swaraj sought details from the Indian envoy in
Pakistan into the reported abduction of two Hindu teenaged girls.
Swaraj tweeted that she has asked the Indian High Commissioner in Pakistan to
send a report on the matter.
form the biggest minority community in Pakistan.
to official estimates, 75 lakh Hindus live in Pakistan. Majority of Pakistan’s
Hindu population is settled in Sindh province.
to media reports, approximately 25 forced marriages take place every month only
in Umerkot district in Sindh province.
Delhi [India], Apr 11 (ANI): Uzma Ahmed made headlines way back in 2017 when
she was rescued by the Indian High Commission from Pakistan.
had fallen in love with a Pakistan national in 2017 in Malaysia. But all her
dreams were shattered when she was kept as a hostage by him in remotely
situated Khyber Pakhtunkhwa for a month.
two years of struggle of fighting bitter memories, she has decided to come
forward to help women who face a similar situation, and her painful experience
in Pakistan inspired her to take this initiative.
to ANI, Uzma said: "I am planning to start a helpline number and NGO with
the name 'Daughter of India.' It will help women, who have been kept hostages
want to give a message to those women who have bitter experiences. They must
flush out old memories and start a new chapter of their lives."
were not ready to accept me when I returned from Pakistan," she added.
took me two years to overcome the trauma and flush out bitter memories. When I
came back to India, the people in my locality were not ready to accept
me," she recalled.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, she said: "She is like my mother.
She gave me a second life. She could not visit my beauty parlour but sent her
a biopic will also be made on Uzma's life and her stay in Pakistan.
want to thank Rakesh ji for producing a film on my life. The work is in
progress," she informed.
women left widowed after the Christchurch attacks are now facing a waiting
period called the Iddah, as required by their religion. Isra'a Emhail spoke to
Ustadah Um Muhammad, an Islamic teacher from Dar al Quran, about what this
iddah is a waiting period that a Muslim woman observes after the death of her
husband or after a divorce. The Quran says:
those men who die amongst you and leave behind wives, they (the wives) must
confine themselves (spend iddah) for four months and ten days. (V 228 - Chapter
2: Al Baqarah)
women who were widowed during the recent massacre in Christchurch, this
injunction applies and it will, therefore, be required for them to observe the
'iddah' (waiting period) for 130 days. The exception is if the widowed woman is
pregnant, then her waiting period (iddah) ends when she gives birth to the
iddah must be observed in the house where she was living with her husband. She
is required to stay at home in mourning and not leave the house except for
necessities. What constitutes a necessity varies depending on individual
circumstances. (For example, a woman can leave the house for work, medical
attention, attending to her own needs or those of her dependants, shopping,
paying bills or similar activities). Once those tasks are completed, she should
not linger and should return home.
widow is required to avoid doing anything that focuses on her appearance during
this period. She is prohibited from marrying or making any arrangements for
marriage. Men are not allowed to propose to her during this period.
is the purpose of iddah in Islam?
is specifically legislated in the Quran, whose text does not explicitly outline
a reason for this rule. Jurists have offered various rationales for it, which
may or may not encompass the divine prescription.
waiting period allows for establishing if the widow is pregnant or not.
offers her an opportunity to keep her residence and mourn her deceased husband
without fear of eviction. She is given this time to grieve properly without
feeling pressure to worry about other issues. In traditional Muslim societies,
families and communities would visit her frequently and help with the care of
her dependants and have this transition time to discuss and arrange for the
next stage in her life.
waiting period allows a fair time for a woman to grieve, mourn, reflect until
she regains her balance and strength. Not mixing with strangers means that she
is surrounded by supportive male members of her family and close females who
will be protective and nurturing.
prohibition to marry ensures that women do not rush into a relationship at a
time when they may feel insecure, even panicky about being alone and
unsupported. It affords them time to care for themselves and nurture their own
spirituality and relationship with Allah through prayers and reflection.
was a repressive place for women under Omar al-Bashir’s Islamist 30-year reign.
But women have reclaimed their voice during the latest anti-regime protests and
are determined to secure their place in the future.
El Roubi was 10 years old when Omar al-Bashir seized power in a bloodless coup.
She vividly recalls the drastic changes in her life when public order and
civiclaws changed in Sudan shortly after the takeover.
clearly remember my childhood was taken away. We were young, but we dressed
freely as teenagers and pre-teens," Roubi explained. "Suddenly,
everything changed: The way we dress changed, our school uniforms changed. For
my generation, it was a strange experience, we had a taste of freedom and then
it suddenly transformed. We became sexualised objects and our bodies became a
battleground for those in power.”
three decades after the 1989 coup, the 41-year-old activist and member of the
opposition Sudanese Congress Party said she was exhilarated by the leading
roles women played on the front lines of the latest anti-government protests.
to FRANCE 24 in a phone interview from Khartoum – where she briefly tore
herself away from demonstrations in the heart of the Sudanese capital to access
her phone service – Roubi described incredible scenes. “Women are at the
forefront, the leaders, here. It’s not the stereotype of women in the
background cheering the men. Women start chanting and we also regulate the
chanting. If the chants include sexist statements or are discriminatory, we
regulate it, we just explain, there’s no aggression. It’s a harassment-free
zone, it’s exceptional.”
the latest round of anti-regime demonstrations broke out in December, one of
the protest chants described Bashir as weak and compared him to a woman. But
demonstrators changed that tune after women began calling it out on social
international community got a crash course in female power this week when a
video of a young woman in a white toub, or traditional Sudanese robe, leading a
lively protest song went viral.
on top of a car in sneakers, matched with toub and traditional bridal
jewellery, Alaa Salah, a 22-year-old architecture student, epitomised not just
girl power, but also the cultural diversity that was suppressed during Bashir’s
the 1989 coup, Bashir’s alliance with hardline Islamist politician Hassan
al-Turabi saw an austere brand of Islamism imposed on an ancient land at the
crossroads of African trade routes, where merchants from as far as India and
Anatolia settled, bringing with them a cultural heterogeneity that was an
integral part of Sudanese identity.
garment quickly turned into a symbol of cultural reassertion, a shout out to
the Kandakas, or Nubian queens who ruled the Kush kingdom in what is now Sudan
more than 3,000 years ago.
Thursday, Sudanese Defense Minister Awad Mohamed Ahmed Ibn Auf announced the
army had toppled and arrested Bashir and a transitional military council would
rule the country for two years.
demonstrators promptly rejected the military takeover, with the Sudanese
Professionals Association, one of the main protest organisers, calling instead
for a civilian transitional government to be put in place.
are definitely committed and focused on ensuring this is not a military coup
and we’re determined to make that clear. It’s not a case of, ‘The military is
going to save us.’ We don’t want another Islamist with a different face,” said
byword for human rights abuses
future is being shaped in the days and months to come, and few protesters are
likely to accept a two-year transition period led by Defense Minister Auf, a
longtime Bashir loyalist who was blacklisted by the US in 2010 for his role in
the Darfur conflict.
man who for the moment holds power, Awad Mohammed Ibn Auf, is himself
associated with many of the atrocities that Bashir was responsible for in
Darfur. He is alleged to have coordinated many of the attacks by the Janjaweed,
the brutal militia that was so active and caused so many of the casualties in
Darfur,” explained FRANCE 24’s chief foreign editor, Rob Parsons.
Bashir, Sudan turned into a byword for brutal human rights violations, including
allegations of a genocide against Darfuri men, women and children during the
conflict in western Sudan, which led to an indictment by the International
Criminal Court (ICC) against the Sudanese strongman.
of Darfur, in the Bahr al Jabal region, decades of brutal wars between the
regime and the primarily Nilotic Christian populace finally led to the
breakaway and independence of South Sudan, depriving Khartoum of the
third-largest oil reserves in sub-Saharan Africa.
bear brunt of Bashir’s brutality
combatants who took up arms against Khartoum were not the only ones who
suffered violations by Bashir’s regime.
women bore the brunt of the regime’s violations, ranging from vaguely defined
public morality laws that limited their movement without male guardians to
corporal punishment such as lashings to severe abuses – including rape – by
security forces while in detention.
rights defenders were particularly targeted, in a systematic attempt by
Sudanese authorities to silence female activists, lawyers and journalists, New
York-based Human Rights Watch noted in a 2016 report.
herself was detained in 2013 during the “Sudan Change Movement,” which broke
out after the 2011 Arab uprisings. Activists say more than 200 people were
killed in a crackdown by Bashir’s security forces while Sudanese authorities
reported around 70 deaths.
arrest of a prominent, British-educated activist and former World Bank employee
made headlines on pan-African websites. Upon her release, Roubi detailed the
conditions of her detention in an interview with AFP.
years later, and on a milestone day in Sudan’s history, Roubi was dismissive
about her detention experience.
than 200 people were shot down in Khartoum in broad daylight. I was detained
for eight days. My arrest was nothing compared to what others had to endure.
It’s a big problem – the lashings, interrogations, intimidation, beatings,
families not knowing where their loved ones have disappeared. My case was
different because it had high visibility, I was a World Bank employee and there
was a different dynamic,” she said.
the latest protests, the fear of arrest was hardly an issue, Roubi said.
were thousands arrested since the demonstrations broke out in December. On
March 8 (International Women’s Day), they released some women prisoners and the
government made a big deal about it. But we were ready to fill the jails. If
we’re all ready to go to jail, it stops being intimidating,” she explained.
ouster does not mean that freedom in Sudan is guaranteed, but Roubi is
optimistic. “It makes me so hopeful when I see young women and men, who do not
know what it was like before the repression, campaigning for change,” she said.
is quick to clarify that Sudan had repressive regimes before Bashir. But, she
explains, they concentrated on political and security issues and did not target
the Bashir regime’s assault on women’s rights, Roubi proudly notes that, “at a
social level, we have always had strong female characters".
very rare to find mothers, grandmothers, sisters, students who are not
strong-willed. We Sudanese women are breadwinners, we work, we demand respect –
that’s our tradition.”
a more tolerant past
Sudan today is a Sunni Muslim-majority nation, most Sudanese Muslims adhere to
the Maliki school of jurisprudence and are deeply influenced by Sufism, a more
mystical branch of Islam. The form of Islam imported by the Muslim
Brotherhood-linked Turabi and Bashir was alien to the syncretic nature of
worship traditionally practiced in Sudan.
and the late Turabi had a political falling out and a rocky relationship after
1996, but that did not ease the pressure on women. In recent years, economic
hardships – compounded by international sanctions and the loss of oil revenues
from South Sudan – saw Bashir move closer to Saudi Arabia, with its brand of
conservative Wahabbi Islam making inroads into the African nation.
activists of Roubi’s generation could see the impact that decades of sustained
hardline Islamism had on young women. “I was always frustrated discussing
gender issues with younger women because the regime had changed their way of
thinking,” she said.
that bleak assessment appears to have changed since the latest protests broke
out last year.
no generational divide now. Young women have shown so much resilience and
courage, mobilising and campaigning. There are obviously discussions still to
be had – some want more public participation but are socially conservative
while others are not. But we all agree on women’s participation in public life,
in work and in leadership positions. Our voices now are louder and we’re being
Witteman had no idea she had a Turkish father until her mother told her the
truth on her deathbed. The 55-year-old Dutch lawyer came to Turkey to search
for her father, but instead found a sister in Hatice Köse.
two women met on a daytime show on ATV after Köse thought Witteman might be the
"daughter in the Netherlands" mentioned by her father, who was
married to a Turkish woman in Turkey. Köse contacted the TV show on which
Witteman appeared to appeal for the whereabouts of Mehmet Yıldız, her Turkish
show's presenter, Müge Anlı, announced yesterday the results of a DNA test that
showed the two were indeed the daughters of Yıldız, who was a Turkish worker in
the Netherlands in the 1960s.
of female students at Egypt’s Al-Azhar University held a protest yesterday,
accusing college officials of attempting to cover up the rape of a woman on
campus the week before.
were heard at a nearby park within the Assuit university compound at 6pm on 18
March when a student from the Arabic Language Faculty was assaulted and raped.
Found with her clothes ripped and bloodied, she was quickly taken to hospital
by fellow students, but died from a severe haemorrhage caused by her injuries.
attacker was seen to have escaped by climbing over the compound wall, but in
the aftermath of the student’s death, university authorities denied that the
incident had taken place. University officials claimed that the girl had
travelled home for a holiday with her parents, despite eyewitness accounts to
[Al-Azhar Media] centre has noticed that some of the social networking pages of
anonymous stories about the incident … all containing false lies, without any
specific facts that can be referred to, but only spreads confusion and panic
among the students of Al-Azhar,” the university said in a press release.
later banned discussion of the assault, with a voice recording allegedly of
Al-Azhar Vice President Osama Al-Raouf threatening students with dismissal and
further legal action if they published any “rumours” about the incident on
response, students organised a demonstration calling for the university to
acknowledge the incident, the housing administration to be held responsible for
its negligence, and investigate the case to locate the perpetrator. Using the
hashtag “The rights of student at Al-Azhar University”, they shared videos and
photos of the demonstration on social media.
in attempting to leave the campus, the protesters found themselves surrounded
by security forces, who called on them to end the rally.
from the protest show the women peacefully chanting, but security forces later
closing the gates to the compound, accusing them of inciting others to protest.
Two students are believed to have been detained in the demonstrations after
testifying to having witnessed the assault.
assault has been identified as a persistent problem in Egypt; a 2017 report
from the UN Women and Promundo found that some 60 per cent of women said they
had been victims of some form of sexual harassment during their lifetimes.
last August, Al-Azhar University issued a statement denouncing sexual abuse
against women and calling for anti-harassment laws to be used to punish
holy Al-Azhar asserts that criminalising harassment must be absolute regardless
of the context or conditions,” the statement read. “Blaming harassment on a
woman’s clothing or behaviour is a wrong way of thinking. Harassment is an
attack on a woman’s privacy as well as her dignity and freedom. This appalling
phenomenon also leads to the loss of the sense of security.”
to tackle sexual harassment in the country have also proven futile; in November
an experiment conducted by grassroots media outlet Egyptian Streets found that
approximately 95 per cent of calls made to a hotline dedicated to victims of
sexual harassment in Egypt were ignored.
president of the National Council of Women (NCW) which advertised the hotline
had previously claimed that the rate of sexual harassment in Egypt was only 9.6
per cent in 2016, adding that 99 per cent of reports of abuse by women were
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