this April 14, 2019 file photo, Pakistani Christian Mahek Liaqat, who married a
Chinese national, cries as she narrates her ordeal, in Gujranwala, Pakistan.
(AP Photo/K.M. Chaudary, File)
Women of Different Faiths to Share to Share Their Perspectives on Celebrating
Traditional Faith Holidays
Wearing Hijabs in News Stories May Be Judged Negatively
Attacks on Ilhan Omar Reveal A Disturbing Truth About Racism In America
Smith Charged With Membership of Islamic State And Denied Bail At Dublin Court
Up: Veganism Trend Soaring Among Young Saudis
Johnson Claimed Children of Working Mothers 'More Likely To Mug You'
Compiled By New
Age Islam News Bureau
Pakistani girls sold as brides to China
December 4, 2019
PAKISTAN -- Page after page, the names stack up: 629 girls and women from
across Pakistan who were sold as brides to Chinese men and taken to China. The
list, obtained by The Associated Press, was compiled by Pakistani investigators
determined to break up trafficking networks exploiting the country's poor and
list gives the most concrete figure yet for the number of women caught up in
the trafficking schemes since 2018.
since the time it was put together in June, investigators' aggressive drive
against the networks has largely ground to a halt. Officials with knowledge of
the investigations say that is because of pressure from government officials
fearful of hurting Pakistan's lucrative ties to Beijing.
biggest case against traffickers has fallen apart. In October, a court in
Faisalabad acquitted 31 Chinese nationals charged in connection with
trafficking. Several of the women who had initially been interviewed by police
refused to testify because they were either threatened or bribed into silence,
according to a court official and a police investigator familiar with the case.
The two spoke on condition of anonymity because they feared retribution for
the same time, the government has sought to curtail investigations, putting
"immense pressure" on officials from the Federal Investigation Agency
pursuing trafficking networks, said Saleem Iqbal, a Christian activist who has
helped parents rescue several young girls from China and prevented others from
being sent there.
(FIA officials) were even transferred," Iqbal said in an interview.
"When we talk to Pakistani rulers, they don't pay any attention. "
about the complaints, Pakistan's interior and foreign ministries refused to
senior officials familiar with the events said investigations into trafficking
have slowed, the investigators are frustrated, and Pakistani media have been
pushed to curb their reporting on trafficking. The officials spoke on condition
of anonymity because they feared reprisals.
one is doing anything to help these girls," one of the officials said.
"The whole racket is continuing, and it is growing. Why? Because they know
they can get away with it. The authorities won't follow through, everyone is
being pressured to not investigate. Trafficking is increasing now."
said he was speaking out "because I have to live with myself. Where is our
Foreign Ministry said it was unaware of the list.
two governments of China and Pakistan support the formation of happy families
between their people on a voluntary basis in keeping with laws and regulations,
while at the same time having zero tolerance for and resolutely fighting
against any person engaging in illegal cross-border marriage behaviour,"
the ministry said in a statement faxed Monday to AP's Beijing bureau.
AP investigation earlier this year revealed how Pakistan's Christian minority
has become a new target of brokers who pay impoverished parents to marry off
their daughters, some of them teenagers, to Chinese husbands who return with
them to their homeland. Many of the brides are then isolated and abused or
forced into prostitution in China, often contacting home and pleading to be
brought back. The AP spoke to police and court officials and more than a dozen
brides -- some of whom made it back to Pakistan, others who remained trapped in
China -- as well as remorseful parents, neighbours, relatives and human rights
are targeted because they are one of the poorest communities in Muslim-majority
Pakistan. The trafficking rings are made up of Chinese and Pakistani middlemen
and include Christian ministers, mostly from small evangelical churches, who
get bribes to urge their flock to sell their daughters. Investigators have also
turned up at least one Muslim cleric running a marriage bureau from his
madrassa, or religious school.
put together the list of 629 women from Pakistan's integrated border management
system, which digitally records travel documents at the country's airports. The
information includes the brides' national identity numbers, their Chinese
husbands' names and the dates of their marriages.
but a handful of the marriages took place in 2018 and up to April 2019. One of
the senior officials said it was believed all 629 were sold to grooms by their
is not known how many more women and girls were trafficked since the list was
put together. But the official said, "the lucrative trade continues."
He spoke to the AP in an interview conducted hundreds of kilometres from his
place of work to protect his identity. "The Chinese and Pakistani brokers
make between 4 million and 10 million rupees ($25,000 and $65,000) from the
groom, but only about 200,000 rupees ($1,500), is given to the family," he
official, with years of experience studying human trafficking in Pakistan, said
many of the women who spoke to investigators told of forced fertility
treatments, physical and sexual abuse and, in some cases, forced prostitution.
Although no evidence has emerged, at least one investigation report contains
allegations of organs being harvested from some of the women sent to China.
September, Pakistan's investigation agency sent a report it labeled "fake
Chinese marriages cases" to Prime Minister Imran Khan. The report, a copy
of which was attained by the AP, provided details of cases registered against
52 Chinese nationals and 20 of their Pakistani associates in two cities in
eastern Punjab province -- Faisalabad, Lahore -- as well as in the capital
Islamabad. The Chinese suspects included the 31 later acquitted in court.
report said police discovered two illegal marriage bureaus in Lahore, including
one operated from an Islamic centre and madrassa -- the first known report of
poor Muslims also being targeted by brokers. The Muslim cleric involved fled
the acquittals, there are other cases before the courts involving arrested
Pakistani and at least another 21 Chinese suspects, according to the report
sent to the prime minister in September. But the Chinese defendants in the
cases were all granted bail and left the country, say activists and a court
and human rights workers say Pakistan has sought to keep the trafficking of
brides quiet so as not to jeopardize Pakistan's increasingly close economic
relationship with China.
has been a steadfast ally of Pakistan for decades, particularly in its testy
relationship with India. China has provided Islamabad with military assistance,
including pre-tested nuclear devices and nuclear-capable missiles.
Pakistan is receiving massive aid under China's Belt and Road Initiative, a
global endeavour aimed at reconstituting the Silk Road and linking China to all
corners of Asia. Under the $75 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project,
Beijing has promised Islamabad a sprawling package of infrastructure
development, from road construction and power plants to agriculture.
demand for foreign brides in China is rooted in that country's population,
where there are roughly 34 million more men than women -- a result of the
one-child policy that ended in 2015 after 35 years, along with an overwhelming
preference for boys that led to abortions of girl children and female
report released this month by Human Rights Watch, documenting trafficking in
brides from Myanmar to China, said the practice is spreading. It said Pakistan,
Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Nepal, North Korea and Vietnam have
"all have become source countries for a brutal business."
of the things that is very striking about this issue is how fast the list is
growing of countries that are known to be source countries in the bride
trafficking business," Heather Barr, the HRW report's author, told AP.
Warriach, Amnesty International's campaigns director for South Asia, said
Pakistan "must not let its close relationship with China become a reason
to turn a blind eye to human rights abuses against its own citizens" --
either in abuses of women sold as brides or separation of Pakistani women from
husbands from China's Muslim Uighur population sent to "re-education
camps" to turn them away from Islam.
is horrifying that women are being treated this way without any concern being
shown by the authorities in either country. And it's shocking that it's
happening on this scale," he said.
Women Of Different Faiths To Share To Share Their Perspectives On Celebrating
Traditional Faith Holidays
— Interfaith Women of New Hampshire will bring together four young women of
different faiths to share their perspectives on celebrating traditional faith
women of different faiths to share 'Holiday Joy'
Athar, M.D., will moderate the program, “Holiday Joy — Voices of Young Women,”
which will start at 6:45 p.m. Monday at St. George Greek Orthodox Cathedral,
650 Hanover St. Athar, a Manchester geriatrician who has spoken about Islam at
other Interfaith Women programs, will introduce the four women.
Anna Hutchison, 18, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day
Saints, will discuss Christmas. Hutchison, a Londonderry High School graduate,
works in Bedford while preparing for missionary work.
love the joy and kindness being spread throughout the whole season. I also love
that friends and family can get together and celebrate,” she says.
Hasna Kara, 17, a Muslim who lives in Boston, will speak about the Muslim
practice of Ramadan, 30 days of fasting and the celebration of Eid al-Fitr,
which marks the end of Ramadan.
is “one of the biggest holidays that is celebrated in my religion,” Hasna says.
She also will talk about involving school friends during the fast and Eid.
Mackenzie Murphy, 22, a Roman Catholic, will discuss Lent and how it relates to
one of the most joyful times in the Catholic liturgical year, the resurrection
of Jesus Christ celebrated on Easter.
has several certificates in theology and Christian doctrine from Notre Dame
University. She serves on the council of her local parish while working toward
a master’s degree in higher education administration. She also received the
National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry: Saint Timothy Award for her
outstanding leadership and service to her church and community while in her
will show slides to explain the 40 days of Lent, a time of fasting and
self-sacrifice for Catholics.
Avia Sagrone, 23, an Israeli Jew who is the Shlicha of New Hampshire’s Jewish
community, plans to tell how Purim commemorates the saving of the Jewish people
as recounted in the Book of Esther.
grew up in Israel, though her family is originally from Morocco and Tunisia.
She has served in the Israeli military, lived in the Golan Heights and worked
at more than one Kibbutz before becoming the New Hampshire Shlicha in August.
She connects with synagogues, Hebrew schools and the public throughout the
state to educate about Israel. Costumes and food associated with Purim
celebrations will be illustrated.
the program, email email@example.com or call 233-7760. Refreshments
will be served after the program. Doors will open at 6:15 p.m.
Women’s mission is to share religious beliefs, cultures and traditions among
women of diverse faiths in order to develop understanding and friendship within
Wearing Hijabs In News Stories May Be Judged Negatively
wearing a veil or headscarf in the United States may face harsher social
judgement, according to a study by Penn State researchers that found when given
the same information in a news story, some people may consider a woman wearing
a headscarf to be more likely to have committed a crime.
findings — recently published in the journal Mass Communication and Society —
suggest potential obstacles that women who wear hijabs may face in the real
to the researchers, the hijab has become a topic of intense debate over the
past 20 years. Previous research found that while the hijab may be a symbol of
religiosity to some, it may signal a threat to others. The current study sought
to calculate the impact that media portrayals of veiled women have on news
influence of someone’s view of a woman wearing a hijab can have major effects
on that woman,” said Colleen Connolly-Ahern, an associate professor at Penn
State’s Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications. “Through our findings,
you can see what this could mean to a woman in a hijab if she is facing a
researchers found that a person’s political identity was associated with how
they reacted to a woman wearing a hijab. This was measured by comparing the gap
— called parochial empathy — between how respondents feel about a group they
identify with and a group they do not.
thousand respondents from the United States took part in the study through an
online panel. The participants watched videos of newscasts created by
university video production professionals that featured stories about three
individuals. Two of the stories were about a gardener and a contestant in a
Miss Pennsylvania pageant, while the third was about a female college student
suspected of contacting a terrorist group.
participants watched identical versions of the stories about the gardener and
beauty pageant contestant. However, each participant was randomly assigned to
view one of four versions of the story about the student suspect. The versions
included one in which the respondents referred to the student as a U.S. citizen
wearing a hijab, a U.S. citizen not wearing a hijab, a refugee wearing a hijab,
and a refugee not wearing a hijab.
viewing the newscasts, the participants were presented with both positive and
negative hypothetical scenarios about both the beauty pageant contestant and
the student suspect. For example, “she found a sentimental possession she
thought she lost” and “she found a $20 bill on the street.” The participants
were then asked about how they felt about these scenarios, and their responses
were used to calculate differences in empathy for the two women. They were also
asked about their perceptions of the student’s innocence.
researchers found that participants who identified as Republican tended to show
a significant difference in empathy toward the woman — and lower levels of
perceived innocence — when she was wearing a headscarf. Republicans’
“preexisting dispositions were evoked by the veil,” according to the report.
visual seems to be the difference,” Connolly-Ahern said. “Conservatives were
more likely to see someone as innocent until proven guilty, but when a hijab
was present, that all changed. So what is the cost of wearing a veil in America
today? Even when the woman is identified as a U.S. citizen, she is treated as
‘other’ by some.”
to lead authors Connolly-Ahern and Lee Ahern, an associate professor at the
Bellisario College, the study has several implications for journalists.
Connolly-Ahern said the results indicate that reporters may want to consider
the preexisting biases of their audiences when covering women wearing
headscarves. These portrayals, she said, “have real consequences in how people
respond to news stories.”
to the researchers, the media will often generalize Muslims by regularly
showing footage of women in hijabs — even though only a small number of
Muslim-American women wear them. Similarly, research found that journalists
will often reference a woman’s headscarf, whether it was relevant to the story
have an opportunity and responsibility to improve these messages,” said
Connolly-Ahern, a senior research fellow at the Arthur W. Page Center for
Integrity in Public Communication, which funded the study.
past studies have described different ways women in headscarves have been
portrayed in the media, this study takes the first step toward quantifying the
impact of those messages. The researchers say their model could likely be
applied to other situations — like religion and education level — and in other
media types as well.
attacks on Ilhan Omar reveal a disturbing truth about racism in America
to know how awful racism can still be in America? Look no further than the
vitriol directed at Ilhan Omar.
for example, the events of just the past several days. Last week, Twitter
finally suspended the account of one of Omar’s Republican challengers, Danielle
Stella, after she called for the congresswoman to be tried for treason and
hanged if an unproven conspiracy theory that Omar gave sensitive information to
Iran were confirmed. And Tuesday, the Tampa Bay Times reported that the
campaign of Republican George Buck, a challenger to Democratic Rep. Charlie
Crist in Florida, sent out a fundraising letter accusing Omar of secretly
working for Qatar and reading, “We should hang these traitors where they
threats and attacks are nothing new, but against Omar, they’re on overdrive.
a depressing reversal from the triumph of the Minnesota Democrat’s 2018
watershed victory: Omar is a Somali refugee, and she and Michigan Rep. Rashida
Tlaib were the first two Muslim women to be elected to the United States
Congress. “I stand here before you tonight as your congresswoman-elect with
many firsts behind my name,” Omar said the night of her election. “The first
woman of color to represent our state in Congress. The first woman to wear a
hijab. The first refugee ever elected to Congress. And one of the first Muslim
women elected to Congress.”
many progressives and proponents of diversity celebrated Omar’s victory, it has
also brought to the surface a dark underbelly of American culture. A Muslim, a
black woman, and a refugee, she faces Islamophobia, racism, misogyny, and
anti-immigration strains in American culture, and putting that confluence of
hate under the microscope is truly disturbing.
Omar has faced racist attacks from the get-go
has been in office for less than a year, and there are countless examples of
vitriol and attacks against her — from the public, from her opponents, and even
from the White House.
is true that she has at times raised eyebrows with her own remarks and tweets,
namely that critics say they sometimes have anti-Semitic airs (for which she
has apologized). But as Vox’s Nisha Chittal has argued, Omar (and her fellow
first-term members of color in Congress) have been subjected to a more intense
backlash for their comments, controversial or not. And that backlash is
predominantly about “silencing outspoken women of color.”
April, a New York man was arrested for threatening to assault and murder Omar.
He called Omar’s office and allegedly told a staffer, “Do you work for the
Muslim Brotherhood? Why are you working for her, she’s a ... terrorist. I’ll
put a bullet in her skull.” In November, the man pleaded guilty to threatening
to kill Omar, after which she in a letter called for “compassion” in his
sentencing. “Threatening assassination of a public official is dangerous to
both the individual and our republic,” she wrote. She also noted that “threats
of political violence and hate speech are not unique” to the man.
and perhaps especially toward her.
the summer, Omar received a threat that someone would shoot her at the
Minnesota State Fair. Alabama Republicans called for her to be expelled from
Congress, accusing her of engaging in “rhetoric that explicitly runs counter to
American values and patriotism” and citing remarks she’s made about terrorism
and Israel. Omar is often the subject of conspiracy theories and racist memes
that spread on social media.
Donald Trump has repeatedly targeted Omar. He has seized on Omar’s comments
about Israel and the pro-Israel lobby (Vox’s Zack Beauchamp has a good rundown)
by publicly disparaging her on multiple occasions. During a July rally, Trump
claimed that Omar blames the US for terrorist attacks and suggested she
supports al-Qaeda (which she does not), after which attendees chanted “send her
back.” Days before, the president had fired off a series of tweets saying that
Omar and three other Democratic women of color in Congress — Tlaib, Alexandria
Ocasio-Cortez, and Ayanna Pressley — should “go back and help fix the totally
broken and crime-invested places from which they came.” The president has also
promoted the lie that Omar “partied” on 9/11 after some of the representative’s
comments about the attacks were taken out of context and used by Republicans to
criticize her and repeated the conspiracy theory that she’s married to her
threats and attacks have resulted in increased security for Omar. Her
supporters have rallied behind her: In July, she was greeted by constituents
chanting “welcome home” when she arrived at the Minneapolis airport.
identity brings together a lot of racist tendencies in the US
course, Omar is hardly the only politician to face racist attacks. Former
President Barack Obama was for years dogged by “birther” rumors, which were
propelled by the current president, and many people throughout the country face
racism and hate daily.
majority of Americans say that race relations in the United States are poor and
that they have become worse with Trump in office, and black Americans tend to
see the situation as worse. They also say it has become more common for people
to express racist or racially insensitive beliefs. American Muslims are the
religious minority group likeliest to report experiencing religious
discrimination in the US, and Republicans have become increasingly hawkish on
immigration. It paints a disheartening picture of the state of racial,
religious, and ethnic minorities in the US — and one the attacks on Omar
the start of our democracy, politicians have proudly held starkly different
views. But have attacks ever been as vicious as they are against Omar?” writer
Tashmiha Khan asked in the Independent this summer.
Marcetic in Jacobin suggested that beyond racism, the assault on Omar also ties
to her progressive views:
Omar herself said, by trying to paint her as a Bush-era, Islamophobic caricature
come to life, Trump is, on one level, trying to use racist fearmongering to
distract from his own willful failure to improve the lives of working
Americans, a strategy that’s already failed spectacularly during the 2018
midterms. On another level, he’s trying to undermine the working-class
solidarity Americans of all backgrounds ought by rights to feel.
is a lot of thinking to do about the why of the contempt for Omar among some
circles, but it’s really stark just to look at the what.
Smith charged with membership of Islamic State and denied bail at Dublin court
Walsh, ireland correspondent
Irishwoman has been charged with membership of Islamic State and denied bail in
the Dublin district court. Lisa Smith
was detained at Dublin airport last Sunday following her deportation from
was arrested at 10.30 this morning and charged with committing a terrorist
offence outside the Irish state between 28 October, 2015 and 1 December, 2019.
Smith denies the allegations.
is the first case of this nature in the Republic of Ireland. Ms Smith, 38, has a two-year-old daughter who
is now being cared for by relatives.
former member of the Irish defence force, who was wearing a black burqa during
the hearing, made no comment when she was charged.
application for bail was heard in-camera at the request of prosecution counsel.
Director of Public Prospection said the state could not disclose its case
publicly because it contained sensitive details that could be prejudicial to a
Smith’s legal counsel requested that she is separated from the wider prison
population when she is remanded in custody.
the past three days, detectives questioned her about her movements throughout
the Middle East, Africa and Europe since she converted to Islam.
Smith is a former member of the Irish air corps and served on the government
jet for a period in the 2000s. She left the force in 2012.
Smith travelled to Syria in 2015, where she met and married British jihadist
Sajid Aslam who later died in fighting. She was detained in the Ain Issa camp
in Syria for most of the past year, but escaped in mid-October.
Smith is charged that under Section Six of the Terrorist Offences Act 2005,
which makes it an offence to join a foreign unlawful organisation.
will appear in court again on 11 December when she will be served with a book
Up: Veganism Trend Soaring Among Young Saudis
Although vegans are facing daily stereotypes regarding their dietary habits,
the number of young people in the Kingdom shifting to an animal-free diet is
trend has been attributed to Saudis’ health concerns, especially with obesity.
has revealed that more than 40 percent of Saudi citizens are obese.
awareness campaigns are helping vegans to share their experiences with their
eating habits. Several young Saudis were convinced to follow plant-based diets
after watching the “Plant B” program during Ramadan.
show is a bilingual web series starring Bassem Youssef, an Egyptian surgeon. It
explained the importance and the benefit of veganism on human health.
number of restaurants and home businesses that are serving vegan options are
increasing every day.
Al-Qurashi, 17, is a student and owner of the Nabati online business. She
turned to veganism two years ago. She said: “I used to eat a generally healthy
diet. So, when I turned vegan, I did not feel much of a difference. However, I
did feel a lot lighter after meals, since meat takes a long time to digest.
started this business out of my own needs for healthy vegan baked goods in
Jeddah, about a year ago, there were little to no vegan options in Jeddah, and
even if there were, it was usually overpriced.”
believes that veganism and plant-based diets are growing in Saudi Arabia.
People have become more aware and conscious about their decisions and how it
might affect their health, environment and animals.
Kudus, a 32-year-old entrepreneur and the founder of Raw Instinct, is vegan in
her diet, but she has to try non-vegan dishes for culinary purposes, to acquire
knowledge of new tastes and combinations. She started her vegan journey in
2009, while she was studying in London.
said: “I discovered the raw food diet and fell in love with it, it was like a
breakthrough in my life. I learned to eat superfoods without sacrificing taste.
Then I explored cooked vegan dishes and continued to experiment in the kitchen.
It really transformed the way I eat and approach my diet. I believe veganism
helps you become your true and best version of yourself.”
Ghazi, a clinical psychologist and marriage therapist, explained that he had
been a vegan for the last six months. He started by trying vegan dishes at
restaurants, then trying to commit to a vegan meal a day. Eventually, his whole
diet became vegan.
said: “I was trying to find a better lifestyle because I’m getting into my 30s.
Since I have a medical background, I could not try something new without doing
my homework, and what I found was very encouraging. Research shows that
plant-based diets are cost-effective, low-risk interventions that may lower
body mass index, blood pressure and cholesterol levels. They may also reduce
the number of medications needed to treat chronic diseases and lower heart
disease mortality rates.”
Johnson claimed children of working mothers 'more likely to mug you'
4 Dec 2019
Johnson made claims that children of working mothers in low-income families
were “unloved and undisciplined” and more likely to “mug you on the street
corner”, it has emerged.
a 2006 collection of journalism, entitled Have I Got Views for You, Johnson
bemoaned the increasing tendency of women to work, saying they had been
“socially gestapoed into the workplace”.
the last 30 years an ever-growing proportion of British women have been
‘incentivised’ or socially gestapoed into the workplace, on what seems to me to
be the dubious assumption that the harder a woman works the happier she will
be, when I am not sure that is true of women or anyone else,” he wrote.
the book, published before he became mayor of London, Johnson said an
increasing number of female graduates tended to pair up with male graduates – a
process known by economists as “assortative mating” – and that they then pool
result is that in families on lower incomes the women have absolutely no choice
but to work, often with adverse consequences for family life and society as a
whole – in that unloved and undisciplined children are more likely to become
hoodies, Neets [not in education, employment or training] and mug you on the
seized on the remarks. The shadow education secretary, Angela Rayner, herself a
working mother, said: “It is obvious that Boris Johnson has nothing but
contempt for women and working-class people.
him to speak about us in such a disgusting manner shows just how out of touch
he is. It is clear he only ever stands up for the privileged few.”
remarks were the latest that have come to light during the election campaign,
as the prime minister’s attitudes, including to migrants and low-income
households, as well as women, have come under scrutiny.
book’s title is a play on Have I Got News For You, the satirical BBC quiz show
that Johnson appeared on several times, helping to build his public profile
his introduction to the collection, which is laced with anecdotes about his
time as Brussels correspondent for the Telegraph, he says of his journalism:
“You may sometimes think that’s not how it is. But never mind, buster: this is
how I see it.”
has repeatedly been challenged during the campaign about his past remarks –
including on a special edition of the BBC’s Question Time, which saw audience
members press him about whether some of his writings had fuelled racism.
past columns for the Daily Telegraph, which paid him £275,000 a year for his
work until he became prime minister, Johnson said Muslim women wearing the
burqa looked like “letterboxes”. He has also been criticised in the past for
using the phrases, “piccaninnies,” and “watermelon smiles”.
rhetoric is completely rife in this country, will you admit that you have
personally contributed to this, and say the words: ‘I’m sorry’,” the questioner
replied that he had, “genuinely never intended to cause hurt or pain to anybody
and that is my intention.” But he went on to defend his right to “speak out”.
you go through all my articles with a fine-tooth comb and take out individual
phrases there is no doubt that you can find things that can be made to seem
offensive and of course I understand that,” he said.
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