Afghan refugee girl waits with others to have a medical check-up at a health
clinic setup by the UNHCR to mark World Refugee Day in Islamabad June 20, 2014
[File: Faisal Mahmood/Reuters]
Muslim Clerics to Focus on Women's Rights during Holy Month
Afghan Refugee Women in Pakistan Fear Repatriation
Teen Held over Palestinian Woman’s Death Moved to House Arrest
declines to say if Asia Bibi in Canada due to ‘security issues’
Minister of Culture Celebrates Saudi Pavilion’s Focus on Women at Venice
Women among 6,270 Lawyers in the Kingdom
Women Victims of Suicide In Iran Under The Mullahs’ Rule
by New Age Islam News Bureau
Ban is Pushing Muslim Women out of Sri Lanka’s Public Spaces
year-old Farzana Hussain* from Wellampitiya, a town about 4kms east of Colombo,
Sri Lanka, has been wearing the burqa since she was 11.
the deadly attacks that killed more than 250 people in the country’s capital on
Easter Sunday, the Sri Lankan government banned the covering of face that
“hinders the identification of individuals in a way that threatens national
security.” This includes the burqa and the niqab, face coverings worn by
several Muslim women.
the ban on April 29, Hussain hasn’t left her house.
schoolteacher by profession, who teaches the Qur'an – the way of reading and
memorizing it – she says the ban has made it ‘difficult’ for her to go out.
says she’s lucky that the school holidays haven’t ended yet, but if the ban
isn’t lifted by the time schools reopen for the new session, it will be hard
for her to teach.
have been advised to stay at home unless there is a dire need to go out. If I’m
not allowed to cover my face, I will stop going out to teach because I prefer
covering to teaching,” Hussain says, hoping the ban is lifted soon.
18 year-old Zareen Rashid* from Colombo is scared that even if the ban is
lifted, it will be hard to avoid the racism.
niqabis are still going to go through racial discrimination and will be asked
to remove it in public places. Going out with the niqab after the ban being
lifted will be equivalent to walking in hell because people will call you a
terrorist. Staying indoors will be a better option than going out,” she says.
may be right.
in 2016, after France banned the burkini – a swimming costume that adheres to
the Islamic rule of dress that requires women to cover much of their body and
heads – following a terror attack, photographs and videos emerged showing the
police stripping women at the beaches.
hasn’t left her house since the ban. However, she knows she will have to remove
her niqab as soon as college begins. Rashid started wearing the niqab at 14
after her father advised her to.
she says, wearing it has strengthened her connection with God; making her feel brave
and confident, and it hasn’t stopped her from achieving anything she has wanted
to. Without her niqab, she says she feels ‘naked’.
Mariam Wadood, a lawyer and activist who works with the Colombo-based NGO Women
In Need, wants the ban to be imposed permanently.
believes “everyone's rights and liberties must come with limitations. Freedom
must stop at the beginning of someone else’s fear or discomfort.”
who herself does not cover her face, believes that the burqa and niqab are Wahabi
influences and although they are not a symbol of terror, they are a symbol of
radical Islam. “The burqa and niqab create disconnect and division in the
country, among communities, and even within the community,” she says.
must now put our country first. National and public security is threatened, and
if it is law that the niqab and burqa must be removed then we must adhere to
it,” she says adding that the niqab is not compulsory is Islam.
women’s rights activist and researcher Mariya Salim agrees that the niqab is,
in fact, not compulsory in Islam adding that the tradition is itself dictated
these are deeper questions and the state cannot impose these restrictions by
force,” she says.
says that while banning the burqa and niqab might seem like a progressive thing
to, the reasons for the ban are completely wrong.
restricts the mobility of those women who use it to navigate spaces. They are
anyway living under severe patriarchy in the name of religion, and now their
movement will also be restricted, especially if they come from conservative
families that require them to wear niqab. It will make life more difficult for
women who are dictated by patriarchy in their everyday lives.”
33 year-old Ayesha Muhsin in Colombo, wearing the niqab made her feel safe and
secure, even if sometimes she felt she was being judged.
alone with the niqab is easy, as you don’t feel uncomfortable about the trishaw
driver acting funny,” says Muhsin, who has given up wearing the niqab after the
ban to make sure her face is very visible but is still faced with suspicious
glares because she wears the hijab that covers only her head.
is a garment that covers the entire body from head to toe, while niqab covers
only the face, leaving slits for eyes. The hijab, on the other hand, covers
only the head and the face remains revealed. The burqa and niqab are banned in
Sri Lanka, while the hijab isn’t.
she believes, not wearing the niqab is equally dangerous. “There’s a lot of
hatred towards the Muslim community at the moment and wearing the niqab in
public might result in the niqabi becoming a victim of some serious
like Hussain, Wadood, and Muhsin believe that the ban will indeed help with
“public protection”, a narrative the Sri Lankan government has sold to its
think the ban is a sensible move as it was taken due to security reasons and
not for racial reasons,” says Muhsin, who has been wearing the niqab for twenty
the women’s rights activist and researcher, believes that by banning the burqa
and niqab the Sri Lankan government is “clearly putting forth the ‘all
terrorists are Mulsim narrative’.”
an attack like the one in Sri Lanka happens, it affects the entire sub
continent. Muslims across South Asia have been trying to prove that it is not
‘their Islam’ the kind that ISIS claims to be representing because they fear
the backlash of this decision which is nothing but Islamophibic.”
18 year-old Rashid is perplexed about how exactly banning the burqa and niqab
might solve any security issues.
because they (government) think it’s only those that wear the burqa and niqab
are terrorists,” she says.
(Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Dozens of Muslim clerics in Indian-controlled
Kashmir pledged to dedicate their Ramadan sermons to women’s rights on
Wednesday following the suicide of a girl who police say was repeatedly raped
by her father.
Muslim leaders said they wanted to use the holy month to highlight the
challenges facing women in the disputed region, home to one of the world’s
sermons will address rising cases of sexual assault and domestic violence as
well as mental health issues facing women in Kashmir, said the Muttahida
Majlis-e-Ulema (MMU), a council of Muslim religious leaders and scholars.
crimes, rapes, have increased here,” MMU chief Mirwaiz Umar Farooq told the
Thomson Reuters Foundation. “We want to make women aware about their own rights
and the men and youth as well.”
move was prompted by the suicide last month of a girl who police say was
repeatedly raped by her father over several years.
against women jumped 8 percent to 3,168 cases in 2017 from 2,915 the previous
year, according to government figures.
said Kashmir faced “difficult times”, blaming the long-running conflict between
separatist militants and Indian troops stationed there for the neglect of
Muslims in Indian Kashmir have long resented what they see as heavy-handed rule
of the Himalayan region, and a separatist insurgency has been raging since
clerics across the board including Shias, Sufis, Salafis, Sunnis have consensus
on this ... we want to educate women about their rights,” he said.
also called for women to be given greater access to mosques, many of which do
not allow them to enter, although some have separate entrances for women-only
activists like Hameeda Nayeem, the head of the Kashmir Centre for Social and
Developmental Studies, welcomed the move, saying religious leaders had the
power to change attitudes and raise awareness.
others dismissed it as “lip service” and urged Muslim leaders in the region to
focus instead on concrete changes such as ending the practice of polygamy and
ensuring equal inheritance rights for women.
sloganeering won’t do. Let them come forward with a roadmap for dealing with
women’s issues,” said women’s rights activist Mantasha Binti Rashid.
Pakistan - Female refugees in Pakistan have told Al Jazeera that they are
reluctant to return to Afghanistan because they fear violence and the forced
recruitment of their children as child soldiers.
also cited the lack of access to education and poor healthcare facilities as
further reasons why they do not want to go back, as the UN refugee agency's
voluntary repatriation programme targets some of Pakistan's 1.4 million
registered Afghan refugees.
Bibi, a 50-year-old widow from Kabul, told Al Jazeera that she worries for her
husband died in a blast in Kabul in 2015 which terrified me and made me to
think about the security of my children. After my husband's death, [we]
migrated to Pakistan for survival," she said, adding that her husband was
the family's breadwinner and his death had "perished my life completely".
don't have the courage to lose my children in the never-ending conflict,"
said Bibi. "Although living here in a refugee camp is cumbersome, at least
we are living with satisfaction that our lives are safe here. We feel secure
here and do not want to go back."
2017, according to Human Rights Watch, at least 2,000 civilians were killed in
attacks across Afghanistan.
2018,according to UN figures, there were 3,804 deaths - a record - and 7,189
the past 10 years, more than 32,000 civilians have been killed and 60,000 have
been wounded in Afghanistan.
the first quarter of 2019, UNAMA has documented581 civilian deaths, including
150 children killed.
a refugee from the eastern Afghan province Laghman, said: "We don't want
to go back to war-stricken Afghanistan because of the fear of recruitment of
children as child soldiers by armed groups."
claimed that fighters and security forces pressure families to recruit their
children for military operations.
they deny, she alleged that Taliban fighters have reportedly threatened to
either kill male members of the family or destroy the family home.
are also being kidnapped by anti-state elements to become suicide bombers,
plant improvised explosive devices (IEDs) or carry out other terrorist
don't want my children to be recruited as child soldiers, that's why I don't
want to return.
also do not have a house or property in Afghanistan, so why should we go?"
UN report from May last year verified 84 cases of the recruitment and use of
boys in Afghan conflicts in 2017.
were used as suicide bombers, for combat, as bodyguards at checkpoints, to
assist in intelligence gathering and plant IEDs.
UNHCR's Voluntary Repatriation Programme for registered Afghan refugees began
on March 1; so far 1,200 refugees have been returned.
they do reach home, the agency gives them each $200.
2002-2019, a total of 4.4 million refugees have been repatriated.
Dana, a refugee from Kunduz, said a 13-year-old boy in her extended family was
killed in a blast near a school several years ago.
want to educate my children," she told Al Jazeera, "and get rid of
the vicious cycle of poverty - but it's not possible in Afghanistan."
regularly come under attack in Afghanistan.
of the ongoing conflict and damaged infrastructure of schools in Afghanistan,
most children are out of school and poverty pushes them into child
labour," said Dana.
UNICEF reportpublished in June 2018 reveals nearly half of the children aged
between seven and 17 years old - 3.7 million in Afghanistan - are being
deprived of school. Sixty percent of them are girls.
education, Dana fears having little or no access to healthcare. The World
Health Organization in 2017 said 24 health facilities were attacked and
damaged, while 164 were forced to close temporarily because of insecurity and
of the women Al Jazeera spoke to also worried about the Taliban's record on
denying women's rights, as peace talks include negotiations with the armed
said that if a woman goes to the market without a male guardian in Afghanistan
and is caught by the Taliban, she faces lashes.
have been recent reports of the Taliban flogging women in Afghanistan, which
have added to concerns.
Khan, a professor of international relations department at the University of
Peshawar, said in Taliban-controlled areas, women's rights continue to be
explained that compared with men, women do not have the same access to
education and cannot leave the house without a male relative. He fears that if
the Taliban shares power under a peace deal, it would reverse whatever progress
that has been made.
Tel Aviv court has authorized an Israeli teenager held in jail over a
Palestinian woman’s death to be transferred to house arrest pending his trial,
the justice ministry said Wednesday.
16-year-old, who as a minor cannot be named, is accused of having caused the
death of a Palestinian mother, Aisha al-Rabi, by hurling a heavy rock at the
windscreen of her car on October 12 south of Hebron in the Israeli-occupied
DNA was found on the rock.
youth, a pupil of a religious school in the nearby Jewish settlement of
Rehalim, has been charged with homicide motivated by hatred of Arabs.
fellow pupils were arrested alongside him and questioned at the end of
victim’s husband, Yacoub al-Rabi, condemned the court’s decision to release the
charged suspect as emblematic of Israeli double standards.
the accused had been a Palestinian, they would have demolished his home and
left his family without a roof over their heads,” he told AFP, referring to
Israel’s practice of destroying the family home of anti-Israeli assailants.
never heard of a Palestinian minor accused of homicide being placed under house
arrest,” he said.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau declined Wednesday to confirm whether Asia Bibi,
the Christian woman at the center of a decade-long blasphemy row in Pakistan,
has arrived in Canada.
are sensitive privacy issues and security issues on this and so I can’t
comment,” Trudeau told reporters outside parliament after Bibi’s lawyer Saif ul
Mulook and multiple security sources in Pakistan told AFP that Bibi had gone to
– a laborer from Pakistan’s central Punjab province – was first convicted of
blasphemy in 2010 and was on death row until her acquittal last year.
case has drawn worldwide attention to religious extremism in Pakistan, where
the saga has sparked violent demonstrations and high-profile assassinations.
has technically been free to leave Pakistan since January when the Supreme
Court dismissed a legal challenge to her acquittal in October but awaited an
asylum deal in a third country.
November Trudeau said Ottawa was holding talks with Pakistan about bringing her
Wednesday British Prime Minister Theresa May appeared to confirm that Canada
was her destination, saying its asylum offer was “right and appropriate.”
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also said in a statement that she had “safely
reunited with her family.”
The UAE’s Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development Noura Al-Kaabi was on
hand to attend the opening of Saudi Arabia’s first pavilion at the seminal
Venice Biennale art fair in eight years.
minister, who toured the pavilion alongside Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Culture
Prince Badr, spoke to Arab News and lauded the pavilion’s focus on women as a
driving force for artistic change.
really thrilled and happy to be here today with the presence of his royal
highness Prince Badr, the minister of culture,” she said.
Saudi pavilion having a showcase for the first time (in eight years) at the art
biennale is a truly wonderful step and a milestone. It is an honor to see how
Saudis are contributing to the art scene, especially in Venice, to tell the
world their stories,” she added.
inspired me is that the curator is a woman, the artist is a woman and the
advisor is a woman and there’s a beautiful story that the artist took a holiday
off to create this beautiful pavilion and… her husband also took a holiday to
support her. That shows integrity, that shows art culture and that shows
movement that we will see more of in Saudi Arabia,” she noted.
minister also commented on the fact that the UAE’s national pavilion happens to
be next to Saudi Arabia’s.
shows the bond, the joint vision and the joint mission to work together and to
help inspire the next generation of artists in the region,” she told Arab News.
— The number of lawyers in the Kingdom has gone up to 6,270 including 487
women, according to local press reports on Wednesday.
reports quoted Ministry of Justice as saying that since the beginning of 2019,
the ministry has issued 774 licenses for 619 men and 155 women to practice law.
said the Judicial Training Center has organized a number of training sessions
within its programs to qualify lawyers for the license.
ministry said hundreds of men and women trainee lawyers have attended these
the ministry asked the 165 men and women candidates for six of its various jobs
to browse its website to know the results of the examinations and personal
to the ministry the jobs consist of researchers in human resources development,
Shariah, lawsuits, computer programming and others.
ministry also said it has vacancies for men and women in other jobs in various
courts and notary publics for university degree holders in Shariah, law,
accountancy and other administrative and social specializations.
said the electronic application for these jobs will open on Ramadan 9 (May 14)
and will continue for a week.
the last two weeks, five young women were among seven women who committed
suicide in the Iranian Kurdistan Province due to intense pressures on them.
young woman, Shadi Rashidi, 27, hanged herself and died in Sardasht on May 4,
2019, due to family problems.
May 3, Esrin Zamani, 28, took her own life by hanging herself at home in
Hassanabad district of Sanandaj due to family problems. Esrin was mother to a
May 2, 2019, Hediyeh Mohammadi, 16, hanged herself and lost her life in
Songhor. Her family problems drove her to commit suicide.
16-year-old girl, Afsaneh Daryaii, from Khankandi village near Miandoab, ended
her life by hanging herself also due to family problems.
May 1, 2019, a young woman from Marivan by the name of Zohreh Kohnepoushi ended
her own life by dousing herself with petroleum and setting herself on fire.
April 29, 2019, Soudali Khalifatani, 52, suffering from depression set herself
ablaze in Khoshakoo village in Urmia.
recent report from Qasr-e-Shirin, in Kermanshah Province, also indicated that a
30-year-old woman by the name of Parivash Ghanbari took poison and ended her
life on March 27, 2019, because of family disputes.
sources reveal that since the beginning of 2019, at least 14 young women under
18 years have committed suicide in different Kurdish cities in only four
to a social pathologist, women’s suicide rate in Iran increased by 66 percent
during a five-year period. (The state-run Khabar Online – November 3, 2017)
upward trend in the suicides of women indicates the excessive pressures on
women and girls in Iran. Hopelessness, depression, anxiety and sense of insecurity
accompanied by a feeling of humiliation are considered as the main reasons
leading women and girls to physically eliminate themselves.
rate of women’s suicide in Iran is the highest in the Middle East.
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