Women impersonate Khula applicants
Asma Jahangir Honoured With Polish Human Rights Award
Nurses Call off Strike, Accept Government's Offer
Women's Easy Access to Justice Recommended
Indian Muslims Need Greater Access to Education To Avoid Poverty And Social Exclusion
Women Impersonate Khula Applicants
Princess Adela: Women Aiding Nation-Building
British Girls on Jihad Pilgrimages at Risk From Fraudsters, Says Radical Muslim Cleric
Women Impersonators Exposed
Gender Inequality In Morocco Continues, Despite Amendments To Family Law
Exposed: Women Caught Impersonating Others In Saudi Courts
Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau
‘Pakistan Taliban Seek Release of Children And Women’
PESHAWAR: A member of the committee instituted by the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan for talks with the government has said that the TTP Shura has handed a list of people whom it wanted the government to release from its custody.
Addressing a press conference here on Sunday, Professor Mohammad Ibrahim Khan said the list included women, children and elderly people.
Prof Ibrahim and Maulana Yousaf Shah went to Miramshah recently for consultations with members of the TTP Shura.
Prof Ibrahim told newsmen the Shura demanded release of women, children and elderly prisoners. “It can help build confidence between the government and the Taliban,” he said.
The Inter-Services Public Relations, the mouthpiece of the military, has denied that women and children are in its custody.
Prof Ibrahim said the Taliban wanted to meet the government committee in an area of the Mehsud tribe in South Waziristan.
He said the TTP had no objection if the army took action against the Ahrarul Hind group which recently had claimed responsibility for terrorist attacks in Islamabad, Peshawar and Quetta.
The group has distanced itself from TTP-government negotiations and condemned the process.
Prof Ibrahim said the Taliban had started an investigation against Ahrarul Hind.
He quoted TTP Shura members as saying that Ahrarul Hind “might be a group of anti-state elements who don’t want peace”.
About opening a Taliban office he said it was too early to do that.
Answering a question, he said the Taliban had confirmed that security forces did not attack the TTP in recent operations.
Prof Ibrahim said that a direct meeting between the government and TTP would be arranged soon.
APP adds: He claimed that the TTP had disowned the recent terrorist acts, saying that they had no knowledge about Ahrarul Hind.
He said the Taliban committee had forwarded the TTP’s recommendations to the government and expressed the hope that the nation would soon get peace.
He said the talks could become fruitful if they were held in North Waziristan.
Asma Jahangir honoured with Polish human rights award
March 16, 2014
ISLAMABAD: Renowned lawyer and human rights defender Asma Jahangir received an HR award from the hands of Minister of Foreign Affairs of The Republic of Poland Rados?aw Sikorski during a celebration held in Warsaw on January 29, the International Human Rights Day.
Ambassador of The Republic of Poland Dr Andrzej Ananicz commemorated the occasion during a reception hosted in Serena Hotel, Islamabad on March 14, along with many members of the diplomatic community in Pakistan.
“Asma Jahangir comes from a part of the world that seems far away from Poland and Europe geographically, politically and culturally, but wherever people are struggling for fundamental justice and dignity, in Pakistan or Ukraine, they deserve full recognition and support”, Sikorski said during the ceremony held in Warsaw in January. He added that the Polish are aware of that like any other country in the world.
Thanking for the award Asma Jahangir said that she feels honoured, that her work was recognised by Poland. “I know how you value freedom, democracy and human dignity. Human dignity is a value that people fight for all over the world. Even in your region people are fighting for their basic rights today”, she underlined.
The “Pro Dignitate Humana” award has been established in 2011 by the Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs. It is being awarded to a person or an NGO for full commitment and uncompromising work in defence of human rights and dignity. The award is being presented during an annual ceremony on the occasion of The International Human Rights Day. In 2011 the award was issued to AlesBialacki, a Belarusian HR defender, director of The Centre for Human Rights “Spring”, who is currently in jail. In 2012 the award was presented to a Russian association “Memorial”, that deals with HR and issues concerning the past, totalitarian, communistic regime in the former USSR.
Nurses call off strike, accept government's offer
March 17, 2014
LAHORE- The nurses today called off their eight day-long strike, saying that the Punjab government has accepted their demands.
The ad-hoc nurses took to the streets a week ago, demanding the Punjab government to regularise them. The protests were spread to Copper Road from Egerton Road in Lahore. However, the nursing staff started holding sit-in outside Punjab Assembly following incidents of police torture.
During the protests, the cabinet committee, set up to resolve their issue, held several meetings but the nurses stuck to their stance. However, a split was created among the groups of nurses on Sunday when the provincial government offered three-year contractual letter, assuring that they will get permanent appointments after it.
One of the factions of the nurses went on Sunday to collect their contractual letter and later joined their respective duties. However today morning, the other group protesting outside the Punjab Assembly, also called off their strike, saying that they had reservations over the contract and the government has addressed them, therefore, they are calling off strike. This faction has also now accepted the contracts.
Women's easy access to justice recommended
A two-day conference on violence against women ended yesterday with recommendations for ensuring women's easy access to the justice system and quick disposal of their cases regarding violence.
The conference also recommended for providing legal assistance to female victims, increasing the number of courts and judges and ensuring victim-friendly law enforcement agencies and coordination among all stakeholders concerned.
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs jointly organised the conference at the capital's Ruposhi Bangla Hotel.
Law Minister Anisul Huq and UNDP Country Director ASSM Zahirul Haque also spoke.
Indian Muslims Need Greater Access To Education To Avoid Poverty And Social Exclusion
By Palash Ghosh
on March 15 2014
Discrimination in India against Muslims is holding back Islamic children from participating in the country’s growing economy. The Times of India reported that human rights activist Harsh Mander appeared at a conference at the Muslim Children's Issues and Right to Education workshop at Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MANUU) in Hyderabad last month to discuss the low enrollment and school retention rates of Muslim youth in the country. He lamented the existence of a “self-fulfilling prophecy” that keeps many Muslims uneducated and trapped in poverty.
"This prophecy is the idea that 'I will be discriminated against' and that 'there is no point in getting educated,'” Mander, director of New Delhi's Centre of Equity Studies, told the assembly. “'The only option I have left is to get self-employed in small businesses.' This is causing the exclusion [of Muslims] from India's growth economy."
The Hyderabad conference was organized by the Centre for the Study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy, and sought to expand on issues raised by the historic 2006 report by former Indian Chief Justice Rajinder Sachar on how Muslims fare in Indian society. That report revealed, among other things, that fully one-fourth of all Muslim children in the country between the ages 6 to 14 had never attended school, or had dropped out.
Mander explained that prejudice against Muslims students is partly linked to teachers’ and other students’ fears of terrorism and violence. To alleviate the education gap between Hindu and Muslim youths, Mander proposed the awarding of full scholarships to Muslim kids, as well as “setting up residential schools for street children and child laborers." He estimated that about 500 such schools would be required in Hyderabad alone, which has a large Muslim community.
Women impersonate khula applicants
17 March 2014
The Ministry of Justice has found 10 women guilty of impersonation during court hearings related to domestic disputes such as divorce, disengagement lawsuits (known in Arabic as “khula“), alimony and inheritance.
According to sources, these women would go to court ahead of proceedings pretending to be the plaintiffs in order to withdraw cases filed by women on the opposing side of the family feud.
General courts in Jeddah, Riyadh, Dammam and Makkah have found that several cases filed by women against their husbands were later dropped, much to the ignorance of the original plaintiffs.
Courts across the Kingdom have also encountered incidents where impersonators approach the court to finalize property sales or inheritance cases.
Khaled Al-Shahrani, a lawyer, said that the judiciary should take legal action against individuals found guilty of impersonation.
“The husband typically tells one of his female relatives to go to court and withdraw the case before hearings commence,” he said. “Introducing a fingerprinting system in general courts will eliminate chances of such fraud.”
Princess Adela: Women aiding nation-building
Saudi women are contributing to nation-building along with men by graduating from universities in the Kingdom, Princess Adela bint Abdullah said Sunday.
Expressing her commitment to empowerment of women and furthering their education, Princess Adela, who patronized the women’s graduation ceremony at Jazan University, said: “I have seen the enthusiasm and ambition in the daughters of Jazan to chart a successful career during my last visit to the university. While I was standing beside you in the lab, I sensed the desire in you girls to achieve success in career.”
“I was certain that women of Jazan will contribute to nation-building,” Princess Adela said, adding that women deserved equal opportunities to build the nation alongside their male counterparts.
This year, 4,779 women graduated from Jazan University, Rector Mohammed Al-Hiaza said, adding that this was the ninth group of women graduates from the university.
They included 52 medicine graduates, and this was the first women’s group from the college of medicine at the university, besides 24 pharmaceutical graduates. The others belonged to various disciplines like business administration, teaching, arts and science, social studies and nursing.
The university administered the oath to women medicos in the presence of Princess Adela.
Ghadi bint Ali, who graduated from the university, speaking on behalf of the students, thanked Princess Adela for attending the ceremony and encouraging women.
Mohammed Al-Hiaza said: “Jazan University is glad to celebrate women’s graduation ceremony for the first time on the university campus in a modern and well-developed infrastructure and progressive environment which reflects the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah’s generous support.”
British girls on Jihad pilgrimages at risk from fraudsters, says radical Muslim cleric
By Dominik Lemanski
16th March 2014
Haitham al-Haddad claims Muslim girls are being lured to the Middle East by conmen looking to enter the UK or, worse still, by Syrian warlords looking to rape or enslave them.
He has posted a video on YouTube in which he says: “(The problem is) Sisters are going to jihad by themselves. I know of a sister who came to know a mujahideen online. She came to know him and they agreed to get married.
“She travelled all the way to Turkey where she met him and got married. She (then) came here. Had no certificate or nothing. She contacted us in the Islamic Sharia Council to produce her a certificate that she got married to this brother so she can join him again.
“I said most likely this is a scam. It is a deceit.
“This man, who is a mujahideen, is responsible to find a way to get a marriage certificate, not she.
“And if she got married to him there she should go and live there, not come back here.
“Sisters please be careful.”
London-based Haddad, originally from Palestine, has previously hit the headlines for claiming Jewish people are descended from “apes and pigs” and for suggesting people who leave Islam should be executed.
He added: “A few days ago I received an email from one of the original mujahideen (from Afghanistan) now living in Saudi Arabia.
“He wrote on Twitter, ‘I am writing this to warn the sisters about going to jihad in Syria by themselves’.
“He said ‘When we were in Afghanistan many of the women of the mujahideen were raped and taken as slaves by the warlords in Afghanistan’.” Haddad went on: “Do we want this to happen to our sisters just because they want to go to jihad because of zeal and hype?
“I would like to send this message to our sisters – I strongly advise you not to go to jihad.
“To go there and to become a burden and then you become raped etc etc – this is not the solution.
“Allah never made jihad obligatory.”
Last month we revealed the hardline preacher, inset right, leads a group which was behind attempts to hire out Legoland in Windsor, Berkshire for a Muslim Family Fun Day.
The £100,000 event, organised by Al Haddad’s Muslim Research and Development Foundation, was cancelled amid fears far right thugs were targeting the day out scheduled for last Sunday.
Haddad’s charity had promised a day of “halal entertainment” but his previous views are controversial. He is reported to be on a list of 25 “hate clerics” identified by security bosses and Downing Street as candidates for anti-extremism Asbo banning orders.
Haddad has spoken in favour of a form of female genital mutilation, although he recognises it is illegal in Britain.
And following the death of Osama bin Laden in 2011, he wrote that because he was a Muslim he would “enter paradise”.
Haddad’s warnings follow earlier reports revealing scores of British women are travelling to war-town Syria to marry jihadists.
In January Nawal Msaad, 26, was accused of trying to smuggle £16,000 in her underwear to terrorists fighting in Syria.
Msaad, an undergraduate from Holloway, north London, was arrested at Heathrow Airport as she allegedly prepared to board a flight to Istanbul with €20,000 wrapped in cling film in her knickers.
Women impersonators exposed
JEDDAH — The Ministry of Justice has uncovered 10 cases of women impersonating other women in various courts last year, local daily Al-Watan reported Sunday quoting informed sources.
Sources said most of the cases in which women impersonated other women were related to family matters.
They noted that some men may ask other women to impersonate their wives or other family female members to withdraw certain cases against them in courts and said the majority of these cases are related to divorce, khula, alimony, inheritance and others.
Sources said a number of general courts in Jeddah, Riyadh, Dammam and Makkah discovered that many cases raised by women against their husbands were withdrawn without their knowledge.
Khaled Saeed Al-Shahrani, lawyer, said some men used other women to impersonate their wives to sell real estate units or close a case of inheritance.
He said a man had asked one of his female relatives to impersonate his wife to withdraw the divorce case filed against him before the court sessions had started.
Al-Shahrani said if they were caught, the women impersonators would be tried for two charges — forgery and identity theft.
He asked the ministry to expedite its project for fingerprinting women in courts and notaries public to authenticate their real identities.
Majed Al-Odwan, head of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques project for judicial reform, said the fingerprint system has not yet been implemented due to delays by the National Information Center that is providing the service.
Al-Shahrani recalled that a man asked his sister to impersonate his wife and ask for early retirement from the Ministry of Education. He said the man had differences with his wife over her work in the ministry and wanted her to quit.
"Luckily, the real wife was able to stop the ploy after she received a call from the department of education," he said.
He said witnesses recognize these women as actual wives in courts after reaching agreements with the men.
Gender Inequality in Morocco Continues, Despite Amendments to Family Law
By AIDA ALAMIMARCH
When Zineb lost her father at the age of 15, her grief was compounded when she learned that she had to share his inheritance with an older half-brother unknown to her or her mother and sister.
“It felt unfair to split it with him,” said Zineb, 29, a teacher in Rabat who asked that her full name not be used because as a political activist she is concerned about her safety. “Somebody was parachuted into your life and we didn’t know him and after all, my mom worked for half of all of that money.”
A decade ago, Morocco adopted a family code hailed by women’s rights groups as a big step forward. Three years ago, the country passed a new constitution guaranteeing gender equality. Even so, Moroccan women say that equality is still a long way off, and much of the old order remains untouched, including the inheritance law section of the family code. That law, laid down in the Quran, states that male relatives receive double the inheritance of women.
But the pressure for change is building. “Islam allows for reinterpretation, and it is time for radical decisions to protect women,” said Saida Kouzzi, a founding partner at Mobilizing for Rights Associates, a nongovernmental organization based in Morocco. “This law of inheritance was based on the fact that men were the head of the households, which is not the case anymore as many women are the ones who provide for the family or at least contribute in a significant manner.”
In 2004, Morocco rewrote its code of family law, establishing the right to divorce by mutual consent, placing limits on polygamy and raising the minimum marriage age for women to 18 from 15. But no changes were made with respect to inheritance.
At the time, the Moroccan ruler, King Mohammed VI, had to arbitrate between the demands of feminist organizations, who were calling for an expansion of women’s rights, and the Islamic political parties, who were strongly resistant to change. But terrorist bombings in 2003 that killed 45 people in Casablanca weakened the Islamist parties and paved the way for the adoption of the new family code. The king seized that opportunity to make it clear that he was the country’s top religious authority.
“I can’t in my capacity as commander of the faithful, permit what God has forbidden, nor forbid what the Almighty has allowed,” the king said in an October 2003 address to Parliament about the changes to the family code. He also hinted that he would push to loosen religious rules without completely rejecting them.
Analysts said it was a clever strategy.
“It was definitely a strong marketing move,” said Abdellah Tourabi, a political science researcher and the editor of the Moroccan monthly magazine Zamane. “It was the fourth year of his reign, and the move gave him the image of a modernist and a reformer. He became a sort of bulwark against conservatism and Islamism and a strategic ally for the secular elites.”
Still, human rights organizations say that, in practice, the changes have not been fully carried out, mainly because some judges have been finding ways around the law or are still unfamiliar with the amendments.
Although the law now states that 18 is the minimum marriage age, judges have granted permission for the marriage of minors in about 90 percent of the cases that have appeared before them, according to 2010 data reported by the Justice Ministry.
“It takes much more time for changes in the law to be translated into practice,” said Ziba Mir-Hosseini, a research associate specializing in women and Islamic law at the Centre for Islamic and Middle Eastern Law at the University of London. “Studies show that it takes about one generation or 30 years for legislation to push society in a different direction.”
“Many families in rural areas are really eager to have their daughters marry much earlier,” she added. “Judges have to go by the reality on the ground.”
In conservative Morocco, the reality is that even women may be reluctant to challenge Islamic traditions that discriminate against them. “Women are very attached to the book and it is very clear on inheritance,” said Sonia Terrab, a Moroccan novelist, referring to the Quran. “If given the choice, they will reject reform. There needs to be a strong state that imposes it until it becomes a solid gain in two or three generations.”
In December, Driss Lachgar, secretary general of the Socialist Union of Popular Forces, an opposition party, demanded the repeal of laws that discriminate against women and called for a national debate on the inheritance law. Although his message stirred some controversy, no national or legislative debate ensued.
Ms. Kouzzi, the human rights worker, said the enforcement of the inheritance law had serious consequences: Many families disintegrate after the death of the father, and sometimes the survivors lose their homes.
Many Moroccans, she said, have discovered ways to work around the law, registering their properties in the name of their daughters, if they do not have a son, to guarantee that the inheritance stays within the nuclear family.
To radically change a traditional law, scholars say, it is necessary to accept that Muslim societies like Morocco are deeply conservative. Feminists and other groups seeking change must work with conservatives and avoid using alienating language.
“This issue cannot be addressed without taking into consideration what Moroccans consider to be their identity: Islam,” said Souad Eddouada, a professor at the University of Kenitra in Morocco who specializes in gender studies. “This is a very tough battle to win for feminists because it touches money and property. Islam is based on the concept of justice, so a new reading of the texts can open the way to reforms even with inheritance.”
Many believe that this kind of change will not be possible in Morocco unless the king provides the impetus.
But Zineb, the teacher who lost her father, said change was bound to happen despite the serious challenge it would pose to the privileges of men. Until then, she is making special provisions for her 8-year-old daughter.
“My advice to all women is to make sure they put the stuff in the kids’ names,” she said. “And they have to do it while they’re alive so the law doesn’t take away the girls’ rights.”
Exposed: Women caught impersonating others in Saudi courts
Saudi Arabia’s justice ministry has uncovered 10 cases of women impersonating other women in various courts last year, local daily al-Watan reported Sunday quoting informed sources.
They noted that some men may ask other women to impersonate their wives or other family female members to withdraw certain cases against them in courts and said the majority of these cases are related to divorce, alimony, inheritance and others.
Sources said a number of general courts in Jeddah, Riyadh, Dammam and Makkah discovered that many cases raised by women against their husbands were withdrawn without their knowledge.
Khaled Saeed al-Shahrani, lawyer, said some men used other women to impersonate their wives to sell real estate units or close a case of inheritance.
Shahrani said if they were caught, the women impersonators would be tried for two charges — forgery and identity theft.
Majed al-Odwan, head of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques project for judicial reform, said the fingerprint system has not yet been implemented due to delays by the National Information Center that is providing the service.
Shahrani recalled that a man asked his sister to impersonate his wife and ask for early retirement from the Ministry of Education. He said the man had differences with his wife over her work in the ministry and wanted her to quit.
This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette on March 17, 2014.