Mohammad Al Beloushi, director of Women Police Affairs Bureau.
Credit: Courtesy: Abu Dhabi Police
Teenager Enters Boxing Competition Wearing a Hijab
Millennium Hotel Honours Its Female Workers
an Integral Part of UAE’s Police Forces, Conference Hears
Supports Women’s Trade Fair in Mazar-e-Sharif
Pakistan Spar over Abduction of 2 Hindu Girls
of Muslim Women Raped, Tortured, Killed in Syrian Prisons
by New Age Islam News Bureau
Ardern’s Hijab Shows What New Zealanders Really Think of Muslims
reaction of New Zealand’s vast non-Muslim majority to the terrorist attack at
the Al Noor mosque in Christchurch is both inspiring and alarming. Inspiring
because, faced with a group of mostly recent arrivals who constitute a mere 1
percent of New Zealand’s population, the other 99 percent have chosen not to
ignore their loss and distress, but to commiserate and console at a time when
liberal democracies are beset by factional resentments. What is alarming is the
form the reaction has taken.
New Zealand’s prime minister Jacinda Ardern observed Friday prayers in the park
outside the mosque, she and many other non-Muslim women wore a hijab. They were
not in the gender-segregated prayer area reserved for women, where covering
their hair would have been politely insisted upon, and courtesy would have
required compliance. They did this voluntarily — to express fellow feeling,
rather than to avoid arousing Muslim men.
choice of headwear was a political statement. So was broadcasting the call to
prayer over state television and radio. So was the unfounded claim from Gamal
Fouda, imam of the Al Noor mosque, that the massacre was ‘the result of the
anti-Islamic and anti-Muslim rhetoric by some political leaders, some media
agencies, and others’. So was the foolishly repressive banning of the shooter’s
‘manifesto’ by the New Zealand censor, presumably under pressure from Ardern’s
Labour party. So was the downright ridiculous response of Whitcoull’s, a New
Zealand bookstore chain, to ban Jordan Peterson’s self-help manuals. These are
not the reactions of thoughtful leaders. They are panic reactions, seeking
political gain or shelter from as-yet hypothetical consequences.
is good that Ardern has ‘stood with’ New Zealand’s Muslims in a display of simple
decency. But the message sent by her hijab, and those of the other non-Muslim
women, is politically confused — and an admission of unconscious bigotry.
my simple worldview, if you believe in equality, you should be a feminist,’
Ardern wrote in 2015. On Friday, Gamal Fouda thanked Ardern and the non-Muslim
women for ‘honoring us with a simple scarf’. But there is nothing simple about
a scarf in this context.
Muslim-majority societies where family honor is everything, the presence of the
hijab is a barometer of the status of women. Where the hijab is the marker of
Muslim female identity, women are subjugated to custom over free expression, to
discriminatory clerical law over equality before secular law, and to male
authority over a woman’s right to choose.
the liberal democratic states into which large numbers of Muslims have recently
immigrated, the hijab is second only to the niqab, the face cover, as a symbol
of the subjugation of women, and the political assertion of Islam in secular
societies. If an elected female prime minister chooses to signal her virtue by
wearing a hijab outside a Muslim prayer space, she will appear to be endorsing
the hijab as the official and correct public costume of Muslim women,
regardless of what they might think, and regardless of what it costs them.
Especially if she is a self-professed feminist.
is a symbol of purity culture antithetical to feminist values,’ the Muslim
reform campaigner Asra Nomani tweeted at Ardern on Friday. ‘We have women in
jail and dead, for refusing the interpretation of Islam you promote.’
New Zealand Muslim Association and the Islamic Women’s Council of New Zealand
promoted the idea that non-Muslim New Zealanders should ‘stand with’ New
Zealand’s Muslims by covering their hair. The suggestion, however, came from Dr
Thaya Ashman of Auckland. after she had seen a news item in which a New Zealand
Muslim woman said she was now afraid to go outside in her hijab.
apart from being a doctor, is also a vicar’s wife and occasional preacher. She
has volunteered for an NGO in Afghanistan, where women are afraid for their
lives if they go outside without a hijab. There was a time when a vicar’s wife
might have advised her fellow Christians to pray for their Muslim neighbors,
and then to respond with charity, like the surviving congregants of the Tree of
Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, who have reciprocated the crowd-funded generosity
of their Muslim neighbors by sending more than $50,000 to Al Noor.
might have called on non-Muslims to make the small gestures of fellow-feeling
on which genuine relations are built between religious and ethnic communities.
Instead, she practiced what liberal-minded Christians tend to preach these
days, a woozy and theatrical religion of humanity. Of course, it took off on
Twitter, where no gesture of sanctimony is too fatuous to make. Soon, hordes of
young non-Muslim women were posting hijabi selfies under the tag
did the same in December 2014 when a self-starting ISIS adherent held a Sydney
café hostage and two customers were killed. After an Australian Muslim woman
was insulted on a bus, the #IllRideWithYou hashtag became the way to signal
amity. The enemy is no longer the ideologically motivated terrorism of a
minority within a minority, but a diffused intolerance, the purported racism of
the majority among the majority.
female Muslim New Zealander, writing anonymously, called the
#HeadscarfForHarmony fad ‘cheap tokenism… ‘a gimmick and pretty distasteful’:
‘Most people will remove their scarves when Friday ends whilst my mother and
sisters continue to be abused — as it’s their religious outfit and not a
costume.’ The fact that she had to write anonymously confirms her case.
Christchurch attack is the first mass casualty terrorist event in New Zealand’s
history. The frenzied extent of the messaging — the newsreaders speaking
Arabic, the armed policewoman in a hijab, the #HeadscarfForHarmony mania —
smacks of terror — the feeling, not the act. For the power and purpose of
terrorism is to inculcate fear by random violence. And it is only human to wish
to ward that off, whether by surrender or resistance.
world is terrified of Islamist violence. In that sense, if no other, the
Islamist-approved term ‘Islamophobia’ is accurate. Imam Fouda rightly observed
that the Al Noor attack ‘did not come overnight’. It comes after a long global
wave of Islamist terrorism, most of whose victims have been Muslims. And some
of that violence has incited its despicable twin, the terrorism of the minority
within the majority, into a dance of death.
Zealanders sense that even their distant society has been drawn into the
dialectic of religious murder. Of course, Islamists will retaliate: that is the
nature of terrorism. The hijabs, the selfies, and the invocation of Arabic
phrases are all what the anthropologists call apotropaic magic, an unconscious
attempt to ward off the coming evil.
Greece and Turkey, the eye of the ‘evil eye’ amulet is blue because it is
blue-eyed people who, inadvertently or not, are believed to carry the evil. One
theory has it that this is a folk memory of violent, blue-eyed invaders like
the Crusaders. Today, non-Muslim New Zealanders are propitiating their fear of
the coming evil with a similar outburst of collective primitivism.
with the hanging of evil eye amulets that face outwards, or the strategic
placement of mirrors which serve similar magical thoughts, Ardern and the
selfie-takers are trying to protect themselves by reflecting their image of
terror back to itself. This, more than their consciously contrived theatricals
of affection and sympathy, shows what they really think of Islam and Muslims.
month, the International Boxing Association (AIBA) lifted a ban on hijabs and
other full-body uniforms that fighters wear for religious reasons. This meant
Muslim teen Safiyyah Syeed, who wears a hijab, can take her love of boxing to
the next level. The 18-year-old from Bradford began boxing a year ago. When she
was suffering from from anorexia and bulimia, she wrote a bucket list, which
included becoming a boxer. Overcoming the conditions, Safiyah said she wants to
show people that it’s possible to overcome mental health issues and have a
positve relationship with your body. Now she wants to be one of the first
Muslim women to compete nationally and hopes to take her boxing to the Olympics
one day. To prepare, Safiyyah, who is studying a leadership program at
university, has begun training twice a day.
was a bit worried at first about being a hijabi girl going into a boxing gym.
It’s not what people are used to,’ said Safiyah. ‘But everyone has been so nice
and supportive. No one minds that I wear a hijab in the ring. ‘It doesn’t
affect my boxing at all, some people think it might make it hard to move but I
forget I’m even wearing it.’
Millennium Hotel and Towers, the luxury hotel serving the pilgrims coming to
Makkah and located directly over the Holy Haram Piazza, celebrated
International Women’s Day by organizing a series of events and activities to
appreciate the contribution by female employees in the hotel and the
International Women’s Day celebration last March 8, the female employees of the
hotel visited King Abdullah Medical City Specialist Hospital for women to
brighten the day of the patients and inspire them to improve their health and
well being while also distributing gifts to cheer them up.
hotel also honored the women in the organization by arranging a gathering at Al
Khayat, General Manager, Makkah Millennium Hotel and Towers, recognized the
achievements of women and listing down action points to empower the women
workforce in the organization, and encourage them to start a conversation that
matters. As a token of appreciation, a gift distribution ceremony for each
female employee was held.
said: “Women are making their presence and contribution felt in every industry
alongside men and it is a matter of great pride and honor to witness these
remarkable progress and achievements. On behalf of the management of Millennium
Hotels and Resorts, we would like to extend our thanks and appreciate their
presence in the family. We pledge to support women in the hospitality industry
and offer more opportunities in the near future.” — SG
Dhabi: Being a police officer is no longer just a man’s job. More and more
women are playing influential roles as highly skilled policewomen in the UAE,
thanks to the government’s efforts to ensure women have a role in the country’s
fourth Policewomen Regional Conference, which highlighted this point in the
capital yesterday, brought together several female police officers in
leadership positions to discuss the latest trends when it comes to policewomen
in the UAE and the region. “In the police sector, Emirati women have worked
side by side with their male colleagues with full equality — carrying out all
their duties and showing a high level of professionalism as well as proving
their competency,” said Amna Mohammad Al Beloushi, director of the Women Police
have seen the empowerment of women in the UAE in all fields, especially when it
comes to the police, where women have reached high ranks and positions of
leadership requiring special skills to carry out their duties when it comes to
security matters,” she added.
Beloushi said, “We’re supporting them in all areas — social and family life —
and we are also sending them outside the country to continue their studies.
Women are equal to men... they are involved with all projects and in our core
Beloushi said looking upon the police’s role as a male prerogative is passe.
is saying that at all [in the UAE. Even if you go to the US or the UK nobody is
talking like that anymore. Women work in all places now.”
Sulaiman, a member of the UAE Federal National Council who also spoke at the
forum, said the increased numbers of Emirati women working as police officers
was because of the country’s decades-long policies of diversifying its
workforce to include both men and women.
leadership changed the look and image of women to one that is innovative,
providing opportunities for women to have all chances to become productive
citizens... Here in the UAE, women have been integrated in all roles of
said it is important for women to be innovative in whatever role they are in.
second USAID Forward Together: Women in Business regional trade fair ended this
week in Mazar-e-Sharif, Balkh Province. The three-day event (March 21-23)
coincided with this year’s observance of Nowruz.
United States Agency for International Development in a statement said “USAID
supports these annual regional trade shows to showcase products and services of
Afghan women-owned companies or companies that employ substantial numbers of
statement further added that featuring a variety of businesses from Balkh
Province as well as from six other provinces, the three-day event offered
business-to-business networking and an open day for consumers to visit the
fairs are a great way for Afghan women to reach discerning consumers in some of
the world’s largest markets with their outstanding products,” said USAID
Mission Director Peter Natiello. “This means better incomes, employment, and
livelihoods for Afghan women and their families.”
businesses identified more customers, suppliers, and contractors. Businesses
also heard from customers and improved their understanding of customer needs.
last year’s trade fair, businesses made approximately AFN 15.5 million from
wholesale contract agreements and approximately AFN 2.9 million in direct
retail sales, USAID said.
fresh row appeared to be brewing between India and Pakistan on Sunday after
external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj asked India’s envoy in Islamabad for
details about the alleged abduction and forced conversion of two Pakistani
Hindu girls in a tweet that triggered an exchange on social media with a
minister of the neighbouring country.
said that two Hindu teenage girls, 13 and 15 years old, were allegedly
kidnapped and forced to convert to Islam before being married to Muslim men in
Pakistan’s Sindh province. Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday ordered
the provincial Sindh and Punjab governments to retrieve the two girls, who were
said to have been moved to Rahim Yar Khan from Ghotki in his country’s
videos circulating on social media over the last two days, the father and
brother of the girls can be heard saying the two were abducted and forced to
change their religion.
another clip, however, the minor girls appear to say that they have accepted
Islam of their own free will. Hindustan Times could not independently verify
the video clips.
tagging a media report about the incident in Pakistan, the Indian external
affairs minister on Sunday tweeted that she had asked the Indian high
commissioner in Islamabad to send a report on the matter. Pakistan’s
information minister Fawad Chaudhry responded to her tweet, saying it was his
country’s “internal issue”.
hit back in another tweet: “Mr Minister, I only asked for a report from Indian
High Commissioner in Islamabad about the kidnapping and forced conversion of
two minor Hindu girls to Islam. This was enough to make you jittery. This only
shows your guilty conscience.”
this, Chaudhry responded by tweeting: “Madam Minister I am happy that in the
Indian administration we have people who care for minority rights in other
countries. I sincerely hope that your conscience will allow you to stand up for
minorities at home as well. Gujarat and Jammu must weigh heavily on your soul.”
constitute about 3% of the 190 million people in Pakistan, about 7.5 million of
them from the Hindu community. The minority populations are concentrated in
some areas and they are said to have a crucial impact in a few seats during
elections in the Sindh and Punjab provinces.
incident comes weeks after the Pakistani government sacked a provincial
minister for making offensive remarks about Hindus amid tensions with India
following a suicide bombing in Kashmir’s Pulwama that killed 40 troopers of the
Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF). Pakistan-based terror outfit
Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) claimed responsibility for the attack that was carried
out by a 22-year-old Kashmiri man.
an operation carried out on February 26, fighter jets of the Indian Air Force
bombed a site in Balakot, in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa region, known to be
a militant training centre of the JeM. The air strike triggered a sharp
escalation in tensions with Pakistan, which attempted an air operation in
tensions eased after Pakistan released Indian Wing Commander Abhinandan
Varthaman, whose jet was shot down in a dogfight over the Line of Control on
a Twitter post in Urdu on Sunday, Pakistan’s information minister Chaudhry said
that the Prime Minister of his country asked the Sindh chief minister to look
into reports that the two Hindu girls had been taken to Rahim Yar Khan in Punjab.
Chaudhry said that Khan also ordered the Sindh and Punjab governments to devise
a joint action plan in light of the incident, and to take concrete steps to
prevent such incidents from happening again.
minorities in Pakistan make up the white of our flag and all of our flag’s
colours are precious to us. Protection of our flag is our duty,” he said.
Hindu community in Pakistan has carried out massive protests, calling for
strict action to be taken against those responsible, while reminding Imran Khan
of his promises to the minorities of the country. During his election campaign,
Khan had said his party’s agenda was to uplift the various religious groups
across Pakistan and said they would take effective measures to prevent forced
marriages of Hindu girls.
Palestinian women in Syria, there was no reason to celebrate International
Women's Day, an event commemorated around the world earlier this month. While
in many countries women were celebrating, a report published by a human rights
organization, the Action Group for Palestinians of Syria, revealed that 107
Palestinian women were being held in harsh conditions in Syrian prisons.
Palestinian women, according to the Action Group for Palestinians of Syria,
were arrested by the Syrian authorities after the beginning of the civil war in
that country in 2011. "The Syrian security authorities are continuing to
hold dozens of Palestinian refugee women since the beginning of the war in
Syria," the Group said. The Group's researchers said they were able to document
the cases of 107 Palestinian women who are still being held in prison; 44 from
the Damascus area, 12 from the city of Homs, four from the city of Daraa and 41
from different parts of Syria.
the female detainees are university students, activists and mothers, some of
whom, report added, were incarcerated with their children. The
"testimonies of some women who were released from prison confirm that they
had been subjected to various forms of torture at the hands of Syrian security
officers," the report said. "It is worth noting that Palestinian
women in Syria have been subjected to arrest, kidnapping, death and disability
as a result of the conflict in Syria that erupted in March 2011."
report by the same Group revealed that, since 2011, 34 Palestinian women have
died in Syrian prisons as a result of torture. Altogether, 570 Palestinians,
including women, children and the elderly, have died in Syrian prisons since
the beginning of the civil war there, the report said.
statistic showed that a total of 484 Palestinian women have been killed in
Syria during the fighting among the various rival parties: 240 as a result of
shelling, 68 as a result of lack of medical care and the blockade imposed by
the Syrian army on the Yarmouk refugee camp near Damascus, 28 by sniper
gunfire, 37 in bomb explosions, 24 by shootings, 26 by drowning and five who
were summarily executed in public squares.
to the Group, a total of 3,920 Palestinians have been killed in Syria since the
beginning of the civil war in 2011. Another 317 Palestinians have gone missing,
while 1734 Palestinians are being held in different prisons belonging to the
recent report by the Turkish news agency Anadolu found that Syrian women were
also being tortured as well as raped in Syrian prisons. Anadolu said that
13,500 women detained by the Syrian authorities have been subjected to torture
and rape while in prison. At present, the report said, there are 7,000 women
being held in Syrian prisons.
former detainee who identified herself as Rana said that while she was in
prison, the Syrian security officers burned alive a woman and her daughter who
were being held in a nearby cell. She recalled that two other women from the
city of Aleppo were raped by prison guards. She said that she herself was held
in a small cell together with 15 other women who were subjected to various
forms of torture.
years ago, an 18-year-old Palestinian woman who identified herself as Huda
complained that she had been repeatedly raped while being held in a Syrian
prison. She said she was arrested by members of the Palestinian terrorist group
Popular Front-General Command, a militia that works with the Syrian
authorities, at the entrance to Yarmouk camp where she lives. Before Huda was handed
over to the Syrians, her Palestinian captors tortured her and three other
Palestinian women they had arrested.
[Syrian] interrogators questioned me about the identities of women and men in
Yarmouk camp... When I denied that I knew them, they beat me subjected me to
electric shocks. I was also raped for 15 days. Sometimes, I was raped more than
10 times a day by different officers and guards."
her testimony, Huda said that she got pregnant as a result of the rape, but
miscarried under beating.
had severe bleeding and lost consciousness... The rape of female detainees was
very common. One woman tried to commit suicide several times and she used to
bang her head on the wall of the cell. Each time she would lose consciousness
her incarceration, Huda said, she witnessed a 20-year-old woman who had also
become pregnant after being repeatedly raped:
she gave birth, she could not tolerate seeing the baby or keeping him near her
in the cell... She couldn't stand hearing the crying of the baby, so she tried
to kill him so she would no longer see him. A few days later, a prison guard
came and took the infant away."
plight of the Palestinian women in Syria is an issue that does not seem bother
Palestinian leaders in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. These leaders are too busy
fighting and inciting violence against each other, against Israel and the US.
They have completely forgotten about the suffering of their people in an Arab
country such as Syria.
the past two weeks, the rivalry between the Palestinian Authority's ruling
Fatah faction in the West Bank and Hamas in the Gaza Strip seems to have
reached new heights, especially after Hamas reportedly broke the bones of
dozens of Fatah supporters and officials in the Gaza Strip.
has accused Fatah of being behind the recent protests against economic hardship
that swept the Gaza Strip. As part of its effort to crush the protests, Hamas
sent its security officers into the streets to break the arms and legs of many
protesters. One of the victims was Atef Abu Seif, the Fatah spokesman in the
Gaza Strip, who was kidnapped and badly beaten. He remains in serious
condition, with broken arms and legs. Fatah says that Hamas was behind the
officials have responded to the Hamas crackdown by calling Hamas a terrorist
organization and comparing its security forces to Nazi Germany's secret police,
the Gestapo. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has also reacted
with fury to the crackdown on his supporters in the Gaza Strip. Hamas, he said,
will "end up in the dustbin of history."
the Palestinian women in Syria, the ongoing dispute between Fatah and Hamas is
the last thing they seem to care about. These women, who are being subjected to
rape and various forms of torture in Syrian prisons, are the victims of failed
Palestinian leaders who seem to only care about holding on to their bank
accounts and their jobs. Not a single Fatah or Hamas official -- or the United
Nations or Western so-called "human-rights" groups -- has spoken out
against the plight of Palestinian women in Syria. Why should they, when all
they do most of their time is throw mud at each other while at the same time
continuing to incite their people against Israel and the US?
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