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Islam, Women and Feminism (30 Jan 2015 NewAgeIslam.Com)



Terror Plans of Al-Qaeda Women’s Wing Exposed

 

 

 

 

Punjab plans to raise marriage age for girls to 18 -Photo by Faras Ghani

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rape Victims’ Protest Shows Pain of CAR War

Pak Punjab Plans to Raise Marriage Age for Girls To 18

IS Women 'May Carry Out UK Attacks'

Egypt Women Protest Killing Of Shaima Sabbagh

Angelina Jolie ‘Speechless’ On ISIS Victims, Syrian Refugees

Indonesia: Undo Legacy of Rights Abuse

65 Saudi Husbands Jailed For Contempt Of Court

Annual Abortion Rate in Pakistan Doubled In 10 Years

Entire Family Shot Dead In Afghanistan for Rejecting Marriage Proposal

Indian Father Tried To Bury Ten-Year-Old Daughter Alive As He Wanted a Son, Hated Girls

US Public High School Hosts ‘Hijab Day’: A ‘Classic Example of Religious Indoctrination’

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islam,-women-and-feminism/new-age-islam-news-bureau/terror-plans-of-al-qaeda-women’s-wing-exposed/d/101283

 

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Terror Plans of Al-Qaeda Women’s Wing Exposed

30 Jan, 2015

ISLAMABAD: Al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS), led by Commander Asim Umar, has launched the women’s wing of the international terrorist outfit led by Afinda Binte Ayesha who will seek guidance from Umaima Hassan Ahmed Muhammad Hassan, one of the wives of al-Qaeda chief, Dr Ayman Al Zawahiri.

Named as the “Al-Qaeda Shaheen Force”, the women’s wing of the terror outfit would operate from the Pak-Afghan tribal belt and organise a squad of female suicide bombers on the pattern of Nigerian militant group, Boko Haram, which has created havoc in the country by using female suicide bombers to target military installations and security forces. The women wing of the AQIS plans to carry out terrorist activities in Pakistan by using its veiled female suicide bombers who [by taking advantage of their gender] may try to target some sensitive installations, including airports.

The Pakistani Taliban had also used female suicide bombers several times in the past to eliminate their targets, including the late Ameer of Jamaat-e-Islami Qazi Hussain Ahmed. He had a narrow escape on November 19, 2012 when a female bomber exploded herself as his convoy passed through the Haleemzai Tehsil in Mohmand Agency in a failed bid to kill the Jamaat Ameer who had invited the wrath of the Taliban because of his April 2012 interview wherein he described the Afghan Taliban’s resistance against the Allied Forces in Afghanistan as “true Jihad” and that of the Pakistani Taliban in Pakistan as “un-Islamic” because they were killing innocent civilians.

The female suicide bomber was identified as Umme Usman, an Uzbek national belonging to the TTP and al-Qaeda linked terrorist group — the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) — which used to operate from North Waziristan. Lal Masjid prayer leader Maulana Abdul Aziz had also warned on February 10, 2014 that Pakistani Taliban had 500 female suicide bombers in Waziristan and other tribal areas who were ready to act. As things stand, hardly a week has passed without news of a female indulging in an act of extremism or terrorism across the globe. Then there are reports of young Muslim girls pledging their support to the “Caliphate” of Baghdadi-led Daesh on Face book and Twitter, with some of them even escaping to marry Jihadis in Syria. And last but not the least, Hayat Boumeddiene, the fugitive wife of one of three perpetrators of the recent terrorist attacks on a French Magazine in Paris, remains the most wanted terror suspect in the world today.

The formation of the women wing of AQIS only became known to the Pakistani agencies when they intercepted a cell phone communication between some of the top al-Qaeda operatives who are based in the lawless Pak-Afghan tribal belt. As per the communiqué, Afinda Binte Ayesha will seek guidance from Umaima Hassan to make the “Al-Qaeda Shaheen Force” a major Jihadi player in the Indian Subcontinent that will initially consist of 500 female members.

Umaima Hassan had already asked Muslim women in a pamphlet to raise their children in the cult of Jihad and martyrdom. “All the Muslim women of the world should raise their children to love Jihad and die in the cause of Allah. Besides helping to preserve the Mujahedeen and raise their children in the best way, women could go the extra mile and participate themselves in martyrdom missions as suicide bombers,” Umaima Hassan had added.

However, not much is known about Afinda Binte Ayesha, the chief of “Al-Qaeda Shaheen Force. The media wing of AQIS led by Usama Mahmood is expected to formally announce her appointment in near future. The AQIS was launched by Dr Ayman Al Zawahiri on the eve of the 13th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, led by a Pakistani Jihadi commander, Asim Umar. While making the announcement on September 4, 2014 in a 55-minute video, Zawahiri said the formation of the South Asia branch of al-Qaeda would spread Islamic rule and raise the flag of Jihad across the Subcontinent. Umar, who was shown in a Zawahiri’s video, was tasked with rousing fighters in South Asia. Soon after its formation, Al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) had claimed responsibility for a failed attack at the Karachi Dockyard on September 6, 2014.

But, on the other hand, Usama Mahmud, the spokesman of Al-Qaeda in the Subcontinent, had condemned the December 16, 2014 Peshawar school massacre by the Pakistani Taliban. In a statement issued on December 22, 2014, Usama had asked those involved in the merciless act if they wanted to work for the supremacy of Islam and seek revenge from non-believers, they should actually divert their guns towards the non-believers rather than targeting innocent children. “Those who kill innocent Muslim women and children, whatever name they wanted to give it, we consider it against the Islamic Shariah. We in front of Allah Almighty and in front of our nation distance ourselves of this act.”

According to Pakistani intelligence circles, the AQIS had distributed a manual amongst its cadres in December 2014 which called upon the female followers of the outfit to urge their young children to take up the cause of Jihad. The manual said the women must support the men at the time of war. “Al-Qaeda feels that women can perform specialised roles. They need to help the men who are out on the battlefield and also gather intelligence. The women will however not indulge in war on the battlefield. Using arms is a strict no for the women and the chief of the outfit feels that the women will play a secondary but very important role in this long drawn battle. Jihad should be loved and the importance of this should be told. If you have children, tell them the importance of Jihad”, the manual of AQIS added.

In fact, the policy of Pakistan militants to use veil-clad female suicide bombers to effectively strike their targets without being intercepted has already set alarm bells ringing for security agencies. Before trying to kill Qazi Hussain Ahmed on November 19, 2012, another female suicide bomber had blown herself up on December 25, 2010 at a distribution centre of the World Food Programme in the Khar area of Bajaur, killing 45 people.

In another such incident on April 21, 2013, a female bomber blew herself up at the main gate of a government-run hospital in Khar area of the Bajaur Agency, killing four people. The woman, apparently in her 20s with face covered, was about to enter the hospital when security guards asked her to stop. But the woman was quick to detonate the explosives strapped to her body.

In yet another incident on June 15, 2013, a female bomber exploded herself in a bus which was carrying female students of Sardar Bahadur Khan Women’s University. The burqa-clad female bomber who was impersonating a university student boarded the bus and detonated the explosives strapped to her body. Lashkar-e-Jhangvi had claimed responsibility for the bus bombing, saying it was carried out by Ayesha Siddiqa. According to security agencies dealing with suicide bombings, the emerging phenomenon of female bombers poses a bigger challenge to law enforcement agencies in Pakistan since women in their all-enveloping burqas (veils) can easily breach security.

According to well-informed circles in security agencies, in a conservative society like Pakistan, a veil is perfect for a female bomber the concealment of explosive devices as well as suicide jackets. They add that the Taliban and some other Jihadi groups run female suicide bombing cells in remote areas of north-western Pakistan and north-eastern Afghanistan. The existence of these cells was actually confirmed by a 12-year-old Pakistani girl, Meena Gul, who had confessed in June 2010 to having been trained to be a human bomb.

Meena said that she was brainwashed to target the Pakistani security forces in one of several such training camps. She was detained by the police in the Munda area in Dir district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. According to Meena, female bombers from Pakistan and Afghanistan are trained in small cells on both sides of the border, to be finally dispatched to their missions with a sermon, “God will reward you with a place in heaven.” Meena said that her cell was under the command of Zainab, her sister-in-law, who used to dress as a man and fought alongside the Taliban against Pakistani troops.

http://www.thenews.com.pk/Todays-News-13-35591-Terror-plans-of-Al-Qaeda-womens-wing-exposed

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Rape Victims’ Protest Shows Pain of CAR War

30 Jan, 2015

(Bloomberg) -- Four young women stripped naked and threw themselves on the red earth as a squad of French peace keepers in the Central African Republic stood by stone-faced.

“We take our clothes off because we have been raped too many times,” one of them screamed in the Sango language. “We don’t care any more.”

The young women staged their impromptu protest as the French soldiers prevented clashes between hundreds of Muslim and Christian youths on a bridge over the Ouaka River in the Central African Republic’s second-biggest city, Bambari. It highlighted the enduring human toll of a conflict that’s disrupted gold and uranium exploration in the country, which is the world’s 12th-biggest diamond producer, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

French Colonel Pierre Hervé, sporting a graze on his face after being hit by a rock, said violence flared in Bambari, about 280 kilometers (173 miles) northeast of the capital, Bangui, because of the arrival of government officials from a nationwide consultation process designed to bring peace.

“It’s very difficult to understand,” he said. “Originally both sides agreed to receive the delegation, but this changed and now the young Muslim men don’t want the government consultation team here at all.”

The Central African Republic has been gripped by lawlessness since Seleka, a mainly Muslim alliance of anti-government rebel militias, overthrew Christian President Francois Bozize in March 2013. The takeover was marked by the widespread killing of civilians, according to New York-based Human Rights Watch.

International Criticism

The Seleka government led by interim President Michel Djotodia resigned in January 2014 after a wave of international criticism that he failed to stop the violence. A transitional authority led by Catherine Samba-Panza took over and is supposed to organize elections by August. So far, it has failed to extend its authority beyond Bangui, the capital.

Thousands of people have died, according to Medecins Sans Frontieres, the Geneva-based medical charity, while the United Nations says more than 2.5 million need urgent humanitarian assistance.

Human Rights Watch has documented and received reports of rapes carried out by both sides, Lewis Mudge, the group’s Central African Republic analyst, said in an e-mailed response to questions.

“Most women raped by both Seleka elements and anti-balaka are done so at gunpoint, often times after looting,” he said. “The endless violence the population has endured throughout the country has broken down social norms, but women and girls who have been raped are perhaps the most affected.”

Divided Nation

The country remains divided between the anti-balaka militias, which describe themselves as village self-defense groups, in the west, and Seleka rebels that control the east, according to the UN. There is no functioning national army.

The young girls who stripped at the bridge blamed both militias for abusing them. “Seleka rape us, anti-balaka rape us, it is too much, we are fed up,” one shouted.

The French troops at the bridge are part of a force about of 2,260 peace keepers from the former colonial ruler whose deployment was authorized by the UN Security Council in 2013. A UN force, known by its acronym Minusca, has about 8,500 soldiers of its planned 11,800-member contingent.

The International Criminal Court is investigating allegations against both sides for crimes against humanity, war crimes, the use of child soldiers, and abuses including rape, murder and attacks against humanitarian aid missions, Nicola Fletcher, an ICC spokeswoman, said in an e-mail.

Bangui Meeting

The government hopes a “Bangui Forum” in March can bring together all the key groups, officials and community representatives to move toward elections tentatively set for July and August, Minister for National Reconciliation Jeannette Dethoua said in an interview.

While the UN has a mandate to disarm militias, young armed Seleka men in uniform freely roam around Bambari and the region. A Seleka base in Bambari is opposite a UN compound.

This week at the bridge over the Ouaka River, both sides were brewing for a fight. Youths lit fires and hurled stones and abuse at the handful of French soldiers standing guard behind armored personnel carriers.

Later in the afternoon, short bursts of automatic gunfire and a few explosions were heard from near the bridge. French army spokesman Colonel Laurent Bastide said in a text message from Bangui that the fighting was between Central African Republic police and a Seleka faction.

U.S. Condemnation

French troops “took part to help the police. Nobody was wounded in our ranks,” he said. “It is now dangerous in Bambari.”

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki condemned attacks and threats against grassroots consultation teams in a Jan. 27 statement, saying they must be allowed “free and unimpeded movement.”

“Our message to those who would derail this process with violence, threats, or other means is simple: stop now, and allow all the people of CAR to participate in the dialogue process in peace,” she said.

Those who oppose the peace process are being used to fight for personal political and economic interests and aren’t really battling over religion, minister Dethoua said.

“Most of the people were manipulated in this country when the conflict arrived,” she said. “We need to talk to the young people to drop this bad behavior in order to have a good future.”

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-01-29/rape-victims-protest-shows-pain-of-central-african-republic-war

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Pak Punjab plans to raise marriage age for girls to 18

30 Jan, 2015

ISLAMABAD: The Punjab government is planning to raise minimum marriage age for girls to 18.

This was stated by the Chairperson of Punjab Provincial Commission on the Status of Women (PCSW) Fauzia Viqar while speaking at the National Conference on Child Marriages in Pakistan: Challenges and Strategies.

She said the Punjab Cabinet was meeting this week to discuss amendments to the current family laws.

Cabinet to discuss amendments to current family laws this week

“It is under consideration to raise the minimum marriageable age from 16 to 18 years for girls, penalize non-registration of marriages with a fine of Rs50,000

and make production of CNIC of bride and groom mandatory,” she said.

The conference was organised by Democratic Commission for Human Development and National Commission on the Status of Women (NCSW) in collaboration with Save the Children.

Ms Viqar said it was also under consideration to punish groom’s father/ guardian and the individual solemnizing the marriage as well as the adult groom for forcing underage girl for marriage. Standardising the nikkah nama format will also be discussed in the cabinet meeting, she said.

“Educating girls and boys on the contents of nikkah nama by adding it in the school curriculum is also under consideration,” she said.

She shared the helpline number of a (0800 93372) set up by the Punjab PCSW for registering complaints about child marriages.

She assured that the PCSW would proceed in the cases and get the FIR registered with the relevant police station.

The NCSW chairperson, Khawar Mumtaz, said child marriage destroyed the life of a girl.

“It deprives her of education, right to development and growth and exposes her to health risks and gender-based violence,” she said.

She said women’s caucus both at the national and provincial level was ready to move forward with the child marriage restraint law and urged the civil society to create momentum and contact lawmakers for action.

Chairperson of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa PCSW Neelam Toru said in her province there was a lot of resistance to such awareness campaigns about harmful effects of child marriages.

She said in her province girls were considered as the ‘honour’ of the family and were taken out of school on reaching puberty.

Justice Kohli from PCSW Balochistan agreed with Ms Toru’s views about the difficulties faced in bringing about legislation against child marriages.

Director Advocacy and Campaigns Save the Children Arshad Mahmood said that early marriages increased maternal mortality rate which at present was 276 per 100,000 live births, nationally.

“At this rate and with only less than 300 days left to the millennium development goals (MDG) deadline, Pakistan is not on track to meet the target of reducing maternal mortality,” he said.

http://www.dawn.com/news/1160120/punjab-plans-to-raise-marriage-age-for-girls-to-18

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IS women 'may carry out UK attacks'

30 Jan, 2015

British women who have travelled to Iraq and Syria to create an "Islamic utopia" could return home to carry out attacks as the conflict drags on, experts have warned.

An investigation into why Western women are joining Islamic State (IS) revealed some were now willing to go against the terror group's strict rules banning them from acts of violence.

Umm Ubaydah, a female European jihadist, questioned on social media whether she could "pull a Mulan and enter the battlefield", while another British woman, Umm Khattab, described how she put on an explosive belt after hearing gun shots, according to the report.

The study, by the London-based Institute for Strategic Dialogue, also found many Western women in IS were "desensitised" to the brutal beheadings carried out by the militants, including one who described the murder of American aid worker Peter Kassig and 18 Syrian hostages as "gut-wrenchingly awesome".

The report's authors said: "It is possible to suggest that, as the conflict drags on, the death of male fighters and the deaths of the migrant children could be a potential trigger which propels the women into changing roles.

"They may wish to strike at the 'near enemy' or even return home to strike at the West. The women's social media postings indicate that a sudden shift in roles is possible."

The number of Western migrants who have travelled to Iraq and Syria to join IS is believed to be around 3,000, including as many as 550 women, according to the study.

The report, which identified six British women who have travelled to the region, gathered evidence from social media accounts including Twitter and Tumblr, photographs, online interactions and media reports.

Ubaydah's mention of "Mulan" - the ancient Chinese figure who impersonates a man to replace her father in the army - is a "clear reference to a Disney film" and a reminder that the women have "grown up around Western films and music", the report said.

According to the study, the women "celebrate the violence of Isis unequivocally".

One British woman, Umm Hussain - named in reports as mother-of-two Sally Jones from Kent - tweeted: "Know that we have armies in Iraq and an army in Sham of angry lions whose drink is blood and play is carnage."

Another woman, who tweeted about the murder of Mr Kassig, said: "So I finally watched #IS latest video, OMG! ... Gut-wrenchingly awesome."

One woman tweeted: "So many beheadings at the same time, Allahu Akbar (God is the greatest), this video is beautiful."

Another woman, who watched a different beheading video, wrote: "'I was happy to see the beheading of that kaafir (non-believer), I just rewinded to the cutting part," before calling for "more beheadings please!", according to the study.

The report said: "There is no doubt, therefore, that the women who migrate to the territory controlled by Isis revel in the gore and brutality of the organisation.

"They appear desensitised to the horrific nature of the violent acts being committed."

Many "talk at length about the oppression of Muslims throughout the world" and often post gruesome and distressing images of violence against Muslims on their Twitter profiles and blogs, the report found.

They hope the region will develop into their vision of an "Islamic utopia" and believe that it is their mandatory religious duty, the study found.

There is also evidence to suggest that women's families have a "strong influence" in persuading them not to join IS, the report said.

Umm Layth - the name used by 20-year-old Aqsa Mahmood from Glasgow - tweeted: "When you hear them sob and beg like crazy on the phone for you to come back it's so hard."

In September, her parents Muzaffar and Khalida Mahmood said they were horrified that their "sweet, peaceful, intelligent" child had joined jihadists in Syria and urged her to come home.

The next month, parents of teenage girls Samya Dirie and Yusra Hussien also made emotional appeals for their safe return following fears they had travelled to Syria.

Yusra, 15, left her home in Easton, Bristol, and is thought to have met up with a 17-year-old Samya from London and boarded a plane to Turkey before the pair tried to cross the border with the war-torn state.

It is unclear how the teenagers, who are both from Somali families, met but they both vanished from their homes amid concerns they had been radicalised.

The report concludes that the threat posed by women in IS "is a different one than that posed by their male counterparts".

"They support male fighters in a non-military capacity and encourage attacks on the West by those who cannot travel," the authors said. "They demonstrate support for brutal violence equal in its strength to the men of Isis.

"They also demonstrate a capacity and willingness to engage in violence and even suicide attacks should circumstances change."

http://www.southwalesargus.co.uk/news/national/11754219.IS_women__revelling_in_the_gore_/

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Egypt women protest killing of Shaima Sabbagh

30 Jan, 2015

A number of Egyptian women plan protest Thursday in the same place where 33-year-old activist and mother Shaimaa El-Sabagh was shot dead Saturday, condemning the police that they accuse of killing El-Sabagh.

"We are the women who witnessed what happened to Shaimaa on Saturday and we ought not to keep silent," read the statement published on a Facebook event.

The event will take place at 2pm local time in Downtown Cairo's Talaat Harb Street.

The women who launched the event said they have no party or political group affiliation.

El-Sabagh died from heart and lung lacerations and bleeding in the chest caused by birdshot fired from eight metres away, according to Egypt's Authority of Forensic Medicine.

El-Sabagh, 33, was an advocate for workers' rights and a leading member of the Socialist Popular Alliance Party in Alexandria, a group that supported both the January 25 Revolution and the June 30 anti-Muslim Brotherhood protests.

The party has accused the police of premiditated murder of El-Sabagh.

Sabagh, with around two dozen others, attempted to march to Tahrir Square Saturday to lay flowers in the memory of those who died during the 2011 uprising.

http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/1/64/121616/Egypt/Politics-/Egyptian-women-plan-protest-in-Downtown-Cairo-agai.aspx

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Angelina Jolie ‘speechless’ on ISIS victims, Syrian refugees

30 Jan, 2015

Just days after Angelina Jolie was photographed on a visit to northern Iraq, the humanitarian and Hollywood heavyweight has penned a column about her trip for the New York Times, describing the devastation she witnessed in refugee camps.

In the piece, Jolie called for international action to help millions of displaced Syrian refugees and Iraqis who have been left homeless.

“I have visited Iraq five times since 2007, and I have seen nothing like the suffering I'm witnessing now,” she wrote in the article published on Tuesday.

“For many years I have visited camps, and every time, I sit in a tent and hear stories,” she explained. “I try my best to give support. To say something that will show solidarity and give some kind of thoughtful guidance. On this trip I was speechless.”

Jolie visited the Khanke Camp for internally displaced people on Sunday, and spoke to victims of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) extremist group.

“What do you say to the 13-year-old girl who describes the warehouses where she and the others lived and would be pulled out, three at a time, to be raped by the men?” she asked. “When her brother found out, he killed himself.”

“How can you speak when a woman your own age looks you in the eye and tells you that her whole family was killed in front of her, and that she now lives alone in a tent and has minimal food rations?”

In her column Jolie calls on the international community to take action, saying neighboring countries “have taken in nearly four million Syrian refugees, but they are reaching their limits.

“What does it say about our commitment to human rights and accountability that we seem to tolerate crimes against humanity happening in Syria and Iraq on a daily basis?” she asked.

“It is not enough to defend our values at home, in our newspapers and in our institutions,” she writes. “We also have to defend them in the refugee camps of the Middle East, and the ruined ghost towns of Syria.”

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/perspective/features/2015/01/28/Angelina-Jolie-speechless-on-ISIS-victims-Syrian-refugees.html

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Indonesia: Undo Legacy of Rights Abuse

30 Jan, 2015

(Jakarta) – The new Indonesian government should take decisive action to address religious intolerance and a rollback in women’s rights, Human Rights Watch said today in its World Report 2015.

The human rights challenges facing President Joko Widodo, who took office on October 20, 2014, are immense. He inherited a legacy of worsening sectarianism and security force impunity from his predecessor, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

“President Widodo has spoken of the need for greater respect for human rights in Indonesia,” said Phelim Kine, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “He needs to back up those words with concrete actions.”

In the 656-page world report, its 25th edition, Human Rights Watch reviews human rights practices in more than 90 countries. In his introductory essay, Executive Director Kenneth Roth urges governments to recognize that human rights offer an effective moral guide in turbulent times, and that violating rights can spark or aggravate serious security challenges. The short-term gains of undermining core values of freedom and non-discrimination are rarely worth the long-term price.

In 2014, the Indonesian government made some important progress on human rights, Human Rights Watch said. The Indonesian parliament passed the Mental Health Law in July to address the country’s dire mental healthcare situation. Widodo himself has explicitly promised to investigate specific enforced disappearances in 1998. He also gradually lifted the taboo on discussing the 1965 anti-Communist massacres, the focus of Joshua Oppenheimer’s award-winning film The Act of Killing. And in February, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia signed an agreement that allows Indonesian domestic workers in Saudi Arabia to keep their passports, communicate with their families, get paid monthly, and have time off.

The Widodo government should move quickly to defend religious minorities from harassment, intimidation, and violence by militant groups, Human Rights Watch said. On May 29, 2014, Islamist militants carrying wooden bats and iron sticks attacked the home of book publisher Julius Felicianus in Yogyakarta while his family conducted an evening Christian prayer meeting, injuring seven. Police arrested the alleged leader of the attack but later released him after local authorities pressured Felicianus to drop charges to maintain “religious harmony.”

Religious intolerance fueled by discriminatory local regulations also remains a serious problem in Indonesia. In September, the parliament in Aceh passed two Islamic bylaws that extend Islamic law to non-Muslims, criminalizing alcohol drinking, consensual same-sex relations, and all sexual relations outside of marriage. The bylaws permit as punishment up to 100 lashes and up to 100 months in prison.

The Widodo government should also address the rollback in women’s rights over the past decade, Human Rights Watch said. Many local regulations require female students and civil servants, among other women and girls, to wear the hijab. Across the country, female applicants to Indonesia’s National Police must take abusive, degrading, and discriminatory “virginity tests.”

Papua’s festering low-level pro-independence insurgency led by the Free Papua Movement (Organisasi Papua Merdeka, OPM) continued to result in human rights abuses by Indonesian security forces. As of late October, at least 69 Papuans were imprisoned for peaceful advocacy of independence. Indonesian police arrested French journalists Valentine Bourrat and Thomas Dandois on August 6, 2014, on charges of “working illegally”; they were released for time-served on October 24 after a Jayapura court sentenced them to two-and-a-half months in prison. Although Widodo indicated in July that he would seek to end the government stranglehold on foreign media access to Papua, he had not done so by year’s end.

“President Widodo should uphold human rights and prosecute those who abuse them,” Kine said. “Indonesians have waited a long time for a government that will protect their rights rather coddle the abusers. It’s time for Widodo to deliver.”

(Jakarta, January 29, 2015) – The new Indonesian government should take decisive action to address religious intolerance and a rollback in women’s rights, Human Rights Watch said today in its World Report 2015.

The human rights challenges facing President Joko Widodo, who took office on October 20, 2014, are immense. He inherited a legacy of worsening sectarianism and security force impunity from his predecessor, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

“President Widodo has spoken of the need for greater respect for human rights in Indonesia,” said Phelim Kine, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “He needs to back up those words with concrete actions.”

In the 656-page world report, its 25th edition, Human Rights Watch reviews human rights practices in more than 90 countries. In his introductory essay, Executive Director Kenneth Roth urges governments to recognize that human rights offer an effective moral guide in turbulent times, and that violating rights can spark or aggravate serious security challenges. The short-term gains of undermining core values of freedom and non-discrimination are rarely worth the long-term price.

In 2014, the Indonesian government made some important progress on human rights, Human Rights Watch said. The Indonesian parliament passed the Mental Health Law in July to address the country’s dire mental healthcare situation. Widodo himself has explicitly promised to investigate specific enforced disappearances in 1998. He also gradually lifted the taboo on discussing the 1965 anti-Communist massacres, the focus of Joshua Oppenheimer’s award-winning film The Act of Killing. And in February, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia signed an agreement that allows Indonesian domestic workers in Saudi Arabia to keep their passports, communicate with their families, get paid monthly, and have time off.

The Widodo government should move quickly to defend religious minorities from harassment, intimidation, and violence by militant groups, Human Rights Watch said. On May 29, 2014, Islamist militants carrying wooden bats and iron sticks attacked the home of book publisher Julius Felicianus in Yogyakarta while his family conducted an evening Christian prayer meeting, injuring seven. Police arrested the alleged leader of the attack but later released him after local authorities pressured Felicianus to drop charges to maintain “religious harmony.”

Religious intolerance fueled by discriminatory local regulations also remains a serious problem in Indonesia. In September, the parliament in Aceh passed two Islamic bylaws that extend Islamic law to non-Muslims, criminalizing alcohol drinking, consensual same-sex relations, and all sexual relations outside of marriage. The bylaws permit as punishment up to 100 lashes and up to 100 months in prison.

The Widodo government should also address the rollback in women’s rights over the past decade, Human Rights Watch said. Many local regulations require female students and civil servants, among other women and girls, to wear the hijab. Across the country, female applicants to Indonesia’s National Police must take abusive, degrading, and discriminatory “virginity tests.”

Papua’s festering low-level pro-independence insurgency led by the Free Papua Movement (Organisasi Papua Merdeka, OPM) continued to result in human rights abuses by Indonesian security forces. As of late October, at least 69 Papuans were imprisoned for peaceful advocacy of independence. Indonesian police arrested French journalists Valentine Bourrat and Thomas Dandois on August 6, 2014, on charges of “working illegally”; they were released for time-served on October 24 after a Jayapura court sentenced them to two-and-a-half months in prison. Although Widodo indicated in July that he would seek to end the government stranglehold on foreign media access to Papua, he had not done so by year’s end.

“President Widodo should uphold human rights and prosecute those who abuse them,” Kine said. “Indonesians have waited a long time for a government that will protect their rights rather coddle the abusers. It’s time for Widodo to deliver.”

http://www.hrw.org/news/2015/01/29/indonesia-undo-legacy-rights-abuse

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65 Saudi Husbands Jailed For Contempt Of Court

Jan 30 2015

Courts in Riyadh have sentenced more than 65 men to prison terms ranging from 2 days to three months for their refusal to implement court rulings in favour of their former wives, the Ministry of Justice announced.

The rulings made recently said that the men either refused to pay alimony or prevented children from visiting their mothers, the ministry said.

Some verdicts were also issued against men who delayed in applying for official documents for their sons and daughters in accordance with Article 95 of the Judiciary System, the ministry said.

The ministry said it will not tolerate a lack of implementation of judicial rulings and will send to prison anybody who refuses to implement all of the provisions of the judiciary.

The ministry said that courts recently issued rulings that raised terms of imprisonment for errant husbands to more than three months and aimed to alleviate their suffering after divorce as a result of the intransigence of their former husbands.

The ministry explained that these rulings are issued only after the long reconciliation process is exhausted.

The ministry, in cooperation with the Supreme Judiciary Council (SJC), recently allowed single mothers the right to visit the Civil Status offices, Passport Department offices, embassies, schools and departments of education and some government and private bodies to finalize transactions and formalities related to their children.

http://www.arabnews.com/featured/news/696901

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Annual abortion rate in Pakistan doubled in 10 years

30 Jan, 2015

ISLAMABAD: A recent study revealed that an estimated 2.25 million abortions were conducted in Pakistan in 2012. Almost all these abortions were clandestine and the health and lives of women were at risk. There were 50 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15-49 in 2012 and 27 in 2002.

The study titled ‘Induced Abortions and Unintended Pregnancies in Pakistan’ was carried out by Population Council in collaboration with the Guttmacher Institute, United States of America, and launched at a local hotel in Wednesday.

The study shows that in 2012, an estimated 623,000 Pakistani women were treated for complications resulting from induced abortions, the vast majority of which were performed by unqualified people or involved traditional methods.

Study reveals an estimated 623,000 women were treated for complications resulting from induced abortions

It concludes that there is need to strengthen the family planning programme and improve the quality and coverage of post-abortion services.

A second report titled ‘Investigating the low use of contraceptive methods in Pakistan and its causes and dimensions’ was also launched at the event.

The report showed that there is a growing acceptance of contraception in Pakistan and major barriers are being removed.

According to the report, because of financial burdens and improved general awareness husbands have become supportive towards the use of contraceptives. Couples also pay less attention to demands of other family members such as mothers-in-law regarding number of children. Moreover, the report notes that religion is no longer a reason for people to hesitate from using contraceptives.

During the studies, 266 health facilities were surveyed and 102 healthcare professionals and 44 women who had an induced abortion were interviewed. Ten focus group discussions became the basis of the observations about community norms regarding abortion and post-abortion care.

It was learnt that the unintended pregnancy rate increased between 2002 and 2012, from 71 to 93 per 1,000 women aged 15–49. In 2012, there were approximately nine million pregnancies in Pakistan, of which 4.2 million were unintended. Of these unintended pregnancies, 54 per cent resulted in induced abortions and 34 per cent in unplanned births.

The studies noted that unintended pregnancies increase the burden on healthcare so quality contraceptive services should be provided, especially in rural areas.

The reports recommended that family planning counselling should be made a routine part of post-abortive care at both public and private sector facilities. In remote areas services should be delivered at the doorstep by lady health workers (LHWs) or community midwives.

The involvement of local religious leaders in making family planning campaigns successful was also highlighted in the report.

It was suggested that family planning counselling and services be provided to potential clients during antenatal, natal and postnatal checkups, as well as during general health visits to healthcare providers.

Speaking to participants, National Health Services Minister Saira Afzal Tarar said population growth rate is a basic problem.

“Health and population have been devolved to provinces but unfortunately, provinces only give importance to health and neglect population,” she said.

She said that although LHW Programme can play a key role for population welfare they are over burdened with polio vaccination and other duties.

She suggested that religious scholars should be involved because they can play a role in convincing the people to use contraceptives.

Population Council Country Director Dr. Zeba A. Sathar said a number of couples who want to use contraceptives do not have access to them.

She said in remote areas like rural Balochistan, contraceptives cost much more than other areas and health services are generally more expensive.

http://www.dawn.com/news/1160125/annual-abortion-rate-in-pakistan-doubled-in-10-years

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Entire Family Shot Dead In Afghanistan for Rejecting Marriage Proposal

Jan 30 2015

An entire family was shot dead by gunmen after they refused a marriage proposal in northern Parwan province of Afghanistan.

The incident took place late on Thursday night in Bagram district after the gunmen stormed into the house of the family.

The local security officials the gunmen killed the father of the family along with his wife, daughter and two other kids.

According to reports, one of the assailants was a member of the Afghan police forces but the security officials have not commented in this regard so far.

The district administrative chief for Bagram also confirmed the incident and said further investigations have been launched regarding the attack.

In the meantime, the local officials said at least three suspects have been arrested in connection to the incident and are currently in police custody for further investigation.

This comes as there have been concerns regarding the growing activities by irresponsible armed groups in different parts of Parwan province.

In a similar incident armed militia men attacked and sprayed an Afghan family with acid in their home after the father rejected a man’s bid to marry his teenage daughter.

The incident took place around three years ago in northern Kunduz province of Afghanistan.

http://www.khaama.com/entire-family-shot-dead-in-parwan-for-rejecting-marriage-proposal-9909

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Indian Father Tried To Bury Ten-Year-Old Daughter Alive As He Wanted a Son, Hated Girls

Jan 30 2015

An Indian father has been arrested for attempted murder after trying to bury his ten-year old daughter alive.

Locals in Putia village, in Tripura, northeast India, alerted police that Abul Hussein was trying to bury his daughter in the backyard of his home.

When police arrived at his home he had had tied his daughter's hands with rope and taped her mouth before burying her up to her chest.

Police said that Hussein disliked girls and tried to kill his ten-year-old daughter Rukshena while his wife was away from their home. He was desperate for a son and hated that he had a daughter.

Senior police official Pradip Dey said: 'We received a call from a villager telling us that a man was trying to kill his daughter by burying her alive. Our team immediately reached the house and found Rukshena.

'We rescued her and arrested Abul Hussein for attempted murder. He is now in judicial custody until his trial.'

After burying Ruskshena up to her waist her mother returned home but Hussein temporarily threw a bamboo basket over her head, intending to finish the job later.

But his wife grew suspicious and called neighbours for help. She claimed she was already worried about her husband's love for their daughter.

When neighbours found Ruskshena buried Hussein was beaten before police arrived.

Ruskshena was admitted into a local hospital after falling seriously ill on January 16 but was discharged after a few days.

She is now back with her mother and is being protected by her mother's relatives.

In many parts of India, parents consider daughters an economic burden while sons are seen as the breadwinners in the family. They are also seen as the child to continue the family's legacy and are often preferred to female children.

The huge cultural preference often leads to abortions of female fetuses or decimation against girls by denying them access to education.

India's sex ratio of 943 females for 1000 males has been an ongoing concern for Indian governments.

And to generate awareness to save female children and empower women, the new government has launched an ambitious Beti Bachao, Beti Padao campaign, translating as 'Save Girl Child, Educate Girl Child'.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2931661/Father-arrested-tried-murder-ten-year-old-daughter-burying-alive-India.html

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US public high school hosts ‘Hijab Day’: A ‘classic example of religious indoctrination’

Jan 30, 2015

A California school is causing quite a controversy for apparently violating the separation of church and state to promote Muslim headscarves for women.

It all started when a student at Natomas Pacific Pathways Prep in Sacramento, who also happens to be an intern for the Hamas-linked group the Council on American-Islamic Relations, gave a presentation on “Islamaphobia” at a mandatory staff meeting at which an official CAIR representative was present.

In response to the presentation, the school decided to sponsor a “Hijab Day” Wednesday in cooperation with both CAIR and the Muslim-Brotherhood linked Muslim Students Association.

The watchdog group Jihad Watch received an image of a flier promoting the event from one of its readers. Part of it reads, “GIRLS! Come to the library Wednesday morning and MSA members will assist you in putting your hijab on.”

Jihad Watch obtained a copy of an email sent by a concerned citizen to school principal Tom Rutten.

In the email the citizen called “Hijab Day” a “classic example of religious indoctrination” and suggested that the backlash over a “Yarmulke Day” to promote Judaism would be “unimaginable.”

The citizen also pointed out that the Muslim Students Association has links to the Muslim Brotherhood, a terrorist organization.

Rather than responding directly, Rutten had the student who organized the event email the citizen.

“NP3 Hijab Day was part of my Senior Project, meant to bring awareness to my campus about the misconceptions surrounding Islam, particularly those surrounding the headscarf,” the student wrote. “I invited a speaker to talk to faculty about addressing Islamophobia in the classroom and the challenges in the Muslim world, and they appreciated the open and frank discussion.”

In the email the student does not ever deny the MSA’s links to the Muslim Brotherhood and twice calls any negative response to the event “irrational.”

Rutten did not respond to BizPac Review requests for comment.

The question remains: Does separation of church and state only apply to some religions?

http://www.bizpacreview.com/2015/01/29/u-s-public-high-school-hosts-hijab-day-a-classic-example-of-religious-indoctrination-176368#ixzz3QLDyTGJQ

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URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islam,-women-and-feminism/new-age-islam-news-bureau/terror-plans-of-al-qaeda-women’s-wing-exposed/d/101283

 




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