headscarf has been in mandatory in Iran since the Iranian revolution in 1979
[File: Majid Saeedi/Getty]
Woman Who Removed Headscarf ‘Pardoned’ After Jail Sentence
Female Wins Silver Medal In World Kickboxing Championship
Holds Contemporary Arab Women Filmmakers Retrospective Ahead Of 2019 Festival
slam Saudi Arabia for arresting ‘pregnant woman’
Pakistani Wins Chartered Accountant Woman of the Year Award
by New Age Islam News Bureau
Releasing Christian Woman, Asia Bibi, Long Imprisoned For Blasphemy
Prime Minister Imran Khan has announced that Asia Bibi, a Christian woman who
last year was saved from death row after being accused of blasphemy against
Islam, will soon leave Pakistan to be reunited with her family.
will leave Pakistan in a couple of weeks,” Khan told foreign journalists in
of the impending release came on the heels of British Foreign Secretary Jeremy
Hunt’s statement in the UK Parliament earlier this month that Bibi’s freedom
was being negotiated.
sure that she is safe and has somewhere safe to go is a top priority for this
government,” Hunt told legislators. “We have had numerous discussions in
private with [the] Pakistani government about how to progress on this. We are
making progress, and I’m very hopeful that this will have a positive outcome.”
authorities confirmed to The Media Line that the necessary documentation,
including visa and air tickets, was ready.
is all set to travel abroad. We are waiting for the green signal from concerned
authorities in this regard,” a senior government official told The Media Line
on condition of anonymity.
a Christian mother of five, had been on death row since 2010. She was accused
of committing blasphemy in 2009, when she left home early one June morning for
farm work, like many of the women in her village.
that fateful day, as she was picking berries under the scorching sun, she was
asked by her colleagues to fetch some water from the nearby well. She set off,
jug in hand. But on her way back, she took a sip of the water before handing it
over to her Muslim co-workers, which made them furious.
Pakistan, most Muslims refrain from eating or drinking with people of other
faiths, whom they believe are impure. Angered by Asia’s taking a sip of water,
her Muslim colleagues told her she was dirty and not worthy of drinking from
the same cup as they.
fierce argument erupted and harsh words were exchanged, climaxing with the
Muslim workers accusing Bibi of insulting the Prophet Muhammad.
days later, police barged into Bibi’s house and arrested her on suspicion of
blasphemy. During her trial, she maintained her innocence, but in 2010 was
sentenced to death. She spent the past nine years in solitary confinement.
case came under scrutiny on January 4, 2011, when Salmaan Taseer, one of
Pakistan’s most prominent politicians and the governor of Punjab, the country’s
biggest province, was assassinated in Islamabad by one of his bodyguards,
apparently for trying to secure Bibi’s release. International media described
the assassination as “one of the most traumatic events in Pakistani history.”
for Bibi’s early release sank following Taseer’s death, but her family never
lost hope, her husband appealing the death sentence before Pakistan’s Supreme Court.
October 31, 2018, the court acquitted Bibi, citing “material contradictions and
inconsistent statements of the witnesses” that “cast a shadow of doubt on the
prosecution’s version of the facts.”
ruling sparked nationwide protests headed by right-wing Islamist parties.
Meanwhile, human rights groups such as International Christian Concern, Open
Doors and Aid to the Church in Need widely hailed the decision.
government filed a review petition before the Supreme Court against her
acquittal. Meanwhile, on November 7, the authorities released her, moving her
to a safe house in Islamabad in response to death threats. One of the threats
came from hardline Muslim cleric Maulana Yousaf Qureshi, who offered a reward
of 500,000 rupees ($3,700) to anyone who
would kill her.
January 29, the government petition appealing Bibi’s acquittal was rejected,
lifting the last legal hurdle in the case and paving the way for her to leave
the country. Her family had already moved to Canada due to the death threats.
am missing her so much,” Bibi’s youngest daughter, Eisham Ashiq, 18, told The
Daily Mail on Sunday. “I think about her all the time and I speak to her on the
phone all the time. I say to her, ‘Have faith in God, because if God can
release you from jail, God can release you from where you are now. He will
bring you out.’”
Foreign Office spokesman Mohammad Faisal told The Media Line that Asia was free
following the court’s decision.
the best of my knowledge, Asia Bibi is still in Pakistan. She is a free woman.
Only she can decide whether to live in Pakistan or move abroad,” Faisal said.
Shaheen, managing editor of Pakistan’s The Daily Times, says Pakistan is not
doing anyone a favor by letting an innocent person go.
Bibi’s case was high profile,” he told The Media Line. “Punjab’s former
governor Shaheed Salman Taseer and former federal minister of minorities
Shaheed Shahbaz Bhatti gave their lives to highlight her plight. [But] many
more languish in jails, as the state is not ready to give them justice as yet….
The state needs to be sympathetic toward all its citizens, because that is its
primary responsibility. Acting on international pressure will always be too
little too late.”
many in Pakistan and abroad have hailed the prime minister’s statement about
Bibi’s imminent release and reunion with her family abroad, her case is highly
unlikely to change the situation for Pakistan’s Christian community.
February, a teenage Christian girl was allegedly abducted and forcefully
converted to Islam. The victim’s family claims her abductors are using the
country’s legal system to keep her from returning home.
to International Christian Concern (ICC), 13-year-old Sadaf Masih was abducted
by three men identified as Maqbool Hussain, Mubashir Hussain Baloch and Azhir
Hussain Baloch. Eight days after her abduction, her family was told that she
had converted to Islam and married a Muslim man.
noted that abductions and forced conversions to Islam were common among
religious minorities in Pakistan. An estimated 1,000 women from the country’s
Christian and Hindu communities are abducted, raped, and forcefully converted
to Islam each year.
An Iranian woman who removed her obligatory headscarf in a public protest has
been sentenced to one year in prison but pardoned by the supreme leader, her
lawyer said Sunday.
court sentenced Vida Movahed in March after finding her guilty of encouraging
public “corruption,” her lawyer, Payam Derefshan, told The Associated Press.
Movahed was arrested in November. Derefshan, who first revealed the verdict to
local media on Sunday, said she is on a pardon list but the release procedures
are still underway.
was no official comment. Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei occasionally issues
pardons, usually tied to public holidays.
32, was dubbed the “Girl of Enghelab Street” and briefly arrested in 2017 after
she took off her headscarf and held it in the air. Video clips of the protest
were widely shared on social media, and authorities briefly detained 29 women
on similar charges the following year. Three have reportedly been sentenced to
two years in prison and some others are believed to have left the country.
Iranian court proceedings are usually closed to the public and verdicts are
often not publicized.
law requires women to dress conservatively and cover their hair in public.
Those who violate the rules are usually sentenced to two months in prison or
less and fined around $25.
have adopted a tougher approach toward the protests, which they say are part of
a campaign orchestrated from abroad by opposition groups and social media
on Sunday, the official IRNA news agency reported that an appeals court upheld
the 13-year prison sentence of a lawyer who was jailed in 2018 after voicing
support for people detained during anti-government protests.
Najafi was sentenced in December to 10 years for “conveying information to a
hostile country” through interviews with foreign media, two years for insulting
the supreme leader and one year for publicly supporting opposition groups.
same appeals court reduced the sentence of his associate, Ali Bagheri, from 12
years to five years. He had faced similar charges.
demonstrations in late 2017 and early 2018, which focused on economic
grievances, lasted for days and resulted in the deaths of dozens and the arrest
of hundreds more.
April 14, (KUNA): A Kuwait female kickboxer won Saturday the silver medal at
the Kickboxing World Cup, held in the Austrian city of Innsbruck.
Al-Yaqout defeated an Ukranian fighter in the 65kg category but lost in
aggregate and won the silver.
in a statement to KUNA following the fight, thanked His Highness the Amir
Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah for his support of Kuwaiti women to
compete at different levels.
said she could not describe her feelings for this “historic” achievement.
won the gold medal for the 70kg category in the Arab kickboxing championship in
Murad is competing in the men’s fights.
Kuwait 2019 powerboat-racing season culminated in the third round, organized by
the sailing and wake boarding committee of Kuwait Sea Sport Club, on Saturday.
one-day round saw Mahmoud Al-Shatti leading the Pro-Class 28 feet category,
followed by Khallad Eyada and Mustafa Dashti in the second and third places,
Dashti led the 23-ft yacht race, while Mohammad Al-Shatti and Khaled Habb
Erromman came second and third places, respectively.
the three rounds of the race, the competitors showed a high level of
professionalism and fighting spirit, Ali Al-Shimali, head of the sailing and
wake boarding committee, said in statements to KUNA.
committee aims to attract larger numbers of Kuwaiti citizens and expatriates to
this competition and promote the sea sports, he added.
part of the Toronto International Film Festival’s year-long programming, ‘Here
and Now: Contemporary Arab Women Filmmakers,’ will see a lineup of nine films
by Arab women, including one Egyptian.
programme of award-winning films aims to “explore this vital and growing cinema
that remains lamentably underscreened in North America,” as described on the
selection offers a wide range of styles, from documentaries to features, and
hopes to act as a retrospective and entry point for audiences in North America
on the rich works of contemporary Arab filmmakers.
any overarching theme can be detected in these films, it is how, in different
forms and genres, and with different topics and tones, they seek to engage with
the world, and ask the viewer to do the same — right here and right now,” an
intro to the programme on TIFF reads.
director Hala Lotfy’s film Coming Forth by Day is among the films to be
screened at TIFF Bell Lightbox, a cultural centre run by the festival all year
round. Lotfy’s film screens 22 August.
films include Loubia Hamra (Bloody Beans) directed by established Algerian film
producer Narimane Mari, and Tunisian director Raja Amari’s sensual Red Satin,
Syrian filmmaker Soudade Kaadan’s documentary Obscure, and Moroccan director
Tala Hadid’s non-fiction House in the Fields, the first part of a Morocco-set
there are two films from Lebanon: Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige’s A
Perfect Day, and Where Do We Go Now? by recent Oscar winner Nadine Labaki and
winner of the 2011 TIFF People’s Choice Award.
films from Palestine will screen: Annemarie Jacir’s Salt of This Sea, and Mai
Masri’s 3000 Nights.
activists yesterday launched a widescale campaign on social media networks to
stand in solidarity with prominent feminist writer, Khadija Al-Harbi, who was
reportedly arrested from her home a few days ago despite being pregnant, local
media has reported.
who had been advocating for women’s rights, was arrested, along with her
husband Thumar Al-Mazouqi, on 4 April by Saudi police from her home. She was
reported to have been in the “late stages of pregnancy”.
Saudi campaign, dubbed “the arrest of a pregnant woman in Saudi Arabia”, went
viral on social media platforms slamming the kingdom’s authorities.
called on the authorities to “immediately release Al-Harbi”, describing her
detention as a “big shame”.
and Al-Mazouqi were said to have been advocating for the release of a number of
female activists who had been detained in the kingdom.
reported last week that the Saudi authorities had arrested eight journalists
and writers, including two American citizens in what rights groups had
described as a “new campaign of arbitrary arrests.” Among the detainees was
Salah Al-Haydar, a Saudi citizen of US nationality, who has a family home in
the US but lives with his wife and child in the Saudi capital Riyadh. His
mother is prominent women’s rights activist Aziza Al-Yusuf, who is being tried
and was recently released from prison.
has been carrying out an arrest crackdown against government opponents. The
campaign is headed by Crown Prince Mohamed Bin Salman.
Dubai-based Pakistani expat, Asma Jan Mohammad, has become the first overseas
recipient of the Chartered Accountant Woman of the Year 2019 award.
President Dr Arif Alvi conferred the award upon Asma in Islamabad on April 11
at a ceremony organised by the Chartered Accountant (CA) Women Committee, of
the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Pakistan (ICAP).
Women Awards are given to honour outstanding female professionals in the field.
The winners are selected by an independent jury based on pre-defined criteria
from a pool of names nominated by the CA members.
is a Chartered Accountant, with professional experience of 14 years in diverse
industry sectors. She has been living and working in Dubai since 2007.
to Gulf News, Asma said that she is currently working with Jamal Al Ghurair
group, and is also the Chairperson of the Managing Committee of UAE Chapter of
ICAP members. This was established under the aegis of Pakistan Association
Dubai to represent the largest community of ICAP overseas members - more than
1,000 members - well-represented at many prestigious organisations in the UAE.
aim of the award is to encourage women to work in this field which is heavily
dominated by men as only eight per cent of the more than 8000 certified
Pakistani chartered accountant are women,” said Asma.
idea behind this award is also to appreciate women who join this profession.
became [a] member of the UAE CA Chapter a few years ago and then, last year,
became the first woman to be elected as the Chairperson of this prestigious
group in the UAE,” said Asma.
said that being backed by a premier qualification and extensive training
experience, ICAP professionals are highly ranked and sought after by reputed
entities in UAE.
UAE Chapter of ICAP members, Asma explained, aimed at branding CA Pakistan in
the local market and increasing members’ engagement by regularly organising
events relating to continuing professional development (CPD), networking,
conferences and social engagements for the benefit of UAE-based finance
has also won this year's Most Professional Accountancy by Women
Entrepreneurship Forum Dubai. She is a double gold-medalist in the CA
Foundation exams by ICAP, which she took in 2000.
has also launched an initiative titled “Femme-Passion” aimed at a stronger and
more rewarding role for professionally qualified female CAs in the UAE. At
present Femme Passion has over 30 members.
is raising two kids, endeavoring to have a work-life balance along side her
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