Shaheen Bagh area cleared of the
protest [Sajjad Hussain/AFP]
COVID-19: Muslim Women in Dallas Banned from Mosques: Told Their Gender Is
Itself A Health Risk
Women’s Beauty Salons Raided by Yemen's Houthis
Iranian Women’s Sitting Volleyball Looking To Secure Place At Paralympic Games:
Sports for All Federation Honours Female Saudi Athletes
High Time to Unlock Women’s Value In Business
Saudi Arabia-Returned Woman Tests Positive Of Coronavirus In UP
Celebrating Women Change-Makers All Over the World, Cartier To Honora Women At
Expo 2020 Dubai
The Taliban Doesn’t Care About Women’s Rights and Neither Does the Afghan
Banat Masr: New All-Women Project To See Light In Egypt
By New Age Islam News Bureau
Bagh Anti-CAA Sit-In Removed Amid Coronavirus Lockdown
Delhi: Police in India’s capital broke up the longest-running protest against
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s citizenship law on Tuesday, citing a ban on
public gatherings because of the coronavirus outbreak.
of people, many of them women, have been staging a sit-in protest since early
December on a street in the Shaheen Bagh neighbourhood, which has become a
focal point for opposition to the law seen as discriminating against Muslims.
of police in riot gear surrounded the protesters early on Tuesday and told them
to leave, said Delhi’s joint police commissioner D. C. Srivastava.
is a dangerous environment, with this coronavirus, we urged them to leave,” he
demonstrators resisted the police and at least nine people had been detained,
six of them women, Srivastava said, adding there was no violence.
showed police taking down tents and billboards at the protest site with
is under a lockdown until the end of the month to halt the spread of the virus
and public gatherings of more than five people have been banned.
Citizenship Amendment Act, which eases the path for non-Muslims from
neighbouring Muslim-majority countries to gain citizenship, triggered weeks of
sometimes violent protests against Modi’s government after it was passed in
least 78 people have been killed in demonstrations triggered by the law across
the country, a large number of them in another part of Delhi in clashes between
Hindus and Muslims.
say the law discriminates against Muslims and it has deepened concern that
Modi’s administration is undermining India’s secular traditions.
ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party denies any bias against India’s
180 million Muslims.
before the coronavirus epidemic, the protest at Shaheen Bagh had become a thorn
in the government’s side, and there had been calls by hardline Hindu groups
linked to Modi’s alliance and residents in the area to clear it out.
has reported 471 cases of the coronavirus but health experts have warned that a
big jump is imminent, which would likely overwhelm the underfunded and
crumbling public health infrastructure.
Muslim Women in Dallas Banned from Mosques: Told Their Gender Is Itself A
slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus in the U.S., mosques—like other houses of
worship—have adhered to Centers for Disease Control protocols and made the
difficult decision to limit prayer services.
Dallas, the recent DFW Imam Advisory describes three levels of restricted
activity: The lowest level of restriction prohibits specific people from
entering the mosque including those older than 60 or younger than 12; those
with health issues, symptoms of illness, and anyone who has traveled in the
last 14 days.
decades, as a Muslim woman, I have been directed to pray in side rooms, back
rooms, up fire escapes, in windowless basements and airless outdoor buildings
in Texas heat. I’ve been told piety for
women means praying at home, preferably in a closet.
I’m told my gender is itself a health risk.
local prohibition of women mirrors a national Islamic ruling on COVID-19 that
states: “Elderly adults, women, children and individuals with symptoms of
disease shall stop coming to mosques for daily as well as Friday prayers.”
discrimination in American mosques is nothing new. A national survey of mosques
found that the majority have physical barriers to demarcate women’s prayer
spaces are rarely equal and often substandard. Most mosques in the survey—63
percent—scored “fair” or “poor” on a scale for a women-friendly mosque. No
wonder female attendance in American mosques hovers around 35 percent, falling
short of male attendance.
women from the mosque does not conform with medical guidelines, Islamic
principles or good public policy. The
other exclusions are reasonable: the elderly are a high-risk group, children
under 12 are notoriously bad hand-washers and people with symptoms or recent
travel history are potentially disease carriers. The ban on women has no
reasonable or religious basis.
Quran establishes that men and women are spiritual equals:
believing men and believing women are allies of one another. They enjoin what
is right and forbid what is wrong and establish prayer and give charity and
obey Allah and His Messenger.”
Islam compassionately exempts women from regular mosque attendance—men are
obliged to attend at least weekly—this exemption is often used to justify
discrimination. However, the Prophet himself made no gender distinction in
times of plague or in instructing worshippers to stay home in dangerous
mosque is the center of spiritual learning and growth for all. Sexist policies
contrbute to the systematic erasure of Muslim women within their own religious
recently, many mosques locally and nationally have cancelled all services for
all congregants—regardless of gender. I credit Muslim male leadership for
quickly responding to a worsening situation.
at some point the lower level of restriction—and its explicit ban on women—may
go back into effect. As a public health crisis looms large, it may not be a
good time to bring up concerns of sexism. Perhaps there is never a “good” time
to address discrimination, so the time is always right, and right now.
discrimination rooted in the misogyny of South Asian and Arab culture is the
hallmark of suburban mosques in the metroplex, despite notable efforts to curb
sexism in immigrant Muslim communities.
contrast, Masjid Al Islam, the biggest community of African-American muslims in
Dallas, cancelled services for all worshippers without reference to gender and
did not sign onto the DFW Imam Advisory.
ban on women entering the mosque may continue for months. Perhaps this is a blessing in disguise. Once
the immediate pandemic health crisis is over, Muslim women who have been banned
for no legitimate reason should evaluate whether a community that casts them
out is one worth rejoining.
Beauty Salons Raided by Yemen's Houthis
government of the Houthi coup in Yemen has adopted twenty precautionary
measures that it claims are meant to fight COVID-19 such as the closure of
beauty salons for women.
procedure reminds Yemenis of what the leader of the coup had previously stated
that women’s Islamic robes were a reason behind the delay in their "divine
sources in Sanaa told Asharq Al-Awsat that Sultan Zabin, a Houthi official,
ordered dozens of armed men to carry out the new repressive campaign after the
militias issued decrees banning beauty salons and tailors for women’s clothing.
to the sources, the owners of salons in Sanaa said that armed Houthis raided
their shops alongside female security personnel from the Zaynabiyyat group and
asked them to shut down under the threat of arrest.
activists in Yemen accuse the Houthis of implementing protocols that are very
similar to those of ISIS and al-Qaeda. In fact, the militia group stated that
these shops are one of the main reasons that have delayed its ability to defeat
the legitimate government.
Houthi campaigns started to become more strict last December after a series of
speeches by their leader, calling on his followers to protect the Yemeni
society from what he described as an “invasion by Western culture” and to
consecrate “Yemeni identity” hinting at the Houthis' beliefs imported from
armed Houthis launched a similar campaign last year in Sanaa, where they burned
women’s gowns while repeating the “Khomeinist chant”, claiming that they are
one of the reasons behind the delay in victory.
group had launched several campaigns over the past few years against
restaurants and cafes under the pretext that they allow for mixing between
genders, before giving them the green light to reopen in exchange for financial
royalties imposed on owners.
the group had clamped down on ads for women’s makeup, and confiscated
mannequins from clothing stores.
they took over Sanaa in 2014, the insurgents impose strict conditions on
student clothing on university campuses. They also ban mixed-gender graduation
ceremonies and tell school pupils to wear traditional clothes during
rights groups have observed the group assaulting many girls in Sanaa University
due to their outfits, which they claim goes against the beliefs that the
group’s leader, Abdul-Malik al-Houthi, had talked about.
Women’s Sitting Volleyball Looking To Secure Place At Paralympic Games: Coach
– Head coach of Iran’s women’s sitting volleyball team Maryam Iranmanesh says
that they are hopeful of securing their place at the 2020 Paralympic Games.
Melli took part in the previous edition in Rio for the first time ever but
failed to qualify for the knockout stage.
team want to participate in the Games once again but they need to take part in
the qualification tournament.
wanted to take part at the qualification in Canada but we missed the
competition due to coronavirus outbreak,” Iranmanesh said.
can book a berth in the Paralympics because we have trained for six months and
we are well-prepared for securing our place in the games,” she added.
have a team consisting of young and experienced players and it will help us to
gain the great success in the upcoming events,” Iranmanesh concluded.
for All Federation Honours Female Saudi Athletes
— The Sports for All Federation (SFA) is celebrating some of the incredible
accomplishments of the country’s female athletes who have competed on both
local and international stages. Annually on March 8, the world comes together
to celebrate the accomplishments of women, and what a year it has been for
female athletes in Saudi Arabia!
month, the SFA launched the Women’s Football League (WFL), a nationwide
community-level league that is open for females aged 17 and above, under the
banner of the Quality of Life Program. Registration is currently open for
females from across the Kingdom to join as players, coaches and referees.
WFL, fully funded by the SFA with the goal of enabling and encouraging women to
participate in more physical activity, is a league for women by women. The
historic launch of this league is preceded by the success of the Saudi Greens
soccer team last year.
the fall of 2019, the Saudi Greens soccer team finished second in the Global
Goals World Cup, a tournament hosed alongside the United National General
Assembly for amateur athletes to help realize the UN’s Sustainable Development
Goals. Women from across Saudi joined together to form the Greens team and
compete for UN SDG No. 15: Life on Land.
Saudi Greens team initially participated in the Global Goals World Cup in
Denmark in May of 2019, where their impressive performance qualified them for
the New York tournament. The Global Goals World Cup marks the first time a
female Saudi community sports team competed in an international tournament.
the SFA recognizes the accomplishments and new opportunities in sports for
women in Saudi Arabia, we look forward to the future. We are working toward
further realizing Vision 2030’s goal of female empowerment, of which a key
component is encouraging and enabling youth."
the umbrella of the Women’s Football league, the SFA will be launching
additional events to target girls aged 16 and under.
Time to Unlock Women’s Value In Business
Women in business is a global issue with important socio-economic implications that needs action on priority.
entails specific issues including glass ceilings at the workplace, the
challenges and obstacles in entrepreneurial pursuit, low participation of women
in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) careers and across
indicate that there is a strong correlation between female employment ratios
and GDP growth, with improved business outcomes (including productivity,
profitability and innovation) where there is representation of women in the
to employment that hinder women entering the workforce increase unemployment
and poverty rates, and can have an adverse effect on economic output and
from the OECD estimates that the gender gap costs the economy some 15 percent
of GDP. The unequal and unfair pay is one of the most pressing and discouraging
to an Accenture study, worldwide, women continue to earn 63 percent less than
a socio-economic perspective, the unfair and unequal pay deepens already
entrenched social inequality, which, if left unaddressed, could further impact
consumer and business development.
are less present in jobs of the future. Global Gender Gap Report 2020 from the
World Economic Forum, points to a major underrepresentation of women in classic
STEM fields, with less than 20 percent of roles in cloud, engineering, data and
AI occupied by women.
conditions and cultures often discourage women to remain in work, with many
leaving the workforce to fulfil care responsibilities. This diminishes the pool
of valuable talent and skills from which employers need to draw.
example, Accenture estimates that women carry out 76.2 percent of all unpaid
care work hours performed globally (more than three times more than men), with
women’s unpaid work valued at up to 39 percent of global GDP.
culture of diversity and equality is a powerful multiplier of innovation and
growth. According to ILO, three in four businesses say gender diversity
initiatives deliver profit increases of 5-20 percent, leaving value on the
table in less diverse organizations.
representation in top roles continues to make slow progress.
proportion of women in senior management globally has changed by only around
eight percent, from approximately 21 percent in 2012 to 29 percent in 2019, and
still falls short of the 30 percent, tipping point, expected to begin achieving
gender parity. In 2019, there were just 33 female CEOs in the Fortune 500 list.
women in leadership positions deprive organizations of talented brainpower and
new ideas that come from diversification in leadership.
from Accenture shows that in equal, empowering work environments, not only
women are four times more likely to advance, but men benefit and rise faster
BCG analysis estimates that if women and men around the world participated
equally as entrepreneurs, global GDP could ultimately rise by approximately 3
percent to 6 percent, boosting the global economy by $2.5 trillion to $5
the conditions for women in business have been improving in the last couple of
decades, more and quicker reforms and actions are required by governments and
businesses to unlock the full value.
to women’s employment and advancements into leadership positions must be
eliminated, while increasing support through work-life transitions.
would include measures that help build essential skills (such as digital and
STEM) for jobs of the future and promote cultures that enable them to grow
governments must not miss the opportunity to build the pipeline of young girls
which is still a key issue in most countries.
frameworks need to be strengthened and broadened to include financial
inclusion, social inclusion, educational inclusion, and cultural inclusion.
addition to harassment or discrimination must include acts of bullying and
domestic abuse which are significant impediments for women to unlock their full
and fairness in pay can be achieved by improving the application of the equal
pay principle, combating segregation in occupations and sectors, monitoring
initiatives to combat vertical segregation, breaking stereotypes, and
increasing transparency about the pay gap.
women-owned businesses requires special fiscal and non-fiscal policy measures.
Large companies could look to expand their business relations with women-owned
enterprises, including small businesses and women entrepreneurs.
governments and businesses must unlock the advancement and full leadership
potential of women by driving reforms, fostering an inclusive environment and
encouraging new ways of working including flexible working.
Arabia-Returned Woman Tests Positive Of Coronavirus In UP
A 45-year-old woman who had returned from Saudi Arabia on March 20 has been
tested positive for coronavirus in this district of Uttar Pradesh, officials
said. The woman, a resident of Har Raipur village, had gone to the Arab nation
in a group of 37 people for performing 'Umrah' (pilgrimage), a senior government
was admitted to the isolation ward of the district hospital after she showed
signs of the virus. Her sample was sent to the King George's Medical University
(KGMU) in Lucknow and the reports arrived on Sunday night. Chief Medical Officer
Seema Agarwal confirmed that the woman has been tested positive. District
Magistrate Vaibhav Agarwal said the woman is being treated at the district
hospital and utmost vigil is being maintained after the detection of the first
case in the district.
members of the group are being quarantined, he said. The state government has
declared a lockdown in the district till March 25 and officials are making
all-out efforts to ensure its strict implementation.
Women Change-Makers All Over the World, Cartier To Honora Women At Expo 2020
2020 Dubai and Cartier have announced a collaboration to present the Women’s
Pavilion, celebrating women change-makers all over the world. The Women’s
Pavilion takes a new look at the contribution of women and their impact on
society, shining a light on the countless achievements, past and present, that
have driven forward economies and enhanced their communities.
Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women Phumzile
Mlambo-Ngcuka, and international human rights lawyer Amal Clooney — both
defenders of and campaigners for women’s rights, women’s empowerment and gender
equality — are lending their support to the pavilion.
pavilion will play an exciting role in “The World’s Greatest Show” of human
brilliance and achievement, as it celebrates women, known and unknown, from
every land, culture and religion, who are still making history and stimulating
the spirit of Expo 2020 Dubai’s theme of “Connecting Minds, Creating the
Future,” the Women’s Pavilion will take visitors on an educational journey
showcasing both male and female contributors to women’s empowerment and gender
equality and will highlight important milestones for women’s rights, as well as
the challenges that women are still facing today.
said: “I applaud the UAE for dedicating a space for the millions of visitors to
Expo 2020 Dubai to learn about the crucial roles that women play from
communities to the world stage, while recognizing the challenges they still
face every day.
challenges cannot be solved by governments alone, but through meaningful and
substantive collaborations with the private sector, civil societies and
committed individuals. The Women’s Pavilion, in collaboration with Cartier, is
setting a needed standard for corporations to rethink their approach to gender
advocacy — and is a powerful platform to cascade the gender equality message to
Minister of State for International Cooperation and Director General of Expo
2020 Dubai Bureau, Reem Al-Hashimy said: “Gender equality is an essential
pillar of all sustainable development — the foundation on which the health and
prosperity of communities, and indeed humanity at large, is built.
Women’s Pavilion highlights the crucial roles that women have long played as
linchpins of their communities and drivers of economies, and underscores Expo
2020 Dubai’s firm commitment to empowering all women to drive their own
development and create a better future for us all.”
Vigneron, president and CEO of Cartier International, said: “We are thrilled
and honored to collaborate with Expo 2020 Dubai, which offers a unique occasion
to share our vision for a better future and a more inclusive society, with men
and women across the globe. Highlighting the impact women of all cultures have
had across time, focusing on both known and lesser-known achievements, the
Women’s Pavilion weaves a strong inspiration for generations to come.”
Taliban Doesn’t Care About Women’s Rights and Neither Does the Afghan Government
days before the Persian New Year, in broad daylight, a young Afghan woman lay
lifeless on the ground, her face covered in blood. She was lynched by a mob of
men, not in the remote outskirts of the country, but in the capital.
the heart of Kabul, not too far from the president’s palace, on March 19, 2015,
Farkhunda Malikzada was beaten to death. A witness at the time told The New
York Times, that her attackers “were like kids playing with a sack of flour on
crowd threw punches, stones, and sticks at her. Then, they ran a car over her
body and set her on fire while more than a dozen policemen stood by.
years on, the Afghan government has failed to bring all of the perpetrators of
that attack to justice. Afghanistan’s justice system is flawed, but the
government hasn’t prioritized women’s rights either.
case underscores the government’s unwillingness to defend women’s rights. Not
only did the government fail to deliver justice, it did little to ensure that
such a wicked act against a woman would never repeat.
Raheel, a lawyer who represented Farkhunda’s family, revealed that “Some
government officials didn’t want 49 men punished for the death of one woman.”
United Nations report confirms this practice, highlighting “the frequent
failure of State officials to exercise due-diligence in investigating,
prosecuting and punishing perpetrators, and providing reparations to survivors,
[which] contributed to the existing high rate of impunity and strengthened the
normalization of violence against women in the Afghan society.”
for Afghan women are merely on paper and rarely enacted as the government lacks
the political will. Heather Barr, the co-director of the Women’s Rights
Division at Human Rights Watch and an expert on Afghanistan, notes that “The
Afghan government has been an unreliable supporter — and sometimes even an
enemy — of women’s rights. The administrations of both Afghan President Hamid
Karzai and Ashraf Ghani have frequently brushed aside women’s rights.” This is
so because the Afghan government has few incentives to support basic human
the demise of the Taliban’s regime, gains in women’s rights have largely been
due to the pressure from the international community. International experts had
a significant influence in the creation of the Afghan constitution, reaffirming
the rights of women and increasing their presence in the government through
the last 19 years, the Afghan government has used women as window dressing for
gender equality to appease international donors. This is why Afghan women
mustn’t rely on the government to prevent another tragedy like Farkhunda’s.
the discussion for peace is ongoing, Afghan women need to ensure that not only
would the Taliban not violate their rights, but that the current government
will not ignore them.
Azizi is a freelance writer and an expert on Afghanistan. She previously worked
for the Afghan government and can be followed on Twitter @saberaazizi.
Masr: New All-Women Project To See Light In Egypt
for his strong presence in the music field, Egyptian musician, conductor and
vocal coach Mohamed Osman is preparing a new project, Banat Masr (Girls of
Egypt), an ensemble composed of women musicians.
the past years, Osman has gained popularity with a number of musical projects
he handled, with Ayamna Helwa (Our Beautiful Days) being among his shining
stars. Founded in 2003, the ensemble consisting of young singers and a few
instrumentalists has performed at many renowned venues, participated in local
and international festivals and was featured on national television. Ayamna
Helwa has also appeared alongside well-known Egyptian singers, such as Medhat
Saleh, Ali El-Haggar, and Hala Roshdi.
Masr is a new musical endeavour that Osman began working on a few weeks ago and
which within days has received much higher feedback than he expected.
idea of Banat Masr came to Osman after years of working on Ayamna Helwa,
Monshedeen Masr, Sahibet Al-Saada television programme hosted by Isaad Younes
on CBC, and many other projects, and with other musicians.
noticed that in Egypt we have many female talents who are not in the limelight.
Banat Masr will be an opportunity for all women to shine, whether as vocalists
or instrumentalists," Osman told Ahram Online.
added that as Ayamna Helwa continues to grow, it can no longer focus on all new
talents emerging in the scene. Moreover, Ayamna Helwa has established its own
style, one that attracts many musicians and audiences but might not be the
choice for many others.
call for applications to a new ensemble that Osman launched a few weeks ago has
already shaken the status quo.
I revealed the idea of Banat Masr, I was thinking I'd receive a few dozens of
women interested to participate in the new ensemble. I was happily surprised to
find that over 400 women sent videos of their works. Most applicants are
vocalists though there are also numerous instrumentalists. I already chose 60
vocalists who will come to the final audition once it takes place." Osman
specified the minimum age of applicants at 18. The majority of the women who
applied are in their 20s and 30s with a few in their 40s, making it a
multi-generation collection of musicians.
aims to find either professional musicians interested in becoming part of Banat
Masr or highly qualified semi-professionals, all required to have a high
proficiency in reading music. He pointed out that it is possible that a few
instrumentalists from the national orchestra will join the project.
the Ayamna Helwa's format, each member of the new ensemble will have their solo
opportunity, however, Banat Masr will probably become larger in the musical
I am thinking of a chamber ensemble consisting of a maximum of 15 musicians, in
addition to vocalists, the number of whom can reach 25. All vocalists will be
soloists; as such the choir will consist of soloists, with each member having
an opportunity to present her talent during the performances. It's a
his career, Osman worked primarily in Arabic repertoire and heritage-related
compositions, several original works, and some arrangements. Due to its novel
character, Banat Masr will have a place for the members to explore other
depend on the teamwork and individual musical passions of the participants. For
example, if one of them has a special interest in jazz, why not incorporate
that into our future performances? While I expect that Oriental music will
still be our base, the fact that the ensemble will include a few musicians
representing classical music will definitely add new angles and open Banat Masr
to different repertoires," Osman explained.
all-women ensemble consisting is definitely not something new. What triggered
me is the fact that several female talents might find it difficult to get their
place, and a few choirs and ensembles we have in Egypt have their own members.
I wanted to open the door for more female talents as well as implement new
ideas I have while introducing fresh ideas that the ensemble members will
Banat Masr begins working, the ensemble will be promoted on social media and
other Internet channels.
am not in a hurry. I will definitely begin by giving to the members extensive
vocal workshops, topped with exercises of working in an ensemble. I want to
make sure to reach perfection before showcasing our work.
Age Islam, Islam
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