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Islam, Women and Feminism ( 27 Aug 2012, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Alarm as hundreds of children under age of 10 married in Iran

New Age Islam News Bureau

27 Aug 2012 

 Girls who wear jeans ‘need no education’: Bareilly College

 Baghpat women want ban on jeans, mobiles

 Ahmadiyya Muslim Women Association holds 33rd National Annual Convention

 Saudi- Indian girl excels both in academics and sports

 Togolese women call for sex strike to put pressure on the president: Togo

 UK Teen entrepreneur launches Pink Paisley’s - hijabs with a difference

 ‘Dr Aafia was victimised by international politics for power’: Former US Attorney General

 Obama can pardon Dr Aafia under special powers, moot told

 Pakistani Girls happy as govt announces two new working women’s hostels

 Rachel Corrie death: struggle for justice culminates in Israeli court

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

Photo: Girls who wear jeans ‘need no education’: Bareilly College





Alarm as hundreds of children under age of 10 married in Iran

By Robert Tait

 26 Aug 2012

Iran has experienced a dramatic growth in under-age marriages that has seen the number of girls being wed before the age of 10 double in the space of a year, officially-compiled figures have revealed.

The trend has prompted child protection experts to warn of a surge in mental illness, suicides, teenage runaways and girls turning to prostitution as the nuptials frequently end in divorce.

While both genders are affected, statistics from the state-run civil registration organisation show the phenomenon to be more prevalent among girls. Some families are said to be marrying off their daughters to older men to pay off debts.

An Iranian NGO, the Society For Protecting The Rights of The Child, said 43,459 girls aged under 15 had married in 2009, compared with 33,383 three years previously. In 2010, 716 girls younger than 10 had wed, up from 449 the previous year, according to the organisation.

Its spokesman, Farshid Yazdani, blamed deepening poverty for the development, which he said was more common in socially backward rural areas often afflicted with high levels of illiteracy and drug addiction.

"Financial poverty of the families leads to children's marriages. However, cultural poverty and ignorance is also an element," Mr Yazdani told the semi-official Mehr news agency.

He said increasing child marriages were accompanied by a correspondingly high teenage divorce rate. Some 15,000 females aged 15-19 divorced their husbands every year between 2007 and 2010.

The statistics will fuel criticism that Iran's Islamic legal code allows children, especially girls, to be married at an inappropriately early age.

While Sharia law states that females can be married as young as nine, a 2002 ruling by the powerful Expediency Council laid down that girls below 13 and boys younger than 15 could only wed with their father's consent and the permission of a court.

However, critics complain that the legal standards in many socially conservative areas for allowing younger marriages are lax while a fundamentalist MP, Mohammad Ali Asfenani, has said Iran has a religious obligation to legally recognise the weddings of girls as young as nine

"As some people may not comply with our current Islamic legal system, we must regard nine as being the appropriate age for a girl to have reached puberty and qualified to get married," Mr Asfenani, chairman of the parliamentary legal and judiciary committee, told Khabar Online. "To do otherwise would be to contradict and challenge Islamic Sharia law."



Girls who wear jeans ‘need no education’: Bareilly College

By Piyush Srivastava

 27th Aug, 2012

THE administration of Bareilly College is charting the regressive course that has earlier been adopted by quite a few educational institutions and khaps in Uttar Pradesh.

The institute has shut the door on girl students wearing jeans.

College principal Dr R. P. Singh issued an order last week that girls wearing jeans would not be allowed on the campus.

However, when students protested, he withdrew the order and issued a reworded directive.

The latter simply stated that girls were expected to attend classes in “ decent dresses”. Unaware of sartorial boundaries encompassed by the term “ decent”, when the girls reached the Bareilly city- based college in jeans this week, they were in for a shock.

They found a large number of college staff — from members of the proctorial board to peons — standing at the gate to deny them entry to the classes.

“ They gave a long lecture on indecent dresses and asked us to attend college in salwarkurta . While the proctor was giving us a dressing down, even peons delivered a caustic sermon on provocative attire.

The authorities, however, did not agree to give an explicit order on salwar- kurta as the dress code despite our repeated pleas,” Pragya Singh, one of the students who was prevented from entering the campus, said.

“ The principal had earlier said he was not against girls wearing jeans, though he expressed reservations about very tight pairs. We followed his instructions.

But now he appears to have gone back on his word,” another girl student said.

She added: “ Instead of organising special programmes to promote communal harmony in view of the recurrent riots in the city, the college authorities are busy indulging in moral policing.” For his part, R. P. Singh said his actions were meant to preserve the academic atmosphere of the college. “ We want the students to steer clear of vulgarity. But we are not preventing them from wearing any particular dress,” he claimed.

Chief proctor Dr Ajay Sharma said: “ A girl came to college on Tuesday wearing knee- length jeans and top. I asked her to wear something less revealing. It was then that the question of girls wearing jeans on the campus was raised.”


July ’ 12 The administration of Varanasi’s Udai Pratap College asks students to come in “ decent” clothing; decrees while jeans are okay, they shouldn’t be skin- tight or with too many pockets. Rule applicable for teachers as well

June ’ 12 The Tamil Nadu school education department releases a circular asking teachers to dress, “ decently” and in keeping with “ tradition and ethos”

December ’ 10 Bhopal’s Sarojini Naidu College ( SNC) issues a notice barring teachers from wearing western clothes or even salwar- kameez

June ’ 09 Four Kanpur colleges ban students from wearing jeans ( also skirts and tight tops); 10 days of protests by pupils lead to the then Mayawati government revoking the ban

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Baghpat women want ban on jeans, mobiles


 26th Aug, 2012

The ban was imposed after Asara panchayat felt that the use of mobile phones led to elopements.

Women are in the forefront when it comes to banning girls from wearing jeans and carrying mobile phones in Uttar Pradesh's Baghpat and Muzaffarnagar districts.

The ban was first imposed a month ago after a panchayat decision in Asara village in Baghpat. Taking in view cases of elopement in the village, the panchayat felt that mobile phones were the root cause of the trend and banned young girls from carrying them. Other dictates included not wearing jeans and not going to the weekly market. The move had sparked national outrage.

While the orders were initially assumed to be a reflection of the patriarchal order prevailing in the village, this newspaper found that women of the village are equally in support of the move. Salma (name changed), a housewife, fully backed the panchayat's decision. Middle aged and married to an older man who works as a commercial driver in Delhi, she claimed that mobile phones were helping young girls conduct their affairs in secret. "If we pick up their calls, it is always 'wrong number' on the other side," she complained. However, she is allowed to carry a phone. "All the older women in a household are allowed to carry one," she said. Her husband and sons — who also work in Delhi — nodded in agreement. Her younger daughter stood behind, child on hip.

As far as jeans are concerned, she said that girls who lived in the village did not wear them. "It is only those who study outside and come home for holidays who wear them," she said. This correspondent, however, saw a young girl walking around in jeans without anyone objecting to it.

When asked if she did not miss going to the weekly market, Salma hesitated before claiming that it was better that way. "The young boys tease us there. They take our pictures with their mobiles and talk bad things about us later. Any of the men who are home get the required things for us," she said.

When this correspondent tried to talk to her young daughter, he was politely but firmly rebuffed by the family.

Rita Devi (name changed), a daily wage labourer, was on her way to work with her husband and young daughter when this correspondent caught up with her. She, too, agreed with what Salma had to say about mobile phones and jeans. Her husband, a rickshaw driver, takes care of the weekly visits to the market. Her daughter stayed silent throughout the conversation and ignored attempts to get her to talk.

Women from neighbouring Muzaffarnagar held a panchayat recently to ratify the decision made by the Asara panchayat. However, no panchayat has been held in Baghpat yet.

The men, meanwhile, have taken to playing down the whole controversy. Speaking to this newspaper, Md. Israel, a village elder and relative of a panchayat member, blamed the media for sensationalising the issue. "You can see the girls walking around freely, doing their household work, and going to school. Not all of them are in purdah. The new norms have been imposed keeping in mind the situation in the village. The media has wrongly portrayed us as Taliban," said Israel. His own daughter holds a PhD, he said.



Ahmadiyya Muslim Women Association holds 33rd National Annual Convention

27th August 2012

Dr Maulvi Wahab Adam, Ameer and Missionary in charge of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Mission, has said that it is important for all Ghanaians to approach the up-coming elections with honesty and in all seriousness.

He said peaceful and violence- free campaigning was as essential to the process as the orderly registration and diligent inspection of the voter register.

Dr Adam made this observation in Accra on Saturday at the opening of the 33rd National Annual Convention of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Women Fellowship on the theme "Towards peaceful elections, the role of the Ahmadi Muslim Woman".

He said women had tremendous influence on their husbands and children and could help in keeping Ghana united and peaceful despite the people's ethnic differences.

He said if women considered elections not only as their civic right, but also as their religious duty, it would go a long way in ensuring massive voter participation and success, adding that an election was a process and should not be considered as an event that would occur only on the voting day.

"Just as religious bodies have realized that it makes sense to cooperate and work together in the interest of the nation, despite their diversity, in like manner, all sectors of the society , be they political, ethnic, or social, should also pull together to make Ghana a great nation".

Dr Adam urged all Ghanaians to accept the results of the up-coming elections as would be announced by the Electoral Commission in good faith in order to ensure that the elections did not divide the nation but would usher it into an era of mutual cooperation, respect and rapid development for all.

Hajia Sadika Yeboah Bonsu, Greater Accra National President of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Women Association said as Ahmadi Muslim Women they were supposed to be agents of peace and reconciliation wherever they found themselves to contribute meaningfully towards a peaceful atmosphere before, during and after the elections.

"Ghana belongs to all of us so the quest for its peace, prosperity and development must be our concern. Our actions can influence and prevent others from engaging in indecent acts which can disturb the peace in the country", she said.

Source: GNA



Saudi- Indian girl excels both in academics and sports


27 August 2012

RIYADH: For those who think that academics and sports do not go hand in hand, here is a brilliant girl, who has excelled in both fields. Wardah Talib, 18, a national-level table tennis player and captain of the Riyadh-based International Indian School (IISR), has won several awards and commendations at such a tender age. Wardah also bagged 96 percent marks in senior secondary examination conducted by India’s Central Board of Secondary Examination (CBSE) this year.

She is now heading for Malaysia, where the Kuala Lumpur-based International Islamic University has given her admission on priority basis in a B. Tech course. Wardah, who was commended by her classmates and relatives at a farewell party yesterday, told Arab News, “I strongly believe that there should be a combination of academics, sports and other activities in a student’s life.”

Full report at:



Togolese women call for sex strike to put pressure on the president: Togo

26 August 2012

Demonstrators against electoral reforms call sex strike to pressure men to challenge the president's growing power

The female wing of a civil rights group is urging women in Togo to stage a week-long sex strike to demand the resignation of the country's president. Women are being asked to withhold sex from their husbands or partners from Monday, said Isabelle Ameganvi, leader of the women's wing of Let's Save Togo. She said the strike will put pressure on Togo's men to take action against President Faure Gnassingbe.

Ameganvi, a lawyer, said her group is following the example of Liberia's women, who used a sex strike in 2003 to campaign for peace. "We have many means to oblige men to understand what women want in Togo," she said.

The strike was announced on Saturday at a rally of several thousand people in the capital city, Lome. The demonstration was organised by a coalition that is protesting against recent electoral reforms which, they say, will make it easier for Gnassingbe to win re-election in October.

Gnassingbe came to power in 2005, following the death of his father, Gnassingbe Eyadema, who ruled the West African country for 38 years. The president has not commented on the proposed sex strike. Earlier this month, two anti-Gnassingbe protests were dispersed by police using tear gas and more than 100 people were arrested.

Full report at:



UK Teen entrepreneur launches Pink Paisley’s - hijabs with a difference

August 27, 2012

Husna Iqbal-Willan

Teenage business brain Husna Iqbal-Willan is adding flair to the traditional hijab worn by Muslim women with her new venture.

The delicately draped cloth has become more than just a statement of religion, as more and more women are putting their own style touches to it.

To cater for the market, Husna, 18, has launched online business Pink Paisley’s, selling colourful head scarves in various prints and designs.

They have been popular with both women who wear hijabs and those who don’t but want to add a stylish touch to their outfits.

She also sells hijab accessories, including bonnet caps to keep the hair in place and pins, as well as modest summer dresses and party wear.

As well as retailing online, Husna also sells her range in various fairs and events and says the run-up to the Muslim festival of Eid this month has been busy.

She said: "I started wearing the hijab when I started college. At the time I couldn’t find colourful scarves, and when I did the prints were boring.

"I felt that even though I was wearing a hijab, I wanted the hijab to look nice but also complement the rest of my outfit.

Full report at:



‘Dr Aafia was victimised by international politics for power’: Former US Attorney General

27 August 2012

KARACHI: “Dr Aafia Siddiqui was victimised by the international politics being played for power. I haven’t witnessed such bare injustice in my entire career.” This was stated by former US attorney general Ramsey Clark, who called on Dr Aafia’s mother and children at their residence in Karachi. The ex-attorney general s aid, “Neither did Dr Aafia kill anyone, nor did she attempt at. In fact she was shot thrice and should be released immediately.” Clark said that he first visited Pakistan when Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was under trial and he wanted to assist him. “This time around, I have come to express my sympathies for Dr Aafia,” he said. Clark expressed his intention to gather people in America, for a one-point agenda of Dr Aafia’s repatriation. “Significant peace and justice activists will join me in promoting this agenda,” he added. He further said that from nuke attacks on Japan to drone strikes in Pakistan, all was unjust and crafted out of sheer madness. On being asked about the idea of Dr Shakeel Afridi being exchanged with Dr Aafia, he said that justice was not something to be bargained or exchanged. “Under the law, justice should be provided to each and everyone without any condition,” he said, adding although international powers deal this way, it is against the spirit of justice. Clark hailed the role of Pakistani people and particularly lawyers, saying that the nation’s voice on state level could play a significant role in Dr Aafia’s repatriation. He vowed that he would raise his voice for her repatriation at all levels in the US.\08\27\story_27-8-2012_pg7_34



Obama can pardon Dr Aafia under special powers, moot told

27 August 2012

* Former US attorney general says Pak-US ties could be boosted through Dr Aafia’s repatriation

By Asad Farooq

KARACHI: Relations between Pakistan and the US could be strengthened through repatriation of Dr Aafia Siddiqui. Sentence to Dr Aafia Siddiqui was quite injustice, so she should be freed.

This was stated by former US attorney general Ramsey Clark while addressing as the guest of honour at a seminar entitled ‘Due Process and Equal Justice: The Tragic Case of Dr Aafia Siddiqui’, organised at a local hotel by the Aafia Movement on Sunday.

He said that indeed sentence to Dr Aafia was not an issue of crime, but was a matter of international power politics. He said that she was subjected to injustice and vowed that he would raise his voice for Dr Aafia’s repatriation. He said that Dr Aafia was an innocent, energetic Pakistani scientist. He said that he would pursue the issue in the US and would demand her release.

He also hailed the role of lawyers, particularly in their movement for restoration of judiciary. He said that he trusted in Pakistani lawyers and stressed the need of struggle for peace and justice.

Former chief justice of Pakistan Justice (r) Saeeduz Zaman Siddiqui, while expressing his views said that sentence to Dr Aafia was murder of justice. He said, “Enough is enough, chief justices of both countries would have to take sou motto notice of the issue, so as to resolve it immediately.

Full report at:\08\27\story_27-8-2012_pg7_33



Pakistani Girls happy as govt announces two new working women’s hostels

27 August 2012

ISLAMABAD: The government has allocated an amount of Rs 30 million for the construction of two new working women’s hostels in sectors G6/2 and G7/3 in the federal budget to address the grievances of working women facing acute problems in finding a secure accommodation at affordable rates.

Talking to APP on Sunday, an official of Ministry of Human Rights said that construction of women’s hostels was made vital part of the budget released for this year. He said that the ministry plans to hold a competition among architecture departments of different universities to come up with a design that is most suitable for accommodating more and more girls, offering a comfortable environment to the aesthetically designed buildings of the capital.

The hostels were a long-standing demand as private hostels are not only over saturated but also very expensive and living condition is far from ideal. A large number of working women and students come from far-flung villages in search of jobs and for studying in better educational institutions but the first problem they faced is to find a suitable shelter for living.

Away from solace of family members these students and working women face multiple problems ranging from accommodation to cultural adjustments. Afshan, who works at a cellular company and hails from Rahim Yar Khan, while sharing her views, said, “It was a gigantic task, especially for girls, to find a comfortable place for living, adding that away from home working women face many physiological, cultural and social problems and lack of hostels aggravate these issues for them.”

Full report at:\08\27\story_27-8-2012_pg11_3



Rachel Corrie death: struggle for justice culminates in Israeli court

Harriet Sherwood

27 August 2012

Nine years after she was killed protesting in the Gaza Strip, the verdict in a lawsuit brought by her family is about to be heard

Her blonde hair, megaphone and orange fluorescent jacket with reflective stripes made 23-year-old Rachel Corrie easily identifiable as an international activist on the overcast spring afternoon in 2003 when she tried to stop an advancing Israeli military bulldozer.

The young American's intention was to prevent the demolition of a Palestinian home in Rafah refugee camp, close to the border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt. Scores of homes had already been crushed; Corrie was one of eight American and British volunteers acting as human shields for local families.

"She was standing on top of a pile of earth," said fellow activist and eyewitness Richard Purssell, from Brighton, at the time. "The driver cannot have failed to see her. As the blade pushed the pile, the earth rose up. Rachel slid down the pile. It looks as if her foot got caught. The driver didn't slow down; he just ran over her. Then he reversed the bulldozer back over her again."

The question of whether the driver of the Caterpillar D9R bulldozer saw the young woman in the orange jacket, and drove deliberately at and over her, has been at the centre of the Corrie family's decade-long battle for accountability and justice.

On Tuesday that struggle is set to culminate when an Israeli court gives its verdict in a civil lawsuit that the family have brought against the state of Israel.

An Israeli Defence Forces investigation has already found that its forces were not to blame and that the bulldozer driver had not seen the activist. No charges were brought and the case was closed. The IDF report concluded: "Rachel Corrie was not run over by an engineering vehicle but rather was struck by a hard object, most probably a slab of concrete which was moved or slid down while the mound of earth which she was standing behind was moved." Corrie and other International Solidarity Movement (ISM) activists were accused by the investigators of "illegal, irresponsible and dangerous" behaviour.

Full report at: