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Islam, Women and Feminism ( 2 Sept 2012, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Blasphemy case: Imam arrested for 'implicating' Christian girl and blasphemy

New Age Islam News Bureau

2 Sept 2012 

 More than 20,000 Saudi women apply for industrial jobs

 Saudi Shoura 'unanimous' on mandatory women's ID

 Rimsha's mother request to change lawyer

 Women tied to electricity pole in Pakistan for trying to steal clothes

 Synthetic Hijabs Get Under Tajik Women's Skin

 We’ll Empower Women For A Better Nation, Says National Women Affairs Secretary of Nigeria

 Indian Muslims bear the brunt of faulty scholarship schemes

 New lawmakers in Myanmar learn the limits of their freedom and power

 Indian women visit Pakistan, thankful for husbands' release

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

Photo: Blasphemy case: Imam arrested for 'implicating' Christian girl





Blasphemy case: Imam arrested for 'implicating' Christian girl

 Sep 02 2012

Islamabad : In a new twist to the blasphemy case involving a minor Christian girl, an imam in the Pakistani capital was arrested and remanded to 14-day judicial custody today for allegedly planting pages of the Quran in her bag and using it to implicate her under the controversial law.

Khalid Chishti, the prayer leader of Jamia Aminia mosque in the low-income Mehria Jaffar neighbourhood of Islamabad, was arrested last night after a man testified that he had seen the cleric stuffing pages of the Quran in the bag of the Christian girl named Rimsha Masih.

The bag originally contained only some other papers and ashes.

The witness, Hafiz Muhammad Zubair, recorded a statement against the cleric before a magistrate.

Police subsequently arrested Chishti on the basis of this statement.

Chishti was produced before a judicial magistrate, who sent him to Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi for 14 days.

Police officials said they expected Chishti to be charged under the controversial blasphemy law.

Earlier, Zubair told the media: "When the bag was brought to the mosque, there was nothing in it.          When he (Chishti) was given the bag, he went into the mosque and pulled out two or three pages and added them to the bag.

"I told him what he was doing was wrong. He told me it is evidence against the Christians and a way to get them removed (from the area)," Zubair said.

The incident had occurred while Zubair and some other men were in 'aitekaf' (seclusion) in the mosque during the holy Islamic month of Ramzan.

Zubair said a neighbour of Rimsha named Malik Ammad, the complainant in the case, handed over the bag with the pages of the Quran to the police.

Chishti had acknowledged in a television interview last week that he had, during a recent sermon, called for the eviction of all Christians from the neighbourhood if they did not stop their prayer services because "Pakistan is an Islamic country given by Allah."

Pakistan Ulema Council chief Allama Tahir Ashrafi asked the Supreme Court Chief Justice to take suo motu notice of the incident and initiate action against those who had really desecrated the Quran and them blamed the Christian girl for the incident.

Rimsha was arrested on August 16 after an angry mob surrounded a police station and demanded that action be taken against her.

She is currently being held at the high-security Adiala Jail.

Her judicial remand was extended by 14 days last week.

Though an official medical board concluded that Rimsha was aged about 14 years and that her mental development did not correspond to her age, the findings were challenged last week by Rao Abdul Raheem, the lawyer of Rimsha's accuser.

A district and sessions court, which is hearing Rimsha's case, is looking into Raheem's allegations.

Rimsha's bail hearing is scheduled to be taken up by the same court tomorrow.

The new evidence against the cleric could help defuse the religiously-charged case against the girl.

The case has prompted concern from Western governments and the Vatican. It has also focused attention once again on Pakistan's controversial blasphemy law, under which a person can be punished with life in prison or death.

Rights groups have warned that the law is often used to settle personal scores or persecute minorities like Christians.



More than 20,000 Saudi women apply for industrial jobs

2 September 2012

RIYADH: An estimated 20,195 Saudi women have submitted their CVs to the private sector to apply for jobs in the industrial sector, the Dammam-based Al-Sharq reported Friday quoting official statistics issued by the Ministry of Labor.

About 8.8 percent of the employed Saudi women work at the referral industries, the statistics added.

A source at the Labor Ministry said the Human Resources Development Fund (HADAF) will finance the training of Saudi women wishing to join the industrial sector by about 75 percent while the business

owners must bear about 25 percent of the cost of their


The source pointed out that the fund will also bear about 50 percent of the salaries paid to women within the range of SR 2000.

“The subsidies paid by the fund will consist of a year of training and two years of actual employment,” he added.

He said the support, provided by HADAF, will continue for three years after the women have actually got jobs in the industrial sector and asked the industrialists to employ Saudi women in places that will preserve

their specialty.

The source considered the factory set up in Riyadh to produce military uniforms women is the beginning of the Saudi women joining the industrial sector.

“The work of women in factories will either be administrative or in the production lines,” he explained.

The source made it clear that the training of Saudi women was not obligatory of industrialists. “It is an optional issue especially that some factories, such as drug establishments, will need long training,” he said.

The Saudi Industrial Property Authority (MODON) has recently unveiled plans to begin building women-only industrial cities all over the Kingdom.



Saudi Shoura 'unanimous' on mandatory women's ID

 September 2nd, 2012

RIYADH -- The Shoura Council will debate the issue of mandatory civil ID cards for Saudi women when the advisory body starts its next session on Sept. 10.

A number of judges from various regions of the Kingdom have expressed their objections to and reservations on the government's move to make the IDs mandatory for all Saudi women. The Shoura Council's upcoming session is expected to approve a landmark recommendation in this regard with a unanimous vote.

The Shoura had earlier entrusted its security committee to carry out extensive studies about introducing civil status ID for all Saudi women, as well as to suggest the best method to enforce the regulation without exception.

Abdul Wahab Al-Mojthal, a member of the committee, expressed surprise about the objections raised by some judges with regard to the ID issue. "It is strange that there are people who oppose some government decisions and royal decrees about which comprehensive studies were carried out and necessary reviews were made by the concerned authorities with the sole purpose of serving the public interests," he said.

King Abdullah, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, earlier directed formation of a high level committee, comprised of representatives of the ministries of interior, justice and social affairs, to carry out studies about various aspects of implementing the royal decree in this regard. Later, the committee had recommended making IDs mandatory for all Saudi women without exception over a period not exceeding seven years. The recommendation said that after this period the IDs would be the only means to prove the identity of Saudi women.

Al-Mojthal said both Saudi men and women are citizens and hence there should not be any differentiation between them.

"Issuance of separate IDs for women would also result in ending several negative and even dangerous phenomena and situations, such as involvement of women in terror cases, as well as proving identity in courts and government offices, in addition to applying for and getting jobs in government and private sectors," he said.

According to Al-Mojthal, implementation of the move to introduce mandatory civil IDs would not be postponed. "We are determined to go ahead with the move, especially in the wake of rising cases of Saudi women being misused by terror cells, in addition to taking advantage of the growing employment opportunities for women," he added.

Abdullah Al-Sughair, another member of the security committee, played down the objections raised by some judges against the ID move. "These are isolated cases of objections by some people who are wary of any possible Shariah violations involved in this. Perhaps these people have reservations about granting women more freedom," he pointed out.

According to Al-Sughair, it is extremely important to issue separate IDs for women so that it could be their document of proof for employment, travel and even for family matters, such as divorce and maintenance. "Any sensible man cannot stand in the way of a matter that serves the public interests of both the men and women citizens and the country as a whole. The ID issue has also attained greater security dimensions," he said, adding that the Shoura members are unanimous on this issue.

Al-Sughair expressed hope that the Shoura would pass the recommendation with a unanimous vote.

The Shoura members' comments came a few days after a warning issued by Muhammad Al-Jasser, spokesman for the Civil Status Department to some government departments which are refusing to recognize women's civil ID cards as a proof of identity. He said that such acts would be treated as a violation of the regulations.

Al-Jasser noted that there is no directive making IDs mandatory for women at present. "Any Saudi female whose age is 15 or above can apply for the ID. Two women holding ID cards can testify for her and there is no need for a male guardian to issue her the ID. A woman can obtain the birth certificate of her newborn baby from the Civil Status Department if she is a holder of ID and a family card to show her marriage relationship," he said.



Rimsha's mother request to change lawyer

September 01, 2012

ISLAMABAD: A young Christian girl accused of blasphemy must wait until at least Monday to learn if she will be given bail, after a judge adjourned her case on Saturday amid doubts over legal paperwork, Geo News reported.

The court resumed the hearing of bail plea of Rimsha Masih today where an application from the mother of the accused girl, Irshad Bibi was rpesented , seeking replacement of Anjum Riaz Advocate with Tahir Naveed Advocate to represent the case.

Rimsha has been in custody since she was arrested in a poor Islamabad suburb more than two weeks ago accused of burning papers containing verses from the Quran, in breach of strict blasphemy laws.

Judge Muhammad Azam Khan adjourned the case to Monday and asked police to investigate a bail application made on Rimsha's behalf after prosecutors claimed paperwork had not been signed by the girl or her mother.

Speaking to reporters outside the court, Rimsha's lawyer Tahir Naveed Chaudhry accused prosecutors and lawyers for her accuser of delaying tactics.

"The medical report has declared her an underage person with low IQ. How can she commit blasphemy? She is innocent and should be released," he said.

A medical report earlier this week said Rimsha appeared to be around 14 years old, which would make her a minor, and had a mental age below her true age, but the court has yet to decide whether to accept the assessment.

Some reports have said Rimsha has Down's Syndrome and her case has prompted concern from Western governments and anger from rights groups, who warn the blasphemy legislation is often abused to settle personal vendettas.'s-mother-request-to-change-lawyer



Women tied to electricity pole in Pakistan for trying to steal clothes

Sep 02 2012

Lahore : Two women were tied to an electricity pole after they allegedly tried to steal some clothes from a shop in Multan city of Pakistan's Punjab province, police and local residents said on Sunday.

According to officials, shopkeeper Mohammad Farooq of Sooraj Miani area of Multan, located 400 km from Punjab capital Lahore, informed police by phone that he and other shopkeepers had caught the two women while they were allegedly trying to steal some expensive clothes from his shop.

"When we reached the spot, the shopkeepers had tied the women to an electricity pole to make an example of them," Sub-Inspector Shafiq Ahmad said.

Ahmad said that the shopkeepers claimed five other women involved in the incident managed to escape.

As the women were tied to the pole, people photographed them and shot videos with their mobile phones. Police arrested the women and registered a case against




Synthetic Hijabs Get Under Tajik Women's Skin

September 02, 2012

By Farangis Najibullah

KULOB, Tajikistan -- The Islamic head scarf, or hijab, has often gotten under the skin of authorities in Tajikistan. They've been banned in schools, frowned upon in the workplace, and banished from passport photos.

Now, advocates of the hijab are once again on the defensive -- this time over reports that women in one southern Tajik city are suffering from skin conditions that are being blamed on the garment.

Doctors in Kulob say that in recent weeks they have treated more than 100 female patients for rashes, itching along the neck and arms, and festering skin irritations.

"We never before had so many people coming at once with the same symptoms, so we decided to do [some] research to find the root cause of the problem," says Alikhon Murodov, the head of Kulob's regional hospital, which specializes in treating skin diseases.

The diagnosis? Synthetic fabrics of the type often used in hijabs imported from China.

"Our research showed that the skin conditions were caused by synthetic textiles," Murodov says. He says that in many cases "the irritated and itching skin has turned into small wounds. We advised our patients to avoid synthetic fabrics."

Summer temperatures in Kulob often rise above 40 degrees Celsius. The heat, combined with fabrics that don't breathe, are a recipe for skin disaster.

Kulob resident Madina Jabborova says she developed skin rashes and itching around her neck in early summer.

Full report at:



We’ll Empower Women For A Better Nation, Says National Women Affairs Secretary of Nigeria



• How Youths May Stay Safe On Social Media

Re-elected in August 2012 for a two-year term, Alhaja Nofisat Abiola Arogundade is the National Women Affairs Secretary of Nasrul-Lahi-L-Fatih Society of Nigeria (NASFAT) and also Lagos State Controller of the Federal Ministry of Labour. Ahead of the 13th NASFAT’s Women’s Week coming up September 9-16, she shares with CHRIS IREKAMBA significance of the event, how youths could use social media with the fear of God, and why Islam’s reputation, amid terrorist attacks by the Boko Haram sect, remains unsoiled.

Women’s Week

DURING our Women’s Week, starting September 9, there will be special prayers for women, general medical screening for Hepatitis, eye defects and oral health. It’s going to be a comprehensive medical exercise.  It is not for Muslims alone. It is being done in conjunction with the Islamic Medical Association of Nigeria. They will supply the personnel. We’ve written to government to partner with us. It will take place at Lagos State Secretariat Mosque, Alausa, Ikeja.

On that day also, we want to connect with our past and celebrate with our elders. We are going to show passion to widows, fete them, and give them gifts to mark the anniversary. On Monday, September 10, we shall go on a charity visit to hospitals, prisons and rehabilitation centres, among others. Every branch of NASFAT is expected to visit homes, hospitals and show sympathy, and present gifts to the less privileged.

Full report at:



Indian Muslims bear the brunt of faulty scholarship schemes


September 2, 2012

Nasreen Banu, 29, was elated when her daughter’s name figured in the list of the Centrally sponsored scholarships for pre-matric students for the last two years running. This would have entitled her daughter Nuzhat, now in class VII, to pay Rs. 1,000 per annum as tuition fees. However, the 13-year-old is yet to receive the money.

Nasreen herself is struggling to pursue her own Bachelor’s degree in Management Studies at a city college. Her annual fees amount to Rs. 21,000 and she has only managed to raise half that amount in the first year. She has applied for the Central government’s post-matric scholarship, but like others she is unsure of getting it. Her husband works at a sweet shop and the funds are low. She has little option but to take a loan to fund her studies.

Thus, Nasreen was forced to send her daughter to a school, a little far away from her home, where she can afford the tuition fees. “Schools are expensive and there are a lot of extra fees to be paid. The applications are online and I don’t have an internet connection. It is very difficult for us to fill out these forms without help,” she said.

Full report at:



New lawmakers in Myanmar learn the limits of their freedom and power

  September 1, 2012

By Akshan de Alwis

Akshan de Alwis is a junior at Noble and Greenough School

Naypyitaw is a city of contrasts. At its center is the parliament of Myanmar, a shining marble complex surrounded by a river-turned-moat. Behind it is a dreary compound of cramped quarters, home to all members of parliament who are not members of the ruling government party.

Here the roads are not even paved. Still, aides walk around proudly sporting t-shirts with the smiling face of Aung San Suu Kyi, leader of the National League for Democracy, which sent its first members to parliament earlier this year after decades fighting for democracy in Myanmar.

At a small cafe, I met Su Su Lwin, who heads the women's wing of the NLD, and her husband, a senior aide to Suu Kyi.

Su Su Lwin is the daughter of a former executive committee member of the NLD. Before the 1988 uprising led by students and monks, she taught linguistics at Yangon University. She quit to join the NLD.

Now, she is one of 13 female NLD members of parliament, representing the Thongwa Township in eastern Yangon. In by-elections earlier this year, the NLD won 44 seats.

But since arriving in Naypyitaw, they have been confined to humble quarters hundreds of feet from huge government mansions and office buildings.

Their movements are controlled, making communication with the rest of the country and their fellow members of parliament almost impossible.

Full report at:



Indian women visit Pakistan, thankful for husbands' release

Sep 01 2012

Lahore : Two Indian women have arrived in Pakistan to thank people for their help in the release of their husbands from the captivity of Somali pirates.

Rights activist Ansar Burney received the women - Sampa Arya and Madhu Sharma as they entered Pakistan through the Wagah land border yesterday.

They are the wives of Ravinder Singh and N K Sharma, members of the crew of MV Suez that was hijacked by pirates.

The two women expressed their happiness at visiting Pakistan.

"We owe a lot to Pakistanis for helping in the release of our husbands. It is due to the help of Pakistanis that our husbands are alive and with us today," Madhu said.

Sampa said she had wanted to visit Pakistan for some time.

Full report at: