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Islam, Women and Feminism ( 13 Sept 2012, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Western Wives of Saudis Say New Citizenship System ‘Unfair’


New Age Islam News Bureau 

13 Sept 2012


 Teacher Accused of Molesting Teen during Lesson in Dubai

 Prince Sultan of Saudi Arabia Stresses Women’s Role in Society

 Actress Says Was Duped, As Anti-Islam Film Details Emerge

 Muslim Woman Sentenced In Russia over Extremist Article

 Four Members Inquiry Committee to Probe the Case of a Girl Forced To Marry an Old Man

 Girl’s Death: Seven Pest Control Men Caught in Sharjah

 Muslim Women's Groups Warn Of Salafist Threat

 A Bahraini Mother, Six Children Forced To Live In Rented Car

 Women Groups Reject International Tobacco Event

 A Woman's Place Is In the Mosque

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

Photo: Muslim Woman Sentenced In Russia over Extremist Article



Western Wives of Saudis Say New Citizenship System ‘Unfair’


13 September 2012

Western women married to Saudis have said that the amendments of two articles concerning the granting of Saudi citizenship to children and foreign wives of Saudis puts them at a disadvantage as compared to Arab foreign wives. The new amendments, which were approved in January by the late Prince Naif, state that the applications of foreign wives for Saudi citizenship must be evaluated by a committee of the Directorate of Nationalization at the Interior Ministry’s civil affairs department. The women must have a minimum of 17 points to be awarded Saudi citizenship.

“Among the six new factors mentioned, most of them are in favor of Arab foreign wives rather than Western wives,” said Sandra Miller (not her real name), an American married to a Saudi for 11 years and living in Jeddah.

If one or more of the wife’s relatives have the Saudi nationality she gets two points, if she was born in the Kingdom she gets two points, and if she was a resident in the Kingdom before her marriage she also gets two points. These are all slated against Western wives, Miller added.

“Most Arab women married to Saudis may have lived in the Kingdom before marriage or were even been born here, because their father chose to work here. However, it is very rare that a Western wife would have lived here or was born here, as, quite frankly, we are in the Kingdom because our Saudi husbands brought us here,” Miller explained.

Others say that the factor stating that for each year a foreign wife resides in the Kingdom following the approval of the marriage by the competent authority she gets one point up to a maximum of 12 points is also not fair to foreign wives who have lived in the Kingdom for decades.

“Some foreign wives have been living in the Kingdom for 30 or 40 years and have raised Saudi children, but still do not have the Saudi nationality. The acknowledgement of only 12 years of residence toward nationalization is unacceptable,” Anne B., a British wife of a Saudi living in Riyadh for nearly 15 years, proclaimed.

Others state that, on the other hand, foreign wives who have not been living in the Kingdom for 12 years and who have been waiting for their citizenship applications to be processed are at a disadvantage, because they will not be able to earn the maximum number of points.

“I have been living in Saudi Arabia for seven years and have been waiting for my application for citizenship to be processed for almost three years now. Upon hearing of the new regulations, I knew I had wasted my time in applying and that I would not be able to gain citizenship, because I have not been in the Kingdom long enough to gain the necessary points,” Natalia, a Canadian wife of a Saudi, said, adding that she would just have to hope for the best and if unsuccessful re-apply in the future.


Teacher Accused of Molesting Teen during Lesson in Dubai

Marie Nammour / 13 September 2012

A teacher stood trial in the Court of First Instance on Tuesday charged with molesting a 15-year-old schoolgirl during a teaching session.

The 45-year-old Palestinian is accused of touching the girl’s cheeks and lips and kissing her without her consent.

The Emirati girl told the prosecutor that she did not know the defendant before the incident and denied any prior disputes with him.

The defendant vehemently denied the teen’s accusations. He claimed he might have touched her hand by mistake.

He also claimed that the girl wrote her Facebook account name on a piece of paper she gave him.

The incident, as told by the teen, happened when she went to an institute in Hor Al Anz in May. It was after 7.30pm when she was led by the institute director to a second-floor room where the accused was. He was to give her a math session.

She alleged that as she was writing down what he was explaining, he tried to touch her right hand but she moved it away. She felt tense.

He then suddenly touched her right arm and cheek, and passed his thumb over her lips. He took off his hand as she leaned back.

He went out for a few seconds but came back later. He stood in front of her and kissed her lips. She pushed him away.

He continued the math lesson and as it was about to finish, he initiated a sex talk to which she did not show any interest, she claimed.

He again went out, but came back soon and put his hands on her shoulder and kissed her lips.

He expressed his discontent as the lesson time was up. He talked about sex again but she ran out ignoring his call to come close to him.

She told her parents about the incident and they filed a complaint.

During investigation, she said that the accused went out of the room twice to check whether there was anyone outside. She said she could not leave the room as the accused was blocked her way.

The girl’s father said the institute was already closed when he took his daughter there after calling the police. The teacher was arrested later.


Prince Sultan of Saudi Arabia Stresses Women’s Role in Society


 13 September 2012

Prince Sultan bin Salman, chairman of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities, was a guest at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs knowledge meeting recently.

Prince Sultan, who is also the chairman of the Disabled Children’s Association (DISCA). said: “Women play a major role in the development of their country.” He is proud of the fact that the DISCA was one of the first organizations to include women on its board of directors. “The normal place for women is in a leading position,” the prince said.

Prince Sultan stressed the need for the younger generation to initiate more interaction in a world where social networking dominates.

“Children learn by meeting others, by interacting and experiencing,” he said. He talked about his childhood and how his philanthropic nature was influenced by his mother’s tireless charitable activities.

“The mother is a role model for her children, especially boys. It is not completely correct that boys should be brought up by their fathers and girls by their mothers. No man can achieve success without his mother’s involvement,” the prince said. Prince Sultan was the first Arab and Muslim to fly in space. He is also the youngest person to fly on the Space Shuttle, at the age of 28. He credits education as important to helping people live a better life, especially when interacting with other cultures.

“I dreamed of becoming a pilot but was affected by rheumatism during my school years, which made that dream impossible at the time. Yet when I received my bachelor of arts in commerce from the US, I went back and studied to be a civil pilot,” he said, adding he applied "cockpit discipline" in every place he worked. He stressed it is important to acknowledge your dreams might go astray but you cannot really know what is best for you.

Prince Sultan said his experience with NASA was enriching. “We were looked highly upon, our culture respected, and supported by all we worked with, turning it into an unforgettable experience, and a proud one,” he said. When he and his fellow team members returned home they were received with great respect and enthusiasm by the late King Fahd and by the people of Saudi Arabia. “In my opinion that reception was not for us as a team or as heroes, but as a reflection of the nation’s pride in the achievement itself. It was patriotism in its highest sense,” said the prince.

Tourism is a valuable source of income for individuals and for the economy. “When we realized the need to develop tourism in the Kingdom, we thought it would be difficult to convince the people. However, it was the official bodies that were a challenge for us,” said the prince. The Kingdom sits on mines and wells of culture, deep-rooted civilization and touristic sites that should be invested in, he added.

Prince Sultan said: “People living in remote areas or near historical sites are demanding we fast-track local tourism. King Abdullah himself encourages local tourism out of his belief that people should be encouraged to spend their money inside the country, rather than going abroad.”

He said partnering with government bodies to facilitate cooperation and support would take more work. “Ministries are worse than nations, we face wars and have armies, therefore we need partnerships,” he said, adding as a result of this understanding more than 130 official bodies signed partnerships to pave the way for cooperation in all fields.

Yet the prince regrets that many of the young generation know more about other countries and not much about their own. “Some treat their country as an ATM machine, they withdraw money, they leave and spend it abroad. If you ask them about places in their own country, they are ignorant,” he said.


Actress Says Was Duped, As Anti-Islam Film Details Emerge

13 September 2012

The origins of a crudely made anti-Muslim movie that sparked violent protests in Egypt and Libya began to slowly emerge on Wednesday, with an actress in the California production saying she was duped and was unaware it was about the Prophet.

Cindy Lee Garcia of Bakersfield, California, who appears briefly in clips of the film posted online, said she answered a casting call last year to appear in a movie titled ‘Desert Warrior.’

‘It looks so unreal to me, it’s like nothing that we even filmed was there. There was all this weird stuff there,’ Garcia told Reuters in a phone interview.

Clips of the movie, posted on YouTube under several titles including ‘Innocence of Muslims,’ portrayed the Muslim prophet engaged in crude and offensive behaviour. Many Muslims consider any depiction of the prophet as blasphemous.

Clips had been posted online for weeks before apparently triggering violent demonstrations on Tuesday at the US embassy in Cairo and consulate in Benghazi, Libya, in which US Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed.

The Americans died after gunmen attacked the US consulate and a safe house refuge in Benghazi in an attack US government officials said on Wednesday may have been planned in advance. The attackers were part of a crowd blaming America for a film they said insulted the Prophet.

Garcia said the film was shot in the summer of 2011 inside a church near Los Angeles, with actors standing in front of a ‘green screen,’ used to depict background images. About 50 actors were involved, she said.

An expired casting notice at listed a film named ‘Desert Warrior’ that it described as a low-budget ‘historical Arabian Desert adventure film.’ None of the characters were identified in the casting call as Mohammad.

‘They told me it was based on what it was like 2,000 years ago at the time of the Lord,’ Garcia said. ‘Like the time Christ was here.’


Several US news organizations on Tuesday night had reported that the film was produced by a man who identified himself as an Israeli-American property developer, Sam Bacile. He had told the media organizations that the film cost $5 million, some of which was paid by around 100 Jewish donors.

Reuters could not independently confirm his responsibility for the film, or even that Bacile was his real name, nor could he be located for comment.

The casting call listed a man of a similar name, Sam Bassiel, as the producer, while the director was named as Alan Roberts. Roberts could not be immediately located by Reuters.

Steven Klein, a southern California man in the insurance business who described himself as a consultant and a spokesman for the project - but not the filmaker - said he believed the name was a pseudonym.

‘I’ve met him twice, I don’t know what country he’s from. I do know he’s not an Israeli Jew and I can only guess he threw that out to protect his family, which I do know is back in the Middle East,’ Klein told Reuters in an interview in front of his home in Hemet, California, as he sipped a beer.

Klein, who described himself as a former US Marine, said he advised the filmmaker to go into hiding.

Hate-group tracker the Southern Poverty Law Center has described Klein as a Christian with ties to right-wing extremists, which he denies. He said he did not see the film being made, and it could not be independently confirmed that Klein was involved with the project.


The largely obscure English-language film’s low production values were evident in its stilted dialogue and wooden acting. Klein said there was an attempt to screen the full movie at a theatre in southern California under a slightly different title, but after 30 minutes into the film no tickets had been sold.

Garcia, who appeared in online clips from the film, said her character was forced to give away her child to a character named ‘Master George’ in one scene. The casting call describes a character named George as a ‘strong leader’ and a ‘tyrant.’

But in a 13-minute trailer posted at, Garcia’s character appears to be dubbed over in that scene, with a voice-over for her character referring to Mohammad instead of George.

YouTube, the video website owned by Google Inc, has restricted access to the film clips in Egypt and Libya, according to Google.

Garcia said she remembered the film’s producer as a man named Sam Bassil, whom she described as an older man with graying hair and an accent. She said he paid her with a check. She said she called him on Wednesday after the protests.

‘I asked him why did he do that and put me in a bad position to where all these people get killed for a movie I was in?’ Garcia said, adding that the man she knew as Bassil told her it was not her fault.

Meanwhile, Morris Sadek, a U.S.-based Egyptian Coptic Christian activist who said he promoted the film, told Reuters he was sorry US diplomats had been killed and that his objective had been to highlight discrimination against Copts in Egypt.

Coptic Christians, who form Egypt’s biggest minority group and constitute most of Egypt’s Christian population, have had a difficult relationship with the country’s overwhelmingly Muslim majority. Conflicts over conversions, cross-faith romances and church-building have flared in Egyptian towns where turf wars or family rivalries often loom as large as sectarian loyalties. Since former President Hosni Mubarak’s removal, Christians have become increasingly worried after a surge in attacks on churches, which they blame on hardline Islamists, though experts say local disputes are often also behind them.

Egypt’s Coptic Orthodox church has condemned some Copts living abroad who it said had financed ‘the production of a film insulting Prophet.’

Representatives from the Coptic Orthodox Archdiocese of North America did not immediately respond to phone calls requesting comment.

Klein blamed the violence in North Africa on Muslim extremists.

‘Do I have blood on my hands? No,’ said Klein, who the SPLC said has worked with a militia at the California-based Church at Kaweah and conducts drills with a San Francisco-based group named Christian Guardians.

‘Those people are screwballs,’ Klein said of the Southern Poverty Law Center. He added he is not ‘what these people say.’


Muslim Woman Sentenced In Russia over Extremist Article

Sep 13, 2012

MOSCOW: A Muslim woman journalist in Russia was given a suspended jail term by a Moscow court on Thursday for distributing material that prosecutors said contained "calls for terrorism".

Tatyana Tarasova, a convert, was convicted of posting an "extemist" article on the internet when she was chief editor of a website belonging to Muslim rights group Islamic Committee in 2008.

She was given a suspended sentence of one year and six months after Tarasova pleaded guilty to the offence. The judge said a real jail term would be "excessively harsh".

Security officers raided the home of Islamic Committee leader Geidar Dzhemal in March over the article, " The Role of Women in Jihad", which officials said cited "instances of Muslim women taking part in terrorist attacks, including against the Russian military in the republic of Chechnya, and urges readers to follow suit".

In 2009, a Russian lawmaker called for the Islamic Committee to be declared an extremist organisation and charges to be brought against Dzhemal.


Four Members Inquiry Committee to Probe the Case of a Girl Forced To Marry an Old Man

By Fazal Khaliq

September 12, 2012

SWAT: A four-member inquiry team has been constituted to probe into the case of a 13-year-old girl being forced by a jirga to marry an old man to settle a family feud.

The committee was formed on Tuesday on the directives of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Inspector General of Police Muhammad Akbar Khan Hoti. Headed by Deputy Inspector General Investigation Sajid Ali Khan, the committee members met with the girl, Sadia,* her father, Gul Khan*, and her brother, Faheem*, at Mingora Police Station, where the three recorded their statements.

Sadia maintained her previous stance, saying she would prefer to commit suicide than to marry the man to atone her brother’s fault. She pleaded justice from the Supreme Court, human rights organisations and the president.

Meanwhile, her father said that the local jirga, comprising influential persons of the area, was pressurising him to give his daughter in marriage expiate for his son’s extra-marital affair. He added that during the jirga, which was held at the same police station last week, some of the police officials were partial towards the rival party and kept him, his daughter and his son in confinement.

Full report at:


Girl’s Death: Seven Pest Control Men Caught in Sharjah

Afkar Abdullah / 13 September 2012

The Sharjah Police have arrested seven Bangladeshis in connection with the death of three-year-old Egyptian girl Habiba and the hospitalisation of her six-year-old brother Abdul Rahman after inhaling aluminium phosphide sprayed in the family’s neighbouring flat.

While two of the suspects allegedly sprayed the banned toxic chemical in that flat, all of them were found to be running an illegal business of pest control service from a flat, Colonel Jihad Sahoo, Director of Criminal Search and Investigation Department, said at a press conference at Sharjah Media Centre on Wednesday.

According to Al Qasimi Hospital where the children were admitted in the early hours of September 1, the condition of Abdul Rahman is improving but he is still in the ICU.

Addressing the press conference, Colonel Dr Abdul Kadir Al Amiri, Director of the Police Forensic Laboratory, said the autopsy, hospital and municipality test results proved poisoning after inhaling the toxic aluminium phosphide gas that entered the family’s apartment through the ventilators by the children to be the cause of their sickness, which worsened and caused Habiba’s death.

Full report at:


Muslim women's groups warn of salafist threat


By Hassan Benmehdi


The rise of fanaticism has increased the risk of violence against women, experts say.

The fight to protect the hard-won rights of Muslim women continues. But women's NGOs feel that pressure must be maintained and stepped up in the wake of the Arab Spring, as salafism makes inroads into the Sahel.

Women's groups from the Sahel and Arab states meeting in Casablanca September 5th-6th were unanimous in calling for people to join international efforts to combat violence against women.

Mohamed Al Jawad, a human rights campaigner, told Magharebia that women's fears were well-grounded: "Indeed, there are no guarantees on this issue, with Islamism storming back into power."

Discussing the subject of "Making societies safe", participants in the international "Women Against Violence" conference in Casablanca were clearly concerned.

Women are still the victims of violence, particularly linked to war and terrorism, explained Mme Khouloud Khreis, who chairs the Women Against Violence association.

Full report at:


A Bahraini Mother, Six Children Forced To Live In Rented Car

 September 10, 2012

Woman says her alcoholic husband threatened to kill her if she ever returned home

Dubai: A Bahraini mother has appealed for help after she was forced to live with her six children in a rented car by the sea.

“The car has become our small home after no-one could help solve our case,” Om Abdullah said. “My husband and father of our six children is an alcoholic who has threatened to kill me after he assaulted me with a knife and hurt me and our daughter. We have not been back to the house since the incident and he did not provide us with the money to pay for renting a house despite the ruling by a court,” she told Arabic daily Al Watan.

A pressing issue for the mother now is the back-to-school requirements.

“We are suffering and we wonder how we can get ready for the new academic year while we are in such a poor state. We also wonder why we cannot have a house and if the concerned authorities in the country accept that a family lives in a car by the sea and remains ominously exposed to dangers and risks of theft,” she said.

Om Abdullah said that she had explained her case to several institutions and that she filed 16 complaints against her husband to have him arrested for stabbing her in three different parts of her body.

Full report at:


Women Groups Reject International Tobacco Event

Elly Burhaini Faizal

 September 13 2012

Six Indonesian women groups under the Women’s Network for Tobacco Products Control (JP3T) voiced their rejection of the upcoming World Tobacco Asia (WTA) 2012 event in Jakarta on Wednesday.

They said the event was contradictory to ongoing tobacco control efforts. The country’s decision to host the high-profile WTA meeting later this month was a setback as it had expanded its fight against tobacco use, they said.

Women’s Voice Empowerment Movement (GPSP) chairwoman Endang Dungga said that welcoming WTA 2012 to Jakarta would give the country more smoking-related problems as it would lure more people into smoking.

“By allowing this event to take place, the government has for the umpteenth time proven its failure to protect the rights of people to health, as more women and children are left unprotected against cigarette smoke,” she told a press conference.

Full report at:


A Woman's Place Is in the Mosque


Sep, 14, 2012

Here's a film about women and Islam that's bound to push a few Western buttons and shake up some cultural assumptions. In secular (pre-uprising) Syria, where women were not required to wear the hijab head covering, Houda al-Habash, the subject of Julia Meltzer and Laura Nix's film, The Light in Her Eyes, chose to wear it. Houda is an Islamic preacher and the founder, 30 years ago, of a Qur'an school for girls held in a segregated section of a Damascus mosque where, starting at an early age, girls spend their summer vacations memorizing the Qur'an. Contrary to the conservative Islamic clerics' view that a woman's place and prayers are not in the mosque with the men but solely in the home, serving her husband and children, Houda, an observantly dutiful wife and mother, happens to believe that Islam demands that women be educated, religiously and secularly, as well as free to have lives and jobs outside the home. And the hijab? Not a denigration of Muslim women, as many of us might assume, but now, decontextualised as a feminist gesture, a symbol of a woman's identity.

Welcome to the Women's Mosque Movement, part of a global Islamic revival, in which women like Houda actively choose to be religious and girls' schools, like Houda's, seek liberation for women through intellectual ownership of Islam – much like it was during the "golden age" of Islam, when women commonly were teachers and religious leaders.

Full report at: