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Islam, Women and Feminism ( 17 Sept 2016, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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'Islamic State' Sex Slavery Survivor Named United Nations Goodwill Ambassador

New Age Islam News Bureau

17 Sept 2016

A Muslim woman pushes a baby stroller following a service for the Eid al-Adha holiday, Monday, Sept. 12, 2016, in the Queens borough of New York. (Mark Lennihan / AP)


 Muslim Woman Refuses To Remove Veil, Thrown Out Of German Restaurant

 Muslim Women Experience Thinly Veiled Discrimination

 Muslim Women Represent Importance of the Hajj Pilgrimage

 Five Get Jail Terms in France over ‘Burkini’ Clashes

 Sara Duterte, Davao City Mayor to Muslim Women: Show Your Faces

 France Worried Over Women Joining ISIL Terror Network

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau




'Islamic State' sex slavery survivor named United Nations goodwill ambassador

Sep 17, 2016

At a ceremony at the UN headquarters in New York on Friday, Nadia Murad Basee Taha became the first trafficking victim to take up the position of UN goodwill ambassador.

Murad was taken from her home village of Kocho near Iraq's northern town of Sinjar in August 2014 and brought to "Islamic State" (IS)-controlled Mosul, where she was gang-raped, and bought and sold many times, along with thousands of other Yazidi girls and women. Many have since died, or still remain in captivity.

After three months of captivity, Murad was able to escape and has since been resettled in Germany.

Call for recognition

Following her ordeal, Murad has called for justice for the victims of the jihadist group and argued that the 2014 attack on the Yazidis should be recognized as genocide.

Some 3,200 Yazidi women and girls are still being held as sex slaves by IS fighters

"I was used in the way that they wanted to use me. I was not alone," Murad said during Friday's ceremony.

"Perhaps I was the lucky one. As time passed, I found a way to escape where thousands others could not. They are still captive."

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who presented Murad with the distinction, said he had been moved to tears when he heard her story, which she first shared during a UN Security Council meeting in 2015.

"Nadia shows with her life how important it is to fight for trafficking victims," he said. "They deserve justice. And when we empower them, they can help transform our world."

'We cannot let this happen'

As a goodwill ambassador, Murad will focus on raising awareness of the plight of victims of trafficking, especially refugees, women and girls.

"Maybe I lived, so that I would be able to use my heart and soul and my words to be their voice," she said.

The 23-year-old also called on Friday for the release of some 3,200 Yazidi women and girls still being held by IS fighters as sex slaves and for the captors to face justice.

"My real fear is that once ISIS is defeated, ISIS militants, ISIS terrorists will just shave off their beards and walk the streets of the cities as if nothing as happened," she said, using an alternative acronym for the jihadist group.

"We cannot let this happen."

Murad said her hope was that one day Yazidi victims will be able to look "our abusers in the eye before a court in The Hague and tell the world what they have done to us, so that our community can heal."

UK, Iraq launch campaign

Clooney has called on the international community to ensure the prosecution of IS members

Renowned human rights lawyer Amal Clooney, who represents Murad, called on the international community to ensure that IS members are prosecuted for their crimes.

"We know that what we have before us is genocide and we know that it's still ongoing, we know who the perpetrators are," Clooney said.

"Yet two years after this genocide began ... not a single member of the 'Islamic State' has been prosecuted in a court anywhere in the world."

As world leaders gather next week for the annual UN General Assembly, Iraq and the UK are due on Monday to launch a campaign to push for accountability for crimes committed by IS.

Murad and Clooney are due to attend the event along with British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson.



Muslim woman refuses to remove veil, thrown out of German restaurant

Sep 17, 2016

Berlin: In an apparent hate crime incident, a Muslim woman was thrown out of a restaurant in Bielefeld, western Germany for allegedly 'refusing to remove her veil'.

According to a report in the Independent, the woman was sitting in the busy beer garden of a Seekrug restaurant when Christian Schulz, the manager, approached her and asked her to remove the face veil.

However, the woman refused to do so, following which the manager asked her to leave the place.

Soon after the incident, the manager was criticised on the restaurant's Facebook page for his behavior. The page, has however, been deleted.

Although Schulz was criticised by many, some of the users supported him. "One man wrote, Right decision. You don't know who's under the hood. Woman? Man? Gunman?"

Another one commented, "At home, people can do what they want. But when you're in a different country you have to inform yourself about how things are and stick to it."

"It's very simple. Germany has its rules here as do other countries," wrote another.

Schulz also made himself clear that he had asked the woman to leave because the fear of full veil made other guests uncomfortable.

German laws do not restrict a person from wearing a full face veil or any particular dress code, but the states claim that they have the power to change laws locally.



Muslim Women Experience Thinly Veiled Discrimination

September 17, 2016

A 35-year-old woman was standing outside a Valentino store in Manhattan on Sept. 10 when, as she later told police, she felt heat on her left side. Her blouse was on fire, and a man stood nearby with a lighter in his hand. The woman, whose name has not been released by the New York Police Department, escaped with a hole in her blouse and no injuries. The NYPD is investigating the incident as a possible hate crime — the woman is Muslim, and she was wearing a Hijab.

Almost every woman has an unsettling story about the difficulties of being a woman in public — whether it's a stranger walking behind us too closely, verbal abuse, unwanted sexual advances or physical attacks. But for Muslim women, these isolated incidents of misogyny or violence have taken on an additional, ugly edge.

Amid a global surge of anti-Muslim policy proposals, 2015 has been one of the worst in U.S. history for anti-Muslim hate crimes. And although the venom of anti-Muslim sentiment is directed against both men and women, it is a particularly gendered crisis. Women bear the brunt of Islamophobic prejudice.

Comprehensive data on the effect of discrimination and hate crimes targeting Muslim women are hard to find. (The FBI does not track hate crimes by gender.) But studies suggest that women, particularly those who wear hijab or niqab, shoulder a unique burden. Because women who wear hijab and niqab (a veil for the face that leaves an area for the eyes clear) are visible representations of Islam, they face a significant risk of exposure to discrimination, harassment and attacks.

According to one researcher, 69 percent of Muslim women who wore hijab reported at least one incident of discrimination; for those who did not wear hijab, it was 29 percent. Non-governmental organizations that track anti-Muslim incidents in various parts of the world report record numbers of hate crimes and violent incidents targeting Muslim women. In the Netherlands, 90 percent of victims reporting incidents of violence to Meld Islamofobie (Report Islamophobia) in 2015 were Muslim women; in France, the Collective Against Islamophobia reported that 81 percent of violent incidents involved Muslim women, as did more than half of incidents reported to Tell MAMA, an NGO in Britain. In each study, women who wore visible symbols of Islam such as a Hijab or Niqab were more likely to be targeted.

To Muslim women, these numbers aren't abstract; they are real life.

A friend who wears Hijab told me recently about being accosted in an airport bathroom and told to “go home where they wear those things” in front of her 7-year-old son.

Much of the latest focus has been on France, even though Muslim women in the United States have for decades endured prohibitions on hijab and niqab at work, in public spaces such as swimming pools or at school.

Muslim women have been fired or not hired, like Samantha Elauf, who took her case to the U.S. Supreme Court and won when Abercrombie & Fitch didn't hire her because of her hijab.

They've been arrested, like Itemid Al-Matar, who, while trying to catch a train, was tackled, detained and later subjected to a strip search by Chicago police.

And they have been pushed out of the judicial process altogether, as in Michigan, which passed a court rule allowing judges to decide whether women in niqab can appear as witnesses.

Muslim men and women may both suffer from a presumption of guilt, but women experience the additional presumption of victimhood. We're seen simultaneously as representatives of a religion to be “feared” and passive targets of male dominance. In turn, our absurd status as both villains and victims promotes cynical policy proposals designed to help us, which actually are rooted in stereotypes and anti-Muslim bias.

Officials and news pundits have long used this tactic and the guise of “women's rights” to promote anti-Muslim ideology. This thinly concealed bias is central to the arguments of the 30 French coastal towns that banned the burkini. In a truly head-scratching moment, Laurence Rossignol, the French government's minister for women's rights, defended the bans by stating: “The burkini is not some new line of swimwear; it is the beach version of the burqa and it has the same logic: hide women's bodies in order to better control them.”

Lost in this statement is the irony that these laws reinforce exactly what the minister purports to loathe.

Similarly, in the United States, when Ibtihaj Muhammad became the first American Olympian to compete and medal while wearing hijab earlier this month, Rush Limbaugh tried to diminish the historic moment by stating: “But why celebrate a woman wearing something that's been forced on her by a religion, a religion run by men? ... She may actively agree to do it, don't misunderstand, but it's a religion run by men that subjugates and subordinates women.”

Under heightened scrutiny and calls for vigilance, Muslim women have flocked to self-defense classes, some have contemplated removing their hijab to protect their families and others are wearing Hijab to feel closer to faith during these uncertain times.

We have a long road ahead to realize full and equal rights, but it's not Islam that holds us back. It's pervasive prejudice and discrimination in all facets of our lives. Just as it's intellectually dishonest to believe that four police officers forcing a Muslim woman to remove her burkini on a crowded beach is a sign of progress for women, it's immoral to continue to allow anti-Muslim bias to close the doors of opportunity to us.

Discrimination in the name of women's rights or religious tolerance is still discrimination — ask any Muslim woman, if only to finally include us in the conversation about us.



Muslim Women Represent Importance of the Hajj Pilgrimage

Sunday, Sept. 11, 2016

MECCA, Saudi Arabia (AP) — The annual hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia, required of able-bodied Muslims once in their life, brings the Islamic world together across its many languages, ethnicities and individual beliefs — something seen across the many faces of its female faithful.

Arabs, Africans, Asians, Europeans and those from the Americas all followed what tradition holds is the path of the Prophet Muhammad up Jabal al-Rahma, or the Mountain of Mercy. There, the Quran says the prophet delivered his final sermon calling for equality, unity and women's rights.

Women also walked along the path believed to be followed by Abraham's wife, Hagar, when she found the Zamzam water spring to save her son.

Wanting to follow those examples, a 25-year-old Ghanaian woman, pictured above, who gave her name only as Fatma over concerns about her personal safety carried her infant son Hisou slung over her back, walking long distances in a show of piety.

"I walked from Medina to Mecca to Arafat and I will continue to Muzdalifa then to Mina, carrying my son on my back because this is my faith to do it the right way," she said.

During the hajj, women wear the hijab, a scarf to cover their hair in deference to God. Some decide to return home and continue covering their hair in respect. But for others, their faith isn't tied to the scarf.

"I am not convinced that hijab is a must and sign of faith," said 36-year-old Lebanese woman Dalia, who gave only her first name out of concern of her views affecting her career. "I have been treating people in a way I believe is ethical and human. I will continue to do so after the hajj."

Although gender inequality persists today in parts of the Muslim world, women played a prominent part in the founding of Islam, with the Prophet Muhammad's wife, Khadijah, becoming its first convert. And today, the women who took part in this year's hajj say they found a peace and fulfillment for taking part in the pilgrimage.

"The hajj to me is a combination of childhood dreams coming true and it has taught me unity and diversity," said 29-year-old South African Fathima Akoo.

Here is a selection of images by Associated Press photographer Nariman El-Mofty showing the diversity among the women who took part in this year's hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia.



Five get jail terms in France over ‘burkini’ clashes

Sep 17, 2016

BASTIA: A Corsica court sentenced five men to up to two years in prison on Friday over a mass beach brawl on the French Mediterranean island that reportedly began after tourists took pictures of Muslim bathers.

The violence last month in Sisco, in the island’s north, left five people injured, prompting the mayor of the village to ban the Islamic burkini swimsuit initially thought to have been at the centre of the row.

Around 100 police were deployed to quell the August 13 clashes between locals and families of North African origin from another part of the island

Hundreds of people gathered outside the court in Bastia on Thursday to support two local men who faced charges over the incident alongside three brothers of Moroccan origin.

Mustapha Benhaddou was sentenced to two years in prison for armed violence, while his brothers Abdelillah and Jamal both received suspended sentences of six months.

Villagers Lucien Straboni and Pierre Baldi were handed suspended sentences of one year and eight months respectively.

Of the brothers only Mustapha was present in court, the others telling their lawyers they feared for their safety following several anti-Islam demonstrations and attacks on the island.

“There are fractures in French and Corsican society, but those are not what we are dealing with in this case, which concerns a simpler, seedier problem,” prosecutor Nicolas Bessone told the court.

The clashes came amid heightened tension in France after a string of attacks claimed by the militant Islamic State group, including the July 14 massacre in the southern city of Nice when a Tunisian ploughed a truck into crowds celebrating Bastille Day, killing 86 people.

In Corsica last December, angry protesters vandalised a Muslim prayer hall and trashed copies of the Holy Quran after an assault on firefighters that was blamed on local youths of Arab origin.

Sisco is one of around 30 French towns that have moved to ban the burkini, though the country’s top administrative court has suspended the move in most cases.

But the Council of State allowed Sisco to keep its burkini ban, saying it was justified on public order grounds — even though prosecutors ruled out any connection between the beach brawl and the full-body swimsuit.

Sisco’s mayor Ange-Pierre Vivoni described the court’s ruling as “a relief for me and local people”.



Sara Duterte, Davao City Mayor To Muslim Women: Show Your Faces

September 17th, 2016

DAVAO CITY—Women in Burqas and wearing surgical masks should refrain from concealing their faces in public, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte said on Thursday, describing the measure as aimed at preventing attacks.

The daughter of President Duterte made the remarks as police hunt for the suspects—seen on CCTV wearing face masks—behind a bombing this month that killed 15 in the city.

“It would be a good security practice to disallow garments that cover the faces in public places,” the mayor said in a written statement.

“These garments include hats, sunglasses, face masks, mouth masks, Burqa, face paint, and other similar things.” She said she understood the concerns of Muslim women who are required by their religion to cover up.

“May I suggest that you wear the Hijab which shows your face or cooperate with the security personnel and show your face if you are wearing the Burqa,” the mayor said.

Muslim women in the country usually favor a hijab, which covers only the hair, over the face-concealing Burqa, though it is growing in popularity.

“The general welfare of the majority takes precedence over religious tradition. While it is true that these garments are not disallowed by law, we discourage their use in public places,” the mayor added.

Surgical masks are commonly worn by commuters in Asian cities, to block out pollution, or sometimes to stop the spread of illness.

Since the deadly blast in the bustling night market in Davao on Sept. 2, which led to the president declaring a “state of lawlessness,” the city has introduced checkpoints and armed security at key establishments.

The government has blamed the attack on local Islamic militants.



France worried over women joining ISIL terror network

September 16, 2016

The arrest of four French women linked to a failed Paris terror plot has exposed the increasing role women are playing within the ISIL terror network.

Women have long featured in jihadist circles, but largely in secondary roles - as propagandists, wives and mothers for a next generation of jihadis.

In the wake of a string of terror attacks in France, Beur FM has become the voice of France’s Islamic community.

“We debate; we try to understand the phenomenon of radicalization. We try to know who are those young people. How a young man born and raised in France, like me, ended up leaving for Syria and joined ISIL and comes back here to kill dozens of people,” Abdelkrim Branine, chief editor for Radio Beur said.

But it’s not just men. There is an increasingly concern about women, and minors, being radicalized. In the past few weeks four women have been arrested.

Authorities said they were planning to blow up a car and the attack was imminent.

Investigators said one youth – aged just 14 or 15 – had been in touch with French extremist Rachid Kassim and volunteered to carry out a terror attack.



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