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'May I Cut Off A Head as A Wedding Present?' - ISIS: 'Yes': A Woman’s Testimony

New Age Islam News Bureau

28 Jul 2015

Women in Afghanistan, Pakistan and India are being encourage to join the police force. Photograph: Ellie Kealey/Oxfam


' May I Cut Off A Head as A Wedding Present?' - ISIS: 'Yes': A Woman’s Testimony

 Women on the Beat: How to Get More Female Police Officers around the World

 Kerala Students Invite Malala Yousafzai for 'Onam'

 French Women Furious After 'Muslim Girl-Gang' Attacks 'Immoral' Sunbather For Wearing A Bikini

 Unleashing The Power Of Women Entrepreneurs Around The World: The Smartest Investment To Unlock Global Growth

Knife Attack Leaves Two Women Killed, Two Wounded In Zabul, Afghanistan

Compiled By New Age Islam News Bureau





'May I Cut Off A Head as A Wedding Present?' - ISIS: 'Yes': A Woman’s Testimony

July 28, 2015

An Islamic State defector from the Hisbah (the Islamic State religious police) told a shocking tale of petty power plays and a cult of vicious violence.

Leena (not her real name) told The Mail Online “'I was horrified by what I saw, the brutality and corruption. I left because I saw so many terrible things, so much destruction, beatings.”

She fled the would-be Caliphate after her boss, a female ISIS judge, was given over to another female judge, for beheading.

She said “Um Abdullah was married with four children. She was kind.

“If the woman brought to her was poor she would give her a very small fine. One time she had to sentence a woman to a beating, so she beat the woman with her pencil so it would not hurt but still be within the law.

'But there was another judge, a Tunisian, Roaa Um Khotaba al-Tunisi, she was a real monster. She was married to a Libyan fighter and he was killed in battle in Kobane. The ISIS leaders said she should marry again because she was young, maybe 30.

“For her wedding present she asked the emirs to cut off the head of a kuffar, an unbeliever. Her request went to the top of ISIS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who considered it for a long time.

“Finally he said she could have a prisoner beheaded, but it had to be a woman. At about the same time my judge, Um Abdullah, disappeared. She had been accused of being a spy, working for the Saudi Intelligence Services. She was captured and taken to jail.

“The Tunisian, Roaa Um Khotaba Al-Tunisi, asked for head of Um Abdullah and she was sentenced to death. When I asked others in Hisbah what she had done I was told not to ask, for my own safety.”

Leena said “You can imagine how frightened I felt because I was her writer [clerk]. I feared I would be next, be beheaded. I don't know if she is dead or alive but I fear the worst.”

She also spoke about the role of foreign converts in the ISIS administration. She reported there are five British women in the Hisbah¸ who receive preferential treatment compared to local jihadists. They were allowed to carry guns and would travel around the Caliphate. All five were converts and had only been Muslims for a few years.

Although she was initially entranced by what she saw as the romantic idealism of the foreign fighters, she later described them as rapists, looters and thieves only after “money, gold and slaves.”

She spoke about a woman sentenced to 80 lashes for speaking to a man in a shop, even though the man was her husband and many other abuses of power. She convinced her husband to flee, and the family fled Syria with their young children.

She now lives on the run, since ISIS operates in southern Turkey, and its operatives may kill her and her family.

She said “We cannot stay in Turkey. There is no work for Syrians and ISIS murder people here. We will go anywhere we can be safe, maybe Europe.”



Women on the Beat: How To Get More Female Police Officers Around The World

Tuesday 28 July 2015

Rizwana Hamid was 20 years old when she applied to join the police force in Pakistan. It was 1996. Two years before, Benazir Bhutto had established the first women’s police station in the country, but there were still few other female officers. She can still remember her first day; the hostility from her male colleagues made it memorable.

Today attitudes have changed, says Hamid. “When we wear the police uniform, we no longer feel like we are women next to our male counterparts. We are one of them and equal … We are not your usual stay-at-home women. Joining the police service has made us bold and brave.”

My ambition is to empower all women to have orgasms

Bold they may be, but they are also still rare. These women in uniform make up less than 1% of the force in Pakistan, and Hamid’s successful career has been pockmarked by discrimination. On one occasion, male peers locked her and seven other female officers in a room to stop them participating in an operation. There is still a sense among many that the “big” jobs should be left to the men. But Hamid’s insight shows that the experience of being in the minority is complex: pride, humiliation, discrimination and empowerment are often tangled up in one career.

You don’t have to dig hard to unearth stories of gender discrimination in police forces across the world, from female recruits in Indonesia being forced to undergo virginity tests to officers in Kenya being reprimanded for wearing tight skirts and banned from wearing lipstick. In Afghanistan (where there are just 1,980 policewomen) there have been reports of sexual abuse and rape of policewomen, as well as sexual favours demanded in return for promotions, prompting Human Rights Watch to speak out on the urgent need for safe lockable restrooms. Oxfam, which is running a national campaign on Afghan policewomen, has highlighted more subtle discrimination, such as not getting the uniforms male colleagues receive and often being limited to making tea.

Policewomen are particularly at risk in certain situations, says Shaheen Chughtai, deputy head of humanitarian policy and campaigns at Oxfam. “Despite this, I spoke to one policewoman who said she and female colleagues weren’t given guns while on an operation,” says Chughtai. “The men were armed and said they would protect them instead. This is obviously both discriminatory and, by taking them into a conflict situation but not giving them the means to defend themselves, high risk.”

Untouchable to indispensable: the Dalit women revolutionising waste in India

But it is now widely acknowledged that having more women in the police is crucial to building an institution that protects the rights of women and girls and facilitates, rather than hinders, their access to justice. “A legal system that better reflects the society it serves sends a clear message that gender-based violence and discrimination will not be tolerated,” says UK development minister Desmond Swayne. Their value also clearly goes beyond supporting women: the UN has argued that policewomen and female peacekeepers are particularly valuable in establishing stability, particularly in post-conflict states.

Opening the doors

So where to start? Breaking down the physical and psychological barriers between women and access to justice is one of the biggest challenges, says Andrew Collingwood at Coffey, the UK’s Department for International Development’s implementing partner on the project Aitebaar in Pakistan. A survey carried out last year by Coffey in Pakistan revealed that 70% of women surveyed felt it was unacceptable for a woman to go to the police with a problem, as did 60% of men.

Aitebaar (which means trust in Urdu) has focused on making stations more physically accessible. Women’s desks, staffed by one or two females trained specifically to deal with reports from women, have been established at three of the model stations the programme is working with in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. “The placing of these desks near the reception means that women don’t have to go into the guts of the station, which are often perceived as dangerous places not suitable for women,” says Collingwood.

They’ve also launched a range of community awareness initiatives to place policewomen, and the police more generally, in a more positive light. These have included a radio drama, where fallen police women are recognised by their communities for their “greatness and martyr status” and aspiring policewomen negotiate the hostile reactions of their fathers and brothers.

The Indian government in March this year approved a proposal to reserve one-third of police posts in Delhi for women, after the gang-rape of a medical student in 2012 brought female safety in the city into the spotlight. Elsewhere in the country attempts have been made to make women more visible in the police force: states such as Odisha and Rajasthan have introduced a reservation policy of 30% and others have created female-only police stations and help lines.

But will they be allowed to do the “big” jobs?

Some are reluctant to celebrate just yet. “Women are being taken in because it is the fashion, but then they are not really seen as any damn use,” says Devyani Srivastava, senior programme officer on access to justice at Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI).

This is evident, says Srivastava, in how far women are ghettoised in the structure of the police; confined largely to the lowest rungs of the institution and desk-based work, often segregated into women-only stations and limited to gender-related cases. “This is tokenism at its best,” she says.

Toilets have become almost symbolic of this marginalisation. “Many policewomen talk about not having toilets,” says Srivastava. “Officers often have to go out into the middle of a field to change themselves during their time of the month.”

The patriarchal structure of the police is held in place by the attitudes of both men and women, says Srivastava. A glimpse of this can be seen in one case study in CHRI’s upcoming report, where the majority of both male and female officers surveyed in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu believed that most police duties were performed better by men.

Women on the frontline

Clearly in places like India, Pakistan and Afghanistan, where female representation remains in single figures, there is still a very long way to go. But the process is a complex one: an institution is more than the sum of its toilet facilities, uniforms, training, and the gender ratio of its staff. Projects such as Aitebaar and Oxfam’s campaign have to address the invisible strings that hold the institution back: the deeply held attitudes of both men and women, among the police and the public. And this is not likely to happen overnight.

In Pakistan, hope perhaps need to be placed in the next generation. Hamid is one of the 756 policewomen in a district force of 70,000 – still far off the 10% government quota, but a rise from 677 the year before. Her experience has often been challenging, so would she encourage her three children – all girls – to join the police force?

“Absolutely,” she says. “I want them all to study hard to become policewomen.”



Kerala Students Invite Malala Yousafzai for 'Onam'

Kerala | Press Trust of India July 23, 2015

THRISSUR:  Pakistani Nobel Laureate Malala Yousafzai has been invited by a group of Kerala school students, who have been motivated by her activities, to join them for Kerala's harvest festival 'Onam' next month.

The children from class I to XII and belonging to different schools and of various backgrounds from the sleepy village of Koonamoochy in the district have sent her a letter along with the invite for 'Onam', the most popular of all festivals in the state, falling on August 27 and 28.

They are members of a student's group 'Shreyas Vidyarthi Koottayma' which had been staging various programmes based on 18-year old Malala's activities.

The students were being motivated by Malala's example and her thrust on education despite various odds, P J Staiju, Co-ordinator of the group and a Sanskrit teacher of the Mattam Higher Secondary School, told PTI today.

'We have staged various programmes based on Malala's activities so that young children will be inspired', he said.

Along with the photographs of their activities and a letter, the invitation for 'Onam' was sent to Malala on July 20, he said.

Mr Staiju said the children also celebrated Malala's birthday on July 12 with a cake baked in the shape of a book.

They also took out a procession to demonstrate that books and pen were the main instruments to change the world.

'Your words about forgiveness, love and education inspired us so much so that we consider you as a person one among us,' the letter addressed to Malala said.

Malala and Indian child rights campaigner Kailash Satyarthi were awarded the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize for their struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education.



French Women Furious After 'Muslim Girl-Gang' Attacks 'Immoral' Sunbather for Wearing A Bikini


27 July 2015

 An attack on a woman in France because she wore a bikini in a public park has sparked outrage on social media.

The 21-year-old victim, who has been named as Angelique Sloss, was beaten up by a gang of reportedly Muslim young women – aged between 16 and 24 – when she was sunbathing with two friends.

Protesters wearing bikinis and swimsuits held a rally at the park, in the northern city of Reims, yesterday despite rain and cold winds.

Hundreds across France joined the campaign on Twitter, posting photos of themselves wearing swimsuits in public places.

Spectators have likened the campaign to the JeSuisCharlie Twitter campaign, following the Charlie Hebdo shootings in Paris in January.

Outrage: Twitter users posted photographs of themselves in swimsuits in public spaces, in solidarity with the 21-year-old victim who was attacked in a park by a girl gang on Wednesday. Caption means: 'A swimsuit and a book. A special occasion'

Outrage: Twitter users posted photographs of themselves in swimsuits in public spaces, in solidarity with the 21-year-old victim who was attacked in a park by a girl gang on Wednesday. Caption means: 'A swimsuit and a book. A special occasion'

Solidarity: The Twitter campaign has been likened to the JeSuisCharlie campaign that followed the Charlie Hebdo shootings in Paris in January this year, and caused claims that radical Islam beliefs are a threat to the liberal French culture

Solidarity: The Twitter campaign has been likened to the JeSuisCharlie campaign that followed the Charlie Hebdo shootings in Paris in January this year, and caused claims that radical Islam beliefs are a threat to the liberal French culture

Site of the attack: A 21-year-old woman was attacked by a gang of five women for 'immorally' wearing a bikini in the Leo-Legrange park in Reims, France (file photo of the park)

Site of the attack: A 21-year-old woman was attacked by a gang of five women for 'immorally' wearing a bikini in the Leo-Legrange park in Reims, France (file photo of the park)

One Twitter user added: ‘All women are free to wear what they want, and no one can decide for them.’

Another wrote: ‘I’m posting a photo to say no to the draconian oppression of liberty.’

The anti-racism organisation SOS Racisme with the hashtag ‘JePorteMonMaillotAuParc’, meaning ‘I wear my swimsuit in the park’.



Unleashing the Power of Women Entrepreneurs around the World: The Smartest Investment to Unlock Global Growth


Since childhood, Gircilene Gilca de Castro dreamed of owning her own business, but struggled to get it off the ground. Her fledgling food service company in Brazil had only two employees and one client when she realized she needed deeper knowledge about what it takes to grow a business. To take her business to that next level, she found the right education and mentoring opportunities and accessed new business and management tools.

In 2009, armed for the first time with a business strategy and newfound confidence, she successfully applied for two loans to purchase new equipment, upgrade her facility and hire staff. Gircilene's business revenue has now increased by 900 percent and her team has expanded to 45 employees, most of whom are women.

Gircilene from Brazil was able to grow her business after graduating from the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women program, and is just one example of what is possible when ambitious women entrepreneurs have the resources and capital they need to grow their businesses. We are encouraged by these stories and the many organizations, institutions and innovative public private partnerships that are working around the world to empower women entrepreneurs and address the challenges they face in growing their businesses. But extensive research shows that access to capital still remains the biggest obstacle to the growth of women-owned SMEs.

Currently, 70 percent of women owned businesses globally do not have access to financial products and services, such as savings accounts and loans. This leads to a global credit gap for women that IFC estimates to be close to $300 billion. Goldman Sachs research Giving Credit Where It Is Due, shows that closing that gap could increase per capita income in emerging markets by an average of 12 percent by 2030. This gain could be as large as 25-28 percent for Brazil and Vietnam, where the credit gap in the formal SME sectors are currently widest.

On Saturday at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Kenya, President Barack Obama announced that the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the U.S. government's development finance institution, plans to join Goldman Sachs' 10,000 Women and International Finance Corporation (IFC) in the first-ever global finance facility dedicated to women-owned SMEs with a proposed $100 million commitment to help finance new projects in the many global markets where there is great potential empower women and grow economies.

The Women Entrepreneurs Opportunity Facility (WEOF), launched last year, aims to increase access to capital for 100,000 women around the world by working with banks in local markets to expand their lending to women-owned businesses. In its first year, the Facility has made progress towards that goal, completing nine deals totaling $180 million in nine countries that will reach 25,000 women entrepreneurs and this new partnership will help increase the reach of the facility and the number of women who have access to much-needed formal credit.

One example of the WEOF's promise is an investment made in Chase Bank Kenya. This lending facility, uniquely targets women entrepreneurs through women-only branches and specially-designed loan products. IFC estimates that only 7 percent of women-owned MSMEs in Kenya have access to formal credit so this focus on women is filling a significant market gap.

Thanks in part to the loan from WEOF, Chase Bank Kenya recently has been able to decrease the interest rates paid by women-owned businesses and is working to dramatically grow their portfolio of loans to women entrepreneurs. All of these efforts can help enable more women entrepreneurs to affordably invest in their businesses. This creates new jobs and contributes to local economic growth.

We are excited about the collaborative work being done to help close the gap, an effort that is aided by the United States government joining our partnership to invest in women entrepreneurs. This new support will extend the reach of the facility and help bring us closer to our goal of getting more capital into the hands of women entrepreneurs. Our hope is that many other investors and governments around the world will join this effort. By continuing to partner and innovate, more women will have access to these opportunities and their collective impact will help transform their communities and countries, to the benefit of us all.

Jin-Yong Cai is the Executive Vice President and CEO of the International Finance Corporation, a member of the World Bank Group and the largest global development institution focused on private sector development.

Elizabeth Littlefield is the President and CEO of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, the U.S. Government's development finance institution.

Dina Habib Powell is the Head of Goldman Sachs' Impact Investing Business and the President of the Goldman Sachs Foundation.



Knife Attack Leaves Two Women Killed, Two Wounded In Zabul, Afghanistan


Knife Attack Two women have lost lives and two others sustained injuries in a knife attack in southern Zabul province.

The incident took place in Risala village of Qalat, the provincial capital, around 07:00 am on Tuesday.

Reports suggest that Amanullah S/O Obaidullah went to the house of his in-laws with a sharp knife and suddenly attacked them, leaving his mother-in-law and sister-in-law killed and two other women wounded.

One of the women wounded in the incident is also a sister-in-law to Amanullah.

Colonel Ghulam Jailani Farahi, the deputy police chief of Zabul province told reporters that soon after the incident police arrived at the site and detained Amanullah.

He further said that police put Amanullah in jail and shifted the wounded women to hospital for treatment.

One of the victims at the hospital said: “I was washing the dishes when he (murderer) came in the morning, my father was not at home, my brother had also gone to work, I was washing dishes when he came, I stood up for greetings, he suddenly took out his knife stabbed my sister in the stomach and then stabbed my mother.”

According to the victim, following the stabbing of two Amanullah attacked her and another woman with his knife and wounded them.

Motive behind the incident is unknown but local villagers are sighting family disputes as the cause of the tragedy.