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Islam, Women and Feminism ( 6 May 2019, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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'No Batman or Nuns': Muslim Woman in Italy Told She Can't Attend Gym

New Age Islam News Bureau

6 May 2019

Women revolutionaries are called 'Kandaka', the title given to the powerful queens of the ancient Sudanese Kingdom of Meroe, who ruled nearly 2,000 years ago and led their people into battle © Bloomberg



 Celebrating 'Burkini' Is Betrayal, Not Benevolence

 Uber Pens Partnership to Give Affordable Transport for Saudi Women

 FIA Registers 8,500 Complaints Concerning Women Harassment

 This Ramadan, Ulema to Focus on Eradicating Domestic Violence against Women

 Women, Hopeful for Change, Are Driving Sudan’s Uprising

 ‘No Society Can Prosper Without Women Participation'

 Women’s role in economic development stressed

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau




'No Batman or Nuns': Muslim Woman in Italy Told She Can't Attend Gym


A Muslim woman wearing a headscarf in Italy's affluent Emilia Romagna region who wanted to attend a gym was banned for her religious covering, reports said.

The incident took place in the small city of Mirandola, where the 28-year-old Muslim woman identified as Khadija Tajeddine was told that she could not attend the gym for wearing a headscarf.

Tajeddine wrote a letter to the mayor, saying that the gym's owner told her that she "does not allow Batman or nuns at the gym."

"The owner of the gym told me that she refuses to register me claiming that I am dressed in a non-Western outfit. When I asked her to explain further, she told me that she does not allow Batman or nuns at the gym, in reference to my headscarf," Tajeddine said in the letter and added that the owner told her it was "her gym, her rules."

The 28-year-old Moroccan-born woman has been living in Italy since 1999 and holds Italian citizenship, reports said.

In her letter, she stated that she knows the laws, the constitution and principles of the constitution and that what she has been through has no excuse.

She condemned the racist act, saying that it is quite difficult to express her anger, disappointment and dismay.



Celebrating 'Burkini' Is Betrayal, Not Benevolence

May 5, 2019


Much has been said and written regarding the hijabi in a burkini in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition.

There are plenty of opinions, mine however, is the overarching feeling of betrayal.

Growing up as a first-generation Canadian to a fundamentalist Muslim family, I spent a lot of time being caught in between two worlds.

This dichotomy was most pronounced when it came to feminism.

I grew up in a world where feminism was all around me like a beacon of hope cutting through the opposing ideas I was being taught at home.

At home I was taught that, and nine years old, I needed to wear a hijab to protect myself from men who wanted to molest me.

From my society, I learned that’s called victim-blaming.

At home I was taught that good, pure, clean girls wore hijab and filthy, loose, despicable girls did not.

From my society, I learned that was called slut-shaming.

Given the choice between those two worlds, I eventually chose to break free.

That decision almost cost me my life and my daughter’s life.

I’m grateful that unlike Aqsa Parvez, a teenager from Mississauga, my family were not able to follow through on the threat to kill me for removing my hijab.

I was able to escape with my daughter.

But where have I escaped to? I have escaped to the upside down.

The society that that I fled to seems to have been a mirage.

Instead, I find myself in a world where the very things I escaped from are being fetishized by western corporations like Gap, Mattel, Nike and now, most recently, on Sports Illustrated.

Why are we suddenly celebrating religious modesty culture? Isn’t that the very thing feminists have been fighting against for centuries? How is it now suddenly something positive?

There is a general lunacy in the free western world celebrating religiously prescribed clothing, but a specific lunacy in the Swimsuit Edition of Sports Illustrated doing it.

Imagine if that were an Amish woman in her prairie dress and bonnet … it’s beyond parody.

But you never see Mormon underwear on the Victoria’s Secret runway. You never see any other religious clothing being fetishized like the hijab and to such a nonsensical degree.

L’Oreal had a hijabi model for their shampoo ads. Shampoo. You can’t see the model’s hair.

In their frantic zeal to celebrate the hijab they do the most ridiculous and confusing things.

I think that confusion stems from a misunderstanding.

They do not understand that the hijab is not benign cultural clothing like lederhosen or a kilt (women from hundreds of different cultures that have no relation to each other wear it) — it is religious.

It is prescribed by fundamentalist Muslims. In some countries girls cannot go to school unless they wear hijab.

Across the world, if women try to remove it, they can be abused, imprisoned or even killed. There is nothing benign about it.

Despite the fact that it is a tool of misogyny seeped in oppression that perpetuates rape culture, every woman should be free to wear it.

A woman can choose to partake in her own subjugation; that is her right.

There is a chasm of difference between supporting a person’s right to do something and celebrating the thing they are doing.

People have the right to tattoo swastikas on their necks, but that is not something that we would celebrate. We would not splash those faces on magazines.

It’s an extreme example, but it drives the point home.

Individuals have the right to wear hijab if they please, but we certainly should not be splashing it on magazines and on Barbie’s head as if it were a positive thing worthy of being celebrated.



Uber Pens Partnership to Give Affordable Transport for Saudi Women

06 May 2019

Ride-hailing app Uber has announced a partnership with Saudi-based Takamol Holding to provide affordable and subsidised transportation solutions to Saudi women, it was announced on Sunday.

Takamol Holding operates Wusool, a programme developed by the kingdom’s Human Resources Development Fund (HRDF) to help women overcome transportation challenges they face to and from their workplaces.

“Uber is a conscientious company that strives to uplift the communities it operates in,” Pierre-Dimitri Gore-Coty, Uber’s VP and EMEA regional general manager was quoted as saying by Arab News. “We are expanding exponentially within the Middle East and North Africa region, with Saudi Arabia being one of our fastest-growing markets.”

Gore-Coty added that Uber hopes to be “catalysts for economic growth in the kingdom.”

The new partnership is aligned with Uber’s Masaruky (‘Your Path’) initiative, in which they pledged SAR 1 million to support Saudi women through driving schools. Additionally, Uber has recently announced a feature that allows Saudi woman to select a preference for female drivers.

To participate in the programme, Saudi women between the ages of 18 and 65 can apply through Taqat, the HRDF’s national labour gateway, to receive partially subsidised Wusool rides on the Uber app.

Applicants must be working in the private sector and earning a maximum income of SAR 8,000 per month.

To date, over 25,000 women have participated in the Wusool programme.



FIA Registers 8,500 Complaints Concerning Women Harassment

May 6, 2019

ISLAMABAD: Federal Investigation Agency (FIA)’s cyber crime wing has registered, a total of 8,500 complaints regarding online women harassment in the year 2018 and 2019.

According to an official document, in Punjab FIA received more than 5,500 complaints pertaining to cybercrime, including hacking, identity theft, cyber-bullying, cyber-stalking, financial fraud, digital piracy, intellectual property rights violation, electronic terrorism and extortion.

In Sindh, at least 3,236 written complaints were received by FIA regarding online harassment. The document further revealed that these cases involve using, sharing, disseminating and manipulation if information such as photographs, phone numbers, contact details and other personal information on social media.

It said this was irony of the situation that 72 per cent of women in the country had no awareness about the cybercrime laws dealing with online harassment, adding that women who didn’t operate online, their experience was merely restricted to instances of harassment.

Women were more at risk online than men as the social media was dominated by males, it added. FIA had been making considerable efforts to expand its resources to deal with online harassment whereas different awareness campaigns would also be conducted, it added



This Ramadan, Ulema to Focus on Eradicating Domestic Violence against Women

Abid Bashir

May 6, 2019

In a first step of its kind, the Mutahida Majlis-e-Ulema (MMU)—an amalgam of Kashmir’s renowned Islamic scholars headed by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq have decided to lay special focus on the issues confronting Kashmiri women on social and domestic fronts.

The Ulema took a pledge to provide space to women across the Valley this Ramadan to allow them to put forth their grievances before the proper forums. They said the move is aimed to bring down the alarming graph of domestic violence. In this regard, Ulema held hectic deliberations on the issues confronting women at historic Mirwaiz Manzil Rajouri Kadal here decided that the upcoming month of Ramadan will be fully utilized for giving women folk a “sense of security” by making them aware of their rights guaranteed in Islam.

“The recent gruesome rape of a girl in Bandipora district has shook conscience of every Kashmiri citizen,” said the head of MMU, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq in his inaugural address.

Elaborating he said half the population in Kashmir comprises women “but unfortunately in the religious gatherings, only men are seen be that Friday gathering or any other religious event.”

“Here, women–a house wife, a college going student and those going to schools need to be given a proper attention. Domestic violence has increased manifold in Kashmir. As a result women are taking extreme steps. Dowry deaths have become common in Kashmir,” he said.

Mirwaiz said each year, 1700 to 1800 complaints regarding domestic violence and dowry deaths were witnessed in 2017-2018. “In the same period, 3360 cases of sexual violence and rape cases have been registered. The acts of abandoning new born babies especially girl child have also come to fore in Kashmir,” he said.

“We need to create a mass awareness to make people understand that there is no concept of dowry in Islam. Though majority of people are following the simple and austerity measures while performing Nikah ceremonies, but at the same a huge chunk of people are promoting the ways and means that are taking the shape of social evils and uncomfortable situations for married women at their in-laws’ houses,” he said.

“Women need to be given a proper platform to put forth issues confronting them so that Ulema evolve a joint mechanism to plug the growing menace of sexual assaults against the women in the holy month of Ramadan,” he added.

In his address, Karwan-e-Islami International patron, Alama Ghulam Rasool Hami said that there was a dire need of increasing the number of Darul-Ulooms and women and girls must be provided an opportunity to read and under understand holy Quran and Hadith. “The best way to counter the moral degradation is to ensure the teachings of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) reach out to females. Similarly, youth who have been falling prey to liquor and drug abuse, need to be admitted in Darul-Ulooms so that they get spiritual healing while understanding the holy Quran and Hadith in its pristine form,” Hami said.

Speaking on the occasion, Jamiat-e-Ahlihadith representative Moulana Muhammad Yaqoob Baba Al-Madni assured the meeting that all  possible steps will be taken to ensure the graph of crimes against women goes down in Kashmir.

“It is our collective responsibility to address issues confronting women in Kashmir,” he said. The Ulema also unanimously decided that the use of loud speakers be confined to prayers calls (Azans) and Friday sermons only. “Misuse of loudspeakers was causing a great inconvenience to the people,” they said.

Among other prominent religious leaders who were present on the occasion included patron of Darul Uloom Rahamiya Moulana Rehmatullah Mir Qasimi, Mufti Nazir Ahmed Qasimi, Anjuman-e-Shar-e-Shian patron Aga Syed Al Hassan, Al-Mousivi, Al-Safavi,  Itehadul Muslimeen vice chairman Masroor Abbas Ansari, Anjuman-e-Himayatul Islam representative Moulana Khursheed Ahmed Qanoongo, and at least 50 more Ulema from various shrines and Masjids of Kashmir. The meeting was moderated by Moulana Syedur Rehman Shams.



Women, Hopeful for Change, Are Driving Sudan’s Uprising


May 6, 2019

For all but a decade of Sudan’s 63 years of independence from Britain, the country has been governed by the army. It is vital that civilians maintain pressure on the military in discussions about the terms, structure and duration of the transition. Talks have faltered over the division of power on the supreme council to over see the transition period. However, the revolution now under way is being interpreted only as a rejection of miliary rule.

The uprising was not just sparked by a fervent desire to oust General Omar al-Bashir. The umbrella group representing the professionals, trades unionists, students, activists and political parties includes many advocates for women’s rights as well as groups opposed to political Islamism.

President Bashir came to power in 1989 with the National Islamic Front; his movement, the National Congress party, was composed of political Islamists. He introduced prescriptive and invasive laws governing personal behaviour which have particularly restricted the rights of women. Mr Bashir may have done this more out of political expediency than personal conviction but, after 30 years, reactionary and exclusionary forces dominate.

Sudan’s last civilian prime minister, Sadiq al-Mahdi, deposed by Mr Bashir, is a descendant of the charismatic religious leader the Mahdi — who overwhelmed Britain’s General Gordon in 1885 and restored Sudan’s sovereignty. Mr Mahdi argues that Islam in Sudan has always been tolerant. At 84 he is very much seen as a member of the old guard, but he has anointed his daughter Maryam, rather than one of his sons, as heir to the leadership of his Umma party — one of the oldest in the country.

Women are taking the lead in Sudan. During the early stages of the demonstrations they reportedly even outnumbered male protesters. Balghis Badri, a prominent female activist and academic, has been instrumental in getting major gender rights legislation passed in Sudan. I must declare an interest: she is my aunt. My great-grandfather Babiker Badri pioneered girls’ education in Sudan at the turn of the last century and my family have long been campaigners for secularism, female emancipation and education.

Sudanese women are eager to ensure the clock will not be turned back after this revolution: my aunt warns that the opportunity to improve women’s rights must be seized before the patriarchal norms reassert themselves.

She has been heartened by the young women in this revolution, who marched, staged sit-ins, climbed trees, sat on fences, stood atop vehicles and threw tear gas canisters back at soldiers: these women protested without any regard for their personal safety. Before the fall of Mr Bashir, security forces are reported to have mounted sexual assaults on women, but there were few — if any — serious reports of harassment by male protesters. Indeed 22-year-old female student Alaa Salah has been described as the icon of the revolution after a video of her chanting revolutionary poems went viral. Women revolutionaries are called “Kandaka”, the title given to the powerful queens of the ancient Sudanese Kingdom of Meroe, who ruled nearly 2,000 years ago and led their people into battle.

These are heady, exciting and precarious times in Sudan. One chapter has successfully been closed; but the old influences remains. Moreover, there are worries that the army has become addicted to power, and that pro-Bashir Islamists are plotting a return.

There is much cause for optimism. The official spokesperson for the professional association that led the protests, Mohammed Yousif, a professor at Khartoum university, wants Sudan to be led by a young person — preferably a young woman. It is too early to tell if this vision will prevail. For me, Prof Yousif captures the spirit of the revolution: pro-women, anti-military rule, and against Bashir’s brand of Islamism. If the revolution fails the women of Sudan, it has failed the whole country.



‘No Society Can Prosper Without Women Participation'

May 6, 2019

Speakers at a conference organised by the Department of Gender Studies at Punjab University (PU) said that no society can prosper without the participation of women. Woman must be given rights ensured under Islam. Denying them these rights is a crime and sin.

They expressed these views on Sunday at a national conference. PU Vice Chancellor Niaz Ahmed, renowned religious leader Dr Raghib Hussain Naeemi, Punjab Women Development Secretary Irum Bukhari, NUML Dean of Social Science Dr Shahid Siddique, Dr Munawar Mirza, Dr Rana Malik and others were also present on the occasion.

Addressing the conference, the PU vice chancellor stressed the need for women to play a positive role in development.

He stated that the varsity is promoting a policy of merit and that equal opportunities were being provided to women.

Dr Raghib Hussain Naeemi highlighted the role of women in society as mothers. Dr Rana Malik stressed the need to involve men in order to achieve gender equality. Iram Bukhari discussed the initiatives taken by the Punjab government in achieving the targets outlined by the sustainable development goals (SDGs) of the United Nations.

Dr Siddique discussed the influence of power structures on the status of men and women in society.

Dr Munawar highlighted the failures of millennium development goals and the strategies for achieving SDGs.

The department organised six parallel sessions based on various issues and solutions inked to the goals in the conference.

The sessions were chaired by gender experts and analysts along with the faculty of gender studies as moderators. A panel discussion was also arranged on women’s role in maintaining peace in society.

In the concluding session, Faculty of Arts and Humanities Dean Dr M Iqbal Chawla shared his views about the role women play and their equal participation in achieving sustainable development goals. Around 50 papers, from all over the country including Lahore, Islamabad, Mardan, Chitral, Sargodha, Multan and KPK province, were presented at the conference.



Women’s role in economic development stressed

May 6, 2019

LAHORE: Justice (Retd) Nasira Javid Iqbal, a jurist, law professor and human rights activist, Sunday asked the graduating women of Government College University (GCU) to actively participate in the economic development of their country.

“Neither our religion nor the constitution allows to forcibly keep a woman inside the four walls of a house,” said the former judge of Lahore High Court (LHC) while addressing the university's 17th convocation for BA/BSc (Hons) students as chief guest. Justice (Retd) Nasira Iqbal said: “I am very glad to see most of the distinctions today were received by girls.” Out of 24 academic distinctions in different disciplines of BA/BSc (Hons), 15 were won by girls.

She also highlighted that intolerance and sectarianism were the biggest threats to Pakistan. However, she said they should not blame the government for all the evils, rather every man and woman must contribute to social and economic uplift of the country. In his convocation address, Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Hassan Amir Shah said it was important that education enabled youth to burn down their prejudices, confusions and their passivity and they should realise the implications of their actions or inaction and decide on their course of action in life accordingly.

Talking about the GCU research achievements, Prof Hassan Shah said GCU scientists had in recent years registered 10 patents and filed another five which would be registered soon.

“Our Department of Chemistry has developed an indigenous water purification process for simultaneous removal of arsenic and microbial contaminants. It is based on electro-oxidation-coagulation process. This is a new but very economical technology which is available at GCU only,” the vice chancellor revealed. He also said that the effectiveness of technology had been tested and verified by PCRWR and PCSIR. “The government can procure this technology from GCU for public consumption,” he concluded.

Later, at the third and concluding session of the conference, FC University Rector Prof Dr James A Tebbe was chief guest who along with Prof Hassan Shah gave away sports and co-circular rolls of honors to the graduates. Speaking on the occasion, Prof Tebbe on a lighter said 154 years of rivalry between GC and FC had officially ended last when both universities signed an MoU of cooperation. The FCC University rector congratulated the graduates, saying that they were the alumni of longest academic tradition of Pakistan. He concluded his speech saying: “Class of 2018, go out into the world with confidence, you would face challenges that are greater than anything you could have imagined but be confident that you are well prepared now.”

Later, the Vice Chancellor announced that the university would remain closed on Monday (today).

conference: Speakers at a conference organised by Punjab University’s Department of Gender Studies said women should be given their rights which Islam ensures to them and denying them their rights is a crime and sin.

The national conference was organised on the theme of “Sustainable Development Goals: Achievements & Future in Gender Perspective.” PU Vice-Chancellor Prof Niaz Ahmad, noted religious leader and Jamia Naeemia head Allama Dr Raghib Naeemi, Punjab Women Development Secretary Irum Bukhari, NUML Dean of Social Science Dr Shahid Siddique, Professor Emeritus Dr Munawar Mirza, Dr Ra’ana Malik, faculty members and a large number of students were also present.

Prof Niaz Ahmad stressed the need for women to positively play their role in the development of the country. He said PU was providing women with equal opportunities. Allama Dr Raghib Naeemi highlighted the role of women in society as mothers.

Dr Ra’ana Malik stressed the need for involving men in the process of achieving gender equality. Ms Iram Bukhari discussed the initiatives taken by Punjab government in achieving the SDGs. The department organised six parallel sessions chaired by gender experts and analysts. A panel discussion was arranged on the role of women in building peace in society. In the concluding session, Faculty of Arts and Humanities Dean Dr M Iqbal Chawla shared his views about the role of women and their equal participation in achieving SGD agenda. Around 50 papers were presented during the conference.




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