New Age Islam News Bureau
24 Feb 2017
Photo: Pakistani Film “Lipstick under my Burqa”
• 'No Woman Should Have To Cover Her Head For Fear Of Offending Religious Values'
• Chief Justice of Pakistan Takes Notice of Woman Trafficking Case in Rawalpindi
• Empowering Women through Community-Driven Development in Pakistan
• ‘Lipstick under My Burkha’ Release Blocked By Censors in Pakistan
• Beware! This Kind of Henna Is Harmful For UAE Residents
Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau
'No Woman Should Have To Cover Her Head For Fear Of Offending Religious Values'
FRANCE’S FAR-RIGHT PRESIDENTIAL candidate Marine Le Pen refused to don a headscarf for a meeting with Lebanon’s top Sunni Muslim cleric this week.
Le Pen was supposed to meet with the country’s grand mufti, Sheikh Abdel-Latif Derian, but when one of his aides handed her a white headscarf to put on, she refused and headed back to her car.
After walking away from the meeting Le Pen said she had already confirmed with the cleric’s office that she would not wear a headscarf. “They didn’t cancel the meeting, so I thought they would accept the fact that I wouldn’t wear one,” she said. “They tried to impose it upon me.”
Women standing up for ourselves
I don’t agree with Marine Le Pen on much but I admire what she did on Tuesday. It’s about time European women stood up for our rights and values.
What’s most important here is not to protect the act of wearing a Hijab as a human right, but actually protecting the right of an individual to be able to safely make that choice.
This means that when we’re critical of veil bans, we should also be critical of countries that force women to cover as well. People have rights, belief systems don’t, and no woman should have to suck it up for fear of offending religious values.
Admittedly it would be difficult to analyse and debate the flow of news and commentary over the past few years without feeling a subconscious need to be a corrective to clichés and biases about Islam. The Islamophobia in the press, our public discourse and institutions is constant and real. We live in troubled times.
Patriarchal religions enforcing modesty codes
But the myth of male weakness and the perversion of religious texts to support enforced modesty codes for women is also a fact. It’s a fugly myth that shifts the responsibility of managing a man’s sexual urges from himself and onto every woman he may or may not meet.
It’s not very different to the sick mentality behind the claim, “She was asking for it.” It’s done in the name of Islam and it has been done in the name of the Catholic church here.
Egyptian-born journalist Mona Eltahawy’s essay for Foreign Policy is an uncomfortable and obligatory read. She writes how it’s easy (albeit horrifically depressing and disturbing) to count the ways the Middle East hates women.
But it’s harder to answer the question the essay’s title proposes: WHY do they hate women? Eltahawy concludes the reason is fuelled: “by a toxic mix of culture and religion that few seem willing or able to disentangle lest they blaspheme or offend.” And she’s so right.
Right to dress as we want
I understand all the reasons for France’s niqab ban, particularly the desire on the part of the French establishment to limit the expression of political Islam through women’s dress and other things. I want the Muslim-woman-in-need-of-a-Western-saviour narrative to disappear too.
I understand the error of women having their headscarves ripped off by Trump supporters and as a feminist I stand by a woman’s right to dress exactly as she wants; the right to cover is just as important as the right to uncover.
A hijab-wearer shouldn’t have to justify her choice of dress any more than Marine Le Pen should have to justify why she wouldn’t put one on. The decision isn’t the important issue, it’s the options we women have.
Marine Le Pen did the sisterhood a favour this week and hopefully we can eventually get it right on this one. Understanding a woman’s right to choose anything is something we haven’t figured out how to discuss constructively yet.
Chief Justice of Pakistan Takes Notice of Woman Trafficking Case In Rawalpindi
February 24, 2017
ISLAMABAD: The chief justice of Pakistan has taken notice of the case of a woman, a resident of Rawalpindi, who was trafficked after being abducted.
CJP Justice Mian Saqib Nisar has sought a report on the case from the inspector general of police in Islamabad and the Punjab government within three days.
The issue was taken up after the case was mentioned in a recently published article of The News titled 'Women trafficking in twin cities goes unchecked' and in Daily Jang titled 'Sub goongay kiyoon hogaye'.
The articles mention the case of a 40-year-old woman, mother of three children and resident of Rawalpindi, who was sold to different people, eventually reaching Afghanistan, after she was abducted.
The abductors demanded Rs300,000 to return her, while the police said they could not do anything to expedite the pace of progress in the case.
The story added a large number of women were sold from Pakistan by an organised gang of 150 members who arrange fake marriages of these women.
The story published on January 1 stated that FIR of the case was registered at Airport Police Station in Rawalpindi, but the filing of the case has so far gone in vain as police have been using delaying tactics.
The woman's husband reported receiving a phone call from a man in Afghanistan who asked him for Rs300,000 to release his wife. He said he would otherwise sell the woman to someone else.
Being a daily wager, the husband said he could barely feed his children with his earning how would he pay such a huge amount for the release of his wife. According to her husband, the woman told him she was sold to an aged person in marriage, but when she told him she was married and had kids, he returned her to the agent, taking his money back.
According to her husband, the woman told him she was sold to an aged person in marriage, but when she told him she was married and had kids, he returned her to the agent, taking his money back. When contacted, the agent told The News she came to him on her own will as he had paid her husband Rs50, 000.
When contacted, the agent told The News she came to him on her own will as he had paid her husband Rs50, 000. Moreover, the story read that Khanna Pul, Fauji Colony, Chuhar, Kohinoor Mills area in Rawalpindi city are the hub of this gang.
Moreover, the story read that Khanna Pul, Fauji Colony, Chuhar, Kohinoor Mills area in Rawalpindi city are the hub of this gang. They apparently work under the guise of matchmakers by tracking families from low-income backgrounds, promising them to get their daughters married and offering a handsome amount as well. Once the parents agree, they sell the women either in Afghanistan or within the country. The gang members have sold many Pakistani girls in Afghanistan or Afghan girls in Pakistan, by solemnising phone nikkah by a registrar, usually the prayer leader of a mosque, on a commission of Rs5, 000 per Nikah.
They apparently work under the guise of matchmakers by tracking families from low-income backgrounds, promising them to get their daughters married and offering a handsome amount as well. Once the parents agree, they sell the women either in Afghanistan or within the country. The gang members have sold many Pakistani girls in Afghanistan or Afghan girls in Pakistan, by solemnising phone nikkah by a registrar, usually the prayer leader of a mosque, on a commission of Rs5,000 per nikkah. A older adult women, residing in Swabi, runs the gang’s activities in Afghanistan. She takes the women with her to Jalalabad and sells them to Afghan agents. The gang keeps on changing their houses so as not be traced by
An older adult woman, residing in Swabi, runs the gang’s activities in Afghanistan. She takes the women with her to Jalalabad and sells them to Afghan agents. The gang keeps on changing their houses so as not be traced by anyone, one of the gang members told The News.
Empowering Women through Community-Driven Development In Pakistan
February 24, 2017
ISLAMABAD: Rural Support Programmes Network (RSPN) organised a seminar titled “Women Empowerment: The Road to Success” at the Pakistan National Council of Arts (PNCA), Islamabad recently, as part of the three-day Heritage Festival organised by Sakafat, an organisation working to promote culture and heritage.
The seminar was attended by Jean Francois Cautain, European Union’s Ambassador to Pakistan, his wife Sonia Cautain, and RSPN’s chairman Shoaib Sultan Khan, among other guests.
A panel of experts and practitioners, including Shuaib Sultan Khan, MNA Nafeesa Khattak, Rina Saeed Khan, Professor Farkhanda Aurangzeb, Hajra and Shahida, artisans from SRSO Sukkur, and Neelum Turu held discussions on various aspects of women empowerment and put forward recommendations for improving the social and economic status of rural women in Pakistan.
The seminar highlighted various aspects of women empowerment, including the role of community-driven development (CDD), social organisation, legal empowerment, and the impact of climate change and food insecurity on women empowerment.
The chief guest, Ambassador Jean Francois Cautain, reinforced the EU’s views to empower women all over Pakistan, particularly while collaborating with RSPN.
“My wife and I recently visited Sindh and witnessed the SUCCESS Programme which is only focusing on empowering rural women by the RSPs. I have to say that we were immensely impressed with what the programme has already achieved in only six months of its inception”, he said.
The EU’s Ambassador to Pakistan further added, “We saw women in rural Sindh literally transform their lives and heard them speak about what they have achieved by taking their development in their own hands. I have seen women in Sindh rally and advocate to their local government officials as a collective force and fight for their rights. If you want a sustainable world, men and women have to work together to progress.”
Chairman RSPN Shoaib Sultan Khan, drawing from his six-decades-long experience of working for development of rural communities, emphasised the importance of people organising and coming together to solve their own problems and fight poverty.
Human beings have an innate potential that needs to be unleashed to create awareness, enhance capabilities, increase incomes, and enable empowerment, he stressed.
Shoaib Sultan Khan shared several examples of what women have been able to achieve by overcoming several socioeconomic constraints from Gilgit-Baltistan to Andhra Pradesh in India.
“We work with the assumption that evens the poorest man or woman has the potential to come out of poverty; our role is just to help them unleash this potential. Currently, we are working on a programme in Sindh, which works exclusively with women with the help of the European Union. We have the will and the methodology; we just need the political support to keep moving forward,” he said.
Award-winning journalist Rina Saeed Khan spoke about the adversities caused by climate change. Addressing food security issues, floods, displacement and other critical problems caused by climate change, she said women can play a very important role in ensuring food security, as most of the food around the world is grown by women.
Pakistan can secure its future by including women in the labor force, and by promoting small-scale food production enterprises, she noted.
MNA Nafisa Khattak pointed out that local-level institutions can play an important role in empowerment of women.
Sharing her life story, artist Hajra, from Arbab Mir Baher Community Organisation, Sukkur, said that her life has changed since the formation of a community organisation in her locale. She said that their links to markets have improved and now the women are earning much more than what they used to earn earlier. She further pointed out that Sindh Rural Support Organisation (SRSO) played an important role in her transformation by not only training her, but also giving her opportunities for exploring and accessing markets.
Professor Farkhanda Aurangzeb, Manager Legislative Watchgroup, Aurat Foundation, spoke about legal empowerment of women and different laws introduced to ensure protection of women’s rights.
“While formulation of laws is important, it is equally important to spread awareness about the legislations, and to train the law enforcers about the legislatures,” she said, adding that bureaucrats and lawmakers are not aware of the details of laws formatted for women’s rights.
Neelum Turu, a political activist from KP and chairperson of Women Commission KP, discussed the beginning of the women’s rights movement at the global level. She said that the traditional notion of women being lesser than men has changed, and now more space is there for women to start working equal to men.
The seminar concluded with screening of a documentary about the Sindh Union Council and Community Economic Strengthening Support (SUCCESS) Programme, implemented by RSPN, SRSO, TRDP and NRSP, in collaboration with the government of Sindh, with financial support of the European Union.
‘Lipstick under My Burkha’ Release Blocked By Censors in Pakistan
February 24, 2017
India’s censor board has refused to certify a film it describes as “lady-oriented”, sparking a furious response from the director, in the latest case to highlight fears over creative freedom in the country.
In a letter, the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) told the makers of Lipstick Under My Burkha that it would not clear the Hindi film for general release.
“The story is lady oriented, their fantasy above (sic) life. There are contanious (sic) sexual scenes, abusive words, audio pornography and a bit sensitive touch about one particular section of society, hence film refused under guidelines (sic)...” it read.
The letter was sent last month and came to light this week after Bollywood actor Farhan Akhtar tweeted about it. A copy of the letter was seen by AFP on Friday.
Lipstick Under My Burkha is directed by Alankrita Shrivastava and tells the secret lives of four women — including a college student who wears a burkha (veil), and a 55-year-old who rediscovers a sex life after the death of her husband.
It won an award at the Tokyo International Film Festival last year and also aired at the MAMI Mumbai Film Festival in October.
Shrivastava described the CBFC’s ruling as an “assault on women’s rights”.
“For too long the popular narrative has perpetuated patriarchy by objectifying women or minimising their role in a narrative,” she said in a statement carried by the Press Trust of India news agency on Thursday.
“So a film like Lipstick Under My Burkha that challenges that dominant narrative is being attacked because it presents a female point of view. Do women not have the right of freedom of expression?,” Shrivastava added.
The filmmakers can approach the CBFC’s appeal panel and Shrivastava said she would fight the ruling.
Social media users took to Twitter to mock the film board’s ruling.
One, Heena Khandelwal, told the CBFC to “grow up” while Neeraj Ghaywan, a film director, wrote: “Privileged men have an issue with sexually liberated women. ‘Cannot be issued’ is a ban. Let’s call it that.”
India’s censors have a long history of barring movies and cutting scenes, including those deemed too racy or capable of causing religious offence, and filmmakers accuse them of intolerance.
In 2015 the CBFC blocked the release of a toned-down version of Fifty Shades of Grey and deemed two James Bond kissing scenes unsuitable for an Indian audience.
Beware! This Kind of Henna Is Harmful For UAE Residents
February 24, 2017
The continuous inspections of the ladies salons have contributed in curbing such illegal services.
Sharjah Municipality warned of the danger of the white and Chinese henna being promoted by sales women at residential areas and social media.
According to official at the Sharjah civic body, there are many complaints about women knocking doors targeting house wives to offer these henna services at the their homes.
The white henna is strictly prohibited in the salons in the emirate because it is ingredients are unknown, but it causes harm to many women. The Chinese black henna is also prohibited in the salons because they were mixed with poisonous chemicals that could cause irritation, allergy and skin disease as well burns.
The municipality inspectors cannot prevent the henna service providers from visiting the houses, but can spread the awareness among public about the danger of these type of henna.
The municipality's inspection is continuing on the ladies salons in the city through surprise visits to detect illegal services provided to customers such as mixing up the henna with harmful chemical. Most of the inspection visits are conducted in the night the time in which the errant salon provides such prohibited service to make profit.
When the municipality receives complaints from customers about the violation of a salon, women inspectors would be sent to investigate the complaint in a secretive way, and if the salon found violating the health regulation, it would receive fine that up to Dh2,000 based on the size of the violation.
The continuous inspections of the ladies salons have contributed in curbing such illegal services. Most of the ladies salons in Sharjah are found following the rules and regulation.
Speaking to woman who had experience of using white and black henna, she said that a Chinese women knocked at her doors and showed easy and simples ways of drawing henna. "I really liked and received the services after I paid Dh150, but next day I felt itching, when scratch too much, skin started peeling of, I rushed to the doctor for treatment. I would like to advise all women to stay away from henna services promoted in the social media or at door steps. Their products include dangerous chemicals that harm the skin."
She added: "It has been noticed that large number of young girls and women are snapping up henna as it is more fashionable than the traditional red or black one.”But it is really dangerous."
Rahima , a henna painter who works in a salon, said that her salon follow the rules and they only provide services for the herbal red henna, but in her day off, the women call her to make for them black henna despite they know the fact that it's dangerous.
New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism