New Age Islam News Bureau
Three Arab Female Directors Make Cannes 2020 Official Selection
German Woman Who Was Active During Anti-Government Protests in Baghdad
70 Pregnant Women Infected with Coronavirus Hospitalized in Oman
Pandemic: 56% Of Women Prefer Child Birth At Home
Mandatory Face Masks in Quebec Are Making Some Who Wear Face Coverings
Full-Time Feel Safer and More Accepted
Generations Project Celebrates Diversity of Muslim Women in Canada
Honor Killing Sparks Protest in Jordan
Missing for Three Days, Minor Sikh Girl In Afghanistan Reunited With Family
by New Age Islam News Bureau
All-Girls Robotics Team Designs Low-Cost Ventilator To Treat Coronavirus
Members of an Afghan all-female robotics team working on an open-source and low-cost ventilator (Reuters)
In the eastern Afghan city of Herat, 18-year-old high school student
SomayaFaruqi adjusts a suction cap as she puts the finishing touches before
unveiling a low-cost, lightweight ventilator created by her and six other young
all-female Afghan Robotics Team, which has won international awards for its
robots, started work in March on an open-source, low-cost ventilator as the
coronavirus pandemic hit the war-torn nation.
took the team almost four months to finalise the ventilator, which is partly
based on a Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) design, and they
received guidance from experts at Harvard University.
device is easy to carry, can run on battery power for 10 hours, and costs
roughly $700 to produce, compared with the $20,000 price of a traditional
are delighted that we were able to take our first step in the field of medicine
and to be able to serve the people in this area as well. All members of our
team feel happy because after months of hard work, we were able to achieve this
result," Faruqi told Reuters.
the ventilator still has to undergo final testing from health authorities
before it can be used, officials welcome it in a country with only 800
ventilators to treat the fast-growing number of coronavirus cases in a health
system damaged by decades of war.
Ministry spokesman Akmal Samsor said once the ventilators were approved they
would be rolled out in Afghan hospitals and the design shared with the World
appreciate the initiative and creativity in Afghanistan's health sector...after
they are approved, we will use these ventilators and we are determined to
contract with companies so we can also export them," he said.
has recorded around 35,500 Covid-19 cases and 1,181 deaths, though experts warn
the true count is probably far higher due to low testing rates.
Arab Female Directors Make Cannes 2020 Official Selection
Maïwenn has now made six feature films. (AFP)
The physical version of this year’s Cannes Film Festival may have been
cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but on June 3, Thierry Frémaux, the
Festival’s General Delegate, released its Official Selection of 56 shortlisted
movies, each of which will receive a Cannes 2020 endorsement label to encourage
their promotion on release.
one knows what the second half of the year may bring and whether it will be
possible to organize major film events again in 2020, including the Festival de
Cannes,” said Frémaux. “Cannes has therefore decided to adapt its format for
this peculiar year.”
the record 2,067 Cannes Film Festival submissions, 532 of the movies were made
by female directors, and of the 56 selected movies, 16 are by women. While this
is a long way from the goal of Collectif 50/50 — the association for gender
equality and diversity in cinema launched in 2018 — it’s a good start.
of those 16 shortlisted female directors have Arabic heritage; Danielle Arbid
from Lebanon, Ayten Amin from Egypt, and French-Algerian director Maïwenn. All
three explore facets of female identity, sexuality, and adolescence and family
Simple’ by Danielle Arbid
filmmaker Danielle Arbid’s fourth feature is based on a 1992 novel by Annie
Ernaux. It stars French actress Laetitia Dosch and Russian-Ukrainian former
ballet dancer Sergei Polunin in the leading roles. Dosch plays a reclusive
academic who has a highly-charged affair with a Russian diplomat (Polunin),
with a narrative that follows her journal entries as her whole existence
focuses on their next erotic rendez-vous. After “Parisienne, Peur de Rien”
(2016), “Beirut Hotel” (2011) and “Un Homme Perdu” (2007), this is the first of
Arbid’s films without an obvious link to Lebanon.
this is because I’ve been living in Paris for 30 years and I finally consider
myself as French as Lebanese,” Arbid told Arab News. “I’ve been making films
long before the whole #metoo movement. I don’t believe there is a feminine or a
masculine cinema, but I am really happy that women are finally being taken into
consideration. No one helped me professionally because of my Lebanese origins
or because I am a woman — certainly not in Lebanon, where most of my work is
censored, or in the Arab world. Being a woman hasn’t proved a hindrance in
filmmaking. The female representation at Cannes is still not entirely
satisfactory, but at last we’re moving in the right direction.”
directed by Ayten Amin
Amin’s second feature — co-written by Mahmoud Ezzat — focuses on Souad and
Rabab, teenager sisters of an ultra-conservative family. Nineteen-year-old
Souad leads a secret life on social media. When Souad commits suicide,
12-year-old Rabab travels to Alexandria to find Ahmed, the key figure in
Souad’s online life, seeking answers to her death.
is difficult for both men and women in Egypt, but I have to admit that it’s a
lot more difficult for women,” Amin told Arab News. “I have to prove myself
every time, as though every project is my first. I’ve had more successes than
several of my male colleagues, but they’ve had more opportunities than me and —
despite my track record — they’re much better paid. So, I guess being a woman
in cinema is definitely a hindrance. Cinema is male-dominated everywhere.
However, I’m always on the side of a good film regardless of gender. In making
‘Souad,’ I was supported by my friend, SamehAwad, who became its producer
because he was enthusiastic about it, even though he isn’t involved in cinema.”
does she need to redress the balance?
need public funding to support cinema in Egypt, as well as European funding. We
need to start assessing projects in the Middle East according to the talent and
artistic values of the films, and not just as hot topics to serve the European
point of view of Arab societies.”
filmmaker and actor Maïwenn is no stranger to moviemaking. Her actress mother,
Catherine Belkhodja, brought her to castings from the age of three. “My mother
only loved me on the silver screen,” Maïwenn told Arab News.
she was 15, Maïwenn met director Luc Besson, 31, at the César Awards ceremony.
A year later, they married and moved to LA. They split in 1998 after Besson
began a relationship with Milla Jovovich, who was playing the lead in his film
“The Fifth Element,” in which Maïwenn also had a role.
a manifesto she publicized as the #metoo movement gained traction, Maïwenn
reclaim the right to have power in my work without frightening men.” Her
statement ended with, “We’ll get there.”
has now made six feature films, winning the Prix du Jury at Cannes for 2011’s
“Polisse,” which she also starred in and wrote. In her latest, “DNA,” Maïwenn
plays the lead role of Neige, a woman deeply attached to her Algerian
grandfather, who provided a buffer against her toxic parents. When Emir dies,
tensions escalate between Neige’s extended family members, triggering a
dramatic identity crisis.
Woman Who Was Active During Anti-Government Protests In Baghdad Kidnapped:
Iraqi protesters run for cover as they clash with security forces on Al-Jumhuriyah bridge in the capital Baghdad, during an anti-government demonstration on May 10, 2020. (AFP)
German national was kidnapped late Monday, outside her office in central
Baghdad, a security source and a friend told AFP.
Mewis, a who ran arts programs at the Iraqi art collective Tarkib, had left her
office and was "riding her bicycle when two cars, one of them a white
pickup truck used by some security forces, were seen kidnapping her," the
security source said.
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officers at the local station witnessed the kidnapping but did not intervene,
the source added.
phone was unreachable on Monday and the German Embassy in Baghdad had no
friend of the German national told AFP she had been worried following the
killing of Hisham al-Hashemi, an Iraqi scholar who had been supportive of
anti-government protests last year.
spoke to her (Mewis) last week and she was really involved in the protests too,
so she was nervous after the assassination," said the friend DhikraSarsam.
demonstrations erupted in Baghdad and Iraq's Shiite-majority south last year,
railing against a government seen as corrupt, inept and beholden to Iran.
550 people died in protest-related violence, including two dozen activists who
were shot dead by unidentified men, usually on motorcycles.
more were kidnapped, some of whom were later released near their homes. The
whereabouts of others remain unknown.
year has seen a worrying spike in abductions of foreigners, who had not been
targeted in several years.
New Year's Eve, two French freelance journalists were taken hostage for 36
hours and three French NGO workers were held for two months.
both cases, neither the kidnappers nor the conditions of their releases were
pregnant women infected with coronavirus hospitalized in Oman
— In Oman, a total of 70 pregnant women infected with coronavirus were
hospitalized, including nine in the intensive care units, local media reported
on Sunday citing a top official at the country’s Ministry of Health.
to Dr. Moza Abdullah Al-Sulaimani, director of gynecology and obstetrics at
Oman’s Royal Hospital, three critical cases went into premature labor in order
to improve their response to treatment in which one case was before the 24-week
of pregnancy and the fetus died, and two cases were after 28-week of pregnancy
and the premature newborns were admitted to the neonatal intensive care units.
a statement, Dr. Moza said: “Pregnant women being infected with COVID-19 is as
usual as the rest of the community.”
the physiological changes in their bodies, especially on the immune system,
that occur in the pregnant woman’s body, may affect her resistance to viral
infections in general. The pregnant woman is immunocompromised due to her
body’s attempt to adapt and accept the existence of the fetus inside her,” Dr.
pregnant woman is expected to suffer from mild to moderate symptoms,
nonetheless, because of the increase in the size of the uterus during the
advanced stage of pregnancy that causes pressure on the chest and the lungs,
may affect the interaction of the body if the inflammation of the lung occurs,”
Moza also said that the department faces some challenges as some pregnant women
refrain from informing the medical staff that one of their family members is
infected before being admitted. “The increase in cases brings pressure on the
hospital’s beds and the medical staff,” she said.
all pregnant women are urged to report to the staff any case of coronavirus
infection in their family, or herself or if showing any COVID-19 symptoms. The
WHO suggests, pregnant women with symptoms of COVID-19 should be prioritized
for testing. If they have it, they may need specialized care.
there is no evidence to date that a pregnant woman with the disease can pass
the virus to her fetus or baby during pregnancy or delivery. The active virus,
though, has not been found in samples of amniotic fluid or breast milk,
according to the WHO. — Agencies
56% of women prefer child birth at home
— A questionnaire on whether pregnant women would like to give birth at home
with the help of qualified midwives got a positive response from 56.1 percent
of those approached, while 43.9 percent rejected the idea.
initiative was organized by a scientific group representing midwives in the
Kingdom. A total of 6,136 respondents participated in the survey.
rejecting the idea of giving birth at home showed their concern over developing
some complications during the process. Furthermore, many respondents said they
won't like their family members to be anxious.
inability to have proper anesthesia method was another concern. Some of those
who rejected the idea said unavailability of proper instruments, lack of their
sterilization and cases of high-risk pregnancies were the main factors.
the response of the non-pregnant women revolved around the health staff's
readiness. Responding men said the environment in hospitals is more suitable.
of those who encouraged home delivery by nonprofessionals focused on reducing
the risk of coronavirus infection; and the availability of privacy, safety and
low financial costs. The response from health staff focused on reducing
unnecessary medical intervention, and the availability of qualified midwives.
response of non-pregnant women focused on the availability of support from
husband and family, and creating intimate memories. In this connection, the
response of men revolved around fears of child swapping or kidnapping in the
hospital. They also preferred to stay at home because of the safety of the
of the women respondents were of low-risk pregnancy with 79.2 percent, and 29.4
percent decisively supported home birth, while 5.24% of them said they may
choose home due to several considerations such as the spread of coronavirus.
They said the medical team supervising home birth should be competent and
Face Masks in Quebec Are Making Some Who Wear Face Coverings Full-Time Feel
Safer and More Accepted
(CityNews) – Mandatory face masks in Quebec are making some who wear face
coverings full-time feel safer and more accepted.
the fact that we are in a pandemic, I’ve never felt more safe walking in the
streets in the last four years since I started wearing the niqab.”
Ahmad – a niqabi woman – says she feels she’s more socially accepted now that
Quebecers are also covering their faces due to the pandemic.
perceptions and attitudes are changing because, before, almost daily I used to
receive Islamophobia comments, strange looks, some people trying to take off my
niqab but then in the last three, four months since the pandemic that just
2019, CityNews first did a story involving Ahmad, after she said was verbally
and physically attacked because of her niqab. We spoke to her again in February
when she says she was attacked once more.
now says she’s surprised by recent interactions she’s had with the public over
the last few months.
don’t feel awkward in front of them and they don’t feel awkward in front of me,”
just ironic that now we’re being mandated to cover our faces, especially in
places of giving and receiving services. So, what was the real rationale behind
Bill 21? Because it seems the security and identification rationales have just
melted away in the context of COVID,” said Fondation Paroles de Femme
vice-president Idil Issa.
21 was enacted in March 2019 and prohibits Quebecers who work in a position of
coercive authority, such as teachers, police officers and judges, from wearing
bill also states Quebecers must have one’s face uncovered when giving or
receiving specific public services, with the exception of health reasons.
the one that can’t teach because I cover more. As a teacher, or anything else,
you can fulfill your work. (It) doesn’t matter if you’re showing your face or
not,” said Ahmad. “I hope Quebecers realize that it is very hypocritical in
what the government is saying and doing.”
some believe the pandemic normalized religious face coverings.
are understanding, they have valid reasons for doing it. Muslim women don’t
dress the way they do to antagonize anyone,” said Issa.
Ahmad, progress has been made but she wants the respect she’s seeing now to be
really hope that people have the same view. But people’s perceptions change
very fast and forget what the situation was.”
Project Celebrates Diversity Of Muslim Women In Canada
a young photographer struggled to find authentic portrayals of Muslims in the
media, she decided to take matters into her own hands.
Youssef, a freelance photographer based in Toronto, has created two projects
over the past four years with the aim of diversifying the representation of
Muslims in Canadian media.
has been in Canada since she was eight years old. A few years after she came to
Vancouver from Egypt, she found her passion.
fell in love with photography when I was 14 and started photographing my mom
and sister,” she said.
love for photography took her to Toronto, where she continued to pursue her
passion as a student and freelancer.
focusing on photography through her undergraduate degree, Youssef created The
Sisters Project. The project, which was completed in 2017, profiled Muslim
women from across the country.
about the issues I really care about with photography is what lights the fire under
me,” she said.
journey took her to 12 Canadian cities, where she got to not only meet and
photograph the women, but also learn about the communities they came from.
was really inspired,” she said. “I realized I didn’t know very much. I certainly
didn’t know the first mosque was built in 1938, or that (the Muslim community)
in Edmonton had such a long history.”
Youssef looked at how Muslim communities were historically represented in
Canadian media, she didn’t find any colourful narratives.
all she found were one-dimensional stereotypes that were used repeatedly.
very common one is Muslim men are terrorists,” she says. “And with Muslim
women, it’s usually that they’re oppressed.”
didn’t believe the answer to this problem was in portraying Muslims in a
positive light. Instead, she wanted to complicate that narrative.
(about) creating a space for people to illuminate the different aspects of
their lives that don’t fall into the categories of negative and positive.”
idea for her new project, Generations, was born from this realization.
Generations, Youssef handed the microphone over to Muslim families in Canada so
they can tell their stories. For the project, Youssef took family portraits
that included multiple generations from each family.
thought family portraits offered this wonderful opportunity to learn about each
generation’s perspective,” she said.
families featured in her project talked about how they came to Canada, what
accomplishments they are proud of, and what their hopes are for future
generations. Four of these families are in Halifax.
is so young and the things that people are experiencing throughout Canada’s
history can change so rapidly.”
in the photo industry
Generations, which was launched in July 2020, Youssef featured only the women
of the family.
wanted to combat the idea of the Muslim woman being a suppressed silent person
who’s at the will of her counterpart, because that was a stereotype that was
really bothering me,” she said.
also wanted to bring attention to how different Muslim women can be, including
their views, experiences and even how they look.
said she believes so many marginalized communities haven’t historically had the
opportunity to decide how they want to be represented in photographs.
why it’s important to have photographers from different communities. They are
the only ones able to truly understand how their community prefers to be
just such a gaping hole in the industry,” said Youssef. “You can’t have true
representation of diversity if the people behind the lens are not diverse,
jump back in time
the photos in the project were taken using film photography.
said she chose the older format because the project depended on revisiting the
experience of previous generations and researching the archives for depictions
of Muslim communities.
wanted the photographs to have that feeling that you were getting a glimpse
into the past and that you could find these photos in the archives if you were
looking for them.”
Youssef sent the film photographs to the families, she also included the same
photos, but taken using a digital camera.
the participants were telling me that they actually preferred the film
photographs because the colours are so much richer,” she said. “My hope is that
people will notice the difference, even if you can’t pinpoint (it.)”
was supposed to launch through an exhibition in Toronto, but COVID-19 put a
wrench in Youssef’s plans.
the help of her husband, who is a web developer, Youssef was able to publish
the project through an online exhibition.
built it from scratch,” she said. “I wanted the website to look like you’re
walking through a gallery.”
addition to exploring film photography and website development, Youssef said
Generations helped her learn more about communicating with her subjects and
understanding their needs.
camera holds a lot of power,” she said.
trying to be part of the change in the photo industry that’s more considerate
of … our position in regard to the people we’re photographing and to always
include their voices so they’re not being tokenized.”
said she hopes the project would be a chance to gain an understanding of the
shared history that Muslim communities have across Canada.
hope the project is a way for people to diversify their thinking and come out
of this time in history with a broader sense of empathy and connection."
can view the exhibition and read about the stories shared by Muslim families in
Halifax and across Canada on the project's website or instagram.
killing sparks protest in Jordan
Dozens of protesters gathered outside the Prime Ministry building in Amman to
condemn the death of a Jordanian woman, in what has been described as an honor
killing, national daily Jordan Times has reported.
father of the 40-year-old woman is accused of her premeditated murder. It is
claimed the 57-year-old attacked her with a rock near her home in the capital's
Ein Basha region.
condemned the incident and urged the government to end the violence, demanding
better protection for women in the country.
need to be treated equally in Jordan and we should regard any woman who is
subjected to violence as a victim that needs support and protection,” a
For Three Days, Minor Sikh Girl In Afghanistan Reunited With Family
15-year old Sikh girl, who had gone missing from Baba Sri Chand gurdwara in
Kabul’s Shor Bazar Friday, was ‘reunited’ with her family Monday, local
community leaders told The Indian Express. Her family claimed that she was
‘taken away’ Friday by a local Muslim youth who “brainwashed and threatened”
her to marry him and “convert to Islam”.
community members said that with the efforts of government and local Sikh MP
Narinder Singh Khalsa, the girl was “convinced to return”. A police complaint
has been registered over an attempt to forcefully marry a minor girl, they
girl was influenced and taken away on the pretext of marriage. She is a minor.
We have rescued her and brought her back. She is at my home and safe. People
who influenced and took her away are in police custody. Police is helping us,”
MP Khalsa told the The Indian Express over phone.
the wake of the fresh incident, the Sikh community in Afghanistan has
reiterated its demand for immediate evacuation to India. After another
kidnapped Afghan Sikh, Nidan Singh Sachdeva (55), was released Saturday, the
Ministry of External Affairs had hinted that he can use the CAA to get Indian
the girl’s 22-year-old brother who along with his mother and another brother
lives in a room at the gurdwara premises, told The Indian Express over the
phone, “My sister is just 15. She doesn’t know anything about the world and
atrocities that are inflicted on Sikhs here in Afghanistan. A local Muslim
youth, who is 18-19 years old and lives in a house opposite gurdwara,
brainwashed and threatened my sister and took her away. She was taken to
Panjshir from where we brought her back today. They tried to marry her
forcibly. She was instigated against her own family.”
added: “She said that she was threatened, she was forced to embrace Islam and
marry that man. We have still not brought her to our own home as it is unsafe.
Useydhamkiyan di gai kituapne bhai kekhilaafbol, usey bola gayaki tera bhai
tujhemaaregapitega, wo bachhihaiabhi, kuchsamajhnahihaiusey (She was threatened
to speak against her own brother. She was told that her brother will thrash her
if she returns. She is a child, she doesn’t know anything).”
how she was taken away Friday, he said: “A car came and picked her up. The
neighbours informed us. Soon we started looking for her. She had stopped going
to school. She is an innocent child who was easily misled and brainwashed.”
girl had lost her father in the Islamic State (IS) terror attack at Gurdwara
Har Rai Sahib in Kabul on March 25. At least 25 members of the Sikh community
were killed in the attack.
girl’s brother, who runs a medicine and cosmetics shop in Kabul, said: “Each
day here is now a punishment. You don’t know when you will be targeted again
the next minute and you will die. Since the gurdwara attack in March, things
are getting just worse. We want immediate evacuation to India. We even lost our
father in the attack in March,” he said.
Singh Soni, sewadar and managing committee member of Guru Har Rai Sahib
gurdwara who lost his wife, father and three-year old daughter in the March
attack, said that the minor girl was ‘influenced, brainwashed and forced’ to
embrace Islam. Harinder, who was a part of the team that went to “rescue” her,
said, “The local Muslim youth lied to her that he will marry her. We have
brought her back safely and she has accepted that she got influenced. They told
her ‘saadedharammein aa jao’ (convert to our religion). A police complaint has
been filed against the accused as they tried to forcefully marry a minor girl.
She was instigated against her own family because that’s what local goons here
want. They want to wipe out Sikh community. All 600 families here now want
immediate rescue and evacuation to India. We had submitted applications
immediately after March attack but process was stalled due to coronavirus. We
request Indian government to restart the process.”
Monday, a group of Sikh community leaders in Kabul visited the Indian Embassy
to enquire about status of their applications seeking immediate visas for
India. The Sikh community in Afghanistan at present is less than 700-strong.
Singh, president of Gurdwara Dashmesh Pita Sri Guru Gobind Singh ji Darbar
KarteParwan, Kabul, said, “We again visited the Embassy of India in Kabul today
and we have been given some forms to fill. The plan is that first family
members from ‘shaheed parivaar’ who lost one or more members in recent attacks,
will be evacuated. Our lists are ready on who will be sent in the first batch.
Embassy has assured us that there will be fruitful developments by July 31. We
had applied for visas to India immediately after March 25 attack but
coronavirus stalled everything and international flights stopped..”
added: “Here young girls are now not going to school, there is no education, no
knowledge… they can be easily brainwashed. It is all ignorance and illiteracy
which plays a part. This girl too went on her own will after she was
Indian Express had first reported on April 4, that Sikhs from Afghanistan wrote
to the Indian Embassy in Kabul and Union Home Minister Amit Shah, seeking
“immediate evacuation of Sikh families and refuge in India” citing a threat to
their lives from the Islamic State (IS).
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