Age Islam News Bureau
Fatinah Al Beetar, First Arab Female Pilot, Youngest Woman in the World to Fly
‘Don’t Sweep Us under the Carpet,’ Says British Daesh Woman, Nicole Jack, Stuck
Afghan Women’s losing Battle to Remain Visible under Taliban
My Sister's House, A Sacramento-Based Organization, Opening New Shelter To
Support Muslim Women And Children Facing Domestic Violence
Coalition of Muslim Women Organizes Events to Celebrate Islamic Heritage Month
Finding Kiwi: Dhaka Woman Offers $600 Reward for Lost Pet Bird
by New Age Islam News Bureau
Female Lawyers Who Prosecuted Criminals, Taliban Militants, Corrupt Bureaucrats
Are On the Run
Once an influential lawyer, Farishta is now in
hiding, fearing for her life
August, Farishta was an influential prosecutor who exercised her power for a
cause. She prosecuted criminals, Taliban militants, corrupt bureaucrats, and
men who beat women and children.
27-year-old Farishta is in hiding. Like a fugitive on the run, she changes her
location often. For her safety, we have changed her name.
from Afghanistan's south-eastern Paktia province, Farishta was among those
Afghan women who obtained professional success in the years after the Taliban
was defeated, challenging the country's male-dominated and ultra-conservative
years ago, under the previous government, she became a prosecutor in
Afghanistan's Attorney-General's office. Part of her job was "prosecuting
and getting sentences for those who committed rape, murder and domestic
violence", she told the BBC from a safe house in Afghanistan. It was a
"challenging but satisfying job", she said.
as the Taliban swept across Afghanistan in recent months, before seizing the
country, they freed prisoners along the way, including thousands of hardened
criminals and Islamist militants.
those let go by the crusading Taliban was Mohamad Gol, who faced charges of
planning suicide bomb attacks. Farishta had painstakingly gathered evidence
against Gol and successfully prosecuted him, putting him behind bars for what
should have been a 20-year sentence.
after the Taliban took over Kabul, Mohammed Gol called her, Farishta said.
"He said he was coming after me to take revenge, and I cannot hide
then, she has been on the move. With no salary, she is finding it difficult to
make ends meet. Farishta and her colleagues say the Taliban are opposed to
women working as prosecutors and judges and they want to keep most women away
from the workplace, as they did during their rule through the late 1990s.
like Farishta have good reason to be afraid. In January, two women judges of
the Afghan Supreme Court were shot dead in Kabul - part of a wave of targeted
killings widely blamed on the Taliban. And two legal officials who worked in
the Afghan Justice Ministry have been killed in Kabul in recent weeks in what
are believed to be revenge attacks.
rights groups including Amnesty and Human Rights watch have reported
extra-judicial killings and abductions, despite an amnesty declared by the
Taliban for government workers.
of women judges went into hiding as the group seized power in August. Some
scrambled to leave the country during the US-led evacuation in August, others
were left to face their fate in Afghanistan.
personally received many phone calls and threats from Taliban and their
associated members," said an Afghan woman judge from Parwan province, who
was among those to get out.
judge, who joined the bench in 2018, is now living in the UK. She said her
property, belongings and all others assets had been seized by the Taliban and
her relatives were at risk of persecution from the Islamist group.
judges played a vital role to establish the rule of law and the fight against
corruption inside branch," she said. "If they leave the country, it's
a huge vacuum for the judicial branch."
are still about 230 Afghan female judges stranded in Afghanistan, all of them
now in hiding. According to interviews with judges, and activists working on
their behalf, former residences have been searched and ransacked and relatives
careers are over, their bank accounts have been frozen, and their future as
women in Afghanistan is grim," said Judge Anisa Dhanji, a UK
representative of the non-profit International Association of Women Judges,
IAWJ, which has trained several Afghan female judges in the past, stepped in to
co-ordinate the evacuation of dozens of judges amid the chaos and violence at
the Kabul airport after the Taliban take over.
was a complex operation involving several teams working through the night with
maps and interpreters, coordinating intelligence reports about what's happening
at the Kabul airport gates.
the odds, around 40 Afghan women justices and their families were evacuated.
Most are now in the US and Europe and some in Turkey, Tajikistan, Iran and the
Gulf. But many more were left behind.
Afghan judge hiding in Kabul told the IAWJ that a man she sentenced on
terrorism charges had not only been released, and threatened her, but had now
been appointed as a Taliban judge.
judge said she was due to give birth imminently by planned Caesarean section,
but she was too afraid to go to a hospital and identify herself there.
beyond these shocking cases, the sudden disappearance of the judicial system
has dealt a blow across the board for women seeking justice in Afghanistan.
the courts are closed, women have no avenue to complain about rape or abuse by
their husbands and other men," said Zainab, an independent lawyer running
a legal firm in several Afghan cities, whose name we have changed.
one is coming forward to discuss it, because there are no female lawyers
anymore," she said.
Zainab's offices have been shut down and her 15 staff have lost their jobs. She
received her own threat, she said, from a man from Herat she prosecuted for
sexual assault but who was freed by the Taliban.
said, 'I will find you, even if you hide in Herat, and then I will hand you
over to the Taliban'."
senior Taliban spokesman and minister denied responsibility for the threats and
the ransacking of properties of female judges and other legal officials.
reject these allegations, our fighters would never do such a thing,"
Zabihullah Mujahid told the BBC.
whether the female judges and prosecutors will be allowed to return to work,
Mujahid said, "A decision will be made and a framework is under process.
Then everything will become clear."
say time is running out for the Afghan women lawyers and judges in hiding.
urgency at present is in assisting those who wish to leave," said Justice
lives and the lives of their families are at risk. They are being hunted simply
for having sat in judgement on men."
Al Beetar, First Arab Female Pilot, Youngest Woman in the World to Fly an
Image used for illustrative purpose. Germany,
Bavaria, Munich, Woman flight captain piloting aeroplane from airplane cockpit.
would have loved to be an integral part of the aviation sector, but fate had
other ideas. She found a new passion in education.
Al Beetar took to the sky at the tender age of 14 — making her the youngest
woman in the world to do so.
Beetar was born in Syria in 1959 and came to the UAE, then called the Trucial
States, as a three-month-old baby. She enrolled in the first aviation school
that opened on May 16, 1971, in the then Arab tribal confederations under
colonial British rule.
courageous teen came from a well-heeled Syrian family, as her father was one of
the pioneers in the publishing industry long before the UAE was founded as a
model Arab state.
started taking her flying lessons under the supervision of her mentor, Captain
Adel Al Deeb, who founded the aviation school and served as its manager until
Beetar’s parents were supportive of her flying ambitions and her cherished
dream was realised when she received her licence. She completed 700 flying
hours and was the only girl student in her class in 1973.
became the first Arab female pilot — an astounding feat that caught the global
imagination, sending the Arab and the Western press in a beeline to interview
was interviewed by journalists from Germany, England and Arab nations because
of my achievement,” she recalled.
had flown to Abu Dhabi, in and around Sharjah and the northern emirate of
Fujairah during her nascent career as a pilot. She had also piloted a flight to
Pakistan and Bahrain.
a new passion
would have loved to be an integral part of the aviation sector, but fate had
other ideas. One day, she had to leave for England, where her husband was
Al Beetar — a picture of Arab pride and dogged determination — found a new
passion in education.
she obtained a bachelor’s degree from Damascus University, and later her first
post-graduate degree in Islamic studies. She went on to obtain two successive
post-graduate degrees in diverse streams, such as business administration and
leadership in education. Her third post-graduate degree was from the Abu Dhabi
degrees have stood her in good stead in her glorious professional career as a
dedicated educationist for the past 32 years.
she is the principal of Al Bayan School in Sharjah.
retrospect, she is content with her professional and personal achievement.
four children — two daughters and two sons — take immense pride in their
mother’s feat, as she chose a path less travelled and managed to excel in it.
her attempts to convince the children to take to flying came a cropper, as they
chose conventional academic pursuits such as engineering and medicine.
Civil Aviation Day
Beetar’s flying achievements came to the fore all over again during the Sharjah
Museum Authority’s (SMA) annual celebration of the Emirati Civil Aviation Day
on October 5 — the day when the first commercial flight landed in the emirate,
carrying four passengers on board.
SMA displayed never-before-seen documents and photographs from the region’s
first aviation school and some meteorological instruments used at Sharjah
Mahatta Museum is hosting the exhibition 'Sharjah, the First UAE Flying
School', which will be held until September 2, 2022.
Khalid Issam Al Qassimi, chairman of the Department of Civil Aviation in
Sharjah, and Aisha Deemas, director of Executive Affairs at SMA, were present,
when the meteorological instruments were handed over.
rare exhibits include photographs, correspondence, and documents that shine
light on the history of Al Mahatta airport, the aviation school, and the
amazing feat of Al Beetar.
rare Hanno HP42 aircraft model is also being displayed. Only eight of them were
manufactured in 1929-30, and data shows that four each were designed for
European and the Middle Eastern and African sectors.
exhibition celebrates how the maiden air link had started commercial activities
and cultural exchange with the rest of the world.
event also chronicles how late Captain Al Deeb had started the flying school on
May 16, 1971, after obtaining a flying licence from England in the previous
daughter, Nora Al Deeb, had loaned to the SMA his daily flight records, pilot
licence and uniform.
Al Deeb held a degree in civil engineering and came to the then Trucial States
in 1957 from his native Lebanon. He had helped build several projects in his
adopted homeland, including schools and an eponymous hospital. He passed away
in 2015 in the northern emirate of Ajman.
Sweep Us under the Carpet,’ Says British Daesh Woman, Nicole Jack, Stuck In
A 34-year-old British woman who travelled to Syria alongside her husband to
join Daesh has urged the UK government to let her return with her three
Jack, from London, is being held in Kurdish-administered Al-Roj camp for Daesh
families in Syria alongside her three daughters, aged 12, 9 and 7.
told the BBC that despite traveling to Syria and living under Daesh’s so-called
caliphate for three years, she does not represent a security threat to the
UK government has been reticent to allow those who joined Daesh — whether male
or female — to return to Britain, and has stripped many of their citizenship in
a bid to prevent their return.
strategy has left thousands of people languishing in Syrian camps in dire
humanitarian and security conditions.
women and children, Jack said, are “out of sight, out of mind,” and the UK
government must not sweep them “under the carpet.”
Home Office said its priority is to ensure the safety and security of the UK.
traveled to Syria in 2015 to join Daesh alongside her husband, who died
fighting for the group in 2016.
people will understand her decision to take her children to Syria’s warzone,
she said, adding that her husband Ali threatened to divorce her if she did not.
“It was about my family being together,” she said.
later remarried, but her new husband was then killed in an airstrike alongside
her only son, aged 10.
was known for its war crimes and crimes against humanity, including widely
publicized executions, but Jack said: “I haven’t seen a beheading in my life.”
12-year-old daughter told the BBC that she “misses her grannies and aunties,”
and hopes to come back to the UK so she can “go to school and make friends.”
said: “I like learning different things, like different languages. When you
learn more things, your brain becomes better ... I want to be smart when I grow
girls’ grandmother said they should be allowed to return to Britain. “It is not
fair and it is not right for these children to be languishing in this
place," she said, adding that her daughter should also be allowed to
return to the UK to “face the consequences” of her actions.
is estimated that there are at least 16 British women and 35-60 British
children detained in Syrian camps.
those is Shamima Begum, who traveled to Syria at the age of 15 and who has been
vocal in her desire to return to the UK — a move being blocked by the
too was stripped of her British citizenship, but has argued that she has
nowhere else to go.
countries have been struggling to formulate comprehensive plans to deal with
the scores of Europeans still in Syrian camps, though some, such as Germany,
have continued to repatriate their citizens.
to Save the Children, those minors living in Syria’s detainment camps for Daesh
families face the daily threat of violence and illness.
children are experiencing traumatic events that no child should have to go
through — and this is after years of living in conflict zones,” Sonia Khush,
director of the charity’s Syria response team, told the BBC. “It is incomprehensible
that they are condemned to this life.”
UK government said: “Our priority is to ensure the safety and security of the
UK. It’s important that we do not make judgments about the national security
risk someone poses based on their gender and age.”
women’s losing battle to remain visible under Taliban
Afghanistan – Marzia Hamidi, a 19-year-old Afghan taekwondoin, had big plans.
used to dream of national and international championships but fears that those
dreams are now dashed forever after the Taliban took control of the country in
the end of September, she had to go into hiding after she heard that some
members of the group had come looking for her.
the Taliban came [to power], I was thinking about destroying my medals,” she
told Al Jazeera. “Burn them or keep them? I asked myself.”
Marzia’s Instagram account – with more than 20,000 followers – is a little bit
darker now. She wears a black abaya and matching hijab, fearing Afghanistan’s
is not alone in her fears. Many women fear a return to enforced invisibility
they lived under for five years (1996-2001) when the Taliban controlled
the Taliban came to power, it promised to respect women and allow them to
participate in public life “in accordance with Islamic law”, but secondary schools
remain closed for girls, and many women are finding returning to work
difficult, with the exception of some professions such as in the health sector.
erupted across several cities last month, with women demanding their rights,
but they were harshly suppressed.
the first Taliban regime, women virtually disappeared from the public eye as
they were banned from working and were not allowed to travel without a male
guardian. The violation of strict rules on women’s clothing and their behaviour
in public attracted severe punishment.
worries that women like her will soon meet a similar fate.
them or keep them?’
was born in Iran to a family of Afghan refugees who were often discriminated
against and subjected to racist attacks.
15, she went to a taekwondo class and immediately fell in love with the sport,
going on to compete and earning several gold medals in the Under 57kg category
three years ago, Marzia’s family decided to move to Afghanistan, her father no
longer wanted to be a refugee in a foreign land. They would join her brother,
who had a profitable business in Kabul.
the self-confident athlete, this spelled a huge disruption of her career. Kabul
would prove to be a difficult place to practice her sport in.
always been hard for female fighters in Afghanistan. My male coach always
stared at me, focused on my looks, which made me uncomfortable. Other girls in
the taekwondo team always wore headscarves and complained that I did not,” Marzia
the Taliban came to power, many Afghans tried to destroy or hide items they
feared would incriminate them with the new rulers. Marzia’s medals were her
“incriminating items” and she pondered long and whether to destroy them. “But
my brother talked me out of the idea and told me to hide them in a safe place.”
she soon realised that the medals were not the only thing she had to hide.
month, a group of unknown men came to her family home asking for her
whereabouts, likely because of her social media activity, she says. They also
visited her brother’s office.
decided to go into hiding. She now frequently changes locations and lives in
want to leave Afghanistan to resume my training because I want to prepare for the
2024 Olympic Games. But I don’t want to go back to Iran. The situation of
refugees is difficult there, there is a lot of racism. Even if I’m the best,
they will not let me attend the Olympics,” Marzia says.
has changed since the coming to power of the Taliban.”
at the expense of eliminating women’
Naeemi could have left Afghanistan after the fall of Kabul, because she works
for foreign organisations, but she decided to stay. Now, in the final semester
of her master’s in Pashto literature, she is waiting to finish her degree
before looking for opportunities abroad.
completing her studies under the Taliban may prove impossible. Classes at her
university have not resumed for women and nobody knows when they will.
did not expect to face such a fate. It is still very hard for me to believe
that my country is in such a state. I have no hopes for completing my education
and getting a job because they do not want us to participate in society. They
introduced peace at the expense of eliminating women,” Meena says.
afraid that from now on, the girls will be stuck at home, while boys continue
their education. I look in the mirror and realise that all my plans are a
distant dream. I feel like I am slowly dying.”
Qaderi, a women’s rights activist from Herat, believes in civil resistance
against the Taliban. But she also knows that most women will be too afraid to
stand up for their rights.
the Taliban took over Kabul, I went to the media to talk to them. They should
see women who will not remain silent. I believe in the power of speech. But
with each passing day, we see the Taliban abusing women on the streets again,”
the 41-year-old says.
streets of Afghanistan are no longer a safe place for women. The resistance is
a path to light. But what if women’s resistance to the Taliban will be met with
whips and guns?”
remembers the Taliban’s previous rule during the 1990s when women had no choice
but to get married and raise children.
against women is systematic in the behaviour of the Taliban government. If the
Taliban do not use violence against women, they will lose their identity,” she
the period of slavery is over and any attempt to enslave us will sooner or
later fail. I hope the world does not turn its back on Afghan women again.”
Sister's House, A Sacramento-Based Organization, Opening New Shelter To Support
Muslim Women And Children Facing Domestic Violence
Calif. — My Sister's House, a Sacramento-based organization that helps Asian
and Pacific Islander and other underserved women and children impacted by
domestic violence, is opening a shelter to focus on Muslim women and children.
new Sacramento facility will support up to six people.
a unique shelter. It has cultural awareness for Muslim women experiencing
domestic violence, and it's in the northern Central Valley," Executive
Director of My Sister's House Nilda Valmores told ABC10. "All Muslim women
are welcome, and mothers and their children are allowed to come, even single
women escaping abuse."
shelter will provide an environment that promotes safety and cultural
appropriateness for survivors of domestic abuse, according to My Sister's
told ABC10 that all women experiencing abuse can come to the shelter. Young
girls who have been emancipated are also welcomed.
shelter is short-term, and women are allowed to stay for up to 90 days,"
Valmores said. "Some women coming to the shelter are immigrant Muslim
such as counseling and legal assistance will also be provided.
can expect a lot of love and support while staying at the shelter,"
also said that the Sacramento Municipal Utilities District played a big part in
starting the shelter and has donated $150k to use over the next three years.
of Muslim Women Organizes Events to Celebrate Islamic Heritage Month in Canada
heritage month is when we can be unapologetically Muslim and unapologetically
Canadian," said Mifrah Abid, who is with the coalition and is also the
coordinator of Together Against Islamophobia.
people think of these as two separate identities, but I say they are not
mutually exclusive. So it's a great time to be who you are."
coalition partnered with the Kitchener Public Library (KPL) and the Waterloo
Public Library (WPL) to host several virtual and in-person events that include
guest speakers, lunch-and-learns and family story time, which celebrates Muslim
stories and characters.
matters in everything," Abid said.
children need to see themselves in the crafts they do and in the culture they
abide, and it's not just for Muslim children. It's important for their peers
also see them and understand them. That they are part of their
first event kicks off Wednesday night at the WPL with author Uzma Jalaluddin as
she talks about her latest book, Hana Khan Carries On. The event is virtual and
people can register through the library's website.
is also a photo exhibition at the Schneider Haus Museum this month called
UN/COVERINGS: Mennonite and Muslim Women's heads and Hearts.
libraries will also be making books, movies and other materials that celebrate
Muslim culture, history and authors available for the community.
said she hopes the events will help bring the community closer.
Islamic Heritage Month, I hope people will take the time to get to know their
Muslim neighbours, to know who we are," she said.
not much difference. We're the same people underneath. I hope that will be the
take away from Islamic History Month for most people."
Kiwi: Dhaka Woman Offers $600 Reward for Lost Pet Bird
A Bangladeshi woman said on Wednesday she had been inundated with phone calls
from locals in the area after offering to pay a $600 cash reward for anyone who
could return her pet bird, which went missing on Sunday morning.
residents of Gulshan, an upscale residential area in the capital city, Dhaka,
were calling to ask if Faiza Ibrahim, 28, was serious about paying to find
“Kiwi,” a male South American sun conure that can say its name, after seeing
his “missing” posters in the neighborhood.
had Kiwi since 2018 when he was only three weeks old and didn’t even have any
feathers,” Ibrahim told Arab News. “He’s like a member of our family. All of us
lives with her extended family of 11 people, and she and her mother would take
turns to look after Kiwi, who “loved to feed on seeds, fruits and rice.”
pair of sun conures can be bought for $600 at an animal shop in Dhaka. Ibrahim
said she was aware that the cash reward was high, but she wanted to protect
pet bird is more valuable than money. That’s why I announced this huge sum of
money as a reward so that people who find him will prefer to return Kiwi
instead of selling him to the market,” Ibrahim said.
suspects her neighbors must have found Kiwi “as this species of birds cannot
fly for too long.”
are high chances that Kiwi has landed on someone’s shoulders in the area,”
Ibrahim said, adding that Kiwi had gone missing in January last year and July
first time it happened, I paid $200 to a group of construction workers who
found him near my house. The second time, a family found Kiwi but didn’t want
to take any cash for him. So, I gave them gifts instead,” Ibrahim said.
added that since Kiwi was a tamed bird, they would let him roam around the
house all day but put him back in its cage at night.
probably flew out through one of the windows and has lost his way. I cannot
wait to have him back.”
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