New Age Islam News Bureau
15 Sept 2018
All four women, speaking at the forum called ‘Why did I marry another woman’s husband?’, agreed polygamy was ‘written by God’.
• Religious Obligation: Drive for Women Right to Inheritance in Pakistan
• Muslim Woman in Kansas Prison Faces Harassment, Religious Abuse
• For Lebanese Women, A Beach Of Their Own
• Multi-Million US Program Finds Jobs for Just 55 Afghan Women, New Report Says
• Officials Free Lebanese Woman Jailed For Insulting Egypt
• Somalia: Women Claim Their Place in Somalia's Politics
• Sudanese Female Artist Draws Graffiti for Yemen's Peace
• Boko Haram Leader 'Killed By His Closest Lieutenants' For Releasing Dapchi Girls
Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau
All Four Women, Speaking at the Forum, Agreed Polygamy Was ‘Written By God
September 15, 2018
KUALA LUMPUR: Four women panellists at a pro-polygamy forum last night insisted that polygamy benefits women more than it does men.
The four – all with careers and stable incomes – listed out the benefits of a polygamous marriage, including having more time for themselves, with one even saying it empowered women.
The four were Sharie lawyer Sharifah Mohd Jahaya, public speaker Nurul Adni Adnan, religious teacher Sumaiyah Sulaiman, and manager Haryani Ithen.
All four agreed that polygamy, for them, was “written by God” at the forum aptly called “Why did I marry another woman’s husband?”.
It was meant to launch their small two-month-old organisation – Association of Harmonious Families, or Pakar – but attracted public attention after their posters went viral.
The medium-sized room in a hotel in Kuala Lumpur where the forum was held was packed, and the crowd was very responsive.
Sharifah said being in a polygamous marriage gave her more “me time”, and added, “I’m working and I have kids. Sometimes, I’m too tired to carry out my wifely duties.”
Similarly, Haryani said as she was able to share her “God-given responsibility” to her husband equally with other women, she had time to develop her own interests and hobbies.
Sumaiyah said she had introduced her husband to his second bride, who happened to be her best friend from her university days in Jordan.
“It is a small sacrifice for a big reward in the afterlife,” she told the audience.
She and her co-wife “live happily under one roof”, Sumaiyah assured the forum participants.
Nurul said being able to let go of jealousy over her husband by sharing him to “fulfil God’s command”, was a form of “female empowerment”.
She said instead of depending on a man for fulfilment, women would learn to depend more on themselves and on God.
The panellists agreed that husbands had a heavy responsibility in ensuring fair treatment of their wives.
“Who says I’m brainwashed?” Sharifah testily asked FMT reporters during a question-and-answer session. “I chose this for myself, and he was not my only choice for a husband,” she said, adding she had had other suitors.
Haryani added: “I am indeed brainwashed – brainwashed by God.” This rejoinder garnered a round of applause from the audience.
When a member of the audience posed a question challenging the panellists’ interpretation of Prophet Muhammad’s teachings, or sunnah, the situation became a little chaotic as some others in the audience started yelling and booing.
Meanwhile, the president of Pakar, Mohd Lutfi Yusof, said the benefits of polygamy could not be disputed. He seeks to educate the public about its real hukum, or commandment, in Islam and promote the benefits of polygamy.
Commenting on the views of the panellists, Latheefa Koya, Lawyers for Liberty executive director and a known champion of feminism, told FMT the words in the Quran were: “You can marry 4, 3, 2, or 1, and 1 is the ideal.”
Therefore, she said, the message was very clear. “To come around and say it is encouraged is a big misrepresentation.”
Latheefa argued against the belief that it was a religious duty for women.
Saying these were narratives encouraged by a patriarchal society, she added: “I feel pity for women who do it as a religious duty. I would say, the minute you start a polygamous marriage, you’re breaking up another marriage.
“And if you do that, there is no benefit, and you don’t get blessings or Rahmat.”
Latheefa said entering into polygamy is a big responsibility and should not be taken lightly and that it is not something to be proud of.
“Don’t go around saying you’d go to heaven if you’re willing to share a husband with another person. For women to say that, that is the most disappointing thing,” she said, arguing that the women might have been conditioned to think that way.
Religious Obligation: Drive for Women Right to Inheritance in Pakistan
September 15, 2018
ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of Human Rights has launched an awareness campaign to educate people about the rights of women to inheritance under Islamic jurisprudence and the Constitution. Federal Minister for Human Rights Dr Shireen M Mazari on Friday announced that Ministry of Human Rights through this awareness campaign aimed to educate people about the religious and legal protection provided to women right to inheritance in Pakistan, said a press release issued here. She said the protection of the women’s right to inheritance has been one of the priorities of incumbent government for equality and justice in Pakistan. Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari said Islam and Constitution of Pakistan guaranteed the women’s inheritance rights and offered clear guidance in this regard. Moreover, a helpline 1099 has also been launched by the Human Rights Ministry to provide free legal advice in this regard, she added.
Muslim Woman in Kansas Prison Faces Harassment, Religious Abuse
September 14th, 2018
A Muslim woman has been facing religious discrimination and harassment by authorities at a privately run prison in Kansas, a civil rights group said Wednesday.
Washington D.C.- based Muslim Advocates said Valeriece Ealom has complained that prison guards at the Leavenworth Detention Center have repeatedly criticized her for wearing a headscarf and told her on multiple occasions to remove the "rag" from her head before she left her cell. They also threatened to discipline her if she did not take it off.
The group said they took the case because it highlights a common problem in prisons where Muslim women are discriminated against for wearing a headscarf.
"Muslim Advocates believes that it is essential to safeguard Muslim women's rights to practice their faith in accordance with their beliefs while incarcerated," Scott Simpson, its public advocacy director, told Anadolu Agency.
Ealom, who was convicted of drug charges, has been held at the prison, operated by Tennessee-based company CoreCivic, since November after having her parole revoked. It is unclear when she will be scheduled for release.
CoreCivic was granted control of the correctional facility through a contract with the U.S. Marshals Service.
The group sent a letter Wednesday to CoreCivic, U.S. Marshal Ronald Miller and Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz detailing how Ealom was being treated.
The U.S. Marshalls Service “should ensure that personnel at all CoreCivic facilities are appropriately trained and educated with regard to religious head coverings, religious accommodations and facility grievance procedures”, Muslim Advocates said in the letter.
After she filed a complaint to management, the prison guards retaliated in several ways, including having her headscarves confiscated and being denied medication, according to Muslim Advocates.
Ealom was unable to cover her hair for four weeks, something that is consistent with her religious beliefs and obligations.
By sending the letter, she wanted the prison to understand what religious headcoverings are and ensure that Muslim women inmates do not face this kind of treatment, according to Muslim Advocates.
“Ms. Ealom's aim has always been to be able to wear her headscarf without being harassed or retaliated against by prison employees. As Muslim Advocates mentions in the letter, she wants the prison staff to be educated on religious headcoverings to ensure that neither she nor any other Muslim woman detained in a CoreCivic facility has to experience this kind of discrimination again,” Simpson added.
CoreCivic has come under scrutiny in recent years for major problems it has faced, including understaffing and security.
The Department of Justice did an audit of the Leavenworth Detention Center in April and found the private prison had failed to address these staffing issues and the vacancies led to multiple security gaps within the prison.
Muslim Advocates currently has no plans to file a lawsuit and is hoping the issue will be resolved without litigation.
For Lebanese Women, A Beach Of Their Own
September 14, 2018
JIYEH, Lebanon — They call it the ladies’ beach. The name is demure; the scene, not so much — at least not once they pass the parking lot, the man checking tickets at the front gate and the dim corridor at whose far end blazes a rectangle of bronze sand and sea.
Hijabs are unwound from heads, veils tugged from faces. Jeans and abayas evaporate, divulging string bikinis, tankinis and swim shorts. Under spindly cabanas by azure waves, two women lie chest down on lounge chairs, their bare backs implying bare fronts. All around them, gallons of tanning oil glisten on acres of copper skin.
When a man on a Jet Ski buzzes past, a female lifeguard warns him off with a staccato of whistle blasts.
“Men,” said Nada, a school bus supervisor from Beirut who was treading the Mediterranean just offshore, “are suffocating.”
In Lebanon, a sliver of a country on the Mediterranean coast where summer sticks to your skin like moist Saran wrap, the beach is less a luxury than a utility. It is hard to imagine going without.
Public and pay-by-the-day beaches line the coast from Tyre in the south to Tripoli in the north, and every other billboard on the highways out of Beirut seems to display a bikini model promoting a tanning aid. (SPF, evidently, is not in style.)
But many observant Muslim women consider it “haram” — forbidden — to expose their bodies in front of men who are not their husbands or, in some cases, close relatives. Other women may cover themselves in deference to conservative families and communities. For them, a mixed-gender beach is to be avoided; those who go with their families roast in the sun fully clothed in hijabs and long-sleeved shirts and pants or abayas, the full-length caftans popular among devout Lebanese Muslim women.
Hence the emergence of ladies’ beaches like this one, the Bellevue Beach Club in the seaside town of Jiyeh — a salt-tinged hiatus from the male gaze for $18 a day, just 20 minutes down a trash-perfumed highway from Beirut.
It is a dedicated patch of sand for conservative women amid the cultural mélange of Lebanon, which, with its 18 recognized religious sects and vigorous all-night party scene, tends to be more socially liberal than other Arab countries.
At the Bellevue, there seemed to be as many different degrees of scanty cladding as there were women. For some women, religious scruples argued for more coverage. For others, style considerations, and the heat, argued for less. Each woman had made her own peace with the proportions.
“Here, I’m free to be me,” said Rabab Amhaz, 35, a housewife from the inland Bekaa Valley. She gestured to her tankini, bright with a teal floral pattern, and shimmied in the water.
Seeking a second opinion on her beach visit, she had consulted her brother, a Hezbollah fighter. He had not only given her his blessing but shown her a YouTube video of a Muslim cleric explaining that swimwear was acceptable among women, so long as the women covered their lower bodies.
Nada, who began wearing the veil when she married at age 14, dismissed this assessment: You could find a cleric to say anything you wanted, she said.
Following her own strong conviction that all the skin on display around her was forbidden — who knew who might be watching from one of the boats that periodically splashed by? Or from behind the walls of the resort? — she had looked at herself in the mirror that morning and changed into a more modest bottom. She also declined to reveal her last name to a reporter, preferring to avoid the prospect of disapproval at home.
But a swimsuit was a swimsuit — in this case, a black-and-white patterned swim tank with black shorts.
“When you see me on Facebook, I look completely different,” she said, her hair loose and ropy in the water. “You wouldn’t recognize me.”
After next year, when she planned to make the hajj, the pilgrimage to Mecca that every Muslim who can afford it is supposed to undertake at least once, she said she would avoid even the ladies’ beach; she, like many women who have completed the hajj, would adopt more modest attire.
And she frowned on the women who had brought their young sons, who are allowed up to age 8, to the beach. She did not want her sons or grandsons to get used to seeing women’s bodies.
But still. “I love to swim,” she said, smiling and shrugging, “so I have no other choice.”
Nada and Amhaz agreed on one point: absolutely no beach selfies, not even to share with their husbands.
“No, no!” they exclaimed, high-fiving.
“My husband doesn’t need pictures,” Amhaz said. “He sees everything anyway.”
Cameras are banned, the better to protect the beachgoers’ modesty and privacy, though cellphones are not. But visits to several other Lebanese resorts, undertaken purely for journalistic purposes, suggested few other differences between women-only beaches and mixed ones beyond the obvious.
No matter the setting, gossip and hookah pipes scent the air. Snacks, water and shade are at a premium. People-watching is frequently rewarding.
Several ladies’ beaches fringe the coastline south of Beirut, their names redolent of sandy glamour around the world (the Laguna; the Bondi). The Bellevue Beach Club began offering women-only days in the mid-1990s after veiled women began asking for privacy.
Business was good — better than on mixed days, even. It soon went all women, all the time.
A man collects tickets, but no other males are allowed. Women staff the restrooms and the pool. The staff includes the Australian and Filipino wives of the brothers who run the Bellevue, who go to mixed beaches together.
There is a female DJ for the thatch-roofed poolside cabana where beachgoers undulate, hips exuberantly asway, to Egyptian singer Sherine Abdel Wahab and Lebanese singer Maya Yazbek.
Lebanon, where people from different sects share offices, neighborhoods and businesses, and crop tops can outnumber hijabs in some Beirut neighborhoods, might seem like a natural inventor of the ladies’ beach. But women-only hours at the pool or the beach are common in other parts of the Middle East, too, including the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, where dress codes for local women are more uniformly conservative.
At the Bellevue, there were no religious strictures regarding swim attire but each woman’s own.
Nada’s 21-year-old daughter wears modest gym clothing when she goes to mixed beaches with her husband; at the Bellevue, she wore a bikini top with a short swim skirt. She had brought a Syrian friend who, taken aback at the way the other beachgoers dressed, kept a tank top on.
Then there was Rana Ghalayini, a nurse from Beirut who had first put on the veil when she was 12, only to remove it because her family thought she was too young. When she married at 23, she and her husband agreed that she should be veiled. But she had resolved to keep her three young daughters unveiled until they, too, were 23.
“Religion is broad,” she said. “It’s a personal choice.”
Her reasons for wearing a one-piece swimsuit to the Bellevue were somewhat more earthly.
“If I were skinny,” she said, “I’d wear a bikini.”
Multi-Million US Program Finds Jobs for Just 55 Afghan Women, New Report Says
September 14, 2018
KABUL, Afghanistan — After spending nearly $90 million on an ambitious program designed to provide employment for women and promote gender equality in Afghanistan, the U.S. development agency could find jobs for just 55 women, said a new report by a government watchdog.
Improving the status of women is seen as vital to stabilizing Afghanistan, a deeply patriarchal country where U.S. troops have been fighting for 17 years. But the U.S. Agency for International Development’s costly program to do so has shown weak results and may be unsustainable, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction said in a report released Thursday.
In 2013, USAID announced its $216 million, five-year Promoting Gender Equity in National Priority Programs, or Promote. The aim was to help more than 75,000 women in all levels of society.
“After more than three years and $89.7 million spent, USAID/Afghanistan has not demonstrated whether the program has made progress toward this goal,” the report said.
“An end-of-program performance indicator target for one component is for 2,100 women to find new or better employment with the Afghan government. As of September 2017, USAID said 55 women did.” The program is scheduled to run through 2020.
Another goal was to help 420 women find new or better employment, enroll 1,968 women in the internship program and have 900 program graduates by the end of 2017.
As of Sept. 30, 2017, only 39 women had found new or better employment, 995 had enrolled in the apprenticeship program and 132 had graduated, SIGAR said.
It said its analysis raises doubts about the sustainability of Promote, the USAID’s largest single investment to advance women globally.
“USAID/Afghanistan told SIGAR it does not expect the Afghan government to sustain Promote, except by providing internships and employment opportunities for women,” the report said. “However, it is unclear whether this is possible as the Afghan government might not be able to hire all of Promote’s graduates.”
SIGAR said it was also unclear whether the graduates would obtain jobs in the private sector in large numbers because of Afghanistan’s anemic economic growth rate.
“This raises questions about whether Promote is sustainable at all and could put USAID’s investment in the program in jeopardy,” SIGAR said.
Given that Promote has so far expended $89.7 of its potential $216 million, SIGAR urged USAID to re-evaluate the program and make changes to enhance its sustainability, rather than waiting until the program is over in 2020 or 2021 and potentially wasting taxpayers’ money.
Officials Free Lebanese Woman Jailed For Insulting Egypt
Sep 15, 2018
CAIRO – Egyptian authorities deported a Lebanese woman who was jailed for insulting Egyptians in a video she posted online, days after she was sentenced to a suspended one-year sentence, her lawyer and airport officials said.
Mona el-Mazbouh was deported Thursday. She was arrested in May after she posted a 10-minute video in which she used profanities to describe her vacation in Cairo, where she said she was sexually harassed. She calls Egyptians the "dirtiest people" and Egypt "the country of pimps ... of beggars." She later posted a video apologizing, saying "I definitely didn't mean to offend all Egyptians."
In July, the 24-year-old el-Mazabou was sentenced to 11 years in prison but the sentence was later reduced to eight years. A higher court earlier this month approved her appeal and handed her a suspended one-year sentence.
She was released and boarded a flight with her family to Lebanon late Thursday after paying a fine of 10,700 Egyptian pounds (around $598), her lawyer Emad Kamal said.
Airport officials confirmed her deportation. They said el-Mazbouh arrived at the airport with police directly after she was released. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief the media.
El-Mazbouh posted on her Facebook account photos of her arrival at Beirut International Airport. "It was a nice experience. ... I was there (in prison) for three months and a half ... that's it. I am good, thanks God," she said in a posted video.
In her first video, el-Mazbouh said she was sexually harassed by taxi drivers and young men in Cairo. She also said her money was stolen at some point during her vacation.
She was arrested after the video went viral and accused by authorities of "deliberately broadcasting false rumors which aim to undermine society and attack religions."
Sexual harassment, mostly ranging from catcalls to occasional pinching or grabbing, is rampant in Egypt. Polls have found that a majority of both men and women in the conservative Muslim country believe it is justified if women dress "provocatively" in public.
The problem of sexual harassment in Egypt gained worldwide attention during and after the 2011 uprising that toppled President Hosni Mubarak, when women were harassed, groped and, in some cases, beaten and sexually assaulted during mass protests.
A study released last year by the Thomson Reuters Foundation ranked Cairo as the most dangerous megacity in the world for women. President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi questioned its findings, but acknowledged in TV comments last November that "there is sexual harassment in Egypt. There is a big percentage, but not to say it is the worst."
Another last year by U.N. Women and Promundo, a non-governmental organization, found that nearly 60 percent of Egyptian women say they have been sexually harassed, and nearly 65 percent of men acknowledge harassing women, though they mainly admitted to ogling.
The poll, which surveyed 1,380 men and 1,402 women in five governorates, found that 74 percent of men — and 84 percent of women — agreed that "women who dress provocatively deserve to be harassed." Forty-three percent of men said women "like the attention" when men harass them.
Somalia: Women Claim Their Place in Somalia's Politics
13 SEPTEMBER 2018
By Omar S Mahmood
Women's participation in Somali politics has traditionally been low, and a controversial topic in the country. Somali society typically ascribes to more conservative notions of a woman's role in family and community life, rarely envisioning a position of political leadership in a male-dominated system. This has been changing, but there's a long road ahead.
Politics is just one indicator of the larger dynamics regarding women's empowerment in Somali society. In the 2016/17 selection process for a new parliament, Somalia enacted a 30% quota for women's participation. Of the 329 prospective members for both houses of parliament, at least 99 should have been women.
This 30% quota was declared for previous Somali electoral cycles, but with limited results. In 2012, women garnered 14% of parliamentary seats, less than half the required amount. That was an improvement from the 2000s, however, when women occupied approximately 8% of seats.
In 2016/17, the quota was enacted again, but with renewed vigour on the part of women's groups, who pushed for the fulfilment of the 30% threshold. Women's representatives from organisations like Save Somali Women and Children, Somali Women Development Centre and Somali Women's Leadership Initiative said they talked to key political leaders like the president, prime minister and speaker of parliament, to push the issue.
They also frequently met with the international community, and conducted outreach with community leaders in the Federal Member States, where many of the elections took place. Muna Hassan Mohamed, a local activist, told the Institute for Security Studies how her persistent lobbying annoyed elders in Beledweyne - but it kept the issue on the agenda.
The renewed efforts resulted in the selection of 80 women, or 24% of parliamentarians. This was up from 2012, but still didn't meet the legal requirement. In some cases, men occupied seats that were reserved for women. The electoral teams blocked a few of those results, but others went ahead, showing that one of the key issues lay in the lack of enforcement mechanisms.
Generally, women in Somalia who wish to pursue a political career struggle with a number of factors. One is the Somali clan system which permeates political life and is a male-dominated institution. Clan elders are almost exclusively male, and clans themselves struggle to accept changes to this. One activist told ISS, 'The clans would rather have a bad leader who is male, than a good leader who is female.'
The relationship of women to their clan is also a delicate subject, especially for those who marry into another clan. There are questions as to whether she represents her husband's clan, or that of her maiden family. Being unable to secure the full support of their clan puts these women at a financial disadvantage when it comes to political participation.
Another dynamic relates to whether women represent themselves as women first, or their clan. One activist in Mogadishu said that during a vote for a top position in the House of Representatives, her organisation tried to mobilise female parliamentarians to unite around a single candidate, to ensure women's representation.
This failed, as many women chose to vote along clan lines instead. This shows that female politicians should not be viewed as a homogenous group solely based on gender, and that advancing female representation is not everyone's priority.
Women are also at a disadvantage in terms of religion, given the preference for male leadership, and the voices of some religious figures who view the quota as a Western imposition.
Some female activists told ISS that Somalia could never have a woman president due to the perceived notion that Islam prohibits women's leadership. Somali women, they said, should instead aim for the vice presidency. Other female interviewees discounted this, saying it was based on faulty interpretations of Islamic scripture.
Despite these challenges, women's groups like Save Somali Women and Children are demanding their fair share - not content with just 30% of the vote, but advocating for 50%. The increasing share in each passing election signals their success, but also the engrained difficulties in reaching this quota.
More hurdles, however, are on the horizon. The 2020 election is planned as a one-person, one-vote process. Previous elections relied on clan elders or other delegates to select candidates - a restrictive process in which 99% of the country didn't vote. The next election aims to open voting to all, although questions remain as to whether this will be possible in the time frame.
Woman activists are concerned that without the 30% quota being enshrined in Somalia's constitution, which is currently provisional, their hard-fought gains could be lost. This is because most people (including women) will likely vote along clan lines, and thus for male candidates.
Of course, representation in parliament is just one aspect of the struggle for women's empowerment in Somalia, which should begin well before a woman considers a political career. As a Somali government representative explained, 'If gender equity is not achieved from at least a school level, then the status of women won't really change.'
Nonetheless, the focus on female participation in politics is seen as one way to ensure women's rights are respected and developed. That's been the message of some women's organisations in Somalia, and one that says the struggle is far from over.
Sudanese Female Artist Draws Graffiti for Yemen's Peace
by Mohamed al-Azaki
SANAA, Sept. 14 (Xinhua) -- Dressed in a traditional black abaya and blue veil with her face widely open, 26-year-old Raghad Mubarak is a female artist from Sudan.
She is now drawing graffiti on walls in Yemen's rebel-controlled capital Sanaa, promoting peace efforts to end the country's deadly war.
Carrying her paintbrushes with a wide range of colours, Mubarak, along with her Yemeni artist friends, went to downtown Sanaa this week to daub walls with pro-peace graffiti, calling for an end to the three-and-half-year devastating Yemeni civil war.
Street graffiti arts have become increasingly popular for millions of Yemenis since the civil war erupted in the conservative poor Arab country.
"I was encouraged by my beloved Yemeni fellows and friends who encouraged me to take the challenge and paint for the Yemeni people's peace," Mubarak recalled.
Mubarak came with her parents to Yemen before the start of the civil war. She studied in Sanaa University and kept following her passion for arts through her Yemeni peace activities, during which she has made friends with lots of other artists via social media.
"The color and shape of my face are clearly attracting the Yemeni passers-by when I engage in graffiti campaigns," she said.
"They usually come close to me while drawing graffiti ... and then they react nicely, encourage me and shake hands with me," Mubarak added.
The Sudanese woman has participated with many Yemeni artists in several pro-peace street mural campaigns.
This week, Mubarak joined in a painting campaign on a long wall in front of the headquarters building of the Yemeni Foreign Ministry in Sanaa.
The campaign was under the hashtag "stop_war," depicting the suffering and mental pain of the Yemeni women and children from the ongoing war.
The war has killed more than 10,000 Yemenis, mostly civilians, with about 3 million others displaced across the country.
The impoverished Arab country has been locked in a civil war since the Houthi rebels overran much of Yemen and seized all northern provinces in late 2014, including the capital Sanaa.
Saudi Arabia is leading an Arab military coalition that intervened in the Yemeni war in 2015 to support the government of exiled President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.
"Violence against the Yemeni women and children has been increasing in the war," Mubarak told Xinhua. "I'm drawing graffiti today to depict the social, economic and mental pains of women and children at war."
"The military escalation in the port city of Hodeidah has killed hundreds of people and forced hundreds of thousands of families to flee their homes," she lamented.
"The war is very painful ... Please stop war for the sake of your children," the Sudanese young artist woman appealed.
Boko Haram Leader 'Killed By His Closest Lieutenants' For Releasing Dapchi Girls
SEP 14, 2018
A factional leader of Boko Haram loyal to Islamic State in West Africa (ISWA), Mamman Nur, has been killed by his fighters who rebelled against him.
Nur, the brain behind the ties between Boko Haram and the Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi led Islamic State, was said to have been killed by his closest lieutenants on August 21, for releasing the Dapchi girls, without demanding ransom, among other reasons.
In 2014, Nur led the rebellion against Abubakar Shekau, which saw the emergence of Abu Mus’ab Al-Barnawy faction of the group.
The breakaway faction, which moved to shores of Lake Chad region in Northern Borno, was later recognised by the Al-Baghdadi.
The new leader Al-Barnawy, whose real name is Habib, is the son of Boko Haram founder Mohammed Yusuf, who was killed in 2009.
A source, who spoke to Daily Trust, said: “Mamman Nur, who was killed on August 21, is the actual leader of the Boko Haram faction after they parted ways with Shekau. He (Nur) only put Habib in the front as shadow leader because of his father (Mohammed Yusuf).
“The name Al-Barnawy is only being heard as symbolic leader; he was meant to lead so that followers would remain committed to the cause championed by his late father but he (Nur) is the major link of the faction with the Islamic State; the chief strategist around Lake Chad, including their cells in Nigeria, Niger and Chad."
Another source told the newspaper that Mamman Nur was killed after long period of disagreement with his subordinates who established “relative authority and contacts” over the years.
“The commanders became disenchanted with Nur’s style of leadership; they saw him as not as rough as Shekau.
“They followed him in staging the revolt because the argument back in 2014 was that Shekau was a hardliner who killed almost everyone, both Muslims and Christians who disagreed with his brand of Islam.
“But according to some of the fighters, after establishing his base in Lake Chad, Mamman Nur too ‘deviated from the real course’ and compromised on so many occasions,” he said.
He said a major disagreement broke after the release of the some 100 girls abducted in a secondary school in Dapchi, Yobe State, in March.
The source continued: “The negotiation of the release of the girls did not go down well with some close associates of Mamman Nur who released the girls unconditionally, following a directive by Al-Baghdadi.
“Nothing was paid before the girls were released and besides, Mamman Nur’s soft approach and close contact to governments and different levels angered his foot soldiers who rebelled against him and thereafter executed him."
It was learnt that Al-Barnawy had also lost firm control of the group which is now under the “guidance” of a certain commander.
“The man in charge of all the cells in the Lake Chad region is the former commander of the fighters who was directly under the control of late Mamman Nur,” he said.
A security expert, Major Salihu Bakari, told the paper that the upsurge in Boko Haram attacks in Northern Borno could be related to the change of leadership.
“The truth is Mamman Nur had lost control long before he was killed; the factional group was taken over by hardliners who share a lot in common with the Shekau faction whose landmarks include kidnapping, assault, abductions for ransom and other atrocities,” he said.
He said the new group had recently attacked many army facilities in northern Borno and also captured individuals for ransom.
“They want ransom to continue financing their activities; I think their demands for high ransom is what is delaying the release of many abductees, including the female health workers that were captured in Rann in Kala-Balge Local Government Area of Borno State,” he said.
The Nigerian military has yet to confirm the killing of Mamman Nur.
However, on January 6, the military said Nur's wife was killed when troops attacked the group’s location in the Lake Chad region.
The spokesman of the Operation Lafiya Dole Theatre Command in Maiduguri, Onyema Nwachukwu, said at the time that about 250 Boko Haram fighters on the side of Mamman Nur had surrendered.
The announcement came hours after the military declared Nur as “fatally injured” during an operation.
In September 2011, the Department of State Services (DSS) placed a N25 million bounty on Mamman Nur, a close ally of Mohamed Yusuf and Shekau, who was accused of masterminding the bombing of the UN building in Abuja.
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