New Age Islam
Thu Sep 28 2023, 01:15 PM

Islam, Women and Feminism ( 14 Nov 2016, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Comment | Comment

Benazir and Malala Voted Among 50 Most Inspirational Women of All Time

New Age Islam News Bureau

14 Nov 2016

Malala Yusafzai


 Muslim Girl in Hijab Reports Harassment, Intimidation Following US Polls

 Arab Attacked Over Relationship with Jewish Girl

 Woman Party Boss Cracks Morocco Glass Ceiling

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau




Benazir and Malala Voted Among 50 Most Inspirational Women Of All Time


Late Pakistani politician Benazir Bhutto and Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai have been named in a list of the 50 most inspirational women of all time beating former presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton.

The first woman to lead a Muslim majority nation, Benazir Bhutto, who was assassinated in 2007 is the front runner of that list.

The Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton was also listed as more inspiring than a woman widely regarded as the greatest female athlete of all time, Serena Williams. Topping the list of the fierce females was Marie Curie, the Polish physicist and chemist who is known for her pioneering research on radioactivity.

As the first woman to win a Nobel Prize and the first person to win two Nobel Prizes, she beat one of the founders of modern nursing and keen statistician Florence Nightingale into second place in a poll of 2,000 people.

The teenager Anne Frank, whose memory lives in through the diary she kept of her life during the German occupation of the Netherlands in World War II, came third in the list, ahead of suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst, Queen Elizabeth II and author JK Rowling.

The survey was conducted by Your Life, the campaign to encourage more teenagers to study Maths and Physics post 16.

Your Life campaign chair Edwina Dunn said, "Marie Curie and Florence Nightingale deserve this accolade of being named the most inspirational women of all time. They are two brilliant icons whose determination, intelligence and altruism, led incredible scientific advances that changed the world. We want a new generation to be inspired to follow in their footsteps."

Margaret Thatcher was the highest-ranking politician at ninth, whilst current UK Prime Minister Theresa May came 20th.

Dame Kelly Holmes, Jessica Ennis-Hill CBE and Serena Williams were voted the most inspirational female athletes. Seven in 10 said the success and prominence of high profile figures like Angela Merkel, Theresa May and Michelle Obama made them feel top political jobs were now more open to women.

But over half of those surveyed still think there are many career fields still not open to women.



Muslim girl in hijab reports harassment, intimidation following US polls

November 13, 2016

A 19-year-old Muslim girl alleged that a white couple shouted at her to take off her hijab as she rode a bus in Queens – days after Donald Trump, who called for banning Muslims from the country during his campaign, was elected as the USA President.

Fariha Nizam, a sophomore at Hunter College, said she was riding the Q43 into Manhattan on Thursday morning when a white middle-aged couple boarded the bus and began verbally attacking her, according to her Facebook post that went viral with more than 1,550 shares.

Her parents migrated from Bangladesh and have been living in Bellerose, Queens since she was a fourth grader.

“The two of them started yelling at me, shouting to me to take off my hijab, yelling that it is not allowed anymore. My reaction, complete fear and anxiety. I broke out into tears, frustrated at myself for exhibiting so much weakness but unable to do anything else,” she writes.

She adds, “I was crying incessantly, looking away, but they did not stop. They started yelling at me and telling me to take off the disgusting piece of cloth on my head, saying that it wasn’t allowed anymore.”

“The woman got angrier and came closer towards me, attempting to grab my hijab and yank it off of me. I was so scared, compelling myself to calm down so that I could move away. I got off the bus, and walked home from where I was, crying the whole way home.”

Though other commuters yelled at the couple to leave her alone, it did not stop the woman from trying to yank the hijab off Nizam’s head, she said.

Nizam believes the abuse was directly related to Islamophobia stoked during Trump’s campaign, reports New York Daily News.

Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) did not also help her during the incident, she said.

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a non-profit group that tracks and litigates hate crimes in the United States, released a report on Friday that there had been “201 incidents of election-related harassment and intimidation” since the election on Tuesday night, reports NY magazine The Cut.

“These range from anti-Black to anti-woman to anti-LGBT incidents. There were many examples of vandalism and epithets directed at individuals. Often times, types of harassment overlapped and many incidents, though not all, involved direct references to the Trump campaign,” the SPLC reported. Some reports were sent directly to the SPLC.

After the San Bernardino shooting in December, the President-elect called for all Muslims to be banned from entering the country.

Trump also belittled the parents of Muslim-American war hero Capt Humayun Khan after they spoke out against him – suggesting that Khan’s mother Ghazala was not allowed to speak because she was Muslim.

“I’ve never encountered something like that until after the election,” said Nizam, who has been taking the bus for years without incident.

She did not immediately report the incident to police, but said on Friday evening she planned to report the abuse to the authorities.

Victims of a hate crime can report it at their local police precinct and the NYPD’s Hate Crimes Unit.

She said the traumatic episode would not stop her from wearing her hijab.

“Honestly, despite everything that’s happened, for myself at the very least, it’s something that has never crossed my mind,” she said.



Arab attacked over relationship with Jewish girl


The Jerusalem District Attorney's office filed an indictment against Yitzhak Shazou, a 23-year old resident of Jerusalem, for on charges of assault with a racist motive and unlawful possession of a knife, after he attacked an Arab man who was chatting with a young Jewish woman.

According to the indictment, Shazou was walking down Derech Beit Lehem Stret in Jerusalem one morning in early November, where he noticed an Arab-Israeli citizen speaking with a Jewish woman.

Shazou was acquainted with the two, and according to his claim, the man, R., has a history of pursuing relationships with Jewish women, a fact that enraged the suspect.

Shazou attacked R., throwing him to the ground and beating him until a police officer came to the aid of the victim. Shazou then yelled out "An Arab is (expletive removed) a Jewish girl!"

After his arrest, Shazou asked investigators to wipe his knife and remove his fingerprints. Obstruction of justice was then added to the list of charges against him.



Woman party boss cracks Morocco glass ceiling

November 14, 2016

CASABLANCA, Morocco -- The polls have just closed, and Nabila Mounib is surrounded by activists who take selfies with her and wish her luck.

She's keenly aware of the stakes. Mounib, a 56-year-old endocrinology professor, is Morocco's most high-profile female politician. After two weeks of campaigning across the country in a cramped minibus, she will find out the next day if she has succeeded in getting the party she leads into parliament and winning a seat herself.

It's a moment she's worked for all her adult life, while raising three children. Even now, in the anxiety-tinged bustle, she's caught in the push-pull of a working mother. She excuses herself to rush home and help her son with his science homework.

Mounib is still a rarity in the Arab world — a female politician in a leadership position. Morocco ranks 97th out of 145 countries on the gender gap in politics, according to the World Economic Forum. Many Arab countries score even lower.

Mounib says she learned early on that women have to outperform men to prove their worth.

"Women have to struggle extra hard in every aspect of what they do," she says. "The main reason I decided to pursue politics was to reach these heights, to reach these ceilings, and to shatter them for other women ... I want to create an example, a historic example, a successful example."

17.6 Percent of Seats in Parliament

Despite the hopes raised by the Arab Spring five years ago, women in the region still hold only 17.6 percent of seats in parliament, the second lowest score in the world. In Morocco, it's 20.5 percent, mainly because of a women's quota.

In this election, Mounib's Unified Socialist Party is allied with two others to form the Federation of the Democratic Left. She is accompanied on the white campaign bus by four young volunteers, including her 25-year-old daughter Dounia.

The mood is casual. Mounib insists that the driver eat with the team. He is almost instantly transformed from a random stranger into a supporter, sitting in the front row when she delivers her daily stump speech.

Her calm only rarely gives way to irritation, mostly over planning mishaps. "Honestly, I do feel this pressure," she later says about leading a national campaign.

Her audiences — mostly men — listen without heckling or interruptions, a display of politeness fairly typical at such rallies in Morocco.

The husky-voiced Mounib is lively and confident. She took up karate when she was younger — a sport she says helped with concentration and public speaking.

"Our society teaches us to be shy and keep to ourselves," she says of women in Morocco. "I've always been outspoken."

Mounib grew up in Casablanca as the seventh of nine children. Her father, a diplomat, encouraged her interest in politics, answering questions and giving her books. He also invited her to his office, where he received dignitaries. In a patriarchy, a supportive father is the key to a girl's confidence, she says.

She earned her doctorate at Montpellier University in France. After her return to Casablanca in the 1980s, she became a university lecturer, eventually rising to the leadership of the professors' union, and got involved in politics.

Daughter Dounia says her father, who works in insurance, often fixed meals as her mother dashed off to meetings. Some of her girlfriends, even in their upscale Anfa district, would often be asked to serve their brothers, she says.

Her mother is a role model, even if there's some friction. At one point on the trail, Mounib snaps at Dounia when she criticizes a decision on a social media post. The tension quickly dissipates.

"Just the fact that you see this woman being in charge of something this big makes you believe in anything," Dounia says. "You see yourself in her."

Struggled to Extend Its Appeal Beyond Urban Moroccans

The Federation has struggled to extend its appeal beyond urban, educated Moroccans. Mounib tries to reach rural audiences with demands for social justice — narrow the wealth gap, fight nepotism, improve education.

Morocco does not allow polling during campaigns, so Mounib has no idea how she is doing. But in some rural communities where men control the public space, her presence gives a jolt of hope to women.

Mounib "gives strength to women because she is capable and equal to a man," says Chenna Hadhoum, a 38-year-old municipal clerk, at one stop. After the rally, Hadhoum wrestles with her shyness, and then walks up to Mounib and asks for a photo. She says it's been a day she will remember for a long time.

Mounib says she has encountered sexism even in a progressive movement like her own.

In her first year as party leader, she faced repeated challenges, mostly from male colleagues, and at times considered resigning. The possibility of failure is clearly on her mind. She resolves not to seek re-election as party leader if the Federation does poorly.

"If we fail, I'm going to go back and put on my sneakers, and get back to the grassroots," she says.

However, Emna Ma Al Ainaine, an Islamist candidate, dismisses the Federation as marginal and claims Mounib comes off as elitist.

"We had debates," she says. "Me, I am open, I am ready to listen to everyone ... But with Nabila, she believes she has the truth, just her, in Morocco."

Dounia says her mother has been skewered on Facebook for owning a pair of expensive sunglasses — which she takes off when talking in poorer communities. And a French publication noted in a profile that Mounib drove to the interview in a Volvo.

Early on Oct. 8, the election results start to come in.

Euphoria erupts at campaign headquarters, because the federation has secured two of 305 seats in district races.

But the two seats fall far short of the 10 to 12 Mounib had hoped for. And a few hours later, she hears on television that the federation did not cross the 3 percent threshold for the national vote, which determines 90 additional seats reserved for women and younger candidates. This means she won't get into parliament.

Mounib takes a few days to deal with the disappointment. A week later, she's back at party headquarters. She won't seek re-election as party leader, as promised, but she won't resign from the party either.

"I want a Morocco where equality between a man and a woman means that a woman can walk outside in a hijab or in shorts," she says, "and be happy about being a woman."




New Age IslamIslam OnlineIslamic WebsiteAfrican Muslim NewsArab World NewsSouth Asia NewsIndian Muslim NewsWorld Muslim NewsWomens in IslamIslamic FeminismArab WomenWomens In ArabIslamphobia in AmericaMuslim Women in WestIslam Women and Feminism, Moderate IslamModerate MuslimsProgressive IslamProgressive MuslimsLiberal Islam