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Islam, Women and Feminism ( 20 Jan 2022, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Biden Nominates Nusrat Jahan Choudhury, First Muslim Woman As Federal Judge

New Age Islam News Bureau

20 January 2022

• Support For Hijab-Wearing Muslim Students: Campaign Against Hate Speech Launches Signature Drive

• France Moves Closer To Banning Headscarves In Sports Competitions

• Turkish Women Decry High Price Of Sanitary Pads

• UN Envoy Lauds Women’s Role In Iran’s Socio-Economic Development

• Envoy: US Sanctions Breach Basic Rights of Iranian Women

• Dubai's Arab Health To Examine Why Women Had Fewer Babies During Covid-19 Pandemic

• Egypt Advises Pregnant Women To Get Vaccinated Against Coronavirus

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau



Biden Nominates Nusrat Jahan Choudhury,  First Muslim Woman As Federal Judge


Nusrat Jahan Choudhury has served as legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois since 2020. Milwaukee Sentinel Journal via AP


By Joseph Choi


Biden nominates first Muslim woman as federal judge

President Biden on Wednesday announced his latest round of judicial nominees, among them Nusrat Jahan Choudhury, who would be the first Muslim American woman to serve as a federal judge if confirmed.

The eight nominees in Biden's 13th round of judicial nominations were nearly all women, with only one male nominee included.

The district nominees are Choudhury, Tiffany Cartwright, Ana Isabel de Alba, Robert Steven Huie, Natasha Merle, Jennifer Rearden and Judge Nina Nin-Yuen Wang. Arianna Freeman was nominated to serve as a circuit court judge for the 3rd U.S. Circuit.

If confirmed, Choudhury would also be the first Bangladeshi American to serve as a federal judge.

She currently serves as as legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Illinois. Choudhury, a graduate of Yale, Princeton and Columbia, has held numerous positions in the ACLU throughout her career, including working as an attorney for the Racial Justice Program.

According to ACLU, much of Choudhury's work with the organization has involved challenging police practices that discriminate against people of color and disproportionately "punish people for being poor."

In June 2021, the Senate confirmed Zahid Quraishi to serve as a U.S. district judge for New Jersey, making him the first Muslim in U.S. history to be confirmed as a federal judge.

The majority of Biden's judicial nominees have been women and people of color, in line with his promise of nominating a diverse group of people to lifetime appointments to serve on the bench.

Former President Trump's judicial nominees were significantly less diverse, with 76 percent being men and 85 percent being white, according to the Alliance for Justice progressive advocacy group.

Source: The Hill


Support For Hijab-Wearing Muslim Students: Campaign Against Hate Speech Launches Signature Drive


(Representative Image)


Jan 20, 2022

Mangaluru: An organisation, Campaign Against Hate Speech (CAHS), has condemned the discrimination faced by hijab-wearing Muslim women students across colleges in Karnataka. CAHS has initiated a signature campaign around a public statement, condemning the discrimination against hijab-wearing Muslim students in these places, particularly in Udupi. Nearly 1,000 citizens have signed this statement, indicating the deep concern and distress at the denial of young Muslim women’s right to education, and the right to practice their religion, they stated.

They have demanded that the Karnataka Minorities Commission take immediate cognizance of this incident and take adequate measures to inquire into the discriminatory practices of the Karnataka PU College. The commission should also ensure institutional protection is provided to Muslim minority students vis-à-vis their religious practices and language, they urged. The signatories also demanded that the department take cognizance of the ‘unconstitutional’ incidents and ensure Muslim female students are allowed into classes while wearing hijabs, with immediate effect.

They also sought disciplinary action against authorities of educational institutions in Chikkamagluru, Uduppi and Mangaluru, for refusing to allow students to wear hijabs in classrooms. CAHS also sought remedial classes for the affected Muslim women students as well as institutional mental health support to the students impacted, CAHS demanded in the statement. TNN

Source: Times Of India


France moves closer to banning headscarves in sports competitions

January 19, 2022

PARIS: The French Senate has voted in favor of banning the wearing of headscarves in sports competitions, arguing that neutrality is a requirement on the field of play.

The French upper legislative house voted late Tuesday in favor of amending a proposed law stipulating that the wearing “of conspicuous religious symbols is prohibited” to take part in events and competitions organized by sports federations.

In their text, senators clearly said that the amendment aims at banning “the wearing of the veil in sports competitions.” They added that headscarves can put at risk the safety of athletes wearing it when they practice their discipline.

The amendment proposed by right-wing group Les Republicains and opposed by the French government was adopted with 160 votes in favor, and 143 against. A commission composed of members from the Senate and the lower house should now gather to find a compromise on the text before it is published, meaning the amendment can still be erased.

It is unclear whether the ban would be implemented for the 2024 Paris Olympics. The Olympic organizing committee did not immediately answer a request for comment.

Les Hijabeuses says all Muslim women should have the right to play their favorite sport at competitive level while wearing a headscarf if they want to. (@leshijabeuses)

The vote came a year after lawmakers in the French parliament’s lower house approved a bill to strengthen oversight of mosques, schools and sports clubs in a bid to safeguard France from extremists and to promote respect for French values — one of President Emmanuel Macron’s landmark projects.

With France bloodied by terror attacks, few disagree that radicalization is a danger. But critics also see the law as a political ploy to lure the right wing to Macron’s centrist party ahead of this year’s presidential election.

In the amendment, senators said all citizens are free to exercise their religion, but insisted that everyone should refrain from putting forward their differences.

“Today, there is legal uncertainty about the wearing of religious symbols, and it is necessary for the state to clearly define the rules,” the amendment voted by senators read. “If the wearing of the veil is not explicitly forbidden, we could see the emergence of community sports clubs promoting certain religious signs.”

The French soccer federation already bans women from wearing headscarves in official matches, as well as at competitions it organizes. A collective of headscarf-wearing soccer players called “Les Hijabeuses,” in relation to the word hijab referring to the headscarf, has been campaigning against that ban.

The group says all Muslim women should have the right to play their favorite sport at competitive level while wearing a headscarf if they want to. It has launched legal action at the Council of State, France’s highest administrative jurisdiction, to overturn the federation ban.

Source: Arab News


Turkish women decry high price of sanitary pads

Sibel Hurtas

January 19, 2022

Turkey’s leading political satire magazine, LeMan, devoted its cover to women’s menstrual products last week, depicting a woman looking desperately at a sanitary pad flying away in the air. It was a lampoon of the extent to which Turkey’s economic turmoil has eroded purchasing power, sparking a campaign to lower the prices of sanitary pads, which have become unaffordable for millions of women.

Turkey’s government-run statistical institute says consumer inflation hit 36.08% in 2021, while independent researchers put the figure as high as 82.81%. According to the institute, the price of sanitary pads rose by nearly 60% over a year to reach 1.05 liras ($0.08) per piece in December. Menstrual products are among the goods on which the government levies the highest value-added tax (VAT) of 18%.

Amid dizzying price hikes on basic goods and services from bread and meat to electricity and public transport, sanitary pads have become a luxury beyond the reach of millions of women. According to the Deep Poverty Network, a civic group devoted to helping the poorest, a survey it conducted among 103 families shows that sanitary pads have become inaccessible to 82% of women.

The growing problem has prompted local administrations to add sanitary pads to the list of handouts they provide to the needy. Istanbul’s Kucukcekmece Municipality, for instance, launched a campaign under the slogan “Sanitary pads are not a luxury but a basic need” last week, aiming to meet the needs of some 10,000 women in its district.

In some universities, female students have placed “solidarity boxes” in restrooms, from which fellow women can get sanitary pads for free. Female university students have also held demonstrations to draw attention to the problem. In the capital, Ankara, one might even come across street graffiti calling for free access to sanitary pads.

Canan Gullu, head of the Turkey Women’s Associations Federation, which cooperates with municipalities to help women in need, told Al-Monitor the organization collected six lorryloads of sanitary products destined for “women who are victims of violence and poverty in places where violence and poverty is rife.”

According to Gullu, the problem of access to sanitary pads has grown over the past decade, becoming more visible during the COVID-19 pandemic and aggravating further due to the country’s economic crisis. Ignorance on sexuality and female physiology lays at the core of the problem, she said, recalling a widespread practice until not so long ago whereby sellers would wrap sanitary pads in paper or put them in black plastic bags as if to hide something shameful. And last spring, for instance, some supermarkets sealed off their sanitary pad sections as part of pandemic restrictions banning the sale of non-essential goods. For Gullu, such practices show how female physiology is being ignored in the country. “It is a mindset stemming from gender inequality, which, amid the economic crisis today, ignores the women’s problem of access to sanitary pads,” she said.

Emphasizing that menstrual products are a basic need, women activists are calling on the government to lower the VAT on such items to the minimum rate. The issue reached parliament last week as Candan Yuceer, a female lawmaker for the main opposition Republican People’s Party, submitted a bill calling for a 1% VAT on sanitary pads and their free distribution to poor women.

The bill has yet to be taken up, but even an eventual VAT reduction would not be enough to resolve the problem, Yuceer told Al-Monitor. “A VAT reduction should be accompanied with a price adjustment because manufacturers have taken advantage of the economic crisis to push prices to exorbitant levels,” she said.

Yuceer, a medical doctor by profession, drew attention to the health risks the problem poses. “Sanitary items must be sterile and used only once or women could suffer serious infections,” she said.

Gullu noted, “In terms of reproductive health, we see that noncompliance with hygienic rules results in uterus infections. And this is being transferred to future generations as well.”

In response to the rising outcry, Family and Social Services Minister Derya Yanik made do with a statement that her ministry might initiate a study of the problem to propose measures. “We have been receiving requests regarding also adult and baby diapers, along with women’s hygienic products,” she said last week, adding that putting an upper limit to the prices of such products might be among the considered measures.

Yuceer said, “It’s remarkable how the government has yet to take action on the issue while it has been passing laws favoring rent seekers or men almost on a daily basis.” Other opposition deputies have proposed similar bills to lower the VAT on sanitary pads in recent years, but to no avail, she noted, stressing that the opposition is ready to back any government initiative on the issue.

Aysen Sahin, a columnist for the daily Evrensel, recalled controversial remarks by some government members and supporters advising the popular masses to eat and consume less as a means of coping with the skyrocketing prices. “What are they going to tell women now? To use two sanitary pads a day instead of six and get a vaginal infection or change tampons every six hours instead of every two and risk a toxic shock? … It’s such a vital issue,” she told Al-Monitor.

Refugees, seasonal agricultural workers, students and prisoners are among the worst hit by the problem. According to the Deep Poverty Network, women unable to afford menstrual products use mostly pieces of cloth by rewashing them several times.

Source: Al Monitor


UN envoy lauds women’s role in Iran’s socio-economic development

January 19, 2022

“Despite the imposition of United States sanctions, which in addition to violating rules of international law, breach the basic rights of women and girls, especially their right to development, significant achievements have been made in the empowerment of women and girls in Iran," Takht Ravanchi said on Tuesday addressing a UNSC session titled “Women, Peace, and Security: protecting participation, addressing violence targeting women in peace and security processes”. 

"The Islamic Republic of Iran attaches great importance to the role of women in socio-economic development as well as the political and cultural life of our society," he added.

He said that women play an important role in the socio-economic development and political life of all societies.

In conflict situations, women are subject to violence and discriminatory behaviors, and in post-conflict situations, they have undeniable potentials to contribute to peace and security processes, IRNA quoted Takht Ravanchi as saying.

Therefore, in conflict situations, efforts must be focused on addressing the root causes of violence against women particularly conflict-related sexual violence, and in post-conflict situations, the main approach must be to protect their rights and ensure their participation in conflict resolution and peace processes as well as the humanitarian and reconstruction activities.

“We share the view that women’s political, social, and economic empowerment is critical as it can increase their resistance against violence in conflict situations and promote their role in further contributing to the peace and reconciliation processes and reconstruction and rehabilitation efforts in post-conflict situations.”

“Just as an example, I would like to mention education, which is vital for women’s empowerment. We have made significant progress in this regard and as a result, currently, women and girls comprise more than half of all university students and the number of girls who study medicine and science in Iran has become twice that of men.”

As such, women are active participants in day-to-day affairs in Iran. They are also very active in elections as both candidates and voters. Furthermore, our Parliament has adopted “the Charter on Women’s Rights and Responsibilities”, which ensures the protection and promotion of women’s rights in different areas, he concluded.

Source: Tehran Times


Envoy: US Sanctions Breach Basic Rights of Iranian Women


Takht Ravanchi made the remarks, addressing a UN Security Council meeting on the issue of women, peace, and security on Tuesday.

The envoy reminded how the bans not only violated the international law, but also breached the basic rights of women and girls, especially their right to development.

“However, the Islamic Republic has made significant progress in enablement of women and girls, specially in the field of education,” he said.

“The Islamic Republic attaches much importance to the women’s role in socioeconomic development and the Iranian society’s sociopolitical life,” the envoy stated.

He hailed making considerable progress towards empowering Iranian women and girls, despite the US illegal and inhumane sanctions targeting the country.

Takht Ravanchi, meanwhile, touched on the situation of women in West Asia, expressing dismay over the destructive effects of occupation and foreign intervention, as well as terrorist activities targeting girls and women in the region.

He said the oldest case for such impairment would be the Palestinian women, who continued to suffer the consequences of decades of Israeli occupation and human rights violations.

“In disputes and conflicts, efforts should be focused on addressing the root causes of violence against women,” the Iranian official said.

The US reimposed sanctions against Iran in 2018 after illegally and unilaterally leaving a 2015 deal between Tehran and G5+1 group of countries (China, Russia, Britain and France plus Germany).

Washington has refused to lift the bans, even in the case of foodstuffs and medicine, despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Source: Fars News Agency


Dubai's Arab Health to examine why women had fewer babies during Covid-19 pandemic

Jan 19, 2022

Experts in obstetrics and gynecology will meet at the Arab Health summit in Dubai this month to discuss why women have decided not to have babies because of the pandemic.

The Arab Health Obstetrics and Gynecology Conference will discuss trends in women’s health, including the impact of Covid-19 on reproduction and fertility.

Dr Human Fatemi, group medical director of ART Fertility Clinics in Abu Dhabi, said the pandemic has people rethinking their plans to have children.

"The pandemic has definitely postponed the desire to be parents, and the desire of having a child," he said.

"For some patients, especially women who have reduced ovarian reserve and are older, the pandemic will significantly impact fulfilling their desire to have a child.

"As a specialist in infertility, I would not be worried about Covid-19 and getting pregnant. The key message is to maintain hygiene, wear masks, ensure social distancing and be cautious. If you have a reduced ovarian reserve and desire to get pregnant, one should not delay it."

Several pieces of research show a direct correlation between the pandemic and women's desire to have babies.

According to research from the United Nations Population Fund, public health crises and economic shocks have long been recognised as conditions that alter reproductive behaviour.

Data from the US, Europe and East Asia reveals sharp declines in births starting in October 2020, compared to the same months the previous year, indicating Covid-19 has prompted a short-term fertility decline in many countries.

Research by the Australian Institute of Family Studies shows one in five Australian women changed their baby plans because of the pandemic, and one in seven women indicated it probably impacted when they would have children, with most of the study cohort (92 per cent) choosing to delay getting pregnant.

This was supported by a study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science journal, which reported on the relationship between the pandemic and births for 22 high-income countries, finding particularly strong declines in southern Europe – Italy (-9.1 per cent), Spain (-8.4 per cent) and Portugal (-6.6 per cent).

However, doctors said research does not prove there is a greater risk to pregnant women. They should follow precautions and can safely deliver babies.

Dr Kiran Mehndiratta, specialist obstetrician and gynaecologist at NMC Speciality Hospital Abu Dhabi, told The National in May 2020 - during the peak of the first wave - that pregnant women are not at an increased risk compared to others.

That said, she added it was important to know the immunity of pregnant women is reduced to ensure the baby is not rejected by the mother, as half of its genes come from the father.

That means anyone with complications in pregnancy, such as diabetes or hypertension, which are known to be risk factors for severe Covid-19, could be at higher risk, too.

Most of the “very small number” of pregnant women who had tested positive for Covid-19 at NMC Speciality Hospital, where Dr Mehndiratta works, were also asymptomatic.

“Only a few of them gradually developed a cough,” she said.

This backs theories that suggest pregnant women are no more vulnerable than others to the effects of Covid-19.

The Obstetrics and Gynecology Conference is a regular feature of Arab Health, which will be held at the Dubai World Trade Centre from January 24 to 27.

The conference will host several key sessions covering fertility, reproduction and Covid-19, including a session on ‘Covid-19 and the fetus’, presented by Prof Asma Khalil, who specialises in obstetrics and maternal-fetal medicine at St George’s University Hospital, London. A session on ‘Covid-19 and the impact on fertility’ will be presented by Dr Johnny T Awwad, executive chairman of women’s services and chief of reproductive medicine at Sidra Medicine & Research Centre, Qatar.

Source: The National News


Egypt advises pregnant women to get vaccinated against coronavirus

19 Jan 2022

Ministry spokesperson Khaled Abdel-Ghaffar said that the European Medicine Agency recommends pregnant women be vaccinated since pregnancy has been associated with a higher risk of severe COVID-19 symptoms, particularly in the second and third trimesters.

On Tuesday, the European Medicine Agency announced that mRNA COVID-19 vaccines do not cause pregnancy complications for expectant mothers and their babies following a detailed review of several studies involving around 65,000 pregnancies at different stages.

The mRNA COVID-19 vaccines Pfizer BioNTech and Moderna are among the vaccines Egypt is using in its mass vaccination campaign against the coronavirus.

Egypt has obtained a total of 132 million doses of various coronavirus vaccines so far, of which 36.6 million first doses and 24.1 million second doses have been administered, the acting health minister said during a cabinet meeting on Wednesday.

The minister also revealed that 489,700 booster doses have been used, bringing the number of total administered doses to 61.3 million.

Source: Ahram Online




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