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British Hijab-Wearing Model Mariah Idrissi Has It Covered

New Age Islam News Bureau

18 Aug 2019

Mariah Idrissi on the red carpet at a film premiere in London. (Getty Images)



 Sun, Sea and Privacy at Egypt’s ‘Only For Women’ Beaches

 At The Sackler Gallery, A Rarely Seen View Of Iran By Six Women Photographers

 Sports Stadiums In Iran Are Women’s Battleground Against A Misogynist Regime

 Peace Road Map for Afghanistan Will Let Taliban Negotiate Women’s Rights

 US Congresswoman Tlaib’s Grandmother Upset, But Proud

 Female Suicide Bomber Kills Six In Chad: Army Officer

 Modi Govt To Make Kashmiri Women Aware Of Triple Talaq Law As Part Of Nai Roshni Scheme

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau




British Hijab-Wearing Model Mariah Idrissi Has It Covered


August 17, 2019

LONDON: Born in North West London to Moroccan and Pakistani parents, model Mariah Idrissi has made quite a name for herself – starring in campaigns for major high street retailers, hosting TED Talks and sharing snaps of her travels with her 88,000 Instagram followers.

The hijab-wearing model has been vocal about her preference for modest fashion and spoke to Arab News about her style, faith and achievements.

“I wear hijab to represent my faith, my culture, and because I genuinely love the idea of modest dress,” she said. “I think it’s important to feel comfortable in what you wear and also not lose a sense of your personality, hence why there is so much diversity in modest styles.”

Her breakthrough came when she was scouted in a shopping center. She did not think it would lead to anything; however, she was casted for an H&M ad. “The campaign went viral. From that moment I realized how little the media represented Muslims, and if they did it was often negative. That motivated me to continue to pursue a career in fashion and change the narrative around how hijab is viewed in the West,” she explained.

She also gave her first significant public speech in 2016, a TEDxTeen live-streamed to millions, about how modest clothing has now become a trend. Idrissi believes the fashion industry is catering more to women who want modest wear than it did a decade ago.

“I feel it is definitely improving,” she said. “Summertime can still be a little bit of a struggle in comparison to autumn and winter which is cooler, so there is still room for improvement.”

After her breakthrough with H&M, Idrissi went on to participate in projects with leading brands, including MAC Cosmetics and M&S in the Middle East. She also looks forward to working on projects in Saudi Arabia when an opportunity arises.

“Saudi Arabia is a blessed land both physically and spiritually. I feel there is so much potential and opportunity. I would love to be a part of changing some of the stereotypes around the country through my work in fashion and film,” Idrissi said.

She is now working on a few film projects, both features and documentaries, to continue challenging negative stereotypes around Muslims.

Moreover, she aims to inspire other potential modest models and advises them to always ask why before embarking on this path. Asking why has helped her on this career journey because even through difficult times, she was able to push forward.

As her upbringing has taught her, Idrissi is demonstrating that modernity and progression are not in conflict with tradition and customs: They are two sides of the same coin.



Sun, Sea and Privacy at Egypt’s ‘Only For Women’ Beaches


August 17, 2019

CAIRO: Beaches are a prime summer destination for Egyptians seeking entertainment and an escape from high temperatures. But for a growing number of women seeking privacy, women-only beaches are becoming increasingly popular.

Few people realize there are women-only beaches in Egypt. Some prefer them for religious reasons or simply to enjoy a sense of personal freedom. Cameras and taking photos are prohibited, and the lifeguards and DJs are women.

Many women-only beaches are located on Egypt’s north coast stretching from Alexandria to Marsa Matrouh.

One of the best-known is La Femme in Marina, a resort in Alamein, where religious songs are played, photography is banned and belly dancing parties are held. There is a daily entry fee of 250 Egyptian pounds ($15) and 300 Egyptian pounds on Fridays.

Khaled Fouad, La Femme’s owner, said that the beach is simply a business project.

He refuses to label it an “Islamic beach” since this would deter non-Muslim women from entering. The main aim is to provide the highest level of privacy for women who want to enjoy it.

Yashmak Beach in the Montazah resort, 80 km from Alexandria, was Egypt’s first women-only beach when it opened in 2004. It offers music and Zumba dancing with similar entry fees.

The beach was the idea of Waleed Mustafa, who told Arab News that “we can’t forget that we are in a conservative society and we have to respond to the needs of such a society.”

Beach management apply strict rules. Bags are carefully searched to make sure there are no cameras.

For most women who go to these beaches, it is a rare chance to wear swimming suits, far from the prying eyes of men.

Hadeer Ahmed, an Egyptian bank employee, said she prefers Yashmak Beach and now finds it difficult to swim at mixed beaches.

Another favorite, Flamingo Beach, is located in Marina 5 resort and is open from noon to 7 p.m. The beach has Zumba dancing, and entry is 300 Egyptian pounds on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, and 350 Egyptian pounds on other days.

Another women-only beach is at Amwaj resort, next to Club C. Entry is free for resort unit owners.

Faten Bahr, an accountant from Alexandria, said that she enjoys the freedom women-only beaches offer.

“I can do anything I want. I can swim or dance, something I couldn’t do in mixed beaches,” she said.

Yasmin Fakhr, a housewife, said that she hopes to see similar beaches opening in Alexandria, and resorts including Sharm El-Sheikh and Hurghada.



At The Sackler Gallery, A Rarely Seen View Of Iran By Six Women Photographers

By Vanessa H. Larson

August 14, 2019

Forty years after the Iranian Revolution, U.S. media coverage of Iran is still so overwhelmingly focused on the country’s fraught relationship with the United States that certain images have become tropes. Stock photographs of chador-clad women; shown in profile, their faces almost invisible as they walk past anti-American street murals, are published with ludicrous frequency.

A new exhibition at the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, “My Iran: Six Women Photographers,” aims to challenge the stereotype of voiceless Iranian women, presenting a more nuanced view of the country through the work of some of its most talented contemporary photographers.

An untitled 1999 photograph byShadafarin Ghadirian. (Shadafarin Ghadirian/Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery)

“Red Cloth,” from the series “Sketches of a Fractured Song” by Malekeh Nayiny. (Malekeh Nayiny/Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery/Malekeh Nayiny)

Almost all the works in “My Iran” are drawn from the Sackler’s permanent collection, and most have been acquired since 2011, when the museum began a push to add work by modern and contemporary Iranian photographers, complementing the Smithsonian’s extensive holdings of 19th-century photos from Iran under the Qajar dynasty (1789-1925).

“My Iran” opens with an arresting 5½ -minute video (the only video work on view) by Newsha Tavakolian, one of the show’s six artists, along with Gohar Dashti, Shadi Ghadirian, Hengameh Golestan, Malekeh Nayiny and Mitra Tabrizian. “Somayeh” shows a woman in richly hued attire — black dress, sienna overcoat, turquoise headscarf, brown purse and shoes — standing against a large tree, a few clear plastic bags caught in its naked gray branches. As the camera slowly zooms in, the woman’s headscarf and the plastic bags sway slightly in the breeze, but she herself is immobile, her expression somber but resolute.

The story of Somayeh — a teacher at a girls’ school who waited seven years for permission to divorce her husband — is told in greater detail in an accordion-style album of about a dozen candid photos, part of Tavakolian’s series “Blank Pages of an Iranian Photo Album.”

Tavakolian’s reportorial style reflects her background as a photojournalist for the Magnum photo agency and the New York Times, before she branched out to more artistic photography. In an unfortunate reminder of the challenges faced by artists and journalists in Iran, the Times revealed in June that Tavakolian and its Tehran correspondent Thomas Erdbrink — Tavakolian’s husband — had been denied press permits to work since February. (The Sackler’s decision to include Tavakolian’s work was made before this news emerged.)

A 1979 photograph from Hengameh Golestan’s series “Witness 1979.” (Hengameh Golestan/Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery)

“My Iran” includes only one set of purely documentary photographs: eight black-and-white shots by Golestan, showing women protesting the post-revolution introduction of Iran’s hijab law on March 8, 1979 — which ended up being the last day that women went out uncovered. The photos capture the women’s anger and defiance, as well as the euphoria of their spontaneous mass demonstration.

Since the Islamic revolution, female Iranian photographers have largely turned away from such a documentary approach, in favor of styles that offer greater creative possibilities and space for social commentary.

As the show’s curator, Massumeh Farhad, noted at a press preview, “The subsequent restrictions on Iranian society and culture [after the revolution] meant that many of the photographers turned to carefully staged, cinematic style, largely inspired by Iran’s new-wave photography of the ’90s.”

A 2013 photograph from Gohar Dashti’s series “Iran, Untitled.” (Gohar Dashti)

Some of the most compelling works of that nature come from three series by Dashti, who uses varied genres to stage sometimes mysterious narratives. The hyper-realistic photos in “Home,” for instance — featuring abandoned buildings overflowing with plants placed there by the artist — can be read in one of two ways: as hopeful signs of nature’s rebirth, or as eerily post-apocalyptic. (Along with Tavakolian and Ghadirian — who creates satirical versions of sepia-toned, Qajar-era cartes de visite — Dashti was featured in the National Museum of Women in the Arts’ 2016 exhibition “She Who Tells a Story: Women Photographers From Iran and the Arab World.” )

Dashti’s “Iran, Untitled” series is more absurdist. One image shows some 20 men and women with suitcases, all lined up behind traffic cones and craning their heads as if expecting a plane to appear any minute — in the middle of the steppe. The setting — an apparent Nowhereland — seems an apt metaphor for Iranians’ uncertainty about the future.

“Deadly Affair,” from Mitra Tabrizian’s “Border” series. (Mitra Tabrizian/Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery/ Jahangir and Eleanor Amuzegar Endowment for Contemporary Iranian Art)

Tabrizian, a London-based photographer who is also a filmmaker, employs a more cinematic realism in her “Border” series, poignantly capturing Iranian exiles and revealing a deeply palpable sense of displacement and loss. In one photo, a weary-looking elderly woman is seated by a suitcase, against a bluish wall with a closed door; in another, an older man stares out blankly from a dingy auto shop containing a wrecked car and a black cat.

There’s something universal about Tabrizian’s large yet intimate portraits: they could have been taken just about anywhere. More than any other images in this show, perhaps, they evoke a feeling of empathy with their subjects — an awareness that, in many U.S. narratives about Iran, is sorely lacking.

Art, it is sometimes said, has the power to change hearts and minds. If only we all could be so swayed.



Sports Stadiums In Iran Are Women’s Battleground Against A Misogynist Regime

Aug 15, 2019

Where does FIFA stand?

Iranian women have been struggling to enter sports stadiums for years and have turned them into a battleground against the mullahs’ misogynist regime.

In recent days, with the FIFA warning and setting a deadline for the Iranian regime to allow women enter the stadiums, the issue has sparked a backlash from government officials and received widespread media coverage.

According to a report by Varzesh 3, a state-run website, on August 3, 2019, “The World Football Federation has given the Iranian Federation until August 31, to determine the presence of women in sports stadiums … Dariush Mostafavi, head of the Football Federation’s Professional Licensing Appeals Committee, said: ‘FIFA has given a deadline of August 31, 2019 to determine the presence of women in stadiums and they are very serious about this issue … FIFA says women in Iran should be able to enter sports stadiums in league games and are very serious about this issue.’ ”

Regime officials, however, opposed such a move. Nasser Makarem Shirazi, a high-ranking cleric, said, “The atmosphere in the sports stadiums is not suitable for women, and there is no doubt that youth interaction is a source of many ethical and social problems. In addition, in some type of sports men do not have proper attire, therefore, women should refrain from attending these programs and at the same time they are able to watch these programs through different media outlets, so their presence is really not necessary.” (The state-run Tabnak website – August 6, 2019)

In a speech, Mohammad Jafar Montazeri, the regime’s prosecutor general, also said, “When FIFA officially announces that if Iran’s sport does not allow the presence of women in sports stadiums, we will ban Iran from attending international games, it should not be taken lightly. What concern of FIFA is it to include a few women among the 10, 500, 1,000 or 5,000 spectators who go to watch a football match in a country?”

Montazeri went on, “Do you think their emphasis on the presence of women in football stadiums is because they really care about the well-being of our women or our sports facilities? Do you really think they care about our women being deprived of watching football? Don’t take these issues lightly.” (The state-run ISNA news agency – August 7, 2019)

The state-run Asr-e Iran website while printing a portion of FIFA’s statues wrote, “An hour ago, the country’s Prosecutor General made it clear that there was no need for women to enter the sports stadiums. And in such a situation we will probably have to wait for FIFA’s reaction and possible bans on Iranian football. According to the articles of Incorporation of the World Football Federation, this case is among the cases of gender discrimination that include the suspension of a country’s football and, even worse, expulsion from FIFA.”

This section of the FIFA Statute 4.1 explicitly states that violation of the principle of non-discrimination will be punished first by suspension and then expulsion from FIFA.

It goes without saying that the regime’s anti-woman policies of excluding and depriving women of their most basic rights have now sparked protests from international bodies, pointing to the international rejection of the regime itself.

Lastly, it should be emphasized that it is no longer acceptable that the international bodies, including the FIFA, close their eyes and ignore the sexual apartheid practiced by the dictatorial regime preventing Iranian women from entering sports stadiums. It is time for FIFA to act in favor of Iranian women and impose serious sporting sanctions on the mullahs’ regime to force it to respect equal participation of women in sports and their right to freely enter all sports stadiums.



Peace Road Map for Afghanistan Will Let Taliban Negotiate Women’s Rights

By Lara Jakes

Aug. 16, 2019

WASHINGTON — Roya Rahmani is neither royalty nor from a powerful family, so she was initially surprised when she was appointed as the first woman to be Afghanistan’s ambassador to the United States. Now she understands why: to signal Kabul’s commitment to women’s rights as the Trump administration pushes for a peace deal with the Taliban.

Ms. Rahmani, a longtime women’s rights activist, remembers all too well what Afghanistan was like during the 1990s, under the Taliban’s rule, when women were beaten for leaving their homes and barred from attending school or holding jobs. “People were drained of hope” and were “living zombies,” she said this week in an interview. Today, she noted, women make up 28 percent of the Afghan National Assembly — more than in Congress.

But as the Taliban and the United States move toward a preliminary peace agreement — which could be released in days — there are growing fears that Afghan women will lose the gains they have made over nearly two decades.

The agreement, hashed out over months of talks between the Trump administration and the Taliban, is expected to outline steps for the eventual withdrawal of 14,000 American troops and pave the way for future talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government. Officials said the preliminary deal is not expected to include specific assurances that women will continue to have equal opportunities in education, employment and government.

Women’s rights are supposed to be addressed in the future talks, which could result in a power-sharing arrangement between the Afghan government and the Taliban. Although some American and Afghan officials say the Taliban appear to be more receptive to women’s rights than in the past, others worry that women will be given lip service in that final accord, or left out entirely.

“Afghan women have made it loud and clear that they want peace without oppression,” said Senator Jeanne Shaheen, Democrat of New Hampshire, the only woman on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

The Trump administration, she said, “needs to fully recognize that Afghan women are our greatest asset to advancing the cause of freedom in this war-torn country.”

“Their rights and future must not get lost in these negotiations,” she added.

After American troops forced the Taliban from power after the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan in pursuit of Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden, Afghan women literally came out of their homes. Now, more than 3.5 million are enrolled in primary and secondary schools and 100,000 women attend universities, according to the State Department. American auditors estimate that nearly 85,000 Afghan women work as teachers, lawyers, law enforcement officials and in health care. More than 400 women ran for political office in elections held last fall.

But many of the gains are among women in Kabul, the capital, and in other major cities. In recent years, the Taliban’s hold across the country — especially in rural areas — has expanded.

The group controls at least 10 percent of Afghanistan’s population — 59 of the country’s 407 districts, according to the Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction. Another 119 districts are considered contested.

As part of the next phase of peace talks, American and Afghan officials are insisting on a permanent cease-fire. But even that will not assure peace for Afghan women, Ms. Rahmani said.

“When we are talking about peace, and a peaceful environment for all of us, we are not only talking about the absence of guns and bullets and bombs,” she said. “We are talking about an environment where human security is present, where people will live free of all forms of violence — not only physical, but emotional, too.”

“It should be free of fear and abuse,” Ms. Rahmani said.

Ms. Rahmani, 41, grew up in Kabul but fled to Peshawar, in neighboring Pakistan, after civil war broke out in Afghanistan in 1992 and accelerated the Taliban’s rise. On a trip back to Kabul with her family in 1998, she said, she was shocked by what she saw as a ghost city, drained of energy, where people put blankets over every window to keep Taliban religious police from seeing anything, no matter how innocuous, that might merit a beating.

The debate over women’s rights in a final deal is a widely expected to split along each side’s interpretation of the role of women in Islam, Afghanistan’s national religion.

Under the Afghan Constitution, adopted in 2004, men and women have equal legal rights and duties. The Constitution specifically outlaws discrimination and requires a “balanced education for women.” It states that all of its provisions and laws adhere to Islamic rules and faith.

In a statement in February, the Taliban said they recognized that women have certain rights under Islam, including access to education and jobs, property inheritance and the ability to choose a husband.

The Taliban’s policy, according to the statement, which was released at a forum in Moscow, “is to protect the rights of women in a way that neither their legitimate rights are violated nor their human dignity and Afghan values are threatened.”

But the statement also described immoral and indecent influences by the West and religions that it said have encouraged women to violate Afghan customs “under the name of women’s rights.” It cited “dissemination of Western and non-Afghan and non-Islamic drama serials” as evidence of the corruption of Afghan women.

Afghan officials and activists who attended the negotiations between the Taliban and the United States said that informal talks with members of the extremist group revealed that the Taliban have changed since 2001 — and may be even more open to women’s rights.

“One thing that we noticed is that the Taliban were not like those Taliban that they were 20 or 18 years before,” Asila Wardak, a human rights activist who attended the negotiations, which were held in Doha, Qatar, said at a forum in July at the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security. She said there were “many chances” for Afghan women to talk to Taliban negotiators, and to share their concerns, at the discussions in Doha.

Research by the London-based Overseas Development Institute indicates that Taliban shadow governments work with local officials in some Afghan districts on health care, education, law enforcement and taxes. That is a contrast to 2001, when the Taliban were consumed with keeping power.

“They’ve changed profoundly because they’ve developed an interest in governing, and in providing services,” said Rebecca Zimmerman, a researcher at the RAND Corporation, a think tank.

Experts on Afghan issues remain skeptical of Taliban claims that they support women’s rights — a declaration that, at best, is largely untested. At worst, it is defied by continued attacks, threats and oppression against women by Taliban members in local districts across Afghanistan even as their leaders say they want peace.

Attacks this year against girls’ schools in Taliban territory near the western city of Farah, and the extremists’ forced closure of a radio station that employed women in Ghazni Province, in the country’s east, indicate otherwise. (Taliban officials have denied responsibility for the attacks outside Farah, although graffiti sprayed on the walls of the schools praised the extremist group.)

“You don’t have to look at 2001 to see what the Taliban has done in areas that it has held — you can look at 2017, 2018, 2019,” said Gayle Tzemach Lemmon, an adjunct senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations’ women and foreign policy program.

“It’s certainly much harder for women who are living in Taliban-influenced areas to go to work, to hold jobs, for girls to go to school and for women to be in any kind of public sphere,” she said.

Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, the American envoy who will continue to shepherd a final agreement in upcoming peace talks, pledged last month that women would “have a seat, or several seats, at the negotiating table” alongside the Taliban.

Alice G. Wells, the acting assistant secretary of state who oversees Afghan diplomacy, also has said that a final accord must respect — and protect — women’s rights or risk losing international support and aid. The United States alone has promised $2 billion in aid since 2002 for programs for women and issues focused on gender equality.

Preventing widespread terrorism from resurfacing, in part by helping stabilize Afghanistan, “cannot occur if half the country’s population is deprived of opportunity,” Ms. Wells said last month at the Georgetown Institute event.

In interviews with The New York Times, Ms. Rahmani did not rule out working in a government that shared power with the Taliban, saying only that she would defer to the leadership selected by her country’s citizens. First and foremost, she said, Afghans want peace.

But as a mother of a young daughter and as a former advocate of women’s rights — at nongovernmental organizations and as a consultant to the United Nations, to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and to the government of Canada — she insisted that women must not be forced to give up progress they have made.

“If the Taliban says, ‘We can find a way to address each other’s concerns,’ that is fine,” Ms. Rahmani said. “But given the past experiences, it’s extremely alarming for the women of Afghanistan.”

Mujib Mashal contributed reporting from Kabul, Afghanistan.

Lara Jakes is a diplomatic correspondent based in the Washington bureau of The New York Times. Over the past two decades, Ms. Jakes has reported and edited from more than 40 countries and covered war and sectarian fighting in Iraq, Afghanistan, Israel, the West Bank and Northern Ireland.



US Congresswoman Tlaib’s Grandmother Upset, But Proud

Kays Ebu Semra and Eyser El-Iys  


RAMALLAH, Palestine

The grandmother of U.S. Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib said on Saturday that she supported her granddaughter’s decision not to visit her in the West Bank under conditions set by Tel Aviv, despite looking forward to see her.

In an interview with Anadolu Agency, Muftiyye Tlaib spoke on the U.S congresswoman’s reaction against Israeli administrations "oppressive conditions" and the family's original plans for Rashida Tlaib's visit.

Grandmother Tlaib said she missed her granddaughter and was saddened by her decision not to visit the region, but that she fully supported the move taken in protest of the Israeli government's demeanor.

"We started preparations to welcome her after learning about Rashida’s visit," said Muftiyye Tlaib, adding that she planned to arrange celebrations for her granddaughter.

She added that she even prepared a traditional Palestinian dress to give U.S. congressman as a gift.

Uncle Basim Tlaib slammed Israel for imposing conditions for his niece's visit, underlining that Rashida Tlaib had the right to visit her country and family.

He added that Israeli forces occupying the West Bank did not want someone supporting Palestinians' rights and publicly decrying Tel Aviv's unjust policies.

Israel on Thursday opted to block Rashida Tlaib and fellow congresswoman Ilhan Omar from visiting the country and the occupied West Bank, sparking widespread outcry.

Tel Aviv later said it may consider a humanitarian request by Tlaib to visit to her family, though this was rejected by Tlaib due to various restrictions on the visit.

Tlaib said on Twitter: "Silencing me & treating me like a criminal is not what she wants for me. It would kill a piece of me. I have decided that visiting my grandmother under these oppressive conditions stands against everything I believe in--fighting against racism, oppression & injustice."

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said his government was blocking congresswomen Tlaib and Omar due to their support for an international boycott movement of Israel.

The elected representatives have been vocal proponents of the pro-Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement which seeks to ramp up economic pressure on Israel for its treatment of Palestinians in Israel and the occupied territories, and its continued construction of settlements in the West Bank which are illegal under international law.



Female Suicide Bomber Kills Six In Chad: Army Officer

Aug 14, 2019

A female suicide bomber killed six people after blowing herself up in western Chad early on Wednesday, a senior army officer said, in an attack attributed to Nigeria's Boko Haram militants.

The dead in the attack in Kaiga-Kindjiria district included a soldier, said the source, speaking on condition of anonymity.

A number of people were also injured, the officer said.

A local NGO confirmed the account.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

Kaiga-Kindjiria lies in Lac province, which abuts the vast Lake Chad — a region shared by Chad, Cameroon, Niger and Nigeria.

Boko Haram launched an insurgency in north-eastern Nigeria a decade ago that has since spilt over into neighbouring countries.

It has carried out at least 10 cross-border attacks in Chad since last year, mainly targeting army positions.

In March, 23 troops were killed when their forward position on the north-eastern side of the lake came under attack.

In June, 11 soldiers were killed and six were wounded in clashes at Tchoukoutalia, authorities said 26 jihadists were killed.

Boko Haram's campaign has left about 27,000 people dead and displaced about two million in Nigeria alone, some estimates say.

In 2015, the four Lake Chad countries, together with Benin, set up a combined force to fight Boko Haram with the help of local groups of armed citizens.



Modi Govt To Make Kashmiri Women Aware Of Triple Talaq Law As Part Of Nai Roshni Scheme


17 August, 2019

New Delhi: The BJP is preparing to reach out to Muslim women across the country in coming weeks and months and showcase the Narendra Modi government’s achievements for them in terms of the legislation banning and criminalising triple talaq.

Home Minister and BJP president Amit Shah will also deliver an hour long speech on “abolition of Triple Talaq: correcting a historic wrong” Sunday in the national capital. This will be his first public speech after it was accorded approval by President Ram Nath Kovind.

The Modi government has also started work on an awareness campaign about the issue. To ensure that Muslim women know their rights under the new law — The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Act, 2019 — which makes instant divorce void, the government is all set to make it a part of Nai Roshni, a leadership and awareness scheme of the minority ministry.

The scheme will also be applicable to Jammu and Kashmir, which was not the case when it was passed.

Awareness campaign

According to Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, Nai Roshni is a scheme for minority women which provides knowledge, tools and techniques for interacting with government system, banks and other institutions at all levels.

Now, it will also provide information regarding the new law.

“It (ban on triple talaq) has now become a law and minority women across the country, including in Jammu & Kashmir, will be informed about their rights and what safeguards are there in it. In case something like this still happens with them, what should they do? They will be informed about all this through the awareness programme.

“Under Nai Roshni a lot of information that can be beneficial to these women is provided and now we will make this law also part of it,” Naqvi told ThePrint.

The scheme, covering all minorities, is implemented with the involvement of the gram panchayat at the village level and local urban bodies at the district level. It also empowers the minority women to stand up for their rights.

‘Doubts being removed’

Apart from the government programme, the minority unit of the BJP will also be holding statewide seminars, conferences and corner meetings on the issue to ensure there is no ambiguity and women are aware of what the decision means for them.

Confirming the move, BJP Minority Morcha president Abdul Rasheed Ansari said after the Parliament passed the triple talaq Bill, celebrations were held at state unit level. However, awareness is the main focus area now.

“The government has taken a historic decision and all state units have started holding seminars, conferences, corner meetings. In case there are any doubts within the community, they are being removed using this opportunity,” said Ansari.

The state units of the Morcha have been asked to invite experts on the matter so that the issue can be explained in a simple manner to the community.

According to sources, most activities are likely to take place in Uttar Pradesh, which has a significant Muslim population.

What the law says

The triple talaq Bill was passed by the Parliament last month, making the practice of instant divorce among Muslims a punishable offence.

A gazette notification, published on 31 July, said President Ram Nath Kovind gave his assent to the Bill passed by the Parliament. The Act replaced an ordinance promulgated on 21 February this year to the same effect.

The new law makes “any pronouncement of talaq by a Muslim husband upon his wife, by words, either spoken or written or in electronic form or in any other manner” illegal.

The law also provides for a jail term of up to three years and a fine for the practice of instant divorce by Muslim men. The opposition had criticised the Bill pointing out that the law could be misused to harass Muslim men.




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