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Islam, Women and Feminism ( 18 Nov 2012, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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British Muslim Radicals Join Campaign against Shot Teenager Malala

Age Islam News Bureau

18 Nov 2012 

 Wife of the emir of Qatar Spearheads Effort to Educate 61 Million Children

 Hundreds of Irish Women Forced To Come To Britain for Abortions

 The Day I Saw 248 Girls Suffering Genital Mutilation

 Gulf Female Journalists Forum to Kick Off In Kuwait Today

 'Pearls' helps African girls 

 Women Domestics Protest In Cameroon Saying ‘Enough Is Enough!’

 Indonesia: Parents of Street Kids Will Be Jailed

 Body of nurse killed in road accident in Saudia flown to India

 Health Week in Pakistan to Cut Child, Mother Death Rate

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

Photo: Hundreds of Irish Women Forced To Come To Britain for Abortions




British Muslim Radicals Join Campaign against Shot Teenager Malala

Brit Radicals Join Campaign against Shot Teenager Malala

November 18, 2012

BRITISH-based Muslim extremists want the schoolgirl shot by the Taliban to face a possible death sentence.

The radicals will head to the Pakistani capital of Islamabad to link up with hardliners for a demonstration urging a fatwa against Malala Yousafzai.

The 15-year-old campaigner was shot in the head after she called for girls to have the right to attend school.

UK-based Islamist Anjem Choudary has led the anger aimed at Malala who is recovering at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham.

Zealots claim she is an apostate, or traitor, to Islam because she wrote an online diary for BBC Urdu slamming the Taliban for denying girls the right to education.

The conference billed as “Sharia4Pakistan” is due to be held at Lal Masjid (mosque) in Islamabad on November 30 and will feature a video address from al-Muhajiroun founder Omar Bakri Mohammed, titled “Declaration of Fatwa on Malala Yousafzai”.

The punishment for apostasy, or regressing from Islam, can under certain reading of Islamic law mean a death sentence.

East London-based Choudary told us: “There is no covenant of security in Pakistan for non-Muslims. If someone apostasies (renounces) Islam they become like the non-Muslims.

“They no longer have any form of protection. What we say very clearly is any non-Muslims in Muslim countries need to leave because they are at risk.

“And those people who are apostates (like Malala) and want to stand with the enemy against Muslims, they are naturally the first people that are going to be targeted.

“If someone apostatises like this woman did by allying with the Americans and saying her favourite person is (Barack) Obama and that she does not want the Sharia or hijab and wants to live under a secular state, she has put herself in a very precarious situation.

“It is no surprise what happened to her in Pakistan.

“Malala is mature islamically, she is not immature, and she has reached that period we say is adulthood.”

Meanwhile Omar Bakri Mohammed, 54, formerly based in the UK and now hiding in Lebanon, told the Daily Star Sunday: “The only solution is the implementation of the Sharia. She (Malala) should face justice in an Islamic court.

“We are going to renew the Fatwa against the man-made law and systems in Pakistan – this is why women like this young girl are rejecting Islam. The system is not being implemented properly.”

But last night one leading moderate Muslim figure described the plan as “ludicrous” and a “stunt”.

Dr Taj Hargey, imam of the Oxford Islamic Congregation and director of the Muslim Education Centre of Oxford, said: “The fatwa is just a religious opinion it does not carry any legal weight – certainly not in this country. This is a totally ludicrous religious opinion by a bunch of ultra-radical religious extremists.

“All Malala did was fight and struggle for the right to be educated and in Islam the right to be educated is a universal right for everyone, male and female, boys and girls.

“This is just another stunt by the self-styled religious cleric Anjem Choudary.

“He should be focusing on what Muslims can do to become better integrated rather than being a rabble-rouser and a troublemaker.

“Thinking Muslims should all contribute to a one-way ticket for these people to leave this country, leave the British passport at Heathrow and go on to Wahabi land or Sharia land and stay there forever.

“This brave girl is not a heretic or apostate. For her to be deemed outside the faith because she wants to be educated is totally beyond the pale.”



Wife of the emir of Qatar Spearheads Effort to Educate 61 Million Children



DOHA, QATAR — Sheika Moza bint Nasser, wife of the emir of Qatar, has created a program that seeks to educate the 61 million children worldwide who have no access to formal schooling.

The Educate a Child initiative, which was announced at the World Innovation Summit for Education in Doha on Wednesday, has partnerships with five global development organizations, including Unesco and the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees. It seeks both to support new education efforts and to improve existing ones, especially those tied to getting more girls into schools.

“Millions of children are being robbed of their fundamental right to quality education,” Sheika Moza said at the conference, which was sponsored by the Qatar Foundation. “Right across the world, because of disaster, because of poverty, children are being denied a chance to change their destinies. We can change this, and because we can, we must.”

The groups together plan to invest $152.6 million on 25 projects in 17 countries over the next three to seven years, with an emphasis on some of the world’s poorest communities, conflict zones and nomadic societies. These initiatives include “floating boat” schools that serve as both bus and schoolhouse for poor children in the flood-prone delta of the Bay of Bengal in Bangladesh and efforts to provide primary education for children in refugee camps in South Sudan.

A spokeswoman for Sheika Moza declined to say how much Educate a Child was investing in the venture.

Gordon Brown, the former British prime minister who is the United Nations’ special envoy for education, said at the announcement in Doha that Educate a Child’s efforts tied directly into the U.N. Millennium Development Goals on education. He added that the U.N. would have a plan in place by April for countries not on track to meet those goals.

“It’s our duty to make sure resources are allocated to meet this objective, and it’s important that new organizations and foundations are willing to support this,” Mr. Brown said. “Sheika Moza is the catalyst to ensure that we can and we will accomplish the U.N. development goal objective.”

Rakesh Bharti Mittal, vice chairman and managing director of the Indian conglomerate Bharti Enterprises, was also present at the announcement.

“I firmly believe that if you educate a girl, you educate a family,” said Mr. Mittal, who is also chairman of the Bharti Foundation, an Educate a Child partner. “You educate future generations.”

Though Educate a Child was formally announced last week, the foundation said that it started financing initiatives last spring and had reached 500,000 children so far. “For me, this is not enough,” Sheika Moza said.



Hundreds of Irish women forced to come to Britain for abortions

Amid pro-choice rally at Savita Halappanavar's death, activists reveal the rapes and illness forcing women to seek abortions

Henry McDonald

16 November 201

Hundreds of Irish women, including dozens who had been raped, have life-threatening illnesses or are under the age of 16, have been forced to seek abortions in Britain in the past three years, a pro-choice charity said.

As campaigners prepared to gather in central Dublin on Saturday for a rally to protest against the death of an Indian woman who was refused a potentially life-saving termination in an Irish hospital, the Abortion Support Network (ASN) gave an insight into the pressures facing women with unwanted pregnancies.

The charity, which issues grants of between £20 to £700 to Irish women seeking terminations, said it had helped 335 women from the Irish Republic over the last three years – including 19 rape victims, 21 with severe health problems and 21 girls under 16. A further six had attempted suicide in the recent past, the group said.

It has also enabled 238 women from Northern Ireland to obtain abortions in England. The region is the only part of the UK where the 1967 Abortion Act does not apply, although the type of emergency termination denied to Savita Halappanavar is available to women with life-threatening conditions in Northern Irish hospitals.

Mrs Halappanavar's death in University Hospital Galway from blood poisoning due to a miscarriage has refocused global attention on the near-total ban on abortion in Ireland.

Her husband, Praveen Halappanavar, has described how his wife pleaded for a termination in the hospital but was told the medical team could not carry out an abortion as they had detected a foetal heartbeat.

When the 31-year-old dentist said she was a Hindu, Praveen Halappanavar said the couple were told: "This is a Catholic country." His wife died on 27 October from septicaemia. He believes it was caused by the hospital failing to abort the 17-week-old foetus, which was already dead.

India's ambassador to Ireland said on Friday that Mrs Halappanavar may be alive if she had been treated in India, where abortion is legal if the mother's life is at risk. Debashish Chakravarti said her death had caused great anguish within the Indian community in Ireland and in India.

As Ireland's politicians study an expert report into potential changes to the abortion law, the ASN released testimonies from some of the women it had helped. All them asked not to be identified for fear of intimidation or vilification in Ireland.

The charity said one woman was seven-weeks pregnant when she asked for the organisation's support in October – the same month Savita died. A recovering alcoholic and drug addict with children in foster care, she has been diagnosed as severely depressed and tried to kill herself to abort the pregnancy.

Her family had not been not very supportive and, she said, her ex-partner "doesn't want to know". On contacting the network, she said: "God forgive me for this, but I know I won't." She also had no passport but managed to borrow €80 (£65) from friends that would cover the bus and boat journey to Britain. The ASN had to help her with the funds to pay for the procedure.

Another client contacted the ASN in April, just nine months after having chemotherapy for breast cancer. She had three children and no passport. She was struggling financially, describing her situation as "desperate". She's never had a loan, and knows she wouldn't be able to keep up with the repayments if she did. She did not want to tell anyone, and told the charity workers she had no other way to get money for the termination.

A third woman contacted the group at the start of this year with this harrowing message: "Please help me. I got your website and I'm in Dublin. I'm four to five weeks pregnant. I was told I cannot get a termination here even though I am on long-term medication for a psychiatric illness since I was 14. I am 26 now.

"I'm confused. I'm highly depressed, suicidal and I just need some help – any help! I'm probably not making much sense. I'm upset and confused, feel very alone and my life is a nightmare. I'm sorry, if you could ring or email me soon as you can, thank you so much."

The ASN also recorded this message from a member of the Irish Traveller community: "I'm a Gypsy girl and we're not supposed to have intercourse before we get married.

"And if they find out they will actually kill me. I'm not kidding." She later told the Abortion Support Network that she was pregnant as a result of rape.

Commenting on the fallout from Mrs Halappanavar's death and the numbers of women contacting them, Mara Clarke, director of the Abortion Support Network, said: "I am not an expert on the abortion law in Ireland but I am an expert on what happens to women when abortion access is restricted. The avoidable, disgusting, tragic, heartbreaking story of Savita Halappanavar is what happens.

"Even if you take out the other circumstances, at the heart of this story is a young, professional, educated woman who asked her doctor for an abortion – by all accounts begged her doctor for an abortion – was refused, and then she died.

"Let's stop talking about whether or not abortion is right or wrong. When you ban abortion, you change it from being an issue of morality to an issue of class.

"The majority of the women who have contacted Abortion Support Network were religious women who believe with all their hearts that abortion is killing a baby and that they will burn eternally in hell for having an abortion. And yet they are still having abortions."



The Day I Saw 248 Girls Suffering Genital Mutilation

In 2006, while in Indonesia and six months pregnant, Abigail Haworth became one of the few journalists ever to see young girls being 'circumcised'. Until now she has been unable to tell this shocking story

Abigail Haworth

 18 November 2012

It's 9.30am on a Sunday, and the mood inside the school building in Bandung, Indonesia, is festive. Mothers in headscarves and bright lipstick chat and eat coconut cakes. Javanese music thumps from an assembly hall. There are 400 people crammed into the primary school's ground floor. It's hot, noisy and chaotic, and almost everyone is smiling.

Twelve-year-old Suminah is not. She looks like she wants to punch somebody. Under her white hijab, which she has yanked down over her brow like a hoodie, her eyes have the livid, bewildered expression of a child who has been wronged by people she trusted. She sits on a plastic chair, swatting away her mother's efforts to placate her with a party cup of milk and a biscuit. Suminah is in severe pain. An hour earlier, her genitals were mutilated with scissors as she lay on a school desk.

During the morning, 248 Indonesian girls undergo the same ordeal. Suminah is the oldest, the youngest is just five months. It is April 2006 and the occasion is a mass ceremony to perform sunat perempuan or "female circumcision" that has been held annually since 1958 by the Bandung-based Yayasan Assalaam, an Islamic foundation that runs a mosque and several schools. The foundation holds the event in the lunar month of the Prophet Muhammad's birthday, and pays parents 80,000 rupiah (£6) and a bag of food for each daughter they bring to be cut.

It is well established that female genital mutilation (FGM) is not required in Muslim law. It is an ancient cultural practice that existed before Islam, Christianity and Judaism. It is also agreed across large swathes of the world that it is barbaric. At the mass ceremony, I ask the foundation's social welfare secretary, Lukman Hakim, why they do it. His answer not only predates the dawn of religion, it predates human evolution: "It is necessary to control women's sexual urges," says Hakim, a stern, bespectacled man in a fez. "They must be chaste to preserve their beauty."

I have not written about the 2006 mass ceremony until now. I went there with an Indonesian activist organisation that worked within communities to eradicate FGM. Their job was difficult and highly sensitive. Afterwards, in fraught exchanges with the organisation's staff, it emerged that it was impossible for me to write a journalistic account of the event for the western media without compromising their efforts. It would destroy the trust they had forged with local leaders, the activists argued, and jeopardise their access to the people they needed to reach. I shelved my article; to sabotage the people working on the ground to stop the abuse would defeat the purpose of whatever I wrote. Such is the tricky partnership of journalism and activism at times.

Yet far from scaling down, the problem of FGM in Indonesia has escalated sharply. The mass ceremonies in Bandung have grown bigger and more popular every year. This year, the gathering took place in February. Hundreds of girls were cut. The Assalaam foundation's website described it as "a celebration". Anti-FGM campaigners have proved ineffective against a rising tide of conservatism. Today, the issue is more that I can't not write about that day.

By geopolitical standards, modern Indonesia is an Asian superstar. The world's fourth-largest country and most populous Muslim nation of 240 million people, it is beloved by foreign investors for its buoyant economy and stable democracy. It is feted as a model of tolerant Islam. Last month, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono visited London to receive an honorary knighthood from the Queen in recognition of Indonesia's "remarkable transformation". Yet, as befitting an archipelago of 17,000 islands, it's a complicated place, too. Corruption and superstition often rule by stealth. Patriarchy runs deep. Abortion is illegal, and hardline edicts controlling what women wear and do are steadily creeping into local by-laws.

Although Indonesia is not a country where FGM is widely reported, the practice is endemic. Two nationwide studies carried out by population researchers in 2003 and 2010 found that between 86 and 100% of households surveyed subjected their daughters to genital cutting, usually before the age of five. More than 90% of adults said they wanted the practice to continue.

In late 2006, a breakthrough towards ending FGM in Indonesia occurred when the Ministry of Health banned doctors from performing it on the grounds that it was "potentially harmful". The authorities, however, did not enforce the ruling. Hospitals continued to offer sunat perempuan for baby girls, often as part of discount birth packages that also included vaccinations and ear piercing. In the countryside, it was performed mainly by traditional midwives – women thought to have shamanic healing skills known as dukun – as it had been for centuries. The Indonesian method commonly involves cutting off part of the hood and/or tip of the clitoris with scissors, a blade or a piece of sharpened bamboo.

Last year, the situation regressed further. In early 2011, Indonesia's parliament effectively reversed the ban on FGM by approving guidelines for trained doctors on how to perform it. The rationale was that, since the ban had failed, issuing guidelines would "safeguard the female reproductive system", officials said. Indonesia's largest Muslim organisation, the Nahdlat ul Ulama, also issued an edict telling its 30 million followers that it approved of female genital cutting, but that doctors "should not cut too much".

The combined effect was to legitimise the practice all over again.

It is impossible to second-guess what kind of place holds mass ceremonies to mutilate girl children, with the aim of forever curbing their sexual pleasure. Bandung is Indonesia's third largest city, 180km east of the capital Jakarta. I had been there twice before my visit in 2006. It was like any provincial hub in booming Southeast Asia: a cheerful, frenzied collision of homespun commerce and cut-price globalisation. Cheap jeans and T-shirts spilled out of shops. On the roof of a factory outlet there was a giant model of Spider-Man doing the splits.

Bandung's rampant commercialism had also reinvigorated its moral extremists. While most of Indonesia's 214 million Muslims are moderate, the 1998 fall of the Suharto regime had seen the resurgence of radical strains of Islam. Local clerics were condemning the city's "western-style spiritual pollution". Members of the Islamic Defenders Front, a hardline vigilante group, were smashing up nightclubs and harassing unmarried couples.

The stricter moral climate had a devastating effect on efforts to eradicate FGM. The Qur'an does not mention the practice, and it is outlawed in most Islamic countries. Yet leading Indonesian clerics were growing ever more insistent that it was a sacred duty.

A week before I attended the Assalaam foundation's khitanan massal or mass circumcision ceremony, the chairman of the Majelis Ulama Indonesia, the nation's most powerful council of Islamic leaders, issued this statement: "Circumcision is a requirement for every Muslim woman," said Amidhan, who like many Indonesians goes by a single name. "It not only cleans the filth from her genitals, it also contributes to a girl's growth."

It was early, before 8am, when we arrived at a school painted hospital green in a Bandung suburb on the day of the ceremony. Women and girls clad in long tunics were lining up outside to register. It was a female-only affair (men and boys had their own circumcision gathering upstairs), and the mood was relaxed and sisterly. From their sun-lined faces and battered sandals, some of the mothers looked quite poor – poor enough, possibly, to make the foundation's 80,000 rupiah cash handout as much of an enticement as the promise of spiritual purity.

Inside, I was greeted by Hdjella, 57, a teacher and midwife who would supervise the cutting. She was wearing a pink floral apron with a frilly pocket. She had been a traditional midwife for 32 years, she said, although, like most dukun, she had no formal training.

"Boy or girl?" she asked me, brightly. I was almost six months pregnant at the time.

"Boy," I told her.

"Praise Allah."

Hdjella insisted that the form of FGM they practised is "helpful to girls' health". She explained that they clean the genitals and then use sterilised scissors to cut off part of the hood, or prepuce, and the tip of the clitoris.

"How is this helpful to girls' health?" I asked. "It balances their emotions so they don't get sexually over-stimulated," she said, enunciating in schoolmistress fashion. "It also helps them to urinate more easily and reduces the bad smell."

Any other benefits? "Oh yes," she said, with a tinkling laugh. "My grandmother always said that circumcised women cook more delicious rice."

FGM in Indonesia is laden with superstition and confusion. A common myth is that it is largely "symbolic", involving no genital damage. A study published in 2010 by Yarsi University in Jakarta found this is true only rarely, in a few animist communities where the ritual involves rubbing the clitoris with turmeric or bamboo. While Indonesia doesn't practise the severest forms of mutilation found in parts of Africa and the Middle East, such as infibulation (removing the clitoris and labia and sewing up the genital area) or complete clitoral excision, the study found the Indonesian procedure "involves pain and actual cutting of the clitoris" in more than 80% of cases.

Hdjella took me to the classroom where the cutting would soon begin. The curtains were closed. Desks had been covered in sheets and towels to form about eight beds. Around each one, three middle-aged women wearing headscarves waited in readiness. Their faces were lit from underneath by cheap desk lamps, giving them a ghoulish glow. There were children's drawings and multiplication tables on the walls.

The room filled up with noise and people. Girls started to cry and protest as soon as their mothers hustled them inside. Rapidly, the mood turned business-like. "We have many girls to circumcise this morning, about 300," Hdjella shouted above the escalating din. As children were hoisted on to desks I realised with a jolt: this is an assembly line.

Hdjella led me to a four-year-old girl who was lying down. As the girl squirmed, two midwives put their faces close to hers. They smiled at her, making soft noises, but their hands took an arm and a leg each in a claw-like grip. "Look, look," Hdjella commanded, as a third woman leant in and steadily snipped off part of the girl's clitoris with what looked like a pair of nail scissors. "It's nothing, you see? There is not much blood. All done!" The girl's scream was a long guttural rattle, which got louder as the midwife dabbed at her genitals with antiseptic.

In the dingy, crowded room, her cries merged with the sobs and screeches of other girls lying on desks, the grating sing-song clucking of the midwives, the surreally casual conversational hum of waiting mothers. There was no air.

Outside in the courtyard, the festive atmosphere grew as girls and their mothers emerged from the classroom. There were snacks and music, and later, prayers.

Ety, 40, was elated. She had brought her two daughters, aged seven and three, to be cut. "I want them to be teachers. Being circumcised will bring them good luck," she said. Ety was a farmer who came from a village outside Bandung. "Daughters should be pure and obey their parents."

Neng Apip, 28, was smiling radiantly. She said she was happy her newly cut daughter Rima would now grow up into "a good Muslim girl". Rima, whose enormous brown eyes were oozing tears, was nine months old. Apip kissed her and gave her a rice cracker to suck. "Shh, shh, all better now," she cooed.

Tradition is usually about remembering. In the case of FGM in Indonesia it seems to be a cycle of forgetting. The act of cutting is a hidden business perpetrated by mothers and midwives, nearly all of whom underwent FGM themselves as young children. The women I met had little memory of being cut, so they had few qualms about subjecting their daughters to the same fate. "It's just what we do," I heard over and over again.

When the pain subsides, it is far from all better. The girls in the classroom don't know that removing part of their clitoris not only endangers their health but reflects deep-rooted attitudes that women do not have the right to control their own sexuality. The physical risks alone include infection, haemorrhage, scarring, urinary and reproductive problems, and death. When Yarsi University researchers interviewed girls aged 15-18 for their 2010 study, they found many were traumatised when they learned their genitals had been cut during childhood. They experienced problems such as depression, self-loathing, loss of interest in sex and a compulsive need to urinate.

I saw my interpreter, Widiana, speaking to Suminah, the 12-year-old who was the oldest girl there, and went to join them. Suminah said she didn't want to come. "I was shaking and crying last night. I was so scared I couldn't sleep." It was a "very bad, sharp pain" when she was cut, she said, and she still felt sore and angry. Widiana asked what she planned to do in the evening. "We will have a special meal at home and then read the Qur'an," said Suminah. "Then I will listen to my Britney Spears CD."

Back in Jakarta, an Indonesian friend, Rino, agreed to help me find out about the newborn-girl "package deals" at city hospitals. Rino phoned around Jakarta's hospitals. They told him he must see a doctor to discuss the matter. So we decided that is what we would do: since I was visibly pregnant, we'd visit the hospitals as husband and wife expecting our first baby. ("It's not necessary to bring your wife," Rino was told repeatedly when he rang back to book the appointments.)

We visited seven hospitals chosen at random. Only one, Hermina, a specialist maternity hospital, said it did not perform sunat perempuan. The other six all gave package prices, varying from 300,000 rupiah to 550,000 rupiah (£20-£36), for infant vaccinations, ear piercing and genital cutting within two months of birth.

Interestingly, the only doctor who argued against the procedure was a female gynaecologist from the largest Islamic government hospital, the Rumah Sakit Islam Jakarta. "You can have it done here if you wish," the doctor said with a sigh. "But I don't recommend it. It's not mandatory in Islam. It's painful and it's a great pity for girls."

Last month I spoke to Andy Yentriyani, a commissioner at Indonesia's National Commission on Violence Against Women. Yentriyani told me the problem is now worse than ever. Since the government's guidelines on FGM came into effect last year, more hospitals have started offering the procedure.

"Doctors see the guidelines as a licence to make money," she says. "Hospitals are even offering female circumcision in parts of Sumatra where there has never been a strong tradition of cutting girls."

"They are creating new demand purely for profit?"

"Yes. They're including it in birth packages. People don't really understand what they're signing up for." Nor do some medical staff, she adds. The new guidelines say doctors should "make a small cut on the frontal part of the clitoris, without harming the clitoris". But Yentriyani says that most doctors are trained only in male circumcision, so they follow the same principle of slicing off flesh.

Moreover, according to The Jakarta Post, the guidelines were rushed through partly in response to the deaths of several infant girls from botched FGM procedures at hospitals.

Likewise, Yentriyani says, the recent endorsement of FGM by some Islamic leaders has vindicated those carrying out mass cutting ceremonies, such as the Assalaam foundation. "Women are caught in a power struggle between religion and state as Indonesia finds a new identity," the activist explains. "Clamping down on morality, enforcing chastity, returning to so-called traditions such as female circumcision – these things help religious leaders to win hearts and minds."

Yentriyani and other Indonesian supporters of women's rights believe FGM can never be justified as a religious or cultural tradition. "Our government and religious leaders must condemn it outright as an act of violence, otherwise it will never end," she says. Her view is supported by organisations such as Amnesty International, which has called on Indonesia to repeal its guidelines allowing FGM. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has also weighed in, saying in February this year that, although many cultural traditions must be respected, female genital cutting is not one of them. "It is, plain and simply, a human rights violation," Clinton declared.

Suminah will be 18 now; a grown woman. She could well be married, or at least betrothed. Soon enough she will probably have her own kids. I hope she's forgotten her pain, but held on to her rage.



Gulf female journalists forum to kick off in Kuwait today

18 November 2012

KUWAIT: The Gulf female journalists forum will kick off today in Kuwait. The forum, which is under the organization of the Gulf Press Association (GPA) and the Kuwait Journalists Association (KJA), will include the participation of 30 female journalists from the GCC states and Yemen.

“This forum enters into the list of urgent projects that had already been approved during the association’s general conference held in Manama last May. This was done in order to address the problems that face female journalists while working in the field,” said Gulf Press Association Chairman Turki Al-Sudairi.

Full report at:



'Pearls' helps African girls 

November 17, 2012

While the saying might be 'diamonds are a girl's best friend', pearls are giving them a run for their money! Gaining popularity with girls and women of all ages, pearls are no longer to be kept locked in your grandmother's jewellery box.

Through the Ottawa-based organization, 'HELP LESOTHO', 'Pearls 4 Girls' has found a way to combine jewellery with philanthropy. Customers who shop the beautiful selection of earrings, bracelets, necklaces and rings love knowing that their purchase is supporting a great cause. The proceeds from the sale of all 'Pearls 4 Girls' jewellery support leadership programs for girls affected by poverty and AIDS in Lesotho, southern Africa.

Full report at:



Women domestics protest in Cameroon saying ‘enough is enough!’

November 18, 2012

WNN/UNWomen) Yaoundé, CAMEROON, AFRICA: Abused and exploited by her employers right from the beginning of her work-life, 50-year-old Félicité Mbida, a domestic worker for more than twenty years, fights to promote the rights of workers in Cameroon as part of the National Association Supporting Domestic Workers (RENATRAD in French).

As is the case for a number of young girls from Cameroon, Félicité started working as a domestic worker with the hope that she would do this type of work only for a short time. But with lack of other options, she was compelled to continue this work in order to provide for her two children.

Full report at:



Indonesia: Parents of Street Kids Will Be Jailed

Jakarta Globe | November 17, 2012

Karimun, Riau Islands. The Karimun district government declared that it will jail any parents who force their children to beg for money, shine shoes or sell newspapers in the street.

“We’ll give them two weeks,” Mitrayati, the head of the Karimun district branch of the Woman’s Empowerment and Child Protection Agency, said on Friday, as quoted by

Full report at:



Body of nurse killed in road accident in Saudia flown to India

 17 November 2012

The body of an Indian nurse, who died in a road accident in Al-Kharj, was repatriated home yesterday.

The deceased, Judy Mathew, 26, unmarried, was working as a staff nurse at Al-Mather Dental Clinic in Al-Kharj, about 100 kilometres from the capital of Riyadh,

Mathew was hit by a car on Oct. 26, driven by a 14-year-old Saudi boy, while she was crossing the road in front of the Al-Mather Dental Clinic in Al-Kharj.

Full report at:



Health Week in Pakistan to Cut Child, Mother Death Rate

18 November 2012

LAHORE: Mother and Child Health Week would be celebrated under the auspices of Health Department in Lahore from November 19 to 24 during which 150,000 children of up to two years of age would be immunised whereas de-worming tablets would be given to 222,000 children of up to age of five years. Moreover, 90,000 pregnant women would be given anti-tetanus injections and folic acid tablets to prevent them from anemia.

Full report at:\11\18\story_18-11-2012_pg7_12