New Age Islam News Bureau
29 Jul 2016
Amina Al-Jeffery shown in a school yearbook photo
• Shisha Smoking by Saudi Women Leading To Divorce
• Man Strangles Teenage Niece for 'Honour' In Mansehra, Pakistan
• 200 Saudi Women Allowed By Courts to Travel Alone
• Behind Closed Doors: Virginity and Hymen Reconstruction in Morocco
• Beat That! Egyptian Women Are World Leaders in Assaulting Husbands
• African Girl, 16, Rescued From Early Marriage
Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau
British-Saudi Dual Citizen Amina al-Jeffrey Taken to Saudi Arabia and Locked in a Cage
July 28, 2016
Amina al-Jeffrey was born in Swansea, UK, and taken at age 16 to Saudi Arabia by her father, who disapproved of her Western lifestyle.
Now 21, she is fighting a court battle in the High Court in London against her father to be allowed to return to the UK.
She alleges that her father, Mohammed al-Jeffrey, put "metal bars" on her bedroom and described being a "locked-up girl with a shaved head."
Still a judge in the High Court, Justice Holman, has asserted, "We have to be careful about asserting the supremacy our cultural standards."
Holman also said that it is unclear whether or not Britain had jurisdiction in the matter since al-Jeffrey was an adult with dual Saudi and UK citizenship.
Al-Jeffrey said her father hit her, deprived her of water and forced her to urinate in a cup.
Although "metal bars are no longer in her room" according to her lawyers, "she is still locked up in the house" and "not allowed to use the phone or internet."
"Steps need to be taken to ensure Ms. Jeffery is returned to the UK where her safety can be guaranteed," the Foreign Office Forced Marriage Unit said in a statement.
"Her treatment has extended to depriving her of food and water, depriving her of toilet facilities, physical assault and control of her ability to marry who she wishes and creating a situation in which she feels compelled to marry as a means of escape," Henry Setright, a lawyer acting on behalf of al-Jeffrey said in a statement.
He described the situation as a "fundamental breach of human rights."
Saudi Arabia does not recognize al-Jeffrey's British citizenship. They are also paying for her father's legal fees.
"Regarding returning Amina back to the UK, I am unwilling to do this as I fear she will go back to her old destructive lifestyle," her father said in a letter submitted to the court.
"As her father, I fear for her health and safety and only want what is best for Amina, so she may focus on her education."
"She is a normal Welsh girl and still has her Welsh accent," said Anne-Marie Hutchinson, from the Academy of Family Lawyers who is representing al-Jeffrey.
“She wants to return home so she can have control of her own life and make her own choices.”
Shisha Smoking by Saudi Women Leading To Divorce
29 July, 2016
ABHA: Preacher Ahmad Al-Ma’bi warned against the increasing popularity of smoking Shisha among Saudi women, citing a number of cases in which marriages were dissolved once men discovered their wives smoked Shisha.
Al-Ma’bi said that statistics reveal that Shisha and cigarettes are becoming popular among Saudi women in backyards or roofs of homes after work, as they find a place for relaxing and retiring to these places.
Azizah Nawfil, a journalist with Laha magazine, said that the smoking of shisha or hookah has become very popular among young Saudi women in the last five years, either in cafés, or at home. Many Saudi women do not mind smoking, even with family.
Seen as a way to attract customers, Nawfil said dealers have introduced a new form of commercials into the market such as showcasing shisha in attractive colors and fancy bags.
Aisha Al-Omari, a housewife, said: “I started smoking after I tried the taste of shisha with one of my friends.” She said that her friend encouraged her to smoke this and now it has become a habit. However, she smokes shisha not in front of her family members, but with a group of friends. “I faced difficulty in finding a place to smoke shisha. But when my husband came to know that I smoke shisha and I can't do without it, he allowed me to smoke inside home.”
Amir Ali, one of the owners of a shisha shop, said that many women regularly come to his shop to purchase items to smoke hookah. He said that the price of hookahs is between SR200 and SR1,000, depending on the shape and specifications. He said that there are innovative forms of women’s shisha, as well as specific types of scented tobacco which women want like melon, strawberries and loban.
Ali Zairi, a psychologist, said that statistics reveal that 5.7 percent of the total population of women in the Kingdom smoke shisha and/or cigarettes. This is a large percentage compared to other Gulf countries.
A Ministry of Health report said that 16 percent of female students in the Kingdom have experimented with smoking. Eleven percent of women use tobacco. Out of them, 7.2 percent are students. More than 9 percent use different other forms of tobacco products. The ratio of smokers among girl students is around 3.7 percent.
Sabah Zahhar, a sociologist at the Saudi German Hospital in Asir, said that girls are attracted to hookah because they think this is the in-thing, or the latest fad.
They also think that through this they achieve equality with men in all aspects of life. This is also a behavior which indicates their rebellion against society and tradition.
Dr. Khalid Jalban, a family medicine expert at King Khalid University, said smoking adversely affects the mother, the child and a woman's fertility.
Man Strangles Teenage Niece for 'Honour' In Mansehra, Pakistan
29 July, 2016
MANSEHRA: A teenage girl was strangled to death by her uncle for ‘honour’ in a remote village of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P)’s Mansehra district, police sources said.
The suspect, who has been arrested, had initially tried to make the killing appear as suicide; however, post-mortem examination of the victim revealed she was strangled to death, sources told The Express Tribune.
Misbah Bibi, a 9th grade student, left her home for half an hour on Wednesday afternoon for an unknown reason. However, her uncle Khan Muhammad suspected she went to meet her alleged boyfriend from the same village, Lassan Nawab Sahib Police said.
Muhammad first beat his niece and later strangled her to death before escaping from the village, police sources added.
After the news of Misbah’s death broke out in the village, the family initially tried to give an impression of suicide but torture marks on her body helped police crack the case.
According to the doctor who carried out Misbah’s post-mortem examination, her body carried marks of torture which suggested she had been mercilessly beaten before death.
The accused was later arrested from a nearby village as police carried out an intelligence-based raid during the early hours on Thursday. A local magistrate has handed him over to the police on a two-day physical remand while further investigations are underway.
200 Saudi Women Allowed By Courts to Travel Alone
29 July, 2016
JEDDAH: At least 200 Saudi women were permitted by courts to travel without guardians once or several times for the purpose of study, treatment or tourism.
More than 350 Saudi women had applied for travel permission in cases where they have custody of children or no longer have guardians.
The Human Rights Society received complaints and requests for intervention from 100 women who had been denied permission to travel by their guardians or ex-husbands.
Other requests were filed by widows whose sons denied them permission to travel.
Article 8 of the Travel Documents Regulations stipulates that a Saudi woman is to be granted a passport and, in the case of husband’s death, a legal document indicating the legal guardian is needed for travel.
Over 100 requests were filed with the Family Court by women in Jeddah alone.
The court requires two witnesses and it verifies the purpose of travel before granting permission. If there is no legal guardian, regulations stipulate that the woman is to be issued a passport in her region.
Meanwhile, the Justice Ministry is preparing to launch the electronic marriage contracts early next year.
The system, to be implemented in coordination with the national information system, will allow for marriage contracts to be authenticated at ministry courts immediately after being completed by the ma’zoun (sheikh overseeing the wedding).
Fingerprints of parties involved will be authenticated immediately, thus eliminating any potential contractual issues.
Legal sources say the system aims to “protect the rights of women, facilitate procedures, and prove their rights concerning inheritance and husbands’ non-compliance with the marriage contracts”.
Judges will be able to identify the rights and entitlements of women and other conditions stipulated in the marriage contract, such as marriage dowry, employment and other matters.
Lawyer and legal advisor Yousef Al-Jabr said implementation of the e-marriage contract is a strategic move that eliminates excessive amount of paperwork and maintains important information.
The new system will also help guarantee that contracts are properly written, as per the regulations, and in legible script, and are easily accessible if needed.
Behind Closed Doors: Virginity and Hymen Reconstruction in Morocco
29 July, 2016
Rabat – In a culture that expressly values female virginity, to not be a virgin at the time of marriage is grounds for divorce, shame, or even violence. If the fact that a woman is not a virgin comes to light, then her marriage could be rendered void and she, as well as her family, would receive great shame and scrutiny from the community. Noticeably, the sexual history of a man is rarely questioned or considered in marriage, and in fact there is encouragement of adolescent sexual activity through a narrow, virility-defined notion of masculinity.
The hymen is a thin membrane that partially covers the opening of the vagina and usually remains intact before sexual intercourse, though it can also be ruptured by extreme physical activity, a blunt force strike, or even just a simple bike ride.
Usually— though not always —the Hymen releases some amount of blood when it is broken. In traditional Moroccan culture, a women’s “purity” is, therefore, established on the first night of intercourse when the sheets are stained with blood. If that doesn’t quite cut it, a woman can receive a “virginity certificate” from a gynecologist to further make the case for her decency and purity prior to a marriage. Or, if the woman is comfortable with a little illusion, she can opt to buy a fake hymen for an affordable amount all over Morocco.
Although some more liberal Moroccan bachelors report that the issue of virginity is not important when considering marriage, the problem of establishing virginity at marriage remains a huge concern to many women. At risk is their social value, marriage prospects, family honor, and life as a functioning woman in Moroccan society.
The answer? Just put it all back together.
Hymen reconstruction is a short, relatively simple procedure that repairs the membrane. According to Dr. Mansur, a physician at the Hospital De Maternité Universitaire Souissi, who started to perform the procedure in 2000, the process is easy: “in a half hour, they have fixed a big problem in their life. In 90% of cases the operation is a success,” according to the Spanish daily El Pais.
In many parts of world, discreet hymen reconstruction procedures are rising at an incredible rate. Clinics openly advertise in Europe and North America, and clinics clandestinely operate all over the world from India to Argentina.
And yet despite the demand, information about hymen procedures is relatively non-existent or inaccessible at most health clinics in Morocco. It remains heavily stigmatized, with many doctors speaking up about it only on conditions of anonymity. Furthermore, it lies in a legal grey area. Although voluntary abortion is prohibited under Moroccan law, hymen reconstruction falls into a discreet category, according to a gynecologist in Casablanca. In her own words, “we do not scream from rooftops.”
Despite— or perhaps because of —the lack of publicity and stigmatization of the procedure, the internet has become the go-to source for all things related to hymen reconstruction. With a couple of key strokes, one can find information about local clinics, doctors, prices, and even connect with other women that have gone through the procedure. There are even tiers of operations, with a temporary— around two weeks —fix costing around €200 and a long-term fix costing between €500 and €800.
Even the healthcare providers themselves refuse to discuss details in person, instead directing potential patients towards their computers. Kamal Iraqui, a plastic surgeon in Casablanca whose clinic is repeatedly mentioned on dozens of online forums, refused a request for information by the Spanish Newspaper El País and just said “it is all online.”
The issue of establishing virginity will not be leaving Moroccan bedrooms or health centers anytime soon. Hymen reconstruction is placed squarely on the forefront of the contemporary culture debate surrounding sexuality, feminism, marriage, and a whole range of other social issues.
While that debate rages, the internet represents a gateway for potential patients to connect with professionals, seek answers, and find community. A necessary thing, for as long as the Janusian standard of virginity between men and women remains unchanged then the need will still be there lurking just out of sight.
Beat that! Egyptian women are world leaders in assaulting husbands
29 July, 2016
Cairo: While women in several male-dominated Muslim states live in deplorable conditions, their position is slightly different when it comes to Egypt.
Figures obtained from the Family Law Court in Egypt has revealed that nearly 28% of the Egyptian women beat their husbands.
African Girl, 16, Rescued From Early Marriage
29 July, 2016
A sixteen-year-old school girl has been rescued from potential forced marriage in Kumasi.
The student, who would be referred to as Zahra for the purpose of protecting her identity, was saved when the Department of Children got wind of his marriage and moved in to stop it.
Speaking to Joynews, Zahra who is in her first year in Senior High School says she has on several occasions opposed her parents desire to get her married to a Muslim cleric rather than attend school.
She says the only time she realised her parents were serious was when the man came to their house and requested her hand in marriage in front of her.
“I told my parents and the man I was not interested but they insisted I do it,” she said.
Joynews investigations reveal the parents had taken the bride price without the knowledge of the student.
The ceremony to bond her to the supposed husband was scheduled for Sunday, July 24 but had to be called off following the intervention of the Department.
The Regional Director of Department of Children explained a Good Samaritan hinted them resulting in their timely intervention.
She said Zahra has been kept at the Kumasi Children Home for three days to enable her to continue her education.
She says the Department has handed her to one of the uncle’s who is angry with what the parents wanted to do in Obuasi.
Friends and school authorities say the state intervention is timely to an event that could have truncated the aspirations of Zahra who wants to become a broadcaster.
One of the teachers who spoke to Joynews says the student has “potential to further her education and the marriage could have truncated her education.”
If Zahra had gone through the marriage process, she would have joined hundreds of thousands of girls who have fallen victims to what many people consider retrogressive cultural practice- early in a marriage.