New Age Islam News Bureau
14 Jun 2016
Photo: Burning girls who marry by choice against Islam: Sunni Ittehad Council
• London’s Muslim Mayor to Ban Sexualised Images of Women
• Muslim Women’s Fight against Dark Age
• The Muslim World Should Embrace Homosexual and Female Imams
• Trump Wants to Ban Muslim Immigrants to Protect Gay and Women's Rights
Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau
Burning Girls Who Marry By Choice against Islam: Sunni Ittehad Council
June 13, 2016
ISLAMABAD (News Desk) – Responding to the recent burning incident in Lahore, top clerics of the Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) have issued a fatwa, calling the burning of women who marry by choice an un-Islamic and unpardonable act.
The fatwa was unanimously issued by around 40 scholars on the appeal of Sunni Ulema Council chairman Sahibzada Hamid Raza.
In the fatwa, all of the scholars agreed that Islam doesn’t prohibit a mature woman from marrying someone by her choice.
“Burning the girls or women for doing so, is categorically against Islamic teachings and practices,” they maintained.
The scholars have also urged federal and provincial governments of the country to take serious action against those committing such crimes by implementing proper legislation, adding that the protection of women’s rights is the obligation of an Islamic state (caliphate).
Terming the recent burning of a teenage girl by her mother for marrying by choice a horrific incident, the Ulema said that such incidents reveal that the country was moving towards degradation.
London’s Muslim Mayor to Ban Sexualised Images of Women
June 13, 2016
London’s first ever Muslim Mayor is set to ban images of ‘unrealistic’ scantily clad women from ads on public transport, which could see the city adopt some of the most censorious policies in the Western world.
Sadiq Khan argued for the move by appropriating the language of feminism, claiming that alluring images of beautiful women could make them “ashamed of their bodies”.
Ironically, the policy is likely to please both the misogynistic Islamist and prudish, third wave feminist, whose ends appear increasingly similar.
The announcement comes five years after suspected Islamists began painting over images of bikini clad women in Tower Hamlets in East London, and last year after feminists began similarly defacing images of women in bikinis on London transport.
Images of women are banned in public across large parts of the Muslim world, and the phenomenon is now spreading in the Western world.
Germany’s ‘progressive’ Justice Minister, Heiko Maas, recently promised to ban ads which “reduce women or men to sexual objects” in an attempt to create a “modern gender image” following the mass sex attacks on New Year’s Eve in Cologne, committed by mostly Muslim migrants.
The London Mayor echoed these sentiments. He said in a statement: “As the father of two teenage girls, I am extremely concerned about this kind of advertising which can demean people, particularly women, and make them ashamed of their bodies. It is high time it came to an end.
“Nobody should feel pressurised, while they travel on the tube or bus, into unrealistic expectations surrounding their bodies and I want to send a clear message to the advertising industry about this.”
Transport for London commercial development director, Graeme Craig, said:
“Advertising on our network is unlike TV, online and print media. Our customers cannot simply switch off or turn a page if an advertisement offends or upsets them and we have a duty to ensure the copy we carry reflects that unique environment.”
In April of this year, the UK’s advertising watchdog announced an investigation into the “objectification and sexualisation of women in ads” because of an “increasing political and public debate” driven by “offended” feminists on social media.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) had already started banning ads featuring attractive women, that supposedly cause “offence, or harm”. Such censorship may now become routine, as the ASA claims it is “alive to changing attitudes and behaviours”.
The development follows the controversy surrounding Protein World last year — a fitness company that put up billboards in London showing a woman in a bikini beside the words: “Are you beach body ready?”
Feminists and so-called social justice warriors started an aggressive online campaign against the ads, which was picked up by the liberal media leading to more than 70,000 people signing a petition against the image.
Muslim Women’s Fight against Dark Age
June 14, 2016
Noted script writer Rahi Masum Raza in his book “Adha Gaon” based in the backdrop of Muslim society has written something that describes the condition of women in the Muslim society. He writes, “Men would always peep here and there, flirt and will have concubines”.
There is urgent need to improve the condition of Muslim which is possible only when Muslim women’s condition improves. It needs radical reforms in the Muslim society. And their biggest challenge is to get rid of divorce from men who can leave his wife by simply saying “talaq” three times. No case, no reason, just by whims and fancy Muslim men can get divorce by saying” Talaq, Talaq, Talaq”.
Muslim women wake up
Now Muslims women have risen against the dark-age practice of triple Talaq in the society and have waged protest against the archaic law. Women have launched movement to break the sackles of the practice of triple Talaq which is gradually becoming an all India movement against the practice. No doubt, the condition of Muslim women is worse than non-Muslim women in the country’. Just for the shake of it in Islam, status of women is great. It says there is heaven at the feet of mother and any defiance of mother is a serious crime. Brother can sacrifice his life for the honour of his sister. As wife she is the precious gift to a man. It is said that most the Shariat – Islamic laws- were framed keeping in mind to safeguard the interests of women. But in reality, women are totally dependent on men, be he father, brother or husband.
Look at these fake leaders
As the movement against triple Talaq is gathering momentum, some Muslim leaders are saying that it is being whipped by the Sangh. It is being said so because the Muslim Mahila Sangh, an outfit of the RSS has taken the issue to the Supreme Court of India pleading to annul the law of divorce that a man gets simply by uttering ‘Talaq, Talaq, Talaq’. The President of the Muslim Mahila Sangh, Uttar Pradesh unit in her petition before the Supreme Court has said that the practice of triple Talaq does not come under the purview of law of divorce as mentioned in the “Quran”. Muslim women are suffering and are being subjected to miseries because of the practice of triple Talaq. It must end.
Those who know the Muslim society admit that the system of marriage, divorce and alimony is heavily tilted against women. A divorce is forced to lead a life full of miseries and depravity, worse than the life of animal.
In her petition Faiz has cited the example of a case from western Uttar Pradesh which is unbelievable. In Muzaffarnagar, in the year 2005, a man raped his daughter-in-law. The local clerics instead of punishing the guilty father-in-law issued a fatwa against the women who was raped. The Fatwa dictated that the victim woman should treat her husband as son. What a justice? It is worse than the situation when human beings were uncivilized and lived in the stone-age. It is indeed unfortunate that the Muslim society in India is blind to such barbarous law.
The practice of triple Talaq is prevalent among the Sunni Muslims in India and in South Asian countries. In this age of internet many Muslim men are using video calls and internet messages to get rid of their wives.
Noted Hindi novelist Shani in his novel “Kala Jal” has given vivid description of verbal abuse that a married woman has to face in her husband’s house.
Recently, a non-government organization Indian Muslim Women Movement sought the opinion of som 4710 Muslim women on the practice of triple Talaq. Women gave vent to their plight. More than 55 percent of women were married at the age of 18 and roughly 44 percent of married women don’t have ‘Nikahnama” the marriage certificate with them, the survey says.
A novel by Abdul Bismillah titled” Jhini Jhini Bini Chunaria” gives better insight to the plight of Muslim women in North India. The writer has described the condition of wage earning Muslim family where women are second and third rate members of the family. A woman character in the novel says, “what is the role of a woman, cook food, sleep on bed with husband, give birth to children and serve the man as bonded labourer. If you fail in your duty or in the estimation of your husband then face..talaq talaq talaq”. A Muslim friend of mine says even “Allah does not like talaq”.
Khalid in his book “Saat Nadiyan Ek Samundar” says it is difficult to understand a woman, she would bear atrocities but would not say her tormentor a tormentor”.
The Muslim World Should Embrace Homosexual and Female Imams
June 14, 2016
Having been a teacher since 1994 I can sufficiently speak about the transformation that has occurred in the teacher-student dynamic from authoritarian and the coercion of corporate punishment to one of rapport and bonding with the students. These days we do not call ourselves as teachers but facilitators, the principal is known as the head teacher and never fails to take the opportunity to do what every teacher first started to do - teach in a classroom.
Contrary to what many opinionators think of me as an insignificant teacher, I have been able to make a difference in the lives of many - for the sheer fact that we are surrogate mothers and fathers in a way.
In a subcontinent which believes the teacher/guru is divine and heaven lies at the feet of the guru (male or female), it is actually an ancient tradition that teachers are the progressive movers and shakers of civilisation. So is the same with Imams, priests or rabbis or 'Pujaris' of various monotheistic or polytheistic religions. I am excluding 'godmen' and 'pirs' from this because of the statistical evidence of their con jobs and exploitation of people's fears.
Imams are more than prayer leading figures, they become marriage counsellors, confidants, friends, and activists over their lifetimes much like the priests and rabbis in other Abrahamic religions. Though the meaning of an imam is most commonly in the context of a worship leader of a mosque and Muslim community by Sunni Muslims, yet the growing number of believers has expanded their role much more than that especially in the wake of radical Islam and its spread through mosques and seminaries (madrasas).
An imam is selected at the community level. Members of the community choose someone who is considered knowledgeable and wise. The imam should know and understand the Quran, and be able to recite it correctly and beautifully. The imam is a respected member of the community. In some communities, an imam may be specifically recruited and hired, and may have undergone some special training. In other (smaller) cities, imams are often chosen from among the existing members of the Muslim community. There is no universal governing body to supervise imams; this is done at the community level.
The primary responsibility of an imam is to lead Islamic worship services. In fact, the word imam itself means to stand in front of in Arabic, referring to the placement of the imam in front of the worshippers during prayer. The imam recites the verses and words of prayer, either aloud or silently depending on the prayer, and the people follow his movements. During the service, he stands to face away from the worshipers, toward the direction of Makkah.
For each of the five daily prayers, the imam is present at the mosque to lead the prayers. On Friday, the imam also usually delivers the khutba (sermon). The imam may also lead the taraweeh (nightly prayers during Ramadan), either alone or with a partner to share the duty. The imam also leads all other special prayers, such as for funerals, prayers for rain, prayers during an eclipse, and more. In addition to being a prayer leader, the imam may also serve as a member of the larger leadership team in a Muslim community. As a respected member of the community, the imam's counseling may be sought in personal or religious matters. One may ask him for spiritual advice, help with a family issue, or in other times of need. The imam may be involved in visiting the sick, engaging in inter-faith service programs, officiating marriages, and organizing educational gatherings in the mosque.
In modern times, the imam is increasingly in a position to educate and reform youth away from radical or extremist viewpoints. Imams reach out to youth, inspire them in peaceful pursuits, and teach them the correct understanding of Islam - in the hopes that they will not fall prey to misguided teachings and resort to violence. In the home, a member of a family will serve as the imam if they pray together. This honor is usually given to an older family member but sometimes is given to younger children to encourage them in their spiritual growth. Among Shia Muslims, the concept of an imam takes on a more central clerical position. They believe that their specific imams were chosen by God to be perfect examples for the faithful. They must be followed since they were appointed by God and are free from sin. This belief is rejected by the majority of Muslims (Sunni).
There are openly gay imams today. In the United States, there is Daiyee Abdullah, Muhsin Hendricks in South Africa, Ludovic-Mohamed Zahed in France, El-Farouk Khaki in Canada, Rahal Eks in Germany, Nur Warsame, in Australia. We now have women imams too - Raheel Raza, a rights activist, and Toronto - based author, became the first Muslim-born woman to lead a mixed-gender British congregation through Friday prayers at a small prayer session in Oxford in 2010.
Scandinavia’s first female-led mosque has opened in Copenhagen in a bid to challenge “patriarchal structures” and create debate and dialogue. Sherin Khankan, the founder, born in Denmark to a Syrian father and a Finnish mother, said that while all activities at the Mariam mosque except Friday prayers would be open to both men and women, all imams would be female. In China, Wangjia Alley mosque is said to be the oldest surviving women's mosque in Kaifeng, built in 1820. The BBC News Service (bbc.com/news/magazine-35629565) in its February 2016 article documented the tradition.
As to how the tradition of women's mosques started, we have to go back to the founding of the Ming Dynasty in the late 1300s, when the Muslim community - previously favoured guests - suddenly became an anxious and oppressed minority. Responding to the shock of the alien Mongol occupation, the early Ming rulers waged a chauvinistic war against non-Han peoples. Minorities now aroused hostility and suspicion and were subject to a brutal policy of assimilation - the Muslims were told they must marry Han people and not among themselves.
So the 15th Century was almost catastrophic for Chinese Islam. But in the late 16th Century things improved and among the Muslims a new cultural movement began, a revival of Islamic culture and education. A century later Chinese Muslim philosophers were able to write erudite books showing how you could be a loyal Muslim and also loyal to the Chinese state. And at this point, at the grassroots, men realised how important women could be in preserving and transmitting the faith. So women's mosques grew out of a double movement in the Chinese Muslim world – the need to preserve the community and the desire for women's education.
Guo Jingfang and her friends in Kaifeng think that the schools came first, and then became full mosques in the 18th Century. Education still has a big role today, from basic teaching to copying texts.
‘When our mothers were girls it was the only place where poor Muslim women could receive an education: the women did it together, women supporting women, said one of the women chatting in the mosque's courtyard. "In some places in the Muslim world it is not allowed, but here we think it a good thing. Women have had a better status here since 1949 and this is part of it.’
One of the women mentioned the progressive ideas of the Islamic Association of Kaifeng, which gets men and women to work together on new education projects. "China is changing and these are good things for the future," she said. Later, in the main women's mosque, everyone joined in the prayers, and the men in our crew were invited too, visitors from afar.
So coming back to the acceptance of homosexual and female imams. In the wake of the Orlando shooting, it is important that gay rights be accepted and gays seen as individuals with rights. Like Faisal Saed Al Mutar, activist and founder of Global Secular Humanist Movement says, "If religions don't modernize to accept LGBT & women's rights, then religions need to die, not people.
Trump wants to ban Muslim immigrants to protect gay and women's rights
June 14, 2016
In his speech today at Saint Anselm College in New Hampshire, Donald Trump advocated banning Muslims from the Middle East and South Asia from emigrating to the United States. That’s a step down from his plan last December to block all Muslims from entering the United States, but it would still put the United States on a war footing with Muslims and also put the American state in the business of judging churches. In addition, Trump sounded an ominous note by insinuating (without evidence) that American Muslims were aware of the terrorists in their midst, but were not reporting them to authorities.
In framing the threat of radical Islam, however, Trump took a tack that may have surprised his audience and not have pleased some Republicans. Trump portrayed himself as a defender of LGBT and women’s rights against radical Islam. He said, “ Ournation stands together in solidarity with the members of Orlando's LGBT Community. A radical Islamic terrorist targeted the nightclub not only because he wanted to kill Americans, but in order to execute gay and lesbian citizens because of their sexual orientation… It is an assault on the ability of free people to live their lives, love who they want and express their identity…Radical Islam is anti-woman, anti-gay and anti-American.”
Trump also got in a dig at Hillary Clinton by maintaining that he was in fact a greater supporter of gay and women’s rights than she was: “Ask yourself, who is really the friend of women and the LGBT community, Donald Trump with his actions, or Hillary Clinton with her words? Clinton wants to allow Radical Islamic terrorists to pour into our country—they enslave women, and murder gays. I don’t want them in our country.”
Trump’s stand on blocking immigration from Muslims because they oppose women’s and gay rights puts him in line with some European rightwing populists like Holland’s Geert Wilders and his Freedom Party. That probably won't win him a lot of support from feminists and members of the LGBT community who are likely to oppose his blanket stand against Muslims and have not been thrilled by his attitude toward women. But his stance for gay rights won’t win him a lot of friends in his own party. As news of the massacre in Orlando broke, Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, whose opinions probably reflected other religious right Republicans, tweeted and wrote on Facebook a Bible verse: "Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows."
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