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‘Burqini Day’ Plan for Muslim Women Sparks Outrage in Secular France

New Age Islam News Bureau

5 Aug 2016 

Photo: File photo of the Islamic full-length swimming suit known as Burqini displayed on mannequins at a sports store in Dubai. Awater park in France’s Marseille city has set September 10 as the ‘pool day’ for Muslim women wearing burqinis, sparking outrage in the country. (AFP)


 Two Muslim Women Who Work For US Government Escorted Off Plane As They Made Staff ‘Uncomfortable'

 Muslim-Majority Indonesia Outraged At 'Bikini' Snack

 Muslim Woman Thrown Out Of Family Store for Wearing Full Islamic Veil in USA

 Meet the 21 Year Old Pakistani Woman Who Qualified For the Olympics

 Chivvis Moore: Why We Need To Understand Muslim Women Better

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau




‘Burqini day’ plan for Muslim women sparks outrage in secular France

AFP, Marseille |  Updated: Aug 04, 2016

File photo of the Islamic full-length swimming suit known as Burqini displayed on mannequins at a sports store in Dubai. Awater park in France’s Marseille city has set September 10 as the ‘pool day’ for Muslim women wearing burqinis, sparking outrage in the country. (AFP)

Plans for a waterpark in Marseille to set aside a day just for Muslim women wearing burqinis - full-body swimsuits - sparked outrage in secular France on Thursday.

The “Pool Day” tentatively set for September 10 at the southern city’s Speedwater Park smacks of “dyed-in-the-wool communalism,” said Florian Philippot, a top advisor to far-right leader Marine Le Pen.

The event is the brainchild of Smile 13, a women’s association catering for Arabs in the port city, whose population of nearly two million includes around 220,000 Muslims, mainly of Algerian origin.

But Speedwater Park said the event has not yet been confirmed, although Smile 13 has begun accepting reservations online.

The water park said in a statement that it “understands” why the plan “is of particular interest to the media during an emotionally difficult period”, while noting that as a private company it had a right to hold a private event.

Criticism of the plan also came from the political left, with Senator Michel Amiel - who is mayor of the northern suburb, Les Pennes Mirabeau, where the waterpark is located - saying he would seek a ban.

“I am shocked and angry. I see this event as a provocation that we don’t need in the current climate,” he told the daily Aujourd’hui in the wake of two jihadist attacks that rocked France last month.

Valerie Boyer of the right-wing Republicans party said “there is nothing anodyne about... the battle of the veil”, which she called “the visible expression of fundamentalists’ wish to mark their territory.”

She said it was a way for “Islamism to wear a uniform and exert real social control.”

Islamic dress is a hot-button issue in France, where the full-face veil is banned in public places.

The appearance of high-fashion burqinis and hijab headscarves by designers targeting the Muslim market prompted French Family Minister Laurence Rossignol in March to liken Muslim women who wear the headscarf to “negroes who supported slavery”.

The following month Prime Minister Manuel Valls said the veil was being used as a political symbol for the “enslavement of women” and that it challenged France’s prized secular society.

Inter-faith solidarity

Senator Stephane Ravier of Le Pen’s National Front said the planned burqini day showed that despite assurances from the Muslim community following the terror attacks, “a certain number of Muslims voluntarily set themselves apart from... our society.”

Last month’s attacks -- the Bastille Day truck massacre that left 84 dead in the Riviera town of Nice, followed by the grisly knife murder of a priest near northern Rouen less than a fortnight later -- led to an outpouring of inter-faith solidarity.

Last Sunday, Muslims attended Catholic mass in churches around France, responding to a call by the French Muslim council to show “solidarity and compassion” over the priest’s murder.

Reverend Jean Rouet at Notre Dame church in southwestern Bordeaux welcomed the “occasion to show (Muslims) that we do not confuse Islam with Islamism, Muslim with jihadist”.

Socialist politician Stephane Mari worried that the burqini day would draw intensive media coverage.

If it goes ahead, it would “once again favour the party (that promotes) the values of hatred and exclusion,” he said in a reference to the xenophobic National Front.



Two Muslim women who work for US government escorted off plane as they made staff ‘uncomfortable'

Aug 5 2016

The two friends were escorted off the plane after one of them questioned why they had not been given water for hours on the tarmac, and were greeted by armed police officers

The two women were escorted off the plane and were greeted by armed police Niala Mohammad / Facebook

Two American Muslim women were asked to leave an American Airlines plane after one of them talked to another passenger about the lack of water and food and a flight attendant said they had made him feel “unsafe”.

Niala Mohammad, a journalist for the government-funded news outlet Voice of America, and her friend, who works for the federal government and did not want to be named, were travelling on an American Airlines flight from Miami to Washington when they were asked to disembark the plane.

Muslim woman kicked off plane as attendant 'did not feel comfortable'

Her friend and a white male passenger seated behind her started talking about the delay.

A male flight attendant allegedly approached her friend and said: “If you have a problem, you can get off the plane.”

He also accused her of “instigating” objections from other passengers and allegedly threatened to remove her from the plane.

Ms Mohammad was watching a Pakistani drama and took off her headphones to learn what had happened.

The friends took a picture of the male flight attendant to try and identify him as he was not wearing a badge and did not give them his name.

They were then told that taking a picture was a federal offence and were asked by a female attendant to delete the picture.

An American Airlines customer relations representative came on board and asked the two women to follow her off the plane, where they were greeted by armed air marshals and police officers. They told the women that the male flight attendant had felt threatened by them.

The male passenger they had talked to on board the plane was not asked to leave.

The two women were assigned seats on the next available flight, and offered a $200 credit voucher and $24 food voucher.

“Although we were encouraged to document the incident to AA customer relations, we still experienced insult and embarrassment as two minority Muslim-American women,” she wrote.

“For being such a ”threat“ to an AA attendant, it's telling that the Miami-Dade police officers joked with us and posed for this picture with the ”pretty harmless“ airplane menaces.”

American Airlines spokeswoman Alexis Aran Coello told The Independent that the passenger had violated the airline's policy of videotaping and taking pictures of an attendant even though he reportedly asked them to stop.

"This was a case of non-compliance. At no moment did discrimination come up, according to the passenger relations representative who was there," she said. "She told me they were very calm, very nice, they weren't upset. They didn't say they were being kicked off because they were Muslim. Those words never came out of their mouths. It's only now that she's saying this was an issue."

Ms Mohammad responded: "I'm really disappointed in American Airlines for not taking ownership of their mistake or reprimanding the airline attendant for his rude behaviour. I feel insulted and the non-compliance statement is a complete and utter lie."

The news comes as a couple of American Muslims were told to leave a Delta Air Lines flight in Paris after a flight attendant told the pilot that the passengers made her feel “uncomfortable”.

The husband and wife were allegedly singled out for removal by the pilot, and no other passengers were asked to leave.

The executive director of the Cincinnati branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) told The Independent that the married couple were flying home after enjoying a brief holiday in the French capital.

“They had to wait until the next day to fly home,” she said.

CAIR has filed a complaint to the department of transportation, alleging that the couple were religiously profiled after the flight attendant had expressed her concerns.

CAIR-Cincinnati staff lawyer Sana Hassan said: “We call on the US department of transportation to conduct a thorough examination into the prevailing practices of major American air carriers, including Delta Airlines, and to develop policy guidelines on the objective factors that are to be considered when determining that a passenger may legally be removed from a flight.”

Delta Air Lines spokesman Morgan Durrant said: "Delta Air Lines does not discriminate nor do we condone discrimination against any of our customers in regards to age, race, nationality, religion, sexual orientation or gender. We are concerned by the allegations and are looking into what transpired."



Muslim-majority Indonesia outraged at 'Bikini' snack

Posted 05 Aug

JAKARTA: A noodle snack with a picture of a bikini-clad woman on the packaging has triggered outrage in Muslim-majority Indonesia.

On Friday (Aug 5), consumer groups called for the product, which also bears the words "remas aku" or "squeeze me" in Bahasa Indonesia, to be pulled from shops.

The snack takes its name "Bikini" from the acronym for "bihun kekinian" or "trendy rice noodles". But the food, which can only be ordered online, sparked anger among conservative sections of society in Indonesia, which has the world's biggest Muslim population.

Tulus Abadi, executive chairman of the Indonesian Consumers Foundation, said that the name and packaging were "verging on pornography, and therefore it has to be pulled from the market".

Ridwan Kamil - the mayor of Bandung city on Java island, where the snack is believed to have been produced - also called for the food to be withdrawn from shops as it had "caused uneasiness in society".

The foundation, which managed to order some of the snacks earlier this week, said the maker had forged the "halal" label on the packaging. Such labelling is used on foods that are produced in line with Islamic law.

Indonesia's official Food and Drugs Monitoring Agency and local authorities are searching for the manufacturer of the snack in Bandung but have so far been unsuccessful after a three-day hunt.



Muslim Woman Thrown Out Of Family Store for Wearing Full Islamic Veil in USA

Aug 3, 2016

Sarah Zawjahtul AbdAllah Salaam was ordered to leave the discount store in Indiana, USA after the manager feared she was a robber.

The store manager took issue with the woman wearing a niqab and threatened to call the police on her.

The manager then ironically wished the woman "a blessed day".

over head scarfIG

Store manager kicks out Muslim woman over head scarf

The Muslim woman recorded the video of the confrontation at a Family Dollar store.

The video, uploaded on Monday evening onto the woman's Facebook, shows the store manager berating her for wearing the traditional religious veil.

The niqab she was wearing covered her mouth and nose.

The manager, known as Janie, said she feared the woman could be criminal who would steal from the store.

Janie said: “Ma’am, if you can’t remove that from your face I need you to leave the store."

Mrs Salaam then tells the woman that her headscarf is a religious garment.

The manager replied: “You have to understand, too, that this is a high-crime area where we get robbed a lot.

“You need to remove that from your face or remove yourself from the store.

"I’m the manager, and I’m telling you to leave my store.

"My name is Janie, and have a blessed day.”

yet to commentIG

Family Dollar have yet to comment

Mrs Salam continues to protest against the threat and condemns her discrimination.

She said: “This is a country with freedom of religion and freedom of speech.

"I have a right to wear whatever I want to wear. There’s women that come in here with bikini tops on."

But the war of words then escalate as the manager then threatens to call the police if Mrs Salaam doesn’t leave.

She can be heard saying: "I’ll have the cops come and remove you, thank you."

Indiana discount storeGETTY

A Muslim woman wearing a niqab was ordered to leave an Indiana discount store

The Muslim woman then gives up the fight before praying that "may Allah help this world" as she leaves.

Along with the video, she posted that she was "shaking" after the ordeal.

She said: "I've worn my garments for a long time. I have never been treated like this in any establishment. Ever."

Mrs Salaam said she stopped in to pick up charcoal for a family cookout when the verbal onslaught suddenly began.

Ahmed Rehab, from the the Council on American Islamic Relations, said: "It's not just a blatant violation of the civil rights laws of this country, but it's also a violation of the basic laws of decency and morality that you don't treat customers this way just because they have a different cultural background or a different religion."

The encounter has received more than 26,000 views so far but the chain store has yet to comment on the incident.



Meet the 21 year old Pakistani woman who qualified for the Olympics

Aug 5 2016

Sharmeen Obaid documents the first ever woman to qualify for the 10 Metre Air Rifle Category

Pakistan has seven representatives in the Rio Olympics 2016 and this young lady is one of them.

21-year-old Minhal Sohail is the first ever Pakistani woman to qualify for the 10 Metre Air Rifle Category for the Olympics.

Oscar-winning director Sharmeen Obaid has decided to document the women representing Pakistan in the Olympics. This is the first introductory short film and she introduced Minhal Sohail.

"We Pakistani girls are formidable and can do anything we put our minds to," says Minhal.

With the hashtag #DreamBigPakistan, Sharmeen wants to highlight the Pakistanis who believe in themselves and achieved their goals.

As Minhal points out, "I hope other Pakistani girls will be inspired by me and follow in my footsteps."

Sharmeen will be introducing us to another contestant withing this week.



Chivvis Moore: Why we need to understand Muslim women better

Aug 5 2016

The American author of First Tie Your Camel, Then Trust in God: An American Feminist in the Arab World lived in Middle Eastern countries for 16 years, working as a journalist, carpenter, and teacher, helping Arab women thrive in what Westerners assume to be exclusively misogynist environments.

"[Political scientist] Zillah Eisenstein uses the plural 'feminisms' to indicate that feminism in the West might not look like feminism to Muslims or women in other parts of the world," Moore explains.

"I like her definition: Feminisms belong to anyone who is committed to women's ability to choose their own destiny; to be the agents of their own life choices so long as they do not colonise another.

"I live my own version of feminism by supporting other women, wherever I encounter them, as they communicate and realise their own choices."

As a young carpenter, Moore, left, was drawn to the Arab world's architecture.

As a young carpenter, Moore, left, was drawn to the Arab world's architecture.

As a young carpenter, it was a love of architecture that took Moore to the Arab world – first to Cairo in the late 1970s, and later to Syria and the West Bank in the 1990s and 2000s – but her desire to make a societal contribution was deep-seated.

Moore lived in Brazil as a child and the impoverished favelas she walked by in Rio de Janeiro made a big impact on her.

"I was also touched, like many other US citizens of my generation," she explains, "with the tendency to assume that not only did we over-privileged Americans have a responsibility to try to 'change the world' and make it fairer for those without privilege, but also that whatever we chose to do would be useful."

The Western conception of women in Arab societies is that of powerlessness, but many of Moore's experiences challenged that.

Upon her arrival in Cairo, "I met a woman named Nahid. In striking contrast to the Western image of the helpless, unthinking, beaten-down Arab woman," Moore recalls.

"Nahid was a natural homegrown feminist, the first of the many women I met during my years in the Arab world whom I respected and admired for the strength, inner fortitude, and self-esteem that I came to see as characteristic of Arab women."

In fact, Moore found many similarities between Arab and Western women during her 16 years in the Middle East. The Arab women she met in Egypt, Syria, and the West Bank "confronted the whole array of challenges that all women, except the wealthy, have to face – having to work outside the home and yet do all the work inside the home as well," she says.

Moore never covered her head – as Westerners often think of as mandatory – in her decades living in three Muslim environments.

"Certainly, women in some Arab Muslim countries are required to veil, either by their families or by society, and it's hard to imagine at least some women not finding the all-enveloping outer garment, the burka, cumbersome and unwelcome," she says.

"But when I lived in Arab countries, I knew Muslim women who had taken up wearing the veil, although not required to wear it, in order to indicate their difference from Western ways.

"Others said they veiled to shield themselves from unwelcome advances from men on the street. Still, others covered themselves because they believed that God required of both men and women a certain modesty in dress, as set forth in the Koran.

"Most who make judgments about Arab women's lack of freedom blame it on Islam. But they don't know anything about the religion. They have neither studied it nor lived in Muslim countries."

Moore sees the current rhetoric that equates Islam to violence and repression as misguided Western constructs, fed by minority extremist groups such as Isis and the Taliban.

"Most Muslims want as little to do with the values of Isis or the Taliban as you or I," she says. "Why is Islam held responsible for the injustices in Muslim societies in ways Christianity is not held responsible for the evils in our own?"

Moore did not feel compelled to try and change the culture she was in, moreover, because it went against her personal ideal of feminism.

"I went to the Arab world to learn, not to convert people to any particular way of doing things," she says. "I felt strongly about this. I felt it would have been disrespectful to walk in and try to influence a culture that was not mine."

As Westerners, we should care more about all Middle Eastern people, Moore believes, because what is presented in the news – by way of terror, conflict, and wars – represents a skewed view of Arab society whereby average citizens are thought to hold the same beliefs are their leaders.

"I would resist having my values equated with those of my government," Moore explains, "and the populations that live under repressive kings and dictators in Arab countries feel the same."




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