New Age Islam News Bureau
27 Aug 2015
Marcy Borders took refuge in a nearby office building when New York's Twin Towers, where she worked for Bank of America, were attacked on September 11, 2001 (AFP Photo/Stan Honda)
• Muslims Not Doing ‘Enough’ To Fight IS: Jordan’s Queen
• Kuwaiti Recruits Women as Parliament Guards
• Her Highness Shaikha Fatima Hails Emirati’s Woman Day, Praises UAE Leadership
• ISNA Joins Campaign for Women-Friendly Mosques
• Basketball Players Rejoice Lifting Hijab Ban
• More Women Doctors Share Harassment Tales in Lahore
• Dust-Covered Woman from 9/11 Dies Of Cancer
• Businesswomen to Discuss Key Challenges As Saudi Kingdom Looks To Boost Female Workforce
• Dy Home Minister Is Sexist, Says PKR’s Women’s Chief
• Hope For Pakistani Acid Attack Victims
• Nigeria Marks 500 Days since Boko Haram Schoolgirl Abductions
• U.S and Qatar Conclude a Female Partner Force Engagement Expert Exchange
Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau
Call to Deport Immodestly Dressed Asian Women in Kuwait
August 27, 2015
Manama: A Kuwaiti lawmaker has called for deporting Asian women who go out in the evening wearing “scandalous clothes”, stressing there should be a zero tolerance towards anyone attempting to lure young people and corrupt society.
“I fully support any move to amend the law and toughen rules against those propagating vice and undermining morals,” MP Abdul Rahman Al Jiran said. “We obviously need to rectify the demographic situation to preserve the character of the Kuwaiti society. European countries are seriously considering tighter controls of their borders and sea coasts, while the initiative to revoke the passports of lawbreakers has gained momentum there and in the US as well, away from the focus of the media and the ostentatious fanfare of politicians,” he said in remarks published by Kuwaiti daily Al Rai on Thursday.
The lawmaker said Interior Minister Shaikh Mohammad Al Khalid and the ministries of social affairs and municipalities should reinvigorate the control and monitoring campaigns and inspection operations to ensure all health clubs and salons complied with the laws and regulations.
“The focus should be on suspicious places and in areas where residents have been angrily complaining about the presence of Asian women with outrageously shocking clothes in the late hours of the evening,” he said. “The law should be fully applied to make sure that the public values of the Kuwaiti society are upheld and that all foreigners respect the laws and order of the country. There is an urgent need to protect young people from negative and suspicious behaviours and attitudes,” he said.
Soliciting is strictly prohibited in Kuwait.
In May, security authorities arrested 83 European women suspected of online soliciting.
The women promoted themselves on social networks and said they wanted KD150 for illicit relations, security sources said.
The police monitored their moves until they were certain about their illegal activities, arrested them and referred them to the competent authorities, the sources added.
Muslims not doing ‘enough’ to fight IS: Jordan’s Queen
August 27, 2015
JOUY-EN-JOSAS, France : Queen Rania of Jordan said Wednesday that moderate Muslims were not doing enough to fight against IS jihadists and their “diabolical ideology.”
Speaking at a major French business gathering in Jouy-en-Josas near Paris, the 44-year-old said helping the Middle East’s youth was crucial in the fight against the extremist group, which controls swathes of Iraq and Syria on Jordan’s doorstep. “We are facing a time of great peril. Daesh, or the so-called Islamic State, continues to spread its diabolical ideology,” she said.
“Moderate Muslims the world over are not doing enough to win the ideological struggle at the heart of this battle. “We’re not actively helping Daesh, but we’re not actively stopping them either. We can’t stand against them until we as Muslims agree on what we stand for.” Queen Rania said focusing on the youth of the Middle East — many of whom are unemployed or forced to flee their countries — was a necessity.
They need “education, opportunities, work and also a little bit of luck, that someone believes in them.” According to the queen, some 100 million jobs must be created in the region by 2020, to avoid disaffected young people from joining the ranks of jihadists. “Failure is not an option because if we fail in the face of these extremists and if they win, the region will quickly be devastated.”
Kuwaiti recruits women as parliament guards
August 27, 2015
Manama: In a historic breakthrough for women, Kuwait is recruiting female guards for the parliament in a bid to improve the security system.
“Having women guards at the parliament has become an urgent necessity amid the security conditions and developments in the country,” Major General Khalid Al Waqeet, Assistant Secretary General for Parliament Security Guard Affairs, said.
“Allowing female volunteers to join the parliament’s guards, for the first time, aims to deal with changes that necessitate the development of the security system,” he told Kuwait News Agency (Kuna).
The women guards’ duties will include inspecting and frisking women, both staff and visitors, Al Waqeet said, adding that the new parliament building scheduled to be opened within six months will provide all the needs of the female guards.
“Young women who wish to apply for the position of guards at the parliament should hand in their requests by August 31,” he said.
Successful applicants will undergo training and will follow courses for one year in line with the educational requirements.
“The academic year for the guards will start in mid-September and will be divided into two semesters. It includes acquiring the aptitudes to deal and communicate with VIPs as well as common people and learning the skills to meet all the requirements to ensure that all security operations are up to the set standards,” Al Waqeet said.
Her Highness Shaikha Fatima Hails Emirati’s Woman Day, Praises UAE Leadership
August 26, 2015
Abu Dhabi: Emirati Women’s Day celebrations announced by Her Highness Shaikha Fatima Bint Mubarak, Chairwoman of the General Women’s Union (GWU), Supreme Chairwoman of the Family Development Foundation (FDF) and President of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, will kick off tomorrow (Friday).
“We greet Emirati women for their deep allegiance and genuine belonging, selflessness, generosity and constant readiness to defend the nation and national gains,” Shaikha Fatima said.
Shaikha Fatima also endorsed the logo for Emirati Women’s Day which symbolises the unique identity of Emirati women and depicts the country’s flag with an illustration of a woman on one section.
Earlier this year, August 28 was declared Emirati Women’s Day. The date marks the anniversary of the creation of the GWU in 1975, and is considered a chance to celebrate Emirati women’s achievements since the group was founded.
The establishment of the General Women’s Union on August 27, 1975, with the unlimited support of Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan and under the chairmanship of Shaikha Fatima, represented a starting point in the march of women’s progress and empowerment. The General Women’s Union has completed a continuous series of ambitious strategies, programmes and plans to strengthen the capacities of women and activate their role in community service, as well as promoting their position locally, regionally and internationally.
The National Strategy for the Advancement of Women, launched by Shaikha Fatima in 2002, is one of the major achievements of the march of the Union, most notably of all in the progress of women empowerment. The strategy provides a roadmap for the empowerment of women in eight main areas: education, health, economy, law-making, environment, social domain, information, political participation and decision-making.
The UAE was the first country in the region to launch such a strategy, keeping pace with strategies of international action for the advancement of women. It follows on from the National Plan of Action for Women in the UAE, approved by the General Women’s Union in 1999.
The GWU has continued its mission, thanks to the unlimited support of President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan; His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai; His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and Their Highnesses the Supreme Council Members and Rulers of the Emirates.
In the view of Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid, “The UAE went beyond the stage of women’s empowerment. We are now empowering the community through women. “We have exceeded the phase of the women’s empowerment, as we enable the community through women, and our economy to strengthen women to play a greater role in the development of our government services as they occupy the leading posts.”
Shaikh Mohammad said in his book, Flashes of Thought, “We launch development projects run by women. We develop our infrastructure, health and education services, even our military forces, depending on women in all these fields.”
The existence of women in all these fields is logical, as about 70 per cent of the graduates from universities today are women, he said.
Shaikha Fatima said that the concept of women’s empowerment in the UAE is no longer just a term or a theoretical concept, but has turned into a reality, embodied in the active participation of women in different spheres of public life, thanks to the wise leadership of Shaikh Khalifa and his vision and belief in the absolute necessity in investing in human capital as the most effective way of building the nation.
Today, women in the UAE are key partners in leading the drive towards sustainable development and occupy the highest positions in the executive, legislative and judicial sovereignty authorities, as well as having a strong presence in the Arab, regional and international women’s arenas.
The UAE’s efforts in the field of women’s empowerment is not restricted to achieving steady successes and achievements for Emirati women in all areas, but has also reached out to support of women in the region and the world in general, she said.
ISNA Joins Campaign for Women-Friendly Mosques
25 August 2015
CHICAGO – The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) has announced initiation of a campaign calling for inclusive, women-friendly mosques across North America to be expounded upon during a special session at its 52nd Annual Convention in Chicago over the Labor Day weekend.
“The campaign's goal is to realize the Prophetic model and calls upon all masajid [mosques] to ensure women are welcomed as an integral part of the masjid and encouraged to attend,” reads the statement prepared and endorsed by ISNA’s Task Force for Women-Friendly Masjids (a part of ISNA’s Masjid Development Committee), the Fiqh Council of North America and an initial list of 14 renown scholars.
#ISNA52Chicago aims to provide a platform for spiritual and intellectual conversations and discourse. The 2015 event will include a variety of renowned speakers, including over 80 women.
The campaign's official launch will take place on the opening night of the annual convention running from September 4-7.
The lack of inclusion of women in American mosques has led to growing calls for reform of the institution.
According to the a 2011 US Mosque Study titled, "Women and the American Mosque" published in 2013, approximately 63 percent of mosques surveyed scored “fair” or “poor” on a scale measuring friendliness toward female worshipers, with only 14 percent of mosques receiving an “excellent” rating.
The study also revealed that currently women comprise an average of only 18 percent of worshipers attending Friday prayer services, noting that this figure has not changed in the past decade.
Over the years, many Muslims have criticized the prayer space provided for women in mosques, but it was not until recently that the subject began to gain momentum in the narrative of the Muslim community.
Muslim Women and Men Speak Out
Catapulting the discussion forward, in 2013, Chicago blogger Hind Makki launched a blog titled "Side Entrance," inviting the global Muslim community to post photos from their local showcasing women's sacred spaces, in relation to men's spaces.
“We show the beautiful, the adequate and the pathetic,” reads the title on Makki's blog.
Her blog has been featured in the Huffington Post and her work has been lauded by other Muslim women as a much-needed initiative.
In further explaining the incentive behind her blog, Makki wrote, "There are many mosques around the world that boast incredible space for female congregants. Yet, in my experience, there are many more with inadequate or bad spaces for women. Still, other mosques bar women from entering altogether.
"The prayer experiences of many Muslim women are too often frustrating; mosques seem to be built to cater only to the male experience. Yet it is my optimistic belief that as more people see photos of the spaces women must pray in, and hear our stories, we will gain more male allies, who will collaborate with us to improve the situation."
Side Entrance blog contributor Ruwaida Gafoor stated, "I feel that many women in my community don’t attend the Jumuah salaah because we have been conditioned not to do so . Also the Masjid is designed in a way that deters women from attending."
While attempting to assuage critics, Makki doesn't hesitate in expressing appreciation for the beauty of mosques around the world, however, in a blog post titled, "70 Insanely Beautiful Mosques Around the World," she reflects that it would be negligent to not validate the unfairness of women having to worry about the individual attitudes or entry conditions of each specific mosque before they enter.
Elaborating, she wrote: "Each time I see a particularly stunning mosque, I immediately wonder, “Is there a women’s prayer area? Do they keep it unlocked during prayer times? If I were ever blessed to visit this beautiful mosque, would there be an adequate place for me to pray?
"Not having to immediately think about these questions when seeing a mosque you ache to pray in, that is Muslim male privilege."
As set out in an interview published by Patheos, Makki's blog was not the first discussion about the inequalities of women's prayer spaces.
Previously, there have been other blogs and numerous articles articulating the different perspectives; opinion pieces, a Muslim Matters post titled, "The Penalty Box" written by Canadian filmmaker Zarqa Nawazand, who also produced a documentary on the subject.
Additionally, Asra Nomani created an “Islamic Bill of Rights for Women in Mosques” in response to her own experience in American mosques.
But Makki’s idea to include and accept photo submissions fostered inclusion, heightening the narrative.
In exclusive comments to OnIslam.net, Dilshad D. Ali, managing editor of the Muslim Channel at Patheos.com stated, "Seeing our masajid becoming more inclusive of women and of other populations has been something I've yearned for. What I'd like masjid boards to know is that making our masajid more inclusive and friendly towards women creates a domino effect – it opens up the path to teach our masjid congregants – men and women – on how to be more family-friendly."
As the mother of a 15-year-old son with autism, Ali further stated that, "It helps special needs families feel more welcomed and included as well. When space for me is limited at our masjid, when divisions are enforced in ways that could be done way better, it makes it even harder for my husband and I to accommodate our family.
"I see a shift happening in perception and thinking, and I pray that it continues. Because the more our masjid boards and communities realize the importance of making our masjids inclusive to women in real and meaningful ways, the more they'll see how this is the gateway to so much more – to a fluid inclusivity for so many other communities and a real change in our thinking," she added.
In a Patheos blog post dated August 29, 2013, Muslimah Media Watch contributor, Shireen Ahmed, wrote: "In providing a platform through which Muslim women were afforded the opportunity to capture the environments under which they were subjected to for the purpose of worship, illustrated the challenges they face; giving voice to their concerns regarding mosque reform.
"Above all it, the Side Entrance campaign opened the door for the participation of women in the commentary on "Muslim Male Privilege", highlighting the need to include women in the greater discussion," she added.
Australian blogger, Alia Sarfraz blogged on August 21: "We need more open and engaging houses of worship where women and minorities are not second-class citizens in the masjid. This would set the tone for how women are treated at home by many Muslim men as well. The status quo is not what our Prophet (SAW) would have wanted. Nor should we want that. Reform will happen and is occurring through dialogue. Alhamdulillah."
"Islam gives equal status to men and women on a spiritual level as well as on the level of personhood. We are rewarded equally and punished equally for the same sins or good deeds. If there was any kind of diminished personal responsibility on the basis of gender, you'd see that reflected in the Quran, or the Hadiths, but it isn't," stated Karachi, Pakistan native and New York Times columnist Bina Shah in a February 2015 blog.
She added: "These are examples of how Muslim men can begin to undo their male privilege - by being flexible, by understanding that their individual cases must match the conditions set by the Quran, that these conditions do not translate to universal circumstances that can then be twisted and justified for anything less than the great spiritual benefit and mercy that God intended them to be.
"I do not believe that Islam set down rules that men could then use to their advantage, and torture women with for the rest of all eternity."
In the spirit of B. Deutsch's "The Male Privilege Checklist," blogger "Jamerican" (Shahidah), compiled a 16-point counter list - written from the perspective of a Muslim man - titled the "Muslim Male Privilege Checklist," in which she wrote: "As a Muslim man: I can set foot in any masjid I like. No one will stop me at the door and tell me that I am not allowed in the masjid.
"When I attend Jumah prayer I know that I will have full access to the main prayer hall. I can enter through the front door and I am not required to sit behind a partition, one-way mirror or placed in a separate room. Also, I can see and hear the Imam when he is giving the kutbah (sermon). I do not have to worry about a speaker or closed-circuit system malfunctioning thereby preventing me from hearing the kutbah or seeing the Imam."
"No Muslim-Man should feel that being a Muslim-male gives him the “privilege” to be a tyrant. And any/all those who advocate for this type of sadistic “privilege”, are people whom are guilty, in front of Allah, the Creator/Lord of the Universe," Muslim author, Gareth Bryant blogged.
Furthering the Campaign for Women-Friendly Mosques
The ISNA Task Force for Women-Friendly Masjids campaign for women friendly mosques, the will also be a call for “Women to have a prayer space in the main musalla (prayer hall) which is behind the lines of men but not behind a full barrier that disconnects women from the main musalla and prevents them from seeing the imam.”
ISNA's online statement further recommends that, “women actively participate in the decision-making process of the masjid, best realized by having women on the governing bodies of masajid.”
ISNA is the largest Muslim umbrella organization in North America.
Running from September 4-7 at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, in Rosemont, Illinois, the theme of this year’s event is: “Stories of Resilience: Strengthening the American Muslim Narrative.”
ISNA's four-day annual convention dates back to 1963, when the first such event was organized by the predecessor to ISNA, the Muslim Students Association of the United States and Canada.
The ISNA convention continues to rise in popularity among Muslim community members, consistently drawing crowds of up to 40,000 annually.
Basketball Players Rejoice Lifting Hijab Ban
26 August 2015
ISTANBUL – Rejoicing the decision to end hijab ban for basketball players, a Bosnian Muslim player has expressed happiness after receiving approval from the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) to don her hijab during matches.
"I am very happy. I have always fought for what I believe is right,” Bosnian professional basketball player Indira Kaljo told to Doğan Agency News on Wednesday, August 26.
Kaljo made her comments during her visit to the Turkish capital Istanbul, where she represents Saudi Arabia's female basketball team Jeddah United.
The 27-year-old player was among two female Muslim who called on FIBA, last August, to revoke the imposed hijab ban during matches.
“Two years ago, I decided to wear a headscarf. It was a personal decision, yet many people were against it at first. I was enjoying a good position in my career,” Kaljo said, adding that FIBA did not allow female and male players to wear headwear.
“A while later, I followed my heart and decided to wear a headscarf. I know being on the road to Allah would make me happy."
Offering a new hope for scores of veiled Muslim players, the world’s basketball body amended last September its rules to allow Islamic headscarf or hijab during official competitions on a trial basis, a decision welcomed by Muslim athletes.
"I either would fight to protect women's rights or retire. I always struggle for what I believe in and started a campaign to lift this ban on the Internet,” Kaljo said.
“We collected 70,000 signatures from women and men, either Muslim or not. The United States Olympic Committee applied to FIBA to lift the headscarf ban."
According to FIBA, the two years ban suspension was deemed as a "testing phase" that will be evaluated in 2015 and full reviewed in 2016.
Players in FIBA endorsed 3x3 competitions will be allowed to wear head cover without restrictions, according to the federation.
Before September, Islamic headscarf or hijab was banned in FIBA matches. The ban was justified by FIBA as a way to remain religiously neutral.
The Muslim player supports Stars of Basketball Hoop Project at Avcılar İmam-Hatip High School which includes 24 female students playing basketball.
The project, which is organized by Gül-Der Foundation, was given TL 80,000 ($27,300) by the Ministry of Youth and Sports.
"This month, we celebrate the first anniversary of this decision. Being in Istanbul and doing activities make me feel different,” she said.
“We can see players wearing headscarves from now on and in the future. It is very pleasing.”
Islam sees hijab as an obligatory code of dress, not a religious symbol displaying one’s affiliations.
More Women Doctors Share Harassment Tales in Lahore
August 27th, 2015
LAHORE: Initially, seven doctors mustered up the courage to speak up about certain unidentified people blackmailing them through stolen social media and mobile phone data. Now, more women doctors and medical students have come up with complaints about being blackmailed by some unidentified people.
Dr Salman Kazmi, a complainant in the case, says over 200 women were targeted and harassed. Of them, he says he told the police, 50 had either been deprived of money or blackmailed in other way.
The Gawalmandi police lodged on Wednesday a first information report under section 25-D of the Telegraph Act and 506 and 385 of the Pakistan Penal Code against unidentified people for harassing medical students and doctors of government teaching hospitals of Lahore.
Majority of victims from five hospitals
Dr Kazmi said a majority of the victims are from Fatima Jinnah Medical University, Mayo Hospital, Children’s Hospital, Jinnah Hospital, and Social Security Hospital.
He says the suspect had sent photoshopped work and other personal information of a doctor to her in-laws after she refused to accept his demands.
He said the suspect trapped a doctor of Mayo Hospital and met her at a fast food outlet. There, the doctor managed to take his picture by her mobile phone and shared it with her male colleagues to pass it on to law enforcement agencies.
“The identity of the cheater has been established,” Dr Kazmi said. The 25-year-old suspect is a resident of Toba Tek Singh. His other credentials like national identity card, passport, cell phone record and family background have been obtained by the officials of a sensitive agency.
He said the suspect had transferred phone balance to a doctor from a particular shop. That was a vital lead to trace the suspect.
Gawalmandi sub-inspector Abdul Majeed told Dawn the caller would use a SIM registered in the name of a woman of Muzaffargarh.
He said after collecting evidence, they would arrest the suspect who had gone underground.
Dr Usman, a relative of a victim doctor, said the suspect used to get access to Facebook and Whatsapp accounts of the targets by sending them a special code through a software.
As soon as the recipients accepted the code, data was transferred from the recipient’s phone to the suspect’s system.
An official of the cyber-crime wing of the Federal Investigation Agency said the complaints of social media accounts hacking had been surfacing all over the world. He said it would be premature to say anything in this particular case without analysing technology the cheater used.
Published in Dawn, August 27th, 2015
Dust-Covered Woman from 9/11 Dies Of Cancer
August 27, 2015
WASHINGTON: A survivor of the September 11, 2001 attacks on New York who was featured in one of the most haunting photographs of the outrage has died of stomach cancer. She was 42. The family of Marcy Borders first announced her death Monday on Facebook. Borders, who was 28 at the time of the attacks, was just one month into a job for Bank of America in one of the Twin Towers. As one of the towers collapsed, she took refuge in a nearby office building, where AFP photographer Stan Honda took a haunting photo of her completely covered in a thick layer of ash, which earned her the moniker "The Dust Lady."The air appeared heavy and a distraught Borders was shrouded in a cloud of dust and backlit by an eerie yellow luminescence.
"I can't believe my sister is gone," her brother Michael Borders wrote on Facebook, asking for people's prayers.
Her cousin Elnardo Borders wrote: "My emotions are all over the place right now." He later wrote: "She @ peace now!!!"
After the attacks, Borders spiralled into a decade-long deep depression and alcohol and drug abuse, though she eventually recovered.
She lost her job at Bank of America, where she ignored repeated offers of a transfer.
She spent much of her time sequestered in her two-room flat, in one of the poorer parts of Bayonne, a bedroom community in New Jersey over the bridge from Manhattan.
Something inside of her had died on that fateful day. "I still live in fear. I can't think about being there, in those targets, the bridges, the tunnels, the (subway) stations," she told AFP in a whisper in a March 2012 interview. "The father of my daughter took her ; I can't take care of myself, so I can't take care of her."
Her fridge was empty, and her television had long turned silent. "I used to watch TV a lot, the TV was never off," she said. "But now I fear that what happens in Jerusalem will happen here. All that violence... so I leave it off."
Borders was relying on her mother for food at the time and said no one had contacted her in the months that followed the attacks and her photo was beamed around the world.
No aid organizations helped her and no one had told her that mental services were available for free for 9/11 survivors.
"I basically do nothing. I stay indoors; I feel safe inside," she said. "I feel like I would have had to be killed in order for my daughter to get something.
"Sometimes, I think that you have to be the wife of a fire-fighter or a policeman to get money. It's so depressing; sometimes you're ready to kill yourself."
Borders went into rehab in 2011, and have said that news of the death of Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden helped her regain peace and recover from her trauma.
Her family said she had fought cancer for a year.
After her diagnosis, she suggested in interviews that her exposure to chemical pollutants emitted by the World Trade Centre collapse likely had a role in her illness.
Businesswomen To Discuss Key Challenges As Saudi Kingdom Looks To Boost Female Workforce
August 26, 2015
JEDDAH — Pearl Initiative, the leading independent private sector-led, not-for-profit organization working across the Gulf Region to influence and improve corporate accountability and transparency, has partnered with Binaa Wa Amal, a division of Construction Products Holding Company (CPC), a leading Saudi closed joint stock company specialized in manufacturing of quality construction products and exceptional services in the field of building material to host an executive women roundtable for Jeddah’s leading business women.
The event will focus on the findings of a recent report conducted by the Pearl Initiative, “Women’s Careers in the GCC: The CEO Agenda”, which examines the position of women on the corporate ladder across the region, and seeks to determine what can be done to increase equity in the workplace.
Saudi women hold 13 percent of national private and public sector jobs in the Kingdom, despite accounting for 51 percent of Saudi graduates, according to data from the Central Department of Statistics and Information.
Faysal Alaquil, CPC Director of Business Development & Chief of (Binaa Wa Amal), said: “At CPC, we recognize the importance of encouraging women in the workplace across Saudi Arabia and look forward to being an active partner in this effort. This roundtable will provide an excellent opportunity for Saudi businesswomen to share their career journey and share advice on how to be successful in the workplace.”
Commenting on the event, Imelda Dunlop, executive director of Pearl, said: “Diversity in leadership teams and on boards is an important corporate governance issue. It’s about building healthier and more competitive organizations, through improving corporate governance practices and high-performing leadership teams.
“Our report ‘Women’s Careers in the GCC: The CEO Agenda’ makes recommendations to CEOs in the Gulf Region on how to achieve better gender diversity at senior levels, based on the findings of an extensive survey and focus groups of over 600 women in managerial and senior leadership roles.
“We are proud to bring this roundtable to Jeddah in order to share our findings and recommendations with Saudi businesswomen. It will also be an excellent opportunity to understand their views about the challenges and opportunities that face women in the workforce, particularly in the Kingdom.”
CPC and The Pearl Initiative signed a memorandum of understanding in 2014 to work together to boost corporate governance efforts.
Dy Home Minister Is Sexist, Says PKR’s Women’s Chief
August 27, 2015
KUALA LUMPUR: PKR women’s chief Zuraida Kamaruddin today denounced Deputy Home Minister Nur Jazlan Mohamed as sexist for saying that Malaysia cannot escape racial politics due to demographic changes caused by the high fertility rate in Malays.
She accused Nur Jazlan of blaming Malaysian women and their newborn children for the country’s racially slanted policies, and asked whether he meant that Malay women had to stop giving birth before such policies would be abandoned.
“This is precisely the reason why we need to vote in more women MPs so that the laws are favourable to us,” she said in a press statement. “Most of the present lawmakers are Umno men. They make the law, then they blame the women.”
Zuraida pointed instead to Umno and the New Economic Policy (NEP), saying that the country’s still-existing racial politics were a product of the Malay party’s failure.
“Affirmative action policies exist in other parts of the world to help the minorities, but ours were formulated to secure the majority,” she said. “If the NEP has not helped the Malays even after 46 years, then surely there must be something wrong.
“In the 58 years that Umno has ruled, how much impact has it brought except for racial indoctrination in which Malays now think that subsidies are obligatory?”
Zuraida said that the government should realize that the Malays faced no threat from the minority communities.
“Quotas and entry barriers for other ethnic groups to participate in our country’s growth will only cause resentment, adverse effects and hinder unity,” she said.
She also criticized Nur Jazlan for saying that former opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim must be blamed for racial politics in Malaysia.
She said blaming Anwar for everything was the only thing that Umno knew how to do.
Hope for Pakistani acid attack victims
25 August 2015
It's estimated that up to 750 Pakistani women a year are victims of acid attacks. Such assaults, which can leave victims disfigured and socially ostracised, are often payback for refusing a man's advances or failing to provide an adequate dowry. Amanda Smith reports on Masarrat Misbah, a beauty shop owner on an unlikely quest to end the practice and help its victims.
An ordinary day at work can change your world forever.
That's what happened to Masarrat Misbah in 2003. Misbah runs a chain of beauty salons in Pakistan. One day, at closing time at her salon in Lahore, she was brought face-to-face with a shocking reality.
'Just as I was leaving my salon, a girl walked in, covered up in a burka and said she wanted my help.' Misbah asked her to return the next day. The young woman was insistent however, and took off her veil.
'As she removed her veil I just sat down, because I thought there was no life left in my legs. I saw in front of me a young girl who had no face.'
The woman had been the victim of an acid attack. Her nose had been destroyed, she had lost one eye and her chin was joined to her neck.
'She came to me because I am popular among the women for making them look beautiful and she thought that with makeup maybe I could change her looks and I could make her look, you know, beautiful,' says Misbah.
'That particular incident changed my life. I thought, my God, I complain, and the women and girls who come to the salon, they complain about one pimple or grey hair, or lines and wrinkles.'
Misbah wondered how many other women may be similarly afflicted and if so, whether she could help them. She placed a small advertisement in an Urdu newspaper saying that acid or kerosene burn victims could come to the salon for free medical care.
'I was in for yet another big surprise,' she says, 'because that day 42 women walked in.'
The experience led Misbah to start the Depilex Smile Again Foundation to raise funds to help such women with medical treatment and reconstructive surgery. Acid burn victims can need as many as 35 surgeries.
The charity also provides rehabilitation and vocational training.
Scholarships are arranged though the foundation for those who were previously studying and stopped due to their disfigurement.
The foundation also finds jobs for women—many of them train as beauty therapists and work in Misbah's salons. Others, whose families do not permit them to work away from home, are given help to start small businesses.
According to Misbah, creating the opportunity for the women to earn money is the key. By generating income, they can become valued members of their family once again and gain respect and confidence.
It seems uncomfortably contradictory, however, that these women whose faces have been so badly disfigured are working as beauticians, providing cosmetic treatments to other women. Misbah says that her clients are initially taken aback.
'I think for some very odd reasons our community, our women, have shut their eyes to such cases,' she says. Some clients ask to be treated by someone else, but Misbah refuses.
'I say, "You have a choice to go elsewhere, but these girls don't have a choice, so they remain here."
'This wave of awareness about this crime is so important for me, for all these girls.'
Sabira Sultana, Ayesha Bux and Masarat Misbah IMAGE: ACID BURN VICTIM SABIRA SULTANA, AYESHA BUX AND DIPLEX SMILE AGAIN FOUNDATION CHAIRPERSON MASARRAT MISBAH (AMANDA SMITH)
The deeper question is why the crime is perpetrated at all. Why would a man throw acid on the face of a woman? Misbah says it's often because the woman doesn't bring the expected dowry to her marriage.
'Sometimes the girl's family will make promises and say, let her be married to you and we will pay you some more later, and they are then unable to pay.'
Other times it's because the woman gives birth to girls rather than boys, refuses a man's advances or refuses to marry him.
'It's nothing to do with education, it's nothing to do with religion, it's everything to do with the ego of a man,' says Misbah.
Sabira Sultana, one of the hundreds of women who have been helped by the Depilex Smile Again Foundation, was doused in kerosene by her husband when her family could not provide a large enough dowry.
'He threw a liquid on me, which I thought was water, but it was kerosene oil that he lit, and that's when I realised—it was so painful.'
Sultana responded to Misbah's ad in the local newspaper and received treatment and eventually reconstructive surgery. 'I had lost my beauty, I was ostracised by the society, there was a lot of social stigma,' she says. 'I used to think a lot about my beauty gone.'
Through her contact with the foundation, Sultana met many other women who were also victims of acid and kerosene attacks.
'It helped me heal a lot, I realised there were others like me as well,' she says. It also made her want to help others. She's now the foundation's patient coordinator.
'I think it's a good thing I went through this because they can see me as a role model, and that gives them strength,' says Sultana. 'It's very important when people are negatively looking at them and asking them what did they do to get this.'
In 2011 the law in Pakistan was amended increase penalties for such attacks and compensation payable to victims. However, according to Misbah, justice is more often than not denied.
'Of the 627 girls who are registered with me, only 10 or 12 girls have gotten punishment for the perpetrator.'
Sultana sought justice for years. 'I went countless times to the courts in scorching hot weather—it's not easy for a burns victim to go like that—and the judge always used to delay.'
By the time cases are heard, witnesses have often disappeared or have been bribed not to appear. Sultana says this is why many victims do even attempt to seek justice: 'They stay at home.'
Both Sultana and Misbah have had their lives changed in ways they could never have imagined.
'I used to ask myself, why did it have to happen to me? Now, because I am so busy helping others, I don't think of my own trauma,' says Sultana. 'I don't think that my face is burnt anymore, I think I have a beautiful heart.'
For her part, Misbah says she regrets not realising the severity of the acid attack problem in her country sooner.
'I would like to eradicate this crime before I die because I don't want to be embarrassed in front of God or my daughters that I could and I did not,' she says. 'I am so ashamed that I did not see this earlier, so I'm trying my best to do something to help as many women as possible.'
Nigeria Marks 500 Days Since Boko Haram Schoolgirl Abductions
August 27, 2015
ABUJA: Relatives of more than 200 Nigerian schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram prepared today to mark 500 days since the abductions, with hope dwindling for their rescue despite a renewed push to end the insurgency.
The landmark comes amid a worsening security crisis in the northeast, where Islamists have stepped up deadly attacks since the inauguration of President Muhammadu Buhari, killing more than 1,000 people in three months.
Boko Haram fighters stormed the Government Secondary School in the remote town of Chibok in Borno state on the evening of April 14 last year, seizing 276 girls who were preparing for end-of-year exams.
Fifty-seven escaped but nothing has been heard of the 219 others since May last year, when about 100 of them appeared in a Boko Haram video, dressed in Muslim attire and reciting the Koran.
Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau has since said they have all converted to Islam and been "married off".
The Bring Back Our Girls social media and protest campaign has announced a youth march in the capital Abuja to mark the grim anniversary along with an evening candle-lit vigil.
Spokeswoman Aisha Yesufu said she was hopeful that the "right thing will be done" under the new regime of Buhari, who replaced Goodluck Jonathan on May 29, vowing to crush Boko Haram.
"We have a new government. Yes, we have seen the kind of things he has done, his body language, what he has said about our girls.
He has made them an issue," she told AFP.
"He has given his word that he will do all he can to ensure the girls are rescued, not only to their parents, but for them to go back to school and continue with their lives.
"So we are hopeful that the right things (will) be done but at the same time we Nigerians should understand that the rescue of the Chibok girls is not a privilege... It's their right as enshrined in the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria."
The mass abduction brought the brutality of the Islamist insurgency unprecedented worldwide attention and prompted a viral social media campaign demanding their release backed by personalities from US First Lady Michelle Obama to the actress Angelina Jolie.
Nigeria's government was criticised for its initial response to the crisis and Western powers, including the US, have offered logistical and military support to Nigeria's rescue effort, but there have been few signs of progress so far.
The military has said it knows where the girls are but has ruled out a rescue effort because of the dangers to the girls' lives.
Boko Haram, blamed for killing more than 15,000 people and forcing some 1.5 million to flee their homes in a six-year insurgency, has rampaged across Borno since Buhari's inauguration.
Global Sex Trade
The fresh wave of violence has dealt a setback to a four-country offensive launched in February that had chalked up a number of victories against the jihadists.
An 8,700-strong Multi-National Joint Task Force, drawing in Nigeria, Niger, Chad, Cameroon and Benin, is expected to go into action soon.
In a report published in April, Amnesty quoted a senior military officer as saying the girls were being held at different Boko Haram camps, including in Cameroon and possibly Chad.
The Chibok abduction was one of 38 it had documented since the beginning of last year, with women and girls who escaped saying they were subject to forced labour and marriage, as well as rape.
Fulan Nasrullah, a respected Nigerian security analyst and blogger who claims specialist knowledge of the inner workings of Boko Haram, told AFP there was "no hope" of ever recovering most of the Chibok girls.
"Most have had kids by now and are married to their captors. Many have been sold into the global sex trade and are probably prostituting in Sudan, Dubai, Cairo and other far flung places," he said.
"Some have been killed probably in attempts to escape, airstrikes on camps where they were being held, et cetera."
U.S and Qatar Conclude a Female Partner Force Engagement Expert Exchange
August 27th, 2015
DOHA, Qatar - Female personnel from the United States and Qatar concluded a two-week subject matter expert exchange focusing on personal security detail strategies, Aug. 9-20, 2015.
Today's closing ceremony attended by the United States Ambassador to Qatar, Dana Shell Smith, and Assistant Commanding General for Special Operations Command Central, Brig. Gen. Christopher Burns, as well as the Commander of the VIP Protection Department, Qatari Internal Security Forces marked the achievements of the bilateral exchange. Only the second of its kind in the host nation of Qatar, the exchange brought together over 30 personnel from the United States military and the Qatari Internal Security Forces.
The two-week engagement concentrated on marksmanship, medical preparedness, and VIP protection. Making note that this exchange took place during some of Qatar's hottest days, Smith directed her remarks to the participants, stating "This was no easy feat. But women are formidable, and you are proof of that."
This engagement supports Special Operations Command Central's ability to enable and support the goals and objectives of USCENTCOM. Female partner force engagement team subject matter expert exchanges expand levels of cooperation, while enhancing mutual capabilities, and interoperability between the United States and its international partners.
Smith reminded the attendees of the importance of, not only this engagement, but others like it, when she remarked, "new relationships have developed between individuals, between units, and between our nations. We are partners. Our continued commitment to one another is no exaggeration."