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Islam, Women and Feminism ( 2 May 2015, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Congo-Brazzaville Bans Islamic Face Veil in Public Places

 New Age Islam News Bureau

2 May 2015

French Muslim Girl Determined To Challenge 'Religious' Skirt Ban


 French Muslim Girl Determined To Challenge 'Religious' Skirt Ban

 40 Stores Shut Down For Not Hiring Saudi Women

 Moroccan Woman Leads to Arrest of Europe-wide Prostitution Ring

 2m Unmarried Saudi Men, Women; Costly Weddings Key Factor

 Pakistan: Women Banned From Voting In Gilgit Baltistan Constituency

 Texas Court Of Appeals Recognises Pakistani Divorce

 Shocking Image of Sleeping Baby Lying Beside Handgun and a Grenade

 Kurdistan Workers Party Women Wage War on Islamic State

 ‘Everyday, Muslim Women Are In the Trenches Working For Peace’: Forum

 Princess Hussa Bint Salman Launches Charitable Project

 Nigeria Urged To Act As Child Bride Languishes On Death Row

 Female ISIS Online Recruiter Was Identified As a Journalism Student in Seattle

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau





Congo-Brazzaville Bans Islamic Face Veil in Public Places

02 May, 2015

The authorities in Congo-Brazzaville have banned people from wearing the full-face Islamic veil, including the Niqab and the Burqa, in public places.

They have also banned Muslims from other countries spending nights in mosques.

They say the measures are designed to counter extremism.

Thousands of people, mostly Muslims, have fled violence in the neighbouring Central African Republic and have been taking shelter in mosques.

Congo-Brazzaville is thought to be the first country in the region to ban full face veils and Burqas, the most concealing of all Islamic veils.

A government spokesman said it was a secular country that respected all religions but added that some Muslim women had used the veil as a disguise in order to commit terrorist offences.

He said the government had banned spending the night in mosques because they were places for prayer, not sleep.

Less than 5% of the population of Congo-Brazzaville is Muslim.



French Muslim girl determined to challenge 'religious' skirt ban

02 May, 2015

Junior-high student, whose suspension from school for wearing long black skirt caused worldwide outrage, speaks to AA.

On a warm Thursday morning last month, 15-year-old Sarah started her typical one-hour journey to school.

The French Muslim girl of Algerian descent had grown accustomed to taking her headscarf off just before she stepped into Leo Lagrange junior-high school in Charleville-Mezieres.

Sarah has been wearing the hijab, Islamic veil, for the past year, but in order to receive an education, she was forced to take it off because of a 2004 French law that bans students from wearing any "conspicuous signs" of religion, such as headscarves, skullcaps or crucifixes at school.

On that mid-April day, however, she was in for a big surprise.

"I was getting ready to take off my headscarf as usual, before I saw the headmaster waiting for me a few meters outside the school," Sarah told The Anadolu Agency. "She approached me and asked me to go back home and change my outfit."

Sarah was wearing a long skirt. She was told her outfit was "too religious."

Because she lives far away, Sarah asked the principal to allow her in for the day, after promising to change her outfit the next day.

Her request was denied. The next day, she came in with pants. No problem.

But when she came back the next school day wearing a long black skirt, Sarah was banned again and sent back home with a letter to her parents.

"That was not a valid reason to suspend me," Sarah said. "The skirt is simply a style of dress, not an ostentatious sign. It is a beautiful skirt and I felt like wearing it."

Local French officials, however, have defended the principal's actions, saying they were in line with policy. 

"When it comes to concerted protest actions by students, which follow other more visible incidents linked for instance to wearing the veil, the secular framework for education must be firmly reminded and guaranteed," the regional education office in northern France’s Charleville-Mezieres town said in a statement Tuesday.

Sarah's story has caused outrage on social media platforms, with the hashtag #JePorteMaJupeCommeJeVeux (I wear my skirt as I please) going viral across the world.

Abdallah Zekri, president of the National Observatory against Islamophobia, told The Anadolu Agency on Wednesday that it was “outrageous and unacceptable” that a girl was suspended on the pretext of breaching principles of secularism.

“Wearing a long skirt is nothing ostentatious,” Zekri said. "The girl has respected the law by not wearing her headscarf inside the school, so I can't see which secularism they are speaking about."

"I believe I was suspended because the school administration knows I wear a headscarf outside," Sarah said. "Why were other girls who are non-Muslim but are wearing long skirts allowed in?"

Elsa Ray, spokeswoman for the Collective Against Islamophobia in France watchdog group, told The Anadolu Agency that Sarah's case was not an isolated incident.

"For the last two years, we dealt with hundreds of similar cases," Ray said. "In the last few months, several girls were excluded from classes for wearing skirts seen as too long in the southern city of Montpellier."

"Suspension from school for such a reason is against the law. It is an attack on the freedom of these girls, who have the right, as others, to dress the way they want," she added.

Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch, said on Twitter following the incident that France is "carrying secularism too far."

"I'm looking forward to going back to school to pursue my education and I’ll put on my skirt," Sarah said in a defying tone.

Asked what she would do if she gets suspended again, Sarah smiled and said, "Let's wait and see."

*Additional reporting by Feyzullah Yarımbaş and Dursun Aydemir



40 stores shut down for not hiring Saudi women

02 May, 2015

Al-Ahsa Municipality has closed down 40 stores for failing to hire women workers.

Maha Al-Sudairi, director of the municipality’s women directorate, said the inspectors would continue with their campaign until all stores abide by the law, according to a report in a local publication recently.

The municipality, in particular, wants business owners to ensure that stores selling maternity wear and abayas must have women employees, including facilities for rest and privacy.

Over the next two years, all stores selling women’s perfume, shoes, bags, socks, clothes and textiles must have women workers, as stipulated by the Labor Ministry, she said.

The ministry recently warned shop owners that they face heavy penalties for failure to comply with the regulations. These include fines of between SR3,000 and SR10,000 for every expatriate worker they have in their employ. They would also be denied recruitment and residence permit renewals.

According to reports, long working hours, evening shifts, lack of transport and low salaries are discouraging Saudi women from taking up jobs at stores selling female clothing and accessories.

Meanwhile, the municipality announced that there has been a 256 percent increase in calls in the first quarter of this year to its general and emergency operations center, on the number 940.

This was due to an increased awareness by citizens of this new service, which is aimed at reducing time and effort to visit the offices of the municipality, said Khalid Boshel, spokesman for the municipality. There were 12,191 calls last year, he said.

Bader Al-Balawi, director of central and emergency operations, said the automated interactive electronic system allows beneficiaries to communicate with the municipality without the need to visit in person.

The aim is part of the national government’s e-services initiatives. The services also include an SMS facility that informs citizens and residents of procedures directly on their mobile phones, he said.



Moroccan Woman Leads to Arrest of Europe-wide Prostitution Ring

02 May, 2015

Rabat- Police in Spain and Belgium have busted a prostitution ring that forced young women from Morocco and Romania to perform sex work.

The Guardia Civil and Belgian Police arrested the leader of the Europe-wide prostitution ring after one of the Moroccan women filed a complaint accusing him of ill-treatment.

The alleged ringleader has been identified as Belgian national Stefan René. He was arrested in the Costa del Sol in Malaga, Spain.

René prostituted up to 20 Moroccan and Romanian young women through three websites.

Spanish police said customers paid up to 200 Euros for the services of the girls and 50 Euros went straight into the pocket of the ringleader.

The young women were forced to have sex with five clients in one day. They were also deprived of food and suffered physical violence.

Other members of the prostitution ring were in charge of driving the young women to customers at different locations. Police believe the ringleader could make up to four thousand Euros a day from using the girls.

In addition to the ringleader, another Belgian and three Romanians were arrested in Belgium and Spain.



2m Unmarried Saudi Men, Women; Costly Weddings Key Factor

02 May, 2015

There are now 1.4 million women and 600,000 men who are unmarried in the country, according to statistics issued by the Ministry of Economy and Planning recently.

At a workshop held by the scientific endowment body at King Abdulaziz University (KAU), participants argued that there are several reasons for Saudis delaying their nuptials.

The high cost of weddings was the top reason, followed by issues over social class raised by parents, and men and women having unrealistic expectations of prospective partners. Fear of failure was also one of the major reasons.

Essam Kawthar, chief executive officer of the KAU endowment body, said that the workshop was held to find solutions to this phenomenon, which was a “worry for the entire Saudi society.”

Kawther said there are 45 fears about marriage, but participants only identified a few reasons that prevented people from tying the knot.

The fears include loss of career opportunities after marriage, partners concealing some physical and psychological problems, domestic violence and jealousy over a partner’s progress in life, he said.



Pakistan: Women Banned From Voting In Gilgit Baltistan Constituency

02 May, 2015

GILGIT: Pakistan’s four major political parties found themselves on same page to endorse a decree banning woman from using their right to vote in Gilgist Baltistan.

The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and the Jamiat Ulema-i- Islam-F supported a Fatwa issued by Ulema of constituency LA-17 that prevents women from casting their votes in the upcoming election on June 8th.

The decree was issued during a meeting at a local mosque where leaders of the four parties were also in attendance on Friday.

Haider Khan, Dr Muhammad Zaman, Rehmat Khaliq and Ghaffar Khan represented the PML-N, the PTI, the JUI and the PPP respectively.

Following the decree, more than 12,000 women of the Diamir area won’t be able to cast their votes.



Texas court of appeals recognises Pakistani divorce

02 May, 2015

A Texas Court of Appeals panel has upheld Pakistani divorce should be recognised under Texas law, according to the Washington Post.

Hearing a case of a Pakistani couple divorced in Pakistan but residing in the United States, the court said, “The question before the trial court was not whether the parties satisfied the statutory requirements to file a divorce petition in Texas, but whether to recognise the Pakistani divorce as a valid divorce that terminated Ashfaq’s marriage before Fariha filed her petition in Texas.”

Fariha Ashfaq and Mohammad Ashfaq were married in Pakistan in December 2007. After their marriage, Mohammad spent a few months with Fariha in Pakistan, then returned to his home in Fort Worth.

Fariha stayed in Pakistan till June 2009 when she was granted a visa to join Mohammad and they lived together in Fort Worth as husband and wife.

However, soon after, in late 2009 when the couple was visiting Pakistan, Mohammad divorced Fariha under the Pakistani law. Since then, both of them returned to the US and Mohammad remarried. But in 2011, Fariha petitioned for divorce in Texas and argued that the Pakistani divorce decree should not be recognised in Texas.

However, rejecting Fariha’s argument, a Texas court penal upheld under Pakistani law a Pakistani divorce can be granted whenever the parties are Pakistani residents or Pakistani citizens, “regardless of whether they live in another country, ‘whether permanently or for a fixed time.’”

Further, at the time of divorce, Fariha was at the time solely a Pakistani citizen and Mohammad a dual US-Pakistani citizen.

A witness testified Fariha’s parents accepted maher – a fixed dowry payment owed upon divorce and said it equates to acceptance of the divorce. She did not counter Mohammad’s argument at trial that her acceptance of the maher bars her from denying the validity of the divorce.

However, she argued that the Pakistani divorce should not have been recognised “because it denies due process and is fundamentally unfair” — thus distinguishing it from, say, Canadian, Mexican, English divorces, which are routinely recognised in Texas.



Shocking Image Of Sleeping Baby Lying Beside Handgun And A Grenade

02 May, 2015

Wrapped up snug and sound asleep, the angelic face on this adorable baby is enough to melt anyone's heart.

The rest of the picture, however, will send a shiver down your spine.

Disturbingly, the infant has been placed next to a hand gun and grenade and draped in a blanket with the sinister symbol of the Islamic State terror group.

The image, which has yet to be verified, was re-posted on Twitter by an anti-ISIS activist in Syria with the message: 'What will happen with this child?'

Abu Mohammed, an administrator for Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently (RIBSS), believes the baby is the latest in a line of children being forced to pose next to weapons by their jihadi parents.

The image appears to have originally been posted on the Twitter account of an ISIS sympathiser whose other posts include  

The image comes days after another RIBSS activist posted a picture of a baby sleeping next to a grenade, a handgun and what appears to be a birth certificate.

It was uploaded by Abu Ward Al-Raqqawi, a self-proclaimed 'founder of the Syrian revolution', with the warning: 'This child will be risk to you not just to us'. 

The images bear strong similarities to earlier ISIS propaganda which attempt to radicalise the next generation of jihadis.

Terror experts revealed to Daily Mail Australia earlier this week that such images attempt to showcase the group's supposed longevity.

The post says the newborn child is called 'Jrah', while its mother's name is 'Om' and its father's name is 'Abu.' It claims the certificate next to the baby is an 'ISIS issued ID for a child.'

The image was believed to be posted by Al-Raqqawi in the hope of garnering attention to the international threat posed by ISIS.

Australian National University terrorism expert Dr Clarke Jones told Daily Mail Australia the image appears to be authentic.

'By showing the birth certificate, and the fact that the group are indoctrinating babies, I think ISIS are indicating they will be around for a long time.'

'It's an interesting signal of life within the caliphate. Obviously by posting opposition to the Islamic State from within their borders the activist is operating with great risk.'

Jones said the post could be an international plea for military intervention on account of the rapid deterioration of life in Raqqa, the stronghold of the Islamic State.

Last September, a harrowing image was released by the group of a baby dressed as a fighter lying on an Islamic state flag next to grenades and automatic firearms.

In August, notorious Australian terrorist Khaled Sharrouf posted a Twitter image of his seven-year-old son holding the severed head of a Syrian soldier with the caption: 'That's my boy!' 

ISIS has made it a policy to groom children to take part in jihad, brainwashing them from a very young age.

Online propaganda is an integral part of this process, with the group using scores of social media accounts to disseminate their messages to youths around the world.



Kurdistan Workers Party Women Wage War on Islamic State

02 May, 2015

Women fighters at a Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militant base on Mount Sinjar in northwest Iraq, just like their male counterparts, have to be ready for action at any time. Smoke from the front line, marking their battle against Islamic State, which launched an assault on northern Iraq last summer, is visible from the base.

Reuters photographer Asmaa Waguih spent time with the women who have taken up arms.

As the pickup truck carrying the soldiers passed by the winding road on Mount Sinjar, northwest Iraq, a child on the roadside cheered the soldiers and raised his hands with the V-sign. He chanted, "Biji Scrok Apo", Kurdish for, "Long live Apo," referring to the jailed Kurdish militant leader Abdullah Ocalan.

Islamic State militants overpowered Kurdish forces in the Sinjar area of Iraq last August and proceeded to purge its Yazidi population - an ancient, predominantly Kurdish people who follow their own religion - killing hundreds and taking thousands captive.

I had asked to go to Mount Sinjar because I knew there were Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militant bases there and that women would be among the fighters. They were very kind and welcoming towards me but they had work to do.

Ever since the Islamic State took over Mount Sinjar and declared its cross-border caliphate last year, many minority Yazidis have joined forces with PKK fighters and Kurdish peshmerga fighters from Iraqi Kurdistan who defended their lands.

Grateful to the Kurds, many Yazidis decided to join with them to fight Islamic State and free the rest of Sinjar.

I didn't make it to the front line, which marks the battle against Islamic State, but I could see it from Mount Sinjar.

Male and women fighters worked together, side by side. All of the fighters, whether women or men, don’t get married, choosing to sacrifice their personal lives for the cause they believe in.

Many women I met were from families who were staunch supporters of the PKK, often with other members joining up. The fighters were willing to give up having a family of their own to defend their land, dying in the process if necessary.

Some of the women had cut links with home. The fighters came from different parts of Kurdistan but spoke a common dialect of Kurdish so they could understand each other.

They addressed each other as “comrade” and it was clear that they supported each other in whatever challenge they faced.

These women and their male counterparts are an example of what some may see as an extreme example of patriotism. They are very organized and strong-minded women.

It makes me feel that being a Kurd is something very unique. You always have another language and country that are part of your identity, while dreaming of a land of your own: an ideal that you’ll defend, come what may.



‘Everyday, Muslim Women Are In the Trenches Working For Peace’: Forum

02 May, 2015

Forum discusses their role in spreading a peaceful image of Islam and fighting extremism

Muslim women have a very important role to play in promoting peace in the Muslim community, and are already at the forefront, spreading a peaceful image of Islam; delegates were told on the third and concluding day of the Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies held in Abu Dhabi.

The event saw Muslim women from different professions and walks of life give their opinions on how best to promote peace, and counter the extremism that has emerged in certain sections of the Muslim community.

Aisha Al Adawiyyah, an American who embraced Islam, and is the founder of Muslim Women, Inc, in the US, told the audience, “Women are at the forefront of peace building and I don’t think we [truly] understand the significance of what this means. Every day, women are in the trenches working for peace, trying to keep their family whole, trying to find ways to protect their children, by giving them an education and a dignified, respectful life.”

Women accept the challenges they face, said Aisha. “We take on challenges that many are not inclined to take on.”

Al Adawiyyah also highlighted how Muslim women took part in inter-faith work, broke down barriers and created friendships.

“Muslim women are at the forefront of interfaith work. I live in New York, and have been involved in the interfaith movement for decades, and have found the more meaningful examples of interfaith work to be the ones that brought people from all faiths and backgrounds to the work that impacted peoples’ everyday lives at the grassroots level - that is where you connect with people. Supporting each other in our struggles and strife, we find friendship and love among those people.” she said.

She also called for Muslim women to be granted access to attain traditional scholarships, so that there could be Muslim female scholars, who become recognised and reputed in the community.

Leah Mammadova, President of the Balkan Muslim Women’s Conference, one of the speakers at the conference, said that one important pillar in preventing extremism, especially amongst women who have newly embraced Islam, is to provide them with a sound guidance of the religion to prevent them from being influenced or lured into extremism.

“We have a challenge of preventing Muslims from fundamentalism and extremism. These people can be called neo-Muslims - they created an ideal picture of Islam, and read a book telling them Islam should be like this or that, but they don’t have a real [Muslim] model to see or live by. Many times, they find a change in a radical way and move towards an extremist position.”

Scholars also have their role to play in helping these women, by correctly explaining Islamic concepts and principles.

“I propose that scholars compile the doubts and arguments in a book, and also gather the statements by extremist groups that are used to attract Muslim men and women to their cause. This requires a detailed study, of the statements and concepts which need to be explained to them. Unfortunately, extremists have taken Islamic principles ... to [use them] to victimise men and women. This plight should be addressed,” she said.



Princess Hussa bint Salman launches charitable project

02 May, 2015

Princess Hussa bint Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud recently launched the Makkah charitable investment project, comprising two hotels, to be named after Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman, and the late Prince Sultan, former crown prince and defense minister.

Addressing a charity fair in Makkah organized by the Disabled Children’s Association (DCA), Princess Hussa said the project’s first phase would include two towers; one for Panda and the other for Saudi Telecom Co.

Princess Hussa and other participants watched a documentary on the “Kheir Makkah” project whose revenue will be used to support the activities of DCA and its centers.

In her keynote speech at the ceremony, Princess Hussa emphasized the desire of Saudis to compete with one another in charitable activities inspired by the teachings of the Holy Qur’an and Sunnah, to support the poor and the needy.

Princess Hussa said God has given special talents and intelligence to the handicapped. “Individuals with special needs are neither lacking in humanity nor in capacities and are, therefore, capable of achieving success and showing creativity,” she explained.

She cited examples of several special-needs people who became successful and famous asa result of their hard work and special talents. “Imam Tirmidhi, one of the famous six authorities on Hadith, was blind but the God-given inner sight enabled him to become a distinguished figure In the Islamic history,” she pointed out. Other examples include the two distinguished Muslim clerics, the Kingdom’s former Grand Mufti, the late Sheikh Abdul Aziz Bin Baz, and the present Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al-Asheikh. Their loss of sight did not prevent them from becoming the fountains of light for the whole Muslim world, the princess said.

She said King Salman has instilled in his offspring the love for charitable activities.

“On behalf of the participants, I would like also to extend our thanks and gratitude to my dear brother Prince Sultan bin Salman, chairman of DCA, for his contributions to strengthen the organization,” she said, adding that DCA’s activities have spread all over the Kingdom during the past 30 years.

“Prince Sultan not only initiated a unique Saudi example in social and humanitarian work but also showed that Saudi women can play a major role in DCA’s management. Today, the number of female employees in all its branches exceeds that of male employees,” she said.

Princess Hussa highlighted the increasing role of Saudi women in charitable work. She congratulated Dr. Najlaa Reda for being the first Saudi woman to become the director of a DCA center, representing the Makkah region.

She commended the government’s support to the handicapped and other special-needs people.

Princess Hussa also took the opportunity to remember the mothers, sisters and daughters of Saudi soldiers and security officers who became martyrs while fighting the Houthi militia during the Operation Decisive Storm.

She thanked God for the victory achieved by the Saudi-led coalition and congratulated King Salman, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Naif and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and all Saudi citizens for the victory.

Dr. Najlaa said the DCA has been providing health care, education and training to the handicapped. The Makkah center of the DCA was established in 1419H at a cost of SR15 million and can take care of 200 children.



Nigeria urged to act as child bride languishes on death row

02 May, 2015

The Nigerian government is violating its own laws by keeping a child bride on death row for murdering her husband almost a year after a regional court dismissed the sentence handed down to her, according to a coalition of human rights campaigners.

Maimuna Abdulmumini, 22, accused of burning her husband to death as a teenager, remains in prison today despite the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) Court of Justice ruling in June 2014 that the decision by a court in the north of the country to impose the death penalty was a violation of her fundamental rights.

As the one year anniversary of the ruling approaches, Amnesty International has released a strongly worded statement calling on the Nigerian government to curtail forced marriage as a matter of urgency and abolish the death penalty.

“Nigeria has a great deal of work to do to improve its record on human rights, particularly when it comes to the rights of women and girls,” says a spokeswoman for Amnesty International UK.

“The gender gap last year was shocking. According to the UN’s Gender Equality Index, Nigeria featured 152 on the list of 187 countries.

“An immediate way in which the new government can improve the human rights situation is to abolish the death penalty, and do more to stop early and forced marriage taking place.”

Avocats Sans Frontières (ASF), who filed the case with the Ecowas court and has campaigned for Abdulmumini’s release for over a year, add that “it would be unacceptable for Maimuna Abdulmumini to remain on death row”.

Abdulmumini was 13 when her husband, Ibrahim, burned to death in their marital home. For the five months they were married, their relationship was characterised by systemic abuse, according to Abdulmumini’s lawyers. In response to questions posed by the Guardian and asked through her legal team, Abdulmumini herself said that her husband was “violent” to her in the the time they were married and suffered from a mental illness.

After a legal process dragged on for five years, Abdulmumini was convicted of murder and sentenced to death in December 2012. She has been in prison at Katsina state jail ever since, her mental state gradually deteriorating as she shares an already cramped cell with five other condemned women.

“Although our team has been at her side during all the proceeding initiated before the Ecowas Court, one can hardly imagine how frustrating it is for Maimuna Abdulmumini not to see yet the practical impact of the judgement,” explains Angela Uwandu, from ASF Nigeria.

Born and raised in small village in Katsina state, in northern Nigeria, Abdulmumini received a limited formal education in a two-classroom school. Her only lessons were focused on learning the English alphabet and studying Islam, with her subject being Arabic.

When she turned her 13, her parents told her she would be married. In northern Nigeria, where senators marry teenagers, this wasn’t out of the ordinary; 17% of girls in the country are married before the age of 15, according to the charity Girls Not Brides. In the Muslim-dominated part of the country, nearly half of girls are married by the age of 15 and 78% are married by the time they hit 18. All of this is despite child marriage being prohibited under Nigerian law more than a decade ago.

In 2003, the Child Rights Act, raised the minimum age of marriage for girls to 18, but due to the west African country’s complex federalised system, only 24 of Nigeria’s 36 states have passed the legislation.

In the years following her husband’s death and her trial, Abdulmumini remarried and had a child, Habiba.

In a criminal trial in northern Nigeria, Abdulmumini’s age at the time of the crime was not taken into account. This is despite the death sentence being prohibited for under-18s under international law.

Oliver Robertson, the death penalty and alternatives project manager at Penalty Reform International, says “it is recognised worldwide that people must not be sentenced to death for crimes committed before they were 18.”

“This applies in all circumstances, regardless of whether local laws state that girls are considered adult when they marry.”

Mr Robertson suggests that Nigeria is failing to meet it’s obligations under international law in it’s handling of the case.

“The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which Nigeria has ratified, is unequivocal about this, stating: ‘Neither capital punishment nor life imprisonment without possibility of release shall be imposed for offences committed by persons below 18 years of age’,” he explains.

“A key reason why the death penalty is banned for offences committed while a child is that children are still developing, and so are more able to reform and change. Killing them prevents any chance of making a better life for themselves, and for their family.

Abdulmumini’s case has so far failed to gain attention in the international media, beyond stories by the Guardian.

This is in contrast to other death penalty cases in Nigeria which have been subject to lengthy campaigns by western NGOs.

Last year, Amnesty campaigned successfully for the release of Thankgod Ebhos, a Nigerian man who spent 19 years on death row and was seconds away from being executed before an intervention by the Ecowas court.

Traumatised by her time in prison and unable to see her young daughter, Abdulmumini is desperate to be free and reconnect with Habiba.

As Robertson argues, states which have signed up to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child have an obligation to take into account the interests of children of prisoners when deciding on sentences.

“Countries have an obligation under the Convention on the Rights of the Child to consider the best interests of the child in all situations that concern them: the possible execution of a child’s mother undoubtedly passes that test,” he says.

“Children are not bargaining chips used by defendants to gain support or sympathy. They are individuals with their own rights and needs, and these rights and needs must be considered by the court.”



Female ISIS Online Recruiter Was Identified As a Journalism Student in Seattle

02 May, 2015

On April 28, a high-ranking female ISIS officer wielding more than 8,000 followers on Twitter and primarily tasked with recruiting women to join the terror group was identified by Channel 4 News as a journalism student in her early 20s living in Seattle.

The now-suspended Twitter handle "@_UmmWaqqas" reportedly belongs to Rawdah Abdisalaam, although it was not confirmed that she is the sole operator, Channel 4 News reports.

The account avatar shows a woman covered from head-to-toe in traditional Islamic garb sitting next to a tree.

According to the report, the account's content ranges from inspirational Islamic quotes to coordination with potential new members to pictures of pizza and her favorite football team, the Denver Broncos.

Channel 4 News claims they identified Rawdah by matching several photos to locations either in Seattle or nearby.

In March, the news organization was able to contact her via Twitter for a conversation in which she reportedly said, "[the media doesn't care about Syria because] they get paid by the Jewish Israelis to keep their mouth shut about certain topics."

When asked if she was from Seattle she replied 5 minutes later and said "bye," Channel 4 News reports.