New Age Islam News Bureau
21 October 2020
• Saudi Women’s Summit Must Defend Imprisoned Saudi Women: HRW
• Female Domestic Workers Regularly Abused In Qatar: Report
• ‘41% of the G20 Saudi Secretariat Are Women’
• Eleven Afghan Women Killed Nearby Pakistan Consulate
• Lahore CCPO Hurls Abuses at Woman Complainant
• Saudi Arabia Appoints Second Female Ambassador Amal Yahya Al-Moallimi to Norway
Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau
Cyclist in Najafabad, Iran, Detained For Breaking Islamic Law on Hijab for Women
20 October 2020
A still from the video apparently showing the woman riding a bicycle without wearing a head covering in Najafabad. Photograph: AlinejadMasih/Twitter
A young woman has been arrested in central Iran for "insulting the Islamic hijab", state media said Tuesday, after a video appeared to show her cycling without a veil.
"A person who had recently violated norms and insulted the Islamic veil in this region has been arrested," Mojataba Raei, governor of Najafabad, told IRNA news agency.
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A short video shot with a mobile phone was circulated Monday on social media networks showing a bare-headed woman cycling in front of a mosque.
The long-haired woman, whose head was pixelated, appeared to raise her right arm in the air from time to time as she rode the bike.
IRNA said the video of the woman "riding her bike without a veil in the main square" and "in front of a big mosque" provoked protests from residents and clerics in Najafabad.
Under Islamic law in force in Iran since its 1979 revolution, women must wear a hijab that covers the head and neck and that conceals their hair.
But many women have pushed the boundaries over the past two decades by allowing their veils to slide back and reveal more hair, especially in Tehran and other major cities.
"Her motive for committing this action is being investigated," the governor of Najafabad said, without disclosing the detained woman's identity.
"The residents of this city are holding a protest rally today (after) the unprecedented violation of norms," he added.
Saudi Women’s Summit Must Defend Imprisoned Saudi Women: HRW
20 Oct 2020
Demonstrators from Amnesty International stage a protest on International Women's Day for Saudi women [File: Benoit Tessier/Reuters]
The Women 20 Summit (W20) hosted virtually by Saudi Arabia this month must be used to speak up for jailed Saudi women’s rights champions, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said, calling on participants to refuse to play a role in the kingdom’s “whitewashing efforts”.
Attendees of W20 – a summit that is sponsored by the Group of 20 (G20) coalition of nations and that makes sure gender considerations are reflected in world leaders’ agendas and policy commitments – must advocate for the end of all discrimination against Saudi women, HRW said in a statement on Tuesday.
“The Saudi government’s use of women’s rights to divert attention from other serious abuses is well-documented,” it said.
“Recent changes, including the right to drive and to travel without male guardian permission, might be significant but do not hide the fact that some of the women who campaigned for these changes still languish behind bars.”
HRW said participants should be aware of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s government’s crackdown against women’s rights activists.
“Beginning in May 2018, authorities arrested prominent activist Loujain al-Hathloul and several others, just weeks before the driving ban was lifted,” the group said.
“Al-Hathloul, well-known for her campaigning against the driving ban, was held incommunicado for three months following her arrest, and family members say that authorities subjected her to electric shocks, whippings, and sexual harassment in detention.”
According to HRW, others have faced the same or similar abuse.
Refuse to whitewash
“While courageous women are subjected to torture for peaceful activities, the Saudi government seeks to assert itself on the international stage as a ‘reforming’ power’,” HRW said.
W20 participants should not play a role in Saudi Arabia’s “whitewashing efforts” and must use their platform to speak up for Saudi women’s rights champions, HRW said.
“If they are committed to ‘realising opportunities for all’, that includes all Saudi women activists behind bars, and numerous unnamed victims of discrimination,” the statement said.
Female Domestic Workers Regularly Abused In Qatar: Report
October 20, 2020
LONDON: Female migrant workers in Qatar regularly suffer extreme abuse and are frequently overworked, according to a report published on Tuesday by Amnesty International.
The report, which surveyed the experiences of 105 female migrant domestic workers in the Gulf state, said some were forced to work excessive hours, were not paid properly, were denied food, and suffered severe physical mistreatment at the hands of employers, including sexual assault.
It documented instances of regular beatings suffered by 15 of the women, with 40 saying they had been slapped, spat at or had their hair pulled. Most were frequently insulted; one said she had been treated “like a dog” by her employer.
Another said her employer had threatened to cut out her tongue and kill her. “I am only a (maid), I cannot do anything,” she told Amnesty.
Eighty-seven of the 105 said their passports had been confiscated by their employers, preventing them from returning home, and they were offered no protection by Qatari authorities.
Ninety of the women interviewed said they worked for over 14 hours per day, and half said 18-hour days were normal — double the standard hours stipulated in their contracts. Many had never received days off.
Five of the women surveyed by Amnesty said they have suffered sexual abuse at the hands of employers or their family members, with one adding that she had witnessed the son of her employer raping another domestic worker.
She and her colleague were offered money by the employer to keep quiet. When they went to the police instead, she said, they were accused of making the story up.
Qatar is thought to have around 173,000 migrant domestic workers and as many as 2.7 foreign workers overall, making up nearly 90 percent of the country’s population, with most coming from India, Nepal, Bangladesh and the Philippines.
Qatar has been dogged by allegations of systematic mistreatment of such workers, including denying them the right to set up unions, or to return home without their employer’s permission for years.
International focus has been drawn to the way the country has treated migrant laborers since Qatar was awarded the right to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
Problems persist, including late or non-payment of wages, inadequate housing and exploitative behavior by employers.
Despite moves to bring in such functions as a minimum wage and the 2017 Domestic Workers Law, which ostensibly guaranteed rights on issues such as working hours, breaks, days off and holidays, most measures are not enforced and migrant domestic workers in particular have been left behind, Amnesty said.
“The women we spoke to were resilient and independent — they had left their homes and traveled halfway across the world. Instead of being isolated and silenced, these women should be given a voice so they can advocate for their rights,” said Steve Cockburn, Amnesty’s head of economic and social justice.
“Domestic workers told us they were working an average of 16 hours a day, every day of the week, far more than the law allows. Almost all had their passport confiscated by their employers, and others described not getting their salaries and being subjected to vicious insults and assaults,” he added.
“The overall picture is of a system which continues to allow employers to treat domestic workers not as human beings, but as possessions. Despite efforts to reform labor laws, Qatar is still failing the most vulnerable women in the country.”
A Qatari government statement said allegations raised by the report will be investigated to ensure “all guilty parties” are held to account.
“If proven to be true, the allegations made by the individuals interviewed … constitute serious violations of Qatari law and must be dealt with accordingly,” the statement added.
‘41% of the G20 Saudi Secretariat are women’
October 20, 2020
By Anas Alyusuf
PARIS — Forty one percent of the G20 Saudi Secretariat employees are women, G20 Executive Director Reem Al-Frayan said during a virtual conference on Monday.
Al-Frayan shared figures from the Saudi development scenes, spanning sports to politics with the audience in a talk titled “G20: French Saudi Women”, organized by the Saudi Embassy in France.
The talk discussed a range of subjects — tackling everything from automation in tomorrow’s jobs to maternity leave policy.
“We also note great advances for Saudi women in the sports sphere: ⅓ Saudi athletes present at the last Olympic Games were women,” Al-Frayan added.
The Saudi Permanent Delegate to the UNESCO Princess Haifaa Al-Mogrin led the discussion on women’s empowerment.
Princess Haifaa pointed it out that ”a central theme of G20 meetings on which Saudi Arabia presides this year,” reporting impressive figures: 59% of students enrolled in computer sciences degrees are female.
Princess Haifaa said: “A lack of access to opportunities currently costs the global economy 15% of its GDP,” something which can be diminished by a better grasp of future-proof tools and skills, from basic financial literacy to leadership skills.
Dr. Hala Al-Tuwaijri, head of the Women’s Empowerment Team at the G20 and secretary-general of the Saudi Family Affairs Council, broke down the readiness of Saudi women on the socio-economic level to meet goals such as the 30% inclusion rate of women in the workplace by 2030.
“Since 2016, women are 90% beneficiaries of family loans in Saudi Arabia,” Al-Tuwaijri said.
“In 10 years, there are + 35% of women entrepreneurs in the Kingdom. All of this will lead to strict gender equality in terms of rights, services and opportunities.”
The Presidency of the G20 by Saudi Arabia in 2020 is historic. This is for the very first time that a country in the Middle East has hosted the presidency of the G20, Al-Tuwaijri explained.
Dr. Hoda Alhelaissi, a member of the Shoura Council, demonstrates the thoroughness of the sweeping reforms across Saudi Arabia with regards to women.
She said some 5.5 million over the age of 20 have been positively impacted by the society’s transformation.
French deputy member Amelia Lakrafi and VP of the Saudi-French Friendship Committee addressed the global pay gap between men and women.
He stressed the importance of women finding their place in the economy for increased competitiveness and thus development. — SG
Eleven Afghan Women Killed Nearby Pakistan Consulate
21 October 2020
At least 11 Afghan women were killed Wednesday in a stampede at a stadium in an eastern province where thousands had gathered to apply for visas at a nearby Pakistan consulate, officials said.
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Many people were trampled when they tried to exit the stadium in the city of Jalalabad, the capital of Nangarhar province, leaving 10 others injured including eight women, provincial hospital spokesman Zaher Adel said.
A security official also confirmed the toll.
Lahore CCPO Hurls Abuses at Woman Complainant
21 Oct 2020
LAHORE: An alleged audio leak of Lahore Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) Umar Sheikh in which he can be heard hurling abuses at a woman who contacted him by phone for help went viral on social media on Tuesday.
The woman had sought the police chief help for ‘an impartial’ probe into the detention of her husband in a ‘fake’ narcotics case. The CCPO, according to a TV channel, described the leak as another conspiracy against him.
The woman contacted the CCPO by phone and introduced herself as ‘N’ (the real name withheld) from Raiwind. As she tried to narrate ‘injustice’ meted out to her by a sub-inspector of the Adda Plot police post, the CCPO abused her for calling him.
Earlier, in her written complaint to the CCPO, the complainant said the SI had picked up her husband from their Raiwind residence and drove him to Lahore.
Later, she received a call from the SI who demanded Rs3 million for the safe release of her husband and threatened to implicate him in a drug trafficking case.
She further claimed the police official warned her if she reported the matter to his senior command, he would ask his maternal uncle working as SHO in Kasur to lodge a criminal case against her husband.
The woman said the SI asked her to hand over the money to two local residents.
The woman said she later sold her only house at a throwaway price of Rs2 million and gave Rs1.6 million to the two men.
Despite all, she said the police official lodged a case against her husband claiming that he had registered a weak FIR, giving favour to her husband against the bribe he got from her.
Meanwhile, the Lahore SSP discipline and the Saddar SP probed the matter and in their separate reports, declared the allegations of the woman false.
Not satisfied with the findings, the woman said she contacted the CCPO who had made his mobile phone number public asking the people to contact him directly on finding no justice from the police.
The Lahore police, in its statement released to the media, clarified that the husband of the woman was a habitual criminal and drug pusher.
The police said the family was earlier living in Kasur where many cases were registered against the accused. Even the Pakistan (Punjab) Rangers had lodged some criminal cases against him and his accomplice.
Later, the family left Kasur and started living in Raiwind where the accused again started drug supply business.
The Lahore police claimed that the woman had knowingly filed a complaint against the SI to put pressure on him to release her husband. It said since the woman had been contacting the CCPO from multiple mobile phones to get a favour, Mr Sheikh had asked her not to contact him again.
Since his posting as the CCPO some two months ago, Umar Sheikh had faced criticism for his insulting behaviour towards his officers. His ‘offensive utterances’ shortly after his posting had made Shoib Dastgir to quit as the Punjab IGP, with the PTI government standing behind the CCPO.
Saudi Arabia Appoints Second Female Ambassador Amal Yahya Al-Moallimi to Norway
21 October 2020
Saudi Arabia appointed its second female ambassador, Amal Yahya al-Moallimi, as ambassador to Norway on Tuesday, according to the Saudi Press Agency (SPA).
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The first woman to hold such a position is Princess Reema bint Bandar, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the US.
Al-Moallimi was one of many new ambassador-designates that took the oath of office virtually on Tuesday before King Salman, in the presence of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, SPA reported.
Other Ambassador-designates who took the oath of office were:
• Dr. Saad bin Abdulrahman al-Ammar, Ambassador-designate to Greece. • Azzam bin Abdulkarim al-Qain, Ambassador-designated to Spain.
• Dr. Abdulaziz bin Ali al-Saqr, Ambassador-designated to Tunisia.
• Dr. Saleh bin Hamad al-Suhaibani, Saudi Arabia’s Permanent Representative to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
• Ziyad bin Maashi al-Attiyah, Ambassador-designate to Netherlands.
The Kingdom’s Ambassador-designates to Maldives, Hungary, Nigeria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Uganda, and Mexico also took the oath of office before King Salman.
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