New Age Islam
Wed Aug 12 2020, 10:22 PM

Islam, Women and Feminism ( 17 Feb 2017, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Dial-a-Fatwa: This Female Hotline Answers Women's Questions about Islam















Dial-a-Fatwa, Dolores Johnson/The National

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Using the Words of Islam, an Iraqi Princess Fights for Women in Science

Jewish and Muslim Women Hold Prayer Vigil Together in Martinsville

Congress Nikita Nikam Dons Hijab during BMC Election Campaigning

Woman Arrested for Hate Crime after Vandalizing Islamic Centre with Bacon

How a Hijab-Friendly Brooklyn Salon Became A Space For Women's Empowerment

Muslim Women Share Smiles, Sweets on Family Day

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islam,-women-and-feminism/new-age-islam-news-bureau/dial-a-fatwa--this-female-hotline-answers-women-s-questions-about-islam/d/110125


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Dial-a-Fatwa: This Female Hotline Answers Women's Questions About Islam

Feb 17, 2017

"Can I divorce my husband if he's having an affair?" "What are the rules about abortion?" "Can I play sports without wearing a hijab?" These are some of the questions posed by women calling in to the Middle East's only "fatwa hotline"—a telephone help line staffed by Muslim female scholars aiming to educate women on their rights according to the genuine rules of Islam. The hotline, based in the United Arab Emirates and funded by the moderate UAE government, launched eight years ago, but it has seen a rapid increase in the number of callers in the past two years owing to the rise of jihadist groups such as Islamic State.

"There are many conflicting beliefs about what women can and cannot do due to religious hard-liners who want to restrict women's freedoms," says Sheikha Radia, one of the four full-time, paid female Islamic experts who answer the hotline's 200 calls per day.

The scholars listen to callers' dilemmas and then issue fatwas, or religious rulings, to help them know what to do. "We give advice based on the direct teachings of the Prophet Muhammad, which are based on fairness to women, so they can avoid fear and confusion," Radia explains. Many of the callers, who can choose to remain anonymous, are young women who want to pursue education and careers outside the home without violating the religious rules, while others call to ask about sex or other sensitive matters— questions they are too embarrassed to ask male religious leaders. "Nothing is taboo for us, because we understand women's issues," says Radia.

So, is it permissible for a woman to divorce a philandering husband? "It depends on the exact situation. Usually we don't condone divorce," she says. "But our basic message to Muslim women is that they often have much more power and freedom than they think."

http://www.marieclaire.com/culture/news/a25436/fatwa-hotline-female-muslim-questions/

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Using The Words Of Islam, An Iraqi Princess Fights For Women In Science

2/17/17

Nisreen El-Hashemite seems an unlikely champion of women in science. First, there’s her genetics. The granddaughter of Faisal I, the first king of modern Iraq, El-Hashemite is a princess. Also, she is Muslim. Her family traces its roots to the great-grandfather of the Prophet Muhammad, founder of Islam. Extreme forms of Islam are known to oppress women and prevent the education of young girls. The Islamic State militant group, also known as ISIS, has declared that women should have no pursuits outside of the home, and girls should end their education by age 15 and be married soon after.

Yet El-Hashemite has become a vocal proponent of gender equality in science, and she’s using the words of Islam against those who would have it otherwise.

El-Hashemite has already fought her own battle to become a woman in science. She is a geneticist who holds both an M.D. and a Ph.D. She spent years working as a physician and scientist at University College London and then researching genetics at Harvard Medical School. But her heritage nearly prevented her career. “My title was an obstacle,” she says. “In a world that looks at you by image, not for who you are, titles are a problem.” She was told that female royalty didn’t attend medical school, a message not delivered to her three older brothers. “Society has a difficult time absorbing the idea of a princess and a doctor,” she says.

After entering the workforce—she’s been living off her own salary since 1997—she faced the same problems other female scientists face. Her pay was less than that of her male colleagues doing the same or similar work. She had to fight harder for grant money and promotions. She credits her success to standing up not only for her rights but for those of all women. “I always take the initiative because I believe that will create a change not only for me but for others,” she says.

The underrepresentation of women in scientific careers is well documented. According to a recent UNESCO report, women account for 28 percent of scientists worldwide. Although just as many women as men earn doctorate degrees in science and engineering in the U.S., only about 21 percent of science professors in the country are women. And these women earn about a third less than their male counterparts. In Europe, 89 percent of senior university faculty are men. These proportions are echoed in every region of the world.

That gap is not present during early education. Girls do just as well as boys in math and science through high school. The separation begins during college. In the U.S., as many women as men earn bachelor degrees, but fewer focus on computer science, physical science and mathematics. The disparity is firmly established by the time women begin working. The cascade of recent reports of sexual harassment of women who do work in science further darkens the view.

Disturbed by this imbalance, El-Hashemite left her academic position in 2007 and began working closely with the Royal Academy of Science International Trust—a nongovernmental organization founded by her father, Faisal I’s second son. She also began leading RASIT’s Women in Science International League, a program designed to promote women working in science, connect them to each other, and assist women seeking scientific employment.

Two years ago, El-Hashemite presented a resolution to the United Nations to create an International Day for Women and Girls in Science. That day—February 11—has been celebrated for the past two years with a daylong conference at the U.N. building in New York. This year’s conference, held on February 10, was accompanied by events in several countries, including South Africa, Pakistan, India, the Philippines and Cambodia. The goal of the day is to encourage women and girls to pursue their interest in science and to shed light on what stands in the way of those pursuits. This year’s talks focused on the role media—movies, television shows, commercials, magazines—play in influencing girls toward or away from science.

El-Hashemite is not alone in her wish to balance the gender scales in science. Several countries have organizations dedicated to the cause and scientific journals are slowly starting to pay more attention (including to their own gender biases, such as lower acceptance rate of manuscripts by women and fewer women peer reviewers). Social media movements like #actuallivingscientist and #dresslikeawoman—the latter a reference to an alleged comment by President Donald Trump that female employees in his administration should “dress like women”—are also steering the gender ship against the tide.

But El-Hashemite has taken the surprising step of using the words of Islam to speak against those who would prevent gender equality in science. Her religion, she says, does not call for halting the education of girls. Rather, it advocates the opposite. “Islam will not prevent a girl from going to school, when the first message of the Prophet Muhammad was to read,” she says, citing the first word of the Koran. She emphasizes the hundreds of times that the Koran mentions education and knowledge. “How can you say you’re a Muslim if you do not follow the Koran?” she says. As she sees it, the efforts in some Muslim countries to stop girls from being educated are not true to the religion. “Some people are trying to push whatever they want in the name of Islam,” she says, “but it has nothing to do with Islam. 

Although she grew up in exile, El-Hashemite’s own efforts have roots in an Iraq of an earlier time. When her grandfather became king, he created a constitution requiring equal treatment and status of all citizens as well as freedom of expression. Faisal I called for tolerance of all religions and envision, according to a 2014 biography by Ali A. Allawi, “a modern-minded religious class.” Women were not permitted to hold government positions, but the country was not thick with the gender oppression that prevails today. The country’s first women’s magazine, Layla, was published in 1923. Its articles focused on literature, sociology, education—and science.

Now El-Hashemite is hoping to resurrect that legacy and spread her gumption to girls interested in science. If Talya Ozdemir is any evidence, the message seems to be working. Ozdemir, a 10-year-old girl from Istanbul, spoke at this year’s International Day for Women and Girls in Science. Standing at the podium in the general assembly hall, she spoke about the need for more female role models for young girls interested in science as a career. She dreams of working in renewable energy. “I think the future can be a place where everyone can live,” she says, “and it will be equal.”

El-Hashemite takes that vision even further. “I have a dream to fulfill,” she says, “that women in science around the world will be the celebrities.” 

http://europe.newsweek.com/islam-science-women-557937?rm=eu

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Jewish and Muslim Women Hold Prayer Vigil Together in Martinsville

By AUDREY BLUMBERG

February 17, 2017

MARTINSVILLE, NJ - The Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom held its first nationwide vigil, Feb. 16, with 100 vigils across the country, including one at Christ Presbyterian Church in Martinsville, to raise voices in prayer and song through gatherings led by Muslim and Jewish women of the organization.

The idea for the vigil was developed at the beginning of February by Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom founder Sheryl Olitzky. The organization itself was started four years ago to bring Jews and Muslims together to have discussions.

“People need unity to reassure ourselves we’re together,” said Pam Mahmoud, co-leader of the Somerset and Hunterdon chapter of the organization. “We are bringing song, poetry and liturgy together, and we had no idea how many people would come.”

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The vigil, which was attended by around 50 people, included Muslim prayers, Hebrew songs and more, and featured Rabbi Ron Isaacs, rabbi emeritus of Temple Sholom in Bridgewater, and Yasser Abdelkader, president of the Al Falah Center of Bridgewater.

“I hope this becomes an example for everyone to let go of stereotypes and embrace the beauty that comes from working together and the collaboration of all backgrounds,” Abdelkader said. “This really enforces and strengthens the ties between all of the communities, and shows the spirit and solidarity between all people.”

Mahmoud said she hopes guests understand from the vigil that people are not alone, despite all the attacks that have occurred lately, from a mosque burned down in Texas to recent bomb threats at Jewish Community Centers across the country.

MARTINSVILLE, NJ - The Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom held its first nationwide vigil, Feb. 16, with 100 vigils across the country, including one at Christ Presbyterian Church in Martinsville, to raise voices in prayer and song through gatherings led by Muslim and Jewish women of the organization.

The idea for the vigil was developed at the beginning of February by Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom founder Sheryl Olitzky. The organization itself was started four years ago to bring Jews and Muslims together to have discussions.

“People need unity to reassure ourselves we’re together,” said Pam Mahmoud, co-leader of the Somerset and Hunterdon chapter of the organization. “We are bringing song, poetry and liturgy together, and we had no idea how many people would come.”

The vigil, which was attended by around 50 people, included Muslim prayers, Hebrew songs and more, and featured Rabbi Ron Isaacs, rabbi emeritus of Temple Sholom in Bridgewater, and Yasser Abdelkader, president of the Al Falah Center of Bridgewater.

“I hope this becomes an example for everyone to let go of stereotypes and embrace the beauty that comes from working together and the collaboration of all backgrounds,” Abdelkader said. “This really enforces and strengthens the ties between all of the communities, and shows the spirit and solidarity between all people.”

Mahmoud said she hopes guests understand from the vigil that people are not alone, despite all the attacks that have occurred lately, from a mosque burned down in Texas to recent bomb threats at Jewish Community Centers across the country.

“Since the election in November, the organization has been inundated with people requesting to be part of it,” she said.

Chapter co-leader Jodi Bogen said that at the recent conference for the Sisterhood, they all took a vow that if there was a Muslim registry, as has been discussed by President Donald Trump, they would all register on the list.

“The more we get to know each other, the more we realize how much we have in common.” she said.

Bogen said they kicked off the Somerset and Hunterdon chapter of the organization, with third co-leader Randi Schweriner, in May.

“As we went through the political season, it became more meaningful,” Bogen said. “This was the right time.”

Isaacs, who played guitar and led the vigil in song, said the vigil was a special experience.

“It’s literally the first time in my life I have been involved in a prayer vigil that brings Jews and Muslims together, and it felt very spiritual,” he said. “Because of what is going on in the world, this was a nice thing to do and very prayerful. It had a lot of people feeling good.”

Rev. Susan Joseph Rack, of the Christ Presbyterian Church, said she was very pleased to be asked to host this vigil.

“This is in the vein of what we always want to do for the community,” she said. “It is a place where people who are different can come and feel safe.”

Guests at the vigil sang along to the prayers and read the poems together in solidarity during the evening event.

“It was awesome, and everyone came together like a family,” said Flemington resident Rehana Dhaha, who attended the vigil as a guest. “We all blended together.”

Zarmeen Hussain, also of Flemington, agreed.

“I liked the fusion (of prayers and song),” she said. “The way they did the program, we were all in sync.”

https://www.tapinto.net/towns/westfield/articles/jewish-and-muslim-women-hold-prayer-vigil-togethe

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Congress Nikita Nikam Dons Hijab During Bmc Election Campaigning

February 17, 2017

MUMBAI: Donning an off-white headscarf, Congress candidate Nikita Nikam is contesting the upcoming BMC elections from ward number 223 in Dongri, a Muslim dominated area.

Daughter of three-time Congress Corporator Dnyanraj Nikam, Nikita is gaining a connection with the voters while campaigning for the election wearing Hijab.

Contesting from ward number 223 in Dongri, where 60% of voters dominated by Muslims, the 26-year-old M.Com and MBA graduate felt that Hijab helps her to establish a better bond with the voters, especially with the women.

“I feel quite comfortable in it. In fact, a Muslim friend had gifted me a headscarf when I was in college. I didn’t wear it then but now I am in hijab when I visit Muslim homes as it helps me establish a better bond,” Nikita said, adding that everyone should have a choice to choose his or her dress. “Someone has gifted me a burqa too, but I have not worn it yet,” said in an interview with Times Of India.

At least two candidates Waqarunnisa Ansari of AIMIM and Neda Fathima of the Samajwadi Party wears burqa while campaigning, therefore Nikita felt it is important to changed her attire.

http://www.siasat.com/news/congress-nikita-nikam-dons-hijab-bmc-election-campaigning-1134057/

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Congress Nikita Nikam Dons Hijab During Bmc Election Campaigning

February 17, 2017

MUMBAI: Donning an off-white headscarf, Congress candidate Nikita Nikam is contesting the upcoming BMC elections from ward number 223 in Dongri, a Muslim dominated area.

Daughter of three-time Congress Corporator Dnyanraj Nikam, Nikita is gaining a connection with the voters while campaigning for the election wearing Hijab.

Contesting from ward number 223 in Dongri, where 60% of voters dominated by Muslims, the 26-year-old M.Com and MBA graduate felt that Hijab helps her to establish a better bond with the voters, especially with the women.

“I feel quite comfortable in it. In fact, a Muslim friend had gifted me a headscarf when I was in college. I didn’t wear it then but now I am in hijab when I visit Muslim homes as it helps me establish a better bond,” Nikita said, adding that everyone should have a choice to choose his or her dress. “Someone has gifted me a burqa too, but I have not worn it yet,” said in an interview with Times Of India.

At least two candidates Waqarunnisa Ansari of AIMIM and Neda Fathima of the Samajwadi Party wears burqa while campaigning, therefore Nikita felt it is important to changed her attire.

http://www.siasat.com/news/congress-nikita-nikam-dons-hijab-bmc-election-campaigning-1134057/

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Woman Arrested for Hate Crime After Vandalizing Islamic Center with Bacon

February 17, 2017

Food can be a weapon. Not only for dominatrixes, scorned lovers, and governments, but also, sadly, racists.

Because of Islam’s dietary restrictions on pork, it doesn’t take much creativity for a racist asshole to buy an affordable piece of meat and use it to desecrate a place of Muslim worship.

For instance, last year, a hooded man in London threw “rotten” pork meat at a mosque at 4 AM, presumably as a way to protest a growing Muslim population in Britain. Well, it seems that an equally unoriginal and racist woman has used bacon to desecrate an Islamic center in Yolo County, California.

In a massive lack of respect to both smoked, cured meat and an entire religious community, Lauren Kirk-Coehlo, a UC Berkeley grad, has been arrested for “allegedly felony vandalism to a church for the purpose of intimidating worshippers” and “using fear to prevent them from freely exercising their religious beliefs,” according to the Sacramento Bee.

Her arrest is the result of a joint local and FBI investigation and bail has been set at $1 million. Kirk-Coehlo is also looking at a maximum of six years in prison, if convicted. Both state and federal prosecutors are calling it a hate crime. In other words, do not fuck with Islamic centers in Yolo County, where authorities were tipped off by the public after surveillance footage was released.

But her alleged crimes go beyond wrapping bacon around the handle of the entrance to the Davis Islamic Center. She has also been charged with doing more than $7,000 in damage, smashing six window panes, and destroying two bicycles.

The pork-on-the-mosque bit is also used outside of Europe and the US. In January, a pig’s head was found at a Quebec City Islamic center, the same mosque that ended up being the target of a lone wolf terrorist attack weeks later, where six members were shot and killed.

Clearly, these acts of hatred are about way more than food.

https://munchies.vice.com/en/articles/woman-arrested-for-hate-crime-after-vandalizing-an-islamic-center-with-bacon

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How A Hijab-Friendly Brooklyn Salon Became A Space For Women's Empowerment

February 18, 2017

Muslim cosmetologist Huda Quhshi used to lug her supplies around New York City, cutting and coloring women’s hair over sinks in crowded apartments.

But Quhshi’s days of itinerant hairstyling are over. Last month, in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Bay Ridge, the 37-year-old realized her lifelong dream of opening a salon that caters entirely to women. Her salon, Le’Jemalik, has become a kind of sanctuary for women who want to let their hair down in a ladies-only space.

“It’s a place where you can come and feel relaxed, and just have a beautiful experience without worrying that a man is going to walk in,” Quhshi told The Huffington Post.

Le’Jemalik, which means “for your beauty” in Arabic, offers a full range of services, from hairstyling to nails, waxing and makeup. It even sells wedding dresses and offers regular seminars for beauty professionals looking to enhance their skills.

The salon hosted its grand opening on Jan. 29, with hundreds of visitors stopping by to glimpse the space, Quhshi said. It had already attracted a fair amount of media attention, not only as a business run by and for women but as a place where Muslim women, in particular, can feel safe and welcome.

Not all Muslim women cover their hair or wear hijabs. But those who do maintain a commitment to covering in front of men to whom they aren’t related. It’s a tradition upheld by some Orthodox Jewish women, as well.

Some salons have dividers or rooms in the back to accommodate women with these religious requirements. But Quhshi said she wasn’t aware of any other salons in New York City where the entire space is a men-free zone.

Men are allowed in the front waiting area of Le’Jemalik, but the actual service area lies behind a double door that only women may pass through.

Quhshi said the salon has attracted many Muslim and Jewish clients since it opened. But she emphasized that “this space is for all women.”

“I’ve had women from other faiths tell me that they’re so excited about this space, even though they’re not Muslim,” she said. “They’re happy to be able to support a woman-run business and come here just because they want to feel comfortable.”

As a hijab-wearing Muslim woman of Yemeni descent, Quhshi said she hopes she can be an inspiration to other women who may have to overcome bias to achieve their goals.

“I want to help other girls follow their dreams,” she said. “I’m definitely happy to empower other women and make other women feel like I’ve opened doors for them.”

http://www.huffingtonpost.in/entry/lejemalik-womens-only-salon_us_58a75caae4b037d17d27b3b2

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Muslim women share smiles, sweets on Family Day

February 18, 2017

WATERLOO REGION — The Coalition of Muslim Women of KW says it wants to counter Islamophobia by sharing greetings of peace by handing out cookies on Family Day.

"Hey, come and get to know me," said Fauzia Baig, a coalition board member and one of the women who will be distributing homemade treats on Monday.

The "Salaams Canada" campaign — salaam means peace in Arabic and is used daily when Muslims greet each other — is intended to be a positive response to the shootings at a Quebec City mosque on Jan. 29.

Six Muslim men were killed as they prayed at the Islamic centre.

Alexandre Bissonnette, a 27-year-old Laval University student, faces six counts of first-degree murder and five counts of attempted murder.

Baig said the campaign, inspired by a similar one in Dartmouth, N.S., continues the fight against Islamophobia while building bridges with others.

"We want to get out and meet people and share greetings of peace," said Baig.

"We want to remove barriers and get people connected and make the community stronger," she said.

Baig said Islamophobia stems from people having the fear of the unknown.

"Let's remove the unknown part," she said.

Coalition members will be distributing sweet treats on Family Day between 12 and 2 p.m.

They will be at three locations: the Waterloo Memorial Recreation Complex, Waterloo Public Square and Carl Zehr Square at Kitchener City Hall.

http://www.therecord.com/news-story/7147425-muslim-women-share-smiles-sweets-on-family-day/

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