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Islam, Women and Feminism ( 6 March 2018, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Dipika Kakar on Converting To Islam: I Have Done It and I Am Proud Of It

New Age Islam News Bureau

6 March 2018

 Tahera Rahman Just Became the First Full-Time Hijabi Reporter on Air in America

 Twelve Saudi Girls Being Trained To Work in Air Traffic Control

 Four Held in Bareilly: Muslim Man Elopes With Hindu Girl, House Ransacked

 Govt Accused of Depriving 12m Pakistan Women of Right to Vote

 Iraq Orders Execution of Foreign Women For IS Involvement

 Saudi Women-Owned Technology StartUps on the Rise

 Palestinian Women Cautiously Welcome New Rights

 Iran: Young Woman Sets Herself Alight In Yazd

 Iran: Women Take Part in Protests in Ahwaz, Tehran

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau




Dipika Kakar On Converting To Islam: I Have Done It And I Am Proud Of It

Mar 6, 2018

Last month, Tahera Rahman stood before the camera for CBS affiliate WHBF in Rock Island, Illinois, becoming America’s first full-time reporter to wear a hijab

Small screen actors Dipika and Shaoib Ibrahim recently got hitched in a private ceremony in the latter’s hometown, Bhopal. The couple has been in the news since then for their romantic wedding sequences to Dipika's decision of changing her name Faiza for the wedding.

The couple has fought all odds together and are now happily married. In an exclusive conversation with the, Dipika and Shoaib spoke about their inter-religion marriage, the feeling of being married and their relationship.

"I can't put the feelings in words. I have noticed the change from the day I have got married. I initially though it's ok Shoaib and I have been in a relationship for so long, but no things have changed. May be the way I look at him, the respect towards him has grown. It's a priceless feeling," shared the Sasural Simar Ka actress.

On being asked about the decision of converting to Islam and changing her name, Dipika clarified, "Joh Sach Hai Woh Hai... It's true I have done it, but why and when I have done it, don't think it needs to be talked about. I think it is a very personal matter and I don't think I need to talk about it openly in front of the media. For the audience and media we are actors have always shared everything. All our happy moments we have shared with you all, but this I think is a very personal space and I don't give anyone the permission to enter the space. Definitely, it is true and I am not denying it. I am very happy and proud that I have done it for myself and my happiness. My family was with me in this decision and my intentions were to hurt anyone. This is my decision.

Talking about their inter religion wedding the couple says, they never bothered about belonging to different religions, "I feel that when you are a celebrity you are constantly under scanner and there are people who love you, but then there are also people who try to bring you down. We have always taken decisions in life only keeping our family in mind, if they are happy and fine then rest of the world doesn't matter to us. I don't consider myself a celebrity, we are very simple people and we like to lead a simple life," said Shoaib.

The actress also added that it was only after Shoaib quit Sasural Simar Ka they realized their true feelings for each other. "When Shaoib quit SSK we still met and kept in touch, but when he went to Bhopal for a month and he was completely out of sight that's when we realized that it is love. The toughest part for me was when he left to shoot in Bikaner for 40 days in 2015 that was the most difficult phase," said Dipika.

Shoaib added, "The same 40 days played an important role in bringing Dipika closer to my family. After I came back I realized my mother and sister always talked about her first."



Tahera Rahman Just Became The First Full-Time Hijabi Reporter On Air In America


Last month, Tahera Rahman stood before the camera for CBS affiliate WHBF in Rock Island, Illinois, becoming America’s first full-time reporter to wear a hijab.

Though other women have previously reported online while wearing a hijab, Rahman is the first full-time broadcast reporter to go live while wearing the garment, according to the station and the group Muslim American Women in Media. It is a deeply impactful accomplishment and one that has been years in the making.

Rahman, who comes from a small town in Illinois, spoke with HuffPost about navigating a stubborn journalism industry and reaching this moment of triumph.

How are you coping with the pressure of being a “first”? Is it a burden for you?

[Laughs] It’s definitely weird, because in a lot of ways, I’m being reminded of it every day — in a good way. I’m getting messages of support, either by social media or even by snail mail, which is even more touching. So I’m being reminded of it almost on a daily basis, but at the same time, most of my day is spent not thinking about it at all. Most of my day is thinking about my own deadline: my four o’clock, what’s going to be my story when I come in at nine o’clock in the morning, and then putting that together, and interviewing people, and then trying to go home and think about what I’m going to have for dinner [laughs].

Of course.

So most of my day is spent not thinking about it. But, my dad has been reminding me to take a moment every single day, close my eyes, and think about where I am and what I’m doing, and just be grateful to God for the opportunity. He was just like, “You know, the enormity of this weight might make you feel stressed out — it might feel like a burden — but in the end, it’s a big blessing.” So I do make a conscious effort to be grateful for it every single day.

From where did you draw influence when you grew up? Given the fact that you didn’t see many Muslim women on camera, and certainly not many wearing hijabs, who did you look toward for guidance?

I’m a minority in a lot of different ways. It’s not just my religious identity, it’s also being a person of color, and it’s also being a woman. So seeing other women particularly, regardless of race or ethnicity, that was always inspiring. People who are just good at their job who happened to be women; that’s what I liked to see. And there were tons of journalists like that, whether they were on TV or not. And a lot of them gave me inspiration and mentorship throughout the years.

Radio journalist Miriam Sobh has been with NPR and WCBM radio in Chicago, and she was always there to give me advice about how to navigate the world of journalism in general. And then Ramona Hussein — she’s a veteran writer for the Chicago Sun-Times — and I remember even seeing her name in print in high school, for me, was amazing. I was like, “Oh, my God, that’s a Muslim name. That’s a brown person’s name.”

And then there’s Malika Bilal who’s co-host of a show on Al Jazeera English called “The Stream.” She also wears a headscarf and she’s on international television, always killing it with in-depth conversations about world events and worldly news. All of those women, and many more, gave me hope to go forward. There’s always got to be a first for something, and whether or not I was going to be a first, I definitely wanted to be among these women, so I think that’s what carried me through.

e live in a time when there are explicitly Islamophobic media with large followings. As a Muslim woman in this environment who doesn’t wish to spend the totality of her time discussing her faith, how do you operate amid this constant barrage that stands to question your humanity and, consequently, your ability to do your job?

You’re absolutely right. I have gotten messages from people — maybe out of the goodness of their own heart — thinking that they were going to change my mind, emailing me YouTube videos about why Islam is the religion of the devil.  And I’m like, “Okay, delete.” So there are definitely people who don’t see me as a welcoming neighbor, and honestly, that stinks.

But I think that’s just the reality: There will always be people who ― no matter what you tell them and no matter how nice you are — they’re not going to change their minds. And I don’t think that’s your burden, either. I don’t think you should feel like it’s necessary to make everyone across the world think you’re great, or awesome, or “normal.” I have always operated under the belief that, if you are a good person, and if you try your best to do the right thing, then other people won’t believe those who try to vilify you. For me, as a journalist, that meant focusing on my craft, because I knew that there would be people who didn’t think I should be on air.

You spent the past two years producing at your station and I imagine you were able to look at the broadcasts in totality in a way others could not. Our industry is stubbornly non-diverse, and I wonder whether that inspired you to move from behind the scenes to the front of the camera.

In general, I know in a lot of newsrooms, the goal is for your newsroom to reflect the community you live in. And not having that representation in the newsroom isn’t necessarily one person’s fault. It’s the effect of multiple things happening at once. I don’t want to speak for all Muslims, but I think part of the lack of representation is because a lot of American Muslims are hesitant about getting into the media. Part of that stems from growing up in the post-9/11 era, when a lot of people from our community felt they were vilified in the news and haven’t been able to trust journalists since then.

So I think that’s part of the reason why there’s not as much Muslim representation as people would like. But also, looking at it from the perspective of being Indian, and coming from a South Asian family, there’s always a lot of focus on going into other fields. Most of my family are either doctors or engineers, and you can’t blame a parent for wanting that, because they just want a stable job for their children. Journalism is very competitive, and if you’re going into it for money you will be disappointed [laughs].

Very True. Very true.

People — especially with broadcast — assume that if you’re on TV, you’re making so much money and you have all these nice clothes. But really, it’s like, “Okay, Amazon, where you at? I need a six-dollar top” [laughs]. So I think those are both reasons why we don’t see as much representation as we’d like. But still, at the time I made the transition, I was the only Muslim in the building, and I did think it was incumbent upon me to make sure I let people know what’s going on in the Muslim community here and what’s important. I think I’d been able to contribute behind the scenes in that way and I don’t think that was necessarily the driving force behind me wanting to be an on-air reporter. The lack of Muslim-American women who wear a headscarf on camera was obvious — I was very aware of that fact — but I never considered this something that was impossible.

I’ve always considered our industry to be meritocratic only in some ways — there’s a base level of skill needed to succeed. But there’s also a human element, a less precise means by which your success is determined: who you know, what sources you can cultivate, etc. In a world like ours, where Islamophobia is so rampant and seemingly commonplace, do you find unique obstacles in sources that discriminate based on your religion?

Off the top of my head, I don’t think so. Even going back to college and all the reporting I did there, through the last three weeks of my reporting on air, I haven’t come across impediments in trying to get sources. Who knows, down the line, if people will feel more emboldened to be rude or deny me interviews. But for the most part, everyone has been extremely supportive. I mean, it’s actually been so, so surreal and strange.

How so?

Most people that I set up an interview with, I talk to them on the phone first and when I get there for my interview, they already know who I am. They’re like, “Oh, I saw you on the paper, I saw your story on TV, congratulations, we’re really proud of you!” All that kind of stuff. I met with the local police chief the other day, and he knew me right when I walked through the door, so in a lot of ways, my identity has actually helped me get my interviews, so hopefully I still get those interviews once the novelty wears off.

What do you think it is about Rock Island, Illinois, that makes it hospitable to the first full-time reporter wearing a hijab? If people were to guess where that might occur for the first time in the U.S., I assume 99.99 percent wouldn’t think it’d occur in Rock Island. Is there something you’ve observed that makes this area more accepting than others?

You know, I don’t know. I think a lot of small towns in America are just like this — just like the Quad Cities. I’d like to believe that if I lived in any other small to midsize town, I would’ve gotten the same reception and same support. Because I do think overwhelmingly, we live in a country where people are good, and do believe in diversity, and do believe in getting to know each other. I think this would have happened wherever I ended up, but I think the Quad Cities are special because we’re right on the border of Illinois and Iowa.

Our station covers both states. Iowa is a swing state, Illinois is always blue, and Iowa went red in the last election. So I think it’s really interesting that there can be politics — you can swing very much conservative, or very much liberal, or somewhere in between— but I think it’s very interesting to consider that most of us share the same world in the end. And I think that’s really comforting. It gives me hope that I might be the first, but I won’t be the last.



Twelve Saudi girls being trained to work in air traffic control

5 March 2018

The first program seeking to qualify girls to work in air control was launched in Saudi Arabia on Sunday. As many as 12 Saudi girls began the training program, which is supposed to end with their recruitment by the Saudi Air Navigation Services Company.

The program is being run in cooperation with the Saudi Academy of Civil Aviation and is part of an initiative to open new avenues for Saudi women.

According to the Saudi Press Agency (SPA), the program is designed to last a full academic year following which women will receive a graduation certificate from the Saudi Academy of Air Control. They will be employed by the company after graduation.

Chief Executive Officer of the Air Navigation Services, Engineer Ryan Tarabzouni, said that the company places great importance on employment of young women in the profession as part of Saudi Vision 2030.

According to him, this is part of the process to support Saudi women and enable them to work in different positions and enhance their contribution to the society by working in various segments of the Saudi labor market.

Tarabzouni pointed out that the program has the assistance and follow-up of Abdul Hakim bin Mohammed Al Tamimi, Chairman of the General Authority of Civil Aviation.

Immediate employment

Tarabzouni said that the company will provide all kinds of support to Saudi girls till they start their work as air controller.

He pointed out that graduates of the first batch of the program will be employed immediately after their graduation in the air control centers in Jeddah and Riyadh. A second session of training will be announced later.

The Saudi Civil Aviation Academy, which implemented the program, is a specialized academy accredited by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) with seven international accreditations.

The Air Surveillance Program provides physics and mathematics courses as well as air language classes along with air control courses, a tower control course, and a practical application program that includes an international guided tour of the cabin, flight phases and hands-on simulation training, as well as workshops and orientation visits.

The General Authority of Civil Aviation is among the entities that have enabled women to work in the civil aviation sector in the Kingdom, and Saudi women play a major role in the in the Authority’s licensing procedures for airlines.

The Authority is keen to enhance the participation of Saudi women in the labor market and to provide equal opportunities for all citizens.



Four Held In Bareilly: Muslim Man Elopes With Hindu Girl, House Ransacked

By Manish Sahu

March 6, 2018

FOUR PERSONS were arrested on Monday for allegedly ransacking and setting ablaze properties belonging to a Muslim youth and his relatives, two days after he reportedly eloped with a minor Hindu girl from a village at Bahedi area of Bareilly.

The youth, Raees Ahmed (20), had allegedly eloped with the 16-year-old Hindu girl on Saturday. Two of his relatives — Kabir Ahmed and Nazim Ahmed — were also arrested on Monday for allegedly helping them elope from Nadeli village, which has 70 per cent Hindu population.

Along with Kabir and Nazim, four others — Devesh, Dharmendra, Ravi and Atul — were produced before a local court on Monday, which sent them to judicial custody. Bahedi police SHO Naresh Tyagi said the girl had left home for some work on Saturday but did not return. “While searching for her, the family members came to know that she had eloped with Raees, who ran a medical store in the village,” he added.

The SHO said on Sunday morning, the girl’s relatives, along with several locals, reached Raees’ shop, which was locked. “The mob broke the lock, damaged goods inside and set the shop ablaze,” he added. “The mob later reached Raees’ house and ransacked household items before setting all on fire. They also attacked the house of Raees’ cousin Arif,” said Bahedi police Circle Officer Jogendra Lal.

Later, based on Aqueel’s complaint, police registered an FIR against 36 named and 10 to 15 unidentified people on charges including rioting and criminal intimidation. The girl’s father, too, has lodged a complaint against Raees and his six relatives.



Govt Accused of Depriving 12m Pakistan Women of Right to Vote

Ijaz Kakakhel

MARCH 6, 2018

ISLAMABAD: Lawmakers in the Upper House of parliament on Monday alleged that the government had deprived around 12 million women across country of their right to vote in the upcoming general elections.

During discussion on a motion presented by PTI’s Mohsin Aziz regarding the non-issuance of CNICs to a large number of women in the country, resulting in non-registration of their names in the voter lists, the legislators came down hard on the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) over its failure to issue CNICs to millions of women above the age of 18.

Aziz also questioned the silence of women rights activists over the issue. He suggested that the government initiate a campaign on war footing for issue of CNICs to the women.

PPP’s Senator Sehar Kamran was of the view that in a true democratic setup, women’s participation in the electoral process was mandatory. Dr Jamaldini said that the issue existed only in the far flung areas of Balochistan, FATA, and KP. Sardar Azam Khan Musakhel held NADRA responsible for the situation. He claimed that foreigners were issued CNICs without any hindrance but getting CNICs had been made very difficult for Pakhtuns and the tribal people.

Speaking on the occasion, PML-N’s Senator Aysha Raza Farooq said that according to a survey, 24% women didn’t possess CNICs. She suggested that NADRA should initiate a campaign in this regard at the district level.

State Minister for Interior Talal Chaudhry said that the government had taken appropriate measures for issuing CNICs to the women. He said 71 mobile registration vans of NADRA were already engaged in registration of women exclusively, adding that 78 new vans would be inducted for the purpose very soon. He said Fridays have already been reserved for women registration and now steps were being taken to add Saturdays as well to the schedule. He said that in some backward areas, women registration was a big problem, adding that ulema can play a very constructive role in this regard.

Through another motion, PTI’s Azam Swati raised the issue of vote of right to the overseas Pakistanis and claimed that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) had failed to perform its due role on the matter. However, Law Minister Bashir Virk said that electronic machines installed in banks are hacked and same might be the case with the electronic voting machines. He said there were chances of misuse of electronic machines for voting if installed.

State Minister for Finance Rana Afzal said no alarming situation existed in the country regarding domestic borrowing. Responding to a motion sponsored by PPP’s Senator Sherry Rehman on increase in domestic debt, the minister said there is a mechanism on debt management that limits domestic debt to a certain percentage of the GDP. He said the domestic debt was higher in 2013 when the incumbent government came into power. He said Pakistan needed some time to reach at an ideal position vis-à-vis economy. The Upper House passed four resolutions and deferred another one on the request of minister for Parliamentary Affairs. BNP-M lawmaker Dr Jehanzeb Jamaldini moved a resolution urging the government to make a policy for provision of jammers for private vehicles of high profile figures like members of the National Assembly, Senate and provincial assemblies, heads of political parties and former chief ministers and governors owing to the security reasons. The House unanimously passed the resolution as it was not opposed by the government. Another resolution sponsored by PkMAP senators Usman Khan Kakar, Azam Khan Musakhel and Gul Bashra regarding allocation of 2 to 5 percent amount of the CPEC funds for the less developed areas to ensure social development there was also passed. PPP’s Senator Sehar Kamran moved a resolution urging the government to take necessary steps to introduce organic farming technologies in the agricultural sector which are cost effective and sustainable both for productivity and soil fertility. It was also passed by the House.

The House passed another resolution moved by MQM’s Senator Col (r) Tahir Mashhadi regarding provisions of jobs in the public sector on the basis of merit only. A resolution sponsored by Senator Azam Khan Swati was deferred on ministerial request which demanded that provision of development funds to parliamentarians should be stopped immediately as the same was against the spirit of good governance and democratic norms.



Iraq orders execution of foreign women for IS involvement

Mustafa Saadoun

March 5, 2018

Iraq has detained hundreds of foreign women allegedly affiliated with the Islamic State (IS) and has sentenced 17 Turkish women to death by hanging. Women from other countries, including France and Germany, also have received death sentences and Baghdad is now facing pressure from those countries to instead extradite the women to their home nations.

Humanitarian officials estimate Iraq is holding about 1,700 foreign women and children. Many of the women are accused of being affiliated by marriage to IS fighters or of providing aid. Trials began after military operations ended and the country declared itself liberated from IS on Dec. 9. Just last week, 16 Turkish women were sentenced to die. Others have been sentenced to life in prison. All of their sentences can be appealed.

France has on more than one occasion expressed its position against the trials. On Jan. 30, French Justice Minister Nicole Belloubet threatened to intervene in cases of its nationals, though she didn't specify what type of intervention. Belloubet's comment came after the Iraqi judiciary on Jan. 22 sentenced to death a German national of Moroccan origin for allegedly having joined IS.

Iraq has no universal law or convention providing for extradition. It does have bilateral extradition treaties with specific countries, but those treaties have yet to be put into action and don't cover terrorism-related crimes.

Human rights organizations, including the Paris-based International Federation for Human Rights and the French Human Rights League, are pressuring the Iraqi government to extradite French suspects to face trials in France, citing a fear of “unfair trials” in Iraq.

“We are trying to retrieve our nationals to prosecute them in Paris," a French human rights official told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity. "The Iraqi government is incapable of ensuring them fair trials; we do not expect it to do so. Three French women will be facing trial [soon], and we fear they will be sentenced" before France can reach a satisfactory solution with the Iraqi government. "We are against the death penalty,” the official said.

The Iraqi penal code says people accused of committing crimes in Iraq must be tried there. However, once the prisoners have been tried, their countries can have them extradited to serve their sentences in their home countries.

But not everyone in France would welcome their return.

France wants to ensure that its citizens receive fair trials, but its judicial system is already overburdened. Some in the government also object to imprisoning jihadis in French jails for fear they will incite other prisoners. While it may be that there is less resistance to having female rather than male Islamic militants returned to France, the country has made its stance on jihadis clear in the past.

Hisham al-Hashimi, a researcher on extremist groups, told Al-Monitor, “There are 509 women of European nationalities who face trials in Iraq, including 300 Turks.”

He added, “Iraq will not extradite these women … before they are tried, [but] Baghdad wants them to serve their [prison] sentences in their countries. Iraq is trying to communicate with these countries, but it seems that the European countries and Turkey do not want these women back.”

In a surprise move, Iraq handed over to Moscow 27 children and four Russian women alleged to be IS members whom Iraqi authorities claimed had been “brainwashed” or tricked into joining IS. Back in Russia, these women are to face charges of illegally entering Iraq.

Iraq appears to be speeding up trial proceedings against the foreign women, perhaps because it doesn't want to yield to foreign demands against the death penalty. And the government doesn't want to create a public uproar by showing leniency in some of the trials, or risk a political crisis with parties supporting Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, who has said that people who commit crimes in Iraq will be tried in Iraq.

The women who have been sentenced may appeal their judgments before the Iraqi Court of Cassation. And it could be that international political pressure, particularly from European countries, may still lead Iraq to extradite women believed to have been merely affiliated with IS rather than directly involved in terrorist acts.



Saudi women-owned technology startups on the rise

Mar 6, 2018

RIYADH — King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST), represented by Badir program for technology incubators and accelerators, disclosed that the number of Saudi women entrepreneur-owned technology startups incubated in the Program during the past year increased by 144%. Out of the number, 44 companies are active in the fields of communications, software, e-commerce and smart device applications.

Badir forecast an increase in the establishment of Saudi startups and a promotion of technical innovation and development in these companies as the government sees a prominent role of this sector in the future economy.

Nawaf Al Sahhaf, CEO of Badir Program for Technology Incubators, described the growth rate of women's projects incubated by the program as "good" compared to the past five years, stressing that the program has contributed to supporting the ambitious and innovative initiatives and ideas of Saudi women entrepreneurs and providing them with an appropriate work environment through the offices specialized in the preparation, habilitation, training and workshops, enabling them to run their businesses efficiently and effectively and helping them to participate in local and regional conferences.

Al Sahhaf further said Badir Program seeks to raise awareness of Saudi women in technical entrepreneurship and promote the entrepreneurial culture through the organization of workshops, training programs and various meetings for female university students, as well as participating in events and activities of universities to raise awareness on the importance of technical projects.

Al Sahhaf enjoins Saudi women entrepreneurs who wish to turn their technical ideas into successful investment projects, to communicate with the program, which in turn will provide the logistics for their projects, provided that the ideas are innovative in order to obtain the technical and advisory support. The Program will then provide the project's premises, grant access to modern and sophisticated facilities and factories and create the right environment.

The number of projects incubated and completed since the establishment of Badir Program until the end of 2017 has reached 239, and incubates provided around 1615 jobs for Saudi youth, whether full-time or part-time, while the number of Saudis registered in the technology companies delivering their products through smart applications has reached 207,827. — SG



Palestinian women cautiously welcome new rights

6 March 2018

AMMAN: Palestinian activists and human rights organizations welcomed on Monday measures by the government to give more rights to women.

The changes include the right of Palestinian women to pass on their citizenship to their children and to open bank accounts in their names.

The Cabinet also recommended to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas a series of legal amendments that include canceling or amending laws that allow rapists to avoid punishment by marrying their victims.

The decisions were announced following the Cabinet session on Monday.

The recommendations include the abolition of Article 308 of a Jordanian law still in effect in Palestine. The Jordanian Parliament abolished Article 308 (which pardons rapists who marry their victim) last August. The Palestinian government also recommended changes to the 1960 penal code, which allowed for lower punishment for acts of violence carried out in so-called “honor crimes.”

Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah said in a televised message that these changes “honor Palestinian women and that they are their rights and not a gift to them.” He vowed that more decisions advancing equality between women and men were planned.

The Palestinian Independent Commission for Human Rights issued a statement welcoming the decisions, which comes ahead of Women’s Day on Thursday.

“More is needed to attain total equality and to be in total adherence with the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), adopted in 1979 by the UN General Assembly,” the commission said.

Salwa Hdaib, a member of the Fatah revolutionary council, told Arab News that Palestinian women’s goals for more equality were now much higher after recent changes to the law in other Arab countries such as Tunisia and Morocco.

“We deserve to have a much better legal system which truly equates the rights of men and women in political rights, in jobs and social justice,” she said.

Hdaib, who heads the Jerusalem Women's Movement, said that Palestinian women were still behind in divorce rights, inheritance and equal treatment in the courts.

“Palestinian women in general and women in Jerusalem have paid a huge price in the Palestinian struggle and they deserve nothing less than total equal rights and protection from their government and leaders.”

Lama Hourani, an activist in Ramallah and a community organizer, told Arab News that while she welcomed all improvements, she would wait and see what was in the amended laws that President Abbas will sign.

Hourani said that the personal status law, which covers issues including divorce, adoption and alimony, was in need of the most improvement. It includes laws that grant males twice the inheritance of a female.

“Until we reach total equality in our society we need to make major changes in the most important law in this regard, which is the personal status law. All other changes are nothing but cosmetic improvements.”

Hourani told Arab News that what was needed was to follow the signed international conventions that aimed to eliminate all forms of discrimination.



Iran: Young woman sets herself alight in Yazd

05 March 2018

A young woman set herself on fire on Friday, March 2, 2018, in a residential complex in Yazd, capital of the central Iranian province of Yazd.

The 20-year-old student was taking care of an elderly living in this complex.

The young woman was transferred to hospital by firefighter agents.

Numerous obstacles for employment, education and social activities of women, prevalent pressure on women due to discrimination, the compulsory veiling and segregation of public places in Iran have led to widespread depression among women and high rate of suicide.

Iran has the highest rate of women’s suicide in the Middle East.



Iran: Women take part in protests in Ahwaz, Tehran

05 March 2018

Families of the arrested workers of the National Steel Group of Ahwaz staged a protest on Sunday, March 4, 2018 against the arrests of nine workers of this major industrial complex.

Other workers and a number of women employees of the company also participated in the protest gathering of the families of the arrested workers.

They chanted slogans demanding freedom of their arrested colleagues. They also brought up the demands for which they had started a strike since 12 days before.

On Wednesday, February 28, 2018, students of Tehran’s Art University staged a protest in front of the university against the problems they face at school. They tied black ribbons to their arms and left the university’s campus. Their protest was against the university’s faculty of science and professors, educational and cultural problems, cancellation of student campings, shut down of student publications and festivals, shortage of facilities and workshops, and heavy tuitions.




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