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Islam, Women and Feminism ( 7 Apr 2015, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Divorced Muslim Women Entitled For Maintenance under Indian CrPC: SC

 New Age Islam News Bureau

7 Apr 2015

Since the fall of the Taliban in 2001 Afghan women have made significant advances but there are growing fears the gains will be lost, AFP/Aref Karimi


 Omani National Held in Hyderabad for Marrying Minor Girl

 South African Teen 'Recruited On Social Media' Stopped On Flight from Joining IS

 Students Give out Hijabs for Islamic Awareness Week

 Unveiled: 'Nobody Expects Muslim Women to Be Comedians'

 Feisty Hashimpura Women Script Their Own Destiny

 Yazidi MP: Islamic State Holds 4,000 Yazidi Women

 Saudi Newly-Married Couples May Get Financial Aid to Cut Divorce Rate

 Afghanistan Failing To Protect Women's Rights Activists, Report Says

 Breast Milk Sold Online Often Contains Cow’s Milk: Study

 Women Empowerment: Sindh Commission on the Status of Women

 Developing Kelantan More Central to Islam than Hudud, Women’s Group Tells PAS

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau





Divorced Muslim Women Entitled For Maintenance under Indian CrPC: SC

07 April, 2015

The Supreme Court today said that divorced Muslim women are entitled to seek maintenance from their ex-husbands under the Criminal Procedure Code which provides the same relief to wives, children and parents.

A bench of justices Dipak Misra and Prafulla C Pant referred several judgements of the apex court where law has been settled that a magistrate can grant maintenance to a divorced Muslim woman and parameters and considerations are the same as stipulated in Section 125 of the CrPC.

Section 125 of the CrPC deals with order for maintenance for wives, kids and parents if any person having sufficient means neglects or refuses to maintain them.

Dealing with the issue of applicability of Section 125 CrPC to a Muslim woman who has been divorced, the bench upheld a trial court's order which had directed a man, retired Nayak from Army, to pay Rs 4,000 maintenance to his divorced wife.

It said, "there can be no shadow of doubt that Section 125 CrPC has been rightly held to be applicable by the family judge."

The bench was "disturbed" to know that the application for grant of maintenance was filed by the woman in 1998, which had remained undecided by the family court till February, 2012. It said it was also "shocking" to note that there was no order for grant of interim maintenance.

"It needs no special emphasis to state that when an application for grant of maintenance is filed by the wife the delay in disposal of the application, to say the least, is an unacceptable situation. It is, in fact, a distressing phenomenon.

"An application for grant of maintenance has to be disposed of at the earliest. The family courts, which have been established to deal with the matrimonial disputes which include application under Section 125 CrPC, have become absolutely apathetic to the same," it said.

The counsel for the woman had submitted that Section 125 CrPC was applicable to Muslim women and the family court had jurisdiction to decide the issue. The objection over the maintainability was initially raised by the ex-husband before the trial court.

The bench was deciding an appeal filed by a Muslim woman challenging the high court order reducing the amount of maintenance to Rs 2,000 from Rs 4,000 awarded to her by a trial court.

It set aside high court order and allowed the woman's appeal, noting that the aspects have gone uncontroverted as the husband had not appeared and contested the matter.

The family judge in Lucknow, while dealing with the application, had not accepted the primary objection on maintainability under Section 125 CrPC as the applicant was a Muslim woman.

It had held that even after the divorce, the application of the wife under the provision was maintainable in the family court.



Omani National Held in Hyderabad for Marrying Minor Girl

07 April, 2015

A 70-year-old Omani national was arrested here for undertaking a contract marriage with a minor girl, police said on Monday.

Police rescued the 17-year-old girl and also arrested the Quazi who performed the marriage, a travel agent, a broker and two mediators.

Acting firmly, police have also invoked the 'Nirbhaya' Act besides Prohibition of Child Marriage Act against the Oamni national.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (south zone) V. Satyanarayana said a case was booked at Kanchanbagh police station in the old city.

The Omani national has been identified as Senaidi Khamis Mohammed Khamis, who entered into a contract marriage with the minor girl at the office-cum-residence of the travel agent in Barkas.

The travel agent, marriage broker and two mediators had convinced the girl's mother, a widow, to perform the marriage saying this will solve their financial problems. They, however, concealed the fact that the Omani national was marrying the girl for couple of weeks for Rs.1 lakh.

Police rescued the victim after she informed one of her cousins that she was married to a foreign national against her wish.

Police said Quazi Syed Zulfeqar Ali was arrested for performing the illegal marriage. It said despite warnings, some Quazis were performing contract marriages by bending Shariat rules for monetary gains.

In 2004, the Waqf Board had noticed the exploitation of poor Muslim girls and had directed Quazis not to straightway perform marriages involving foreign nationals especially those from the Gulf countries. The Quazis were asked to alert the Waqf Board when they are approached to perform such marriages.



South African Teen 'Recruited On Social Media' Stopped On Flight From Joining IS

07 April, 2015

Islamic State, the terror group that wants to take the world back hundreds of years in the name of Islam, is using the modern mode of social media to recruit worldwide.

Its latest recruit was a 15-year-old Cape Town girl who was removed from a flight from Cape Town to Johannesburg by authorities, who suspected that she was on her way to join IS.

The teen was taken off a British Airways flight on April 5 after she disappeared from home nine hours earlier, reported Monday.

The young woman was found seated by herself in the business section of the flight. She allegedly admitted that she was on her way to join the terror group in Iraq said the report.

IS targets any person or group that does not ascribe to its violent ideology sweing terror especially among Christians and non-Muslims, but also at people who follow Islam.

Most Muslims reject it as an aberration that bears no resemblance to their religion.

"We can confirm that she was leaving the country with the intention of joining IS, and she had been actively engaged with social media networks. Her parents have also confirmed she was using Twitter," South Africa's Minister of State Security David Mahlobo said in the IOL report.

The report said evidence in the girl's bedroom suggested that IS recruiters has been in contact with the teen and that she had transferred money to an unknown source.

She is said to have told her neighbour's daughter she was thinking of joining the terrorist group.

The report said the unnamed teen had become increasingly "more politicized" over the last month.

Following her questioning by State security officials, the teen was released into the custody of her family.

'South African Network'

"An investigation is underway as to how far this network goes, whether there is a cell in the country, and what the methods of recruiting and funding are. We cannot allow South Africa to be used as a recruitment space," Mahlobo said.

This is the first incident of this nature reported in South Africa, but follows a pattern used by the terror group in other parts of the world.

Using social media, the group reaches out to susceptible teens, often in the Muslim community, to try and lure them.

Most recently a British teen was stopped from joining the group, while two Australian teen brothers have also recently been caught trying to join IS.

British Prime Minister David Cameron said in February Internet firms must do more to deal with online extremism after three teenage girls radicalised "in their bedrooms" left London in an apparent bid to travel to Syria, Reuters news agency reported.

IS  is recruiting South Africans to join its cause and some have already made the caliphate their home, the Sunday Tribune reported on March 1.

It said the Independent Media group had obtained a step-by-step guide on how South Africans can travel via Turkey to the caliphate's headquarters in Syria.

The document was available online via a micro-blogging platform, but could only be accessed with a password.



Students Give Out Hijabs For Islamic Awareness Week

07 April, 2015

Students will have the opportunity to try on and keep Hijabs regardless of their religion, during the university’s Islam Awareness Week.

The week of events, hosted by the Muslim Student Association, will focus on broadening discussion, awareness and inclusion through April 9.

“People may have Muslim friends that they are able to ask too, but not everyone has a Muslim friend. So we want to be here as that Muslim friend,” Muslim Student Association President Noor Ayesha said.

From noon until 3 p.m., MSA members will give out free scarves for people to wear as Hijabs in the Atrium during their Experience Hijab event. The MSA members will also show people how to wear the Hijabs.

Wearing one is a personal decision based on faith for Muslim women. The Hijab is also shrouded in mystery and receives many comments and questions, Ayesha said.

"[Once, someone] asked why some people get offended when they’re asked about their Hijab, and I don't know anyone who gets offended, but I think it’s similar to ... [when] you ask someone who wears tattoos what every single one means. It’s very personal,” Ayesha said.

In addition to the Hijab experience, there will be a panel discussing feminism in the Islam faith. This will be a discussion of Eastern and Western cultures as they apply to women’s rights.

To take the experience further, Rachael Collins, a non-Muslim MSA member, paired with a member to show the documentary “Inside Islam: What a Billion Muslims Really Think” on the night of April 6.

“The film directly addresses extremism," Collins said. "They show research from studies that there are a billion people who practice [Islam] and most of them don’t support this ideology and belief system. The diversity that you see in the Christian faith is the same kind of diversity you see in the Muslim faith."

Collins, a clinical mental health counselling graduate student, joined MSA as a part of her diversity training. She chose MSA as an opportunity to learn more about the culture and challenge any biases she had.

“There’s a difference between the Islamic faith and the Islamic culture and tradition, and that was a big one," Collins said. "The women in MSA are very strong, independent, smart and capable, so maybe some of the ideas that I had about gender roles in the faith were really challenged."

The final event of the week continues to challenge biases with Ask A Muslim, a four-person panel of two Muslim students and two Muslim professionals. The purpose of the panel is to ask any questions about the faith, Ayesha said.

“[The panellists will] tell you a little about their lives and where they come from and you can ask them questions like, ‘Why do you wear that thing on your head?’ Some people choose to be ignorant and some just haven’t been exposed, and we want to provide that exposure,” Ayesha said.

The panel will also take a moment to recognize the Chapel Hill shooting in February, during which three Muslims were killed. One purpose of the panel is to diffuse any misconceptions that can cause violence like the Chapel Hill incident, Ayesha said.

“We want to bring to light these events ... eliminate the ignorance. We don’t want to take a political approach, we just want to show the human side," Ayesha said. "These are people who were doing great things for the world and they died."



Unveiled: 'Nobody Expects Muslim Women to Be Comedians'

07 April, 2015

A group of Muslim Pakistani-American women are pushing the boundaries on how Muslim women are perceived – on the nation’s comedy scene

One of the last things many people might expect a Muslim Pakistani-American woman to do when she takes the stage is crack a joke, openly talk about smoking weed, or say that she is gay. Conversations about South Asian women in America are more usually limited to topics like early marriages, abuse and oppression. If the woman happens to be Muslim, fundamentalism and terrorism are often added to the narrative.

As Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie summed it up: “The problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete.”

A bunch of young Muslim Pakistani-American women, however, are now completing that picture. Not only are they pushing the boundaries on how Desi Muslim women are perceived, but they are also encouraging the audience to have a good laugh while they are at it.

“Nobody expects Muslim women to be artists, let alone comedians,” says New York-based writer/performer Aizzah Fatima, who gave up a sparkling career as an ads engineer at Google for a stage career. In fact, it was her frustration with the limited range of roles offered to her – primarily those of a refugee or an abuse victim – that led her to produce Dirty Paki Lingerie, a one-woman comedy show about Muslim women reconciling their ethnic identities with their American lives.

“The idea was to show people the diversity within ‘brown women’. We laugh, cry, scream and act silly just like the rest of them,” Fatima says. In the show, she plays 20 different characters ranging from a Hijabi feminist caught between her commitment to Muslim culture and her desire to wear sexy lingerie, to a mother searching for her daughter’s suitor in the local newspaper’s matrimonial section.

The show demonstrates that Muslim women are stereotyped by society, but part of the problem begins at home. As Fawzia Mirza, a Chicago-based actor/writer/producer says candidly, few Pakistani parents encourage their children to be artists. “We come from a conservative culture that, for the most part, does not look at being an artist as something to aspire towards,” says Mirza who has produced several documentaries and performs regularly onstage. “There’s no guaranteed income and there is a chance that people might talk badly about you, so there’s a negative impact on your reputation. Also you are [thought to be] bringing shame upon yourself, your family, your ancestors, and probably even your unborn child,” she adds jokingly.

Comedian Mona Shaikh’s family moved from Karachi, Pakistan, to the US when she was 15. When she expressed her desire to pursue stand-up comedy during her teenage years, her parents’ worries included “what people might say, how I would ever get married if I entered this field. But I couldn’t care less. I just wanted to travel, experience the world and ball out.”

Shaikh had to wait for 10 years until she moved out of her parents’ home and relocated to New York City to pursue her calling. Now based in LA, she has performed at the Laugh Factory and Hollywood Improve and is the founder of website Muslims Do It Better, which was banned in Pakistan and earned her death threats. “I was here after 9/11 happened. I remember people looked down at me,” she says. The website “was an attempt to separate the crazy Muslim from the average Muslim”.

“People should know that extremists like the cleric banning women from touching bananas for fear of getting dirty ideas is as offensive to me as it is to them,” Shaikh says.

The comedians’ work is as much an attempt to make sense of their personal experiences as a response to society’s treatment of Muslim women. New York-based Nadia Parvez Manzoor, who grew up in a conservative Pakistani Muslim household in north London, calls her childhood “difficult and confusing”. Her one-woman show Burq Off! tackles the conflict of growing up in two vastly different worlds.

While her work has been applauded for its honesty, her depiction of South Asian men – as closed-minded, oppressive and misogynistic - has been criticised as buying into stereotypes. Nadia, however, argues that it is a representation of the men she has dealt with in her life and not a representation of every Pakistani Muslim man. Also, she argues that it is hard to give a back-story and work in nuances for every character in such a limited time on stage.

Manzoor says that conveying those nuances onstage is challenging. Furthermore, she says that her story is not a representation of the majority of Muslim Pakistani households – something she points out in a Q&A session at the end of her show. “People expect me to be some kind of a spokesperson for the Pakistani Muslim,” she says. “I am not. This is my experience, I am sure there are thousands of Pakistani Muslim girls who have had completely different ones.”

Mirza’s experience was shaped by growing up gay. “I started talking openly about my sexuality in order to reconcile my identity. Whether I was surrounded by queer white people, or by straight brown people, I just didn’t understand how I fitted in. One of the ways I dealt with the isolation was to talk about it, joke about it and put it out there for others to see and hear,” she says. She adds that her goal now is to gain visibility for women and brown performers, and find space for queer stories.

Fatima says that its paramount that the stories of Pakistani Muslim women are told in all their variety and complexity: “We need more brown people telling our own stories; on stages, on camera, behind the camera, writing, being honest and sharing histories.” Manzoor and Shaikh are delighted with South Asians making their mark in prose, comics and performing arts. However, both point out that there is still a long way to go, since they are operating in an industry that is less receptive to Asian artists, and far kinder to men than women.

But while the bigger changes may take time, smaller things already have started to shift. Mirza narrates a recent incident at a university in Karachi where she concluded her talk by saying that her trip would be worth it if one person in the room felt less alone in the world and a little more connected. “A young woman came up to me afterwards and said, ‘I am your one.’ That, to me, feels like success.”



Feisty Hashimpura Women Script Their Own Destiny


07 April, 2015

The Hashimpura massacre left a whole group of aggrieved women "victims" of state injustice

For several years, residents of Meerut found it rather odd to see a Muslim woman in a black scarf running a hardware shop on the Hashimpura main road. Little did they know that it was only the massacre of 1987 that led Anjum, a shy housewife then in her early twenties, to be transformed into a sharp businesswoman who is known in the vicinity as “hardware wali Anjum.”

The 42 who were killed in cold blood by the Provincial Armed Constabulary on May 22, 1987, included Mohammad Jameel, her father-in-law, an employee with the Meerut Municipal Corporation, who was the main breadwinner of the house and his youngest Naseem. Unable to bear the death of his father and younger brother, Mohammad Saleem, her husband committed suicide the same year, leaving her alone to take care of three children.

For Anjum, who was just four years into her marriage then, it was not an easy decision to make. Like any other Muslim woman she had never stepped out of her in-laws’ house.

“Seeing my husband commit suicide left me broke from within. Finding me without any male in my family, my in-laws attempted to encroach on my husband’s shop and the rest of the property,” says Anjum while dealing with customers in between the conversation.

“But I had to take a decision. And it was not an easy decision to make,” says the woman in her early forties. Her education till graduation from Ismail Girls College in Meerut, came in handy when she had to don the role of a business woman.

Anjum, the owner of “Janta hardware store,” is not alone in this. The Hashimpura massacre left a whole group of aggrieved women “victims” of state injustice but many of them decided to instead become the controllers of their destiny. Women of as many as 42 families who lost their men to the bullets of the PAC decided to defy the stereotypes about Muslim women as docile homemakers and started working to survive. The society where the idea of working woman used to be a social taboo soon witnessed a large number of houses having women in the role of breadwinners and financial guardians. In the process, Hashimpura also became the only area in Meerut with the largest number of working women.

In the immediate aftermath of the massacre the task of running 42 homes was an overpowering challenge before the Committee for Justice for Victims of the Hashimpura Massacre, a group of the survivors and family members of those killed in the massacre.

“It was a big tragedy we were faced with -- the fact that 42 families lost their breadwinners. The biggest priority for us was to ensure survival of these families,” says Zulfiqar Nasir who had deceived the bullets of the PAC while remembering how the Army had herded all the “young and productive” men of Hashimpura into the truck on the fateful Friday, May 22, 1987, only to kill 42 of them in cold blood.

Zaibun Nisa, who was one of those women who started working after she lost her husband Iqbal in the massacre, in order to run the family of three, recalls, “So, the Hashimpura Justice Committee decided that women can go out and work. There was resistance from the rest of the Muslim society in Meerut but we didn’t care because we had seen the biggest tragedies of our lives and our priority was to survive.”

Naseem Bano recounts to this correspondent how she was into her early twenties when the deaths of Siraj, then 23 year old, her only brother in the massacre, left her father a “dead man.”

“My father, who used to sell bangles, couldn’t bear the tragedy of seeing his young son getting killed. After his death, I had three young sisters to take care of. I started teaching Urdu in the local senior secondary school,” says Ms. Bano whose husband left her when she started working.

“All of us, the man-cum-women of our respective houses, became in a sense sisters. Seeing so many of our sisters in difficult circumstances also became a source of inspiration and determination that all of us have to work and survive,” she narrates while supervising the construction of her house.

Inspired by the stories of courage and strength of women in Hashimpura, Mohammad Naeem one of the survivors of PAC’s bullets, is hell bent that all of his daughters are not only educated but receive higher education. His eldest daughter Nuris Parveen is doing M. Phil. in Social Work from Mahatma Gandhi Hindi University in Wardha. Seeing his commitment, V.N. Rai, a retired IPS officer and former Vice-Chancellor of the university, had a few years ago, decided to facilitate her education.



Yazidi MP: Islamic State Holds 4,000 Yazidi Women

07 April, 2015

A Yazidi member of Iraqi Parliament has said that Islamic State militants currently hold 5,422 Yazidi people hostage, most of them children and women.

MP Vian Dakhil said on Monday that IS insurgents have kidnapped thousands of Yazidis since last August, when the militants captured the Yazidi majority town of Sinjar in northern Iraq.

According to our information, currently 5,422 Yazidi people are being held by Islamic State, among them about 4,000 women,” said Dakhil.

She said the extremist group has used the women as sex slaves and treated them in the most violent ways imaginable.

Dakhil has called on the Iraqi central government to take the necessary measures to rescue the Yazidi women.

The Yazidi community has suffered greatly at the hands of IS since the rise of the jihadists in northern Iraq last June, when the extremist group captured Iraq’s second largest city Mosul and other areas in northern Iraq.



Saudi Newly-Married Couples May Get Financial Aid To Cut Divorce Rate

07 April, 2015

Connecting the Hafiz program with family and social organizations and providing financial aid to couples will reduce the rate of divorce in the Kingdom, a charitable society official has said.

A study is under way to offer financial aid to newly-married couples every three months, Dr. Mohammad Al-Abdulqader, chairman of Weam charitable society in the Eastern Province, said.

He was speaking at The Marriage Societies’ Forum, which saw the participation of 40 charitable institutions from 25 cities, represented by 500 men and women, to discuss 27 scientific research papers. EP Gov. Saud bin Naif and Minister of Social Affairs Majed Al-Qasabi were present.

As far as divorces in the first year of marriage is concerned, they are also due to lack of psychological harmony, and training workshops should able to address the issue, he said.

“Saudi courts are witnessing divorce cases and family problems because of Hafiz, especially since women who benefit from the program get used to a particular lifestyle the husband can’t meet,” Al-Abdulqader said.

Women say these financial benefits are their right while the husbands claims it’s theirs, leading to discord and cases of divorce, he said.

Under the Hafiz program, unemployed Saudis get SR2,000 ($533) a month for up to one year. The program was introduced in late 2011.

Al-Abdulqader said that there is a suggestion to give financial aid to couples around the year, to follow up on the marriage and make sure there are no marital problems. Those who face problems within the first year of marriage will be enrolled in a guidance program, he added.

Saud bin Naif said greater attention is being paid on family issues and the role of Saudi women. “The government supported the establishment of specialized societies to deal with family problems. Healthy relations in couples deserves top priority because it is important for a strong social fabric.”



Afghanistan Failing To Protect Women's Rights Activists, Report Says

07 April, 2015

In May 2010, when Humira Saqib launched a magazine called Negah-e Zan, or Vision of Women, she knew she would face opposition. She never imagined she'd be forced to flee Afghanistan.

Almost immediately after publishing the inaugural issue, which included an article criticizing comments by a religious council in the northern province of Baghlan, Saqib started receiving threatening phone calls and comments online, she said.

Then it got worse. Her 10-year-old daughter was stabbed by unidentified assailants in Kabul but survived. Saqib was the target of an unsuccessful kidnapping attempt. She eventually moved with her family to Tajikistan, where they stayed for a year before returning to Afghanistan.

Despite laws aimed at safeguarding them, women's rights activists continue to face harassment and worse dangers in Afghanistan, Amnesty International said in a report released Tuesday.

The international rights watchdog said the Afghan government "is failing in its obligations to protect them and to provide adequate remedy for the violations they experience."

The majority of threats come from the Taliban and other armed opposition groups, but government officials, law enforcement authorities and local strongmen also committed abuses against women's activists or failed to punish perpetrators, the report said.

The group, which interviewed 50 women and their families nationwide, accused Afghanistan's U.S.-trained security forces of inaction and inattention in cases of harassment against women.

Those allegations seemed to be borne out last month when a 28-year-old woman, falsely accused of burning pages of the Koran, was beaten and burned to death by an angry mob in Kabul. Cellphone video showed police officers at the scene doing little to stop the attack.

"The systemic failure of security and law enforcement agencies to respond to threats and investigate incidents of attacks reported by women human rights defenders is a human rights violation rooted in patriarchal traditions that normalize gender-based violence and render it acceptable," Amnesty said.

Saqib said police were "flippant" and "unhelpful" during her ordeal. Since returning to Afghanistan in 2013, she has decided to censor herself and avoid openly discussing controversial topics, especially religion. The 35-year-old mother to three daughters said she laments the lack of female Afghan voices on religious affairs — especially Sharia, or Islamic law — but said her first responsibility was to her family.

"I still speak out, but I'm much more cautious with what I say," she said.

Saqib said women should hold officials to account by reporting all threats immediately, but she acknowledged that many don't out of fear of being stigmatized.

"Unfortunately," she said, "women often keep quiet and don't report the abuses and harassment until it's too late."

Latifi is a special correspondent.



Breast milk sold online often contains cow’s milk: Study

07 April, 2015

One in 10 samples of breast milk sold on the Internet in the United States was found to be contaminated with cow’s milk or formula, U.S. researchers said Monday.

The study in the journal Paediatrics raised new safety concerns about a practice that many experts already discourage over the potential for danger to babies’ health.

Researchers tested 102 samples of breast milk advertised on milk-sharing websites, frequented by mothers who want to buy breast milk for their infants.

They found that 11 of the samples contained bovine DNA, and 10 of those had enough that it could not be considered an accidental contamination, suggesting that some sellers were adding cow’s milk in order to boost their volume and profits.

“We found that one in every 10 samples of breast milk purchased over the Internet had significant amounts of cow’s milk added, and this poses a risk to infants with an allergy or intolerance to cow’s milk,” said study author Sarah Keim, of the Centre for Bio behavioural Health in The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Ohio.

“If a baby with cow’s milk allergy were to drink this milk, it could be very harmful.”

The same researchers have previously found that 21 percent of people who look for human breast milk online do so because their child has a medical condition, and 16 percent said they did so because their infant could not drink formula.

They also found in previous research that more than 75 percent of milk samples purchased online contained bacterial or viral contamination.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned in 2010 that unpasteurized human milk obtained from sources other than the baby’s mother could pose health risks.

“We were concerned that, because money is exchanged in these transactions, there might be an incentive to boost milk volumes in order to make more money,” said Keim.

“Mothers who consider purchasing breast milk over the Internet should beware -- when you obtain milk from an unfamiliar source, you cannot know for sure that what you are getting is safe for your baby.”

Other researchers on the team came from Ohio State University and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.



Women Empowerment: Sindh Commission On The Status Of Women

07 April, 2015

KARACHI: The Sindh Assembly passed a law to establish a ‘commission on the status of women’.  The bill was presented by parliamentary affairs minister, Dr Sikandar Mandhro.

The minister said that the law was being made to empower women and ensure their rights, with full administrative and financial autonomy to monitor and oversee compliance of national and provincial laws and international conventions and to highlight discriminatory practices, abuses and violation of women’s rights. The commission will comprise 21 members and a chairperson who will be a woman.

Meanwhile, Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ebad Khan did not give his assent to four bills passed by the Sindh Assembly in the last session. These are the Sindh Physiotherapy Council, Sindh Pharmacy Council, Sindh Nursing Council and Post- Graduate College of Medical Science.

The speaker read the Governor’s message and said, “The Governor has proposed to re-consider some clauses of these bills. I want to know if you pass or reject it,” he asked Dr Mandhro. After consulting the chief minister, who was also present in the session, Dr Mandhro requested to defer the decision.



Developing Kelantan More Central to Islam than Hudud, Women’s Group Tells PAS

07 April, 2015

PETALING JAYA, April 7 — PAS and the Kelantan government it heads should prioritise developing the east coast state, which is still the country's poorest, and focus on post-flood reconstruction instead of rushing to implement Hudud, Sisters in Islam (SIS) said.

The Islamic women's rights group said saving Kelantan's economy is more central to the Maqasid Shariah (the goals and objectives of Islam) than introducing the controversial penal code, which prescribes punishments like amputation for crimes like stealing.

"SIS would like to express its disappointment with Marang MP Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang's open disregard and disrespect of the Federal Constitution with his move to debate the (two) Private Members' Bills to amend the Shariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965," the group said in a statement.

The two Bills, which are meant to remove legal blocks to the rollout of Hudud in Kelantan, appeared in the order paper for today's proceedings in Parliament, which is due to end this week.

However, it remains to be seen if the Bills will actually be debated as there are currently 23 other motions and items in the queue.

But should the Bills be debated, SIS urged all federal lawmakers to reject them, pointing out that they violate several provisions in the Federal Constitution.

"We would once again like to stress that the Kelantan Shariah Criminal Enactment II 1993 violates the Federal Constitution," SIS said, referring to the Islamic enactment in Kelantan that was amended last month to pave the way for the implementation of Hudud.

"We hope that the Private Members' Bill scheduled for debates today will be rejected," the group added.

Kelantan’s state assembly approved the Shariah Criminal Code II (1993) 2015 Enactment last month with 31 votes from PAS lawmakers supported by 12 from Umno.

However, in order to enforce the amended state Shariah criminal laws, PAS-led Kelantan needs bipartisan support from Umno and other federal lawmakers to pass Hadi’s two bills in the Dewan Rakyat.

Hadi served notice to Parliament on the proposed Bill on March 18, but de facto law minister Datuk Nancy Shukri said it may not make it into the order paper for the current session as there are many others on the schedule.