New Age Islam News Bureau
9 Feb 2013
• Islamic Group ‘Al-Daawa’ Launches ‘Hijab’ Campaign for Minor Girls in Algeria
• De-link Female Genital Mutilation from Religion: OIC Ambassador to UN
• Outraged South Africans Called To Arms over Their Nirbhaya
• Female Detainees Languish In Syrian Prisons
• Tainted By Sexual Harassment at Tahrir Square
• Models Hit the Amman Catwalk to Raise Funds for Child Refugees
• Bolstering Rights of Women Is Key to Rule of Law in Arab Spring Countries
• Rare Afghan Fashion Show Seeks to Empower Women
• Malala Yousafzai discharged from hospital
• Pakistani School Of Jeddah Girl Students Show Teamwork at Sports Day
• Protest Violence against Women: Conference In Bangladesh
Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau
Photo: Algeria’s Daawa group has mobilized preachers, psychologists and sociologist to “convince” minor girls to wear the hijab in its fifth annual ‘chastity project
Egyptian Salafi Preacher Justifies Rape for Female Protesters
FEBRUARY 8, 2013
In Egypt a popular Muslim cleric claims that the recent rape and sexual assault of female protesters in Cairo’s Tahrir Square is justified.
Ahmad Mahmoud Abdullah, also known as Abu Islam, is a prominent Salafi preacher who has justified the rape and sexual assault of female protesters by making the absurd claim those women protesters “are going to Tahrir Square because they want to be raped.” The ultraconservative Islamic cleric made his controversial claims in a video posted online Wednesday, Feb. 6.
Justifying a string of mob sexual assaults on women protesters in Cairo's Tahrir Square, and depicting the victims as loose women, the ultraconservative cleric and popular television personality said:
"They are going there to get raped ... These are devils named women ... They speak with no femininity, no morals, no fear ... Learn from Muslim women, be Muslims."
Corresponding to a wave of unrest since late January, sexual assaults on women protesters have spiked in Egypt, with at least 19 reported on Jan. 25 alone. In many cases, mobs stripped women, penetrating them with knives and other objects, according to reports.
Earlier this week Amnesty International released a briefing highlighting sexual violence against female protesters in Egypt, noting:
“Several women’s rights activists and others believe that the sexual assaults on women are organized and co-ordinated — possibly by state actors — with the aim of silencing them, excluding them from public spaces and the political events shaping Egypt’s future, and breaking the resistance of the opposition...”
In Egypt, Muslim hard-liners have reacted with fury to protests against Islamist President Mohammad Mursi since late January. Critics claim the Muslim Brotherhood is sending operatives into the protests to sexually harass and assault women demonstrating against the government.
Islamic Group ‘Al-Daawa’ Launches ‘Hijab’ Campaign for Minor Girls in Algeria
Friday, 08 February 2013
08 February 2013
An Islamic group in Algeria has mobilized an army of sociologists, psychologists and religious preachers from inside and outside the country in a campaign urging girls as young as 10-years old to wear the religious headscarf, a moved decried by rights activists as irresponsible and counterproductive.
Hisham Ben Khouda, secretary general of ‘al-Daawa’ group behind the “chastity” campaign, told Algeria’s Echorouk newspaper that his group has managed to convince 300 girls between the ages of 10 and 15 to wear the veil. He said the campaign has been going on for five years and that this year it has taken a national dimension with the participation of many preachers from inside and outside Algeria.
Radical Kuwaiti preacher Nabil al-Awadhi is scheduled to attend the ‘chastity’ ceremony on April 12 in Algeria’s el-Boulaida where the Islamic headscarf will be introduced to little girls who are “convinced” by preachers, sociologists and psychologists to wear it.
The Kuwaiti preacher, in a recent visit to Tunisia, called on young girls to wear the hijab, raising anger among human rights activists in the once secular North African state.
Awadhi said he was in Tunisia to deliver “educational lessons,” but activists and even lawmakers in the constituent assembly urged the government to expel him.
Organizers of the ‘chastity’ campaign in Algeria say girls are asked to fill out an application answering questions regarding their understanding of Hijab. They also changed the targeted age group from 8-12 to 10-15 based “specialists’ advice.”
Yousif Hantablawi, a sociologist at Boulaida University, criticized the campaign saying it will have negative effects on little girls. He said minors cannot make such life-changing decisions and the campaigners cannot claim to have “convinced” any girl.
Djaâfri Djadi Chayaa, the president of the Algerian Observatory of Women, told Echorouk that the project will hurt the girls more than it will benefit them, adding that campaign should’ve tried to educate the girls and teach them social values and proper behavior instead of encouraging them to change their looks by wearing the hijab.
In Saudi Arabia, a religious preacher recently called for all female babies to be fully covered by wearing the face veil, commonly known as the burka, citing reports of little girls being sexually molested.
“Burkas for babies”: Saudi cleric’s new fatwa causes controversy
In a TV interview on the Islamic al-Majd TV, which seems to date back to mid-last year, Sheikh Abdullah Daoud, stressed that wearing the veil will protect baby girls. The Sheikh tried to back his assertion with claims of sexual molestation against babies in the kingdom, quoting unnamed medical and security sources.
De-link Female Genital Mutilation from Religion: OIC Ambassador to UN
Amb. Ufuk GokcenAmbassador and Permanent Representative, Organization of Islamic Cooperation, United Nations
Female genital mutilation has long survived, hidden under the cloak of religious, cultural, and tribal practices, but this week, as we commemorate the International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), it is time for every leader whether political or religious, whether male or female, to unequivocally stand in opposition to FGM. We can no longer allow the ignorance surrounding women's rights and FGM to be perpetuated by traditions and rituals disguised as religious teachings.
As the Organization of Islamic Cooperation's (OIC) Ambassador to the United Nations, I personally find it important to combat any notion that FGM is in the true nature of Islam. OIC Secretary General Professor Ihsanoglu recently stated that FGM "is a ritual that has survived over centuries and must be stopped as Islam does not support it." Yet, despite statements from political and religious leaders and studies such as the Frontiers Program report put out by USAID de-linking FGM from Islam, the practice continues at an alarming rate. This can be explained by the fact that the practice takes its roots primarily in tribal culture, not religion; though some misguided local religious scholars might contest otherwise.
Thus, elders and midwives will have to be the target of messaging and direct dialogue. As was reported by Catherine Hornby from the recent international meeting held in Rome under the title of "Worldwide Ban on Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)," it is encouraging that the participants of the meeting underlined the need for laws to be accompanied by education and discussion in traditional communities to help dispel misleading myths.
It is similarly encouraging that the news on the Rome meeting were accompanied by another report from Cairo that the Egypt's High Constitutional Court rejected a legal challenge and upheld the ban on FGM.
UNICEF reports that nearly three million girls in parts of Africa could be at risk of FGM each year. FGM is practiced mainly in 28 African countries and in other parts of the world particularly among immigrant communities related to these countries. GlobalPost senior correspondent Erin Cunningham reported that the "practice crosses religious lines and is also carried out in Christian communities." Even girls and women in the United States with cultural connections to the countries where FGM is practiced face the risk of FGM. They are sent abroad to their countries of descent to have the procedure done. In a major development, in December 2012, a new U.S. federal law strengthening the 1996 one was enacted making it illegal to intentionally take a girl out of the U.S. for the purpose of undergoing FGM procedure elsewhere.
It is essential that we all stand in support of this law and all other efforts to end FGM around the world including efforts to be based on the recent UN General Assembly resolution adopted by consensus of 193 UN member states, on December 20, 2012, calling for a global ban of FGM.
From Muslim women activists who agree that FGM is incompatible with Islam to global or local religious leaders who are making a stand against this horrific act, we must not only support their message but also put power behind these statements. FGM is a violation of human rights and women's rights, and we must do everything within our power to end its pervasive hold on the well being of women which has globally affected the lives and health of more than 100 million women to-date.
The centre on the development of women to be established within the OIC system in Cairo will hopefully play a significant advocacy role in this regard.
Outraged South Africans Called To Arms over Their Nirbhaya
Feb 8, 2013
JOHANNESBURG: The chime sounds every four minutes on the radio station, reminding listeners that statistically yet another child or woman in South Africa is being raped.
It's also a call to arms for citizens outraged over the gang rape of a teenager who was mutilated — her body carved open from her stomach to her genitals — and left for dead on a construction site. While India agonizes with its high prevalence of rape because of a fatal attack on a young woman on a bus, South Africans are now becoming galvanized by the attack on the teenager in a small town. Civil society and governments in both countries are saying this must stop.
The injuries to the 17-year-old were so horrific that nurses in the operating theatre, where doctors tried in vain to save her life, are undergoing trauma counselling.
The chimes on Talk Radio 702 are part of a campaign urging South Africans to identify perpetrators of rape that has become endemic. One in four females is raped here according to several studies, from months-old babies to 94-year-old grandmothers.
Citizen newspaper published an editorial calling for citizens to take collective responsibility in the fight against sexual crimes.
"Somehow, somewhere there must be a tipping point where society is so convulsed by a collective anger over rape that we begin to turn the tide against this terrible scourge," the newspaper said. "Each of us needs to ask what we can do to stop this awful trend. And then we must act accordingly. You can help."
The Star newspaper's editor Makhudu Sefara ran a front-page editorial saying "Stand up. Speak out. Help us turn this evil around once and for all."
Inspired by Nirbhaya
South Africans appear to be inspired by the mass demonstrations in India that protest a culture of sexual violence and revulsion over the gang rape of a 23-year-old woman on a New Delhi bus who died of internal injuries from a metal bar. India, with a population of 1.2 billion people, had 24,206 rapes reported in 2011. South Africa, population 50 million, reported 2.5 times that number of rapes last year.
Opposition politician Lindiwe Mazibuko described "a silent war against the children and women of this country ... We live in a deeply patriarchal and injured society where the rights of women are not respected."
She said she would request a national dialogue on the crisis.
President Jacob Zuma, who was acquitted on charges of raping the daughter of a family friend in 2005, said Thursday "that government would never rest until the perpetrators and all those who rape and abuse women and children, are meted with the maximum justice that the law allows."
For Prof Rachel Jewkes, a doctor heading the Women's Research Unit of South Africa's Medical Research Council who has studied sexual violence here for 20 years, much more is needed.
"I'm jolly pleased to hear that even Jacob Zuma has belatedly come in, but we need to remember that actually women are raped and actually die from their injuries from rape almost every day in South Africa, and we need to make sure that the very, very profound sense of horror and outrage that people feel now is translated into something concrete."
Shaheda Omar, clinical director of Johannesburg's Teddy Bear Clinic for child victims of abuse, said: "We've had huge outcries in the past then things just fall through the cracks again, but I think there's a stronger sense of solidarity now."
Omar has worked with child victims for 28 years and suffers trauma spasms and headaches as a result. She said the government needs to enact "stringent measures, actions having consequences and perpetrators being brought to book to deter others."
Organizations that have been working with rape survivors plan a mass outdoor meeting next week in Johannesburg, she said.
Some South Africans, imbued with a chauvinism that believes men have a right to sex, do not even understand what constitutes rape, according to some who called in to radio stations.
Jewkes said a study she conducted in 2009 showed 62 per cent of surveyed boys over age 11 believed that forcing someone to have sex was not an act of violence. One-third said girls enjoy being raped. Jewkes' study had 37 per cent of surveyed men saying they had raped a women or child, and 75 per cent admitting they first raped a teenager. All the men came from Gauteng, South Africa's most populated province.
The 17-year-old raped last Saturday in Bredasdorp, a Western Cape town known for its giant protea flowers, lived long enough to identify a former 22-year-old boyfriend as one of her attackers. Police took him into custody. On Thursday they arrested a 21-year-old suspect and on Friday a 23-year-old. All are to appear in court Monday. According to media reports, the teen was attacked by five men.
The maximum sentence for rape in South Africa is life in prison. However, official statistics show less than 10 per cent of reported sexual crimes result in a successful prosecution, making many reluctant to report rape.
Female detainees languish in Syrian prisons
February 09, 2013
By Lauren Williams
BEIRUT: Leader of the opposition Syrian National Coalition Ahmad Moaz al-Khatib has given a Sunday deadline for President Bashar Assad to release all female detainees in Syrian prisons or he will consider his controversial offer of dialogue as having been rejected.
The exact number of detainees in Syrian prisons is unknown. The Syrian Center for Documentation of Violations in Syria, a team of activists which records human rights violations, tallying the number of civilian and non-civilian casualties, detainees and missing persons in accordance with international standards, has documented the detention of some 568 women among 35,344 total detained in Syrian prisons.
Full report at:
Tainted By Sexual Harassment at Tahrir Square
Women are being scared off Tahrir Square by mob attacks, writes Reem Leila
9 February 2013
“It happened abruptly and very quickly,” said Yasmine Al-Baramawi, a female protester assaulted in Cairo’s Tahrir Square. “All of a sudden, dozens of men were running after me and my friend, who managed to escape. But I fell to the ground. I found myself alone in the middle of them. Suddenly, they started hitting me and tearing off my clothes. They were touching every single part of my body. Countless hands were under my shirt and inside my underwear,” Al-Baramawi said, still traumatised at the memory.
“I was so angry at being physically assaulted. The harassers molesting me made me feel helpless as a woman,” she added.
Full report at:
Models Hit the Amman Catwalk to Raise Funds for Child Refugees
08 February 2013
Fashion fans in the Jordanian capital Amman turned out in force to support child refugees living in the country.
Models displaying a variety of styles, ranging from day wear, to evening wear walked along a catwalk, showcasing the different outfits.
Local designers donated most of the outfits on show; an Orange top was by local designer J Walking in Style, and jewellery by Nadia Dajani, known for her use of Arabic calligraphy.
Full report at:
Bolstering rights of women is key to rule of law in Arab Spring countries
Posted Feb 7, 2013
By James Podgers
The overthrow of several regimes in the Middle East over the past two years hasn't produced much progress toward achieving equality for women, former U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison told lawyers gathering for the ABA's 2013 Midyear Meeting in Dallas.
And if women and girls in the region do not gain basic rights, said Hutchison, it's unlikely that rule of law will take hold in the Middle East and North Africa, where Islam is the predominant religion and a potent political and social force.
Full report at:
Rare Afghan Fashion Show Seeks to Empower Women
By AMIR SHAH and KIM GAMEL, Associated Press
February 8, 2013 (AP)
Afghan models paraded down a candle-lined catwalk Friday as men and women watched from the audience in a restaurant off a muddy street in Kabul.
The rare fashion show in this war-weary capital was a small production but a big idea — part of an Afghan group's efforts to empower women by breaking down barriers in this highly conservative Muslim society.
Full report at:
Malala Yousufzai discharged from hospital
By Cheryl K. Chumley
February 8, 2013
The Pakistani girl shot in the head at point blank range by Taliban militants who were outraged at her advocacy for girls’ education was discharged from a British hospital.
Doctors said Thursday her recovery from reconstructive surgery on her skull was progressing well, Reuters reported. Malala Yousufzai was shot on Oct. 15, and was transferred soon after to Britain for treatment by a specialist, according to various media. She’s been heralded around the world for her bravery, and has been esteemed as an example of resistance to radical Islamic law that violates women’s human rights.
Full report at:
Pakistani School Of Jeddah Girl Students Show Teamwork at Sports Day
9 February 2013
Students of the Pakistani International School of Jeddah (PISJ), girls’ section, displayed their sports talent and physical strength at their 27th annual sports day recently.
“Education aims at bringing about an all-round development of a student’s personality. Physical education aims not only to develop the physical side of an individual, but also her social, mental and emotional sides. That is why sports are an important part of this institution,” said Rakshanda Mahmood, vice principal of PISJ.
Full report at:
Protest Violence against Women: Conference In Bangladesh
9 February 2013
Speakers at a conference yesterday urged everybody to be aware of and also raise their voices against violence against women.
They were speaking at the conference titled “Speak Up against Violence against Women”, organised by Speak Up Club of Asian University for Women (AUW) at the university's auditorium in Chittagong.
Full report at: