New Age Islam
Tue Dec 01 2020, 03:36 PM

Islam, Women and Feminism ( 30 Jul 2014, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Female Bomber Kills 6 in Nigeria, 10-Year-Old Girl with Explosives Strapped To Her Chest Held

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Three women laugh in this Instagram photo posted under the hashtag #kahkaha on July 30, 2014. (Instagram / evrenirem1)

 

 

 

 

 

Wife of Party Official Killed in Xinjiang ‘Revenge Attack’

Palestinian Girl Tweets about Her Trauma under Israeli Shelling

Acid Attack Injures Three Women in Southwest Pakistan

Turkish Minister Turns Ire on ‘Pole-Dancing Women’

New Wonder Woman Stirs Controversy with Hamas-Bashing Post

Kurdish Singer Advocates for Women

Labour Ministry Opposes Tehran's Proposal for Gender Segregation

Just 322 Firms Endorse New Regulations for Women’s Workplace

24 Couples Tie the Knot in an "Eid Group Wedding" At Al-Ahsa

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islam,-women-and-feminism/new-age-islam-news-bureau/female-bomber-kills-6-in-nigeria,-10-year-old-girl-with-explosives-strapped-to-her-chest-held/d/98363

 

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Female Bomber Kills 6 in Nigeria, 10-Year-Old Girl with Explosives Strapped To Her Chest Held

31 July 2014

Kano (Nigeria) (AFP) - A female suicide bomber killed six people at a college campus in Nigeria's Kano city on Wednesday, the fourth time Boko Haram Islamists were suspected of using a female attacker in as many days.

The latest violence came as the government announced the arrest of a 10-year-old girl with explosives strapped to her chest in a neighbouring area.

Boko Haram is blamed for killing more than 10,000 people since 2009, and their extreme tactics have been denounced worldwide, including on some jihadi websites.

But what appears to be a new tactic of deploying young women and girls as bombers will spur further outrage as Nigeria seems unable to contain the violence.

At about 2:30 pm (1330 GMT) on Wednesday, an assailant blew herself up at a noticeboard on the campus of the Kano Polytechnic College while students were crowded around it.

Witness Isyaku Adamu said the explosion came from within the crush of students and left blood splattered on the ground, as soldiers and police scrambled to secure the area.

Government spokesman Mike Omeri put the casualties at six dead and six wounded and confirmed that a female, whose age was not immediately known, was responsible for the bloodshed.

It was the fourth attack by a female bomber in Nigeria's second city since the weekend.

On Sunday, a young woman injured five police officers as she blew herself up at a another campus in the city.

The next day, two young women believed to be in their late teens or early 20s separately attacked a petrol station and a shopping centre, suicide blasts that killed at least three people and injured 13.

Omeri said security forces on Tuesday stopped a car in Kano's neighbouring state of Katsina and arrested three suspected Boko Haram members.

The group included one male and two girls, aged 18 and 10.

The older two tried to flee, according to Omeri's statement.

The "10-year-old ... was discovered to have been strapped with an explosive belt," he said.

National police spokesman Frank Mba said established international "terrorist organisations" use female suicide bombers mainly because "women generally raise fewer suspicions."

The chilling trend of deploying young women and girls as bombers comes three-and-a-half months after Boko Haram kidnapped more than 200 schoolgirls from the remote town of Chibok in the northeast.

Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau boasted about the mass abductions in a video during which he threatened to sell the girls as slaves.

The Chibok abductions prompted a social media campaign that went viral and drew unprecedented global attention to Boko Haram's extremist uprising, which the group says is aimed at creating a strict Islamic state in the mainly Muslim north.

In the weeks following the kidnappings, some prominent jihadi websites had posts condemning the Nigerian group's extreme tactics.

Nigeria has repeatedly insisted that it knows where the girls are, while President Goodluck Jonathan and top military officials have suggested they will be brought home safely soon.

But little progress has been made in securing their release while the violence appears to be escalating across the north and centre of the country.

On Thursday in the capital Abuja, Jonathan is set to launch a fund in support of "all those who have been adversely affected by terrorism and insurgency in the country," a statement from his office said.

He hopes to raise $500 million (370 million euros) over a 12-month period from the private sector and international donors, the statement said.

More than 2,000 civilians have been killed this year, making the first half of 2014 one of the deadliest stretches of the insurgency.

Attacks had been concentrated in the remote northeast, Boko Haram's stronghold, but waves of strikes since April in major cities including Abuja have underscored the grave threat the Islamists pose to Nigeria, Africa's most populous country and top oil producer.

http://news.yahoo.com/nigeria-says-arrests-10-old-girl-wearing-explosives-164131912.html

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Wife of Party Official Killed in Xinjiang ‘Revenge Attack’

31 July 2014

The wife of a ruling Chinese Communist Party official in the restive Xinjiang region was stabbed to death and her husband severely wounded in an attack which authorities said was an act of revenge for a raid on ethnic minority Uyghur Muslims during a mosque prayer session.

Unknown assailants wielding axes and knives burst into the home of party secretary Rejep Islam in Hotan prefecture’s Qaraqash county at around 3:00 a.m. on July 19, killing his wife Zeynep Memtimin and leaving him in need of urgent medical care, according to the chief of his village, Memetjan Jumaq.

The attack comes amid unending violence that have led authorities to maintain an anti-terror campaign in Xinjiang, where many Uyghurs complain that they are subject to political, cultural, and religious repression for opposing Chinese rule.

Jumaq, head of Ayaq Purchaqchi village in Purchaqchi township, told RFA’s Uyghur Service that he had accompanied Islam a day earlier in a raid during prayer time on a local mosque as around 200 officials and security personnel searched for six suspects they had linked to a shooting incident in May.

“A Uyghur official from the township cautioned us to wait till the end of Tarawih (Ramadan evening) prayer and detain the suspects from their homes without disrupting the session, but Zhao, the party secretary of the township, said, ‘We should detain them now, otherwise we will lose them’,” Jumaq said.

“Rejep Islam, the head of our village supported it. As he entered the mosque, I followed him. He interrupted the sermon and announced, ‘We need to talk to some of you outside, while the others can continue your prayers,’ before reading off the names of the individuals.”

Jumaq said that authorities detained six people during the raid in connection with a May 27 house search that had led to a scuffle between the Uyghur occupants and authorities, and subsequent shooting death by police of the homeowner’s father.

“The people were very upset [about the prayer raid], including the Imam, but nobody could do anything because the mosque was surrounded by armed personnel,” he said.

Jumaq said that around 3:00 a.m. the next morning, he was awoken by a phone call informing him Islam had been attacked, so he went to inspect the crime scene at the party secretary’s home.

“I saw police standing guard at his door and then I saw Rejep Islam lying on the floor. He was later taken away to the emergency room. His wife Zeynep Memtimin had been killed,” he said.

“We saw the blood and injuries on their bodies and I passed out. I had done the same thing as Rejep Islam [during the raid], so I realized it was possible that I would meet the same fate someday. It was inevitable that this kind of thing would happen.”

Jumaq said he was told to return to his home after regaining consciousness, so he was unable to provide any further details of the investigation.

Brutal attack

Hamtahun Kurban, the head of nearby Uttura Purchaqchi village, told RFA he had visited with Islam five days after he was hospitalized and said that the party secretary had related to him the details of the attack.

“According to Rejep Islam, he went to sleep that night feeling a bit anxious, so he kept a police baton with him under his pillow,” Kurban said.

“He awoke to hear his wife screaming and saw her being attacked by a few people with knives and axes. He set upon them with the baton, but was unable to stop them.”

Kurban said that Islam then ran into another room of the house and locked himself in, but the attackers broke through the windows in the door and attacked him with kitchen knives until he lost consciousness.

“Thinking that he was dead, the attackers left him there. But when he regained consciousness, he called for help from the police,” he said.

Rejep Islam was “very active” in maintaining area stability and “very strict” in managing religious affairs, Kurban said, referring to policies of an anti-terror campaign in Xinjiang stepped up following a May 22 bombing in the regional capital Urumqi, which killed 31 people and injured 90.

He said that since the campaign was launched, prompting increased house-to-house searches and raids, “only five or six women who were questioned had been detained by the police, while all others were detained by Rejep Islam alone,” raising animosity against him within the local Uyghur community.

Act of revenge

Keyum Ahmet, police chief of Purchaqchi township, told RFA that he believed Islam and his wife were targeted as revenge for the shooting death by police of Abdukerim Tohtiniyaz while searching the home of his 22-year-old son Abdurrahman Abdukerim in Ayaq Purchaqchi village on May 27.

Ahmet said that officers had been met “with resistance” during a routine search of Abdukerim’s home.

“When the police ordered two women of the household to take off their veils, Abdurrahman attacked them and beat them down when he saw that the officers were not carrying any weapons,” he said.

“When we arrived to help, Abdurrahman had escaped by leaping over his courtyard wall. His father, Abdukerim Tohtiniyaz, not only refused to cooperate in finding his son, but he also created a dispute with us. He was shot and killed on the spot.”

Ahmet said that police had been searching for Abdukerim since the incident, and that a subsequent investigation had determined 11 people—three of whom were women—had helped in hiding him.

“We detained six of them on July 18 during the Tarawih prayer,” he said, adding that he believed Abdukerim was responsible for the subsequent attack on Islam and his wife.

“The suspect Abdurrahman Abdukerim and his accomplices were taking revenge for his dead father and expressing their opposition to our detaining people during prayer. This was a violent terrorist crime.”

More than 200 people have died in unrest in Xinjiang in the past year or so, the government says.

On Monday, Chinese police in Yarkand (in Chinese, Shache) county in Xinjiang’s Kashgar prefecture shot dead dozens of knife and axe-wielding Uyghurs who went on a rampage, apparently angry over restrictions during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan and the killing of a family of five during a house search in early July.

http://www.rfa.org/english/news/uyghur/revenge-07302014140303.html

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Palestinian girl tweets about her trauma under Israeli shelling

31 July 2014

“This is in my area. I can’t stop crying. I might die tonight” said Farah Baker, a 16-year-old Gazan, via her Twitter account, portraying the grim situation many in the Gaza Strip as a result of Israel’s latest offensive against the enclave.

Living with her 6-year-old sister opposite Gaza’s Al-Shifa Hospital where most of the trauma occurs, Farah says she fears for her life daily and that she might become a “martyr at any moment” because of all the bombing.

A rocket blasted next to the hospital on Monday, killing 10 Palestinians, nine of whom were children.

Baker says she has been trapped inside her home for more than three weeks with no electricity.

“We are sitting in darkness bc th power is off, flares r lightening up th area just like it's midday,we're just hearin bombs,drones,f16s#Gaza,” she wrote on Monday.

Israeli launched “Operation Protective Edge” against the Gaza Strip on July 8, claiming it aimed to destroy tunnels there used by militant group Hamas. Almost 1,300 Palestinians, mostly civilians, have been killed so far in the Israeli offensive.

Israel has lost 53 soldiers and three civilians.Baker has survived three wars in Gaza and chose Twitter as a medium to express her agony.

“They are bombing heavily in my area. This is the worst night in this war. I just want you to know that I might martyr at any moment #Gaza,” she said in one Twitter post.

A picture of shrapnel remains extracted from the brain of a 9-year-old child by her neurosurgeon father is shared on Twitter.

“Not only my area is suffering of this night, all parts of #Gaza strip are hearing bombs and seeing flares, this is y we've no shelters,” she added.

 Despite her heartbreaking situation, her continuous tweets and video feed, Farah has rallied support from different corners and is urging the world to witness the brutality of the ongoing war.

One of her videos is captioned: 'Okay. The 8163662 bomb I could hear today! This is UNBELIEVABLE!! #Gaza 2:13am'

“The window fell over my 6yrs old sis and she got injured slightly but she's shaking and unable to breathe #Gaza,” Farah tweets.

"Whenever my 6 yrs old sis hear the rocket falling she covers her ears and shout while crying in order not to hear the bomb #Gaza #AJAGAZA," she continued.

“When u need 2 have hundreds of protests just 2 tell th world that BOMBING CHILDREN IS NOT OKAY. That's when u know that HUMANITY DIED#Gaza,” she said.

 During a brief lull in the fighting on 25 July, Farah was eager to walk through the streets of Gaza to meet her best friend.

“I AM GOING TO HANG OUTTTT! I can't believe this!!!!!!! I'm going to meet my best friend #Gaza,” she said.

“There's a ceasefire today for 12hrs. I'll get 2 th street and keep walking walking walking till I get exhausted & miss home #Gaza #AJAGAZA,” she said in one post.

In one tweet in which she addressed her supporters, Farah wrote: “Again. Thank you all for supporting me, I wish I could make sth for you :/ thank you.”It was the last post before her Internet access failed.

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/perspective/features/2014/07/30/Palestinian-girl-tweets-about-her-trauma-under-Israeli-shelling.html

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Acid attack injures three women in southwest Pakistan

31 July 2014

Three women in southwest Pakistan were injured in an acid attack over a family dispute, officials said Wednesday as police carried out raids to apprehend the suspects.

The attack took place Tuesday night in the Pishin district of the restive province of Baluchistan around 30 miles(50 kilometers) from the provincial capital Quetta.

Hundreds of acid attacks are recorded every year in Pakistan but are a relatively new phenomenon in Baluchistan, with the handful of cases recorded prior to this latest one linked to Islamist groups rather than so-called ‘honor.’

Local administration official Bashir Bazai told AFP: “Three women sustained injuries in an acid attack incident in Killi Huramzai area of district Pishin, (around 31 miles north of Quetta).”

He said the men had thrown the acid from bottles.

Akbar Hussain Durrani, the provincial home secretary of Baluchistan confirmed the incident adding that the motive was a family feud, without elaborating.

“There was a family feud between two groups and one group stormed the house of the rival group Tuesday night and threw acid on the women present there,” Durrani told AFP.

He said six women were present at the house during the incident and the acid fell on three of them.

“The attackers had thrown the acid on the lower parts of the women burning their feet and lower parts of leg,” he said.

Durrani said the district tribal police had identified the attackers and were carrying out raids to arrest them.

Last Tuesday, two men on a motorcycle sprayed acid using syringes on two teenage girls who were returning from a market in Mastung town 40 kilometers from the provincial capital Quetta.

The day before, four women, aged between 18 to 50, had suffered the same fate in Quetta, in the market area of Sariab. They suffered partial burns.

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/asia/2014/07/30/Acid-attack-injures-three-women-in-southwest-Pakistan-.html

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Turkish minister turns ire on ‘pole-dancing women’

31 July 2014

A senior Turkish minister who caused an outcry by suggesting women should not laugh loudly in public waded into a new controversy on Wednesday by attacking women who he said could not resist pole dancing.

Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc, a co-founder of the ruling Islamic-rooted Justice and Development Party (AKP), has strongly criticized in recent days what he sees as a decline of moral standards in Turkey.

His comment earlier this week that women should not laugh in public was ridiculed by secular Turks, with women taking to Twitter en masse to post pictures of themselves laughing deliriously.

Arinc said in televised comments Wednesday that those remarks had been taken out of context and he had wanted to comment on the “general rules of morality.”

But he added: “There are women who leave on holiday without their husbands and others who don’t have self control and can’t stop themselves from climbing up a pole.”

“Anyone can live like this. I can’t be angry against you but I can just have pity for you,” he said.

Arinc’s latest remarks appear to have been prompted by the wife of a prominent Turkish footballer who posted a picture of herself pole dancing on Instagram with the slogan “when I see a pole, I just can’t resist.”

The woman, the wife of Caner Erkin, a prominent player for Istanbul giants Fenerbahce, has since deleted the image from her account. Mimicking the Twitter campaign Tuesday over Arinc’s comments on laughing, bloggers posted pictures of their pets climbing up poles or flags proudly flying from poles.

Political tensions are riding high in Turkey as Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan prepares to stand in presidential elections on August 10 with his critics accusing the government of seeking to erode the country’s secular principles.

Turkey’s liberal press slammed Arinc’s latest remarks, with columnist Ismigul Simsek of the Bianet website telling him to go back to “watering the flowers.”

“We know what kind of society, woman and morality you are trying to reconstruct. We are following it closely but we don’t like it. And we don’t choose it,” she wrote.

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/variety/2014/07/31/Turkish-minister-turns-ire-on-pole-dancing-women-.html

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New Wonder Woman Stirs Controversy with Hamas-Bashing Post

31 July 2014

Gal Gadot, a former Miss Israel who plays Wonder Woman in the upcoming “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” has caused a stir on social media after positing comments bashing Hamas, describing them as “cowards,” in the latest case of a celebrity wading in on the ongoing offensive against Gaza.

The first image of Wonder Woman, played by the 29-year-old, was unveiled at the San Diego Comic-Con over the weekend. Fans cheered at seeing the Xena-like Wonder Woman wielding a warrior sword.

However, Gadot, who served two years mandatory military service in the Israeli army, stirred controversy last week after voicing support for her comrades and slamming Hamas.

“I am sending my love and prayers to my fellow Israeli citizens. Especially to all the boys and girls who are risking their lives protecting my country against the horrific acts conducted by Hamas, who are hiding like cowards behind women and children … We shall overcome!!! Shabbat Shalom!” she wrote in a post on her Facebook page, which has 5.8 million likes.

While the post, which has received 189,560 likes and 5,726 shares, pleased many of her supports, others scorned her for wading in on the raging war between the Israelis and Palestinians.

“I see you Zionist turds are getting a little desperate with your social media war going to desperate lengths to sway the public into empathising with you,” one user commented on her Facebook post.

“Israeli risking their lives??? Lol did see the death poll Israeli vs Palestine ? To kill the so called Hamas your Israel is killing innocent CHILDREN!!!! And WOMEN!!!!!” another user wrote.

On Wednesday, at least 16 Palestinians were killed in an Israeli strike on a U.N. school in the Gaza Strip, raising death toll to almost 1,300 people.

“Zionist Israeli army is the biggest terrorist organization! Palestinians are facing ethnic cleansing ever since the Zionist Israelis started snatching land! What would you do if your land home and everything you had is being taken away constantly?” one user said in a post.

Gadot’s comment was also scrutinized by some Western newspapers.

Donald Clarke, the chief film correspondent for The Irish Times, wrote on Monday that “Ms Gadot is entitled to her views. I do not agree with her position, but I have no problem with her expressing herself in these terms.”

He added: “The worry is that almost nobody seems to have raised any objections to her declaration.”

“There was some ‘fire’ certainly. But, beneath that Facebook post, the comments are almost unrelentingly supportive,” he said.

“Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman: A Hamas-Bashing, Ex-IDF Soldier and Former Miss Israel,” The Daily Beast, a U.S. news website, headlined its article on the subject on Tuesday.

While the article did not express any overt criticism, it chronicled the model’s path to fame as well as her previous brushes with controversy such as posing nude for an ad and twerking.

In 2009, Gadot landed the role of Gisele Yashar, a carjacker/Mossad agent for Justin Lin’s film “The Fast & Furious.”

Gadot is not the first celebrity who causes controversy over what is happening in Gaza.

Selena Gomez, One Direction singer Zayn Malik, Rihanna, and British host Piers Morgan have all been involved in controversies regarding the conflict.

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/variety/2014/07/30/New-Wonder-Woman-stirs-controversy-with-Hamas-bashing-post.html

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Kurdish Singer Advocates for Women

31 July 2014

TORONTO, Canada—As a sheltered young singer from a liberal, culturally rich family, Rojan had little exposure to the hardships many women and girls were facing in Iran. Now, as a Kurdish diva who tours with renowned Kurdish singers, Rojan is able to advocate for women’s rights and serve as a role model for her female fans. 

Born into an artistically elite family in Sanandaj, Rojan was encouraged and supported by her father throughout her career as a singer. She started singing in elementary school in Sanandaj, the capital of Kurdistan province and the center of Kurdish culture. In high school her family moved to Kermansha in northwestern Iran, where Rojan rose to stardom and her music was broadcast on radio and TV.

Her father, who was well respected in the community and a major supporter of art, would patiently accompany her daughter to the recording studios. He would wait for hours on end to protect her daughter’s reputation and honor from the judgments of a patriarchal society that looked down on female artists.

From what she witnessed with the women in her family — including her mother, siblings and aunts — Rojan assumed respect for women was prevailed in the society as well. It was only years later, when she got involved in women’s issues, that Rojan came face-to-face with abused women.

“It was also when I went to Erbil, Kurdistan, for a concert and connected with women’s organization that I realized how, despite the apparent freedom Kurdish women have — (not having to wear) veil, wearing colourful dresses, dancing and fighting (as Peshmerga) along with men — violence against women was widespread,” Rojan told Rudaw in a phone interview.

When the Islamists took over in 1979 in Iran, women’s voice were banned. Rojan went to Italy with her husband and studied fashion design.  When she went back to Iran years later, women who had been suffering in silence shared their stories with Rojan.

“In a country where women are officially perceived as only objects, and not humans, all kinds of abuse are common. Many of the women were sexually, verbally and emotionally abused — even those in wealthy families,” she said.

“Because they don’t have the right to custody and to divorce, they had to stay with unfaithful husbands. Because they were too afraid of losing their honour, they would remain silent about sexual harassments by family members and strangers. For many of these women sex meant satisfying a man and producing a child, nothing else.”

Years later, when Rojan immigrated to the United States with her husband, son and daughter, she once again pursued her passion for music. Her first album, recorded underground in Iran and containing Kurdish and Farsi songs, was an immediate hit. 

Rojan is a Kurdish folk singer who draws inspiration from Sufi music. Although she strongly identifies as Kurdish, performing in traditional dress and with Kurdish singers, she is sometimes criticized for singing in Farsi.

“Having access to more languages means being able to offer richer works of art,” she said. “I can’t ignore the touching, classic poetry of Hafez and Rumi when they can help my art and can even bridge a gap between estranged cultures.” 

Rojan, who is now based in California, said despite the critique, the Iranian and Kurdish communities support her and she is always ready to give back. She is active in charity work and fundraising, and sends money to support Kurdish women who need medical attention. When women and girls in Kurdistan are in trouble, they know whom to contact.

“The last two were women who had lost their faces to self-immolation and needed plastic surgery,” she said. “When a Kurdish girl lost her sight as a reaction to penicillin, I talked to many doctors in America and followed (up on) her case. We started a social media campaign and attracted enough attention, putting Iran under pressure to accept the responsibility. Two days ago, I was informed that she fortunately got her sight back.”

In addition to offering financial and legal advice to women through her son, who is a lawyer, Rojan makes the time to listen to her fans. Despite juggling motherhood, family, recordings and rehearsals — plus a busy American lifestyle — Rojan is a maternal figure for people around her, including young fans who seek advice about their most important life decisions.

“Mothers can change the whole world,” she said. “From the first lullaby they sing for their sons, to the way they treat their daughter-in-laws, they send the message of ‘respecting women.’ A mother who forgives the killer of her child to break the chain of revenge is a real hero who has a lot to say to the world.”

Despite her success, Rojan has limited financial support for her music and releases single tracks instead of albums. One of her goals is to create an anti-war themed album of women singers from different ethnic backgrounds.

The theme of motherhood is apparent in her latest release. The Myth of Eve is an anti-war music video focused on mothers suffering in the in Iraq, Syria and Palestine conflicts.  

According to Islamic myth, Eve had two sons, Habil and Qabil — one good and one bad. When the bad one killed the good one, “it was Eve who suffered more than anyone else,” Rojan said. “Mothers suffer the most.”

http://rudaw.net/english/culture/30072014

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Labor Ministry opposes Tehran's proposal for gender segregation

31 July 2014

Iran’s Labor Ministry has sent a letter to Tehran Mayor Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf expressing its misgivings about the proposed segregating of the sexes at municipal offices.

Deputy Labor Minister Mohammad Taghi Hosseini wrote to the mayor and Tehran's city council July 4, “As you know, the Islamic Republic of Iran is a member of the International Labour Organization, and the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, as the national reference for membership in this organization, is required to observe obligations and commitments … to international labor conventions, such as non-discrimination in the work place.”

The letter stated that such a practice could provoke an “international reaction,” even going so far as to say that “it could be considered a human rights violation” by some international organizations.

After the letter became public and was covered by both the domestic and foreign media, the Labor Ministry produced another letter, published by the Iranian Labour News Agency, denying that the original letter had anything to do with the separation of sexes.

According to Khabar Online, approximately two months ago, the Tehran municipality issued a confidential internal memo advising that the other institutions that operate beneath it should create different working spaces for men and women employees. The plan, titled “Improving the Status of Women,” also requested that offices operating under the municipality no longer hire women for the positions of secretary, office manager and typist.

In the follow-up letter, the Labor Ministry wrote, “History shows that these types of memos give those searching for an excuse in international organizations will use it against the achievements of the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

The news of gender segregation and accusations of the Tehran municipality firing female employees became public July 13, a month and a half after the internal memo was sent. Farzad Khalafi, media affairs deputy for the Tehran municipality, said that a number of female employees were fired for “their own well being,” saying, “The officials at the municipality may be at work until night and visit various projects, and this needs the presence of the office manager. In this case, it’s possible that women would be inconvenienced and strained and not be able to take care of their lives and family, and it’s possible there would be a disruption in their life.” He later denied that any women had been fired.

During Friday prayers on July 18, Ghalibaf blamed the media for claiming that the municipality wanted to “put a wall” between men and women. However, he also said that the municipality believes that for certain projects, men and women could be separated into different rooms to work. He stressed that women working long hours will also cause harm to family life.

On July 23, Justice Minister Mostafa Pourmohammadi said that the Tehran municipality would separate the sexes to help efficiency, explaining, “If we can have an environment for women and another environment for men that can increase efficiency and be more calm, this situation is more compatible with our values and customs.”

http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2014/07/iran-labor-ministry-opposes-sex-segregation.html#ixzz392EvDmoB

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Just 322 firms endorse new regulations for women’s workplace

31 July 2014

JEDDAH —The Ministry of Labor has said only 322 businesses approved the draft regulations for improving women's work environment when an opinion poll on its website closed on Monday, Al-Madinah newspaper reported.

The ministry had posted the draft on the ministry's electronic gate, "Together We Improve", for feedback from businessmen and members of the public.

The ministry has pointed out that the regulations aim to organize women's work environment in the private sector and oblige private businesses to preserve their rights, especially those related to workplaces.

Business owners should protect women's privacy in the workplace by providing them exclusive facilities either in a separate building or a segregated area in the same building where male employees work, according to the draft law.

The draft also calls on businesses to allot women workers separate prayer halls, restrooms and other basic amenities.

Women's work areas should be clearly identified by signs and if women have to deal with the public, then the businesses should appoint guards or install other security systems to ensure their safety, it says.

The draft law says violating businesses will be fined a maximum of SR5,000 according to Article 239 of the Labor Law, in addition to punishments stipulated by the Council of Ministers directives, which include denial of recruitment visas, iqama renewals and sponsorship transfers for expatriate workers.

http://www.saudigazette.com.sa/index.cfm?method=home.regcon&contentid=20140731213127

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24 Couples Tie the Knot in an "Eid Group Wedding" At Al-Ahsa

31 July 2014

AL-AHSA — Twenty-four couples are to tie the knot in an "Eid group wedding" in the village of Al-Markaz, Al-Yaum newspaper reported on Wednesday.

The supervisor of the group wedding, Faisal BuHamad, said that this is a yearly tradition and is the seventh edition of the annual event.

The number of couples is increasing every year, he said, adding that such events are held twice a year during Eid Al-Fitr and Eid Al-Adha.

The group event seeks to assist couples who cannot afford the high cost of wedding.

Invitations have been sent to the couples families and relatives to attend the joyous occasion, he said, while adding that volunteers organize the group wedding.

http://www.saudigazette.com.sa/index.cfm?method=home.regcon&contentid=20140731213136

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