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Islam, Women and Feminism ( 22 Nov 2014, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Female Imams Strive To Act as Mentors for Muslim Women in Western China

New Age Islam News Bureau

22 Nov 2014

Imam Ma Guixia leads a group of female students in Quranic chants at the Wunan Mosque in Wuzhong. Photo: Liang Chen/GT


 Tunisian Wins Muslim Beauty Pageant, Calls For Free Palestine

 Saddam’s Granddaughter’s Pre-Wedding Snaps Flood Social Media

 Saudi Female Employees Prefer Male Bosses

 FOMWAN Condemns Restrictions on Use of Hijab

 Egyptian Actress Ridiculed For Speaking Broken English at Cairo Festival

 G. Bissau Launches First FGM Prosecutions

 Crimes against Women: NHRC Issues Notice to Tripura, India, Government

 Princess Hussa Bint Salman: Saudi Women Making Valuable Contributions to Society

 Jihadi Bride from Glasgow Complains New Home in the Islamic State Is 'Too COLD'

 Wichita State To Host Reception For Muslim Women's Rights Activist Raheel Raza

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau





Female imams strive to act as mentors for Muslim women in western China

22 Nov, 2014

The number of female imams, known locally as ahong, acting as spiritual leaders and teachers for Muslim women, is rising in China, especially in the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region. They have broken through taboos and barriers and won wide recognition among female believers. After learning doctrines and taking certification exam, more than 80 female imams in Ningxia have been licensed by the government. They lead Muslim women in prayer at mosques, teach them about the Koran and Islamic culture and offer religious services. They also mediate domestic disputes and enhance women's awareness of their rights. Female imams are playing an increasingly essential role in improving gender equality, the quality of local women's religious life and social harmony.

Every morning before the clock strikes five, 50-year-old Jin Meihua, a Muslim living in Wuzhong, Northwest China's Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, has already hauled herself out of bed and walked into her living room.

She turns on the lights, opens her Koran and starts to chant Islamic verses.

After preparing breakfast for her family, she trots to a mosque a few minutes' walk away to lead a Koran study class.

There, dozens of Muslim women wait every morning for Jin to teach them about their religion. Over the course of a two-hour class, Jin guides them in chanting Koranic verses in Arabic and teaches them how to interpret the holy scripture. This has been Jin's routine for 18 years, rain or shine.

Jin is a female imam or ahong, an Islamic spiritual leader. Female imams and female-only mosques are a distinctive feature of Chinese Islam, rarely, if ever seen elsewhere.

Currently, Ningxia has more than 80 female imams that have been licensed by the local government after passing official examinations. There are more than 3,760 registered mosques and 8,000 imams in the region according to a Xinhua News Agency report, and they provide services to the 2.32 million Muslims that live in Ningxia, one third of the region's residents.

Jin's hometown Wuzhong has one of the highest concentrations of ethnically Hui Muslims of any town in China, as they make up around 53 percent of its population.

"The appearance of female imams has met female Muslims' demand for religious education and is beneficial for the stability and harmony of the Muslim community," Ma Yuzhong, director of the Wuzhong Bureau of Ethnic and Religious Affairs, told the Global Times.

This phenomenon has coincided with Muslim women's growing demand for greater equality, Ma said.

'I wanted to know what I can do'

In some Muslim communities, as in many traditional societies, women have long had a lower social status than men. In Ningxia, most women marry young, depriving them of educational and employment opportunities.

This restriction of opportunities extends to their religious life. They are not allowed to pray in mosques with men.

The status of Muslim women angered Jin Meihua and she swore to change it. When she was 30 years old, she decided to become an imam.

Born in 1964, Jin was forced to drop out of education after she completed middle school due to her family's poverty. She married at 18 and had three children before she turned 30.

She tried hard to be a responsible wife and mother, but felt empty.

"I felt so depressed. As a woman, I was told not to do this and not to do that. I could not work. I could not go to mosques. I wanted to know exactly what I can do and what I cannot do as a Muslim woman, and not just be told by other people," Jin told the Global Times.

Like many other Muslim women, Jin started chanting Koranic verses when she was a child. But she had no idea what the scripture actually meant.

To understand the Koran she would have to learn Arabic, the language of the holy book. She begged an elderly imam for permission to study in the mosque. He agreed to teach her.

Her path to becoming an imam was not easy. Many people, including her husband, encouraged her to give up. She was told that women shouldn't expose themselves in public.

Despite these pressures, and the difficulty of juggling her studies and running a household, she persevered.

"I thought about giving up. I wanted to hide deep under a mountain and cried out when I was struck by too much pressure, but my desire to help other women who lived in the same misery as me kept me going," Jin said.

Jin took the imam examination organized by the local government in 1996, together with 400 men. She was one of only four women taking the exam. She can still remember bursting into tears when she found out that she had passed.

Now, Jin has been an imam for 18 years and has tutored hundreds of female students. Some of her students have followed in her footsteps and become imams themselves.

Ma Hongmei, 44, was one of Jin's students. Ma is thankful that Jin educated her about Islam. "I was enriched by the teachings of the Koran, and got some clues about what makes one a good Muslim woman," Ma, who became an imam in 2006, told the Global Times.

The main tasks of female imams are teaching Muslim women Islamic scriptures and instructing them how to live their lives within a religious framework, in addition to offering services such as weddings and funerals.

Imams, regardless of gender, are not paid by the government or by mosques. But the four female imams interviewed by the Global Times said that money is unimportant.

"Many women here are illiterate. If we help them to understand Koranic scriptures and religious doctrines, they can receive more respect in their families and neighborhoods," Ma said.

Aside from acting as spiritual leaders, they also work as mediators in domestic conflicts within the Muslim community.

Defying opposition from conservatives

At 7 am on November 17, in a classroom in the Wunan Mosque, female imam Ma Guixia is guiding female students in Arabic Koranic chants.

Ma has over 40 students, mostly middle-aged and elderly women. Learning Arabic is a lengthy process and it takes a minimum of two years hard studying for students to fluently read the Koran.

Despite these challenges, the women find the classes to be beneficial. "It has taught us how to be good Muslim women. It also gives us a moral framework, so that we can behave well. It enriches us," a 60-year-old woman surnamed Zhang who has been a student for over six years told the Global Times.

Aside from their religious role, female imams teach women about family planning, in accordance with government policies. In the classroom of the mosque, information about the local family-planning association hangs on the wall, and boxes of condoms, which are freely available to all, sit in a glass cabinet.

"Female imams have multiple tasks. They are obliged to teach religious knowledge, laws and social sciences, as well as ethnic and religious policies," Zhang Yongzhong, deputy director of Wuzhong's Bureau of Ethnic and Religious Affairs, told the Global Times.

Female imams are relatively well educated and usually enjoy a high degree of respect in their communities. Apart from acting as spiritual leaders for female believers, they also play an important social role.

They help to heal damaged relationships between mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law, offer shelter and support when women's rights and interests are infringed, and teach women about what protections the law can offer them.

Wang Jinyu, imam of Wuzhong's Ancient City Mosque, said that female imams have proved to be helpful in improving the quality of Hui women's religious life.

"It used to be difficult for male imams to talk to female believers. Female imams can communicate better with Muslim women in ways that male imams can't," Wang told the Global Times.

However Wang pointed out that some conservative forces within the Hui community believe that the growth in the number of female imams is disrupting the natural order of the religion.

When female imams are attached to a men-only mosque, their status is lower than the male imams that lead such institutions. They have to routinely report their teaching syllabus to the male imams, Wang said.

While leading prayers, female imams are not allowed to stand apart from the congregation, in front, as male imams do. They instead are only allowed to stand in the middle of the first row of the congregation.

Jin spoke of other forms of hostility to women imams. She said that some male imams showed contempt toward female imams when they address congregations during festivals.

This doesn't faze her, however. "Women are born to shoulder more responsibility than men. I just wanted to teach other women to think and act independently, and help them break free of the negative influence of the conservative forces," she said.

An example for others

As early as middle of the 17th century, religious schools for female Muslims had been set up around China.

These later grew into women-only mosques run by female imams during late Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).

However, as religious practices were banned during the Cultural Revolution (1966-76), these mosques were shut down. As public religious expression returned to China in the 1980s, female imams reappeared too.

"At that time, female imams only taught women how to pray and offered religious services at weddings and funerals. They didn't give lessons on Arabic and Islamic culture, or the Koran," Wang Jinyu told the Global Times.

Since the 1990s, and especially over the last 10 years, Muslim women's roles in their community have broadened, meaning that female imams can begin to play an increasing role in religious life.

The distinctive tradition of female imams has been around for centuries in China and is gaining momentum. The growth of the number of female imams has been seen by some as an indication that position of women in Muslim communities is improving.

The presence of female imams in China has a significant demonstrative meaning for observers in other Muslim communities, especially those in which women are subject to repressive restrictions, said Xiong Bingqi, a noted cultural critic. But it's not an easy road for other communities to follow, he added.

"First, the consciousness of the whole religious group must change, especially the consciousness of female believers. Then, the right of women to be educated shall be guaranteed," he told the Global Times.

If women are better educated, they will know how to fight for, and protect, their rights and interests, he said.



Tunisian wins Muslim beauty pageant, calls for free Palestine

22 Nov, 2014

PRAMBANAN, Indonesia - A Tunisian woman called for a free Palestine as she won a pageant exclusively for Muslims in Indonesia Friday, seen as a riposte to Western beauty contests.

Eighteen finalists, who include a doctor and a computer scientist, paraded in glittering dresses against the backdrop of world-renowned ancient temples for the contest in the world's most populous Muslim-majority country.

Computer scientist Fatma Ben Guefrache was announced the winner and received a prize which includes a gold watch, a gold dinar, and mini pilgrimage to Mecca.

"May almighty Allah help me in this mission, and free Palestine, please, please, free Palestine and the Syrian people," the tearful 25-year-old woman said.

The 18 finalists were required to wear the Muslim headscarf and judged not only on their appearance, but also on how well they recite verses from the Koran and their views on Islam in the modern world.

"We want to see that they understand everything about the Islamic way of life - from what they eat, what they wear, how they live their lives," said Jameyah Sheriff, one of the organisers.

The World Muslimah Award first drew global attention in 2013 when organisers presented it as a peaceful protest to Miss World, which was taking place around the same time on the resort island of Bali.

While it remains popular in some countries, British-run Miss World has faced frequent accusations that it is degrading to women, and a round in which contestants pose in bikinis has been a lightning rod for criticism.

In an effort to appease hardliners, Miss World organisers axed the bikini round for the Bali edition, but the event still sparked demonstrations from Islamic radicals who dubbed it a "whore contest".

 'Headscarves not scary'

British contestant Dina Torkia said she hoped this year's World Muslimah Award would not only provide a contrast to Western beauty pageants, but would also dispel prejudices against Islam.

"I think the most important thing is to show that we are really normal girls, we are not married to terrorists. This scarf on my head isn't scary," she told AFP.

However the 2014 pageant has faced challenges, with seven finalists dropping out and others struggling with Indonesia's complex bureaucracy to obtain visas.

Most who pulled out did so because their families did not want them to travel alone, Sheriff said.

The Indian contestant missed her initial flight as she was being questioned by officials who were suspicious of a woman travelling alone and wearing a headscarf, although she managed to get on a plane later.

Others have gone to great lengths to take part in the fourth edition of the event, with Masturah Binte Jamil quitting her teaching job in Singapore after her employer would not give her time off to participate.

Organisers hope to present positive role models for Islamic women around the world and the contestants, who are aged between 18 and 27, include a newly qualified doctor from Bangladesh.

But not everyone was enjoying the final rounds, with Britain's Torkia saying her initial optimism had turned into disappointment.

"I came into this competition hoping that I would leave with my faith increased, but so far it's been a lot about promotion and media and looking nice," she said.

Friday's finale caps a lengthy process, which included an online audition followed by two weeks of events in Indonesia.

During their time in Indonesia, contestants have visited orphanages and nursing homes, and had their pictures taken at Borobudur, a famous Buddhist temple close to Yogyakarta, Java's cultural heartland.

The finale takes place on a stage against the backdrop of Prambanan, a ninth-century complex of Hindu temples on the island of Java that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Hosting the event at a Hindu site was a conscious decision to show that Muslims are accepting of other religions, organisers said.



Saddam’s granddaughter’s pre-wedding snaps flood social media

22 November 2014

Photos of Saddam Hussein’s granddaughter’s pre-wedding celebrations flooded the Internet after they were posted by her mother on Instagram Thursday.

Before a bride dons the white bridal gown for the wedding ceremony, a typical pre-wedding celebration called a Henna was held in Jordan.

Banin, Saddam’s granddaughter from his eldest daughter Raghad, was seen wearing a traditional Arab dark pink outfit with silver embroidery.

In one picture, she was seen signing her marriage contract.

Meanwhile, snaps of the wedding invitations, which is scheduled to take place on Nov. 24, show them printed on cards in the shape of an eagle – a symbol commonly associated with 20th-century pan-Arabism, which Saddam espoused through his Baathist ideology.

The eagle was also used to embellish some of the décor.



Saudi Female Employees Prefer Male Bosses

22 Nov, 2014

A GOOD work environment is one of the most important factors in helping an employee progress in his or her career. With so many women in the Kingdom in senior work positions within both the private and public sectors, many feel that having male managers is the key to advancing in one’s career, Al-Riyadh newspaper reported.

Maha Abbas, a female employee, feels most comfortable when working under a male manager. “There are lots of problems in working with women. There are a lot of issues that one has to deal with and the majority has nothing to do with work,” she said.

“Women create endless problems in the workplace. There are women who harbor hatred against one another, especially in the work environment. Then you get some female managers who take credit for other people’s work and secure promotions on the back of others,” said Abbas.

Some women prefer male managers as they feel men are more qualified than women and able to better relate to women.

“Some female managers are bossy and fail to understand women and their particular circumstances. Some of them are very rash decision makers and often fail to think about the consequences. This is unlike male managers who are very wise and thoughtful when taking decisions,” she added.

Hind Al-Masoud agreed with Abbas. She said women tend to complain and whine about their female colleagues. “Not a single day passes without some female employee lodging a complaint against a female colleague. In such situations male managers are better; they are more just and fair than female managers,” she said.

“Women are moody by nature and unable to control their emotions or tempers. Furthermore, a woman cannot bear the pressures of work unlike a man. These results she added.

Um Saud, a female teacher, disagrees. “Male or female managers should be just and fair to all. The work environment, regardless of whether the manager is a man or woman, should be one underscored by justice and equality,” she said.

“I wouldn’t want my supervisor to be a man as the person who is in charge of our school is brilliant. She’s created a really good working environment in the school,” she said, adding that female managers are better than male manager at understanding the concerns and mindset of female employees.

“I can easily deal with female directors than male directors,” she added. Meanwhile, some women are unconcerned whether their manager is male or female. Efficiency and success is what concerns them. Others, on the other hand, feel they can relate better to female managers than male ones.



FOMWAN Condemns Restrictions on Use Of Hijab

22 Nov, 2014

THE Federation of Muslim Women’s Associations in Nigeria (FOMWAN) has expressed worry over the incessant denial of the right and duty of Muslim women and girls regarding the wearing of Hijab in some parts of the country.

The organisation particularly expressed disappointment at the recent ruling of a Lagos high court banning the use of Hijab in public schools in Lagos State.

A release by FOMWAN’s National Amirah (President), Hajia A. B. Omoti, said the court ruling had upset the Muslim community in the state and, indeed, the entire country as evidenced by the series of protests, agitations and press conferences by various Muslim groups.

“Islam, without gainsaying, is both a religion and a way of life for adherents. Hijab is a covering for Muslim women and girls, the wearing of which is an injunction of Allah, aimed at protecting the vulnerability of women in the society.

“Hijab is also a form of dressing by which female Muslims manifest profession and practice of their faith.

“The Nigerian Constitution, section 38(B), recognises the fundamental right of citizens to adhere to and practice their religion.

“It is in recognition of this fundamental right that the Federal Government, in its wisdom, prescribed a dress code for the Muslim girl in the unity schools throughout the country,” FOMWAN said.

It said the Oyo and Ekiti state governments had similarly given approval for Muslim students in their public schools to don the Hijab.

“We are also aware that female nurses in training and qualified female nurses in most government hospitals are permitted to wear the Hijab. This policy has recently been approved by the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), in Lagos State.

“In view of the forgoing, FOMWAN calls on the Lagos State government to take a look into this serious issue as a matter of urgency in the interest of peace and harmony in the state.

“It is our hope and prayer that this matter would be amicably resolved,” the organisation added.



Egyptian actress ridiculed for speaking broken English at Cairo festival

22 November 2014

She walked in captivating glamour, took the microphone, and spoke English in a staggering confidence while presenting the Silver Pyramid Award to the best actress during the Cairo International Film Festival earlier this week.

But neither her glamour nor her English language skills impressed Egyptian social media users, who were quick to mock Egyptian actress Ghada Abdel Rzek for her several pronunciation mistakes.

She told Al that she spoke ‘spontaneously,’ and refused to comment further.

This is not the first time Egyptians pick on people's English language skills.

The actress' pronunciation, some social media users highlighted, brings back memories of Mona al-Beheiri's viral video "Shut up your mouse, Obama." Al-Buheiri, an Egyptian middle-class woman, turned into an internation sensation for going in a rant - in broken English - against U.S. President Obama and asking him to shut up his "mouse" during a TV interview.

Former Egyptian President Mohammed Mursi was also trolled on social media once for his incompetence in the foreign language while giving a speech in Berlin.



G. Bissau launches first female genital mutilation prosecutions

22 November 2014

Guinea-Bissau will try six people for female circumcision, a judicial source told AFP Friday, in the west African nation's first prosecutions since the practice was outlawed three years ago.

The defendants, all of whom have appeared at preliminary court hearings since Thursday, are said to believe the practice is in keeping with their Islamic faith.

The source said the defendants, two people who carried out the circumcisions and four parents, were accused of mutilating seven young girls.

No further details were available.

The government-run National Committee for the Abandonment of Harmful Practices, which brought the complaint, said it hoped the group would get long sentences, although they have yet to be convicted.

The committee's spokesman Fatima Djau Balde said he hoped the prosecutions would "be a lesson to those still thinking of perpetuating this harmful and retrograde practice".

Female genital mutilation (FGM) is usually carried out on girls between infancy and age 15. It can cause infections and, later, infertility and childbirth complications.

According to a health ministry report released in 2012, at least 320,000 women and young girls have undergone FGM in the nation of 1.7 million.

It said the practice was most widespread among Muslim communities such as the Mandinka, Fula and Biafada.

The Bissau-Guinean parliament passed a law in June 2011 banning FGM and making it a crime punishable by up to five years imprisonment.

The maximum penalty is five years in prison and a fine of 50,000 CFA francs ($95, 76 euros).

Aid agency Plan International said earlier this year 50 percent of girls continue to be victims.



Crimes against Women: NHRC Issues Notice to Tripura, India, Government

22 Nov, 2014

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has issued notices to the chief secretary and DGP of Tripura on a complaint that incidents of crime against women, including rape, murder, molestation, torture for dowry, sexual harassment at workplace were on a rise in the state.

Taking cognizance of a complaint in this regard, Justice D Murugesan, member of NHRC also directed the Tripura chief secretary and Director General of Police to submit reports in this regard within four weeks, a press release issued by the Commission said. The complainant also alleged that in almost all cases of sexual offence against women at workplace, the state government was trying to hush-up the matter to give protection to the offenders, it added.

The NHRC press release said that giving several instances of crime against women, wherein either delayed action or no action was taken by the police, during the current year, the complainant requested the Commission to take steps for the protection of right to life with dignity of women and to stop unabated violence against them in Tripura.

The complainant had also alleged that Tripura had become a safe haven for women trafficking and that even at workplace women could not work with dignity. The guidelines of the Supreme Court laid down in Visakha case had not been implemented in Tripura, the press release quoting the complainant.

According to the Crimes in India 2013 report published by National Crimes Record Bureau (NCRB), Tripura had registered 1628 cases of various crimes against women during 2013. Of these cases of cruelty by husbands and other relatives were the highest at 827, followed by 233 cases of rape, 124 cases of kidnapping and abduction and 29 cases of dowry-related deaths.



Princess Hussa bint Salman: Saudi women making valuable contributions to society

22 Nov, 2014

Princess Hussa bint Salman says family is the core of society. She said this while delivering a key address at the inauguration of the seventh Career Day exhibition at the Girls College at Prince Sultan University.

Princess Hussa , who is associate lecturer at King Saud University’s School of Law, announced her resolve to improve the standing of women within society and family.

“We are witnessing a strengthening of the education system at Prince Sultan University, which is preparing students to have strong and unique personalities through workshops to rehabilitate young women according to the needs of the market so that they can take part in economic development of the country,” she said.

Princess Hussa said: “The family is the core of society — whether speaking about an actual family, or an educational institution, or indeed a charitable society where Saudi women and men work for the sake of society, the country and God.”

She expressed her happiness for attending the Career Day at Prince Sultan University. “I am proud of what I see everyday … examples of Saudi women that lead me to become optimistic about their future,” she said, adding that Saudi policies are supportive of female empowerment in general.

She said in the current era of globalization, women can excel through their unique work abilities and creativity. “Saudi women have proved themselves inside the Kingdom and in other countries as well,” Princess Hussa asserted. “I see in front of me fresh minds and young faces that are suitable to be part of the creativity and innovation process in the Kingdom empowered by Saudi, Arabic and global history.”

Princess Hussa mentioned the important role of journalists in supporting women’s issues, thus advancing society as a whole.

She also made a donation to the college students and announced that Crown Prince Salman, deputy premier and minister of defense, made a donation of SR1 million in support of the university’s students.

The Dean of the Girls Faculty, Remah Al-Yahya, noted that the Career Day provides students with opportunities to network with potential employers, saying: “It’s important that students get to know the best career opportunities available to them, so as to allow them to get acquainted with companies and centers that are interested in employing women.”

Prince Sultan University — crown jewel

Prince Sultan University (PSU) was originally founded in 1999 as Prince Sultan Private College, but, in 2003, the Ministry of Higher Education declared it to be a university. It was inaugurated by the late Crown Prince Sultan. The university is a nonprofit institution established in Riyadh by Al-Riyadh Philanthropic Society for Science and licensed by the Ministry of Higher Education.

PSU is the first private university in the Kingdom.

The business community of Riyadh first evolved the idea of founding the university. They dedicated PSU to Prince Sultan to celebrate his homecoming after successful medical treatment aboard. The late prince congratulated the community for this initiative and he gave a generous donation to express his personal support for this important undertaking.

Crown Prince Salman has been the chairman of the board of directors of the Al-Riyadh Philanthropic Society for Science since the very beginning, and in this capacity, he has been instrumental in the establishment of Prince Sultan University of which he is an enthusiastic patron.

PSU received its first enrollment applications at the beginning of the academic year 1999/2000 and the university has a number of academic programs, each run by an independent department.



Jihadi bride from Glasgow complains new home in the Islamic State is 'too COLD'

22 Nov, 2014

Aqsa Mahmood, 20, told Twitter followers the plunging temperatures in Syria are "too much" for her

A jihadi bride who fled Scotland for Syria to marry a terrorist has complained the country is too cold.

Aqsa Mahmood, 20, has told followers on twitter the plunging temperatures are "too much" for her.

The 20-year-old from Glasgow married a fighter for the brutal Islamic State in February before her parents begged her to return in a public appeal.

Uni dropout Mahmood is now living in the IS-held northern city of Raqqah where temperatures dip well below freezing at night.

She wrote: "Bun [forget] Scotland, the winters here are too much.

"Sisters please don’t forget to pack thermal clothing or you’ll regret it later on."

Raqqah in northern Syria averages 21 degrees in November and hits scorching temperatures of 47 in the summer.

In contrast, Glasgow averages will average around 9 degrees this month.

Fanatic Mahmood, who believes in strict gender segregation, also lashed out at other girls looking to travel to Syria for contacting male IS fighters instead of her and her pals.

She said: “Sisters please, for the sake of Allah, contact the sisters who are online rather than approaching the brothers.

“Also know the fact many brothers whom you contact and chat to are married. Have some self-respect and don’t be a homewrecker.”

Mahmood was one of the first Muslim women to flee the UK for the war zone.

She studied at £3,500-a-term Craigholme all-girls’ school before going to Shawlands Academy for her sixth year, where it’s thought she developed radical beliefs.

After quitting university last year, she crossed the Turkish border last November and travelled to Aleppo after dropping out

of a degree course on diagnostic radiotherapy.



Wichita State to host reception for Muslim women's rights activist Raheel Raza

22 Nov, 2014

Wichita State University Student Involvement will host a special reception for Muslim women's rights activist Raheel Raza from 4-5 p.m. Monday, Dec. 1, in the Rhatigan Student Center, Room 262. The reception will be followed by a screening of the film, "Honor Diaries," at the Crown Uptown Theater, 3207 E. Douglas Ave.

Raza is an expert on honor violence committed against girls and women, and one of the leading activists featured in “Honor Diaries.” She is author of the book “Their Jihad…Not My Jihad,” and president of the Council for Muslims Facing Tomorrow.

“Honor Diaries,” 2013, was the first film to break the silence about violence against women in honor-based societies. Restriction of movement, lack of access to education, female genital mutilation, forced and child marriage and honor violence are some of the abuses the documentary explores in depth. It features stories from the Muslim world and the West told by nine women’s rights activists, and has enjoyed more than 200 screenings worldwide.

The documentary is available on Netflix and DirecTV. The screening is sponsored by Wichita State’s School of Social Work and Criminal Justice program.

For more information about “Honor Diaries,” go to, or contact WSU Student Involvement at 316-978-3022 or