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Islam, Women and Feminism ( 27 Jan 2018, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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For The First Time, Muslim Woman Leads Jum’ah Prayer in Malappuram

New Age Islam News Bureau

27 Jan 2018 

Jumu'ah prayer took place in Wandoor. Image: Screengrab......



 Displaced Iraqi Women Turn To Handicrafts for Survival

 Malala Urges Pakistani Women to Speak For Their Rights

 Female Saudi Lawyers Lead the Way with Specialist Training

 British Sikh Muslim Convert Girl Jailed For Plotting To Join ISIS in Syria

 Sharjah Expat Spreads Women's Literacy in Indian Villages

 Emirati Women Seeking Sex Change Appeal Court's Decision Rejecting Request In Abu Dhabi

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau




For The First Time, Muslim Woman Leads Jum’ah Prayer in Malappuram

Jan 27, 2018

Malappuram: For the first time in the history of India, as they claim, a Muslim woman led the Jumu’ah prayer in Malappuram. Jamitha, the general secretary of Quran Sunnat Society in Wandoor in Malappuram district, was the Imam of the prayer which took place in the mosque of Quran Sunnat Society.

Usually, only men lead the Jumu’ah, the Friday prayer of Muslims. But Quran Sunnat Society claims that the Holy Quran does not direct such a custom.

“Both men and women are given equal rights in Quran. Men dominating women cannot be justified.

Quran has not mentioned even husband and wife in it,” said Jamitha to Mathrubhumi News.

However, one section of the Muslim community has been provoked by the act of a woman leading the prayers. Jamitha is facing even death threat from them.

Amina Wadud, an American Muslim Reformist leader, is considered to be the first woman in the world to lead the Jumu’ah prayer. Quran Sunnat Society is trying to implement the same in India too.



Displaced Iraqi women turn to handicrafts for survival

27 January 2018

SAMARRA: Threading beads onto a fishing line to make a sparkling ornament, Lamia Rahim is one of dozens of Iraqi women displaced by violence who have turned to handicrafts to support their families.

“It has been some time since we were displaced and my husband can’t find work,” said the mother of four.

“It was down to me to take care of the family.”

Rahim, 41, is part of a local initiative set up to help families who fled terrorists and settled in a school in the city of Samarra, 100 km north of Baghdad.

In classrooms that have been turned into workshops, women in headscarves work away busily to make some vital income for their loved ones.

“A hundred and twenty-five women have been trained in crafts, including making bead miniatures,” said local radio presenter Iman Ahmad, 51, who set up the project a year ago.

The crafts the women make have already sold at some local fairs and exhibitions and supporters regularly stop by to bring some assistance.

Ahmad says each month the collective manages to make around $1,000 — a sum that is quickly divided up between all the members.

Among the bead mementoes the women make are miniatures of the Samarra’s famed spiral minaret, the famed Ishtar Gate that stood at the entrance to ancient Babylon, and even the Eiffel Tower. “They help us to live,” said Khawla Jarallah, who fled her village near the city of Tikrit when jihadists seized it three years back.

Bitter legacy

The International Organization for Migration estimates that some 2.5 million people remain displaced in Iraq, even as more than 3.2 million have returned to their homes.

Many were uprooted by the Daesh’s 2014 rampage across the country and the subsequent bloody fight to push it back.

Now the terrorists have been defeated in Iraq, but the bitter legacy of their rise, and the years of violence that swept the country after the 2003 US-led invasion, remain.

A sewing machine whirs away in another room in the school where Fawziya Azzaws sits surrounded by colorful fabric.

She has always loved sewing and now she can turn her passion to her family’s benefit — just when they need it the most.

Organizer Ahmad said the work also helps “kill the boredom” of life far from home.

“It is from boredom that problems arise,” she said.

Shifa Qaduri, 40, agrees that the initiative is vital for the women both in terms of income and “hope” — even if life is still a daily struggle.

“The money we receive is not enough to pay for my children’s school,” she said.

“But where can we go? We carry on living thanks to hope. At the moment we may make $25, but maybe soon it will be $50 or $100.”



Malala urges Pakistani women to speak for their rights

Jan 26 2018

DAVOS: Pakistani Nobel laureate Malala Yousufzai has urged the women in Pakistan to speak for their rights and raise their voice, reminding them that they are brave.

Speaking exclusively to Geo News here, Malala said, "My campaign on behalf of Malala Fund is aimed at providing higher education to every girl in the world, including Pakistan. I have travelled to Mexico, Lebanon, Nigeria, India and everywhere, but Pakistan is my main focus. We have done most in Pakistan and there we are focusing on Shangla and Swat. Besides that, we are also focusing on south Punjab now, so that we may support projects there.

"I announced Gul Makai network, in which we have local advocates, activists for education, who are working on education, teachers' training and advocacy. Therefore, for that we are focusing on KPK and south Punjab and God willing we will expand this. I am hopeful that we would be able to see a change in Pakistan so that more children may go to school and acquire quality education."

Asked why was it necessary for her to tell the world that women in Pakistan are vibrant and they need space, she said the issue lies not just in Pakistan, but all over the world.

"Women face a lot of difficulties, they should be given their rights and brought forth, for when you educate women and take work from them then this adds to development of the country," the Nobel laureate said.

She, however, stressed on practical measures for educating and empowering women to yield positive results.

"But if we look at this practically, we will have to invest in education, in health; will have to bring women in labour sector, so that they may involve in work and so we will be able to see that positive change which we want to see."

Inquired about her message for women in Pakistan, Malala said, "I will tell them to speak for their rights, raise their voice. You are brave and keep working courageously."

She said that business sectors and the governments in the world have been focusing on education and empowerment of women.

"Everyone will have to come together and support each other in this and I can see more girls going to school and women being empowered," the Pakistani Nobel laureate concluded.



Female Saudi lawyers lead the way with specialist training

27 January 2018

RIYADH: An innovative legal training program for women lawyers is being conducted by the Prince Sultan University (PSU) School of Law and the American Bar Association to help enhance understanding of the law in Saudi Arabia.

Dr. Ibrahim Al-Hudaithy, dean of the PSU School of Law, told Arab News that 25 female law graduates and trainees from the university were attending lectures by four American lawyers.

“This is the first time this kind of legal training program is being conducted for female law graduates, as well as trainees, in Saudi Arabia,” he said.

The four-week training program, which ends on Feb. 15, is presented in English and has drawn interest from trainees as well as law practitioners in the Kingdom.

Al-Hudaithy, who received his doctorate degree in law from Durham University in the UK, said the PSU School of Law was the first academic institution to offer this kind of training to its female law graduates.

Khalil Aljehani, managing partner in a Riyadh-based law firm, praised the program, saying: “The legal training will enhance trainees’ knowledge of law gained from the classroom as well as from their practice so that they become better advocates or litigators in the future.

“In fact, the training is just one of the things that should be undertaken by the trainees if they want to succeed in the legal profession. If they intend to be general practitioners, they should also attend law seminars where they can learn the latest trends in the different branches of law, such as corporate and maritime,” he said.



British Sikh Muslim convert girl jailed for plotting to join ISIS in Syria

Jan 26, 2018

LONDON: A British Sikh girl who converted to Islam as a teenager and tried to travel to Syria to join the Islamic State (ISIS) was on Friday sentenced to three and a half years in prison for terrorism offences by a UK court.

Sandeep Samra, 18, who claimed she wanted to work as a nurse in war-torn Syria, had pleaded guilty to engaging in conduct in preparation for terrorist acts by attempting to travel to the region between June 1 and July 31 last year.

However, she denied intending to carry out acts of violence, claiming that she had wanted to leave the UK after members of an anti-extremism team informed her family about her conversion to Islam.

Judge Melbourne Inman at Birmingham Crown Court found her guilty of the charge, saying she had been "deeply radicalised".

The teenager was arrested by the West Midlands Counter Terrorism Unit (WMCTU) in June last year.

"Samra's phone was examined and officers found evidence of her support for ISIS and her intent on travelling to Syria or other areas controlled by ISIS. She dismissed warnings of the dangers for women in the conflict and even declared her intention to seek her own death," said Chief Superintendent Matt Ward, the head of WMCTU.

"The contents gave insight into Samra's mind-set and showed she was developing an active interest in ISIS and jihadi ideology," he added.

The police found several conversations on messaging apps which referred to the fact that her passport had been taken off her and sought help in getting a false one or even fake documentation that she could travel on. Samra also had conversations regarding ways in which she could be smuggled out of the country, how she could then make her way to Syria and the routes available to her.

WMCTU also uncovered conversations with a man, who appeared to live in Egypt, during which they declared their love for each other and a desire to get married and travel to Syria to take part in 'jihad'.

Samra applied for her first passport in September 2015 but it was handed to the police by her father a month later after teachers became concerned and reported her. The schoolgirl then applied again in June last year and tried to trick her schoolteacher into counter-signing it for her.

The prosecution had claimed that her social media messages showed that she was "going for death" and intended to die for ISIS.



Sharjah expat spreads women's literacy in Indian villages

January 26, 2018

Deepa Narwani

Last year, 50 girls from Shazia Kidwai's centre were certified as literates

There is an African proverb that goes: "If you educate a man, you simply educate an individual, but if you educate a woman, you educate a whole nation."

For Sharjah-based expat Shazia Kidwai, this is close to her heart and she is on a mission to impart education to women in rural India. Kidwai has fulfilled her vision through 'Appi (elder sister) Ka Centre', an institute she founded in 2010 that teaches school dropouts how to write, read and do math calculations.

Kidwai belongs to the Barabanki district in Uttar Pradesh, and hails from the Badagaon and Bhayara villages. A financial consultant, she has been in the UAE for over 20 years.

What inspired her to start the centre? "An association called the American Federation of Muslims of Indian origin (AFMI) has a number of educational programmes dedicated to India and wanted to start a chapter in Dubai. Due to some reasons, it didn't work out but while trying to put it together, I was in touch with Dr AS Nakadar, AFMI's founder.

Dr Nakadar is involved in the construction of schools and colleges in India and awards a gold and silver medal every year to Muslim toppers in every state in the country. "That was thought provoking for me, and I asked him besides the toppers, what are we doing to support the kids who are not able to study?" said Kidwai.

While working on the project, she also realised that India's average literacy rate was 74 per cent, but her home state of Uttar Pradesh ranks among the least literate. "I found it is the Indian Muslim women in the north of India who are mostly making up these low numbers. Since I hail from here, I took it up as a challenge. If not me, who else would do it?"

Soon, on her visits to India, Kidwai started calling the parents of dropout students and looked at what factors contributing to illiteracy. One of the main reasons for dropping out of school was having to help with the household work, thus cutting into the girls' regular classes, and financial reasons, among other factors.

During the process, she met a number of 15-year-old girls who had received basic education, and that is where the concept of Appi Ka Centre took off from.

"I thought of starting an informal centre where one educated girl teaches six illiterate girls. I identified the teachers and started this homeschool concept, where the students go to the teacher's house and their basic education needs are met. Last year, 50 girls from the centre sat for exams, passed and were certified as literates by the state government," she says proudly.

Currently, there are 37 students and six teachers enrolled at the centre, which is self-funded by Kidwai. Thanks to technology, she is in touch with these girls on a daily basis and they send her pictures and WhatsApp voicenotes informing her of their progress.

She noted: "When I visit the centre, I host talks and get feedback from parents. They feel proud that the girls can now read the road directions and bus routes, what medicine they are consuming, and I remember one parent quipped, 'at least now we know if we are eating medicine for the kidney and not rat poison!'"

"Of course, some girls were very happy that they can now read all the latest gossip about Bollywood actors Salman Khan and Katrina Kaif!" laughed Kidwai.

When asked about future plans, Kidwai shared: "I want to start a vocational centre where these girls can further be taught courses on physiotherapy, nursing, beautician training or fashion designing, so that they can become self-sufficient going forward."



Emirati women seeking sex change appeal court's decision rejecting request in Abu Dhabi

January 25, 2018

They suffer from congenital defects and have masculine features; sex change operation recommended.

Three young women have appealed a UAE court's decision rejecting their request to change their gender and their names.

The women wanted to change their gender and and have their female names changed in the government national registry.

The Emirati women, all aged under 25, had filed a lawsuit in the Abu Dhabi Federal Court First Instance seeking permission to be allowed to become men after reportedly undergoing sex-change operations abroad.

The court had however rejected their request and denied them permission for sex-change.

The trio challenged the ruling in the Federal Appeal Court, which has started proceedings of their case.

Their lawyer, Ali Abdullah Al Mansouri, had argued in the appeal court that the local medical committee appointed by the first court - to examine the conditions of his client and issue a medical report on their eligibility for sex change - acknowledged in their report that the women had sexual disorders which cannot be reversed, but failed to recommend them for a sex change.

"The report by the medical committee was briefed and didn't look extensively into the fact that the young women had suffered from this gender disorder since childhood," said the lawyer.

Al Mansouri said the young women have felt as if they were men from an early age - and that denying them this would affect them psychologically, which could lead to depression.

"They feel that they are men trapped in women's bodies and they want to overcome this by getting the court's permission for sex change," said the lawyer.

The women had presented - the court - documents, medical reports from European hospitals that recommended the sex-change operations.

Al Mansouri had earlier said that the Emirati women had underwent sex-change operations in a European country after suffering from congenital defects and having masculine features, including 'too much' hair on their legs, deep voices and other features "that distinguished them from women".

The lawyer noted that his clients had received "many medical reports" that recommended the sex-change operations.

The Federal Law No. (4) of 2016 on medical matters, permits a sex-change operation if a person's gender is unclear or if a medical examination confirms that their physical features do not match their biological, physiological and genetic characteristics, according to the lawyer.

The trial was adjourned until March.




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