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Islam, Women and Feminism ( 15 Jun 2013, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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France's Burqua Ban Sparks Violence, Pregnant Woman Attacked For Covering Her Face

New Age Islam News Bureau

15 Jun 2013 

Photo: Female politicians in Kosovo have spoken out against a local imam's statements regarding women's immorality. [AFP]


 Woman jailed for forcing minor into prostitution

 Malawi Muslims Fall in Love with Hijab

 Expert Claims Court Had Right to Demand Woman Remove Her Burqa

 Kosovo Imam's Comments on Women Spark Criticism

 Norway becomes first NATO country to draft women into military

 The Political Rise of Azerbaijan's First Lady

 Is Aseefa Going To Be The New Heir To The PPP Throne?

 Saudi Women Seek Reforms to End Inheritance Injustices

 PML-N Submits List of Female Candidates for Reserved Seats

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau





France's Burqua Ban Sparks Violence, Pregnant Woman Attacked For Covering Her Face


 June 15, 2013

Violent clashes have broken out in a Paris suburb after police tried to arrest a Muslim woman for wearing a veil.

It came as two men today put a 21-year-old pregnant woman in hospital for covering her face with a veil on the same council estate.

In what is being viewed as a severe test of France's Burqua ban, around 60 people attacked police on Wednesday night in Argenteuil, a commuter town to the north west of the capital.

Under a law which came into force in 2011, women found guilty of wearing Niqabs in public can be fined the equivalent of around £130.

But when officers approached the unnamed woman, passers-by became involved in a 'riot' and police used tear gas and flash-ball shots to disperse them, according to a police source.

'The police were attacked' the source told Le Parisien newspaper. 'They were insulted and beaten, including punches'.

Two men aged 23 and 37, including a cousin of the young veil-wearer, were arrested and placed in custody under suspicion of violence and public order offences.

In the end, 40 riot police had to be called to the area to restore order, said the source.

Today, the 21-year-old was attacked in Argenteuil, with 'two shaven-haired men tearing the veil from her face and pulling her hair,' said a police source close to the case.

She was rushed to the emergency ward of Argenteuil hospital where she underwent treatment for unspecified injuries.

Police said that the men had shouted racist insults at the girl, saying that the veil was no longer acceptable in France.

The attack may have been caught on CCTV, said the police source.

In a third incident, police confirmed that a 17-year-old, identified only as Rabia, was attacked in Argenteuil on May 20th for wearing a veil.

Two men beat her up at around 9pm, shouting 'Dirty Arab' and 'Dirty Muslim' while laughing.

Rabia said afterwards: 'One of them insulted me. I sped up not because I was scared, but the men turned around, one of them tore my veil, pushed me to the ground and them hit me while insulting me.'

Rabia continued: 'Without the approach of a passerby who stopped the attackers, I do not know what would have happened.'

In March, a Frenchman who ripped a Muslim woman's veil off her eyes was given a five-month suspended prison sentence.

The 30-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said he was merely trying to 'enforce' his country's laws when he carried out the attack in the city of Nantes.

He approached the woman in a fairground in September last year and pulled away the veil.

A judgment against him released by the Nantes criminal court said: 'Ordinary citizens are not entitled to take the law into their own hands.'

The man, who originally gave a false identity to police, said he was a firm believer in the law brought in by government of former President, Nicolas Sarkozy.

But the judge said that he had acted like a 'vigilante' and carried out the attack solely because he was prejudiced against the women's faith.

Mr Sarkozy had described Muslim face coverings as an affront to the principles of the French Republic, saying that they could be used by both shoplifters and terrorists to hide their own identities.

The incidents are all in a long line triggered by Mr Sarkozy's ban.

Last September, Louise-Marie Suisse, a Muslim teenager from Marseille received a two month prison sentence for biting a policewoman who arrested her for wearing a full-face veil.

Amnesty International is among human rights groups who have condemned the law, saying it breaches the right of freedom of expression.



Woman jailed for forcing minor into prostitution

PTI New Delhi, June 14, 2013

A city court has sentenced a woman, who owned a brothel, to 10 years in prison for forcing a minor girl into prostitution.

Additional Sessions Judge Kaveri Baweja awarded the jail term to convict Haseena for forcing the minor girl into prostitution and for detaining the victim, who was less than 17 years old. The judge also directed closure of the brothel.

“The victim has been held to be a ‘minor’ under the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956, and convict Haseena is found guilty of the offences punishable under sections 5(1)(d) (inducing a minor to carry on prostitution) and 6 (detaining a person in premises where prostitution is carried on) of the Act,” the judge said.

He added:”...the above named convict is directed to undergo rigorous imprisonment for a period of 10 years”. A fine of Rs. 20,000 was imposed on the convict.

The court recommended compensation to the minor. It observed that while those soliciting or seducing any person for the purpose of prostitution are convicted under the act, their “customers” are not treated as accused under the statute”. The order came on a complaint by the victim, a native of West Bengal, who was rescued from a brothel at GB Road here. The girl alleged that she was brought to Delhi in 2009.



Malawi Muslims Fall in Love with Hijab

 June 15, 2013

LILONGWE – Long treated with ridicule and scorn in the southern African country, Hijab is now becoming a common sight in Malawi streets, a shift attributed to the political empowerment of the Muslim community in the predominantly Christian state.

“We have gone through a painful and dehumanizing experiencing,” Mwalone Jangiya, one of the only two Muslim women legislators in Malawi’s National Assembly, told

“Hijab was at one time a “crime” to some people, but now, we are very free to put on it.

Even while I’m in here in parliament, I put on my hijab, without any person raising eye blows. We are now part of the society,” said Jangiya.

“Islam in Malawi has taken on a path that will never be detoured or reversed.”

Hijab, an obligatory code of dress in Islam, was rarely seen in Malawi streets before the 1990s as Muslims wearing the outfit often encountered scorn and ridicule.

But today, the Muslim headscarf has become a common sight with many Muslim women proudly donning the outfit.

Walking around the streets, market places, schools, colleges and other public places, it is very easy today to recognize a Muslim woman or a girl from distance.

Looking at the state of affairs, a person visiting Malawi for the first time would wrongly conclude that this has been the case all along.

“We are now free people in a free society,” Khadija Hamdan, an executive member of the Muslim Women organization in Malawi, told

“We are free to worship Allah the manner we want. We are proud Muslims.

“Today, Hijab has become a symbol of liberation among Muslim women in Malawi. You can find a woman in Hijab almost everywhere. You walk into an office, schools; you can easily identify a Muslim woman.”

Islam is the second largest religion in the southern African country after Christianity.

Official statistics suggest Muslims constitute 12 percent of the country’s 14 million people, but the umbrella Muslim Association of Malawi (MAM) puts the rate at 36.

Empowered Muslims

Scholars cite political empowerment of Muslims for the public shift on Hijab in Malawi.

“In the past, a hijab was a source of public ridicule and a recipe for embarrassment,” Sheikh Dinala Chabulika, national coordinator of the Islamic Information Bureau (IIB), told

“Women in Hijab were considered very primitive and backward. This was a time our society was getting increasingly intolerant towards Islam and Muslims.

“This affected Muslim women both emotionally and physically. They were robbed of self-esteem,” he recalled.

But the political empowerment of Muslims in the past two decades has helped change the public view about the headscarf.

“For the past few years, we have been able to empower our women for them to understand that just like their Christian counterparts; they too have their own place in the Malawi society,” he said.

“We have fully empowered them to value their identity as Muslims.”

Chabulika opines that because of this level of empowerment, Muslim women can today stand up and walk tall without fear of victimization.

“They now realize their rights, and nobody can victimize them, either verbally or physically.”

The ascendancy to the presidency of Malawi’s first Muslim President, Bakili Muluzi, in 1994, until 2004 when he constitutionally retired is seen as a milestone in changing views about Muslims in Malawi.

“The fact that he was a Muslim President changed people’s mindset towards Islam and Muslims. For the first time, Muslims started having a sense of pride,” said Chabulika.

He recalled that it was during Muluzi’s time that Muslims were able to be recognized as people who could equally contribute towards the country’s development.

“Ever since that time, we have been able alongside our Christian brothers and sisters to co-exist and participate in matters of national building, without being discriminated against on the basis of religion.”

“We have reached a point of no return.”

Dr. Imran Shareef Mahomed, one of Malawi’s revered Muslim scholars, agrees.

“It was during this time that Muslims and non-Muslims realized that Islam was not a barrier to any form of progress, even in a society, where you are in a minority,” he told

“As Muslims, we will remain eternally grateful to his leadership in this regard.”



Expert Claims Court Had Right to Demand Woman Remove Her Burqa

 June 15, 2013

A WOMAN who wore a full Burqa into an Australian court should have been asked to show her face, a law lecturer says.

Dr Nicky Jones of University of Southern Queensland said magistrates and judges were entitled to see a person's face to prove their identity.

"Many Muslims would be very happy to comply if there was a reason,'' Dr Jones said.

Brisbane Magistrate John Costello on Wednesday questioned whether a Saudi woman he was sentencing should have been allowed to wear "a full Burqa'' , as he only could see her eyes.

But after the woman's lawyer told him he had not seen her dressed in any other way Mr Costello did not ask the woman to reveal her face.

Dr Jones said if it was important enough to raise as an issue of identity in the court, the magistrate should have followed through.

"There is no question that Muslim women covering their face and identity can reasonably be asked to take off their face veil, as long as it is handled sensitively,'' Dr Jones said.

She said there were genuine reasons to debate whether there should be laws requiring women wearing a Burqa or Niqab to show their faces to prove their identity..

Dr Jones, who has researched strict French laws against wearing Burqas in public places including courts, said it was important to ensure the right people appeared in courts.

In 2011 a NSW Muslim woman convicted of falsely accusing a police officer of trying to remove her Burqa won an appeal, because it could not be proven she was the woman in Burqa who complained.

NSW police later were given the legal power to require people to remove any head coverings, including a Burqa, and anyone who refused could be fined.

Queensland police who arrest a suspect in a Burqa can have it removed for identification purposes, and in extreme cases of refusal a person could be charged with obstructing police.

But police said requests to remove the Burqa would be handled with cultural sensitivity and generally by a female officer.

Police Minister Jack Dempsey said if police asked to be given more powers to enforce it, including during next year's G20 summit in Brisbane, he certainly would consider it.

Police Commissioner Ian Stewart said current laws appeared to be adequate, but police would advise the government if a law change was considered warranted.

"The QPS values its relationship with the Muslim community and continues to work closely with community leaders and members,'' Commissioner Stewart said.

Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie said magistrates and judges could order the removal of head dresses when identification was an issue, but he would consider any further reform if they felt it was necessary.

Premier Campbell Newman said judges and magistrates had a right to decide whether justice was served by people wearing head dress, such as a burqa.

"They have to be able to see people give evidence and the like in front of them," Mr Newman said.

In 2011, Member for Nicklin Peter Wellington introduced a Private Member's Bill calling for police, JPs and court staff to be allowed to instruct someone to show their face for identity checks.



Kosovo Imam's Comments on Women Spark Criticism

 June 14, 2013

Female politicians in Kosovo have joined their voices against Imam Irfan Salihu after his recent comments about women's immorality.

The Women's Caucus of the Kosovo assembly met June 6th with the heads of the Kosovo Islamic Community and asked for Salihu's suspension after a video emerged through social media in which the imam insulted women.

During a recent Friday prayer session, the local imam in Prizren said women who had been in a relationship before marriage were "whores," and he urged young men to abandon them.

Teuta Sahatqija, chairwoman of the Women's Caucus, said the statement carries dangerous consequences.

"It's a call for violence inside families, and it is absolutely unacceptable," Sahatqija told SETimes. She added that even in cases where women "deviate" from the path the Islamic community considers morally acceptable, they should not be expelled from their families, as suggested by the imam.

Full report at:



Norway becomes first NATO country to draft women into military


 June 14, 2013

Norway's parliament voted overwhelmingly on Friday to conscript women into its armed forces, becoming the first European and first NATO country to make military service compulsory for both genders. "Rights and duties should be the same for all," said Labour lawmaker Laila Gustavsen, a

supporter of the bill. "The armed forces need access to the best resources, regardless of gender, and right now mostly men are recruited."

Norway has been at the forefront in the fight for gender equality, introducing measures such as requiring all public limited companies to fill at least 40 percent of their board seats with women. On Wednesday the country celebrated a century since Norwegian women won the right to vote.

Full report at:



The Political Rise Of Azerbaijan's First Lady

 Daisy Sindelar

 June 14, 2013

Most presidential wives in the former Soviet Union are content to remain in the background. Think Halyna Lukashenka, Lyudmila Putin, and Azizimo Asadullaeva, the wife of Tajik leader Emomali Rahmon.

Not so Mehriban Aliyeva, the 48-year-old wife of Azerbaijani leader Ilham Aliyev, who has avidly cultivated her own political career as a parliament deputy, charity enthusiast, and cultural ambassador, all in an increasingly expensive series of outfits.

Aliyeva's status rose even further on June 7, when she was elected deputy chair of the ruling New Azerbaijan Party (YAP).

Full report at:



Is Aseefa Going To Be The New Heir To The PPP Throne?


 June 14, 2013

The post-mortem of the PPP’s defeat in the May 11 elections has been attributed among other factors to the absence of a ‘national leader’.

With President Asif Ali Zardari limited to the presidency and his children away, there was no national level leader available to lead a general campaign as did the Sharif brothers and Imran Khan for their respective parties.

This issue has become even more important in the post election period where analysts and political leaders are agreed that a leader is needed to revitalise the party and re-motivate its workers.

Full report at:



Saudi Women Seek Reforms to End Inheritance Injustices

Samar Fatany

 15 June 2013

Misinterpretations of Shariah laws are preventing Saudi women from benefiting from their legal inheritance. Many women today are robbed of their endowment rights because of cultural norms and tribal customs that go against the teachings of the Holy Qur'an and the Sunnah. Sadly, there are many cases today of women living in poverty after their fathers die because only the men in the family enjoy inheritance and endowment rights. Sometimes even fathers in their will choose to deprive the female children of the endowment.

Full report at:



PML-N submits list of female candidates for reserved seats

 June 15, 2013

LAHORE: The Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) has submitted secondary list of 10 female candidates for vacant reserved seats in the National Assembly and the Provincial Assembly of Punjab to the provincial Election Commissioner office on Friday.

As per schedule issued by the provincial election commission office, Friday (June 14) was the last day to file nomination papers from the PML-N candidates for 10 vacant reserved seats and all the nominated candidates from the party included in the list have submitted their nomination papers to commission for further procedure.

Full report at: