New Age Islam
Sat Nov 28 2020, 02:36 PM

Islam, Women and Feminism ( 27 Jul 2016, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Girls Pour Back To School in Former Militant Strongholds of Pakistan
















Girls have surged back to school in former Taliban heartlands in Pakistan’s northwest tribal frontier since the militants were flushed out by long army assaults

 

Uganda Urged To Stop Marrying Teen Girls

Big Win for Girls on Banning Of Child Marriage in the Gambia: UNFPA

Pakistan Women Turn To Hymen Repair Medication to Save Life and Marriage

Islamic Gang Storm Nudist Pool Shouting 'Allahu Akbar' Vowing To 'Eradicate' 'Slut' Women

UNIQLO Hijab: Giving Taiwan's Muslims Choices in Mainstream Apparel

Ismat Jahan First OIC Envoy to EU Mission

Lack of FGM Ban in Domestic Violence Law Fails Liberia's Girls, Activists Say

South African Muslim Woman Sues for R50k Maintenance

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islam,-women-and-feminism/new-age-islam-news-bureau/girls-pour-back-to-school-in-former-militant-strongholds-of-pakistan/d/108108

 

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Girls Pour Back To School in Former Militant Strongholds Of Pakistan

28 July, 2016

DERA ISMAIL KHAN: Girls have surged back to school in former Taliban heartlands in Pakistan’s northwest tribal frontier since the militants were flushed out by long army assaults, officials and tribesmen say.

Even the home village of the former Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) chief, the late Hakimullah Mehsud, has witnessed girls flocking to the local school. The primary school in Kotkai now has over 300 pupils, according to Khalil Dawar, education officer of South Waziristan tribal region.

“The government has had to upgrade a middle school to high level because of the strong admission response following the repatriation of displaced families,” Dawar told News Lens Pakistan.

Fifth grade student Gulnaz, who did not want her full name to be used, wants to become a doctor.

“The government should provide free education,” she told News Lens Pakistan. 

In 2009, Pakistan’s military launched an anti-Taliban offensive code-named Rah-e-Nijat (‘path to salvation’) in South Waziristan- the birthplace of Pakistani Taliban, whose harsh takeovers triggered the exodus of thousands of families.

According to a report by FATA Research Center, the annual expenditure on education in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), which consists of seven tribal agencies and six frontier regions, the education budget was nearly doubled in 2004 and 2005 from its 2001 level to to Rs 2.7 billion.

Local Taliban were vocal critics of schools, particularly the education of women, on so-called religious pretexts, the report stated.

“After repatriation of families started to South Waziristan two years back, we’ve set a target of 23,000 children to be enrolled in schools. Fortunately, we’ve so far enrolled 18,000 male and female children.”

Khan Malik, president All Tribal Teachers Association, said he is surprised at the level of response from girls.

“Believe me, I was virtually stunned to see a boom in girls’ education,” Malik told News Lens Pakistan.

“The education department assisted by army, political administration and local tribesmen has geared up efforts to educate all children of the militancy-haunted region,” he said.

Tribal elder Muhammad Azam said: “We’ve spent seven long years in displacement but neither the government nor the international organization such as the UNICEF bothered to inquire about our kids’ education.”

The region’s literacy rate is 17.42 per cent compared to a rate of 59.6 percent at federal and provincial levels altogether, the FATA Research Center added.

There are a total of 674,567 educational institutions in FATA and 22,404 teachers, according to the FATA Research Centre.

Dawar said his department has started a fast-paced two phase campaign to achieve the target of enrolling 23,000 primary students.

“We’re optimistic that we will exceed the target to enroll more kids in the second phase, which is scheduled to be started from August 1 to August 31 this year,” he added.

The education department has distributed school bags, books and stationery to all children for free to encourage them to come to school.

The education department plans to repair schools damaged during the military offensives against militants.

Malik Shahjan said most of the schools did not have furniture and boundary walls.

FATA Research Center says that of 458 destroyed educational institutions (primary, middle, high and higher secondary schools and colleges) 141 were girls’ schools blown up by militants.

It notes that 343 educational institutions were completely destroyed, 79 were partially damaged due to blasts, while 36 were damaged. Only in South Waziristan 27 fully damaged and eight partially damaged educational institutions were registered.

Azam said that as families’ repatriation is underway, parents are more inclined to get their kids educated.

“We’re now convinced that educating our daughters and sisters is of paramount importance in present days,” he stated.

“The government should step up efforts to ensure provision of free of cost uniform, books and stationery to all children, which would leave positive impact on the overall situation within a decade,” the tribal elder added.

http://dailytimes.com.pk/pakistan/27-Jul-16/girls-pour-back-to-school-in-former-militant-strongholds

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Uganda urged to stop marrying teen girls

28 July, 2016

KAMPALA – The government in Uganda should formulate laws and regulations that bar teenage girls from being married off, the United Nations Resident Coordinator and Resident Representative for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in Uganda Rosa Malango has appealed on Wednesday.

Malango urged authorities to pay attention to the United Nations Convention on the rights of the child, in particular, the girl child.

"No society the world over can afford to lose the opportunity of protecting the girl child because they are the mothers of our nations," Malango said, adding that "avoid marrying off your girl children at the teenage age, for that affects the development of their brains and even their future," Malango said.

Uganda is a country with various cultural practices where some traditional communities marry off their children, sometimes as young as 12, and against the constitutional mandate of 18 years and above. This is mainly because some communities look at girls as a source of wealth when they are married off.

She said 78 percent of the Ugandan population was below 35 years and lived in the rural areas such as the West Nile, Northern Uganda, Karamoja, Lango and Teso sub regions where poverty was rife.

"It is our responsibility as people in authority and in the NGO [non-governmental organisation] world to ensure that we work with the youth, who are mostly unemployed and need our help," she said.

"We need to think about the children’s wellbeing and their protection."

Malango revealed that non-governmental organisation World Vision spends over US$800 million annually to ensure that deplorable conditions among Ugandan communities are addressed and transformed through education and the provision of health services.

The world was looking to Uganda to see how the country could transform its economy by 2030, which would be when the country could transform the lives of its citizens, Malango added.

The Deputy Speaker of Uganda’s National Parliament, Jacob Oulanyah, urged World Vision to help government fight against the injustices that were being practised by the communities around the country.

He said the government and developmental partners needed to work together to help change people’s lives.

Uganda’s National Development plan has the aim of transforming the country by 2030, but is hampered in large part by the failure to curb rampant corruption. The country ranks among the top 10 most corrupt countries in Africa and analysts say this is because of the longevity of President Yoweri Museveni who has been in power for decades.

Museveni has been in power since 1986 when he came to power after overthrowing then President Milton Obote II.

Malango appealed to the government of Uganda to make sure that it created job opportunities for its growing population so that "we can transform thousands of lives of people living in Uganda".

Oulanyah vowed that as government, "we shall make sure that we put in place laws and policies that will help us focus on children by transforming their lives.

"This we shall do by ensuring we have laws and policies that will mostly prepare young girls into being matured mothers for this country."

Oulanyah praised World Vision for its work that it was doing, particularly in Northern Uganda. "Where there was a problem in this country, World Vision has reached there, transforming the lives of the people in those communities."

World Vision on Wednesday marked 30 years of service in Uganda, a country that has often had a tumultuous history, including the reign of terror inflicted by Joseph Kony, the self-acclaimed military general of the Lord Resistance Army (LRA).

Kony, now in Central African Republic (CAR), waged a two-decade war that claimed the lives of thousands and forced countless more to seek refuge in squalid internally displaced persons camps (IPDCs).

Further back in the country’s history, and there was the conflict in the Luweero Triangle, an area that covered at least 15 districts in both Central and some parts of Southwestern Uganda where Museveni launched his military campaign against the then government of Obote in 1981. Some put the casulaties from that conflict at 800,000.

The National Director for World Vision Uganda, Gilbert Kamanga, said: "People in the affected communities such as those in Northern Uganda and in the Luweero Triangle to-date still find life very difficult, whereby the need help that can rehabilitate them in these communities."

He said World Vision focused on child protection and advocacy, helping orphans and vulnerable children left homeless by educating them and sensitising communities against abusing and exploitating children.

State Minister for relief and disaster preparedness, Musa Ecweru, praised World Vision, saying: "Many organisation rush to the disaster affected places when calamity breaks, after that they disappear, but World Vision comes and opens its offices that helps it to stay in the areas, conducting its activities of rehabilitation, even without any disaster."

Africa News Agency

https://www.enca.com/africa/uganda-urged-to-stop-marrying-teen-girls

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Big win for girls on banning of child marriage in The Gambia: UNFPA

28 July, 2016

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) welcome the pronouncement made by His Excellency President Yahya A. J. J. Jammeh on Wednesday 6 July 2016 banning child marriage in the Islamic Republic of The Gambia, and the 21 July 2016 enactment of the Children’s Amendment Bill (amendment of the Children’s Act 2005) by The National Assembly, criminalizing the act.

This significant turning point in development for the country came less than a year after the unprecedented presidential pronouncement in December 2015 banning Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in The Gambia. 

The amendment of the Children’s Act 2005, makes the marriage of any child below the age of 18 years illegal in the country with a penalty of up to 20 years imprisonment for both the parents and husband of the child.

Child marriage is a violation of the rights of girls and an obstacle to attaining the UN Sustainable Development Goals, especially Target 5.3 which calls for the elimination of all harmful practices, including child, early and forced marriages and female genital mutilation.

Unfortunately, many girls in The Gambia are at risk. Latest figures show that over 40 per cent of women aged 20 – 49 in The Gambia were married before the age of 18 years, while 16 per cent of women of the same age cohort married before they turned 15.

Child marriage often prevents girls from enjoying social and economic opportunities, contributes strongly to the continued cycle of poverty in poor communities and perpetuates the high incidence of infant and maternal mortality. Further, many girls are at risk of developing fistulas during delivery which invariably leads to social stigma and isolation.

“…the silenced voices of the thousands of young women and girls forced into marriage before their eighteenth birthday signify complacency and discrimination. Majority are denied the opportunity of growing as human capital, as an asset for our communities and country and this unfortunately translates to lost opportunity. This ban and enactment of a law criminalizing Child Marriage is a bold step in ensuring that every girl child in The Gambia reaches the pinnacle of her potentials...,” said Mr Kunle Adeniyi, UNFPA The Gambia Chief of Operations/Head of Office.

Appreciated by the United Nations (UN) in The Gambia, this ban follows the recent launch of activities under the African Union Campaign to End Child Marriage in Africa.

“Ending child marriage is a daunting but possible task. It is recognition of this fact that led to the March 2016 signing of the new UNFPA-UNICEF Global Programme to Accelerate Action to End Child Marriage,” said Mrs Sara Beysolow Nyanti, UNICEF Resident Representative in The Gambia.

She added that this is the second global UNFPA-UNICEF programme following that of FGM/C; and building on the results and lessons learned from the FGM/C joint programme, both agencies will work to support the government to accelerate action on ending child marriage in The Gambia.

The Government of The Gambia has in place policies and programmes addressing the practice, and works closely with national and international partners, using proactive and multi-faceted strategies to reduce and ultimately end the practice.

Her Excellency the First Lady, Madam Zineb Jammeh through her Foundation, Operation Save the Children and with the Department of Social Welfare, has been at the forefront of advocacy efforts to end the practice, leading to the launching of the African Union’s End Child Marriage Campaign in the country on 16 June 2016.

With all that has been done, there is still some more work to do. The UNFPA-UNICEF joint programme, through its partnership with the Government will engage stakeholders at all levels to ensure that all efforts are galvanized in ending child marriage.

At the policy level, the UN will strengthen its current efforts with government to ensure fully strengthened national legislations, policies, guidelines and tools necessary to guide programmatic work on ending child marriage.

Support will be provided for the popularization of the recently enacted law to adequately protect girls from child, early or forced marriage, and continue to work towards a more conducive child protection environment in the country.

At the community level, the UN will continue its support for grassroots advocacy to address many of the cultural practices and behaviors that place young women and girls at increased multiple health risks, including HIV.

http://thepoint.gm/africa/gambia/article/big-win-for-girls-on-banning-of-child-marriage-in-the-gambia-unfpa

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Pakistan Women Turn To Hymen Repair Medication to Save Life and Marriage

28 July, 2016

PESHAWAR: Safina Bibi’s aunt bought her a packet of kanwari on her wedding night. In its name and claim, the product kanwari – a concoction of herbs – fetishizes female virginity in a patriarchal society that places a high premium on it.

In a country where women can get honour-killed for extra-marital sex, a bride-to-be can have her life, her virginity and respect in the eyes of her husband and in laws for as little as Rs 4,500 ($43) – the price of Kanwari.

Her aunt knew Safina* was a virgin no more but the family was keen to have the girl remarry. A domestic worker, her first marriage to a son of wealthy parents had fallen apart. The boy, who had fallen in love with Safina and married her, quickly divorced her at the first sign of resistance from his parents who didn’t want a girl from a humble background for a daughter-in-law.

“He was handsome, well dressed and attractive,” says Safina Bibi, 35. “It was a nightmare. I hadn’t thought for a minute that my love, my husband, would leave me alone just like that.”

Her aunt, who did not wish to be named, told News Lens Pakistan that Safina’s immediate family did not know about her dilemma because she had not told anyone about her secret first marriage.

“You know better when one loses virginity, she is never owned by anyone – parents or brothers,” said Safina’s aunt. “Girls get killed in the name of honour and it was because of this fear and concern for her future that I decided to try and find a virginity’ recovery treatment.”

In April this year, a bride was allegedly killed by her husband on the wedding night for not being virgin, in the Jacobabad district of Sindh province. Killing women in the name of honour is common in the patriarchal Pakistan, especially in the largely feudal and tribal districts where such killings are either hushed up or go unreported. In recent years there has been an alarming spike in honour killings. Statistics compiled by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) for the period spanning Feb 1, 2004, to Feb 1, 2006 shows 988 incidents of honour killings in Pakistan. HRCP’s recent database for the period between February 2014 to February 2016 shows the number of honour killings at 1,276, with nearly 400 without any FIRs registered.

“Most honour killings go unreported in Pakistan because communities and villages councils never allow such murders to make their way into media,” said Haroon Shinwari, a practicing lawyer at Peshawar. He told News Lens Pakistan, “No doubt the practice of checking and confirming virginity is a tradition across Pakistan, but owing to strict the tribal structure in rural communities, such cases do not make it to courts and media. Nor could they be legally and forensically investigated.”

Safina used the medicine her aunt got her on the eve of her second marriage. “I took the contents of the package with some water and my husband could not tell that I was not virgin,” she said.

Ali, an online seller of “hymen recovery herbs, powder and medicines”, said his products were “guaranteed” to deliver. “I receive orders from across the country. From hymen repair to breast tightening and reshaping, medicines are available online and delivered to every corner of Pakistan.”

It’s not only Ali’s shop in Faisalabad that delivers hymen repair products to the rest of Pakistan, such online portals proliferate on the internet, locally as well as internationally. One such shop is “HymenShop” sending medication detailed instructions on precautions and use.

Naheed Bibi, a women selling hymen repair medication in Peshawar, said her medicine helped “needy girls and women who had lost hymens.” Smiling, she said: “No one wants to marry a girl who is not virgin. Virginity is tested on the eve of the wedding. Girls that are not virgins are either divorced or even killed, so I am here saving their lives.”

Fateh Lal, 63, a mother-in-law of three young ladies told News Lens Pakistan that she had confirmed virginity of her daughters-in-law through traditional checking of “hymen” after the couple spent the first night together. “It is common. We provide a white handkerchief, placed at the wedding bed. In the morning, the blood spots from hymen rupture are observed by an elderly lady of the family and the mother-in-law. If virginity confirmed, the women congratulate the mother-in-law.”

Other than sexual intercourse, a hymen can be torn by careless use of tampons, insertion of fingers or other penetration into vagina, strenuous physical exercise involving stretching, riding bicycle, hard sports like high and long jumping and gymnastics. According to Dr Naeema Usman, head of Gynecology C Unit at Hayatabad Medical Complex, some girls are born with so little hymnal tissue that it seems like it was never there in the first place.

Usage of herbal and other medication for restoration of hymen, said Dr Usman, could lead to infection of pelvic organs and weight gain. “Usually unmarried girls who want to fake virginity do ask for help. As a gynecologist, I recommend hymenoplasty, a medical procedure as it is available in the country and performed by doctors and plastic surgeons.”

*Safina Bibi: the name is changed to protect the identity of the woman in view of the social and cultural taboos and sensitivity of the subject.

http://dailytimes.com.pk/pakistan/27-Jul-16/women-turn-to-hymen-repair-medication-to-save-life-and-marriage

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Islamic Gang Storm Nudist Pool Shouting 'Allahu Akbar' Vowing To 'Eradicate' 'Slut' Women

28 July, 2016

The incident occurred at the naturist area of the Strandbad Xantener Südsee in Geldern in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia on Wednesday last week - two days after an Afghan refugee attacked five people on a train in Bavaria and four days before an Isis supporter blew himself up at a wine bar in the small town of Ansbach.

The incident was the latest in a series of assaults at swimming areas across the country where sexually repressed young Muslim men have taken scantily clad women to be easy objects for their desires.  Earlier this month police in Duesseldorf confirmed a leaked report that said there were "grave worries" about the continuing trend.

Eyewitnesses said the six men, who were "apparently insulted" by the nudity, spat on the swimmers after branding them "sluts" and "infidels".

One victim said: "They said women are all sluts and they would eradicate us all. This contempt and potential to be aggressive was very scary."

The men, who all had "full beards", burst into the pool moments after being asked to leave last Wednesday, according to employee Lisa-Marie Theunissen.

They all had black hair and spoke German "very well", according to local media. They are not believed to be asylum seekers.

Police have launched a probe into the incident, which took place in the western city of Geldern. The perpetrators were aged between 20 and 25, officers said.

Police are interviewing witnesses and analysing CCTV footage in connection with the incident. Further suspects are thought to be identified soon.

Germany and neighbouring Austria have been rocked by several reports of alleged sex attacks committed against women and children at pools this year.

After the leaked police report about escalating sex crimes at pools  the Federal Association of German Swimming Professionals (BDS) claimed that refugees should be trained as lifeguards as "this would be an inclusive measure that would benefit everyone".

BDS President Peter Haiyang added: "We lack skilled workers. That's why it would be negligent not to use these resources."

Many cities, including Munich and Berlin, have produced cartoons in numerous languages instructing men on how to behave while swimming.

The illustrated etiquette guide warns them to wear swimming trunks in the water, rather than underwear, and not to touch women.

http://www.express.co.uk/news/world/693798/Islam-swimming-pool-Germany-Muslim-Geldern

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UNIQLO Hijab: Giving Taiwan's Muslims Choices in Mainstream Apparel

28 July, 2016

UNIQLO has started selling modest, religiously significant clothes made by multinational brands at its stores across Taiwan.

Collaboration between Japanese retailer UNIQLO and Japanese-British designer Hana Tajima began filling the shelves of UNIQLO stores in Taiwan this summer. The collection features the Muslim hijab, which is a first for a multinational clothing brand in Taiwan.

These items are from the third season of the “HANA TAJIMA FOR UNIQLO” collection, which revolves around the theme of “modest fashion” featuring long sleeves, ankle-covering trousers, and long dresses.

The previous two seasons of the collection were available in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, and Indonesia. The collection was developed with the intent of breaking into the Southeast Asian clothing market. Its popularity there led to UNIQLO’s decision to expand the collection globally.

Global changes

For a multinational brand to sell Muslim clothing is new for Taiwan, but the global fashion industry has worked in recent years to expand into the Muslim clothing market, and the Hana Tajima collection is only one of several attempts.

According to Thomson Reuter’s “2015-2016 State of the Global Islamic Economy Report,” the Muslim fashion market is worth US$327 million. As the mainstream fashion market is often at the mercy of the economy, the vast and stable Muslim market is an important beachhead for the industry.

Clothing giant H&M featured in 2015 its first Muslim model, Mariah Idrissi, while the second season of Mango’s Muslim women wear collection was launched this May.

DKNY entered the market in 2014 with its “Ramadan Collection,” followed by Tommy Hilfiger and Net-A-Porter. Marks & Spencer introduced a swimsuit with full body coverage dubbed “burkini,” a mix between the traditional Arabic burka and bikini. Dolce & Gabbana earlier this year introduced its hijab collection.

While the majority of the world’s Muslims live in Asia, most global brands have largely focused their Muslim fashion campaigns in the oil-rich Arab market. These brands have been criticized for interpreting Muslim culture through a Western lens, and insufficient modesty in the collections.

Online clothing retailers specializing in Muslim wear have also emerged. HijUP, staffed with local Indonesian designers, has grown into Indonesia’s main online retailer five years after starting, last year securing seven-digit seed funding. A similar Turkish brand Modanisa has also garnered investment.

UNIQLO is unique among multinational brands in targeting the Southeast Asian market and hiring Muslim designers to better integrate its collections with Islamic cultures.

The fashion industry has only recently paid attention to the Muslim market, reflecting the difficulties Muslims have long experienced in gaining acceptance from mainstream fashion.

“The standards of beauty in mainstream fashion are very sexualized,” Tajima says in an interview. For Islamic wear to cut into fast fashion brands enables diversity, as “Muslims can now make fashion choices in the mainstream market,” Tajima says.

Pricey options

How have Taiwan’s 200,000 Muslims reacted?

“Taiwanese Muslims now have more choice on places to buy the hijab,” a Chinese Muslim Association spokesperson told The News Lens International.

Meanwhile Migrant Park, a Chinese-language website that focuses on migrant issues in Taiwan, said in a recent report that while the mixing of mainstream and Islamic fashion has come slowly and is still too expensive for many, it is facilitating a new dialogue between cultures.

In an interview with Migrant Park, UNIQLO’s Taiwan public relations manager said that Hana Tajima’s collection did not limit itself to Muslim customers. UNIQLO will not emphasize the religious significance of the hijab, but instead market it as stylish headwear.

In Taiwan, items from Tajima’s collection are priced anywhere from NT$390 to NT$1,990, but a full Muslim outfit may cost more than NT$3,000. Although the collection was widely welcomed in the Southeast Asian market, the price could be too high for some Indonesian migrant workers in Taiwan.

During the recent Lebaran – breaking of the fast – celebrations, Wiwin, from Indonesia, wore a light green hijab and long dress. She says her outfit would cost about NT$1,700 in Indonesia, although outfits made of higher quality materials could cost up to NT$3,000.

Full report at:

http://international.thenewslens.com/article/45203

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Ismat Jahan first OIC envoy to EU mission

28 July, 2016

Ismat Jahan, Bangladesh Ambassador to Belgium and the European Union, has been appointed as envoy of Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in the Permanent Observer Mission to the EU.

The OIC, an influential bloc of 57 Muslim countries, opened the mission to the EU in June, 2013, reports the UNB.

OIC Secretary General Iyad Ameen Madani approved the appointment of Ismat though the government is yet to disclose it officially, a diplomatic source acknowledged it on Tuesday night.

An official at the ministry said it is a big achievement for Bangladesh as Ismat will be the first Bangladeshi to get appointed as the OIC envoy to its mission.

As the second envoy, she will discharge her duties for next four years after the mission started the journey.

Earlier in April this year, Ismat was appointed Bangladesh’s next High Commissioner to the United Kingdom.

However, this appointment has been cancelled. And Bangladesh Ambassador to Indonesia Md Nazmul Quaunine has been appointed Bangladesh High Commissioner to the UK, said another source.

In her diplomatic career, Ismat served as the Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the UN in New York and Bangladesh Ambassador to the Netherlands.

Besides, she served in Bangladesh High Commission in New Delhi, Bangladesh Permanent Mission in Geneva and New York in different capacities.

Ismat obtained MSS in Economics from University of Dhaka. She was also elected twice the member of the CEDAW Committee.

http://www.dhakatribune.com/bangladesh/2016/jul/28/ismat-jahan-first-oic-envoy-eu-mission#sthash.RqWxDbs8.dpuf

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Lack of FGM ban in domestic violence law fails Liberia's girls, activists say

28 July, 2016

DAKAR (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Women's rights activists condemned Liberia's parliament on Wednesday for removing a ban on female genital mutilation (FGM) from a new domestic violence law in a country where half of women have been cut.

The law listed FGM as a criminal offense, along with threats and acts of physical and sexual violence, and emotional abuse, when it was first submitted to lawmakers last September.

Yet opposition from several politicians in April led to the FGM provision being removed from the bill, which was passed into law last week, according to women's rights campaigners.

"It's extremely frustrating that the domestic violence bill was due to include an FGM ban, then a weaker ban and now no ban at all," said Mary Wandia of the rights group Equality Now.

"This is seemingly due to resistance by secret societies, but there is no excuse for continuing to fail Liberian girls," she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone from London.

FGM affects an estimated 140 million girls and women across a swathe of Africa and parts of the Middle East and Asia, and is seen as a gateway to marriage and a way of preserving a girl's purity. It causes numerous health problems that can be fatal.

Half of Liberian women have been subjected to FGM, and four in 10 support the practice in a country where it is carried out by all but a few tribes, and by both Muslim and Christian communities, according to the U.N. children's agency (UNICEF).

It is practised in the West African nation during traditional initiation ceremonies in bush schools, overseen by an immensely powerful women's secret society called the Sande.

While FGM contravenes human rights treaties to which Liberia is a party, campaigners say the government has been reluctant to take a stand because of the Sande's political clout.

FGM may have been removed from the bill due to fears over the impact on hopefuls for next year's elections, said Tamba Johnson of the Women of Liberia Peace Network (WOLPNET).

"If the bill had been passed with the FGM component, politicians seeking votes would perhaps have lost support from the more traditional communities," Johnson said from Monrovia.

Liberia's President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said at an event on gender equality in the United States last year that her government was committed to introducing a law to ban FGM.

"President Johnson Sirleaf has committed to doing this many times, but we are still waiting," Wandia of Equality Now said.

Nigeria and Gambia banned the practice last year but FGM remains legal in Mali and Sierra Leone.

(Reporting By Kieran Guilbert, Editing by Katie Nguyen.; Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's rights, trafficking, corruption and climate change. Visit news.trust.org)

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-liberia-fgm-idUSKCN10728F

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South African Muslim Woman Sues for R50k Maintenance

28 July, 2016

Durban - A Muslim woman, whose first marriage was apparently not annulled, wants her second divorced husband to fund her luxurious lifestyle.

According to papers filed in the Durban High Court, the woman is seeking an order for her divorce by Muslim rites to be declared valid.

She is also seeking an order that her ex-second husband, a wealthy businessman, pay her R50 000 a month maintenance pending the finalisation of the case. The mother of two and her ex-second husband cannot be named to protect their daughter, a minor.

She said in her affidavit that she lived a luxurious life before her second marriage collapsed.

Before divorcing in December last year the couple lived in a five-bedroomed property, which had a security guard at the gate. She and her former husband allegedly drove flashy vehicles worth about R1 million each.

These days the beauty therapist said she had to make do with a one-bedroomed flat and an allowance of R8 000 a month.

Her ex-husband has agreed that, as the father of their daughter, he is responsible for the child’s upkeep only.

The businessman, who has subsequently remarried, said since the marriage of his ex-wife and her first husband had not been annulled religiously, her first husband was responsible for her maintenance.

He said she was her first husband’s seventh wife.

Muslim men are permitted under Shariah or Islamic Law to have up to four wives only.

The matter could return to court for argument next month.

According to Shariah Law, when a man divorces his wife, he must provide maintenance for her for three consecutive months.

That is referred to as Iddah.

According to Imam Yusuf Patel, the secretary general of the United Ulama Council of South Africa, once the Iddah period is over, the responsibility of caring for the divorcee falls on either her father, brothers or sons.

If the divorcee does not have a father, male siblings or sons, then it will be up to charitable organisations in the community to ensure that she is not left destitute, he said.

Cape Town attorney Ighshan Higgins, who in 2004 featured in a landmark case in which the Constitutional Court ruled that his client, Fatima Gabie Hassam, had been discriminated against on the grounds of religion and marital status after her husband, who had two wives, died without leaving a will, said the Durban High Court application was an unusual one.

“There is no question that her ex-husband is responsible for their child’s maintenance. But claiming maintenance for herself (as much as R50 000 a month) is a different story. Her counsel will have to pull out all the stops to convince the court that she really deserves that amount of money. The floodgates may open if the court grants such an order.”

While Muslim organisations like the Jamiatul Ulama Council in Durban said they preferred Muslim couples whose marriages are falling apart to seek the guidance of Imams (Muslim scholars) instead of running to the courts, Higgins disagreed.

“We live in South Africa and not in Muslim countries where Shariah Law is applicable. Nothing stops Muslim women in our country from seeking relief in our courts.

“Applications such as the one in the Durban High Court and others in recent years show that Muslim women are asserting their rights,” he said. “Our constitution protects the rights of the citizens in our country.”

The Women’s Legal Centre Trust in Cape Town is involved in a protracted legal fight in the Cape Town High Court to have Muslim marriages and divorces declared valid.

It is taking on the Presidency, the ministers of Home Affairs and Justice and Constitutional Development, the Speaker of the National Assembly, and the chair of the National Council of Provinces.

Organisations such as the Muslim Judicial Council and the Jaimatul Ulama Council have been joined as friends of the court.

The trust says that the Divorce Act No 70 of 1979 is inconsistent with sections 7 (2), (3) and (5), 10, 15 (1) and (3), 28 (2), 31 and 34 of the constitution.

This matter is back on the roll on September 18.

Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Fatima Chohan said in court papers that “If the State was to engage in such an exercise of developing Shariah to accord with the constitution through the enactment of legislation, it will, of necessity have the effect of depriving Muslim persons of the right to practise Shariah in its undeveloped and original form and will transgress into the terrain of freedom of religion.

“There is no constitutional obligation that legislation be enacted in order to recognise Islamic marriages as valid marriages.”

Muslim couples who feel their marriages are not working out should seek the intervention of Islamic scholars before taking the legal route.

This is the view of the United Ulama Council of South Africa and the Jamiatul Council of South Africa.

Imam Yusuf Patel, the secretary general of the Ulama Council of South Africa, urged couples to seek the assistance of imams and other Muslim experts to save their marriages.

“Taking the legal route is expensive and adds to the stress of the parties,” he said.

He said Shariah Law protected the interests of divorcees in that they ought not to be left destitute.

Asked whether it was not unfair that a Muslim man can have up to four wives simultaneously and a Muslim woman one husband, Patel said no.

The man is permitted to protect the family and lineage. He is the head of the family and their protector and provider. Women are not permitted to have more than one husband simultaneously. But she can divorce and remarry,” he said.

Moulana Abdulah Khan, administration manager at the Jaimatul Council, said the council was of the view that Muslim scholars were adequately equipped to decide on Muslim divorces.

“Over the years the council’s scholars saved hundreds of Muslim marriages from falling apart. There is a far better, inexpensive way to resolve the marriage disputes,” he said.

“It takes years to build a home and a family. Don’t ruin the future, including that of the children, by making rash decisions which you may regret.”

AV Mahomed, chief trustee of the Juma Musjid (Grey Street Mosque) said Shariah Law stipulates that a man divorced from his wife is obliged to provide for her upkeep for the first three months.

“But it is wrong for a Muslim woman to be married to two men at the same time.

“That is also in accordance with Shariah Law.”

The law concerning religious marriages has evolved over the years.

In the 1983 case of Ismail v Ismail, the judge held that Muslim marriages do not enjoy the same status as marriages in civil law. The reason: the marriages are potentially polygamous and against public policy.

But in another case that year (Moola and Others v Aulsebrook and Others) the judge ruled that Muslim marriages were putative. The decision was good for children born out of Muslim unions. The law was changed accordingly, making children born out of such marriages legitimate.

In the case of Daniels v Campbell and Others in 2004, the Constitutional Court held that a Muslim spouse in a monogamous marriage had the right to inherit and to claim maintenance from a deceased spouse who died intestate.

In the 2005 case, Khan v Khan, a landmark decision was made. The court said in Muslim marriages, whether monogamous or polygamous, the partners owed each other a duty of support and had the right to claim maintenance from one another.

Newcastle teacher Rhia Moola initiated an application which was at one stage dubbed a landmark case against her ex husband, Nazir Jamaloodeen, to have their Muslim marriage declared valid.

Moola, however, did not pursue the matter fully in the Pietermaritzburg High Court.

Meanwhile, a Hindu marriage dubbed a test case in the Durban High court ended with local medical doctor Jailall Ramparsad victorious.

His estranged wife, Suchrita Singh, a university lecturer, had sought an order for their religious marriage to be declared valid.

Setting a precedent last year, a local Muslim mother of two, divorced from her husband, won her legal fight for the payment of maintenance.

The ruling by Judge Fikile Mokgohloa in the Durban High Court offered hope to Muslim women, even though Muslim marriages are currently not recognised in terms of South African law.

The court ordered the woman’s ex-husband to pay her R20 000 maintenance every month and R5 000 each month for their children aged 10 and 13.

The judge rejected the submission by the man’s counsel that because Muslim marriages are not recognised in South African law he should not be liable for the payment of maintenance.

“With the advent of democracy the courts started changing their approach to Muslim marriages.”

Laws governing religious marriage and divorce have evolved, and courts are changing their approach to Muslim marriages.

She is also seeking an order that her ex-second husband, a wealthy businessman, pay her R50 000 a month maintenance pending the finalisation of the case. The mother of two and her ex-second husband cannot be named to protect their daughter, a minor.

She said in her affidavit that she lived a luxurious life before her second marriage collapsed.

Before divorcing in December last year the couple lived in a five-bedroomed property, which had a security guard at the gate. She and her former husband allegedly drove flashy vehicles worth about R1 million each.

These days the beauty therapist said she had to make do with a one-bedroomed flat and an allowance of R8 000 a month.

Her ex-husband has agreed that, as the father of their daughter, he is responsible for the child’s upkeep only.

The businessman, who has subsequently remarried, said since the marriage of his ex-wife and her first husband had not been annulled religiously, her first husband was responsible for her maintenance.

He said she was her first husband’s seventh wife.

Muslim men are permitted under Shariah or Islamic Law to have up to four wives only.

The matter could return to court for argument next month.

According to Shariah Law, when a man divorces his wife, he must provide maintenance for her for three consecutive months.

That is referred to as Iddah.

According to Imam Yusuf Patel, the secretary general of the United Ulama Council of South Africa, once the Iddah period is over, the responsibility of caring for the divorcee falls on either her father, brothers or sons.

If the divorcee does not have a father, male siblings or sons, then it will be up to charitable organisations in the community to ensure that she is not left destitute, he said.

Cape Town attorney Ighshan Higgins, who in 2004 featured in a landmark case in which the Constitutional Court ruled that his client, Fatima Gabie Hassam, had been discriminated against on the grounds of religion and marital status after her husband, who had two wives, died without leaving a will, said the Durban High Court application was an unusual one.

“There is no question that her ex-husband is responsible for their child’s maintenance. But claiming maintenance for herself (as much as R50 000 a month) is a different story. Her counsel will have to pull out all the stops to convince the court that she really deserves that amount of money. The floodgates may open if the court grants such an order.”

While Muslim organisations like the Jamiatul Ulama Council in Durban said they preferred Muslim couples whose marriages are falling apart to seek the guidance of Imams (Muslim scholars) instead of running to the courts, Higgins disagreed.

“We live in South Africa and not in Muslim countries where Shariah Law is applicable. Nothing stops Muslim women in our country from seeking relief in our courts.

“Applications such as the one in the Durban High Court and others in recent years show that Muslim women are asserting their rights,” he said. “Our constitution protects the rights of the citizens in our country.”

The Women’s Legal Centre Trust in Cape Town is involved in a protracted legal fight in the Cape Town High Court to have Muslim marriages and divorces declared valid.

t is taking on the Presidency, the ministers of Home Affairs and Justice and Constitutional Development, the Speaker of the National Assembly, and the chair of the National Council of Provinces.

Organisations such as the Muslim Judicial Council and the Jaimatul Ulama Council have been joined as friends of the court.

The trust says that the Divorce Act No 70 of 1979 is inconsistent with sections 7 (2), (3) and (5), 10, 15 (1) and (3), 28 (2), 31 and 34 of the constitution.

This matter is back on the roll on September 18.

Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Fatima Chohan said in court papers that “If the State was to engage in such an exercise of developing Shariah to accord with the constitution through the enactment of legislation, it will, of necessity have the effect of depriving Muslim persons of the right to practise Shariah in its undeveloped and original form and will transgress into the terrain of freedom of religion.

“There is no constitutional obligation that legislation be enacted in order to recognise Islamic marriages as valid marriages.”

Muslim couples who feel their marriages are not working out should seek the intervention of Islamic scholars before taking the legal route.

This is the view of the United Ulama Council of South Africa and the Jamiatul Council of South Africa.

Imam Yusuf Patel, the secretary general of the Ulama Council of South Africa, urged couples to seek the assistance of imams and other Muslim experts to save their marriages.

“Taking the legal route is expensive and adds to the stress of the parties,” he said.

He said Shariah Law protected the interests of divorcees in that they ought not to be left destitute.

Asked whether it was not unfair that a Muslim man can have up to four wives simultaneously and a Muslim woman one husband, Patel said no.

“The man is permitted to protect the family and lineage. He is the head of the family and their protector and provider. Women are not permitted to have more than one husband simultaneously. But she can divorce and remarry,” he said.

Moulana Abdulah Khan, administration manager at the Jaimatul Council, said the council was of the view that Muslim scholars were adequately equipped to decide on Muslim divorces.

“Over the years the council’s scholars saved hundreds of Muslim marriages from falling apart. There is a far better, inexpensive way to resolve the marriage disputes,” he said.

“It takes years to build a home and a family. Don’t ruin the future, including that of the children, by making rash decisions which you may regret.”

AV Mahomed, chief trustee of the Juma Musjid (Grey Street Mosque) said Shariah Law stipulates that a man divorced from his wife is obliged to provide for her upkeep for the first three months.

“But it is wrong for a Muslim woman to be married to two men at the same time.

“That is also in accordance with Shariah Law.”

The law concerning religious marriages has evolved over the years.

In the 1983 case of Ismail v Ismail, the judge held that Muslim marriages do not enjoy the same status as marriages in civil law. The reason: the marriages are potentially polygamous and against public policy.

But in another case that year (Moola and Others v Aulsebrook and Others) the judge ruled that Muslim marriages were putative. The decision was good for children born out of Muslim unions. The law was changed accordingly, making children born out of such marriages legitimate.

In the case of Daniels v Campbell and Others in 2004, the Constitutional Court held that a Muslim spouse in a monogamous marriage had the right to inherit and to claim maintenance from a deceased spouse who died intestate.

In the 2005 case, Khan v Khan, a landmark decision was made. The court said in Muslim marriages, whether monogamous or polygamous, the partners owed each other a duty of support and had the right to claim maintenance from one another.

Newcastle teacher Rhia Moola initiated an application which was at one stage dubbed a landmark case against her ex husband, Nazir Jamaloodeen, to have their Muslim marriage declared valid.

Moola, however, did not pursue the matter fully in the Pietermaritzburg High Court.

Meanwhile, a Hindu marriage dubbed a test case in the Durban High court ended with local medical doctor Jailall Ramparsad victorious.

His estranged wife, Suchrita Singh, a university lecturer, had sought an order for their religious marriage to be declared valid.

Setting a precedent last year, a local Muslim mother of two, divorced from her husband, won her legal fight for the payment of maintenance.

The ruling by Judge Fikile Mokgohloa in the Durban High Court offered hope to Muslim women, even though Muslim marriages are currently not recognised in terms of South African law.

The court ordered the woman’s ex-husband to pay her R20 000 maintenance every month and R5 000 each month for their children aged 10 and 13.

The judge rejected the submission by the man’s counsel that because Muslim marriages are not recognised in South African law he should not be liable for the payment of maintenance.

“With the advent of democracy the courts started changing their approach to Muslim marriages.”

Laws governing religious marriage and divorce have evolved, and courts are changing their approach to Muslim marriages.

http://www.iol.co.za/news/crime-courts/muslim-woman-sues-for-r50k-maintenance-2050343

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URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islam,-women-and-feminism/new-age-islam-news-bureau/girls-pour-back-to-school-in-former-militant-strongholds-of-pakistan/d/108108



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