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Islam, Women and Feminism ( 26 Jun 2016, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Gods Hate Women, Specially Menstruating Women: Taslima Nasreen Spews Venom Again

New Age Islam News Bureau

26 Jun 2016 

Photo: Turkey's first lady meets businesswomen to support girls’ education


 Turkey's First Lady Meets Businesswomen to Support Girls’ Education

 Canadian Muslim Women’s Institute Delivers Hampers to Newcomers

 I'm A Muslim Woman Who Refused an Arranged Marriage to Train with the British Special Air Service

 Pak panel says conversion of women from other religions to Islam ‘un-Islamic’

 Angelina Jolie and Muslim Women Speakers at Islamic Centers

 Aaisha’s Ramadan Diaries: On Muslim Women, Samoosas, And “Breaking Stereotypes”

 Muslim Woman Who Sued Restaurant for Discrimination Gets Surprise

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau





Gods Hate Women, Specially Menstruating Women: Taslima Nasreen Spews Venom Again

June 26, 2016

New Delhi: Taslima Nasreen, controversial Bangladeshi writer sparked another controversy by tweeting on menstruating Muslim women and on Islam .

Tweeting from her personal Twitter handle, she said that the creature which is hated most by the Almighty is the women specially menstruating women: ‘Gods hate women, specially menstruating women.’


 taslima nasreen @taslimanasreen

Gods hate women, specially menstruating women. Gods are the most misogynistic creatures in this universe.

7:09 AM - 25 Jun 2016

  82 82 Retweets   123 123 likes

In another tweet she said, ‘Some menstruating Muslim women want to pray & fast during ramadan.’


 taslima nasreen @taslimanasreen

Some menstruating Muslim women want to pray & fast during ramadan.Eventhough I'm a non-believer,I appreciate the decision of those believers

9:10 AM - 25 Jun 2016

  30 30 Retweets   114 114 likes

She furthered tweeted:


 taslima nasreen @taslimanasreen

It is good to reject misogynistic religions all together. But if you can not do that, at least reject the misogynistic rituals of religions.

10:06 AM - 25 Jun 2016

  77 77 Retweets   135 135 likes

Taslima, who call herself non-believe or atheist also spoke against Islam and believe that Islam began with clan and sword.


 taslima nasreen @taslimanasreen

'Islam is not an idea, Islam is a tribe.'

5:18 AM - 26 Jun 2016

  157 157 Retweets   242 242 likes


 taslima nasreen @taslimanasreen

'Islam did not begin with a book. It began with clan and sword.'

5:25 AM - 26 Jun 2016

  103 103 Retweets   148 148 likes

She has a long association with the controversies and has been shame and criticise for her anti-Islamic & irreligious thoughts.



Turkey's first lady meets businesswomen to support girls’ education


Turkish first lady Emine Erdoğan and the country’s leading businesswomen gathered for an iftar meal in Istanbul to mark a range of initiatives which contributed to raising the rate of girls in school to 95 percent across Anatolia.

“The school rate of girls in primary and secondary schools was 87 percent in 2002, this figure rose to 95 percent in 2015 with efficient studies that were run with support from civil society organizations,” Erdoğan said during her address at the event hosted by the Nil Education and Aid Association (NEYAD) at the Haliç Congress Center on June 24.

The event was joined by a large number of invitees, including prominent Turkish businesswomen and NEYAD representatives.

Persons who led successful initiatives to promote girls’ education were also recognized and presented with a plaque, including daily Hürriyet Chairwoman Vuslat Doğan Sabancı.

The Aydın Doğan Foundation has been carrying out the “Dad, Send me to School” (BBOG) project, which aims to create equal education opportunities for young girls across Turkey, since 2005.

The project, which was initiated by the Doğan Group in 2005 and undertaken by the Aydın Doğan Foundation in 2015, was recognized as the most successful project in the eyes of the Turkish public, according to the traditional “Corporate Social Responsibility Project Research” by German GfK research institute and Capital business magazine.

Doğan Holding constructed a total 33 dormitories and 12 primary schools as part of the project while providing scholarships to a total of 10,500 girls over the past decade. Meanwhile, the Aydın Doğan Foundation also built five dormitories for girls.

In its 10th year, the BBOG project has received donations from over 300,000 individuals totaling 35 million Turkish Liras.

In her speech, Erdoğan praised Turkish businesswomen for their support for education projects which contribute to the “pleasing” level of access to education for girls in Turkey.

“300,000 girls started school with the ‘Haydi Kızlar Okula’ [Let’s Go to School, Girls] campaign, which is run under the auspices of [the state.] With the ‘Ana-Kız Okuldayız’ [Mother-Daughter to School] campaign, not only girls but our women who never went to school or received education went to school with their children [and] received education,” Erdoğan said, adding the schooling rate for women at higher education increased to 40 percent from 12 percent between 2002 and 2015.

“Today, the rate of women academics at our universities is above 40 percent. This is considerably above the world average,” the first lady added.

Underlining the need for qualified people in a world where “injustices and terror run rampant,” Erdoğan said women and men need to work together for a better world.

“Women and men complete each other. We better understand and interpret the world with the unity of both viewpoints,” she added.



Canadian Muslim Women’s Institute Delivers Hampers To Newcomers

Jun 26, 2016

WINNIPEG – The Canadian Muslim Women’s Institute (CMWI) is preparing to deliver 150 hampers filled with food and delicacies to Muslim families who are in need.

The group has been delivering the hampers annually for more than ten years. This year, a large number of the hampers will go to some of the many refugee families who recently came to Manitoba.

“Making them feel that they are welcome and that they have enough on that special day. It’s important also because it is part of our faith to give and to donate to those that the need the help,” said Yasmine Ali, with the CMWI.

The hampers are meant to make sure that the recipients have enough food to celebrate Eid ul-Fitre, which marks the end of Ramadan.

The group will be giving out around $10,000 worth of food in the hampers.



I'm A Muslim Woman Who Refused an Arranged Marriage to Train with the British Special Air Service

26 JUN 2016

There I stood: wearing a black business suit and heels, CV in one hand, briefcase in the other.

"I’ve come to sign up for the British Army," I said, trying not to show my nerves. The Colonel stepped forward; an intimidating man in full military uniform, wearing the sandy beret I now know belongs only to members of the Special Air Service (SAS).

He took one look at me. "I think there has been a mistake," he said. "No, sir, I was invited to apply," my voice was respectful but determined, the voice I used when talking to my Muslim elders. My journey to being the first Muslim woman to train with the SAS had begun.

I was the rebel of the family. The youngest of four, I refused an arranged marriage and studied the arts rather than medicine or education. I possessed inner steel and was always keen to try new things.

I blame my mother. A tiny Muslim lady who was a force of nature. She arrived in the UK from Pakistan in the late 1960s, unable to read or write, but that didn’t stop her. When I started school and got my first library card, she got me to borrow Ladybird books and sat down and taught herself English. She was soon fully literate, running her own kebab shop and turning over a healthy profit.

I was a fast learner too, and by 26 I had my own internet company and had just completed a Masters in Media Technology. But I was restless and up for a physical challenge. My friend mentioned her partner was in the British Army Reserves.

It was a lightbulb moment. My father was born in India, had been in the British Indian Army and served on the frontline. Although he rarely talked of his days in service, an episode of Dad’s Army would send him into fits of laughter and make him swell with pride.

The elite squad

Intrigued, I sent off for an info pack. When it arrived I read the SAS was the ‘elite squad’ and found myself ticking the box. Hadn’t my parents always told me to aim high?

I got a call asking me to go for a medical and I arrived at Chelsea Barracks in my suit straight from work. The officer in charge announced we were going to do a physical test, a warm-up session. Bring it on, I thought, it would be a bit like the gym.

I stood next to Becky, an international rock climber, all muscle and power. I’m only 4ft 11, and as I glanced down at my skinny legs I started to panic. The ‘warm-up’ turned out to be a 2.5 hour workout, a mixture of running and press-ups across London.

Non-stop. No breaks. I lagged two miles behind the other girls from the get-go. Every second was painful and having someone screaming in my ear: "Come on Ahmed! Get a move on!" didn’t help. It was not like the gym.

Azi Ahmed and motherAzi as a child with her mum

Mum and Dad had taught me, "Always finish what you start." Even though I wanted to die after the initial session, it’s not in my nature to quit. If they wanted ‘never say die’ attitude and endurance, I was determined to be their girl.

I was shocked when they invited me to join the official SAS training course that lasts six weeks. Two hundred men and 12 women were due to take part. I wasn’t the only one – you could see jaws dropping all over the room as the girls filed in.

Girls with the SAS? Even the trainers were confused. Traditionally women were only eligible to apply for an admin role in the SAS, but I later learned that, for all his initial hostility, my Colonel was a visionary. He knew one day there would be a role for women in the SAS behind enemy lines and he wanted to try some out.

Some of the guys laughed when we said we’d completed an initial physical test.

"Have you trained out in the field yet?" they asked. "That’s when it really begins."

They were right. I was a Muslim girl from a traditional background, learning to sew and cook, destined to be a stay-at-home wife. Growing up, I was forbidden to go out at night on my own, and mixing with people from other cultures was usually done with my parents’ supervision or approval.

But now, here I was eating, living and sleeping alongside men and women from all walks of life. It was miles out of my comfort zone, and throughout the training programme I didn’t breathe a word to my parents about my involvement. They would have tried to discourage me, and I needed to focus.

Going on exercise was tough. One time we’d been out for 12 hours with 50lb rucksacks on our backs. I bent over to be sick from exhaustion.

"While you’re down there, do 80 press-ups," barked the trainer.

It was relentless. I’d go home scratched and bruised and have to wear trainers under my shalwar kameez so my parents couldn’t see my blackened toenails.

But it was training in the Brecon Beacons for 48 hours non-stop that was the toughest mental and physical challenge. We started with an eight-mile run. There were no breaks.

Our superiors deprived us of sleep and would suddenly wake us in the middle of the night with shouts of, "Enemies are on the ground, 400 metres, get into position." We’d have to leap from our sleeping bags and do ‘section attacks’, getting into groups and ‘attacking’ our fellow soldiers as if they were the enemy; firing blank rounds using an SA80, an M16, jungle weapons, pistols.

It was hard-core and I almost died twice – nearly falling off a cliff, and being submerged underwater unable to get the heavy pack off my back.

I found SAS hero who saved me in Belsen and now we'll be friends for life

Azi AhmedAzi was determined not to give up during her training

One by one my colleagues fell by the wayside as they got injured or couldn’t cope. By the end there were 20 men and two women left. The sexism was underlying, but never spoken out loud.

Towards the end, a male colleague turned to me, mystified, and said, "Why are you here?" But another replied, "If she tells us, she’ll have to kill us."

I was proud to hear that. It was at that moment I was just one of the guys, part of the banter. I can imagine some of them in conversation now: "I did SAS training with a Muslim woman. Really? Yes. And she stayed the course and kicked ass too!"

The British Army is evolving but Rome wasn’t built in a day. The visionary Colonel retired just before my graduation, and his predecessor wasn’t ready to see women around the barracks.

Despite having completed the course, he refused to let us join. I was devastated. The Army offered to fast-track us up to the next grade in the army through officer training as compensation. But the training was with fresh-faced graduates and felt like a holiday camp.

I wanted to be back with the squaddies in the SAS. But it wasn’t to be. I left the army with nothing.

Now I’ve moved on and I can look back and say the SAS changed my life. To be able to go the distance with the most elite unit in the British Army was a privilege.

The experience taught me so much about myself and getting along with people. Growing up, I worked in my parents’ kebab shop and occasionally drunken customers called me names. I had made assumptions about people. But I had to learn to trust and respect my fellow soldiers, wherever they came from, and vice versa.

SAS training taught me the value of connecting with and building a community with those around you. It gave me the opportunity to test my own mettle too.

I’ve now moved into politics and ran as prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Rochdale. When I was spending time in the constituency, I saw too many young people hanging around, empty, without hope, and I thought: "They need the SAS".

Azi Ahmed's book Worlds Apart: A Muslim Girl With The SAS is available to buy via Amazon, Kindle and leading retailers. For more information about Azi, visit or follow her on Twitter @aziahmed1

Women in the army

Getty ImagesA female soldierWomen make up 10% of the military

● Just under 18,000 women currently serve in the UK Armed Forces. They make up 10% of the military workforce.

● Women serve as fighter pilots, sailors, medics, engineers and submariners and more. They are barred from entering the infantry, the Royal Armoured Corps and the Special Air Service (SAS). However this may be set to change. David Cameron and Defence Secretary Michael Fallon are among those urging the Ministry of Defence to ‘finish the job’ and open all Armed Forces roles to women.



Pak panel says conversion of women from other religions to Islam ‘un-Islamic’

Imtiaz Ahmad, Hindustan Times, Islamabad |  Updated: Jun 22, 2016

Religious minorities have argued there is no law to protect members of their faith from being forcibly converted to Islam. A recent law that formalised Hindu marriages in Pakistan too did not touch on the issue. (Reuters File Photo)

An influential Pakistani parliamentary panel has declared the conversion of women from other religions to Islam as “un-Islamic” and expressed concern over the practice.

“Forced conversion of girls to Islam is against the teachings of Islam and also a violation of the law in the country,” said Hafiz Hamdullah, chairman of the Senate Standing Committee on Religious Affairs.

His remarks came in the wake of an incident in Chitral Valley, where a young woman from the animist Kalash community converted to Islam, triggering clashes between members of the community and local Muslims.

Religious minorities have argued there is no law to protect members of their faith from being forcibly converted to Islam. A recent law that formalised Hindu marriages in Pakistan too did not touch on the issue.

Hamdullah observed that non-Muslim women were being converted across Pakistan on a daily basis, which is a dilemma for society. Religion is a personal matter of every individual, and a person cannot be converted by force, he said.

Raja Zafrul Haq, the Leader of House in the Senate, too said compelling anyone to convert is against the teachings of Islam. “We are already under observation from human rights organisations due to growing incidents of forced conversions,” he said.

Senator Gian Chand, also a leader of the Pakistan Hindu Council, informed the committee that Hindu girls in Sindh province are victims of forced conversions, which have acquired alarming proportions. Chand was of the opinion that police and the local administration do not help victims or their families.

The committee urged the government to adopt a comprehensive mechanism for protecting women from minority communities. The panel directed the federal and provincial governments to draft legislation to curb the practice.

Last year, a move to criminalise forced conversions and to prevent misuse of the blasphemy law was endorsed by members of the Senate’s Functional Committee on Human Rights.



Angelina Jolie And Muslim Women Speakers At Islamic Centers

Jun 26, 2016

The All Dulles Area Muslim Society Center held an event on June 20, 2016 to mark World Refugee Day. John Kerry and Angelina Jolie were guests on this occasion. Jolie spoke to an enthusiastic audience of ADAMS community members. Yes, she spoke to a mixed audience of men and women. And no, there were no protests by Muslim men. Just smiling faces and applause.

It’s nice to see that Angelina Jolie can sit up front on the stage and speak to a mixed audience at an Islamic Center. Does this mean that Muslim women can do the same? At the vast majority of mosques, Muslim women are not visible or audible, often separated from the main prayer area, and almost never given access to the microphone. The Khutbah or sermon is almost universally performed by men. At a few mosques, women are occasionally invited to deliver a short “reflection,” but this is not common. Now that Angelina Jolie has paved the way, perhaps more women can speak and be engaged at higher levels at large mosques like ADAMS.

So congratulations, Angelina, on doing what many of us Muslim women haven’t been able to do. Despite many years of community work and religious service, most of us cannot speak to mixed audiences at our local Islamic Centers.

Last time I tried to get a rather progressive local mosque to schedule events where women scholars could discuss their research, we couldn’t get more than a single person on the Board to agree. A few people expressed interest, but the proposal was voted down because the community was presumed not “ready” for women’s voices. I bet they’d love to host Angelina, though. A male ally at a mosque told me recently: “Whenever I express my frustrations (not just on this topic), my wife responds, ‘That’s what you get for thinking there is such a thing as progress at the masjid.’”

Angelina, it’s great you got the brothers to take pictures of you and applaud as you did so. Many of those pious brothers are too pious to countenance Muslim women in full modest attire speaking to mixed audiences. I guess we should invite Angelina Jolie to visit all our local Islamic Centers. All resistance will melt away.

My daughter is always asking why we always have to sit and listen to the men. I take her to Friday congregations, and I sit and simmer in fury as we sit on balconies and behind barriers, listening to a man talk. Now I can tell her it’s going to be okay. We’ll just center a White movie-star.

At ADAMS, women are actually more visible than they are in other mosques. ADAMS is better than most mosques. This is in fact the most distressing thing to women – that this “better” is so sadly inadequate. A small number of women “represent” 50% of the community for years on end, and women’s voices are still never equal to those of men. The general pattern of mosque policy in North America is that of “benevolent patriarchy,” as my friend Saadia Sultana describes it. ADAMS is no exception. In some mosques, women happen to serve on the board in mid-tier or labor positions. There are rare cases of top-tier leadership. Men are still, mostly or always (depending on the space), the voices, the leadership, the religious leaders in these spaces.

My friend who participates in his local mosque board told me that he insisted on having women in Board committees. But who wants to participate in an unwelcoming space? Due to their exclusion from leadership and mosque activities, it was very challenging to find women to join these committees.

Eventually some women were identified. But this disturbed the brothers. My friend reported: “Yesterday, someone came to me in the masjid to report that people are complaining that sisters should not be on this (or any) committee, and in fact are wondering why sisters should be allowed in the masjid at all!”

This remains the case nationwide in most mosques. It is what will drive away our daughters (and many of our sons). Those who want to comfort themselves with the number of women who show up as followers, listeners, and attendees may do so. Angelina Jolie still gets more respect in a mosque from men than most women who have spent years in the service of the community.



Aaisha’s Ramadan Diaries: On Muslim Women, Samoosas, And “Breaking Stereotypes”

26 JUN 2016

I am SO TIRED of the way Muslim women continually are represented, by themselves, and others, as though they are only capable of writing/talking about things like samoosas, marriage, baking, and childcare. And I am SO TIRED of the way this is considered to be a norm, while doing anything else is considered to be breaking out of the mound or worse, “challenging stereotypes”. Turn on Muslim community radio stations, or, page through a community magazine, and references to women, are related to the kitchen, conflict between mothers and daughters in law, women looking for spouses, and then mothering. There is a refusal to see women as something in themselves.

To be clear, the idea of a “Muslim woman” is NOT a homogenous concept.

“The Muslim woman” is not just a brown-skinned, headscarf-clad female. This may seem unnecessary to say, but too often – especially in a South African context – the term “Muslim” gets racialised to mean “Indian”. An issue I often find myself grappling with is the ways that communities of colour – and particularly my own community – internalise white, mainstream media narratives to construct insecurity around who and what we already may be.

As a media studies scholar, I know what I’m talking about when I say this.

And I’ve got plenty of life experience to back myself up here.

Forget the White media narratives of Muslim women being oppressed. Why do we continue to put ourselves into boxes and only consider ourselves capable of certain things? And WHEN are we ourselves going to break away from this trap of “breaking stereotypes” when we do anything else that other people would consider normal? Is Muslimness a disability that when Muslims compete in sport or have fashion lines, they have to be considered as people “breaking stereotypes”?

I have said this before and I will say this until oblivion: Muslim women, whoever and whatever you are, YOU are not a space to fight someone else’s bigotry. Whatever your space is – whether it’s your body and what you choose or do not choose to wear, or the things that you choose or do not choose to write about – YOU DO NOT HAVE TO PROVE ANYTHING TO ANYONE. YOU’RE DOING JUST FINE AS YOU ARE, THANKS.

If people cannot accept that Muslims are people who can do ordinary things like anyone else, YOU DO NOT HAVE TO GO OUT OF YOUR WAY TO SHOW THEM THAT YOU CAN.

Muslim women, you are bold and fierce and enough as you are. Nobody needs to validate you.



Muslim Woman Who Sued Restaurant For Discrimination Gets Surprise

June 26, 2016

If you're going to shout "Fire!" in a movie theater, you had better be able to prove you saw flame or smelled smoke. Similarly, if you are going to sue a business establishment for discrimination, you had better be sure you have all the facts.

Sara Farsakh thought she did. In May, Farsakh, who is Muslim right down to her head scarf, filed suit against a Laguna Beach, Calif., cafe, claiming that she and six friends had been ejected on the basis of their religion.

CBS Los Angeles affiliate KCAL reported at the time that the women were asked by the staff of Urth Caffé to leave because they had overstayed their visit. The restaurant, which is a popular destination, plainly advertises a 45-minute time limit for occupying a table.

Farsakh was certain the real reason she and her pals were ejected had to do with their religious attire. “I felt embarrassed, outraged and shocked by the discrimination my friends and I were subjected to,” Farsakh is quoted as saying. “I truly believe had I been sitting there with my friends that were not wearing headscarfs, we would not have been asked to leave."

Farsakh posted a Facebook video cum written account of her late April ordeal that went viral, receiving hundreds of thousands of views. In it, she maintained that there were at least 20 vacant tables at the time that she and her friends were escorted off the premise by police(!).

Just one small problem with Farsakh's story: The cafe's co-owner, Jilla Berkman, happens to be a Muslim herself. So, she says, is a large portion of the customer base.

Berkman has filed a countersuit claiming that Farsakh's suit is "a fraud and a hoax on the courts and the media. It is nothing short of an abuse of process to extort public apologies and other accommodations."

A hearing for the case has been scheduled for this coming Tuesday, June 28.




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