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Islam, Women and Feminism ( 20 Apr 2015, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Halton Muslim Women Separate ISIS from Islam

 New Age Islam News Bureau

20 Apr 2015

Among those attending the recent Stop the Crisis discussion at Burlington's Tansley Woods Community Centre were Ahmadiyya Muslim Women's Association Vice-President Naheed Khokhar, Ward 6 Councillor Blair Lancaster, Burlington MPP Eleanor McMahon, Halton Regional Police Staff Sgt Crystal Kelly and Ahmadiyya Muslim Women's Association National President Amtul Noor Daud.


 Escaped Islamic State Wives in Hiding in Turkey

 Muslim Head Scarf Day Cancelled By Clueless Ohio Principal

 Islamic State’s ‘Web of Marriage’

 Four Rapists to Be Executed In Pakistan

 Civic Polls: Separate Areas for Saudi Women Being Set Up

 Husband Sets Wife on Fire in Pakistan ‘Honour Killing’

 Research: British Muslim Women 71% more Likely to Be Unemployed

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau





Halton Muslim Women Separate ISIS from Islam

20 April, 2015

Local Muslims plan to ‘Stop the Crisis’ of radicals bent on destruction, one conversation at a time.

Women of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community of Burlington, Oakville and Milton are joining the national Stop the Crisis movement to eradicate public misconceptions their 1,400-year-old faith often has with terrorism.

Presenter Sana Mumtaz urged the 100 women who gathered at Burlington's Tansley Woods Community Centre on April 11 to take action.

“Ask not what others can do to end extremism but what can you do to end it,” she said. “We as a nation and community must work together to change the tide and threat.”

Stop the Crisis is a nationwide campaign to distance ISIS and extremists from Islam, and focus on the religion’s messages of love, peace and education.

The Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association created Stop the Crisis in response to the violent killings of soldiers Patrice Vincent and Nathan Cirillo on Canadian soil. They were murdered in two separate incidents in October 2014 and each by individuals harbouring jihadist sympathies.

'It's not Islam that motivates violence'

The Burlington event’s co-presenter Lubna Malik stressed that Islam translated means peace. “It is not Islam that motivates violence,” she added.

She described the warped ideologies of ISIS, a violent militant group responsible for mass sectarian killings in Iraq and Syria as “utterly un-Islamic.”

“Radicalism is motivated by political goals and a quest for power, not religion,” she added.

As much as Canadians can help Stop the Crisis, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community’s outreach secretary, Naheed Khokhar, implored the local, provincial and federal politicians in attendance to tell the government that it must stem the flow of weapons and military resources to the terrorist group, and in particular, to cut off supplies to ISIS.

Halton MPP Indira Naidoo-Harris also believes there is a political route to battling radicalism. She urged attendees to engage their children in the political landscape.

Naidoo-Harris’ colleague in the provincial legislature, Burlington MPP Eleanor McMahon added: “we must all be aligned against a common foe of ignorance. Let’s help disarm it.”

And Halton Police Sgt. Crystal Kelly said “it is incumbent upon all of us to mentor, support and worry about our youth” adding that we must educate ourselves about the telltale signs of radicalization.

Linda Baksh came from Hamilton to hear the presentation and was one of a few non-Muslims in the audience. “I believe this is an important message to share with others, that Islam has nothing to do with terrorism,” said Baksh.

Indeed, as the event’s presenter Mumtaz concluded, “The greatest change comes from knowledge, not power. This battle against radicalism is a battle for the mind.”



Escaped Islamic State Wives In Hiding In Turkey

20 April, 2015

Two former members of Islamic State's elite women's police unit, known as al Khansa Brigade, who were married off to foreign fighters are now in hiding.

The women escaped the Syrian city Raqqa, an IS stronghold, and were smuggled to southern Turkey earlier this year. They are afraid IS fighters will find them.

Doaa (not her real name), 20, left Syria after her Saudi Arabian husband, an IS fighter, blew himself up in a suicide attack.

She has told Sky News she grew to love her husband and he convinced her that life in the so-called Islamic State was the right path.

Her role in the brigade was to punish women who didn't follow IS's strict rules. She even carried out the lashing herself.

She explained the different levels of punishment: "If the woman tries to escape when we arrest her then she'll get 60 lashes.

"Otherwise, when it comes to clothes, if she's not wearing the abaya (Islamic dress) or she's wearing high heels then it's the standard 40 lashes."

Doaa says she now regrets what she did.

"What upset me most was lashing old women when they weren't wearing the proper clothes.

"These women were like my mother. I mean for girls, yes, they should wear the proper attire but old women no.

"They'd lash them and humiliate them."

The al Khansa Brigade was set up by IS last year to crack down on women who don't abide by their strict laws, including that they be fully covered in public and always chaperoned by a male.

It involves four weeks of weapons training and the women are paid around £70 per month.

They mainly patrol the streets, man checkpoints and raid houses.

Umm Ous (not her real name) says she met many foreign women - from Europe and even Japan - in the Brigade.

But whereas the Arab women were in charge of policing and running the city's affairs, she says non-Arab women were often allowed on the front lines.

She told Sky News about a British female IS fighter known as "Umm Bakr."

Umm Ous says she was around 23 years old: "(She) came to Raqqa because it was an Islamic State (city), where the true religion is. They all came to fight the non-believers. They prayed and fasted."

Like many women in Raqqa, Umm Ous was married off to foreign fighters.

Her first husband was a Turkish IS commander who was killed in battle.

Months later her parents made her marry an Egyptian militant who left her behind after falling out with the IS group and escaping.

She admits she never loved either of the men: "I married him because it was what was available and the situation didn't allow for anything else."

In fact, it was hardly a real marriage.

"Most of the time I'd stay at my parent's house because he wasn't around. He behaved normally, he'd come home for two or three days and then go back to fight.

"So in the whole year I probably saw him for less than a month altogether. And then he was martyred."

They may have escaped but Doaa and Umm Ous are far from free. They are in Turkey illegally and say IS fighters are looking for them.



Muslim Head Scarf Day Cancelled By Clueless Ohio Principal

20 April, 2015

A high school principal in Ohio was forced to cancel an event where female students would wear a hijab to celebrate "diversity." This counterintuitive event was the target of outrage on the internet at the cluelessness of a principal who believed celebrating diversity by allowing young women to wear a symbol of anti-diversity was just fine.

Cleveland Plain Dealer:

Intense criticism has prompted an Ohio high school's principal to cancel a student event in which girls would celebrate diversity by spending a day wearing a Muslim headscarf.

Mason High School Mindy McCarty-Stewart also issued an apology in an email Thursday to district families, saying the intent of the April 23 student-led event was meant to be positive, the Cincinnati Enquirer reported.

"I now realize that as adults we should have given our students better guidance. After much consideration and after talking with the student event organizers, we have canceled the event," she said.

The event, dubbed the "The Covered Girl Challenge," was designed to combat stereotypes women face wearing head coverings. Similar events have been held on college campuses and other high schools.

Although many praised the event, a backlash erupted on the Internet from some complaining the event promoted a single religion as well as a garment some linked to oppression of women.

On the other hand, others complained that having all girls wear scarves seemed mocking of a Muslim tradition, as inappropriate as students dressing up in a priest's collar to celebrate Catholicism.

Sharon Poe, a former school board candidate in the district, told the Enquirer she opposed the "Covered Girl" event.

"My belief is wearing these hijabs represents the oppression of women and Sharia law," she said, adding that public schools should not be promoting one religious tradition over another.

However, Yasmeen Allen, an Iraqi native with two teenagers at Mason High, told the newspaper that Muslim students at the school "were robbed of an opportunity" to counter negativity their religion faces around the world.

McCarty-Stewart said she decided to cancel the event because it was clear it was not reaching its goal of teaching tolerance, the Dayton Daily News reported.

I would say to Ms. Allen that the way to counter negativity of your religion around the world is to stand up and shout at the top of your voice that you will not be oppressed because you're a woman. If you choose to be oppressed, that's your business, as this commenter at PJ Media showed:

If they really wanted to "celebrate diversity" they would tell children to wear a head covering or other clothing that their culture or their ancestors' culture wore for female modesty or religious piety, that way boys could be included, as well.

As a woman who covers her hair for religious reasons(in a culture that tolerates non-compliance) I personally find some of these responses over-the-top and offensive.

True, there are Islamists that demand that ALL women follow their decrees but there are also those women who want to follow their traditions.There are also those who use a female hair covering as a political symbol with little concern for modesty, as well.

Women who are brainwashed into thinking they are "honoring their traditions" perpetrate the misogyny of the male culture in every country where there is a Muslim majority. In many cases, the family enforces the wearing of the burqa and hijab and keeps their young girls virtually locked up. You may not be punished for non-compliance by the government, but surely many if not most Muslim families see to it that their daughters behave "modestly" - or else.

Such is the ignorance of this principal that she didn't think it inappropriate for American girls to imitate the oppression of Muslim women. Someone that dense should be fired. Instead, she will probably get a raise.



Islamic State’s ‘web of marriage’

20 April, 2015

Cape Town - Extremist group Islamic State (IS) most likely recruited a Kenwyn teenager with the promise of marrying one of its handsome fighters, while preying on her vulnerability.

Nabeweya Malick, spokeswoman for the Muslim Judicial Council, confirmed that the IS uses marriage as a tactic to prey on young women.

And this had probably been the manner in which it lured the 15-year-old who was stopped at Cape Town airport this month after her family alerted authorities that she was missing.

Malick said the extremist group “has a magazine of extremely handsome men” to show to young women.

“They use these good looking guys with long hair to attract young, impressionable girls who want to get married to heroes. It feeds perfectly into teenage girls’ fantasies.”

Malick said the MJC had met the family of the Kenwyn teenager but could not divulge information about this.

The national state security department was still investigating how the teenager was recruited.

Malick said:

“That this teenager was prepared to give up her home and family, shows the level of propaganda they (IS) use. They made her believe she would be part of a nation of pure Islam and bring honour to the global Muslim community.

“IS is manipulating Islamic ideology. They make young people believe they will work in hospitals and help people who have lost their parents and create utopia.”

Malick said the MJC had seen reports about girls “who have escaped from IS and the reality is far from what IS depicts online”.

“The girls talk about being subjected to the most horrific abuse and sexual violation. They were sold as slaves and there was no consideration for any principles.”

The group recruits male fighters and young women through social media websites.

Malick said: “IS has no less than 20 000 different Twitter handles. They are communicating with thousands of young people. Every young person looking for a solution to the Muslim world’s problems is vulnerable.”

Malick said the MJC has cautioned parents to improve their relationships with teenage children. “Young women are looking for validation, especially from their fathers. If that is not solid then they will look for that validation elsewhere.”

She said the MJC had encouraged religious leaders to denounce the IS. “We asked them to condemn IS. It is not Islamic. We condemn the killings and all the other things that IS does to violate Islam.”



Four rapists to be executed in Pakistan

20 April, 2015

SIALKOT: Four rapists will be executed in district jail on Tuesday and Wednesday.

According to senior officials of Sialkot district jail, Nauman and Saleem of Pasrur will be sent to gallows on April 21. Both had raped a minor girl “F” on May 6, 1999 at Qila Kalarwala, Pasrur.

An anti-terrorism court has issued black warrants after rejection of their appeals.

In another case, Abid Maqsood and Sanaullah alias Billu of Begowal will be hanged on April 22.

ATC judge Bushra Zaman has issued black warrants after rejection of their appeals.

According to the prosecution, the convicts had gang-raped 15-year-old “T” at Begowala on Aug 29, 1997.



Civic polls: Separate areas for Saudi women being set up

20 April, 2015

Municipalities around the country have started preparing separate areas for women to participate as voters and candidates in the upcoming municipal council elections.

Various government bodies designed the areas based on Islamic principles, according to a report in a local publication recently. These include separate entrances, balloting centers, rest areas and offices with support staff.

The men have similar areas because the government does not discriminate between men and women, according to a source quoted by the publication. They would have to perform the same functions once they are on the councils, the source said. Voting would take place in government facilities including municipal buildings, schools and universities, the source said.

Those not eligible to participate include employees of the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs, notaries, mayors, sheikhs, members of the Bureau of Investigation and Public Prosecution, provincial trustees, Shoura Council members, development commission members, and municipal investors or contractors, he said.

Mayor of Al-Qatif Ziyad Maghrbil said preparations for women voting centers have started in his region. Plans are also underway to set up the area where the municipal council would operate, with separate entry points and offices.

Several women in the governorate said that women can contribute to society across all disciplines including education, culture, social affairs and health, according to the report.

A municipal source in Baha said there would be 21 members on the municipal councils after the next elections in November because it would include women, and have wider powers.

Members of the public Talal Majmmi, Al-Baraa Okor, Saud Al-Masood and Suleiman Talibi said municipal councils previously did not carry out the tasks assigned to them, perhaps because of administrative difficulties. Councils should tackle problems with the country’s roads and illegal workers, they said.

Yahya Twaity, Abdulmajid Shrouq, Ibrahim Al-Maskati, Anqri Mohya and Naif Mshouli said these councils have not addressed the problems of citizens. This includes poor services, and expatriate hawkers on the streets who obstruct traffic, and disturb shoppers at local markets and worshippers at mosques.



Husband sets wife on fire in Pakistan ‘honor killing’

20 April, 2015

A Pakistani man and his father have been arrested in the country's latest so-called "honor killing" after they set the son's wife alight for leaving the house without asking his permission, police said Sunday.

Muhammad Siddique became enraged on learning that his wife, Shabana Bibi, 25, had visited her sister without first asking him if she could go out, her brother Muhammad Azam said.

Siddique and his father then beat Bibi before dousing her with petrol and setting her on fire in Central Pakistan's Muzaffargarh district on Friday, Azam said.

Bibi had been married to Siddique for three years, during which time she had suffered repeated domestic abuse for the couple's inability to have children, Azam said.

Suffering burns to 80 percent of her body, Bibi died of her injuries in hospital on Saturday.

"We have arrested the husband and father-in-law of the deceased woman and charged them for murder and terrorism," district police chief Rai Zameer-ul-Haq told AFP. The charge of "terrorism" is regularly applied in such cases so as to expedite the legal process.

Hundreds of women are murdered by their relatives in Pakistan each year through domestic violence or on the grounds of defending family "honor".

The Aurat Foundation, a campaign group that works to improve the lives of women in Pakistan's conservative and patriarchal society, says more than 3,000 women have been killed in such attacks since 2008.



Research: British Muslim Women 71% more Likely to Be Unemployed

20 April, 2015

Discrimination against Muslim women in the workplace means they are much more likely to be unemployed than white Christian women - even when they have the same qualifications and language skills – research showed.

British Muslim women are around 70 percent more likely to be looking unsuccessfully for work, according to the University of Bristol’s Nabil Khattab, who spoke at the British Sociological Association’s annual conference in Glasgow, The Independent reported.

The recent national Labor Force survey showed the unemployment rate among Muslim women was 18 percent, compared with 9 percent for Muslim women and 4 percent for white Christian women. This has previously been attributed to Muslim women being less well educated and less fluent in English, but Khattab says his data shows the discrepancy is also likely to be explained by employer discrimination.

Khattab analyzed a sample of 2,643 from the national Labor Force survey to compare the rates of those looking for work without success. He adjusted the sample in order to compare women with similar educational level and language abilities and controlled for marital status, children and strength of religious belief.

He found that Muslim women were 71 percent more likely than white Christian women to be unemployed, even when they had the same educational level and language skills. Muslim women were 57 percent more likely to be unemployed than white Christian women.

“Economic activity among Muslim women in the UK remains considerably lower and their unemployment rate remains significantly higher than the majority group even after controlling for qualifications and other individual characteristics,” Khattab said.

He added that the conspicuousness of Muslim women’s religious background was likely to be a key factor in explaining their exclusion. “They wear the hijab or other religious symbols which makes them more visible and as such exposed to greater discrimination.”