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Islam, Women and Feminism ( 17 March 2017, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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How Trump’s Travel Ban Uses Muslim Women as Pawns

New Age Islam News Bureau

17 March 2017

A Syrian refugee in her home in Jordan. (Muhammad Hamed/Reuters)


 How Trump’s Travel Ban Uses Muslim Women as Pawns

 Turkey Plans To Ban TV Dating Shows

 Tax Credit ‘Rape Clause’ Becomes Law without Parliamentary Vote

 Triple Talaq: 1 Million Muslim Women Sign RSS-Backed Petition against the Practice

 Kansas' Josh Jackson threatened to 'beat' women's player, affidavit says

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau





How Trump’s Travel Ban Uses Muslim Women as Pawns

March 16, 2017

By Karen Attiah

Remember when rescuing women from the violence of radical Islam was used by Laura Bush as a reason for U.S. troops to go to war to fight terrorism abroad? Now it appears that President Trump is using women’s safety to justify keeping foreigners from Muslim countries out of the United States.

Lost among the outrage over Trump’s revised travel ban, which was at least temporarily blocked by court actions Wednesday, is a particularly problematic clause that supposedly targets violence against women. Section 11 (ii) says that “the secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Attorney general, shall … collect and make publicly available … information regarding the number and types of acts of gender based violence against women, including so-called ‘honor killings,’ in the United States by foreign nationals.”

[So much for the West “saving" Muslim women from terrorism]

Trump’s order to track information on gender-based violent crimes has nothing to do with protecting women and everything to do with stigmatizing Muslim immigrants and trying to justify more public surveillance of marginalized groups. Preserving the dignity and safety of women (usually white women) has been used as a justification for racism and xenophobia against people of color for ages in Western countries. Before gunning down black parishioners at a church in South Carolina, white supremacist Dylann Roof reportedly said, “You rape our women, and you’re taking over our country.”

On Monday, a group of advocacy organizations sent a letter to Trump emphasizing that this executive order does little to help protect vulnerable women and girls. The coalition rightly criticized the use of the phrase “honor killings” in the context of the ban on Muslim-majority countries, saying that it “not only promotes and inflames Islamophobia, but it further feeds into the false narrative that violence against women is specific to non-Western cultures.”

Of course, “honor killings” of women and girls are a problem in countries such as Pakistan, where the high-profile killing of social media star Quandeel Baloch sparked international outrage. Her brother confessed and was arrested. But numerous countries have taken steps to address the problem. Turkey gives life sentences to those involved in honor killings. Jordan has moved to create special courts to address them. Prominent Islamic leaders and imams around the world have condemned the practice.

To say it once again, immigrants in the United States, both documented and undocumented, are less likely to commit crimes than people born here. Sadly, it also bears repeating that violence against women is not solely an Islamic problem, nor is it a problem of black and brown countries. It is a global problem, and the United States is no exception*. About 20,000 calls a day are made to U.S. domestic violence hotlines, and nearly one in three women have been victims of some form of domestic violence. About 19.3 million women have reported being stalked by an intimate partner.

That Trump, who bragged about forcibly groping women during his reality TV days, would present himself as a protector of women from violence is insidious enough. But from a policy level, Trump’s cynical use of violence against women in his immigration order is even more hypocritical, considering that his administration is reportedly planning to gut the very programs that would assist women who are victims of domestic violence. The Trump administration may cut 25 grant programs managed by the Justice Department’s Office of Violence against Women; these programs help fund organizations that assist women who are victims of stalking, domestic violence, sexual assault and elder abuse. The Department of Housing and Urban Development, which may face a budget cut of $6 billion, also adopted special rules to shield women who report being victims of domestic violence from being evicted from subsidized housing.

If the Trump administration were serious about protecting women, it would be strengthening domestic violence programs and allowing women refugees in, not fortifying our borders. Instead he is using women as political pawns, exploiting the issue of their safety to promote xenophobia and anti-immigrant animus. None of us, neither men nor women, will be safer for it.



Turkey Plans To Ban TV Dating Shows

Deputy PM says they do not fit with the country’s ‘customs, traditions, beliefs and family structure’

Thursday 16 March 2017

Turkey is planning to ban popular television dating shows because they do not fit with Turkish traditions and customs, the deputy prime minister has said.

Numan Kurtulmuş was referring to matchmaking reality shows, which are popular in Turkey but attract thousands of complaints every year.

“There are some strange programmes that would scrap the institution of family, take away its nobility and sanctity,” Kurtulmuş said in an interview with a provincial TV channel published by the Hürriyet daily on Thursday.

Turkey closes 20 TV and radio stations in post-coup clampdown

“We are working on this and we are coming to the end of it. God willing, in the near future, we will most likely remedy this with an emergency decree,” Kurtulmuş said.

“God willing, we will meet these societal demands,” he said in the interview on Wednesday.

His comments are likely to raise concerns in a country whose political system rests on the secular foundations laid by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk at its creation in 1923.

Opponents of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government frequently voice fears that Turkey is sliding toward conservative Islam.

Kurtulmuş described such programmes as counter to Turkey’s “customs, traditions, beliefs, the Turkish family structure and the culture of Anatolian lands”.

He hit back at those who claimed they were ratings successes: “So what, the ratings are very high and thus the advertising revenue is high? Let there not be that kind of advertising revenues.”

Kurtulmuş said he had been told there were 120,000 individual complaints against such programmes.

Last year, Turkey’s audiovisual regulatory authority RTUK said it had received comments from 10,691 citizens about such programmes, most of which were complaints.

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan: 'A woman is above all else a mother'

Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, caused controversy in 2012, when he was prime minister, when he compared abortion to murder.

Critics also claim that education reforms, including a growing number of religious schools, show that the country’s secular foundations are being undermined.

In February, Turkish religious affairs agency Diyanet criticised matchmaking shows, saying they “exploited family values and desecrated the family institution by stepping on it with [their] feet”.

The Turkish authorities insist there is full freedom of religious belief in the country.



Tax Credit ‘Rape Clause’ Becomes Law Without Parliamentary Vote

Peter Walker Political correspondent

17 March 2017

A controversial proposal to ask new mothers who have been raped for verification if they wish to claim tax credits for more than two children has become law without any debate or vote in parliament.

The so-called rape clause, which will be applied as part of new restrictions on tax credit entitlement, was added to legislation late on Wednesday as an amendment to an existing act. The plans will come into effect within a month.

Alison Thewliss, the SNP MP who first highlighted the issue of the clause, led a furious response, saying it was an “underhand parliamentary tactic” to introduce the measure without proper scrutiny.

She also described as “frankly astonishing” the fact that the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP ) had introduced the scheme apparently without having trained any of the people who will judge whether someone claiming the exemption has been raped.

The regulations, announced in the 2015 budget by the then chancellor, George Osborne, were put into law through a statutory instrument, a form of legislation that allows laws to be amended without parliament’s approval.

The policy coming into force on 6 April restricts tax credit entitlement for new claimants to a maximum of two children, with exceptions for multiple births and for women who could show that their third or subsequent child was conceived as a result of rape.

Those seeking to claim the exemption for rape must be assessed by what the government has described in a consultation as a “professional third party”, which could include health workers, police, social workers or rape charities.

With the regulation about to come into force, however, there is no indication of how a woman who has been raped could begin the process of claiming the tax credit exemption, or whether any of the third parties have been trained.

Thewliss said she had tabled a motion of prayer for annulment, a somewhat arcane version of the early day motion, in which a group of MPs sign a paper calling for a statutory instrument to be scrapped.

Such motions can be used to register displeasure with a government plan, but they rarely overthrow statutory instruments. According to Thewliss, the last time one was annulled in this way was 1979.

“Using such an underhand parliamentary tactic to railroad the rape clause into law is just the final insult this government could possibly dish out,” she said. “Not only did ministers sneak out their shameful consultation response as the eyes of the world were watching Donald Trump’s inauguration, but they’re now trying to put the rape clause on the statute books without a vote or debate, let alone any detailed scrutiny by MPs.

“The government must accept this policy is unworkable as well as immoral. With just days until nurses, doctors and social workers are expected to verify whether women had their third child as the result of rape, it’s clear there’s been no sexual violence training for those working with such vulnerable women.

“This is frankly astonishing, especially when you consider that the government is trying to railroad this through using medieval parliamentary procedures.”

The plan has caused worry among other MPs and women’s charities, with a number calling for it to be dropped. The DWP announced in January that it was to go ahead after the consultation.

The department has described the changes to tax credits as “a key part of controlling public spending”, and has pledged to implement the exemptions in “the most effective, compassionate way”.

A government spokesman said: “It’s absolutely right that we have the right exemptions in place and we have thought carefully about how we will work with charities and health and social care professionals to support victims of rape. We will be publishing guidance shortly.”



Triple Talaq: 1 Million Muslim Women Sign RSS-Backed Petition against the Practice

March 17, 2017

11 million Muslims - mostly women - have signed a petition to end the triple talaq practice.

2The BJP believes its stand on triple Talaq was a factor in its massive UP win.

3The signature campaign is still on.

Even as the BJP and the Opposition are still calculating if there was a shift in Muslim votes towards the saffron party in UP that contributed to its landslide victory, over a million Muslims from across the country - mostly women - have already signed a petition moved by RSS-affiliated Muslim body Muslim Rashtriya Manch (MRM) against the practice of triple talaq.

The Muslim body - RSS pracharak Indresh Kumar is the liason from the Sangh's side who "guides" the MRM - has also called for a nationwide discussion on the issue that involves all the stakeholders.

"This is a problem of the community and the stakeholders within the community as well as the representatives from the state and the government must come and sit together to start a debate on this so that Muslim women can claim a human status," the organisation told Mail Today

As the party itself puts it, one of the major contributing factors, as it claims, in its victory was a definite support from Muslim women who were moved by the party's stance on triple talaq as a repressive practice that needed to be done away with.

"Three factors, I suppose, defined our victory in the UP polls: first was Ujjwala scheme that provided LPG cylinders to poor women; second was construction of toilets under the Swachh Bharat programme, which also appealed to women; and last but not the least, our stand on triple talaq," said Sidharth Nath Singh, party secretary and newly elected MLA from Allahabad West.

While the signature campaign of MRM is still on, the outfit had warned the traditionally conservative clergy of the community to desist from making a religious issue out of a practice that was a social problem.

"The fact that the BJP was able to get Muslim votes in UP, the fact that they also won the Muslim-majority Deoband seat - that is long supposed to be the stronghold of orthodox Ulema - suggest that the party and the central government need to heed the voice of the Muslim women. Their support in polls is a tacit approval of the BJP's stand on the issue," said MRM national coordinator Mohammad Afzal.

"The fact that the BJP did not field a single Muslim candidate for the UP polls did not deter women of the community to at least in part vote for the party," claimed another functionary of the MRM on conditions of anonymity.

Afzal also said the traditional clergy of the community needed to wake up. "The fact that a terrorist was killed and his father denounced him in the light of the latter's love for the nation and then a girl is issued a fatwa against for singing…all these things point to the changing scenario in India. They should wake up now and stop trying to convert the social evil of triple Talaq from a social problem into a religious problem."

Even the great grandson of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, a tall Muslim Congress leader of Indian history, extolled Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his "positive attitude towards the Muslims". "The Ulema are taking the Muslim community not in the medieval ages, but the dark ages and towards the stone age," said Firoze Ahmad Bakht.



Kansas' Josh Jackson threatened to 'beat' women's player, affidavit says

March 16, 2017 Associated Press

One day before top-seeded Kansas opens NCAA Tournament play, court officials released an affidavit that said freshman star Josh Jackson threatened to "beat" a women's basketball player during a confrontation in December.

Douglas County District Court officials released the affidavit to The Lawrence Journal-World detailing statements from McKenzie Calvert and two other Kansas women's basketball players who witnessed the argument Dec. 9 outside a bar in Lawrence, Kan.

The affidavit was filed by police to justify a court summons Jackson was served March 7; he is charged with misdemeanor criminal damage.

The release was the latest in a series of embarrassing moments this season for both Kansas and its talented freshman -- who was suspended for last week's quarterfinal loss to TUC as punishment for an accumulation of incidents.

Despite the latest news stemming from the December incident, Kansas coach Bill Self remained adamant that Jackson would play in Friday's opener against UC Davis.

"(Jackson) is a tough-minded individual; I think he's focused," Self said. "And certainly his role or playing time or whatnot, whatever, will only be dictated by what happens between the lines. It won't be dictated by anything else."

Jackson said he had extra motivation to perform well in the NCAA Tournament because of his suspension.

"What I learned from it is we all make mistakes," he said. "Kids. You make one mistake, and the only thing you do is don't make it again."

The incident began inside the bar when Calvert threw a drink at her ex-boyfriend, Lagerald Vick, another Kansas player. She said she was upset because Vick attended the party with his new girlfriend.

Calvert told police Jackson followed her to her car and "was yelling for her to get out of the car and that he would beat her ass," the affidavit says. Jackson is scheduled to appear in court April 12. His attorney did not return a call Thursday from The Associated Press.

The affidavit said the bumper, grille, fender, windshield, left tail lamp assembly and driver's side front door were all damaged, with a total repair cost of about $3,150. Witnesses reported Jackson only damaging the door and tail light, with an estimated damage of $1,127, and District Attorney Charles Branson said Jackson was not charged with felony criminal damage because it couldn't be proved that the player caused all the damage.

Jackson apologized in a statement shortly after he was arrested and "offered to pay for any damage that I directly caused."

During the incident, Kansas women's basketball player Caelynn Manning-Allen told police she tried to restrain Jackson by grabbing his arms and he kicked Calvert's car before she was able to get him away from the vehicle. Another player, Eboni Watts, said she witnessed Jackson kick Calvert's driver's door twice and kick the tail light.

According to the affidavit, Self joined Jackson at McCarthy Hall, where the men's basketball team lives, as he was interviewed by police about 5:45 a.m. the day of the confrontation.

While saying Jackson has accepted responsibility for the incident, Self said the Jayhawks have "rallied around Josh."

"It's not easy to have your name across the ticker each and every day about something when somebody keeps bringing up an additional thing or two when we already know this took place a long ... quite a while ago," Self said. "I don't think it should be motivation, but I also don't think it should be an excuse and a distraction."

The Jayhawks have been dogged by a number of off-the-court problems this season. The most serious is an alleged sexual assault at McCarthy Hall. No suspects have been identified in connection with the incident the night of Dec. 17, though five players are listed as witnesses.

Forward Carlton Bragg also was charged with possession in a drug case and was briefly suspended before being granted diversion. Vick was also accused of hitting a female student two years ago, but the school investigated and recommended school probation.

And hours after the Jayhawks wrapped up the Big 12 regular-season title, junior guard Devonte Graham was arrested for failing to appear in court. Graham had been ticketed for driving with expired license plates, and said that the car belonged to an ex-teammate and he thought the ticket had been paid.



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