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Islam, Women and Feminism ( 21 Feb 2018, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Imam of the Quba Mosque Backs Fatwa Letting Women Visit Graves

New Age Islam News Bureau

21 Feb 2018

The wives of ambassadors from a number of countries and UN organizations pose for a group photo at Riyadh's Ritz-Carlton Hotel. (AN photo)


 Muslim Women in Bhopal Warn Centre Not to Meddle With Shariat, Say 'Triple Talaq Matter of AIMPLB'

 High Tea at the Ritz-Carlton, Riyadh, Is Perk Of The Job For Diplomats’ Wives

 Turkish Court Releases Female ISIS Suspect

 At UN Women’s Rights Review, Putrajaya Claims LGBT Treated ‘Equally’ In Malaysia

 Syrian Student Forced To Promise Not To Marry a Lebanese Woman

 Saudi Women Attend Concert for First Time

 Iran: Woman Pleads To Save His Son In Evin Prison

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau




Imam of the Quba Mosque Backs Fatwa Letting Women Visit Graves

February 21, 2018

JEDDAH – Imam of the Quba Mosque, Sheikh Saleh Bin Awad Al-Maghamisi, has supported the fatwa (Islamic ruling) that allows Muslim women to visit graves of their close relatives, like their parents.

Previously Eissa Al-Gaith, a member of the Shoura Council and a former judge, triggered a controversy among scholars of Islamic jurisprudence by issuing the fatwa to that effect.

Sheikh Al-Maghamisi confirmed his support for the fatwa through Twitter on Sunday supporting a similar edict issued by Sheikh Mohammed Mukhtar Al-Shanqiti, a member of the Council of Senior Scholars. Maghamisi’s office said the fatwa would benefit many people, a local

Arabic newspaper said.

Maghamisi’s office also pointed out a previous edict issued by Al-Maghamisi, saying there is nothing wrong in visiting graves by women. He made this comment while answering a question at a talkshow conducted by Dubai channel during Ramadan a few years ago.

Al-Maghamisi’s fatwa pointed out that women are allowed to visit graves, especially those of parents and other close relatives. However, he advised women not to increase such visits.

He referred to the conflict among scholars on the permissibility of women visiting graves. Some of them support the idea while some others oppose it based on evidences.

“There is nothing wrong in a woman visiting her mother’s grave,” he stated.

Sheikh Al-Maghamisi referred to an incident to back his fatwa as Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon hi) taught his wife Ayesha (may Allah be pleased with her) when he went to Baqie graveyard the following prayer: May Allah’s peace and blessings be upon you the believers; You have gone before us and in sha Allah we’ll follow you shortly. May Allah forgive us and you.”

He added: “If visit of grave was not permissible for women, the Prophet (pbuh) would not have taught Ayesha this prayer. At the same time, he did not tell her that grave visit is not permissible for women.”

Al-Maghamisi pointed out that the Prophet (pbuh) only prohibited women from crying and wailing near graves. He also referred to the evidence of opponents who quote another Hadith of the Prophet (pbuh) that Allah curses those women who visit graves.



Muslim Women in Bhopal Warn Centre Not to Meddle With Shariat, Say 'Triple Talaq Matter of AIMPLB'

February 20, 2018

Bhopal: Claiming that ‘triple Talaq’ comes under the jurisdiction of All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) and not the Centre, hundreds of Muslim women gathered in Bhopal on Tuesday to protest against the government’s intervention.

Muslim women from all age groups gathered at Neelam Park in Bhopal before taking out a rally till Raj Bhavan on Tuesday.

While they criticised the practice of instant triple Talaq, they also said that the Centre shouldn’t be allowed to intervene in Shariat, which they claim is “Allah’s voice”.

A similar protest was organized in Ujjain around 160 km from Bhopal some time ago and another one is being planned in Indore in the coming days.

Saleha Rizwan, a senior AIMPLB women’s wing functionary told News18 that the Centre should refrain from meddling into affairs of the AIMPLB.

“If the government jails the husband for pronouncing triple Talaq, who would take care of the family,” she said.

On being asked what if Muslim women given Talaq are left to fend for themselves, Rizwan said that religious groups would take care of such women. “The government should rather focus on promoting education, arrangement for orphan kids and welfare measures.”

Youngster Afsa Shahid, a post-graduate from a local Islamic seminary, who was part of the protest talking to News18, claimed that out of the total number of divorce cases, barely 0.3% cases were of triple Talaq. However, Shahid also clarified that she was against instant triple Talaq.

“Ulema are fighting hard to terminate this evil (instant triple Talaq) but the Centre should not interfere in Shariat laws,” said the Islamic scholar, adding, “Shariat empowers men to pronounce triple Talaq according to their will”.

A housewife and resident of Neelam Park colony, Firdaus Shahid Khan too voiced a similar opinion.

Islam is the only religion that allows both men and women to call off marriage if they don’t find each other suitable, she observed.

Khan also said that Muslims are bound to follow all the decisions that come from the Supreme Court, but won’t tolerate any interference in Shariat, which is Allah’s words.

Executive member of AIMPLB, Aif Masood said that the basic aim of such protests were to warn the central government that Muslim women, too, were against these changes in the Shariat. Underlining the contribution of women in upholding the tradition of Shariat, he called upon the new generation of Muslim women to come forward to keep the “rich tradition” intact.



High Tea at the Ritz-Carlton, Riyadh, Is Perk Of The Job For Diplomats’ Wives

21 February 2018

RIYADH: High tea at the Ritz-Carlton is an extravagant and lavish occasion, enjoyed in exquisite surroundings fit for royalty.

On this occasion, however, the guests were not royals but the wives of ambassadors from a number of countries and UN organizations.

They were given a tour of the hotel and, over tiny sandwiches, scrumptious cakes and fancy herbal teas, they discussed issues close to their hearts, including feminism, women’s rights, religion and, of course, fashion.

Many of the women are working to help communities, and gather monthly to better understand the culture of the country in which their husbands are stationed, and their role within it.

They are split into groups based on the country or organization their husbands represent. There is also an executive committee, and each group has a coordinator, vice coordinator and treasurer.

“We organize activities,” said the wife of the representative of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization to the Kingdom. “The main object of the group is to make the stay of the families accommodating and comfortable — a support group, you might say. But our main objective is to strengthen our relations with the Saudi community, to learn more about them and to let them learn more about us. Who better than women to be socially active in this field?” During their monthly meetings, the women visit different parts of the city to add to their understanding of the country, and experience as much of it as possible.

Jo Allento, the wife of the Philippine ambassador to Saudi Arabia and Yemen, has been in Saudi Arabia since November 2017. She converted to Islam when she met her husband and, like other Muslims among the wives, feels blessed to be in the country of the Two Holy Mosques.

“I love this place, because in such short a time it has given me the opportunity to profess my religion,” she says. “I performed my Umrah — it was amazing. It is such a feeling, I can’t explain. “I’m enjoying Saudi Arabia immensely, although it's different and we have to understand the culture.”

Grisel Sandoval Schellenberg, wife of the Swiss ambassador, has been in Saudi Arabia for more than four years and has seen immense changes in social and environmental awareness.

“When I first arrived here, they were washing the streets with water,” she said. “This makes no sense. We live in the middle of the desert and water resources are very precious. But now, I see awareness and people are more conservative in their use of natural resources. Even the pool heater this year was turned off during the winter because saving energy was crucial.” Sabine Farra, whose husband is the Argentine ambassador, is a big fan of the Ritz-Carlton.

“The hotel reflects the generosity and hospitality of the Saudi people,” she said. “We have fond memories of it, especially when [soccer player Lionel] Messi and the Argentine [national soccer] team stayed at the Ritz. We had a wonderful dinner.” Gerrit Graef, the hotel's general manager, said: “It was an honour and pleasure to host these ladies and I’m glad that they enjoyed their tour of the Ritz-Carlton as well as the afternoon tea time and the cooking demonstrations at Azzuro we prepared for them. We look forward to seeing them again.”



Turkish court releases female ISIS suspect

February 21, 2018

A Turkish court has ordered the release pending trial of the wife of a Syrian Islamic State fighter, days after a prosecutor declared it was seeking a 15-year sentence on bomb-making charges, the Turkish newspaper Cumhuriyet reports.

Shortly after Syrian national Afra Shaar married her husband Faysal, who she acknowledges was an ISIS fighter, the pair moved to Diyarbakır, a city in southeast Turkey. They stayed there for over six months, before moving back to Syria, where Faysal died fighting for the extremist jihadist Islamic State, according to Afra’s statement.

Shaar then moved back to Turkey to live with Faysal’s parents. Turkish anti-terror police raided their home in December 2017, after an informant reported that Shaar was a potential suicide bomber.

“I am certainly not a suicide bomber,” said Shaar in her statement. “Because if I was, I would have gone to kill Assad’s soldiers. It was them who killed my husband.”

During the raid, police confiscated three mobile phones, two tablets, a laptop and a desktop computer, and two sim cards. The digital files discovered included sound files bearing the ISIS logo and numerous pictures showing Faysal and Afra posing with weapons.

Two of the photographs printed in Cumhuriyet show Afra posing with an AK-47 rifle, though her face is obscured by the niqab. Shaar claimed her husband left the gun with her for self defence.

Shaar was released on Sunday, after the court announced its decision stating that there was “no evidence” that she was a member of a terrorist organisation.



At UN women’s rights review, Putrajaya claims LGBT treated ‘equally’ in Malaysia

February 21, 2018

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 21 — Putrajaya representatives claimed yesterday that the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community is being treated “equally”, when queried by a United Nations (UN) committee on women’s rights in Geneva, Switzerland yesterday.

The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) committee in its 39th session had asked the Malaysian delegate about how its laws can protect the LGBT when it is criminalised, and many resources are spent on anti-LGBT measures.

The committee was also concerned about attacks on women’s and LGBT human rights defenders.

“The LGBT are treated equally as per other genders, and we are open to dialogue and suggestions,” replied Datuk Suriani Ahmad, the secretary-general of the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development, who leads Malaysia’s 24-member delegation.

The dialogue was broadcasted live through internet streaming on UN’s website.

Later, the committee also expressed concern over protection of LGBT students in schools, especially against rape, stalking, harassment, and intimidation, since Malaysia does not recognise their existence.

The Malaysian delegate could not answer the question, and when pressed claimed that LGBT students have “equal rights and protection”.

Malaysian schools and education institutions have been involved in anti-LGBT guidelines and campaigns, some spearheaded by government agencies.

Countries party to CEDAW are obliged to send regular status reports on the implementation of the treaty, to be reviewed by a committee of experts which will engage in dialogue with government representatives.

Malaysia’s progress in women’s rights was reviewed only for the second time today, despite acceding to CEDAW in 1995. The last review was 12 years ago for its 2004 report.

The local LGBT community remains in the shadows, particularly Muslims, fearing persecution from religious authorities in the predominantly Muslim country that has religious laws prohibiting same-sex relationships and cross-dressing.

In its oral presentation to the CEDAW committee on Monday, a coalition of 37 Malaysian civil societies said there is a grave lack of political will in investigating cases of violence, death and murder of trans women and gender-diverse persons.



Syrian student forced to promise not to marry a Lebanese woman

21 February 2018

DAMASCUS: Social media users have been sharing a photo of an official document in which a Syrian student was made to promise not to marry any Lebanese woman in order to be given a student visa.

The document, dated Feb. 12, read: “I, the signatory, who holds Syrian nationality, declare it is my civil and criminal responsibility to not have a relationship or any kind of binding association with a Lebanese woman. I pledge to not marry a Lebanese woman while I study and reside in Lebanon.”

Social media commentators have slammed the Lebanese authorities, accusing them of “institutionalized racism” against Syrian refugees.

Several Syrian Facebook pages shared a photo of the document, spurring angry comments that accused the Lebanese authorities of being “racists with deeply rooted prejudices against Syrians.”

A tweet by Lebanese journalist Luna Safwan said: “A Syrian student pledged he would not fall in love or marry a Lebanese girl as a condition of getting a student visa. One of the most humiliating moves done in my country Lebanon. I feel ashamed.”

Kareem Chehayeb, another Lebanese journalist, wrote: “More vile institutionalized racism in Lebanon: Syrian student forced to sign a statement saying he won’t marry or fall in love with a Lebanese woman in order to get his visa from General Security. Shame on the authorities.”

Nader Ezzeddine, general manager of Isticharia for Strategic and Communication Studies in Beirut, confirmed that the General Security Directorate required all foreign students studying religion in Lebanon — whatever their nationality— to sign such documents. “This has been the case since 2003,” he said.

He explained that the practice aimed to protect Lebanese women as some students married local women to secure permanent residence and then divorced them.

“A student visa normally does not allow its holder to get married, so the pledge is a routine part of the student visa application process,” Ezzeddine said.

Mohammed Diab, a Syrian journalist based in Beirut, said that he had heard of two Syrian students made to sign the same pledge recently because, under current circumstances, some Syrian students in Lebanon were using marriage to gain permanent residence.

“A student visa allows a Syrian to stay in Lebanon only as long as required by the university in which he studies,” he said.

Diab believes people were quickly angered by the news “because the Lebanese authorities have recently announced many prejudiced regulations targeting Syrian refugees.”

He said that many young Syrian men were fleeing compulsory military service by moving to Lebanon or Sudan as these countries’ visa requirements were much easier compared with other countries.

“Life in Sudan is difficult and Lebanon is closer to Syria, therefore most of these young men prefer to stay in Lebanon,” he said.

Diab said that security services in Lebanon were cooperating with security services in Syria to ensure that no Daesh escapees entered Lebanon.

Ezzeddine believes the procedure is unnecessary “because if a student wished to marry a Lebanese woman, he can simply reapply for a different visa that allows him to marry her as soon as he’s done with his education and (can) consequently receive permanent residence.”

The two notaries who prepared the pledge, Maha Abou Najm and Nesrin Ayoub, told Legal Agenda, a Lebanese news website, that the General Security Directorate had not issued any statement or regulation about the issue.

A woman who works at Abou Najm’s legal office also told Legal Agenda that “such pledges are prepared at the request of the interested party.”

“The procedure is very recent and was first practiced two months ago,” she said.

However, Ayoub said that a young man had requested that she prepare the pledge for him, highlighting that this was the only such pledge she had prepared.

Lebanese lawyer Ghida Frangieh told the same website that the pledge had no legal value.

“It conflicts with the basic rights of foreign students and Lebanese women,” she said. “It constitutes arbitrary interference with personal matters and the right to marry and start a family.”



Saudi Women Attend Concert for First Time

February 20, 2018

The video shows women attending a public concert in Saudi Arabia, a scene unimaginable in the country only a few months ago.

“Some women even took of their head scarves, allowing their hair to hang loose.”

In this concert venue, women and men are separated as required by law, but the fact that women are able to attend is a revolution in the conservative kingdom.

The young Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman introduced a lot of major social changes, deemed progressive, in his country.

After introducing many reforms in favor of the Saudi women, they are now officially allowed to legally start their own businesses without the consent of male guardians.



Iran: Woman pleads to save his son in Evin Prison

20 February 2018

A mother sends out an audio recording to plead for her imprisoned son’s life.

Nader Afshari, a civil activist, in imprisoned in Evin and is on hungr strike. He was arrested on February 1, 2018, along with a number of other civil activists at Tehran’s Daneshjoo Park and taken to the notorious Ward 209 of Evin Prison. He has been detained incommunicado and is on hunger strike.

Mr. Afshari’s mother recorded an audio clip, defending her son’s rights. She said she would not allow the regime to harm her son in any way.




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