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Islam, Women and Feminism ( 11 Jan 2016, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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In Norway, Migrants Get Courses On Respecting Women

New Age Islam News Bureau

11 Jan 2016 

Photo: Women on Wheels wows the world


 Women on Wheels wows the world

 Saudi Arabia: 600 women from productive families to attend forum

 More female than male domestics run away

 Datuk Vida: The woman out to prove everything is for sale, including football’s macho men

 Two women killed, two kidnapped

 Girl shot dead, another injured

 KP government fails to enrol 16,000 out-of-school children

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau




In Norway, migrants get courses on respecting women

OSLO: Sexual advances or just friendly gestures?

In a bid to prevent violence against women, Norway is offering asylum seekers courses in how to interpret mores in a country that may seem astonishingly liberal to them.

A debate on integration has flared in Germany after New Year's Eve attacks in Cologne, where more than 100 women reported being sexually assaulted or robbed by men described as being of Arab or North African origin.

Questions are also being raised about how to integrate men from patriarchal societies into Europe, where emancipated women dress skimpily, go out, and drink and party.

"Our aim is to help asylum seekers avoid mistakes as they discover Norwegian culture," explained Linda Hagen of Hero, a private company that runs 40 per cent of Norway's reception centres for asylum seekers.

"There's no single cultural code to say what is good or bad behaviour because we want a free society," she said. "There has to be tolerance for attitudes that may be seen as immoral by some traditional or religious norms."

After what she called a "wave of rapes" committed mostly by foreigners in the southwestern town of Stavanger between 2009 and 2011, Hero launched a course at some of its centres that touches on cultural differences regarding women.

The course, which Hero has tacked onto the immigration agency's broader, mandatory introduction programme to Norway, addresses the problem of sexual assault, using concrete examples for the participants to discuss.

"It could be an 18-year-old guy who says he's surprised by the interest some Norwegian girls are showing in him. He assumes they want to sleep with him," Hagen said.

"So the group leader will ask him: Who are these girls? Where do you meet them? How do you know it is sex they want? Not all women in Norway are the same," she added.

To avoid stigmatising immigrants, the role of sexual predator in these scenarios may be assigned to a Norwegian.

"We turn the roles around a bit because there are rapists in all ethnic groups," Hagen said.

Belgium on Friday said it would follow Norway's example and introduce similar courses "in the coming weeks".

"The contents could be broader and not only limited to respect for women," Secretary of State for Asylum and Migration Theo Francken told reporters in Brussels.

Xenophobic blogs in Norway are rife with reports of violent attacks allegedly committed by foreigners, including a November incident in which a 12-year-old girl was physically molested by two underage asylum seekers.

Experimenting with dialogue groups

"This programme can only have a short-term effect, given the attitudes abroad where women are oppressed," said Hege Storhaug of the anti-immigration group Human Rights Service.

"To put an end to these attitudes, immigration has to first be restricted, then you have to concentrate on the newly-arrived immigrants and the second generation to assimilate them to our basic values, such as gender equality," she said.

While on a much smaller scale than the Cologne assaults, other incidents have been reported involving foreigners on New Year's Eve in Helsinki and Zurich, in countries that have opened their doors to migrants to a much lesser extent than Germany.

"I fear that problems like this are going to increase in intensity in the coming years," said Storhaug, who said she has observed, especially among Muslim foreigners, an "extremely sexualised and degrading" view of women. "Women's freedoms are already on the decline in Europe."

But awareness programmes for migrants are not a cure-all.

"I don't think a course on its own can protect us from things that depend so heavily on social structures," admitted psychologist Per Isdal.

"To prevent sexual assaults by men, you have to provide good living conditions, such as a job and housing, and combat poverty."

Together with the Alternative to Violence (ATV) foundation, Isdal has devised another, broader programme of "dialogue groups" focused on preventing violence, including sexual attacks, which were run as a nationwide experiment in 2013 and 2014.

In these classes too, rather than having a teacher instructing students, the emphasis is on groups holding discussions and exchanges of ideas, moderated by specially-trained ATV employees.

"The first reactions were partly negative among ... some reception centre employees who wanted to defend the asylum seekers. They were worried that the project would be stigmatising," Isdal said. "But the asylum seekers themselves found these dialogue groups very helpful."

Norwegian migration authorities, whose capacities have been strained by the influx of migrants last year, have yet to decide whether to pursue the dialogue groups.



Women on Wheels wows the world

January 11, 2016

Iftikhar Alam

LAHORE - One hundred and fifty female bikers yesterday took part in a first kind of motorcycle rally on The Mall during the formal launch of Punjab government sponsored Women on Wheels (WOW) project. These female motorcyclists have already completed their training under Special Monitoring Unit on Law & Order and City Traffic Police. Austrian Ambassador Brigitta Balaha and known jurist Asma Jehangir also participated in the rally.

Provincial Minister for Population Welfare Zakia Shahnawaz, Minister for Women Development Hameeda Waheed ud Din, Senior Member SMU Salman Sufi, assembly members, Danish Ambassador Helen Neilson, American Consul General in Lahore Zackary Harkenrider, UN Women Country Representative Jamshed Qazi, prominent motorcyclist of Singapore Juvena Huan and people of different walks of life were present on the occasion.

Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has already announced to provide pink scooters to working women and girl students under WoW Project. The distribution of the scooters will start on International Women Day.

The Punjab government had also started a pink bus service in the city specific for female commuters. But the buses gradually vanished from the city routes.  Though the Sindh government is already providing driving license to female bikers in Karachi and they could be seen at port city roads but any promise to provide free bikes to working ladies has not been made by the provincial government.

Enthusiasm of the participants was visible during the rally in Lahore. Asma Jahangir congratulated the Punjab government and SMU on WOW project. Executive Director of Working Women Organization and labour activist Aima Mahmood termed it a good move of the Punjab government towards women empowerment and upholding the soft image of the country.

Addressing “Women on Wheels” seminar which held prior to the rally, Women Development Minister Hameeda Waheed-ud-Din said that participation of women in development process was essential for achieving the aim of national progress and prosperity. She added that Punjab government was taking effective measures for the elimination of gender discrimination, change in social mindset and ensuring active participation of women in all sectors of life.

On the instructions of the government, free training was being imparted to women in motorcycle riding under the aegis of Special Monitoring Unit Chief Minister House, said the minister, announcing that on International Women’s Day, one thousand scooties will be distributed. Informing that women desk was being set up in every police station in Punjab, she said that the government steps against harassment of women were yielding positive results. Referring to various challenges and problems being faced by women, the minister said that equal rights as well as due encouragement was being given to women so that they could play their due role in the society.

Population Welfare Minister Zakia Shahnawaz said that provision of equal opportunities of development to women was the responsibility of Punjab government. She vowed that no effort will be spared for making Women on Wheels project successful. “The government will continue the process of legislation for empowerment of women,” she added.

Austrian Ambassador Dr Brigitta Balaha said that provision of opportunity and facilities to Pakistani women is commendable step. “Pakistani women are safer in the present days as compared to previous tenures,” the Austrian envoy added. American Consul General Zachary Harkenrider said he felt honoured to see the historic rally of motorcyclist women in Pakistan. He added the American institutions were providing assistance to Pakistani people for improvement in education, health and other sectors.

MNA Maiza Hameed said there should be social boycott of the elements involved in harassment of women. “Parda (veil) wearing women have also equal rights of education and development in the society,” she stated. CCPO Lahore Amin Wains assured all-out protection to women motorcyclists in Lahore. “Police security will be available to women within five minutes after call on police helpline 15. Women can seek help though SMS on 8330 in any emergent situation,” he told the rally’s participants.

Women Country Head of UN Jamshed Qazi said women are progressing after getting equal opportunities throughout the world. “Pakistani women have to spend more on transport facility as compared to men,” said Qazi, adding that through WOW project, women would not only achieve transport but also facility of reduction in expenditure. At the end of the rally, provincial ministers, foreign guests and elected representatives distributed certificates among traffic wardens for providing training to female riders.



Saudi Arabia: 600 women from productive families to attend forum

600 women from productive families to attend forum

11 January 2016

JEDDAH: Around 600 women from productive families apart from 300 economists and experts will be among those attending a forum on productive families at a hotel here on Jan. 18.

The forum, to be organized under the patronage of Makkah Gov. Prince Khaled Al-Faisal, will offer a platform to discuss new programs and initiatives, including facilities and incentives for small enterprises.

The officials of Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI) as well as government and official bodies of different business sectors are also scheduled to attend the event.

Ahmed bin Abdul Aziz Al-Hamdan, chairman of the forum and National Gallery adviser, said that coordination is under way between the JCCI’s Supreme Committee for Productive Families and Makkkah governorate to achieve success for the fifth edition of the productive families’ forum.

He said they aim to consolidate the economic concept of the activities of productive families and make it one of the pillars of the national economy, rehabilitate them professionally, administratively, and financially and also raise the quality of the products according to regional and international standards and market them.

Al-Hamdan said there are almost 5,000 productive families in Jeddah and the forum’s objective is to help them and enable their participation in the Kingdom’s economy, besides encouraging them to contribute in sustainable development.



More female than male domestics run away

11 January 2016

RIYADH: A total of 86,549 domestic workers among the 847,927 workers ran away from their workplaces during 2014, according to the annual report for 2014 released by the Ministry of Labor here on Sunday.

Among the runaway workers, the report said, 40 percent were males and the rest were females.

During the year, the number of visas issued for domestic workers amounted to 847,927 representing 493,125 male workers and 354,802 female workers.

The number of visas issued to government agencies was 104,466, representing 68,530 males and 35,936 female workers.

The total number of work visas issued during 2014 reached 1.57 million while the number of seasonal visas was 62,152.

During the same period, some 531,000 workers were absent from work, which included 43 percent from the local staff and 53 percent of expatriates who did not return to the Kingdom after going on re-entry visas

The report attributed the issuance of the high number of visas to giant projects such as the expansion of the holy mosques projects in Makkah and Madinah and the construction of the metro in major cities.

Las year, the Ministry of Labor launched a website to create an awareness program among domestic aides and their respective sponsors regarding their rights, duties and the role of recruitment agencies. It also contains a pictorial display of workers’ duties toward their sponsors and vice versa.

According to diplomatic sources, the reasons for maids running away from their workplaces include lack of proper communication between the employee and the employer, breach of contract by the sponsor, harassment, insubordination of workers, lack of knowledge of the host country’s regulations and culture and nonpayment of salaries.



Datuk Vida: The woman out to prove everything is for sale, including football’s macho men (VIDEO)


January 10, 2016

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 8 — For Datuk Seri Dr Hasmiza Othman, everything has a price tag, and her mission in life is to find out how much so she can stamp her brand on it.

Popularly known as Datuk Seri Vida or Dr Vida after her Ipoh-based cosmetics company Vida Beauty Sdn Bhd, Hasmiza has gained a name among Malay households nationwide for her sponsorships of TV shows with its tagline “Qu Puteh, Qu Puteh, barulah putih” that easily beats a tattoo into its viewers’ brains.

Her latest venture will take her business into the world of sports, following her high-profile two season sponsorship deal of the Kelantan football team, which will result in not only a name change to include the names of her two biggest selling products; health drink Pamoga and the skin whitening drink Qu Puteh, but see the state’s macho footballers and their home ground in bright Barbie pink.

“Pamoga Qu Puteh The Red Warriors! I can say that now, because they have agreed to it,” she exclaimed in a recent sit-down interview with Malay Mail Online.

While the 44-year-old Kelantan-born has received plenty of brickbats, many others too have hailed her as a master in marketing.

Brand recognition for her Qu Puteh products had gone viral after she reportedly spent over RM3 million to sponsor last year’s Anugerah Juara Lagu 29.

Hasmiza can also take pride in that despite a staff count of 150, not a single one is a marketing consultant because she prefers to market her products her own way.

“No no no,” she responded to suggestions of hiring one.

“I follow my heart and my instincts. With the experiences I have gone through in the business, consultants won’t understand what I am trying to do. They only know how to talk, and say what I want to do is illogical, so I don’t want consultants. I won’t pay other people for taglines,” she said.

That instinct that one might consider illogical would be the naming of her products, specifically Qu Puteh, which she explained derived from a law of attraction-type reasoning where users of the product would be wishing for fairness by the mere mention of the name which sounds like “aku putih” [“I am fair” in English) on top of drinking the product.

To Hasmiza, advertising and marketing is not about just plastering her name and face on things, but about creating a shock effect from appearing where she is least expected.

“I have been paying for advertisements since five years ago as a normal sponsor. But the advertisements just sit there, hitching a ride on people’s programmes,” she said.

“I had enough of that. People get sick of advertisements and they don’t watch it, so I decided to advertise in new ways, in entertainment, and soon, in sports.”

In all her branding exercises since giving up on conventional advertising, she said has to be unique and pioneering, having previously turned down an opportunity to advertise her brand on the side of a plane.

“I could afford it, but why should I? It has been done before, and people are used to it,” she said, without naming the airline that made the offer.

And her strategies have definitely been working out for her with her brand quickly becoming a household name, especially following her aforementioned sponsorship of the Kelantan Football Association that made headlines for her requests to change their jersey and stadium colours to pink on top of the name change.

She was reported to have said she was willing to spend up to RM20 million for the sponsorship, however when pressed to confirm, she refused to disclose the final amount before the deal is signed.

The deal saw her walking away with an added 33 more yet to be disclosed conditions for her sponsorship, and a position as honorary adviser to the association.

“The conditions are necessary for me, especially to ensure that the team is victorious at the same time to ensure success of my products,” she said.

“We need all the marketing, branding, popularity and victory to be a unified goal so it will push the Pamoga Qu Puteh The Red Warriors forward.”

And her marketing adventures are far from over.

After sports, she is now eyeing film production in the very near future, and products that would go hand in hand with her football sponsorship.

“Every time I try to market my brands, it is always with a purpose. I always try to get a new segment of society to recognise my products,” she said.

“I have funded TV shows and films in the past, but next I want my own film production house to produce its own films, and that would introduce me to a new market,” she added.

While others voice concern over the country’s economy wavering, Hasmiza is looking to expand her business. She is confident that her products will continue to sell through 2016 as it had through 2015.

“If the economy is slow, well then you have to wake it up. In these times when people are afraid to spend, I will ‘boom’ again with my appearance and people will continue to buy my products,” she said confidently.

She added that she never wanted to be in the limelight despite people criticising her now for chasing publicity.

She said she originally had approached many of her friends to be the face of her brand but they had convinced her that only her as the founder would have the sincerity for people to believe in the products.

Though she expressed fatigue of all criticisms and the photos she has to pose when she gets stopped by fans every time she leaves the house, she brushes it off, saying it was not too big a problem to face as she was aware of the cost of success.

“I hope that my products can be a legacy for my children to continue after me,” she said.

“I have to keep moving forward. These challenges all just the price of success.”



Two women killed, two kidnapped

January 11, 2016


Two women were shot dead for honour and two others were kidnapped in separate incidents occurred while another woman committed suicide here the other day.

Waqas shot dead his mother-in-law for honour in village Talwara Rajputan-Motra, Daska tehsil here. Bushra Bibi (55) was sitting in her house when accused Waqas opened fire on her killing her on the spot. Accused fled away from the spot by loudly saying that he has killed her for honour.

Motra police shifted the body to Daska Civil Hospital for autopsy after registering a case.

Meanwhile, some armed accused shot dead Saeeda (15) at her home in village Machchraala-Head Marala. Police said that the reason behind the murder was stated to be slain girl’s character. She was laid to rest in her native graveyard after the police handed over the dead body to the family.

In village Pull Bajwaan-Uggoki, three armed accused forcibly kidnapped a married woman Asima Bibi at gunpoint from her house and fled away. In Shahabpura locality of Daska city, five armed accused forcibly kidnapped a young girl “A” from her house. Daska City police are investigating with no clue or arrest.

On the other hand, a woman committed suicide by swallowing poisonous pills over a domestic dispute in village Bhagatpur , Daska tehsil.

BANK BRANCH OPENS: Zarai Taraqiyati Bank Limited (ZTBL) President Syed Talat Mehmood inaugurated the newly established ZTBL branch at Chawinda, Pasrur.

Addressing the participants, he said that ZTBL had been playing a pivotal role in facilitating the farmers and growers by soft agricultural loans and giving a boost to country’s agriculture sector. He added that it was taking measures to facilitate the farmers by introducing the soft loans schemes. He said that it had been playing a key role to strengthen the country’s agro-based economy.

Dacoit gang busted, five held: Sambrial police claimed to have busted an inter-district gang - Yaseen alias Yasu Gang - of dacoits and arrested its five members including the ringleader.

DSP Mueen Ashraf said that the gang had become a sign of terror as it used to committing dacoities and robberies along canals.

He said that the police had arrested gang’s ringleader Yaseen alias Yasu and other accused Jehangir Aslam, Abdul Jabbar, Bilal Bashir and Khalid alias Suleman, the residents of village Ganjiyaanwali-Uggoki. Police recovered three looted motorcycles, mobile phones and Rs50, 000 in cash from these accused. Police have sent the accused the behind bars.



Girl shot dead, another injured

January 11, 2016

HAFIZABAD - A girl accidentally shot dead her cousin and injured his sister during a quarrel in village Marh Bashi here on Sunday. According to police source, Muhammad Zaman visited the house of his relative to meet Farzna Kousar, widow of Muhammad Anwar in Kot Mian Khan. He, however, allegedly teased Noor Fatima, minor daughter of Farzana Kousar which was resented by the girl. Thereupon, the girl told her mother about the wrong behaviour of Muhammad Zaman. So, Farzana Kousar along with her relatives went to the house of Zaman where they exchanged harsh words. On the spat, Sheeba Bibi, daughter of Zaman allegedly flared up and opened firing. As a result her cousin Haleema Saadia was killed on the spot while her sister Asima Bibi sustained injuries.

The police have registered a case and are investigating the incident. The injured has been shifted to hospital where she is progressing satisfactorily.

Meanwhile, a young man in Mohallah Hajipura, Sukheke Mandi committed suicide by taking acid over some domestic dispute.

According to police source, Shafqat, son of Muhammad Siddique had an altercation with his parents. Following the incident, he allegedly felt frustrated and consumed acid. He fell conscious and was shifted to hospital but could not service.



KP government fails to enrol 16,000 out-of-school children


10 Jan 2016

PESHAWAR: More than 16,000 out-of-school children, who were selected for getting education in private schools at the government’s expense, couldn’t be enrolled for various reasons, according to sources.

They said that provincial government allocated Rs500 million for supporting out-of-school children to get education in private schools under Iqra Faroghe Taleem Voucher Scheme.

The Elementary Education Foundation, which executes the scheme in the province, selected 30,000 out-of-school children during a door-to-door survey for enrolling them in private schools with the full support of the government. The voucher scheme was applicable to those children, whose parents couldn’t afford expenses of their education in private schools.

Sources said that the voucher scheme was applicable to the children of selected areas where state-run primary or middle school didn’t exist within one or one-and-a-half kilometre radius.

Last year, sources said, EEF selected 30,000 out-of-school children through a firm in six districts including Peshawar, Dera Ismail Khan, Kohat, Mansehra, Mardan and Swat. Of them, it could only enrolled 14,000 children, they said.

Official cites lack of awareness among parents about importance of education as the main reason

Earlier, sources said, the education department convinced the parents to enrol their children in private schools at government’s expenses during the selection drive. However, when the enrolment process of out-of-school children started, more than half of the selected students couldn’t be enrolled obviously for four major reasons, they said.

Lack of awareness about importance of education among the parents and earning money as child labour by most of the out-of-school children was one of the main reasons for not enrolling the children in the schools, a senior officer in the education department told Dawn.

He said that enrolment drive under the voucher scheme and awareness campaign should be run parallel in the selected areas for maximum enrolment of out-of-school children.

The officer said that some parents told the officials of education department that many master degree holders were roaming jobless so what their children would do if got education. “Instead of going to schools it is better to learn some skills at workshops and earn some money,” the officials said while quoting the parents.

Migration from one place to another of the selected children was another reason, an official in education department told Dawn. In some cases a child was selected during the survey but at the time of enrolment his family shifted to other areas, he said.

The third reason was that the parents sometime also demanded other incentives like edible items for enrolling their children, he said, adding that some of the UN agencies were giving edible oil in a few far-off districts for promotion of education. The parents of the out-of-school children were very poor so they demanded financial help, he added.

The official said that fourth reason was that many parents didn’t allow their daughters to go to a school which was one kilometre away from their residence.

He said that the government’s initiative to enrol out-of-school children couldn’t be succeeded fully without making proper legislation to suggest punishment for the parents, who were not sending their children to schools.

The official said refusal cases of oral polio vaccine in many areas of the province were reduced to a large extent when the district administration in the respective areas forced the parents for it. If punitive action was also taken against the parents for not enrolling their children, the number of out of school children would also reduce with the passing of time, he added.

Under the voucher scheme, the provincial government has been paying Rs500 as tuition fee to the students, enrolled in the private primary schools through vouchers. Similarly, the tuition fee for up to the middle class is Rs600.

The fee of the students enrolled in high and high secondary classes is Rs800.

Minister for Elementary and Secondary Education Mohammad Atif Khan was not available for comments despite several attempts by this scribe to contact him through his cellular phone.




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