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Islam, Women and Feminism ( 16 Apr 2016, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Indian Muslim Women Perform Aarti of Lord Ram in Urdu

New Age Islam News Bureau

16 Apr 2016 

Photo: Taking the ‘thaal’ of aarti, these women sang in praise of Lord Ram at Varunanagaram Colony, Hukulganj.


 The Creative Way These Women Are Protesting Period Stigma Deserves an A+

 Muslim Women Asked To Disembark From Southwest Airline Flight at Chicago Airport

 Denmark’s Muslim Women Are Asserting Their Rights in a Country Known for Gender Equality

 Muslim Women Are Most Often Target of Anti-Islamic Violent Society

 Local and Global Women Police Join In Abu Dhabi

 Nadiya Hussain to Bake Queen's 90th Birthday Cake

 Swiss Travel Agent Named Isis Says She’s Blacklisted By Bank

 3 Female Chechen Militants among 10 Killed In Logar Operations

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau




Indian Muslim Women Perform Aarti of Lord Ram in Urdu

Varanasi, April 16:

On the occasion of Navratri festival, the temple town of Kashi witnessed a group of Muslim women singing hymns in praise of Lord Ram.

Several Muslim women offered prayers to Ram on the occasion and said, “Ram is our ancestor and ideal for the world. We are proud of it.”

Highlight of the festivity was the Ram Aarti in Urdu.


Taking the ‘thaal’ of aarti, these women sang in praise of Lord Ram at Varunanagaram Colony, Hukulganj.

Nazeen Ansari penned the Aarti in Urdu dedicated to Lord Ram. The couplet starts with ‘Imam –e-Hind hai Sri Ram’.

They also wrote ‘Ram naam’ in Urdu on pieces of paper and deposited in ‘Rurdu Ram Naam Bank’.

Nazneen Ansari, who has scripted ‘Shri Ram Aarti’ and ‘Shri Ram Prarthana’, said: “Lord Ram is the ancestor of all of us. Everyone should take part in his aarti, breaking the barriers of caste, creed and faith.”



The Creative Way These Women Are Protesting Period Stigma Deserves an A+

A group of students have stained their clothes red and covered a wall of their university In Pakistan with period pads in an effort to challenge the shame and stigma surrounding menstruation, Pakistan Today reports.

Students at Beaconhouse National University in Lahore, Pakistan hung 25 sanitary napkins onto a wall of their university to protest the negative labels that are given to menstruating women in Pakistan. Students also created hand-written messages on each pad to address the flawed thinking people have about women on their periods.

Some of those messages included: "I am not poorly made," "Periods are not inherently sexual," and "This blood is not dirty."

The social stigma surrounding menstruation causes women across India and Asia to skip class or drop out of school altogether, according to Mic. For example, 1 in 5 women in neighboring India are forced to drop out of school due to their periods. And in a study reported by the BBC, 75 percent of women living in cities in India have to wrap their pads in a paper bag when they purchase them to avoid shame. Also, many women in India are still not allowed to enter a kitchen or temple during their time of menstruation, according to Pakistan Today.

Mavera Rahim, one of organizers of the protest, talked about the groups' motivations and the period stigma in the Pakistani culture and beyond in a Facebook post, the Independent reports. However, the post is now unavailable.

"The protest was against the stigma attached to menstruation and the sharmindagi [shame] with which we discuss it. We are made to put pads in brown paper bags when we buy them, we are made to talk about periods in hushed voices as if it's a dirty secret, and all-in-all made to act as if it is something we should hide more so than other bodily functions, when it's really a natural part of our biology. Our idea was to break this taboo around the subject in our society.

The tax on feminine products has recently taken over the conversation in the U.S.

As ATTN: previously reported, the New York Times found that a year's supply of tampons and pads costs up to $70 each year, and that feminine hygiene products are not covered by food stamps. And still today, many states enforce a period tax which has sparked much debate.

Jessica Valenti, founder of Feministing, talked about the need to subsidize feminine hygiene products in a piece for the Guardian.

"But this is less an issue of costliness than it is of principle: menstrual care is health care, and should be treated as such. But much in the same way insurance coverage or subsidies for birth control are mocked or met with outrage, the idea of women even getting small tax breaks for menstrual products provokes incredulousness because some people lack an incredible amount of empathy ... and because it has something to do with vaginas. Affordable access to sanitary products is rarely talked about outside of NGOs – and when it is, it’s with shame or derision."

Earlier this year Chicago and New York became the latest states to end taxes on tampons.



Muslim women asked to disembark from Southwest Airline flight at Chicago Airport

Saturday, April 16, 2016

muslim womanA Muslim woman was asked to get off a Southwest Airline plane at the Chicago Airport. The woman was asked to get off the plane without any explanation after she asked her neighbour to switch seats.

The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) feels that the incident occurred due to a bias against Muslims. The woman was from Somali and wearing a headscarf.

The woman, Hakima Abdulle was travelling alone and requested her co passenger to exchange seats with her. She wished to move to the aisle seat. She was on her way to Seattle to help a pregnant family member.

Soon after Abdulle changed seats a flight attendant came to her and told her that they were not allowed to change seats even when airline policy offered unassigned seating.

She was asked to disembark by the flight attendant and was not given an adequate response on why she was asked to leave the plane. The fight attendant later responded to police queries that since she did not feel comfortable with the passenger she asked her to get off the plane.

After Ms Abdulle asked to speak to the supervisor she was rebooked in another flight to Seattle several hours later.

Zainab Chaudry, the Maryland Outreach Manager at CAIR said that she suffered acute distress and anxiety along with public humiliation. He felt that Ms. Abdulle should be reimbursed her airfare and demanded a thorough investigation in the matter with a formal apology from the Southwest Airlines.

Her husband too expressed his outrage at the humiliation his wife faced. He said that she broke off crying in front of all the passengers.  He wanted to know over the phone as he spoke to the flight attendant why his wife was escorted off the plane, she could hardly speak English but the flight attendant did not respond.

Muslim traveller are frequently discriminated against in American carriers as the couple’s layer William Burgess, noted that it is violation of law to discriminate against someone based on their religion but almost dozens of similar reports have been reported this year alone.

In an official statement made by Southwest Airlines it was stated, ” Information available, collected at the time of the event, indicates that our employees followed proper procedures in response to this customer’s actions while onboard the aircraft. Out of respect for the customer’s privacy, we will not share specifics about her conduct or travel experience. We are not in the business of removing passengers from flights without reason; our goal is to get each one of our Customers to their final destination safely. We are responsible for the comfort of all passengers and do not tolerate discrimination of any kind.”

Ms Chaudry feels that the trend is alarming against Muslims as cases of discrimination are on the rise.



Denmark’s Muslim women are asserting their rights in a country known for gender equality.

By Louise Stigsgaard Nissen | Contributor

April 14, 2016, at 12:47 p.m.

COPENHAGEN — As a young woman, Dane Ayan Mouhoumed envied the freedom of her brother and wrote an op-ed in a Danish newspaper saying she wished she'd been born a boy. Being a girl prevented her from living freely and doing the things she wanted to do while growing up in a Danish immigrant neighborhood. But today, the 34-year-old says she is very happy to be a woman.

"I totally changed my mind," she says, flashing her white teeth in a confident smile. "Danish women with Muslim roots are very successful in Denmark. We are sprinting forward. We do well in education, get good jobs and are outspoken in the media."

Mouhoumed, whose parents were born in Somalia, is the founder and editor-in-chief of Ethnica Magazine, which covers politics and culture. Last summer, she graduated from the Danish School of Media and Journalism. By all accounts, she's on track to a successful life.


Rear view of woman watching lake and buildings in Copenhagen.

Nordic Nations Among the Best Countries for Women, Survey Finds

Mouhoumed is an epitome of young Danish Muslim women who are inspired and to some extent sculpted by Scandinavian gender equality. They are taking advantage of education and career opportunities. Many of these women are challenging the patriarchal aspects of their culture and embracing Scandinavian institutions where gender equity is the norm.

In Evangelical Lutheran Denmark, Muslims are the largest religious minority, making up about 4 percent of the population. Danish immigrants with a non-Western background primarily come from five countries with majority Muslim populations: Turkey, Iraq, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Iran and Pakistan. While Denmark has at times had a tense relationship with its Muslim minority – Danish cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad published in 2005 ignited global protests – many young Muslim women in Denmark say they feel fortunate to live in the country.

From 2006 to 2015, the number of 20- to 24-year-old female immigrants and their descendants with a non-Western background at Danish universities went from about 3 percent to about 5 percent. The equivalent number for Danish young women is 4.3 percent, according to data from the Danish Ministry of Foreigners, Integration and Housing.

Some Muslim women are driven students because they see university as an escape route, explained Susanne Fabricius, project coordinator from Ethnic Youth, an organization that offers counseling to young Danes. "University offers them a break from the family," she says. "They can escape duties, social control and pressure to get married, for example."

Ninety-two percent of immigrant girls and their descendants are expected to get an education beyond nine years of primary school, almost the same rate as Danish girls, according to Danish government data.

In the religious realm, too, Muslim women are asserting their independence. In February, some Danish Muslim women made inroads into what is traditionally male-dominated territory by opening Scandinavia's first female-only mosque in Copenhagen.

"Many women and young people don't attend the mosques because they feel that they enter a male-dominated patriarchic room," says Sherin Khankan, one of the two female imams who want to give Muslim women equal rights.

But education and religion are just two of the lanes where Danish women of non-Western descent, many of them Muslim, are making headway.

One of the characteristics of the new generation is that many young women now choose their own partner, says Khaterah Parwani, a Danish citizen of Afghan descent and deputy chairwoman and judicial adviser of the Exit Circle. The organization counsels Muslim women who have experienced violence or unwanted religious social control.

"It's really an uprising against the old structures that many women choose their own mate," says Parwani, a well-known commentator. "And if they are unhappy, they leave him."


Denmark is the World's Happiest Country

The rate of divorce is rising in Danish immigrant societies. From 2011 to 2014, divorces among immigrants and their descendants rose 34 percent from 2,029 to 3,053, according to numbers from Statistics Denmark.

While the experience of divorce can be particularly challenging for many immigrant women – leaving them poor and physically isolated – it also gives them a necessary escape route from unhappy marriages, says attorney Hanne Søndergaard Jensen. In 2014, Jensen wrote a report for The Danish National Centre for Social Research on divorce in immigrant families.

"When we did the analysis of the numbers in the report, we concluded, 'We are really witnessing a small female uprising here,'" she says.

But there is still a lot of progress for immigrant women to be made, says Geeti Amiri, a blogger at the Danish newspaper Ekstra Bladet. Amiri was born in Afghanistan but grew up in Denmark and is a Danish citizen.

"Female immigrants' success in education and their economical freedom shouldn't dwarf the fact that there are still huge problems in immigrant societies," she says. In the Muslim community in particular, she says, many still expect women to be virgins before they get married and to adhere to strict social codes. "It's obvious that men still have the upper hand."

While more female immigrants may be heading to university, not all are finishing. "There's a tendency for immigrant women and their descendants to skip studies before they are finished to a larger degree than non-immigrant Danish women, at least at vocational education," says Hans Hummelgaard, head of the Quality and Efficiency Department at the Danish Institute for Local and Regional Government Research. And the unemployment rate among immigrant women and their descendants is still much higher than among Danish women, according to data from Statistics Denmark.

But the important thing to remember, says Parwani, the commentator, is that previous barriers have been broken.

Parwani left the Danish immigrant neighborhood where she grew up and now lives alone in Copenhagen in a light, tidy apartment, which would have been unheard of a few years back. She has a boyfriend and is about to publish a collection of essays with a leading Danish publisher.

"When I grew up, I saw the women around me living traditional roles – cooking and servicing men," she says. "I thought, 'I'm never ever going to live like that.' I and many other women rebelled against the structural restrictions of our backgrounds. And we are going to give birth to a new generation with even more freedom than us."



Muslim Women Are Most Often Target of Anti-Islamic Violent Society

April 14, 2016 mosque in the Netherlands

A hotline set up to record incidents of anti-Islamic physical and verbal violence received 158 reports last year, according to the organisation’s annual report. Most – 54 – took place in January in the wake of the murders at the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. There was a second surge in November after the Paris attacks, the Meld Islamophobie hotline said.

In two-thirds of the cases, women with headscarves were the victims and in three in 10 cases the women had been physically attacked. In six out of 10 cases, the attackers were white men.

In one in 10 cases, a mosque was the target and in 4% a private family home. These threats ranged from warnings to leave the area to attempted arson.

In almost six in 10 cases, the victim or organisation involved had not reported the incident to the police.



Local and global women police join in Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi

Filed on April 15, 2016 | Last updated on April 15, 2016 at 02.20 pm

The conference, which will witness a wide scale international participation, will be held at the Convention Center at the new Zayed University in Khalifa City in Abu Dhabi, from 18 - 20 April.

The Emirates Women Police Association (EWPA) will be organising the third Regional Women Police Conference in Abu Dhabi, under the theme 'Women Police.Leadership in Sustainable Development,' held under the patronage of Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior.

The conference, which will witness a wide scale international participation, will be held at the Convention Center at the new Zayed University in Khalifa City in Abu Dhabi, from 18 - 20 April.

Major General Mohammed Khalfan Al Rumaithi, Commander-in-Chief of Abu Dhabi Police, said: "Women in the UAE have enjoyed a great deal of attention and encouragement, thanks to the keenness of the higher leadership to provide all the necessary resources to qualify women and grant them the opportunity to join the process of growth and development and attain prominent positions in various areas of work."

"The higher leadership has also shown support for women's work within police and security agencies after proving high performance in dealing with various police and security tasks and duties."

He also noted that the conference will provide an opportunity to women in police.

"It enhances the process of women recruitment in the policing sector in the country, and reflects the extent to which the UAE is providing opportunities for women to assume roles in various fields of life."

Major Amna Mohammed Khamis Al Bloushi, Chairwoman of the Emirates Women Police Association (EWPA); Regional Director of Women Police in the Middle East, noted that the three-day conference will tackle several themes, including creativity, innovation and combating intellectual extremism, electronic crimes and corruption in organisations.

It will also discuss ways to develop women police skills and combating drugs. A number of workshops related to the themes will also be organised at the conference.

Major Al Bloushi added that the event will host an elite group of local, Arab and international speakers, notably Dr Mohammed bin Ali Koman, Secretary General of the Arab Interior Ministers Council; Major General Dr Abdul Quddous Abdul Razzaq Al Obaidly, Assistant Director General of Total Quality at Dubai Police; Margaret Shorter, President of the International Women Police Association in the US; and Colonel Mona Abdulraheem, Women Police Director, Kingdom of Bahrain.

Additionally, Major Al Bloushi pointed out that an exhibition will be organised on the sidelines of the conference to highlight the achievements of women police around the world and the achievements of Arab women police.

"The exhibition will also highlight the professional achievements and heroic and distinguished deeds made by women police members during their career, which reflect their excellence and courage while carrying out their duties."

Moreover, she noted that the Board of Directors of the International Association of Women Police (IAWP) will hold its annual meeting for the year 2016 for the first time in the UAE.

"The UAE will be the first Arab country to host the IAWP's Board of Directors' meeting, outside Europe. The meeting will be attended by 26 IAWP regional directors."

She noted that women have proven their capability to work as police officers and demonstrate their dedication and devotion in serving their country in whatever role they assume in the different policing sectors.



Nadiya Hussain to Bake Queen's 90th Birthday Cake


Great British Bake Off's Nadiya Hussain has revealed she is baking the Queen's 90th birthday cake.

The winner of the popular BBC show will be serving up an orange drizzle cake with orange curd and orange butter cream.

She revealed the news on ITV's Loose Women saying the cake would be "very citrussy".

Master Baker Hussain considered doing a fruit cake but told the panel: "I thought let's do something a little bit different."

The mother-of-three told a cute anecdote about her daughter's reaction to the news.

Hussain said: "When I told the kids (I was making a cake for the Queen), the boys were great at keeping it a secret. I told my daughter and she said, 'Oh Mary Berry? You've made lots of cakes for Mary Berry."

Her culinary delight will be delivered to the Queen personally next Thursday on her 90th at Windsor Castle's Guildhall.



Swiss Travel Agent Named Isis Says She’s Blacklisted By Bank

16 Apr, 2016

A Swiss travel agent said a Swiss bank has blacklisted her because her name is identical to the acronym for the Islamic State group. A letter from the bank allegedly said that people with “ISIS” names are on its sanctions’ list.

Isis Bihiry, a Swiss of Egyptian descent, named after an Egyptian goddess, did not expect that some day her name would land her into trouble.

The woman, working as a manager of the Royal Voyages travel agency in Lausanne, Switzerland, discovered not long ago that the payments from her clients were being held up by Postfinance, a financial services unit of Swiss Post.

“For more than a month deposits from clients seemed to arrive later than before,” Bihiry told the 20 Minutes newspaper.

She asked one of her clients to send a letter to Postfinance to ask for an explanation. The answer came as a blow to Bihiry.

The payment had been blocked “because people with the name Isis are on a list of sanctions,” the letter read, “Being listed in this way means that financial sanctions will apply against the person in question.”

Bihiry told the Local that the she was “shocked” as she never could imagine that she may be in a list of dangerous people simply because their first name was a keyword.

“It was funny as well as worrying… I was totally paranoid. It made me scared,” she said. “It’s a shame that we let ourselves be manipulated by machines and technology.”

Johannes Möri, spokesman for Postfinance, declined to comment on the case due to “banking secrecy.”

The terror group’s name or objects seemingly associated have caused problems before.

In May 2015, a nail salon, “ISIS Nails”, based in New York City decided to change its name, saying they kept losing clients because it was suspected of having links with the terrorist group.

And in the US a heavy metal band called “Isis” that split up in 2010 has received online abuse from people mistaking them with the Islamist militant group.

In March this year, police officers from the small Italian city of Porto Recanati searched an apartment building after locals thought an Islamic State supporter had been staying there. They believed the terrorist group’s black flag was hanging on a tree nearby. Upon closer inspection, it was revealed that the offending article was simply a black jacket.



3 female Chechen militants among 10 killed in Logar operations

By Khaama Press - Sat Apr 16 2016

At least seven Chechen militants including three women were killed during an operation in central Logar province of Afghanistan.

According to the local security officials, the women were killed during an operation that triggered gun battle in Kharwar district.

Provincial governor’s spokesman Salim Saleh said three commanders of the militants were also killed along with 7 militants from Chechnya.

He said the operations were conducted as part of Zarghoon operations to suppress the militants activities and clear the areas under their control in Logar.

The anti-government armed militant groups have not commented regarding the report so far.

Logar is among the relatively volatile provinces in central Afghanistan where anti-government armed militants are actively operating in a number of its districts.

Foreign insurgents fighting the Afghan forces is not new as scores of militants from Chechnya and other countries are routinely reported killed during the fight with the Afghan forces.

At least five Russian speaking suspects were arrested in eastern Nangarhar province of Afghanistan last month which followed months after four people were killed following a suicide attack carried out by a foreigner woman in this province.




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