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Islam, Women and Feminism ( 6 Jan 2022, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Iraqi Boxer Bushra Hajjar Aim Sucker Punch At Gender Taboos

New Age Islam News Bureau

06 January 2022

• Eight Young Women Make Up Arab's First Girls Wrestling Team: History In The Making

• Babies Among Nearly 100 Hostages Freed In Northern Nigeria

• Women’s Doctored Photos Online: Journalist Sends Legal Notice To Tech Giants Github, Twitter

• 'May be in Touch With Militants': Intel Unsure of Latest Location of Kerala Women Who Left India to Join ISIS

• Won’t Accept Raise In Marriage Age For Women: Telangana Waqf Board

• UAE: Police Rescue Four Women Lost In Mountain Due To Darkness

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau



Iraqi Boxer Bushra Hajjar Aim Sucker Punch At Gender Taboos


Bushra al-Hajjar, a 35-year-old Iraqi boxing instructor, is pictured during a training session at the Islamic University in Najaf.


January 6, 2022

NAJAF (Iraq): Iraqi boxer Bushra Hajjar jumps into the ring, gloves raised to eye level, and strikes at her sparring partner. Her bigger struggle, though, is to deliver a blow against social expectations.

In Iraq’s Shiite Muslim holy city of Najaf, the sight of a women’s boxing hall is unusual but, like others here, the 35-year-old instructor is fighting deeply ingrained taboos.

“At home, I have a full training room with mats and a punching bag,” says the mother of two, who also practises karate. Hajjar won gold in the 70kg-class at a boxing tournament in Baghdad in December.

“My family and friends are very supportive, they’re very happy with the level I’ve reached,” she adds, a blue headscarf pulled tightly over her hair.

Twice a week, she trains at a private university in Najaf, 100km south of the capital, where she also teaches sports.

In overwhelmingly conservative Iraq, and particularly in Najaf, Bushra acknowledges her adventure has raised eyebrows.

“We’ve come across many difficulties,” she says. “We’re a conservative society that has difficulty accepting these kinds of things.”

She recalls the protests when training facilities first opened for women, but says “today, there are many halls”.

‘Macho society’

Boxing student Ola Mustafa, 16, taking a break from her punching bag, tells AFP: “We live in a macho society that opposes success for women.”

However, she has the support not only of her trainer but also of her parents and brother, signalling that social change is afoot.

“People are gradually beginning to accept it. If more girls try it out, society will automatically come to accept it.”

Iraqi boxing federation president Ali Taklif acknowledges that Iraqi women engaging in the sport is a “recent phenomenon”, but says it is gaining ground.

“There is a lot of demand from females wanting to join,” he says, adding that Iraq now has some 20 women’s boxing clubs.

More than 100 female boxers competed in a tournament last month, in all categories, he adds.

But “like other sports (in Iraq), the discipline suffers from a lack of infrastructure, training facilities and equipment”.

From dads to daughters

Iraq had a proud tradition of women in sports, especially in the 1970s and 1980s. Whether in basketball, volleyball or cycling, women’s teams regularly took part in regional tournaments.

But sanctions, decades of conflict, and a hardening of conservative social values brought this era to a close, with only the autonomous Kurdistan region in northern Iraq largely spared.

There has been a timid reversal in recent years, with women taking up a range of sports, also including kickboxing.

For Hajer Ghazi, who at age 13 won a silver medal last month, boxing runs in the family. Her father, a veteran professional boxer, encourages his children to follow in his footsteps. Both her sisters and older brother Ali are also boxers.

“Our father supports us more than the state does,” says Ali in their hometown of Amarah in southwestern Iraq.

Her father, Hassanein Ghazi, a 55-year-old truck driver who won several medals in his heyday, insists: “Women have the right to play sports, it’s only normal.”

He recognises certain “sensitivities” remain, linked to traditional tribal values. For example, “when their coach wants them to run, he takes them to the outskirts of town”, away from too many onlookers.

Source: Free Malaysia Today


Eight Young Women Make Up Arab's First Girls Wrestling Team: History In The Making


Members of Arab High School’s first girls wrestling team are, from left, front: Reagan Golden, Ema “Smalls” Ivey and Madilyn Rodgers; back: Niya Turner, Maggie Whitaker, Sarah Roe, Autumn Boutwell and Freedom Harper.


Jan 5, 2022

Arab High School’s wrestling program, which dates back to the 1970s, has quite the illustrious history.

There are the eight state championships, tied for fourth most in Alabama, plus three more dual meet state titles. Included in the eight traditional state championships were six straight (2013-18) under coach Michael Pruitt – the second-best run in state history.

The 244.5 points the 2015 Arab team recorded in winning the state title is the second-highest total ever. There have been more than 30 individual state champions.

And don’t forget the run of 117 straight dual meet victories recorded by Arab between 2013-18, the second most in state history.

Now, a group of eight determined young women are out to make a little history themselves. They make up Arab High School’s first girls wrestling team.

Boys coach Kyle Routon is also coaching the girls. He explained that girls high school wrestling currently is an unsanctioned sport in Alabama.

Teams held a state tournament last season and will again this season, and next school year, girls wrestling will be an AHSAA-sanctioned sport, according to Routon.

That means all eight of Arab’s girls will have the opportunity to win an official AHSAA team and/or individual championship next season as this year’s team is very heavy to youth.

Madilyn Rodgers and Freedom Harper are juniors. Maggie Whitaker and Autumn Boutwell are sophomores. Sarah Roe is a freshmen. And Reagan Golden, Ema “Smalls” Ivey and Niya Turner are seventh graders.

All had interesting motives for taking on such a challenge – not the least of which was being a part of school history.

“As soon as I found out (Arab) was starting a girls wrestling team, I joined,” said Turner, who has wrestled in youth leagues since she was in the fourth grade. Her dad, Jacob Helton, also wrestled.

Boutwell came out for the team because Roe asked her to do so. The two have become pretty close in recent years, and Roe wanted to share the experience with a friend.

She’s the younger sister of defending state champion Caleb Roe. Her other brother, Josh, is also highly ranked in the state.

“I always saw my brothers doing it and always wanted to try it,” Sarah Roe said. “Autumn and I have been friends for a while and I thought it would be fun to do something like this with a friend.”

Boutwell added: “I thought it would be cool to be a part of the first girls team to wrestle at Arab.”

All the girls said the sport is harder than they thought it would be – and they thought it would be pretty difficult.

“I played soccer but it’s nothing like this,” Boutwell said.

Sarah Roe said even though she followed her brothers, she had no idea what she was getting into.

“I didn’t know because I didn’t see them practice,” she said. “I expected it to be hard but maybe not this hard. You’ve got to be in really good shape to do this.”

Whitaker echoed that sentiment.

“It takes so much conditioning,” she said. “You’ve got to be in shape, a different kind of shape.

“It’s so hard, many people can’t do it. But it’s so worth it.”

The team originally had 13 members but that number eventually dwindled to eight. The motivation for some to stick it out was the hope of earning a college scholarship one day.

If you stick with it, you’re guaranteed a scholarship,” Turner said. “There are so few women wrestlers.”

Whitaker also mentioned scholarship money but she has another motive.

“It is a boy sport and I want to go for a state championship in a boys sport to prove girls can do it, too,” she said.

Rodgers is an interesting story. Her brother, Christian Eaton, came out for wrestling late in his high school days. Harper was a Mat Cat and was going to do so again this season – until assistant coach Klay Cranford told her one day to come to practice.

“He wanted me to see if I’d like to ry it – and I absolutely love it,” she said.

Harper also is an interesting story. Her brother, Levi Harper, wrestled for Arab years ago and played a role in his sister’s decision to try wrestling.

“He and I wrestled around quite a bit when we were younger and I wanted to follow in his footsteps and maybe rekindle what we had growing up,” Freedom said.

Levi is 27 now and “probably my biggest supporter,” she said.

“Everyone else in my family laughed when they heard I was going out,” she added. “He went out and got me a pair of shoes to wrestle in.”

• The Arab girls finished runner-up at their own invitational last week. Whitaker won her weight division. Rodgers and Turner won silver medals and Boutwell finished third.

Roe and Golden each finished fourth and Ivey and Harper both finished sixth.

In the JV boys division, Jaxon Ivey and Caden Hilyer won their weight classes.

Source: The Arab Tribune


Babies among nearly 100 hostages freed in northern Nigeria

January 05, 2022

ABUJA, Nigeria: Nearly 100 hostages, m women and children, have been rescued more than two months after they were abducted by armed groups in northwest Nigeria, police said Tuesday.

Among the 97 freed hostages are 19 babies and more than a dozen children, according to Ayuba Elkana, police chief in Zamfara state.

Mostly barefooted, weary and in worn-out clothes, the ex-captives trickled out of the buses that took them to Gusau, capital of Zamfara state. Women with malnourished-looking babies strapped to their backs trailed behind.

Coming a few days after 21 schoolchildren were freed by security forces, the rescue brought a sigh of relief in Nigeria where armed groups have killed thousands and kidnapped many residents and travelers in exchange for ransoms.

Police said the hostages were “rescued unconditionally” Monday in joint security operations targeting the camps of armed groups that have been terrorizing remote communities across the northwest and center of Africa’s most populous country.

They had been abducted from their homes and along highways in remote communities in Zamfara and neighboring Sokoto state.

The hostages had slept on the ground in abandoned forest reserves that serve as hideouts for the gunmen. The first batch of 68 “were in captivity for over three months and they include 33 male adults, seven male children, three female children and 25 women including pregnant/nursing mothers respectively,” police chief Elkana said.

Another set of 29 victims were also rescued “unconditionally” in Kunchin Kalgo forest in the Tsafe local government area of Zamfara, police said.

It is not clear if ransoms were paid for the releases as is usually the case in many remote communities in Nigeria’s troubled north. Authorities have said their freedom was the result of military operations including airstrikes.

The large bands of assailants are mostly young men from the Fulani ethnic group, who had traditionally worked as nomadic cattle herders and are caught up in a decades-long conflict with Hausa farming communities over access to water and grazing land.

Source: Arab News


Women’s doctored photos online: Journalist sends legal notice to tech giants GitHub, Twitter

January 6, 2022

Days after the Delhi Police lodged a case in connection with photos of Muslim women being misused on a website, a Delhi-based journalist has sent a legal notice to tech companies Twitter and GitHub seeking details of people who created the website and shared her doctored photos alongside objectionable comments.

The website hosted by US-based open-source platform GitHub had published photos of more than a hundred Muslim women with lewd and vulgar remarks. The screenshots of these photos with the caption ‘Deal of the Day’ was shared largely on Twitter.

Last Saturday, the journalist filed a complaint with the Delhi Police and a case of sexual harassment and promoting enmity between groups was registered.

The cyber cell of Delhi Police has sent a request to GitHub through Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) to help in the investigation.

In the notice sent to GitHub and Twitter offices in the US and India, the woman’s lawyer has asked the companies to help them with the identification of the accused persons who created and uploaded photos on the website. The complainant also demanded that all such “offensive” posts must be removed from GitHub and Twitter and the companies must take preventive measures.

“Bulli Bai (the website) and the subsequent tweets are deeply disturbing as they demean and insult women in general and Muslim women in particular. These are inherently violent, threatening and are designed to intimidate my Client, and others. Such abusive statements on social media, regardless of format or intricacies of technology, cannot be tolerated and neither can the platforms run by you, Notices, be used in such an illegal manner by bigoted and misogynistic sections of society,” reads the notice drafted by the lawyer.

The complainant has asked the companies to provide details of users who created the website, names of all users who accessed the website and users who posted tweets and retweets supporting the website.

“There must be mechanisms in the form of monitoring, automatic or human, that can stop websites/ portals/ apps like “Bulli Bai” or the earlier “Sulli Deals” at their very inception, as being violative of human dignity and of Indian and International laws,” reads the notice.

The companies have seven days to produce a response failing which the complainant said they will take further legal action.

Meanwhile, the Mumbai police on Wednesday made the third arrest in the matter based on an FIR registered in Mumbai

Source: Indian Express


'May be in Touch With Militants': Intel Unsure of Latest Location of Kerala Women Who Left India to Join ISIS

JANUARY 06, 2022

Intelligence agencies tracking movements of women from Kerala who had left the country with the intention of joining the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in Afghanistan may not be sure about their current whereabouts after they moved out of jails in the Taliban country and there is a possibility that they may have been residing in West Asia, according to sources.

Sources also told News18 that the women, who ended up in Afghan jails and reportedly released after the Taliban siege last year, could still be in touch with some IS militants. Officials, however, are tighter-lipped about it.

The scenario has come to the fore after the Supreme Court asked the central government on Monday to look into the plea of a Kerala-based man for the extradition of his daughter who left the country to join IS and his minor grand-daughter’s detention in Afghanistan. She later surrendered after her husband was killed in a cross-firing with security forces in Afghanistan.

Sonia Sebastian alias Ayisha, who converted to Islam, was seen in a video shot by Strat News Global in 2020 where she said she went to Syria to join ISIS and lived under the Islamic rule but was met with “disappointment”. The NIA had registered her status as ‘absconding’ and Interpol had issued a red corner notice against her in 2017.

Samsiya Kuriya and Reffeala were among other women who also appeared in the 2020 video. They said they wanted to come back to India as what they expected in Syria under ISIS was “different”.

According to NIA officials, Sonia Sebastian got married to Abdul Rashid Abdulla in 2011 who is the main accused in the case. He facilitated everything on behalf of ISIS. In the 2020 video, she said she did not want to associate herself with ISIS again and wanted to return to India.

Sonia Sebastian is the second most important accused in FIR No.534/2016 of Kasargod police station. The case was later transferred to the NIA in August 2016 and is pertinent to the activities of 14 youngsters from the Kasaragod district who along with their families left India between May and July 2016 and joined the ISIS/Daesh.

She has been charged with various sections including 120 B, 125 IPC , Section 57 of Kerala Police Act & sections 13,38 and 39 of the UA(P) Act,1967.

According to the NIA, she along with other accused have been charged with criminal conspiracy, commission of unlawful activities, membership and support to proscribed terrorist organisation Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) by a youth in Kasargod.

Although the NIA has filed a charge sheet, and a conviction has been done, the case is still under further investigation.

“In pursuance to the criminal conspiracy hatched with fugitive ISIS/ Daish activist accused Abdul Rashid Abdulla besides Ashfak Majeed and others, accused Nashidul Hamzafar had exited India on October 3, 2017 and travelled to Muscat, Oman before travelling to Iran and had further reached Kabul, Afghanistan, where he was detained by Afghan Security Agencies during October 2017 for illegally entering the country and attempting to join his associates, in ISIS/ Daish,” the NIA said.

Source: News18


Won’t accept raise in marriage age for women: Telangana Waqf Board

5th January 2022

Hyderabad: As the Centre proposes to raise the marriageable age for women to 21 years from 18 years, Telangana Wakf Board chairman Mohammed Saleem has said that the board has accepted the decision on Triple Talaq, but will not accept this.

Speaking with ANI on Tuesday, Saleem said that Qazis of Telangana had conducted a meeting and have come to a conclusion that raising the marriageable age for women to 21 years is “impossible”.

“As written in Islam, both boys and girls should be married off as soon as they mature. Earlier, the age of 18 years was made mandatory; we followed and accepted that, but now 21 years is not acceptable,” he said.

He also appealed to the public of Telangana to not panic “because the bill has just reached the sub-committee and will have to pass a long procedure thereafter.”

“Even after that, there is two years time. We will take this matter to the Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao and raise the voice Parliament to stop the bill,” he added.

He further added that the change in marriageable age will “spoil the life of children”. “They are asking to marry children at the age of 21; they get matured in class 10.”

Saleem then appealed to all Qazi’s in the country to go with the Wakf Board members and to present a memorandum to the Chief Ministers of their respective states.

He further said that the board also appeals to the Chief Ministers of all states to help in stopping the bill.

“Parents are relieved once the girl child is married. We have accepted Triple Talaq, but we cannot accept this,” Saleem said while adding that the bill is completely wrong and the board condemns it.

A delegation of Waqf Board, Hazath section along with Qazis will meet Telangana CM and present a memorandum soon.

The parliamentary panel, headed by BJP’s Rajya Sabha MP Vinay Sahastrabuddhe, to which the Prohibition of Child Marriage (Amendment) Bill that seeks to raise the legal age of marriage for women from 18 to 21 has been referred to, will start its deliberations soon.

The 31-member Parliamentary Standing Committee on Education, Women, Children, Youth and Sports has lone woman Rajya Sabha MP from All India Trinamool Congress (AITMC) Sushmita Dev.

A meeting has been scheduled on January 5 of the Parliamentary standing committee on ‘Education, Women, Children, Youth and Sports’ to hear the views of Secretary, Ministry of Culture on the subject

“Reforms in the Education of Performing and Fine Arts” and to decide the future course of action of the Committee.”

Source: Siasat Daily


UAE: Police rescue four women lost in mountain due to darkness

5 Jan 2022

by Afkar Ali Ahmed

Four women had to be rescued from the mountains of Ras Al Khaimah after they had gotten lost while hiking in Naqab Valley.

Abu Dhabi Police Airlift Man Critically Injured In Car Crash To Hospit...

Three Emirati women and an Arab resident, aged 25 and 37 years, lost their way in the rugged area on Tuesday evening due to low visibility.

Ras Al Khaimah police sprung into action after the Operations Room received a report at about 7:15pm.

Brigadier General Mohammed Abdullah Al Zaabi, Director of the Civil Defense Department in Ras Al Khaimah, explained that the team received a call from a young woman stating that she and her three friends were lost in the Naqab Valley while on a hiking trail.

A specialised search team moved from Digdaga Center and began combing the area on foot for the four women.

The search and rescue operation continued for two hours until they were found in good health.

Brigadier General Al Zaabi called on mountain hikers to be careful and advised them not to trek when it’s getting dark for their safety.

The hikers risk falling or getting injured due to poor light, especially in the rugged mountainous areas.

Source: Khaleej Times




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