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Islam, Women and Feminism ( 23 Sept 2016, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Iraqi Woman Guides Militia in Shirqat Liberation

New Age Islam News Bureau

23 Sept 2016

VALUED LEGISLATORS: Women members of the Shoura Council attend a session in this file photo.


 Shoura Misses Women’s Voice in Last Three Sessions

 Is Fashion’s Embrace of the Hijab Reappropriating Muslim Women?

 Social Epidemic That Should Be Cured; Muslim Women Are Entitled To Justice

 Women’s Running Featured a Woman Wearing a Hijab on Its Cover for the First Time Ever

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau



Iraqi Woman Guides Militia in Shirqat Liberation

September 23, 2016

The face history may remember in the war against ISIS is that of a black-clad matron in her fifties holding the bloody head of a terrorist in the streets of Al-Shirqat.

Waheda Mohammad Al-Jumaily, a former resident of this Iraqi city of 120,000, was praised Thursday morning for leading a 50-man unit of informal fighters, known as a Popular Mobilization Force or PMF, into the Shirqat city center and seizing control of the municipality from ISIS terrorists, according to the Iraqi newspapers Al Sabah Daily and Al Mada.

Lt. Gen. Riyadh Jalal, an Iraqi Army Commander, said in an interview Thursday that “the second phase of the liberation of Shirqat began today through the liberation of 10 villages from the control of Daesh” and resulted in a speedy takeover. Jalal praised the leadership of Al-Jumaily, also known as “Um Hanadi,” for her role guiding the militia into the heart of Shirqat. He said Al-Jumaily was leading a special PMF of tribal fighters.

Al-Jumaily had lost her husband, four brothers, and a son-in-law to ISIS, according to the Arabic report in Al Sabah.

The mother of two daughters told Al Sabah she was needed to help the PMF find alternative routes into the city.

“We are fighting like a family,” she told reporters, who noted that she is credited with killing I8 ISIS terrorists herself, although this has not been independently confirmed.

Al-Jumaily fled the city with one of her daughters after the terrorists invaded Shirqat in July 2014. Her other daughter and husband were trapped in the city. The son-in-law was tortured, with hands and feet amputated, before his execution, according to her testimony to Al Sabah.

The combined forces of the Iraqi army and PMF captured the whole city in just three days, far faster than the three-week struggle for Fallujah in May that destroyed the city’s housing stock. More than 85,000 civilians in Fallujah streamed out of the city in the last days of the battle, and many were gunned down by the terrorists as they left. Hundreds lacked shelter or food. By contrast, Iraqi forces urged residents of Shirqat to shelter in place. Iraqi security forces had surrounded the city five months ago, and since then ISIS fighters administered a reign of terror, torturing or executing residents attempting to flee.

Iraqi forces began the armored assault on Shirqat on Tuesday morning, advancing from three sides to destroy 6 vehicle bombs, an armored vehicle, and a hideout, according to the Iraqi Ministry of Defense website. Coalition aircraft rained missiles on ISIS for two days, killing 21 terrorists and destroying vehicle bombs and two vehicles, according to Daesh Daily, a digest of war news.

The Iraqi forces temporarily halted their operation in Shirqat on Tuesday evening in order to remove IEDs, Daesh Daily reported. A local observer said Iraqi forces cut ISIS lines between Shirqat and the Ninewa Province and secured scores of families from the liberated areas.

Around 130 ISIS members fled to Mosul after abandoning their positions around Shirqat within hours of the assault, a local source said. The source told Daesh Daily that those who fled included foreign nationals and ISIS commanders who fled with their families.

Brig. Gen. Yahya Rasool, the spokesperson for the Iraqi military’s joint operations command, reportedly said in a statement broadcast on state television that the district had been liberated from the “desecration of terrorism.”

The liberation of Shirqat, a strategic city on the Tigris River 70 miles south of Mosul and 190 miles north of Baghdad, clears the way for coalition forces to bring troops and vehicles directly to Qayara airfield, only 40 miles south of Mosul. Iraqi troops are simultaneously fighting to liberate the neighboring city of Hawija, 33 miles southwest of Kirkuk. Hawija, a Sunni tribal hub that harbored al Qaeda in Iraq in earlier years and ISIS since 2014, is the last ISIS stronghold south of Mosul.

Iraqi military authorities announced on Tuesday that a military campaign to liberate Mosul will start in mid-October.



Shoura Misses Women’s Voice in Last Three Sessions

ARAB NEWS | Friday 23 September 2016

JEDDAH: The participation of female members of the Shoura Council was negligible during the last three sessions.

Women councilors are known for actively participating in discussions, raising queries at the sessions and also interacting with reporters, local media reported.

During the last three sessions, however, female members only intervened or participated in sessions open to the press twice, as compared to at least 15 daily interventions from male members, the report said.

“Such minimal participation contradicts the eagerness and activity of female council members. They were active in discussing reports and issues, as well as spearheading proposals and recommendations,” the report said.

Two royal orders called for the restructuring of the Shoura Council and appointment of 30 women. The first order called for allocating 20 percent of the council seats for women, while the second order issued the names of 150 appointed members.

This year also saw Hamda Al-Anzi take the chairmanship of one of the committees, an unprecedented event in the history of the council.

Female members enjoy full membership rights at the council, and are bound by their commitment to their duties, responsibilities and tasks, as well as to Shariah principles including observing proper hijab.

Female members are allocated separate seats from male members, a special gate to enter and exit the main hall, as well as separate offices, services and a prayer room.




Is Fashion’s Embrace of the Hijab Reappropriating Muslim Women?

Sep 23, 2016

Dressed in modest fashion and matching her veil to her outfit, Alaa Murabit — whose résumé includes being a medical doctor, a global sustainable development goals advocate appointed by the secretary general of the United Nations, a U.N. high-level commissioner on health employment and economic growth, and most recently, an MIT director’s fellow — is one of those petite women whose energy is 10 times her size. She’s powerful, enlightened, and isn’t afraid to stand up for what she believes in.

With the current conversation surrounding France’s burkini ban, as well as the political climate in the United States (and the growing fear toward muslims and veil muslim women), Murabit’s work could not be more relevant — especially to the fashion industry. We spoke to her following her talk at Forbidden Research, where she explored how to reconcile Islam and human rights, and how women’s bodies aren’t just used as borders of nations, but borders of industries (like clothing production and retail), as well.

At your Forbidden Research talk, you said that women’s bodies have been used as borders of nations. Can you elaborate on that?

“Traditionally, when we look at conflict studies and historical evidence pertaining to the way in which conflicts are deemed victorious and which side is deemed the winner, a huge component of that determination was realized through the rape and the pillage of women. And that is not limited to distant history; the genocidal rapes of Bosnia and Rwanda in the 1990s and now, the rape of women in Syria. This portrayal has even penetrated our art. In fact, when you look at TV shows like Game of Thrones, conquest is established in that way. But in all these cases, we have to remember that women themselves were often not involved in the fighting or warfare; that as civilians, the honor of the community and the borders of the nation were inherently theirs, that just by being women in war they faced, and still do, certain vulnerabilities.”

In fashion, for example, we have Anna Wintour praising Kanye West’s collection as “migrant chic,” completely disregarding the reality of migrants, but glorifying their bodies and fashion. We have seen the use of women as borders of nations in many ways: We see the hijab, the abaya, and what Dolce & Gabbana, among other designers, has done to either design for, or reappropriate, the Muslim or Arab woman.

“What makes Muslim fashion an interesting topic of discussion is that it has become such a cornerstone conversation of today, because it is much more common now and the general public is more exposed to this. But historically, Muslim women’s fashion has been very fluid, and the scarf and hijab are actually gaining popularity recently.

“But it is not Muslim women alone; there is an interesting cartoon when a young man sees a man and a woman from their backs, the man dressed in a white long robe from head to toe and the woman wearing a full black dress. The young man yells at the two of them, saying something along the lines of, ‘Go back where you come from!’ Right? But when they turn around, the woman is a nun and the man is the pope. This caricature portrays exactly that people used to cover themselves across cultures; it’s not something unique to Islam.

“Ultimately, such stereotypes stem from a perception of Islam, rather than a perception of the hijab. The hijab is a convenient excuse to think, Everything we think about Muslim women is true. Everything we think about Muslim men trying to silence women, trying to oppress women is true. It paints a very persuasive picture. It allows for us to do exactly what we accuse others of: silence Muslim women under the guise of being brainwashed, weak, or lacking agency. This way, it becomes much easier (and more acceptable) to speak for them, on their behalf and ‘in their interest.’

“Regarding fashion appropriation, I think a lot of people are upset because it is the continued instrumentalization of Muslim women, without their voice and agency driving it. Our fashion choices and bodies have made headlines, we have been called backwards and oppressed and going against the very values of our nations and yet, when there is money to be made, all of that goes out the window. Suddenly, it is on every catwalk and large American and French retailers have collections. We are oppressed when it is convenient and we are instrumentalized when it is profitable. So Dolce & Gabbana, as well as the rest of this over $ 200 billion industry, continues to make a profit, while many Muslim women continue to feel unsafe walking down the streets. We have to be clear: If companies have the freedom to make those clothes, women should have the freedom to dress that way.”

Courtesy Dolce & Gabbana.

Tying in your work at the U.N., what do you think fashion’s role is in achieving sustainable development goals?

“The fashion industry is a multi-billion dollar industry. Part of my work with the U.N. is on gender equality and health. So when we look at fashion, the people who suffer the most in this industry are women, particularly young women. That’s because in places like Bangladesh and China, it is mainly women doing the indoor labor for the fashion industry. These facilities are poorly ventilated, poorly lit, and are often rampant with sexual harassment. So when somebody goes to Forever 21 or Primark and buys a $ 15 shirt, it might be relatively inexpensive for the consumer, but someone had to pay with their life every single day for it to be that cheap. We have to start being a little bit more accountable in our daily choices. If we want to talk about gender equality and the right for women to have a safe environment, we have to be honest and talk about the production of our daily goods. Where was this purse produced? Where were these shoes produced? Who benefits from this? We have to recognize that somebody’s effort and work went into it for you to have it at that price.”

Let’s extend your idea that women’s bodies are borders of nations to industries. For example, how does this gendered conception benefit fashion and further separate us in our ethnicity? How can women become more aware of this? How can it be changed with future generations?

“A lot of what we’ve spoken about today reflects our perception of women, be it in factories where women are exploited for cheap labor, or ‘oppressed’ Muslim women like myself [laughs], or as national and symbolic borders during conflicts and conquests. At the end of the day, these are all mere constructions by those who manipulate realities to gain and maintain power and influence — victors of war then, corporations, the media, and politicians now — eradicating women’s voices and complexities. Ultimately, we have to realize that perceptions are as tangible as the air we breathe and exposure helps alter this.

“We must stop seeing women as one dimensional. When we paint women with a broad brush, we impose onto them our own expectations and limitations for who they should be and what they can do. We change, we desire, we dream, we fight, we survive. The problem is, across different societies, we deny women the agency to embrace their complexities and contradictions. When we deprive someone of their dimensionality, we deprive them of their humanity.

“Those in power fear what they cannot control. Seeing women as complex, multi-dimensional beings adds variables to the images we have designed for them in an attempt to protect our own economic, cultural, political, and security interests. These images are manipulated under the guise of saving and empowering women, but there will be no true liberation until women are given the freedom to construct their own images of themselves. As women, we must quit deriding each other, comparing our own images of womanhood to those of our fellow sisters. We must know that although our choices may be different, our freedom to choose is tied to one another. And lastly, we must demand that our leaders see complexities as strengths instead of liabilities and understand that the only way to find peace in a complex world is to find peace in the complexities of the women living in it.”



Women’s Running Magazine Featured a Woman Wearing a Hijab on Its Cover for the First Time Ever

Friday 23 Sep 2016

For the first time ever, Women’s Running magazine features a woman wearing a Hijab on its front cover.

This shouldn’t be a big deal. It would be great if the women appearing on our magazine covers were diverse enough that we’d seen every race, size, and religion on magazines years ago.

But sadly, that’s not the case. Muslim women are depressingly underrepresented in popular media – from the lack of modest fashion featured in fashion magazines to the absence of models wearing Hijabs in their pages.

So when a woman wearing a Hijab is featured on Women’s Running, it’s pretty exciting.

The October issue of Women’s Running features Rahaf Khatib. She’s completed six marathons, two triathlons, and loads of half marathons, and is basically a huge source of fitness and general life inspiration.

She’s also a mum to three kids.

Speaking to Women’s Running, Rahaf explained that she’s incredibly proud to be featured on a magazine cover as an accomplished runner who happens to wear a hijab.

‘It’s something I can show to my kids in the future, my community and most importantly my parents,’ she said.

‘It means that my sweat, tears and training are worth it.’

Oh, and in answer to everyone’s first question about running in a hijab, yes, Rahaf gets hot. But she’s too badass to care.

‘If it’s hot outside, you’re going to be warm regardless!’

Rahaf says that the running community has been entirely welcoming of her hijab.

‘It’s so rare that I’ll have someone say something negative to me,’ she says. ‘Runners are just happy.’





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