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Islam, Women and Feminism ( 12 Feb 2015, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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ISIS Female Police Disfigure with Acid 15 Women for Not Wearing Niqab

New Age Islam News Bureau

12 Feb 2015

Customers buying stuffed toys from a roadside stall displaying items of Valentine’s Day at Bohr Bazaar, Rawalpindi


 France: University professor fired for Refusing to Teach a Veiled Student

 Immigration Increases Genital Mutilation among American Girls

 Student ‘Detained’ At Jamia Hafsa Goes Home

 Valentine’s Day Highlights Pakistan’s Liberal-Conservative Divide

 Supreme Court Upholds Hijab Ban in Russian Region’s Schools

 Kayla Mueller 'May Have Been Forced To Marry Islamic State Commander'

 Nigeria: The Rise of Female Suicide Bombers

 Marvel Comics Debuting All-Female Superhero Team

 Girl beaten up for saying ‘no’ to surrogacy

 Egypt’s Censorship Chief Says Sexual Scenes Would Still Be Deleted

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau






ISIS Female Police Disfigure with Acid 15 Women for Not Wearing Niqab

12 Feb, 2015

The Islamic State policing unit in Mosul severely disfigured the faces of 15 Iraqi women by pouring acid on them as a form of punishment after the women were caught without their faces being veiled appropriately, by ISIS standards, last weekend.

ISIS' all-female policing unit, the Al Khansa brigade, which polices the streets of the group's Syrian stronghold of Raqqa and Iraqi stronghold of Mosul, reportedly carried out the punishments after the women were detained on Sunday in the Mosul neighborhood of Salamiya, a kurdish official told BasNews.

The official from the Kurdistan Democratic Party in Mosul, Saed Mamuzini, told the news site that the women were subject to the cruel, face-deforming punishment simply because they were caught in public without wearing a Niqab, the cloth like veil that fully covers the face except for slit for the eyes.

"They have implemented this punishment so that other women in the city will never consider removing or not wearing the niqab," Mamuzini said.

ISIS issued a clear warning in July that women in the city of Mosul caught without wearing a full face veil would be severely punished, The Jerusalem Post reported. The group reasoned that such a restriction would protect women and religion from debauchery.

"This is not a restriction on freedom but to prevent her from falling into humiliation and vulgarity or to be a theater for the eyes of those who are looking," The Islamic State said in its warning statement. "Anyone who is not committed to this duty and is motivated by glamour will be subject to the accountability and severe punishment to protect society from harm and to maintain the necessities or religion and protect it from debauchery."

Al Khansa Brigade has previously punished women caught without the appropriate attire with other forms of cruel torture. Last December, Al Khansa officers in Raqqa arrested a woman after she was found breastfeeding in public and claimed she had to be punished because her naqib didn't meet ISIS standards. To punish her, the militants took her to the group's Raqqa headquarters and placed her breast in a medieval-like spike-clamp torture device, called a "biter."

"I felt then that my femininity has been destroyed completely, we no longer afford to live this way," the woman named Batol told the monitoring group Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently. "I was not the only one that was tortured with this instrument. There were a lot of women in the headquarters and their situation was tragic."

Although pouring acid on women and permanently disfiguring their faces might seem like the type of brutality that is exclusive to ISIS, acid attacks are quite common occurrences in nations with strict Muslim societies like Pakistan.

"The Qur'an directs men to beat women from whom they 'fear disobedience.' We have seen women who don't abide by Sharia restrictions disfigured with acid in Pakistan and elsewhere," writes renowned critic of Islam Robert Spencer, the founder of the Jihad Watch website. "This is just one more manifestation of the empire of fear that Sharia creates: virtue is enforced by terror, which means that it isn't really virtue at all."

Although it is quite common for women in Pakistan to be tortured for allegedly breaking Sharia law, women have also been subjected to acid attacks just because they are in disagreement with their husband or other males.

One example occurred in November when a man in Lahore, with the help of his father, beat his wife and then proceeded to pour acid down her throat over trivial domestic issues.

In September, a 16-year-old girl was attacked with acid after her family rejected a man's request to marry her. Doctors said she lost 95 percent of her vision.



France: University professor Fired For Refusing To Teach a Veiled Student

12 Feb, 2015

Rabat – A professor at the University of Paris 13 in Villetaneuse was reportedly dismissed from his duties on February 2 after refusing to give lessons before a veiled student in class.

After 28 years of lecturing at the university, the professor, who is in charge of a course in insurance law attended by fifteen students, refused to give the lesson in the presence of a veiled student in his class who was sitting in the front row.

Expressing his opposition “to the wearing of religious symbols in public spaces,” the professor’s action sparked controversy among the students in the university.

Speaking to AFP, a student who preferred to remain anonymous said that the professor “told us that he grew up in Sarcelles, and that he praised multiculturalism, but he could not bear displaying religious signs, which he did not expect after Charlie’s attack.”

The same source added that four students defended their veiled classmate, “accusing the professor of taking an ideological position, which has nothing to do with the subject of the course.”

On Friday, the head of the master program told the students that the teacher in question “will not finish his course of insurance law” and that a replacement would be found soon.

For his part, the president of the University, Jean-Loup Salzmann, told AFP that “the headscarf is allowed in the university,” adding that “if a professor, let alone a lawyer who knows the law, discriminates against students, the first thing to do is to suspend him or her.”



Immigration Increases Genital Mutilation Among American Girls

12 Feb, 2015

More girls in America are having their genitalia mutilated as immigration increases the vibrant diversity of U.S. neighborhoods, says a new report by a D.C.-based nonprofit.

In 2013, “there were up to 507,000 U.S. women and girls who had undergone [genital mutilation] or were at risk of the procedure… the rapid increase in women and girls at risk reflects an increase in immigration to the United States,” said the Friday report by the Population Reference Bureau.

“We’re seeing a lot more F.G.M.,” Dr. Gretchen Heinrichs, a gynecologist, told The New York Times. FGM stands for female genital mutilation.

The new report, titled “Women and Girls at Risk of Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting in the United States,” did not specify how many girls in America aged 15 to 19 are now at risk from the culturally diverse practice, which is generally directed by their immigrant parents.

The practice continues because of pressure from the men and women in the extended families who arrange the eventual marriage of the young women and men. This is seen as vital to the survival of family groups in chaotic, conflict-ridden cultures.

The genital cutting reduces or eliminates women’s ability to achieve sexual pleasure, but gives elders more control over who marries whom. Other cultural practices, including the wearing of hijab headscarves and the promotion of cousin marriage, reinforce the control of young people by their clan or extended family.

Mutilation was not practiced in pre-modern Western Europe, where young men and women were normally expected to choose each other and to marry outside their clans and extended families.

The ancient non-European practice is increasingly being detected in the United States and Europe when immigrant women and the Western-born daughters of immigrants visit taxpayer-funded medical facilities to treat the health problems caused by the vibrantly diverse traditions.

President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama have sharply increased the inflow of women from countries that practice genital mutilation, up from from 228,000 in 2000 to 507,000 in 2013, according to the new report.

Between 2000 and 2013, the African immigrant population in the United States more than doubled, from 881,000 to 1.8 million, said the new report.

The practice is normal among the Muslim populations in northern and eastern Africa, such as Egypt, Sudan, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia. It is also very common among the Muslim population of Kurdistan in Iraq and in the fast-growing population of Yemen, adjacent to Saudi Arabia.

The practice is also commonplace among Christian populations in Ethiopia, Eritrea and Nigeria, but the more extreme version occurs in Muslim communities.

Muslim advocates in the United States usually deny that the problem is associated with Islam.

But the procedure is also backed by Muslim immigrants and advocates in the United States. In 2012, for example, a Muslim doctor at the Mayo Clinic promoted the practice as an “honor” for women in Muslim communities. The doctor, who was also a senior member of the Association of Muslim Jurists of America, was subsequently fired by his American supervisors.

Obama’s administration is trying to raise the flow of immigrants into the United States. For example, Obama has decided to import thousands of Syrians among the 70,000 refugees sought in 2015.

However, in a nod to its feminist supporters, the administration is also denouncing the diverse practice.

But the White House’s criticism doesn’t mention the role of immigration or Islam, and is focused on victims in Africa and Arabia, not the increasing number of victims in America.

“Today marks the twelfth annual International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C),” said a White House statement. “On this occasion, we stand in solidarity with the more than 125 million women and girls alive today who have undergone FGM/C, and we renew the call to end this harmful practice. As the President stated this past summer, FGM/C is a practice that should be eliminated.”

Democrats and progressives favor increased diversity, in part, because the inflow of immigrants and the resulting social conflict helps them transform Americans’ anti-government culture.



Student ‘detained’ at Jamia Hafsa goes home

12 February 2015

ISLAMABAD: The 26-year-old woman, who was allegedly detained in Jamia Hafsa, stated in a local court that she was ready to go home with her father.

Umme Hassan, the head of the seminary, also appeared in the court and said she had no objection if Uzma Qayyum wanted to go home.

On December 29, 2014, Sheikh Mohammad Qayyum filed an application with the human rights cell of the Supreme Court for the recovery of his daughter. Mr Qayyum alleged that his daughter had been detained in Jamia Hafsa.

He said his daughter took admission at Jamia Binaat-i-Ayesha, Rawalpindi, for a four-year religious course a few years ago. On June 16, 2014, Uzma went to the seminary but did not return home. Later, he came to know that she was in Jamia Hafsa.

Mr Qayyum alleged that her daughter had gone to Jamia Hafsa with Umme Hassan, the wife of Maulana Abdul Aziz. He said Umme Hassan regularly visited Jamia Binaat-i-Ayesha and was in touch with his daughter since 2013. He said he used all the possible channels, including religious personalities and the police, to recover his daughter but to no avail.

The apex court ordered Sessions Judge Nazir Ahmad Gujana to investigate the matter and submit a report. The judge first sent the woman to Darul Aman and then to the Benazir Bhutto Women Shelter Home and Crisis Centre at Sector H-8.

After two weeks, the woman was on Monday produced in the court again. Umme Hassan was also summoned by the court.

Lawyer Mohammad Haider Imtiaz told Dawn that the parents of Uzma met her at the shelter home many times but she told her parents that she would not go with them without the permission of Umme Hassan.

Umme Hassan told the court that she ran a welfare organisation and if someone wanted to seek shelter, she cannot refuse, he said.

“Umme Hassan also said it was a wrong impression that she helped girls run from their homes and then arranged their marriages,” advocate Imtiaz said.

The lawyer added: “Umme Hassan said she had no objection if the woman wanted to live with her family.”

Uzma told the court she would go home but her family should take her consent before her marriage. She said she wanted to study Shariat and become a teacher.

The woman also said there should be no restrictions on her from the family if she wanted to visit Jamia Hafsa and meet her friends and Umme Hassan.

Advocate Imtiaz said the father of the woman submitted an affidavit to the court that he would not force his daughter and allow her to live as she wanted.

“The case has been closed and now the court will prepare a report which will be sent to the Supreme Court,” he said.

Mr Qayyum told Dawn that he had been struggling for the recovery of his daughter for the last many months.

“I will not create hurdles in the way of my daughter and she will be married to a person of her choice,” he said.



Valentine’s Day highlights Pakistan’s liberal-conservative divide

12 Feb, 2015

Islamabad: Eimaan moves from one shop to another in search of a gift for a friend on Valentine’s Day, but finding the right present is far from the only problem she will face.

“I am sure to buy the gift but not sure if we’ll get to meet and celebrate the day,” she said wistfully.

The couple had to cancel their exchange of gifts last year when the park in Islamabad where they were to meet was occupied by religious activists promoting a Day of Modesty, to counter the “vulgarity” of Valentine’s Day.

The youth wing of hardline Jamaat-e-Islami party has been leading the effort for years to disrupt Valentine’s Day celebrations across the country. Its cudgel-carrying activists prowl the parks and markets and often forcibly disperse the revellers.

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This year promises more of the same, as the group vows to stop the “Western conspiracy to spoil Muslim boys and girls.”

“It is totally forbidden and against Islam. The West wants to destroy our values of modesty through promotion of its vulgar activities,” said Shahid Imran Gondal, chief of the Shahbab-e-Milli youth wing in the capital.

Gondal said his group will go around and preach modesty by promoting use of the hijab veil among girls and women.

“The Day of Modesty gives us an opportunity to promote our culture among the youth and tell them that Islam has nothing to do with open expressions of love,” he said.

Gondal regrets that he cannot stop house parties or raid big hotels that he said were “organising dance and music and spreading evil” in society.

The movement demonstrates Pakistan’s liberal-conservative divide, with a minority of urban youth promoting the imported custom while religious activists oppose them, sometimes by force.

“I don’t care about the mullahs and will celebrate it with friends. We will arrange a party and dance,” university student Imran Ali said.

Rights activist Rakhshinda Perveen said the right to celebrate and express happiness is a mark of civilised societies.

“It is wrong to stop people by force if they are out to enjoy Valentine’s Day. Similarly, religious parties can observe their day of modesty but should not use force,” she said.

Cleric Ibtisam Elahi Zaheer said elites in developing countries like Pakistan often follow the developed world by blindly copying them and adopting their cultural expressions.

“The celebration of Valentine’s Day shows that we are still a slave of the West. It is only organised and enjoyed by a small, rich class and is also against Islam,” he said.

Zaheer blames the internet for greater exposure to Western liberal ideas, and he urged Muslim academia to highlight more local values.

Meanwhile, Pakistani shopkeepers and businessman welcome the day as a boon to sales.

Mohammad Azam runs a floral shop in an upscale market of Islamabad where he is stocking up on flowers because sales go up as much as “30 to 40 times” on Valentine’s Day. Special bouquets can bring in as much as $100 (Dh367).

“I will especially stock up on lilies, imported roses and chrysanthemums. They are in high demand from people of all ages,” he said.



Supreme Court upholds hijab ban in Russian region’s schools

12 Feb, 2015

Russia’s Supreme Court has ruled to uphold the ban of Muslim headgear in schools introduced last fall by authorities in the Republic of Mordovia.

Wednesday’s verdict by the Supreme Court rejected a complaint lodged by the Mordovian Muslim community, who claimed that the ban on religious headgear in schools violated the constitutional principle of freedom of conscience. However, as in previous similar cases, the judge ruled that the ban on wearing headscarves in schools did not prevent Muslims from believing in God and did not infringe anyone’s constitutional rights.

The Mordovian government’s order banned not only hijabs, but also any clear demonstration of any attributes of any religion. The ban also extends to blue jeans, mini-skirts, low-cut tops, bright makeup or hair dye.

The ban on hijabs has caused protests from Muslim believers and clergy, at regional and federal levels. The head of the Mordovian Muslims, Fagim Shafiyev, appealed to prosecutors with a request to investigate the decision of the republic’s government, and Grand Mufti Ravil Gainutdin sent Russian President Vladimir Putin a letter, calling on him to defend the right of Muslim girls to wear the hijab in schools and universities.

President Putin expressed his position on the issue of hijabs in 2012, when he opposed them being worn in schools, saying that, although people’s religious feelings must be respected, Russia was a secular state.

“We should see how our neighbors, European states deal with [wearing hijabs]. And everything will become clear,” Putin said.

However, the president stressed that decisions on the matter can only be made in an acceptable form – so that no one is hurt – and after a discussion with clerics.

In July 2014, Russia’s Supreme Court also upheld a ban on hijabs and other Muslim headwear in schools by the administration in Russia’s southern Stavropol region.



Kayla Mueller 'May Have Been Forced To Marry Islamic State Commander'

12 Feb, 2015

Kayla Mueller, the young American aid worker who was held hostage by Islamic State fighters may have been forced into a marriage with a senior jihadist commander, according to reports.

US intelligence officials said that there were indications that 26-year-old Miss Mueller, whose death was officially confirmed on Tuesday, was being kept in the company of a known Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) commander who was being tracked remotely by the coalition.

"Isil didn't see her as a hostage or a bargaining chip," reported ABC News, quoting unnamed counter-terrorism officials, who added that there were indications that Miss Mueller had been tracked in the company of Isil leader who was under surveillance.

In a letter written from captivity last November but released by her parents this week, Miss Mueller said that she was "completely unharmed" and had been "treated with the utmost respect [and] kindness" by her captors.

Isil fighters have boasted about using captured women from Arab Christian minority groups as sex slaves, with horrific accounts emerging of girls as young as 12 being raped three times a day. The practise is justified by a medieval interpretation of Islamic Sharia law.

Miss Mueller's parents, Carl and Marsha, had said they hoped their daughter was alive after claims by Isil last week that she had been killed by a Jordanian air strike, but this week conceded she was dead after receiving additional information from her captors.

The Pentagon has said it is clear that Isil was directly responsible for Miss Mueller's death and not the air strikes that were ordered in retaliation for the burning to death of a Jordanian fighter pilot.

Asked if there was any doubt who killed the aid worker, Navy Rear Admiral John Kirby, the Pentagon spokesman, replied: "No doubt. Isil."



Nigeria: The Rise of Female Suicide Bombers

12 Feb, 2015

Gone are the days when suicide bombings were carried out exclusively by the male folk. Ruth Choji writes on the latest dimension of suicide bombing, where girls are used

The phenomenon of suicide bombings, which used to be one of the myriads of the problems facing Nigeria has taken a dangerous dimension in recent times especially with the involvement of female suicide bombers. Nigerians were shocked when the first female bomber detonated an explosive device on June 8 2014 at a military barracks in Gombe, killing herself and a policeman. That was the first in a series of female suicide bombings witnessed in the country. Since then, there have been reports of under-aged girls and women strapping themselves with explosives to commit suicide for terrorism acts. This new dimension has brought to the fore, the fact that terrorism is posing greater danger to the nation and something urgently needs to be done to check it.

The extreme Islamic sect, Jama'atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda'awati Wal-Jihad, popular known as Boko Haram, which claims it is fighting to establish Islamic law, has now introduced females and in particular, teenage girls into carrying out their acts of terror as suicide bombers. Women, known to be caring, loving and protective, have now been turned to weapons of mass destruction in the hands of terrorists. It is likely that they are forced to strap themselves with bombs or are being brainwashed by the group.

Nigerians are apprehensive about the development due to the fact that it is easier to penetrate crowds as women since it will draw less attention and people generally trust women.

Bala Abdullahi, a lawyer and security consultant said this about the phenomenon: "Boko Haram is now using women because women are simple and easier to be trusted than men. Besides, when you see a woman in hijab, she is accorded respect and trust. It is also easier to manipulate women due to their vulnerability. You will agree that most of the girls or women they use are poor folks who actually feel they have nothing to lose, although I believe they do it under hallucination; so they gladly agree to die. Some have been psyched into it by their parents who have many children and who feel that sacrificing one for monetary returns to take care of the rest is not a problem.

Boko Haram seems to be using the tactic of recruiting hapless young girls as suicide bombers to gain massive publicity from the press. I propose that the government and the press need to censor their activities. Most times, terrorism strives on empathy and sympathy for their cause; they seek to be violent to attract public attention; they use violence to press home their demands and also attract world attention to their cause and I think that is what they have succeeded in doing.

They have also succeeded in showing us how weak this government is; it has proven that it does not have the capacity protect and provide security for Nigerians. Terrorism doesn't just happen. It is an advanced stage of a failed political process that begins with inequities and injustice, and moves from frustrated attempts at reform that breeds fear and anger, to political confrontation that erupts in violence. Nigerian government has had relatively poor results in their efforts towards ending and deterring others form joining the sect. Other countries too are having difficulties containing or eliminating terrorism in their nations, the most they have done is to suppress it", he submitted.

Isaac Godwin, a retired police officer and security expert opined that "The strategy by Boko Haram to use women is not really new except in Nigeria because for a long time, countries in the Maghreb have been using women to blow up places, so this is not new. Besides, terrorism today is seen all over the world as a global disease. No nation is spared, even among the Muslim nations, they are battling with it. Look at the case of ISIS and how young girls are eagerly joining them.

There are two types of terrorism: rational and irrational. Rational terrorism has a political goal and purpose. Irrational terrorism may be described as mindless violence that serves some dark psychological imbalances and is as difficult to understand as the motives of serial killers. The cause sof terrorism has been attributed to discrimination based on gender, poverty, race and religion. But we all know that terrorists are never poor , though uneducated.

Rational terrorism, which is what Boko Haram is doing is an outgrowth of public dissatisfaction and political dissent and a form of revolt against marginalization, poverty and years of massive corruption in government. What makes Boko Haram insurgency and terrorism in general to thrive is the way our resources are used. If the government can cut the sources of their funding, then the sect will be easily crushed. They won't be able to recruit and buy the weapons they are using. Even the trend of using poor girls which they are doing now will stop because they won't have any money to sponsor them or pay off their parents.

This war has gone beyond religion; it is now about money and power. Terrorists cannot do anything without money because they do their purchases and transactions illegally which makes their operations more expensive. They also need manpower and that is why they attack villages to instill fear into the people. Boko Haram will end today if the poor people will stop helping them, but they seem constrained not to be able to do so because the poor are hungry, giving the terrorists the upper hand. It defies common sense that a rich or comfortable man will release his daughter to be used as a suicide bomber. They use women because they are usually considered advocates of peace and so they are not likely to be suspected of carrying bombs.

Another factor is that, men on generally have soft spot for women and so, they are likely to be let off being searched than their male counterparts when undergoing security checks. Women are also given privilege because of their peculiar mode of dressing, a factor which the terrorists have taken advantage of to compel them into suicide bombings.

It has been reported that women have also been used on a strategic level, to spy for the terrorists with the goal of getting information for them. The female suicide bombers are sublimely taught how to hate, and are motivated by anger and revenge on their targets, some right from their childhood or at an early age. By this twisted thinking, young victims grow up to believe that certain types of people are not fit to live on the face of the earth and so when they grow up and have an,opportunity to "fight for the cause they believe in", they do not hesitate to do so, he explained.

Mallam Abdulziz Yahaya Sani, an Islamic cleric, offered his view from a religious perspective. According to him, "No true Muslim is happy with what is happening in Nigeria. "We are also not happy with the young, innocent girls that are being turned into suicide bombing; it is not in the Quran. This is the work of fanatics, who cowardly will not want to die, but will rather send the innocent ones to do their wicked deeds for them. Islam means peace. Islam is a religion of tolerance, love and forgiveness. It rejects violence. The word "jihad" does not mean 'holy war'. It literally means "to strive" or "to struggle" and this includes the struggle of the self with evil; the struggle to control the actions of the body, mind and soul.

Also, the lesser jihad which is what these rascals are claiming to do, is physical struggle, often associated with fighting usually mentioned in the Qur'an meaning "warfare", but which is often coupled with "fi sabil Allah" (in the way of Allah). Unfortunately, the extremists have now turned it to mean war against non-Muslims since Muslims are forbidden to fight Muslims, but it is not so. Islam is a total way of life. Islam believes that God alone is God. IThis supercedes any other theology and Muhammad (SAW) is God's final Prophet and the Qur'an is God's final Book.

Prophet Muhammad (SAW) himself was an advocate of peace because while he was in Mecca, he used to charge his followers by saying: 'I (Muhammad (SAW)) am but a plain warner. (Q67:2). Allah also says in the Qur'an, We have not sent thee (Muhammad) as a warden over them. (17:54).

Also in various chapters of the Qur'an, Allah states: "so proclaim that which thou art commanded, and withdraw from the idolaters". (15:94-99), "bear with patience what they utter, and part from them with a fair leave taking." (73:10), "be of those who believe and exhort one another to perseverance and exhort one another to piety." (90:17) , "Call unto the way of your Lord and reason with them in a better way; grieve not for them and be not in distress because of that which they devise". (16:125-127), "repel evil with that which is better". (23:96).

So, anything you see Boko Haram doing goes contrary to the words of God and the Prophet (SAW). He also warned his supporters not to kill the people of the book which includes the Jews and Christians. The only time Muslims are enjoined to fight is when somebody tries to stop them from practising their religion and this is not the case with Boko Haram. The Prophet said: 'Fight in the wayof Allah against those who fight against you, but begin not hostilities for Allah loveth not aggressors. And whoever commits suicide with something will be punished with the same thing in the (Hell) fire; and cursing a believer is like murdering him; and whoever accuses a believer of disbelief, then it is as if he had killed him'. You can deduce therefore that if suicide is forbidden, then suicide bombing is strictly haram in Islam. Suicide bombing kills innocent people, and Allah says that whoever kills someone unjustifiably then, it is like the whole of humanity is killed.



Marvel Comics debuting all-female superhero team

12 Feb, 2015

Los Angeles - The ladies are taking the lead in one of Marvel Comics' top comic book properties, with an all-female Avengers team called A-Force debuting as the company intensifies efforts to bring more girls and women into its male-dominated fan base.

Not only will the book feature some of Marvel's well-known female heroes, it will be written by two of Marvel's female comic book writers, Marguerite K. Bennett and Willow Wilson.

Wilson, a Seattle comic book writer who helped break ground in 2013 with her Ms. Marvel, the story of a Muslim female superhero, said women were rarely the focus of comic book superhero teams, usually in the role of a girlfriend or damsel in distress.

This book will challenge that script, Wilson said.

"I think that we're kind of asking some implicit questions with this lineup and one of them is: Do we respond to female superhero teams in the same way that we respond to superhero teams composed primarily or entirely of men?" Wilson said. "So it is a bit of a risk, but it's a risk that's been shown to work. "

A-Force won't be Marvel's first all-female team, with successful runs of an all-female mutant team in X-Men. When it debuts in May, it will join Marvel's 14 other female-led books, like Ms. Marvel and Captain Marvel, which is scheduled to become a Marvel movie. DC Comics also has several female leads, including Batgirl, Catwoman, Batwoman and Wonder Woman, the longest-running comic book with a female hero.

A-Force — which will feature characters like She-Hulk, Dazzler and Medusa, as well as a new hero called Singularity — will hopefully get more women and girls to transition from successful superhero movies like Marvel's The Avengers and The Dark Knight to reading comic books, Wilson said. Part of the way forward is to have female characters take the same kind of journeys taken by superheroes like Batman and Spider-Man and told from a female point of view, she said.

"There's a big push ... to have that same kind of recognizable, really enduring storytelling that appeals — not just to women readers but to men as well, and that reflects that same journey, that same coming of age, that same struggle that we all identify with through the eyes of female characters," Wilson said.

And while the majority of comic book buyers are male, millennials and Generation Xers are becoming more accepting of stories told from different points of view, she said. "In the past, when you had teams that were composed entirely of men and with maybe one woman, that was considered something very usual but to do the reverse was somehow unthinkable," she said. "We're at a time now where we can ask why that is."



Girl beaten up for saying ‘no’ to surrogacy

12 Feb, 2015

Pictures of a young woman being dragged by her hair on the Meerut road, carried by local newspapers, caused outrage here.

The 22-year-old victim, a law student, said in her complaint to the police on Saturday that Subhash Bharti, owner of a guest house where she worked, raped her on February 3.

She said Bharti wanted her to be a surrogate mother to his child. He had beaten her when she rejected his proposal and later sent his men to assault her.

Culprits held

The police arrested the culprits, including the guest house owner, on Monday morning.

“Acting on the complaint filed by the victim, the police have registered a case,” said Vandana Mishra, Circle Officer, Civil Lines area.

“The victim has been asked to undergo a medical examination, after which her statement will be registered before a magistrate,” she said.

The police have registered cases under Section 376 (rape) and Section 346 (wrongful confinement) of the IPC.



Egypt’s censorship chief says sexual scenes would still be deleted

12 February 2015

Plans to introduce the PG rating system for movies in the Egyptian cinemas would only limit censorship as nudity and explicitly sexual scenes would still be cut out, the head of Egypt’s state censorship board said Wednesday.

“Of course, if it is a scene of explicit sex it will be removed,” Chairman of the Censorship Bureau Abd El Sattar Fathy said. Images of “male and female genitalia as well as nudity scenes will also be removed,” he added.

“Any movie that is clearly promoting pornography, homosexuality or that is damaging Egypt’s relations with some specific countries will still be rejected,” Fathy noted.

These scenes must be deleted according to Egypt’s “censorship rules,” Fathy said.

Broadcast media and films in Egypt are pre-screened for approval.

Fathy said that Egypt would be implementing the PG rating system that classifies films into three age categories, 12, 15 and 18.

“This new system is aimed at protecting vulnerable children from adult content,” Fathy said.

In earlier statements to Reuters Arabic, Fathy described the PG rating system as "one of the mechanisms of censorship.”

"The film on which we have some remarks could now be shown to viewers, but to a specific age category that will be determined in advance," he said.

He said the new measure "would not prevent" deleting scenes of "atheism" or that incite "sectarian strife."

He also said that the board seeks to implement the classification “as soon as possible” but that training on this could take two months.