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Islam, Women and Feminism ( 10 Nov 2018, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Jammu and Kashmir: New Fatwa Terms Beauty Parlours 'Un-Islamic'

New Age Islam News Bureau

10 Nov 2018

President of Jammu and Kashmir Majlis-e-Shura says that Parda is a duty in Islam.



 Female Genital Mutilation: A Community’s And Chennai's Dark, Disturbing Secret

 What Is The ‘Material Girl’ Doing In Saudi Arabia?

 Trinidad and Tobago Woman Police Officers Win Right To Wear Hijab on Duty

 Woman Charged With Spitting On Muslim Family Outside Jersey City Polling Place

 Rights Activists Press FIFA to End Iran’s Stadium Ban on Women

 India Shines in Egypt: President Sisi Honours Indian Leader For Women Empowerment

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau




Jammu and Kashmir: New Fatwa Terms Beauty Parlours 'Un-Islamic'

November 09, 2018

A Muslim cleric in Jammu and Kashmir has reportedly issued a fatwa against women visiting beauty parlours. The cleric has called the beauty parlours un-Islamic. According to the cleric, women should not even attend parties.

The cleric called beauty parlours as un-Islamic as according to him women do not properly cover themselves in beauty parlours which are bad in Islam.

President of Majlis-e-Shura told in an interview given to Times Now that Parda is a duty in Islam. When there is a wedding party or musical night, men and women dance together which is prohibited in Islam? He also said that musical nights were stopped in Kishtwar after the fatwa was issued. But around one or two weeks ago, these musical nights started again. “We will try to curb these by citing Quran and Hadis to the people as we do not own any army or police station or jail to enforce the fatwa”, he said. Darul Uloom in Deoband, who recently issued a fatwa against use of nail polish by Muslim woman, had issued a diktat against beauty parlours in 2012.

The seminary, in response to a query, had said at the time that the Sharia (Islamic law) did not allow Muslim women to run beauty parlours on the ground that adornment is not allowed in the Sharia. By extension, it also means that women cannot even go to parlours for what is regarded as “adornment”, though the fatwa relates to the running of parlours.

Fatwas are legal opinions provided under Islamic law by a Muslim cleric.

This is not the first time that an Islamic seminary has issued such kind of the fatwa.

#In June, Darul Uloom Deoband has issued a fatwa where it has directed the Sunni Muslims to avoid attending the Iftar party and any other social event organised by Shia Muslims

#In July, Deoband-based Darul Uloom had issued a fatwa against waxing and shaving saying that these are against Islamic culture and are not considered under Sharia law.

#In October, Darul Uloom had issued a fatwa saying posting pictures on social media was prohibited in Islam. It also banned posting selfies on WhatsApp and Facebook.



Female Genital Mutilation: A Community’s And Chennai's Dark, Disturbing Secret

09th November 2018

CHENNAI: "My clitoris was completely scrapped out, yes completely!  It hasn't grown back. It was done by two popular and experienced midwives in our clan. I was circumcised when I was in my second grade," recalls Fathima*(21), a resident of Chennai's suburbs."My cousin was recently circumcised by the same ladies," she added.

According to UNFPA and UNICEF, about 20 crore girls and women alive today have undergone the horrors of circumcision - suffering for years with recurrent pain during menstruation, no sexual pleasure in marriage, psychological damage, infertility and running an increased risk of HIV/AIDS infection.

In India, the practice is said to be rampant among the Bohra Muslim community. They believe that for a woman to be eligible for marriage it is essential for her to undergo circumcision as this maintains her chastity.

In Chennai, the practice is prevalent among the Bohra community in the northern parts (Vada Chennai). Due to the secretive nature of the ritual and the community's minority status in the city, the issue is often hushed up.

But the truth remains that Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is not just limited to the dark continent of Africa. The New Indian Express spoke to some of the women in the Bohra community in the city, discovering that many of them may have undergone circumcision at the hands of women with little medical training.

"I was holding my mother's hand stiffly. Mama knocked the door and aunty in Rida (Dawoodi Bohra women costume) opened the door and welcomed us with a warm smile. She took me to the room and asked me to lie down. She lifted my skirt and spread my legs. Minutes later, I found few drops of blood oozing out of my genital. I did't know what actually happened but all I thought was I got my periods."

"She took me to the washroom and cleaned the stains. Initially, I had a bit of irritation and eventually I was back to normal. My mother told it was normal and nothing to worry about. Only last year I got to know that it was circumcision," said Bhanu*, 21, resident of Parrys, Chennai.

In May 2017, a petition against FGM was filed by Sunita Tiwari, a lawyer who practices in Delhi High Court. She quoted the WHO classification that termed FGM a gross violation of human rights of girls and women. The petition demands a ban on the practice based on the resolution passed by the UN General Assembly in 2012. The practice also contravenes fundamental rights, Tiwari says.

The Government of India is firm in its denial that such a practice exists. The Ministry of Women and Child Development is categorical."Female genital mutilation... are not practiced in India," it stresses. It even told the Supreme Court that "At present, there is no official data or study which supports the existence of FGM in India."

Traditionalists explain that 'Khatna' is different from FGM as it is done by experienced midwives and doesn't not cause any harm. Doctors, experts and activists have rubbished this argument. The World Health Organization (WHO) classifies 'Khatna' as type-1 FGM as there is partial or total removal of the clitoris and/or the prepuce.

According to Dr Shalini N, a Chennai-based psychiatrist, "it is shocking to know that this practice exits in Chennai and no one has raised the issue." Her book 'Konjam Darwin Konjam Dawkins', all set to be released soon, has a chapter that focuses on FGM. "The practice causes genital infection, infertility and painful menstruation. In the worst case scenario, the woman cannot enjoy sexual pleasure. The conservatives in the garb of religion have oppressed women by stating comparisons with male circumcision," Shalini adds.

Societal judgments and conditioning might have stopped women from crying out till now, but Shalini's words underscores the urgent need for action.



What Is The ‘Material Girl’ Doing In Saudi Arabia?

November 09, 2018

LONDON: Here is a thought for all you home decorators: What about a bookcase made of compressed leather? Or tiles made of coconut shells?

What about using bricks made out of discarded bathroom ceramics (that’s right, old sinks and toilets)? And for something really wacky, what about fabric made out of milk?

Believe it or not, all those materials are already available, along with many more that are recycled, repurposed and reused in all manner of unexpected ways.

If sustainability is the buzzword of our time, then Seetal Solanki is the queen bee of the concept, and she is spreading the message far and wide, including to Saudi Arabia.

Solanki recently returned from Tanween, the three-week event held at the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (also known as Ithra) in Dhahran that showcases creativity in the arts, sciences and entrepreneurship. Audiences at her packed workshops could not have been more enthusiastic, or eager to learn, she said.

“The open-mindedness was inspiring. Their questions were very critical and interrogative. They asked about scale of production and were open to all ideas.”

It was Solanki’s second time at Ithra, and she is now part of a two-year project to map out the local resources available in the Kingdom to find which can be used in a different way to reduce waste.

Saudi Arabia’s consumption of plastic is the highest in the Middle East and 20 times higher than the global average. The Kingdom consumes twice as much plastic as any of its GCC neighbors and every year generates plastic waste equivalent in weight to 2 million cars. Each individual gets through an average 40 kilos of plastic bags every year.

The rest of the Gulf has little to boast about, however. The dubious accolade of the world’s top producer of waste per capita goes to Kuwait, a tiny country of 4 million people. The huge quantity of rubbish and the lack of properly maintained landfills have led to groundwater contamination, unregulated burning and the release of toxic gases.

Reducing waste is now a priority and this means re-examining all materials and devising different uses for anything and everything.

Solanki, 37, is the founder of Ma-tt-er, a research design studio that researches and explores the past, present and future use of materials.

Take paper coffee cups. Millions are given out every day. Since the cups are made of paper, people probably believe they are easy to recycle. In fact, each cup has a plastic lining. But this can be removed and is useful for making electric cables. A paper company in the north of England is already doing this (and recycling the paper cups into high-quality paper and card). Why not replicate it in the coffee shop-loving societies of the Gulf?

The companies Solanki and her team have advised on sustainability range from corporate giants such as Ikea and Nike to a small hotel chain in Bali, Indonesia, which is committed to using only local materials, including coconut shell tiles. They are experimenting with volcanic ash as a glaze for ceramics.

“The core of the business and work is looking at alternative ways of manufacturing and also changing the way we look at materials,” she said.

From a shelf in her East London studio Solanki takes what looks and feels like a block of wood. In fact, it is offcuts of leather, discarded by the fashion industry and compressed into a material that is more than strong enough for furniture-making.

Next she takes a big lump of what looks like white gypsum, but is, in fact, crushed mussel shells.

A piece of deliciously soft, fluffy fabric turns out to be made from seaweed that has been dried and spun into yarn. Bricks repurposed from old bathroom sinks are already being used in construction. Corn husks make a wonderful veneer.

Most astonishing of all is a square of cream-colored wool made of casein, a high-protein byproduct of milk that bodybuilders take as a nutritional supplement.

Casein looks like milk curds but behaves like plastic. It can be heated and molded into many forms, and can be made into furniture or turned into yarn that can be spun, knitted or woven. It has the versatility of plastic without the environmental damage.

Saudi Arabia has plentiful limestone, clay, granite and marble. It also has an awful lot of dates, and while using the wood of the date palm tree for building and the fiber from the leaves for rope is obvious enough, finding a use for all those discarded date stones is more challenging.

But research is already underway, according to Solanki, who has a master’s degree in textile futures from Central Saint Martin’s art school and also teaches at the Royal College of Art.

One of the biggest hits at Tanween this year was petroleum-free plastic made from starch, water, vinegar and glycerine. In filament form, it is used in 3D printing, but it can also be produced in sheets. Whatever the form, it is biodegradable and will not clog up the oceans and kill marine creatures.

“Oh, yes, they loved it,” she said. “But, then, they loved everything. These are the people — the young designers, engineers and scientists — who can introduce change, and there is such a hunger and thirst there for knowledge and innovation. That is the only way I can describe it. And it’s just super-exciting.”



Trinidad and Tobago Woman Police Officers Win Right To Wear Hijab on Duty


A High Court court ruling on Friday has paved the way for women police officers who practice Islam to wear hijabs while on duty.

The judgement by Justice Margaret Mohammed followed a constitutional motion against the State filed by Woman SRP Sharon Roop to allow her to wear her hijab while on duty.

In delivering the ruling, Justice Mohammed noted that the officer’s right to practice her religious belief was infringed upon.

“It is declared that the Claimant’s right to freedom of conscience and religious belief and observance has been infringed by the denial of the request to wear a hijab and/or the prohibition against wearing a hijab together with her uniform whilst on duty as an officer of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service,” the order read.

The judge found that the Police Service Regulations of 2007 was “unconstitutional, invalid, null and void to the extent that it makes no provision for the wearing of the hijab”.

Justice Mohammed also ordered that damages be assessed, and that the defendant pay the officer’s legal costs certified fit for Senior Counsel to be assessed by the Registrar in default of agreement.

Roop was represented by attorneys Anand Ramlogan SC, Gerald Ramdeen, and Chelsea Stewart instructed by Robert Abdool-Mitchell.

The State was represented by Tinuke Gibbons-Glenn, Stefan Jaikaran and Candice Alexander instructed by Svetlana Dass.

Friday’s ruling means that amendments will now have to be made to the Police Service Regulations to allow women police officers to wear their hijab while on duty, as the dress order for female officers (second division) as outlined under Regulation 121 and Schedule D of the Police Service Act Chapter 15:01 does not currently allow for such.



Woman Charged With Spitting On Muslim Family Outside Jersey City Polling Place

Nov 10, 2018

JERSEY CITY, New Jersey -- A woman was charged with spitting on and yelling racial slurs at a Muslim woman and her family at a polling place on Election Day.

One of the Egyptian-American victims was 25-year-old Asmaa Abdalla, a candidate running for a seat on the school board. Abdalla, her mother and her sister were trying to promote her campaign Tuesday when they were allegedly yelled at by 31-year-old Shaquana Jones, who was working for another campaign.

Initially, Abdalla's mother was the target. Abdalla said the woman threatened to rip her hijab off.

"She said, 'Oh, go back to your country, you f***ing Muslim lady,' and, 'You don't know how to speak English,'" Abdalla's mother said.

The two daughters heard the verbal attack on her mother and approached to see if she was OK. That's when Jones allegedly turned on them.

"She just kept saying, 'I'm going to f*** you up. I'm gonna get my sister to f you up,' and stuff like that." Abdalla said. "She just kept threatening us."

The three women told Eyewitness News that Jones then called them punks, spit in their faces and walked away.

The women said they respect their religious values and refused to retaliate.

Eventually, police were called to calm the situation, and Jones, of Jersey City, was arrested near the school. She was charged with bias intimidation, simple assault and terroristic threats.

In response, the Council on American Islamic Relations posted a statement, saying, in part: "Hateful acts of violence such as those allegedly carried out in Jersey City on Tuesday cannot be tolerated and must be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."



Rights Activists Press FIFA to End Iran’s Stadium Ban on Women

November 08, 2018

Women’s rights activists who have been calling for Tehran to end a ban on Iranian women attending men’s football matches have taken their campaign to the home of football’s world governing body, FIFA.

Three female activists, two of them Iranian, met with FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura in the Swiss city of Zurich Thursday. The meeting came two days before Tehran’s Azadi Stadium hosts its first Asian Champions League final in 11 years between home team Persepolis and Japan’s Kashima Antlers.

Iran’s Islamist rulers have banned female Iranian football fans from buying tickets to attend such matches for decades, citing concerns that their presence would lead to immoral acts involving men.

In a tweet posted after Thursday’s meeting, FIFA’s No. 2 official described her talks with the three activists as very constructive.

“Their courage & passion for football is remarkable. We will keep engaging with them, as well as public & authorities in Iran to work towards stadium access for all,” Samoura wrote.

Appreciation and frustration

In phone calls with VOA Persian, the activists expressed appreciation for the meeting with Samoura but also frustration with what they said was her lack of detail on how FIFA will address their concerns.

Iranian activist Maryam Qashqaei Shojaei, who requested a meeting with FIFA leadership during this year’s World Cup in Russia, said she led the talks with Samoura and spoke to her for about 25 minutes.

“She asked a few questions about the nature of the ban (on Iranian women buying stadium tickets for men’s sports), but didn’t comment,” Shojaei said. “FIFA’s job is to protect its own principles. Gender discrimination is against those rules. That is the only thing we asked, just to follow your own rules.”

Article 4 of FIFA’s statutes says discrimination of any kind against a group of people because of gender is “strictly prohibited and punishable by suspension or expulsion.”

In a previous statement to VOA Persian, FIFA said its president, Gianni Infantino, told Iranian President Hassan Rouhani during a visit to Tehran in March that it is important for “all football fans irrespective of gender” to be allowed to cheer and support their favorite teams inside stadiums.

Rouhani’s official website quoted him as telling Infantino that Iran “always has tried to provide more and more access to sport.”

FIFA ready to do more?

Gigi Alford, a Switzerland-based coordinator for the Sports and Rights Alliance (SRA) group, also attended the meeting with Samoura. SRA is a coalition of international NGOs, sports organizations and trade unions working to embed human rights in the world of sport.

“Samoura conveyed a sense that FIFA is ready to do more, but she wasn’t yet ready to share details in the meeting,” Alford told VOA Persian. “It’s clear that FIFA understands the impact the ban is having on women, but it’s not clear what FIFA plans to do about it and when. Without clear action, Iran won’t know that FIFA is serious about upholding human rights and gender equality.”

Alford and Shojaei appeared in a photo attached to Samoura’s tweet, presenting the FIFA official with a petition calling for an end to Tehran’s ban on female Iranian fans attending men’s sports. More than 201,000 people around the world had signed the petition as of late Thursday.

Some women allowed in

In a rare move, Iranian authorities allowed about 100 women into Azadi Stadium for an Oct. 16 men’s friendly football match between the Iranian and Bolivian national teams. Iranian state-run news agency ILNA said the group included female employees of Iran’s soccer federation and members of the Iranian women’s national soccer team, along with female journalists and other women who were permitted to enter the stadium at the last minute.

But local authorities maintained their ban on ticket sales to female members of the general public.

The other female Iranian activist who joined Thursday’s meeting at FIFA’s headquarters, who asked not to be identified, told VOA Persian that she was not sure whether Iran would again allow a small and select group of women to watch Saturday’s Asian Champions League final.

“We don’t want this to become a routine,” said the Iran-based activist, who runs an anti-discrimination social media campaign using the Twitter handle @OpenStadiums. “We’ve had the same problem with volleyball. Only female relatives of male players and female staff of the federation can attend those games. This is not progress when you let only those women attend and don’t sell tickets to other women.”

The activist said she does expect Japanese women to be allowed to attend Saturday’s match, in line with Iran’s longstanding practice of allowing foreign women to enter Azadi Stadium to support foreign teams.

“We usually protest at the stadium entrance as the foreign women enter it right in front of us,” the activist said. “It’s bizarre and sad.” She said Iran allows such women into Azadi Stadium to avoid foreign football federations from making objections to FIFA.

Saturday’s match is the second leg of a final that began with Kashima earning a 2-0 home win over Persepolis Nov. 3.



India Shines in Egypt: President Sisi Honours Indian Leader For Women Empowerment

November 10, 2018

In a glittering closing ceremony of the week-long World Youth Forum (WYF) in Sharm El-Sheikh, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi of Egypt awarded Dr. Harbeen Arora of India for her inspiring work in women empowerment as Founder and global chairperson of ALL Ladies League (ALL) and Women Economic Forum (WEF). She is the very first recipient of the Presidential honor to any Indian.

WYF 2018 attracted 5,000 attendees from 160 countries including heads of states and opinion leaders and large delegations of youth, providing a vibrant and powerful platform to explore and engage with peace-loving and pro-development ideas, toward integrating civilizations and cultures.

Dr. Harbeen Arora said, "This is a great honor and international recognition for India's ethos of revering the feminine as supreme Shakti. This vision drives our movement of relentlessly connecting women worldwide everyday for our greater networks and opportunities with a spirit of sisterhood and self-belief."

Dr. Maya Morsy, President of the National Council of Women, Egypt added that India and Egypt are among the oldest civilizations and we are committed to gather our efforts to play a pivotal role in women and youth empowerment toward creating a better world for All.

Dr. Harbeen Arora is a Global Leader, Speaker, Educationist, Philanthropist, Spiritualist, Mentor, Author, Entrepreneur and Businesswoman. She is the Chancellor of Rai University in Ahmedabad, Rai Technology University in Bangalore and Jharkhand Rai University in Ranchi in India. Dr. Arora is also the Founder of BIOAYURVEDA, an organic health and wellness enterprise. She also leads ventures in hi-tech agriculture, organic farming and sustainable living.

Egypt will assume the presidency of the African Union in 2019 and will also be hosting the Women Economic Forum, WEF 2020 with over 2000+ women coming together from 120+ countries, akin to the annual event held in India every year.




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