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Islam, Women and Feminism ( 5 Feb 2015, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Jihadi Girls Must Marry At 16 and Know That Liberation Is A Failed Model

New Age Islam News Bureau

5 Feb 2015

Sana Muttalib, Co-President, and M. Hasna Maznavi, Founder and Co-President of the Women's Mosque of America prepare for prayer service in downtown Los Angeles, Jan. 30, 2015.


 Why Muslim Woman Started 1st All-Female Mosque in the US

 Why Some Women Choose To Have Female Genital Mutilation Performed

 Saudi Women Cannot Drive In Switzerland

 Pak Man Kills Three Women, Commits Suicide outside Gaddafi Stadium

 Bangladesh: Forkan Killed Man before Raping His Daughter

 Two Girls in US, Russian Conflict and Chechen Massacre

 Britain Authorises 'Three-Parent' Babies

 ‘13% Of 51% Qualified Saudi Women Employed’

 Jailed Girl a Symbol of Palestinian Anger, Grief

 Pak: Woman, Daughters Gunned Down Inside Car

 Dr Shuzra Mansib to Contest By-Poll in NA-137

 Prema and Reema, a Dream about a New Life That Turned Into the Nightmare Of Prostitution

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau





Jihadi Girls Must Marry At 16 and Know That Liberation Is A Failed Model

February 05, 2015

Jihadi girls can marry at the age of nine, should ideally have husbands by 16 or 17 and should not be corrupted by going to work, according to a treatise published by female Islamic State supporters in Iraq and Syria.

The document, Women of the Islamic State: Manifesto and Case Study, says women must stay behind closed doors and leave the house only in exceptional circumstances.

“It is always preferable for a woman to remain hidden and veiled, to maintain society from behind this veil,” the English translation says. Fashion shops and beauty salons are denounced as the work of the devil.

The semi-official Islamic State manifesto on women – believed to be the first of its kind – was published on a jihadist forum in Arabic last month and is purported to be by the media wing of the al-Khanssaa Brigade, an all-female militia seat up by Islamic State (Isis).

It has now been translated into English by the London-based counter-extremism thinktank Quilliam Foundation.

The introduction to the treatise says it has not been sanctioned by “the state” – meaning Islamic State – or its leadership but is a document to “clarify the role of Muslim women and the life which is desired for them” and “to clarify the realities of life and the hallowed existence of women in the Islamic State”.

The manifesto says: “From ages seven to nine, there will be three lessons: fiqh (understanding) and religion, Qur’nic Arabic (written and read) and science (accounting and natural sciences).

“From 10 to 12, there will be more religious studies, especially fiqh, focusing more on fiqh related to women and the rulings on marriage and divorce. This is in addition to the other two subjects. Skills like textiles and knitting, basic cooking will also be taught.

“From 13 to 15, there will be more of a focus on shariah, as well as more manual skills (especially those related to raising children) and less of the science, the basics of which will already have been taught. In addition, they will be taught about Islamic history, the life of the prophet and his followers.

“It is considered legitimate for a girl to be married at the age of nine. Most pure girls will be married by 16 or 17, while they are still young and active. Young men will not be more than 20 years old in those glorious generations.”

The western model for woman has failed, the treatise says, with women who go to work taking on “corrupted ideas and shoddy-minded beliefs instead of religion”. “The model preferred by infidels in the west failed the minute that women were ‘liberated’ from their cell in the house,” it says.

The manifesto includes a lengthy condemnation of the culture of the “disbelievers of Europe”, urging its readers to disavow “falsity and materialism in civilisation” and to devote oneself instead to religious knowledge.

The ideal Islamic community, it says, should not be caught up with “trying to uncover the secrets of nature and reaching the peaks of architectural sophistication”. They should instead concentrate on the implementation of shariah law and the spreading of Islam.

In a section entitled: “How the soldiers of iblis [the devil] keep women from paradise”, the authors take aim at the western lifestyle that encourages both men and women to gain an education and employment. The manifesto denounces the wearing of fashionable clothes and piercings, concluding: “This urbanisation, modernity and fashion is presented by iblis [the devil] in fashion shops and beauty salons.”

It is the “fundamental function” of a woman to be in the house with her husband and children, the jihadist guide says, adding that they may leave the house to serve the community only in exceptional circumstances – to wage jihad when there are no men available, to study religion, and female doctors and teachers are permitted to leave but “must keep strictly to shariah guidelines”.

“Yes, we say ‘stay in your houses’, but this does not mean, in any way, that we support illiteracy, backwardness or ignorance,” the English-language translation reads. “Rather, we just support the distinction between working – that which involves a woman leaving the house – and studying, as it was ordained she should do.”



Why Muslim Woman Started 1st All-Female Mosque in the US

February 05, 2015

One Muslim woman in California has made history by starting the first all-female mosque in the United States. It opened last week in Los Angeles.

The Women's Mosque was hosted in a modest, multifaith worship center, where Muslim women and women of other faiths joined together for a Jumu'ah, a congregational prayer Muslims hold every Friday, and a Khutbah, a public sermon.

"Oh, my God, it was so amazing," founder M. Hasna Maznavi told ABC News today. "As you know, when it rains in L.A., no one comes out. But people came out in droves. It was estimated that around 150 people attended."

And unlike most U.S. mosques that have a male imam, or leader, a woman led the traditional prayer and gave the sermon.

Being part of the historic experience was invigorating and terrifying at the same time, Edina Lekovic, who led last Friday's debut event, told ABC News today. Lekovic is also a public affairs consultant for the Muslim Public Affairs Council.

"Being surrounded by women in an environment created for women created a special spiritual charge I won't ever forget," Lekovic said. "One of my friends said she couldn't stop her tears through the whole thing."

The Women's Mosque came out of a group of Muslim women's growing disillusionment with many U.S. mosques and Maznavi's childhood dream of starting her own mosque.

Many mosques segregate women or bar them completely, Hind Makki told ABC News. Makki runs Side Entrance, a Tumblr blog that collects photos of Muslim women's spaces of worship, which are more often than not in poorer condition than men's, she said.

"I posted a picture on Facebook of one women's room for prayer in a Chicago mosque I visited, which was only 8 feet by 20 feet," Makki said. "While many girls commented, 'Yup, that's typical,' a lot of my guy friends were so surprised and wanted to help change this."

The Koran and the Prophet Muhammad never said women should be separated, Maznavi said. Indeed, there is a lost history of thousands of female authority figures and scholars in Islam such as the prophet Aisha, she added.

Maznavi became interested in Islam and women's role after 9/11 when she read the Koran cover to cover in English as a young girl, she said. She was surprised to see a merciful, loving and just God, and discovered that what was going on in mosques she visited was not a reflection of the actual teachings of the Prophet Muhammad, she added.

Other women said they felt the same as Maznavi, such as Sana Muttalib, an attorney and co-president of the Women's Mosque. Together, these women helped to make the Women's Mosque happen.

They say the space isn't meant as an alternative to local mosques but as a complementary place where women can begin to feel empowered.

"Our mosque has a healthy, great relationship with men," Maznavi said. "Many are supportive of our idea that we want women to first become empowered and comfortable in our safe space so that they can go back and transform their own communities and local mosques."

The spiritual leader for the Islamic Center of America, the largest mosque in the U.S., said he supports the women at the Women's Mosque. At the Islamic Center of America, men and women can pray in the same space though men are in the front and women are in the back.

"I believe this is one way female Muslims can express their Islamic identity while being proud to be women who have equal rights to men in our religion," Imam Hassan Qazwini told ABC News. "I think it’s a bold and courageous step, and ultimately, I think they should be respected by all Muslims."

The Women's Mosque plans to add other events and classes that men can join, but they are keeping their worship and prayer sessions exclusively for women, Maznavi said.

The nondenominational mosque welcomes women of any faith who may be curious to learn about Islam and encourages visitors to come as they are, she said. You don't have to come dressed a certain way or anything like that, she added.

The Women's Mosque is planning to hold a Jummu'ah and sermon one Friday a month at the multifaith Pico Union Project building, but it said it plans to expand to other spaces to reach as many people as possible more often. They rely on donations to fund their house of worship.

"I want to garner the untapped potential of Muslim women not only for the Muslim community, but to empower all women of the world," Maznavi said. "God does not change the condition of people until people change themselves."



Why some women choose to have female genital mutilation performed

February 05, 2015

British women are choosing to have female genital mutilation performed on them to show they are a "good Muslim or good Somali", a leading academic has warned.

FGM expert Professor Hazel Barrett said some women from immigrant communities are volunteering to have the potentially lethal procedure as part of a rejection of a Western values.

She said the trend is part of a "retreat" into a traditional, conservative culture and is similar to British women who choose to wear the hijab while their mothers do not.

Prof Barrett, based at Coventry University, said: "There are some women living in Britain who have not been cut as children, and whose mothers have not been cut, but who are choosing to be cut of their own volition.

"When you talk to them about it, they frame it in terms of being a good Muslim or a good Somali.

"It is a bit like those who choose to wear the hijab while their mothers do not - it is a reaction against what they perceive to be anti-Islamic sentiment.

"They are retreating into their identity - they don't want to be associated with Western girls who they associate with drinking and partying."

It is estimated that more than 130,000 women in the UK have been subjected to FGM, many cut as children in Africa and elsewhere.

But Prof Barrett said tens of thousands of girls growing up in the UK will be at risk of the procedure, believed to be carried out here as well as abroad.

Girls are most at risk during the long school summer holiday, the so-called "cutting season", when they have the procedure and several weeks to heal before they return to the classroom.

Prof Barrett said: "The girls are told they are going to see grandma and have a nice family holiday, and then it happens. But we know it is also happening in the UK as well.

"There is anecdotal evidence which tells us women are brought over from abroad to do the cutting and they tend to cut a number of girls at the same time. And they get paid for doing it."

She said that FGM is probably carried out in every major city in the country, but Britain is "in denial it is happening".

Girls are cut at different ages and for different reasons. For some, it is a coming of age rite signalling a girl's transition to womanhood, others cite their Islamic faith as a reason - although there is no evidence to support it in the Koran.

And some send their daughters back home, where they are cut, because they fear they are becoming too Westernised.

"If a girl looks like she is going to be a rebel or becomes too Westernised, for example socialising with white girls or wearing short skirts, one of the things families do is send them back home" Prof Barrett said.

"They want them to get back to their roots and culture, and part of the socialisation of being a good woman is FGM."

She said that making FGM illegal has sent out a clear message in Britain, but warned that prevention is more important than prosecution.

"For me, what is more important is that we stop it happening rather than take people to court," she said.

"We need to convince communities that it is not a religious requirement and it is not going to make your daughter a better woman or less sexually interested in men.

"It is just a harmful traditional culture that past its sell-by date a long time ago."

Her words are echoed by Rocco Blume, policy manager at the charity Plan UK - which campaigns against FGM.

He said: "It is inflicted on women at such an early age and they are told it is to make them acceptable.

"This means it has become hard-wired into them and their notions of what is acceptable in society, to protect not only their own honour but that of their child.

"The anti-FGM movement is about breaking that chain. If you are able to get to a mother and convince her not to do it to her daughter the chain is broken. It can be eradicated within a generation."



Saudi women cannot drive in Switzerland

February 05, 2015

Saudi women can no longer drive in Switzerland because changes to local laws require all drivers to have licenses issued in their home countries, according to the Kingdom’s embassy in that country.

Saudi Ambassador to Switzerland Hazim Karkatli has issued a warning that driving on Swiss roads without a license from the Kingdom would constitute a traffic offense.

Saudi drivers must have a translation of their original license, in addition to an international license, Karkatli was quoted as saying in a local publication recently.

A Saudi citizen said three Swiss companies recently refused to rent him a car because he did not have his original license or a copy with a seal from the embassy. He only found out about the new laws when he visited the embassy, he said.

He said embassy officials in Geneva had informed him that the move is aimed at preventing some Saudi travel agencies from issuing international driver’s licenses to women even though they do not have ones issued in the Kingdom.

In a related matter, a source at the Saudi embassy in Germany said German traffic authorities allow people to drive if they have international driver’s licenses.

Rashid Al-Maqait, deputy chairman of the Saudi Society for Travel and Tourism, said that because of the government's lax control over the 1,500 travel operators in the Kingdom, there can be instances of violation of the law regarding the issue of international driver’s licenses.

Many of these violations can cause difficulties for Saudi travelers, but most occur at small travel offices. Large travel companies are careful to avoid mistakes that can affect their reputation. He said the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities should have more control over travel agencies.

The Saudi embassies in Switzerland and Germany said that about 20 passports are stolen in each country every year. There are also several reports from Saudi tourists that their money had been stolen.

Embassy officials said that they work closely with the police in these countries to investigate the cases. The cases of theft are mostly for money, not Saudi passports, they said.

Karkatli said that another problem faced by Saudi citizens abroad is that maids sometimes run away so that they can get asylum and live in Europe or the United States.

He said only three maids ran away from their sponsors abroad last year, which was a result of the warnings that embassies have issued. He said Swiss police are not obliged to return a runaway maid to her sponsor. He said 30,000 Saudi tourists visited Switzerland last year.



Pak Man kills three women, commits suicide outside Gaddafi stadium

February 05, 2015

LAHORE - A man has gunned down three women before shooting himself to death near Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore on Wednesday evening Police said.

The incident happened in the larger Gaddafi stadium area, police said the man was riding along with the three women identified as sisters Maira and Naila and their mother Khadija in a grey colored vehicle, which pulled up near the stadium.

According to sources, the man appeared to have a disagreement with the women when he opened fire on them before shooting himself as well.

Superintendent of Police (SP) Umer Virk told to journalist that the man was identified as Bashir.

“The incident appears to be the result of a domestic dispute,” he said. Police is carrying out further investigation.



Bangladesh: Forkan killed man before raping his daughter

February 05, 2015

Recounting the condition in which his newly-wed cousin was left by a riverbank after being raped and her father's murder, the fifth prosecution witness yesterday moved himself to tears, demanding he be served justice for the atrocities war crimes accused Forkan Mallik allegedly committed.

“We found her unconscious. She was totally devastated. I cannot describe anymore,” Selim Hawladar testified before the three-member International Crimes Tribunal-2.

Her husband of three months had to be coaxed with money coming from the sale of their land to refrain him from going for a separation. Although she recovered and afterwards had three sons and one daughter, the man deserted her 15 to 16 years ago and remarried, he said.

He was involved with Awami League in 1970 and Forkan had campaigned for Muslim League.

“At about 2:30pm, I saw war crimes accused Forkan Mallik, (one) Akabbor Gazi, 10-12 Razakars and the Pakistani (occupation) army coming towards our house,” said the resident of Patuakhali's Kakrabunia village in the description of the Bhadra 5 (August 22) incident of 1971.

Selim immediately ran home to alert his family, but his uncle and cousin failed to escape and hid under a bed while he and his mother and sister hid nearby.

The attackers first looted valuables. “Akabbor and accused Forkan entered my uncle's room. About 10 minutes later, I saw them bringing out my uncle and cousin,” he said.

“My uncle told Akabbor and Forkan, 'Do not take my daughter or I will tell Major'. Forkan immediately shot my uncle with his rifle and my uncle fell down on the ground. Seeing this, my cousin bent down over the body.

“Then Forkan hit my cousin on the waist. Grabbing her hair, Forkan handed her over to the other Razakars to take her to the gunboat,” the witness said.

“We thought she was perhaps killed and thrown in the (Payra) river,” Selim said, adding that his distressed aunt had gone unconscious for two days.

“Three days later at dawn, we awoke at neighbours' screams. They said someone left your daughter at the bank,” he said.

Selim said he had watched from the riverbank as Forkan along with other Razakars and the Pakistani army came to their village around 1:30pm on August 22, looted goods from shops and indiscriminately fired shots, killing two people.

Before leaving the village that evening, they killed another person, he said.

The tribunal adjourned proceedings until today as the defence sought time for preparation to cross-examine the witness.

The 63-year-old denies the five charges.


Meanwhile, the 14th prosecution witness, Md Qayum, yesterday testified over the killing of his father Abdur Rashid at Baligati village of Kishoreganj on December 11, 1971 by fugitive war crimes accused Syed Hasan Ali, saying he had heard it from his uncle and others.

Proceedings were adjourned until today. Hasan faces six charges for crimes against humanity and genocide.



Two girls in US, Russian conflict and Chechen massacre

February 05, 2015

Amara Hadji, 25, starts shivering even today when she recalls the killings of at least 56 Chechens allegedly by Russian troops on February 5, 2000.

“I was 10 when Russian troops carried out a mop-up operation in our village, Novye Aldy, killing children and women, young and old,” Hadji, who studies peace and conflict in the United States, said in a Skype interview.

“Even 15 years after the massacre, the wailing cries of mothers, sisters and wives of the victims still resonate in my ears,” said Hadji.

Since the disintegration of the former U.S.S.R, separatist guerillas have been fighting Russian troops in Chechnya, a region in the eastern part of the North Caucasus.

In 1991, Russia let the Muslim majority Chechnya be independent but returned to take control in 1999, sparking a rebellion.

Various news reports have quoted Novye Aldy villagers saying that they buried 82 corpses after the “mop-up” operation during the Second Chechen War, while the Memorial Human Rights Centre in Chechnya documented the killing of at least 56 people.

The Chechen conflict has not only affected the Chechens but also the Russians.

Like Hadji, Samantha Pryazhkina gets angry and her pitch gets louder remembering the death of 130 people who were taken hostage by Chechen guerrillas inside a Moscow theatre on October 23, 2002.

“The action of those terrorists led to the killing of innocent civilians,” said Pryazhkina, who is doing her Ph.D. in Economics in the United States. “The television scenes of corpses were really disturbing.”

Russian authorities refused to negotiate with the guerrillas and gassed the theatre building, resulting in the killing of 130 Russian hostages as well as all the guerrillas.

For many Chechens and Russians like Hadji and Pryazhkina, the first and second Chechen wars were defining experiences that changed their lives.

“The actions of Russian troops and Chechen insurgents leaves a disturbing impact on the families of civilians and the community,” said Almut Rochowanski, the coordinator of the New York based Chechnya Advocacy Network, which works for migrants from the North Caucasus region.

She alleged that the Russian troops constantly detain Chechens illegally, torture and beat them, subject them to enforced disappearances and kill them in custody.

“Similarly, the fear of strikes carried by Chechen insurgents in Chechnya and Russia has made the lives of ordinary Russians miserable,” she said.

Narrating her interactions with a few Russians, whose identity she did not reveal, Rochowanski said when insurgents attacked the parliament, a woman who had turned 23 that day wondered if she would be killed on her birthday.

She said another woman used to meet her friends in the center of Grozny until a suicide bomber blew himself up at that popular gathering point. Now she is afraid to wait there for her friends.

Political analysts believe Russia has mishandled Chechnya and the attacks in its mainland were a result of this mishandling.

“When the Russian empire under the Czar was expanding, many empires in the North Caucasus fought the Czar,” said William Fierman, who teaches political science at IU. “Strangely, Russia is now punishing them for resistance shown decades ago.”

Other Russia watchers blame the U.S. and the world bodies for maintaining “criminal silence” over human rights violations in Chechnya.

“Though the U.S. and Russia are archrivals, the U.S. has been supporting Russia’s genocidal war on Chechens,” said Amy Bedford, who has done her research at IU on Chechen conflict. “Billions of U.S. dollars flow to Russia through International Monetary Fund, which Russia uses to crush the rebellious Chechens.”

Russia is getting billions of dollars from the IMF to overcome economic crisis in the country.

However, various experts believe Moscow diverts those funds to carry military operations in Chechnya and its Muslim dominated adjoining regions like Dagestan and Ingushetia.

Hadji and Pryazhkina said they wish to see an end of the Russian-Chechen conflict and the blurring of the Russian-Chechen divide so that, unlike them, others do not grow up in war but peace.

Pyrazhkina said most of her classmates were unaware of what exactly was happening in Chechnya or Russia.

“I feel bad about it,” she said. “I blame Russian authorities and media for it as they blackout all the news from the region (Chechnya).”

Pyrazhkina said when she was in Russia, as a part of her undergraduate project she visited Russian soldiers injured in Chechnya.

“Some of them had lost their legs,” she said. “Nobody likes war and these soldiers don’t know why exactly they are fighting.”

Hadji too said violence was taking neither Chechens nor Russians anywhere.

“I’m away from home and when I hear about the killings of fellow Chechens, my heart bleeds,” she said.

Hadji said when her friends ask her why she was sad, she is not fully able to make them understand.

“It is hard for someone living in peace to understand what’s happening in a war zone,” she said.

Hadji said there were a handful of Chechens in the U.S. and most of them were living in different corners of the country.

“As a result, we are not even able to come together and do something to protest against the killings,” Hadji said. “All we do is protest through social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and post videos on Youtube.”

Hadji said a dialogue between Moscow and Chechen leaders was the only way forward.

“Russia should send interlocutors to talk with Chechen leaders,” she said. “We need an agreement for brining peace.”

Hadji like Pyrazhkina is fed up being witness to violence.

“The bloodbath should end,” said Hadji while Pyrazhkina said, “Violence is not benefitting anyone.”

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Britain authorises 'three-parent' babies

February 05, 2015

Britain became the first country in the world to allow the creation of babies with DNA from three people after MPs voted for the controversial procedure.

Lawmakers at the House Commons voted by 382 to 128, a majority of 254, in favour of allowing the creation of in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) babies with DNA from three people, a move aimed at preventing serious inherited diseases being passed on from mother to son.



‘13% of 51% qualified Saudi women employed’

February 05, 2015

Among 51 percent of Saudi women who are well qualified to work, only 13 percent are employed in the public and private sectors, local media reported. Many of the qualified women hold bachelor degrees.

Women bachelor degree holders account for 64 percent of the total number of graduates from the Kingdom’s universities, and 51 percent of the total number of graduates of Saudi universities and overseas scholarship holders are pursuing diploma, BA, MA and PhD studies.

Experts attribute the poor participation of Saudi women in the labor markets to many factors, mainly the social factor and the reluctance of certain sectors to employ them because of inadequate work environments for them.

Nawaf Dhubaib, an expert and member of the Arabian Society for Human Resources Management, said the Saudi society is still hesitating to allow women to work.

“Therefore, it is not fair to compare male and female graduates and the proportion of their participation in the work force. Many women choose, by their own free will, not to go out and work,” he explained.

He added that this social trend is clearly reflected on the decision-making process of officials. “When the Saudi society demanded the feminization of shops, the decision-makers responded immediately. With the increasing demand for employing women, many sectors are willing to offer them job opportunities.”

Women today want more financial independence, especially as family expenses are on the rise and so they are coming forward to work, he said, adding that sectors that are more likely to provide job opportunities for women in the future include health and services.

“The private sector is faster than the public sector in creating job opportunities for women because its investment sector looks for higher employee productivity,” he said.

He explained that the studies conducted 10 years ago on the levels of productivity of employees showed the superiority of Saudi women, probably because they desperately want to maintain and hold on to their jobs in view of limited employment opportunities available for them.

Mohammad Al-Khunaizi, member of the Committee on Human Resources in Shoura Council, agrees with Dhubaib in that the social factor is the main reason for the poor participation of Saudi women in the labor market, in addition to other factors.

“The government sector did not provide many job opportunities for women either. Here in the council we issued many recommendations to encourage women’s employment,” he said.

He added that the inability to enact harassment laws has discouraged women to come forward and work in mixed environments. “Work environment is still raw, and the salaries in the private sector are low and are not encouraging enough for women to venture out and take up jobs, which has led mainly to the spread of ‘ghost’ employment,” he explained.



Jailed girl a symbol of Palestinian anger, grief

February 05, 2015

BEITIN — A 14-year-old schoolgirl jailed for trying to attack Israeli soldiers has become a symbol of Palestinian anger over the arrests of children in the occupied territories.

The two-month sentence for Malak Al-Khatib, who was accused of stone-throwing and possession of a knife, has unleashed a wave of solidarity and support among Palestinians.

"My heart broke when I saw her in court, cuffed and shackled," her mother Khawla Al-Khatib told AFP from her home in the town of Beitin near Ramallah.

"I brought in a coat for her to wear because it was cold, but the judge refused to let her have it," the distressed 50-year-old said.

Israeli forces arrest about 1,000 children every year in the occupied West Bank, often on charges of stone-throwing, according to rights group Defense for Children International Palestine (DCI Palestine). But the case of Malak has brought countless media organizations flocking to her family's door and attracted more public attention than most. The difference — she is a girl.

The Palestinian Prisoners' Club estimates that 200 Palestinian minors are held in Israeli prisons, but only four are girls, and Malak is the youngest.

Amani Sarahna, spokeswoman for the Ramallah-based organization, said it was the first time in years that four female minors were held in Israeli jails, out of the 6,500 Palestinians incarcerated.

Following Malak's arrest, the Palestinian leadership sent a letter to the United Nations denouncing the Israeli practice of "seizing children in the dead of night", detaining Palestinian children "for extended periods of time" and subjecting them to "psychological and physical torture".

A picture of Malak's face framed in black hair, her dark eyes staring squarely into the camera, has been circulating in social media and Palestinian newspapers. "I don't know why a state like Israel, with the most powerful weapons at its disposal, is pursuing my 14-year-old daughter," Malak's father Ali Al-Khatib said.

"They accused her of trying to stab a soldier. Really? A child against an armed and heavily equipped solider, a grown man?" he asked incredulously.

The father-of-eight said his daughter was arrested on her way home from school in Beitin on Dec. 31.

According to the indictment served at a military court, Malak had "picked up a stone" to throw at cars on route 60, which is near the village and serves Israeli settlers as well as Palestinians.

The indictment, citing five Israeli officials, said Malak was in possession of a knife which she intended to use to stab security personnel in the case of her arrest. As well as the jail term she was fined $1,500.

In a report released in February 2013, the UN children's agency UNICEF criticized Israel for its treatment of arrested Palestinian children, saying their interrogation mixes "intimidation, threats and physical violence, with the clear purpose of forcing the child to confess."

"Children have been threatened with death, physical violence, solitary confinement and sexual assault, against themselves or a family member," the report said. After three weeks in custody Malak was brought before an Israeli military court and sentenced to prison.

"Every year, between 500 and 700 Palestinian children are tried before Israeli military courts," said DCI Palestine's Ayed Abu Qteish.

Qteish said Israeli military law allows the prosecution of children from as young as 12, which UNICEF says is unique to the Jewish state.

Israeli military courts normally refuse bail and rely primarily on the children's confessions, UNICEF says.

An Israeli military spokeswoman told AFP that Malak was convicted after a plea bargain. "Rock throwing is an extremely dangerous crime, which has maimed and killed Israeli civilians in the past," she added.

Malak's father thinks his daughter's confession counts for little.

"A 14-year-old girl surrounded by Israeli soldiers will admit to anything," he said bitterly. "She would admit to holding a nuclear weapon if she were accused."



Pak: Woman, daughters gunned down inside car

February 05, 2015

LAHORE  - A man gunned down a woman and her two daughters before shooting himself in his head inside a car parked near Qaddafi cricket stadium in Gulberg area on Wednesday evening.

“The man was sitting on the rear seat of the car while the mother was on the driving seat.

He opened fire on the woman and her daughters from the rear seat,” Lahore CCPO Muhammad Amin Wains told The Nation.

However, police are yet to ascertain the motives behind the shooting, which triggered panic in the commercial locality.

Identified as Bashir, the 35-year-old killer is said to be the “family friend” of the 45-year-old Farida and her husband Younus.

Residents of Baghbanpura, Farida and her daughters Saira (26) died on the spot while Maira (24) was rushed to the Services Hospital where she expired later.

Bashir was also lying dead inside the car when the police reached the spot.

Edhi ambulance service shifted the bodies to the morgue for autopsy.

An eyewitness told the police that a man and three women were sitting in the car outside Haroon Gift shop near the stadium when he suddenly opened fire on the woman after a brief altercation over some dispute.

Heavy police contingents including senior officers rushed to spot soon after the incident.

The police sealed off the area and diverted the traffic towards adjacent roads.

The police have also recovered a pistol from the car, Suzukii Cultus (LEC-11-7159).

Officials of the Punjab Forensic Science Agency (PFSA) also visited the crime scene and collected fingerprints and other circumstantial evidences.

A police investigator said that they were working on different lines to establish motives behind the gruesome killing.

Apparently, the man killed the woman and her daughters over some personal grudge,” the officer explained.

He also added that Bashir was the friend of Younis, father of the deceased girls.

Further investigations were underway till filing of this report.

EXPLOSION: A two-year-old girl was burnt to death while four members of her family were injured when the gas cylinder exploded at a house in Shahdara Town.

Police said on Wednesday that resident of Faisal Park, Gullnar Bano, was cooking breakfast in the kitchen when the gas cylinder exploded because of leakage.

Resultantly, her two-year-old daughter died on the spot.

Gullnaz and her three children also sustained burns and were rushed to Mayo hospital.



Dr Shuzra Mansib to contest by-poll in NA-137

February 05, 2015

LAHORE: Dr Shuzra Mansib Ali Kharl will contest by-elections on the PML-N ticket in NA-137 Nankana Sahib.

The seat fell vacant on account of demise of Rai Mansab Ali Khan Kharl, father of Dr Shuzra who has been named successor of her father and also announced unanimous candidate of the Kharl family and notables of the area for the by-elections.

Shuzra has launched campaign for the election which will take place on March 15. Rai Muhammad Usman Khan Kharl, spokesman for the Kharl family, informing about Dr Shuzra said that she is highly qualified lady who has done doctorate in English literature from Glasgow University, UK.–Staff Reporter



Prema and Reema, a dream about a new life that turned into the nightmare of prostitution

February 05, 2015

Mumbai (AsiaNews) - The Asian Movement of Women Religious against Human Trafficking (AMRAT) want to raise "awareness about human trafficking all over Asia, in today's globalised world, involving girls and young women who fall into this way of life."

The association represents the combined efforts of female religious orders in South Asian countries (Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka) in the fight against human trafficking.

Out of 30 million "new slaves" estimated worldwide, almost half are in India alone. According to the latest government figures, 4,566 known people fell into the trap of trafficking in 2013. However, the actual number is much higher. The state with the worst record is Rajasthan (1,190), followed by Delhi (864), Tamil Nadu (762) and Maharashtra (630).

During the same period, complaints were filed in 1,657 cases, most of them (944) involving children and girls who were abducted (or bought) to be sold into prostitution, used as forced labourer or maimed for begging.

Currently, the Church in India and across Asia is observing a novena dedicated to Saint Bakhita (from 30 January to 7 February), ahead of the first International Day of prayer and reflection against human trafficking (8 February).

"Our prayers are also for the conversion of the traffickers, who perpetrate and profit from this evil, as well as for users who nurture it," AMRAT Secretary General Sister Rita Mascarenhas FMA told AsiaNews. "We also pray for government leaders, politicians and government officials, that they may deal with the system that allows human trafficking to happen."

In what follows, the nun, who belongs to the Salesian Order of Don Bosco, describes to AsiaNews the story of two young women who were saved with the help of the Christian group.

Sister Emilda came back from Delhi to Ranchi with two young women, both grade 12 graduates. Prema and Reema are distant relatives. The pair, along with two other young women, were brought to Delhi by their friend Namitha, lured by promises of office work.

Namitha goes back and forth from Delhi regularly. She likes flashy clothes, and lures young women with phony job offers, benefits and salaries. Her lifestyle and the city lights have dazzled many of her victims.

On 23 July 23, the two young women were taken to a flat in Delhi, which Namitha described as an employment agency. However, once inside they were locked up, their belongings stolen along with their papers. However, Prema was able to conceal her mobile phone, which she had turned off.

Namitha gets 5,000 rupees per woman she is able to "recruit". Prema and Reema said that they were almost 400, both adult and underage, in the place where they were taken, a big flat, with a bar and many rooms. The women came from different states, but mostly from Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Orissa and West Bengal.

The young women found themselves in an appalling situation. Trafficking in girls and women went on there, day and night. The men who hanged out at the place mistreated them if they refused to obey. The two women were given spiked drinks and drugged food. They were also sexually abused. However, in view of the situation, Prema and Reema refused to eat and prayed instead.

On the second day, Reema was sold to a man from Ahmedabad. She was supposed to leave the next day, but she refused. Her handlers threatened her in a locked room. They also tried to woo her with promises of shopping. At the same time, Prema kept on saying that she wanted to go with Reema.

In the end, they tried to escape using the ruse of shopping. When they fled, they took the mobile phone. With it, Prema managed to call her mother and a neighbour, who urged them to get into a crowded street and shout for help. Following his advice, they ran into a street shouting. 

At that moment, a rickshaw driver stopped to help them. After listening to their terrible story, he took them to Anand Vihar Railway Terminal in Delhi and gave them 600 rupees. With the money, they bought two tickets for Ranchi in order to flee.

As they waited at the railway station, they saw Sister Emilda, a nun from the (Anglican) Society of the Sisters of Bethany who was also waiting for the train to Ranchi. They recognised her religious affiliation from her habit because one of the two young women had studied at a Bethany school.

The two approached the nun and told her their story. Sister Emilda was with the daughter of their driver, whom she was taking for admission to a boarding school.

Touched by their suffering, the nun helped them after they left for Ranchi. She fed them, clothed them and gave them shelter at her nunnery in the city. This put the two young women at ease. After a week, for the first time, the two felt safe and free from fear. Sister Emilda did everything to protect them, and was eventually able to take them home.

In this particular case, the trafficker was called Namitha, a young woman with a junior college education. She is the second wife of Saif (an invented name), a Muslim man. He is the main link and key person in trafficking from Jharkhand.

As an ethnic Santal, Namitha can easily visit tribal villages. She is very persuasive with young women, both educated and uneducated, captivated by tantalising stories about good jobs, a comfortable life and so on.

Namitha knows how to work on them, getting them ready psychologically, before she takes them to transit points in the main district towns. Here the victims are kept for a while, treated well, cared for, and further enticed by even better stories about their future prospects.

Eventually, Saif and Namitha take their prey to Delhi to another transit point where they are kept until they are sold to buyers.

It is really distressing to know that in Delhi there are hundreds of such transit points, invisible to most, where the lives of the innocent and their families are destroyed.,-a-dream-about-a-new-life-that-turned-into-the-nightmare-of-prostitution-33375.html