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Islam, Women and Feminism ( 6 May 2013, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Khudai Khidmatgaar Pushing Haryana Panchayats to Pass Resolution against Female Feticide



An all-women MQM rally in Karachi — File Photo

 Khudai Khidmatgaar Pushing Haryana Panchayats to Pass Resolution against Female Feticide

CAIR Urges to Call Company behind ‘Terrorist Girl’ Greeting Card To Condemn

Patriarchy Makes It Impossible To Apply Pro-Women Laws in Pakistan

Southeast Asia: Sex Workers' Art Exhibition Supported By the U N

A Glance at Sindh’s Female Election Hopefuls

Racial Attack on Muslim Women in Edinburgh

Khurshid Begum: The Woman Who Defied the Taliban Threats

Mini Garment Factory, Big Help to Poor Women in Bangladesh

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL:http://www.newageislam.com/islam,-women-and-feminism/new-age-islam-news-bureau/khudai-khidmatgaar-pushing-haryana-panchayats-to-pass-resolution-against-female-feticide/d/11458

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Khudai Khidmatgaar Pushing Haryana Panchayats to Pass Resolution against Female Feticide

May 6, 2013

New Delhi, May 6: Noorpur gram panchayat of Ambala will pass first resolution against female feticide on 7th May. This will be the result of a campaign launched by Khudai Khidmatgaar and other social groups to push gram Panchayats to become active on the issue to ensure participation of the society in the movement against the menace.

“Without involving all sections of society, we cannot eliminate social evils such as female feticide. It is not simply an issue of legality or politics; it is above all a social problem that requires strong will and mass campaigns,” said Faisal Khan of Khudai Khidmatgaar. His campaign against female feticide in Haryana is striving to involve students from schools and colleges, cultural groups, social and religious leaders, and respectable people from every walk of life.

“From 7th May 2013, we are starting passing resolution on the issue of Kanya Bhooran Hatya, by Gram Panchayats in Haryana. Noorpur village of Ambala will pass the first resolution in an open meeting of Panchayat,” said Faisal Khan.

In first phase, the campaign will be vigorously pursued till 31st December 2013. During this period, the social groups that include Beti Bachao Abhiyan. Khudai Khidmatgaar, NAPM and Asha Parivar will try to impress at least 300 Panchayats each from Haryana and Punjab to pass the resolution that they would not allow any female feticide within their village.

“In a country where we talk of Ahmisa and humanity, the barbaric practice of female feticide must stop,” said Khan.

http://muslimmirror.com/eng/16189/

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CAIR Urges to Call Company behind ‘Terrorist Girl’ Greeting Card To Condemn

Patrick Howley

 05/06/2013

The civil liberties advocacy organization the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) urged its supporters to hit the phones to condemn the company behind a provocative greeting card that makes light of radical Islamic terrorism.

CAIR’s Chicago chapter first noticed a greeting card sold in a Chicago store that depicts a talking doll wearing a Muslim Hijab and features expressions like “She’ll Love You to Death,” “Pull string for message…if you dare,” and “Hope Your Birthday is a Blow Out!”

CAIR sent an email to supporters urging a phone-call campaign against the company behind the card, the Hoboken, N.J.-based humorous greeting card publisher Noble works.

“Contact the makers of the greetings card and let them know that you do NOT think that stereotyping Muslim women and girls is OK. Ask them if they would get a chuckle out of their daughters growing up exposed to messaging that criminalizes their basic identity for profit,” CAIR wrote in its email, in which it published a phone number for Noble works.

“(CAIR-Chicago has written an official letter to the company sharing its concerns.) As always, be firm and polite,” CAIR wrote.

The controversial design is credited to Noble works president Ron Kanfi.

Noble works, which licenses the work of more than twenty artists, features cards designed by New Yorker staff cartoonist Tom Cheney, whose cartoons for the company occasionally err on the bawdier side.

Noble works also produces a line of “Urban Dictionary” greeting cards, “Fuck Cancer” cards, and risque humorous “Naughty Cards.”

CAIR was co-founded in 1994 by Omar Ahmad, who reportedly once said that “Islam isn’t in America to be equal to any other faith, but to become dominant.” CAIR recently called for hate crime charges to be pressed against a passenger who allegedly assaulted a Virginia cabdriver for being Muslim.

http://dailycaller.com/2013/05/06/muslim-group-urges-supporters-to-call-company-behind-terrorist-girl-greeting-card/

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Patriarchy Makes It Impossible To Apply Pro-Women Laws in Pakistan

May 07, 2013

KARACHI: The previous government remains historic in terms of empowering women and fight against violence and discrimination by unanimously passing bills to stop anti-women practices.

This was stated at a round table dialogue with the press held on Monday. The attendees also discussed the issue related to pro-women legislation and expectations from the upcoming assemblies. Media people shared their experiences in terms of professional capacity, training issues and mindset of the owners to deal with women’s issues via reporting and coverage.

Emphasising the need for political parties to play an effective role in the implementation of laws, they resolved that political will through good governance is a prerequisite for women empowerment and protection.

SCF chief Javed Soz briefed media people about The Acid Control and Acid Crime Prevention Act, Prevention of Anti-Women Practices, Amendments in rape cases in Hudood Ordinance Act, Sexual harassment at Workplace and Domestic Violence National Bill.

Zulfiqar Halepoto said that good governance could play a vital role in empowering women, especially to boost their economic status. Presenting some case studies from rural Sindh he said that violence against women is rampant and incidents of early marriages, domestic violence and honor killing are frequent in the province, however, the state is not addressing these issues as a political priority.

He further opined that social media could play a very active role in spreading awareness. This time around, political parties, even the progressive ones reduced the number of tickets for their women members, which shows a non-serious attitude, he said.

Punhal Saryo of Hari Porhyat Council said that the state is responsible for implementing laws, but the patriarchal mindset prevalent among political parties makes it impossible to put into practice the decree.

He said that the feudal composition of society is also one of the hurdles, and there is a dire need for legislation to bring more women to the mainstream.

Journalist Manzoor Chandio said that there is a need to train and sensitise media on such laws, so that women issues could be highlighted and addressed by state actors.

Senior media persons Imdad Soomro, Zulfqar Rajpar, Sahar Majid, Ali Memon, and others attended the meeting.

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2013\05\07\story_7-5-2013_pg7_27

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Southeast Asia: Sex Workers' Art Exhibition Supported By the U N

7 May 2013

Richard S. Ehrlich

Southeast Asian sex workers, supported by the United Nations, exhibited their paintings, photographs and multimedia depicting violence, oral sex, repression under Islamic Sharia law and other personal experiences.

"Here in the corner, you see a scene of a blowjob," Vanessa Ho said in an interview, pointing at a complex painting created by a sex worker named Dhivithra in Singapore.

"In the second scene, you see someone negotiating money as well as safe sex," said Ms. Ho, program coordinator of Project X, which she described as a "human rights-based organization for sex workers in Singapore."

The painting also displays "handcuffs on a pair of arms, symbolizing how the sex workers are constantly being criminalized," she said.

"You see some sex workers who just focus on money, and other sex workers keen to find love in their life. And in the bigger story here, on the [painting's] right-hand side, is of the wedding."

The solo Singaporean entry at the art exhibition was painted by a sex worker "inspired" by an older prostitute's true story.

The older woman "managed to find love in her life from a man who doesn't mind that she's a sex worker, and they got married," Ms. Ho said.

The exhibition was displayed for 10 days in April at the Bangkok Art and Culture Center, which is a modern, multi-story gallery and shopping mall for edgy creations by Thais and others.

The show was supported by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), which also provided brief "media training" to the exhibitors, so they could practice responding to possible questions by reporters.

Several UNDP officials attended the opening, which was presided over by Clifton Cortez, UNDP's Bangkok-based HIV/AIDS Health and Development Regional Practice Leader.

Empower Foundation, a Thai organization founded in 1985 and led by sex workers, staged the exhibition under Mr. Cortez's UNDP portfolio, the show's officials said.

The show was headlined: "Yet Still We Dance! Sex Workers of ASEAN Art Exhibition."

ASEAN refers to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and includes Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. The exhibition also included East Timor.

A Thai National Human Rights Commission member and former senator, Jon Ungphakorn, introduced the show with a speech about human rights and legal problems for Southeast Asia's sex workers.

The exhibition described discrimination against sex workers, and their struggle for equal rights.

Prostitution is common, but illegal, in most Southeast Asian countries, although legal in Singapore, Ms. Ho said.

At the exhibition, sex workers from Muslim-majority Malaysia displayed clever photographs satirizing the country's Islamic Sharia law.

A Muslim woman who identified herself in an interview as Selvi, said her sex workers' advocacy organization PAMT Malaysia hired a photographer to portray prostitutes acting out their daily problems.

Asked if she was a sex worker, Selvi declined to answer, but said she helped manage PAMT's financial support from The Global Fund.

In one dramatic photo, a Muslim female official wearing a traditional Islamic headscarf, approaches a transgender sex worker dressed as a woman in a restaurant.

"Female? TG?" the Sharia official asks in the photo's voice caption, demanding to know if the sex worker is a woman or a transgender person.

"Shit! The religious people are here!" the distraught Malaysian transgender sex worker says in another voice caption.

Selvi, giggling, said she donned the blue headscarf and acted as the Sharia official in the photo, while other sex workers also appeared in the restaurant scene.

"A transgender cannot wear a dress," in many Malaysian states, because Sharia law forbids a person who was born as a male from appearing as a female in public, Selvi said.

"We put the picture up like that, so people can see what is going on," she said.

In Malaysia's capital Kuala Lumpur, however, Sharia law is not enforced, Selvi said.

The Philippine Sex Worker Collective also exhibited photographs.

"In the Philippines, some feminists claim to save us from being exploited by men, the [Catholic] church wants to save our souls, and the [Philippines] government wants to project an image that the U.S. government approves of," the group's statement said.

The exhibition's entry by sex workers from communist Laos included naive paintings of faces on mirrors.

"We have painted our image on these mirrors because we want to be really seen, not just looked at," the Sao Lao group of artists said in their statement.

The Alliance Myanmar AIDS group displayed paintings which sex workers had designed and then commissioned professional artists to complete.

A female prostitute from Myanmar, a country also known as Burma, said in an interview the paintings show "the feeling of the fear and the violence that sex workers are facing right now in Myanmar."

Thailand's Empower organization contributed a fun and popular collection of head-sized paper bags, illustrated with hand-painted comical faces.

Visitors can select a bag, put it on their own head, and have their photograph taken by a professional cameraman who instantly prints the photo and pastes it on a wall alongside other people's bag-headed portraits.

Empower said it was "hurt" when sex workers covered their faces, "as if we were criminal," when spotlighted by the media.

Empower hoped the bags would change that behavior and perception.

"I think other people may want to join us inside these beautiful bags," Empower said.

The Vietnamese Network of Sex Workers exhibited an "effigy" as a demonstration "against discrimination."

"Condoms, sticking on the hat, mean the sex workers consider condoms as our protection weapon," their statement said.

"There are three, colored, smiling condoms...expressing connection among sex workers in three regions -- north, middle and south -- of Vietnam," they said.

The exhibit by the Cambodian Women's Network for Unity noted it was "ignored by rescuers, donors and law makers."

East Timor's Scarlet Timor Collective offered a "life-size representation of a human body that represents all sex workers being woman, man and transgender."

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Richard S. Ehrlich is a Bangkok-based journalist from San Francisco, California, reporting news from Asia since 1978, and recipient of Columbia University's Foreign Correspondent's Award. He is a co-author of three non-fiction books about Thailand, including "Hello My Big Big Honey!" Love Letters to Bangkok Bar Girls and Their Revealing Interviews; 60 Stories of Royal Lineage; and Chronicle of Thailand: Headline News Since 1946. Mr. Ehrlich also contributed to the final chapter, Ceremonies and Regalia, in a new book titled King Bhumibol Adulyadej, A Life's Work: Thailand's Monarchy in Perspective.

http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL1305/S00042/southeast-asia-sex-workers-art-exhibition.htm

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A Glance at Sindh’s Female Election Hopefuls

07/05/2013

Sindh has a long history of producing strong and well-known female politicians. Jethi Tulsidas Sipahimalani and Jenubai G. Allana were among the first women who won Sindh Assembly seats on general tickets, in the pre-partition era. Sipahimalani, who went on to become deputy speaker, played a significant role as a freedom fighter crusading for the rights of Sindhis in India after Partition. After Partition, Sindh produced several female politicians including Begum Ashraf Abbasi, Begum Nusrat Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto. Benazir became the first female prime minister in the Muslim World and Begum Bhutto remained her senior minister. Begum Abbasi became the first woman deputy speaker of the National Assembly.The first woman speaker, Dr Fehmida Mirza, hails from Badin district. Dr Mirza is contesting again on a general seat. Below are brief profiles of the female candidates who are contesting general seats in the 2013 elections.

Fehmida Mirza

Fehmida Mirza, 57, was the 18th Speaker of the National Assembly during the previous government’s tenure. She is the first woman to hold the office to date. Mirza hails from an influential Sindhi family and graduated from Liaquat Medial University in 1982 after which she practiced medicine. Before entering politics, Mirza was a successful businesswoman and leading chief executive of an advertising company based in Karachi, which focused on agricultural development in the country. The former speaker joined PPP as recently as 1997. Her father, Qazi Abdul Majeed Abid had been a former federal and provincial minister while her uncle, Qazi Mohammad Akbar, was a long serving provincial minister. Both brothers were owners of the influential Sindhi paper Ibrat. Mirza is the aunt of Pir Mazharul Haq, the former provincial education minister. Her husband, Zulfiqar Mirza, was previously Sindh’s controversial home minister and once a close friend of President Asif Ali Zardari.

Azra Fazal Pechuho

Azra Fazal Pechuho, 57, a physician, is the younger sister of President Zardari and an influential PPP leader. She has been in the National Assembly since 2002, but was not a household name until Benazir’s assassination in 2007. She then became the chancellor of Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science and Technology (SZABIST). Before that her name popped up in the media when her car was fired on in Nawabshah in 2006 during a by-election. Later in the PPP government, Altaf Unnar, a former provincial minister, was arrested on the charge of being behind the attack and remained locked up for years, but is now free and a PPP candidate from Larkana.

Faryal Talpur

Faryal Talpur is another sister of President Zardari. Talpur participated in the Pakistani presidential election, 2007 as a PPP nominee and became an MNA for the first time after winning a by-election in the traditional constituency of Benazir Bhutto. Before that she was mayor of Benazirabad district. According to a WikiLeaks diplomatic cables leak in November 2010, fearing attempts on his life, President Zardari told ambassador Anne W. Patterson that in the event he were to be assassinated, he had instructed his son Bilawal Bhutto Zardari(who, along with Zardari, is the co-chairman of the PPP) to appoint Ms. Talpur as the president. In August 2009, Ms. Talpur and her husband Munawar, a former provincial minister, were appointed custodians of Benazir’s property and guardian of her children.

Sassui Palijo

Sassui Palijo, 37, is a young liberal politician belonging to the PPP and a writer who writes in Sindhi. She was fielded for the first time on a general seat from Mirpur Sakro of district Thatta’s PS-85 in 2002 that she won the second time in 2008 by a landslide once again. In 2008, she was the only directly elected female assembly member in Sindh out of 168 assembly members. She served as  the provincial minister for culture in the last cabinet. She holds a BA degree from the University of Sindh and a law degree from London.Palijo has been an active rights campaigner. She was jailed several times during Musharraf’s regime in Islamabad, Thatta, Karachi, Lahore and Thar for protesting against military rule. Palijo’s mother, Akhtar Baloch, was the first female Pakistani political worker who was arrested during General Ayub Khan’s martial law. Her grandmother, the late Zarina Baloch was an eminent writer, folk singer, teacher, actress, novelist and a political activist. Her father Ghulam Qadir Palijo, has been an MPA twice.

Marvi Memon

Marvi Memon is contesting a general seat for the first time, and that too from Sindh. The last time Memon held a seat in the National Assembly was on a reserved seat for women from Punjab. To the dissatisfaction of PML-Q’s Punjab cadres, they were the party who sent her to the lower house and then had to see her resign from both party membership and the NA seat in 2011.Memon was deeply disappointed over the party’s decision to be part of the ruling coalition and refused to follow the party line in the passage of the 2012 budget. Memon, 41, is now a vocal PML-N leader and is contesting election on the NA-237 Thatta seat against PPP’s Shams Nisa Memon and MQM’s Heer Soho. She is also contesting on a provincial assembly seat against President Zardari’s foster brother Awais Muzaffar Tappi.Born in Karachi, Memon was schooled in Karachi and Paris and graduated from London School of Economics (LSE) with a major in International Relations. She became the youngest female CEO by launching the country’s first satellite tracking fleet management venture. She then joined Pakistan Television to advise on media management during Musharraf’s tenure. She also worked in the ISPR before finally jumping into active politics by joining the then King’s Party, the PML-Q.

Heer Soho

Heer Soho belongs to Thatta and is contesting general elections against Marvi Memon. She belongs to a family known for being active in leftist politics in the 1970s and 80s. Her father Ismail and uncle Ibrahim have been associated with progressive parties and had been jailed frequently during Ayub Khan and Ziaul Haq’s regimes. Both have now quit politics. Heer first became a Sindh Assembly member on a women’s reserved seat on an MQM ticket and it is the first time she is contesting on a general ticket.

Khushbakht Shujaat

Khushbakht Shujaat was born on November 01, 1948 in Bhopal, India. Shujaat received a Masters degree in Journalism from Karachi University in 1975. She gained fame as an anchorperson on Pakistan Television three decades ago. She has been elected as an MNA from NA-250 in the general elections on a Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) ticket. She heads the party’s cultural and literacy forum. Shujaat is married and the mother of two daughters and two sons. Besides her illustrious career as a television anchor and teacher, she is known for her debating skills. She enjoys reading, music and gardening in her leisure time.

Shazia Marri

Shazia Marri is contesting on a National Assembly seat for the first time in general elections. Previously she grabbed a seat in the Sindh Assembly on a reserved seat won by the PPP in 2002 and 2008. She was nominated and selected as a member of the National Assembly after the death of Fauzia Wahab to represent the PPP. Previously, she was the provincial minister for information and culture. Her grandfather Ali Mohammad Marri was an MP in the Sindh Assembly before the Partition of British India. Her father Ata Mohammad Marri was an MNA and a deputy speaker of Sindh Assembly. Her mother Perveen Ata Marri was an MPA as well.

Saniya Naz

Saniya Naz, 28, is the first woman contesting a provincial assembly seat from Lyari. She belongs to a working class family and is the daughter of a carpenter living on D.D. Chaudhry Road of Lyari, which was once regarded the ‘Vietnam of Pakistan’ for its resistance against dictatorial regimes. It now notoriously holds the unwanted label of ‘Colombia of Karachi’. Sania does not hide the fact that her loyalties lie with Uzair Jan Baloch, who headed the defunct Peoples Amn Committee. She oversees the Women’s Education Programme in Lyari Resource Centre housed in the famous Football House.

Veeru Kohli

Veeru Kohli is the first woman from her community who is going to contest on a general provincial assembly seat PS-50 (Hyderabad Rural). She is excited to run for a place in the Sindh Assembly so that her dream can be realised: To end bonded slavery everywhere she can. Residing in a dingy mud hut in the impoverished Hoosri neighbourhood of Hyderabad, Kohli lives with her family of agriculture workers. The 47-year-old woman previously lived her life as a bonded labour, who escaped in dramatic circumstances from captivity and then got her family and co-workers freed after staging a three-day sit-in inside a police station. She now works relentlessly to get others freed from private jails.

Hajiani Lanjo

Hajiani Lanjo is the daughter of a landless peasant from a village close to Mithi where Thar district houses its headquarters. The 35-year-old woman is the first female of her family to receive a college education. She has been a member of several non-governmental organisations before joining the Sindhiani Tehrik, the women’s wing of Sindhi nationalist leader Ayaz Latif Palijo’s Awami Tehrik. She is contesting on a National Assembly seat against the mighty Arbabs’ candidate Naimatullah, nephew of Arbab Ghulam Rahim, and PPP’s influential Sher Mohammad Bilalani. Lanjo fearlessly complained to the election commission against Arbab Rahim, former Sindh chief minister, for humiliating women in a recent public statement. Her constituents believe there are small chances of her success, but they are happy to see a woman challenging the area’s influential feudal lords.

Saba Bhatti

Saba Bhatti is just 26-years-old and one of the youngest candidates in the country. Like Veeru and Lanjo, she has no political past or family to ensure her winning PS-3 of Pano Aqil in Ghotki district. Her mother, however, was a municipality councillor a few years back. She is an independent candidate contesting against PPP’s influential Ikramullah Dharejo and independent Pappu Chachar. Saba’s sole motto for elections is to fight against her district’s infamous reputation as a part of Sindh where, more than anywhere else in the province, feudal lords enjoy the final word with complete control over the life of their constituents. She has slim chances of winning but is considered a symbolic and significant challenge to the status quo.

Women’s history in the NA

Except for three women who won National Assembly seats four times from urban constituencies since the country’s first elections 43 years ago, the other 51 seats held by women belonged to those who emerged from rural constituencies. Women have won in the general elections for the Lower House just 51 times. These include 15 women who won it 36 times in total. The rest had their stint just once. Benazir Bhutto and her mother Begum Nusrat Bhutto won the seats four times consecutively from 1988 to 1997, while Dr Fehmida Mirza and Terminal Daultana won three times. Benazir went on to become the country’s youngest and first female prime minister, while Dr Mirza created history by becoming the National Assembly’s first female speaker.Those who won twice from their constituencies were: Begum Ashraf Abbasi, Begum Naseem Wali Khan, Begum Abida Hussain, Begum Majeeda Wyne, Ghulam Bibi Bharwana, Saima Akhtar Bharwana, Hina Rabbani Khar, Samina Khalid Ghurki, Faryal Talpur, Azra Fazal Pechuho and Shamshad Bachani.Ghurki was the first woman to be elected from the country’s urban Lahore constituency in 2002. She extended her winning streak in 2008 when Raheela Baloch from Faisalabad and Khushbakht Shujaat from Karachi were also elected on general seats. Begum Ashraf Abbasi became the first female deputy speaker of the National Assembly in 1988. Begum Naseem Wali Khan remained the only woman from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to win a direct election. So was the case with Zubaida Jalal of Balochistan who won a seat from Makran in 2002.The ones who have been elected just once so far are: Naseem Majeed, Shahnaz Javed, Rifat Javed, Sumera Mmalik, Rubina Shaheen Wattoo, Khalida Mohsin Qureshi, Saira Tarar, Firdous Ashiq Awan, Sumera Naz, Natasha Daultana and Khadija Bibi. Despite the fact that a majority of the women contesting in the general elections were from rural constituencies, yet their background clearly suggested that none of them came from underprivileged families. All of them belonged either to rich and powerful families of politicians or were related to dominant feudal lords whose ambitions in politics had begun to unfold. Figures like the Bhutto women and Begum Naseem Wali were themselves party icons with an enormous following.

http://dawn.com/2013/05/06/a-glance-at-sindhs-female-election-hopefuls/

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Racial Attack on Muslim Women in Edinburgh

07/05/2013

HIJAB headscarves were torn off two Muslim women during one of a spate of racist attacks in Edinburgh by children as young as eight, police said yesterday.

The women, in their early 20s, are said to have been “traumatised” by the incident which happened last week, in which two children hurled racial abuse at them before ripping off the Hijabs. The culprits are believed to be aged eight and 14.

Full report at:

http://www.scotsman.com/news/racial-attack-on-muslim-women-1-2921652

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Khurshid Begum: The Woman Who Defied the Taliban Threats

By Waqas Naeem

May 7, 2013

ISLAMABAD:  Khurshid Begum Saeed’s admission into Parliament was fairly easy: the Awami National Party was compiling a list of women candidates for reserved seats in 2008 but did not have enough with a Bachelor’s degree. Someone suggested Khurshid Begum’s name and the rest is history.

However, while the entry was a smooth process, the ride has been anything but.

On May 16, 2012, she and her husband Saeed Shah, both ANP politicians from Kohat, were attacked by gunmen. Two persons were killed in the attack but the couple survived. This happened again on November 15.

Following the attacks, Shah received threats from militants warning him against his wife’s profession. “Tell your wife to sit at home or face the consequences,” read one message.

Khurshid Begum, however, remains undeterred. “Politics is the pinnacle of public service. I’m going to step outside to serve my people,” she said.

This time, she is running for a general seat – NA-14 (Kohat) — from ANP’s platform. Although her campaign has been suffering because of the Taliban’s threat to her party, she continues holding small gatherings and corner meetings in the villages of Kohat. “There are some people who are scared but overall the morale of the voters is high,” she said. “When they see a woman campaigning, they are encouraged to vote.”

There are some areas in NA-14 where women have never voted before and Khurshid Begum is trying to turn that around. “These women are not aware of the importance of their votes,” she said. “I’ve convinced them that by voting they can play a major part in improving the conditions of their area.”

Full report at:

http://tribune.com.pk/story/545467/khurshid-begum-the-woman-who-defied-the-taliban-threats/

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Mini Garment Factory, Big Help to Poor Women in Bangladesh

MAY 07, 2013

Ultra-poor women of remote Galna char in Phulchhari upazila of Gaibandha work at the mini garment factory set up by a local voluntary body. PHOTO: STAR

Dozens of underprivileged women at Galna char (landmass emerged from riverbed) of the Jamuna River in Phulchhari upazila under the district have gained self-reliance through working at a mini garment factory, thanks to the initiative of local voluntary organisation SKS Foundation.

Around 900 people belonging to 200 families in the remote char island live very poor life, depending on fishing, collecting firewood, and seasonal work as farm labourer.

Often male members of the families go to other places in search of work like that of farm labourer and rickshaw puller.

In 2010, SKS Foundation arranged training on garments production for 20 poor women and provided loan of Tk 2 lakh 88 thousand to form a cooperative and set up a mini garment factory at Golana.

The factory started producing different clothes for women and children and with the marketing facilities provided by SKS Foundation, the items have already gained popularity in char areas of Jamapur district and Phulchhari, Saghata and Sadar upazilas of Gaibandha district.

Full report at:

http://www.thedailystar.net/beta2/news/mini-garment-factory-big-help-to-poor-women/

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  • 4 .

    The prophet pbuh said “only a man of noble character will honour women, and only a man of base intentions will dishonor them. (Kanzul ummal 16/371.)

    He also said “the best among you is he who is best for his family. For my family I am the best of all of you” (Ibne Majah Sunan Kitabun Nikah 1/636)

    I endorse Mrs Sonika Rahman and Mr Ghulam Rasool
    By GHULAM GHAUS غلام غوث 08/05/2013 02:46:15
  • 3 .

    The holy Quran prohibits female feticide.“Kill not your children because of poverty - We provide sustenance for you and for them; (Surah Al An’am 151) 

    “treat them (female) with kindness; for even if you dislike them, it may be that you dislike a thing which Allah has meant for your own abundant good” (4;19)

    By GHULAM GHAUS غلام غوث 08/05/2013 02:44:12
  • 2 .

    Mrs. Sonika Rahman ji, I am in complete agreement with your opinions. Khudai Khidmatgar is doing wonderful by pushing Haryana panchayats to pass resolution against female feticide. I have worked for Khudai Khidmatgar for a couple of months. They work on social issues with great interest and enthusiasm having an avid passion of social revolution imbibed by Forntier Gandhi Khan Abdu Ghaffar Khan.

    As for female feticide, it seems both the modern and civilized world and the uncivilized pre-Islamic Arab society are identical to each other in terms of their attitude towards the girls. Daughters were considered a burden and a symbol of dishonor in those days and they are considered so even today. No laws or resolution can prevent this menace until people realize the true value of  a human life. Islam has especial regards and rewards for those who struggle to protect girls and treat their daughters well. The Quran strongly condemned those who expressed their disapproval and shame on the birth of daughters saying:

    “And when the news of (the birth of) a female (child) is brought to any of them, his face becomes dark, and he is filled with inward grief! He hides himself from the people because of the evil of that whereof he has been informed. Shall he keep her with dishonour or bury her in the earth? Certainly, evil is their decision.”(Surah Al Nahl 58-59)

    The Quran further warns that those burying and killing their daughters will be taken to task:

    “And when the souls shall be joined with their bodies; And when the female (infant) buried alive (as the pagan Arabs used to do) shall be questioned. For what sin she was killed?”(Surah Al Takweer 7-9)

    God also forbids people to kill their children for the fear of poverty:

    “Kill not your children because of poverty - We provide sustenance for you and for them; (Surah Al An’am 151)

    In other Surah, God again asks men to refrain from this inhuman practice. He says:

    “And kill not your children for fear of poverty. We provide for them and for you. Surely, the killing of them is a great sin.” (Surah Al Isra 31)

    By Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi 08/05/2013 01:18:31
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    It is very good news that Khudai Khidmatgar pushing Haryana panchayats to pass resolution against female feticide. Implementation is more important than Resolution and laws. We know female feticide is a very big evil of our society.Every 12 seconds; a baby girl is aborted in India. That's about 7,000 girls killed every day just because they are females. Once the gender of the baby is known, families that are keen to have a baby boy choose to abort the female foetus. Everybody knows that the law on aborting is also strict, but Indian government allows it only under certain circumstances. I would say that Women should come out to protect the baby girl because without involving them no one can stop female feticide.
    As per the Indian Census 2011 report, the sex ratio of India (females per 1000 males) is as follows:
    Average India sex ratio – 933
    Rural sex ratio – 946
    Urban sex ratio – 900
    State with highest female sex ratio – Kerala – 1058
    State with lowest female sex ratio – Haryana – 861
    By Sonika Rahman 08/05/2013 00:24:05