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Islam, Women and Feminism ( 24 Aug 2014, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Kurdish Women Soldiers Take On ISIS Forces in Move to Humiliate Terrorists, Being Hailed As Heroes

New Age Islam News Bureau

24 Aug 2014

Uighur women in loose, full-length garments and headscarves associated with conservative Islam visit a market in Alaqagha in western China's Xinjiang province


 Kerala Schools Allowing Head Scarves for Muslim Girls from Class I

 Violence and Threats Prompt More Muslim Women in UK to Wear Veil

 British Lingerie Store Stokes Flames with ISIS Underwear

 Bangladesh Transgender Woman Seeks Legal Recognition

 China Targets Ordinary Uighurs with Beards, Burquas

 Actress Meera Offers Her Services to Persuade PTI and PAT for Ending Sit-Ins

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau





Kurdish Women Soldiers Take On ISIS Forces In Move To Humiliate Terrorists, Being Hailed As Heroes

Aug 24, 2014

There is a new weapon being used against the brutal ISIS forces terrorizing Iraq and Syria. Kurdish women are fighting the Islamic State terrorists and are demonstrating that they are formidable in battle. They also bear a significant psychological advantage – dying at the hand of a woman supposedly means the jihadist won’t get his automatic 70 virgins and go to heaven. Aw.

Battle strategy 101 teaches, “First, know thine enemy.” The Kurdish forces obviously do. ISIS jihadists have clearly demonstrated a collective mentality of an intense devaluation of women. Recent actions have reduced women in their world to little more than sexual slaves. To die at the hand of a woman is the ultimate humiliation for the men who apparently feel no shame for any other reason.

Kurdish women, according to Syria Deeply, are no stranger to fighting in battle, and are “regarded as some of the most liberal in the region.” Because of the violence that women in the area have been suffering at the hands of the Islamic State militants, female Kurdish soldiers have been signing up in increasing numbers to fight back, reports the Wall Street Journal.

The 2nd Peshmerga Battalion is a battalion of fighters – all women – who fight with the Turkish PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party). “Peshmerga” means “those who confront death.” The PKK is based in Turkey, but Kurds are spread throughout the region in parts of Turkey, Syria, Iran, and Iraq.

The PKK has long been classified by United States Intelligence as a terror group due to its actions against the government of Turkey. They do not work together in an official capacity. But the extreme violence of ISIS is making allies out of enemies in an effort to stop a common threat. According to The Mirror, Iraqi terror expert Nasser Kataw notes: “There has been a re-drawing of battlefield alliances as people who were once enemies have joined together to try and defeat the scourge that is the Islamic State.”

These women of the 2nd Peshmerga Battalion are pushing into Iraq in a seek and destroy mission of the ISIS forces “who have captured 3,000 non-Muslim girls and women who will be forced into marriage with IS soldiers, sold as sex slaves [redundancy?] or shot if they refuse to convert to Islam.” The capture of the women and girls follows the decree by the ISIS jihadists that all non-Muslims, primarily Christians and Yazidis, must “convert or die,” as previously reported by The Inquisitr. Most fled. Many have been buried alive or executed. The ones who have survived are now being sought by the Kurdish fighting women.

According to CDN, “Hundreds of heavily armed female Turkish PKK fighters have moved into Northern Iraq to force IS fighters out.”

These warrior women have already proven successful in helping to retake a crucial strategic site earlier in the week, the Mosul dam, in what The Wire is calling “the biggest blow to the radical Sunni group yet.” The Kurdish women are intimidating and fierce. And they hate what ISIS is doing to their people.

Another female soldier, Ruwayda [name changed], fights for a different Kurdish organization, but, like the women of the 2nd Peshmera Battalion, she and other of these Kurdish women are angry about the “jihadists’ repression of women.” She tells Syria Deeply: “I believe in a greater cause, which is protecting our families and our cities from the extremists’ brutality and dark ideas.”

It is the very fact that they are women that they are able to do what no army of military men will ever be able to do, a fact that is somehow reminiscent of Lady Eowyn in The Lord of the Rings, when she defeated the seemingly unstoppable Nazgul who calls her a fool, saying, “No man can kill me.” Her immortal words ring true in this battle against ISIS: “I am no man.” In the words of one Kurdish female PKK soldier, writes the Conservative Tribune:

“The jihadists don’t like fighting women, because if they’re killed by a female, they think they won’t go to heaven.”

A writer for CDN adds: “(note to ISIS fighters: you are not going to heaven anyway.)”

Reaction on Twitter has largely been in praise of these Kurdish women, who are being hailed as heroes:

Perhaps these brave Kurdish warrior women will be able to accomplish, through skill and utter humiliation of their enemy, what others have not: stop the Islamic State.



Kerala schools allowing head scarves for Muslim girls from Class I

TNN | Aug 24, 2014

KOCHI: In a revealing instance of social dynamics in a pluralistic society like Kerala, a growing number of schools run by non-Muslim managements are allowing Muslim girl students to wear the thattam or head scarf from Class I onwards.

Interestingly, Muslim management schools themselves frown on girls wearing scarves at such a young age.

Till recently, schools run by both Muslim and other managements allowed Muslim girls to wear scarves only from Class V. The permission for wearing scarves from Class 1 follows other special measures like the introduction of Islamic Studies and Quran classes and arrangements for Friday prayers by these private schools. It could be an attempt to woo students in areas where Muslim community has a significant presence, though most school managements claim they are bowing to parental pressure.

"Due to increasing demand from Muslim parents that their daughters be allowed to wear scarf from Class I, our management agreed," said Santha Vijayan, principal of Viswadeepti Vidyalaya Public School in Aluva. "We have given permission to wear scarves even in lower classes. However, we have put a condition that they can only wear white or black scarves," said N M George, principal of Toc H Public School at Vyttila. "Ideally, we don't want children in lower classes to wear scarf. But if parents insist, we don't oppose it," said Devamatha CMI Public School principal Fr Shaju Edamana.

In contrast, in Muslim management-run MES School, they have decided not to allow students to wear a scarf till class IV. "There were some parents who protested but we told them that till Class III we follow the Montessori method of education in which we encourage students to wear casual clothes and it is not fair to ask them to wear a scarf," said Asha Byju, principal of MES International School in Pattambi.

Some school authorities are candid enough to admit that this being done to woo Muslim students. "Schools in areas where Muslims are dominant are keen to please parents and ensure student strength. They fear that if they don't allow children to wear scarves from Class I or don't introduce Quran or Islamic studies, then parents would be reluctant to send their children to the school," confederation of Kerala Sahodaya complexes president K Unnikrishnan said.

Women social activists believe that it is unfair to force little girls to wear scarves in the name of religion. "In my youth, I rarely used to see Muslim women in purdah. Through their dressing they depicted innocence. I don't think Islam forces little girls to wear scarves," said social activist Sheeba Ameer.



Violence and threats prompt more Muslim women in UK to wear veil

Aug 24, 2014

When youth worker Sumreen Farooq was abused in a London street, the 18-year-old decided it was time to take a stand -- and she started to wear a headscarf.

Farooq is one of many young Muslim women living in Britain who have, for various reasons, chosen to adopt the headscarf to declare their faith to all around them, despite figures showing rising violence against visibly identifiable Muslims.

For despite a common view that young Muslim women are forced to wear veils by men or their families, studies and interviews point to the opposite in Muslim minority countries where it is often the case that the women themselves choose to cover up.

“I'm going to stand out whatever I do, so I might as well wear the headscarf,” said Farooq, a shop assistant who also volunteers at an Islamic youth center in Leyton, east London.

While just under five percent of Britain's 63 million population are Muslim, there are no official numbers on how many women wear a headscarf or head veil, known as the hijab, or the full-face veil, the niqab, which covers all the face except the eyes. The niqab is usually worn with a head-to-toe robe or abaya.

But anecdotally it seems in recent years that more young women are choosing to wear a headscarf to assert a Muslim identity they feel is under attack and to publicly display their beliefs.

Shanza Ali, 25, a Masters graduate who works for a Muslim-led non-profit organisation in London, said she was born in Pakistan and her Pakistani mother had never worn the veil but both she and her sister Sundas chose to do so aged about 20.

“I decided to make a commitment as a Muslim and I have never stopped since,” Shanza told Reuters in her family home in Walthamstow, east London where prayer mats hang from the walls alongside modern, family portraits.

“Sometimes you forget that you're covering your hair but you never forget why you're covering. You remember, that to you, your character should be more important than your appearance.

“It makes it easier for Muslim women to keep away from things that you don't want to do that would impact your value system. If you don't want to go clubbing, drink, or have relations outside marriage, it can help, but it can also just be a reminder to be a good person and treat others well.”

Shaista Gohir, chairman of the Muslim Women's Network UK, said more women had adopted headscarves since the attacks in the United States on Sept. 11, 2001, and in London on July 7, 2005, put them under greater political and public scrutiny.

“For some young women it is a way of showing they are different and they are Muslim although it is not a Muslim obligation,” she told Reuters.

She said the full-face niqab was a minor phenomenon in Britain, worn by relatively few women, although it had become central to a wider debate in the country about integration and British values.

This was put to the test last year when a judge ruled a Muslim woman could not give evidence at a trial wearing a niqab, sparking debate about whether Britain should follow other European countries and ban full-face veils in public places.

After a national debate, a compromise was reached and it was agreed that the woman could wear the niqab during the trial but not when she was giving evidence.

Modesty in Islam is key for both men and women but most Islamic scholars agree that women adopting a full-face veil is more to do with culture than religion.

But women who publicly display their religion by wearing a scarf of any kind have found they can be targeted for doing so.

Figures released recently from the campaign group Tell MAMA (Measuring Anti-Muslim Attacks) showed the number of attacks against Muslims in Britain was one the rise.

During its first year of monitoring, Tell MAMA recorded 584 anti-Muslim incidents between April 1 2012 and April 30 2013, with about 74 percent of these taking place online.

Of the physical incidents, six in 10, or 58 percent, were against Muslim women and 80 percent of women targeted were visually identifiable by wearing a hijab or niqab.

The number rose to 734 incidents over the 10 months from Mary 2013 to February 2014 with 54 percent of these against women and a total of 599 online. There was a spike in reports in the weeks following the murder of off-duty soldier Lee Rigby in south London in May last year by two British Muslim converts.

“Attacks against visibly dressed Muslim females may not accurately explain away the trend of hate crimes being opportunistic and situational. The data suggests that the alleged perpetrators of anti-Muslim hate crimes at a street-based level, are young white males targeting Muslim women, and that is a cause for concern,” Tell MAMA said in a statement.

Matthew Feldman, co-founder of the Centre for Fascist, Anti-Fascist and Post-Fascist Studies at Teesside University who analyses Tell MAMA data, said the rise in the numbers of attacks could be partly due to more awareness of the reporting process.

“But there is a slight bump in the occurrence of people wearing more visible dress and of victims being women rather than men,” Feldman told Reuters.

“We are seeing an unacceptable rise in the level of anti-Muslim attacks but it does seem there is a pretty small number of violent, hardcore far-right people responsible for a high number of these.”

He said it was surprising but reassuring that the rise in violence against Muslim women had been accompanied by a rise in the number of women adopting the veil.

This was also the conclusion of a study last year by the University of Birmingham that found over 15 years Muslim women had repeatedly been shown to be disproportionately targeted in relation to anti-Muslim hatred as they were identifiable.

None of the women attacked, however, had stopped wearing a veil as a result.

Yasmin Navsa, 17, a student from Hackney in east London, said wearing a hijab made her stand out and made her different.

“In Islam it doesn't say anywhere you have to wear a veil but it's a choice. It's more fashionable now with different colours and styles which makes it more attractive to wear,” Navsa told Reuters in a break from exams.

“I've found it's so common to wear a headscarf now in London that you don't get looked at twice any more but I think wearing a full-face veil would attract some negative comments.”

This approach to adopting the hijab with a view to being identifiably Muslim was typical in Muslim minority nations but not in countries where Muslims are in the majority.

An international study in 2012, conducted in Austria, India, Indonesia and Britain, looked at Muslim women's views on wearing a headscarf in Indonesia which is a Muslim majority society, compared to India that is a Muslim minority.

It found that in a majority, women talked about convenience, fashion, and modesty as reasons for veiling.

But in minority communities, women's responses were more diverse, ranging from religious arguments to convenience and to opposition against stereotypes and discrimination.

“For women in minorities the veil was a way to affirm their cultural identity and a political and resistant way to address negativity about Muslim communities,” said researcher Caroline Howarth, from the London School of Economics.

“This does contradict the view dominant in non-Muslim countries in the West that the female scarf is a symbol of religious fundamentalism and patriarchal oppression.”

Sundas Ali, 29, said her husband, whom she married last year after an introduction between their families, made it clear to her from the outset that wearing the hijab was her decision.

She said some young Muslim women even received kickback from some men for wearing a headscarf as they were seen as “boring, unfashionable, and no fun.”

“There is a misconception that it is the men telling the women what they should wear but for me and all my friends this is just not the case,” Sundas, an Oxford University graduate with a PhD in sociology, told Reuters.

“My husband left it up to me as he doesn't practice ritualistic religion. We both have a mixed identity, our religious, ethnic, and national identities are all important to us. His eastern side really appealed to me but also the fact that he is quite liberal, in an open-minded way. We really are the modern Muslim generation.”



British lingerie store stokes flames with ISIS underwear

August 24, 2014

Designer lingerie retailer Ann Summers has been forced to apologise after it named its latest range of new underwear line after an Egyptian goddess who happens to share a name with Islamic terror group -- ISIS.

According to the company, they had chosen the name Isis for their latest brand of underwear several months ago, before the terrorist organisation came to public prominence.

A spokesperson for Ann Summers said: “We acknowledge the unfortunate timing of this product launch in our store windows, however we in no way support or condone any act of terrorism or violence. We apologise for any offence caused.”



Bangladesh Transgender woman seeks legal recognition

August 24, 2014

Mamun Molla alias Tanisha Yasmin Chaity has been seeking legal recognition as a hijra for nearly a decade. Although born male, she does not identify herself as a male.

Standing 5 feet 6 inches tall and weighing 60kg, she has always been more comfortable identifying as a female.

In her own words, she described herself as a transgender woman. But the law, while it recognises three distinct genders, is ambiguous about the exact status transgender people. The government officially recognised hijra as a third gender on January 26, 2014.

Hijra has traditionally referred to intersex people, referred to by the now obsolete term hermaphrodite, who exhibit physical or genetical variations on the male-female divide. Transgender people on the other hand, are those who are born with one gender and wish to switch to another gender. Some people may be both intersex and transgender.

Gender, which is a social construction, is a question of self-identity. Sex assignment is a question genetics and the physical expression of genitalia.

Chaity has now applied to the National Human Rights Commission chairman seeking permission to be officially recognised as a hijra.

She told the Dhaka Tribune over the telephone that she wanted to live her life as a woman. And she wanted the legal right to use and be addressed by her feminine name. Since the law cannot accommodate a switch from male to female status, Chaity is seeking recognition as a hijra to legitimise her feminine self-identity.

This official recognition would be reflected in all of her official documents and identity papers.

Chaity’s lifestyle, manner of dress, behaviour, and manner of speech are feminine. Two years ago, she underwent surgery to remove her penis. She changed her name in an affidavit from Mamun Molla to Tanisha Yasmin Chaity.

The human rights commission directed the forensic medicine department of Dhaka Medical College (DMC) to carry out the first ever gender identification test in Bangladesh.

The test offered evidence of Chaity’s sex assignment. It was not clear how gender identity would be established from the medical examination.

A four member medical board consisting of two forensic medicine specialists, a gynecologist and an anatomist, headed by Professor Dr Habibuzzaman Chowdhury, head of the forensic medicine department, conducted the examination and submitted the report.

The other board members were Professor Dr Ferdousi Islam, head of the gynaecology department, Professor Dr Shamim Ara, head of the anatomy department and Dr Momtaz Ara, lecturer in forensic medicine at DMC.

When asked about the medical tests, Chaity yesterday said to the Dhaka Tribune over the telephone from Patuakhali: “I don’t understand the law but I want recognition to live my life fully and with dignity.”

Chaity said: “Although I was born a male child, I later found that I had the characteristics of a female. I have already changed my name to Chaity  through an affidavit.”

“Maybe I am genetically male but I am totally female in nature and mind,” she said.

“If the board truly considered my problems they would not recognise me as male. I consider myself a female and I want to live as a female,” she added.

It was learnt that the medical board had conducted both physical and internal tests. The tests included an X-ray of the whole abdomen, karyotyping and an ultrasonogram of the external genital tract.

Professor Dr Habibuzzaman Chowdhury told the Dhaka Tribune it was the most unique test he had ever conducted in his 25 year career as a doctor.

He said the medical tests showed Tanisha Yasmin Chaity was genetically male.

Look back of life

Tanisha Yasmin Chaity was a male baby. She was born in Jadovlakkhikol village of Rajbari district on December 1, 1990. Her parents named her Mamun Molla. Her father’s name is Moslem Molla.

Dr Momtaz Ara, a forensic doctor and a member of the medical board charged with determining Chaity’s gender, told the Dhaka Tribune that Chaity said in her personal statement that while in class eight she felt a difference between herself and the boys.

Her face seemed more feminine and she preferred to express behaviours and attitudes more common among girls than boys. When she was young, Chaity’s penis was very small and she lacked testes, the doctor said.

Finishing school and sitting for the higher secondary examinations was a struggle, Chaity says.

Her father didn’t take Chaity’s gender identification easily. Her father threw her out of the house. She took shelter with the hijra society in Rajbari and continued her schooling from there.

After passing the Secondary School Certificate (SSC) examinations in 2007 she passed her Higher Secondary School Certificate examinations in 2009. Her SSC and HSC certificates list her name as Mamun Molla.

But her voter identification card issued on October 7, 2010, lists her name as Tanisha Yasmin Chaity. On July 7, 2012,  Dr Golam Rahman Shajahan, assistant professor of the burn and plastic surgery unit of Savar Gono University Medical College, performed a surgical operation to remove Chaity’s penis.

On December 9, 2012, Tanisha applied to the Rajbari court to change her name but the court suggested that she undergo a medical test to ascertain her gender.

Chaity applied to the National Human Rights Commission on April 8, 2014, seeking permission to be recognised as a hijra.

Hosne Ara Akhter, additional district and sessions judge, issued a letter on May 15 to the principal of DMC to carry out the necessary tests to ascertain Chaity’s gender identity.

When asked about the problematic results with the identity tests, Chaity yesterday said to the Dhaka Tribune over the phone: “I don’t want to understand the law, I just to be recognised for who I am.”



China targets ordinary Uighurs with beards, Burquas

Aug 24, 2014

AKSU, China (AP) — Outside a mosque in China's restive west, a government-appointed Muslim cleric was dodging a foreign reporter's question about why young men of the Uighur ethnic minority don't have beards when one such youth interrupted.

"Why don't you just tell them the truth?" he shouted to the cleric under the nervous gaze of several police officers who had been tailing the reporters all day in the oasis city of Aksu. "It's because the government doesn't allow beards."

A plainclothes Uighur policeman swiftly rebuked the young man. "Be careful what you say," he warned.

The tense exchange provided a fleeting glimpse of both the extremes of China's restrictions on minority Uighurs and the resentment that simmers beneath the surface in their homeland. Such a mood pervades Xinjiang's south, a vast, mainly rural region that's become a key battleground in the ruling Communist Party's struggle to contain escalating ethnic violence that has killed at least a few hundred people over the past 18 months.

The personal matter of facial hair has taken on heavy political overtones in the Uighur heartland. Also proscribed are certain types of women's headscarves, veils and "jilbabs," loose, full-length garments worn in public. Such restrictions are not new but their enforcement has intensified this year in the wake of attacks Beijing has blamed on religious extremists.

In a recent sweep of Urumqi, the region's capital, authorities last week said they seized 1,265 hijab-type headscarves, 259 jilbabs and even clothes printed with Islamic star-and-crescent symbols. Officials also "rescued" 82 children from studying the Quran, the government said.

The prohibitions on Islamic attire and beards have attracted widespread criticism, with many experts saying such repression angers ordinary Uighurs and risks radicalizing them.

"It's a self-fulfilling prophecy, it's self-perpetuating. The more they crack down on it, the more people re-Islamize. This is a pattern we see all over the world," said Joanne Smith Finley, an expert on Uighurs at Britain's Newcastle University. "The Chinese state has created a growing terrorist threat where previously there was none. It has stimulated an Islamic renewal where there wouldn't necessarily have been one."

A major thrust of the yearlong crackdown on terrorism has been a campaign against religious extremism, with arrests of hundreds of people for watching videos apparently hailing terrorism or extremist ideology. But authorities also are targeting beards, veils and other symbols of religious piety in a campaign that creeps ever farther into Uighurs' daily lives despite official claims that the government respects religious freedom.

"At the moment, we face a very serious, intense and complex situation with fighting terrorism and maintaining stability," a party newspaper, the Xinjiang Daily, said in an edict to "front-line" minority cadres in late July. Officials, it said, must also act to control weddings without singing and dancing and funerals where there are no feasts — referring to Uighur customs the government says Islamic conservatives have barred.

Young Uighur men are discouraged from keeping beards and those who have them are stopped at checkpoints and questioned. So are women who wear Muslim headscarves and veils that obscure their faces. Some public places such as hospitals bar such individuals from entering. Earlier this month, the northern Xinjiang city of Karamay announced that young men with beards and women in Burquas or hijabs would not be allowed on public buses.

In the city of Aksu, Ma Yanfeng, the director of the city's foreign propaganda office, said the government was concerned that Uighurs were being unduly influenced by radical Islamic forces from overseas.

"It's because they have been incited by others to do so," Ma said, noting that traditional dress of Uighur women is multicolored. "Those clothes that are all black are a sign of influence from foreigners like in Turkey and have to do with extremist thinking."

Unlike in Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan or parts of South Asia, veils and abayas are relatively new to Uighurs in Xinjiang, only growing in popularity in recent decades, scholars say.

Uighur historically have used "ikat" textiles with bold patterns and brilliant colors, an aesthetic they share with Uzbeks, Tajiks and other Central Asian cultures. Contemporary Uighur women, especially those in cities, dress like other urbanites though they aren't likely to bare a lot of skin.

Uighurs have been adopting veils and beards in a shift toward more pious lives, partly as symbolic resistance to Chinese rule and partly out of a desire for the egalitarianism associated with Islam to mend social inequalities, said Smith Finley, the Newcastle expert who has studied Uighurs since 1991.

The shift is also in reaction to dashed hopes for independence after bloody riots in 1997 and the ensuing crackdown, she said.

Some Uighurs see their current plight as punishment from God for not being good enough Muslims. They think "if I'm a better Muslim, then the Uighurs as a whole will be better Muslims and our future, our situation, will be better," she said.

Chinese authorities apparently make little distinction between these expressions of piety and the kind of extremism that poses a threat to society.

In May, police in the county of Luntai raided women's dress shops and confiscated jilbabs. A photo on the local government's website showed four male police officers at a shop examining textiles while a woman in a black jilbab, likely a shop assistant or owner, stood in the background watching.

The rubber-stamp legislature in the southern prefecture of Turpan says on its website it is considering a law to impose fines of up to 500 yuan ($80) for wearing veils and cloaks in public. The legislature says the law would help safeguard social stability, cultural security and gender equality and even protect health — because, the proposal says, Burquas deprive skin of sunlight and can cause heatstroke in summer.

Elsewhere, officials have been rounding up dozens of Uighur women to attend indoctrination sessions and to trade their jilbabs and veils for traditional Uighur silk dresses.

"After today's ideological education, I now understand that the jilbab is not our ethnic group's traditional attire, and I recognize that veils and wearing jilbabs is incompatible with Islamic culture and is a backward and bad practice," a woman named Ayiguli Bake was quoted by a local party-run newspaper as saying in a scripted fashion.

But on the streets of Kuqa and Aksu, many women could be seen wearing headscarves that covered their necks, though black cloaks were nowhere in sight and in most instances only elderly men had beards.

Chinese officials probably are targeting outward manifestations of piety because they cannot "fundamentally alter people's inner states," said Gardner Bovingdon, a Xinjiang expert at Indiana University.

"I can't make you stop admiring a more rigorous, scriptural Islam, but I can make you shave off that beard, I can make you take off that scarf," Bovingdon said. "So that's what I'll do."

The authorities' heavy hand has reportedly sparked protests. In the rural town of Alaqagha, 40 kilometers (25 miles) south of Kuqa, police fired into a crowd in May when villagers violently protested the detention of women and girls for wearing headscarves and Islamic robes, according to the U.S. government-funded broadcaster Radio Free Asia.

On a recent evening in Alaqagha, rows of surveillance cameras perched atop street lights watched residents breaking their fasts at a small outdoor market. Pistol-carrying police who were trailing Associated Press journalists kept an eye on the villagers, who included women with headscarves shopping at donkey-drawn fruit carts.

"It's the state's way of saying 'we don't trust you, we see your religion as being something that's inherently of concern to us,'" said Sophie Richardson, China director at Human Rights Watch. "'We are going to treat it as fundamentally problematic behavior, not as the basic right that it is.'"

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.



Actress Meera Offers Her Services to Persuade PTI and PAT for Ending Sit-Ins

August 24, 2014

LAHORE- Renowned actress of Lollywood, Meera has offered the federal government her services to play a role to end sit-ins in Islamabad staged by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and the Pakistan Awami Tehreek.

Meera claimed that in the patronage of government, she could convince chairman PTI, Imran Khan and PAT Chief Allama Qadri to end their sit-ins. She said that people had been facing difficulties in dharnas. She expressed her optimism that Imran Khan and Qadri will accept her request.