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London Mother and Four Children Bound For Syria, Say Police

New Age Islam News Bureau

29 Aug 2015

Palestinian women try to prevent an Israeli soldier from arresting a child during an anti-settlement demo in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh near Ramallah, August 28, 2015. (AFP)


 Girl 'Kills Herself' On Wedding Day Defying Forced Marriage in Bangladesh

 Palestine Women Overpower Israel Soldier Bare-Handed, Rescue Boy

 Bangladesh Child-Marriage Rates Accelerate

 Discourage Your Husbands from Corruption, Sultan of Sokoto Urges Muslim Women

 How Wonder Women is making superheroes in Indonesia

 Pakistan’s Biased Attitudes Plague Women’s Cricket, Says Team Coach

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau




London Mother and Four Children Bound For Syria, Say Police

29 Aug 2015

A mother and her four children have gone missing and are feared to be travelling to Syria.

Police are trying to trace Zahera Tariq, 33, her sons Muhammad, 12, Amaar, 11, Aadid, four and Safiyyah, nine, who were last seen at her home address in Walthamstow, east London, on Tuesday.

They are believed to have flown from London City Airport to Amsterdam later the same day and may now be on their way to Syria, Scotland Yard said.

Commander Richard Walton, from the Metropolitan Police's Counter Terrorism Command, said relatives of the mother are "extremely worried".

He said: "We're concerned about Zahera and her four children and we're doing all we can to work with our partners and colleagues both here and abroad to try and locate them and make sure they are all safe and well.

"Whilst we do have some concerns that Zahera may be thinking of travelling to Syria, there is no current information to suggest that she's already travelled there.

"Her family are extremely worried about her and her three sons and daughter and we would urge anybody with information to contact us as soon as possible."

A family member contacted police on Wednesday to report the family of five missing, and raised concerns they could be on their way to the conflict zone.

Detectives later found the family had been captured on CCTV at London City Airport prior to their flight to the Netherlands.

The children are pictured wearing rucksacks while their mother pushes a trolley loaded with four suitcases.

Zaheera Tariq with her children Muhammad, Amaar, Safiyyah and Aadid - beleived to have travelled to Syria

Relatives of the young family are "extremely worried"  Photo: Metropolitan Police/PA

Several cases have emerged in which women and children from the UK are feared to have gone to parts of Syria controlled by the so-called Islamic State.

In July it was reported that several members of the same family from Luton, including three children, were feared to have travelled to Syria after a holiday in Bangladesh.

Scotland Yard recently confirmed that it believed more than 40 women and girls had travelled to Syria from Britain in the last year.

Ms Tariq is described as an Asian woman of medium build, approximately 5ft 3ins tall, with long black hair.

Her oldest son, Muhammad, is 12 years old and is of medium build, approximately 5ft tall and has medium-length black hair.

Amaar, aged 11, has a skinny build and medium-length black hair. Safiyyah, who is nine, is of skinny build and has long black hair. The youngest son, four year old Aadid, has black hair.

Anyone with information about the family's whereabouts should call the Anti-Terrorist Hotline on 0800 789 321.

Lord Carlile, who acted as the independent reviewer of British anti-terrorist laws, told BBC Radio 5 Live that between 2001 and 2011, "the focus of the Prevent strand was almost entirely on young men.

"Very, very few women were prosecuted for terrorism offences in that period. That has now changed."

He added: "The way in which you reach women is probably very different from the way you reach men.

"Quite a lot of work has been done in various parts of the country. As one Muslim woman who was working in this area said to me on one occasion, 'I do all my work at the school gate'.

"That was a very good example of the sort of place where one can access women and point out to them the dangers and undesirability for their children, at least, of doing what this woman appears to have done."



Girl 'Kills Herself' On Wedding Day Defying Forced Marriage in Bangladesh

August 29, 2015

A girl allegedly committed suicide on what was supposed to be her wedding day yesterday, as her parents set up an arranged marriage for her against her will in Shajahanpur upazila in Bogra.

The deceased was Istiwara Khatun Mira, 17, daughter of Mohosin Pramanik of Shoilodhuki village in the Upazila.

Quoting family, police said Mira was to marry one Jewel Mia of Bogra town, but she was in a relationship with Mojnu Mia, son of a day labourer. She committed suicide as her parents did not accept her relationship with Monju and wanted to marry her off to Jewel.

Talking to The Daily Star, Hasena Begum, Mira's aunt, said they did not accept the relationship because they wanted better for Mira than to for her to be married to be a day labourer's son.

She said they found Mira's body hanging from the ceiling of her bedroom yesterday morning.

Abdul Mannan, officer-in-charge of Shajahanpur Police Station, said an unnatural death case was filed in this connection.

The body was sent to Shaheed Ziaur Rahman Medical College Hospital for an autopsy, said the OC, adding that they would further investigate into the matter.



Palestine women overpower Israel soldier bare-handed, rescue boy

Aug 28, 2015

Israeli soldiers have always been notorious for their brutal attacks against Palestinian civilians, especially children. The photos released on Friday have once against testified to the ferocity and savagery of the regime’s armed forces. However, they also depict the commendable courage of the Palestinian women in the face of Tel Aviv’s cruel inhumanity, bearing witness to the fact that the oppressed Muslim nation will never forgo pursuing its inalienable rights.

Israeli armed forces attacked Palestinians during a protest against Tel Aviv’s illegal settlement activities in the occupied West Bank village of Nabi Saleh near Ramallah on Friday.

The photos from the clashes show that an Israeli soldier tried to arrest a Palestinian boy with a broken arm. The soldier placed the boy in a headlock and held him at gunpoint despite his wounded hand.

Following the attack, the Palestinian women present at the scene courageously rushed to stop the Israeli soldier and rescued the boy.

The Israeli soldier also attacked a girl who was trying to prevent him from further hurting the injured boy.

The Palestinians were rallying against the regime’s plan to confiscate more Palestinian lands to expand illegal settlement units in Neve Tzuf (Halamish).

More than half a million Israelis live in over 120 illegal settlements built since Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East al-Quds in 1967.

A Palestinian protester throws back a tear gas canister at Israeli troops after they attacked Palestinians during an anti-settlement demo near Ramallah, August 28, 2015. (AFP)

Much of the international community regards the Israeli settlements as illegal because the territories were occupied by Israel in 1967, and they are hence subject to the Geneva Conventions, which forbid construction on occupied lands.




28 Aug 2015

Photographer Allison Joyce witnessed one recent wedding between Mohammad Hasamur Rahman, 32, and Nasoin Akhter, 15.

“It’s tradition for the bride to look shy and coy during the wedding,” Joyce explained to The Washington Post. “But I noticed this sadness and unspoken fear and uncertainty even when she was in her room with her friends before the ceremony or at the parlor with her sister (who was also married around the same age). She was withdrawn and quiet.”

Human Rights Watch (HRW) discovered the country ranks fourth in the world in child marriages. Statistics show that “29 percent of Bangladeshi girls married before the age of 15, and 65 percent before the age of 18.”

The group found these factors to be behind the surge in child marriages:

Gender discrimination feeds social attitudes and customs that harm girls at every stage of their lives and fuel the country’s extremely high rate of child marriage. Desperate poverty remains a daily reality for many families in Bangladesh, and many parents see child marriage as their best option to safeguard the future of a daughter they feel they can neither feed nor educate nor protect. Bangladesh’s status as one of the countries in the world most affected by natural disasters and climate change adds an additional element of hardship to many families, especially those living in the most marginal and disaster-affected parts of the country.

Joyce photographed the wedding of 14-year-old Mousammat Akhi Akhter and 27-year-old Mohammad Sujon Mia in 2014. She then performed the same job for Akhter’s 13-year-old sister.

“I photographed the wedding of Akhi’s 13-year-old sister last year, and when I asked her mother why she was marrying her daughter off, she described not feeling comfortable to let her walk to the corner store because she would be harassed by men and boys,” she said, adding:

She also said no boy wants to marry a girl older than 18. If a girl is still single past that age people will ask too many questions. She knew it was wrong to marry very early, but they weren’t from a wealthy family, and she told her daughter’s husband to wear condoms for a few years, so it will be okay. Marriage is seen as a cover of respect and protection for women. By not going to school, it reduces the risk of being sexually active outside the house or be harassed while commuting.

Some people accuse local government officials of assisting the marriages.

“Interviewees consistently described local government officials issuing forged birth certificates showing girls’ ages as over 18, in return for bribes of as little as US$1.30,” claimed the HRW report.

The secular HRW report, however, downplayed the role of Islam, which praises early marriage for girls and also minimizes their cultural and political opportunities. For example, Islam lauds Muhammad, its reputed prophet, as the perfect example of human behavior even though he married a six-year-old girl named Aisha, and had sex with her when she was nine years old.

That example shapes Bangladesh because almost 90 percent of the population is Muslim. “Sometimes imams [Muslim religious leaders] are encouraging child marriage, asking why girls who are 18 or 20 are not married yet,” an activist told the group.

Child marriages gained international attention in 2012 when statistics showed “20% of girls becoming wives before their 15th birthday.”

The BBC interviewed a Bangladeshi girl named Poppy, who was in a cockroach infested hospital. No one knew how old she was, but the hospital believed she was only 12. She was pregnant, but suffered “serious internal injuries which have left her incontinent. It’s caused by giving birth too young and not getting proper medical attention.” Another mother told the BBC that she forced her daughter into marriage “because I love her.”

While the BBC was present, Bangladeshi authorities intervened and threatened prosecution if the mother married off her daughter.



Discourage Your Husbands from Corruption, Sultan of Sokoto Urges Muslim Women

August 28, 2015

The Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Abubakar Sa’ad, has urged Nigerian Muslim women to support the current fight against corruption by discouraging their husbands from engaging in corruption.

The Sultan made the statement on Friday while speaking at the 30th Anniversary of the Federation of Muslim Women Association in Nigeria (FOMWAN) in Ilorin.

The anniversary was celebrated at the Banquet Hall of the University of Ilorin where various Muslim organisations from Ghana, Ivory Coast and the United Kingdom came to felicitate with the Nigerian branch of FOMWAN.

The Sultan pointed out that the change needed in Nigeria should start from home, “for it to be positive and succeed”.

Alhaji Abubakar advised the women to always abide by the dictates of Islam, and not support their husbands who might want to indulge in corrupt practices.

He called on the women to discourage their husbands from unlawful means, if the current change clamoured by Nigerians would be positive.

In his speech, the Kwara State Governor, Abdulfatah Ahmed, also told the gathering that ethnic disunity and religious imbalance in the nation could be traced to lack of good leaders.

He, however, urged the women to hand down good morals to their children, for them to be good and responsible leaders of tomorrow.

Both leaders also called on Nigerians to ensure that the present fight against corruption by the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari was successful.



How Wonder Women is making superheroes in Indonesia

6 Aug 2015

Made up of more than 17,500 islands, Indonesia is a vast country home to roughly 250 million people. But it has its fair share of problems. According to the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), while Indonesia is the largest economy in South East Asia, almost 40 percent of Indonesians are living, "just above the national poverty line," with ethnic minorities and women "more likely to experience poverty."

In addition, IFAD states that, on balance, Indonesian women do not have the same access to education as men, earn less than men, and, "are subject to discrimination and exclusion from decision-making processes within households and communities."

Since 2011 Kopernik, an organisation based in the country, has been on a mission to empower women in rural communities and broaden access to both affordable cooking fuel and electricity through its Wonder Women initiative.

Since the programme started in 2011, more than 300 women have become "micro-social-entrepreneurs," selling around 10,000 clean technology products to their communities. According to Kopernik, the initiative trains the women to sell their communities everything from solar lanterns to clean cook stoves and water filters.

"We distribute life-changing technologies to people who need them, especially in poor parts of the country," Ewa Wojkowska, co-founder and COO of Kopernik, told CNBC's Sustainable Energy.

"The Wonder Women initiative is a network of women micro entrepreneurs who are sales agents."

"Many of them sell technologies door to door or at community events, and others have their own shops that sell basic needs within their communities," Wojkowska said. "We provide… a suite of training to them to give them the skills that they need to succeed in their business enterprise."

"And we also provide the technologies to them on a consignment basis, so this reduces the risk that they enter into when they join the programme," she added.

Kopernik claims on its website that the Wonder Women initiative has helped to cut CO2 emissions, "by more than 5,000 tonnes."

Co-founder Toshi Nakamura said that plans were in place to expand the program.

"We are aiming to partner with an additional 500 women and to reach an additional 250,000 people in the next three years," he said, before adding, "This is one of the core programmes that we have."



Pakistan’s Biased Attitudes Plague Women’s Cricket, Says Team Coach

August 28, 2015

KARACHI: As the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) Women’s Wing announced a 16-member squad for the tour of the West Indies on Thursday, Omar Associates women’s cricket team coach Adnan Jamal is pondering whether to shut down their operations following the snubbing of three promising players — Kainat Imtiaz, Sadia Yousuf and Nahida Khan Bibi — from the touring squad.

Jamal claims that national skipper Sana Mir and the stakeholders of Pakistan women’s cricket — selector Farrukh Zaman and coach Mohtashim Rashid — are biased in their selection of players from his department and has requested the PCB to look into the matter.

“The PCB hasn’t been monitoring the activities in women’s cricket and thus the trio of Sana, Farrukh and Mohtashim are doing whatever they want without any accountability,” Jamal told The Express Tribune. “We are currently in the process of deciding whether to shut down our women’s team, because these biased attitudes are not fair on the players who work extremely hard to get into the national side.”

It is pertinent to mention that previously only ZTBL, Pakistan’s first women’s departmental team, used to supply players for the national side. However, in 2013, Omar Associates also emerged as a strong option to provide opportunities to the players to vie for a place in the national squad.

Since then, the players who have left ZTBL are either subjected to unfair opportunities in the team or are placed in reserve and according to Jamal, the PCB should either ensure transparency in the selection process or end its affiliation with women’s cricket.

“Kainat and Sadia are among Pakistan’s best players but they are being subjected to discrimination only because they play in a different department and can potentially replace senior players,” said Jamal. “If the PCB cannot handle women’s cricket efficiently, then it should end its affiliation with them.”

The other side

One of the stakeholders, Zaman, denied such claims and stated that the team is currently trying out different combinations before the 2016 ICC World Twenty20 scheduled to take place in India, as they will not have time to experiment before the mega event. “There is no discrimination in women’s cricket,” Zaman told The Express Tribune. “We are trying out various combinations for the World Cup because we will not have time before the mega event.  Ayesha Zafar and Diana Baig have not featured in the national side before, while Aliya Riaz has only played three games. These girls require some game time so that we can assess their form.”

Team manager Ayesha Ashar, meanwhile, refused to comment on why the trio was not selected but insisted that the girls should wait for their opportunity to feature in the national side.

“Kainat, Sadia and Nahida all are really talented girls but I cannot answer why they were not selected in the touring squad,” said Ayesha. “That decision lies with the stakeholders. For me all 20 girls are equal and I’m sure they will bounce back from this.”

The women’s team is scheduled to tour the West Indies from October 14 for a series comprising four ODIs and three T20s. Three of the four one-dayers are part of the ICC Women’s Championship, which also serves as a qualification process for the 2017 Women’s World Cup.

The 16-member squad led by Sana is made up of Bismah Maroof, Syeda Nain Abidi, Nida Rashid, Rabiya Shah, Asmavia Iqbal Khokhar, Javeria Wadood, Sania Iqbal, Marina Iqbal, Sumaiya Siddiqui, Sidra Amin, Iram Javed, Diana, Aliya Riaz, Anam Amin and Ayesha.

Reserves include Sidra Nawaz, Nahida, Kainat and Sadia.