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Lots of Girls Attain Puberty at Age 12, Does It Mean They Can Be Married Off

New Age Islam News Bureau

8 Jul 2012 

 A Lot of Girls Attain Puberty at Age 12, Does It Mean They Can Be Married Off

 Taliban Publicly Execute Woman near Kabul: Officials

 Libya's politicians finally wake up to the power of women

 Bhartiya Muslim Mahila Andolan: Codify Muslim Personal Law

 France Rejects Footballers' Hijab

 Send Me to Pakistan, Haryana Lawyer on Dharna at Attari Demands

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

Photo: A Lot of Girls Attain Puberty at Age 12, Does It Mean They Can Be Married Off



A Lot of Girls Attain Puberty at Age 12, Does It Mean They Can Be Married Off

June 8th 2012,

A Delhi High Court ruling that a Muslim girl can marry once she attains the age of puberty has sharply split the community, with clerics backing the law and virtually everyone else against it.

Muslim religious leaders across the country are pleased with the court edict that based its judgment on the Sharia, the moral code and religious law of Islam. While criminal laws in India apply to all equally, communities are allowed their own personal laws.

“According to Mohammedan law, a girl can marry without the consent of her parents once she attains the age of puberty,” Justices S. Ravindra Bhat and S.P. Garg said recently.

The bench was ruling on a Delhi Muslim girl's contention that she had married on her own free will when she was 15 years old and that her mother's charge that she had been abducted be dropped. She won the case.

Well-known Bengali writer Syed Mustafa Siraj is amongst those who are shocked that a court has given legal sanction for puberty-marriage when the official minimum age to wed in India is 18 for females and 21 for males.

“A lot of girls attain puberty at age 12,” Siraj told IANS in Kolkata. “Does it mean they can be married off when they are barely 12-13? I protest against this ruling.”

Bangalore-based writer Farida Rahamatullah agreed: “Whatever the personal laws of Muslims, Hindus or Christians, it is a crime to let a 15-year-old girl marry and begin a family life when she ought to be studying, playing and dreaming of a career and a job.”

“In fact, the law courts should protect the girls and ensure they exercise the right to marry or not till they turn major at 18 years. Fifteen is too young an age to decide their future as they will be immature, indulgent and vulnerable to the hazards of a family life.”

Patna-based Maulana Anisur Rahman Qasmi, however, hailed the ruling. “There is nothing wrong in it,” he said. Raheem Quraishi, assistant secretary of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board, echoed him. “It is a right decision.”

The Board has been demanding an amendment to the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act to exempt Muslims from it. Under the Shariat Application Act, marriage is one subject where the Sharia should be applicable. The Board has also been impleaded in a case with the Bombay High Court in which parents were booked by police for marrying off their 17-year-old daughter.

“I respect the high court's order,” added Mufti Mohammed Mukarram Ahmed, the Shahi Imam of the Fatehpuri Masjid in Old Delhi. “As per Muslim Personal Law, a 15-year-old girl can marry.”

But they appeared to be isolated with a large majority of urban Muslims as outraged as Syed Mustafa Siraj and Farida Rahamatullah.

Indian Muslim brides sit during a mass marriage ceremony in Mumbai on May 29, 2010.

“This is totally wrong,” cried out Mohammad Shabbir Ansari, an engineer at Noida, which borders Delhi. Homemaker Nazia Umar told IANS: “I am not at all in favor of this decision. Whatever reasons a court may give, Islam does not allow anything that hurts anyone. A 15-year-old is not ready for marriage.”

Noorjahan Safafia Niaz, founder member of the Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan in Mumbai, backed them. “A 15-year-old girl might have reached puberty but she might not be emotionally mature or ready for marriage,” she said.

Taha Moheen, president of the Bangalore Islamic Foundation, warned that the judgment could lead to exploitation and set a bad precedent. He also pointed out that the number of such marriages had declined, especially in urban areas, due to awareness and interventions by community leaders and religious heads opposed to child marriages.

According to the Sharia, a Muslim girl can marry once she attains puberty. Keeping this in view, the British permitted Muslims to marry their daughters when they were 15. Subsequent governments increased the age of marriage for all communities to 18 and then came the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act.

The Board wants Muslims to be exempt from this law. Abdul Azeem, a postgraduate student in Hyderabad, was in favor of the ruling but warned that the Sharia can't be interpreted in bits and pieces. “

The court has said only one part of the Sharia. There are also 'ahadith' (sayings of Prophet Mohammed) that a marriage is not valid without the consent of 'vali' or custodian of the girl.”

“Such one-sided verdicts promote vices. This could encourage girls to violate the limitations set by Sharia, develop illicit relations and revolt against parents.” Aziz Mubaraki, secretary to the Shahi Imam of Kolkata's Tipu Sultan Mosque, went a step further:

“We feel the court should not involve itself in religious matters. We will be guided by the tenets of Islam. We will go by our religious norms, even if there is an overlapping court ruling.”



Taliban Publicly Execute Woman near Kabul: Officials

Kabul:Jul 08, 2012,  A man Afghan officials say is a member of the Taliban shot dead a woman accused of adultery in front of a crowd near Kabul, a video obtained by Reuters showed, a sign that the austere Islamist group dictates law even near the Afghan capital.

In the three-minute video, a turban-clad man approaches a woman kneeling in the dirt and shoots her five times at close range with an automatic rifle, to cheers of jubilation from the 150 or so men watching in a village in Parwan province.

"Allah warns us not to get close to adultery because it's the wrong way," another man says as the shooter gets closer to the woman. "It is the order of Allah that she be executed".

Provincial Governor Basir Salangi said the video, obtained on Saturday, was shot a week ago in the village of Qimchok in Shinwari district, about an hour's drive from Kabul.

Such rare public punishment was a painful reminder to Afghan authorities of the Taliban's 1996-2001 periods in power, and it raised concern about the treatment of Afghan women 11 years into the NATO-led war against Taliban insurgents.

"When I saw this video, I closed my eyes ... The woman was not guilty; the Taliban are guilty," Salangi told Reuters.

When the unnamed woman, most of her body tightly wrapped in a shawl, fell sideways after being shot several times in the head, the spectators chanted: "Long live the Afghan mujahideen! (Islamist fighters)", a name the Taliban use for themselves.

The Taliban could not be reached for comment.

Despite the presence of over 130,000 foreign troops and 300,000 Afghan soldiers and police, the Taliban have managed to resurge beyond their traditional bastions of the south and east, extending their reach into once more peaceful areas like Parwan.

Hard-won women's rights in jeopardy?

Afghan women have won back basic rights in education, voting and work since the Taliban, who deemed them un-Islamic for women, were toppled by US-backed Afghan forces in late 2001.

But fears are rising among Afghan women, some lawmakers and rights activists that such freedoms could be traded away as the Afghan government and the United States pursue talks with the Taliban to secure a peaceful end to the war.

Violence against women has increased sharply in the past year, according to Afghanistan's independent human rights commission. Activists say there is waning interest in women's rights on the part of President Hamid Karzai's government.

"After 10 years (of foreign intervention), and only a few kilometres from Kabul... how could this happen in front of all these people?" female lawmaker Fawzia Koofi said of the public execution in Parwan.

"This is happening under a government that claims to have made so much progress in women's rights, claims to have changed women's lives, and this is unacceptable. It is a huge step backwards," said Koofi, a campaigner for girls' education who wants to run in the 2014 presidential election.

Salangi said two Taliban commanders were sexually involved with the woman in Parwan, either through rape or romantically, and decided to torture her and then kill her to settle a dispute between the two of them.

"They are outlaws, murderers, and like savages they killed the woman," he said, adding that the Taliban exerted considerable sway in his province.

Earlier this week a 30-year-old woman and two of her children were beheaded in eastern Afghanistan by a man police said was her divorced husband, the latest of a string of so-called "honour killings".

Some Afghans still refer to Taliban courts for settling disputes, viewing government bodies as corrupt or unreliable. The courts use sharia (Islamic law), which prescribes punishments such as stonings and executions.



Libya's politicians finally wake up to the power of women

Chris Stephen in Tripoli, 7 July 2012

Voter registration has led even the most conservative parties to join the rush to woo the female electorate

Among the kaleidoscope of political party posters that cover every spare surface in Libya for this weekend's elections, one stands out: that of Al Watan, a hardline Islamist party.

Al Watan is led by Abdul Hakim Bilhaj, the former jihadist fighter who is suing the British government for alleged complicity in his CIA rendition and torture. He is a man not widely known for liberal social values.

However, his posters give the most prominence to a female candidate wearing a modern white jacket and, most extraordinary of all, no hijab – in a country where the ubiquitous headscarf is all but compulsory.

Opinion is divided about whether Bilhaj is truly a convert to feminism, but he has felt the urge to court the female vote. He is not alone. Across the political spectrum, parties – all led by men – have been scrambling to grab a slice of the female vote.

"Initially political parties were opposed to women, now it's changed," said Alaa Murabit, of Voice of Libyan Women, which campaigns for women in politics. "In the past few weeks we have seen men pay attention. They have suddenly become pro-women. How much is honest I don't know."

Two events have caused this seismic shift in what remains a deeply conservative country, where few women drive and female swimsuits are banned.

The first was voter registration. When the elections were organised, the government – which has two women in the cabinet – did not think it necessary to appoint a single woman to its election commission. But when registration numbers began to roll in, it was clear that women were as enthused as men by the first election in more than four decades. More than a million women signed up to vote.

The second event goes by the name Najud al-Kikhia. In May this little-known female politician not only won a seat on the council of Benghazi, Libya's second city, but got more votes than any male candidate. Since then, pollsters have been anxiously reviewing policy, and election posters are the most visible signs: parties of all shades now portray beaming women candidates. "When I went out on the streets for my campaign I heard some say, 'Oh, oh, we are never going to vote for you!'" said Nijad Sharfeddin, who is standing in Tripoli Central for the Muslim Brotherhood's Justice and Development party. "But I want to change this country. Conditions are really bad, there are people living in a house with no windows."

Under Gaddafi, Libya's approach to women's rights verged on the bizarre, with the dictator employing a female state executioner. He kept a contingent of female bodyguards with him at all times, although the lurid murals of scantily clad, bazooka-wielding, Amazonian warriors on the walls of their base in Tripoli gives a clearer idea of his view of women in uniform.

It is clear that last year's revolution produced a change in expectations among men and women. Women's groups were some of the first to form after the eight-month civil war and fierce lobbying this year secured a 10% quota for female candidates in the 200-seat parliament.

When the UN held a conference on women's participation in politics last month in a Tripoli hotel, the hall — the largest the UN could find — was filled to overflowing. As the evening went on, male politicians, including prime minister Abdulrahim el-Keib, felt obliged to make an appearance. Yet expectations among women's groups are modest. "Most women, they will probably ask their families who they should be voting for," said Murabit. "Maybe 15% will vote after studying the politics. But it's something."

However, a male backlash has already begun, with many election posters showing female candidates being defaced and slashed by Salafists. Even among women, there is division. An arts graduate in Misrata, who said she could not give her name in an interview without her father's permission, said most women remained conservative in outlook.

What women want changed were indignities such as being told who to marry, or being met with a barrage of innuendo if they walk into a coffee bar. "I want to wear the hijab," she told me. "What I do not want is some politician telling me I must wear it by law."



Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan: Codify Muslim Personal Law


Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA) has demanded the codification of Muslim Personal Law in the country.

(Ahlul Bayt News Agency) - On Saturday, issues like age of marriage for girls, divorce laws, property laws were deliberated by representatives from 15 states across the country at a national level discussion.

Speaking about the Muslim law, Noorjehan Safia Niaz, founder member, BMMA, said, “There is an urgent need to codify the personal laws for Muslim keeping in mind that Muslim women are largely affected due to the absence of a suitable law. In India, other communities have Personal Laws about the age of marriage, rights of a woman, property rights and other issues, whereas Muslim women are in the lurch and left at the behest of religious leaders for decisions.”

After several meetings across the country, a draft for the codification of Muslim law has been prepared and eventually it will be placed in the Parliament for implementation, she said.

“There have been instances where religious leaders have opposed the discussions on marriage and divorce. But the BMMA demands the implementation of marriage and divorce rules based on the Quran and not on the implications of religious leaders,” Noorjehan stated.

In March, discussion on the draft for Muslim law was held in Koppal and Gulbarga, she said.

‘Congress sees Muslims as vote bank’

Speaking about the Prime Minister’s 15-Point Programme, Zakia Soman, another founder member of the Andolan, said, “The Prime Minister’s 15-Point Programme is an eyewash. Though the programme offers opportunities in the field of employment and education, it has not reached the grassroot level. Muslim community is viewed as a mere vote bank by the UPA and the Congress”.

She pointed out, “According to the programme, 90 districts have been identified as the minority concentrated districts. But the officers at the district headquarters are not aware of the programme. This has been a tremendous let down for the muslims by the UPA. The government has not done much to implement the recommendations of the Sachar Committee Report so far,” she observed.



France Rejects Footballers' Hijab

 OnIslam & Newspapers

CAIRO,  07 July 2012, France’s soccer federation has announced it would not allow hijab for Muslim footballers, refusing a world football governing body FIFA ruling that has allowed women to wear a headscarf in international football matches.

The French Football Association "will not authorize [female] players to wear the scarf,” an official statement was cited by The Telegraph on Saturday, July 7.

On Thursday the FIFA reversed a ban on the Islamic hijab enforced since 2007, notably because the garment did not provide a safety risk if approved headscarves are used with quick-release fasteners.

Last March 2012, the International Football Association Board (IFAB) allowed women players to wear the hijab, a decision the waited ratification by FIFA’s meeting last Thursday.

Later on, IFAB asked for further medical experts’ advice that eased their opposition to the ban on Muslim footballers’ hijab last week.

Though it is a member of the FIFA, the French association confirmed that its decision will apply to those participating in national French selections for international competitions, plus national competitions.

The FFF "needs to respect the constitutional and legal principles of secularism which prevail in our country and which are part of its statutes," said the statement.

In April 2010, FIFA announced that it was planning to ban the Muslim headscarf and other religious outings during the 2012 London Olympics.

Last year, Iran women's football  team were prevented from playing their 2012 Olympic second round qualifying match against Jordan because they refused to remove their hijabs before kickoff.

Iran, who had topped their group in the first round of Olympic qualifiers after going undefeated, were given 3-0 defeats as a penalty which abruptly ended their dreams of qualifying for the London Olympics.


France’s soccer federation’s decision won applauds of French politicians and feminist groups.

"Allowing the headscarf on the fields opens Pandora's Box," Gérald Darmanin conservative Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) deputy, told the French daily Le Figaro.

"This kind of decision accentuates divisions between communities," he added, noting that religion should stay out of sports.

Feminist groups also complained the new FIFA ruling could spread to other sports.

"Today it's soccer. Tomorrow it will be swimming," said feminist activist Asma Guenifi, and president of the group, "Ni Putes Ni Soumis" (Neither Whores Nor Submissive) according to Le Figaro.

The FIFA decision is a "serious step backwards," she added.

Islam sees hijab as an obligatory code of dress, not a religious symbol displaying one’s affiliations.

France banned Muslim women from wearing hijab in public places in 2004 and face-veil in 2011.

Hijab has never posed a problem for veiled Muslim athletes.

Physical Olympic sports such as rugby and taekwondo allow Muslim women to wear the headscarf in competition.

In the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, half a dozen of veiled Egyptians, three Iranians, an Afghan and a Yemeni completed in sprinting, rowing, taekwondo and archery.

During the games, many hijab-clad athletes made it to the medal schedule, including veiled Bahraini sprinter Ruqaya Al-Ghasara, who made history for Muslim women athletes after winning a gold medal at the 2006 West Asian Games.



Send Me to Pakistan, Haryana Lawyer on Dharna at Attari Demands

Yudhvir Rana, TNN

ATTARI:  Jul 8, 2012, Resident of Yamunanagar, Arvinder Kaur is sitting on dharna at Attari international border demanding to send her to Pakistan.

She claims to have been denied justice in India and is willing to move to Pakistan. A lawyer by profession Arvinder Kaur had blamed on an inspector general of Haryana police of molesting her after she approached him in a dowry case against her husband.

She said that she had been fighting for justice for the past 8 years but no one had dared to take action against the senior police official. "Instead I am being threatened and harassed "she claimed while talking to TOI on Sunday.

She said, "I am left with no option except to demand from government to send me to Pakistan." She informed that she had lodged a complaint against IG in 2002 and no action had been taken against the erring police official.

Earlier in the day, she arrived at Attari along with her mother, brother and sister and was handed over to police by Border Security Force.

She said she was educated and knew that going to Pakistan wouldn't bring end to her miseries but she had no other option. Sources told TOI that Arvinder was in a bid to get media limelight by sitting on dharna at Attari in support of her case.