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Morocco's Bouchra Karboubi First Arab Woman To Referee Men's Football Final

New Age Islam News Bureau

14 May 2022

• CNN Arabic Platform Provides Training Dedicated To Female Journalists, Content Creators

• Rise in Abandonment of Muslim Women in Hyderabad

• 'He Elevated Emirati Women's Status': How Sheikh Khalifa Championed Gender Equality

• When Pasoori Dancer Sheema Kermani Used Sari And Dance To Defy Zia Regime In Pakistan

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau



Morocco's Bouchra Karboubi First Arab Woman To Referee Men's Football Final


Bouchra Karboubi


14 May 2022

Morocco's Bouchra Karboubi will become the first woman in the Arab world to referee a men's national football final on Saturday, the sport's local federation said.

The police officer will oversee the final of the Moroccan Throne Cup, delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic, in the city of Agadir.

The North African kingdom's football federation, in a statement carried by local media on Friday announcing her selection, said it was a first in the Arab world.

Karboubi had, however, also been a video referee during February's Africa Cup of Nations final between Senegal and Egypt.

Karboubi, 34, became an international referee in 2016 and was the first woman to referee a top league match in Morocco.

Her deputy will also be a woman, Fatiha Jermoumi.

Saturday's match pits Rabat's AS FAR, the Moroccan Armed Forces club, against Moghreb Atletico de Tetouan (MAT).
Source: Super Sport


CNN Arabic Platform Provides Training Dedicated To Female Journalists, Content Creators


Photo: Emirates News Agency



ABU DHABI, 10th May, 2022 (WAM) -- CNN Arabic’s Her Story (Hikayatoha), a multi-platform editorial and training initiative focused on the many Arab women who are creating an impact in their local communities launched earlier this year, conducted a virtual training programme for female journalists and content creators from different Arab countries.

The programme, in partnership with the Arab Network for Science Journalism, was focused on podcasting.

Samya Ayish, CNN Arabic journalist and producer, conducted the training programme focusing on the different types of audio content, script writing, recordings, montage, and publishing.

Attended by 40 Arab female journalists from the region, the training session started with a brief speech by Caroline Faraj, VP and Editor in Chief of CNN Arabic, followed by a speech from Ahmed Al-Shamir, President of the Arab Network for Scientific Journalism.

The training included the importance of podcasts and audio content in journalism followed by an explanation of the different stages of podcast production including the theme, research, script, recording, montage, and publishing. It underscored how, rather than the techniques, it is more important for podcasts to have a solid theme and also included a session where the trainer addressed the attendees’ questions on podcasting touching on the tools required to launch a podcast.

Following the completion of the training, the participants were provided with the opportunity to pitch proposals and ideas for possible stories and the winning ideas will be commissioned and published on the CNN Arabic Her Story page.

Source: WAM


Rise in Abandonment of Muslim Women in Hyderabad

May 14, 2022

Hyderabad: Almost three years post the ban on instant trip talaq, cases of abandonment are on a steady rise. Recent surveys conducted by NGOs in the Old City show that more and more Muslim women are being subjected to it, with their husbands unwilling to get caught in the legalities of the ban. Helping Hand Foundation, over the last two months collated data on 700 single women – 40% of whom are abandoned. “This is only from the last 60 days. As the survey covers more women, the number is sure to rise. In fact, every third of fourth house has a case of abandonment here,” said Rizwana working with the foundation. Another survey comprising 2,000 women done last year, pegged the percentage of abandoned women at 25 to 30. Tnn

Source: Times Of India


'He elevated Emirati women's status': How Sheikh Khalifa championed gender equality

by Ismail Sebugwaawo

13 May 2022

Members of the Federal National Council (FNC) are mourning the death of the UAE President His HighnessSheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who passed away on May 13.

They hailed him for his visionary leadership, which played a vital role in building the nation and achieving gender parity.

Saqr Ghobash, Speaker of the FNC, said: “The FNC expresses its condolences to the people of the UAE, the Arab and Islamic nations, and the entire world on the death of the UAE President and leader of the empowerment process. We pray to Allah Almighty to rest his soul in eternal peace and grant.”

"We knew Sheikh Khalifa as a wise and inspiring leader, and a caring father to the people of the UAE and world over. His achievements will bear witness to the fact that he has fulfilled the trust and performed it well.”

Women’s participation in UAE’s politics is notably high, as Sheikh Khalifa's government had introduced policy measures to redress the gender imbalance.

The country’s parliamentary body, the FNC’s electoral process, has included women as both voters and candidates right from when elections were introduced in 2006. And since then, the number of women in the FNC has grown tremendously. Currently, the UAE has one of the world’s highest rates of female participation in the government, with women making up 50 per cent of the FNC members.

Within the public sector and governmental employment, as of 2015, women occupy 66 per cent of public sector jobs, one of the highest proportions worldwide. Thirty per cent occupy senior leadership positions associated with decision-making roles.

In 2020, Sheikh Khalifa had issued a decree stipulating equal wages for women and men in the private sector. The decision was aimed at strengthening the country’s regional and international status for upholding gender equality.

FNC member Sara Mohammed Falaknaz says the UAE has lost a visionary and great leader who prioritised women.

“Sheikh Khalifa’s wise leadership greatly helped in elevating Emirati women to all spheres, including great participation in the nation's politics and holding senior leadership positions,” she said.

"Emirati women have been given quality education, tools and capabilities and the chance to lead and participate in the government's decision-making.”

Falaknaz added: "Today, 50 per cent of the FNC is comprised of women. We also see a big number of women in ministerial posts and others heading very important government offices.”

“In 2015, a woman assumed the position of FNC Speaker. Also, many women have headed different parliamentary committees.”

According to Falaknaz, 28 per cent of the current UAE Cabinet comprises women, one of the highest levels of representation in the Middle East and the world.

Dhirar Belhoul Al Falasi, FNC member, said the nation is devastated by the news of Sheikh Khalifa's death.

“His leadership has seen the UAE stride to greater heights economically, socially, politically and all other spheres,” he said.

“Sheikh Khalifa has empowered Emirati women. They are now key in the country's important decision-making and play a prime role in all fields.”

Al Falasi noted that Sheikh Khalifa’s directive, which saw Emirati women occupy half the seats on the FNC, made the UAE one among the few countries with the highest levels of women’s participation in parliament.

FNC member Maryam Majid Bin Theneya said: “May God have mercy on our father and leader, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who is truly the best successor to the best predecessor.

“Sheikh Khalifa completed the path of the late father, Sheikh Zayed, in building the renaissance of the UAE and realising his dream of empowering women, access to space and other development projects that brought the UAE to the ranks of the first countries in the world.”

She said the Sheikh Khalifa’s concern for UAE citizen's interests was the focus of his interest and was manifested in many residential development projects and healthcare centres throughout the country.

“He also implemented many charitable projects that extended beyond the borders of the UAE to include care for every needy in the world.

Source: Khaleej Times


When Pasoori dancer Sheema Kermani used sari and dance to defy Zia regime in Pakistan

by Suanshu Khurana

May 14, 2022

In Pasoori (meaning conflict), Coke Studio’s recent music video in Technicolor that has India and Pakistan bonding over its Punjabi lyrics and pulsating rhythm, one spots a dancer, in a big black bindi and temple-border mustard sari. She comes and goes, swivelling in an old Karachi haveli gracefully, to a mellifluous jugalbandi between Pakistan’s Ali Sethi and Shae Gill, in the latter’s breakthrough debut. Sethi’s lyrics, inspired by the lines Agg laavan teriyaan majbooriyaan nu (set fire to your worries), which he found written on a truck, is layered with interludes on baglama (a long-necked lute used in Ottoman classical music) and electronic drums and octopads.  The composition by Sethi and Zulfiqar “Xulfi” Jabbar Khan, that has crossed all borders, has become a global chart-topper and accrued over 11 crore views on YouTube in the four months since its release.

The song, which speaks of estranged lovers and forces that keep them apart, could well be a metaphor for the two countries. Sethi had composed it a couple of years ago, after he wasn’t allowed in India to collaborate on a project in Mumbai. He knew the music, like all good music, would find its own way. Appearing in the video, Pakistan’s classical dancer Sheema Kermani has become a symbol of harmony, tolerance and freedom of expression, standing for the subcontinent’s composite culture that made space for cultural collaborations despite political differences.

But Pasoori is just a short pit stop in Kermani’s accomplished life in art. She’s also a social activist, a theatre person and runs Tehrik-e-Niswan, a cultural action group that works for women’s movements. “I thought that this (Pasoori) would bring a little sense of classical dance and its root in Pakistan’s younger generation, which I am hoping they might get attracted towards. In Pakistan, there’s very little encouragement by parents or families for their children to come closer to the classical arts,” says Kermani, 70, who was initially apprehensive to be a part of a song whose language (Punjabi) was alien to her, and also because five decades of her work in human rights took on capitalist corporations.

Born in a progressive “army family” in Rawalpindi and raised in Karachi, dance for Kermani began in the ’60s, when the nascent nation was just about finding its feet. She was eight when she began learning Western classical music. But Kermani’s mother, from India’s Hyderabad, who’d learned Bharatanatyam, was keen that her daughter discover the vitality of dance. At home, Kermani would dance to Noor Jehan’s LPs. When she was 13, Kermani enrolled in a Karachi-based dance school run by Guru Ghanshyam and his wife Nilima, who’d been students of Uday Shankar in Almora.

Prospects of a film had taken Ghanshyam to present-day Pakistan in 1952, the film didn’t get made but he stayed back and taught dance. He set up the centre in 1954 when Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy, a patron of the arts who would go on to be Pakistan’s prime minister, attended a performance by Ghanshyam in Karachi. Ghanshyam was neighbours with Suhrawardy in Calcutta in the ’40s and that’s how the two knew each other. Kermani came to him and his wife in 1964 and learnt for two decades, until the early ’80s. General Zia’s military regime deemed dance as un-Islamic and banned it in 1977.  The first TV programme to be banned on PTV was Payal (1978), Kathak dancer Nahid Siddiqui’s show explaining the artform. Later, Siddiqui lived in exile in England, where she taught dance until she returned to Lahore many years later and set up an academy.

Before the Ghanshyams left Karachi for Calcutta, Kermani visited India in 1983 and enrolled herself in the dance programme at Delhi’s Shriram Bharatiya Kala Kendra.  The Indian capital city felt familiar yet distinctive, Kermani began to study Bharatanatyam under Leela Samson, Kathak with Ram Mohan Maharaj, and Odissi with Aloka Panicker and Mayadhar Raut. “Dance felt like freedom for my body, physically and emotionally,” says Kermani.

Kermani kept returning in the ’80s; once with an Indian Council for Cultural Relations scholarship. “I came to imbibe the arts. I had a wonderful time in Delhi. I was sharing a room with a Bangladeshi girl who was there for classical vocals. So, sometimes, I’d go and attend Pt Amarnath’s classes with her. I knew I was not there forever and thus wanted to absorb everything I could. I’d run to every class that I could and attend as many performances as possible in the evening. It turned out to be the most beautiful time of my life,” she says.

In India, wherever she went, she was met with mild curiosity. Since dance was banned in Pakistan, Kermani’s gurus in Delhi would joke if she’d go back and dance in her bathroom. “I never encountered any resentment from anyone. They taught me with a lot of affection and I always felt this dynamic cultural aliveness,” says Kermani, adding, she now encounters bits of aggression while speaking to people in India.

Her sociopolitical awakening happened in the late ’60s, when she was studying fine arts at London’s Croydon College, and found herself in the midst of a social movement (Summer of Love), resurgence of the political left movement, anti-Vietnam-war movement and feminist Kate Millett’s seminal book Sexual Politics (1970). On her return, in 1979, Kermani founded Tehrik-e-Niswan to organise seminars on domestic violence and Aurat Marches.

But dancing wasn’t easy. As the only dancer living in Pakistan through the Zia years, and who frequented India, she was disliked by the government and the men of her country. “When a woman stands up on stage with confidence, is ready to perform, and demands respect from the viewer, the message she is giving is this woman is in control of herself, her life and now they cannot control her; that transference of power is what men find challenging,” she Kermani, who loved a good challenge. “I wanted to perform and do it in a clever way so that I wasn’t caught or arrested,” she chuckles.

Students were always few and far between. Kermani, a Pakistani Muslim woman, would don the banned sari and a bindi, in political defiance and for aesthetics. For years, she would go from one government office to another for no-objection certificates. If she uttered “dance performance”, she wouldn’t get it. “Cultural programme” worked. She didn’t announce her institution as a dance academy but said she was giving movement classes, and eventually used it for protest theatre.

“I’d sometimes perform without the ghungroos (considered haram) because that’s what they had a great objection to,” says Kermani, who improvised to take dance to people. “If I’d been a purist, I wouldn’t have been able to do it all. Since I’ve taken it as a challenge, not as oppression, I’ve been able to fight it,” she says.

Her Sufi dhamal performance at Lal Shahbaz Qalandar shrine in Sehwan Sharif, only days after the 2017 suicide bombing there killed 88 people, found much attention. “I wanted that attack to not change anything, so I went and danced there,” she says. The subcontinent’s “fundamentalism” has been detrimental to its cultural environment. “Religious minorities didn’t feel as discriminated against as they do today. And there’s no other dialogue more impactful than cultural dialogue,” says Kermani, who believes the only way forward is to integrate culture with politics. “Politics of both our countries needs to mean what it should — justice, liberty, equality. And these things can only come about when there’s a conscious cultural change in people’s minds,” she says.

Source: Indian Express




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