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Islam, Women and Feminism ( 26 Nov 2018, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Mujahid Girls Movement Women Want Entry to All Mosques in India

New Age Islam News Bureau

26 Nov 2018

(Image Credit: Twitter), Praises all-over for woman police commander bravado at Chinese consulate



 Mufti of Egypt: Granting Women, Men Equal Inheritance Rights Violates Islamic Sharia

 New Options Spur Saudi Women to Join Workforce

 UK Premier under Fire for Refusing to Grant Pakistani Asia Bibi Asylum

 Woman Police Officer, Suhai Aziz Talpur Recalls Attack on the Chinese Consulate Ordeal

 In Beirut Play, Audience Relives Stories of Rape Survivors

 Violence against Women Is a Universal Problem

 Turkish Police Tear-Gas Women Marching Against Violence

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau




Mujahid Girls Movement Women Want Entry to All Mosques

NOVEMBER 26, 2018

The Muslim Girls and Women’s Movement, popularly known as the Mujahid Girls Movement (MGM), has demanded that women be given entry in all mosques in the State.

A State delegate conference of the MGM, held at Randathani near Kottakkal on Sunday, said that no Islamic teaching prevented women from entering mosques for prayers. The conference warned against those trying to deny the rights of women in the name of tradition. The women pointed out that both the Koran and the Hadith, the ultimate source of Islamic teachings, allowed and encouraged women to pray in mosques. “All mosques in the State should be thrown open to women,” they said.


The meeting also demanded that Muslim women be given representation in the conduct and maintenance of mosques and Mahal committees.

“Women have a vital role to play in the community’s progress, and they should not be sidelined in the name of tradition,” the MGM said.

‘Fight against liquor’

The meeting blamed the government for promoting liquor trade and liquor shops, saying that it was a challenge on women.

It called upon women of all communities to stand united against liquor.

United Religions Initiative’s Asian coordinator and woman activist Qutub Jehan Kidwai inaugurated the conference. MGM State president Khadeeja Nargis presided.

Kerala Nadvathul Mujahideen general secretary Abdul Ali Madani, Ithihadu Shubbanil Mujahideen State president Jabir Amani, Mujahid Students Movement State president Sufyan Abdussathar, and MGM students wing president Tahliyya Mohammedali spoke.



Mufti of Egypt: Granting Women, Men Equal Inheritance Rights Violates Islamic Sharia

Nov. 26, 2018

CAIRO, Nov 26 (MENA) - Mufti of Egypt Shawki Allam stressed on Monday that granting women and men equal inheritance rights violates Islamic Sharia.

In a statement, the Mufti said the concept of gender equality in inheritance is against Islam's teachings.

Islamic Sharia allows men to inherit double what a woman would receive.

In Islam, Ijtihad is not employed where authentic texts (Qur'an and Hadith) are considered unambiguous with regard to the matter in question, he said.

All inheritance laws are detailed in Quran in a clear way, he added.

The remarks came after Tunisia’s president on Monday proposed giving women equal inheritance rights in a clear challenge to Islamic law.



New Options Spur Saudi Women to Join Workforce

November 26, 2018

JEDDAH: Only in a few years ago women in Saudi Arabia were still restricted to working in what we can call the “wrong professions.”

When the Saudi government decided to allow women to work in lingerie shops two years ago, conservatives opposed the decision. The government, however, stuck to its plan and went ahead with the pro-women decision, making sure women can take up jobs of their choice in a suitable working environment that is appropriate for the local culture.

The past two years have brought huge changes. People are no longer shocked to see women working in retails shops. Indeed, it is now commonplace to see Saudi women working as cashiers in shopping malls and taking up jobs that used to be male-dominated areas, such as jewelry shops, electronics stores and in cafes, where their work as waitresses has helped to challenge the negative perceptions of this profession.

These working women started their careers with courage and confidence, proving to society that they are capable of doing anything and are a key element in contributing to the Kingdom’s economy.

“Seeing women working in new jobs plays a part in empowering them and this is what Vision 2030 is aiming for. It is also making people more open-minded about it,” said Sara Maimanat, who is a university student and a full-time barista and waitress at Boho Art Café, a new place in Jeddah.

She said her experience has been wonderful; it brought her a lot of practice and a lot of fun, working here with other female baristas. It’s her first job, and people, including her parents and grandparents, have accepted it. “It brought out my personality,” said Maimanat.

Sara Halawani, another full-time barista in the cafe who works 8 hours a day and 6 days a week, said that her parents were hesitant when she told them she wanted to work as barista and waitress in the coffee shop. However, when they saw her so passionate about coffee, they supported her and gave her the opportunity to try. Her colleague Ayat Dhahi, finished her master’s studies abroad and came back to Saudi Arabia looking for jobs in her field, but struggled to find one. Then she saw an advertisement about a vacancy in a coffee shop for baristas and waitresses.

“My family, especially my brothers, were conservative about it, but when my brother visited me in the coffee shop, he was happy and said he never imagined the environment in a coffee shop would be suitable,” she said.

“I personally feel that I inspired other girls by working as a barista. By our encouraging them, those girls will be motivated to work in these new jobs, which will in turn contribute to the economy of Saudi Arabia,” said Dhahi.

Many women in Saudi Arabia had limited options when looking for work. They worked as teachers or in governmental jobs. But in Vision 2030, Saudi Arabia is committed to increasing the employment rate among Saudi women from 22 to 30 percent. This is beginning to be realized as more women take up new jobs and are given the opportunity to be part of the workforce, part of the Kingdom’s economic wheel of development.

Ghazal Ghunaim, who works in Fauchon, a Paris-based restaurant in Jeddah that opened last month, said that she really likes it when she gets the support of the customers. Most of them tell her and her colleagues how proud they are in seeing Saudi girls working as waitresses. She added saying that she never faced any resistance from her family when she first wanted to work as a waitress.

“The only challenge I faced was with myself. I’m a very shy person, and I have slight difficulties speaking to strangers. However, by working as a waitress I overcame this fear,” said Ghunaim.



UK Premier under Fire for Refusing to Grant Pakistani Asia Bibi Asylum

November 25th, 2018

The fate of Asia Bibi has pitted Home Secretary Sajid Javid against the Prime Minister, with Mr Javid arguing passionately that she should be given refuge in the UK.

But sources say that his plan was thwarted after Ms May was persuaded that letting Bibi claim asylum here would ‘stoke tensions’ among British Muslims.

As the political row rages, The Mail on Sunday today reveals the full extent of the ordeal endured by Ms Bibi, a Roman Catholic from the Punjab province who was given the death sentence in 2010 after she was accused of defiling the name of the Prophet Mohammed.

Our investigation reveals that on the day she was seized by villagers and accused of blasphemy she was paraded through her village with a leather noose around her neck, beaten with sticks by a baying mob during a ‘court’ hearing and told that her life would be spared only if she converted to Islam.

Bibi’s conviction was quashed last month following eight years in solitary confinement after Pakistan’s Supreme Court said the case was based on ‘inconsistent’ evidence.

The acquittal prompted days of demonstrations by thousands of hardline Islamists who demanded she be hanged. Ms Bibi is now in hiding after Imran Khan’s government agreed to allow a petition against the court’s decision as part of a deal to halt the protests.

So instead of being reunited with her five children she is being hunted across Pakistan, forced to scuttle under cover of darkness between safe houses.

Her supporters in the UK have lobbied the Government in vain to offer her asylum in Britain.

It is understood that Mr Javid was backed in his battle by Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, despite the fact his officials said allowing her to take sanctuary in the UK would endanger the security of British diplomats in Islamabad.

A senior Government source said: ‘Sajid was very sceptical about the official advice, and pushed hard for her to be given asylum here. It eventually landed on the Prime Minister’s desk, but she just followed the advice of the officials’.

Last night it was reported that Ms Bibi had been offered asylum by Australia.

Qamar Rafiq, a human rights activist who had campaigned for MS Bibi to be given sanctuary in Britain, said: ‘Not just me, lots of Christians are disappointed by the British Government not allowing her into the UK. A lot of our Muslim friends are also disappointed.’

Joseph Nadim, a Christian activist and a friend of Ms Bibi’s in Pakistan, said Britain should give her and her family asylum, adding: ‘If she stays here longer, she will be killed. I am disappointed they [the UK] have not offered her asylum.’

Ms Bibi was harvesting berries in 2009 when her Muslim co-workers accused her of being unclean, prompting an argument and allegations Ms Bibi blasphemed against Islam, which she strongly denies.

This newspaper has pieced together the terrifying sequence of events which followed: she was taken to a makeshift sharia court and flung at the feet of an imam, who told her: ‘You know what happens to people who insult the Prophet. You can redeem yourself by accepting Islam.’

Asia declined as the crowd began jeering and spitting. She was then whipped with sticks and sandals, leaving her bleeding and semi-conscious. Her life was only saved when a teacher intervened, saying she should be handed over to police.

The Foreign Office said: ‘The UK’s primary concern is for the safety of Asia Bibi and her family. A number of countries are in discussions to provide a safe destination’.

The Home Office declined to comment, while No 10 said: ‘Bibi’s safety is the Prime Minister’s only concern.’

Asia Bibi may have escaped the hangman, but her freedom comes with a heavy price. Today, when she should be reunited with her five children, she is being hunted across Pakistan, forced to scuttle under cover of darkness from one safe house to another in fear of her life.

It is a desperate situation – and one not helped by Britain which refuses to offer the mother-of-five sanctuary.

Last month the Supreme Court in Pakistan decided that Asia, 52, who spent eight years on death row, had been falsely accused of blasphemy against the Prophet Mohammed. While most of the country erupted in fury at her release, nowhere did the anger burn more fiercely than in her home village of Ittan Wali, 40 miles south-east of Lahore, where her extraordinary ordeal began. Following news of her reprieve, women took to the streets to protest, a bus was torched and children ran riot.

Until now, beyond a few sketchy details, little about Asia’s persecution has been forthcoming. But last week The Mail on Sunday travelled to Ittan Wali and interviewed key witnesses, spoke to Asia’s trusted friends and unearthed court documents. What emerged was a story far more shocking than previously imagined.

Our investigation can reveal that, on the day she was seized by villagers and accused of blasphemy:

Asia’s forefathers have lived in Ittan Wali since before the formation of Pakistan in 1947. For decades, they have been the only Christians among 300 Muslim families.

The village is wholly unremarkable – a collection of mud brick single-storey houses and dirt tracks skirted by open sewers – but it was home to Asia. And although she was frequently harassed and entreated to convert to Islam, she refused to budge.

She lived with her husband, Ashiq Masih, and two stepdaughters, one stepson, and two daughters of her own in a single room mud brick house.

Back in 2009, Asia’s husband was working as a labourer in a local brick kiln. But with four children to feed – the couple’s eldest daughter was married – Asia often worked as a farmhand to bring in extra money.

At dawn on June 14, Asia and 25 other women went to work picking falsa berries, similar to blackcurrants, in a field owned by the village’s richest man Muhammad Idrees. She was paid 250 rupees (£1.50) a day.

That morning was a Sunday, so her husband had no work. She left the house quietly, with Ashiq, now 62, and the four children fast asleep on the large bed they all shared.

At midday, when the baking Punjab heat reached 110F (43C), Asia went to a nearby hand pump and returned with a bucket of water to share with her colleagues and a tin cup. Two sisters, Asma Bibi and Mafia Bibi (who aren’t related to Asia), turned on her, saying: ‘This cup was intended for Muslims, why did you take the water from it?’

They said she had made the water impure, because she was ‘chura’, a derogatory term which means ‘low-caste’, used for Christians.

The two sisters then urged Asia to convert to Islam, so she wouldn’t be chura any more – typical of the religious harassment she faced in Ittan Wali all her life.

For once, instead of remaining meekly silent, Asia stood her ground. She said she would not convert, and asked why she, not her co-workers, should change religion.

It has been claimed that she disparaged the Prophet Mohammed during the heated discussion that followed. She emphatically denies this – and insists the allegations were invented to frame her.

If so, it is a scenario familiar to many of the nearly three million Christians in Pakistan, out of a total population of 165 million. The blasphemy laws, it is widely acknowledged, have long been used against them, not as a system of organised persecution, but simply as a way of settling petty disputes.

After the row, Asia ran back home crying and told Ashiq what had happened. He told her not to worry, and he seemed to be correct as there were no further incidents for the next five days.

But on Friday, the Muslim religious day, Asia returned to work in the falsa fields, unaware that a mile away, the village imam, Qari Muhammad Salaam, was stirring up the villagers by announcing on the mosque loudspeakers that she had committed blasphemy.

The first she was aware of any trouble was hearing a low rumble of voices, then the terrifying chant: ‘Kill the Christian!’

She realised the men were coming for her and soon they appeared on a ridge. She had nowhere to run. In a panic, she stumbled, dizzy with fear, and a minute or so later felt hands roughly grab her arms and shoulders while another man fitted a leather noose around her neck.

Hauled to her feet, she was paraded back to the village – led by the leather strap – and taken to a courtyard in the house of the village leader, where more than 100 people had gathered, including imams from neighbouring villages. It seemed that a makeshift sharia court was being convened.

The village imam was flanked by the two sisters and Asia was flung at his feet. He told her: ‘You’ve made derogatory remarks about our Prophet. You know what happens to people who insult the Prophet. You can redeem yourself by accepting Islam.’

Asia protested her innocence and said she did not want to convert. At this, the crowd became increasingly hostile and began jeering and spitting. Asia was then whipped with sticks and sandals. Then, in a form of ritual humiliation, someone smeared her face with black dye while others held her down.

One of Asia’s daughters tried to intervene but was grabbed by her hair and her face smashed against a door. Another daughter, Isham, then nine, could only watch, terrified and powerless.

At one point Asia begged for water but the crowd shouted: ‘No water for the Christian dog.’ Another voice added: ‘Drink urine!’

Then little Isham ran off to look for water and summon her father, who was out working.

By now Asia was badly bleeding and semi-conscious. But when her husband reached the village, he was held back by the mob. Fearing he would be killed, he ran away.

Witnesses said it was clear that villagers would have killed Asia but for the intervention of a teacher who argued that she should be handed to police.

Two officers arrived 45 minutes later and she was taken away and formally charged with blasphemy.

Two days later, Joseph Francis, of the Centre for Legal Aid Assistance and Settlement, a Christian group in Lahore, went to Ittan Wali to investigate.

Villagers told him that Asma and Mafia, previously friends of Asia, were told to argue with her as a way of forcing her to either flee her home or convert to Islam. When The Mail on Sunday visited Ittan Wali last week, we found her house was occupied by another family.

And from the moment of our arrival, our every move was shadowed. It later emerged that villagers had been instructed to tip off police about any Western visitors.

We headed to the imam’s house, next to the mosque. A group of men in their early twenties followed our reporters and stood close by, staring, as we waited for the imam to answer the door. Eventually, a middle-aged man, dressed in a blue shalwar kameez, appeared and walked us to the mosque.

Instructed to sit down on a mat in a courtyard, whose marble floors were caked with dirt, we waited for the imam to appear.

When he joined us he appeared friendly, offering tea and water, though his demeanour changed when Asia’s case was mentioned. He seemed angry at Asia’s reprieve and warned ominously: ‘Everybody is prepared to sacrifice their lives for the respect of the Holy Prophet.’

After Asia was charged with blasphemy, she was transferred to jail in the town of Sheikhupura, about 27 miles away.

In November 2010, she was sentenced to death by hanging in a 30-minute hearing at a court in the town, with no cross-examination of any witnesses. The court erupted with joy as she was sentenced.

The decision was upheld by Lahore High Court in 2014. In her written testimony, Asia insisted that the sisters and the imam conspired in a ‘false, fabricated and fictitious case against me’.

She added: ‘I offered my oath to police on the Bible that I had never passed such derogatory and shameful remarks. I have great respect to [sic] the Holy Prophet as well as the Holy Koran.’

Last month, the Supreme Court acquitted Asia after finding inconsistencies in the evidence of key witnesses, including Asma and Mafia Bibi, and the imam. The judgment said that there was a ‘feast of falsehood’ in their claims.

Joseph Nadim, a friend and guardian of Asia’s family, said that Britain should accept Asia as an asylum seeker, as there is a real danger against her life.

Mr Nadim said: ‘If she stays here longer, she will be killed. I am disappointed that they [the British Government] have not offered her asylum.’

Such is their fear for their safety, Asia’s youngest two daughters wear a niqab veil when they go out so they are not recognised. Isham, 19, and Isha, 23, have previously had to flee a restaurant after being jeered at by other diners.

Because of safety concerns, none of her family were in court in Islamabad to see her freed last month, instead holing up in Lahore.

Mr Nadim recalled that, after the court hearing, he drove to be with them, but got stranded as rioters blockaded all the highways.

‘I had a cross hanging in my car, but I took it down and put it in my pocket. The family were constantly calling me to know if I was OK. I finally made it back.’

Despite the Supreme Court ruling, Asia was still not free to leave the country, as a petition by Qari Salaam was immediately filed against the judgment, demanding that it be reversed on the grounds it was ‘erroneous’.

Pakistan could now face more riots when the petition comes to court, which could be as early as this week. The issue has torn the country apart and two politicians who supported Asia have been assassinated. Punjab governor Salman Taseer was killed by his own bodyguard in January 2011. Three months later, Shahbaz Bhatti, the Minister for Minorities, himself a Christian, was killed by militants.

Choudhury Ranjeet Lal, chief of the village of Youngsonabad, five miles from Ittan Wali and where Asia used to go to church, warned : ‘Asia should leave the country as soon as possible, because if they can kill politicians who defended her, they can easily kill her. The longer she stays, the more likely she will be killed.’

Asia was even kept in solitary confinement on death row because fellow inmates wanted to kill her.

Mr Nadim said that Asia would tell him every Easter when he visited that she had forgiven her accusers. ‘She would say whoever did her wrong, “I must forgive them, and I will not say anything wrong for them ever. This is the teaching of Christ.” ’

While on death row, Asia was offered as much as 500,000 Pakistani rupees [almost £3,000], a huge sum for a farmhand, to convert from Catholicism to Islam with the promise that the charges against her would be dropped.

But she refused, said Mr Nadim, because of her unshakeable Christian faith.

He added: ‘Her faith in God made her strong and stronger. Now she wants to celebrate Christmas with her family in the open air, with sunlight and fresh air. Her children celebrated Christmas with her in prison before, but they could not hug her or kiss her.’



Woman Police Officer, Suhai Aziz Talpur Recalls Attack on the Chinese Consulate Ordeal

NOVEMBER 26, 2018

Suhai Aziz Talpur heard of the attack on the Chinese consulate in Karachi while driving to work. She rushed to the scene to find two of her colleagues dead, and a trio of insurgents attempting to blow their way into the building.

Her fast response and actions during the nearly two-hour assault on the diplomatic mission in the port city have been praised for saving countless lives.”The moment I arrived, an exchange of fire was taking place, blasts had been heard, smoke was emanating,” Talpur, an assistant superintendent of police, said.

Right away, she took up a position to fire at the attackers and began calling for reinforcements.”We started to advance inside the consulate and gradually neutralized the situation,” she said. Since the attack a picture of Talpur holding her pistol, flanked by commandos, has gone viral on social media. Her bravery has also earned her a nomination for the country’s highest award for police officers.

“The real credit goes to assistant sub-inspector Ashraf Dawood and constable Amir Khan who kept the attackers engaged and sacrificed their lives,” she said.

Once the attack ended, Talpur was among the first police officers to enter the mission and began reassuring the staff.”When I entered, there was a Chinese lady and three or four Pakistani men,” she recalled. “The Chinese lady hugged me and I told her ‘you are in safe hands, things are under control’.”



In Beirut Play, Audience Relives Stories of Rape Survivors

November 25, 2018

BEIRUT: As a child, Riham would wake up at night to her half-brother molesting her. Now she is one of seven women recounting their suffering in a play about sexual violence in Lebanon.

Recordings of the women’s voices ring out as the audience moves from room to room in a house in Beirut. Women’s rights group ABAAD put on the play entitled “Shame on who?” this weekend.

In one room, a girl in white tries to stand up but keeps falling. In another, a woman talks to her mother but gets no response.

“I chose the idea of a house because most of these incidents happen from someone very close to the (victims),” said Sahar Assaf, who conceived and directed the play.

“Supposedly, the safest place for a woman should be her house.”

Riham, 35, recalls how she told her mother that her half-brother had abused her for 20 years since she was eight. “She said that I was a liar and that I should never speak of such a thing.”

ABAAD head Ghida Anani said the play sought to empower survivors and encourage victims to report assaults.

The audience relives Ward’s story from the husband’s perspective as an actor paces in a bedroom.

“We got married...but she started getting bothered because I used to like sleeping with her by force. from behind,” he says.

“Once I gave her sleeping pills and tied her up...She couldn’t do anything.”

Lebanon passed a long-awaited law in 2014 against domestic violence. But rights groups were outraged that authorities watered it down so much it fell short of criminalizing marital rape. Child marriage also remains legal.

The United Nations says a third of women worldwide have suffered sexual or physical violence.

A 2017 national ABAAD study found that one in four women have been raped in Lebanon. Less than a quarter of those who faced sexual assault reported it, the survey said.

“I felt that he was an animal eating my flesh,” Hoda, whose neighbor raped her at 14, recalls in a recording in the play.

“If I could turn back time the first thing I would do is go to a forensic physician to get evidence,” she says. “I would refuse to be the victim. He would pay for what he did.”



Violence against Women Is a Universal Problem

November 26, 2018

November 25 is International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. Many Germans like pointing out the mistreatment of women abroad. But in truth, Germany is far from perfect itself, argues Beate Hinrichs.Health Minister Jens Spahn, of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), associates "honor" killings and forced marriages exclusively with immigrants. But is that really the case?

Judging by figures presented by Family Minister Franziska Giffey, domestic violence is in fact widespread in Germany, and not only found among immigrants. Almost 140,000 victims of domestic abuse were recorded by police last year — 82 percent of them were female. The statistics show that 147 individuals died after suffering domestic violence; on average, a woman is killed every two and a half days by a violent husband, partner or ex-partner.

Many cases go unreported. But an estimated one in four women, at some time in their lives, fall victim to physical or sexual violence at the hands of their partner, according a 2004 study commissioned by the Ministry of Family Affairs. The stats also show that domestic violence is not limited to any specific societal group, class or age cohort. So the latest figures on domestic violence, though shocking, don't come as a surprise.

Patriarchal violence a global problem

There is plenty of evidence that domestic violence is a huge problem in Germany. Women's shelters, for example, are at full capacity.

Each year, thousands of women need to be turned away because there is not enough space, because shelters are underfunded or not accessible to all. Germany is permanently breaching the Council of Europe convention on combating domestic violence.

Granted, women's shelters are disproportionately frequented by non-German women. But the reason for this is that they tend to have fewer financial resources and fewer personal resources on whom they can rely for help.

And yes, non-German women do in fact tend to be at higher risk of suffering violent abuse from their partners. On average, one in three non-German women are abused, according to the study by the Ministry of Family Affairs. So does a person's ethnicity or religion explain their propensity for violence? Is Islam to blame? Not at all.

The explanation is much simpler. Men tend to use violence against women when they are unemployed, when money is tight, when the shared apartment is too small or when the future looks bleak. Immigrants in Germany, on average, are more likely to find themselves in grim circumstances like these. #

This does not justify violence against women in the slightest, but does make clear that ethnicity or religious beliefs are not the causal factors at play.

Violence against women can be found everywhere across the world, and it largely correlates with people's material living conditions.

'Honor killings' vs 'family dramas'

And what about the widely publicized "honor killings" that are sometimes, though rarely, perpetrated in Germany? Those are severe crimes, without question. A study by the Max Planck Institute showed that statistically 12 such murders are committed per year out of jealousy or revenge, in order to supposedly restore one's honor.

Most media outlets, however, offer crude, simplistic explanations when such murders happen. For instance, when a Turkish man kills his wife, newspapers will label this an "honor killing." But when a German man does such a thing, there is either no report or only a tiny article that classifies the murder as a "family drama." Instead, the media should call both types of murders what they are: domestic violence, committed by men against women. Nothing more, nothing less.

Pretending that those who commit violence against women are always non-Germans is disingenuous. We should confront the truth and accept that domestic violence is a widespread problem in Germany that isn't exclusive to any particular ethnicity. And that, unfortunately, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women is still a hugely important day in Germany.



Turkish Police Tear-Gas Women Marching Against Violence

NOVEMBER 26, 2018

Riot police in Istanbul on Sunday reacted to marchers marking an international day calling for an end to violence against women by firing tear gas at them.

The police action, launched after officers repeatedly ordered the illegally assembled crowd to disperse, stopped about a thousand demonstrators from marching along Istiklal Avenue, the main shopping street in Turkey’s commercial capital.

Protesters responded by yelling “we will not be silent”, “we are not afraid” and “we will not obey.”

After a tense standoff with shield-wielding officers lasting nearly two hours, the marchers broke off into side streets to shout their slogans before eventually leaving the area.

Turkish authorities rarely give permission for public protests, following big anti-government marches that took place in 2013.

Peaceful protests marking the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women were held in many other cities around the world over the weekend, most of them without police opposition.

“To be a woman in Turkey is to suffer violence from men in all areas of life, whether at work or at home,” one demonstrator, Yasemin Esmer, told AFP.

“We’re here to cry out our feeling of revolt. We are saying we are stronger when united,” said another, a student who didn’t give her name.

Violence against women is a recurrent issue in Turkey, where several hundred femicides are recorded each year.

An association, Stop Femicides, counted 409 murders of women or girls last year, and 328 in 2016.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has frequently condemned violence against women. But associations accuse his conservative, Islamic-rooted government of failing to take sufficient measures to stop it.

Home is most dangerous place for women

Meanwhile, a new UN study says that more than half the women who were murdered worldwide last year were killed by their partners or family members, making home “the most dangerous place for a woman.”

In statistics released on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime calculated that of a total 87,000 female homicide cases worldwide in 2017, some 50,000 – or 58% – were committed by the victims’ intimate partners or family members.

Around 30,000, or 34%, were committed by intimate partners alone.

“This amounts to some six women being killed every hour by people they know,” the Vienna-based body said.

The vast majority – around 80% – of homicide victims worldwide were men, but “women continue to pay the highest price as a result of gender inequality, discrimination and negative stereotypes,” said UNODC chief Yury Fedotov.

“They are also the most likely to be killed by intimate partners and family… making the home the most dangerous place for a woman,” he said.



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