New Age Islam News Bureau
3 March 2015
Shocking: Staff think the graffiti must have been drawn overnight
• 'Attractive Jihadists Can Lure UK Girls to Extremism'
• Majority of Women Over 15 Victims of Violence in Turkey, Survey Shows
• Slaves and Wives of Islamic State Fighters are being Abused and Beaten
• Muslim Women, Post-box: Islamophobic Graffiti Scrawled Across Putney Embankment
• Pak Senate Likely To Clear Bills against Rape, Honour Crime
• Slum Girl To Silver Screen: Phiona Is Uganda’s Chess Prodigy
• UN, Malaysia Groups Seek to Repeal Fatwa Requiring FGM
• Fiji National Council of Women Holds Leaders Workshop
• Muslim Captain Nominated For Woman of Year in Australia
• More Young Muslims Are Calling Us about Islamophobia, Warns Helpline
• Johor Islamic Council Says Not Fashion Police
Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau
Muslim Actors Marrying Hindu Girls Encourages 'Love Jihad': Sadhvi Prachi
03 March, 2015
New Delhi, Mar. 2 (ANI): Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Sadhvi Prachi, who had earlier called for boycotting the movies of actors Salman Khan, Shahrukh Khan and Aamir Khan, sparked a fresh controversy on Monday with her remark that Muslim actors marrying Hindu women in Bollywood encourages 'love jihad'.
"To encourage love jihad, under a conspiracy the Khans have married Hindu women - Sangeeta Bijlani, Malaika Arora, Reena Dutta, Gauri, Kiran Rao. Why do they always find a Hindu girl for themselves? Why don't they have affairs with Muslim girls? We must boycott the Khans," she said in an exclusive conversation with ANI.
The BJP MP from Purkazi Uttar Pradesh had earlier accused the three actors of spreading a culture of violence and had also advised youngsters not to idolise the Khans.
Sadhvi Prachi had also generated controversies last year with her statements on love jihad and for saying that Hindu women should have more than four children to preserve the religion. (ANI)
'Attractive Jihadists Can Lure UK Girls to Extremism'
03 March, 2015
"Attractive" jihadist fighters can be "eye candy" to lure in British Muslim girls, a former extremist has said.
Ayesha - a false name to protect her identity - told BBC Newsnight she was taught to see the UK as "our enemy".
She now rejects that ideology, but said her ex-allies would regard the militant known as "Jihadi John" as an "idol".
Three schoolgirls recently left the UK, apparently to join militants in Syria - leading to questions over why British girls would make that choice.
Ayesha, from the Midlands, is now in her early 20s and said she was first contacted by extremists when she was a student aged 16 or 17.
She said a man sent her a Facebook message saying she was "very attractive" and telling her: "Now's the time to cover that beauty because you're so precious."
Ayesha said the message was "bordering on harassment" but it was the "best way I could have been targeted" because it played on her religious beliefs and told her she would "end up in hell" if she did not obey.
And she said there was glamour as well as fear in what she saw.
"As a teenager I wanted to get my piece of eye candy and I'd take a good look, and all the YouTube videos, for some reason, they [the militants] were all really, really attractive.
"It was glamorous in the sense it was like 'oh wow, I can get someone who practises the same religion as me, who's not necessarily from my ethnicity and that's exciting'."
She added: "It was like, get with him before he dies.
"And then when he dies as a martyr you'll join him in heaven."
Ayesha was radicalised before the rise of Islamic State (IS), which has taken control of parts of Iraq and Syria, and was attracted by al-Qaeda and al-Shabab.
'Don't trust Britain'
"In some of the sermons we were encouraged that we shouldn't identify ourselves as British," she said.
Ayesha said she was told to view Britain as a "kuffar [non-Muslim] nation" that had killed many Muslims and was "our enemy".
"You don't trust the state, you don't trust the police, you don't send your children to state schools," she said.
She said she was told to view British women as "disgusting" and "practically like men".
But Ayesha said she eventually rejected these ideas.
She said the two main things which drove her away from the ideology was that it did "no justice to women" and it said followers "have to go and kill someone that's non-Muslim".
Ayesha said her old associates would praise Mohammed Emwazi - known as "Jihadi John" - the British IS militant who has apparently featured in videos showing the beheading of several Western hostages.
"They'd definitely consider him a role model," she said.
"He is someone they would be really proud of."
Majority of Women Over 15 Victims of Violence in Turkey, Survey Shows
03 March, 2015
A majority of women in Turkey have said they were exposed to sexual or physical violence after they turned 15 years old, according to a survey conducted by the security general directorate.
The violence against both married and single women came from men they were in a close relationship with, including their partners, their families, husband’s family, their relatives, and people from their school or workplace.
The research also revealed crucial details about the level of sexual violence against young girls, with 7 percent of women saying they were exposed to sexual violence when they were less than 15 years old.
Some 30 percent of women who have a high school or higher education level said they were exposed to either physical or sexual violence in their life.
Married women are also victims of violence in Turkey, according to the research. Some 39 percent of married women were exposed to physical violence, while 15 percent of married women were victims of sexual violence across the country. The rate of emotional violence against married women is even higher, at 44 percent.
Almost a quarter of the women surveyed said their husband or partner does not allow them to work.
Some 23 percent of women said their husband or partner forced them to quit their job or prevented them from working.
Slaves and Wives of Islamic State Fighters are being Abused and Beaten
03 March, 2015
Women living in the Islamic State (IS) "capital" city of Raqqa are being coerced into marrying IS fighters, according to the Syrian activist group known as 'Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently' (RBSS). Recent interviews also reveal strict new dress codes and movement restrictions for women living in IS-controlled territory. Applying to all women living in Islamic State territory, any Christian women who may still be living there must also abide by these restrictive orders.
Offering high sums of money to poor families and restricting travel outside of IS-controlled territory, IS fighters are looking for wives. In addition to wives, they also often search for a 'sabaya' (kidnapped slave taken from so-called heretical Muslim communities, as well as non-Muslims).
A pamphlet published by the Islamic State in late 2014 provides guidelines on what is permissible behaviour towards al-Sabi, that is "a woman from among ahl al-harb [the people of war] who has been captured by Muslims". Among these, they specify the provision to beat slaves for discipline, to have sex with unbelieving female captives, as well as stating that "it is permissible to buy, sell, or give as a gift female captives and slaves, for they are merely property". Last summer, Christian and Yazidi women were taken captive and sold off as sex slaves to Islamic State militants as the Jihadis gained a greater stronghold over parts of Iraq and Syria.
In interviews published by The Guardian on 17 February, residents of Mosul, Raqqa and Deir el-Zour revealed that women living in Islamic State territory must dress entirely in black and are ordered to wear double-layered veils that cover the eyes, loose-fitting abayas, and gloves. Women who refuse to comply may be humiliated, beaten or fined, and their husbands may also be punished.
When the rules were first announced, some women objected but to no avail. A paediatrician interviewed from Mosul, Iraq, says: "At the beginning, some female doctors refused to wear veils and went on a strike by staying at home. Hisbah (Islamic State religious police) took ambulances and went to their houses and brought them by force to the hospital."
Even young girls are required to abide by the strict rules for dress. A secondary school student in Deir el-Zour in Syria says, "Though all the teachers in girls' schools are female, neither students nor teachers are allowed to lift the veil of their faces inside the classroom."
In addition to the dress codes, women are not permitted to leave their homes without a male guardian (Mahram). If the women they accompany fail to adhere to the strict dress codes, the Mahram may also be held responsible and punished accordingly.
In a document entitled Women of the Islamic State: Manifesto and Case Study circulated online on 23 January, women are urged to abandon modern fashions and "corrupted" attitudes towards scientific education and working outside the home.
The document provides an outline for education and lifestyle that condemns the frivolity of "the worldly sciences that give no spiritual reward" and instead encourages women to "bring up and educate, protect and care for the next generation to come".
According to the Quillium Foundation, the fact that this document was not translated online by Islamic State supporters shows that this Manifesto is aimed at attracting women from the Gulf (particularly women in Saudi Arabia) to joining the ranks of Islamic State.
"The ideal Islamic community," states the report, "should refrain from becoming caught up in exploring [science], the depths of matter, trying to uncover the secrets of nature and reaching the peaks of architectural sophistication". Although its authors state that "there is no need for her to flit here and there to get degrees and so on, just so she can try to prove that her intelligence is greater than a man's", they also insist that women should not be "illiterate and ignorant"; rather, they must "learn to read and write, about their religion and fiqh [understanding Islamic law]".
Condemning the use of money to enhance female beauty, the authors say that these modern fashions are made enticing by Iblis (the devil) "in fashion shops and beauty salons".
Although women must "stay in your houses" (Qur'an 33:33), the document specifies three situations in which they are allowed to "go out to serve the community", namely: jihad (in the event that there are no men), studying religion, and to serve as female doctors and teachers (providing they abide by shari'a law).
Muslim Women, Post-box: Islamophobic Graffiti Scrawled Across Putney Embankment
03 March, 2015
An Islamophobic mural likening Muslim women to post-boxes has been scrawled across the side of a business in an affluent area of Putney.
The images and words appeared on the side of Morita Telecom Ltd, in Ashlone Wharf, on the Embankment, this morning.
Lee Barker, 25, from Surrey, a partner and director at Morita Telecom, said his 30 members of staff were all very upset and angry.
Managers at the telecommunications company have sent a member of staff, a Muslim woman, home after she became upset.
Mr Barker said: “We have ordered for it to be removed. I think what they are trying to symbolise on one side is a Muslim woman and the other is the post-box and it says the only difference is the colour.
“Especially when I have Muslim staff working for me, I don’t appreciate this kind of thing.
“I’m not sure if we are being targeted. I just don’t understand why it has been sprayed on the side of it.
"It is right near the entrance – where we walk in. I’m quite outraged.
“There have been a lot of problems around here recently – we had boats stolen, then cars being broken into. I’m not sure what’s going on.”
Mr Barker said they had reported it to both the police and the council.
We have contacted the Metropolitan Police for comment.
Pak Senate Likely To Clear Bills against Rape, Honour Crime
03 March, 2015
ISLAMABAD: The upper house of parliament is likely to pass the Anti-Rape (criminal laws amendment) Bill 2014 and Anti-Honour Killings (criminal laws amendment) Bill 2014 on Monday (today) following the endorsement of the Standing Committee on Law and Justice.
The report on the draft bill of the Senate Standing Committee on Law and Justice on the Anti-Rape Laws Bill 2014 was presented in the house on Friday.
The committee has already cleared the bill, which proposes changes in the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC), Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), and the Law of Evidence.
The Anti-Honour Killing Bill 2014 had previously been cleared by the committee and presented to the house. Under the Anti-Honour Killing Amendment Bill 2014, amendment is made to make it non-compoundable under which a convicted person cannot escape culpability after giving blood money — a long-standing practice in Pakistan.
Both amendment bills were moved in the house by PPP Senator Sughra Imam a year ago and the committee almost took its time to clear them after thorough discussion. “I am hopeful that both bills will be passed unanimously in the house as we have succeeded in developing consensus over both the bills,” said the mover and drafter of the bills Sughra Imam.
The Anti-Rape Laws (the criminal law Amendment) Bill 2014, seeks to make amendments to the Pakistan Penal Code, Code of Criminal Procedure and Qanoon Shahadat Order.
The statement of the objects and reasons of the proposed bill provides that “Rape is a heinous crime, an act of violence that ruins the lives of victims. In Pakistan, rape cases are reported and registered, however, the conviction rates of the accused are abysmally low.”
Under the proposed law, disclosing the identity of a rape victim would be a punishable offence. The legislation seeks to add Section 228-A to PPC clause 1, which reads: “Whoever prints or publishes the name or any matter which may make known the identity of any person against whom an offence under Section 376 is alleged or found to have been committed shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years and shall also be liable to a fine.”
Slum Girl To Silver Screen: Phiona Is Uganda’s Chess Prodigy
03 March, 2015
Kampala: Phiona Mutesi happened upon chess as a famished nine-year-old foraging for food in the sprawling and impoverished slums of the Ugandan capital.
“I was very hungry,” said Mutesi, aged about 18.
Now a chess champion who competes internationally, her tale of triumph over adversity is being turned into a Hollywood epic with Oscar-winning Kenyan actress Lupita Nyong’o tipped to play her mother.
“My dad had died, and after the age of three we started struggling to get food to eat, my mum was not working,” Mutesi told AFP. They lived on one meal a day.
She was forced to drop out of school aged six when her mother could not pay the fees.
“You can’t just wake up and say ‘today’: you have to plan first.”
One day, Mutesi discovered a chess program held in a church in the Katwe slum districts in Kampala. Potential players were enticed with a free cup of porridge, and Mutesi began organising her days around this.
“It was so interesting,” she recalled of her introduction to pawns, rooks, bishops, knights and kings in 2005. “But I didn’t go there for chess, I went just to get a meal.”
As she returned week after week, something unexpected happened that would transform Mutesi’s life.
The young girl developed a talent for chess, which was only introduced in Uganda in the 1970s by foreign doctors and was still seen as a game played by the rich. And her talent turned into a passion.
“I like chess because it involves planning,” said Mutesi. “If you don’t plan, you will end up with your life so bad.”
The film, entitled “Queen of Katwe”, is based on a book of the same name about Mutesi by American writer Tim Crothers. It is to be shot in Uganda and South Africa, directed by Mira Nair. Filming will reportedly begin in late March.
Coach and mentor Robert Katende, of the Sports Outreach Ministry, remembers Mutesi wearing “dirty torn clothes” when he met her a decade ago.
“She was really desperate for survival,” said Katende, who is building a chess academy to accommodate 150 students outside Kampala.
Two years into the game, Mutesi became Uganda’s national women’s junior champion, defending her title the next year.
“Phiona Mutesi has flourished,” Vianney Luggya, president of the Uganda Chess Federation, told AFP. “She made history in the schools’ competition by becoming the first girl to compete in the boys’ category. It was certainly surprising.”
By the time she participated in her first international competition, Africa’s International Children’s Chess Tournament in South Sudan in 2009, Mutesi still had not read a book.
“It was really wonderful because it was my first time abroad,” she said. “It was my first time to sleep in a hotel. We came back with a trophy.”
Since then Mutesi has competed in chess Olympiads in Russia’s Siberia, in Turkey — after which she was given the Woman Candidate Master ranking by FIDE, the World Chess Federation — and in Norway last year.
The teenager, who has two more years of high school left, hopes to go to the next Olympiad in 2016 in Azerbaijan.
Overseas, Mutesi has also played against her hero, Russian former world champion and Grandmaster Garry Kasparov, and inspired school students in the US to start a tournament in her name.
Back home, her fame has had “an incredible impact”, said Luggya.
“The number of lady players participating in national chess championships has doubled,” he said, adding that each of the 26 schools set to compete in Uganda’s annual championships in April will have girls and boys teams.
Uganda’s female players have also been spurred on by the success of Ivy Amoko, who became east Africa’s first FIDE Master last year.
A recent week-long chess clinic, involving Mutesi, attracted more than 200 participants, most of them female, from Kampala slums and surrounding communities.
British-Nigerian actor David Oyelowo — nominated for a Gold Globe Award for his portrayal of Martin Luther King in the 2014 drama “Selma” — is also set to star in “Queen of Katwe”.
Luggya hopes the film will “open doors” for all players in Uganda, saying: “I think Ugandans realise that it is a brain game that can enhance their potential in all other aspects of life.”
Though the country now has east Africa’s only International Master, Elijah Emojong, and the region’s biggest number of titled players, Uganda still struggles with kit and trainers — normally volunteers — plus sponsorship for overseas titles.
Mutesi is aware this may hold her back ultimately.
But while her goal is to rise to Grandmaster, she also hopes to become a paediatrician and open a home for children, especially girls facing the same predicament she overcame.
“Girls are always under-looked, even in chess,” said Mutesi. “But I don’t think there’s any reason why a girl cannot beat a boy. It comes from believing in yourself.”
UN, Malaysia Groups Seek to Repeal Fatwa Requiring FGM
03 March, 2015
BANGKOK - In 2009, Malaysia's National Fatwa Committee, the nation's top Islamic council, required all Muslim women in the country to undergo female genital mutilation, otherwise known as female circumcision.
A recent study indicated that nearly all Muslim women in the country have had the procedure. But now the United Nations is working with the Committee to repeal ruling that made it mandatory.
Government health officials who are in negotiations with Malaysia's National Fatwa Committee say the ruling by the country's top religious authority requiring female genital cutting for all Muslim women may be overturned.
The World Health Organization defines any type of invasive procedure in the female genital area as mutilation, and subdivides practices into four types of increasing severity. It has banned them all.
According to health officials, the minimally invasive genital cutting typically practiced in Malaysia, falls under type IV of the WHO's classification system. It sometimes involves just a pin prick to the clitoris, is typically performed during infancy, and has few or no health complications for the women later in life.
The fatwa issued in 2009 states female circumcision is required in all cases "except when harmful." But international health experts say it is always harmful, even in its mild form in Malaysia.
Saira Shaheem, who works for the United Nations Population Fund in the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur, said health officials are trying to work with the fatwa committee to bring the influential religious body's ruling in line with WHO guidelines.
"We will continue to work with them on it. But what the Fatwa does not do, is it does not specify what the procedure should be. And that allows us an avenue to define the procedure in a noninvasive, nonharmful manner, and shift the practice accordingly," said Shaheem.
Traditional midwives have typically performed the procedure on infants at home, but as doctors are increasingly asked to perform the surgery in a sterile setting, they face a dilemma in not wanting to violate Malaysian Medical Association recommendations.
Shaheem said ministry health officials are trying to replace the practice of cutting with a routine alcohol swab of the genital area performed by an obstetrician at birth, while the religious authorities try to repeal the fatwa.
There have been no Fatwas issued regarding male circumcision, a procedure seen as required by religious authorities at a later age in Malaysia, and typically performed with public ceremony.
A study conducted by Malaysian health officials in 2012 showed 93 percent of Muslim women have undergone the practice. This puts Malaysia in the top percentile of practicing countries across the world, alongside East African countries such as Somalia and Sudan.
Although the study offered no systematic data on the extent of the cutting involved, researchers say midwives in Malaysia typically remove a piece of flesh no bigger than "half a rice grain" from the clitoral hood.
Julia Lalla-Maharajh is the director of Orchid Project, a London-based advocacy group that works to stop female genital mutilation. She is concerned the fatwa could contribute to a sense that a more invasive cut must be performed to complete the ritual.
"Every single form of intervention is harmful. There are no health benefits whatsoever to this practice. We would also point out that there have actually been fatwas around the world that say FGM is harmful and is forbidden in Islam," Lalla-Maharajh said.
She said that the taboo nature of the subject contributes to the limited amount of data available.
Lalla-Maharajh added the continuing belief it is an important ritual whose cultural benefits outweigh the health risks has led Muslim religious leaders to say the classification of mutilation is a misnomer.
Even within communities in Malaysia, there is debate as to whether the practice is required by Islam. Anthropologists said the practice predates Islam in parts of Southeast Asia.
In the 2012 study, respondents listing reasons for undergoing the procedure cited religious obligation, cleanliness of private parts, a means to control women's sexual urges, and a belief it would enhance their partner's sexual pleasure.
The WHO claims these types of motivations show the practice arises from a deep-seated gender bias.
The U.N. Population Fund's Shaheem said Malaysia's widespread health care system means women who undergo the procedure do not appear to be at risk from life-threatening complications that faces many women in Africa.
But she said there is still little known about how the procedure is being performed and how much flesh a midwife or physician typically removes.
"Because it's not defined by anybody, although it's not harmful now, there is nothing to prevent anybody from interpreting what needs to be removed and how much needs to be removed. Parents wouldn't know! It's in the hands of doctors and you would only find out after the fact," Shaheem said.
Despite ongoing talks to repeal the fatwa that makes the procedure mandatory, negotiators say there is no time-bound plan for making a decision.
The WHO estimates between 100 and 140 million women and girls have been cut worldwide, and 3 million girls are in danger of being cut every year in Africa alone.
Fiji National Council of Women Holds Leaders Workshop
03 March, 2015
The National Council of Women Fiji is holding a women leaders workshop to educate them on Parliamentary processes.
NCWF President Tauga Vulaono said this knowledge will be then passed down to the communities by these women leaders so that the women in the community have a fare knowledge of the processes.
Vulaono said the plans for this year also include carrying out programs to teach women skills that can help them earn a living.
She said a lot of women face domestic violence and it is important that they have some means of earning.
She added after this workshop they will be going out into different communities and hold civic education to help the affected and the young minds.
Meanwhile, she said 6 women leaders are participating in this workshop including YWCA, WINET ACS Old Girls Association, Muslim Women League, DORCAS Society and Fiji Teachers Association Network.
Muslim Captain Nominated For Woman of Year in Australia
03 March, 2015
The New South Wales Planning Minister Pru Goward announced candidates for woman of 2015. Muslim Captain, Mona Shindy who serves at Royal Australian Navy is among the candidates.
In the press statement, Goward said the nominated women have done successful projects in their own fields and made great contributions society they live. “We choose candidates for woman of year and women who can be role models for other women delicately,” said Goward. She also stated that we choose the candidates from many successful women with great difficulty.
Speaking to Cihan news agency, Shindy said she is very pleased with her job as a Muslim woman. “It is nice to work in Australian army as a Muslim woman. I work in a very decent institution.”
More Young Muslims Are Calling Us about Islamophobia, Warns Helpline
03 March, 2015
An increasing number of young Muslims are seeking advice because they are concerned about Islamophobia, a helpline has said.
Each year up to 3,000 people aged between nine and 25 contact the London-based Muslim Youth Helpline by phone, text or email.
Issues include peer pressure, mental health, relationships, sexuality and cultural identity.
Anira Khokhar, the helpline’s fundraising and marketing manager, said a growing number of callers are being shunned by classmates and friends amid a “rise in Islamophobia”.
She said: “For a lot of young Muslims growing up in this country it’s very difficult to discuss issues such as relationships, western society, homosexuality or abortions.
“You have young people who possibly have issues around forced marriages, who are on the edge. Many find it very difficult to talk to their parents, their mosque or external agencies.
“In their own communities they feel misunderstood or are worried about confidentiality. With external agencies, there is fear they will call the police.”
Her comments come two weeks after three east London schoolgirls flew to Turkey and reportedly crossed into Syria to join Islamic State. The father of one of the girls, 15-year-old Amira Abase, said she had never spoken to her family about an interest in jihad.
Ms Khokhar said: “There’s been an increase in questions about identity and belonging, which are related to Islamophobia and the current situation around radicalisation.
“There have been issues around young people in England going to Syria, we’ve seen grooming issues, and attacks on Muslims, where a girl’s headscarf is pulled off. We have seen an increase in a lot of callers saying, ‘Where do we belong, who do we talk to?’
“They say they watch what is happening on the news and don’t know whether they feel British or not now.
“There’s a rise in Islamophobia, where people say their friends are judging them or have stopped talking to them. There are issues around culture clash and inter-generational issues, as well as gender bias.
“A lot of the issues are based around the fact that the Government doesn’t seem to understand.” The helpline is “non-judgmental and non-religious”, with non-Muslim callers welcome.
It hopes to expand from 30 volunteers to 50 this year.
Johor Islamic Council Says Not Fashion Police
03 March, 2015
Johor’s Islamic authorities said it is not in the business of policing Muslims for improper dressing, just as its Terengganu counterpart plans to introduce a dress code for tourists to the state.
Responding to rumours online that the Johor Islamic Religious Council was planning to impose new rules on Muslims’ attire, chairman Abd Mutalip Abd Rahim said the allegation was false and malicious.
“The posting, which has been circulating online for the past few days, is completely untrue,” he was quoted as saying by The Star on its website today.
“I would like to reiterate that this is not true as we have other pressing issues concerning Muslims in the state,” he said further in the report.
According to the rumour, Johor Islamic religious authorities will implement a dress code that requires Muslim women to don head scarves under threat of fines.
It also added that unmarried Muslim men and women riding together on motorcycles would also be penalised.
Earlier today, it was reported that Terengganu will enforce Islamic dress codes on tourists and visitors to the state.
The yet-to-be-released guideline targets women in particular although it contains rules for both genders, and will be distributed soon to travel agents both local and abroad.
Failure to comply with the dress code will result in offenders being sent to “counselling”. It is unclear if the said counselling will be religious in nature.
Terengganu recently made headlines, also for its enforcement of Islamic rules, when it announced that it will punish Friday prayer truancy by parading absentees in hearses to shame them.