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Islam, Women and Feminism ( 22 Apr 2017, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Muslim Board Acting Like Khap Panchayat: Women’s Body

New Age Islam News Bureau

23 Apr 2017 

 Delhi HC Refuses To Hear Plea To Stop Triple Talaq On Hindu Women Married To Muslim Men

 Michigan Lawmaker Says FGM Case Is Reason To Vote For Anti-Sharia Bill

 Triple Talaq Not The Only Issue Affecting Muslims: Jamaat-e-Islami Hind

 Pakistan: ‘Unmarried Women Cannot Donate Kidneys’

 US Muslim Teen Wins Right To Box In Hijab

 Iraq Forces Free 11-Year-Old Yazidi Girl In Mosul

 One Group Aims To Give Muslim Women In France A Voice

 Muslim Women Open Mosque In Defiance Of Patriarchy And Trump

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau




Muslim Board Acting Like Khap Panchayat: Women’s Body

Apr 21, 2017

Although she has been allowed to wear the hijab in USA, Amaiya Zafar still has to convince AIBA, in order to compete in international competitions while wearing the headgear. (Photo: Amaiya Zafar/ Facebook)

Amid the raging debate over triple talaq, the All India Muslim Women Personal Law Board (AIMWPLB) on Friday hit out at the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) for defending triple talaq.

Shaista Amber, President of AIMWPLB, said the AIMPLB has not worked for the welfare of the women victims.

She regretted that women are deprived of justice in cases of talaq by the Personal Law Board, and dubbed  the All India Muslim  Personal Law Board (AIMPLB)  as a kangaroo court.

She said instantaneous talaq is denigrating women and questioned the Personal Law Board for its silence over men giving triple talaq over WhatsApp.

“Muslim Law Board has done nothing.  We look at the Personal Law Board as a religious organization. But, the Board has done nothing for the welfare of women. Personal Law Board is known to encourage people who give talaq at one go on WhatsApp. It is like khap panchayat decisions. Personal Law Board cannot give kangaroo court judgements.  If they think a woman has been given triple talaq wrongly, why aren’t opening doors for the affected women?” said Shaista Amber.

Her comments come at a time when the AIMPLB opposed the Centre’s affidavit in the Supreme Court against ‘triple talaq’ and the questionnaire prepared by the Law Commission regarding Uniform Civil Code.

Even as more and more Muslim women fall prey to triple talaq, the AIMPLB has reiterated that shariat law is supreme for them.

Instead of fighting for women’s rights, AIMPLB pushed for a code of conduct and warned that those who give talaq without following the 'Sharia' (Islamic law) will face social boycott.



Delhi HC refuses to hear plea to stop triple talaq on Hindu women married to Muslim men

Apr 21, 2017

The Delhi high court on Friday refused to entertain a petition seeking a directive that the “triple talaq” or polygamy should not be applicable to Hindu women married to Muslim men.

Acting chief justice Gita Mittal and justice Anu Malhotra said the matter relating to triple talaq is pending before a constitutional bench of the Supreme Court and as such the high court can’t entertain the plea.

The top court will start a day-to-day hearing in the case from May 13, on a PIL filed by some Muslim women challenging the social practice of pronouncing “talaq,” the Arabic word for divorce, thrice, to annul a marriage.

The petitioner, a Delhi based advocate, argued that matter pending before the top court on triple ‘talaq’ is pertaining to Muslim women and not to Hindu women married to Muslim men.

“Irrespective of religion women are entitled to equal protection,” the bench remarked.

Advocate Vijay Kumar Shukla withdrew the plea and said he would approach the apex court.

The Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by Shukla had also sought directions for making registration of inter-caste marriages compulsory under the Special Marriage Act or Compulsory Registration of Marriage Act with a clause for imposition of penalty for non-registration.

The petitioner argued that since the ‘nikahnaama’ (marriage contract) is written in Urdu, Hindu women fail to understand provisions related to triple ‘talaq’ or polygamy.

The Muslim cleric should explain the provisions of the ‘nikahnaama’ pertaining to summary divorce and polygamy to the Hindu women in their mother tongue, said the plea.

“Since there is no provision for registration of marriage under Muslim personal law, so directions for registration of marriages of Hindu women with Muslim men under the above-mentioned two laws is required to safeguard such women’s interest,” it added.



Michigan Lawmaker Says FGM Case Is Reason To Vote For Anti-Sharia Bill


A Michigan state lawmaker justified introducing an anti-Sharia bill on Thursday by citing a recent case of female genital mutilation ― a practice scholars and anti-FGM activists say is not tied to Islamic law.

State Rep. Michele Hoitenga (R) emailed the entire Michigan state House in an effort to get co-sponsors for House Bill No. 4499, which would ban residents from using foreign laws, including Sharia law, in state courts.

“If you have not heard by now, a doctor in Detroit is being charged with operating an underground clinic that actively engaged in genital mutilation on young girls, essentially practicing a fundamentalist version of Sharia Law,” Hoitenga wrote in the email, a copy of which was obtained by The Huffington Post. “I believe we must send a message that these practices shall not be tolerated in the state of Michigan.”

FGM is already not tolerated in the state of Michigan ― or anywhere else in the U.S. for that matter, as it’s banned by federal law. When Dr. Jumana Nagarwala was arrested in Detroit last week for performing FGM on patients, the federal criminal complaint against her did not mention Sharia. If convicted, she faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.

Rep. Abdullah Hammoud (D), who is Muslim, was quick to respond to Hoitenga’s email, urging his fellow legislators “to NOT support” her bill.

“There is no Sharia law, ‘fundamentalist version’ or other, which encourages or permits female genital mutilation,” Hammoud wrote in an email. “The doctor that was charged engaged in a cultural practice, NOT a religious practice; again, she engaged in a practice that is illegal, and was therefore charged with committing a crime.”

Sharia law, a favorite bogeyman of anti-Muslim extremists, is the deeply misunderstood legal or philosophical code of Islam. It’s interpreted differently by Muslims across the world using an assortment of texts, including the Quran, the Sunnah and Hadiths. 

Fifteen states already have pending anti-Sharia legislation, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Another 10 states currently have anti-Sharia laws on the books.

The bills are inspired by, and sometimes copied directly from, a piece of draft legislation written by anti-Muslim attorney and white nationalist David Yerulshalmi. Yerulshalmi believes in the “creeping Sharia” conspiracy theory, which holds that Muslims are implementing Sharia in U.S. courts as a means of eventually replacing U.S. laws with Islamic ones.

Hoitenga’s bill takes 42 words directly from Yerulsahlmi’s bill. Hoitenga did not respond to a request for comment on this story.

Muslim and civil liberties groups have long argued that anti-Sharia bills are pointless because no law trumps the U.S. Constitution. Even when Sharia, like other religious law, is taken into consideration during some court cases ― namely marriage, divorce and business arbitrations ― it never supplants U.S. law.

Anti-Sharia bills, the groups argue, are nothing more than a smokescreen to spread fear and hatred of Muslims. The “true aim” of Sharia bans is to “denigrate an entire faith system,” the American Civil Liberties Union wrote in a 2011 report.

In his email Thursday, Hammoud wrote that it was “offensive” of Hoitenga to “use a real issue that is affecting girls (FGM) to push an anti-Muslim non-issue.”

“This bill would only further perpetuate inaccurate and unjust Islamophobic stereotypes,” he wrote.

The practice “has not been confined to a particular culture or religion,” according to the Female Genital Mutilation National Clinical Group, a United Kingdom-based charity working with women who have suffered FGM. “FGM has neither been mentioned in the Quran nor Sunnah.”

FGM is practiced in many Muslim-majority countries as well as in some Christian-majority countries, according to Politifact, citing a UNICEF report. And some Muslim-majority countries, such as Yemen and Iraq, have low rates of FGM.

Qasim Rashid, visiting fellow at Harvard University’s Prince Alwaleed bin Talal School of Islamic Studies, wrote in a HuffPost blog post in 2014 that FGM predates Islam, Christianity and Judaism.

“FGM existed long before Islam and it sadly persists today as a cultural tradition that traverses religious lines,” Rashid wrote. “For example, in Ethiopia, Muslims, Christians, and Jews have all practiced FGM — though no faith endorses the act.”

And because there is no solid theological basis for FGM in Islam, Rashid said, the only people today who believe FGM is a part of Islam are “Islamophobes and extremists [who ascribe to Islam].”

“FGM is nothing more than a barbaric act of terrorism,” he wrote. “It is a crime and has nothing to do with Islam or Prophet Muhammad. Those who engage in this crime must be held accountable — without exception.”



Triple Talaq Not The Only Issue Affecting Muslims: Jamaat-e-Islami Hind

April 21, 2017

The government is seemingly focused only on the issue of ‘triple talaq’ when it comes to Muslims, while ignoring their other concerns, the Jamaat-e-Islami Hind (JIH) alleged on Friday. The JIH also announced a campaign to enlighten Muslims across the country on personal laws, contending that large sections of the community “lack knowledge” about the same.

The religious body said it will hold the campaign from April 23 to May 7, aiming to reach out to five crore Muslims across the country.

“Such an atmosphere has been created as if it (triple talaq) is leading to injustice to women. Such a situation has emerged that it seems the government is focused on only this issue and that there is no other issue troubling Muslims,” JIH chief Maulana Syed Jalaluddin Umari told reporters in Delhi. Umari, also vice president of All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB), said that no one endorses ‘triple talaq in one sitting’, but stressed that there is no provision in the personal laws which leads to exploitation of women.

“Last year, five crore Muslims, including women mostly, made submission to the Law Commission saying there is no problem with personal laws. “They told the commission about their other problems. But despite that it appears the government is focusing on only this issue (of triple talaq),” he added. He said there were several misconceptions about Muslim personal laws.

AIMPLB member Mohammed Jafar, who accompanied Umari during the briefing, said the JIH will hold the mass outreach programme, organising 700 public meetings and as many symposiums on gender justice in parts of the country.

“We will hold programmes in capitals of states. There will be press briefings, we will distribute pamphlets to community members…we will reach out to villagers and slum dwellers,” he said, adding that they would also reach out to non-Muslims. To a question, Umari sought to suggest the percentage of Muslims seeking divorce in proportion with their populace is lesser than that of other religions. He, however, did not elaborate on that point.

The JIH also released a booklet titled ‘Muslim Personal Law: Moral and Legal Issues’ during the briefing and announced launch of a mobile application ‘Muslim Personal Law Awareness Campaign’ (MPLAC). The application will help enlighten community members, it said. The Centre had on October 7 last year opposed in the Supreme Court the practice of triple talaq, ‘nikah halala’ and polygamy among Muslims and favoured a relook on grounds like gender equality and secularism.



Pakistan: ‘Unmarried Women Cannot Donate Kidneys’

April 22, 2017

KARACHI - Citizens must protect their kidneys by quitting smoking and reducing use of salt, sugar and red meat.

High blood pressure and diabetes are the major causes of Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD).

Acute Kidney Injuries (AKI) can be treated if it is diagnosed timely. Good control of diabetes and blood pressure may help one to prevent kidney disease or slow it down.

Kidneys are essential for life as they are important in the chemical breakdown of urine; they react to changes in the body’s water level throughout the day. Any healthy family member can donate his or her kidney but there is a restriction for unmarried ladies to donate.”

Dr Syed Mansoor Ahmed Shah, Consultant Nephrology and General Medicine at the South City Hospital and Aga Khan University Hospital, stated this while delivering a lecture on “Kidney Diseases, Causes, and Basic Information” held at Dr Panjwani Center for Molecular Medicine and Drug Research (PCMD), (ICCBS), KU here on Friday. PCMD and Virtual Education Project Pakistan (VEPP) have jointly organized this 38th public awareness seminar.

Dr Shah said that CKD means that one’s kidneys are not working as well as they once did. Various conditions can cause CKD, he said and added that severity can vary but most cases are mild or moderate, occur in older people, do not cause symptoms and do not progress to kidney failure. Acute renal failure or acute kidney injury means that the function of the kidneys is rapidly affected over hours or days, he maintained.

He pointed out that healthy life style is essential for the protection of kidneys. He added that the citizens can keep their kidneys healthy by eating healthier foods, limiting salt, sugar and fat in your diet, setting aside time to relax, having regular exercise, limiting red meat, avoiding soda, giving up processed foods and quitting smoking,” he said.

Talking about the causes of chronic kidney diseases, he said that diabetes and high blood pressure are the major causes of CKD but other causes included stone disease, ageing kidneys, diseases of the glomerulonephritis, renal artery stenosis (narrowing), haemolytic uraemic syndrome, polycystic kidney disease, blockages to the flow of urine, drug-induced and toxin-induced kidney damage and repeated kidney infections. He informed the participants that usually kidney disease started slowly and silently and progressed over a number of years.

Not everyone progresses from stage one to stage five, said, adding that the stage five is also known as End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD). Serum urea and creatinine are markers of kidney dysfunction, but the best test is eGFR which is calculated from your age, sex and blood creatinine level, he said. There are various treatments for patients who reach end stage of renal disease include hemodialysis, peritoneal dialysis and kidney transplant, he maintained.

Talking about kidneys’ transplant, he said that the success rate for a kidney transplant from a living donor is 90–95 per cent after one year and the transplanted kidney lasts 15 to 20 years on average.

Any healthy family member can donate his or her kidney, he said, adding that there is a restriction for unmarried ladies to donate their kidneys as they may face severe health problem in their expected marital life.”



Iraq forces free 11-year-old Yazidi girl in Mosul

April 22, 2017

BAGHDAD: Iraqi forces in Mosul have freed an 11-year-old Yazidi girl who was kidnapped and sold as a slave by the Islamic State group in 2014, the federal police said Friday.

The girl was taken by the militants from the village of Kosho, south of the Yazidi hub of Sinjar in northern Iraq, together with her mother and sisters.

She was freed during an operation by the security forces on Thursday in the west Mosul neighbourhood of Tanek, federal police chief Lieutenant General Raed Shakir Jawdat said in a statement. The elite Counter-Terrorism Service has been operating in the area and secured more than half of the neighbourhood on Thursday. “They who kidnap these children are monsters,” Major General Jaafar al-Baatat, Jawdat’s top aide, said in a statement which was released with a video showing the girl at a police base south of Mosul. Vian Dakhil, a prominent Yazidi lawmaker who helped bring her minority’s plight to the world’s attention when IS militants swept through the region in 2014, said the girl’s release had been carefully planned. “When Daesh (IS) took her village on August 15, 2014, she was eight years old and she was kidnapped with her mother and her sisters,” she told AFP. “She was initially taken to Tal Afar and was sold on to Mosul.” Yazidis are neither Arab nor Muslim and when IS swept across northern Iraq almost three years ago, it carried out massacres against the minority which the United Nations said qualified as genocide.

Most of the several hundred thousand members of the minority live in northern Iraq, mainly around Sinjar, a large town which anti-IS forces have now retaken but was extensively destroyed.

Sisters held in Syria

IS militants captured Yazidi women and turned them into sex slaves to be sold and exchanged across their self-proclaimed “caliphate”. Around 3,000 of them are believed to remain in captivity. On the police video, the girl stands silently, wearing a light green head scarf as officers try to reassure her.

“She has two sisters who were sold and sent to Raqa,” said Dakhil, referring to the Syrian city that is still controlled by IS and the other main hub of the “caliphate”. “They are still there.”

Dakhil explained that the girl’s two other sisters and mother were bought back from IS, a method which has been used by the authorities and Yazidi organisations to free hundreds of women, and now live in Germany.

The girl and her family are originally from Kosho, the same village Yazidi rights activist and Nobel Peace Prize nominee Nadia Murad is from.

Vian Dakhil said the girl’s father had a disability. “Her cousin who lives in a camp for the displaced near Dohuk (in autonomous Kurdistan) is coming to fetch her,” she said.

The Yazidi community, which follows a unique faith, celebrated their New Year on Thursday. Many of towns and villages have now been retaken from the militants by the Iraqi security forces but they are often still unsafe or need to be completely rebuilt.



One group aims to give Muslim women in France a voice

April 22, 2017

Last summer, the passage of burkini bans by several French beach towns made international news. In France, they dominated the headlines for months, fed by a polemical presidential campaign in which Islam has been a major topic. But noticeably absent from the French media is the perspective of the women who might wear a burkini.

A new media outlet launched last year aims to address what they say is an overall lack of Muslim women’s voices in public life, even on issues that affect them. The articles in their online magazine, Lallab, are written exclusively by Muslim women for a Muslim and non-Muslim audience.

ne of the co-founders, Sarah Zouak, tells this story to explain why she saw a need for Lallab.

As a university student, Zouak shared the planned topic for her thesis with her adviser, a prominent French feminist. When Zouak told her she wanted to write about Muslim feminists, her adviser responded dismissively.

"She said, ‘but that’s nonsense, Sarah. You need to choose. Either you’re a feminist or you’re a Muslim,’” Zouak recalls.

Born in France to parents who emigrated from Morocco, Zouak often felt torn between her various identities growing up in avowedly secular France.

“For a lot of feminists, religion is a problem for the emancipation of women,” she says, “especially Islam, which is seen as a sexist, misogynist religion.”

As a successful student in elite French institutions, Zouak felt she was consistently viewed as an exception to popular cultural stereotypes of Muslim women as submissive and underachieving.

The name Lallab is a combination of the Arabic words for "woman" and “laboratory.” Zouak sees it as an experiment, to try to change preconceptions about Muslim women within both the political left and right.

Related: Jacques Fesch killed a cop in the 1950s. Here's why the French Catholic Church wants to make him a saint.

French society has long debated another piece of clothing Muslim women wear: the headscarf, or hijab. Zouak, by the way, doesn’t wear one. Many Muslim women in France don’t.

But, so far, one of the most popular articles on Lallab is by a French woman who does wear a hijab. She described her personal struggle with whether to remain in France or move abroad.

“This summer, I went for a walk on the beach and I just took a book and sat there with my regular clothes and I had so many negative comments from people and insults,” says the author, who writes under the pen name Emnus. She asked to be identified by just her first name, Emna, to protect her identity.

A target of online abuse, she says she also encounters hostility in public places because she wears a headscarf. The French Council against Islamophobia reported in 2015 that the vast majority of anti-Muslim attacks in France were directed against women, particularly those who were veiled.

Emna hesitated a long time before deciding to start wearing a headscarf in her early 20s, because of anticipated personal and professional consequences. It’s not uncommon in France to be asked to remove a headscarf as a condition for employment, and many Muslim women struggle to find work. Europe's high court recently ruled in favor of private companies in a lawsuit on the issue.

“It was very difficult with my parents too. They were telling me like, 'Emna, you studied,'” she says. “'You're going to have master’s degrees and you want to spoil everything and just be content to stay at home? Is that really what you want?'”

In recent months, since returning from a year in the United States, Emna says she’s felt more frustrated by France’s political climate, the personal comments from strangers and online polemics. This is part of why she leapt at the opportunity to write for Lallab.

“In France, we talk constantly about Muslims, and especially Muslim women, but you never get to hear them or to hear us,” Emna said.

France’s media culture plays a part in this. It leans heavily on analysts and “experts” and, at this point, there are only a small number of Muslim women in the country’s political and intellectual elite.

In January, another Lallab organizer, Attika Trabelsi, participated in a primetime debate on French television with a Socialist presidential candidate, former Prime Minister Manuel Valls. This was not long after controversial remarks Valls made on the campaign trail: He said the symbol of France was the figure of Marianne with a bare breast — not a veiled woman.

“I’d like to think of myself as someone able to make choices freely for myself,” Trabelsi said, who covers her hair. “A bare head or covered head, it’s exactly the same thing.”

Valls disagreed. He said this was not “his conception of freedom.”

By the next day, Lallab’s inbox and social media were flooded with comments, according to Zouak.

“We got a lot a lot of support but also lots and lots of attacks, particularly on Twitter and Facebook, lots of hate mail that said a covered woman like that in France on TV is not okay,” she recalls. “But we say if there’s no criticism that means we’re not doing our job well. If you want to change the world, it’s normal to have critics.”



Muslim Women Open Mosque In Defiance Of Patriarchy And Trump



The women in burkas came into the church, filing past a security guard and into a small chapel that was dimly lit and had high, timbered ceilings. There, on a Friday afternoon in mid-April, they partook in a remarkable event: a Muslim prayer service led by a woman.

That woman is named Rabi'a Keeble, and her mosque is Qal'bu Maryam (“Mary’s Heart”), which for the foreseeable future will congregate at Starr King Unitarian Universalist Ministry School, in a section of Berkeley, California called Holy Hill. Nearby is the campus of Zaytuna College, the first Muslim liberal arts college in the nation. Also nearby are seminaries, Buddhist temples and Jewish institutions. Faiths that fight elsewhere get along here under the gentle Northern California sun.

The women in burkas came into the church, filing past a security guard and into a small chapel that was dimly lit and had high, timbered ceilings. There, on a Friday afternoon in mid-April, they partook in a remarkable event: a Muslim prayer service led by a woman.

That woman is named Rabi'a Keeble, and her mosque is Qal'bu Maryam (“Mary’s Heart”), which for the foreseeable future will congregate at Starr King Unitarian Universalist Ministry School, in a section of Berkeley, California called Holy Hill. Nearby is the campus of Zaytuna College, the first Muslim liberal arts college in the nation. Also nearby are seminaries, Buddhist temples and Jewish institutions. Faiths that fight elsewhere get along here under the gentle Northern California sun.




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