New Age Islam News Bureau
23 Nov 2018
Enisa Bekteshi student of Islamic Studies studies a book inside the library of the Faculty of Islamic Studies in Kosovo capital Pristina on Friday, Nov. 9, 2018. In Kosovo religious authorities are going against old Ottoman-era traditions, and seeking to establish the training of women as spiritual teachers and theologians in mosques. (AP Photo/Visar Kryeziu)
• Muslim Students Society of Nigeria Insist On Hijab Right for School Girls
• How A Principled Palestinian Woman Became Israel’s Nightmare
• Dubai Police Women Officers Pull a Plane and Break World Record
• Women University Swabi Students Launch Social Work Activities
• Motocross Champion among Baha’i Women Arrested Across Iran
• Suicide Takes Lives of Seven Women In Tehran, North And Western Iran
• Afghanistan Women’s Football Team Captain Dropped after Refusing to Sign Contract That Denies Pay
• Feminist Poet Fahmida Riaz Is No More
Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau
Muslim Preachers Training Kosovo Women as Spiritual Teachers in Mosques
NOVEMBER 23, 2018
PRISTINA, Kosovo — There's a widespread tradition among many Muslims that it's better for women to pray at home than in the mosque. But in Kosovo, an old Ottoman-era tradition is bucking that trend, with religious authorities seeking to establish the training of women as spiritual teachers in mosques.
Each day, scores of women gather around Agime Sogojeva, a spiritual teacher known as a mualime, in the Haxhi Veseli mosque in Kosovo's northern town of Mitrovica. They discuss the Quran, their rights as women and daily practices, in a scene unthinkable as little as a decade ago.
Sogojeva is one of some 100 female theologians aiming to revive Muslim traditions in Europe's newest country. They teach at three Muslim high schools, at Muslim centers, or they work voluntarily.
The move to establish the religious training of women in mosques — where women are allocated places in a separate room from the men — is seen by some as a way to make Kosovo's approach to Islam more gender-balanced at a time when many in the West view Islam as oppressive toward women.
Although in much of the Muslim world women teach other women, it is more common for that to occur at home or in event halls rather than in the mosques themselves. In some very conservative Islamic societies, women are generally distanced from mosques for social rather than religious reasons.
In Kosovo, there has been a significant increase in the number of women attending mosques in the past 20 years, said Besa Ismaili, a 43-year-old professor of English at the Faculty of Islamic Studies in Pristina.
"The women were not only denied access, but their contribution was not recognized sufficiently," she said. "We try to break up those stereotypes, those misconceptions."
Kosovo has a strongly patriarchal society but also a long secular tradition, with religious identity significantly weakened during decades of communist rule. Most of its ethnic Albanian majority population is Muslim, but religious expression was generally lax even after the fall of communism in the late 1980s. The country declared independence from Serbia in 2008, nearly a decade after a 1998-1999 war against Yugoslav forces by ethnic Albanian fighters.
Recently, however, it has seen a rise of religiously-inspired violent extremism, with more than 300 Kosovo citizens joining the Islamic State group as foreign fighters in Iraq and Syria since 2012. A quarter of those were women and children, often forced to follow their husbands into the war zone. About 180 Kosovo citizens are still active with extremist groups in Syria and Iraq, and the women are held in camps.
But Kosovo authorities claim no citizen has joined a fundamentalist group over the past two years, a development partly attributed to the empowering of women through the creation of female Islamic teachers.
"Extreme nationalism becomes less present when Islam is explained to women," Ismaili says.
Funding for about a dozen of the female theologians comes from Turkey's Directorate of Religious Affairs, or Diyanet, which assists the Islamic Community of Kosovo, or BIK, the country's executive for Muslims.
These female preachers are active members in about 800 mosques countrywide, said Resul Rexhepi, BIK secretary general, modernizing women's life and increasing their role in society.
"Mualime are good for the whole society," he said.
BIK officials claim that the introduction of the female Muslim preachers in the mosques has reduced sexual violence at home, assisted women who were raped during the war, helped mothers with their children's education and increased the participation of women in voting in elections. There are no official figures to support such claims.
During the past decade or so some 1,100 girls have graduated from three Muslim high schools and 300 women from the Faculty of Islamic Studies.
Enisa Bekteshi, a 21-year old student, says it is easier for a female teacher to explain "some delicate issues a woman is reluctant to ask an imam, a man."
Muslim Students Society of Nigeria Insist On Hijab Right for School Girls
Nov 23, 2018
Following the controversies leading to the closure of the International School, Ibadan, over the usage of hijab by Muslim female students of the school, the Muslim Students Society of Nigeria (MMSN), B-Zone, has said that hijab is the right of every Muslim female that cannot be compromised.
A statement jointly signed by Barrister Qaasim Odedeji, Amir/Zonal Coordinator, MSSN B-Zone; Alhaji Abdul Jalil Abdur Rasaq, Secretary and Engr. Bashir Momoh, Public Relations Officer, said that the controversies are needless as it would be expected of the management of the institution constituted by ‘Academic giants’ who are supposed to know that the issue of hijab is beyond emotion and sentiment. “In the usual characteristics of such and many other similar institutions dominated by non-Muslims in the southern part of Nigeria, the school has, for long, denied the female Muslim students the right to the use of hijab in accordance with the dictates of Islam and in line with the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“The Muslims, as usual, endured the humiliation and embarrassment occasioned by this denial for so long until the 20th of October, 2018, when they wrote a letter through the Muslims Parents’ Forum of the institution under the leadership of Alhaji AbdurRahman Balogun informing the management of the desire of the female Muslim students to desist from being forced to act against the dictates of their religion citing the provisions of the constitution and judicial authorities to support their decision,” the statement said.
According to the organisation, the reverse was the case when the management headed by the Deputy Vice Chancellor, Academics of University of Ibadan tried to mishandled the matter in a way that made it problematic.
How A Principled Palestinian Woman Became Israel’s Nightmare
November 22, 2018
By Ramzy Baroud
There are 53 Palestinian female prisoners in Israeli prisons at the moment, some of them held in solitary confinement, others in ‘administrative detention’, and all of them incarcerated in ways contrary to international law and regulations regarding the rights of prisoners.
Statistics regarding Palestinian prisoners indicate that Israel targets all sectors of Palestinian society — men and women, old and young, Islamists, secularists, socialists, even children.
In fact, at the moment, there are 270 Palestinian children in Israeli prisons.
According to the Prisoners Support Association — Addameer — there are currently 450 Palestinian prisoners held in ‘administrative detention’ meaning, imprisonment without trial and due process. Some of these prisoners are members of the Palestine Legislative Council (PLC). One such parliamentarian is Khalida Jarrar, who truly embodies the harsh experiences of all Palestinian prisoners.
When Israeli troops stormed Khalida’s house in April 2015, the Palestinian lawyer was engrossed in her research. For months, Khalida had been leading a Palestinian effort to take Israel to the International Criminal Court (ICC).
Khalida was released in June 2016, only to be arrested yet again on July 2, 2017. On October 28 of this year, her ‘administrative detention’ was renewed for the fourth time.
Khalida is not beseeching her jailers for her freedom. Instead, she is keeping busy educating her fellow female inmates on international law, offering classes and issuing statements to the outside world that reflect not only her refined intellect, but also her resolve and strength of character. Khalida is relentless. Despite her failing health, her commitment to the cause of her people did not, in any way, weaken or falter even under the horrific conditions of her imprisonment.
The 55-year-old Palestinian lawyer has championed a political discourse that is largely absent amid the ongoing feud between the Palestinian National Authority’s (PNA) largest faction, Fatah, in the Occupied West Bank, and Hamas, in besieged Gaza.
As a member of the PLC and an active member within the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), Khalida has advocated the kind of politics that is not disconnected from the people and especially, from the women that she strongly and uncompromisingly represents.
According to Khalida, no Palestinian official should engage in any form of dialogue with Israel, because such engagement helps legitimise a state that is founded on genocide and ethnic cleansing, and that is currently carrying out various types of war crimes — the very crimes that Khalida tried to expose before the ICC.
Khalida’s political stance is clear — she rejects the so-called ‘peace process’, emphasising that it is a futile exercise that has no intention or mechanism that is aimed at “implementing international resolutions related to the Palestinian cause and recognising the fundamental rights of the Palestinians”.
It goes without saying that a woman with such an astute, powerful stance, vehemently rejects the ‘security coordination’ between the PNA and Israel, rightly seeing such action as a betrayal of the struggle and sacrifices of the Palestinian people.
While PNA officials continue to enjoy the perks of ‘leadership’, desperately breathing life into a dead political discourse of a ‘peace process’ and a ‘two-state solution’, Khalida, a Palestinian female leader with a true vision, subsists in HaSharon Prison.
In August 2014, as Israel was carrying out one of its most heinous acts of genocide in Gaza — killing and wounding thousands in its so-called ‘Protective Edge’ war — Khalida received an unwelcome visit by Israeli soldiers. Her home was surrounded by a massive number of soldiers, as if the well-spoken Palestinian activist was Israel’s greatest ‘security threat’. Fully aware of Khalida’s work and credibility as a lawyer, and her international outreach — she is the Palestine representative in the Council of Europe — the Israeli government unleashed its campaign of harassment, which ended in her imprisonment. The soldiers delivered a military edict ordering her to leave her home in Al Bireh, near Ramallah, for Jericho.
Failing to silence her voice, she was arrested in April the following year, beginning an episode of suffering, and also resistance, which is yet to end.
Under international pressure, Israel was forced to put Khalida on trial, levying against her 12 charges that included visiting a released prisoner and participating in a book fair. Her other arrest, and the four renewals of her detention, are a testament not just to Israel’s lack of any real evidence against Khalida, but also of its moral bankruptcy. Khalida, like many other Palestinian women, represents the antidote to the fabricated Israeli narrative that relentlessly promotes Israel as an oasis of freedom, democracy and human rights. She is a lawyer, human rights activist, prominent politician and advocate for women, and represents, through her eloquence, courage and deep understanding of her rights and the rights of her people.
In Arabic, Khalida means “immortal”, a most fitting designation for a true fighter who represents the legacy of generations of strong Palestinian women, whose ‘sumoud’ — or steadfastness — shall always inspire an entire nation.
Dubai Police Women Officers Pull a Plane and Break World Record
November 22, 2018
Dubai: Dubai Police women officers have broken the Guinness World Record by pulling an airplane for over 100 metres as part of the 30-day Fitness Challenge. And not just any airplane, a Boeing 777-300R, which weighs around 240 tonnes, or 240,000 kilograms was pulled by 77 officers.
On their official Instagram account, Dubai Police shared videos and pictures from the event, which was held this morning. As part of the Dubai Fitness Challenge, which ends on November 24, they took on this feat and succeeded. A delegation from the Guinness World Records was present on site and awarded a certificate to Major-General Abdullah Khalifa Al Merri, Commander-in-Chief of Dubai Police.
According to an official release by Dubai Police, Major-General Al Merri praised "the efforts of the team of the initiative, with the participation of Emirates as a strategic partner".
Women University Swabi Students Launch Social Work Activities
November 23, 2018
SWABI: The students of English Language and Literature Department of the Women University Swabi on Thursday launched a two-day of social work activities and different competitions for school children.
On the first day, the event was attended by a number of students, faculty members, school students and parents.
Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Khanzadi Fatima Khattak was the chief guest at the inaugural activities.
She said the university had made it mandatory for students to carry out social services. “It is one of the basic requirements for obtaining degrees,” she added.
Other speakers said the students were future leaders, empathic and socially responsible citizens.
Motocross Champion among Baha’i Women Arrested Across Iran
22 November 2018
Shahrzad Nazifi, a motocross champion, was arrested on Sunday, November 18, 2018, by security forces in Tehran and taken to Evin Prison.
Following the arrest of the motocross champion, security guards went to Ms. Nazifi’s house and after about 5 hours of inspections, they seized some of her personal belongings, including books, cell phone, and laptop.
Ms. Shahrzad Nazifi is a motocross coach of the Baha’i faith and one of the motocross champions in the motocross field in Iran.
In another report on Tuesday, November 20, 2018, Sepideh Keshavarz, a Baha'i woman was arrested by security forces at her house in Tehran and transferred to an unknown location. During an inspection of her house, the security forces seized some of Ms. Keshavarz's books and her cell phone.
On the same day in Tehran, security forces ransacked the residence of Baha’i woman, Mahvash Edalati (Za’eri), for three hours and confiscated her books and personal belongings. They handed Ms. Edalati an undated subpoena and instructed her to go for interrogation whenever she is told to.
Also on Tuesday, November 20, 2018, Ms. Shabnam Essakhani, was arrested in Tabriz for her religious beliefs. Security forces inspected her house and took her to the Department of Intelligence of Tabriz where she was arrested. There is no news on the fate of Ms. Esakhani and why she was arrested.
In another report from Baharestan, in Isfahan, Ms. Anousheh Rayeneh was sentenced to six years in prison, and Bahareh Zaini, Foujan Rashidi and Sepideh Rouhani were each sentenced to four years in prison.
Ms. Dori Amri, another Baha'i woman from Mashhad, was sentenced to one year in prison on charges of “propaganda against the state.” She was transferred to Mashhad Prison on Wednesday, October 31, 2018, to serve her one-year jail sentence, along with two other Baha'i women in Mashhad named Mrs. May Kholousi and her daughter, Saghi Fadaii. Ms. Amri was sentenced to one year in prison by the Third Branch of the Revolutionary Court of Mashhad, headed by Judge Soltani, in March 2018. The appeals court, which was held on August 26, 2018, upheld sentence.
Mitra Badr-nejad, a Baha'i woman from Ahvaz, who was previously detained and in an undetermined status, was sentenced to 5 years in prison. Mitra Badr-nejad is a Baha'i woman who was arrested in March and released on bail in April.
Suicide Takes Lives of Seven Women In Tehran, North And Western Iran
22 November 2018
Seven women committed suicide in Tehran, and in cities of Fereydoon Kenar, Urmia, Sardasht, Oshnavieh and Likak in northern and western Iran, due to poverty and economic problems.
On the morning of Wednesday, November 14, 2018, an 11th grader young woman jumped from the third floor of her high school in Tehran. Attempts to save her life did not prove effective and she died in hospital.
On Tuesday, November 13, 2018, a young girl from Sheikh Tappeh district in Urmia, took her own life.
On Monday, November 12, 2018, Sima Damouri, a female student under 18 years, committed suicide in the city of Likak, Bahmai County, in the Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad Province.
On Saturday, November 10, 2018, a 32-year-old woman named Troskeh Rasoulian, daughter of Ismail, hanged herself in the city of Oshnavieh and ended her life.
On Friday, November 9, 2018, a woman hanged herself in a village near Fereydoon Kenar, in Mazandaran Province. It was also reported that a 23-year-old woman from Bojnourd, South Khorasan Province, took her own life by taking rice pills in Fereydoon Kenar’s beach.
Saturday, November 4, 2018, Ameneh Ebrahimi, a 45-year-old woman from Sardasht, took her own life due to poverty.
From March to the end of October, 80 suicides of Iranian girls and women have been registered.
According to the annual statistics released by the Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine in September 2018, in Iran, women's suicide rates in 2017 alone were more than 1,365 people, at least 4 women per day.
Suicide in Iran rates third highest among Islamic countries. According to the World Health Organization, the suicide rate of Iran in 2014 was 5,3 in every 100,000 people. Iranian women are more vulnerable to suicide than other groups in the society. In 2007, Iran ranked the third country in which women were outnumbering men in committing suicide. According to a study published in 2008, women's suicide rate in Iran was double that of men.
Afghanistan Women’s Football Team Captain Dropped after Refusing to Sign Contract That Denies Pay
November 22, 2018
The captain of Afghanistan’s women’s football team and several of her team mates have been reportedly dropped after they refused to sign a contract which denied them payments for playing matches among other restrictions.
Shabnam Mobarez said in a statement on Twitter that she was recently asked to sign a contract that “jeopordizes my ability to seek outside off AFF (Afghanistan Football Federation), does not include compensation for playing, prohibits me from pursuing other promotional ventures and lacks any sort of mediation during disciplinary proceedings.”
The team is set to take part in the upcoming CAFA (Central Asian Football Association) Women’s Championship that starts on November 23. “I have chosen not to sign the contract which has ultimately ended without an invite for the upcoming CAFA tournament. This contract would take away my rights both as a player and female representing my country,” Mobarez said in her statement. “I hope for a change that will benefit our team for all the girls that aspire to play for the Afghan Women’s National team.” She also posted screenshots of the contract on Facebook.
Mobarez is an Afghan refugee who moved to Denmark with her family in 2003 to flee the war in Afghanistan. Apart from being captain of her nation’s football team, Mobarez also coaches refugee teams in Denmark. She had been offered a place in the Danish team but she chose to represent Afghanistan. She has been captain of the side since 2016.
Afghanistan, unable to train as a full team at home, have met for training camps and games in places such as the US, Germany, Jordan and the Netherlands. The team, coached by the American Kelly Lindsey, who has not set foot in the country since taking over in 2016 because of safety concerns, have risen to 106 in the Fifa world rankings
Feminist Poet Fahmida Riaz Is No More
November 23, 2018
KARACHI: One of the most courageous feminist voices coming out of the literary circles in Pakistan and distinguished Urdu poet, translator and fiction writer Fahmida Riaz passed away on Wednesday and laid to rest in Lahore on Thursday. She was 72.
Ms Riaz was born on July 26, 1946 in Meerut, India. Her father worked in the education sector and was involved in efforts to improve the education system in Sindh. When Pakistan gained independence, her father was transferred to Hyderabad, Sindh, where the family shifted for good.
Ms Riaz acquired her early education from a school in Hyderabad and went on to graduate from Zubeida College.
Her growing up in the city meant that apart from Urdu, she was able to learn Sindhi, and subsequently as her interest in literature grew, she became well-versed in Persian as well.
Her first collection of Urdu poems titled Pathar Ki Zaban was published when she was 22 years old. It was well received. When her second book Badan Dareedah hit the bookstalls, it created a stir in literary and social circles. The conservative section of Pakistani society accused her of employing bold, sexually explicit language. She took all of that in her stride.
But during Gen Ziaul Haq’s rule, Ms Riaz went into exile in India. It is said that poet Amrita Pritam facilitated her stay across the border. She remained in India for seven years, and when Gen Zia’s rule came to an end, she returned to Pakistan to a warm reception.
She authored 15 books. They included her collections of poems, including the critically acclaimed Dhoop and Aadmi Ki Zindagi, novels (the last one being Qila-i-Faramoshi) and translations of works of Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai and Sheikh Ayaz. One of her great literary achievements was the translation in verse of Persian Sufi poet Rumi’s works.
She also served as chief editor of the Urdu Dictionary Board, from 2009 to 2012.
Ms Riaz’s funeral prayers were held on Thursday after Namaz-i-Asr at 91C, Askari I, Sarfaraz Rafiqi Road, Lahore. She was laid to rest in Bahar Shah Graveyard, Lahore Cantonment.
Prominent among those who attended the funeral were poets Amjad Islam Amjad and Fatima Hassan, painter and educationist Salima Hashmi and journalists I.A. Rehman, Hussain Naqi, Imtiaz Alam and Rashid Rehman.
Her son-in-law Sheikh Muhammad Babar Yahya told Dawn that Ms Riaz had had multiple strokes but the one she suffered on Wednesday left the right side of her body paralysed.
He said the poet and author had three children — two daughters and a son. Her son Kabir died in an accident in the US while her daughter Sara lives in the United Kingdom.
Amjad Islam Amjad said she was a bold poetess who raised a voice for the rights of women through her poetry. She was also a political activist.
Asghar Nadeem Syed said her first collection of poems gave a new trend to poetry in Urdu. Her poetry was all about historical facts and political activism.
Ms Riaz was a great fighter and social and political activist of merit, said human rights activist I.A. Rehman. She raised a strong voice for women’s right.
Veteran journalist Hussain Naqi said she faced great opposition in her life but fought against all the odds with determination.
Educationist and social activist Salima Hashmi said the late poet fought for the rights of the people of Balochistan.
Writer Fatima Hassan said the government did not pay any attention to the circumstances in which Ms Riaz spent her last few years. She was a great writer who inspired generations.
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