New Age Islam
Tue Nov 24 2020, 08:33 PM

Islam, Women and Feminism ( 11 Jan 2016, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Muslim Women in Malaysia Are Forbidden By a Fatwa to Freeze Their Eggs before Marriage

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo: Sheema founded Tehreek-i-Niswan, a cultural group that engages in dance and music and celebrates diversity —Photo by author

 

I think Muslim men see my dancing as a challenge to them, says Sheema Kermani

Malacca Beauty Pageant ‘Haram’, ‘Insults’ Women, Islamic Parties Say

Woman Broker Held For Marrying Off Hyderabad Girl to Omanese Beggar

3 Women Killed For ‘Honour', One Falls Prey to Violence in Pakistan

Pakistan: Women on Wheels Wows the World

Female Illiteracy in KSA Drops To 8.27%

Al Faisalya Women Welfare Society, Ma’aden wing launch ‘Gold Hand’

Wrong HIV Report Traumatises Pregnant Woman in Sharjah

Qatari Women Recognised For Cancer Research

Muslim Woman's Silent Donald Trump Protest Was Far From Spontaneous

Muslim Women Speak Out, Answer Questions on Islam

Outrage As Soldiers Allegedly Molest Muslim Woman in Lagos

12 Children Dead After Russia Strike Hits Syria School

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

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Muslim Women in Malaysia Are Forbidden By a Fatwa to Freeze Their Eggs before Marriage

JANUARY 6, 2016

Syariah law only allows a woman’s eggs to be fertilised by her husband’s sperm. Thus, freezing her eggs for social purposes is not allowed, said fertility expert Dr Natasha Ain Mohd Nor.

"A fatwa has been established for Muslim women, where freezing their eggs before marriage is not permissible," Natasha told Bernama.

"However, after marriage, they can freeze their eggs, provided they be fertilised by the sperm of the husband."

She said egg freezing in Islam was only encouraged if the woman is unable to conceive naturally due to a medical condition and not for social reasons where young single women freeze their eggs to become pregnant later on in life.

Asked what the current thinking was among Muslim women in Malaysia on egg freezing, she said: "They haven’t caught up with the idea as it is very expensive. Egg freezing could cost a woman between RM15,000 and RM17,000."

Natasha, who works at the KL Fertility Centre, said Muslim women who opted to freeze their eggs were usually those with life-threatening illnesses, such as cancer.

"Muslim women wishing to freeze their eggs do it for medical purposes. But this is still a very small minority," she said.

"These women are usually undergoing chemotherapy. They are referred by their doctor to a fertility expert to assist them freeze their eggs as an option should they later decide to have children."

Asked whether there were other reasons for Muslim women seeking to freeze their eggs, Natasha said she had helped freeze the eggs of Muslim women whose husbands could not produce enough sperm.

'Do not delay pregnancy'

"What happens is that we freeze the woman’s eggs, and then give the husband a day or two to produce the sperm to fertilise them."

Natasha encouraged women in general not to delay pregnancy, saying egg freezing was not a 100 percent guarantee that they would conceive.

"Egg freezing is an option, but the likelihood of the woman becoming pregnant is not 100 per cent guaranteed," she said.

"If a woman wants to freeze her eggs, she is encouraged to do so in her early 30s while she still has enough eggs. In her 40s, it would be difficult."

Natasha said a woman’s eggs could last five to 10 years after they were frozen.

"Therefore, it would be advisable for a woman who wants to delay pregnancy to see a gynaecologist and have a full health assessment to know about the fertility of her eggs."

http://www.malaysiansmustknowthetruth.blogspot.in/2016/01/fatwa-prohibits-muslim-women-from.html?m=1

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I think Muslim men see my dancing as a challenge to them, says Sheema Kermani

Jan 12, 2016

I had the pleasure of interviewing classical dancer and performer extraordinaire Sheema Kermani in Karachi some time ago.

Seeing Kermani perform in Pakistan is always a pleasure because her performances are a celebration of the cultural history of this part of the world that dates back to the Indus Valley Civilization. Kermani hosted a two day dance festival at the Arts Council of Karachi, Pakistan to packed audiences followed by well-deserved standing ovations on both days.

Here, she talks about her childhood, her beliefs and what she'd do differently if she could go back in time.

Tell us a little about yourself.

My father belonged to well-established aristocratic family of UP, Lucknow, India. Originally the family is from Kerman in Iran and migrated to India where they settled in UP.

My mother’s family was from Hyderabad Deccan and my maternal grandfather was a District Sessions Judge in Hyderabad, Deccan, India.

My father after having graduated from Aligarh University joined the British India army as a commissioned officer. Then in 1947 he opted for Pakistan and came here as a member of the Pakistan Army. In 1949 he went back to India to get married. My father retired as a Brigadier from the army and then was the chairman of KESC till his retirement.

I was born the second of three children. I have an elder brother and a younger sister. My early education was in the convent schools of the cantonments where my father would be posted. Because of the frequent and many postings all over the country, we as children managed to see most of Pakistan, and because my grandparents were in India we used to travel by train every summer holidays and visit them there. So we had a great exposure to both India and Pakistan.

It was our early exposure to Indian classical dance and music that we had on our visits to Hyderabad, and to Western classical music of which my father was very fond of, that stirred my interest in the arts. As a young girl I had studied Western classical music and read all the classical literature that was available. My parents also gave us a wonderful exposure to the world of dance, drama and music.

We travelled all over Pakistan as well as around the globe and visited museums and art galleries and saw the best of performances in Europe and UK - I remember watching a ballet performance with Rudolph Nureyuv and Margot Fonteyn and seeing Laurence Oliver and Maggie Smith on stage. All of this was part of our education and upbringing.

What challenges have you faced as a woman in a patriarchal society like Pakistan?

Well I think that Muslim men see my dancing as a challenge to them! To the Muslim male a woman who is standing on stage with confidence and dignity, is they think saying to them that, “Here I am; I am proud of my body and I do not fear you”. This is totally unacceptable to them.

As far as I am concerned those who do not like dance or disapprove of it may not come to watch but I do not give them the right to stop me. I believe it is my right to do what I want; I do not force them to come to a performance so why should they force me to not dance?

I consider myself an activist of human rights issues and I strongly feel that I must do whatever I can to change this discrimination against women in our society so that she can find her place of dignity and respect.

Yes certainly for me dance is a means of communication and a political act. It is a statement that I make: I am free, independent and proud of my body and my being! My audience is varied – ordinary common people/public of Pakistan (when I perform at political forums, conferences and meetings) as well as those who buy tickets and come to see performances in the auditoriums,

What direction are the women of Pakistan headed in?

Well it is a strange and complex situation. On the one hand I believe that we are moving forward as far as the situation of women is concerned.

More women are now outdoors, working in almost all sectors of employment. In the cities women are going to schools, colleges, universities and getting professional and vocational training and education. Many women have joined the media and the many TV channels. But on the other hand we have large number of cases of ‘honour killings’, ‘acid burning’ and other such horrendous and criminal acts victimizing and targeting women.

I myself am a Marxist and a feminist. I believe in the Marxist ideology and a vision of a classless society where men and women hold an equal status.

However, I believe that feminism is recognition of the existence of sexism, male domination and patriarchy and the desire to change this situation. I consider myself an activist of human rights issues and I strongly feel that I must do whatever I can to change this discrimination against women in our society so that she can find her place of dignity and respect. It is the values that have to change and the attitudes towards women both of society and state.

How has dance evolved over the years in Pakistan?

Classical dance was banned in Pakistan by President General Zia ul Haq in 1983. Ever since then it has been very difficult to perform and to exist as a dancer in Pakistan.

All the other dancers had left the country by 1983 and I was the only dancer practicing and teaching in Pakistan. The biggest problem is that to hold a public performance one has to obtain a NOC – No Objection Certificate. This is a very tough and laborious bureaucratic procedure. For this one has to go through a disgusting procedure of official bureaucratic rigmarole, running to various offices and finally getting a piece of paper which states: “dancing, nudity, obscenity not allowed; Dresses of Islamic origin only to be worn; No dress so tight as to reveal the vital curves of the body not to be worn; Nothing to go against Islamic values ”.

I was recently at a party where I overheard a lady saying to the other about me, “Don’t sit next to her, she is a dancer”. Often I have stepped out dressed for a performance and looked around to see if someone is there to shoot or attack me.

Often when the governments are obscurantist as General Zia ul Haq’s was, then it becomes all the more difficult and sometimes impossible. As for the social attitudes towards dance- well I decided early in life to not let that bother me. I don’t conform.

Has the political situation of Pakistan impacted your work? If so, how?

Often I have received death threats from fundamentalist groups -- a hotel where I was performing was sent bomb threats and so on and so forth. So this is something I have been facing right from the very beginning. I was recently at a party where I overheard a lady saying to the other about me “don’t sit next to her, she is a dancer”. Often I have stepped out dressed for a performance and looked around to see if someone is there to shoot or attack me.

Well yes, I do see all that I do as political activism. I am a political person and I believe there is no politics without art.

I believe that perhaps culture is the only medium that can help our country to overcome the ethnic, religious and linguistic divide. Culture overcomes barriers of language and geography and all else.

What is the importance of dance in Pakistani culture today?

I believe that dance is part of our lives – we are only alive when we are dancing! I personally do not see dance as either Hindu or Muslim; I believe this would be the same as to say that there is a Hindu bomb and a Muslim bomb – does the bomb choose between Hindu and Muslim – does it not destroy irrespective of religion? ! In the same way I feel that dance should not be called Hindu or Muslim.

Besides, I am sure that dance existed pre-religion. At the time of the Mohenjodaro civilization there was much importance given to dance

If you could go back in time and change things in your career, what would you do differently? Any future projects/goals we should keep a look out for?

What I would like is to be in a position where I can set up a cultural complex for women, where women can get together without fear and inhibition, simply sit and relax, develop their creative potentials, read and write, sing and dance, learn and do yoga and whatever else they want to and find a shelter for themselves.

Words of wisdom for aspiring dancers from Pakistan?

Dance is perhaps the most beautiful possession that we humans have – let us preserve it in its true and pure form. I feel every one must dance. Dance, to free your self!

http://images.dawn.com/news/1174600/i-think-muslim-men-see-my-dancing-as-a-challenge-to-them-says-sheema-kermani

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Malacca beauty pageant ‘haram’, ‘insults’ women, Islamic parties say

January 12, 2016

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 12 ― Islamist PAS and splinter party Amanah today railed against the Malacca authorities for organising a beauty pageant to boost tourism, claiming the event exploits women by making them wear revealing clothes and is “haram” in Islam.

Amanah’s Malacca women’s wing also referred to Awan Melaka said the state government should be working to improve the status of women in the southern state and not use them as “entertainment” tools.

“Clearly the Miss Tourism competition is ‘haram’ according to Islam because of the clothes that are revealing and disrespectful, while the attendees also comprise both men and women.

“We as women feel insulted because this programme clearly exploits women and displays the shape of their body and also their aurat to men,” Awan Melaka said in a Facebook posting today.

Aurat refers to the parts of a Muslim woman’s body that must be covered, but the extent of which varies in interpretation according to schools of Islam.

The group added that the Malacca government should also apologise to women for organising the Miss Tourism Queen of the Year International 2016 competition.

“Awan Melaka regrets that the vice programme is still going on using the excuse to draw tourists to Malacca,” the group said.

The state’s PAS muslimat chief Hajah Kintan Man also said in a statement that the party condemns Malacca’s move organise the competition and said that there were many other ways for the state to draw in more visitors.

“DMPNM regrets the efforts and actions of the state government in recognising the world beauty queen pageant that is clearly exploiting the dignity of women.

“As such, DMPNM that supports PAS’s foundation which is Islam, strongly opposes the organisation of the event,” the statement read, referring to the state’s Dewan Muslimat by its Malay acronym.

She added that the state government could instead upgrade Malacca’s many tourist spots and also promote the state’s culture through various community-wide activities instead of using a beauty competition.

News portal The Star Online reported on January 4 that contestants from 52 countries were vying for the Miss Tourism Queen of the Year International 2016 title organised by the Malacca Historic City Council (MBMB).

The final stage of the competition, which will take place on January 16, was meant to be held in Bangkok but due to last-minute changes, is now to be held in Malaysia.

http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/malacca-beauty-pageant-haram-insults-women-islamic-parties-say

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Woman Broker Held For Marrying Off Hyderabad Girl to Omanese Beggar

Jan 12, 2016

A woman was on Monday arrested for allegedly facilitating marriage of a 28-year-old to a ‘rich’ Arab ‘shaikh’ from Oman who turned out to be a beggar, police said.

“The broker, identified as Sajida Begum, claimed before the victim’s parents that the shaikh is a rich person and made them to believe that after marriage she can seek an employment in a Gulf country. Accordingly, the marriage was performed in August last year,” stated a release from Hyderabad Police.

However, the woman who went to Oman with her husband later found that he was a beggar, and informed her parents in Hyderabad.

“The issue was brought to the notice of the police by the victim’s father in November last year and a cheating case was registered. The accused woman broker was arrested during the course of investigation,” it stated.

Police said the efforts were on to bring the victim back to Hyderabad.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india/woman-broker-held-for-marrying-off-hyderabad-girl-to-omanese-beggar/story-DVzz6vCOHqF5UIdN7qPCsL.html

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3 Women Killed For ‘Honour', One Falls Prey to Violence in Pakistan

January 12, 2016

SIALKOT

The violence against women continues across district Sialkot as three women were allegedly killed for honour, one fell prey to domestic violence, one committed suicide and two others were abducted in separate incidents.

These incidents have been reported during the past 72 hours, with most of the cases took place in Daska tehsil.

In village Sekhwan, two accused allegedly killed their sister in the name of honour on Monday. The accused identified as Sajjawal Khan and Muhammad Arshad allegedly gunned down their sister Iqra Bibi. The girl had contracted love-marriage with her cousin Zaid Shabbir a few months ago against the will of their families.

The Daska Saddr Police have registered a case and started investigation with no arrest.

In village Talwara Rajputan-Motra, Daska tehsil, a young man identified as Waqas allegedly shot dead his elderly mother-in-law over a suspicion of her bad character.

In village Machchraala-Head Marala, a man identified as Abdul Aziz Khan gunned down his daughter 15-year-old Syeda. The police said that the reason behind the murder is the slain girl's alleged bad character.

In another incident, the in-laws allegedly shot dead their daughter-in-law identified as Shagufta Bibi, 36, mother of four children, over a domestic dispute in Daska city's congested Mughalpura locality.

According to the local police, she was murdered by her in-laws and later portrayed the incident as to be a suicide.

In village Bhagatpur, Daska, a woman namely Parveen Bibi committed suicide by swallowing poisonous pills over a domestic dispute.

Moreover, in village Pull Bajwaan-Uggoki, three armed accused allegedly abducted a married woman Asima Bibi from her house. In Shahabpura locality of Daska city, five armed accused abducted a young girl from her house. The Daska City Police have launched investigation with no clue or arrest.

http://nation.com.pk/national/12-Jan-2016/3-women-killed-for-honour-one-falls-prey-to-violence

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Pakistan: Women on Wheels Wows the World

January 11, 2016

Iftikhar Alam

LAHORE - One hundred and fifty female bikers yesterday took part in a first kind of motorcycle rally on The Mall during the formal launch of Punjab government sponsored Women on Wheels (WOW) project. These female motorcyclists have already completed their training under Special Monitoring Unit on Law & Order and City Traffic Police. Austrian Ambassador Brigitta Balaha and known jurist Asma Jehangir also participated in the rally.

Provincial Minister for Population Welfare Zakia Shahnawaz, Minister for Women Development Hameeda Waheed ud Din, Senior Member SMU Salman Sufi, assembly members, Danish Ambassador Helen Neilson, American Consul General in Lahore Zackary Harkenrider, UN Women Country Representative Jamshed Qazi, prominent motorcyclist of Singapore Juvena Huan and people of different walks of life were present on the occasion.

Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has already announced to provide pink scooters to working women and girl students under WoW Project. The distribution of the scooters will start on International Women Day.

The Punjab government had also started a pink bus service in the city specific for female commuters. But the buses gradually vanished from the city routes.  Though the Sindh government is already providing driving license to female bikers in Karachi and they could be seen at port city roads but any promise to provide free bikes to working ladies has not been made by the provincial government.

Enthusiasm of the participants was visible during the rally in Lahore. Asma Jahangir congratulated the Punjab government and SMU on WOW project. Executive Director of Working Women Organization and labour activist Aima Mahmood termed it a good move of the Punjab government towards women empowerment and upholding the soft image of the country.

Addressing “Women on Wheels” seminar which held prior to the rally, Women Development Minister Hameeda Waheed-ud-Din said that participation of women in development process was essential for achieving the aim of national progress and prosperity. She added that Punjab government was taking effective measures for the elimination of gender discrimination, change in social mindset and ensuring active participation of women in all sectors of life.

On the instructions of the government, free training was being imparted to women in motorcycle riding under the aegis of Special Monitoring Unit Chief Minister House, said the minister, announcing that on International Women’s Day, one thousand scooties will be distributed. Informing that women desk was being set up in every police station in Punjab, she said that the government steps against harassment of women were yielding positive results. Referring to various challenges and problems being faced by women, the minister said that equal rights as well as due encouragement was being given to women so that they could play their due role in the society.

Population Welfare Minister Zakia Shahnawaz said that provision of equal opportunities of development to women was the responsibility of Punjab government. She vowed that no effort will be spared for making Women on Wheels project successful. “The government will continue the process of legislation for empowerment of women,” she added.

Austrian Ambassador Dr Brigitta Balaha said that provision of opportunity and facilities to Pakistani women is commendable step. “Pakistani women are safer in the present days as compared to previous tenures,” the Austrian envoy added. American Consul General Zachary Harkenrider said he felt honoured to see the historic rally of motorcyclist women in Pakistan. He added the American institutions were providing assistance to Pakistani people for improvement in education, health and other sectors.

MNA Maiza Hameed said there should be social boycott of the elements involved in harassment of women. “Parda (veil) wearing women have also equal rights of education and development in the society,” she stated. CCPO Lahore Amin Wains assured all-out protection to women motorcyclists in Lahore. “Police security will be available to women within five minutes after call on police helpline 15. Women can seek help though SMS on 8330 in any emergent situation,” he told the rally’s participants.

Women Country Head of UN Jamshed Qazi said women are progressing after getting equal opportunities throughout the world. “Pakistani women have to spend more on transport facility as compared to men,” said Qazi, adding that through WOW project, women would not only achieve transport but also facility of reduction in expenditure. At the end of the rally, provincial ministers, foreign guests and elected representatives distributed certificates among traffic wardens for providing training to female riders.

http://nation.com.pk/lahore/11-Jan-2016/women-on-wheels-wows-the-world

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Female illiteracy in KSA drops to 8.27%

ABDUL HANNAN TAGO

12 January 2016

RIYADH: The illiteracy rate among Saudi women dropped to 8.27 percent last year, according to the Ministry of Education.

A ministry source said that from only five adult education centers 45 years ago, there are now 1,438 covering language and other lessons. There are 1,357 centers for elementary education that produced 491,540 graduates. There is also a community program “Society Without Illiteracy” that has individualized instruction. As many as 269,845 women have benefited from these services since its launch in 2008. Another program, called “Neighborhood Learner Program” promotes literacy across the Kingdom with 111,766 individuals having finished the course.

The source said 25,476 candidates have also graduated from a program “City Without illiteracy” in Madinah, Makkah and Shaqra province. As a result, these cities have been declared free from illiteracy.

Another 16,299 also benefited from six years of awareness and literacy campaigns targeting rural women in villages where illiteracy is high. There is also another program for working Saudis unable to continue their studies. The ministry allows them to attend classes for two hours daily, which has resulted in 6,141 graduates.

Those enrolled also get financial incentives and SR1,000 for successfully finishing.

http://www.arabnews.com/saudi-arabia/news/863936

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Al Faisalya Women Welfare Society, Ma’aden wing launch ‘Gold Hand’

Jan 12, 2016

JEDDAH — Princess Fahda Bint Saud Bin Abdul Aziz, president of Al Faisalya Women Welfare Society, signed an agreement with engineer Yehia bin Muhammad Al Shangity, CEO, Gold and Base Metals division in Ma’aden, on “Gold Hand” initiative at the company’s Jeddah office.

“Gold Hand” initiative comes within the company’s social responsibility program and aims to support productive families.

Gold and Base Metals division will finance all the initiative costs with SR770,700 to train 80 women from Mahd Al Dahab governorate at its first phase in sewing, cooking, beauty and computer skills under the supervision of Al Faisalya team who will also train women from the same region to achieve the initiative and in cooperation with development committee in Mahd Al Dahab.

During the agreement signing event, Princess Fahda and Al Shangity discussed more channels of cooperation and Al Shangity wished that “Gold Hand” initiative would be the beginning for more initiatives that aim to women empowerment and work at home.

The “Gold Hand” initiative is a leading one in the kingdom, based on transferring knowledge and experience from main cities to remote regions in a professional and vocational ways.

Preparatory stages took place prior to the launching of the initiative, such as study and social and economic survey about poor families capable of receiving and transferring knowledge to others. The study showed that Mahd Al Dahab region estimates promising trade future for women in cooking, sewing and embroidery, beauty and brides’ cosmetics and computer skills. Training centers are prepared to receive 20 trainees in each specialty, following the completion of the first training program, more groups to be trained to spread the culture of free work.

Al Faisalya Women Welfare Society in Jeddah is named Society in kingdom in productive families empowerment and owns long experience with multiple social and strategic partnerships.

http://saudigazette.com.sa/business/al-faisalya-women-welfare-society-maaden-wing-launch-gold-hand/

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Al Faisalya Women Welfare Society, Ma’aden wing launch ‘Gold Hand’

Jan 12, 2016

Samar Yahya

JEDDAH — Princess Fahda Bint Saud Bin Abdul Aziz, president of Al Faisalya Women Welfare Society, signed an agreement with engineer Yehia bin Muhammad Al Shangity, CEO, Gold and Base Metals division in Ma’aden, on “Gold Hand” initiative at the company’s Jeddah office.

“Gold Hand” initiative comes within the company’s social responsibility program and aims to support productive families.

Gold and Base Metals division will finance all the initiative costs with SR770,700 to train 80 women from Mahd Al Dahab governorate at its first phase in sewing, cooking, beauty and computer skills under the supervision of Al Faisalya team who will also train women from the same region to achieve the initiative and in cooperation with development committee in Mahd Al Dahab.

During the agreement signing event, Princess Fahda and Al Shangity discussed more channels of cooperation and Al Shangity wished that “Gold Hand” initiative would be the beginning for more initiatives that aim to women empowerment and work at home.

The “Gold Hand” initiative is a leading one in the kingdom, based on transferring knowledge and experience from main cities to remote regions in a professional and vocational ways.

Preparatory stages took place prior to the launching of the initiative, such as study and social and economic survey about poor families capable of receiving and transferring knowledge to others. The study showed that Mahd Al Dahab region estimates promising trade future for women in cooking, sewing and embroidery, beauty and brides’ cosmetics and computer skills. Training centers are prepared to receive 20 trainees in each specialty, following the completion of the first training program, more groups to be trained to spread the culture of free work.

Al Faisalya Women Welfare Society in Jeddah is named Society in kingdom in productive families empowerment and owns long experience with multiple social and strategic partnerships.

http://saudigazette.com.sa/business/al-faisalya-women-welfare-society-maaden-wing-launch-gold-hand/

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Wrong HIV report traumatises pregnant woman in Sharjah

January 12, 2016

Dubai: An expectant mother was wrongly diagnosed as HIV positive by a private hospital resulting in mental and emotional stress, her husband said, demanding an apology from the hospital.

Pakistani expatriate Khizra Afreen Farhad, 29, a Sharjah resident, was expecting her second child. She had registered at an Ajman hospital for delivery and was consulting with a doctor at its Sharjah branch.

In the last week of her third trimester on December 9, the doctor advised her to do some routine tests. These included blood tests to screen for infectious diseases such as Hepatitis A, B, C, HIV and HPV. The next day, at the follow-up consultation, the doctor informed her that she was HIV positive.

The test done by the hospital’s laboratory followed the ECLIA (Electro chemiluminiscence Immuno Assay) method.It indicated an HIV anti-body load of 1.26 out of two.

Recalling the trauma, Afreen said: “The doctor said she would have normally informed my husband,  but since he did not accompany me, she broke the news to me and then asked to speak to my husband over the phone. I broke down as this sounded like a death sentence, but she did placate me.”

Stunned

Farhad Nasim, her husband a restaurant manager in Dubai, received the call at his office. He told Gulf News that he was stunned by the news.

“The doctor informed me that since my wife could not have a normal delivery and would have to go in for a C-section to avoid the baby contracting the disease. She also got my wife to sign the Ministry of Health infectious diseases notification form and sent her for a second test to the ministry laboratory, which we went for on December 16 as the next two days was a weekend.”

Nasim added: “Those two days were hell. My wife would not even touch our elder son.”

Finally, the test conducted at the ministry laboratory came back HIV negative. The couple submitted the report to the private hospital and on December 16, Afreen delivered a healthy boy through  normal delivery.

“We expected the hospital to apologise to us for causing us so much trauma. On the contrary, they treated it like a routine event. The stress triggered a lot of bleeding on the day of the delivery,” Nasim said.

The couple has written to the Ministry of Health and is planning to lodge a formal complaint. They said the ministry was to send them a complaints form electronically and they were going to submit an online complaint attaching the relevant documents. Gulf News is withholding the name of the hospital pending a formal complaint with the ministry.

“How does any doctor inform a patient in the last trimester of pregnancy that she is HIV positive? Informing me was fine, but breaking the news to my wife caused so much stress. The least I expected from them was a sincere apology, I got none,” Nasim said.

Hospital’s version

The hospital’s director of laboratory services told Gulf News that patient safety and well-being is taken very seriously. “In a year, we usually get about five or six HIV positive cases of which two are usually borderline. In this case, when her first report came out positive, we did a second test at the hospital laboratory on the same sample the same day which came negative.”

He added that the patient was informed about the negative report and advised to go for a third test at the Ministry of Health. “Normally, in case of women who have had more than one pregnancy, there is a chance they develop some antibodies that react with the serum. In the end, the tests are done on a machine ... the calibrations can give a faulty report. It is protocol for us to inform the patient and we did in case of both the reports as the patient has to sign the infectious diseases notification form. We did everything we could to make the patient comfortable.”

Nasim denied getting the second report about the negative test. “I was not informed at all. If they did they would have taken my signature on the report. Where is it?” he asks.

Protocol for notification

A senior doctor, formerly with the government, confirmed that if a patient is found to be HIV positive he or she cannot be directly informed.

“If the patient tests positive, the laboratory has to order a second test. If the result is positive, the doctor has to fill the infectious disease notification form, inform the Ministry of Health and send the patient there. If the patient still tests positive, the police and immigration are notified... the laboratory or concerned doctor cannot directly inform the patient.”

http://gulfnews.com/news/uae/health/wrong-hiv-report-traumatises-pregnant-woman-in-sharjah-1.1652155

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Qatari women recognised for cancer research

January 12, 2016

Manama: Qatar Research Leadership Programme (QRLP) said its first two doctors of philosophy in biomedical sciences have graduated following their outstanding work in cancer research.

Dr Hamda Al Thawadi and Dr Halema Al Farsi graduated with honours from QRLP, a programme dedicated to science and research and developed by Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development (QF).

Dr Al Thawadi’s work highlights the effects microparticles from ovarian cancer have in initiating the formation of blood vessels that promote the growth of tumour cells. Her research identified that targeting these microparticles could be of therapeutic use in treating cancer in the future. Dr Al Thawadi’s work was published in the Oncotarget Journal.

Also focused on ovarian cancer research, Dr Al Farsi chose a very original approach, including computer simulation, to look at genes that are protected against mutation and to discover pathways that are essential for tumour survival. Her work is in preparation for publication.

“Dr Al Thawadi and Dr Al Farsi are two outstanding individuals who exceeded our hopes and have set the standard of achievement extremely high at QRLP,” Dr Dirar Khoury, Executive Director of Research Coordination and Special Initiatives, and Acting Executive Director of Education, Training, and Development at QF R&D, said as he congratulated the two graduates. “Their success is a reflection of our investments to become a knowledge-based society, filled with innovative people and ideas that will take us forward. The future of scientific research here in Qatar is fortunate to be able to draw upon the knowledge that both doctors have accumulated in their studies. Their backgrounds in medicine, biomedical laboratory technology, and scientific research fit well into a future vision of beating cancer and similar diseases. That is why cancer research is part of the Qatar National Research Strategy, and why it is essential that we, as a society, support the brightest aspiring scientists to come up with the most promising ways of beating cancer,” Dr Khoury added.

Both doctors received their degrees from the University of Paris-Sud (Paris 11) in France, while performing their research in collaboration with Weill Cornell Medicine – Qatar, a QF partner university.

http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/qatar/qatari-women-recognised-for-cancer-research-1.1652323

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Muslim Woman's Silent Donald Trump Protest Was Far From Spontaneous

January 12, 2016

NEW YORK:  Members of an informal group of civil rights activists who were thrown out of a Donald Trump campaign rally on Friday after a silent protest have a message for the Republican presidential candidate: you can expect more of the same.

"Let's just say if Mr Trump comes back to our neighborhood, we might pay him a visit," said Marty Rosenbluth, an immigration lawyer who stood wordlessly next to Rose Hamid, the Muslim hijab-wearing flight attendant who quickly became a media sensation after her removal from the event in South Carolina.

Trump in December called for a temporary ban on Muslims from entering the United States following coordinated attacks in Paris in which Islamic State gunmen and suicide bombers killed about 130 people.

His comments were widely condemned by US politicians, both Democrats and Republicans, with many saying such a ban would be impractical and likely unconstitutional.

Trump events have frequently seen protesters attempt to disrupt the proceedings by chanting and holding signs. But Friday's group of protesters in Rock Hill employed a different tactic.

South Carolina is considered an important voting state with its third-in-the-nation primary election scheduled for February 20 in the race for the party nomination to run for the White House in November.

Rosenbluth had demonstrated at a December 4 Trump rally in Raleigh, North Carolina, where the group was quickly thrown out after shouting.

"So I was thinking, what would happen if we just stood there silently?" he said.

At a mid-December Trump appearance in Aiken, South Carolina, a few activists tried the quiet approach, standing while wearing yellow stars with messages such as "Stop Islamophobia" that were intended to evoke the stars Jews were forced to wear in Nazi Germany.

It took security guards several minutes to decide how to handle the situation, in part because they were not disrupting the rally, Rosenbluth said.

The protest proved so successful that the activists decided to try again last Friday.

While cameras focused on Hamid and Rosenbluth, six others stood a few rows behind them wearing yellow stars and were also removed.

Hamid, 56, said by telephone on Monday that she was not involved in the planning but decided to go to the rally on her day off work after receiving an email from another protester, Edith Garwood.

"She told me she planned to do a silent protest," said Hamid, the president of a group called Muslim Women of the Carolinas. "I told her that's what I wanted to do."

That said, Hamid acknowledged the protest, like any political messaging operation, was aimed at attracting as much attention as possible.

"I chose that spot strategically," said Hamid, who stood up directly behind Trump when the billionaire businessman and reality TV show star suggested that refugees fleeing violence in Syria might be affiliated with Islamic State militants.

Not every member of the group adhered to the silent strategy. Jibril Hough, an activist from Charlotte who is friends with Hamid, decided to chant "Islam is not the problem" and said he was physically removed.

The Trump campaign has not commented on the protesters. A campaign rally in New Hampshire on Monday produced only one disruption, when two men were escorted out after yelling.

http://www.ndtv.com/world-news/muslim-womans-silent-donald-trump-protest-was-far-from-spontaneous-1264797

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Muslim Women Speak Out, Answer Questions on Islam

Jan 11, 2016

Not a single seat was empty at The Forum at the Santa Fe University of Art and Design on Sunday afternoon where 10 Muslim women on a panel were preparing to answer questions about their faith. People were leaning against the walls, perched behind the stage or sitting on the floor. A Sikh man stood guard at the door. And after the two-hour question-and-answer session was over, members of the audience lined up to talk further with the panellists.

Clearly, Santa Feans, and women especially, wanted to know more about the faith that has been linked to acts of terrorism in the U.S. and abroad.

Except that that isn’t Islam, these women said. The people setting off bombs in Paris, gunning down innocent people in San Bernardino, Calif., or stoning women for charges of adultery, are not really Muslims, they said. Despite Islam’s image in the press, their faith is one that seeks peace and empowers women rather than subjugates them, they wanted the audience to know.

The audience, which numbered in the hundreds, was sympathetic to their message.

“I’m just here to learn and to show support,” said Jen Repede, who staked out a small spot on the floor in front of the panel with her friend, Andrew Stocker. “I feel like it’s an important gathering to support people who are being so ostracized. [The idea that] ISIS is representative of the Muslim people is so far from the truth,” he said.

Susan Munroe, who snared a seat in the front row, said she came because, “I am very supportive of the people leaving Syria. It’s an absolute tragedy for the Islamic people.” Munroe, who said she had taken up wearing a head scarf to show solidarity, said, “I’m also concerned at even the thought of Muslims being stopped at our borders.”

But the big turnout Sunday didn’t surprise her because Santa Fe “is so special and open.”

The 10 women, half of whom wore head scarves, were confident, opinionated and devout. Some were of Palestinian heritage, others were converts born in the U.S. A couple of them grew up Muslim in Abiquiú. One, a former Southern Baptist, described herself as a “revert” after she read the Quran. One young woman owns a food truck with her husband in Santa Fe, and another woman runs a coffee shop off of Zafarano Drive. Another was a lawyer from Albuquerque who married an Iranian man and converted.

After briefly introducing themselves, they eagerly answered a variety of questions written on index cards by members of the audience. Nobody was shy.

“How does your community monitor or deal with people you know or suspect of getting radicalized?” one person wanted to know.

Sandra Akkad said they report them to the authorities. “We are part of the American fabric,” she said, adding that many potential incidents in the U.S. had been thwarted by Muslim-Americans.

Samia Assed agreed, and suggested that recruiting in the U.S. is harder than people think. “For the most part, Muslims are happy here. It’s hard to radicalize Muslim-Americans,” she said. Fatima van Hattum, who started wearing a head scarf as a teenager in Abiquiú, added that although, “We have a good relationship [with] law enforcement, we’re also watched a lot.”

When asked whether Islam advocates killing or violence, Akkad pointed out, “It’s not the religion that is killing anyone. It’s these fringe elements.” And Sabiha Quraishi chimed in, saying the Quran holds that if one person is killed the whole of humanity is killed.

One audience member raised the differences in the dress of the panelists and wondered whether it was related to different levels of belief. Assed said she wears the hijab, or head scarf, in memory of her late brother. The scarf for her, she said, was an expression of modesty, “but just because someone doesn’t wear it doesn’t mean they are any less faithful.”

Akkad states that there are 1.6 billion Muslims around the world and the community is hugely diverse. Fewer than 20 percent are Arab, and different cultures adopt different styles of dress, she said.

Kathy Ahghar, who does not cover her head in Albuquerque, said she does wear the hijab when visiting family in Iran because it makes them more comfortable and she wants to show respect. “It’s between you and God,” she said.

Asked whether they felt they or members of their family were in danger for denouncing the violence for which “Islamic” radicals are responsible, Assed said, “I don’t feel I have to answer for radical Islam. Of course, terror is terror, no matter what your color or race. But we shouldn’t scapegoat the whole community for the actions of some.”

She said she sees those radicals as extremists and, “We feel violated. For Islam to be taken in vain is hurtful on so many levels.”

The terrorists are not really Muslims, said one of the panelists, pointing out that some of the 9/11 bombers were spotted drinking in a bar prior to the hijackings and some of the Paris terrorists had criminal records, both forbidden in the religion of Muhammad.

Most of the women said they felt safe in New Mexico, although several described acts of hostility and some fear. Rehana Archuletta-Hadid, for example, said that she has experienced hatred from a neighbour and, “I am fearful sometimes about being open about being Muslim.”

All agreed that the differences between the Shiite or Sunni sects of the religion are blown out of proportion. And many said they never heard the terms until later in their lives. They were all just Muslim. The differences are politically motivated and not ideology, they stressed.

Many people in the audience were interested in Sharia, the body of jurisprudence in Islam that is often cited in stories concerning the punishment of women. But its interpretation depends on where you come from, Quraishi, the lawyer, said, and Iran doesn’t really get it right, “which drives me insane.”

They were asked about jihad, a word which refers to a spiritual struggle in Islam. It has become a scare word and used to dehumanize Muslims, they believe. One woman said her jihad was her effort to be peaceful at all times. Another said jihad could be just getting up in the morning, completing chores or raising your children. It means the ability to endure and resist. For Akkad, “Dealing with [presidential candidate Donald] Trump is a huge jihad.”

As for whether Islam subjugates women, the panelists insisted that was one of the biggest misunderstandings about their faith. When Islam was revealed, they said, women were assured certain rights and freedoms. “Patriarchy exists,” van Hattum agreed, “but Islam does not teach the subjugation of women.”

Another panelist pointed to the treatment of women in Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia, calling the limits on their activities as “terrible, but that’s cultural. That has nothing to do with Islam.” Of those countries, she said, “My personal feeling is that they are afraid of women.”

Toward the end of the event, organizer and travel writer Judith Fein read out a question asking about the impact of the presidential campaign on them. Assed condemned the hate spewed by presidential candidates against first Mexicans, then the Muslims and said, “The Republican Party should demand that Donald Trump resign from running for president.”

Ahghar said she would defend his rights to say “those” things, but “I am so hurt. Shame on us as Americans that we could allow that kind of speech.”

A similar panel discussion is scheduled for next Sunday at 1 p.m. in ballrooms A and B at the student union building at The University of New Mexico.

http://www.santafenewmexican.com/news/local_news/muslim-women-speak-out-answer-questions-on-islam/article_91186859-ed38-5cfc-bedc-9d54bdae676d.html

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Outrage As Soldiers Allegedly Molest Muslim Woman in Lagos

11 January 2016

Lagos - Muslim sisters at some hospitals in Lagos and Oyo States Ibadan are still prevented from using the hijab despite official circulars allowing that, it has emerged.

The Muslim Public Affairs Centre (MPAC) reported this had been observed in the National Orthopaedic Hospital in Igbobi, Lagos (NOHIL) and University College Hospital’s (UCH) School of Nursing, in Ibadan, Oyo.

Posters of the Federal Government allegedly banning the burqa have appeared at the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) Office, New Garage, Ibadan, and their officials were discriminating against Muslims.

MAPC reported it had been reported that last Friday, soldiers molested a niqabite (Muslim woman with face cover) in Meiran, Lagos.

MPAC reported her hijab was pulled off her head, and all she could do was "crawl away in hurtful and humiliating tears."

Disu Kamor, Executive Chairman of MPAC, said for such reasons, the MPAC once again called on the government of President Muhammadu Buhari, to protect the essential rights and liberties of all its citizens.

He urged the government must supervise and carefully evaluate the powers given to, and wielded by, security agencies and parastatals.

“Attacking a Muslim woman wearing the niqab in a public place thousands of kilometers away from the areas directly affected by the Boko Haram insurgency is a definite sign of Islamophobia’s tolerance in our society,” said Kamor.

Kamor said this kind of assault on citizens of the Muslim faith were seldom acknowledged for hate-motivated crimes.

“As it has on previous occasions, the MPAC is warning that this and similar assaults are becoming an increasing threat in a Muslim Nigerian

life and urges both media and politicians to forcefully speak out against them for the good of all citizens.”

Kamor said politicians were as responsible for the welfare of the Muslim women in hijab that were being persecuted as that of every other citizen of this country.

Hijab is a veil that covers the head and chest, which is particularly worn by some Muslim woman beyond the age of puberty in the presence of adult males outside of their immediate family.

http://www.news24.com.ng/National/News/outrage-as-soldiers-allegedly-molest-muslim-woman-20160111

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12 children dead after Russia strike hits Syria school

January 12, 2016

DAMASCUS/Beirut - At least 12 children and three adults were killed in a Russian air strike that hit a school in Syria's Aleppo province on Monday, a monitor said.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the three adults included a teacher, and that the strike in the town of Anjara also injured at least 20 people, all of them children and teachers. The monitor said there had been heavy air strikes and clashes between government and rebel forces since Sunday in the northern province, which is controlled by a mixture of moderate and Islamist rebels.

Photos distributed by media activists in Aleppo province showed a classroom full of rubble with the wooden tops of desks blown off their metal frames. The Britain-based Observatory also reported that three children were killed by rebel rocket fire on a government-held district in Aleppo city.

Control of the city has been divided between government forces in the west and rebel fighters in the east since shortly after fighting began there in mid-2012. Government forces regularly carry out air raids on the east, while rebels fire rockets into the west.

The situation is largely reversed in the countryside surrounding the city, with rebels controlling much of the area west of Aleppo, and the government present to the east. Russia, a staunch ally of President Bashar al-Assad's regime, began air strikes in support of the central government in late September.

It says it is targeting the Islamic State group and other ‘terrorists,’ but a third of those killed in its strikes have been civilians, according to the Observatory. The monitor said in late December that Russian air strikes had killed more than 2,300 people since they began on September 30, among them 792 civilians.

Moscow has slammed as ‘absurd’ allegations that its strikes have killed civilians. More than 260,000 people have been killed in Syria since the conflict began in March 2011 with anti-government protests. Moreover, dozens of aid trucks headed on Monday to the besieged rebel-held Syrian town of Madaya, where more than two dozen people are reported to have starved to death. The aid convoys were set to arrive in the town after an outpouring of international concern and condemnation over the dire conditions in Madaya, where some 42,000 people are living under a government siege.

The delivery will happen simultaneously with aid entering two government-held towns under rebel siege in the northwest of the country. It comes after the Doctors Without Borders (MSF) charity said some 28 people had died of starvation in Madaya since December 1.

Residents have described desperate scenes, saying they have been reduced to eating weeds and paying exorbitant prices for what little food could be smuggled through the siege. Forty-four trucks operated by the International Committee of the Red Cross, the Syrian Red Crescent, the United Nations and World Food Programme left from Damascus for Madaya on Monday afternoon.

Earlier, 21 trucks carrying similar supplies left for the government-held towns of Fuaa and Kafraya, which are under rebel siege in the northwest of the country. Fuaa and Kafraya are more than 300 kilometres (180 miles) from Damascus, while Madaya is about 40 kilometres from the capital.

The trucks are carrying food, water, infant formula, blankets and medication for acute and chronic illnesses, as well as surgical supplies. The three towns, along with rebel-held Zabadani next to Madaya, were part of a landmark six-month deal reached in September for an end to hostilities in those areas in exchange for humanitarian assistance.

A first aid delivery went ahead, and in December some 450 fighters and civilians from Zabadani, Fuaa and Kafraya were evacuated. But aid has not entered Madaya since October, and residents and rights groups have raised the alarm about deteriorating conditions inside.

Government forces have been able to airdrop some supplies into Fuaa and Kafraya, which are home to around 20,000 people, but rebel forces are not able to do the same for Madaya. Over the weekend, MSF said 23 people had died of starvation since December 1 at one of the facilities it supports in Madaya. On Sunday it reported five additional deaths, including that of a nine-year-old boy.

‘MSF-supported medics in the besieged town have 10 critical starvation patients needing urgent hospitalisation,’ the group said. It said that ‘200 more malnourished patients could become critical and in need of hospitalisation within a week if aid doesn't arrive.’

Another 13 people who tried to escape in search of food have been killed when they stepped on landmines laid by regime forces or were shot by snipers, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a British-based monitoring group. The UN and aid agencies have regularly raised concern about besieged and so-called ‘hard-to-reach’ areas in Syria.

Last week, the UN said only 10 percent of its requested aid deliveries to hard-to-reach and besieged areas of Syria last year were approved and carried out. More than 260,000 people have been killed in Syria since the conflict began in March 2011 with anti-government demonstrations.

Elsewhere in Syria, the Observatory said at least eight children were killed along with their teacher when a Russian air strike hit their school in the west of Aleppo province. The strike injured another 20 students and teachers, the monitor said. Russia, a staunch ally of President Bashar al-Assad, began a campaign of air strikes in support of the regime in late September. It says it is targeting the Islamic State group and other ‘terrorists’ and has dismissed reports that its raids have killed hundreds of civilians as ‘absurd’.

Also in Aleppo, the Observatory said three children had been killed in rebel rocket fire on a government-held neighbourhood in Aleppo city. The city has been divided between government control in the west and rebel control in the east since shortly after fighting there began in mid-2012.

http://nation.com.pk/international/12-Jan-2016/12-children-dead-after-russia-strike-hits-syria-school

 

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