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Islam, Women and Feminism ( 15 Jul 2017, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Muslim Women Seek Priest’s Blessings on Guru Purnima

New Age Islam News Bureau

11 Jul 2017

Muslim women sought blessings of Baba Balakdas, chief priest of Patalpuri Mutt.(HTPhoto)



 Iranian Women Spark Debate by Defying Hijab Rule in Cars

 Female Afghan Pilot Arrives To Kabul On Historic Solo Round-The-World Flight

 'TechGirls' from Middle East and North Africa head to US

 Mother, Daughter Killed For ‘Honour’ In Lahore

 Women Have Right to Model, Groups Say after Shell Standees Removed

 Religious office to handle burial of abused girl

 Afghan-American Female Pilot Seeks To Inspire Young Women

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau




Muslim women seek priest’s blessings on Guru Purnima

Jul 10, 2017

A group of Muslim women led by social activist Nazneen Ansari sought blessings of Baba Balakdas, Chief priest of Patalpuri Mutt here, on the occasion of Guru Purnima on Sunday. The women offered a flower and angvastram to Baba as a mark of respect to him. Ansari along with other Muslim women, including Khursheeda, Nazma Parveen, Nargis, Shabana Bano, Nisha, Rizwana and Asman presented a copy of Aarti of Lord Ram she penned in Urdu. While other women presented angvastram to Baba.

Moreover, Guru Purnima was celebrated across the city with religious fervour. Pupils visited their respective gurus and offered prayers to them. Gurus offered blessings to their pupils. In Vidya Mutt, Swami Avimukteshwaranand Saraswati gave his blessings to devotees. At Baba Keenaram Ashram, Peethadhishwar Baba Siddharath Gautam Ramji offered blessings to the pupils.

A few foreigners too sought blessings of their gurus. The celebrations continued all through the day. The devotees from far flung areas visited their gurus. Pupils of Baba Adgadanad visited him at his ashram in Shakteshgarh. Many visited Garhwa Ashram and sought blessings of chief priest Baba Sarananand. Many others sought blessings of Sankatmochan Temple chief Vishwambhar Nath Mishra.



Iranian women spark debate by defying hijab rule in cars

11 July 2017

A growing number of women in Iran are refusing to wear a hijab while driving, sparking a nationwide debate about whether a car is a private space where they can dress more freely.

Obligatory wearing of the hijab has been an integral policy of the Islamic republic since the 1979 revolution but it is one the establishment has had a great deal of difficulty enforcing. Many Iranian women are already pushing the boundaries, and observers in Tehran say women who drive with their headscarves resting on their shoulders are becoming a familiar sight.

Clashes between women and Iran’s morality police particularly increase in the summer when temperatures rise. But even though the police regularly stop these drivers, fining them or even temporarily seizing their vehicle, such acts of resistance have continued, infuriating hardliners over a long-standing policy they have had a great deal of difficulty enforcing.

Iran’s moderate president, Hassan Rouhani, has argued that people’s private space should be respected and opposes a crackdown on women who don’t wear the hijab. He said explicitly that the police’s job is not to administer Islam. Speaking in 2015, Rouhani said: “The police can’t do something and say I’m doing this because God said so. That’s not a police [officer]’s business.”

Many in Iran believe that private space includes the inside of a car, but judicial authorities and the police have opposed that interpretation.

“The invisible part of the car, such as the trunk, is a private space, but this does not apply to the visible parts of the car,” Hadi Sadeghi, the deputy head of Iran’s judiciary chief, said last week.

His comments have prompted widespread reaction online, with one user posting a satirical picture showing a couple embracing in a car boot. Another user tweeted: “The police have said that only the boot is a private space... poor those of us who have a hatchback car [without a boot]... we don’t have any private space.”

Local media often refrain from directly criticising the mandatory hijab, but the debate over what constitutes a private space has allowed newspapers and even state news agencies to publish articles reflecting views from both sides.

“Private or not private?” asked an article carried by the state Irna news agency on Monday. “This is a question that has created a legal and religious discussion about private space within cars.”

Hossein Ahmadiniaz, a lawyer, told Irna that infringing on people’s private spaces was like infringing their citizen’s rights, arguing that it was up to parliamentarians to define the private space and not the police.

“The law says that the space within a car is a private space,” he said. “The government’s citizen’s rights charter [launched by Rouhani] also considers a car to be a private space and it is incumbent upon enforcers to respect that.”

Bahman Keshavarz, a leading lawyer, wrote an article in the reformist Shargh daily, arguing that wearing a so-called “bad hijab” (loose hijab) is not a crime under Iranian law.

Saeid Montazeralmahdi, a spokesperson for the Iranian police, disagreed. “What is visible to the public eye is not private space and norms and the rules should be respected within cars.” He also warned car owners against using tinted glass to prevent onlookers from seeing into the car.

The debate is not only among liberal Iranians. Abolfazl Najafi Tehrani, a cleric based in Tehran, tweeted: “People’s cars, like people’s houses, are their property and a private space and infringing upon this space will disturb people’s moral security and will harm women’s trust with the police.”

Yahya Kamalpour, a member of the Iranian parliament, said: “The space within people’s cars is a private space and the police has no right to enter that space without a judicial order.”

The debate comes amid a growing rift between the government and the hardline judiciary that acts independently of Rouhani’s government.

Despite restrictions, women are increasingly active in Iranian society. It emerged on Sunday that Iran Air, the country’s national airline, has for the first time appointed a female CEO. Rouhani is also under pressure from his voter base to nominate a record number of female ministers in his cabinet reshuffle next month.

In a sign of slowly changing attitudes, Ali Karimi, a veteran Iranian footballer, on Monday called on the authorities to allow female fans to attend stadiums alongside men.



Female Afghan pilot arrives to Kabul on historic solo round-the-world flight

Jul 11 2017

A female Afghan pilot who is on the historic course of the solo round-the-world flight, has arrived in Kabul on Monday and received an overwhelming welcome by the people and the government officials.

President Ghani met the pilot, Shaesta Waiz in his office on Monday evening and hailed her for the round-the-world tour.

He also expressed hopes that all the Afghan girls one day become able to have contribution in all fields, specifically train in aviation and bring more honor to the country.

In her turn, Waiz thanked President Ghani for the appreciations and vowed to share the expertise she learns in aviation with the Afghan girls.

Waiz moved to United States in 1987 and became the youngest certified female pilot from Afghanistan after obtaining her pilot’s license.

She expects to travel to 18 countries covering a distance of 25,800 kilometers and countries like pain, Egypt, India, Singapore and Australia.

She started her trip from Daytona Beach, Florida in mid-May and expects to arrive in Florida in August.

The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) is backing her trip and the organization and engineering graduate will host events to try to get schoolchildren interested in science — notably aeronautics.



'TechGirls' from Middle East and North Africa head to US

July 11, 2017

The girls, aged between 15 and 17, from Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestinian Territories, and Tunisia, will take part in a 22 day summer exchange program in Washington DC and Virginia between July 12 and August 3.

Previously the program had also included girls from Libya and Yemen, however this year they are not on the list of participating countries.

TechGirls is an initiative of the US Department of State that began in 2012 during the Obama administration.

Since its inception the program administered by youth organisation, Legacy International, has brought 158 teenage girls from Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Palestinian Territories, Tunisia, and Yemen to the US for "a supercharged three-week program including coding camp, job shadow experiences and meetings with tech industry leaders."

The US State Department says girls will attend leadership clinics and project management workshops at Virginia Tech and in Washington DC.

They'll also be mentored by leaders in the tech industry from the US, the Middle East and North Africa.

It comes amid President Donald Trump's 90 day travel ban on people from six Muslim-majority countries; which also places a 120-day ban on all refugees.

The Supreme Court in June announced it would allow a revised version of the ban to take effect before the justices will hear full arguments in October.

Afghan girls' robotics team

Meanwhile six Afghan girls who were denied visas to enter the US for an international robotics competition will be watching their robot participate in the FIRST Global challenge on July 16 by Skype.

The high school girls had made the perilous journey - twice - from Herat to Kabul to apply unsuccessfully for their visas.

"We still don't know the reason why we were not granted visas, because other countries participating in the competition have been given visas," 14 year old Fatemah Qaderyan told Reuters.

Seventeen-year-old teammate Lida Azizi said: "All of the countries can participate in the competitions, but we can't. So it's a clear insult for the people of Afghanistan."

More than 160 teams from around the world will take part in the event in Washington DC.

However, teams from Afghanistan and Gambia were the only two countries to be denied US visas.



Mother, daughter killed for ‘honour’ in Lahore

July 11, 2017

A mother and her daughter were killed reportedly in name of ‘honour’ in Badami Bagh area of Lahore, reported Waqt News.

According to details, the murderer who was brother of mother flew the scene after attack.

The neighbors told media that this family had domestic issues and used to fight with one another.

Police have reached the site and forensic evidences are being collected as search operation for the killer is underway.

According to the official documents, 326 cases of honour killings were reported in 2014, of which 153 are still under investigation, while challan in 173 cases were sent to the relevant courts.

The documents said that conviction could be recorded in 52 cases only. In 320 such cases registered in 2015, conviction was recorded in only 35.

Surprisingly, still 104 cases are under investigation. Similarly, 355 cases were registered in the 2016 out of which 242 are still under investigation, while challan in 113 cases were sent to the courts.

Conviction was recorded in 28 cases only, according to official documents available with this correspondent. As per data, increase in the number of such cases has been recorded as compared to 2014 and 2015.

According to the statistics available with the Punjab police, the number of honour killing cases recorded in the province from 2011 to 2016 was 256, 184, 275, 312, 242, and 248 respectively.



Women have right to model, groups say after Shell standees removed

July 11, 2017

KUALA LUMPUR, July 11 — Women have the right to promote products and to appear in advertisements, women’s rights groups said after Shell removed standees of a female employee that were “molested” by men.

The Asian-Pacific Resource and Research Centre for Women (Arrow) highlighted Article 8(2) of the Federal Constitution that prohibits gender discrimination in relation to property and employment.

“All women also have the right to appear in advertisements and promotional materials in line with doing their job,” Arrow executive director Sivananthi Thevindran told Malay Mail Online yesterday when contacted.

She also pointed out that many Muslim-majority nations such as Indonesia, Turkey, Morocco, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Egypt, to name a few, were able to guarantee the said rights for women, and Malaysia should not have any exception.

“This is also in accordance with CEDAW Article 11 which the Government of Malaysia has signed onto in 1995 which states: (1.b) ‘The right to the same employment opportunities, including the application of the same criteria for selection in matters of employment’,” she added.

CEDAW refers to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, a United Nations treaty. Malaysia ratified the CEDAW in 1995 but with reservations.

Sivananthi also praised Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s recent statement to avoid objectifying women, but added that it was also “critical” for Putrajaya to ensure women’s employment and economic rights within all economic sectors, including in advertising and marketing.

“Indeed women, including Muslim women (both who wear headscarves, and those who don’t) have a right to take up any job that fits their needs and talents including being spokespersons for international brands,” Sivananthi said.

Last Sunday, Najib called for all parties to stop treating women as objects and to be more aware of society’s sensitivities.

He said that he had regretted the incident of several men making lewd acts towards the promotional standee of oil giant Shell, a life-sized model of one of its female petrol station supervisors, that went viral on social media.

The Women’s Aid Organisation urged the government to enact a Gender Equality Act to better govern women’s rights in the country.

It said that though Malaysia ratified CEDAW in 1995, it has yet to incorporate tenets of the Convention into local laws.

“In 2006, United Nations experts urged the Malaysia government to enforce Cedaw domestically by enacting a Gender Equality Act. It’s time the Malaysian government fulfills this long overdue obligation,” the women’s rights group told Malay Mail Online.

Human rights lawyer Honey Tan lamented that Malaysia still has a long way to go with regards to fair working opportunities for women.

“The CEDAW Committee issued General Recommendation 19 which states that gender based violence is a form of discrimination that seriously inhibits women’s ability to enjoy rights and freedoms on a basis of equality with men. So women cannot even be used as models in advertisements which are not at all provocative without men violating them albeit in a cardboard standee?” Tan told Malay Mail Online.

“Besides this, the government must take some action so that incidents like the Shell standee violations do not happen again. What has the government done to modify social and cultural patterns of conduct of men to eliminate the stereotype of women as sex objects?” Tan questioned.

Muslim women’s rights group Sisters in Islam (SIS) had also echoed Sivananthi’s sentiment.

“The action to hide women from public spaces or to limit their choices and opportunities to to share a public space safely, is not the solution to build and strengthen a strong platform for women,” SIS said in a statement Saturday.

On July 3, Shell said that it will be removing all of the standees of its female employee, following viral images of the men in suggestive poses with her cardboard cut-outs. Several photos that have been making the rounds on social media showed men holding hands with the cut-out, kissing its cheek, and even grabbing at the breast.

Last week, Ikatan Muslimin Malaysia president Abdullah Zaik Abdul Rahman was reported saying that Muslim women should not accept offers to become models to help a company in its sales efforts, even if they were allowed to don a headscarf.



Religious office to handle burial of abused girl

July 11, 2017

SEGAMAT, July 11 — The Segamat District Islamic Affairs Office will handle the burial of a two-year-old girl found dead, allegedly from abuse, last Sunday at a rented room here, according to police.

Segamat Police chief Supt Raub Selamat said the girl had no relatives except for her mother and an elder brother who were in police custody over her alleged abuse.

“The body of the girl is at the Segamat Hospital mortuary and will be claimed by the Social Welfare Department and handed over to the District Islamic Affairs Office.

“However, the body can only be claimed after a second identification by the girl’s mother,” he said to reporters here today.

Raub said the girl was expected to be buried at the Kampung Berata Muslim Cemetrey here today.

The girl was found dead at about 1 am on Sunday at the rented room of the family at a shophouse here. She had bruises on her head and body.

Police yesterday remanded for a week up to July 16 the girl’s 42-year-old mother and 23-year-old elder brother, who is believed to be mentally disabled, to help in the investigation. — Bernama



Afghan-American female pilot seeks to inspire young women

11 July 2017

KABUL: An Afghan-American female pilot on a solo flight around the world seeking to inspire young women across the globe has taken a detour to visit Afghanistan.

Shaesta Waiz left her single-engine plane in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, to take a commercial flight to Kabul where she arrived on Monday night. The 29-year-old says her Beechcraft Bonanza A36 was not suited for flying over mountainous terrain of her native country.

Waiz, the first female pilot from Afghanistan, began her journey in Florida in May and has since made stops in 11 countries, with eight more to complete her mission.

She says her purpose is not just to have a worldwide record but to inspire the young to believe in themselves and follow their dreams, regardless of the challenges they face.




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