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Islam, Women and Feminism ( 6 Jun 2019, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Muslim Women’s Football Club Aims to Bring BAME Communities of Birmingham Together

New Age Islam News Bureau

6 Jun 2019

Photo: Shannie Jennings, Yasmin Nessa and squad recieving their SWFC kit


 Meet The Woman Who Is Navigating Cross-cutural Barriers in the Automotive Industry

 WWE Attempting to Have a Women’s Match in Saudi Arabia

 Unsubstantiated Claims Muslim Doctor Sterilized 4,000 Sinhala Buddhist women Raise Tensions In Sri Lanka

 Two Women, Six Children From IS Families Repatriated To US: Syria Kurds

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau




Muslim Women’s Football Club Aims to Bring BAME Communities of Birmingham Together

June 5, 2019

Enthusiasm from Muslim women in the BAME communities of Birmingham to play football has led to the creation of a programme that will provide both training and coach-player mentoring.

Saltley Stallions launched the 12-week football initiative called the Saltley Women’s Football Club in May, during the holy month of Ramadan, and it will run until late August.

The football club was brought to fruition by Obayed Hussain, Imam and founder of the Saltley teams, and Yasmin Nessa, a student at the University of Birmingham.

Their aim was to create a space where participants could learn to confront preconceptions, stereotypes and negative ideologies, through their common love of football.

Hussain said: : “I am really proud to have helped make Saltley Women’s Football Club a reality. The young Muslim women of Birmingham have very few sporting outlets that are set up with them in mind and I hope that this pilot will provide a fun space where they can enjoy football but also develop as people.

“I believe strongly in the power that football holds in encouraging social cohesion and with my team at Saltley I have worked hard to make this programme the most enriching and helpful experience I can both on and off the field.”

In addition to providing women with a great sporting outlet, Nessa said the football club has also given them an opportunity to meet others from the community.

“I’ve grown up playing football on the street with my neighbours and I truly believe the spirit of football is unique in its capacity to bring people together and to create a lively and vibrant atmosphere amongst different groups of people,” said Nessa.

Shannie Jennings, coach at Saltley Women’s Football Club, said: “This is a really exciting time for women’s football and I’m excited to be working with Saltley WFC to help inspire a new generation of female Muslim footballers. It has been fantastic to see the great level of football talent among these young women and I look forward to helping them develop further in the coming weeks.”



Meet The Woman Who Is Navigating Cross-cutural Barriers In TheAutomative Industry

Mona Mito, Genesis, #Women, Marketing manager

05 June 2019

“I never faced the pressures that women cannot join a certain field, and I didn’t feel any barriers being a woman coming into the automotive sector.”

Egyptian-born, German-educated Mona Mito is the PR and Marketing Manager for Korean luxury car brand Genesis Automotive, managing its initiatives across Africa and the Middle East. However it’s not common to see women working in the automotive sector - according to February 2018 statistics from the Center for Performance Improvement, women occupy just 26.7% of the positions in automotive manufacturing and vehicle equipment manufacturing industries.  And, women in executive-level positions in vehicle manufacturing is only 16.9%. But Mona wants to change that.

“Sure, most little boys like to play with cars and little girls with Barbies, but things are changing. Women today like to enjoy their cars and they are selecting their lifestyle car, one that fits their personality. They like to be indulged in what they are driving around in.”

While there are more women working in the automotive sector than in the past 10 to 20 years, there is still a long way to go, as the statistics don’t lie. Women of colour are marginalised even further, making up just 8.9% of the manufacturing workforce and less than 3% of manufacturing management. But from a young age, Mona always knew she wanted to work in the automotive industry, and she went for it.

Born and raised in Aachen, Germany for the first five years of her life, Mona was immediately exposed to another culture and mentality outside of her ethnicity. When her family returned to Alexandria, Egypt, Mona struggled with Arabic so her father put her in a German school. “It was the German culture and education system that taught me the importance of taking responsibility and making plans,” said Mona. “It helped me learn how to make a decision and go with it.”

Mona takes to the stage

As with the best things in life, slow growth is key. Mona started working for a Mercedes dealer site in Egypt, and after her Master’s degree, she moved to Dubai. But in April 2018, Mona wanted to expand her experience to another automotive company and took a job with another luxury car brand, Genesis. Having done customer service, customer relationship management (CRM), sales, product management, marketing, communications- all with Mercedes- now Mona is managing PR and Marketing with the Korean car company.

When asked why she chose marketing, Mona said: “marketing is creativity and it’s not monotonous. There is something new every day to learn and it allows me to be innovative with a new dilemma in the market. It keeps me sharp to stay on top with what our competitors are doing, too - it’s not like finance. It forces me to stay updated, and this is what makes me excited about what I’m doing.”

Just 7.3% of those employed in automotive repair and maintenance positions are female,  according to the Center for Performance Improvement*. But for Mona, she had to find out why women are choosing to work for Genesis’ service centers. “The women told me that they enjoy their jobs so the automotive industry isn’t for a specific gender: it’s for everyone who enjoys what they do.”

Being a new brand in Dubai’s luxury market isn’t easy, and Genesis faces challenges as any company that breaks into a new market does. But the company is proud of its products. “We see ourselves as a respectable automotive brand, and we have a message which is: ‘We are a luxury brand and a luxury brand should not only be a German brand, but, you have to try it.’”

Discussing the fact that when people think of the Koreans, they don’t think of South Korea as producing luxury cars, she says: “Exactly. You know what, we are the first luxury automotive car coming out of Korea. That’s why we have these challenges. But if someone just tries driving the car they’ll be surprised. We have a very nice product on the road and when people see it and try it, they’ll agree.”

When talking about the strength of Arab women, Mona shares some insight which challenges Western stereotypes of how women are treated. “You will see in Arab households, parents are guiding and raising the children. Once a child grows up they can take responsibilities and they are not depending on anyone. This is why Arab women are so strong and confident. A lot of success is coming in the Arab world because of women. They have long-term plans and goals, they know how to balance their personal lives and work lives. All of these things give the confidence to Arabs to achieve what they want to achieve.”

When looking at her life journey, Mona always knew she wanted to work in the automotive sector, but it’s not something she seems to have worried about, but rather enjoyed the opportunities and jobs as they came. “My advice for those wanting to work in the automotive sector is that everyone has to learn the background of the industry they’re in from scratch, and then grow organically to reach the high position that you want. Learn from everything and listen to top management, go to meetings, read all that you can so that you can enrich your mind. Once you’re in a higher position, you cannot say, ‘I’m only CRM or Marketing.’ You will need managerial skills to manage a team and be confident about what you are doing.”

Genesis’ 2019 marketing goal in the Middle East is focusing on its messaging. Our doors are open and we want to listen to the customer experience, to get their feedback. Everything we do is down to the final detail to make our customers and potential customers happy.

Genesis Dubai showroom is located in Diera, where you can book a test drive.



WWE Attempting to Have a Women’s Match in Saudi Arabia

06 June 2019

By Troy L. Smith,

CLEVELAND, Ohio – WWE’s Super Showdown event in Saudi Arabia has been very lucrative for the company. But it’s not exactly a public relations goldmine.

Several big name superstars won’t be making the trip to Jeddah for Friday’s show. Some for reasons beyond their control (like tattoos). Meanwhile, last year’s Greatest Royal Rumble event in the country did not feature any women’s wrestling.

WWE is looking to change that. Cageside Seats reports the company is trying to get a women’s match on the Super Showdown card and is awaiting approval from the Saudi Arabia Sports Authority.

The match would feature Alexa Bliss vs. Natalya. WWE has confirmed the two stars will make the trip to Jeddah, but has yet to reveal if a match will take place.

Super Showdown is headlined by a first time match between The Undertaker and Goldberg. Triple H. Randy Orton, Seth Rollins, Brock Lesnar and other stars will also appear.



Unsubstantiated Claims Muslim Doctor Sterilized 4,000 Sinhala Buddhist women Raise Tensions In Sri Lanka

Alexandra Ulmer, Omar Rajarathnam

KURUNEGALA, Sri Lanka (Reuters) - On May 23 Sri Lankan newspaper Divaina, known for its nationalist stance, published a front page article alleging a Muslim doctor had secretly sterilized 4,000 Sinhala Buddhist women after caesarean deliveries.

A general view of a hospital where women wait to make statements and complains against Muslim doctor Segu Shihabdeen Mohamed Shafi, who was arrested after accusations of secretly sterilising Buddhist women during their caesarean deliveries inside a hospital in Kurunegala, Sri Lanka May 31, 2019. Picture taken May 31, 2019. REUTERS/DinukaLiyanawatte

The doctor, who was not identified in the article, was also described as a member of the National ThowheedJamath, one of two local Islamist groups blamed for bombings that killed more than 250 people in hotels and churches on Easter Sunday.

Reuters has no independent evidence to support these claims.

The article was produced roughly a week after Buddhist mobs in the North Western Province of Sri Lanka had destroyed Muslim homes, stores and mosques in rioting triggered by the coordinated bombings in the capital Colombo and two other towns.

Divaina’s editor-in-chief, AnuraSolomons, told Reuters the paper’s story was based on police and hospital sources, whom he said he could not identify.

Allegations a Muslim doctor might be forcibly sterilizing Buddhists are particularly incendiary on an island where hardliners within the Buddhist majority have accused Muslims of seeking to use a higher birth rate to spread their influence.

Two days later, a doctor, Segu Shihabdeen Mohamed Shafi, was arrested. Police said he was accused of acquiring properties with money of a suspicious origin. Police are also probing the sterilization claims and have called on any potentially affected women to come forward.

Police spokesman RuwanGunasekera told Reuters Shafi was charged under a money laundering act, but declined to provide further information on the financial charges he faced or the sterilization claims.

Shafi’s lawyer, FarisSaly, said the probe was flawed because the authorities did not call for evidence of sterilizations until after Shafi’s arrest, adding that all the allegations were unsubstantiated.

Shafi is a prominent physician in the province’s Buddhist heartland of Kurunegala, a district with a high concentration of army personnel and the constituency of nationalist ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa, now the leader of the opposition.

The case has further raised the temperature in the area, with monks from the majority Sinhala Buddhist community protesting against Shafi in front of the Kurunegala Teaching Hospital where he works.

“If these allegations are proven, it will show that they want to destroy the Sinhala race,” said Pradeep Kumar, a 38-year-old driver waiting in a crowded hospital hallway as his wife lodged a statement detailing how Shafi had delivered their daughter by C-section 11 years ago.

He added the couple were concerned after hearing about the case as they had been trying unsuccessfully to have a second child for six years.


Shafi’s family said he was being framed.

“He is being targeted because of political problems and jealousy. I cannot exactly tell who it is, but there is a group,” said his wife FathimaImara, 43, a kidney doctor at the same hospital.

In an interview, Imara described her husband as a devout Muslim and caring physician. He has not been a member of a militant group, she said.

Shafi was also a smart investor, she said, using earnings from his hospital work and a family-owned medical testing center to amass stakes in some 10 properties.

It would be impossible to surreptitiously block women’s fallopian tubes during caesarean sections, when a half-dozen staff members were on hand, she added. The hospital’s director, Dr A.M.S. Weerabandara declined Reuters’ request to interview Shafi’s direct colleagues, saying they were busy.

Meanwhile, Imara has stopped working and pulled their three children from school. She said her husband, whom she visited at the Colombo Criminal Investigation Department on Saturday, was being treated well, but that his mood was dark.

“From time to time, he is crying,” said Imara.

Weerabandara said the hospital started investigating the allegations of mass sterilizations following media reports.

More than 600 women have lodged statements about Shafi, that hospital authorities refer to as “complaints,” since the accusations were made public. Several told Reuters they simply wanted to be checked.

“I saw Shafi was arrested and people were complaining so I thought I would also,” said homemaker AmaliKonara, 32, whose son Shafi was delivered by C-section in March.

Weerabandara said the women who have come forward had not been medically examined yet because the hospital was still receiving statements. He was unable to provide a timeline for the testing, which he said was complicated and required planning.


The newspaper article was amplified on the day it was published when a pharmacology professor in North Central Province, ChannaJayasumana, wrote about the allegations of Buddhist women being sterilized without their knowledge in a Facebook post alongside a picture of Shafi - the first time he was publicly linked to the claims, his wife said.

Jayasumana told Reuters he spoke to 20 doctors who identified the doctor mentioned in Divaina as Shafi. Jayasumana declined to provide the doctors’ contact details but said he passed on their information to police.

The post, which was shared more than 1,200 times, had a photo of an article in which Shafi said he had performed some 8,000 caesarean sections in his career. The post also highlighted that Shafi had stood for office for a Muslim party.

Shafi did unsuccessfully run in a 2015 parliamentary election with All Ceylon Makkal Congress, a Muslim party allied with Prime Minister RanilWickremesinghe’s United National Party.

Jayasumana told Reuters he was a health policy advisor to the party of former President Rajapaksa, who is a rival of Wickremesinghe. But Jayasumana, a professor at the Rajarata University of Sri Lanka, stressed Shafi’s case was not political.

Rajapaksa, the local MP, has called on authorities to compensate potential victims.

Hilmy Ahmed, vice president of the Muslim Council of Sri Lanka, said the Shafi accusations were largely “stage-managed” by Rajapaksa supporters to create anger at the government ahead of this year’s presidential election. He was not able to provide evidence to back his statement.

Rajapaksa rejected the accusations, stressing that complainants were speaking out independently.

Neither Wickremesinghe nor President Maithripala Sirisena have publicly spoken about the case, which has provoked a media storm in Sri Lanka. They declined to comment for this article.



Two women, six children from IS families repatriated to US: Syria Kurds

AFP | Updated: Jun 5, 2019

BEIRUT: Two American women and six children from families of suspected Islamic State group members were repatriated to the United States on Wednesday in the latest transfers from a crowded camp in Syria.

The move is part of an effort by the Kurdish administration in northeast Syria to reduce the population of Al-Hol, which is crammed with nearly 74,000 people from more than 40 countries.

It comes after Norway on Monday retrieved five Norwegian orphans from the same camp and Kurdish authorities started sending hundreds of Syrian women and children home as part of a wider effort to clear Al-Hol of its Syrian inhabitants.

Uzbekistan said it repatriated more than 100 nationals from Syria last week.

Wednesday's repatriation was carried out "at the request of the US government and based... on the free and voluntary desire of the American citizens to return to their country without any pressure or coercion", spokesman Kamal Akef said in a statement.

Akef told AFP the eight were from "IS families" staying in Al-Hol, which is populated by suspected IS members, their families as well as regular civilians forced out of their homes by successive US-backed assaults against the last bastions of the jihadists' "caliphate".

The Kurdish administration is looking to take off its hands thousands of foreign jihadists and their relatives trapped in Kurdish-held camps and detention centres following the declared defeat of the IS proto-state on March 23.

But repatriation is a sensitive issue for Western nations such as France and Britain, which have experienced attacks by homegrown extremists and have little interest in seeing more return.

Britain has gone so far as to strip IS members of citizenship, while France has said it will repatriate only orphans.

The US, however, has urged Western countries to take their nationals back and has started repatriating some if its own.

In July 2018, it transferred one man and woman with suspected links to IS from Kurdish custody to the US, to stand trial.

But, the case of HodaMuthana, a young woman from Alabama who joined the IS group, has undermined Washington's commitment to removing its own nationals from Syria.

The United States in February said that Muthana was not a citizen due to her father's former diplomatic status.

The US constitution grants citizenship to everyone born in the country -- with the exception of children of diplomats, as they are not under the jurisdiction of the United States.

Muthana's father, Ahmed Ali, served at the Yemeni mission at the United Nations.

He has filed a lawsuit seeking to affirm his daughter's citizenship, saying he had left his diplomatic post several months before her birth.

The Kurdish administration and aid agencies have warned of deteriorating humanitarian conditions in Al-Hol, where acute malnutrition, pneumonia and dehydration are rife among children in the camp.

"The situation in the camp is very difficult," Sheikhmous Ahmed, an official with the Kurdish administration told AFP earlier this week.

He accused the international community of "neglecting its responsibilities towards the displaced" in Al-Hol, most of whom were evacuated from the "caliphate".

Some evacuees from IS areas have been repentant, but others have made clear their allegiance to IS remains intact, turning Al-Hol into a tinderbox.

Residents have reported clashes with guards, violent factional quarrels, warning that Al-Hol is emerging as a fresh jihadist powder keg.

In recent weeks, women in the camp have staged demonstrations demanding better services as well information on their husbands held by the Kurds, according to the UN's humanitarian office