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Islam, Women and Feminism ( 21 Dec 2014, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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New Face of Terrorism in Afghanistan-Women Bomb Makers

New Age Islam News Bureau

21 Dec 2014

Photo: All the Prostitutes of Turkey, Unite


 Austrian Teen ‘Poster Girl’ Who Joined Daesh Killed In Syria

 Lawmakers Put Violence against Women on the Agenda For 2015

 Police Release Nine Indonesian Women and Children Bound for Syria

 ISIS Pamphlet Authorising Child Rape Disgusts Indian Muslims

 Mozambique Legalises Abortion in Effort to Stem Maternal Deaths

 Young Kenya Girls Deplore Female Genital Mutilation

 Protect Our Girls, Urges AU Special Envoy during Her Nigeria Solidarity Mission

 All the Prostitutes of Turkey, Unite

 Lebanese Singer Yasmine Hamdan Enters Oscars Race

 Bangladesh Govt committed to women empowerment

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau






New Face of Terrorism in Afghanistan-Women Bomb Makers

Dec 21 2014

Police in northern Sar-e-Pul province are looking for a group of 10 women who are recruiting/ training other women for terrorist activities.

Mohammad Kazim, spokesman for Sar-e-Pul police says these women are expert in making bombs who have received their training in Pakistan.

He added that the group is now busy to expand by training other women, who they mislead, to make bombs which can be very dangerous.

He further said that Kohistanat is a mountainous district and they are trying to receive air support to conduct operations in suspected areas for the arrests of these women.

This is the 1st time women in such a big group begin insurgency and convince other women for terrorist activities and making bombs in Afghanistan.

Homemade bombs are considered to be very deadly in Afghanistan.



Austrian Teen ‘Poster Girl’ Who Joined Daesh Killed In Syria

21 December 2014

Samra Kesinovic was just 16 when she and her friend Sabina Selimovic, 15, ran away from their parents in Vienna to the war-torn country in April.

They are believed to have left a note for their families, which said: "Don't look for us. We will serve Allah - and we will die for him".

Pictures allegedly of the pair were later posted online showing them holding Kalashnikov rifles and they were dubbed as IS poster girls.

However, a high-ranking United Nations (UN) anti-terror expert has claimed one of the girls has since been killed while the other is missing.

David Scharia, from the UN Security Council, said: "We received information just recently about two 15-year-old girls, of Bosnian origin, who left Austria, where they had been living in recent years; and everyone, the families and the intelligence services of the two countries, is looking for them.

A UN official claimed one of the Austrian teens has been killed while the other is missing

One was killed in the fighting in Syria, the other has disappeared

The United Nation's David Scharia

"Both were recruited by Islamic State.

"One was killed in the fighting in Syria, the other has disappeared."

The teenagers' devastated parents declined to comment while the Austrian Interior Ministry have yet to confirm the reports.

In September, Austrian police said one of the two Jihadi girls may be dead and the parents had been informed.

However, the following month the teens reportedly contacted their families and said they wanted to return home after seeing the brutal regime of IS first hand.

At the time both of the girls were said to be pregnant after marrying Chechen fighters soon after their arrival to Syria.

The teens had allegedly become disillusioned with the regime of IS

Police believe the teens travelled to the Turkish border in April and then travelled by car into the war zone.

The pair were recruited after allegedly becoming radicalised through a cell led by unemployed benefits claimant Ebu Tejma, 33, in Vienna.

When police raided his flat they found it stuffed with jewellery, cash and savings books worth a fortune.

Tejma is alleged to have been involved in the radicalisation of a further 166 youngsters in Austria.

IS have been increasingly recruiting women and using them in the fighting, as a result of their belief that anybody killed by a girl will never find their way to heaven.



Lawmakers Put Violence against Women on the Agenda For 2015

21 December 2014

New laws reflect a growing awareness of 'rape culture' on campus, the military, reservations and war zones

With alarming frequency in 2014, reports of rape and rape culture emerged—from college campuses to U.S. military barracks to the battlefields of Syria. Just as unsettling is the growing awareness of how infrequently rape is reported or acknowledged, let alone prosecuted. That could start to change in 2015, when a number of decisions will put rape and other forms of violence against women on policymakers’ agendas in international law, at universities, on Native American reservations and in the armed forces.

The International Criminal Court in the Hague (ICC) is expected to reach a decision early next year on charges of rape against former warlord and Congolese vice-President Jean-Pierre Bemba, for crimes allegedly committed during a coup in the Central African Republic in 2002-2003. This is the first time the court is prosecuting rape as a weapon of war and the first time that male victims' testimonies were included in the proceedings.

The ruling on Bemba will set an important precedent, but it may be difficult for the ICC to act on reports of similar atrocities committed during the conflict in Syria and Iraq, since neither country is a member of the court. Hundreds of Yazidi women in Iraq were reportedly raped this year by fighters of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. In Syria, the United Nations reported on rape used as a weapon in President Bashar Al-Assad’s Damascus torture chambers. At the next round of peace talks on Syria in Geneva, which could be held in early 2015, Syrian women who were excluded from participating in the first round will renew their demand for a seat at the table to bring these issues to light.

In United States, college students have taken the lead in exposing what campus activists call “rape culture,” in which sexual violence is normalized and victims are blamed for their assaults. One in five students experiences assault on campus, according to a 2007 study, but only a fraction of those incidents is reported.

The White House launched a task force on campus sexual assault in January, which provided schools with a model for reporting and confidentiality. That set the stage for California’s “yes means yes” law, passed in August, which applies to all public universities in the state and requires affirmative consent, placing the burden of proof on the alleged perpetrator rather than the victim. New Jersey is considering a similar law for its public colleges. Meanwhile, the federal cases against dozens of colleges for possible civil rights violations in their handling of sexual assault cases will continue into 2015. The U.S. Department of Education revealed in May that it was investigating 25 colleges for so-called "Title IX" violations; the number is now 86.

Advocates say that reporting of sexual assaults is already rising, an indication that more victims are willing to come forward. Providing financial assistance to survivors of sexual assault, who often miss classes and drop out of school following the trauma, will also be an activists’ agenda in 2015.

On Native American reservations, one in three women is sexually assaulted, but until recently, tribal courts could not hear those cases when the act was committed by a non-Native. This year’s reauthorization of the Violence against Women Act includes a provision to try non-Indians for certain cases at three tribes. By March 2015, the provision will take effect for all U.S. tribes. That may test the limits of tribal courts, which often lack sufficient resources to prosecute sexual assault. Crimes committed outside the contexts of domestic violence, the violation of a protection order or “dating violence” remains out of reach of the tribal courts, so a large portion of gender-based crimes on reservations, including rape by strangers, may still go unpunished.

In the military, where an estimated one in three female recruits is sexually assaulted during service, only 11 percent of those assaults are reported, mainly because the victims fear retaliation. Congress passed a bill in December giving them greater say in the handling of their cases, but keeps prosecution of sexual assault within military ranks. Activists are pushing to remove sexual assault prosecution from the chain of command, and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (Dem.-N.Y.)’s proposed Military Justice Improvement Act would do just that. It failed to pass in March but could come to another vote next year.



Police Release Nine Indonesian Women and Children Bound for Syria

21 December 2014

Jakarta. Indonesian police released nine out of 12 Indonesians who were detained on Monday after trying to leave to Syria from Malaysia, allegedly to join the Islamic State (IS) movement.

“Four adult females and five children have been released after being questioned since Monday in the Mobile Brigade [Brimob] headquarters in Kelapa Dua, Depok,” an investigator for the National Police’s anti-terror squad, Densus 88, who spoke under the condition of anonymity, told the Jakarta Globe on Friday.

Three of the Syria-bound Indonesians were still being questioned on Friday.

“These three men will be questioned until Monday,” the source said. “We are still learning who funded their trip to Syria to join IS.”

The source said the police could not detain nine of the group any longer because Indonesian law did not prohibit travel to Syria.

The group of 12 people, three men, four woman, and five children, were stopped at the border by Malaysian immigration authorities on Monday and immediately repatriated to Indonesia for questioning.

One of the men detained was M. Sibgotuloh, a former convict of a deadly CIMB bank robbery in Medan, North Sumatra, in 2010.

A male doctor was also in the group.

Members of the group were from Surabaya and Magetan in East Java, as well as Kutai Kertanegara in East Kalimantan.

The police source said the women and children would be sent to their respective hometowns.



ISIS Pamphlet Authorising Child Rape Disgusts Indian Muslims

By Altaf Ahmad for Khabar South Asia in New Delhi

21 December 2014

Reports that emerged from the Middle East in September of the kidnapping and enslavement of Yazidi women by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) forces sparked global outrage.

Now, widespread condemnation follows in the wake of reports of a pamphlet being circulated by ISIS that details how jihadists may "sexually enjoy" their slave women and even their prepubescent daughters. Local media have also published the group's price lists for captured girls and women being sold off at slave markets.

In India, Islamic clerics and scholars strongly denounce such practices as gross misinterpretations of Sharia law.

They demand ISIS stop such practices, noting that Islam stands against all forms of slavery, and sanctions capital punishment for rapists and paedophiles.

"We are unable to understand [to] which Islam do they belong and which Sharia they propagate. Prophet Muhammad (Peace be Upon Him) has admonished Muslims to desist from committing rape, child sex and enslaving people," Maulana Hafiz Matloob Karim, director of the Tahfiz ul Qur'an Madrasa at Bengali Market in New Delhi, told Khabar South Asia.

"There is thorough consensus among all Muslim schools of thought that enslaving people is a violation of the fundamentals of Islam. Rape and child sex are offences punishable by death," he added. "They (ISIS) practice all that has been prohibited by the last messenger of Allah, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)."

Violating women, children – and the Islamic code

Acts such as rape or child sex invoke Islamic criminal law, which contains the sternest punishment to those who commit such offences, according to experts of Muslim jurisprudence.

"Rape and child sex are among the heinous crimes dealt under strict Hudud laws. The punishment is so harsh that the person who has committed such a crime should be given death – not by hanging or shooting – but by stoning at a public place, so that others should refrain from ever thinking of doing such a shameful act," Moulana Hifzur Rehman , head imam at the India Islamic Cultural Centre (IICC) in New Delhi, told Khabar.

"The groups involved in such acts cannot be claimants of an Islamic caliphate. They are working under some cover name to diminish Islam and defy the Muslim faith," he said.

In addition, Islam does not endorse the marriage of a girl without her consent, Noorun Nahar Firdausi, a lawyer at the Delhi High Court, pointed out. Likewise, all forms of slavery are strictly prohibited in Islam.

ISIS twists the tenets of Sharia by falsely claiming that such acts are truly Islamic, she said. Therefore, ISIS and its followers can't be true believers.

"Islam has championed the rights of women and children, fought for their dignity and honour, and freed them from the clutches of slavery and bondage," Firdausi told Khabar. "Those who commit rape tarnish the chastity of women and perpetrate atrocities on women and children."

ISIS: A threat to Islam's propagation

ISIS's perpetration of horrific crimes, such as mass executions, rapes, arson, kidnapping and enslavement of women and children, are part of an extremist conspiracy to undermine the mission of (Islamic Propagation) in the world, other commentators say.

Because Islam is a peaceful and merciful faith, it is the world's fastest growing religion, but groups like ISIS taint the religion's image by committing such heinous crimes, Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind (JUH) secretary Maulana Abdul Hamid Nomani told Khabar.

"JUH has repeatedly said that these kinds of organisations do not represent Islam. They are working against the Muslim interests," he said. "They are fake in nature and their so-called caliphate is an anathema for humanity."



Mozambique legalises abortion in effort to stem maternal deaths


21 December 2014

Mozambique has legalised abortion, making it one of the few countries in Africa to allow women to terminate unwanted pregnancies. President Armando Guebuza on Thursday quietly signed into law a revised penal code bill that eases prohibitions in abortion regulations, a move hailed by health groups. The new law specifies that abortions will have to be carried out in recognised and designated health centres by qualified practitioners. Termination must be carried out within the first 12 weeks but in case of rape, the period is extended to 16 weeks. It will also be allowed when the pregnancy poses a serious risk to the health or life of the mother or in case of foetal abnormality. In Mozambique, the earlier law outlawing abortion, except in cases where the mother’s life or health is endangered, dates to the late 19th century, when the mainly Catholic Portuguese controlled the country. The other major creed in Mozambique is Islam, a faith which also does not support abortion. The reform came after a decade of spirited lobbying by reproductive health advocates in Mozambique, where clandestine abortions are one of the leading causes of deaths among pregnant women and girls. See also: Mozambique legalises abortion to stem maternal deaths Abortion accounts for 11 per cent of maternal deaths in Mozambique, according to health watchdogs. The move is a victory for women, because it’s not so “restrictive” anymore, said Ivone Zilhao a Maputo-based sexual and reproductive health doctor with Pathfinder, an international NGO that promotes safe and legal abortion services. Many African countries have strict laws that prohibit abortion, leaving many women to resort to resort to secret and unsafe methods of termination. Cape Verde, South Africa and Tunisia are the few countries that allow for therapeutic abortion. The World Health Organisation estimates that one in every five pregnancies worldwide ends in induced abortion and that around 47,000 women die due to complications linked to unsafe abortion.



Young Kenya girls deplore female genital mutilation

21 December 2014

NAIROBI – YOUNG Masai women in Kenya have denounced the female practice of genital mutilation (FGM), which is rife in the region.

The Head of Department for International Development (DFID) in Kenya, Lisa Phillips, has joined over 450 young girls and leaders from Kajiado County in a ceremony to denounce the practice and celebrate an alternative rite of passage (ARP).

The event dubbed: “Let Girls Be Women without the Cut” is a joint effort of community elders, religious leaders and county government in Kajiado in conjunction with AMREF-Kenya where girls graduate to women without undergoing the cut.

The Chairperson of the Anti-FGM Board of Kenya, Linah Jebii Kilimo, Deputy Governor Paul Ndiati, County Commissioner, Ole Kikwa and representatives from AMREF-Kenya graced the event.

Speaking at Rombo School in Loitoktok, Phillips, said she was pleased to be part of this event to witness girls graduating into women without undergoing the harmful practise of FGM, which is also one of the most harmful acts of violence against women.

“This problem is not unique to Kenya but affects women across the world, including in the UK.

“We must all work together to ensure women and girls achieve their potential free from discrimination and from harmful practices,” she said.

Immediate consequences of FGM include severe pain and bleeding, shock, difficulty in passing urine, infections, injury to nearby genital tissue and sometimes death.

Phillips meanwhile encouraged the girls to embrace education as this was going to have lasting impact on their success in the community and the world.

The alternative rites of passage is a cultural 3 day event which embraces the positive cultural training and ceremonies that involve initiating girls from childhood to womanhood but removes the harmful cut.

ARPs are normally done during school holidays in April, August and December when the girls are usually circumcised.



Protect Our Girls, Urges AU Special Envoy during Her Nigeria Solidarity Mission

21 December 2014

Abuja — The Special Envoy for Women, Peace and Security of the Chairperson of the African Union (AU) Commission, Bineta Diop begun her Nigeria solidarity visit yesterday with a simple message, "protect our girls." Speaking when she met members of the "Bring Back our Girls" campaign, a group that is advocating for greater global attention to the issue of the abducted Chibok girls, Diop pledged to take their plea for greater support, from AU member states, back to the leadership. "We have come to show solidarity with the people and Government of Nigeria and in particular with the families of the missing Chibok girls."

Bineta Diop was joined by Amb. Diallo Amina Djibo of Niger in Ethiopia, who is also a member of AU Peace and Security Council (PSC) and Justice Sophia Akuffo, former President of the African Court of Human and People's rights. The delegation was also accompanied by Ms. Harriette Williams Bright, Acting Executive Director of Femmes Africa Solidarité who is also representing the Gender is my Agenda Campaign (GIMAC) network of African women civil society organizations. Addressing members of the campaign, who gathered at a public park in Abuja, some of whom have been affected by the insurgency in the North, Amb. Djibo said, "This is an African women's appeal. We are speaking first and foremost as mothers, whose daughters are missing. We cannot afford to continue ignoring the plight of our missing girls and we must speak out now."

The team earlier held talks with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commissioner for Gender and Social Affairs, Fatmata Sow and ECOWAS Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security Salamatu Suleiman. The team also held a roundtable meeting with members of the Nigerian Women Peace and security Network.

The purpose of their visit is among others to echo the voices of the women of Nigeria and support them in their efforts to bring to an end the ordeal of the Chibok girls and all other forms of gender based violence. They are also here to support the Government of Nigeria's efforts to bring back the girls abducted by Boko Haram and galvanize the support of civil society organizations that are assisting the victims. The team is also calling for peaceful elections and for greater participation of women in Nigeria's political space as a step towards curbing conflicts in the region and ensuring a prosperous future.

GIMAC members called on the African Union during their bi-annual meeting in June 2014 to take action to address the situation of the abduction of girls in Nigeria.

"In order to achieve the goal of a peaceful and prosperous Continent, women must be part of that transformation process," said Diop at the start of her mission, which ends on Friday 12 December.



All the prostitutes of Turkey, unite

21 December 2014

If you write the words “or*sp* Tuğrul” in Google, you will find an interview published last week. The word “or*sp*” means prostitute in Turkish. (If you don’t know what the word is, the first asterisk is an “o” and the second is a “u.”)

Speaking to Kübra Par from HaberTürk, an Islamic scholar said that getting pregnant out of wedlock was the same as prostitution. I don’t want to repeat this guy’s name, but we first heard about him when he said pregnant women should not go out of the house and walk on the streets in broad daylight; instead they should be driven around by their husbands in the evening hours if they need to get some fresh air.

This time, he said, “There are some who declare ‘I will not get married and I will get pregnant.’ They call it freedom. I spit on this world where prostitution is called freedom. The name of this is prostitution. In America, they also allow homosexuals to get married. I spit on this kind of development. If this is advancement, then I better stay underdeveloped. There is no respect for family, no respect for privacy. And they call it freedom, is that so?”

I apologize for the level of the language, but this is how he speaks.

After this, political scientist and sociologist Ayşe Sargın wrote a piece titled “Or*sp*” – you know what it means by now – on She said maybe it is time for all of us to cry out loud “We are all prostitutes.”

I, not Sargın, but me, Belgin Akaltan, want to cry out loud “I am a prostitute.” Firstly, I agree with Sargın. Secondly, I was pregnant without being married at one point in my life, so I am a perfect prostitute in the eyes of this pervert. 

This reminds me of my late cousin Ömer, who was at Galatasaray Lycee, one of Turkey’s best schools, which teaches in French and which has its own rules - just as any established good school. Ömer said nobody called each other “son of a b*tch” at school because “We know none of our mothers are b*tches.” He said the worst insult to a schoolmate at Galatasaray would be “karaktersiz” (no character, without character). That was in the late 1970s. How mature that was, I am now thinking. I wish politicians or politically motivated so-called religious scholars did not use the female body as an insult. Like high school students in the 1970s. I wish they were that mature.

Sargın drew attention to the increasing amount of judgmental stances against the independent choices of women about their own bodies and their lives. Women’s freedom of choice is always referred to as a negative thing to be blocked, and this approach is almost considered normal now, she wrote.

“We know how scary it is for men and the state – which controls women through men and family – for women to make decisions about their bodies and lives independently of men. We also know about the fear created by the loss of control of men on women and how that fear emerges as individual and social hate toward women’s bodies and women’s sexuality,” Sargın wrote, warning that this hate is becoming routine, ordinary, normal these days.  

What we have been taught since being young is that “Sex is bad for women, but ‘very good’ for men. Young girls should avoid sex whatever the cost, but young boys are free to try by all means to have sex,” Sargın wrote.

Men also call women “prostitutes” when the woman angers them. So, in order not to become an “or*sp*,” in addition to not having sex without society’s approval, women should also not make men angry, in matters not related to sex, Sargın said. 

As Turkish girls, and maybe as young girls in most parts of the world, we are taught not to be like prostitutes: We should not dress like prostitutes, not wander the streets like a slut, not laugh like one, not talk like one…

Sargın found her moment of liberation when she realized that no matter how hard she tried, she would not be able to escape being called a prostitute. “If everything is prostitution then nothing is prostitution. If all of us are prostitutes then maybe none of us are prostitutes.”

“Maybe the best thing we should do is what the homosexual men in Turkey did when they adopted the word ‘f*gg*t;’ maybe we should adopt the word ‘or*sp*’ and abolish, wear out this word, which has been used by the patriarchal society to marshal women, to control and discipline women’s decisions on their bodies and about everything else. Maybe it is time for all of us to cry out loud ‘We are all prostitutes.’”

Maybe men will join us, Sargın wished, “The men that we have been committing all this out of wedlock sex together with, the ones we made babies together with, all of whom we engaged in all of those prostitutions together with. Maybe we will be able to salute all of those brave women who, at every corner of Turkey, every day, are being insulted, raped, oppressed, beaten, crippled and killed by their brothers, fathers, boyfriends, fiancés, husbands and ex-husbands because they were and are saying ‘my life, my body, my identity, my future’ and cry out loud that they exist.”

Maybe next year on March 8 or May 1, we will carry banners written “Suppose I'm a prostitute…” “With this banner, we will demand equality and freedom for all people, and by all means for women. If passers-by make fun of us and ask what we cost by the hour, we will laugh at their faces with our prostitute laughter, tell them it is none of their business, and walk away. We are prostitutes anyway, you know, we can do anything…”

I am thinking, (Not Ayşe, this me is me, Belgin) maybe men will carry banners “Suppose I'm a son of a b*tch.” And young girls will carry, “Suppose I'm a daughter of a b*tch and a young b*tch myself.” Too bad my son now is a “son of a b*tch.” But I am sure he will find his moment of liberation himself, or maybe together with a self-declared “young b*tch” herself.



Lebanese singer Yasmine Hamdan enters Oscars race

21 December 2014

The love song “Hal” written and sung by Yasmine Hamdan, a Lebanese singer, songwriter and actress, has been named one of the 79 tracks competing for Best Original Song at the 87th Academy Awards next year.

The official video for the track is extracted from the film “Only Lovers Left Alive”, in which two world-weary vampire lovers reunite, who eventually “begin to heal and find a way to continue living, as they remember the power and mystery of creation itself”, according to the Huffington Post.

According to The Daily Star Lebanon, the film features Hamdan swaying as she sings the song, with “her dark hair falling across her face. The performance takes place in a dimly lit café, where patrons stand silently under the ugly strip lights, as though mesmerized, and glasses of beer lie forgotten on tables.”

The nominations will be announced live on Jan. 15, 2015, and the Oscar ceremony will be held at the Dolby Theater, Hollywood and Highland Center in Hollywood on February 22.



Bangladesh Govt committed to women empowerment

Dec 21 2014

Finance Minister AMA Muhith said the present government, under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, is committed to empowering women for the development of the society and the country.

Addressing the platinum jubilee celebration of Sylhet Government Women’s College yesterday, the finance minister said the government allocated Tk100 crore in every fiscal year for empowering women.

As a result, he said the rate of women employment rose significantly in the recent years with increasing number of female working in almost all sectors of the job market.

According to the minister, the rate of women employment rose from 7% to nearly 30% in the past three decades.

He called upon the women and in particular the female students of the Sylhet Women College to step forward, shrugging off all confusion to empower themselves.

He said there would be no lack of support including the financial assistance from the government to help women take their own course towards development of the society and the country.

The minister advised them to come forward with the vision and the mission of entrepreneurship so they can utilise more fund when a big portion of the fiscal allocation remain unused every year. According to him, this year so far Tk65 crore was utilised from the women empowerment fund, which was the highest ever implementation, but far below the fiscal allocation.

Former adviser to caretaker government Rasheda K Choudhury and founder of Bishwo Shahitto Kendro Professor Abdullah Abu Sayeed also addressed the celebration of 75 years of Sylhet Women College.