New Age Islam News Bureau
29 Dec 2018
Faeeza Vaid said understanding culture and faith helped the charity support Muslim women
• Queen's New Year Honours 2019: Muslim Women's Network Director Appointed MBE
• Saudi Women Step on Face Veils In Online Protest
• Trapped in Pir’s Ban, Women in a Chandpur Union, Bangladesh, Not Voting Since 1972
• German ISIS Woman Let Imprisoned Child Die Of Thirst: Prosecutors
• For The Sake Of Gender Equality, Muslim Women Too Should Have the Right Of Triple Talaq
• Lucknow Woman Helped ISIS Terror Module Mastermind Suhail, Who Had A Pakistani Handler, Raise Funds
• 54 Young Women Models in Hormozgan Were Legally Dealt With
Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau
No Hijab in School, No Vote, Muslim Group Tells Lagos Governorship Candidates
28 December 2018
Muslim Students’ Society of Nigeria (MSSN) has told Lagos State governorship candidates that the criteria to get its votes would be the unconditional approval for female students to wear hijab in schools.
“We have been very careful in taking a position on the governorship election in Lagos state, but something is clear – we will not support any candidate that will pose a challenge to the use of hijab by our members in schools or deny any of our rights,” head of MSSN in Lagos Saheed Ashafa said in a statement.
Hijab wearing in schools has been a subject of public discuss in Lagos for the last 4 years. A Lagos high court in October 2014, ruled against the use of hijabs in schools. The judgement was upturned by an appeal court in July 2016.
Lagos state government then approved the use of hijab for female students in public schools.
The group, however, reiterated its stance on the continuous use of hijab in schools as the 2019 election approach, amidst change in government.
Ashafa, who spoke at the ongoing 106th Islamic Vacation Course at the Human Capital Development Center, Noforija, Epe, Lagos said assaults on school children over the use of hijab is a violation of their fundamental rights.
“MSSN Lagos is not a political organisation but millions of our members are qualified voters. We have sensitised them enough to get their Permanent Voters Cards and the need to be peaceful during the election.”
Ashafa warned school administrators against punishing students who wear hijabs, as their action could malign the peaceful coexistence of people of different faiths in Lagos state.
He said tremendous progress has been made on the matter so far and that the MSSN would not relent.
“First, we are in court. We are a group of people who are civilised. We know the implication when a matter is still in court and the implication of working contrary to that. However, every assault that happens in Lagos is taken up by the society.”
“Probably people think we will take to the street and create chaos in the society. We are not going to go that way. We will follow the constitutional procedures to make our case,” Ashafa said.
Ashafa urged the “candidates to engage in an issue-based campaign and avoid maligning others. We are interested in the ideas that these candidates have to solve the country’s challenges and defamation of character.”
He said the recent removal of a vice principal of Army Cantonment Girls in Ojo, Lagos due to an assault on a student wearing hijab is a step in the right direction.
Queen's New Year Honours 2019: Muslim Women's Network Director Appointed MBE
29 Dec 2018
The director of a charity dedicated to raising the voices of Muslim women and "fighting for equality and justice" has been appointed an MBE in the Queen's New Year Honours.
Faeeza Vaid, from Birmingham, helped set up the Muslim Women's Network UK (MWN) helpline four years ago.
It has helped more than 1,700 women escape from problems including forced marriage and honour-based violence.
Ms Vaid said more bespoke services for marginalised communities were needed.
"I call myself a Muslim feminist," Ms Vaid said. "My faith tells me I need to stand for equality and justice.
"I see it as my life's work to speak for those who may not have a voice."
Ms Vaid, 34, joined MWN in 2008 and became the charity's executive director in 2011.
'Shame and honour'
The charity's helpline supported almost 800 women in 2017, the majority of whom called about domestic abuse.
"The top issues Muslim women face are the same for other women," she said. "Muslim women may face additional barriers and are less likely to report things - shame and honour is a big factor."
Her work also involves raising awareness of women's issues with men and the older generation in Muslim communities.
"We need to make sure our boys and men are on the same page," she said. "For us to just speak to women wouldn't go far enough in challenging attitudes towards gender."
Saudi Women Step on Face Veils In Online Protest
Using the hashtag "the niqab under my foot," several Saudi Arabian women have posted photos of themselves stomping on the face veils some are forced to wear in the conservative kingdom.
The online campaign is the latest protest by Saudi women against strict dress codes in the country. Though there are no federal laws dictating what women should wear, the police and the judiciary have long enforced the dress code in accordance with Sharia — Islamic law based on the Quran which effectively governs the kingdom.
But in recent days, women have taken to Twitter to share their stories about being forced to wear niqabs, a veil in which only the eyes show. Some have discussed the suffocating nature of the garment.
Others simply posted photos showing them stepping on the garment, with some also writing a short text in the post. The one below says, "You made my life miserable. I hate you."
Not all Saudi women are on board with the protest, with some even calling the hashtag "disrespectful" to those committed to wearing the face veils.
Niqabs are not the only religious dress Saudi women have campaigned against recently. Last month, several women wore their abayas — baggy, all-covering robes mandatory for Saudi females — inside out in protest.
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said in March that women should decide for themselves whether to wear abayas and niqabs and could dress more casually, but Saudi women say nothing has changed in practice.
Trapped in Pir’s Ban, Women in a Chandpur Union, Bangladesh, Not Voting Since 1972
December 28th, 2018
Barred by a fatwa imposed by a local pir (religious leader), female voters of a union in the Faridganj upazila of Chandpur have willingly not been exercising their franchise in independent Bangladesh.
These women — both from Muslim and Hindu communities - from the Rupsha South union have not voted in any election held since 1972.
Numerous attempts were made by the government and non-governmental organizations to bring them to the polling booths ahead of the national elections in 1991, 1996, 2001, 2008 and 2014. But all these efforts went up in smoke.
However, following recent encouraging activities and counselling from public representatives and local administrations, the number of women voters has slowly grown in the union over the past few years with more and more women showing interest in exercising their right to vote.
But some locals said that there is still a possibility that many women will not cast their votes during the 11th general election to be held on Sunday because of the pir’s fatwa.
Rupsha South union falls under the Chandpur 4 constituency, where Awami League candidate Shafiqur Rahman and BNP aspirant Lion Harunur Rashid will battle out on the election day.
There are 24,630 voters in the union’s nine wards, and nearly half of them - 12,015 - are women, according to Union Parishad Chairman Eskandar Ali.
He said: “Compared to the past, women of this union are now more eager to vote. Many women had even voted in the last union parishad election.”
Saying the women have not been voting because of a superstition, Eskandar added: “More awareness-building initiatives are needed to turn the tide and motivate female voters to exercise their right to vote. Locals and authorities concerned must take necessary steps to this extent.”
Interestingly, women from this union currently work beside men in different sectors, including public, private and corporate offices, and women union parishad members from reserved seats have also been elected by male voters.
Yet many of these female voters are not interested in exercising their franchise defying the fatwa.
Reached for comment, Faridganj Majidia Kamil Madrasa Principal Dr AKM Mahbubur Rahman told the Dhaka Tribune: “There is no bar that keeps women from voting if they wear proper clothes covering themselves while doing so.”
The pir and the ban
Pir Hazrat Hasan Maudud Zainpuri had come to Rupsha South from Zainpur in India’s Haryana after Bangladesh’s birth in 1971.
Reminiscing, elderly people of the area said that two fatal diseases - diarrhoea and cholera - that broke out in the union had turned into an epidemic within days in 1972. Coincidentally, a local government election was also due in the area soon.
They said the pir had prayed to god and ostensibly saved them from the fate of inevitable death -winning the locals’ unwavering devotion.
At that time, the pir had also issued the fatwa against women of the union leaving their homes without veils for the purpose of any entertainment, with voting bundled in.
Even though it was meant for the Muslim women, the ban had made all women of the union, including those from Hindu community, refrain from voting in that local election. A huge number of women are still reluctant to vote, showing respect to the pir’s ban. When asked, a number of female voters - both Muslim and Hindu - said they even cannot think of casting votes defying the order of the pir.
Parul Rani, 60, Lakshmi Rani, 50, and Rupa Rani, 22, are from the Charpata village of the union. Despite being Hindus, they never voted in any election of the past following the pir’s fatwa, and do not intend to break the taboo during Sunday’s polls.
Rumours and measures
Adding to the difficulty, a rumour circulating among the people of Rupsha South has it that some educated and politically conscious women had left their homes to cast votes in 2014’s general election defying the fatwa.
They had reportedly ended up in a tragic road accident that left them severely injured. But no one was able to say where the accident took place and the identity of those women.
There is also another reported event in which a housewife died at the polling centre soon after casting her vote in an election. Again, no one was able to corroborate.
Talking to the Dhaka Tribune, Faridganj Upazila Executive Officer Md Ali Afroz said that he had visited all the polling centres and tried to motivate the women of the union to cast their votes. “Many have showed their interest in doing so.”
District Election Officer Md Helal Uddin Khan also said: “I visited that area too and had initiated measures to tackle the issue. The candidates have also worked with the polling officials to change the situation.”
He hoped that these women will break this so-called curse and vote to elect their representative. “We will make all security arrangements for the women and polling stations ensuring the female voters’ presence.”
German ISIS Woman Let Imprisoned Child Die Of Thirst: Prosecutors
December 29, 2018
German prosecutors have announced war crimes charges against a female member of ISIS who let a five-year-old girl die of thirst in the scorching sun.
While living in then ISIS-occupied Mosul, Iraq, the 27-year-old German citizen identified only as Jennifer W. and her husband had purchased the child as a household "slave" in 2015, said prosecutors.
"After the girl fell ill and wet her mattress, the husband of the accused chained her up outside as punishment and let the child die of thirst in the scorching heat," they said in a statement on Friday.
"The accused allowed her husband to do so and did nothing to save the girl."
The federal prosecutors said they had laid the charges of war crimes, murder and weapons offences back on December 14 in a Munich court that deals with state security and terrorism cases.
Jennifer W. had first left Germany in August 2014 and travelled via Turkey and Syria to Iraq where she joined ISIS the following month.
Recruited to a vice squad of the militant group's self-styled morality police, she would later patrol the city parks of the ISIS-occupied cities of Fallujah and Mosul.
"Her task was to ensure that women comply with the behavioural and clothing regulations established by the terrorist organisation," said the statement.
"For intimidation, the accused carried an assault rifle of the type Kalashnikov, a pistol and an explosives vest."
In January 2016, months after the child's death, W. visited the German embassy in Ankara to apply for new identity papers.
When she left the mission, she was arrested by Turkish security services and extradited several days later to Germany.
For lack of actionable evidence against her, she was initially allowed to return to her home in the state of Lower Saxony.
"Since then her declared goal has been to return to the territory under IS rule," said the prosecutors, using a different acronym for ISIS.
When she attempted to again travel to Syria in June of this year, German police arrested her.
No date has been set yet for the start of the trial. If found guilty, she would face up to life in jail.
For The Sake Of Gender Equality, Muslim Women Too Should Have the Right Of Triple Talaq
December 28, 2018
The triple talaq bill, passed in the Lok Sabha, is likely to be stymied in the Rajya Sabha where the NDA government lacks the numbers to pass it through.
With the government and the Opposition both playing vote bank politics, this important legislation is stuck in a logjam.
The practice of triple talaq blatantly discriminates against Muslim women. But the NDA government’s decision to criminalise the practice has provoked the Opposition’s accusation that the bill seeks to penalise Muslim men, and is communal in nature.
With an eye to the 2019 general elections, both sides are on a vote-catching exercise. The government’s agenda in this is not the welfare of Muslim women but a bid to gain the approval of those who want a common civil code, and will see the proscription of triple talaq as the first step to this goal.
By challenging the criminalising of triple talaq on the grounds that imprisoning offenders could leave families without a breadwinner, the Opposition seeks to project itself as a champion of minorities, overlooking the inconvenient fact that Muslim women constitute a vulnerable minority within a minority.
A possible solution to the political deadlock which would promote gender equality would be for a social sanction being given to Muslim women to also have the right to practice triple talaq, with the all-important proviso that the husband so summarily divorced would have to continue to financially support his ex-wife, and their children, if any.
If Muslim women were given a reciprocal right, perhaps the practice of triple talaq would end, or at least be significantly reduced if it stops being a male prerogative and is made gender neutral.
The one-way street of triple talaq should be made into a two-way thoroughfare, with male chauvinist patriarchy meeting its match in an equal and opposite feminist matriarchy.
Lucknow Woman Helped ISIS Terror Module Mastermind Suhail, Who Had A Pakistani Handler, Raise Funds
DECEMBER 29, 2018
Mufti Mohammad Suhail alias Hazrath the mastermind of Islamic State (ISIS) terror module, which was busted by the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) in a joint operation with UP Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) on Wednesday, was reportedly in touch with a woman and her son in Lucknow. Suhail had visited Lucknow four months ago to arrange funds for the terror module as revealed by an Uttar Pradesh ATS official. This has exposed a sordid tale of how the Islamic state is using Social Media to radicalise and organise logistics.
Suhail who was arrested for forming the terror module called “Harkat-ul-Harb-e-Islam” is reported to have admitted before the NIA that he tried to radicalise the 17-year-old son of a Lucknow based women unsuccessfully. He said that the woman even sold her gold worth over Rs 2 lakh to help him raise funds for the module. The woman reportedly came in touch with Suhail over social media.
The officer also said that the woman and her son was interrogated by the NIA on Wednesday and Thursday for several hours but were released later due to lack of any substantial evidence against them. She is also suspected to have arranged the stay of Suhail in Lucknow during his visits.
Investigations revealed that Suhail’s online handler was a Pakistani identified as Abu Malik Peshawari who was in touch with Suhail for past several months. Suhail who used the online identity of Abu Bakr Khurasani admitted before the investigating agencies that he was inclined towards violent jihad for past nine years and had even bought country-made pistols.
“It’s not like Suhail was attracted towards a particular terror outfit like Islamic State from the beginning. It’s just that this online IS handler, who was now giving him directions to carry out blasts in Delhi and other places, convinced him to join the outfit,” an NIA official said.
Several arrests have been made so far by the NIA in relation to the terror module case. the NIA and the UP ATS had also conducted raids across 17 locations in Delhi and Uttar Pradesh. Explosives including rocket launcher were seized in large amounts by the agencies.
54 Young Women Models in Hormozgan Were Legally Dealt With
28 December 2018
The State Security Force of Hormozgan Province dealt with 54 young women in the province who worked as professional models.
In light of the arrest of 54 young women models, Azizollah Maleki, the SSF Commander of Hormozgan Province said on December 26, 2018, "In an operation with intelligence identification, the provincial public security police officers have identified a number of women models who are in collaboration with some classes, including women's hairdressers, studios and ateliers. In this regard, with the coordination of a judicial authority, 54 women and girl models were identified and legal proceedings were taken towards the case."
Referring to Act 21 on Computer Crimes and Article 638 of the regime’s Islamic Penal Code regarding the arrest of these 54 young women, Azizollah Maleki stated, "The offender will be decisively dealt with according to the law." (The state-run ISNA news agency – December 26, 2018)
In July 2018, the SSF Commander of Hormozgan Province Azizollah Maleki announced the arrest of 46 members of a modeling network; eight women were among the arrested members of the network. He stated, "38 delinquent businesses (photographers, hair dressers, and bridal maisons) and eight female models were arrested and turned in to judicial authorities to go through the legal process." (The state-run Donya-ye Eghtesad website - July 16, 2018)
In Sistan and Baluchestan Province, a woman owning a hairdresser, had employed two other women as models for ads in social networks to invite customers to her shop. The agents went to the business, arresting the three women and sealing the shop. (The state-run ISNA news agency – October 25, 2018)
Two women were also arrested last June in Mashhad for tattoo training. (The official IRNA news agency - June 1, 2018)
Earlier on August 30, 2016, the Prosecutor of Ardebil had reported on the arrest of a number of women. He announced that "20 members of a modelling network have been arrested, four hairdressers and famous photo ateliers have been sealed."
On October 21, 2016, it was announced that modelling was banned in Iran. (Hamid Ghobadi, Secretary of Fashion working group, interview with Fars news agency, October 21, 2016)
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