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Islam, Women and Feminism ( 7 Jun 2022, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Northern Iraq Woman, Daughter of a Muslim Cleric, Murdered For Singing Christian Songs, By Brother and Uncle

New Age Islam News Bureau

07 June 2022

• Sharjah Women's Sports Club Players Star in Karate and Fencing Competitions

• Malaysian Women Who Went Abroad For Studies and Never Returned

• Hyderabad: Poverty, Illiteracy Push Muslim Women into Multiple Marriages

• Kansas Woman Accused of Leading All-Female ISIS Brigade Likely To Plead Guilty, Docket Entry Shows

• UN Envoy Consults Yemeni Women on Multi-track Peace Process Design and Priorities

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau



 Northern Iraq Woman, Daughter of a Muslim Cleric, Murdered For Singing Christian Songs, By Brother and Uncle


Iran and Iraq have recently witnessed two “honor killings” of women./ Photo: Mission Network News


By Kevin Zeller

May 18, 2022

Iraq (MNN) — Iran and Iraq have recently witnessed two “honour killings” of women.

Joe Willey with SAT-7 USA talks about a case from Northern Iraq. “Now these so-called honour killings can be defined as the killing of a relative, especially a girl or a woman, who is perceived to have brought dishonour to the family. One of these two women was killed after she posted a video of herself on TikTok singing Christian songs.”

“It’s suspected that her murder was in retaliation for her apparent Christian beliefs.”

This woman was the daughter of a Muslim cleric and had been married off at age 12. She had separated from her husband and had become an activist for women’s rights. Her brother and uncle killed her.

In Iran, a husband beheaded his 17-year-old wife after she returned from fleeing to Turkey. People took pictures of him parading her remains through the streets. She had also been married at 12 years old, younger than Iran’s legal limit of 13 for girls (15 for boys).

Sadly, the Iranian government’s response was to shut down the news agency that first broke the story.

Value of women

It’s an illustration of how little these societies value women. Willey says, “Iran’s civil law says that if a woman withholds her duties toward her husband, she does not receive financial support. Women face tension and challenges if they leave their home without the right kind of clothing. And I found this to be startling from my American perspective, but even riding a bicycle may subject a woman to criminal proceedings.”

SAT-7 programs work to change this culture through programs like Insiders, which airs on the Farsi language channel SAT-7 PARS. Willey says, “Viewers in Iran are presented with the biblical truth that women are made in the image of God and have intrinsic value. That’s the same value as a man. SAT-7 programming is also breaking a cultural taboo by even discussing these topics.”

Ask God to change the cultural view of women in Iraq and Iran.

Source: MNN Online


Sharjah Women's Sports Club Players Star In Karate And Fencing Competitions


Winners pose with their medals after the presentation ceremony.


June 7, 2022

In another achievement, the Sharjah Women's Sports Club players’ clinched three medals at the UAE Open Karate Championship (Individual Kumite) held at the Shabab Al Ahli Dubai Club on Saturday.

The five players who represented the Sharjah Women’s Sports Club at the championship were Joud Mahmoud, Shama Al Ketbi, Sheikha Al Ketbi, Amina Barket, and Youmna Hani.

Amina Barket won the silver medal in the junior singles competition, while Jude Mahmoud and Yamni Hani won bronze medals in the girls' and young women's category respectively.

The tournament witnessed the participation of seven clubs, including Sharjah Women's Sports Club, Sharjah Self-Defense Sports Club, Golden Dragon Club, Shabab Al Ahly Youth Club, Al Dhaid Club, Meteor Academy, and Base Marshall Arts Academy.

Admitting the high level of competition, Amina described her participation as a ‘fruitful’ experience.

"The silver medal came with a lot of work, focus, and adherence to the technical instructions that resulted in this achievement, especially after the plans that I implemented with the coach, which in turn contributed to alleviating tension and improving appearance at this distinctive level."

Sharjah Women’s Sports Club fencers win 3 medals

Meanwhile, the Sharjah Women’s Sports Club fencers also made their mark at the General Federation Championship for Fencing and the Talents and Buds Festival for U-13.

The Sharjah Women’s Sports Club secured one gold and three bronze medals at both the competitions.

The event took place at the Asma Bint Al Noman Hall in Dubai, where players from five clubs were in action, including Sharjah Women's Sports Club, Baniyas Club, Shabab Al Ahly Club, Fujairah Combat Games Club, and MKFA Academy.

In the epic weapons competition, Sharjah Women’s Sports Club’s Al Anoud Al Saadi won the gold medal, while her compatriot Zainab Al Hosani won the bronze medal.

Sharjah Women’s Sports Club’s Habiba Islam won two bronze medals after settling for third place in the saber and public flora competitions, respectively.

Hind Al Hosani, Deputy General Manager of Sharjah Women's Sports Club, said: "The players excelled in this strong tournament following the preparation carried out in accordance with the club's vision to keep them ready for the major events, in addition to the plan developed, which includes attending internal and external camps for women players with the goal of sharpening their skills.

"Thanks to the unflinching support and interest of his wife Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher Bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, wife of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah and Chairperson of the Sharjah Women's Sports Foundation, the club fencers have taken part camps and tournaments such as Tema International Camp II in Dubai, the International Camp in Egypt, the World Junior Fencing Championship in Dubai held last April, and the World Cup in Ukraine.

"The club players will also participate in the Asian fencing championship this month, and the World Championship for seniors, scheduled to take place in Egypt next month," added Hind.

Source: Gulf Today


Malaysian Women Who Went Abroad For Studies and Never Returned

June 7, 2022

KUALA LUMPUR: Three decades ago, when Lily (not her real name) boarded a UK-bound flight to further her studies, she never thought she was saying goodbye to Malaysia as her home forever.

At first, she had plans on returning home once she graduated. But there was always a goal she wanted to achieve, a professional qualification she wanted to get.

However, having gained recognition as an expert in her field, any hopes she had of returning were dashed.

Now, she calls the UK her home, where she works in the medical sector, and Malaysia the country she visits almost every year to see her mother and siblings.

“It wasn’t my intention to stay in the UK forever and never to return home. It was more of achieving my goals for my medical practice and then come back,” she said via Zoom.

Lily is one of the 1.86 million Malaysian women living overseas, according to the latest figures from the United Nations.

While the figure may not seem overly high, it is equivalent to 12% of Malaysia’s total female population of 15.6 million.

This makes Malaysia the country with the second highest regional rate of women migrating with 57%, second only to Thailand, and is above the global average of 48%.

Experts say the fact that more women than men are leaving the country to seek their fortune elsewhere is not necessarily bad, given the increasingly globalised world.

Describing the 57% figure as “huge”, International Labour Organization (ILO) consultant Suriani Kempe said it raises questions on what makes more women than men leave and whether this is a worrying trend for the nation.

“Women emigrating doesn’t mean they’re not coming back, right? But if there are discriminatory policies in place in the country that prevent them from coming back, the government should be concerned,” she said.

Suriani spoke to reporters after conducting a workshop organised by the Asia Pacific Institute for Broadcasting Development on Inclusive and Gender-Sensitive Reporting on Women Migrant Workers.

The song remains the same

A few decades ago, the main reasons for women leaving the country were either to further their studies or to accompany their husbands. Now, the reasons have expanded.

Although there is no breakdown on why they left, experts agree women are leaving for other reasons as well, such as to advance their career and for better pay. These issues used to be associated with men.

They also agree that many of the women are likely educated and professional, choosing to migrate to more developed and wealthier nations.

Those days, news reports used to feature only Malaysian-born men doing well internationally. Now, many Malaysian women are being featured, such as Florence Tan, chair of the Small Spacecraft Coordination Group at Nasa, and Dr Serena Nik-Zainal, a consultant geneticist and cancer researcher in the UK.

“Some people say that most women are migrating to follow their husbands. At the same time, I strongly believe there are women who decided to migrate because their skills are more appreciated somewhere else,” said Farid Basir, vice-president of the Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF).

Interspersed among the reasons is the issue of gender discrimination, which is a major contributor to women’s migration numbers.

Lily said one of the reasons she decided to stay on in the UK was she did not feel she would be able to succeed much if she had returned to Malaysia after graduation.

“It was actually like the structure was clearly there (in the UK) and it also felt like a more meritocratic system,” she said.

“In Malaysia, you never felt that no matter how good you were, you would get anything on merit because too many things were not meritocratically awarded.

“I’ve often felt women were sidelined.”

Experts point to the low female labour participation rate as a sign of existing gender discrimination.

According to the statistics department, only 55.3% of women are taking part in the labour force, one of the lowest in Southeast Asia, despite women comprising 61% of university graduates in this country.

Unit for Research on Women and Gender (Kanita) member Noraida Endut of Universiti Sains Malaysia said the trend is a matter for concern, especially if it means the women left home because they did not have enough opportunities here.

“The women know that if they come back to the equivalent position in Malaysia, opportunities for career advancement may not be as promising,” she said. “Or there is not enough protection, for example, a family-friendly work environment in Malaysia compared to the other country.

“The promotion path is not as clear for women as it is for men. So the frustration may come in from there.”

Farid, who is also the chief people officer at MBSB Bank, said there is a disconnect between the labour participation rate and the high number of female degree-holders.

“It demonstrates that it is a talent that we have not optimised,” he said, adding that it is crucial for Malaysia to fully utilise its untapped talents to achieve greater economic success as it heads towards an ageing nation.

To do so, he said, employers need to create a structure for women to reach top leadership positions by providing them a developmental platform for mentoring and coaching through targets.

In Malaysia, men make up most of the decision-makers in government, public service and private sector although women constitute 48.6% of the population.

As of Sept 29, 2021, only 14.9%, or 33 out of the 22 seats in the Dewan Rakyat, were held by women MPs, while women holding decision-making positions in the public sector accounted for 38.2%.

Women representation in the top 100 public limited companies’ board of directors stood at 25.8%.

Family discrimination

For some women, discrimination may not be the reason they left. But it is certainly why they decided to stay away.

Experts agree the biggest hurdle Malaysian women are likely to face when they return home is the citizenship issue.

For Malaysian women, coming home to Malaysia is more complicated and expensive if their spouses were foreigners and if their children were born overseas than for Malaysian men.

Under the law – now being looked at by the Court of Appeal – Malaysian mothers cannot pass their citizenship to their overseas-born child, a right only Malaysian men have currently. Only children born in Malaysia to Malaysian mothers get automatic citizenship.

Suraini is one of the litigants in the landmark Family Frontiers case, currently on appeal. It saw the High Court rule that Malaysian mothers have the right to pass on Malaysian citizenship to any children born overseas. The Court of Appeal will render its judgment on June 22.

“The fact that if women are married to foreigners and they give birth abroad, that her child is not entitled to Malaysian citizenship, would probably be a driving factor that keeps them out of the country and stops them from coming back.

“This is because of the discrimination they experience in their own country,” she said.

According to Talent Corporation Malaysia Berhad (TalentCorp), the national agency under the human resources ministry tasked with wooing Malaysian professionals back, women are only 23% of the 5,774 Malaysians who have taken advantage of the Returning Experts Programme from 2011 to 2020.

Incentives offered to Malaysians returning home include tax breaks and permanent residence (PR) status for spouses and children, pending approval by the immigration department.

Noraida pointed out that PR status was not much of a draw, considering children of Malaysian men would be Malaysians and their foreign spouses are eligible to apply for citizenship after a few years.

“The option is not the same for male spouses compared to female spouses,” she said. “They have to go through different processes to be able to have some kind of nationality or permanent residence in Malaysia. So yes, there is discrimination in that sense.”

She said women also faced problems acquiring PR for their children.

On top of that, costs in Malaysia are higher for non-citizens, including healthcare and education. This means Malaysian mothers would have to pay more for their non-citizen children if they decide to return and settle in the country.

Setiawangsa MP Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad said consequently, many women decide to keep living overseas. Depending on the country, their children may be entitled to benefits.

“Even if you’re a non-citizen, you get so many benefits (in some countries),” he said.

One of the benefits available overseas is childcare, especially for special needs children. Although Malaysia has good facilities and childcare, he said, they are usually limited and not easily accessible unless one is rich.

Nik Nazmi, who has written on the brain drain and has family members who are part of the estimated 3.15 million Malaysian diaspora, also said it was important for the government to be more flexible with regards to the citizenship issue so as not to exacerbate the brain drain.

“Obviously, those with a single citizenship may be forced to make a choice. And when we are a smaller country in terms of development, in terms of academic research and all those things, we tend to lose out,” he said.

The ideas the experts suggested included a special status or visa for people with ancestral links to Malaysia, or allowing dual citizenship for Malaysians.

Lily, too, cited citizenship as the biggest obstacle for her to return to Malaysia for good, saying there is no chance of her returning unless something changes.

“I’ve now got a family and I’ve got children here. This makes it very complicated (to return) because they don’t have dual nationality or anything of that sort.

“(If the government allows dual citizenship for my children), it would not close my options completely. I would actually explore returning more meaningfully,” she said.

Source: Free Malaysia Today


Hyderabad: Poverty, illiteracy push Muslim women into multiple marriages

Jun 7, 2022

HYDERABAD: Marrying for survival, not companionship – that's the unfortunate reality that scores of poverty-stricken Muslim women in Hyderabad, especially in the Old City, are living in.

Pushed into a corner owing to illiteracy, acute cash crunch, and lack of work – it has worsened post pandemic – several women are seen going from one marriage to the other, abuse and infidelity notwithstanding, only to stay afloat. Primary reason: To put food on their children's plates.

While there is no official record of such cases, conversations with a large section of 25-to-30-year-old women, and social groups working in the area, reveal how rampant this practice is.

Many of the women that TOI spoke to confessed to living through three or four marriages, not out of choice but out of compulsion and need to survive.

"I was 11 years old when my parents gave me away to an aged man from an Arab nation. He kept me in a hotel for two months, got me pregnant, and then went away," said Muskaan (name changed), now 30 years old and a mother of three. She recently married a man working as a daily-wager.In between, she once fled from home when her parents tried to ‘sell' her off to a Sudanese man, married two other men -- both of whom promised to give Muskaan and her children a good life but ultimately abandoned them — and then found her fourth husband.

"I tried to take care of my children by myself. But with no education it is very difficult to get a job. How can I let my children starve," was her earnest retort, when asked about the many marriages.

The Shaheen Nagar resident said she knows many women, living in Talabgatta, Mangalhat, Khilwat, Purani Haveli, who have had a similar journey.

Shanaaz's (name changed) story of going from one husband to the other started when she was 14 and her father married her off to a much older man from Khagaznagar. When he took ill, after she had two children, her father-in-law tried to make advances, forcing her to return to Hyderabad.

"There was no work and surviving in the city was tough with house rent, food and other expenses. So, when another man came along and offered to shelter us, I agreed," the 32-year-old nonchalantly said. But that too ended in domestic abuse and ultimately abandonment. Now, she is married for the third time, has three children and a husband who she terms as "stable".

"The extreme poverty these families live in has made survival a challenge," said Jameela Nishanth of Shaheen Women's Resource and Welfare Association working relentlessly with these women. "Most of them have not studied beyond class 3 or 4, have no skills and no money (even parents are very poor)."

"To add to that, these women have been made to believe that a husband must earn, and the woman's job is to fulfil his sexual desires. We need to break this mindset," she added, incidentally, on the side lines of a workshop on redefining masculinity she was hosting for such women.


Volunteers working with Shaheen Women's Resource and Welfare Association in the Old City say such cases of multiple marriages come to their notice frequently. However, many of these women are often embarrassed and hesitant to share the stories for fear of being judged. Here are some cases from Shaheen's files…

‘Daughter committed suicide due to harassment'

Mumtaz* was 14 when she was first married to a man much older than her. When he died, leaving her with one daughter, her family got her married again. She had a second daughter with this man who was abusive and subjected her to domestic violence. While Mumtaz, for some time, thought she would walk out and live without a man – she even started working as a domestic help to support her children – the financial burden was too much. That's when a third man came along, promising to take care of her family. What happened instead is, he started to sexually exploit her daughters. Only the third daughter he had with Mumtaz was treated well. Such was the torture that her older daughter eventually committed suicide. Today, Mumtaz, now 30, lives in Bandlaguda with her two daughters and works as a house help. She has not married again.

‘Hope of bright future dashed several times'

Sameena has gone through four marriages. While the first one was arranged by her parents, it hit a rocky terrain when her husband met with an accident, became incapacitated and her father-in-law started to make his advances. When she refused, Sameena – then pregnant with her third child – was thrown out of her in-law's home in Medak and sent back to her mother in Hyderabad. The two rented a place in Talabgatta (Nashemandnagar) and started selling chocolates and biscuits to make ends meet. On seeing them struggle, her landlord offered to marry her and support the family. All was well – she even had two children with her – till the man's first wife came into the picture and trouble started at home. Flustered, Sameena sought a khula from him and took up a job as caretaker of a well-to-do man in Red Hills. She was even given an outhouse to stay with her kids and mother. Later, she even married her employer and was promised a share in the property after his death. But his children (from an earlier marriage) refused to honour that, when the man eventually died. Sameena now lives in Barkas, with her fourth husband.

Source: Times Of India


Kansas woman accused of leading all-female ISIS brigade likely to plead guilty, docket entry shows

By Salvador Rizzo

June 6, 2022

A Kansas-born woman who led an all-female brigade for the Islamic State in Syria is likely to plead guilty to federal charges Tuesday, according to a court docket.

Allison Fluke-Ekren, 42, was charged with conspiring to provide material support for terrorism in 2019 by federal prosecutors in the Eastern District of Virginia and taken into U.S. custody in January. She is being held at the Alexandria Detention Center, and the deadline for prosecutors to file an indictment is next week.

A brief entry in Fluke-Ekren’s criminal case on Monday says a “plea agreement hearing” has been scheduled for Tuesday before U.S. District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema. It is not clear to what charges Fluke-Ekren may plead guilty, and such agreements can collapse before they are finalized in court.

A spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney’s office declined to comment. An attorney for Fluke-Ekren did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The charges against Fluke-Ekren are unusual; women make up only a small fraction of those charged by U.S. prosecutors with supporting the Islamic State, and Fluke-Ekren was alleged to have held an unusually high position.

Witnesses described Fluke-Ekren as an Islamic State member with various responsibilities, who was fluent in several languages and discussed ideas for a mass-casualty attack on U.S. soil, according to court documents filed by prosecutors.

“Fluke-Ekren translated her extremist beliefs into action by serving as the appointed leader and organizer of an Islamic State military battalion, directly training women and children in the use of AK-47 assault rifles, grenades, and suicide belts to support the Islamic State’s murderous aims,” First Assistant U.S. Attorney Raj Parekh wrote in a detention memo in January.

She is accused of helping female members of the Islamic State prepare for a Kurdish siege of Raqqa, Syria, by training them in martial arts and packing “go bags” of rifles and other weapons, according to court documents.

Fluke-Ekren moved to Egypt in 2008, then wound up in Syria, where, by prosecutors’ account, she hosted new Islamic State recruits and helped organize services in Islamic State-controlled Raqqa. Authorities say her second husband traveled with her and became a sniper trainer for the Islamic State; he later died in an airstrike.

Source: Washington Post


UN Envoy Consults Yemeni Women on Multi-track Peace Process Design and Priorities

22 May 2022

AMMAN, 22 May 2022 – The UN Special Envoy for Yemen, Hans Grundberg, met today with a diverse group of Yemeni women peace activists, experts, civil society and private sector actors and leaders as part of his efforts to consult on the Framework for the multi-track peace process, including priorities that factor in the experiences and perspectives of Yemeni women and youth. The meeting also discussed the implementation and renewal of the truce.

Women participants highlighted their priorities for the peace process, including improving the living conditions and livelihoods of Yemeni civilians, lifting restrictions on civilians freedom of movement, especially women and children, addressing the recruitment of child soldiers, safeguarding schools and access to education, involving local mediators and the private sector in the security track of the peace process, improving access to basic services and goods, addressing the fragmentation of fiscal and monetary policies, focusing on the removal of mines that impact women and children, and ensuring equal job opportunities for all Yemenis, including women and youth.

“While continuously encouraging the parties to ensure women’s meaningful participation in the peace process remains a priority for me, it is also important that we integrate the views of Yemeni women into the design of the peace process to ensure it is sensitive to the issues that Yemeni women and youth face,” said Mr. Grundberg.

The UN Special Envoy will continue in upcoming weeks his consultations with diverse Yemeni constituencies, including economic experts, civil society, and political parties

Source: Relief Web




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