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Islam, Women and Feminism ( 25 Nov 2015, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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NYSC Bans Muslim Women from Wearing Hijab in Camp | Muslim Youth Group Reacts

New Age Islam News Bureau

25 Nov 2015 

Photo: Illustrative Image


 Train passengers stand up against racial abuse of Muslim woman

 20,500 Afghan girls out of school due to conflict in 2015

 British Muslim women filmed glorifying Isis and urging Muslims to 'reject democracy' in undercover investigation

 Ex Muslim Author: ‘Sharia is With Us, And It’s The Women Who Suffer’

 Women vs Political Islam 

 120 women candidates withdraw from municipal polls

 Japanese woman feared murdered, buried in B’desh

 Saudi municipal elections sees withdrawal of 120 women candidates

 One-wheeling injures 3 girls

 Whoopi: Trump’s 9/11 Rhetoric Is Putting American Muslim Women in Danger

 NYPD: Postal worker spat on Muslim woman

 A Brisbane Muslim woman speaks out

 Glowork wins social entrepreneurship award for female career-building platform

 466,000 women recruited in private sector last Hijri year

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau




NYSC Bans Muslim Women from Wearing Hijab in Camp Muslim Youth Group Reacts


Muslim youth under the umbrella of Muslim Youths in Da’wah on Tuesday stormed the headquarters of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) in Abuja to discuss  Director-General of the NYSC Johnson Olawumi‘s ban of hijabs.

According to Daily Post, Olawumi said his rationale for banning muslim women from wearing hijabs is “for security reasons.“

Luqman Hassan, national coordinator of the youth group told Olawumi:

“We are here to discuss with you about the incident that happened recently in various camps across the country. We have a guiding principle which is based on the Holy Q’uran. We are all Nigerians and the principle which guides us is the constitution and the African Charter on Human rights.

Members of the NYSC are Nigerians who have contributed to the development of this country; female corps members deserve protection by the NYSC. We don’t believe that a female corps member putting on hijab has done any wrong against the Act establishing the NYSC. So they deserve the respect of the NYSC. We have travelled far and wide and visited different camps. Why are the rights of female corps members being infringed upon. We are here to register our displeasure.”

Many Muslim organisations wanted to protest, but we said wait a while. In fact, we have to intervene to avoid the situation and if Muslims march on the streets, it will attract a lot of negative comments, but people won’t know why we are protesting.

In response, Olawumi said:

“Under my leadership, the NYSC will accord respect to every corps member, irrespective of tribe and religion. The incident in Benue State was caused by the use of long hijab. The security situation in the country is tough. There is the danger of somebody using hijab for other reasons.

There have been cases where young girls put on hijab and eventually turn to suicide bombers. Boko Haram members know how to get at whoever they want as target. That is why we frown at the wearing of long hijab. Please call on all your Muslim youths to be patient and adhere to it, just for a short period during the camp. We frown at long hijab because of the security implication.

Why are you so particular on your alleged infraction on the rights of youths without mentioning any one of such on Christian youths? Produce your evidence, write to us and I can assure you that we will act fast. When the incident in Benue State was reported to us, I swung into action and ensured that the camp commandant was decamped immediately. We are not magicians; if you have any evidence, write to us and we will not hesitate to act.”



Train passengers stand up against racial abuse of Muslim woman

24 November 2015

Aisha Gani

A Muslim woman has thanked the public for standing up to a man who racially abused her and her sister on a packed Newcastle train.

Ruhi Rahman, 23, said she was threatened when the abuser told other passengers she could bomb the train, as she sat with her sister.

Other passengers on the on the Tyne and Wear Metro carriage, including football fans in replica shirts, were “angels” Rahman said, and told the man to get off the train.

The incident on Saturday afternoon between Newcastle and Whitley Bay, which is under investigation, ended with passengers clapping as the man got off at the next station.

Rahman, from Newcastle, wrote on her Facebook page about the episode and how a stranger had approached the sisters, telling them: “Get out of this seat now. This is my country.”

She said the man hurled anti-Muslim abuse at them, and said: “You’re bombing different countries and don’t deserve to be here or in this country.”

She said: “Before I even got a chance to react to his comments the women beside me supported me and helped. After a while most of the people on the Metro came over and spoke up for us and were being so supportive,” Rahman said, adding: “Also they even told the man to get off the Metro.”

She said it was “so sweet” to see how her fellow passengers on the Metro had supported her. “It really shows me how this world is full of such sweet people, and some dogs too,” Rahman said.

She said a woman beside her had started to cry “because she was so disgusted with his comments and she said no one should go though this” adding that “everyone also gave me a hug”. “It made me smile and appreciate how lovely they all were,” Rahman said.

She added: “I hope more people can not be so narrow-minded and realise how Islam should not be blamed for an individual’s act because Islam stands for peace not terrorism.”

In a separate post, she said the response from people had turned a negative “into something so positive”. She said: “I was so overwhelmed and still am with all your support.” She added: “Geordies are truly the best!”

Ruhi Rahman's facebook post thanking fellow passengers.

Sharon Kelly, managing director of DB Regio Tyne and Wear, which operates the Metro on behalf of Nexus, said: “We urge anyone with information about this incident to contact the police.The safety of our passengers is paramount. Incidents of this nature are rare on Metro and they will not be tolerated.

“A police investigation is now under way and we will work with them to help trace the culprit. This will include reviewing any available CCTV footage.”

Insp Ian King, from Northumbria police’s Metro unit, said: “We have received a report of an alleged racist incident happening on a Metro train at around 4.45pm on Saturday. Northumbria police take a hard stance against any form of attack on any minority group or individual and officers will be investigating this report.”



20,500 Afghan girls out of school due to conflict in 2015


Nov 25 2015

United Nations (UN) says the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan continues to severely restrict access to education for women and girls Overall, for the first nine months (1 January to 30 September) of 2015, approximately 210 schools closed due to conflict, affecting access to education to more than 20,500 girls.

Direct threats by armed opposition groups against schooling for girls affected access to education for approximately 17,000 female students. Eastern region remains the most acutely affected, whereby at least 13,000 girls no longer go to school due to threats, closures and direct attacks.

“Across the world, violence against women and girls is one of the most prevalent, yet one of the most silenced realities,” said Tadamichi Yamamoto, the Secretary-General’s Deputy Special Representative for Afghanistan and acting head of UNAMA. “This year Afghanistan has witnessed some horrific incidents of violence against women, and we have also witnessed unprecedented collective action as women and men from different walks of life have come forward in solidarity to demand justice for the victims of violence against women and girls. Justice and accountability must be upheld.”

UN Women Country Representative in Afghanistan says to prevent violence against women and girls and provide opportunities for them to develop, the government of Afghanistan, its people and international community needs to work together.

“For violence against women and girls to be put behind us, it is essential that the government and people of Afghanistan, in partnership with the international community, work together in support of each other to live up to the guarantees in the Constitution,” said Elzira Sagynbaeva, UN Women Country Representative in Afghanistan. “There needs to be effective implementation of the laws that protect all citizens, especially women and girls. Critically, an environment needs to be created where women and girls feel safe and are provided with an opportunity for development, not just at home, but in public as well.”

UN’s concerns and recommendations come on the eve of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (EVAW) which is November 25.

But Afghanistan is observing this day as violence against women and girls remains widespread.



British Muslim women filmed glorifying Isis and urging Muslims to 'reject democracy' in undercover investigation

November 25, 2015

A group of British Muslim women have been filmed urging other women and children to support and join Isis, a 12-month undercover investigation has revealed.

The women, identified after their pro-Isis activity on social media, were caught on camera lecturing women against western values, declaring them anti-Islamic, urging women to join Isis in Syria and using racially abusive language to describe “filthy Jews” and Israelis.

Umm Saalihah and Umm L, the names they go by on Twitter, were filmed by giving two-hour lectures in London in secret closed women-only meetings in community centres, as Channel 4 slowly gained access to them over the course of months.

The women appear to have all belonged to extremist group once known as al-Muhajiroun, set up two decades ago and banned in 2010.

Umm Saalihah, whose real name may be Jamila, is a mother in her 30s who is believed to have lived with a well-known extremist who had been arrested on suspicion of encouraging terrorism.

Glorifying the violence of extremists operating in Syria and Iraq under Isis, also known as the Islamic State, she described the fighters seeing “paradise” as they look “down in the barrel of a gun” and states “the world is his oyster”.

In a speech in east London attended by women and children, Umm L – a mother of four whose real name may be Rubana – claims the UK Government labels good Muslims extremists.

“Because the statement “Lá iláha illallah” [there is no god but Allah] that statement that makes you Muslim, that is a rejection of democracy and the rule of law.

“This is a fight against Muslims and Islam,” she claims. “It’s not the first time the alliance has been formed like they have now with this coalition against the Khilafah [Islamic State]. But Allah one by one he will destroy them.”

Umm L, who established and led the female wing of the al-Muhajiron group, adds that “more and more people” are becoming “what they call radicalised”.



Ex Muslim Author: ‘Sharia is With Us, And It’s The Women Who Suffer’

24 Nov 2015

Sharia law is being openly practiced in Austria and Germany, an Austrian former Muslim has said. Sabatina James has called on the west to expel recognised Islamists in its midst, saying there can be no place for Muslims who refuse to integrate.

In an interview with Austrian news outlet Krone, James said: “there are democratic Muslims, no question. They are not the problem. Someone following a religion is one thing. The teachings of Mohammed are another. He has been proven to have taught and practiced violence. He called for the beating of woman and stoning of adulteresses, the execution of apostates, of people like me.

“If all this violence, of which I speak, has nothing to do with Islam, then Mohammed has nothing to do with Islam. The established theology of Islam must deal with [these problems]. But it lacks critical debate.”

James – not her real name – has first hand experience of the violence that Islam can inspire. She moved from Pakistan to Austria as a child, but in her early twenties her parents, alarmed by her integration into western society, ordered her to marry a cousin. She refused – and her family sentenced her to death in an honour killing.

James fled to Vienna with the help of friends where she converted to Catholicism in 2003. Over the next decade she wrote a number of books about her experiences as a Catholic convert from Islam, for which she receives regular death threats. She now lives under police protection in Germany, forced to change location regularly to keep one step ahead of those who would kill her.

Her latest book, Only the Truth Sets Us Free, deals with the reality faced by thousands of women living under a death sentence imposed under Sharia law in the west, many of whom she has helped through her organisation Sabatina e.V. She argues that the tendency of the west to hide behind false tolerance is resulting in a loss of freedom for these women.

“Sharia is now finally with us,” she said. “And the victims are primarily women. A parallel justice system is being practiced, one which maintains the mantra: either women submit to systematic violence, or they will be liquidated.

“In the midst of Europe we’re talking about thousands of women living under a death sentence. Even within my family.”

She continued: “The religion that causes the most bloodshed is being protected the most. I find that totally paradoxical. And sometimes by those who carry the banner of gender equality, multiculturalism and the right to sexual self-determination. But if Islamists set the tone, freedom of expression, homosexuality and women’s rights will soon be finished.

“I wonder what makes these people tick. Total naivety? Or are they afraid of the truth?”

The German Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz said earlier this year that he would like to see penalties introduced for Muslims who are unwilling to integrate into the German way of life. James responds “I agree with him, but all of our integration efforts are useless if people who come to our country believe that they can remain here even when they commit human rights violations.”

She’s dismissive of the suggestion that if they do, the penalty will be jail. “Then what?” she asks. “Do we want to punish people here but let them still live here? In doing so, we give the violent, anti-democratic, Islamist scene a home.

“Those who are unwilling to deport anti-democratic Islamists should not be surprised if more attacks to come. In other words, return recognized Islamists! Otherwise, they will undermine us while we are trying to win the war against the Islamic State.”

Following the attacks in Paris, a French Muslim blogger released a home made video urging his fellow Muslims “who believe in values of the Republic” to “rise up” against the Islamists in their midst. James is similarly convicted that western Muslim communities have a part to play – and share a portion of blame for the attacks on western targets. “As long as the Islamic community teaches as an official representation of Islam that women are not equal and non-Muslims are not real people in a legally full sense, they cannot be absolved of responsibility” she says.

But that’s only part of the problem. Westerners who defend the ability of Islamists to remain within the West must also shoulder the blame: “These offenders don’t randomly fall from the sky!”



Women vs Political Islam 

November 25, 2015

Globally renowned women’s activists assembled in Lahore to attend the international conference on Women’s Empowerment and Leadership Development for Democratization (WELDD) organised by Shirkat Gah, a women’s resource centre. WELDD is a transnational programme developed in partnership with the international solidarity network Women Living Under Muslim Laws (WLUML) and the Asia based Institute for Women’s Empowerment (IWE). Addressing a special media talk held at the Lahore Press Club, the symposium expounded on ‘Political Islam’ being the root cause of rising fundamentalism, extremism and terrorism across the world. The coalition of activists hailing from a number of Asian, African and Middle Eastern countries confront commonalities in facing gender discrimination and oppression enshrined in conflict-ridden regions. Women in Muslim countries are increasingly faced with tyrannical traditional patriarchal social structures that don’t just undermine their basic rights of selfhood by subjugating their agency, but with the rise of autonomous self-styled quasi-religious political groups who are victimising and now even using women as a tool of war. Kurdish and Yezidi women are victims of systematic sexual violence and enslavement by the Islamic State in Syria, but warzone rape is not a problem confined to females only. Members of the Nigerian Boko Haram have allegedly kidnapped a number of young boys as well as girls to be used as sex slaves.

In the past decade, extremism has not just become a raging global terror movement but has also facilitated the rise of reactionary policies derived from a reductionist and blemished view of religion. Fundamentalism is not confined to Islam. Many Christian extremists in Senegal and radical Buddhists in places like Myanmar and Sri Lanka have employed religion as a political tool, leading to widespread violence and brutality. Twenty first century religious extremism and political terrorism has to necessarily be understood in its contextual origins and background, i.e. its political manifestation during and after the Cold War. To further their cause, women’s rights activists will need to overcome past reservations rooted in male domination and engage with politics through a collective effort in order to change oppressive political structures and chauvinistic power relations that obstruct critical discussions on gender. In today’s world, religion has become decisive in flaming conflicts and sustaining a disconnect between social and political elements in society. Now more than ever there is a dire need to infuse an atmosphere of secularism, one that doesn’t oppose religion but provides a neutral ground for it to thrive and develop, where everyone is allowed to practice their religion without politicising the dominance of one strand of belief over the other. Moreover, it is vital to re-examine religion in the light of a modern worldview that critically revisits archaic and antiquated interpretations. Women in the past have played a dominant role in the spread of Islam; it is time to re-enter the religious arena too through critical political engagement.*



120 women candidates withdraw from municipal polls

Nov 25, 2015

JEDDAH — So far 120 out of 1,019 women candidates running for municipal councils have withdrawn their candidatures, Al-Hayat Arabic daily quoted National Committee for the Municipal Elections spokesman Jidai Al-Qahtani as saying on Tuesday.

He said the total number of candidates was 7,380, but 384 candidates have withdrawn.

Fifty of the candidates who withdrew were from Riyadh. The last day for withdrawal in Riyadh was on Thursday. All remaining candidates must go through to the fourth phase and campaign for their election.

“The final list of candidates will be announced next Sunday. Not all nominated candidates will qualify for the final list. The committee will check the profiles and records of the candidates to ensure that none of them have violated any rules and regulations,” said Al-Qahtani.

Candidates have the right to withdraw from the elections any time without an excuse or any prior notice.

“Candidates have absolute freedom to withdraw whenever they want. We consider it a personal decision and we don’t care about the reasons behind it. All they have to do is fill in a withdrawal form to notify us of their decision,” said Al-Qahtani.

He said members of election committees are not allowed to visit voting centers.

“We aim to have a fair and just election. Members of election committees are not allowed in voting centers and they are not allowed to show the pictures of certain candidates or hang flyers,” said Al-Qahtani.

Employees of the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs are not allowed to use their authority to help or obstruct any of the candidates’ campaigns. The final list of elected candidates will be drafted on Dec. 12 and announced on Dec. 13, said Al-Qahtani.



Japanese woman feared murdered, buried in B’desh

November 25, 2015

DHAKA - Bangladesh police have arrested five men over the suspected murder of a Japanese businesswoman who is believed to have been buried in a graveyard under a false name, an officer said Tuesday.

Police suspect Hiroe Miyata, 60, who lived in Bangladesh, was interred last month in the capital Dhaka under a fake identity after officers examined records at the Muslim graveyard.

Authorities began investigating after the woman’s mother in Japan reported her missing to the Japanese embassy in Dhaka on November 19.

“We are treating this as a murder” investigation pending a post-mortem to determine cause of death, one police officer told AFP on condition of anonymity.

Five men who worked closely with Miyata were arrested late on Monday and remanded in custody by a Dhaka court for further questioning, the officer said.

Another police official said the woman had been living and working in Dhaka for the last 10 years.

“She died in mysterious circumstances,” the official, who also declined to be named because of the preliminary nature of the case, told AFP, saying the woman was buried under a Muslim name.

“We’ve sought a court order to exhume the body and determine the reason for her death.

 A Japanese embassy spokesman declined to comment.

Bangladesh is reeling after the murders of a Japanese farmer and an Italian aid worker in separate incidents in recent months, attacks claimed by the Islamic State group.

An Italian priest was shot and seriously injured last week.

The Bangladesh government says the militant group has no presence in the Muslim-majority country, while police suspect a local banned Islamist outfit was responsible.



Saudi municipal elections sees withdrawal of 120 women candidates

 25 November 2015

At least 120 female candidates out of a total 1,019 running for Saudi Arabian municipal council elections have withdrawn their candidatures, according to the spokesman for the National Committee for Municipal Elections Jidai al-Qahtani who was quoted on Tuesday in Arabic daily al-Hayat.

He said the total number of candidates stood at 7,380, but a total of 384 candidates have withdrawn.

Fifty of the candidates who withdrew were from Riyadh. The last day for withdrawal in Riyadh was on Thursday 19 Nov. All remaining candidates are required to go through the fourth phase and campaign for their election.

“The final list of candidates will be announced next Sunday 29 Nov. Not all nominated candidates will qualify for the final list. The committee will check the profiles and records of the candidates to ensure that none of them have violated any rules and regulations,” said Al-Qahtani.

Candidates are permitted to withdraw from elections at any point.

Al-Qahtani stressed the transparency and fairness of the elections, saying members of election committees were not allowed to visit voting centers or to promote any specific candidate using banners or flyers. Employees of the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs are also prohibited from being involved in the campaigns.

The final list of elected candidates will be drafted on Dec. 12 and announced on Dec. 13, announced al-Qahtani.

This article first appeared in the Saudi Gazette on Nov. 28, 2015.



Whoopi: Trump’s 9/11 Rhetoric Is Putting American Muslim Women in Danger

24 Nov 2015

Tuesday on ABC’s “The View,” co-host Whoopi Goldberg said Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s claim of seeing thousands of American Muslims in New Jersey cheering the World Trade Center towers coming down on  September 11, 2001, puts Muslim women in danger because their dress style is very identifiable.

Goldberg said, “So remember in Germany, people would point and say you know, it’s their fault it’s happening. It’s them. This is the same crap. This is the same crap. You — there are so many — there are 2.5 million American Muslims here. Folks we know. Dr. Oz. You know —who are you talking about? People were not doing this. You know facts are important in the United States. I feel facts are important and they’re on the run.”

Joy Behar chimed in,”It’s called scapegoating which is not very nice and it leads too fascist dictatorships so be careful of that.”

Goldberg continued, “And keep in mind, you know, the easiest people to spot, the easiest Muslims to spot are women. OK. So when you’re doing this, Donald, you’re putting a lot of people in danger. Think before you talk. Man, please try a fact. Just get a fact. I’ll back you up with a fact.”

She added, “Nobody left, right, nobody should be pretending stuff you can’t back up, because it’s costly to people. It can cost people lives.”



NYPD: Postal worker spat on Muslim woman

November 24, 2015

A postal worker arrested on hate crime charges had allegedly bumped into and spat on a Muslim woman before following her into a deli and threatening to burn down her place of worship, New York City police said.

Dainton Coley, 34, was still wearing his Postal Service uniform when he was led out of a police precinct in handcuffs Tuesday night. He held his head down and said nothing as officers escorted him to a waiting police car.

Police said he approached two women who were wearing hijabs on a sidewalk in Brooklyn's Bedford Stuyvesant neighborhood around 8 p.m. Friday.

Coley bumped into a 30-year-old woman who was pushing her infant in a stroller before he began shouting racial epithets and spit on her, police said.

The two women ran off, but Coley chased them and followed them into a deli on the same block, police said.

Coley then followed them around the store, screaming obscenities, and told the woman he was going to burn down her place of worship, authorities said.

The incident occurred against a nationwide outbreak of Islamophobic acts and anti-Muslim rhetoric, such as GOP presidential candidate Ben Carson saying Muslims are unfit to be president of the United States and his fellow frontrunner, Donald Trump, suggesting President Barack Obama might be a Muslim. And a 2014 Pew Research Institute poll found that Muslims were rated most negatively of all religious groups in the U.S., receiving an average score of 40 out of 100 on a “feeling thermometer.” The only other groups to receive below a “neutral” score of 50 were Mormons, at 48, and atheists, at 41.

Members of the Postal Police helped New York city police identify Coley, according to The N.Y. Daily News.

Coley was awaiting arraignment late Tuesday on charges of aggravated harassment based on race or religion, menacing as a hate crime and child endangerment. It was not immediately clear whether he had an attorney who could comment on the accusations.

A spokeswoman for the U.S. Postal Service did not immediately return a message seeking comment on the charges.



A Brisbane Muslim woman speaks out

November 25, 2015

A recent poll of Australians suggests that almost half of us believe the confronting scenes of terrorism from Paris are inevitable or highly likely to occur in Australia.

If that is the case, how should we feel about the Muslim population in our own country?

Just as importantly, how do Muslim Australians feel about these issues?  To find some answers I decided to speak to not just a Muslim, but an Australian Muslim woman, Fatima Deen.  Like me, her family has been in Australia since the 1880s.

In the light of the Paris attacks - and the role of a Muslim woman in the terrorist cell - her thoughts were revealing.

We spoke about those Muslim Australians who have gone overseas to fight, or who are supporting terrorism from here.

"I find it saddening, I really do, and I find it scary.  I wish I knew what went wrong or what was in their minds," she said.

"I feel like they've been misled, and they are probably quite naive and don't understand what they're doing, or what their religion is about, either."

It is clear that they have neither her support, nor her sympathy.

"When I first heard about suicide bombers … the first time I heard the word jihad, I was in university. I'd never heard of these things growing up.  What my parents told me was that if you committed suicide, you'd go straight to hell.  It was never a case that you'd kill somebody; it was just not the done thing."

Most emphatically, she doesn't think they are good Muslims or good people.

"I think they're ill-guided and they don't know what they are talking about.  I feel for Muslims and I feel for people being hurt all over the world, but I don't think the answer is to put a bomb on myself and blow up people.

"They just don't see the bigger picture.  They're not really making any significant assistance to anyone's plight," she said.

I also found that Fatima and I shared common ground on the screening of supposed refugees. Like me, she believes we need to be extremely stringent in the way we assess applicants, and for a simple reason.

"I think Australia owes it to its citizens to ensure they're protected.  We are entitled to put guidelines on who comes to this country - why not?  Otherwise you just open the borders.

"You have to have some criteria and guidelines, because you need to protect the people who are within the borders already.

"Don't you have a duty to them?

"I'm an Australian, and I fear that if I'm in the public where these suicide bombers go, I fear for my children.  I want that my children are able to go freely anywhere, but I'm scared of these people."

What becomes clear fairly quickly is that the mainstream media does a poor job of reflecting views of Muslims like her, and many others.

"People don't realise they encounter Muslims every day, probably.  Some of us are more obvious than others.  The media does tend to speak to people who most obviously fit the role of the Muslim because they wear the hijab or have the big beard," she said. Clearly the media can do a better job, and that particularly applies to how Muslim women are largely ignored by the media.

"You don't have women priests in Islam; they are all male.  The Imams, the Grand Mufti, they're all male.  So whenever anyone is spoken to about what is happening in the world they focus on them."

Fatima believes these people represent the views of the Muslim community to some extent, but not always.  She points out that in reality there are a wide range of views in the Muslim community, as there are in the Catholic community.

"You'll find there are Muslims that are very right wing in their political views, and you'll find ones that are very left wing in their politics and their outlook on life."

What is interesting is the role Muslim mothers play in shaping the views of their community.  Fatima reflected on the perception of Muslim women as passive: "Not the ones I know!" she insisted.

"In my mum's family they are definitely not passive; they're the dominant ones in the family for sure.  I think all of my uncles kowtow to my aunties."

In fact, Fatima told me her mother brought her and her sister up to be independent.  So much so that when she did poorly in school her mother sat her down and said she had two options: she could either get married and have a boring life; or she could go back to year 12, put her head down, and then go to university and be independent. 

Which brought me to what she would say to her own sons about growing up in Australia.

"I'm Australian, born and bred, I'm then asked where my parents came from.  My children look Indian, or at least a mix of something, so I tell them of their heritage - being Indian, Scottish, Irish -  but ultimately they are Australian.  That is the country, culture and values that I and they will identify with.

"My husband comes from an atheist background, but we have common values, so we want to raise our children to have those common values, and that is the same if you are a Muslim, Christian, atheist, Jew, and that is be good to other people."

I agree.  Perhaps if we could all put away some of our hate, and work together for some common goals, Australia would be a better, more harmonious place.  It's up to all of us.



Glowork wins social entrepreneurship award for female career-building platform

November 24th, 2015

Glowork, a Saudi agency that matches job-seeking Saudi women to jobs online, took home the social entrepreneurship award at the second iteration of the 2015 Emirates Award for Arabian Gulf Youth.

Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, minister of foreign affairs of the United Arab Emirates, supported the institution of the award that highlights young social entrepreneurs in Gulf Cooperation Council countries who aim to showcase their ideas, and helps them interact with experts to develop and nourish their ideas.

On receiving the award, Khalid Al-Khudair, Glowork’s founder and CEO, said, “This award is proof of the brilliance of our premise and our ability to open up more job opportunities to Saudi women and help as many of them as possible get recruited all over the nation.” He added, “This win will add to our success and encourage us to contribute more to meeting the challenges of job creation. We look forward to expanding and setting up in the UAE very soon, God willing.”

The award represents a golden opportunity for societal entrepreneurs to turn their social ideas into actual projects, and furnishes a platform to engage them in competition that brings out their best innovations, so they can roll out pioneering social projects that offer solutions to many challenges faced by GCC societies.

The award offers participants an opportunity to learn how to balance financial returns with social impact, and to learn new skills that would help them push their projects along, all while learning from successful, more experienced entrepreneurs, and rubbing elbows with the cream of business and government figures from all over the region.

Winners were selected by a panel of experts who evaluate projects based on parameters such as originality, innovation, social impact, a given project’s ability to expand and stay financially sustainable in the long run.

After 15 ideas have been shortlisted, candidates attend online guidance courses and workshops in Abu Dhabi before they demonstrate their ideas to the panel.

This year’s panelists were Ms. Muna Al-Qurq, director of retail sales at Easa Saleh Al Gurg Group LLC; Sultan Al Hajji, vice president & chief strategy officer of Total UAE; Abdul Baset Al Janahi, CEO of Dubai SME; Dr. Iman Bibars, CEO of Ashoka Middle East and regional expert on social development and diversity; and Ms. Amal Ishaq Kooheji, CEO of Tamkeen.

Glowork was founded by young Saudis to empower Saudi women in business in Saudi Arabia. It is the first institution ever to specialize in matching women job-seekers with open jobs online. Additionally, the company provides women with opportunities to work from home, which further broadened the scope of employment opportunities.

This innovative concept is unique across the Middle East in that it helps women get a foothold in the job market, starting with the narrowest of localities all the way to the vast entirety of the GCC.

Through its cooperation with the Saudi Ministry of Labor, the Human Resources Development Fund, and major business to increase job diversity, Glowork has launched several projects to help women get employed and seize upon job opportunities, such as holding the first, and so far largest, job fair for women in the Middle East, and training workshops to hone job-seekers’ skills and abilities.



466,000 women recruited in private sector last Hijri year

Nov 25, 2015

Fatima Muhammad

JEDDAH — The private sector has employed over 466,000 women in the last Hijri year and this number has doubled compared to the number of employed women three years ago which was 203,000 said Abdul Minim Al-Shihri, deputy minister of labor for special programs. He added that the initiatives and programs of the ministry boosted the participation of women in the private sector and has helped increase the employment of women in the private sector.

He noted that they have postponed the implementation of obliging business owners to employ women in some specific shops to provide the opportunity for them to prepare themselves and their locations to accept women. These shops include shops selling women traditional dresses, products for babies and mothers, perfumes, shoes, handbags as well as women cloths. The previous deadline for employing women in these shops was over a month ago. However the ministry decided to defer the implementation, Al-Shihri said.

He further noted that they are still pressing on with field tours to ensure that women are provided with work environment that goes in line with their nature and that attracts them to work in the private sector.

Al-Shihri added that they will focus on increasing the employment of women, and this includes providing distance jobs and enhancing work at home, in factories and providing part time jobs. This he said will help reduce the challenges faced by women in job environments. Further, he stressed, the importance of providing assistance services in factories and malls to help women work in them — including provision of transportation and nurseries. Al-Shijri was speaking at a session entitled “quality nationalization,” at the Human Resources Forum held here this week.

Speaking about the vacations that women can enjoy according to the new labor law he said that women can now get 10-week vacation period for delivery and that can be extended by one month, however the month will be determined as unpaid leave. A widow can get 4 months and 10 days vacation that is given to her by Shariah and this vacation can be extended if she is pregnant. The woman can also get 5 days break for her wedding and another 5 days in case of the death of a family member. In addition, each mother can chose breastfeeding hours of her choice.




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