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Islam, Women and Feminism ( 18 Jul 2019, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Pak's Sindh OKs Bill to End Hindu Girls' Forced Conversions

New Age Islam News Bureau

18 Jul 2019

Syrian women in southern province of Hatay make their living by producing and selling hand-made toys to other provinces across Turkey


 Woman Threatened To Stab Muslim Teen for Wearing the Hijab, In East London

 Woman Loses Custody of Daughter in Saudi Arabia after Bikini Photos Shown To Judge

 Triple Talaq Petitioner, Ishrat Jahan, Says Threat to Life for Attending Hindu Religious Ceremony

 UN Representative: Pakistan Signed MOU to Protect Women against Sexual Harassment

 90th Woman Executed in Iran during Rouhani’s Term In Office Since 2013

 Syrian Women Make Toys for Living in Turkey’s Hatay

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau




Pak's Sindh OKs Bill to End Hindu Girls' Forced Conversions

Jul 18, 2019

KARACHI: Pakistan's Sindh assembly has unanimously passed a resolution demanding that the practice of forced conversions and abductions of Hindu girls must be stopped and action be taken against those involved in such activities.

The resolution - moved on Tuesday by Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA) lawmaker Nand Kumar Goklani - was supported by the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party as well as Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and the hardline Jamaat-e-Islami. The resolution comes months after the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan in its annual report in April raised concerns about incidents of forced conversions and marriages of Hindu and Christian girls, saying around 1,000 such cases were reported in Sindh alone last year.

After a long discussion, the assembly passed the resolution which reads, "This House resolves that the provincial government take notice of recent surge of the kidnapping of girls from various districts of Sindh and take steps to arrest the culprits and give them exemplary punishment and stop forced conversions". Hindus form the biggest minority community in Pakistan.



Woman Threatened To Stab Muslim Teen for Wearing the Hijab, In East London

Jul 17, 2019

The Metropolitan Police are investigating after a woman twice threatened to stab a young teenage Muslim girl for wearing the Hijab in east London.

The incidents occurred within a week of each other in early May.

Tell MAMA has declined to reveal the exact location of the incident to protect the identities of those affected.

One of the threatening statements included: “You f*cking b*tch, I’m going to stab you for wearing that headscarf”.

In 2017, over half of the Muslim women (53 per cent, n=353) who contacted Tell MAMA wore clothing that identified their Islamic faith (where data was available, n=669). Tell MAMA verified 57 reports of threatening behaviour in 2017, accounting for almost one in ten reports.

During the interim reporting period in the first half of 2018, Tell MAMA verified reports which showed that over half reports involved incidents where Muslim women were the target.

Police enquiries remain ongoing.

The Metropolitan Police recorded 116 Islamophobic hate crimes in May 2019, a slight decrease from the 130 reports in the same reporting period a year earlier.

March saw the sharpest rise in reports to both Tell MAMA and the Metropolitan Police following a far-right terror attack in Christchurch, New Zealand which left 51 Muslims dead.



Woman Loses Custody of Daughter in Saudi Arabia after Bikini Photos Shown To Judge

Vivian Yee

July 18, 2019

Bethany Vierra did not think she was asking for much.

First, she wanted a divorce from a husband she described as abusive. Then she wanted to secure custody of her 4-year-old daughter, Zeina. Then she wanted a court order to receive child support from her ex-husband, a businessman.

But as an American woman living in Saudi Arabia, Ms Vierra has navigated a punishing legal maze ever since she first asked her Saudi ex-husband for a divorce in 2017, then opened custody proceedings in November.

Though she succeeded with the divorce, her custody battle appeared to reach a dead end on Sunday, when a Saudi judge awarded custody of Zeina to her father’s mother, who lives with him, despite video evidence Ms Vierra submitted to the court that she said showed her ex-husband doing drugs and verbally abusing her in front of their daughter.

“It’s like 10,000 times worse here because so much is at risk for women when they go to court,” Ms Vierra said, near tears, in an interview on Sunday. “I genuinely thought that there would still be justice served here, and I kind of put everything on that.”

Under Saudi law, which is based on Islamic law, or sharia, mothers generally retain day-to-day custody of sons until they turn 9, and daughters until they turn 7, while fathers remain their legal guardians. The kingdom announced last year that Saudi mothers could keep custody of children after a divorce without having to file a lawsuit, as they had previously had to do, unless the father was contesting custody.

But Saudi courts prioritise ensuring that children are raised in accordance with Islam. According to court documents, the judge accepted Ms Vierra’s ex-husband’s arguments that she was unfit to raise Zeina because she was a Westerner, and furthermore, because she ran her own business, a yoga studio, leaving her with little time to devote to her child.

“Since the mother is new to Islam and a foreigner in this country and embraces customs and traditions in the way she was raised,” the judge wrote in his ruling, “we must avoid exposing Zeina to these traditions.”

The status of women in the deeply conservative, male-dominated kingdom is in flux. New reforms put in place by the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, have allowed women to drive and curbed the power of religious enforcers who police how women dress and act in public.

The crown prince, in an interview with 60 Minutes last year, was asked if women and men were equal and responded: “Absolutely. We are all human beings and there is no difference.”

But the changes have not touched the most fundamental restriction on Saudi women, the guardianship system that gives men control over many critical parts of the lives of female relatives and wives, requiring them to get a male guardian’s permission to travel, obtain a passport or undergo certain medical procedures.

A Saudi newspaper reported last week that the government was considering allowing women over 18 to travel without a guardian’s permission. That would be a major adjustment to the system, which has drawn international condemnation amid a string of high-profile cases in which young Saudi women have run away to other countries against their families’ will.

The guardianship system’s rules extend to women who marry Saudis, like Ms Vierra, and their children, including dual citizens like Zeina. Even after they divorced last year, Ms Vierra’s ex-husband, whom she married in 2013, remains her guardian and Zeina’s.

Wielding his guardianship powers, he prevented her from going home to see her family at Christmas and let her legal residency expire, which left her stuck, unable to access her bank account or leave the country.

Ms Vierra spoke to The New York Times on the condition that her ex-husband not be named because she feared provoking him further. He did not respond to efforts to contact him for comment on Sunday.

Saudi authorities granted Ms Vierra residency in March after The Times wrote about her situation. At that point, she and her ex-husband had agreed that Zeina would live with her, with weekly visitations for him. But matters soon deteriorated, and her ex-husband began pursuing full custody in court.

He told the court that Ms Vierra, who is from Washington state but moved to the kingdom in 2011 to teach at a women’s university, did not speak Arabic well, and that she was an atheist.

He also submitted photos of her in a bikini, in yoga pants and with her hair uncovered — evidence of suspect or outright forbidden dress in a country that requires women to wear loose abayas in public.

Ms Vierra said the photos were taken in the United States and were from her private social media accounts.

The court accepted his testimony at face value, she said, while hers was legally worthless unless she could bring in male witnesses to back her up. She tried to counter with videos of him that she said showed him rolling a joint to smoke hashish, talking on the phone about his marijuana use and screaming at Ms Vierra, all with Zeina in the room.

Though he acknowledged his drug use, he accused her in court of giving him the drugs and of forcing him to say he was an atheist, both of which Ms Vierra denies.

“It’s videos versus male witnesses,” Ms Vierra said. “They wouldn’t in some cases even look at the evidence that I had. It was just completely disregarded because he ‘swore to God.’ It’s all been infuriating.”

In the end, the judge found both parents unfit to raise Zeina, awarding custody instead to Ms Vierra’s former mother-in-law. But Ms Vierra did not find this comforting; she said her ex-husband’s sister had testified that their mother had hit them and emotionally abused them as children.

Ms Vierra said Zeina was frightened and confused by the decision, which she had promised her daughter she would fight, but in truth had no idea how to undo.

She had committed to a life in Saudi Arabia so she could be with her daughter and Zeina could know her Saudi relatives, she said, and had also been proud to obtain a license to open her yoga studio, the first of its kind in the country.

Now, she said, she felt everything she had done in good faith was being used against her.

“This is not just my story — there’s much worse,” she said, describing women she said she had met who had gone through similarly gruelling custody battles in Saudi Arabia. “It’s hard to believe stuff like this can happen.”



Triple Talaq Petitioner, Ishrat Jahan, Says Threat to Life for Attending Hindu Religious Ceremony

July 18, 2019

Ishrat Jahan, who had filed a petition in the Supreme Court challenging the triple Talaq, on Wednesday lodged a complaint with the police, alleging that people in her locality have threatened to drive her out after she attended a Hindu religious event in Howrah.

The 33-year-old, who had joined the BJP last year, also sought police protection.

In her complaint to the police, Jahan said that on Tuesday evening she had attended a ‘Hanuman Chalisa Paath’ in front of Howrah’s AC market on Dobson Road, which was organised by BJP supporters. But on Wednesday when she was on her way to drop her son to school, residents in her area accosted her and asked why she had attended the Hindu religious event.

“I had gone to the event as it was a religious programme. I had gone there wearing a Hijab. Some people saw me on television attending the programme. Today, they stopped me on the road and wanted to know why I had attended the programme. They even abused me for wearing Hijab to the programme. They said they would drive me out of my house and asked me to leave the area. I ran to my house. Later, I went to Golabari Police Station to lodge a complaint and sought police protection,” she told The Indian Express.

She said that while policemen came to her house after receiving her complaint, no police protection has been given to her yet. “I am scared for my life. I am scared for my family as well. This a secular country, and it is our democratic right to take part in any religious festival,” Jahan added.

Meanwhile, Howrah police confirmed that they have received a complaint from Jahan. “We are looking into her complaint,” said a police officer. Sources said the police are yet to file an FIR.

Jahan was one of the five women to challenge the practice of instant triple Talaq in the Supreme Court, which the top court struck down, calling it unconstitutional. Jahan’s husband had divorced her over the phone from Dubai in 2014 by uttering “Talaq” three times.



UN Representative: Pakistan Signed MOU to Protect Women against Sexual Harassment

by Namra Imdad  

July 18, 2019

The Pakistani UN women have signed a Memorandum of Understanding(MOU) to protect women against sexual assaults.

Recently, many sexual harassment cases have been seen in many workplaces and the UN women from Pakistan been taking the issues seriously.

The country representative of United Nation Pakistan Aisha Mukhtar along with the Office of Ombudsperson of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Rukhshanda Naz signed the Memorandum. The story will continue after the press release.



90th Woman Executed in Iran during Rouhani’s Term In Office Since 2013

Jul 17, 2019

An imprisoned woman was hanged at dawn on Wednesday, July 17, 2019, in the Prison of Noshahr, in northern Iran. This is the 90th woman executed in Iran during Rouhani’s term in office since 2013.

The official news agency of the Iranian regime, IRNA, cited the General and Revolutionary Prosecutor of Kelardasht, Seyyed Farzad Hosseini, announcing the execution of this 43-year-old woman in the Prison of Noshahr.

The semi-official news agency, ROKNA, also identified this woman as “Z.S.M.”

Less than a month ago, on June 19, a woman identified as Fatemeh Nassiri was hanged in Gohardasht (Rajaii-Shahr) Prison of Karaj. She had been imprisoned since 11 years ago in Qarchak prison. She was said to have undertaken the crime committed by her son. There are unconfirmed reports of the hanging another woman by the name of Fariba, along with Fatemeh Nassiri on June 19.

This is at least, the 90th woman to be executed during six years of Rouhani’s presidency.

Iran is the world’s record holder in per capita executions. More than 3700 persons have so far been executed during six years of Rouhani’s terms in office.

The Iranian regime deploys execution and the death penalty as a tool for maintaining its grab on power and for silencing a disgruntled populace the majority of whom live under the poverty line, while unemployment is rampant in the country and there is no freedom of speech.

Rule 61 of the United Nations Rules for the Treatment of Women Prisoners and Non-Custodial Measures for Women Offenders (the Bangkok Rules) reads, “When sentencing women offenders, courts shall have the power to consider mitigating factors such as lack of criminal history and relative non-severity and nature of the criminal conduct, in the light of women’s caretaking responsibilities and typical backgrounds.”

Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, has consistently emphasized on the need for abolition of the death penalty in Iran. While denouncing the hanging execution of this 90th woman, the Women’s Committee of the National Council of Resistance of Iran calls on all international organizations and institutes defending human rights to intervene to have the death penalty revoked in Iran.



Syrian Women Make Toys for Living in Turkey’s Hatay


Syrian women in southern province of Hatay make their living by producing and selling hand-made toys to other provinces across Turkey, the work shop manager told Anadolu Agency on Wednesday.

At a toy atelier opened in 2017 in Hatay’s Reyhanli district with the help of Turkish humanitarian aid agency IHH and Qatar’s RAF foundation, 15 Syrian women who lost their spouses have been making knitted toys, Khalid Qadour, head of the work shop, said. The all-female crew produced 3,000 toys last year, and all of them were sold out, Qadour said.

“Hand-crafted animal toys are delivered other parts of the country, their prices range from 20 to 30 Turkish lira. We promote them on social media,” Qadour said and added that the workshop’s target by the end of this year is to produce 10,000 stuffed toys.

Fadila Haj Redvan, 40, mother of four, said making toys helps her not only financially but also psychologically.

“I fled to Turkey after I lost my husband in an air attack in Aleppo. We started a new life here and what I earn from toys has helped me a lot,” she added.

Salam Alsellum, 41, mother of three, whose husband was also killed three years ago, said she now can afford her family by making toys.

“It takes two hours to make a toy ready and we share what we earn equally,” she explained.

Syrians make up the largest number of refugees in Turkey with around 3.6 million, followed by Afghans with 164,351, Iraqis with 142,576, Iranians with 37,732, Somalis with 5,518, and 11,515 refugees of other nationalities.

According to the Turkish Interior Ministry, 96.51% of Syrians live in provinces -- mainly in Istanbul, Sanliurfa, Hatay, Gaziantep, Mersin and Adana while 3.49% live in refugee camps.

Turkey has spent more than $30 billion on caring for refugees since the start of the Syrian crisis in March 2011.




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