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Islam, Women and Feminism ( 4 Aug 2015, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Pakistan's Latest Ruling Makes Us Want To Bang Our Heads on the Table and Weep

The AskReddit appealed to Muslim women in Hijab to share their experiences


 Malik Wants Separate Jails for Women with Female Staff In Pakistan

 Muslim Women Share Their Experiences of Wearing the Hijab

 Muslim Woman Who Stole Twin's Passport to Travel to Syria Spared Jail

 Scottish Muslim Councilors Empower Women

 Women and Municipal Councils in Saudi Arabia

Compiled By New Age Islam News Bureau




Pakistan's Latest Ruling Makes Us Want To Bang Our Heads on the Table and Weep

04 Aug 2015

Two Supreme Court judges in Pakistan have reportedly ruled that when a couple divorces, the woman only gets to continue raising their children throughout infancy as their ‘supervisor’ - before passing them over to their husband when they’re old enough, because he is their legal ‘guardian’.

Judges Mian Saqib Nisar and Ejaz Ahmad Chaudhry also ruled that Pakistani women cannot keep their children away from their fathers following a divorce, whatever the circumstances.

Of course, it makes sense: these are men who have spent nine months of carrying their offspring inside their bodies… Oh wait.

Depressingly, it’s not the first time courts in Pakistan have ruled against women’s rights. It's not even nearly the first time. In fact, we can't even count the number of occasions when the country's legal system has made it OK for men to treat their wives, sisters, mothers and daughters like second class citizens.

After all, this is a country where up to 90 per cent of husbands are estimated to assault their wives, where only 39 per cent of women can read (limiting their options for financial independence) and wher 24 per cent of girls are married off before they reach the age of 18 (in many cases when they’re only eight or nine years old).

And for as long as the country's judicial system continues to not only enable this, but encourage this, then change is going to be a long and drawn-out process.

‘Gender violence in Pakistan takes a variety of forms, some of which are common across cultures such as marital violence, including verbal abuse, hitting, kicking, slapping, rape and murder, and economic and emotional abuse,’ says Filomena Critelli, a researcher at the University of Buffalo.

‘Other forms of violence are rooted in traditional practices that continue under the guise of social conformism, customs and misinterpretations of religion, that also include exchange marriage, death by burning (stove deaths, which are presented as accidents), acid attacks and nose cutting (a form of humiliation and degradation). Women are also raped and abused while in police custody, which further deters many women from reporting crimes against them.’

Thankfully, things are improving. This girl is campaigning for parents to keep their daughters in school, education levels are on the rise, and increasing numbers of female activists are fighting to raise awareness of women’s rights around the country. 

Now if only the courts would catch up with them.



Malik Wants Separate Jails for Women with Female Staff In Pakistan

August 04, 2015

ISLAMABAD - Chairman of the Senate Standing Committee on Interior, Rehman Malik on Monday remarked that there should be a separate jail for women in the country and their staff should be hired from the same gender.

While chairing a meeting of the committee, he said that prisoners were using mobile phones in jails despite installation of jammers, adding everyone knew what sort of corruption was being done in jails.

During the meeting, officials of jails briefed the committee about proposed reforms for betterment of prisons and apprised the committee that Central Jail Staff Training Academy needed funds for training of the staff on modern lines.

The committee was informed that academy had purchased weapons in 1975,

2003 and 2004 and they were only getting Rs 20.2 million budget though their demand was Rs 41.2 million.

To this, the committee assured their full support for meeting genuine needs for the betterment of the jail administration.

Jails administrations are getting Rs 60 for each meal of a prisoner in Punjab and Rs 140 in Sindh, officials added.

Malik said there should be proper treatment of prisoners in jails and cited there were separate places in jails in various countries to keep accused and guilty people.

Chief Commissioner Islamabad briefed the Committee about the operation against slums in the federal capital and said there were around 17,000 people and 2,000 houses. These people had illegally occupied the plots of citizens and most of them were also involved in unlawful activities.

The chair and other members of committee appreciated the efforts for vacation of the slums. However, he said the occupation of the area was not possible without connivance of the Capital Development Authority.



Muslim Women Share Their Experiences Of Wearing The Hijab


Muslim women have spoken of their experiences wearing the hijab in an emotional Ask Reddit thread.

User RainyDayRose posted a question to Muslim women with the tag ‘Serious’, asking: “Women who wear a hijab, in what ways does it affect your life, both positively and negatively?”

The thread has over 406 comments so far, with dozens of women sharing their personal experiences.

Muslim women have spoken of their experiences wearing the hijab in an emotional Ask Reddit thread.

User RainyDayRose posted a question to Muslim women with the tag ‘Serious’, asking: “Women who wear a hijab, in what ways does it affect your life, both positively and negatively?”

The thread has over 406 comments so far, with dozens of women sharing their personal experiences.

User daisydee614 agreed.

daisydee614100 points1 day ago

I love how I feel in it. I love the fact that I turn heads. I love the fact that I may be breaking multiple stereo types just by having a simple conversation with someone. Honestly, it really is empowering, I've worn it my whole life and could never imagine being without it. Most importantly, not having to worry about doing my hair every morning shaves hours off of my morning routine. lol

Downside: I fear for my life these days. I'm in law school and I feel like the hijab may stop me from advancing in my career. sometimes I get the nasty comments from someone walking by. but other than that, no negativity!

Although growing up in a small town proved challenging for women wearing the hijab, they could see many positives too.

heyitsalisa170 points1 day ago

I honestly only see it as a positive thing, but when I first started wearing the hijab I was extremely self conscious and thought I looked weird. Many people stared at me because I came from a small town,not that many Muslims. Anyway over the years of wearing the hijab I saw so many positives. I can never have a bad hair day, never get harassed by any guys, protects hair and skin from sun damage, keeps you warm in the winter, protects your hair in the rain, can actually incorporate with your outfit etc

5unda5 summed up her experience of empowerment.



Muslim woman who stole twin's passport to travel to Syria spared jail

01 August 2015

A Muslim woman who stole her twin sister’s passport in order to travel to Syria, has been spared jail.

Jamila Henry, 22, pleaded guilty to stealing her twin sister’s passport “with improper intent.”

The mother of one was described as “shy” and “quiet”, compared to her Westernised and “outspoken” twin Jalila.

In January last year, she was among four women who were stopped at Heathrow and as a result she was spoken to by police and a Prevent team.

In May last year, the defendant and her son tried to travel to Turkey via Belgrade from Luton airport but was stopped again and missed her flight.

Her mobile phone was found to contain various images of people holding guns, the Isis flag and salute and one with a caption about martyrdom.

On another occasion, she travelled with her son to Belgium via Dover and continued on to Syria via Turkey before returning home six months later.

When she was stopped at Stansted airport on her way back, she admitted that she had been in Syria.

In March this year, Turkish authorities informed British counterparts that the defendant's sister had been stopped and detained for deportation on suspicion she had travelled to Syria when in fact it was Henry using her twin's passport.

Her sister Jalila stated that on 12 March, Jamila had asked to borrow her passport to use for identification to pawn some jewellery and she had no idea she was going to take it to travel.

When Jamila took a coach to Brussels from Victoria station she changed her appearance and wore western clothes to look like her more outgoing sister, the court heard.

Although Henry admitted trying to enter Syria, she says that she was not doing so for military reasons, but to tend to children in the country who were suffering.

Her lawyer told the court that she was remorseful for her actions: “She wants the court to know the pain and distress she has caused. That is uppermost in her mind as she wants to move forward.”

She was sentenced to 12 months suspended for two years and ordered to complete 40 days’ rehabilitation activity for the offence, having already spent four months in custody.



Scottish Muslim Councilors Empower Women

02 August 2015

GLASGOW – Acknowledging their efforts to empower Muslim women in Scotland, a group of women councilors have been nominated to receive the Scottish Health Award for their work to help vulnerable women.

“They provide a religiously sensitive delivery of counseling services for Muslim women who are facing difficulties and struggling to cope,” an unnamed woman, who nominated the councilors for the volunteers award, who struggles with mental health problems, told Daily Record on Saturday, August 1.

“They listened and provided a trusting environment for my problems and concerns, and made me feel valued as an individual.”

The woman was talking about volunteer councilors at the Muslim Woman’s Resource Centre in Glasgow, "Amina," which addresses problems faced by Muslim women.

Founded about 13-years ago, the resource centre aimed at reaching out to Muslim women who were not taking up public sector and voluntary sector services.

“They didn’t know what was around or how to take up ­services,” Centre director Smina Akhtar said.

“In hospitals, there wasn’t the recognition that halal meat should be provided and when things were provided, they were quite low quality.

“It was about making sure when services were provided, when they were making policies and designing services for the public that Muslims were taken into account and their cultural and faith needs were taken into account.

“It was also about sending Muslim women a message that we are here to support them," Akhtar added.

The program also helps Muslims to learn what was available at schools, giving them confidence to join Parent-Teacher Associations (PTAs).

Employability Programs

Citing discrimination and lack of opportunity faced by Muslim women in the workplace, Amina aims to help women who are under-represented in employment.

Speaking about the role of five volunteers who see most of the clients, Akhtar said: “They deal with problems from mental health, depression, all kinds of relationship issues and marital problems.

“We sometimes get men coming in with their ­partners as well.”

Promoting inclusion, the resource centre also had a Christian volunteer. “She was so good. It is about having an understanding of faith and how important it is to people rather than just dismissing it,” the director said about the former volunteer.

However, the director stressed that understanding of faith, Islam in particular, is vital.

“If a woman is suffering from depression and used to pray five times a day but [now] feels she cannot at all, a generic counselor may leave it to one side,” Akhtar said.

But a Muslim counselor will see that as really important to that [particular] woman. Practicing Muslims live their [lives] through their religion. If a counselor is able to understand that, they are more able to support them.”

Scotland has about 75,000 Muslims. About 40 percent of them live in Glasgow.

Muslims are the second largest religious group in the country, which has around thirty mosques.



Women and Municipal Councils in Saudi Arabia

August 04, 2015

AROUND 70 women in four main cities have nominated themselves to run in the upcoming municipal elections, according to recent press reports. This means that there will be thousands of women, across the Kingdom’s other towns and cities, who will run for elections as the door to candidacy is still open.

I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say the lists of candidates for municipal elections will include thousands of women. Hundreds of them will no doubt qualify for candidacy. Many of these will win and become full-fledged members of the municipal councils. They will also participate effectively in running the public affairs of the country.

This is of course if the women councils' members are not hindered by the size of responsibility and the magnitude of authority delegated to them. The negative response of government departments to their requests may also be another hurdle in their path.

The zeal of Saudi women to run in municipal elections is not only a reflection of their confidence in their ability at running public affairs, but also a reflection of their trust in society, which has willingly accepted their nominations.

This is not surprising. It is actually a natural product of the Kingdom’s social, cultural and economic progression. This dynamic progression will see increased recognition for Saudi women and misconceptions about them will be corrected.

There are many rumors that doubt the capabilities of Saudi women and attempts to obscure any role for them in society under various pretexts, all of them without base or any support in either Shariah or just plain common sense.

The nomination of Saudi women in municipal elections represents a new birth for our nation, which has been further boosted by a strong royal will to give women the right to vote and run for seats on municipal councils.

This royal will is matched by society’s demand to enable women to vote and be candidates in the elections.

The move has further confirmed the seriousness and credibility of Saudi women and has confirmed their strong will to serve the nation.