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Islam, Women and Feminism ( 9 Nov 2017, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Pakistani Bride Arrested In Mass Poisoning Warned Against Forced Marriage

 New Age Islam News Bureau

9 Nov 2017

Nour El-Sherbini is the top seed for the PSA Women's Masters Event in Riyadh (Reuters)



 Riyadh Gears Up For Saudi Women’s Masters Squash Tournament

 Ensemble Zohra, Afghan Women’s Orchestra

 King Abdul Aziz University And Traffic Police To Open Joint Women’s Driving School

 Muslim, Civil Rights Groups Challenge Quebec Veil Ban

 Al-Akaria Launches Women-Only Panoramic Elevator

 All-Women Basketball Match To Push Breast Cancer Cause

 Iran: Woman commits suicide with her toddler

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau




Pakistani Bride Arrested In Mass Poisoning Warned Against Forced Marriage

November 8, 2017

BASTI LASHARI, Pakistan -- Aasia Bibi had warned her parents time and again that if they forced her to marry her cousin, a man she disliked, she would be capable of going to any length to exit the union. She was already in a relationship, she said, and should be allowed to marry the man of her choice.

Now, investigators in this tiny, remote island village in central Pakistan believe the recently married 21-year-old was enticed by her boyfriend in a plot to kill her husband, Mohammad Amjad, by poisoning his milk with rat killer. Amjad did not drink the milk, but his mother used the tainted liquid the following day to make a traditional yogurt drink that she then tragically served to 27 family members, including Amjad.

Amjad and 17 others were sickened and subsequently died at a district hospital, including eight children aged 7 to 12. Among the dead were Amjad's two brothers, his three sisters-in-law and some distant relatives.

"I repeatedly asked my parents not to marry me against my will as my religion, Islam, also allows me to choose the man of my choice for marriage but my parents rejected all of my pleas and they married me to a relative," Bibi told a judge at her initial hearing Oct. 31 following her arrest.

Bibi and her boyfriend Shahid Lashari were charged with murder and are scheduled to return to court Nov. 14. Pakistani police said Wednesday they also arrested Bibi's aunt, 49-year-old Zarina Begum, for her involvement in the alleged plot.

Local police chief Zulfiqar Ali said the deaths quickly drew the attention of police, who quietly began an investigation and were able to expose the plot. He said Bibi was among those who did not drink the traditional Lassi, which is made with water and yogurt.

"Her husband was in critical condition at a hospital and she looked as if nothing had happened and she was cool and calm at her home and it raised suspicions," he said.

Ali said police first arrested Lashari and he confessed to supplying the rat poison to his girlfriend. He said Lashari also told officers that Bibi's aunt, who used to arrange for the couple to meet at her home, was aware of the plot to kill Amjad.

Ali said that before detaining Bibi, police collected her Cellphone data, enabling investigators to surmise that she was in constant contact with Lashari after the attempted poisoning. He said Bibi confessed to her role in the killings upon seeing Lashari in handcuffs at a police station.

Relatives bringing condolences were still arriving in the dusty, isolated village on Tuesday when an AP reporter crossed the shallow Indus River to the island by boat. Sitting among the mourners on a cot in an open area, village elder Abdul Majid vowed to behead the newly married woman and her boyfriend if he got hold of them.

Majid said the couple deserved to be killed to restore the village's honour.

"If I see them, I will behead them with a wood saw," he said, as the jailed bride's father sat nearby.

Zohra Yousaf, a top human rights activist based in Karachi, said Bibi is among countless Pakistani women who are forced by their parents to marry against their wishes, but that it is rare for a wife to kill her husband. She said she believed Bibi's actions show that she suffers from depression and anxiety.

Many parents in Pakistan arrange marriages for their daughters against their will and nearly 1,000 Pakistani women are killed each year by close relatives in so-called "honour killings" for marrying against the family's consent or attempting to flee the forced unions.

According to a report released this year by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, "hundreds of women and girls were murdered in 2016 by family members on the pretext of defending the family honour." It is also common in Pakistan for village councils or elders to order killings or rapes in the name of honour.

In 2002, a village council ordered the gang rape of Mukhtar Mai, a young woman who later took her rapists to court. The case gathered international attention and she later opened a school for rural girls.

Sitting in her mud-brick home in this village of just 45 dwellings about 270 miles south of Multan, Bibi's mother Zakia Begum sobbed Tuesday night, saying she was wrong to force her daughter to marry a man she did not like.

She urged other Pakistani parents to give their daughters the right to marry the person of their choice.

"I feel guilty and I think we should have not forced our daughter to marry Amjad as she did not like him," she told The Associated Press.



Riyadh gears up for Saudi Women’s Masters squash tournament

9 November 2017

LONDON: World champion Nour El-Sherbini and France’s Camille Serme are seeded to meet in the final of the inaugural Saudi PSA Women’s Squash Masters after the main draw for the World Series tournament was released.

The Saudi Women’s Masters is set to be the first women’s professional squash tournament to take place in Saudi Arabia and will be held between Nov. 26 and Dec. 1 in Riyadh.

It will be the third women’s World Series tournament of the 2017/18 season, following the US Open presented by Macquarie Investment Management and the Cathay Pacific Sun Hung Kai Financial Hong Kong Open, and El-Sherbini stars in a strong draw that sees her seeded to meet compatriot and world No. 5 Nouran Gohar in the last four.

No. 2 seed Camille Serme is also involved and she is seeded to meet eight-time world champion Nicol David in the quarter-finals. Serme, who will meet a yet-to-be-confirmed wildcard in round one, has never beaten the Malaysian legend in 16 previous attempts but she will need to break that unwanted streak if she is to play to her seeding, with world No.2 Raneem El-Welily seeded to meet the winner in the semifinals.

In addition to the lucrative $165,000 prize fund up for grabs, the world’s top players will also be battling for points on the PSA World Series Standings.

After her victory over Raneem El-Welily in the final of the US Open, Egyptian world No. 8 Nour El-Tayeb heads up the standings and every point will be vital as players bid to earn a top-eight berth by the end of the season to qualify for June’s lucrative PSA World Series Finals in Dubai.

The Saudi Women's Masters will be a boon for women’s sport in the Kingdom.

“We believe that the Saudi PSA Women’s Squash Masters will have a crucial role in promoting squash to a new generation of Saudi women,” said PSA Chairman, Saudi businessman and Saudi Squash Federation President, Ziad Al-Turki. “We are delighted to showcase the sport’s leading female players and look forward to the tournament forming an integral part of the 2017/18 PSA World Tour calendar, while simultaneously contributing to the growth of the sport across the region. The support of Princess Reema bint Bandar bin Sultan (President of the Saudi Federation for Community Sports) has been instrumental in putting on this event and I am pleased to be working with her to ensure the successful delivery of this tournament.”



Ensemble Zohra, Afghan Women’s Orchestra

Nov 08, 2017

Ensemble Zohra is the first ever all-girl orchestra from Afghanistan.

It started with fewer than ten players at the Afghanistan National Institute of Music, but now has over 30 young musicians. The members of the ensemble are aged between 13 to 20, and often brave threats or hardships to pursue their musical passions.

Ensemble Zohra is featured on “The Rosegarden of Light”, an album released via the UK label Toccata Classics and distributed internationally by Naxos. Despite threats to their safety, Ensemble Zohra performed at the World Economic Forum in Davos this year.



King Abdul Aziz University and traffic police to open joint women’s driving school

8 November 2017

RIYADH: The General Department of Traffic and King Abdul Aziz University (KAU) in Jeddah on Wednesday agreed to establish a women-only vehicle driving school on the KAU campus.

The school is set to provide driving lessons in accordance with international standards and the royal decree allowing women to drive starting 10/10/1439 H.

This came during a meeting between the rector of KAU, Abdul Rahman Al-Youbi, and the director of the General Department of Traffic, Brig. Gen. Mohammad Al-Bassami, at the university.



Muslim, civil rights groups challenge Quebec veil ban

November 09, 2017

MONTREAL - Muslim and civil rights groups have challenged a Quebec ban on officials or anyone receiving public services from covering their faces, arguing it infringes on women’s and Muslim religious rights .

The Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) and the National Council of Canadian Muslims asked the Quebec Superior Court to rule on the constitutionality of the law passed last month.

They also asked for a stay of its implementation.

Marie-Michelle Lacoste, who converted to Islam and wears a niqab, was also listed as a plaintiff in court documents.

Ihsaan Gardee of the National Council of Canadian Muslims told a press conference the law is “discriminatory, unconstitutional and unnecessary.”

It “excludes and stigmatizes an already marginalized vulnerable minority of women and by extension, the larger Quebec Muslim community,” he said.

“Our governments simply have no place dictating to a woman what she can and cannot wear,” echoed the CCLA’s Cara Faith Zwibel.

“And no woman should have to choose between acting in accordance with her sincerely held religious beliefs and accessing basic public services like taking her child to school on a public bus or visiting a doctor’s office,” she said.

The legislation applies to bureaucrats, police officers, teachers, and bus drivers, as well as doctors, midwives and dentists who work in publicly-funded hospitals or clinics.

The government has said the law was intended to improve communication, identification and safety, and insisted that it applies to all face coverings and does not target Muslim women.

But critics say it will effectively marginalize Muslim women by limiting their access to government jobs and services.

“I should see your face, and you should see mine,” Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard said of Bill 62 last month.

On Tuesday, he said he was confident that the courts would uphold the measure.



Al-Akaria launches women-only panoramic elevator

7 November 2017

Al-Akaria, a leading Saudi real estate development company, has launched a panoramic elevator dedicated to women in a commercial center in Olaya. The move aims to enhance the number of elevators for employees and visitors and to ensure privacy for female employees and trainees.

The new elevator also aims to meet the needs of Al-Akaria's clients from companies and business firms.

“Al-Akaria has continuously upgraded its services, maintained safety and security in its facilities using the latest safety systems. It has conducted emergency evacuation training for its employees to permanently ensure their safety. That is why Al-Akaria offices and commercial centers have become a permanent destination for business owners, shoppers and visitors,” the company said in a press statement.



All-women basketball match to push breast cancer cause

November 09, 2017

JEDDAH — Al-Jowharah Stadium will host women›s basketball matches on Saturday in support of the breast cancer awareness campaign.

Shoura Council member and co-founder of Jeddah United Women Basketball Team Lina Almaeena said the game was an initiative by the Ministry of Health and the General Authority for Sports to support the cause of breast cancer.

«All the money raised from ticket sales will go to health clinics to purchase equipment for early detection of breast cancer. The money will also fund a breast cancer awareness campaign among women under 40 years of age in the Kingdom who are becoming increasingly vulnerable,» said Almaeena.

She said the event would start with an opening game followed by a tournament.

«The subsequent games will be part of the Mazda Cup Tournament for College Girls. Several teams representing a number of public and private universities in Jeddah will take part. In the forefront are teams from Dar Al-Hekma, the UBT, The Briefs and others,» said Almaeena.

She said different sectors participated in the organization of the sporting event. «The sports sector along with the health sector, volunteering sector and the charitable sector have all participated in organizing the event, which promotes a healthy and active lifestyle and investing in the energy of the youth in something that benefits them,» said Almaeena.

She said only women and children would be allowed into the stadium because «this is a social event organized by women for women to give them the chance to cheer their favorite teams».

«Men with their families can watch when men and boys play. Here women are playing, and the attendance will be restricted to women and children,» said Almaeena.

Dr. Manal Shams, a family and social health consultant with awareness department of Jeddah Health Affairs, came up with the idea of holding the all-women basketball event. She said tickets would be sold at SR100.

«However, there will be discount options of up to 50 percent. People can buy the tickets from and Puma Stores. We are expecting more than 10,000 women to attend. The game will be held at the indoor stadium of Al-Jowhara Sports City,» said Shams. She said the gates of the stadium would open at 11:00 a.m. but the games will start at 1:00 p.m.

«Five teams will be competing on the day and between each game we will have some small activities to encourage women to make exercise an essential part of their lives. All of the hospitals in Jeddah will have booths at the stadium to showcase their services,» said Shams.



Iran: Woman commits suicide with her toddler

08 November 2017

A mother hugged her toddler and jumped off a building in Shahr-e Kord, capital of Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari Province in south central Iran. Both died instantly.

The incident happened on Thursday, November 2, 2017, after the 43-year-old woman walked up a half-built building on Bahonar Street of Shahr-e Kord and threw herself and her 14-month-old child off the building. She committed suicide reportedly in protest to poverty and hunger.




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