Muslim women at The Hague June 29, 2014, sign a banner to protest the violence of the ''Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant''. ISIL issued a manifesto January 23 on curbing women's education. [AFP/ANP/Robin Van Lonkhuijsen]
Female Genital Mutilation in Malaysia Is Increasing, & It's Disheartening News for Women Everywhere
Spain Breaks Up Online Network Recruiting Young Women for ISIS
Turkey Says Britain 'Too Late' To Raise Alarm on Missing Girls
ISIS-Bound Schoolgirls Showed 'No Risk of Being Radicalized or Absconding'
Saudi Woman Is KSA’s First Fabric Factory Owner
Pak Girl Arrested Over ‘Taleban’ Extortion Drama
Up To 40 Australian Women, Including 'Jihadi Brides', Supporting Terrorist Activity In Syria And Iraq, Julie Bishop Says
Housewives In KSA Reject Good-Looking Domestics
Egypt TV Host Faces Trial for False Bathhouse Accusations
Eight British School Girls Travel to Syria to Become IS Brides
Four Nadra Officials Suspended For Issuing CNIC to Mccurry's 'Afghan Girl'
Minder Dating App Helps Western Muslim Singles Meet
Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau
Pakistani religious scholars reject ISIL manifesto for women as 'distortion of religion'
25 February 2015
ISLAMABAD – Pakistani religious scholars and political observers are rejecting a new manifesto from the "Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant" (ISIL) regarding the role and responsibilities of women in an Islamic society.
The January 23 manifesto laid out a plan for girls' education to last from the ages of seven to 15, and for them to be married as young as nine.
"Most pure girls will be married by 16 or 17, while they are still young and active," the statement said. "Young men will not be more than 20 years old in those glorious generations."
The manifesto also condemned fashion shops and beauty salons as "the work of the devil".
ISIL seeks return of dark ages
The manifesto serves an old tribal and misogynistic mind-set, scholars responded.
"These [ideas] are not what Islam dictates of its believers, but they come from social and cultural traditions prevalent in a certain society," said Maulana Raghib Naeemi, a religious scholar and head of Madrasa Naeemia Lahore.
"Islam has given women full independence to pursue their education, career and employment and to participate in the affairs of state and governance," he told Central Asia Online.
This ideology is nothing new in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
"This is the same approach as the Afghan Taliban's," said Dr. Khadim Hussain, a Peshawar-based political observer.
Both ISIL and the Taliban adhere to primitive practices that predate Islam, he said.
ISIL wants to reverse social and political development and drag society back hundreds of years, Khadim said, adding that such views are impractical but still attractive to tribal societies and individuals who oppose gender equality.
"The manifesto is discouraging women from presenting themselves as equal to men in the ISIL 'caliphate'," Khadim told Central Asia Online.
Modern women cannot be restricted to traditional roles of house making, rearing children or playing only the role of "good" wives and mothers, said Maulana Rahat Hussain, a religious scholar and former parliamentarian from Peshawar.
"These are tribal and cultural roles from a primitive Arab society," he told Central Asia Online. "Hundreds of years ago, society was different. You cannot apply the same standards today."
Extremist values worry scholars
"This is not the demand of Sharia but of a tribal mind-set," Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (Fazl) (JUI-F) spokesman Jalil Jan said, noting that the daughter of Qazi Hussain Ahmed, the former long-time amir of Jamaat-e-Islami, is a member of parliament.
JUI-F, a religious political party considered more conservative than others, never demanded any ban on women's education, employment or participation in state affairs, he said.
"There is nothing Islamic or un-Islamic in it," Jan told Central Asia Online, adding that Islam imposes no restrictions on women if they can protect their modesty and integrity according to Sharia.
"Today, Pakistan's armed forces and police have special all-women squads, but our party and other religious parties or even religious scholars have not raised any objection on the basis of Sharia," he added.
To fight such arrangements would be to distort religion and misguide Muslim women, he said.
Naeemi, the head of Madrasa Naeemia Lahore, who has a daughter attending university and a sister working as a surgeon, rejected the notion that ISIL's restrictions follow Islam.
"No doubt Islam defined certain roles and responsibilities for men and women, but it doesn't bar women from choosing jobs, education and life partners," he said, adding that his daughter at university does not yet plan to marry.
"No father will marry off his daughter at age nine," Naeemi said. "We may talk of an ideal age for a girl to marry; however, it is up to a girl when to marry. My daughter is 21, and I cannot force her to marry."
ISIL is placing Islamic traditions out of context, Jan said. "What happened hundreds of years ago might fit in that society. The modern age has its own demands and problems."
Female Genital Mutilation In Malaysia Is Increasing, & It's Disheartening News For Women Everywhere
25 February 2015
In what appears to be a worrying regression, female genital mutilation (FGM) is becoming increasingly popular in Malaysia. The dispiriting news, courtesy of Vice, flies in the face of a more general, gradual reduction in the number of women subjected to FGM — according to a 2013 UNICEF report — and comes after a year of intensive advocacy against the practice, primarily spearheaded by the U.N. and groups within the United Kingdom and the United States. Feb. 6 marked the second U.N. “Day of Zero Tolerance” on FGM, and Malaysia clearly has some catching up to do.
FGM is an umbrella term used to refer to any procedure that internally alters or damages the female genital organs for non-medical reasons (a broad definition which effectively includes the increasingly popular field of purely cosmetic “vaginal rejuvenation” surgeries). Such procedures vary in severity: Some remove all or part of the clitoris, others additionally remove parts of the inner labia, while the most invasive procedures (termed “infibulation”), remove the entire inner labia and parts of the outer labia, and narrow the vaginal opening.
Last year, the World Health Organization estimated that between 100 million and 140 million women and girls were affected by the practice. In many cultures, such procedures are carried out according to social norms as a rite of passage—indicating a girl’s readiness for marriage and effectively ensuring her purity.
In Malaysia, however, the rise of FGM is directly linked to the state’s religion. In 2009, the Fatwa Committee of Malaysia’s National Council of Islamic Affairs ruled that the procedure was obligatory for observant Muslims (offering the absurd caveat that, if harmful, it could be avoided). Since, in 2011, 17 million Malaysians described themselves as Muslims (about 60 percent of the country’s population), that’s a lot of women obliged to de-sex themselves.
And most of them follow these orders to the letter. A 2012 study, quoted by Vice, found that 93 percent of the university-age Muslim Malaysian women surveyed had undergone the procedure. “I’m circumcised because it is required by Islam,” a 19-year-old woman told the Vice correspondent, adding that she did not feel that the way the procedure was carried out was harmful. Indeed, FGM has been increasingly medicalized in Malaysia — carried out by medical professionals rather than traditional practitioners — and can be as minor a procedure as a small snip or needle prick to the clitoral hood. The Vice report insists that more pervasive procedures are also common.
Regardless, all forms of FGM are denounced as human rights violations by the U.N. General Assembly (as of 2012), and efforts to eradicate the procedure have been ongoing. Last year, Obama highlighted the importance of combating the practice, referring specifically to the African context, in which he described oppression of women as a “crippling” burden.
In 2011, the BBC detected an expanding divide between Malaysia’s tolerant Muslim majority, and a more virulent strain of the religion. More recently, The Telegraph reported that a wave of ISIS-inspired bombings planned by Malaysian radicals (including several housewives) had been foiled by police.
Discussions of FGM are often hamstrung by the messy qualms of cultural relativism — issues which Vice’s interviewees raise. Abdul Khan Rashid, a professor at Penang Medical College, said:
The problem with the West is that it’s just so judgmental. Who the hell are you to tell us what to practice and what not to practice? A lot of women now do it in private clinics in safe conditions, but if you’re going to make it illegal, the practice will just go underground.
Far from being a contained issue, FGM affects girls throughout the world. Yes, even in the U.S. — where stories of “vacation cutting” are depressingly common. In fact, the number of women in the U.S. at risk of FGM has more than doubled since 2000, according to Reuters. Over half a million women (mostly of African origin) are now in jeopardy, the report suggests. But there are plenty of people fighting against the practice.
Those in Malaysia, and other countries where the practice is widespread, are not so lucky. In Kenya, for example, young women who protest the practice are struggling against ingrained cultural norms, facing extreme alienation and social ruin. It is miraculous that some do so anyway, flying in the face of their family and society’s expectations. Let’s hope that more Malaysians work up the courage to be like this father and reject the practice outright.
Spain breaks up online network recruiting young women for ISIS
25 February 2015
Spain said it had broken up an online network accused of recruiting young women to join the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants fighting in Iraq and Syria and arrested four suspects.
The arrests came as European nations scramble to halt a surge in young people wanting to travel to Iraq and Syria to fight with the militants.
Two of the suspects were arrested in Melilla, the Spanish enclave neighboring Morocco, in the latest operation by Spain’s authorities targeting such recruiting networks.
The others were detained in Girona and Barcelona in Spain’s northeast.
The two arrested in Melilla were said to be behind the creation and operation of several Internet platforms spreading propaganda, particularly for ISIS, the interior ministry said in a statement.
“In line with the strategy of the Daesh [ISIS] terrorist group, they focused on the recruitment of women who, after a process of indoctrination, would end up joining the terrorist group in conflict zones,” it said, referring to the Arabic name for ISIS.
Private home visits were also organized for recruiting purposes and a number of young people had begun preparations to travel to war zones, the ministry said.
One of those arrested ran a “virtual community” with ISIS propaganda and more than 1,000 subscribers, it said.
On Facebook, he had a “multitude of subscribers” outside Spain, including Latin America and countries such as Belgium, France, Morocco, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Turkey and the United States, the statement said.
One of the suspects arrested in Spain’s northeast was described as an ISIS sympathizer-turned-propagandist. The other was said to have published video to recruit potential militants.
Authorities were working to establish links between the two in Melilla and those in Spain’s northeast.
Spain has dismantled several similar networks, particularly in Melilla and its other African enclave, Ceuta. The two enclaves constitute the only land borders between Africa and Europe.
Authorities estimate that around 100 Spanish nationals have joined fighters in Iraq and Syria, a lower number than those from France, Britain and Germany.
Britain says some 500 people have travelled from the country to join militant groups, while France says about 1,400 residents have either joined the militant cause in Syria and Iraq or were planning to do so.
France on Monday announced that it had confiscated the passports of six suspected would-be militants and would ban another 40 from travelling.
Turkey says Britain 'too late' to raise alarm on missing girls
25 February 2015
Turkey accused Britain of being too late to inform the Turkish authorities over the departure to its territory of three teenage British girls feared to be on their way to Syria.
The three girls, aged between 15 and 17, boarded a flight from London to Istanbul last week and police suspect they planned to transit Turkish territory on their way to join ISIS jihadist fighters in Syria.
"Of course, Turkey is not at fault here," Deputy Prime Minister and government spokesman Bulent Arinc told Turkish reporters late Monday after a cabinet meeting.
"We are taking the necessary measures. But countries like Britain need to share the information with us."
"Britain passed on their information three days after" the arrival of the girls in Istanbul, he said.
Turkey has repeatedly been accused by its Western allies of failing to do enough to stop the transfer of jihadists, as well as their female companions, across its territory on their way to Syria.
Arinc's complaints echo similar remarks made by Turkish officials after Hayat Boumeddiene, the wanted partner of one of the gunmen behind the January terror attacks in France, travelled undetected through Turkey on her way to Syria.
In that case, Ankara accused the French authorities of failing to share information in a timely manner about the wanted woman's departure for Turkey.
ISIS-Bound Schoolgirls Showed 'No Risk of Being Radicalized or Absconding'
25 February 2015
British authorities are reportedly now in Turkey looking for three London schoolgirls who are believed to have flown there on their way to Syria in an effort to join ISIS.
"Officers are working closely with the Turkish authorities who are providing a great deal of assistance and support to our investigation,” a Scotland Yard spokesman told the BBC.
The three girls -- Shamima Begum, 15, and her friends Amira Abase, 15, and Kadiza Sultana, 16 -- were all last seen Tuesday morning when they boarded a flight from London's Gatwick airport headed for Turkey. From there, police believe they made their way to Syria to join the Islamic fighters.
While their classmates head back to school at Bethnal Green Academy after a week-long vacation, the school's principal worked to reassure other parents that the school was handling the situation.
"We are all shocked and deeply saddened by the news that three of our students have been reported missing from home," school principal Mark Keary said to the BBC.
"This situation follows an earlier disappearance of a student in December of last year. The police spoke to the student's friends at that time and, further to this, they indicated that there was no evidence that the girls were at risk of being radicalized or absconding."
The girls' relatives have been making emotional pleas to get them home.
"If you're watching this, baby, please come home," said Renu Begum, an older sister of one of the missing girls, Shamima Begum.
"Mum needs you more than anything in the world. You’re our baby and we just want you home, we want you safe. Just contact anybody let them know that you need help," Renu Begum told the BBC.
"You've got all the help in the world you're not in any trouble here, we all love you. If anybody's convinced you of anything then they're wrong. We love you more than anybody that could ever love you," Begum said.
Renu Begum remembered asking her sister about that at the time, saying, "You wouldn't do something stupid like that would you?"
Abase Hussen, the father of missing girl Amira Abase, told the BBC his daughter told him she was going to a wedding when she left the family home.
A relative of the third missing girl, Kadiza Sultana, said "everyone's hurting... especially mum."
"Find the courage in your heart to contact us and let us know that you're safe and you're OK," the relative said.
ABC News' Kirit Radia contributed to this report.
Saudi woman is KSA’s first fabric factory owner
25 February 2015
A Saudi businesswoman in Riyadh has become the first owner of a factory producing and selling fabrics in the country.
Turfa Al-Mutairi, who is a member of the human resources committee at the Riyadh Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI), said that it was her passion and determination that has helped her succeed.
Her Sondos Al-Dibaj factory started out by selling more than 90 meters of lace, silk and other fabrics in the Saudi market.
Al-Mutairi began working as teacher at Al-Riyadh Schools giving home economics classes because of her degree in textiles. But she wanted to do bigger and better things. “My heart was ready for a bigger challenge and I started by showing my designs and sketches to several people,” she said.
Al-Mutairi said the support from people encouraged her to start working as a consultant.
Three years ago, she celebrated turning her designs into real pieces. The most exciting part for Al-Mutairi was the reaction to her collections. “People showered me with compliments, which motivated me to think seriously of opening up the first fabric factory in Saudi Arabia,” she said.
The factory was built over a 1,500-square-meter area and has eight machines to make fabrics, and adapt imported products to suit the local market. After she hired 45 workers and eight young Saudi women, she introduced new materials and designs into the market such as embroideries created with machines.
Al-Mutairi said that she faced growing challenges after she moved to the second industrial city in Riyadh. “I had problems of increasing operational expenses, loans, competition, and the different decisions of the Labor Ministry.”
Now she is hoping to install a new production line and hire more than 80 young Saudi women. “I have a mission to involve these women and train them in production,” Al-Mutairi said. She urged banks to support projects and to make the application process less bureaucratic. She said it is not easy being involved in business and those who succeed need to have “fighting spirit.”
Al-Mutairi urged the labor ministry to support the opening up of new factories and to take decisions that would reduce obstacles for entrepreneurs. “It’s important to have Saudi workers, but also vital to have the experience of expatriates,” she said.
Pak Girl arrested over ‘Taleban’ extortion drama
25 February 2015
PESHAWAR: Police in Pakistan have arrested a schoolgirl for trying to extort money from wealthy men by pretending she was linked to Taleban militants, officers said on Tuesday.
The 18-year-old girl, identified only as Lubna, was arrested at the weekend in the troubled northwestern city of Peshawar after a trader complained to police.
Furqan Bilal, a senior police official, told AFP the trader said he received a phone call from an “anonymous militant” demanding millions of rupees.
The caller threatened to kidnap the trader’s children if he did not pay up, Bilal said.
“We began an investigation, traced the number and came to know that up to 10 people have been threatened using the same number,” Bilal said.
Investigators said they were surprised when the number was monitored and it emerged the caller was a girl using special software to make her sound like a man.
“The girl was more clever than we first thought — she was using a voice modifier and was constantly changing SIM cards and even mobile handsets,” Bilal said.
None of the intended victims of Lubna, a student at a college in Peshawar, paid up. But she did manage to cash a cheque for one million rupees ($9,820) that she had stolen from her brother-in-law, police said. Peshawar has suffered the brunt of the militancy that has swept Pakistan in recent years, much of it perpetrated by the Tehreek-e-Taleban Pakistan (TTP), and militant groups often kidnap for ransom to raise funds.
Criminals in recent years have regularly posed as TTP cadres to try to extort money from wealthy businessmen, but police said they believed this was the first time a schoolgirl had been arrested for it.
“The girl has confessed to making threatening calls using the Taleban name,” Bilal said.
“She also confessed that she was doing this to extort money.”
A court in Peshawar on Monday ordered that the girl be remanded in custody for 14 days.
Mian Saeed, another police official confirmed the arrest and told AFP she was “apparently inspired by local TV crime shows and dramas.”
Up to 40 Australian women, including 'jihadi brides', supporting terrorist activity in Syria and Iraq, Julie Bishop says
25 February 2015
Up to 40 Australian women are known to have taken part in or supported terrorist activity in Syria, Iraq and Australia, including so-called "jihadi brides", Foreign Minister Julie Bishop says.
Ms Bishop confirmed the figure in Parliament while pointing to an "increasing number of young females" joining Islamic State, despite them being used as sexual slaves and in some cases as suicide bombers.
"More women are either joining their foreign fighter husbands or apparently seeking to find partners, the so-called jihadi brides, or are otherwise providing support for terrorist organisations," Ms Bishop said.
She said women now account for nearly one-fifth of all foreign fighters, with over 500 believed to have come from western countries.
"This defies logic... given we know the attitude of Daish towards women," she said.
"If the killings and executions aren't enough, Daish has published instructions on the treatment of sexual slaves, which includes raping and beating women.
"Even children are not immune, with instructions encouraging sexual assault on girls who have not yet reached puberty."
Ms Bishop urged families to help prevent their daughters being radicalised.
"Family and friends are likely to be the first to see changes in young people who are radicalising," she said.
"Family and friends need to reach out to young people at risk before it's too late. The Government will work with them."
She also said Australia had such stories, pointing to the 22-year-old woman from the Gold Coast who was murdered within days of arriving in Syria last year.
Amira Karroum travelled to Syria to join her husband Tyler Casey on the frontline, but was executed in Aleppo.
The Government last year introduced a raft of legislation aimed at stopping would-be jihadists from travelling to the Middle East, including the Foreign Fighters Bill, which made it illegal to travel to areas declared as terrorist zones without a specific humanitarian or family purpose.
Australians found to be illegally visiting the region could face up to 10 years in prison.
Ms Bishop used provisions under the bill to declare it an offence for Australians to visit the Al-Raqqa province in Syria without a legitimate reason.
Housewives in KSA reject good-looking domestics
25 February 2015
One of the conditions that a Saudi woman insists on when recruiting and hiring a housemaid is that the maid not be attractive.
“There is every chance that a pretty maid will be turned down by a Saudi woman while an ugly one will readily get her approval,” said one Saudi recruiter.
Housemaids from Morocco and Chile are the ones most objected to by Saudi wives, according to the Labor Ministry’s website, Musaned, which deals with domestic workers.
Chileans can be hired as as housemaids, drivers, male servants, governesses and home nurses (both male and female). Saudi women justify their reluctance to recruit Chileans by saying that, unlike Sri Lankans, Filipinos, Indonesians or Indians, the South Americans do not have the patience to perform all the household chores.
Some other Saudi women fear that pretty maids will break up their family and there are plenty of stories of disruption of family life with the arrival of beautiful Chilean maids. It is for the same reason that they often refuse Moroccan housemaids.
Ali Al-Amri, who runs a recruitment firm, said he is sometimes surprised by the demands of some Saudi housewives when they request maids from Morocco or Chile; the housewives often ask that the maid not be good looking. They also ask for the photographs of the maids to ensure that she does not have a pleasing look.
It takes six months to recruit a Chilean worker at a cost of SR22,000, Al-Amri said.
Egypt TV host faces trial for false bathhouse accusations
25 February 2015
An Egyptian television presenter whose undercover report from a public bathhouse landed 26 men in court for "debauchery" is herself to face trial for falsely accusing them, an official said Tuesday.
The men were arrested Dec. 7 in a night-time raid on the Cairo bathhouse after Mona Iraqi tipped off police, claiming it had become a "den of male sex".
Iraqi filmed the raid, including footage of the near-naked men, and it was broadcast days later on private satellite channel Al-Qahira Wel Nas.
Rights groups criticized Iraqi over the program, which she said was only part of a "series uncovering male sex trafficking and the spread of AIDS in Egypt," and not targeting homosexuality.
The men, including the bathhouse owner and four employees, were tried for "debauchery" but cleared for lack of evidence showing any homosexual acts.
Such activity is not expressly outlawed in Egypt, but gays have previously been charged with debauchery in the deeply conservative Muslim society.
The prosecution said Iraqi will face two trials -- one for defaming the men and spreading false news and one on whether to ban her program.
The defamation trial opens on April 4 and the other on March 1, a prosecution official said, adding his office pressed charges after some of the men filed a complaint.
Eight British school girls travel to Syria to become IS brides
25 February 2015
Over the past seven months, eight British school girls traveled to Syria and hundreds more besotted British women have proposed marriage to extremists online, Mail Online reported.
The school girls have used a route which has become to be known as the ‘jihadi bride trail’ and the true figure is likely to be higher as British police and families have imposed news blackouts in some cases.
East London school girls Shamima Begum, 15, Kadiza Sultana, 16, and Amira Abase, 15 are reported to be in Syria after they flew out from Gatwick earlier this month. A fourth unnamed girl from the same school went out in December.
Several radical websites like ‘Jihad Matchmaker’ offer to arrange marriages between Muslim women and militants and have been blamed for encouraging young, impressionable girls to travel to Syria.
The website states it is based in Syria and uses the motto ‘keep it halal and get married’, while its official Twitter account says ‘Jihad Matchmaker is here to link up those seeking marriage in Syria in a halal manner.’
It is currently unknown how many brides the site has matched to militants but it has 378 followers, many of whom are young Western Muslim women.
Just last year, the site was forced to deny that it was linked to any terrorist groups after it was alleged to have been responsible for helping to radicalise teenage girls in the UK.
The website encourages women seeking a militant husband to make contact through a third party or agent who could represent the girl’s interests under Islamic law.
It further claims that ‘All actions will be conducted via Shariah acceptable routes and means once agreement and compatibilities are established.’
Security sources have said that hundreds of British women have put marriage proposals to militants on the front line with the Islamic State (IS).
One European fighter in Syria has become a pin-up fighter and has been bombarded with proposals from women all over the world, desperate to be associated with a ‘holy warrior’.
The ‘jihadi bride trail’ route was used by another four girls who are believed to have married IS fighters after travelling to Syria via Istanbul from different airports in the UK.
Manchester twins Salma and Zahra Halane fled in June 2014 to join the IS and are the first known British schoolgirls to travel to Syria. Reports, however, have said that they are now teenage widows after their militant husbands were killed in battles with Kurdish forces or in coalition bombing raids.
It is currently estimated that a total of 60 women are in Syria living with the IS.
With the number of British girls and women travelling to join the IS, it has sparked an uproar across the globe.
Four Nadra officials suspended for issuing CNIC to McCurry's 'Afghan Girl'
25 February 2015
PESHAWAR: After coming under fire for issuing Computerised National Identity Cards (CNICs) to famed Afghan woman Sharbat Bibi and two men who are said to be her sons, the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) on Wednesday suspended four officials stationed at its Hayatabad office, a source in the agency said.
The suspended officials include three males and a female, the source said, adding that an inquiry committee has also been formed to investigate the matter.
The suspended persons played an active role in issuing the CNICs to the said persons.
The official said Nadra also blocked the CNICs of Sharbat Bibi and the two men who are said to be her sons.
However, Nadra high-ups refused to comment on the matter.
Sources at Nadra’s Hayatabad office had earlier told Dawn that high-ups in the Nadra issued three CNICs on a single day last year to the 46-year-old Sharbat Bibi, wife of Rehmat Gul, and her two sons Rauf Khan and Wali Khan in violation of rules and regulations.
In 1984, Sharbat moved to Peshawar along with her two sons and since then, she has been residing in the Nasir Bagh camp established for Afghan refugees. Earlier reports had said that Sharbat has three daughters. This is in contrast with the information on the Nadra form which maintains that she has two sons.
"They may not be her sons but this is a common practice among Afghan refugees whereby they list names of non-relatives as their children to obtain documents," a Nadra source had said.
In her CNIC form filed on April 17, 2014, the ‘Afghan Girl’ listed herself to have been born in Peshawar on Jan 1, 1969, residing at Talab Road, Nauthia Qadeem, Mohallah Mast Gul, Peshawar.
'Mona Lisa of Afghan war'
Sharbat Bibi became famously known as the 'Afghan Girl' when National Geographic photographer Steve McCurry captured her photograph at the Nasir Bagh refugee camp situated on the edge of Peshawar in 1984 and identified her as Sharbat Gula.
She gained worldwide recognition when her image was featured on the cover of the June 1985 issue of National Geographic Magazine at a time when she was approximately 12 years old.
That photo has been likened with Leonardo Da Vinci's Mona Lisa.
National Geographic also made a short documentary about her life and dubbed her the ‘Mona Lisa of Afghan war’.
She remained anonymous for years after her first photo made her an icon around the world and until she was discovered by National Geographic in 2002.
After Sharbat's family granted her permission to meet with the man who photographed her 17 years ago, McCurry knew immediately, even after so many years, that he had found her again.
"Her eyes are as haunting now as they were then," he had said.
Minder dating app helps western Muslim singles meet
25 February 2015
Gone are the days when you'd be stuck in a tea-trolley situation.
Especially for overseas Muslims, websites like Shaadi.com were once the primary source for finding the 'perfect match' – but that too has become 'unfashionable' as Muslim-Americans are now using matchmaking mobile apps in their quest to find love.
Tinder, a matchmaking app where you can swipe through reams of desirable – and not so desirable – potential dates, seems to have taken over the western matchmaking scene and has recently inspired a new wave of innovations among marriage-minded Muslims who are trying to find their soul mates without having to troll the internet.
According to The Daily Beast, a Muslim version of the app called Minder launched around Valentine’s Day and has already received nearly 2,000 requests for approval. The app will be released to the public in two weeks and will be available on all platforms, starting with iOS.
“This new generation really appreciates the convenience of being able to meet people on their phones rather than having to go sit in front of a computer scrolling through public profiles,” the app's founder, Haroon Mokhtarzada told The Daily Beast. “It’s not like the old-school models where you have to do a search in parameters, then reach out and hope they respond and feel rejected when they don’t.”
Minder functions in the same way as Tinder where users can see the face and brief profile of another user and can choose to like or reject potential matches using a simple swiping gesture. If two users are interested in each other, it is a "match" and the app allows them to chat.
Minder is not the only match making app for Muslims. Ishqr is a Muslim dating site that does not allow users to see the profiles photos of users they are interested in before swiping on, aiming to connect people based on personality rather than looks. Other apps include Cresent and Salaam Swipe, which will both launch soon.