New Age Islam News Bureau
25 Aug 2015
From left: Etihad Airways’ Ameenah Taher, head of media relations; Dr Nadia Bastaki, vice president,medical services; Haya Al Ahbabi, contact centre general sales agent; Muna Hadharem, aircraft engineer; Ala’a Al Rahma, cargo ramp graduate manager; and Noora Al Mulla, sales graduate manager during the ceremony held to honour their achievements.
• 58 Saudi Women Attend Lecture on Aids
• Show Your Support for Pakistani Women in Sport As Much As You Show It for the Men
• Pakistan Army Honours Women Serving In Armed Forces
• Malala Yousafzai Celebrates String of A* Grades at GCSE
• How Asifa Lahore's Islamic Faith Influenced Her Liberal Views on Gay Marriage
• Emirati Women in Aviation on the Increase
• Mangalore: Muslim Man Stripped Tied to Pole and Beaten for Accompanying Hindu Woman
Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau
Pregnant Afghan Woman Loses Unborn Baby After Brutally Beaten By Taliban
Aug 25 2015
A pregnant Afghan woman lost her child after she was brutally beaten by the Taliban militants, her crime being the wife of a translator who worked with the British forces.
The woman, identified by the single name Sabir, was brutally beaten by a commander of the Taliban in front of her children while inquiring regarding whereabouts of her husband.
Sabir was also reportedly warned that her two other children would also die if her husband was not surrendered.
Her husband known as Chris worked as translator for the British forces in southern Afghanistan for a period of at least three years.
In a rare interview with the Mail Online, Sabir said the Taliban militants tortured her after capturing her along with her children and brother while they were travelling to a safe place in south-eastern Paktia province.
“It was around 3pm and we were stopped by a makeshift checkpoint of two pick-ups with heavily armed Taliban,” Sabir said.
Sabir further added that the Taliban commander showed a picture of her husband and asked where he was, they seemed to know they were coming.
Her husband who was injured in an attack earlier was travelling in a separate vehicle while moving to a safe place and was almost 10 minutes behind them.
According to Saber, the Taliban militants begun to torture her after she interferred to stop the militants flogging her brother
“The commander ordered his men to flog my brother. I could not tolerate seeing him being punished in front of me and lay over him on the ground. The commander grabbed me on the body and punched me in the stomach and face with knuckledusters worn on his hand,” she said.
Sabir was taken to hospital in Khost with severe stomach pain from the beating. Doctors told her she would lose her baby. It was heartbreaking, she said. She and her children suffered nightmares from what Sabir called ‘the worst ordeal of my life’. Chris reported the attack to British officials who told him they would investigate.
Her chilling account comes after one of the most senior translators revealed that when his brother refused to turn him in to the Taliban, his nine-year-old nephew was kidnapped and murdered.
This comes as the British Prime Minister was urged last week to immediately give asylum to 200 Afghan interpreters who are serious threat of Taliban for putting themselves at risk for Britain.
58 Saudi Women Attend Lecture on Aids
25 August 2015
JEDDAH — The Health Affairs and Al-Bir Charity Organization held a lecture on AIDs with the attendance of 58 women. Sabah Al-Harby said Jeddah Health Affairs prepared an awareness lecture which aims to raise awareness of the disease among the patients and people close to them.
“Twenty-two of the attendees were AIDS patients. The lecture included an introduction and definition, symptoms, causes, diagnosis, patients’ rights, pregnancy and childbirth for patients of the disease,” said Al-Harby.
Jeddah Al-Bir Charity Organization official Waleed Bahamdan said the lecture aimed to correct some of the misconceptions of the disease and clarify any scruples.
“The lecture was given to registered AIDs patients or families of AIDs patients. It was a chance for them to interact with experts and learn about the numbers and statistics of AIDs.
Creating awareness is an important issue with Al-Bir Charity Organization and we support patients with AIDs and their families,” said Bahamdan.
Al-Bir Charity Organization was founded in 1981. He added the organization also holds workshops and lectures to educate the people subscribed to its service and work.
“We don’t just offer help but we expect our beneficiaries to stand on their own one day,” he said.
Show Your Support for Pakistani Women in Sport As Much As You Show It for the Men
August 24, 201
Why has the field of sports always been seen as male-dominated in our country? Why only Imran Khan, Shahid Afridi, Aisam-ul-Haq – why not Sana Mir, Naseem Hameed, Samina Baig, Sara Nasir? Can Pakistan make room for women’s teams and encourage them to demonstrate their potential?
Historically, women have often been viewed as inferior to men with respect to physical prowess and athletic competition. But women of Pakistan are well aware of the importance and value of sports and their interest is increasing day by day. The participation of women and girls in sports challenges the gender stereotypes and discrimination, and can therefore be a vehicle for the promotion of gender equality and empowerment of women and girls.
Women have started to form teams to encourage other women to show their skills and talent in the realm of sports. Pakistani women have formed many teams and hope that with encouragement and exposure, they too can be seen as potential sportswomen on a higher level. Women’s participation in sports can make a significant contribution to public life and societal development. The promotion of women sports will give our women strength to show their hidden abilities in front of the world.
It has never been easy for Pakistani women who play sports yet they are sweating it out and making a lot of efforts. Pakistani women in sports marked history. Pakistan avows numerous success stories when it comes to women in sports. The women of our country are not only participating in athletics, but also achieving many impressive milestones and defying social expectations.
Sarah Mahboob Khan is a tennis player, she has represented her country in many international tournaments and was the youngest ever Pakistan National Champion in the age of 14. Syeda Mahpara plays as a goalkeeper for Pakistan national women's football team and she is one of the best goalkeepers in South Asia. Maria Toorpakay is a professional squash player and is ranked number 1 in Pakistan. She had won the Salaam Pakistan Award. Rabia Ashiq made history as a Pakistani female athlete after participating in Olympics 2012. Hajra Khan is the striker and captain of the Pakistani women's football team.
The talented beauty of our country is undeniable. The passion of sports in Pakistani women is no lesser than in men. Show your support to women in sports as much as you show it to the men.
Noor Sajjad is a student of Mass Communication who writes about religious, social and political issues.
Pakistan Army Honours Women Serving In Armed Forces
August 24, 2015
Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) released a video honouring women serving in the armed forces.
The video features brave daughters of the country who have broken stereotypes to work alongside their male counterparts, keeping Pakistan safe.
Read: Women make up less than 1% of Pakistan’s police force: report
“Pakistan is my country and I was born here, I was raised here and I think there is no match to Pakistan to anywhere in the world,” said Brigadier Nigar Johar, Deputy Commandant, CMH Rawalpindi.
“Think of all those Islamic states, think of all those developing nations, this is the only country which has had female general officers. No one else,” she continued.
Brigadier Nigar Johar, Deputy Commandant, CMH Rawalpindi
Speaking about Pakistani women, a female aeronautical engineer, who works on different systems of the aircraft said, “Pakistani women are hard, they are brave, they are strong”.
“Terrorist before self, and country before anything else. This is my country, this is my place, these are my people,” she added.
Another female officer spoke about the kind of work she does in the Pakistan Army, saying, “We get bombing missions. I find those interesting”.
Major Wajiha Arshad, Grade 2 ISPR
Major Wajiha Arshad, Grade 2 ISPR remarked, “I was trained how to hold different kinds of guns and rifles and small pistols and all that.”
Speaking about what it is like for a woman to work in the Pakistan Army, an army officer belonging to the education department said, “It is the easiest to work, being a female, in Pakistan.”
Malala Yousafzai celebrates string of A* grades at GCSE
21 August 2015
Even after winning a Nobel peace prize, with glittering invitations to speak to presidents across the world, education activist Malala Yousafzai always had one priority: her schoolwork.
And the Pakistani pupil’s dedication to her studies has paid off, according to her father Ziauddin Yousafzai, who tweeted that the 18-year-old had achieved six A*s and four As when the GCSE results were released on Thursday.
Malala has declined hundreds of speaking engagements and interviews in order not to miss a day of studying at her private girls’ school in Birmingham.
The family has set up home in the city since then 15-year-old Malala was treated at the city’s Queen Elizabeth hospital. She came to the UK after being shot in the head on her schoolbus, targeted by Taliban gunman for her activism on girls’ education, including a blog she wrote for BBC Urdu.
As well as studying core GCSE subjects at the independent Edgbaston high school for girls, Malala took an additional maths exam, and opted to study history, geography and religious studies. She achieved two A grades in English language and literature, her second language.
Edgbaston high school, where fees are £3,878 per term in the senior school, had a GCSE pass rate of 98.3%, and 28% of pupils achieved 9 or more A* grades.
Pakistani media has showered the teenager with praise for her excellent results. “Nothing that Malala Yousafzai achieves seems startling anymore but she continues to make Pakistan proud,” the Express Tribune wrote, with the Daily Pakistan website saying Malala “has made us proud once again”.
Among those in Pakistan congratulating Malala was her friend Aseefa Zadari, the sister of the Pakistan People’s party chair, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari.
Malala previously told the Guardian she intended to study arts subjects at A-level, despite having suggested in the past she would like to pursue a career in medicine. “I will only miss school for an engagement if it is going to bring real change,” she said, adding that she realised that saying yes to too many invitations was affecting her schoolwork.
“That is the question I have to ask myself with each request and if the answer is yes, I say, ‘OK, I will sacrifice one day of my school for the education of millions of children who are out of school.’”
She plans to remain in the UK for the remainder of her education. “I want to get my education – a good university education. A lot of the politicians have studied in Oxford, like Benazir [Bhutto, who Malala states is her role model]. My dream is to empower myself with education, and then it is a weapon.”
How Asifa Lahore's Islamic Faith Influenced Her Liberal Views on Gay Marriage
Britain’s first Muslim drag queen said it was her Islamic faith that instilled her liberal views on gay marriage.
Asifa Lahore, who is the alter ego of Asif Quraishi, said she never felt conflicted about being homosexual because it was her religion that made the two a “natural fit”.
Asifa spoke to the Huffington Post UK ahead of Channel 4’s documentary on Muslim Drag Queens, which is due to air on Monday.
Asifa will appear in the one-off programme, which follows the difficulties faced in the lives of three gay Asian drag queens. It will be narrated by Sir Ian McKellen.
Police have been put on alert following fears over Asifa’s safety ahead of the airing of the documentary.
Speaking to the Huffington Post UK, Asifa said that she is worried about the broadcast because of the “extremist views” that will be fired up, but that she refuses to let her fear prevent her from talking about such an important issue.
Asifa spoke to us about her journey to become Britain's first Muslim drag queen.
Asifa, the stage persona of Asif, was created in 2011. The journey to the stage was a long and very difficult one.
Asif came out to his family at the age of 23. What followed was a very dark time. He was taken to the family doctor, to his Imam and was even entered into an arranged marriage with his first cousin in Pakistan.
“So at the time I was under so much pressure I fell into such a dark depression and agreed to marry my first cousin. It really took its toll on me.
“I was at university and my grades were being affected. Tutors at university put me in touch with LGBT charities and they helped me and I managed to go home and call off the arranged marriage,” the 32-year-old said.
While this time was a very dark period for Asif, he never felt an internal conflict with being gay. The pressure always came from outside forces, particularly within the Muslim community.
Yet, speaking to Asifa now, she says that her belief in gay marriage stems from her Islamic roots, rather than her homosexuality.
When asked how being gay gels with her Muslim faith she said: “For me it’s never been an issue.
“The way I practice and interpret Islam in my life it has been absolutely a natural fit.
“If we take a look at the five pillars of Islam, which are believing in one god, giving to charity, going on pilgrimage, praying and fasting, to be honest I do that day in day out.
“For me that fits really well. The idea of marriage also fits very well, which is why I am such an advocate for gay marriage and why I campaigned for it.
“People assume it’s because I am gay but actually it’s because I am Muslim.
“I really believe in the sanctity of marriage and I really believe that that comes from my Islamic roots. It comes from the sanctity comes from the notion of two people coming together.”
But Asifa says that there is an extremely large “hidden gay Muslim community”.
Asifa estimates that for every one person that attends the “gaysian” club scene, there could be 10 or 20 waiting at home “not having the courage to come clubbing”.
Even people who do attend the clubs, Asifa says they often have to return to their homes, pretending to be someone else.
She added: “It just really breaks my heart.”
Yet the discussion around being Muslim and homosexual is a topic that has been stifled in the past – not just within the community, but also from the media.
Last year in BBC 3’s Free Speech programme, which was being held at Birmingham Central Mosque, Asifa was planning on asking when it would be acceptable to be gay and a Muslim.
Emirati women in aviation on the increase
August 24, 2015
Abu Dhabi: An increasing number of Emirati women are taking up jobs in aviation because “women are more determined, they want to prove a point”, said Mona Waleed, vice-president of Talent Acquisition Etihad Airways.
“It doesn’t intimidate [women] to be doing these kinds of jobs. They are so inspired and they want to make a difference.”
She was speaking at the Women in Aviation event held by Etihad Airways in Abu Dhabi today seeking to highlight the role of women in this sector.
There are currently 2,500 Emiratis employed with Etihad Airways, said Mona, of whom 1,200 are women. She confirmed that Etihad aims to employ a further 1,000 Emirati women in the Revenue and Accounting Centre in Al Ain by 2017.
By creating these jobs in Al Ain, it will provide opportunities other than those in banking and government for the community, she said.
Etihad Airways Al Ain Contact Centre is managed by women only, which includes around 200 employees.
Muna Hadharem, aircraft engineer with Etihad Airways and one of five panel members at the event, shared her story of life in aviation in a room filled with 60 Emirati women Etihad employees. “You are a girl, what are you doing here?” This, she said, was the question people constantly asked her when they came to know of her chosen field of work.
Muna said she always wanted to be an astronaut and work in aviation but she had a tough time convincing other people of her passion.
Her advice to other women who wish to pursue similar goals is to “be strong and protect the things they want. It will not be easy and they have to be strong until the end”.
Other panel members included Aala Al Rahma, a cargo ramp manager; Noora Al Mulla, a sales manager; Haya Ahbabi, a call centre/GSA Agent; and Dr Nadia Bastaki, vice-president, Medical Services.
Dr Nadia was the first Emirati woman to specialise in Aviation Medicine and one of two Emirati women vice-presidents at Etihad Airways. Dr Nadia told Gulf News, “All women are similar, we all think about the same things but what makes Emirati women different is the constant support from the government and the leaders.”
She joined Etihad Airways in 2007 on the condition that she could continue her studies. The airline obliged and she has since completed two postgraduate degrees.
Today, Dr Nadia has a pivotal role and she divides her time between medicine and leadership. It has been a challenging journey, she admits, with many obstacles on the way. “It’s a struggle daily.”
She advises other women who may face struggles to have patience, perseverance and follow their goals. “You need to have passion. If you don’t have passion, you will not succeed,” she says.
Mangalore: Muslim Man Stripped Tied to Pole and Beaten for Accompanying Hindu Woman
August 25, 2015
MANGALORE: A Muslim man was stripped, tied to a pole and beaten by a mob in Karnataka's Mangalore, allegedly for speaking to his Hindu colleague.
"We have arrested 13 persons...Some of them are members of Bajrang Dal," said S Murgan, the Mangalore police commissioner.
The 29-year-old man was in his car with the woman on Monday evening when he was surrounded and attacked by the mob.
The attackers thrashed the man, stripped him and paraded him through the crowded market area before tying him to an electricity pole. The images were circulated on WhatsApp. The beating continued for nearly an hour. The police arrived when the visuals were flashed on local cable channels.
The man and the woman both work at a mall.
The man told the police that he was attacked when he was on his way to an ATM to withdraw money for the woman, who had asked for a loan.
The mob allegedly also humiliated the young woman when she tried to stop the assault.
The Bajrang Dal is a rightwing Hindu outfit affiliated to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the ideological mentor of the ruling BJP.
Mangalore, a city familiar with religious polarization, has seen many moral policing incidents in the past. In 2009, activists of the notorious Sri Ram Sene group stormed a pub, dragged women by their hair and slapped them, accusing them of denigrating their culture.