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Islam, Women and Feminism ( 2 Jul 2013, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Rebels In Syria's Aleppo Ban 'Provocative Dress' For Women

New Age Islam News Bureau

2 Jul 2013 

Protesters in Tahrir Square. Photograph: Amr Nabil/AP


 Steady Increase Seen In Cases of Domestic Violence in Saudi Arab

 Pak Govt Urged To Include Women in Talks with Militants

 Egyptian Women Fear Rising Tide of Sexual Assault as Tahrir Crowds Grow

 Malala's friend Shazia Ramzan moves to UK

 Student nurses on hunger strike to press 6-pt demand

 Settlers, Female Israeli Soldiers Storm Al-Aqusa Mosque Complex

 Words Alone Won't End Violence against Women in Armed Conflict

 Michelle Obama to Girls in Senegal: You Are Role Models

 Bandh against 'Rape' Of Muslim Girl Hits Life in Manipur

 Khaira bint Shekhani appointed First woman DG of Mauritania state TV

 In Nigeria, Most Orphans Raise Themselves

 Nigerian Woman Launches Entertainment Tv Network

 Qatari Girls' Sports Rights Activist Wins IOC Trophy

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau





Rebels in Syria's Aleppo ban 'provocative dress' for women

By Reuters

July 2, 2013

BEIRUT: Rebels in Syria’s northern city of Aleppo issued an order on Monday banning women from dressing in what it considered provocative styles, angering some locals who accuse the group of overstepping its powers.  

The Islamic law council of Aleppo’s Fardous neighbourhood issued a fatwa, or religious edict, banning all Muslim women from wearing “immodest” dress and announcing plans to apply such rules to all female inhabitants.

“Muslim women are banned from leaving the house in immodest dress, in tight clothing that shows off their bodies or wearing makeup on their face,” the statement said. “It is incumbent on all our sisters to obey God and commit to Islamic etiquette”.

Hardline groups have increasingly taken the lead in the revolt against President Bashar al-Assad’s rule. Many units, some of which are linked to al Qaeda, have stretched their influence beyond the battleground and established police and administrative councils in some rebel-held areas.

But these groups’ ascendance is stirring resentment among many Syrians, who are increasingly reporting incidents of councils silencing or even attacking groups with different views.

It was not possible for Reuters to verify the council’s fatwa, as access for foreign media in Syria is limited. But several residents of Aleppo confirmed the reports.

The statement, which was published on the Fardous council’s Facebook page, was condemned by some activists and applauded by religious supporters, who said it was necessary to prevent distractions for the rebels.

“Islam doesn’t ban other religions but it does require certain etiquette in public,” said one Facebook commentator, Ammar al-Kassem. “A girl can’t go around dressed in a way that causes chaos and shame, no matter what her religion.”

Others insisted the fatwa was fake and spread by Assad’s supporters to scare them away from the opposition.

But most objectors used the announcement as a chance to take a swipe against rebel leaders.

One post on the council’s Facebook page, by Alaa al-Zouabi, said: “If you had any morals, you would go fight the regime, not the people … Shame.”



Steady Increase Seen In Cases of Domestic Violence in Saudi Arab

2 July 2013

RIYADH — Cases of physical and verbal abuse against women and children in the Kingdom have seen an alarming increase.

Crimes against women rose by 87.6 percent while those against children went up by about 45 percent during the few past years, a local daily reported this week quoting experts who called for expediting the issuance of a law to protect women and children against domestic violence.

The experts said about 59 percent of these horrendous crimes were committed by fathers while husbands were responsible for about 35 percent of them. “Abuses were also done by brothers, uncles and divorcées in various degrees,” they added.

The experts called for the immediate drafting of a law to protect women and children against family violence and said the reported figures were much less than the actual number of domestic violence cases on the ground. They said many women and children would shy away from reporting abuses by family members for fear of reprisals and out of ignorance of their rights.

Dr. Khalid Al-Awwad, chairman of the social, family and youth committee of the Shoura Council, said the council’s project for the protection of women and children has been split in two separate laws: one for the protection of women and the other for the protection of children.

He explained that the child protection law was currently under revision and would be discussed after amendments in the council’s next session. “This will be followed by discussion on the woman protection law,” he said.

Meanwhile, the National Society for Human Rights (NSHR) has called for the immediate issuance of these two laws to help curb domestic violence. The society also called for the establishment of more social protection homes to shelter abuse victims.

Noura Al-Zahrani, supervisor of the children’s projects at the Social Development Center in Riyadh, said branches of the center in various parts of the Kingdom have been receiving reports about the rising cases of domestic violence.

She asked social centers in various residential districts to fight domestic violence through training sessions and awareness campaigns.

Faisal Al-Mushawwah, a lawyer, believes that the women and child protection laws are the only methods through which domestic violence could be checked. He said the two laws should clearly define domestic violence and the legal punishment for it. “This will help the judges expedite the cases of domestic violence,” he said.

He believed that once they were issued, the two laws would help spread the concept of family safety which society is in need of.

Al-Mushawwah said in addition to curbing family violence, the laws would also spread the culture of tolerance and peaceful coexistence among member of the same family and will thus help in reducing violence of men against women.

Salma Al-Ghaith, a female social worker, asked for protection for women and children reporting cases of violence.

The NSHR said from 2003 until 2011, it had received 1998 reports about domestic violence out of 2,293 cases with a ratio of 87.6 percent. It said about 43 percent of the cases of family violence were committed by husbands, while 30.9 percent by fathers and 11.2 percent by brothers.

The NSHR said about 45 percent of children were being abused verbally or physically every day and added that 12 children have lost their lives to family violence.



Pak Govt Urged To Include Women in Talks with Militants

2 July 2013

PESHAWAR: The government should include women in the process of holding talks with militants as role of women was vital in global as well as regional peace building, said a participant of a conference here on Monday.

The national conference on ‘Women and contemporary challenges’ was organised by the core group of Islamic Women Conference.

“Women’s role in global as well as regional peace building is vital and present government should include women when it initiates peace process or talks with the militants,” said Shagufta Malik, a former legislator.

She said that women were the worst affected by terrorism and their voice should be heard whenever the government held peace talks with militants.

Ms Malik said that voice of women was often ignored but peace would not prevail if they were ignored. She said that women should be made part of decision making bodies.

Sitara Ayaz, former provincial minister and chairperson of the Islamic Women Conference, said that the purpose of the conference was to gather women from different fields and different areas and hold discussion to come out with the solutions to their problems.

“Muslims, especially women, are projected negatively but this conference is an effort to dispel the impression and share thoughts on role Govt urged to include women in talks with militants and status of women in a society,” she said.

She believed that lack of education was the major issue that hindered women’s progress in Pakistani society.

Shamama Arbab, a businesswoman, said that women should, at least, have functional literacy so that they could set up a small business and become economically empowered.

She said that the first wife of Prophet (PBUH), Hazrat Khadija (RA) was a businesswoman. “It means that Islam doesn’t stop women from work or doing business,” she added. Ms Arbab spoke about importance education for economic empowerment of women.

Swabi University Vice-chancellor Dr Noor Jehan, the only woman vice-chancellor of a public sector university in the province, spoke about the challenges she faced as a woman. However, she said that women could progress in any field if they got education.

A number of women from different walks of life shared their views on empowerment of women. They said that women had rights and duties in Islam so they should not be discouraged from taking part in social, political and economic activities.

They said that women should get education for progress in life. They also demanded of the government to implement the laws formulated by the previous government to ensure protection of women.

The image of Muslim women portrayed by the west should be countered by depicting successes of women in Muslim world, the speakers added.

Women from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Fata, Punjab, Sindh and Kashmir participated in the day-long conference. Women professionals and politicians also shared their views during the conference on issues of women.



Egyptian women fear rising tide of sexual assault as Tahrir crowds grow

Dutch woman flown home after assault as activists try to counter ugly side of Cairo protests

Associated Press

 2 July 2013

A new wave of sexual assaults by groups of men targeting women has been reported during anti-government protests in Cairo's Tahrir Square.

A group formed to protect women in the square, which has become the epicentre of anti-government rallies, said it recorded the highest number of attempts on Sunday – 46.

The previously friendly atmosphere became more aggressive as night fell on the badly lit plaza, which has seen a rise in attacks against women since shortly after the 18-day revolution that forced the resignation of Morsi's predecessor, Hosni Mubarak, in 2011. Sexual harassment has long been common in Egypt, but its increasing frequency and violence has shaken the protest movement.

A Dutch woman was assaulted by numerous men as a crowd surrounded her in the square on Friday, officials said. On Monday the Committee to Protect Journalists said the 22-year-old woman had been repatriated, referring to a statement issued by the Dutch embassy in Cairo.

A security official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorised to talk to the media, said the Egyptian prosecutor's office had launched an investigation into the attack.

Dutch media reported that the foreign ministry had confirmed the assault without giving more details. The reports said she was believed to be an intern with an Egyptian organisation and had gone to the square to take photos of the demonstrations.

Top presidential aide Essam el-Haddad said the attack was among seven cases reported by human rights groups in or around Tahrir on Friday.

"Those criminal acts do not appear to be politically motivated or controlled," he said in a statement posted on his office's Facebook page. The president's office said the attacks "appear to be a sign the crowds in Tahrir are out of control".

Some protesters say the government has exaggerated claims of sexual assault to try to drive away female protesters and damage the opposition's reputation.

Operation Anti-Sexual Harassment/Assault, which patrols the square, said 46 group assaults were recorded on Sunday in Tahrir.

"Many cases were severe cases that required either psychological or medical treatment," one member of the group, Engy Ghozlan, told the Associated Press.

The group said on its Twitter account that at least 17 attempted assaults were reported in Tahrir on Monday, and volunteers had intervened in eight of them.

An AP reporter witnessed a group of men waving wooden sticks surrounding an Egyptian woman on Sunday. She shouted at them before falling on the ground. Many of the men claimed they were trying to help the woman but would not allow anyone to approach her. The reporter was unable to reach the woman to help her.

Nabil Mitry, a 35-year-old protester who also saw the attack, said the assailants were yelling insults at a man trying to help the woman. He blamed the lack of police at the square. Security forces largely stay away to avoid provoking confrontations with the protesters.

"The problem is that there is no police, so there is no security. If the police was securing the square we wouldn't have this kind of problem", he said.

A spokesman for Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood, Gehad al-Haddad, urged protesters and others to support initiatives such as Operation Anti-Sexual Harassment/Assault "to prevent anything from happening to citizens joining their demonstrations" in a statement on Twitter.

The group dismissed the statements on Monday.

"We don't believe in the presidency and the Muslim Brotherhood's sudden concern about the women's physical integrity or their full right to protest safely, when we all know their position regarding women's equality and rights," it said.

Initiatives to counter the problem have mushroomed in recent months, with groups protecting women at large protests or during national holidays when groping and harassment in crowds is at its peak. Social network sites have been started where women can "name and shame" their harassers.

But some conservative religious clerics and government officials blame women, saying they invite harassment and sexual abuse by mixing with men.

In one of the most high-profile cases, Lara Logan, a correspondent for the US network CBS, was sexually assaulted and beaten in Tahrir Square at the height of the anti-Mubarak uprising. Logan was treated in hospital for four days after returning to the US.



Malala's friend Shazia Ramzan moves to UK

2 July 2013

Pakistani schoolgirl Shazia Ramzan, who was with Malala Yousafzai when she was shot in the head by the Taliban after campaigning for girls' rights to education, has come to the UK to go to school.

Shazia was not the target of the attack but suffered injuries that left her in hospital for a month. She tried to stay in Pakistan's Swat valley after coming out of hospital, but has now decided she should follow the route of her friend Malala to the UK.

Doctors discharged Malala from hospital in January and she now attends Edgbaston High School for girls in Birmingham.



Student nurses on hunger strike to press 6-pt demand

Students of Rangpur Government Nursing College and Mymensingh Nursing College went on an indefinite hunger strike yesterday to realise their six-point demand.

The demands include introduction of six to 12 months internship after completion of four-year BSc in nursing, fixing the monthly stipend at Tk 3,000 for each student and allowing student nurses to wear aprons during clinical practice.

Our Rangpur correspondent reported that students of Rangpur Government Nursing College started hunger strike on the premises of the academic building at 11:00am.

Addressing a rally at the venue, Rafiqul Islam, convener of the nursing college Sangram Parishad, said they began hunger strike as the authorities concerned didn’t pay heed to their demands despite several agitation programmes held in different nursing colleges recently.

Joyanti Rani Bose, a leader of the parishad, said they will continue the huger strike until the demands are met. Mostafa Monwar, joint convener of Nursing College Sangram Parishad, parishad members Nurunnabi Sarker and Shamima Akhtar also spoke.

Students of Mymensingh Nursing College also began an indefinite hunger strike yesterday to press the same demands, reports UNB.



Settlers, Female Israeli Soldiers Storm Al-Aqusa Mosque Complex

2 July 2013

RAMALLAH — Jewish settlers and female Israeli soldiers on Monday stormed the Al-Aqusa Mosque Compound in Jerusalem’s Old City, a Palestinian foundation said.

The Al-Aqusa Foundation for Endowment and Heritage said that several small groups of Jewish settlers stormed the complex through the Al-Magharebah gate that connects the mosque with the Al-Buraq Plaza (the Western Wall Plaza) and performed Talmudic prayers under the guard of Israeli police.

The foundation added that a group of sixty female Israeli soldiers in their uniforms also stormed the Muslim’s third holiest shrine.

The development comes three days after Rabbi Yaakov Medan of Har (Mount) Etzion seminary said that the Israeli internal intelligence service Shin Bet supports the visits.

“The Shin Bet Jewish Division Director told me Jewish presence on the Temple Mount (Al-Aqsa Mosque complex) is essential for maintaining our sovereignty. 

“He told me that in order to accommodate this trend he would increase the number of agents and security personnel on the Temple Mount.” Medan told participants in the Begin Center Conference on the complex on Friday. 

Full report at:



Words alone won't end violence against women in armed conflict

 Lakshmi Puri

2 July 2013

Last year, as rebels captured the main towns in northern Mali, UN Women registered a sudden and dramatic increase in rapes, not least in Gao and Kidal, regions where most women never report such violence to anyone, not even health practitioners.

We heard stories of girls as young as 12 being taken from their homes to military camps, gang-raped for days, and then abandoned; of surgery and delivery rooms invaded by armed men enforcing dress codes and occupying health facilities; of young women being punished, flogged, and tortured for bearing children outside marriage.

Last week, the UN security council heard of similar atrocities elsewhere in the world, and adopted its fourth resolution in five years exclusively devoted to the issue of sexual violence in armed conflict. A crime that was until recently invisible, ignored, or dismissed as an inevitable consequence of war, is now routinely addressed by the world body in charge of the maintenance of international peace and security.

Full report at:



Michelle Obama to girls in Senegal: You are role models

Jennifer Lazuta, USA TODAY

1 July 2013

DAKAR, SENEGAL -- Hundreds of students from the Martin Luther King all-girls high school in Dakar warmly welcomed first ladies Michelle Obama and Marieme Sall of Senegal on Thursday morning.

A choir of teenage girls in school uniforms sang renditions of the American and Senegalese anthems for the first ladies. A dance troupe then performed to traditional drum music, as Obama looked on smiling.

President Obama, the first lady and their daughters Sasha and Malia are visiting Senegal, South Africa and Tanzania.

Following welcoming remarks by Sall and the school's principal, Obama spoke to the students about the importance of girls education in Senegal and throughout the world.

"When girls are educated, their countries become stronger and more prosperous," Obama said. "By making this critical investment in your education –- and in the future of your country –- you all are serving as role models not just for girls here in Senegal, but for girls in the United States and around the world."

Full report at:



Bandh against 'rape' of Muslim girl hits life in Manipur

TNN | Jul 2, 2013

IMPHAL: A 24-hour bandh called by a local pressure group protesting against the alleged sexual assault of a Muslim girl paralyzed life in Manipur. Bandh supporters damaged vehicles in the Muslim-dominated areas of the state.

"On June 19, the victim, a 17-year-old girl, had gone to Thoubal to seek admission to Yairipok Universal College. She was kidnapped by one Muhammad Taj and his accomplices from the college campus. Taj allegedly raped her, after which the miscreants dropped the victim at her Yairipok residence at midnight the same day", said the joint action committee (JAC) formed by angry locals against the incident.

In protest against the government's failure to arrest the culprits despite several pleas, the JAC called a bandh from Sunday midnight.

Full report at:



Khaira bint Shekhani appointed First woman DG of Mauritania state TV

New Age Islam News Bureau, July 2, 2013

Doha: The President of Mauritania, the Muslim dominated country of West Africa,  Md Abdul Aziz has appointed Khairah bint Shekhani as the first woman director general of the state TV. This step of the president has been applauded by human rights organisations, women’s organisations and the media. Khairah is a member of the ruling party Republican Union. 40-year old Shekhani has previously worked as the secretary of Republic Union. The association of the woman journalists of Mauritania has termed her appointment as ‘historic’. Women Journalists’ Network has said that her appointment as the DG of the state TV will act as a catalyst for the emancipation of women in the country and the girls will feel encouraged. The Network said that with this their long cherished dream came true and hoped that the government will do more on the front. During the last few years the parliament of Mauritania had reduced the number of seats for women below 20 per cent after which only two women out of the total 25 members were given ministries. Before the amendment, the number of women members was at least 6.



In Nigeria, most orphans raise themselves

 Rotimi Ige

02 July 2013

Nigeria remains the most populous country in Africa. Based on the 2006 national population census, the National Population Commission (NPC) estimated Nigeria’s population to be 167 million of whom 42 per cent are children below the age of 14 years and with an annual growth rate of 3.2 per cent.

With an increasing prevalence of HIV/AIDS in Nigeria, child abandonment, among other factors, has contributed to the overwhelming number of orphans. These orphans, who amount to almost a million children on a yearly basis, according to Tope Akinola, a medical doctor at the University College Hospital (UCH), in most cases, are subjected to harsh treatments, with varying degrees of neglect especially where family members of their parents are illiterates.

“There have been many cases where people had lost their lives at the hospitals and families of such individuals refuse to accommodate the young wards of the dead parents. In some cases, some go as far as giving such children out to work as housemaid so they can fend for themselves. These people, most times, also collect the fees paid for the services with little or nothing given to these children. These are grim realities that orphaned children face in our society,” he said.

Full report at:,-most-orphans-raise-themselves.html



Nigerian Woman Launches Entertainment Tv Network

Michelle Faul, The Associated Press, Lagos, Nigeria

 July 02 2013

A woman who could be considered Africa's Oprah Winfrey is launching an entertainment network that will be beamed into nearly every country on the continent with programs showcasing its burgeoning middle class.

Mosunmola "Mo" Abudu wants EbonyLife TV to inspire Africans and the rest of the world, and change how viewers perceive the continent. The network's programming tackles women's daily life subjects — everything from sex tips to skin bleaching.

"Not every African woman has a pile of wood on her head and a baby strapped to her back!" the glamorous Abudu, 48, told The Associated Press from a hotel's penthouse floor against a backdrop of the Atlantic Ocean and high-rise buildings flanked by palm and almond trees.

"We watch Hollywood as if all of America is Hollywood," she said. "In that same vein we need to start selling the good bits of Africa."

Full report at:



Qatari girls' sports rights activist wins IOC trophy

 02 Jul 2013 IANS

Lausanne (Switzerland), July 2 (IANS) The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has honoured six women for their outstanding contributions to the development of women's participation in sport and its administration.

Qatari Ahlam Salem Mubarak Al Mana, a pioneer for women's and girls' sports rights in her country, was presented with the World Trophy during a ceremony here Monday.

The five continental trophies were awarded to Djènè Saran Camara (Guniea, Africa); Marlene Bjornsrud (US, Americas); Boossaba Yodbangtoey (Thailand, Asia); Ona Baboniene (Lithuania, Europe); Catherine Alice Wong (Fiji, Oceania).

As president of the Qatar Women's Sport Committee, World Trophy winner Ahlam Salem Mubarak Al Mana has been promoting women's participation in sport across all levels. She has helped increase the selection of Qatari sportswomen to compete at international level and played an integral role securing the participation of four female athletes at the London Olympics- a first in the history of Qatar.

Full report at: