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Islam, Women and Feminism ( 21 Nov 2012, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Russian Actress Turned Jihadist Blows Herself Up To Kill for Allah

Age Islam News Bureau

21 Nov 2012 

 Tunisia: Niqabs for Teachers Banned

 New Marriage Bill Gets Kenyans Parlaying Polygamy

 Paris Hilton Whips up A Storm in Holy Mecca

 Nigeria Woman Handed 12 Years for Drugs in Malaysia

 ‘Three Million Children to Be Enrolled In Pakistan Schools until 2015’

 U.N. Director: 'Women Will Change the World'

 Indonesia Women Workers Fear Lay-Offs as Minimum Wage Increased

 East Africa: USAID Partnership Brings Mobile Games to Girls, Women

 Asian Man Gets Jail for Molesting 8-Year-Old Girl

 A Win-Win Relation for Muslim Women

 Good Response to Muscat’s Women in Business Forum

 Indian-American, Vishakha Appointed To Key Administrative Post

 Pak Punjab Govt Urged To Form Commission on Child Rights

 Business Growth Centre for Women Inaugurated In Pakistan

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

Photo: Russian Actress Turned Jihadist Blows Herself Up To Kill for Allah





Russian Actress Turned Jihadist Blows Herself Up To Kill for Allah

18 November 2012

From wedding dress to suicide vest: How Russian Islamic convert kissed her daughter goodbye and blew herself up at cleric's home

Brought up as an Orthodox Christian by her mother, Aminat Kurbanova looked a picture of happiness at her wedding nine years ago - marrying the man with whom she had fallen in love at drama school.

But she converted to Islam in 2007 and three months ago walked into the house of a Muslim cleric in Dagestan, Russia, wearing a 3lb bomb, and blew herself up - killing eight people including her.

Once a stage actress, the 29-year-old mother had transformed into a Muslim suicide bomber. The blast shocked Russia but her mother Vera Saprighina insists she was ‘a kind person, not a monster’.

Kurbanova was brought up in Makhachkala, Dagestan, and gained top marks at the city’s arts and Drama College - where she met her future husband Marat Kurbanov, reported the Sunday Times.

The couple married in 2003 and she gave birth to a daughter, Malika, two years later. In 2006 the couple were introduced to Islam by Marat’s brother Rustam - and Kurbanov converted a year later.

‘She said she had finally found the right religion for her,’ her mother Vera Saprighina told the Sunday Times. ‘Before long, both left the theatre because dancing and acting are considered un-Islamic.’

But Rustam was killed in a police house raid on suspected militants in 2008. It shocked the couple. Marat left home, never to come back, and is thought to have joined militants to avenge the death.

However 12 months later, Marat also died when police opened fire on a car that did not stop at a checkpoint - and Kurbanova ‘often said she wished she had died with him’, Ms Saprighina stated.

Then Marat’s other brother Ali, a sportsman living in Moscow, vanished on holiday in Dagestan after being allegedly killed by police. Therefore by this stage, both of Marat’s brothers were dead - along with him.

Kurbanova started to earn money as an Islamic dress seamstress and became more religious. She began to be watched by security services, which allegedly searched her flat and questioned her after the death of her husband.

She later married the best man at her wedding, Timur Kurbamagomedov, but this was short-lived - and she left a note for her mother in March saying she was worried about being tortured.

Kurbanova walked into the home of Sheikh Said Atsayev, 74, after kissing her daughter goodbye and blew herself up with a steel-bolt bomb, killing seven others - including the cleric himself and a 12-year-old boy who was there with his father.

Her relatives tried to keep the news from Malika, but she overheard at school that ‘your mum’s a suicide bomber’ and saw her mother's severed head on TV, reported the Sunday Times.

At least 12 religious leaders have been killed over the last two years in Dagestan - allegedly by militants angry that they are too friendly with the authorities. Atsayev could have been targeted because he spoke against violent Islam.

Kurbanova’s family said Malika often asks questions about her late parents and wants to know ‘when she will join them up there in the sky’.



Tunisia: Niqabs for Teachers Banned

Also opposed to traditional Salafist marriage


(ANSAmed) - TUNIS, NOVEMBER 20 - Tunisian primary school teachers must not wear niqabs (Islamic veils) to class, the minister for women, Sihem Badi, told TAP news agency on Tuesday.

''It is inadmissible to allow teachers wearing Niqabs to work with small children, who need to see their teacher’s, face, a face that will become familiar to them, and whose expressions will help them learn how to communicate,'' the minister said. Badi also said she is against traditional common-law marriage, which is contracted through verbal agreement by the two parties. Devoid of any legal value and banned by law, this type of marriage is becoming more frequent among young Salafists in Tunisia.

''We must be uncompromising on this issue, because it threatens the institution of marriage and in the first place, it threatens children, who are born in an illegal framework and are considered illegitimate,'' the minister said



New Marriage Bill Gets Kenyans Parlaying Polygamy


20 NOVEMBER 2012

Kenya is showing mixed reactions to the cabinet's recently approved Marriage Bill 2012. One of its most conversation-generating proposals is to legalize polygamy.

At the beginning of the 20th century, polygamy was a common practice among several of Kenya's ethnic tribes. In some of them, a man was allowed to marry as many wives as he wanted under the stipulation that he take good care of them all, plus their children.

But if Kenyan Parliament passes the Marriage Bill 2012, polygamy won't be restricted to certain tribes or, for that matter, religions. The bill has been structured to take into account Islamic, Christian, Hindu and traditional marriage provisions.

And some young people would welcome the revision.

"Having two or three wives is better than having one," says Harry Bor, a local college student. "It is not sensible to put all your eggs in one basket. Commitment to one person is a 50-50 chance."

Joyce Kinyua, a student at the University of Nairobi, seems concerned above all about the bill's inequality. "I would consider having many husbands if given the opportunity. If a man can have more than one wife, why can't a woman have more than one husband?" she asks.

Kenya's existing marriage bill, which recognizes polygamy under Islamic and customary marriages, does not permit polyandry, the practice of having more than one husband.

Fellow University of Nairobi student Lucia Stella questions how sensible the new proposal is. "Whether the bill is passed or not, polygamy will still happen on the sidelines," she says. "Polygamy is a problem at some point. When it comes to the distribution of wealth, some of the spouses might feel left out."


Apart from the recognition of polygamy, the Marriage Bill 2012 seeks to recognize cohabiting couples as legally married if they have lived together for six months or more. A humorous invocation of the pre-marital validation period observed among Kenyan Facebook users in recent days was the status update 'Five months, 29 days'.

But not everyone feels ready to joke about it.

"After six months, you might not have even known the person well," says Simon Muraguri, a businessman in Nairobi. He believes that two years would be a more reasonable timeframe. In fact, it's for six years that Muraguri has been cohabiting with Teresiah Njeri. The pair runs a couple of enterprises in the Kibera informal settlement in Nairobi, and it might not be a stretch to say that Muraguri's livelihood provides a justification for his support of polygamy.

"If I had money invested in many businesses, I would like somebody to manage the businesses," he says. "I would marry maybe another wife."

To that, Njeri responds: "To me, polygamy is not good. Let us say the man will marry the second wife, yet I am the first wife. He won't bother with me. He will concentrate on the second wife."


Living down the street from the cohabiting couple is Bonny Ouma. He is currently separated from his wife with whom he shares a child, and his views on polygamy are a little different.

"It was good a long time ago, but nowadays it is outdated," he says.

Ouma also cites the related costs in education, feeding and clothing. "It is very expensive to maintain two women," he adds.

But for the marrying types who are saving their shillings, there's a plus side. The Marriage Bill 2012 aims to make dowry payments an optional arrangement rather than a mandatory part of the marriage process.

"I don't advocate for bride price because it's more or less like buying a fellow human being," Ouma says, despite his financial concerns. "It has to be natural love."

Other restrictions

While the Marriage Bill 2012 gives polygamy the green light, it flashes red when it comes to marriages between certain relations. People would thus be forbidden from marrying blood relatives, step-parents and the former spouses of one's grandchild, child, parent or grandparent, as well as anyone younger than 18.

In a move seen as a measure to prevent controversy resulting from same-sex marriages, the bill defines marriage as the "voluntary union of a man and a woman intended to last for their lifetime".

A provision, too, exists that would allow the union to be nullified if one of the partners is found to have been drunk, under the influence of drugs or insane at the time of consenting to the marriage.

Meanwhile, as matrimonial debates continue across Kenya, Bor, the Nairobi college student, has a tip for men with polygamy plans: don't reveal such intentions until the courting is over. "If you tell one girl you [are] dating another girl, she will not stick around," he says.



Paris Hilton Whips Up A Storm In Holy Mecca

By Catriona Davies and Latifa Azdi, for CNN

November 20, 2012

(CNN) -- As an American socialite and hotel heiress, Paris Hilton has built up a global brand on her sexy image -- and sometimes very few clothes.

But many believe she has gone a step too far in opening a store selling luxury items in the Muslim holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia.

Hilton's rise to worldwide fame was boosted in part by a homemade sex movie that went viral online in 2003, days before the debut of her reality TV series "The Simple Life."

This does not sit well with many in Mecca, which attracts three million Muslim pilgrims from around the world every year.

All Muslims who are able are expected to make the pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in their lifetime, and non-Muslims are not allowed to enter the city. Most Saudi women cover themselves fully with a black abaya.

Hilton introduced her store on the social media site Twitter, when she wrote, "Loving my beautiful new store that just opened at Mecca Mall in Saudi Arabia!" accompanying the post with a picture.

She later added: "This is the 5th store in Saudi Arabia, and store number 42 in total! So proud to keep growing my brand!"

It is not the store itself that is out of place in Mecca -- the presence of Western luxury brands is nothing new in Saudi Arabia.

Hilton's store sells luxury handbags and accessories and is in the new Makkah Mall, which opened in 2011 with 255 shops, many of them global chains, selling everything from jewellery to electronics, women's fashion to sportswear. It even has a branch of the lingerie chain La Senza.

Paris Hilton has 42 stores worldwide selling handbags, accessories, shoes, fragrances, watches and T-shirts, and already has four in Saudi Arabia.

However, the combination of Hilton's personal image with the holiest city in the Muslim world has riled some in the conservative kingdom.

Sheikh Adnan Baharith, a conservative cleric who preaches in Mecca, said: ''It is unnecessary to have her shop here because we do not need it.

''If it was in our hands we would have closed all of her shops in Saudi.''

For others, the outrage was more about the ongoing commercialization of the heritage of Mecca than Hilton herself.

Ahmed Al Omran, who writes the blogs Saudi Jeans and Riyadh Bureau, said: "Some people were angry about it and others saw the humor in it.

"In the end, it's made a lot of people think about the bigger issue of the commercialization of Mecca where historic sites have been demolished to make way for modern malls and international brands.

"There's no particular reason to be outraged about Paris Hilton when we already have Gucci and Christian Dior. But for many it's further evidence of how the character of Mecca is being lost."

He added: "It's the combination of the location of the store, who Paris Hilton is and what she stands for."

Others on Twitter expressed similar concerns.

Muna AbuSulayman, a Saudi host on MBC wrote: "Huge outrage on Paris Hilton shop in Mecca Mall! With or against? Or, don't care? Personally I am against the (Disneyfication) of Mecca.''

Laila Lalami, a Moroccan writer based in Los Angeles, tweeted: ''Wahhabis (the dominant branch of Islam in Saudi) at work! Historic religious sites in Medina are being destroyed, while Paris Hilton opens a new store in Mecca mall.''

A Saudi nursing student Aqila Bint Suleyman wrote: ''Paris Hilton's new store in (Mecca). Islamic Heritage being torn apart whilst Saudi makes way for atrocities like this!''

While some, like Dubai-based Saudi entrepreneur and founder of Switch restaurant Deem AlBassam, are more pragmatic.

He said: "Saudi is a fair-trade market, where many investors from around the world come to invest and trade. I think it was a smart move from the local partners in expanding to (Mecca) considering it (is) one of the prime locations and hubs in the kingdom's retail industry.

"The other four branches of the store in the country indicate acceptance from the people and the fifth store is simply catering to their demands."

CNN's calls to the Paris Hilton Shop headquarters in the United States were not returned.



Nigeria woman handed 12 years for drugs in Malaysia

Alisha Hassan | 20 November 2012

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s High Court has sentenced a Nigerian woman to 12 years in prison after she pleaded guilty to possessing 2.236 kilograms of methamphetamine at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), in an incident in February 2011.

Judge Abdul Rahman Sebli ordered Okpaladim Tina Ovoke, 31, to serve the sentence from the date of her arrest, Feb 17 2011.

In his judgement, Abdul Rahman said the sentence took into consideration the amount of drugs involved, the frequency of such cases which could not be taken lightly and to safeguard the public.

Full report at:



‘Three Million Children to Be Enrolled In Pakistan Schools until 2015’

21 November 2012

ISLAMABAD: Approximately three million out-of-school children would be enrolled until 2015 under the recently passed National Assembly (NA) bill on compulsory child education, said Parliamentary Forum on Child Rights (PFCR) chairperson Rubina Saadat.

“The government is endeavouring to achieve the target of universalisation of primary education and according to the bill, education is a compulsory right of every child between the age of five and 16 years,” Rubina said at a ceremony to launch a national campaign on children’s rights.

The ceremony was organised at Pakistan National Council of Arts in connection with Universal Children’s Day.

Full report at:\11\21\story_21-11-2012_pg7_26



U.N. director: 'Women will change the world'

From Isha Sesay, CNN

November 20, 2012

(CNN) -- When Babatunde Osotimehin last year became the head of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) -- the international development agency promoting female rights -- the news didn't go down too well with many women working in the field.

After his appointment Osotimehin was told that some female ambassadors at the U.N. were upset that a man had been made head of the agency. But he was determined to put their minds at ease.

Full report at:



Indonesia Women Workers Fear Lay-Offs as Minimum Wage Increased

Malaya Abdullah | 21 November 2012

JAKARTA: There is a growing fear among female workers in Indonesia’s capital Jakarta that the government’s move to increase the minimum wage 44 percent will lead to many women being laid off work as a result.

“I am really worried that I won’t have a job because my boss will choose to keep the male employees instead of us women after the new wages come into play,” Sahar Mohammad, a factory worker in the capital, told on Wednesday.

Full report at:



East Africa: USAID Partnership Brings Mobile Games to Girls, Women


19 NOVEMBER 2012

Washington — The U.S. Agency for International Development has joined the nonprofit Games for Change to bring to women and girls in East Africa and India three mobile phone games that communicate messages about women's health, equality and empowerment.

"These new mobile games advance two of our most important priorities -- the promotion of gender equality and the use of science and innovation to accelerate development," said USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah.

USAID awarded $1.4 million to the nonprofit to design the games with input from nongovernmental organizations that help women improve their lives and the lives of their families.

Full report at:



Asian Man gets jail for molesting 8-year-old girl

Salah Al Deberky / 21 November 2012

A 28-year-old Asian gaming machine attendant has been sentenced to six months in jail molesting an eight-year-old girl while she was enjoying a recreational game.

The Fujairah Criminal Court presided over by Judge Saeed Masoud has also ordered the man to be deported after serving his jail term.

According to court records, the Arab girl’s father lodged a complaint with the Fujairah Police in October last year about the suspect molesting his daughter while she was playing a game.

The accused denied the charges, claiming that his job requires him to check that the safety belt is well tightened around children wanting to practice such games before starting the game.

However, the public prosecution charged the accused with molesting a minor girl and referred the case to court.



A Win-Win Relation for Muslim Women

Rights & Responsibilities in a Modern Context

By Sadaf Farooqi

21 November 2012

“Can women work in Islam?” was the first question a smartly-dressed older lady asked me at a wedding once, soon after I came and sat at the same table as she.

It was clear that she directed the question at me because of my attire.

This question is a very generalized one and, truth be told, the answer is not a simple yes or no.

Notwithstanding the legal rulings and jurisprudential verdicts regarding the issue of Muslim women working outside the home, the fact remains that a combination of social, economic, demographic and cultural factors are bringing about a global revolution of sorts: there are more and more women now gaining a good education and joining the workforce, despite there being a considerable populace of men eligible and available for the job.

Full report at:



Good Response To Muscat’s Women In Business Forum

21 November 2012

MUSCAT — The Women in Business forum hosted by Bank Muscat’s Meethaq Islamic Banking evoked good response as livewire businesswomen and successful entrepreneurs highlighted the opportunities available for women entrepreneurs as well as the skills required to become effective business leaders.

Yuthar al Rawahi, Member of Majlis Addawla, presided at the forum held at the bank’s head office.

Sulaiman Al Harthy, Group General Manager — Islamic Banking, said: “The rationale behind hosting the forum titled ‘Inspire, Challenge and Change’ stems from Bank Muscat’s commitment to support women empowerment. In line with the progressive policies pursued by the government in empowering women, the bank offers key support to women development programmes. The bank acknowledges that the development of Oman significantly hinges on the role played by women and that they need to be provided the required support to realise their full potential. With women comprising a major customer segment, Bank Muscat offers unique products and services targeted at them.”

Full report at:



Indian-American, Vishakha Appointed To Key Administrative Post

 Nov 21 2012, 13:20 hrs

Washington: The Obama administration has appointed an Indian-American as member of the National Museum and Library Services Board, a key administrative post.

Name of India-born Vishakha Desai, who is also president of global non-profit organisation the Asia Society, figured in the list of appointments to 10 key administration posts announced yesterday.

"I am pleased to announce that these experienced and committed individuals have agreed to join this Administration, and I look forward to working with them in the months and years ahead," President Barack Obama said in a statement after the announcements.

 Full report at:



Pak Punjab Govt Urged To Form Commission on Child Rights

21 November 2012

LAHORE: Speakers at a meeting on Tuesday asked Punjab government to immediately establish a provincial commission on the rights of children to monitor promote and protect the children’s rights and advocate for change in legislative framework to make it more child-centered.

The speakers, who included representatives of civil society, government officials and members of provincial assembly, said that children are 50 percent of the population in the province yet are voiceless in the public domain. “There is nobody with a statutory status to promote and protect the rights of children,” they said while addressing the “Provincial Commission on the Rights of Children in Punjab” meeting. It was arranged, on the auspicious event of Universal Children’s Day, by Child Rights Movement Punjab, a network of 28 organisations working on children’s issues, in collaboration with ActionAid.

Full report at:\11\21\story_21-11-2012_pg13_3



Business Growth Centre for Women Inaugurated In Pakistan

November 21, 2012

ISLAMABAD: The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the First Women Bank Limited (FWBL) inaugurated the first-ever business growth centre (BGC) of Pakistan on Tuesday.

The BGC is result of joint effort of UNIDO’s Women Entrepreneurship Development Programme (WEDP) and FWBL.

UNIDO-WED Project Manager Inez Wijngaarde inaugurated the BGC, while FWBL’s Senior Vice President Parveen Khan, UNIDO National Programme Coordinator Shahina Waheed and representatives of different organisations were also present.

Full report at: