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Saluting Arab Women Doctors for Being Real-Life Heroes in The Fight Against the Coronavirus Pandemic

New Age Islam News Bureau

5 Apr 2020

Health workers of government-run Rafik Hariri University Hospital, where most of the Lebanese coronavirus cases are treated, are saluted by Lebanese policemen. (AP)


• Saluting Arab Women Doctors for Being Real-Life Heroes in The Fight Against the Coronavirus Pandemic

• Medical ‘Wonder Women’ Of Egypt Making A Difference in The Region’s Fight On Coronavirus

• Meet Saudi Arabia's Female Heroes Of Artificial Intelligence

• Renowned Social Activist and Founder of India International Women’s Alliance Appeals to Muslim Women to Revive This Sunnah

• Saudi Cleric, An Adviser At The Saudi Royal Court, Tells Women They CAN Refuse Sex With Husbands During Coronavirus Outbreak

• Amani Al-Khatahtbe, Founder of Muslim Girl, Announces She’s Running for Congress

• Qatar- Female volunteers join inspection campaign of MME on food outlets

• 15 Tablighi Jamaat Members Including 5 Indonesian Women Clerics Held

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau




Saluting Arab Women Doctors for Being Real-Life Heroes in The Fight Against the Coronavirus Pandemic


In most of the Arab region today, probably more than other parts of the world, women are assuming added responsibility within the family and at the level of society at large.

With school closures, women are shouldering much of the childcare duties and making sure the family holds together. In the Arab region, where women have traditionally assumed a disproportionate share of family responsibility, this is even more the case.

For a category of women, the medical professionals, these duties are combined with a leading role on the coronavirus frontline. The figures of the World Health Organization show that women make up 35% of the medical doctors and 79% of the nurses in the Eastern Mediterranean region. These percentages are maybe below Europe’s averages but are almost equal to those of South East Asia and not far from those in the Americas.

Arab doctors and nurses of both genders are to be applauded for being real-life heroes in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

Today more than ever, Arab women health workers deserve to be recognised for their acute sense of dedication, courage and responsibility as medical professionals and as pillars of their families and communities.


Medical ‘Wonder Women’ Of Egypt Making A Difference In The Region’s Fight On Coronavirus

Imen Boudali


TUNIS--From Merit-Ptah, the ancient Egyptian healer, to Rufaida Al-Aslamia, known as the first female surgeon in Islamic history, to Tunisian pioneering doctor Tewhida Ben Cheikh, the Middle East and North Africa region has been the birthplace of unique and exceptional women medical professionals.

Today, figures show an increasingly female-dominated sector in the Arab world: Women represent 65% of the medical doctors in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain, 61.5% of the graduate medical residents in Oman and more than 60% of the health sector workforce in Tunisia. Women constitute 79% of the nurses in Jordan.

Their numbers include talented and dedicated health workers who, today more than ever, face the biggest and riskiest challenge of their careers.

In the face of the pandemic, which has officially infected so far about 400 people in their country, Tunisian doctors, nurses and other medical professionals have been working day and night trying to limit the damage and make a difference while increasing risk to themselves.

“We can talk about real gender parity here in the health sector. Women represent 50% of the total number of doctors in the country and they also represent a 60% majority of medical school students,” Samira Merai, a lung specialist and former health and women’s affairs minister, told The Arab Weekly.

Currently head of the pulmonary diseases department at the Rabta hospital, one of the most important public health establishments in the capital, Tunis, Dr Merai underlined the importance of the role played by women in the war against the coronavirus threat. None of the female doctors is claiming any particular advantage or protection because of their gender.

“In all the hospitals of the country, I see resilient women who have pledged to work for days away from their families in order to help the country overcome the crisis,” said Dr Merai.

To lead by example and reassure the employees, the former minister was the one who took blood samples from the first suspected cases received in the hospital. Dr Merai was also the one who suggested placing all COVID-19 patients in one centralised hospital in order to facilitate their treatment and contain the disease. Other female professionals are overseeing reconstruction work aimed at expanding the medical facility’s ability to accommodate more patients. Her actions and ideas encouraged other female health-care workers to give more. “I see what they do and they make me believe in our health system,” she says, proudly.

Dr Merai is among a number of female doctors playing key roles in the war on the coronavirus in Tunisia. On the public awareness-building front, Dr Nissaf Ben Alaya, an epidemiologist and head of the National Observatory of New and Emerging Diseases, has been offering daily briefings to the media since the beginning of the crisis. Another public health figure is Dr Agnès Hamzaoui, director of the Abderrahmen Mami Hospital, the only health centre in the country exclusively dedicated to coronavirus patients.

Women medical professionals in the private sector are offering help to their colleagues in public hospitals. Some private clinics have even offered to treat patients for free and their staff have responded positively to the initiative.

Marwa H, a private clinic nurse (who preferred not to give her full name), told The Arab Weekly she is willing to stay at work and confine herself for up to a month away from her family just to be of help.

“It is our role, no matter how small or large, to support our country in these circumstances. I am not the only one to have offered this aid, dozens like me have been helping every day for weeks, women left family and comfort to participate in the general efforts in this war,” said the nurse. “It is a war and we are its soldiers, despite the growing risk.”

From the doctors to the cleaning janitors to the factory employees who self-isolated to manufacture face masks daily to the businesswomen who offered to shelter patients in their hotels and deliver food for the health-care workers of the hospitals, women are joining hands with men in fighting the pandemic. Beyond Tunisia, many medical professionals across the Arab world are setting an example and giving their all to help win the battle.

In Syria, Dr Iman Mohamed Abdel-Razzaq is one of the many heroes risking their lives on the frontlines. As an emergency physician, she has launched an individual initiative touring the northern Idlib camps to raise awareness of the dangers of the coronavirus and how to prevent it.

Meeting women and children, she takes a daily tour of the refugee camps to provide advice and guidance on the threat of the virus in light of the lack of health services and cleanliness in the space.

In Beni Suef, Egypt, eight female nurses working in the Department of Chest Diseases have volunteered to stay inside the local hospital permanently to work with the team of doctors treating coronavirus patients.On the other side of the Atlantic, Dr Nermeen Botros, an Egyptian-American doctor, has become an online sensation after an interview in The New York Post. Chief medical resident at Brookdale University Hospital Medical Centre in Brownsville, New York, the 35-year-old has been working six-day weeks, from early morning until late in the evening, dealing with the overwhelming inflow of cases.

Female healthcare professionals are not only treating patients but also suggesting solutions to put an end to the pandemic. Dr Heba Badreddine, a Sudanese doctor specialising in stem cell treatments and hematology, believes stem cell technology could help treat the coronavirus.

An associate professor at Khartoum’s Neelain University, she explained that stem cell treatment can be used to reduce complications caused by the virus to the lungs, possibly offering new ways to beat the disease.

Women medical professionals know that the war against the invisible enemy of coronavirus is not without risk to them. The pandemic has also infected quite a few members of the “white army.” Iraqis are still mourning the female doctor who died in the Norwegian capital, Oslo, after contracting coronavirus when treating patients. Dr Sara Hassan al-Musawi had passed away from complications of the virus at the age of 35.


Meet Saudi Arabia's Female Heroes Of Artificial Intelligence

APRIL 05, 2020

Forbes recently published a feature entitled “The Women Defining The 21st Century AI Movement” and we were happy to discover that our Saudi leading ladies dominated this powerlist amongst other global trailblazers. So let’s get tech-quainted:

General Manager of Digital Technology at STC Academy, Moudhi ALJamea is the first ever female executive at the Saudi  Telecommunications Company! With a PhD in computer science and cyber information security, this Saudi female powerhouse heads up the entrepreneurship business incubator in Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University as president.

Latifa Al-Abdulkarim is the Assistant Professor in Artificial Intelligence and Researcher in Artificial Intelligence and Law at the University of Liverpool-UK & Saudi Arabia. She has even “worked as Artificial intelligence Advisor to the Saudi Government, leading the national strategic direction of AI and AI governance.” Her invaluable experience on the ground makes her the exemplary teacher to young minds eager to enter the world of AI.

The Strategy Leader at IBM Saudi Arabia, Deema Alathel works in operational planning and execution of IT transformation projects and fills her time with her philanthropic ambitions. Alathel volunteered as a part-time consultant for multiple government and non-government agencies such as King Salman Humanitarian Relief and Aid Center and the National Digital Transformation Unit.


Renowned Social Activist And Founder Of India International Women’s Alliance Appeals To Muslim Women To Revive This Sunnah

APRIL 05, 2020

Mumbai: Uzma Naheed, renowned Social Activist and Founder of India International Women’s Alliance (IIWA) in a message to Muslim women said “We are going through a crucial period of test from Allah SWT. Covid 19 is not just an ordinary virus but it gives us a testing time to prove that we worship Allah alone and seek His help.”

Highlighting the role women can play in such situations, Mrs Naheed noted “History is replete with incidences where Ummahaatul Momineen (Wives of our prophet (Sallalahu Alaihi Wasallam) and Sahaabiyat (R) did compete with each other in piety and Taqwa. We know that even today Muslim women are in forefront and doing yeoman work of services for the Ummah with their pious deeds and ibaadaat.”

Mrs Naheed appealed all Muslim women to make special dua to Allah Rabbul Izzat to save our country and all humankind from this deadly disease, by following the Sunnah of Rasulullah (S) and observe fasting (Roza) on Monday and Thursday till Ramazan Al Mubarak.

We are going through a crucial period of test from Allah SWT. Covid 19 is not just an ordinary virus but it gives us a testing time to prove that we worship Allah alone and seek His help.

History is replete with incidences where Umhatul Momineen (Wives of our prophet (Sallalahu Alaihi Wasallam) and Sahaabiyat (R) did compete with each other in piety and Taqwa. We know that even today Muslim women are in forefront and doing yeoman work of services for the Ummah with their pious deeds and ibaadaat.

I therefore invite all Muslim women to make special dua to Allah Rabbul Izzat to save our country and all humankind fron this deadly desease, by following the Sunnah of Rasulullah (S) and observe fasting (Roza) on Monday and Thursday.

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Saudi Cleric, An Adviser At The Saudi Royal Court, Tells Women They CAN Refuse Sex With Husbands During Coronavirus Outbreak

4 Apr 2020

A SAUDI cleric has told women it is okay to refuse to have sex with their husbands during the coronavirus outbreak.

Religious scholar Abdullah Muhammad Al-Mutlaq, an adviser at the Saudi royal court, gave the advice while appearing on a live state TV call-in show.

Al-Mutlaq received a call from a viewer asking if it was a “sin” for her to refuse her husband sex during the pandemic lockdown.

The viewer appeared to be fearful of a twisted interpretation of Islamic law peddled by some ultraconservative scholars that wives have to submit to their husbands.

Al-Mutlaq, a member of the kingdom’s Council of Senior Scholars, gave a forward-thinking response as he said she was well within her rights to kick him out of bed.

The cleric has previously intervened to go against extreme traditionalist teachings as Saudi Arabia continues to make efforts to modernise and reform.

Authorities have a lockdown in place, and the Saudi government have deployed religious clerics in an attempt to urge people to take precautions to beat coronavirus.

News outlet Al-Araby Al-Jadeed reported the viewer asked: “My husband never stays at home and couldn't care less about the measures in place. I'm terrified he'll give me the virus.

The cleric also advised another woman that she could give up her conjugal rights to her husband’s second wife as she was fearful of being infected with Covid-19.

Videos produced by the state show the Islamic leaders showing people how to wash their hands and highlighting the Muslim duty to preserve life.

Banners offering public health advice have been put up around the kingdom, including one reportedly saying that the prophet Mohammed would cover his face if he sneezed.

Ayham Kamel, head of Middle East and North Africa at the Eurasia Group consultancy, told Bloomberg the kingdom has been so far effective at fighting against the virus.

He said: “The efforts have been based on the science, on policies, on what works and what doesn’t and they want to take credit for that.

As the clerics dole out marital advice to concerned callers, Saudi Arabia has been attempting to modernise its women’s rights policies.

Male guardianship sees women having the seek permission from men for certain actions - with human rights groups arguing it makes women second class citizens.

Amnesty International report that women are still not properly protected in Saudi Arabia from sexual violence and domestic abuse.

Al-Mutlaq has previously gone against Saudi tradition on matters relating to women, including saying women should not have the wear the abaya, a long robe to hide their bodies.

And during the pandemic, it was reported a man with coronavirus could face the death penalty for spitting on trolleys in a shopping centre.


Amani Al-Khatahtbe, Founder Of Muslim Girl, Announces She’s Running For Congress

APRIL 4, 2020

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez could be getting some much-needed help in Congress. Amani Al-Khatahtbeh, founder of, announced today that she is running for office. The 27-year-old is seeking to represent New Jersey's 6th Congressional District and will be challenging Democratic Rep. Frank Pallone, a 16-term incumbent and chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. Al-Khatahtbeh is the first Muslim woman to run for federal office in the state of New Jersey, and is also, so far, the youngest woman to run for Congress. She is a first-generation American and the daughter of an immigrant and a refugee.

"This moment is a stark reminder that we can no longer wait for incremental change. Our leadership can and must put the health and well-being of working families and the most vulnerable among us front and center," Al-Khatahtbeh said in a press release. "I'm proud to represent a coalition of underrepresented communities in what's nothing less than a historic fight for our lives."

Due to New Jersey's statewide shelter-in-place order, Al-Khatahtbeh, a native New Jerseyan and graduate of Rutgers University's school of political science, will be running her campaign entirely digitally. According to the press release, the media mogul is launching a "Campaign Quaran-Tour" that includes a livestream schedule "with issue-based local and national organizations to facilitate conversations to reach as many people as possible." Some of the platforms that Al-Khatahtbeh is supporting include the Green New Deal, Medicare For All, student debt forgiveness, and more.

The New Jersey primary will be taking place on June 2, though the election is now being considered for vote-by-mail only in response to the coronavirus.

While Al-Khatahtbeh's campaign run is historic, she's also seeking to represent New Jersey during a critical time. Her state now has the second-highest number of coronavirus cases in the U.S., following New York. As of today, New Jersey reports 29,895 cases of the coronavirus and 647 deaths.

"In the past 24 hours, my home state of New Jersey recorded its highest single-day increase in #covid-19 cases and deaths since the outbreak started," Al-Khatahtbeh wrote on Instagram. "This is no joke — sh*t hasn't even hit the fan yet and our medical system has already been inundated for weeks. We've BEEN ahead of Italy in cases and their whole country went on lockdown long before they could reach where we're at now. Step-up where our government FAILS to do so and #stayhome."

Al-Khatahtbeh became a public figure when she was 17 years old and a high school senior after launching as a way to engage with young Muslim women. In 2017, her site also proclaimed March 27 as Muslim Women's Day to celebrate Muslim women and amplify their voices.


Qatar- Female volunteers join inspection campaign of MME on food outlets


(MENAFN - The Peninsula) A number of female volunteers joined the women inspectors of Health Monitoring Section of Doha Municipality in an inspection campaign at a major food outlet here yesterday.

The inspectors ensured the targeted outlet was complying with the health rules like food handlers holding valid health certificates, wearing masks and gloves, following preventive and precautionary measures to protect themselves and other from COVID-19 etc.

The country wide inspection and awareness campaigns on food outlets in cooperation with a number of male and female volunteers are continuing under an initiative of the Ministry of Municipality and Environment (MME) to support volunteering work under a slogan ‘your safety is my safety', said the Ministry in a release.

The inspectors of Health Monitoring Section of Al Wakrah Municipality in cooperation with some volunteers conducted inspection and awareness campaigns on food outlets to ensure that they are complying with the health rules for the safety of the consumers.

A number of volunteers at Al Sheehaniya Municipality received necessary training on how to inspect food outlets during an inspection campaign launched by the civic inspectors of the Municipality on food establishments.

Al Khor and Al Zakhira Municipality also provided practical training to some volunteers by involving them in an inspection campaign conducted yesterday at a major food outlet. The volunteers were briefed about the basic rules and regulations of inspection according to the law No. 8 of 1990 for regulating foods focusing on the scientific aspects of the regulations.

The inspection campaigns came within the initiative of MME to forge community partnership enhancing the roles of institutions and community members in the operation of the Ministry especially those related to food monitoring and hygiene.

Meanwhile, Health Monitoring Section of Doha Municipality conducted inspection campaigns on 3,125 food outlets in Doha city in March.

As much as 147 violations for preparing food in unhealthy conditions were recorded. The Municipality also closed 47 erring food outlets and received 120 complaints which were responded on time.

The Municipality issued four administrative decisions to close two eateries and one sweet shop. As much as 18 reconciliations were made for erring outlets after rectifications.


15 Tablighi Jamaat members including 5 Indonesian women clerics held

Apr 5 2020

Ghaziabad, Apr 5 (IANS): At least 15 Tablighi Jamaat members including five Indonesian women clerics who are suspected to be infected with the dreaded coronavirus (COVID-19) have been held by Ghaziabad police and sent to a quarantine home.

Their location was traced late on Saturday with the help of local clerics, and all were found to be staying in mosques and madrasas.

"The Sahibabad police station had received information about them. Most of them went to Nizamuddin Markaz Tabligi Jamaat event. A police team was formed to arrest them after receving information," Kalanidhi Naithani, Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), Ghaziabad, told IANS on Saturday night.

Police teams along with the informers raided the house of local resident Faiz Mohammad in Shaheed Nagar, D Block, of Sahibabad police station area.

The police also found a Madrasa owner Rahis, a cleric Abdul Malik, Javed Alam, a guide to foreign deposits, and Abdul Malik, a mosque caretaker there, and all are said to be Indians.

The police team led by Sub-Inspector Babita Sharma apprehended Hardin, Abdul Azis, Jabir Nooruddin Tanda, Supriyad, Salauddin (five Indonesian-born Tablighi Jamaat members) and five Indonesian women -- Muniroh, Fatima Asri, Honey Mansaja Pasandig, CT Hadizah and Busrah.

The women admitted that they had reached India from Indonesia, and they also went to the Markaz Tablighi Jamaat headquarters in Nizamuddin, Delhi.

According to District Police Spokesperson Sohanveer Singh Solanki: "A criminal case has been registered against all under the sections of the including Pandemic Act, 7 Foreign Acts, and Disaster Management Act."




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