New Age Islam News Bureau
22 May 2012
• Pak-origin Muslim couple in UK killed daughter for her western lifestyle
• Afghan woman's Olympic dream in doubt
• The young woman who defied the Taliban, Aesha Mohammadzai faces a new battle
• Indonesian police to end uncertainty over Lady Gaga's concert in Jakarta
• Ahmadinejad should 'open nightclubs', mocks Iran MP
• Jerusalem’s annual liberation party degenerates, again, from sweet fervour to mini-rioting
• Acid Attacks on Colombian Women
• Woman gets 20 years for firing warning shot
Complied by New Age Islam News Bureau
Photo: Saudi Arabia may soon legalize nuptials of baby girls
Saudi Arabia may soon legalize nuptials of baby girls: A new fatwa of Supreme Mufti
A new fatwa recently issued in Saudi Arabia suggests that Supreme Mufti of the country will allow giving girls into marriage at the age of ten. However, he only legalized the existing orders: here eight-year-old girls, with the consent of their fathers, are married off to old men.
The laws of Saudi Arabia provide and even encourage the practice of early marriage of girls. "From ancient times due to the social, economic, political and religious reasons, early marriage has been always encouraged," Mansour Bin Askar, professor at the University of King Saud in Riyadh, said in an interview with Arab media. "During wars, early marriage allowed strengthening the family clans, as well as the influence of tribes that have been always judged by their numbers.
It would be wrong to look for the advantages and disadvantages of early marriage, because for each girl it has a unique character. It is important that, from a medical point of view, early marriage does not cause harm to the young bride," said Professor Mansour Bin Askar. He said that in marriage it is important to have mutual agreement of the parties. Especially, for the young bride who must confirm her decision before a Sharia judge.
The fatwa of Mufti of Saudi Arabia that legalized marriage of 10-year old girls reflected the realities of life of the kingdom. In very early age many Saudi girls already know whom they will marry. Suitors are chosen by their own fathers. If a daughter is a devout Muslim and obedient, her father can bestow her with a marriage to a relatively young man. If a daughter shows obstinacy, then she is usually given to the first available Muslim who agrees to marry her.
No one is a stranger to such a fate, not even a princess. For example, one well-known Saudi girl who suddenly began to argue with her father was married to an elderly Sharia police from a distant village. In his harem, she was the eighth wife. At the same time all the formalities have been met: the bride gave her consent to marriage in the presence of the judge. Her husband had harsh temper. Any objection to him was punished by flogging in front of the harem. Of course, this is not an indicator and many marriages can be called happy. In any case, the right of the first word belongs to the father of the bride.
Saudi Arabia in this regard has retained the literal interpretation of Sharia law. In this regard it is different from other Muslim countries that have long traveled the other way. For example, in Jordan, UAE, and Tunisia a clear minimum threshold for marriage is established for women - they have to be 15 years old. In Shiite Iran, the freedom of women had reached the point that men are afraid of becoming victims of sex discrimination. Arabist Leonid Isaev, a specialist in political processes in the Arab world, said:
"Saudi Mufti had the right to issue such a fatwa. Sharia provides for early marriage of girls. But the Muslim family law has certain nuances. Up until the girl reaches puberty, she is forbidden to have sexual relations. Before the onset of puberty, she will have to live only in her father's house. She moved into the house of her husband only after the onset of puberty. This requirement is spelled out in the Muslim family law in black and white.
In Yemen in the early 2000 there was a case where a man raped his official wife - a girl who at that time has not reached puberty. The girl died of severe bleeding. Sharia Court immediately punished the rapist to the full extent of Islamic law. But this girl was formally the wife of this man. This is only a formality.
In Saudi Arabia, once a girl turns ten years old, she is legally entitled to be a wife. Her father, as a rule, is looking for a husband for her. Next a formal marriage is concluded. Before puberty the wife lives in her father's house. After puberty, she moves into her husband's house, and they begin sexual activity.
Then she can become a full wife and mother is a purely personal matter. Some Arab girls mature, say, at the age of 12-13 years, while others mature later. Theoretically, she can become a wife and mother at thirteen or fourteen or even twelve. Every situation is different, and the Muslim courts look at each case individually.
Islamic law is largely based on precedent. For example, the Mufti issued a fatwa about a marriage, another mufti overturned it with his fatwa, and so on. Sharia judge examines each case individually in court.
Women's rights in the Islamic world are an ambiguous question. Sharia law protects women very well. Violence against women and abuse of women's honor is punished to the fullest extent of the law. Quite another matter is the realities of life. But Iran experience indicates that under the contemporary Islamic law women are much better protected than men. It is safe to say that modern Iranian men are more wary of inequality than Iranian women," said the expert.
Saudi women have plenty of reasons to be jealous of the Iranian women. For example, Iranian women are actively involved in sports, and the government is only encouraging it. In Saudi Arabia it is believed that because of sports a girl may "lose her virginity." Directors of a small number of female schools in the country evade the prohibitions of the religion as much as they can, and the girls secretly engage in aerobics or play volleyball. As for early marriage, it is heavily criticized by the Arab human rights activists. In 2010, another wave of criticism generated discussion in the Saudi community about banning the law on marriage of girls. Sheikh Abdul Aziz al-Teraifi, an official of the Ministry of Islamic Affairs of the country, was one of the most ardent opponents of such restrictions.
"The problem is artificially inflated by journalists who write about marriages of eight-year of girls to older men. Yes, it does happen, but it is an exception. Such marriages are consensual and made at the insistence of parents of the bride," the official said in an interview with "Saudi Gazette." According to him, "the prohibition of early marriage will have a negative effect on Saudi society, which is unacceptable to Islam."
In addition, establishing a minimum threshold of marriage will lead to a sharp decline of manners in the Saudi society. "The establishment of minimum age for marriage, for example, at age 18, will automatically postpone the deadline for the hijab. Thus, a girl of 18 years will be able to freely and openly interact with men and young people, which is absolutely contrary to the laws of Islam," Shaykh Abdul was cited by Saudi media.
In June of 2011, a Saudi theologian Sheikh Saleh al-Fawzaan went even further. He issued a fatwa where the obstruction of early marriage for girls was called a violation of the laws of Allah. According to the Sheikh, the fathers have the right to give their daughters into marriage, "even if they are still in the cradle. But the husband cannot join with them in the intimacy,"until a girl can withstand the weight of a man placed upon her." As an example l-Fawzaan brought Aisha, one of the wives of the Prophet Muhammad. Aisha became the Prophet's wife at the age of six, and entered into intimate relationship with him at nine. This is written in one of the hadiths that are followed to the letter.
Pak-origin Muslim couple in UK killed daughter for her western lifestyle
22 May 2012
A teenager was killed by her Pakistan-born parents because they believed her Westernised lifestyle had brought shame on the family, a court heard yesterday.
Nine years after their daughter Shafilea vanished, Iftikhar and Farzana Ahmed have gone on trial accused of murder.
The court heard that police made a breakthrough in the case when Shafilea’s sister told them she saw them kill the 17-year-old.
Shafilea had wanted to go to university to study law and have boyfriends like other girls her age, a jury was told.
But her parents are alleged to have resorted to violence in trying to force her to follow a traditional lifestyle, sending her to Pakistan for an arranged marriage.
There she swallowed bleach and was flown back to Britain for medical treatment. She vanished from the family home in September 2003 just days after she enrolled at college and started a part-time job.
Her parents failed to report her missing, and the alarm was raised a week later by a teacher. Her decomposed body was found five months later in undergrowth on the banks of a river.
Andrew Edis, QC, prosecuting, said Shafilea had been ‘a thoroughly Westernised young British girl of Pakistani origin’ who was subjected to violence for refusing to conform to her parents’ expectations.
The defendants, having spent the best part of 12 months trying to crush her will, realised they were never going to be able to succeed and finally killed her because her conduct dishonoured the family, bringing shame on them,’ he added.
The eldest of five children, Shafilea was a keen student at her school in Warrington, Cheshire, and enjoyed trips to shopping centres and wearing Western clothes, Chester Crown Court was told.
In particular she wanted to have boyfriends – as most 16 and 17-year-old girls do,’ Mr Edis said.
‘That caused intense friction, stress and anger in this family. Her parents began to seek to control her.’
They would take away her mobile phone to stop her ringing boys and she complained that they stole money from her bank account.
Friends and teachers became concerned when she went to school with injuries that she said had been caused by her parents, Mr Edis added. Shafilea then began to run away from home.
In February 2003, she fled in the night and attempted to cut her ties with her parents entirely, only for her father to ‘abduct’ her in his taxi when he saw her walking to school, the prosecutor said.
Mr Edis said it was at that point that her parents put together a ‘hastily arranged’ plan to fly to Pakistan with Shafilea and persuade her into an arranged marriage with a cousin.
However while staying with her grandparents in rural Pakistan, she drank from a bottle of bleach, causing severe damage to her throat.
‘If it was not a suicide attempt, it was an act of desperation,’ Mr Edis said. ‘It put an end to the idea that she was going to get married and live in Pakistan.’
Shafilea flew home in May and spent the summer receiving regular hospital treatment before enrolling at sixth-form college to study A-levels while also working in telesales.
The court heard she resumed her Western lifestyle, bringing her into fresh conflict with her parents’ ‘concept of shame and honour’.
She was last seen alive on the evening of September 11 when her 49-year-old mother picked her up from work.
A week later, Mr Edis said, one of Shafilea’s teachers reported her missing after hearing that her sister Alesha had told friends her parents had killed her. But Alesha – then 15 – retracted her claim, and her parents insisted they did not know where Shafilea was.
Mr Edis said the family made no effort to find Shafilea and even put their home on sale.
One potential buyer was told by Mr Ahmed, 52, that they were moving because their daughter had ‘brought shame’ on the family.
Shafilea’s remains were found in February 2004 near Sedgwick in Cumbria, close to where the M6 leads north from Warrington.
Mr Edis said analysis of the scene showed she had been dumped there shortly after going missing.
No more light was shed on her killing until two years ago when Alesha – then 22 – was arrested over a robbery at the family home. She later told police ‘she had witnessed the killing of her elder sister by her two parents, both of them acting together’, Mr Edis said.
Afghan woman's Olympic dream in doubt
May 22, 2012
BEIJING: The female Afghan boxer who has drawn wide attention for her bid to reach the London Olympics could be denied because of fears over her safety inside the ring.
Flyweight Sadaf Rahimi, 18, suffered a setback at last week's women's world championships in China, where her bout against Poland's world number six Sandra Drabik was stopped after just 1min 26sec.
Rahimi is relying on a wildcard from organisers to reach London, but officials said safety was paramount as they decide which fighters will take part when women's boxing becomes an Olympic event for the first time.
"Safety is the number one concern in women's boxing and we will make this clear to the IOC ( International Olympic Committee) Tripartite Commission when we meet in early July to decide who shall benefit from the wildcards," said International Boxing Association (AIBA) president Wu Chingkuo.
Rahimi has been seen as an automatic choice for a wildcard after media seized upon her quest to represent Afghanistan, where women's sport was banned under the Taliban regime which was toppled in late 2001.
But she now faces an anxious wait after the gulf in standards between her war-torn nation and the boxing heartlands of the Americas, Europe and Asia was exposed at China's Qinhuangdao.
"My bout here was hard and my opponent very good. Of course it is my dream to go to the Olympics and fight for my country but I will wait and see what the organizers decide," Rahimi told AFP.
"I will be sad if I don't go but just coming here has been a great experience."
Sadaf, who has been on a training stint in Britain, was cheered by a small crowd of hijab-wearing women in Qinhuangdao. Her compatriots Sumaiya Azizi, 18, and Shamila Husainzada, 17, also had their fights stopped in the first round.
"Of course there is a big difference between us and the other boxers. But to come and see the WWBC (Women's World Boxing Championships) has motivated us even more to do well," said Sadaf.
"Just being here flying the Afghan flag for other Afghan women is also positive."
The Afghan women fight with small veils under their headgear and wear tights and long sleeves to cover their limbs, in accordance with Muslim tradition.
Sadaf's coach Hedayatullah Mohmand, secretary general of the Afghanistan Boxing Federation, said just appearing at the world championships was a milestone for the boxers.
"It is the first time Sumaiya Azizi and Samila Husainzada have seen and fought in a professionally rigged ring. It's been an important experience for them. Now we know what the technical level is," he said.
AIBA president Wu said the Afghans and other women boxers from emerging regions, such as Africa, will be offered more intensive training sessions in the future to bring them up to the international standard.
Top women boxers such as Ireland's Katie Taylor have criticised the wildcard system, intended to favour fighters from developing countries, and said the best athletes should be chosen for the Olympics.
"Hopefully the organizers will make the right decisions when handing out those wildcards. We need to showcase women's boxing with the strongest field," said Taylor, after claiming her fourth straight world lightweight title.
Safety was also on the mind of another fighter from Afghanistan, the naturalised Danish featherweight champion Diana Nadim, who is fearful of returning to the country she fled as a child.
The former under-19 European 60kg champion escaped to Denmark with her mother and sister after her father, a general in the then Afghan army, was executed by the Taliban when she was eight years old.
"I would love to go back to Afghanistan to help coach and inspire the girls like Sadaf. But the current situation in the country is too dangerous," said the 22-year-old, who was knocked out 26-13 by Sweden's Mira Potkonen.
Nadim's coach, Gunnar Berg, said she may be targeted by militants if she returned to Afghanistan because Denmark has soldiers in the country fighting the Taliban.
The young woman who defied the Taliban, Aesha Mohammadzai faces a new battle
21 May 2012
It was the image that woke up the world to the shocking horrors faced by women in Afghanistan.
The photograph of Aesha Mohammadzai, whose nose and ears were hacked off as punishment for attempting to flee an abusive forced marriage, came to embody the appalling abuse suffered by many at the hands of the brutal Taliban regime.
And her story of survival and resilience despite that harrowing ordeal captivated and enchanted the world.
But now four years on, Aesha faces a new battle – a struggle to put the disturbing experiences behind her as she attempts to make a new life for herself in America.
Aesha, won political asylum in 2011, having fled to the U.S. a year earlier, aged just 18, after being promised reconstructive surgery.
She arrived without speaking a word of English and illiterate in her mother tongue of Pashto.
Since then she has undergone pioneering reconstructive surgery to give her a prosthetic nose and been given the education denied women back in her homeland under the Taliban.
However, it appears the psychological scars from her ordeal have proven harder to heal.
Those who have become close to Aesha have spoken of her displaying volatile mood swings – oscillating between violent tantrums and displaying deep affection to people around her.
Her plastic surgery had to be delayed because it was thought she was still not yet emotionally stable to cope with the painful and lengthy surgery required.
Psychologist Shiphra Bakhchi, 31, who has helped treat the 22-year-old for post-traumatic stress disorder believes the trauma of her disfigurement may have caused deeper mental scars than physical ones.
‘I really hope at some point she’ll be a functioning young lady that had a terrible trauma,’ the private practitioner told CNN.
When Aesha was 12, her father promised her in marriage to a Taliban fighter to pay a debt. She was handed over to his family who abused her and forced her to sleep in the stable with the animals.
The UN estimates that nearly 90 per cent of Afghanistan's women suffer from some sort of domestic abuse.
When she attempted to flee, she was caught and her nose and ears were hacked off by her husband as punishment.
'When they cut off my nose and ears, I passed out. In the middle of the night it felt like there was cold water in my nose.
'I opened my eyes and I couldn't even see because of all the blood,' she told CNN reporter Atia Abawi.
Left for dead in the mountains, she crawled to her grandfather's house and her father managed to get her to an American medical facility, where medics cared for her for ten weeks.
They then transported Aesha to a secret shelter in Kabul and in August 2010, she was flown to the U.S. by the Grossman Burn Foundation to stay with a host family.
She was taken in by a charity in New York called Women for Afghan Women who supported her and helped pay for her eduction.
But Aesha soon became unhappy and her behaviour gave rise to concern. During one outburst during, she threw herself to the floor and slammed her head against the ground, grabbing at her hair and biting her fingers.
Her primary guardian figure at the centre Esther Hyneman, who witnessed the tantrum said no one was able to prevent her from inflicting the injuries and they had to call 911 for help, Ms Hyneman said during the CNN interview.
Aesha was admitted to hospital for 10 days following that episode.
Those who knew her said Aesha craved the close-knit family environment the centre was unable to provide.
She left in December 2011, to live with with Mati Arsla and Jami Rasouli-Arsala, from Fredrick, Maryland - who are relatives of a Women for Afghan Women former board member - where she now appears to be adapting to home life.
Ms Hyneman - who Aesha affectionately used to call 'grandma' - told CNN: ‘When she first came to us, she was an emotional wreck.
‘By the time she left, she was a different human being... So we’re all happy if she’s in the right place to further her development, but we miss her.’
During the momentous few years since arriving in America, Aesha has had a prosthetic nose fitted at the non-profit humanitarian Grossman Burn Center at West Hills Hospital in California as part of her eight-month rehabilitation.
Dr Peter H Grossman said they hoped to give Aesha a more 'permanent solution', which could mean reconstructing her nose and ears using bone, tissue and cartilage from other parts of her body.
Dr Grossman's wife Rebecca, the chair of the Grossman Burn Foundation, said Aesha was just one of the thousands of women who are treated with appalling harshness.
She said: 'Aesha is reminded of that enslavement every time she looks in the mirror. But there are still times she can laugh. And at that moment you see her teenage spirit escaping a body that has seen a lifetime of injustice.'
Indonesian police to end uncertainty over Lady Gaga's concert in Jakarta
May 22, 2012
Gaga's concert in the capital this week, police spokesperson Boy Rafli Amar said on Monday.
The spokesperson said that officers had been studying all of the concert requirements, which promoter Big Daddy Entertainment had submitted. "We will announce our final decision this week," he was quoted by the Jakarta Post as saying.
Although the Jakarta Police said that they would recommend the National Police not to issue a permit for the performance, slated on June 3 in Senayan, central Jakarta, the final decision will rest with the national body.
Under the country's law, the National Police have the authority "to issue a permit for, and monitor activities, involving crowds".
The National Police had previously announced that they would follow the Jakarta Police's recommendation, even though no official statement had been written.
Nevertheless, after meeting representative of Big Daddy, the National Police decided to study other permits, such as the authorization from the Tourism and Creative Economy Ministry, a concert permit from the Bung Karno Stadium office and a license from the Immigration Office.
The controversial diva, known for her over-the-top performances and eccentric fashion sense, has sparked protests, particularly from hard-line groups.
The singer is currently preparing for a performance in Manila in the Philippines, where she has been subject to similar protests from Christians.
Ahmadinejad should 'open nightclubs', mocks Iran MP
May 21 2012
Tehran : A hardline Iranian MP has took a jibe at President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for failing to support an Islamic dress code for women, suggesting the president should now move to open "nightclubs" in the Islamic republic.
Fars news agency quoted MP Ali Motahari as saying that the president's alleged lax views on the Islamic dress code had allowed women, directly and indirectly, to dress in a way promoting "sexual provocation."
"The situation of the (Islamic) veil is tragic... thanks to the apparent and hidden encouragement by the president," Fars quoted Motahari as saying.
Ahmadinejad and his chief of staff Esfandiar Rahim Mashaie have promoted a situation in which girls now "wear (in public) trousers, and coats that don't cover the knees," he said.
Full report at:
Jerusalem’s annual liberation party degenerates, again, from sweet fervour to mini-rioting
By MITCH GINSBURG
May 21, 2012
Some 30,000 religious teenagers march through Jerusalem to the Western Wall to mark the day in 1967 when the Old City was won
The national religious movement’s biggest party of the year started at 4 p.m. Sunday on King George Street in Jerusalem. Police officers waved through the last of the buses, a five-man band came to life and the boys from yeshivas all across the country started to spin in quick, muscular circles in celebration of what is commonly called in Israel “the liberation” of Jerusalem, which was taken by the IDF on this, the 28th day of the Hebrew month of Iyar, 45 years ago.
Further up the street, opposite the Ben Yehudah pedestrian mall, the girls’ party had yet to begin. The schedule and the MC both repeatedly called for a separation of the sexes but there was plenty of co-ed traffic moving up and down King George Street, with one young man in a checkered oxford shirt telling a group of his friends, as he fell into their arms, “there are a lot of girls down that way.”
At around five, the girls’ stage came to life and a choir group of pre-pubescent boys in shiny white polyester uniforms began singing syncopated versions of “Jerusalem of Gold” and other standard hits. I wasn’t sure it would go over too well, as it seemed like bad Israeli bar mitzvah music, but the crowd let out a roar and started to dance.
Full report at:
Acid Attacks on Colombian Women
May 21, 2012
Latin America doesn’t generally pop into my mind when it comes to acid attacks on women. There’s usually some news flash or article detailing the sadly disturbing story of a woman from a fundamentalist Muslim society being doused with vitriol by a male member of her community. The possible offenses might range from refusing to wear the hijab, behaving too “promiscuously” (however that may be defined), being suspected of adultery, or refusing a marriage proposal. Tragic, but unfortunately not 100% surprising from a religion that in its most radicalized forms can be repressive and abusive toward women.
More surprising is the rising frequency of women targeted by acid attacks in Colombia. TrustLaw’s Anastasia Moloney recently profiled Gloria Piamba, a 26-year-old Colombian woman attacked with acid in 2010. She was walking in downtown Bogota when someone –allegedly her ex-boyfriend — threw a liquid substance in her face. She says:
“Initially, I thought it was petrol, then I heard someone from the crowd shout, ‘It’s acid, it’s acid,”…”It felt like my skin, my face was falling off. My eyes were moving in and out like ping pong balls from the pain…”
Following her hour-long wait in the emergency room, Piamba suffered acid burns on her mouth, nose and left eye. Moloney writes that Piamba not only still wears a mask to hide her misshapen mouth and a patch to protect her damaged eye, but also has to have a tube in her nostril in order to keep it from collapsing in on itself. Understandably, the attack left Piamba more than shaken:
“The doctors told me to forget about the face I once had,” said Piamba, who has undergone six facial reconstructive surgeries so far. “Those words almost killed me. I thought about jumping off the 7th floor of the hospital.”
Full report at:
Woman gets 20 years for firing warning shot
May. 19, 2012
Marissa Alexander had never been arrested before she fired a bullet at a wall one day in 2010 to scare off her husband when she felt he was threatening her. Nobody got hurt, but this month a northeast Florida judge was bound by state law to sentence her to 20 years in prison.
Alexander, a 31-year-old mother of a toddler and 11-year-old twins, knew it was coming. She had claimed self-defense, tried to invoke Florida's "stand your ground" law and rejected plea deals that could have gotten her a much shorter sentence. A jury found her guilty as charged: aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Because she fired a gun while committing a felony, Florida's mandatory-minimum gun law dictated the 20-year sentence.
Her case in Jacksonville has drawn a fresh round of criticism aimed at mandatory-minimum sentencing laws. The local NAACP chapter and the district's African-American congresswoman say blacks more often are incarcerated for long periods because of overzealous prosecutors and judges bound by the wrong-headed statute. Alexander is black.
It also has added fuel to the controversy over Florida's "stand your ground" law, which the judge would not allow Alexander to invoke. State Attorney Angela Corey, who also is overseeing the prosecution of shooter George Zimmerman in the Trayvon Martin case, stands by the handling of Alexander's case. Corey says she believes Alexander aimed the gun at the man and his two sons, and the bullet she fired could have ricocheted and hit any of them.
Full report at: