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Islam, Women and Feminism ( 12 Oct 2017, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Saudi Arabia’s Next Revolution: Female Taxi Drivers
















An employee of Careem holds a training session for new female drivers at the firm's Saudi offices in Khobar City. fayez Nureldine/ AFP

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‘Should Allow Only-Women Group on Haj’

Iran: 37,000 Girl Children of Under 13 Married In One Year

Careem Holds Recruitment Session for Women Drivers in Saudi Arabia

Arab Sisters Arrested In Abu Dhabi for Using Witchcraft to Fix Relationships

Muslim Man Checks into Hotel with Hindu Woman in Barmer, Assaulted

Saudi Arabia Stresses Its Pursuit to Promote, Protect Women’s Issues according To Shariah

Iran: Number of women imprisoned for unintentional crimes doubled

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islam,-women-and-feminism/new-age-islam-news-bureau/saudi-arabia’s-next-revolution--female-taxi-drivers/d/112872

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Saudi Arabia’s next revolution: Female taxi drivers

Oct 13, 2017

Anuj CHOPRA - Hunched over platters of dates and Arabic coffee, Saudi women raring to drive once a government ban ends next June signed up for another revolution - to be the kingdom’s first female cab drivers.

King Salman last month decreed that women will be allowed driving permits, a historic reform that could put not just millions of women behind the wheel but potentially many more into the workforce.

Sensing a lucrative opportunity, ride-hailing company Careem says it plans to hire up to 100,000 female chauffers to lure new clients in the gender-segregated kingdom.

This week, the company invited AFP to its first recruitment session in the coastal city of Khobar, which attracted a diverse crowd - from housewives to working women - who already have foreign driving licences.

“For years I felt helpless. My car would be parked outside and I could not drive,” said Nawal al-Jabbar, a 50-year-old mother of three, sipping coffee from a thimble-sized cup.

A chorus of hoots and claps erupted in the auditorium as the women, who learned about the recruitment by word-of-mouth, watched news footage on a projector screen of last month’s royal decree. “It felt like we had woken up in a new Saudi Arabia,” Jabbar said.

An instructor stood next to the screen, holding up a smartphone to show the inner workings of the app.

The firm plans to add a new “Captinah” button to the app next June that would allow customers to choose women chauffeurs. The option will only be available to other women and families, Careem spokesman Murtadha Alalawi said.

Around 30 women registered for the event in Khobar. Many arrived unaccompanied by men, something not commonly seen in a country where male “guardians” have arbitrary authority to make crucial decisions on behalf of women.

‘Rite of passage’

“This is a rite of passage for women,” said Sarah Algwaiz, director of the women chauffeurs program at Careem, referring to the reform.

“For women to drive their own cars signals autonomy, mobility and financial independence.”

The Gulf kingdom was the only country in the world to ban women from taking the wheel, and it was seen globally as a symbol of repression.

“Society portrays women to be strong when it’s convenient and weak when it’s convenient,” said trainee Jabbar.

“I say if you can depend on a female doctor to deliver a baby, then you can depend on a woman to drive a car.”

The lifting of the driving ban has been widely credited to 32-year-old Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who styles himself as a moderniser in the conservative kingdom, where more than half the population is aged under 25.

Prince Mohammed has cracked down on dissent while also showing a rare willingness to tackle entrenched Saudi taboos such as promoting more women in the workforce.

Becoming a chauffeur would mean “extra income”, said Banain al-Mustafa, a 24-year-old medical lab technician who obtained her license while she was studying in West Virginia in 2015.

“I drove for two-and-a-half years,” she said, including once on her own in a nine-hour road trip from New York to West Virginia.

“If I can drive there, why not in my own country?”

Cultural backlash

The reform is in line with the kingdom’s Vision 2030 programme that seeks to elevate women to nearly one-third of the workforce, up from about 22 percent now.

Authorities have highlighted the economic benefits of the reform as the kingdom reels from a protracted oil slump; Saudi families would no longer need foreign chauffeurs, often a major source of financial strain.

Riyadh is moving to bring female driving instructors from abroad, local media reported, and Princess Nourah University said it will inaugurate a women’s only driving school.

Authorities this week warned against violations of the ban until it is formally lifted after a woman was filmed driving out of a luxury hotel in Riyadh.

Careem said it would wait for government regulations to be formally announced before putting female recruits behind the wheel.

Its rival Uber is reportedly planning a similar initiative to recruit female drivers.

The new Careem recruits in Khobar were seemingly unperturbed by pockets of resistance from men or sexist comments on social media over women driving.

“Look at how women’s abayas have evolved - different styles and colours - despite strong resistance,” Jabbar said, referring to the traditional black gown. “After a while, even women drivers will become a new normal.”

http://nation.com.pk/international/13-Oct-2017/saudi-arabia-s-next-revolution-female-taxi-drivers

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‘Should Allow Only-Women Group on Haj’

Oct 13, 2017

Mumbai: Indian Muslims for Secular Democracy (IMSD), has backed the recommendation that women above 45 years of age in a group of four or more should be allowed to travel on Haj without Mahram or a male relative, who she cannot marry.

While we welcome the proposed policy which makes this recommendation, we see no reason why an adult female should not be able to go on Haj entirely on her own. The fact is that in today's day and age any number of young Muslim women travel alone for any number of reasons, including higher studies, professional pursuit etc. Then why should any conditions be imposed on them for travelling to perform a religious obligation?," said IMSD's convener Javed Anand.

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mumbai/should-allow-only-women-group-on-haj/articleshow/61059935.cms

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Iran: 37,000 Girl Children of Under 13 Married In One Year

12 October 2017

Nahid Khodakarami, a Tehran City Council member, admitted in a tweet that 37,000 children under 13 years of age have been married over the past year in Iran.

“179 of these children were girls under 10 years of age,” she added.

Earlier, Shahla Ezazi, director of women’s studies in the Iranian Institute of Sociology, had announced that the number of child marriages was on the rise and in 2016, there were 10,000 more marriages compared to the previous year. She also announced that the number of divorced children between 10 and 18 years old is growing.

In light of the growing trend of child marriages in Iran, and the fact that 37117 had already been announced last year by the National Census Registrar, the figure announced by the Tehran City Council member must be considered as way below the actual figures. The same figure had been announced as 41,000 in August.

The Iranian law officially sanctions the marriage of 13 year-old girls. Furthermore, fathers and judges enjoy the authority under the law to endorse marriage of girls under this age.

http://www.women.ncr-iran.org/iran-women-news/4387-iran-37-000-girl-children-of-under-13-married-in-one-year

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Careem holds recruitment session for women drivers in Saudi Arabia

12 October 2017

Hunched over platters of dates and Arabic coffee, Saudi women raring to drive once a government ban ends next June signed up for another revolution - to be the kingdom’s first female cab drivers.

King Salman last month decreed that women will be allowed driving permits, a historic reform that could put not just millions of women behind the wheel but potentially many more into the workforce.

Sensing a lucrative opportunity, the Dubai-based ride-hailing company Careem says it plans to hire up to 100,000 female chauffeurs to lure new clients in the kingdom.

This week, the company held its first recruitment session in the coastal city of Khobar, which attracted a diverse crowd - from housewives to working women - who already have foreign driving licenses.

“For years I felt helpless. My car would be parked outside and I could not drive,” said Nawal Al Jabbar, a 50-year-old mother of three, sipping coffee from a thimble-sized cup.

Chorus of approval

A chorus of hoots and claps erupted in the auditorium as the women, who learned about the recruitment by word-of-mouth, watched news footage on a projector screen of last month’s royal decree.

“It felt like we had woken up in a new Saudi Arabia,” Ms Al Jabbar said.

An instructor stood next to the screen, holding up a smartphone to show the inner workings of the app.

The firm plans to add a new “Captinah” button to the app next June that would allow customers to choose women chauffeurs. The option will only be available to other women and families, said the Careem spokesman Murtadha Alalawi.

Around 30 women registered for the event in Khobar.

Rite of passage

“This is a rite of passage for women,” said Sara Al Gouweiz, the director of the women chauffeurs programme at Careem, referring to the reform.

“For women to drive their own cars signals autonomy, mobility and financial independence.”

“Society portrays women to be strong when it’s convenient and weak when it’s convenient,” said Ms Al Jabbar.

“I say if you can depend on a female doctor to deliver a baby, then you can depend on a woman to drive a car.”

Becoming a chauffeur would mean “extra income”, said Banain Al Mustafa, a 24-year-old medical lab technician who obtained her license while she was studying in West Virginia in 2015.

“I drove for two and a half years,” she said, including once on her own in a nine-hour road trip from New York to West Virginia.

“If I can drive there, why not in my own country?”

The reform is in line with the kingdom’s Vision 2030 program that seeks to elevate women to nearly one-third of the workforce, up from about 22 per cent now.

Economic benefits

Authorities have highlighted the economic benefits of the reform as the kingdom deals with a protracted oil slump; Saudi families would no longer need foreign chauffeurs, often a major source of domestic financial strain.

Riyadh is moving to bring female driving instructors from abroad, local media reported, and Princess Nourah University said it will inaugurate a women-only driving school.

Murtadha Al Alawe, the head of public relations at Careem, said the firm would wait for government regulations to be formally announced before putting female recruits behind the wheel.

Its rival Uber is reportedly planning a similar initiative to recruit female drivers.

The new Careem recruits in Khobar were seemingly unperturbed by pockets of resistance from men or sexist comments on social media over women driving.

“Look at how women’s abayas have evolved - different styles and colors - despite strong resistance,” Ms Al Jabbar said.

“After a while, even women drivers will become a new normal.”

https://english.alarabiya.net/en/features/2017/10/12/Careem-holds-recruitment-session-for-women-drivers-in-Saudi-Arabia.html

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Arab sisters arrested in Abu Dhabi for using witchcraft to fix relationships

October 12, 2017

Stay away from sorcerers, they're just frauds: Police

Seek help from experts and psychiatrists and not sorcerers if you have marital or other problems, the Abu Dhabi Police have urged the public.

The police have launched an awareness programme to educate people and raise awareness about the negative effects of witchcraft and sorcery.

The initiative follows the recent arrest of two Arab sisters who were conning women in rocky relationships into handing them cash, with a promise that they would fix their marital problems using witchcraft. The Arab women claimed that they had special powers that could help.

Brigadier Tariq Khalfan Al Ghoul, deputy director of the criminal investigation department (CID), said police investigations showed the women aged 43 and 67 had been doing this for a while.

They were caught in Abu Dhabi after the CID officers received complaints from various women who had been cheated, according to authorities.

The police also seized materials including talismans used in the witchcraft from the suspects' home.

The victims told the police that the Arab women were charging them Dh34,000 for their 'services'.

Brig Al Ghoul said the force launched the initiative to raise awareness among citizens and residents about the negative effects of witchcraft and how the so called sorcerers are nothing more than frauds. The awareness messages have been run on television, radio and print media, and electronic board screens and social network sites.

"Residents should stay away from all forms of witchcraft and sorcerers as people involved in such cases are fraudsters who cheat people," he said. "People should not be fooled by the so called sorcerers who offer 'treatment' using 'special powers' or any other forms of 'healing spells'."

The police also urged people to come forward and report anyone practising witchcraft or sorcery.

https://www.khaleejtimes.com/news/crime/arab-sisters-arrested-in-abu-dhabi-for-using-witchcraft-to-fix-relationships

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Muslim Man Checks into Hotel With Hindu Woman In Barmer, Assaulted

by Mohammad Hamza Khan

October 13, 2017

A Muslim man was allegedly dragged out of a hotel and assaulted for being with a Hindu woman in Barmer district’s Balotra area on Thursday.

“The Muslim man and the Hindu Rajput woman had checked into a hotel in Balotra, but soon after, the woman’s relatives arrived at the hotel and assaulted the man,” Barmer’s Additional Superintendent of Police (ADSP) Kailashdan Ratnoo said.

Mansarover Hotel owner Multan Parihar said, “Padu Khan, about 25, had checked in our hotel along with a middle-aged woman around 10 am. The woman was wearing a traditional Rajasthani attire. About half-an -hour later, the woman’s relatives somehow came to know that she was here and five persons reached the hotel.”

Parihar said that the men told him they would ‘address’ the issue among themselves. “I then went out, but soon afterwards, my staff informed me about a mob. Men from Shiv Sena had gathered outside and dragged Khan out of the hotel,” Parihar said.

“They were chanting ‘Jai Sri Ram’ and brutally assaulting him. Had police delayed any more, he could have been lynched,” he said. “While assaulting him, the mob said that it was a case of love-jihad,” Parihar said. ADSP Ratnoo said Khan was taken to a Barmer hospital for primary treatment and then referred to Jodhpur.

http://indianexpress.com/article/india/muslim-man-checks-into-hotel-with-hindu-woman-in-barmer-assaulted-4887820/

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Saudi Arabia stresses its pursuit to promote, protect women’s issues according to Shariah

13 October 2017

NEW YORK: In a speech delivered at a UN session on Wednesday dedicated to women’s role in development, a member of the Saudi permanent mission to the UN, Foza Al-Muhaid, stressed that Saudi Arabia will continue promoting and protecting all issues related to women, in accordance with Shariah, and that an equal opportunity to education and training is a main pillar in empowering women.

Al-Muhaid indicated that the royal decree issuing driving licenses for men and women alike, not only has economic and social dimensions, but is also an integral part of the Kingdom’s economic reform.

The Kingdom gives great importance to sustainable development goals through Vision 2030 that largely focuses on empowering women, said Al-Muhaid, indicating that one of the National Transformation Program’s main points is raising women’s participation in the labor market from 22 up to 30 percent, by providing 1 million new jobs for women.

Empowering women in different social, economic and educational fields has now become a national goal to make the economy stronger and able to offer women job opportunities and incomes, she added.

Al-Muhaid clarified that the Saudi woman has never filled a task without achieving great success and a quantitative and qualitative change, and thus it cannot be denied that she is an integral part of Saudi society.

The Kingdom is witnessing a historic turning point by promoting the participation of women in the economic field, she said.

The rate of women’s participation has increased significantly in the past years and the numbers of female entrepreneurs have surpassed 30,000. The scale of women’s real-estate investments has reached $82 billion, and the number of small and medium projects presided over by women has reached more than 20,000, indicated Al-Muhaid.

In the field of education, women represent 52 percent of the students registered in universities and more than 35,000 scholarships were granted to female students to study abroad.

Saudi women now have the opportunity to study architecture, engineering, media, law, agriculture and other majors that were limited to men in the past, she said.

The Saudi woman is an important partner in building and developing the labor market, and the Kingdom will continue protecting all her issues in accordance with Shariah law.

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1176861/saudi-arabia

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Iran: Number of women imprisoned for unintentional crimes doubled

12 October 2017

The number of women imprisoned for unintentional crimes in Iran has been doubled this year.

“95% of these women are jailed for writing checks (without credit in the bank) or for accepting warranty for others. The remaining 5 percent are those arrested for accidents occurred at the workplace which they did not afford to pay the blood money,” the executive manager of the Iranian Blood Money Headquarters, Assadollah Jowlaii, announced.

He added that with 44 women, Fars Province (southern Iran) had the highest number of female prisoners for unintentional crimes, and is followed by Gilan Province (northern Iran) with 23 women, Mazandaran (northern Iran) 22 women, and Isfahan (central Iran) with 14 women.

Most of these women are heads of household without any decent jobs or social support who have ended up in financial straits. (The state-ran Tasnim news agency – October 7, 2017)

http://www.women.ncr-iran.org/iran-women-news/4386-iran-number-of-women-imprisoned-for-unintentional-crimes-doubled

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URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islam,-women-and-feminism/new-age-islam-news-bureau/saudi-arabia’s-next-revolution--female-taxi-drivers/d/112872

 

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