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Islam, Women and Feminism ( 8 May 2017, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Saudi Preacher Slammed For Mocking Women

New Age Islam News Bureau

8 May 2017

“Internet Famous” ladies attending London Modest Fashion Week. Clockwise behind Rose Hamid at front: Meriem Lebdiri @MeriemLedbiri , Selma Lebdiri @SelmaLedbiri, Soha Mohamed Taha @SohaMT, Melanie Elturk @hautehijab, Leena Asad, @withloveleena, Hodan Yusuf @CheeseandXalwo, Samah Safi Bayazid @samahsafi, Rawan Elbaba @rawandering



 'Welcome Our Dear Girls', Nigeria's Buhari Tells Freed Chibok Girls

 Easing Of Guardianship System Empowers Saudi Women

 Islam Does Not Suggest That Rape and Marriage, Ex-Mufti Chided Muslims

 Israeli Forces Shoot, Kill Palestinian Woman over Alleged Stabbing Attempt

 Fashion Show Features Muslim Women, Others “Rockin’ That Hijab”

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau




Saudi Preacher Slammed For Mocking Women

May 8, 2017

Manama: Social-media users in Saudi Arabia have lashed out at a preacher who claimed that if women were allowed to drive they would come home late and drunk.

The outraged users said that the preacher, known as Abu Zaqm, should be put on trial and punished severely for his immoral allegations.

Abu Zaqm made his claims as he addressed young people in the Red Sea city of Jeddah in 2011. The video recording re-emerged on Sunday in Saudi Arabia and sparked the outcry.

“If allowed to drive, a woman will come home late while her husbands will be up, just waiting for her. She will be most probably drunk,” he said, trailing his remarks with a sarcastic laughter. “If the husband asks her to prepare something to eat, she will argue with him and when she eventually does it, she will end up hosting him in their neighbour’s home,” he added in his imagined scenario.

The preacher warned that such situations would be a major feature of the freedom anticipated by liberals, Saudi daily Okaz reported on Monday.

Abu Zaqm claimed that Europe and the US started applying new laws to isolate women from men amid complaints about the increasing number of babies born out of wedlock.

The new laws were enacted after these countries found out the babies and the construction of foster homes to keep them cost them fortunes.

In their reactions, Saudis expressed anger and outrage.

“Such ridiculous remarks cannot be uttered in the privacy of a home, let alone in public and in front of a crowd,” one user posted.

Basma, another user, said that he should be held legally accountable for his remarks.

“His claims are a deep insult and what is terrifying is that he is making then in the name of Islam,” she said. “He should be punished for his filthy allegations.”

Sulaiman called for prompt action.

“Regardless of whether women are allowed to drive or not, this miasma has to be stopped.”

Abu Zaqm, a former car drifter, is no stranger to controversy. He was criticised on social media following the circulation of a video clip in which he made comments with sexual overtones during a conversation with another preacher.

He apologised about the conversation, but later launched scathing attacks on “liberals” for their criticism.

The latest incident is seen as a new indication of the formidable challenges faced by the Saudi authorities in their drive to change mindsets and attitudes towards several social issues.



'Welcome our dear girls', Nigeria's Buhari tells freed Chibok girls

May 8, 2017

A group of 82 girls held captive for three years by Islamist militants met Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari in the capital Abuja on Sunday a day after they were released in exchange for several militant commanders, officials said.

"I cannot express in a few words how happy I am to welcome our dear girls back to freedom," Buhari told the girls surrounding him in his residency, a presidency statement said.

"On behalf of all Nigerians, I will like to share my joy with you," he told the girls, who were seen clapping, according to an official picture of the meeting.

The girls were among a group of 270 schoolgirls kidnapped in April 2014 by the militant group Boko Haram, which has waged an eight-year-old insurgency to create an Islamist caliphate, killing thousands and forcing more than two million from their homes.

The government secured the release with mediation by the International Committee of the Red Cross. A military source said three Boko Haram commanders had been freed in an exchange, but declined to give further details.

Photographs released by the ICRC showed a line of girls wearing vests emblazoned with the charity's logo waiting to board a military helicopter.

The military source said the girls had been flown from Banki near the border with Cameroon to Maiduguri and then Abuja, where they first got a medical checkup at a police hospital before being driven in two buses to the presidential villa.

Their meeting with the president apparently took place before they were reunited with their parents and relatives.

In Chibok, the remote town in northeastern Nigeria where the girls were abducted from, families were nervously waiting for names of those freed to be published.

"Many of the parents of the girls are anxious about the identities of the girls," said Maina Mohammed, uncle of one of the abducted girls. "'Will my daughter be there?' they keep asking today."


Their release was a boost for Buhari, a former military ruler who made crushing Boko Haram a pillar of his election campaign in 2015. Buhari, 74, has made few public appearances since returning from Britain in March for medical treatment.

A thin-looking Buhari met the girls in the evening. Only state television and his official photographer were allowed to attend.

"Let me reassure Nigerians, especially relatives and friends of the remaining girls that the Federal Government will spare no effort to see that they and all other Nigerians who have been abducted safely regain their freedom," Buhari said in the statement.

The girls, who wore headscarves, were driven through Abuja to the hospital in a military convoy. One had a bandaged arm and some could be seen laughing.

Although the kidnapping of the Chibok girls caught global attention, Boko Haram, which has pledged loyalty to Islamic State, has kidnapped thousands of adults and children.

The army has retaken much of the territory initially lost to Boko Haram, but large parts of the northeast, particularly in Borno state, remain under threat from the militants. Suicide bombings and gun attacks have increased in the region since the end of the rainy season late last year.



Easing Of Guardianship System Empowers Saudi Women

May 8, 2017

By FATIMA MUHAMMAD and Layan Damanhouri

Saudi Gazette

JEDDAH — Saudi women and human rights activists welcomed the royal decree easing the guardianship system that required female citizens to seek permission from a male family member to travel, study, get some health treatments, rent property etc.

Lina Almaeena, a member of the Shoura Council and co-founder of Jeddah United, called it a “historic” decision.

“It is a great step ahead that will offer more opportunities to empower women and will highlight their issues,” she told Saudi Gazette.

This move, she added, will effectively improve services and will increase public awareness.

Suhaila Zain Al-Abideen, member of the National Society for Human Rights, emphasized that an adult woman in Islam does not need a guardian to manage and control aspects of her life.

“This guardianship system has allowed many men to abuse their rights over their daughters, wives, and female members of their family,” she said.

Culture and social traditions are responsible for misinterpreting guardianship system that is limited to minors, the disabled and insane. In Shariah law, these are the only segments of people who need a guardian to manage and lead their lives, Al-Abideen said, adding that a guardian does not have to be male member as a mother can be a guardian for her family.

Many women are not aware of their rights and legal obligations, she added.

This royal decree is a step toward regaining the rights of Muslim woman, according to Professor Samia Alamoudi, advocate of women’s health empowerment.

“Acknowledging this issue by the government is an achievement as it has been a taboo for years,” she said.

“Earlier certain cases were taken care of by family members, organizations, universities. Now this decree clarifies to all that female citizens have independence,” she added.

When it comes to patients’ rights, some hospitals and doctors require the guardian’s permission to proceed with a female patient’s treatment in some cases.

With this decree, we can officially end this practice by male family members, Alamoudi said.

Lama Karkanawi, a senior account manager at Hadath Group and an active social figure, noted that the decision will allow women to obtain more rights.

Saudi women, she added, have proved themselves locally, regionally and internationally.

She said that an awareness campaign might be needed for men who are disappointed with this decision.

Omaima Al-Khamis, a writer, also described the decision on her twitter account as “historic” and said, “with this decree, my citizenship is complete. Men will stand next to me with their honored value as a husband and a brother. Together we move forward toward the future.”

Mohammad Al-Muadi, spokesman of the Human Rights Commission, announced that royal decree states that all regulations that demand approval of a male guardian must be collected and their legal basis must be clarified.

He added that no specific information can be confirmed until all [government] agencies collect what they have. He added that this decision marks a new era of women empowerment.

The Human Rights Commission’s (HRC) head of media department Mohammed Almuadi told Saudi Gazette the commission will work with government bodies to identify these services and raise awareness through campaigns.

“This decree aims to empower women who play a significant role in the sustainable development of the country. This announcement covers all the services that require a guardian’s permission unless there is a legal basis or conflict with Shariah law,” he added.



Islam Does Not Suggest That Rape And Marriage, Ex-Mufti Chided Muslims


May 7, 2017

KUALA LUMPUR, May 7 — Islam does not suggest that it is OK to have sex and then marry minors, the former mufti of Terengganu said today.

At a public forum on child marriages here, Datuk Ismail Yahya chided Muslims who have been misusing the name of their last prophet, Muhammad, to justify their lust and as a form of “escapism”.

“That is not right. The religion does not suggest that,” said Ismail who is also a former Terengganu Shariah court judge.

He noted there were Muslims who had cited Prophet Muhammad’s marriage to Aisha, often portrayed as a nine-year old girl in the Quran, but said there have been many Islamic scholars who have questioned the calculation of her age.

He then said there were other considerations for a Shariah judge before approving marriage applications to minors.

“To me, how far the marriage can make the child happy is subjective. It’s to do with how she is treated and nafkah,” he said, using an Arabic word meaning subsistence for living.

“But, just because he has raped the girl, that is not a reason for a Shariah Court judge to approve the marriage application,” he added.

Ismail warned those seeking to legitimise statutory rape and marriage with their victims behind the cloak of religion that Islam had dire penalties for rapists.

“For men like these, according to Islamic laws, it is the death penalty. Death by stoning. Not marriage.

“So if we want to apply the law, we apply it together and not in parts,” he said.

Also at the same forum was Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) Youth leader Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman who said he shared the same view.

“To the majority of Malay Muslims out there, you are not Prophet Muhammad. Stop pretending you are Prophet Muhammad,” the former national debater said to applause from the audience.

Syed Saddiq urged religious leaders and those who propagate the idea of a moderate Islam to speak out against child marriages.

“As of now, there is no legitimate religious voice to speak up against child marriages,” he said, claiming this to be the reason why many Muslims were afraid to voice their opinions.

Both Ismail and Syed Saddiq were speaking at the forum titled “Child marriage: Setting our children up to fail”.

The subject had sparked a national uproar last month after the Umno MP for Tasek Gelugor Datuk Shabudin Yahaya suggested in Parliament that marriage might be a solution for statutory rape.



Israeli forces shoot, kill Palestinian woman over alleged stabbing attempt

May 7, 2017

Israeli military forces have shot dead a young Palestinian woman in the Old City of the occupied East Jerusalem al-Quds for allegedly attempting to carry out a stabbing attack.

Israeli police spokeswoman, Luba al-Samri, said the Palestinian woman was shot after she purportedly approached Israeli police officers stationed at the Damascus Gate entrance, while holding a knife.

Israeli police spokesman, Micky Rosenfeld, said in a statement that no police officers had been injured in the alleged attack.

The Palestinian Ministry of Health identified the girl as Fatima Afif Abd al-Rahman Hjeiji, 16, from the Ramallah-area village of Qarawat Bani Zeid, Maan news agency reported.

On April 26, Israeli forces shot and injured a Palestinian man after he supposedly sought to carry out a car-ramming attack near Huwwarah checkpoint south of Nablus, located approximately 49 kilometers (30 miles) north of Jerusalem al-Quds.

The development came shortly after Israeli forces arrested a 23-year-old Palestinian woman in the Tel Rumeida area of al-Khalil (Hebron) after she purportedly attempted to attack them.

An Israeli source claimed the woman, identified as Dunia Azmi Salhab, pulled a knife and attempted to stab a soldier before she was subdued. No one was injured in the alleged stabbing attack.

The occupied Palestinian territories have witnessed new tensions ever since Israeli forces introduced restrictions on the entry of Palestinian worshipers into the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in East Jerusalem al-Quds in August 2015.

More than 300 Palestinians have lost their lives at the hands of Israeli forces in the ongoing tensions since the beginning of October 2015.

The Tel Aviv regime has tried to change the demographic makeup of Jerusalem al-Quds over the past decades by constructing settlements, destroying historical sites and expelling the local Palestinian population. Palestinians say the Israeli measures are aimed at paving the way for the Judaization of the city.

The al-Aqsa Mosque compound is a flashpoint Islamic site, which is also holy to Jews. The mosque is Islam’s third holiest site after Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia.



Fashion show features Muslim women, others “Rockin’ that Hijab”


Recently, my work schedule allowed me to go to London to visit my nephew. Serendipitously, I ran into a group of stylishly dressed Muslim women, from all over the world, in my hotel lobby. They were there for “London Modest Fashion Week” presented by Modanisa (a modest clothing shopping website from Turkey). They graciously invited me to attend the fashion show, where a breathtaking variety of modest styles were showcased. Although the majority of those in attendance were Muslim, the fashions are designed for all women wanting to dress modestly.

When I was learning about Islam and heard about the concept of dressing modestly, i.e. wearing hijab, I thought it was something made up by men wanting to keep women subjugated. But as I researched the passages in the Quran, I realized that covering up was something God, not men, directed women to do. To me, wearing hijab is a form of worship, something I do to please God.

Actually, dressing modestly can be fashionable. Muslim fashion isn’t something new, what’s new is that mainstream designers are starting to develop clothing appealing to Muslims. And hijab wearing women are becoming more visible. As my daughter put it, the women in the photo are “Internet famous”. While they are stylish fashionistas, they are also educated, creative, accomplished entrepreneurs, filmmakers, lawyers, nurses, photographers and journalists.

They, and others like them, serve as role-models empowering women to wear hijab proudly. Some of them appear in the new music video “Cover Girl (Rockin’ that Hijab)”, by Canadian duo, Deen Squad. One of the verses is:

This is for my sisters in the west 2017, she ain’t tryna’ be oppressed She represents peace and she got her own voice And She’s not forced to wear it, cause she made her own choice

For those who worry these are signs that Muslims are going to force everyone to wear hijab, please chill out. While there are a few cultures where women are forced to wear some kind of cultural cover, the majority of women, who identify as Muslim, don’t wear hijab. There are some very pious women who acknowledge it’s something God has directed women to do, but, for whatever reason, don’t wear it. For some, even in Muslim majority countries, wearing hijab is forbidden. Then there are those who deny it’s a requirement. For all of these Muslims, it’s important to remember that God is the judge and we cannot condemn those who have differing understandings.

Women who do wear hijab, like all women, are constantly being judged for how they look. On one end there are those who say too much emphasis is being put on fashion, make up and outward looks, while, others say dressing modestly is oppressive.

There are things women can’t control about our looks, but the choices we make in how we dress and present ourselves sends messages. Sometimes the message is, “I’m a devout, yet stylish Muslim” or it could be “I dropped the kids off at school and barely made it to work on time, I may not fit your definition of beautiful, but I am fully capable of doing my job.”

It’s tiresome when others try to dictate what’s acceptable for women to wear. Women should be free to wear what they want, according to their beliefs, without being harassed for their choices. It’s normal to make assumptions about others based on how they choose to dress. But even if one doesn’t like how a woman dresses; stylishly modest, frumpy, or even scantily clad, women should still be valued for their contributions and treated with civility.




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