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Islam, Women and Feminism ( 6 Nov 2012, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Saudi Shoura Says Women Must Unveil For Security Reasons

New Age Islam News Bureau

6 Nov 2012


 Sharia law ban (fatwa) on women at Haji Ali shrine evokes protests

 NCW Fumes at Muslim Girls’ Inter-College 'S Diktat on Veils and Banning of Phones

 3 Muslim Sisters in Sharia Court for Molesting 22-Year-Old Man

 Saudi Shura Insists On Photo ID for Women

 I Feel Like Killing All My Kids: Kashmir Acid Attack Mother

 Malala Shooter's Sister Apologises For Attack

 Pakistani Neuroscientist, Aafia Siddiqui Loses Appeal on Shooting Conviction in US Court

 Procter & Gamble Rides On Williams Sisters to Inspire Nigerian Girls

 School-Merger Policy of Pak Punjab: Displaced Girls Continue Protest

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

Photo: Sharia law ban (fatwa) on women at Haji Ali shrine evokes protests





Saudi Shoura Says Women Must Unveil For Security Reasons

 6 November 2012

JEDDAH: Saudi women will have to reveal their faces for security checks before male inspectors if needed, according to a decision made by the Shoura Council on Sunday.

This follows the council’s rejection of a recommendation made by the council’s security committee advising that women do not need to reveal their faces at security checks manned by male officers, as a means of preserving Saudi customs regarding women.

“Essentially the special status of Saudi women is safeguarded in the provisions of other recommendations. The Saudi society is conservative in nature, and no one will force a woman to reveal her face against the provisions of our society,” member of the Education and Research Committee, Abdul Rahman Al-Anad said.

The security committee’s recommendations also suggested employing female officers to be solely in charge of inspecting women, and in the absence of female officers, using fingerprint technology.

The council approved the recommendation issued by the security committee demanding that Saudi women should possess their own national identity cards, Assistant Chairman of the Shoura Council Fahhad Al-Hamad said in a statement.

One of the clauses of the recommendations is an amendment to the 67th clause of the Civil Status Regulations (Royal order No. 7/M of the 22/12/ 1986.) The amended version stipulates that any Saudi citizen who is 15 years old and above must have a separate national identity card.

The second recommendation asserts that a Saudi woman should acquire a national identity card in a phased manner, but within a period of not more than seven years. After that period, the national identity card will be the only document to establish a woman’s identity.

Furthermore, the Interior Minister will be authorized to implement a plan to issue ID cards for Saudi women. The plan will start by ensuring the ID card is mandatory for university admissions, job recruitment, registering for social insurance benefits and passport applications.

Another recommendation suggested by the council’s security committee was to establish female sections in all civil status offices.

The council also made a number of other decisions at its Sunday meeting, including the decision to take more solid steps toward ensuring the availability of plots for the construction of court buildings.



Sharia law ban (fatwa) on women at Haji Ali shrine evokes protests

Nov 06 2012

Mumbai : Mumbai's iconic and religious shrine Haji Ali Dargah has barred women from entering the sanctum sanctorum housing the tomb of the 15th century Sufi saint, a decision that has sparked condemnation.

The management of the Sufi shrine, which is visited by tens of thousands of devotees every year, however, said on Tuesday women are allowed within the dargah's large and open premises.

“Women are not allowed inside the sanctum sanctorum of the Dargah,” said Rizwan Merchant, trustee of the Haji Ali Dargah Trust and also a noted criminal lawyer.

“If Islamic scholars have issued a fatwa, in accordance with the Islamic law of Sharia, and have demanded that women not be allowed in dargahs, we have only made a correction,” said Merchant, defending the decision.

Merchant claimed there are no restrictions as such for women devotees.

“They can read their prayers, do namaz and offer shawls and flowers. All that we are requesting to our sisters is not to enter inside the dargah,” he said.

“The Sharia law claims that no woman can visit a cemetery or a grave,” said Suhail Khandwani, the trustee of the Haji Ali dargah and managing trustee of Mahim's Makhdoom Shah Baba's dargah.

“We allow women in dargah sharif but not at the astana (sanctum sanctorum where a saint is buried)” Khandwani said. The tomb is in essence the grave of Pir Haji Ali Shah Bukhari.

“Most of the women, almost 80 per cent of them, agree with the decision (to impose curbs),” he claimed.

But the decision to restrict women from entering the innermost part of the shrine has not gone down well with a women's group Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA).

The group said it will be raising the issue with the Maharashtra government.

The decision came to light when some members of the Andolan had visited the shrine in August. After noticing that women's entry into the sanctum sanctorum was disallowed, they surveyed 20 dargahs in the city.

“The shrine trustees told us the restrictions were imposed after a woman came inappropriately dressed last year,” said Noorjehan Safia Niaz, founder, BMMA, calling the decision un-Islamic.

Erected on a bed of rocks, about 450 metres into the Arabian Sea and off the coast of Worli in south central Mumbai, the dargah has been immortalised by Bollywood in several movies.

Sufi shrines are known for an inclusive approach to devotees, but some have started segregating men and women visitors and seven dargahs in Mumbai have banned women from entering the astana, Noorjehan said.

“We are writing to Maharashtra minorities minister Arif Naseem Khan, the state minorities commission and the trustees of Haji Ali shrine seeking steps to curb the practice,” she added.

Asked what steps are the trustees taking to clear their stance, Khandwani said, “We are in the process of organising lectures to explain what Islamic laws mean.” Congress leader Digvijay Singh said he is not in favour of the decision and urged Muslim liberals in the country to oppose it.

Echoing Singh's sentiments, BJP's Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said discriminating people on the basis of caste, creed and sex when into comes to entry into a place is not right.

The decision should be reconsidered and reversed, he added.



NCW Fumes at Muslim Girls’ Inter-College 'S Diktat on Veils and Banning of Phones

 November 06, 2012

Kanpur: A school in Uttar Pradesh’s Kanpur city has made wearing of veils and scarves mandatory, other than banning mobile phones by students, leaving the National Commission on Women fuming over this diktat.

Set up on the roadside, the Muslim Jubilee Girls’ Inter-College in Kanpur city is an easy site to spot with veiled students wearing backpacks huddling in groups as they briskly make their way to school.

With no lines of worry or regret, the school management has openly justified its decision by stating that the diktat is in accordance to Islamic culture, while boasting that parents of the students have not complained whatsoever.

“The scarf is a part of the children's uniform; the younger girls will tie scarves on their heads and not their faces. This is not threatening their freedom rather it is a part of their personality. Our older students mostly wear veils,” said Kamal Shayini, school principal.

She also said that mobile phones would hamper the studies of the student, hence justifying the ban.

With the school management making it clear that disobeying the directive would lead to immediate expulsion, students at the all girls Muslim school seem to have already accepted the diktat, some of whom were seen following the instructions.

All students have not welcomed the diktat, some feel it is an infringement of their rights and a basic orthodox way to ban access the benefits of technology.

Another student, who wishes to rebel against the school management, said wearing scarves was still acceptable but banning of mobile phones was objectionable in the times of rising crime especially against women.

Many educational institutions in India do not allow students to don a burqa (veil), which on several occasions have fuelled debates on relevance of traditional Islamic culture in modern times.

Meanwhile, the reports of the diktat have left the National Commission for Women (NCW) fuming, which is now demanding the state government to step in.

Chairperson for NCW Mamta Sharma demanded Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav to immediately take concrete steps in protecting rights and freedom of women in the state.

“Why is the government in slumber? Why is it not taking any action in this matter? The government needs to derecognise the school and instruct it accordingly against the diktat-ordering students to cover their faces and not use mobile phones. I think the government is at fault. The government should shut down such schools,” said Sharma.

Diktats by religious or rural bodies curtailing freedom of women or gender-biased directives over usage of mobile phones etc. are not new in India. (ANI)



3 Muslim Sisters in Sharia Court for Molesting 22-Year-Old Man

6 November, 2012

Three sisters of the same parents are currently before a Sharia court in Gusau, Zamfara State, for allegedly molesting a 22-year-old man in the town during Ramadan.

The three ladies are currently before the Higher Sharia Court, New Market, accused of molest and assault of the man, Abdulrahman Suleiman, two months ago while the man was on duty at the state Ministry of Women Affairs.

The suspects, whose ages were between 19 and 23 years, were Yahanatu Ibrahim, Wasila Hassan and Rukkaya Hassan. The prosecutor informed the court that they were all residing in the Government Reserved Area (GRA) of Gusau metropolis.

When the case came up on Thursday, the judge adjourned it till November 13 to allow more witnesses to testify.

The case had been on since August. During the first court appearance, the prosecutor, Hashim Ibrahim, had told the court that the plaintiff, who is a member of the Boys Scout, was posted to the ministry as one of the security men.

He also said that the three defendants went to the man on that fateful day in the morning before the commencement of the daily Ramadan preaching session which was usually held in the ministry and demanded he should take them to an office.

However on getting to the said office, the prosecutor said the ladies forcefully pushed him inside the office and removed his trousers and one of the accused ladies had oral sex with him. Thereafter, the court was told that the two other accused persons later had sex with him.

When the judge, Alkali Sanusi Muhammad Magami, asked the accused persons about the incident, they all pleaded not guilty.

The judge then adjourned the case to August 27, while the suspects were granted bail.

When the case came up on August 27, an interesting dimension was brought into the matter when a witness, Muawiyya Salisu, told the court that the ladies only held his manhood and this made the young man to faint.

Salisu disclosed that the ladies came to the Ramadan lecture hall playing music on their handsets and the man asked them to switch-off their phones which they refused.

He said about 20 witnesses were expected to appear and testify in the court.

The judge, for the second time, adjourned the case to September 10. He also granted bail to the accused persons without conditions.

Under the strict Islamic law (Sharia) being observed in the state, if the ladies unmarried were found guilty of molest, the penalty would be 80 strokes of the cane plus one year jail term for each of them. However, if the ladies were found to have assaulted the man, they could be fined and sentenced to not less than six months imprisonment.

However, the mother of the ladies, Hajia Salame Hassan (60), who expressed sadness about the incident, told the Saturday Tribune that she had never envisaged that at her age, she would not find comfort. “Comfort had eluded me. Every day, I raise my hands up praying to God to bring peace to me and members of the household.”

Hajia Salame insisted that her daughters were innocent. According to her “some people who witnessed the incident told me that my daughters were victimised.”

She told the Saturday Tribune that one of the ladies had a suitor and because of the noise made over the incident, the man had decided to stop the relationship.

She disclosed that her neighbours were even making jest of her family, adding that “sometimes, I spent the whole day inside my room because of the shame of facing my neighbours. I have trained them well. They are all always indoors. I don’t allow them to mix freely with those I feel are of unquestionable character.”

Findings by the Saturday Tribune revealed that two of the accused, Yahannatu Hassan and Wasila Hassan, are students of the state School of Nursing, while Ruqquya is a student in one of the secondary schools in the state capital.

According to the mother, she would not give up until she sees her children all graduating from their respective schools. She told the Saturday Tribune that her only wish now is to see the end of this case in favour of the ladies.



Saudi Shura insists on photo ID for women

Security committee’s proposal to exempt women from requirement rejected

By Habib Toumi

November 5, 2012

Manama: Saudi Arabia’s Shura (Consultative) Council has turned down a proposal by security officials not to require photographs from women for their identity cards.

The proposal stressed the “significance of protecting the values of Saudi Arabia regarding women” and suggested that women be identified only by their finger imprints. However, the Shura, taking a stand in favour of modern administrative procedures, said that the proposal by the security committee could not be accepted and that identity cards bearing photos had become a necessity to deal with security and crime concerns as well as law violations.

Full report at:



I feel like killing all my kids: Kashmir acid attack mother

November 6, 2012

KHOI RATTA: A couple who killed their teenage daughter by dousing her in acid spoke Tuesday of their sadness and regret at the attack which they said they carried out to protect family “honour”.

The parents poured acid over 15-year-old Anusha at their home last Monday after seeing her looking at boys. The girl died two days later after suffering 70 percent burns, according to doctors.

Rights activists say more than 900 women were murdered last year after being accused of bringing shame on the family in some way.

Full report at:



Malala shooter's sister apologises for attack

Nov 6, 2012

ISLAMABAD: The sister of a man suspected in the shooting of Malala Yousufzai has apologised to the teenage Pakistani rights activist, saying that her brother had brought shame to their family.

"Please convey a message to Malala, that I apologise for what my brother did to her," Rehana Haleem said, referring to the actions of her 23-year-old brother Attahullah Khan.

"He has brought shame on our family. We have lost everything after what he did. What he did was intolerable," Haleem told CNN.

Full report at:



Pakistani Neuroscientist, Aafia Siddiqui Loses Appeal on Shooting Conviction in US Court

November 6, 2012

NEW YORK: A US appeals court on Monday upheld the conviction and 86-year prison sentence of a Pakistani neuroscientist for shooting at FBI agents and soldiers after her arrest in Afghanistan.

The 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals in New York said a lower court judge had not erred in allowing Aafia Siddiqui, 40, to testify in her own defence at trial and in allowing certain evidence against her.

Siddiqui, whose conviction was widely criticized in Pakistan, was sentenced by US District Judge Richard Berman in September 2010. She was convicted by a New York federal jury of attempted murder, armed assault and other charges.

Full report at:



Procter & Gamble Rides On Williams Sisters to Inspire Nigerian Girls



In a bid to excite the female segment of the Nigerian market, handlers of Always, from the stable of Procter & Gamble, recently joined forces with international tennis stars, Serena and Venus Williams, to empower and inspire girls at the Government College, Ikoyi, Lagos.

To many, Serena and Venus are perfectly placed to boost the morale of the girls. Their life story showcases passion, determination, hard work and self-belief that has triumphed over obstacles and circumstances to become world champions on and off the tennis court.

Full report at:



School-Merger Policy of Pak Punjab: Displaced Girls Continue Protest

By Mudassir Raja

November 6, 2012

RAWALPINDI: Students of Pak Islamia Girls’ Primary School held a protest once again on Monday to raise their voice against the Punjab education department’s school-merger policy.

Nearly 50 girls gathered outside the Cantonment Police Station and demanded an independent school building in the Saddar area.

Carrying banners and placards, the girls, who have been studying under the open sky for the past two months, refused to attend classes at a nearby boys’ school in the evening.

“The Punjab government has not built any school in Saddar in 65 years. Instead, they are vacating the schools already present,” said Malik Naeem Ahmed, who has four daughters studying in Pak Islamia School.

Full report at: