New Age Islam
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Islam, Women and Feminism ( 4 March 2010, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Saudi Woman Gets 300 Lashes, Jail for Complaints

US Chooses moderate Asifa Quraishi over Feminist Hawk Hirsi Ali for Women’s Rights Commission

Muslim women barred from flight to Pakistan after refusing full-body scan at Manchester Airport

Women Work toward Equality in Muslim Societies

The many voices and stories of Muslim women

Women, equality and Islam: Rethinking the faith to meet the expectations of modern man

Many Muslim women have gone further than many Muslim men in several fields, says scholar Asghar Ali Engineer

Afghan women lawmakers hamstrung by warlords: activist

No burqa, no problem, Bangladesh court tells police

Hamas Says No to Men in Women's Salons

Women in world parliaments low at 19 percent: UN

Women’s Day: As a proposal of the Socialist International, Women’s Day (IWD)

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islam,-women-and-feminism/saudi-woman-gets-300-lashes,-jail-for-complaints/d/2538

 

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Saudi Woman Gets 300 Lashes, Jail for Complaints, Group Says

By Henry Meyer

March 03, 2010

A Saudi woman who filed harassment claims in Saudi Arabia without being accompanied by a male relative has been sentenced to 300 lashes and 18 months in jail, Human Rights Watch said.

Sawsan Salim lodged a series of complaints in 2007 at government offices and in court in the northern region of Qasim in which she alleged harassment by local officials, the New York-based rights group said. She was sentenced in January on charges of making “spurious complaints” against government officials and appearing “without a male guardian,” the group said in an e-mailed statement received today.

“In Saudi Arabia, being a woman going about her legitimate business without a man’s protection is apparently a crime,” Nadya Khalife, women’s rights researcher at Human Rights Watch, said in the statement. “The government needs to free Sawsan Salim and keep its promise to end this discriminatory system.”

Bandar bin Mohammed al-Aiban, president of the government- run Saudi Human Rights Commission, couldn’t be reached immediately for comment.

Saudi Arabia, which maintains a code of Islamic morals, said in June at a meeting of the Geneva-based United Nations Human Rights Council that it would end the male-guardianship rule, said Human Rights Watch.

The system requires women to get permission from a male relative to go to classes, work, to travel, open a bank account or receive non-emergency medical care. It also requires a woman to be accompanied by a male guardian to conduct public business, HRW said.

King’s Promise

King Abdullah has promised to bolster the role of women and modernize the religious-dominated education system to promote economic growth in the world’s largest oil exporter. In February last year, he replaced the head of the religious police and top judicial body as part of changes that saw a woman appointed as deputy minister for education, the first such high-level job occupied by a Saudi woman.

Justice Minister Mohammed al-Eissa announced Feb. 20 that the government plans to draft a law that will allow female lawyers to appear in court. The measure will allow them to represent clients in child custody, divorce and other family- related cases, he was cited as saying by Arab News.

Wahhabism, a Sunni Muslim movement, is the dominant form of Islam in Saudi Arabia, the only country in the world that doesn’t allow women to drive on public roads.

--Editors: Heather Langan, James Hertling

To contact the reporter on this story: Henry Meyer in Dubai at hmeyer4@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Peter Hirschberg at phirschberg@bloomberg.net.

http://www.businessweek.com/news/2010-03-03/saudi-woman-gets-300-lashes-jail-for-complaints-group-says.html

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Surprise, Surprise, the US Chooses Islam Apologist Asifa Quraishi over Feminist Hawk Ayaan Hirsi Ali for Women’s Rights Commission

March 04, 2010

Ayaan Hirsi Ali is a courageous freedom fighter, a true Feminist Hawk who lives under threat of death for her fierce opposition to Islamic subjugation of women.

Asifa Quraishi is a University of Wisconsin law professor who publicly insulted Hirsi Ali’s integrity last month by accusing her of highlighting cherry-picked portions of Islamic law that portray Islam unfairly.

Care to guess which woman’s views will be represented by the United States delegation to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women this month?  Ding, ding, ding! That’s right; Asifa Quraishi is one of five public delegates joining the U.S. delegation headed by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Quraishi is a specialist in constitutional law and Islamic jurisprudence who has written at length about the viability of Islamic law tribunals in the United States and the similarities between the Qur’an and the Constitution.  She says “the inherent gender-egalitarian nature of Islam” has been perverted, and that Islam and democracy go hand-in-hand.

When Ayaan Hirsi Ali took the stage at the University of Wisconsin-Madison on February 2, she painted a starkly different portrait of Islam. “The American creed and the Islamic creed are two competing ideas. They are as different as day and night,” she told the crowd of 1,300. “Islamic doctrine is incompatible with American theory,” she said, noting that in Islam it is “a matter of principle to oppress women.”

Hirsi Ali described her experiences as a young Muslim in Somalia. She explained that “Islam sanctions a special kind of hatred against women,” and that “the emancipation of the Muslim woman is the key to reforming Islam.”  Watching the video of her lecture is well worth your time:

http://www.newsrealblog.com/2010/03/04/surprise-surprise-the-un-chooses-islam-apologist-asifa-quraishi-over-feminist-hawk-ayaan-hirsi-ali-for-womens-rights-commission/

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Muslim women barred from flight to Pakistan after refusing full-body scan at Manchester Airport

By Caitlin O'connell

March 3rd 2010

Following the issue of a fatwa last month forbidding Muslims from passing through controversial full-body scanners, two Muslim women at Manchester Airport in England became the first passengers to refuse a scan, the Daily Mail reports.

Although the Transportation Security Administration has said that going through the scanners is optional for all passengers, according to a report in the Detroit Free Press, the two women were barred from their flight to Pakistan in accordance with a directive from the English government.

The women were traveling together to Islamabad when they were selected at random by security officials to be screened with the full-body scanner. According to The Daily Mail, one of the women refused to pass through because of religious objections, while the other cited medical reasons.

Airport staff then informed the women that they would not be allowed to board the Pakistan International Airlines flight if they were not willing to be scanned. The women agreed to forfeit their tickets, valued at about $600 each, and leave the airport with their luggage.

An estimated 15,000 people already have passed through the scanners since they were introduced at Heathrow and Manchester airports on Feb. 5, including Muslim passengers. The women were the first to refuse to be scanned.

The machines render a detailed naked outline of the scanned individual’s body that the Transportation Security Administration says is immediately destroyed.

Full-body scanners have not only come under fire from Islamic scholars for violating the faith's teachings on modesty, but also from civil libertarians, who say the devices are analogous to a strip search.

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/2010/03/03/2010-03-03_muslim_women_barred_from_flight_to_pakistan_after_refusing_fullbody_scan.html

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Women Work toward Equality in Muslim Societies

Mehnaz M. Afridi

March 3, 2010

International Women's Day on March 8 provides an opportunity to raise awareness of the work women are doing to combat gender inequality. Violence and inequality affect women around the world, including women in Muslim societies who, like their non-Muslim counterparts, are engaged on a day-to-day basis to improve their environments for the better.

Traveling back and forth to Muslim-majority countries such as Pakistan, I witness the amazing work that women are doing both for human rights and economic growth firsthand. Women are running companies, shelters and businesses, and countering the images of disenfranchised, illiterate and socially deprived Muslim women so pervasive in Western media.

Bushra Aslam, for example, opened an orphanage in Islamabad for young girls after the 2005 Pakistani earthquake. She provides educators, mentors, counselors and interfaith activities for the 45 girls living there. Another inspiring figure is Rukhsana Asghar, the president of Fulcrum, a Pakistan-based human resources consulting company that offers scholarships to train girls from poor families in preparation for jobs.

Full report at: http://www.worldpress.org/Mideast/3508.cfm

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The many voices and stories of Muslim women

March 3, 2010

Last night I had the honor and pleasure of moderating a panel discussion on "The Many Voices of Islam: Drawing a Distinction Between Culture and Religion" at St. Catherine's University. The panel was organized in conjunction with a touring exhibition of art by women from Muslim cultures, which you can read about here.

The goal of the evening was really quite simple - to share stories, and help people who aren't familiar with Islam to understand the size and diversity of the Muslim diaspora, especially in regards to women.

One of the frustrations shared by many of the panelists was how they feel lumped together into a stereotype of a silent, oppressed woman dressed all in black. Imani Jaafar-Mohammad is a lawyer and a partner with her husband in their firm. She says she knows many people assume she wears a head scarf because he forces her to, but in fact it was entirely her own decision. Her modest dress did not stop her from swimming competitively or playing on a basketball team.

Full report at: minnesota.publicradio.org/collections/special/columns/state-of-the-arts/archive/2010/03/the-many-voices-and-stories-of-muslim-women.shtml

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Women, equality and Islam: Rethinking the faith to meet the expectations of modern man

March 03, 2010

It is the only way to overcome the contrast between the verses of the Koran and sayings of the Sunna of Muhammad that sometimes do not point in the same direction. Some praise women or speak neutrally about them, others say they are temptresses and that hell is populated by women.

On February 20 last, the University of Italian Switzerland, located in Lugano, organized an international meeting on the situation of Muslim women. They had invited a certain Dr Huda Himmat as chair of the debate, who developed the following title: "Submissive ... to whom?! Muslim women speak for themselves".

Who is Huda Himmat? She is a freelance entrepreneur, has a Masters in International Law from the University of London, and until recently was the vice-president of FEMYSO (Forum of European Muslim Youth and Student Organizations) whose headquarters is in Brussels.  She is the daughter of Ali Ghaleb Himmat, who was born in Damascus in 1938, a naturalized Italian since 1990 and resident in Campione d'Italia.  He is co-director of Taqwa Bank, the Bank of the Muslim Brotherhood and head of Islamic Gesellschaft in Deutschland, founded by Sa'id Ramadan, the father of Tareq and Hani Ramadan. Huda Himmat grew up in Campione d'Italia, and for some months, is a spokesman of the "Islamic Community of Ticino”. 

Full report at: www.speroforum.com/a/28290/Women-equality-and-Islam-Rethinking-the-faith-to-meet-the-expectations-of-modern-man

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India: Muslim women can move forwards wearing the veil

Many Muslim women have gone further than many Muslim men in several fields, says scholar Asghar Ali Engineer

March 04, 2010

A few days ago, Muslims in Karnataka took to the streets to protest the publication of an article against the Islamic veil by the ‘Kannada Prabha’ newspaper, ostensibly by well know writer Taslima Nasreen. Because of her liberal views on Islam, she has been living in exile for the past 16 years. ...

A recent protest by thousands of Muslims in Shimoga and Hassan (Karnataka) has resulted in the death of two people, and the injury of another 50. Scores of cars were damaged and many stores were set on fire. The violence broke out when a local daily, the Kannada Prabha , published an article attributed to dissident Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen in which she says that Muhammad was opposed to veil. In fact, Nasreen has denied ever making such a claim, insisting that she has had no dealings with the newspaper.

In response to violence, the authorities imposed dusk-to-dawn curfew to prevent possible retaliation against local Hindus. However, police said the situation was still tense.

In Mangalore, someone yesterday someone threw a Molotov cocktail against the offices of Kannada Prabha. Two other newspapers also had their offices stoned.

Full report at: www.speroforum.com/site/article.asp?id=28429&t=India%3A+++Muslim+women+can+move+forwards+wearing+the+veil

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Afghan women lawmakers hamstrung by warlords: activist

March 04, 2010

WASHINGTON — Afghan women may hold a quarter of the seats in their country's parliament but many are mere mouthpieces for warlords, who continue to set the legislative agenda, an Afghan women's rights activist said.

"Today we have 68 women in the parliament, 25 percent... We have a group of women high in quantity, but low in quality," Voice of Women director Suraya Pakzad told a meeting in the US Congress to mark International Women's Day.

Many of the women lawmakers in Afghanistan were elected with "the support of warlords" and now have to answer to those warlords, Pakzad said.

"Those women don't have voices, they don't have the right to raise their voices. They have to have their mobile phone and call the warlord who supported them... and ask them whom they should vote for or not vote for," she said.

"We need quality women in parliament. We don't need 68 women who just sit in parliament. We would be better with 10 women who have strong voices there," she added.

Having a presence in parliament was one sign that Afghan women have come a long way since the fall of the repressive Taliban regime in 2001, Pakzad said.

But there was still a lot of ground to cover to ensure that all Afghan women enjoy basic human rights, she said.

The three million Afghan women who were widowed by 30 years of war need jobs to support their families, child marriage must be stopped, and there should be no more public floggings like two weeks ago, Pakzad said, when warlords had two women whipped for running away from abusive husbands.

Under the 1996-2001 Taliban regime, Afghan women were routinely beaten in public and even stoned to death for perceived breaches of Islamic law.

They were excluded from all public activities, including school, and could only leave home accompanied by a male relative.

Pakzad repeated a call for women to be included in any dialogue with the Taliban, whom President Hamid Karzai has said he wants to include in negotiations to bring peace to Afghanistan, which has been at war for most of the past three decades.

Pakzad set up Voices of Women in Afghanistan in 1998, teaching women to read under the noses of the Taliban.

Last year, Time Magazine named her one of the world's 100 most influential people.

Copyright © 2010 AFP.

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No burqa, no problem, Bangladesh court tells police

04 Mar, 2010

DHAKA: Bangladesh's High Court has ordered police in the Muslim-majority country to stop harassing women who choose not to wear the full-face veil, lawyers said Wednesday.

The order was in response to police officers in the northern town of Rangpur who on Monday detained nine teenage couples found in “compromising positions” at a local zoo and allegedly ordered the girls to wear the burqa or niqab.

Wearing the veil is not mandatory in Bangladesh and the police action drew loud protests from women's rights groups, prompting lawyers to apply to the High Court for a ruling on the issue.

“The High Court ordered late Tuesday that if a girl or a woman does not wear a burqa, she cannot be harassed or humiliated by anyone,” lawyer Mahbub Shafiq, one of the petitioners, told AFP.

Deputy attorney general Rajik Al Jalil confirmed the ruling, saying: “A girl can only be arrested if there is a criminal case against her, not because of what she is wearing.”A full investigation into the incident has been ordered by the court.

Bangladesh has the world's fourth-largest Muslim population. Islam is the state religion although only a small but visible minority of the country's women wears the burqa.

Rangpur police chief Saleh Tanvir denied that police had ordered girls to wear the burqa.

“We picked up nine couples as they were found in compromising positions. We took action after we received numerous complaints from people that they couldn't take their families to the zoo because of these couples,” Tanvir said.

He added that the couples had been released to their parents or guardians. –AFP

http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/news/world/18-no-burqa-no-problem-bangladesh-court-tells-police-am-04

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Hamas Says No to Men in Women's Salons

04 March 2010

roup Hamas Thursday banned men from working in hair salons or beauty parlors that cater to women, part of a campaign to enforce a stricter interpretation of Muslim law.

Hamas officials said any man who continues to cut women's hair will be arrested and tried in court.

Islamic extremists in Gaza have been waging a campaign against cafes and shops that sell or play music deemed unsuitable, as well as against Christian institutions.  They have called on Hamas to impose a more fundamentalist brand of Islam.

One hairdresser who is impacted by the ban - Barakat al-Ghoul - told the Associated Press he fears he will no longer be able to make a living.

Al-Ghoul said he had been cutting women's hair for 26 years.  He insisted he did not violate Islamic law because he only cuts hair and does not do makeup.

http://www1.voanews.com/english/news/middle-east/Hamas-Says-No-to-Men-in-Womens-Salons-86392742.html

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Women in world parliaments low at 19 percent: UN

March 04, 2010

The number of women in the world's parliaments is lagging at just under 19 percent with some in Pacific or Islamic countries counting none at all, according to a new UN study.

The United Nations had set a target for 30 percent of leadership positions to be held by women by 1995.

But in 2010 the global average of female participation in parliaments had reached 18.8 percent, according to the Inter-Parliamentary Union study released ahead of International Women's Day on March 8.

"We are a far cry from this goal (30 percent)," said Rachel Mayanja, the UN Secretary General's Special Adviser on Gender Issues.

"We cannot afford any further delays in action to achieve the gender equality goals, including for women's political participation," she said.

Countries that counted no women parliamentarians included Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Oman, as well as the Solomon Islands, Palau and Micronesia in the Pacific.

The highest proportion of women parliamentarians was in Nordic countries such as Sweden with 46.4 percent, Iceland with 42.9 percent and Finland with 40 percent.

But it was an African country -- Rwanda -- which topped the study's list with female lawmakers at 56.3 percent.

South Africa was in third place with 44.5 percent, Mozambique ninth place with 39.2 percent and Angola 10th with 38.6 percent.

http://www.expatica.com/ch/news/swiss-rss-news/women-in-world-parliaments-low-at-19-percent:-un_28539.html

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Women’s Day

Jahanshah Rashidian

March 4th, 2010

As a proposal of the Socialist International, Women’s Day (IWD) was celebrated for the first time in many industrial nations in 1910, 03,08. March 8th was the day women demanded the right to vote and hold public offices, their right to work, vocational training, and an end to discrimination in jobs.

Since then, the International Women’s Day is commemorated on March 8 and is a national holiday in several countries around the world. It symbolises a long-standing struggle of women of all continents and ethnic, religious, cultural and social backgrounds.

IWD is a symbol of women as an integral part in the making of history. It symbolises a denial of all forms of religion- and culture-based gender-discriminations, which consider women less worthy than men. The day is rooted in the historical struggles against the Dark Ages of European Church and in the demand for “liberty, equality, fraternity” during the French Revolution.

IWD has today assumed a new global dimension for the establishment of women’s rights in developed and developing countries alike. Nevertheless, the growing international political Islam, strengthened by the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a serious barrier in the way of achieving this goal. Despite many coordinated efforts globally, the international community, including the United Nations, practically ignore the fate of hundreds of millions of Muslim women, who are conscious or unconscious victims of Islamic states or dominant Islamic traditions of misogyny.

Full report at: http://www.mideastyouth.com/2010/03/04/womens-day-2/

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islam,-women-and-feminism/saudi-woman-gets-300-lashes,-jail-for-complaints/d/2538


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