New Age Islam
Wed Aug 12 2020, 11:21 PM

Islam, Women and Feminism ( 15 Feb 2020, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Saudi Women Smoke in Public To 'Complete' Their Freedom







Women smoke publicly at a coffee shop in north Riyadh on January 25, 2020. (AFP/Fayez Nureldine)

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Saudi Women Smoke in Public To 'Complete' Their Freedom

Islamic Revolution Paved Way for Women to Be Active: Pres. Rouhani

Where Does Islamic Marriages Stand in British Law?

$40million Incentive Project for Women Entrepreneurs Launched At Global Women’s Forum Dubai

World Bank Group launches initiatives supporting women entrepreneurs 

Israeli Army: Hamas Hackers Tried To 'Seduce' Soldiers By Posing As Young, Attractive Women On Social Media

Compiled By New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: https://www.newageislam.com/islam,-women-and-feminism/new-age-islam-news-bureau/saudi-women-smoke-in-public-to--complete--their-freedom/d/121075

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Saudi Women Smoke In Public To 'Complete' Their Freedom

February 16, 2020

Rima settles in a chair at an upscale Riyadh cafe, looks around carefully, and seeing no one she recognizes, drags on her electronic cigarette and exhales a cloud of smoke.

"I feel that smoking in public is a part of exercising my newly won freedoms. I am happy that now that I can choose," the 27-year-old Saudi who works for a private company in the capital told AFP.

Like Western feminists of the early 20th century, in an era of social change in Saudi Arabia some women are embracing cigarettes, shisha pipes or vaping as a symbol of emancipation.

The sight of women smoking in public has become much more common in recent months, an unthinkable prospect before the introduction of sweeping reforms in the ultra-conservative kingdom.

The kingdom's ambitious de facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, has rolled out an array of economic and social innovations to project a moderate, business-friendly image.

Women are now allowed to drive, attend public sporting events and concerts, and obtain passports without the approval of a male guardian.

Rima, who started smoking two years ago, dismisses concerns about the harmful effects of tobacco, but is worried her family will find out.

"I won't tell them that this is about my personality liberty, because they won't understand that women are free to smoke like men," said Rima, dressed in a traditional black abaya with gold embroidery matching the hijab that covered her hair.

Najla, 26, who like Rima asked to use a pseudonym, said that despite the rapid social changes, double standards still existed, and that it was still considered a "scandal and disgrace" if women smoked.

The only woman lighting up amid several tables of male smokers, she said she intended to "challenge society" and ignore the occasional dirty looks.

"My rights will be fully respected when my family accepts me as a smoker," she said, recalling that a friend was sent to an addiction clinic when her parents found out about her smoking.

Najla started smoking while still a school student, and like her, up to 65 percent of female Saudi high schoolers light up secretly, according to a 2015 study by the medical faculty at King Abdulaziz University cited by Arab News.

Despite the limitations, in a country where until just a few years ago religious police would chase and hit women for infractions like wearing nail polish or allowing a strand of hair to escape from their hijab, the changes have been head-spinning.

"Most of our women clients order shisha. It's something that was totally unimaginable just three months ago," a Lebanese waiter told AFP at an upscale cafe in north Riyadh.

Heba, a 36-year-old longtime smoker who sat at a table nearby, described growing up in a closed country where "everything was forbidden to women".

"I never imagined I would be able to smoke shisha in public next to men," she told AFP.

"Now, everything is allowed. Women venture out without hijab, without abaya and they even smoke publicly."

But even as the kingdom has introduced reforms, it has attracted condemnation for a heavy-handed crackdown on dissidents including intellectuals, clerics and female activists.

In 2018, authorities arrested at least a dozen women activists just before the historic lifting of the decades-long ban on female motorists.

Many of the detained have accused interrogators of sexual harassment and torture. Saudi authorities reject the accusations.

"There is no doubt that at the persona level there is more freedom," said Walid al-Hathloul, whose sister Loujain is on trial over allegations of having contacts with foreign media and diplomats.

"But the reforms in favor of women are part of a public relations campaign to improve the kingdom's human rights record," he told AFP.

"The arrest and demonization of women activists is proof of this -- it's designed so that the reforms will not be credited to the activists," he told AFP.

https://www.thejakartapost.com/life/2020/02/16/saudi-women-smoke-in-public-to-complete-their-freedom.html

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Islamic Revolution paved way for women to be active: Pres. Rouhani

15 February 2020

Speaking on Saturday at the session of Supreme Council of Cyberspace, President Hassan Rouhani congratulated the birthday anniversary of the Hazrat Fatemeh (PBUH) and Woman’s Day and said, “with the victory of the Islamic Revolution, the way for women to be active in different political, cultural and social stages was paved and women today have an active and effective presence in different fields.”

“Before the victory of the Islamic Revolution, because of the atmosphere of that time, women did not appear in the society and were mostly sitting at home, and some families even were cautious about women’s presence and activities in scientific and research fields,” his office's website quoted him as saying.

“Thanks to the Islamic Revolution, women today have an active presence in the society and their presence is completely obvious in NGOs and among university faculty members, researchers and artists,” Rouhani emphasized.

https://en.mehrnews.com/news/155663/Islamic-Revolution-paved-way-for-women-to-be-active-Pres-Rouhani

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Where Does Islamic Marriages Stand In British Law?

February 16th, 2020

The 2018 High Court judgement found the Islamic "nikah" ceremony to be within English marriage law.

The latest decision by the UK Court of Appeal, however, has ruled that the ceremony was "invalid", removing legal protections afforded to divorcing couples.

Mohammed Shabaz Khan married Nasreen Akhter in an Islamic ceremony at a London restaurant in 1998 in the presence of around 150 guests. The ceremony was conducted by an imam.

When the couple separated in 2016, Mr Khan attempted to block his wife's divorce petition on the basis that they had never been legally married.

Judges ruling this week said that the couple's intention to carry out a civil ceremony after the nikah marriage showed that the couple were aware that the Islamic ceremony was insufficient under UK law.

"The parties were not marrying under the provisions of English law," the appeal judges said.

The decision has raised concerns that Muslim women will be increasingly forced to rely upon ad hoc Sharia courts in cases of divorce and family matters.

"Today's judgment will force Muslim and other women to turn to Sharia 'courts' that already cause significant harm to women and children for remedies because they are now locked out of the civil justice system," Pragna Patel, director at non-profit organisation Southall Black Sisters, said.

https://www.albawaba.com/editors-choice/where-does-islamic-marriages-stand-british-law-1339292

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$40million incentive project for women entrepreneurs launched at Global Women’s Forum Dubai

February 16, 2020

Dubai: The World Bank Group announced two new initiatives to improve access to start-up financing and e-commerce markets for women entrepreneurs, at the Global Women’s Forum Dubai (GWFD) 2020 on Sunday.

"I look forward to continuing to spearhead these life-impacting programmes to advance women's economic empowerment for our collective economic prosperity and global stability." https://www.khaleejtimes.com/news/government/ivanka-trump-looking-forward-to-address-dubai-forum …

In Conversation session with Saida Mirziyoyeva, Member of Uzbekistan’s Commission on Gender Equality, at the Global Women’s Forum #Dubai 2020, discussing the path towards gender balance in Uzbekistan. #GWFD2020

“Removing regulatory barriers along with obstacles to access to finance and markets can give women-led businesses the opportunity to succeed.”

Sérgio Pimenta, IFC Regional Vice President for the Middle East and Africa, stated that ScaleX programme is being launched to help women entrepreneurs in emerging markets to access funding at a crucial stage to grow their businesses.

Speaking exclusively to Gulf News on the sidelines of the GWFD, Wendy Teleki, head of We-Fi Secretariat, said termed ScaleX “the first step” to help close the gender financing gap by helping build early stage financing for women entrepreneurs.

IFC research shows that women entrepreneurs in emerging markets face a daunting gender finance gap with only 11% of enterprises that actually attain seed funding being female-led.

New research shows that despite women leading half the start-ups that participate in accelerators—entities designed to train and support the development of start-ups to become investment ready—they continue to face greatly unequal access to capital.

Teleki said the new programme is “meant to expand the number of women who get funding at the conclusion of the accelerator programme.”

“It is an incentive programme [to] work with a broader array of accelerators to help them focus more on getting women to the end goal which is getting them financing,” she said.

We-Fi, housed at the World Bank, has so far allocated close to US$250 million to tackle challenges women entrepreneurs face in developing countries. The allocations aim to reach 114,000 women entrepreneurs. We-Fi is a powerful catalyst for additional investment, helping mobilize more than US$2.6 billion in additional public and private sector funds.

The World Bank and UPS also announced today a new partnership to help women entrepreneurs in the MENA region to grow their businesses by assisting them in successfully leveraging e-commerce platforms.

UPS will provide e-learning modules on different e-commerce topics to help women-owned and women-led small and medium enterprises seeking to expand their businesses across borders.

The project will support an estimated 750 women entrepreneurs and will train a cadre of e-commerce advisors in each country who can provide tailored assistance and coaching to businesses. The partnership will work with entrepreneurs in Algeria, Djibouti, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, and Tunisia.

“By making e-commerce platforms more accessible, this partnership addresses a key constraint faced by women business leaders in reaching new markets,” Ferid Belhaj, World Bank MENA Vice President, said in a statement.

“E-commerce platforms create opportunities, and we must ensure these opportunities are open to women-owned businesses across the region.”

Teleki said the training programme will work across the region to bring women up to the level of being able to access more e-commerce.

“As part of the programme, we have also been doing a lot of work in analytics around the regulatory environment…How do we make sure that women are on a level-playing ground, which is a big challenge in the MENA region.”

We-Fi has made allocations to programmes being implemented by the African Development Bank, the Asian Development Bank, the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development, the Inter-American Development Bank. the Islamic Development Bank, and the World Bank Group.

The World Bank and IFC We-Fi programmes (US$75 million in allocations) are working with private and public partners in 24 countries via 27 investment and advisory projects to enable women entrepreneurs to access finance and markets and amplify those efforts with global research, partnerships, and policy advocacy.

https://gulfnews.com/uae/government/40million-incentive-project-for-women-entrepreneurs-launched-at-global-womens-forum-dubai-1.69744298

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World Bank Group Launches Initiatives Supporting Women Entrepreneurs

16 FEBRUARY, 2020

DUBAI — The World Bank Group announced two new initiatives to improve access to start-up financing and e-commerce markets for women entrepreneurs, at the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi) Middle East and North Africa (MENA) Summit held on the sidelines of Global Women’s Forum Dubai 2020.

“Starting and growing a business is one of the most powerful tools for women to overcome poverty and build better lives for themselves, their families, and their communities,” said David Malpass, World Bank Group President. “Removing regulatory barriers along with obstacles to access to finance and markets can give women-led businesses the opportunity to succeed.”

We-Fi, housed at the World Bank, has so far allocated close to US$250 million to tackle challenges women entrepreneurs face in developing countries. The allocations aim to reach 114,000 women entrepreneurs. We-Fi is a powerful catalyst for additional investment, helping mobilize more than US$2.6 billion in additional public and private sector funds.

At the We-Fi MENA Regional Summit, held during the Global Women’s Forum Dubai 2020, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and We-Fi launched the ScaleX program to incentivize accelerators to support start-up businesses led by women. IFC research shows that women entrepreneurs in emerging markets face a daunting gender finance gap with only 11% of enterprises that actually attain seed funding being female-led.  New research shows that despite women leading half the start-ups that participate in accelerators—entities designed to train and support the development of start-ups to become investment ready—they continue to face greatly unequal access to capital.

The program will incentivize emerging markets accelerators to work with women-led businesses by providing performance-based payments of US$25,000 for every woman entrepreneur that raises US$1 million from investors in start-up funding.

We are launching the ScaleX program to help women entrepreneurs in emerging markets to access funding at a crucial stage to grow their businesses,” said Sérgio Pimenta, IFC Regional Vice President for the Middle East and Africa. “This is a win-win for accelerators, investors, and women entrepreneurs.”

The World Bank and UPS also announced today a new partnership to help women entrepreneurs in the Middle East and North Africa region to grow their businesses by assisting them in successfully leveraging e-commerce platforms.

“By making e-commerce platforms more accessible, this partnership addresses a key constraint faced by women business leaders in reaching new markets,” said Ferid Belhaj, World Bank MENA Vice President. “E-commerce platforms create opportunities, and we must ensure these opportunities are open to women-owned businesses across the region.”

UPS will provide e-learning modules on different e-commerce topics to help women-owned and women-led small and medium enterprises seeking to expand their businesses across borders. The project will support an estimated 750 women entrepreneurs and will train a cadre of e-commerce advisors in each country who can provide tailored assistance and coaching to businesses. The partnership will work with entrepreneurs in Algeria, Djibouti, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, and Tunisia.

We-Fi has made allocations to programs being implemented by the African Development Bank, the Asian Development Bank, the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development, the Inter-American Development Bank. the Islamic Development Bank, and the World Bank Group. The World Bank and IFC We-Fi programs (US$75 million in allocations) are working with private and public partners in 24 countries via 27 investment and advisory projects to enable women entrepreneurs to access finance and markets and amplify those efforts with global research, partnerships, and policy advocacy.

Global Women's Forum Dubai (GWFD) 2020 offers a global platform to discuss improved policies and foster partnerships that further women’s positive impact across four key areas: government, economy, society, and future. Organised by Dubai Women Establishment (DWE) from February 16-17, 2020 under the theme ‘The Power of Influence’, GWFD 2020 brings together over 3,000 attendees – including global leaders, public and private sector experts, as well as entrepreneurs, academics and students – through workshops and keynote sessions.

https://www.zawya.com/mena/en/press-releases/story/World_Bank_Group_launches_initiatives_supporting_women_entrepreneursnbsp-ZAWYA20200216071953/

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Israeli Army: Hamas Hackers Tried To 'Seduce' Soldiers By Posing As Young, Attractive Women On Social Media

16/02/2020

The Israeli military on Sunday said it has thwarted an attempt by the Hamas militant group to hack soldiers’ phones by posing as young, attractive women on social media, striking up friendships and persuading them into downloading malware.

Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus told reporters that the phones of dozens of soldiers had been infected in recent months, although he said the army detected the scam early on and prevented any major secrets from reaching the Islamic militant group.

“We do not assess there is any significant breach of information,” the military spokesman said.

Conricus said this was the third attempt by Hamas to target male soldiers through fake social media accounts, most recently in July 2018. But he said this latest attempt was by far the most sophisticated.

He said Hamas used a number of social media platforms, including WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram and Telegram, to make contact with unsuspecting soldiers. Posing as young women on social media, the group struck up friendships with the soldiers, sending photos, texts and voice messages to them.

The “women” claimed to be new immigrants to explain their poor Hebrew, and even claimed to be deaf or hard of hearing as an excuse for texting, instead of speaking directly on the phone, Conricus said. The profiles appeared on multiple platforms, and he said the photos were disguised to make it difficult to “reverse track” them, giving the accounts additional authenticity.

“We see that the level of social engineering is much higher and much more advanced and sophisticated when compared to previous attempts done by Hamas,” he said. “We see that they’re of course learning and upping their game.”

Eventually, they sent the soldiers links to “seduce” them into downloading what they said was a Snapchat-like app to exchange photos that could quickly disappear, Conricus said. In reality, the links were to three malware programs — Catch&See, ZatuApp and GrixyApp — that allowed Hamas to gain access to the soldiers’ phones.

He said it was “very clear” that Hamas was behind the effort. He said the malware linked to known Hamas servers and at least one of the profiles had been used in a previous Hamas scam. There was no immediate comment from Hamas

Conricus declined to say how many soldiers had been targeted. But he said that dozens had downloaded the malware. He said soldiers had reported the suspicious activity relatively early on, allowing the army and the Shin Bet internal security service to monitor their phones. It is now in the process of removing the malware, he said.

Israel and Hamas, an Islamic movement that seeks Israel’s destruction, are bitter enemies that have fought three wars and numerous skirmishes since the group seized control of the Gaza Strip in 2007.

The enemy sides have been holding indirect talks through Arab and U.N. mediators aimed at reaching a long-term truce under which Israel would ease a blockade on the Gaza Strip in exchange for Hamas assurances to maintain quiet.

But low-level fighting has persisted. Early Sunday, Israel carried out a number of airstrikes on Hamas targets in Gaza in response to the firing of two projectiles from Gaza into southern Israel. No casualties were reported on either side.

https://www.huffingtonpost.in/entry/israeli-army-hamas-hackers-tried-to-seduce-soldiers_in_5e491643c5b64433c617a264

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URL: https://www.newageislam.com/islam,-women-and-feminism/new-age-islam-news-bureau/saudi-women-smoke-in-public-to--complete--their-freedom/d/121075

 

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