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Islam, Women and Feminism ( 18 Nov 2015, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Senegal Bans Burqa to Stop Terrorists Disguising In Islamic Dress

New Age Islam News Bureau

18 Nov 2015 

Photo: Scenes inside the Al-Azraq camp for Syrian refugees on July 9 in Azraq, Jordan.  (Charles Ommanney/The Washington Post)


 Senegal Bans Burqa to Stop Terrorists Disguising In Islamic Dress

 Why Young American Women Are Joining ISIS

 Mass Graves of Women 'Too Old to Be ISIL Sex Slaves' - This Is What We're Up Against

 Paris Attacks: 'As a French Muslim Woman in a Hijab, I Can Feel People's Fear'

 Zara Fires French Employees for Barring Woman Wearing Headscarf

 Muslim Woman Traumatized After Being Called Terrorist during Vicious Attack

 Unidentified Armed Men Gun down Woman in Kabul’s Kart-e-Naw Area

Compiled By New Age Islam News Bureau




Senegal Bans Burqa to Stop Terrorists Disguising In Islamic Dress

Simon Allison in Johannesburg, 18 November 2015

Senegal has banned women from wearing the burqa, amid rising fears of Islamic extremism in the west African country.

The interior minister, Abdoulaye Daouda, said women would no longer be allowed to wear the Islamic dress, which leaves only the eyes exposed. Daouda said the decision was a question of national security and was designed to prevent terrorists from using the burqa as a disguise.

An estimated 92% of Senegal’s population is Muslim. Although the country has not suffered a terrorist attack recently, authorities are concerned that the Islamic militant group Boko Haram, based in north-eastern Nigeria, may be trying to extend its range. This month, police arrested five people suspected of having ties to Boko Haram as part of a nationwide crackdown.

Senegal is not alone in west Africa in banning the burqa. This year Cameroon and Chad, also Muslim-majority countries, issued similar orders citing similar reasons. “Senegal is just following the trend,” said Martin Ewi, a senior researcher at the Institute for Security Studies.

He said the ban, though difficult to enforce, had been reasonably effective in both countries. “You still have the villages and far corners of the country where people don’t always respect the ban,” he added.

However, the ban was not a foolproof solution, Ewi warned. Two days after Chad instituted a ban, two burqa-clad bombers blew themselves up in N’Djamena, killing at least 27 people including several police officers. “They deliberately wore the burqa to attract the attention of the police,” Ewi said.

The burqa ban has been the subject of debate within Senegal, with commentators struggling to balance the national security imperative with religious freedom. “Its imposition in Senegal will cause social instability … there is a delicate line between preventive measures and respect for individual freedoms,” said Khadim Mbacke, a Dakar-based researcher.

Mbaye Niang, a Muslim leader and member of parliament, said the new law was designed to protect Islam. “We should not allow someone to cover their entire body like terrorists do. This is a tradition of some countries but it has nothing to do with Islam,” he told the local newspaper Le Quotidien. The reason terrorists use this method was because they wanted to attack the religion, he added.

Farid Essack, a religious studies scholar at the University of Johannesburg, said that context was key and the justifications used in Muslim countries did not necessarily apply elsewhere.

“In some political contexts, I find [the banning of burqas] deeply disturbing and an extension of Islamaphobia. I don’t think that the Chadian response is a manifestation of Islamophobia,” he said. “Chad … has had several bombings, a number of them were seemingly perpetrated by [fully covered] men, and I don’t think that it is unreasonable, in that context, to insist people should not be completely veiled in public.”


Why Young American Women Are Joining ISIS

By Danielle Paquette

November 17 2015

Toward the end of the century, Westerners who fled their home countries to fight in Afghanistan or Bosnia shared a common characteristic: They were practically all men. Today’s militant recruits, however, represent a dramatic demographic shift.

Most are just entering adulthood. They often meet terrorists online. They’ve asked in covert chats: Do you have hair dryers, or should I bring one?

One in seven are women, according to a new report.

An estimated 4,500 Westerners have ditched home for the Islamic State or other Sunni jihadist groups in Syria or Iraq. Researchers at New America, a nonpartisan think tank in Washington, D.C., collected data on 474 of these cases. They found in news reports an unprecedented number of radicalized women sneaking across borders.

“They often appear to be typical teenagers,” said Brigitte Lebans Nacos, a political science professor at Columbia University who studies terrorism. “They ask about hair dryers. They’re looking for romance. They’re fans of ISIS, like others are fans of pop stars.”

The average age of women in New America’s data set is 21. A third of the female converts are teenagers. Many are active in jihadist Web circles, occasionally using Twitter to connect with recruiters. Others have familial ties to jihadism — relatives fighting in Syria or Iraq, a lover who’d dedicated his life to the cause.

[Read the Post's deep look at women and the Islamic State: 'Till martyrdom do us part']

Roughly 250 Americans have attempted to join jihadists in Syria, according to government estimates. One in six are women. They display similar traits to Western fighters overall: young, digitally savvy and connected through blood to jihadism.

Erin Marie Saltman, a counter-extremism researcher for the Institute for Strategic Dialogue at the King’s College in London, said observers seeking to understand the phenomenon should forget gender stereotypes.

Many female recruits are drawn to Islamic State Web propaganda, Saltman said, which depicts women as “lionesses” working with men to build an extremist utopia. Some teenagers, still struggling to understand who they are, may embrace the hyper-conservative and violent ideals as they reject their own materialistic cultures. Others express anger over the perceived persecution of Muslims and a desire to find a sisterhood with similar beliefs.

“These women are denying being sexual objects of the West,” Saltman said. “They refuse to be objectified. They use the veil so they cannot be sexualized.”

In April, Buzzfeed published an interview with a 20-year-old American woman who ran away from her home in Alabama to marry an Islamic State fighter in Syria. The interview was conducted over the messaging app Kik, making it impossible to verify who actually typed the responses or whether they were coerced.

The woman, identified by other outlets as Hoda Muthana, spoke of finding no friends with mutual values in her home town.

“I literally isolated myself from all my friends and community members the last year I was in America,” she said in the interview. “As I grew closer to my deen, I lost all my friends, I found none in my community that desired to tread the path I was striving for.”

The reality she encountered in Syria is probably far from the happy partnerships perpetuated online. Experts believe everything an Islamic State woman sends into cyberspace is monitored by a man. “You’re not being allowed to go online and say ‘#gloomyMonday in the caliphate,’” Saltman said. “We know we’re looking at propaganda.”

Women in the caliphate cannot leave their houses without their husband’s permission. Those who lose their spouses in battle are forced to quickly remarry. They aren’t permitted to engage in battle, unless an emergency calls for last-resort soldiers.

Earlier this year, the al-Khanssaa Brigade, an Islamic State women’s group, released a manifesto that outlined a female fighter’s duty.

“Her creator has ruled that there was no responsibility greater for her than that of being a wife to her husband,” according to the English translation by Charlie Winter, senior researcher at the Quilliam Foundation in London. The document stated that girls as young as 9 may marry.

The Post’s Kevin Sullivan recently visited a refugee camp in Jordan, where he met women who said they’d escaped the grasp of the Islamic State. His interviews support evidence that women in the caliphate are second-class citizens.

“Those women, usually drawn by romantic notions of supporting revolutionaries and living in a state that exalts their religion, can quickly find themselves part of an institutionalized, near-assembly-line system to provide fighters with wives, sex and children …” Sullivan wrote. “Many local women find the restrictions extreme, backward and terrifying.”

Danielle Paquette is a reporter covering the intersection of people and policy. She’s from Indianapolis and previously worked for the Tampa Bay Times. Follow her on Twitter: @Dpaqreport.



Mass Graves of Women 'Too Old to Be ISIL Sex Slaves' - This Is What We're Up Against

By Sophy Ridge, Sky News political correspondent

18 Nov 2015

In the desert dust of Sinjar, in North West Iraq, a walking stick lies on the ground.

Strewn casually alongside it are a couple of pairs of scissors, some household keys and a shoe. Bank notes flutter in the dirt.

But, if you look a little closer, the scene becomes a horror show. Clumps of hair and fragments of bone poke grotesquely out of the ditch. It is estimated that almost 80 women are buried in this mass grave, aged between 40 and 80-years-old. The bodies are of Yazidi women, murdered by Islamic State butchers.

As the world prayed for Paris, more than three thousand miles east another atrocity was being uncovered.

A girl lights candles to honour victims of the Paris terror attacks at Alliance Francais Manila in Manila, PhilippinesPeople around the world are mourning the Paris attacks  Photo: Dondi Tawatao/Getty Images

Last week Kurdish forces – backed by British and American air strikes – liberated Sinjar from Islamic State militants, along with 28 other villages.

They discovered two graves. The first – containing the corpses of older women – was found west of the city’s centre, near the Sinjar Technical Institute. The second was ten miles west, and is believed to contain men, women and children. It is rigged with explosives and deliberately difficult to access.

The Kurdish government team will analyse the bodies in an attempt to uncover the grim story of what happened here.

But let’s be frank: it is not difficult to guess.

Over the past year, Islamic State forces have kidnapped thousands of young Yazidi women to use as sex slaves. Now we know what happened to those not deemed ‘attractive enough’ for them.

    Some recovered belongings. 500 men of kocho village were shot; the women raped or killed by IS. Points to genocide.

   — Quentin Sommerville (@sommervillebbc) November 15, 2015

French President Francois Hollande has called the sickening atrocities carried out in Paris “an act of war” committed by Isil.

But for the Yazidis, persecuted in Iraq, this is not just a war. It has all the marks of genocide.

Reading about what happened to the Yazidis is difficult. At a time when the west is still mourning the victims of the co-ordinated terror attacks in Paris, more horrific news can seem too much to bear.

But the massacre of the Yazidis cannot be ignored if the true nature of the enemy in Hollande’s ‘war’ is to be understood.

French President Francois Hollande waits for U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on the steps of the Elysee Palace in ParisPresident Hollande has declared 'war' on Islamic State  Photo: REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer

The Yazidis are a religious sect whose faith incorporates parts of several ancient Middle Eastern religions. To Isil, they are 'devil worshippers' – the lowest of the low – who should be either killed or enslaved.

In August 2014 the militants overran Yazidi territory in Sinjar and began killing and kidnapping thousands of men, women and children. The United Nations has already acknowledged that what happened in those dark days may be considered genocide.

In the village of Kocho, Isil militants gave the inhabitants a deadline by which to convert to Islam. If they refused, they would die.

Hundreds of men and boys were slaughtered; many killed by point-blank shots to the head or were pushed off cliffs. More than a thousand women and girls were kidnapped. The brutal sexual violence against these women and girls – passed around by Isil fighters – has been well documented.

Yazidi women hold small fires to make a wish for the Yazidi new year, at the holy shrine of Lalish, 35 miles north of the militant-held Mosul, IraqThousands of Yazidi women and girls were kidnapped by Isil  Photo: AP

Last year, one 17-year-old girl, part of a group of about 40 Yazidi women who were still being held captive and sexually abused on a daily basis by Isil fighters, told how they were raped on the top floor of the building, up to three times a day, by different groups of men.

"Our torturers do not even spare the women who have small children with them. "Nor do they spare the girls - some of our group are not even 13 years old. Some of them will no longer say a word."

Now, another chilling part of the picture has been filled in: what happened to the older women.

After a two day offensive to recapture Sinjar, last Friday, Kurdish forces were met by young Yazidi women who had somehow managed to escape the clutches of the Isil kidnappers. They led their liberators to ditches containing the bodies of their mothers and grandmothers.

    According to @EzidiPress, a 3rd #Yezidi mass grave has been discovered in #Sinjar bringing total body count to 190.

   — Julie Lenarz (@MsJulieLenarz) November 15, 2015

According to the survivors, these older women were taken behind the technical institute in the Solagh area, east of Sinjar. After a pause, gunfire was heard.

The belongings scattered by the dusty mass grave in Sinjar show this is no ordinary war. Elderly women who use walking sticks are not soldiers.

Islamic State’s attitude to women has been brutally laid bare in its division of the Yazidis into those who were young and beautiful enough to rape, and those who were not. Mothers and grandmothers who seemingly could not command a price in the sex market (reportedly a 'packet of cigarettes') were simply slaughtered.

It's hard to imagine women being reduced to pieces of meat in a more savage manner.



Paris Attacks: 'As a French Muslim Woman in a Hijab, I Can Feel People's Fear'

By Radhika Sanghani

18 Nov 2015

After terrorists attacked the Charlie Hebdo offices in Paris last January, Islamophobia in France stepped up a gear.

To be precise, there was a six-fold rise in Islamophobic attacks during the first quarter of 2015, compared to the year before. That amounted to more than 220 anti-Muslim acts reported over three months.

Now after the tragic attacks in Paris that took place last Friday night, it's no surprise that many French Muslims are worried there will be another huge increase in Islamophobia.

   Je suis une jeune musulmane, voilée. Et je serais surement encore plus dévisager demain pourtant je ne vous veut aucun mal ? #MessageDePaix

   — Imane Oum Imrân (@Ingrid_imran) November 14, 2015

    These are testing times for us #Muslims here in the West. I have never seen so much #islamophobia around me. I'm afraid to leave the house!

   — ????? ???? (@MehreenTweets) November 17, 2015

"I’m afraid people will blame the Muslim community,” says Dounia Benallal, a 23-year-old student at the Paris-Sorbonne University and member of non-profit organisation Etudiants Musulmans de France (Muslim Students in France).

“After the Hebdo attacks we faced a rise in Islamophobia and it was worse for female Muslims. They were physically assaulted by people on the street. [The attackers] focus on women because they see females as weaker.”

As a Muslim woman in a hijab, Benallal knows she’s a likely target for racism. Her headscarf is an obvious symbol of her religion, and she’s already noticed more people staring at her on the streets of Paris than ever before.

“They way they look at you sometimes, you can feel they’re afraid. They’re connecting you with Isis and terrorism. For them, I’m responsible for what happened.”

But Benallal refuses to apologise for the terrorists. She has eschewed hashtags like #NotInMyName - which her fellow Muslims use to condemn Isil. Instead she's chosen #NousSommesUnis (#WeAreAllOne) to show solidarity.

“What they do isn’t related to any religious purpose and they’re using it as an excuse," she says of Isil. "There’s nothing Islamic whatsoever in their acts. Why should I have to apologise for them?”

Many of her Muslim friends are already changing their behaviour following the attacks. She says they don’t go out after 6pm in case they’re targeted, and she too is trying to be extra vigilant.

“I make sure I’m never alone when I’m outside. Of course I also pay attention to people around me. Sometimes I’m afraid. I’m still in shock at what happened. It was awful on Friday on Saturday on Sunday – and it still is.

“But I’m not going to let myself be scared. The terrorists want us to feel fear. They want to spread fear in the French Muslim society, but we’re all together. We’re all French. I’m trying to look at the positives.

“They targeted people with no discrimination on Friday. Muslim people died."

Dounia Benallal

“I have seen a lot of supportive comments on social media and remarks from people in the street, telling me ‘we know you’re not connected with them’," she explains. "The majority of French people understand the difference between Islam and Isil.”

Several French Muslim people died in the Paris attacks. And, days before, a suicide attack in Beirut killed 43, many of whom were Sunni Muslims. Last year a UN report found that in the first eight months of 2014, Isil was the “primary actor” responsible for the deaths of 9,347 in Iraq.

“They targeted people with no discrimination on Friday. Muslim people died too. And just look at who they’re targeting in Syria and Iraq: Muslims.

“It’s nothing to do with religion,” adds Benallal. “People are starting to see that.”

   Muslim victims represent the largest death toll by ISIS. If you're incapable of grasping that, you have no business reporting on this.

   — Sabrina Siddiqui (@SabrinaSiddiqui) November 16, 2015

It’s why she's trying her best to confront those who are guilty of prejudice. When people stare at her hijab, she doesn’t lower her eyes anymore – she greets them.

“I will try to say to that person, ‘hi, how are you’, and smile and be courteous. That’s my way of dealing with Islamophobia on a daily basis.

“As Muslims we will stay strong and try to talk to people and have a discussion instead." #NousSommesUni indeed.



Zara Fires French Employees for Barring Woman Wearing Headscarf

AFP — Nov 18, 2015

PARIS: Zara fired two employees from a French store on Tuesday after social media outrage over a woman being denied entry for wearing a Muslim headscarf.

“This type of mentality is unheard of at Zara and there have never been instructions given out to act this way,” said Jean-Jacques Salaun, head of Zara's French stores.

Salaun said a security guard at the store in Plaisir, west of Paris, asked the woman to remove her headscarf, known as a hijab. When the woman refused, she was not allowed to enter.

French law bars people from wearing full-face veils such as with the burqa or the niqab, but the hijab covers only a woman's hair.

The Spanish company confirmed it had dismissed the manager and security guard.

The incident occurred during a tense weekend in France following jihadist attacks that left 129 dead.

Video of the encounter was posted on social media, prompting calls for a boycott.

Salaun said he offered the woman a full apology as soon as he heard about the incident.

“Respect for diversity is the fundamental pillar on which Inditex (Zara's parent company) was founded, with more than 140,000 employees worldwide representing a rich multitude of cultures and religions,” Zara said in a statement.



Muslim Woman Traumatized After Being Called Terrorist during Vicious Attack

Posted Nov 17, 2015

A Muslim woman was picking up her child from Grenoble Public School in Flemingdon Park on Monday when she was attacked by two men, police told 680 NEWS and CityNews.

Police said the incident occurred around 3 p.m. near Don Mills Road and Eglinton Avenue East.

The brazen assault on the woman is being treated as a hate crime, according to police.

The two men approached the woman and started hurling anti-Islamic and racist profanities at her.

    Attackers yelled obscenities at Muslim women as they beat her. "You terrorist, you don't belong here. You piece of Sh*!@, go back home"

    — Momin Qureshi (@Momin680NEWS) November 17, 2015

Police said the men started calling the woman a “terrorist” and said “go back to your country.”

One of the men started punching the woman in the stomach and a second man ripped off her hijab during the assault. The woman yelled for them to stop.

    Victims brother says she was attacked from behind, grabbed by her hijab, thrown to the ground, & punched several times in the stomach & face

    — Momin Qureshi (@Momin680NEWS) November 17, 2015

    "She was on the ground, yelling stop, please stop" – Owais, brother of Muslim women attacked and beaten near Don Mills and Eglington.

    — Momin Qureshi (@Momin680NEWS) November 17, 2015

Police said her cellphone was stolen during the assault.

A day after the attack the 30-year old woman told CityNews she born and raised in Flemingdon neighborhood.

The hospital band still sits around her wrist and her two children, ages three and six, are beside her as she lies on the couch.

She recounts the traumatizing incident saying the men called her “dirty sh*t” before punching her.

Today, the woman was too fearful to send her son back to school.

“They are still out there,” she said. “Don’t say my name. Don’t show my face.”

The woman’s brother, a man named Owais, said he was shaking with rage when he first heard about the incident.

“I was already told on the phone that the situation looks like a hate crime, from an officer that called me,” he said.

The entire interview with Owais by 680 NEWS reporter Momin Qureshi can be heard here:

Owais said that when he arrived on scene an ambulance was already taking his sister to the hospital.

“When I saw her obviously she was crying … her kids were crying,” he said. “Which is a scene that no human wants to see.”

Owais said that normally his sister has her three year old with her when she goes to pick up her two other children from school, but thankfully decided to leave the three year old with her sister.

She was taken to hospital and was complaining of severe stomach pains but was released from hospital later the same day.

When she arrived at the hospital a doctor treating her started crying and said that there is now way this could have happened here.

Owais said his sister was protecting her face when the man was punching her and that she also got hit in her jaw.

“I don’t know what human, if they are human, could do that to anybody,” he said.

Owais said that the neighbourhood is a tight knit community and “according to my sister she has never seen these males in this community.”

His sister said the men were between the ages of 30 and 35 years old.

Police are searching for two suspects and described them as white men.

“The main thing is we need to get together as a community of Muslims, as Torontonians, and catch them,” said Owais. “This is not going to beat us … we are not going anywhere.”

Police said that the surveillance videos that they have viewed have not been helpful.

And not far from where that attacked happened, a relative of the woman found anti-Muslim graffiti written on the wall inside their apartment building on Saint Dennis Drive, which says “Muslims not welcome.”

Police have confirmed that they’re investigating but so far have found no connection between the assault and the graffiti.

    Just up the street from where the Muslim women was beaten, this was written on the wall of a nearby building.

    — Momin Qureshi (@Momin680NEWS) November 17, 2015

Anyone with information is being asked to contact police.



Unidentified Armed Men Gun down Woman in Kabul’s Kart-e-Naw Area

By Zabihullah Moosakhail - Wed Nov 18 2015

Unidentified gunmen have shot dead a woman in 8th police district of capital Kabul.

The incident took place in Kart-e-Naw area around 09:00am on Wednesday.

Eyewitness said gunmen were riding on a motorbike who fled the area after spraying bullets on the woman, adding that the woman died on the spot.

Soon after the incident security force arrived at the incident site and cordoned off the area.

The victim was teacher of a kindergarten but motive behind the attack is unknown.

Her sister who was working at Kabul International Airport was reportedly gunned down in a similar attack a year ago.

No group has immediately claimed responsibility for today’s attack but police have launched an investigation into the incident.