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Islam, Women and Feminism ( 8 Apr 2015, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Shoura Rejects Women Ambassadors

 New Age Islam News Bureau

8 Apr 2015

Aab clothing sells Arabic cloaks, luxury hijabs and flowing gowns. PHOTO: MAIL ONLINE


 UN and AU Work in Partnership to Empower Women in Africa

 More Than 100 Women Vie For Women’s Excellence Award in Saudi Arabia

 Hijab Introduces Islam to Indiana Students

 Practicing Islam at A Catholic University: 'I'm 1 Of 5 Hijabi Students on Campus'

 Duty and Discrimination: Life for Foreign Women in IS

 Recent Muslim Marriages Buck Divorce Trend

 Saudi Sports Fans Rally to Help Impoverished Girl in Twitter Snaps

 Women Who Survived Rwanda's Genocide Share Their Stories of Hope and Transformation

 World's Leading Islamic Clothing Firm Opens First Boutique in London

 ‘When Girls Used To Follow Hindu Culture There Were No Instances of Rape’: Goa Minister

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau





Shoura Rejects Women Ambassadors

08 April, 2015

RIYADH – The Shoura Council rejected a proposal to appoint women in the post of ambassadors.

The foreign affairs committee at the council turned down the recommendation moved by a member Lubna Al-Ansari in this regard. She proposed that women shall be appointed in key positions in the Kingdom’s administrative, financial and technical fields as well as in diplomatic missions abroad.

The committee report noted that it is a policy matter that can be decided by the higher authorities. It also drew attention to the fact that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs enjoys jurisdiction to appoint women in key positions, including that of ambassador, and it will make appointments in key positions after taking into account of the qualifications and capabilities of the officials. The council also rejected another proposal to increase salary of diplomats and other officials working at Saudi missions abroad.



UN and AU Work in Partnership to Empower Women in Africa

08 April, 2015

The first plenary session of the sixteenth session Regional Coordination Mechanism for Africa (RCM) on 28 March 2015 discussed the United Nation's system support to the African Union's Year of Women's Empowerment and Development towards Agenda 2063.

The panel was co-chaired by Mr. Anthony Mothae Maruping, Commissioner for Economic Affairs, AUC and Mr. Carlos Lopes, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, and had as panelists, Mr. Babatunde Osotimehin, Executive Director, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA); Ms. Zainab Hawa Bangura, Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict; Ms. Bineta Diop, Special Envoy on Women, Peace and Security, African Union; Ms. Lukshmi Puri, Deputy Executive Director, United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN-Women); and Dr Matshidiso Rebecca Moeti, Regional Director for Africa, World Health Organization (WHO).

The panelists highlighted the need to give women an equal voice, and increase their access to economic resources; equal accss to decent work and equal pay for equal work; and the need to increase access to family planning services, among others.

Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa, stressed the importance of good health for women given the role that women play in their communities. She highlighted the work of WHO in mainstreaming gender in health care programs, policies and strategies; and its support to countries in developing resilient health systems and investing in health, so as to achieve equitable access to basic health services for everybody, including women and children. Dr Moeti also underlined the importance of good quality data in health that is crucial for situation analysis, action, for decisions and policies as well as for monitoring and evaluation of impact.



More Than 100 Women Vie For Women’s Excellence Award in Saudi Arabia

08 April, 2015

JEDDAH — More than 100 women have been shortlisted for the Prince Naif Bin Abdulaziz Women’s Excellence Award. The General Secretary of Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz Fund for Women’s Development, Hasan Al-Jasser, said the first phase of determining the winner involves gathering information on women leaders in the Kingdom.

“The award’s committee has gathered more than 100 potential candidates by looking into King Abdulaziz Foundation for Research and Archives, King Fahd National Library, King Abdulaziz Public Library, official websites and other known contributors,” said Al-Jasser.

He added the award’s committee completed the second phase of the elimination process as well and is now in its third phase which involves evaluating candidates.

“The second phase is when the committee fact-checks all the information gathered and then cross-references the criteria of the award with the candidates. The committee is now in its third phase where two unbiased committees, other than the committee which chose the candidates, evaluate the shortlisted candidates,” said Al-Jasser.

He added the final stage of the process involves organizing candidates according to the dates of their respective achievements.

The fund’s vice general secretariat Hanaa Al-Zuhair said Prince Naif Bin Abdulaziz had personally overlooked and approved the award process before he passed away.

“All of the information resources of the award are credible. Prince Naif Bin Abdulaziz initiated the award to promote the role of women in society and encourage more women to contribute to their society,” said Al-Zuhair.



Hijab Introduces Islam to Indiana Students

08 April, 2015

CAIRO – Fighting misconceptions associated with Muslim headscarf, Muslim students at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, arranged a hijab handout to their colleagues to educate them about Islam and address stereotypes drawn by media over the past decade.

“People may have Muslim friends that they are able to ask too, but not everyone has a Muslim friend. So we want to be here as that Muslim friend,” Muslim Student Association President Noor Ayesha told Ball State Daily.

The event was hosted during Islamic Awareness week, hosted by MSA to spread awareness about Islam through April 9.

Standing from noon till 3 pm, MSA members offered free scarves on Monday to people wishing to try hijab in the Atrium during their Experience Hijab event.

The MSA members have also shown people how to wear the hijabs.

Ayesha asserted that wearing hijab is a personal decision based on faith for Muslim women.

"[Once, someone] asked why some people get offended when they’re asked about their hijab, and I don't know anyone who gets offended, but I think it’s similar to ... [when] you ask someone who wears tattoos what every single one means. It’s very personal,” Ayesha said.

Along with the hijab experience, the awareness week will host a panel discussing feminism in the Islam faith.

This will be a discussion of Eastern and Western cultures as they apply to women’s rights.

Adding more in-depth to the event, Rachael Collins, a non-Muslim MSA member, paired with a member to show the documentary “Inside Islam: What a Billion Muslims Really Think” on the night of April 6.

“The film directly addresses extremism," Collins said.

"They show research from studies that there are a billion people who practice [Islam] and most of them don’t support this ideology and belief system. The diversity that you see in the Christian faith is the same kind of diversity you see in the Muslim faith."

Islam sees hijab as an obligatory code of dress, not a religious symbol displaying one’s affiliations.

Blowing Misconceptions

Joining MSA as a part of her diversity training, Collins, a clinical mental health counselling graduate student, wanted to challenge anti-Muslim bias.

“There’s a difference between the Islamic faith and the Islamic culture and tradition, and that was a big one," Collins said.

"The women in MSA are very strong, independent, smart and capable, so maybe some of the ideas that I had about gender roles in the faith were really challenged."

The awareness week also hosts a final event with a four-person panel in Ask A Muslim.

The panel consists of two Muslim students and two Muslim professionals.

“[The panelists will] tell you a little about their lives and where they come from and you can ask them questions like, ‘Why do you wear that thing on your head?’ Some people choose to be ignorant and some just haven’t been exposed, and we want to provide that exposure,” Ayesha said.

Discussing current events, including the Chapel Hill shooting in which three Muslim students were killed, the panel hopes to diffuse any misconceptions that can cause further violence.

“We want to bring to light these events ... eliminate the ignorance. We don’t want to take a political approach, we just want to show the human side," Ayesha said.

"These are people who were doing great things for the world and they died."

Though there are no official estimates, the US is home to an estimated Muslim minority of six to eight million.

An earlier Gallup poll found that the majority of Americans Muslims are loyal to their country and optimistic about their future in the United States.



Practicing Islam at A Catholic University: 'I'm 1 Of 5 Hijabi Students On Campus'

08 April, 2015

At Boston College, a Jesuit Catholic university where 70 percent of students identify as Catholic, Fatmah Berikaa says she is the only student who lives on campus and wears a hijab.

Berikaa, an Egyptian-American who grew up in Massachusetts, says she chose BC for its academic programs, its friendly campus and its financial aid. She lives in a dorm on the Upper Campus with other first-years. Berikaa hopes to teach and is studying secondary education and English, with a focus in English as a second language, and minoring in Arabic.

Berikaa talked to The Huffington Post about her experiences on campus -- what she worried about before starting at the school, how strangers approach her with questions, and how she manages living in a dorm and squeezing in prayers between classes. Here's her story, as told to Alexandra Svokos:

I was super worried about attending a Catholic university. I thought I would be the only Muslim on campus. We have a Facebook page for every class here, and I’d scan it looking for names that sounded Muslim, just to get an idea of what to expect. I met a few on Facebook before coming, but I met a bunch more once I got involved with the campus’ Muslim Student Association [MSA].

I’m one of five hijabi students on campus -- women who wear the headscarf -- and I’m the only one who actually lives on campus. Islam is a big part of who I am -- it’s kind of, inside and out, part of my identity -- so I always feel pressure, like I’m essentially representing my religion all the time. It’s hard sometimes, because that’s 1.6 billion people who can be judged based on how I’m seen. I don’t want people to see me having a bad day and generalize that to the entire population.

On campus, people are really open and friendly. People walk up to me and start asking questions. Sometimes people are really offensive without even meaning it, but I’d rather have them ask me outrageous questions and get the right information than go on believing something that’s not true.

A lot of people start off by commenting on the headscarf. They’ll talk about the color, or ask to feel it. And then every once in a while you’ll get ridiculous questions, like “Can you ever take it off?” I don’t shower with it. For the record, that’s not how it works.

I teach ESL in Boston as part of a volunteer program, and a lot of the students there are recent immigrants from El Salvador or Colombia, and they don’t have big Muslim populations in those countries. They’ve never seen a Muslim, so they ask me a lot of crazy questions, like “I heard that men can have four wives...” It’s really sweet that they make the effort.

I love when people ask questions, because it shows that they’re making the effort. So I want to reciprocate and make the same effort.

Once I got here, I found that a majority of the people that I was meeting came from really diverse backgrounds, and that’s great. But it’s also nice spending some time with people who are on the same page as you.

I can’t even begin to describe how much I love our MSA. We’re all going through the same things, so everyone is supportive. We do a lot of things together, too. We do Friday prayers, obviously. We also have social events as a group -- we’ll do lunch after jamaat prayer, we see each other around campus daily. I have a friend who lives down the hall from me, and a couple live in buildings near mine. So it’s nice to hang out together, watch movies, do lunch and stuff.

I applied into the only building that’s all girls, which I love. Interacting with guys in class or in a club is not a big deal at all, but I don’t necessarily want to think, “Hmm, do I have to put on my scarf to go down the hall to wash my hands?” So it’s nice having a little safe space.

My RAs asked me about [boys being on the floor] at the beginning of the semester. I didn’t want it to be awkward -- to be like, “Well, you have to let us know before you bring a man home.” I’ll poke my head out the door to make sure there’s no one in the hallways, or if there is, I’ll just put my scarf on. And then there’s that occasional awkward moment when you get out of the shower and you’re trapped in the bathroom because there’s a man in the hallway.

My religion absolutely affects my student life. Islam puts a big emphasis on how important knowledge is; knowledge is super important in our religion. That’s obviously a motivator when the latest episode of "Downton Abbey" is more appealing than my philosophy essay.

Praying five times a day is great for me because it gives me time to talk to God, and it helps me relax so I can refocus myself. I plan my schedule around prayer times, in terms of classes and work -- it’s not as hard as it sounds. It’s not even about changing a class time, it’s just knowing I need 10 or 15 minutes between each class to get my prayer in.

It’s not a super lengthy process, and all I need is a prayer rug and a clean space. Depending on where I am on campus, I usually pray in my dorm, my friend’s dorm or an empty classroom or lecture hall. I keep a small little prayer rug with me, and it’s not really that big of a deal.

On Jumu’ah -- which is Fridays, the holy day -- we gather in this building that the school provides for us. We call it the hut, though I think it’s technically called the Multifaith Center. But it looks like a hut. It’s really cute. Every week the guides take turns giving a sermon and leading a prayer. The space feels really, really safe and cozy, and it’s always pretty clean. We all look forward to Friday prayer.

You know, there’s not as much bias as I would have thought. Sometimes people will say ignorant things. But it’s never confrontational. Other than that, everyone on campus is really accepting. That’s not always the case in the real world. I’ve had a lot of instances outside of BC where things have happened, or people have been really, really offensive. But that’s not happened at BC, which I was surprised at, but I’m really thankful for.

A lot of people look at Muslims like we’re aliens, like our lives aren’t parallel to theirs. That’s just not true. I giggle out loud when my friend sends me a text. I procrastinate. I stress over finals. I love Nutella milkshakes. We’re just like everybody else.

If people don’t have personal interactions with Muslims, they have no way of knowing that. We’re just “the other.” I want to tell people to go out and meet a Muslim. Just go meet one on the train or at work or whatever. Just make small talk.

If I were to say something to the Muslims reading: It’s our job to represent. We can’t leave people in the dark. They want to understand us, and they need to understand us. It’s important for our religious image that they know who we are and what we’re about.

Islam is such a big part of who I am, and I want people to be able to see the beauty in it, the way I see the beauty in it.



Duty and Discrimination: Life for Foreign Women in IS

08 April, 2015

The blood began to pool on the hospital floor. It had run down the leg of a pregnant foreigner — the wife of an Islamic State fighter — who knew she was having a miscarriage. Yet she was mostly ­ignored by the Syrian medical staff busying themselves with less ­urgent cases. “She wasn’t offered a chair or a bed and nobody even ­returned to check on her,” former Melbourne mother-of-two Dullel Kassab later wrote from her high-rise apartment in Raqqa, the Islamic State capital, adding: “The Muhajereen (migrants) are also subjected to mistreatment and discrimination from the locals.”

This is a glimpse of the true Islamic State, where women are banned from fighting and are ­restricted to domestic duties in days punctuated by airstrikes and hostility from many local Syrians angered by the influx of foreigners and the imposition of an extreme form of Sharia on their daily lives.

When having consistent electricity at night is an event worth tweeting about, it brings into question the laboured efforts by people such as fellow Melburnian Zehra Duman and the Sharrouf family from Sydney to glamourise the jihad lifestyle by posing with AK-47s and BMWs.

“Photographs like these, of girls and women engaging in weapons training and cavorting around bombed-out buildings as if they were training for urban warfare, are inaccurate,” respected British researcher Charlie Winter, who studies Islamic State for the Quill­iam Foundation think tank, wrote last week. “This is not what life is like for muhajireen, the female ­jihadists who have joined IS … It is a false image based on targeted ­obfuscation and exaggeration.”

The image painted by 28-year-old Kassab, who The Australian can reveal is the woman behind a Twitter account popular among female Islamic State supporters across the world, is one of sacrifice and hardship in the name of Allah. Yet she still tells women to join her. “Getting here is ½ the battle,” she wrote in October. “Remaining is the other ½.”

She shows particular anger ­towards Syrian Muslims who begrudge the new “Khilafah” — caliphate — and the foreigners it has attracted, and she has argued that their concerns are inconsequential. “Many Syrians … don’t want Sharia. (Because) they don’t want it, do we abolish Khilafah? The Ummah (global Islamic community) being ready isn’t a pre-requisite.”

Kassab has indicated she is married to a foreign fighter. Far from the large home on Melbourne’s outskirts where she once lived, she and her two children ­appear to live in an apartment in Raqqa, in northern Syrian, where a crooked light fixture “drives me nuts” and where death is a constant occurrence. “Reality hits you when u celebrate a Walimah (marriage banquet) and console a widow on the same day,” she wrote in November.

It is unclear whether she was married when she moved with her children to the conflict zone.

“Of course I teach my child ­patience, love + forgiveness,” Kassab wrote in response to crit­icism of her daughter, 4, declaring “I hate Kuffar (non-believers)”. “But when she’s paralyzed w/fear from air strikes targeting her city cos (Islamic State) enforces Sharia + ppl dnt want Islam to progress … wat do u want me 2 tell her? They dropping bombs of love? She’s not stupid!”

There are few or no schools ­operating; airstrikes make them too dangerous for the children, Kassab says. Instead, her daughter and her even younger son are schooled away from the violence and the hatred of the “kuffar” that perm­eates Raqqa.

The lessons have taken a hold. The little girl has even approached strangers to ask if they love “Dawlah” — Islamic State. “Then she walked up and down saying: Dawlatul-Islam (Islamic State), Baqqiyah (remaining)!” Kassab wrote in an internet post after the girl ­approached patients at a medical clinic.

The son, whose age has not been disclosed by Kassab, has ­required hospital treatment for an infection. Both children “sleep with their guns by their heads” — toy guns — Kassab claims.

Her parents, who know her whereabouts and who have ­received complaints from relig­ious leaders in Melbourne about her ­decision to go to Syria, “reject jihad, from even before IS (was formed)”.

Both remain in contact with her on Facebook. “If we all ­returned due 2 threats of parents, nobody will be left!” Kassab once stated. She regularly counts the number of airstrikes each day, sometimes complaining about their indirect impact on her daily life, but often about the bloodshed they have caused.

“Infuriating when u clean and then an air strike happens … #FirstWorldProblems in #ThirdWorldCountry,” she tweeted. “Its (sic) definitely not good for my OCD tendencies!” What does a “beautiful” day with blue skies mean? “Do the washing of course!”

A “simple delicious” dinner for her husband is photographed: Fried eggs, a fresh tomato, bread and a glass of milk. She watches the propaganda videos released by Islamic State, defending beheadings of Western hostages and bragging about her daughter recognising Barack Obama as a “kafir” while watching one “doco”.

She has adopted a more anonymous persona on Twitter, in an apparent bid to stop anyone identifying her.

On Facebook, where she ­remains friends with many in Melbourne, she is much more open about her identity — but the fact she is in Syria is not readily apparent from the posts. She maintains links to the ­notorious al-Furqan Islamic Centre in Melbourne, praising its “emir” — Harun Mehicevic, aka Abu Talha — and taking to Facebook to complain when it was targeted with graffiti. “Abu Talha is a legend!” she wrote in a long thread with another Australian on Twitter. “He + his family + Furqan Jama’ah (the al-Furqan community) are the most beautiful/humble ppl.”



Recent Muslim Marriages Buck Divorce Trend

08 April, 2015

While divorce rates among recent marriages, in general, have been rising, those involving recent Muslim marriages, before the fifth year of marriage, have bucked the trend.

These divorce rates decreased from 14 per cent for the cohort that married in 2003 to 11.4 per cent for the 2008 cohort, according to findings from a study by the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF).

In comparison, divorce rates before the fifth marriage anniversary for non-Muslim couples have remained about the same for the 2003 and 2008 cohorts, at 5.1 per cent and 5.6 per cent respectively.

The lower divorce rates for recent Muslim marriages may be a result of community initiatives in marriage preparation, as well as enrichment and counselling for Muslim couples, said the MSF in a statement yesterday.

Muslim couples looking to split up have to attend a mandatory counselling programme under the Syariah Court.

Since the programme started in 2004, more than 27,000 couples have taken part.

About 44 per cent of them changed their minds about breaking up after the counselling.

Marriage preparation programmes for Muslim couples have also been enhanced to address the needs of different types of marriages, including that of young couples and remarriages.

There are also support programmes for Muslim newly-wed couples and new parents to help them manage transitions and challenges in marriage, as well as public education efforts via print media, TV and radio dramas.

Mr Mohd Ali Mahmood, senior director of social services at voluntary welfare group PPIS, agreed that the community initiatives have helped.

He said marriage preparation programmes for minor couples, in which one of the partners is below 21, and the mandatory counselling programme for Muslim couples seeking divorce have helped.

"It is important that minor couples get the help they need, as they may lack the resources to make good decisions," he said.

He recounted a case of how a couple seeking divorce changed their minds after he counselled them about three years ago.

The wife felt that her husband was not fulfilling his role as a father and not playing with their child at all.

After counselling, they learnt the husband did not play with his child as he grew up in a family where he did not experience such love from his parents too.

"As women get more educated, they are less dependent on their husbands and more likely to consider divorce," Mr Mohd Ali said.

The husband was later willing to make amends and learnt to be a better parent.

Mr Mohd Ali added: "After couples get counselled, they realise that there are actually many things at stake.

"It's not just a dissolution of a marriage; it's the dissolution of a family with children."



Saudi sports fans rally to help impoverished girl in Twitter snaps

08 April, 2015

A young man was forced to apologize after he posted a selfie with a waste picker wearing an Al-Etihad football team jersey as she was rummaging through a trash can on Sunday, prompting a flurry of angry comments from social media users and cash donations for the girl from concerned citizens.

Users on the popular micro-blogging site Twitter condemned the man’s actions by saying they were insensitive to the plight of the girl.

Many users said they found the picture inhumane and cruel, which forced the man to apologize and give the girl gifts to express his guilt.

The controversial picture, which shows the girl caught off guard as she is rummaging through a large trash can, prompted an outpouring of sympathy in the Kingdom with many people giving her cash donations.

Famous Saudi rally driver Yazeed Al-Rajhi weighed in on the controversy by giving the girl SR50,000 to compensate for the torment she experienced. Another sympathetic supporter gave her an equal amount.

An Al-Etihad fan from Kuwait gave the girl KWD5,000 (SR62,424) and a businessman said he would give her a monthly allowance for life. Another fan of the team gave the little girl tickets to upcoming matches to be held in Jeddah.

Youth Welfare Office head Ahmad Rozy also gave the girl an undisclosed amount of money.



Women Who Survived Rwanda's Genocide Share Their Stories of Hope and Transformation

08 April, 2015

In 1994, from April to July, Rwanda was devastated by a brutal genocide. Hundreds of thousands of Rwandans were murdered and many more were forced to flee their homes and become refugees. During this time, every day, for each minute that passed, six men, women and children were massacred. Hundreds of thousands of women were raped. Because of extreme poverty, more than half of Rwanda's children couldn't continue their schooling.

This war-ravaged nation was left with 70 percent women who had to rebuild the country. In an attempt to rehabilitate, the government encouraged women, especially artisans, to form cooperatives and be entrepreneurial. But the women needed education and tools. How could they learn how to form and manage their businesses and find good venues where they might sell their products? The nonprofit organization Indego Africa was formed in 2007 to partner with these cooperatives and help empower Rwandan women to lift themselves out of poverty. Today they engage with 22 different artisan groups across Rwanda.

Working closely with the cooperatives, Indego Africa offers talented craftswomen opportunities to earn sustainable income and receive education. Most of them have never embarked on entrepreneurial pursuits before. But like the old adage goes, "Teach someone to fish and they eat for a lifetime." The women gain many invaluable life skills. They have received training in design, business management, and technology so they can grow their own businesses. And through Indego Africa's e-commerce website and with collaborations with boutiques and brands around the globe, the women's handcrafted products are available worldwide and online.

At the Twiyubake cooperative in a village in Rwanda's Kayonza District, 30 artisans skillfully weave items from banana leaves. (Twiyubake means "to rebuild ourselves," in Kinyarwanda.) Genocide survivors and widows work side-by-side with the wives of imprisoned génocidaires. In fact, many of the women initially connected through the Prison Fellowship, a non-profit organization that helps foster reconciliation among people affected by genocide.

Belancilla Kangondo is a craftswoman at the Twiyubake cooperative. She explains that before she connected with Indego Africa, she was working as a farmer earning the equivalent of 43 cents a day. Kangondo was struggling to support her family while her husband was in prison because of genocide-related activity. If she had never acquired these skills? "My life would be terrible," she says. "I'd have no house... I would not afford to pay the people who now work in my farm. All I have, I have achieved because of Indego Africa... When someone provides you with knowledge, they give you something very essential."

The Twiyubake cooperative encourages unity and reconciliation as the women make beautiful items like stacking boxes, hats and beach bags. In addition to the Indego Africa website, some of the items have been sold on TOMS Marketplace. And Grace Hightower De Niro (who is married to Robert De Niro), sold the boxes on as gift boxes for her Rwandan Fair Trade coffee, Grace Hightower & Coffees of Rwanda.

April 7th is Rwanda's Genocide Remembrance Day which is followed by a week of remembrance and mourning. To honor this day, Belancilla Kangondo, Jacqueline Musabyimana and Marie Josee Numukobwa, three of the artisans at the Twiyubake cooperative, shared their stories with me. Read the full story here at



World's leading Islamic clothing firm opens first boutique in London

08 April, 2015

An Islamic clothing firm, ‘Aab’ opened its first clothing store in London’s east end, where more than 2,000 shoppers arrived for its opening.

The Islamic clothing firm opened the store in London to compliment its online offering to its growing market.

Customers queued around the block as they waited for the opening and to get their hands on the new designs.

“We are very excited and delighted to be able to launch our first physical store for our clients in London,” said Nazmin Alim, creative director of Aab.

“The city is a key market for us. It’s one of the most important international centres of fashion,” Alim added.

The company was founded in 2007 and creates original designs using in-house designers who take inspiration from global fashion trends and offers bespoke and limited edition collection.

The brand is one of the world’s leading online retailers in the modest clothing sector.

Further, the creative director said “This boutique store represents a physical manifestation of the Aab brand and heritage. It will enable us to present the premium quality of the brand authentically in an appropriate setting so our customers will be able to see, touch and feel our products in an environment we have carefully curated.”

Experts predicted that the UK’s modest clothing market could be worth £100m a year and with customers from America, Canada, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Middle East, Aab said it is one of the world’s leading online modest clothing brands.

Aab said the opening of the London store was the first phase of a long-term growth plan which includes boutiques in key ‘international financial and fashion hubs’ over the next three years including the Middle East, Malaysia and Indonesia.

“Aab set out to create garments that take into account simplicity, style and comfort desired by Muslim women who find themselves playing multiple roles in today‘s society,” Aab said on its website.

“Aab’s concept is based on easy pieces, where a handful of interchangeable items work together to create an entire wardrobe that goes from day to evening, weekday to weekend, season to season,” it added.

Excited fashion lovers of the modest clothing brand took to social media to tweet about the new store opening:



‘When Girls Used To Follow Hindu Culture There Were No Instances of Rape’: Goa Minister

08 April, 2015

Coming out in support of his wife, who stoked a controversy by stating that rapes are on the rise as women are aping Western culture, Goa Factories Minister Deepak Dhavalikar on Tuesday said the “way people dress today, fuels incidents of rape”.

“When girls used to follow Hindu culture, there were no instances of rape. Now, people have changed the way they behave and dress and you have seen how the number of rapes is on the rise,” Mr. Dhavalikar said when asked for a reaction over his wife Lata’s remarks.

Ms. Lata, a functionary of right-wing organisation Sanatan Saunstha, was addressing a convention in Margao on Sunday where she appealed to the parents not to enrol their children in convent schools.

She had also said rapes are on rise as women are aping Western culture.

The minister said what his wife said was true, adding, “Are convent schools teaching about our culture? You meet the students from convent and judge yourself. They have no knowledge about our culture,” he said.

Mr. Dhavalikar further said the platform where Ms. Lata was speaking, is to preach Hindu religious values and there is nothing wrong in speaking from the heart.