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Islam, Women and Feminism ( 18 Jan 2021, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Talaq Given By Man On Internet Is Valid Only After Verification: Theologians

New Age Islam News Bureau

18 January 2021

 • Shabera Ansari, Woman DSP, A Role Model For Youngsters From Muslim Families

• Mumbai: Shabana Shaikh Becomes First Muslim Lady In-Charge Officer Of Dongri Police Station

• Decade After Revolution, Tunisia’s Women Face Uphill Battle

• Female UAE Cop's Inventions Bag Three Gold Medals

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau



 Talaq given by man on Internet is valid only after verification: Theologians

Jan 17, 2021

Hyderabad: Woman theologians attending a workshop of Jamiat-ul-Mominath, the Deeni Madrasa for women, opined that divorce given by a husband over the mobile phone or WhatsApp or through email is valid only after verification. If the husband denies it, such divorce is invalid.

They said that the wife has the right to seek dissolution of nikah in case the husband contracts a dangerous disease like AIDS. In case the wife is suffering from such a disease, the husband can marry another woman but he should not discontinue paying maintenance to his first wife. It is better that he refrains from divorcing the stricken wife, the scholars said.

More than 200 female Muftis and Aalim participated in the deliberations over 150 theological issues in the light of Sharia. The Jamiat-ul-Mominath holds workshops every year to discuss contemporary issues confronted by the community in which female scholars participate.

Dr Rizwana Zarreen, principal, said one of the purposes of the nikah is the fulfilment of natural sexual desires. In cases where dangerous diseases can be transmitted to the partner, the wife can ask for a separation. However, it is not fair for a husband to divorce the wife for the same reason, as a husband can fulfil his sexual urge by marrying another woman. In Islam, men are caretakers of women.

The scholars opined that gender transitioning is prohibited (haram) for women and men as per the Sharia as it is interference in the creation of the Almighty. However, there is an exemption for transgender. A transgender can choose the gender based on dominated sexual traits.

They also opined that depositing breast milk in mother milk banks for Muslim women and feeding children with milk procured from such banks is not permissible in Islam as it impacts fosterage and terms of nikah. Nikah is prohibited among the children who are fed on milk of the same woman.

The scholars said that there is no disadvantage for Muslims in taking the Coronavirus vaccine even if it contains a few ingredients which are haram as the character of these ingredients has been changed. As per the Sharia, injecting any ingredient which is not permitted but used in changed form is permissible to save human life.


Shabera Ansari, Woman DSP, A Role Model For Youngsters From Muslim Families

Jan 17, 2021

Parents in middle-class Muslim families generally believe that their children would hardly get a government job, hence, they find it better to engage them in some work rather than letting them pursuing studies. But a young woman from a middle-class family has busted such myths by becoming the Deputy Superintendent of Police.

Shabera Ansari, a resident of Indore, is posted as DSP (Women's Cell) at Dewas in Madhya Pradesh and her father is posted as a Sub-Inspector at a police station in Indore.

Shabera said she had a normal childhood and there were never big dreams to pursue. When she went to college, at the age of 19, marriage proposals started coming in but fire in the belly to do something egged her on.

Finally, she joined the police forces and became a DSP. Currently, she said, she is preparing for civil services exams.

The young woman said that soon after passing her out of a government school in Indore, she enrolled in a college and started preparing for Union Public Service Commission examinations along with her regular studies.

She was selected as Sub-Inspector in 2013, and in 2018 posted as Trainee DSP in Sidhi.

Shabera's family originally hails from Ballia in Uttar Pradesh, but settled down in Indore about 30 years ago due to his father's job in state police.

"I was an average student in school and also failed in mathematics once," she told IANS with a chuckle.

"A marriage proposal came when I was just 19. I was scared and decided to do something. I started my journey and never looked back. I started preparation for the state government services during college and tasted success in the first attempt... I have continued studying ever since," she said with confidence.  

Shabera further added: "My mother always supported me. Initially, it was not clear if I will opt to join the police, though there was always an interest since my father is in police service."

Surprisingly, Shabera is the first woman in her family to crack state civil service exam and has now become an inspiration for her community.

Many times, she was honoured as chief guest in various functions, including school programmes where she interacted with children who are always curious to know about her journey.

"I always try to encourage children and motivate them to do something in life," Shabera said.

"Little children seem very fond of taking selfies with me," she smiled. 

She said: "I often do counselling of children of Muslim families, especially boys. I tell everyone to trust themselves and study seriously; hardwork will definitely change things." Shabera said she also got to learn a lot from her father. It could be a coincidence that Shabera was incharge of a police station during lockdown where her father was posted.

In fact, her father had gone for some work to Uttar Pradesh when the lockdown was imposed, and he got stuck. Shabera tried to somehow bring her father back but to no avail. Eventually, the police authorities issued direction that he could do duty from wherever he was stuck.

She said that she had many times gone out on patrol duty at night with her father. However, once back home, she used to cook for him.

She said that her father respects her as an officer but Shabera has to many times remind him that she is an officer at office not at home. — IANS


Mumbai: Shabana Shaikh Becomes First Muslim Lady In-Charge Officer Of Dongri Police Station

JANUARY 15, 2021

Shabana Shaikh, who joined the Maharashtra police in 1992, has now become the first Muslim woman in-charge officer in the history of Dongri police station. Her success is inspirational to women in uniform as it breaks many stereotypes.

She was also the first Muslim woman from her district to become a police officer. Shaikh has been serving as an inspector in the special branch (SB-I) in the Mumbai police. “I was born into a large joint family in Akole taluka of Ahmadnagar district. We were seven sisters and two brothers. Educating girls was almost a taboo in my village. However, although my father was little educated, he made it a point to send all of us to school,” she told Hindustan Times.

Shaikh moved to Pune to complete her Masters and said that she always wanted to do something different. “Police service became a natural choice,” she claimed. Adding that she failed to qualify for the direct Maharashtra Public Service Commission (MPSC) examination for the post of Deputy Superintendent of Police. However, she cracked the sub-inspector exam in her first attempt and completed her MA during training. She wants her two daughters to join the IPS as well.

In 2018, Mumbai Police achieved a pathbreaking feat when became the first city in the country to have as many as eight women officers as police station in-charge. These officers also appointed as senior inspectors which is the highest post at police station level in the commissionerate. Taking to Twitter, Mumbai Police had then written, “Eight women police station in-charges a first in any city in the country, protecting the good and destroying the evil, with a smile each day.”

Mumbai’s Matunga Central Railway station became the first all-women station in India.


Decade After Revolution, Tunisia’s Women Face Uphill Battle

By Constantin Gouvy and constantine

17 Jan 2021

Tunis, Tunisia – Ten years ago, Tunisian women poured onto the streets to help overthrow autocratic leader Zine El Abidine Ben Ali after nearly 20 years in power, and, for some, to denounce the patriarchal nature of Tunisia’s political sphere.

“During the 2011 uprising, we dreamt big,” longtime women’s rights activist Neila Zoghlami recalled with nostalgia.

“We dreamt of equal representation. We dreamt we would become full citizens, not just burdened with men’s duties, but also endowed with their rights … we dreamt we would finally be able to carve out a genuine space for women in politics.”

Now secretary-general of the feminist Tunisian Association of Democratic Women, Zoghlami says, despite big strides in the right direction, her dream remains unfulfilled, as women’s political engagement and representation have started to erode.

On the eve of Tunisia’s revolution, despite several decades of “state feminism” initiated by former President Habib Bourguiba upon independence from France in 1956 and perpetuated by Ben Ali’s repressive rule, politics unmistakably remained a man’s world.

On the face of it, Tunisia’s parliament comprised a large number of women. After the introduction of gender quotas on electoral lists, women secured 28 percent of the seats in the 2009 legislative election – a larger share than in the United States House of Representatives in 2021.

But under the guise of increasing representation, Ben Ali had instrumentalised women for political gains, said 34-year-old Hela Omrane, a former member of parliament elected in 2014.

“It was only a PR exercise for the regime,” she told Al Jazeera.

For Omrane, the revolution was the opportunity for women to genuinely become involved in politics, not just to be used as “ornaments”.

Mixed fortunes

To be sure, 10 years on, women have some successes to celebrate.

“After the uprising, a tremendous number of women who had never been engaged politically, never even been on social media because they were afraid of Ben Ali’s regime, found themselves mobilising politically, involving themselves in civil society, and encouraging others to vote in a spontaneous movement throughout the country,” recalled Bochra Belhaj Hmida, a lawyer, politician, and leading Tunisian feminist who spearheaded legislation for women’s rights in parliament between 2014 and 2019.

Since then, political mobilisation has landed women several historic victories.

As voters, women demonstrated their political influence most clearly in the 2014 presidential election, when one million women voted for Beji Caid Essebsi, from the newly formed secular and centrist party Nidaa Tounes, helping him to victory.

In 2012, women parliamentarians defeated an attempt by members of Islamist party Ennahdha to enshrine women’s “complementarity” to men, instead of “equality”, in the country’s new constitution.

In 2017, landmark legislation on violence against women included provisions against the prevention of women entering politics.

Women secured an unprecedented 47 percent of the seats in local elections in 2018.

Yet, in recent years, women’s political involvement and representation have been on the wane in Tunisia.

The trend was especially clear in the 2019 legislative elections, in which only 36 percent of registered Tunisian women voted – 10 percent fewer than men – and only 22 percent of the seats were won by women, some 10 percent fewer than in 2014.

“From 2011 up until 2014, even in rural areas, women entertained an unprecedented interest for politics, closely following debates on the TV,” Dorra Mahfoudh, a sociologist and longtime feminist activist who was part of the transitional authority after the uprising, told Al Jazeera.

“But as the years went by, and as the promises of the revolution went unfulfilled, their political engagement eroded.”

Shunning elections

For Belhaj Hmida, many older women felt betrayed when the government elected in 2014 failed to comprehensively defeat Ennahdha.

Many younger women, she added, do not see themselves as being represented by any of the parties in parliament today.

“No one really speaks to them, in their language, about the issues they care about – so they shun the elections,” she said.

Sonia Ben Miled, a 28-year-old activist and head of communications for the feminist NGO Aswat Nissa, said in rural areas this disengagement is compounded by recurring obstacles, such as women struggling to access transport and often lacking the required identification papers to vote.

The 2019 election also saw a significant drop in the representation of women in parliament; with only 5 percent of women on the electoral lists, they lost some 30 seats.

“There might have been more women in parliament in 2009, but at least now these women are democratically elected, they are legitimate,” Mahfoudh said.

Beyond the reluctance of political parties to include women on their electoral lists, Ben Miled said the disappointing figures were also in part the result of the enduring patriarchal and misogynistic nature of Tunisia’s political sphere.

“There is still a glass ceiling for Tunisian women in politics today. It’s prompting some to call it quits,” lamented Ben Miled.

“One just has to look at the composition of the party’s political offices, the parliament’s commissions, or even the government to see that women are heavily underrepresented in decision-making positions.”

The allocation of ministries also adheres to outdated gender stereotypes, she added.

“You’ll never see a woman heading the interior or the defence ministries – these are still the preserve of men. Women virtually only ever end up with the ministry for women’s affairs.”

Verbal abuse

Verbal violence has also increasingly become a dissuading factor for women who consider entering politics.

“In 2014, there was a genuine drive for inclusivity – we were trying to set up a democracy,” Zoghlami said.

“But today, women’s participation in politics is met with increasingly violent rhetoric.”

Many have denounced the verbal abuse they have received on social media, often targeted at their personal lives and families.

“At first, it wasn’t easy for me to accept the violent backlash each of my media appearances would draw simply because I am a woman working in politics. But I think it was even harder for my family,” Omrane said.

According to Belhaj Hmida, as a result of these trends, “there is no feminism in parliament today, no progressive voices”.

Meanwhile, she said the links between parliament and women’s rights civil society organisations have started eroding, and all that is left in parliament are “retrograde views” on the role of women in politics.

Notably, last December, parliamentarian Mohamed Afess, from the conservative coalition al-Karama, lambasted women’s rights in parliament.

In an infamous speech that has drawn the ire of civil society, he claimed the progress achieved in the field of women’s rights has tainted women’s honour, and that what people call women’s freedom is in fact libertinism and a lack of virtue.

After Afess’s speech, Zoghlami confessed she lost all confidence in parliamentarians’ ability to safeguard the rights women have fought for since the revolution.

“With this new parliament, women have gone back to square one”, echoed Omrane, who had joined politics in 2012 in reaction to Ennahda’s push for women’s “complementarity”.

In stark contrast, Belhaj Hmida said she was happy Afess’s views were aired.

“Look at the uproar it caused – it was encouraging,” she said, referring to the lawsuits several civil society organisations have filed against the parliamentarian.

“Call me a naive optimist, but I think it is a good thing we are having this conversation out loud: muzzling this kind of speech wouldn’t allow us to overcome it as a society.”

‘The fight continues’

Many said reducing the issue to a dichotomy between feminist progressives and patriarchal Islamists is unhelpful and even misleading.

One of Zoghlami’s main causes for concern today is the continued instrumentalisation of women in politics by parties across the ideological spectrum.

“The situation hasn’t changed much compared to Ben Ali’s regime,” she said.

For Belhaj Hmida, “so-called progressive parties only take a stand for women’s rights when it suits them. They’re instrumentalising women and women’s rights just like everyone else.”

Even before the revolution, progressives and opposition parties always told her: “women’s rights isn’t the priority, it’s not the time for it”, she said.

“Today, when ‘progressive’ political parties want to pick a fight with the Islamists and the conservatives, they suddenly become more feminist than the feminists themselves. But that’s just for the show,” she added.

“The rest of the time, they try and divide us by pushing us into a constant state of competition for a small number of positions, instead of fighting with us for more parity.”

As a result, there is only a little cooperation across party lines among women in parliament.

“Women and their political rights are a pawn on the political chessboard. It’s disheartening”, said Ben Miled.

To upend this logic, in 2012, her NGO Aswat Nissa launched the Women’s Political Academy, which has trained more than 200 sitting or aspiring women politicians and community leaders below 35 on how to integrate gender issues in public policies and work across party lines to advance women’s rights.

Meanwhile, looking back at her dream a decade since the revolution, Zoghlami said, despite the difficulties, she is not ready yet to throw in the towel.

“We are still far from equal representation today, but we have won some battles since the revolution, and the fight for securing women’s place in politics continues,” she said.

“We believe in a better Tunisia, and a better tomorrow.”


Female UAE Cop's Inventions Bag Three Gold Medals

January 17, 2021

Major Wafa Ali Al Tayari invented a smart DNA fingerprinting system and a child protection solution against car accidents.

The Abu Dhabi Police have won three gold medals, thanks to the inventions of female police officer Major Wafa Ali Al Tayari.

The DNA expert’s smart DNA fingerprinting system won multiple awards, including gold medals at the Kuwait International Invention Fair and the Korea International Women’s Invention Exposition.

Al Tayari was the only Arab woman to receive a gold medal.

Her other invention was a child protection solution against car accidents.




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