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Islam, Women and Feminism ( 28 Apr 2012, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Tehran police in new vulgar dress code crackdown

New Age Islam News Bureau

28 Apr 2012 

 Egypt’s women urge not to pass early marriage, sex-after-death laws
•  India Muslim Women Get Right to Divorce
•  Marriage Law in case of rape Tests Morocco Islamists
•  Qur’an Promotes Women Rights in Yemen
•  Muslim Woman Fights Nigeria Divorce Plight
•  Nigeria Muslims Sue Govt Over Hijab Ban
•  France’s Frontrunner to Uphold Burqa Ban
•  Female British Muslims are at last finding their voice
•  Islam promotes equality, American Muslim woman says
•  Yemen's Child Marriages
•  American Team Don Hijab to Support Captain
•  Saudi officials retreated: Saudi women might gain entry as unofficial participants Muslim Women Fashion Fascinates Australia
•  Wedlock Policy Saves Pakistan Family Life
•  Missouri Jail Allows Muslim Hijab
Complied by New Age Islam News Bureau
Photo: Tehran's police chief, Hossein Sajedinia, said the crackdown on women

Tehran police in new 'vulgar' dress code crackdown
 Apr 28 2012
Tehran: Police in Tehran are conducting a new crackdown on women wearing mandatory headscarves improperly or in "vulgar" dress, the city's police chief said, according to media reports today.
Such operations, which see police screening foot and vehicle traffic at major junctions and shopping centres, are conducted fairly often in Iran.
The latest one was ordered days ahead of the May 4 second round of parliamentary elections, and as the onset of warm spring weather prompts Iranian women to don lighter clothing.
The police chief, Hossein Sajedinia, said the crackdown was "asked for by the people," the Fars news agency reported.
Women wearing "bad headscarves, bad dress, and model-type women in vulgar dress" would be stopped, he said.
Typically, such women are fined or detained in police stations until relatives collect them hours later with more modest clothing.
Sadejinia said that companies importing "illegal clothes" that do not comply with Islamic dress standards would be given a warning or closed.
The police chief said that "thugs" disrupting public order and men "who bother other people's daughters and wives" would also be confronted by officers.

Egypt’s women urge not to pass early marriage, sex-after-death laws
April 28, 2012
Egypt’s National Council for Women (NCW) has appealed to the Islamist-dominated parliament not to approve two controversial laws on the minimum age of marriage and allowing a husband to have sex with his dead wife within six hours of her death according to a report in an Egyptian newspaper.
The appeal came in a message sent by Dr. Mervat al-Talawi, head of the NCW, to the Egyptian People’s Assembly Speaker, Dr. Saad al-Katatni, addressing the woes of Egyptian women, especially after the popular uprising that toppled president Hosni Mubarak in February 2011.
She was referring to two laws: one that would legalize the marriage of girls starting from the age of 14 and the other that permits a husband to have sex with his dead wife within the six hours following her death.
According to Egyptian columnist Amro Abdul Samea in al-Ahram, Talawi’s message included an appeal to parliament to avoid the controversial legislations that rid women of their rights of getting education and employment, under alleged religious interpretations.
“Talawi tried to underline in her message that marginalizing and undermining the status of women in future development plans would undoubtedly negatively affect the country’s human development, simply because women represent half the population,” Abdul Samea said in his article.
The controversy about a husband having sex with his dead wife came about after a Moroccan cleric spoke about the issue in May 2011.
Zamzami Abdul Bari said that marriage remains valid even after death adding that a woman also too had the same right to engage in sex with her dead husband.
Two years ago, Zamzami incited further controversy in Morocco when he said it was permissible for pregnant women to drink alcohol.
But it seems his view on partners having sex with their deceased partners has found its way to Egypt one year on.
Egyptian prominent journalist and TV anchor Jaber al-Qarmouty on Tuesday referred to Abdul Samea’s article in his daily show on Egyptian ON TV and criticized the whole notion of “permitting a husband to have sex with his wife after her death under a so-called ‘Farewell Intercourse’ draft law.”
“This is very serious. Could the panel that will draft the Egyptian constitution possibly discuss such issues? Did Abdul Samea see by his own eyes the text of the message sent by Talawi to Katatni? This is unbelievable. It is a catastrophe to give the husband such a right! Has the Islamic trend reached that far? Is there really a draft law in this regard? Are there people thinking in this manner?”
Many members of the newly-elected, and majority Islamist parliament, have been accused of launching attacks against women’s rights in the country.
They wish to cancel many, if not most, of the laws that promote women’s rights, most notably a law that allows a wife to obtain a divorce without obstructions from her partner. The implementation of the Islamic right to divorce law, also known as the Khula, ended years of hardship and legal battles women would have to endure when trying to obtain a divorce.
Egyptian law grants men the right to terminate a marriage, but grants women the opportunity to end an unhappy or abusive marriages without the obstruction of their partner. Prior to the implementation of the Khula over a decade ago, it could take 10 to 15 years for a woman to be granted a divorce by the courts.
Islamist members of Egyptian parliament, however, accuse these laws of “aiming to destroy families” and have said it was passed to please the former first lady of the fallen regime, Suzanne Mubarak, who devoted much of her attention to the issues of granting the women all her rights.
The parliamentary attacks on women’s rights has drawn great criticism from women’s organizations, who dismissed the calls and accused the MPs of wishing to destroy the little gains Egyptian women attained after long years of organized struggle.

India Muslim Women Get Right to Divorce
April 28, 2012
NEW DELHI – Hundreds of Indian Muslim scholars have unanimously granted women the right to dissolve marriage in case of serious breach of agreement between the couple, Daily News & Analysis news agency reported on Saturday, March 24.
“If Shiqaaq (bitterness or acrimony) arises between a couple and wife is completely unwilling to live with her husband, then utmost effort should be made by the judge to reconcile,” said the ruling, adopted last week at an international Islamic jurisprudence seminar organized by Islamic Fiqh Academy (India).
“In case of non-reconciliation, the marriage should be dissolved.”
Gathering at Mhow in Madhya Pradesh, the ruling was unanimously approved by 300 Muslim scholars who attended the seminar.
It conditioned occurrence of Shiqaaq or disagreement that leads to unwillingness to live as husband and wife.
Following mediation and reconciliation, the dissolution of marriage can occur to avoid grave disagreement.
“It is the duty of the relatives and guardians of the couple to attempt reconciliation and try to keep the couple within the limits set by Allah,” the ruling added.
In Islam, marriage is a sacred bond that brings together a man and a woman by virtue of the teachings of the Qur'an and the Sunnah.
Each partner in this sacred relationship must treat the other properly and with respect.
Divorce is not at all viewed favorably in Islam and is discouraged unless warranted by valid reasons.
Divorce is one of the rights that Islam grants to husbands. In most cases, a husband can claim that right.
However, there are also some cases in which a wife can terminate marriage; for example, by means of khul` (wife's right to obtain divorce under certain conditions).
Muslims account for 160 million of India's 1.1 billion people, the world's third-largest Muslim population after those of Indonesia and Pakistan.
In India, divorce and marriage issues are dominated by All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB), the single largest religious body consisting of scholars of different schools of thought.
The AIMPLB was formed in 1973 to protect and apply Muslim Personal Law in marriage, divorce, succession and inheritance.
In 2005, Shiites and women seceded to form their own separate Boards, the All India Shiite Personal Law Board & the All India Muslim Women's Personal Law Board.

Marriage Law in case of rape Tests Morocco Islamists
April 28, 2012
CAIRO – Permitting marriage at young age in case of rape, Morocco’s marriage law has put the country’s recently elected Islamist government in hot water, following demands for amendments from women’s groups, human rights organizations and left-wing politicians.
“Little girls raped in their village — it happens all the time,” Khadija Ryadi, head of the Moroccan Human Rights Association in Rabat, the capital, told The Washington Post on Monday, April 16.
“But it was important this time, because everyone is waiting to see what the reaction of an Islamic government will be.”
The uproar started when Amina el-Filali, a recently married young Moroccan peasant girl, committed suicide to end her life.
Getting involved in unlawful relationship with Mustapha el-Hallaq, a 23-year-old unemployed laborer, the families of the couple agreed on marriage to save their reputation.
Though the family code, or mudawana, sets 18 as the legal age for marriage for both sexes, it provides for exceptions to be decided by judges on the basis of special legal and social circumstances, including cases of adultery.
In practice, the Justice Ministry estimates the number of such exceptions at about 35,000 a year.
After getting married, Amina took her life on March 10, to become a national cause, an icon for women’s groups, human rights organizations and left-wing politicians.
The uproar set off by Amina’s case has led to an effervescent Internet reaction in Morocco, with demands for immediate change, including a Facebook site named “We are all Amina” and a deluge of tweets repeating the slogan.
Anti-rape demonstrations have been staged in the largest cities, attended mainly by women.
The UN office in Morocco declared that marriage laws should be modernized, and the left-wing Socialist Union of Popular Forces party has petitioned for a parliamentary investigation mandated to recommend amendments.
As the law under attack was based on Islamic jurisprudence and Moroccan tradition, the demands for change presented an unwelcome challenge to Morocco’s new Islamist government, which was elected in November.
“Article 475 [of the panel code] is unlikely to be abrogated from one day to the next under pressure from international public opinion,” Bassima Hakkaoui, family affairs minister, told Moroccan journalists.
Hakkaoui said a change in the early-marriage provisions, contained in Article 475 of the penal code, was not on her agenda.
“Sometimes marriage of the raped woman to her rapist does not bring real harm,” she added.
Hisham Mellati, penal-law attaché of the justice and liberties minister, said that police investigations, citing neighbors, showed that Amina and Hallaq had been involved in unlawful relation for months.
The judge sat alone with Amina to ensure she was not being pressured to accept the marriage.
Therefore, on the basis of the investigation and Amina’s testimony, judges concluded that the sexual relations were consensual and that Amina was a willing partner in the marriage.
Otherwise, if the relations between a young girl and an older man are consensual, there can be a crime classified as “leading a minor astray,” which is roughly parallel to statutory rape.
“The law was strictly followed,” Mellati said.
But Mellati confirmed that a possible amendment for the law was being checked by the Justice Ministry, which has been studying an overhaul of the entire penal code, which dates to 1962.
As for Article 475, which decides on Amena’s case, it will be judged according to the same criteria as other laws and amended “if Moroccan society wants it,” he added.
Islam takes a firm and decisive stance against adultery by prohibiting it as well as closing all the avenues and means leading to it.

Qur’an Promotes Women Rights in Yemen
April 28, 2012
SANAA – Feeling excluded and robbed of their most basic and inherent rights, a Yemeni activist has launched a campaign to promote a fairer treatment of women in Yemen as enshrined in the Noble Qur’an and Islamic teachings.
“The Qur’an clearly states that women are an important part of society, protecting their rights well beyond western standards,” Amal Hassan, a young Yemeni activist, told
Amal, who was a victim of marital abuses, has founded an NGO titled “Haraer” (Free Women in Arabic) to promote rights of women as enshrined in Islam.
She says the NGO aims to free women from the shackles of unfair laws which promote a biased interpretation of the Qur’an.
“Women in Islam are viewed as the very pillars of society, potent beings and valuable assets,” said Amal, whose story dominated Arab and foreign media over her struggle to free herself from an unhappy and abusive marriage.
“Instead the judiciary in Yemen prefers to enslave them in a system which benefits men.”
Amal says her NGO will work to promote a fairer and un-discriminatory culture in Yemen.
Full Report At:

Muslim Woman Fights Nigeria Divorce Plight
By Rafiu Oriyomi
April 28, 2012
ABUJA – A Nigerian Muslim woman is gaining national prominence for campaigning to draw public attention to the plight of widows, divorcees and orphans in Africa's most population nation.
"We intend to focus mainly on the significance of marriage in Islam as well as challenges, problems and prospects," Altine Abdullahi, the head of the Voice of Widows, Divorcees and Orphans (VOWAN), told
"It is going to be a continuous process until we achieve the aim of curtailing the rate of divorce particularly in Kano."
Her organization is campaigning to draw public attention to the plight of divorced and widowed women in Nigeria, especially in the Muslims-majority north.
Abdullahi has recently organized a mass marriage for 1,000 divorced women in northern Kano.
"We believe that only the authorities can make and enforce laws," she said.
"And that is why we insisted that marrying off 1,000 women is not enough, but has to be backed up with a law that will provide for divorce to be more expensive than marriage itself."
She suggests that the amount of alimony should be raised as a step to discourage Nigerians against to divorce.
Full Report At:

Nigeria Muslims Sue Govt Over Hijab Ban
April 28, 2012
ABUJA – Muslim lawyers are planning to sue the state government of Nigeria’s largest state of Lagos to reverse a ban on the wearing of hijab at schools.
“The decision to go to court is a culmination of several events that affect Muslims especially the policy that bans our female children from wearing hijab to school,” Barrister Adesina Ishaq of the Muslim Lawyers Association of Nigeria (MULAN), told
“We feel that Muslims are being denied their right even in a region where they are in the majority.
“All these things point to the fact that those in authority have something against we Muslims.”
Lagos authorities have banned the wearing of hijab at schools. The Muslim outfit is also outlawed in most south-western states.
Full Report At:

France’s Frontrunner to Uphold Burqa Ban
April 28, 2012
PARIS – Scrambling to woo fat-right voters who backed anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant candidate Marine Le Pen in the first round, French socialist presidential frontrunner Francois Hollande has toughened his stance on immigration, confirming that he will uphold ban on burqa.
"In the period of crisis we are going through, limiting economic immigration is necessary and essential," Hollande told RTL radio on Friday, April 27.
"I also want to fight illegal immigration on the economic front. It is not right that a certain number of employers, in a cynical way, are hiring illegal migrants," he said.
The socialist frontrunner won 28.56 percent of the vote, with Sarkozy coming second with 27.07 percent, and far-right leader Marine Le Pen third with 18.12 percent, according to near-complete interior ministry results.
Friday’s concession came as Hollande prepared to face right-wind Nicolas Sarkozy in a May 6 run-off for the presidency.
France has been using the anti-immigrant rhetoric over the past months to woo far-right voters.
Full Report At:

Female British Muslims are at last finding their voice
April 28, 2012
A new generation of fearless Muslim women are actively starting to challenge inequalities that have faced them for generations
Anyone who has worked in British Muslim communities will tell you the very notion of women's rights is still considered a taboo subject. Like many women who have spent years challenging gender-based discrimination, I know how much resistance there is to equality. Recently, there has been talk about an explosion of grassroots feminist organisations – and there is also a new generation of confident, articulate Muslim women who are at the forefront of fighting inequality, which has become part and parcel of everyday life for many British Muslim women.
Full Report At:

Islam promotes equality, American Muslim woman says
April 28, 2012
Aisha Rahman is a American-born Muslim raised in a small town in Tennessee, where her father was a doctor at a small hospital. Her family had emigrated earlier from Pakistan, and from the sixth grade until college, she followed “hijab,” dressing modestly and covering her hair with the traditional headscarf that women of her Muslim faith often wear.
Her first year of college was in 2001 – and after 9/11, she and her family decided her safety was more important than wearing the headscarf, so she reluctantly took it off.
Rahman went on to law school and is now executive director of the Washington, D.C.-based organization known as Karamah: Muslim Women Lawyers for Human Rights. She was in Missoula recently to participate in the annual Mansfield conference on women’s leadership and development held at the University of Montana.
Full Report At:

Yemen's Child Marriages
April 28, 2012
SANAA – Yemenis are marrying off their daughters at a very early age, a practice seen by Muslim imams as rooted in tribal traditions, rather than in Islamic teachings.
"Much of child marriages are rooted in tribal tradition and not in Islam," Sheikh Mohamed al- Iryani, an Imam in Aden, told
He blamed poverty and fear of stigma for the common practice in the Arab Peninsula country.
"Poor families see raising daughters as a heavy burden which they are happy to unload on someone else at the first opportunity," he said.
"It is contrary to our teachings but as long as local Imams agree to perform the ceremonies it will continue.
Child marriages are widespread in Yemen.
Estimates show that 52 percent of Yemeni girls are married off before the age of 18 and 14 percent before the age of 15.
There are some cases in which young girls as little as 8 were being allowed to enter a marital union.
Full Report At:

American Team Don Hijab to Support Captain
April 28, 2012
HOLLYWOOD – Cheering up their Muslim teammate, a Floridian high school football team decided to don hijab before their season finale game to show solidarity with their Muslim captain who has been taunted repeatedly over her religious outfit.
"Everybody looked at us weird," West Broward senior Marilyn Solorzano told Sun Sentinel website on Friday, April 20.
"I understand now everything she went through and how hard it must have been.
“We just wore it for one day, and we noticed the difference. It was hard to keep on. It kept falling and our heads got really hot. You have to give her [credit] for wearing it every day."
Donning hijab in middle school, Irum Khan, 17-year-old captain of West Broward High flag football team, endured far more than the usual pre-teenage taunting.
Early during her first years of high school, some classmates called her a terrorist and cursed at her.
She had rocks thrown at her and was physically attacked more than once.
"I got a lot of weird looks when I started wearing the hijab," said Khan, who first donned the modest clothing in fifth grade and wears long sleeves and tights under her uniform.
Full Report At:

Saudi officials retreated: Saudi women might gain entry as unofficial participants Jere Longman
April 28, 2012
IF SAUDI ARABIA treated women any more dismissively, it could host the US Masters.
After signalling that Saudi women might be allowed to compete in the Olympics for the first time at the London Games, Saudi officials retreated. The only possibility remaining, it seems, is that a few Saudi women might gain entry as unofficial participants. They must walk behind men at home, but apparently cannot walk behind the Saudi flag in London.
"Saudi Arabia has pretty much decided to play hedgehog, head pulled in, spikes out," said Christoph Wilcke, a senior researcher for Human Rights Watch, who wrote a scathing report about the discrimination against female athletes in the ultraconservative Islamic kingdom, where even physical education classes and sports club memberships are prohibited. "They are irked by all this attention."
As the London Games approach, all sorts of mixed messages are being sent about women, some by women themselves, having more to do with what they will wear and how they will behave and how they should be controlled than about how they will perform in competition.
Full Report At:

Wedlock Policy Saves Pakistan Family Life
April 28, 2012
ISLAMABAD – A new Pakistani policy that allows a husband and a wife who are serving in the public sector to be deputed in the same place is winning praise for saving family life in the south Asian Muslim country.
"This is religiously and conventionally a very good step," Mufti Naeem, head of International Binoria University Karachi, told
The Pakistani government has unveiled a "wedlock" policy that allows a husband and a wife to work in the same place for an indefinite period.
"Family is much more important than any other segment of society," Fiza Batool Gilani, a daughter of Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani said last week.
"Therefore, the government is pleased to announce that from now all those couples who are working in public sector will be deputed at same place so that they could enjoy their family life," added Fiza, who is also an ambassador to United Nations for women empowerment.
Full Report At:

Missouri Jail Allows Muslim Hijab
April 28, 2012
ST. LOUIS – A leading US Muslim civil liberties group has welcomed a decision to allow the wearing of hijab in a Missouri country jail.
"We thank all those involved in discussing this issue for their goodwill and flexibility in meeting both the religious needs of those held in the jail and the legitimate safety and security needs of the facility," Faizan Syed, Executive Director of the St. Louis chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said in a press release obtained by on Tuesday, April 24.
The decision followed an earlier request by CAIR-St. Louis to accommodate Muslim women in Missouri jail.
The request came after a Muslim woman, who was jailed recently for several hours because of an unpaid traffic ticket, reported that an officer forcibly removed her hijab.
Full Report At: