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Islam, Women and Feminism ( 27 Apr 2019, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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The Khanquah Munemia and Masjid, the Famous Sufi centre of Patna, India, To Open Its Doors for Women This Ramzan

New Age Islam News Bureau

27 Apr 2019


 Young Muslim Women Told Hijabs Don't Make Them 'Look Canadian'

 Egyptian Woman Brutalized in Arab Spring Protest Continues Rights Campaign

 'Protected Behind Bars of Morality': AMU Women Condemn Posters Depicting Them as Caged Bird

 ‘Women Can Change Fate of Muslim World’ Say Women Members of Saudi Majlis-e- Shura

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau




The Khanquah Munemia and Masjid, the Famous Sufi centre of Patna, India, To Open Its Doors for Women This Ramzan

Apr 26, 2019

Reena Sopam

Canadian woman tells Muslims they don't 'look Canadian' because of clothing | KATV


In a first, women in Patna will have an opportunity to attend the Taraweeh Ki Dua, the special prayers performed at a mosque during the month of Ramzan, the month of special prayers and recitation of Holy Quran,

The Khanquah Munemia and Masjid, the famous Sufi centre at Mitan Ghaat in Patna City locality, has decided to create this facility for the women and have already begun the preparations for the holy month expected to begin from May 6.

At the Mitan Ghaat mosque, women namazees will not only have an exclusive corner for the prayers and recitation of the Quran, but there will also be an exclusive Haafiz, an expert on the Quran, for them.

The mosque authority said, the women will also have an exclusive zone for Wazu, a kind of ritualistic purification or ablution before the formal prayers, which forms an important part of ritual purity in Islam.

This mosque is different from the several other mosques dotting the state capital in several ways. It contains tombs of Sufi saints and scholars, Mulla Mitan and Hazrat Makhdoom Munem Pak. While the Khanqauah is popular worldwide for its huge collection of manuscripts and books on Sufism attracting a large number of visitors of different faith and religion, the mosque too attracts non- Muslim devotees in large numbers.

“In the coming months, this Khanquah will turn into a University on Sufism. We have a plan to promote harmony between communities and also highlight the shared culture of this country through this Sufi study centre. At the same time, we are also aware of the expectations and aspirations of women in our community and want them to feel what Islam has for them,” Hazrat Syed Shah Shamimuddin Ahmad Munemi, Sajjada Nashin (administrative head) of the Khanquah, said.

Muenmi said, after few deliberations and discussions among members, it has been decided to make special arrangements for the women to attend the Taraweeh Ki Dua at the mosque this Ramzan. “We are planning to create this facility on the first floor of the mosque while the ground floor will be dedicated to men,” he said.

According to Munemi, there is a lot of confusions about women’s entry into mosque among both the believers and non-believers. “Let me clarify that women’s entry into mosque is not banned at all. There have been certain myths about it, which still rules minds of several believers. This is why one would hardly see women offering Namaaz at any mosque in the city or in any other part of the state,” he said.

To make the things more clear and explicit, the Mitan Ghaat mosque, he said, has planned this special facility for women for the Taraweeh Ki Dua. Any woman may attend it during the Ramzan, he said.

Siddiqui Saheb, a teacher from Oriental College, Patna City, said women were welcome even on regular days. “But making special arrangements for them were not possible because there’s space constraint,” he said

Akhtari Beghum, a city based social activist, while welcoming the initiative, said it would support and promote Muslim women’s rights. “Women need such kind of arrangements, ambience and promotions to visit the home of Allah quite often to offer prayers,” she said.



Young Muslim Women Told Hijabs Don't Make Them 'Look Canadian'

April 26, 2019

An Ontario university has condemned an incident on its campus during which a woman told a group of young Muslim Canadian women that their hijabs and long black clothing didn’t make them “look Canadian.”

In footage posted to Facebook, a white woman in a pink puffer jacket describes what she says is a standard look for young Canadian females: “the ripped jeans, the little jean jacket and the running shoes. And they don’t wear scarves and they don’t wear black.”

The group of six Muslim friends were standing outside the Wilfrid Laurier University library in Waterloo, Ont., when the woman in the video stopped to stare at them “like zoo animals,” wrote Shama Saleh in a Facebook post.

“This happened to us because being born and raised in Canada is not enough for people that look like us,” wrote Saleh.

The university released a statement Wednesday condemning the woman’s words and offering support for anyone in the school community affected. “This incident is incongruent with the values of equity, diversity and inclusion that we strive to foster at Laurier,” the statement read. The school added that no one involved appeared to be a staff member at the university, though one of the young women is an alumnus. The group was told a special constable is investigating the incident.

In one of the clips, the woman says her concerns are not with the colour of the women’s skin or enforcing a dress code. “I have a lot of friends that are from different countries that were born here. I’ve worked with them, they’re part of my family. I don’t put a colour to it,” the woman says. “We just want everybody to come here and love our country the way we love it and assimilate.”

In an interview with, one of the young women said that the group was uncomfortable but remained composed. They had just gotten out of a focus group session about empowering women through a Muslim fashion and lifestyle magazine called Muse Avenue.

“When people tell us to assimilate it’s like they’re telling us to eradicate our identity,” said Nasteexo Muse, whose sister Sagal started their namesake online publication. They decided to share the video on social media to show that these types of incidents do happen at home.

“She wanted to make sure we didn’t feel Canadian,” said Muse. “A lot of the time it’s brushed under the rug. We’re told we’re exaggerating. Having video evidence was really important for us to share.”

While she and her friends “get those stares all the time,” she said, they don’t always lead to this type of conversation. Still, Muse said the group was resilient.

“I don’t want to carry the hatred that someone else has in their heart with me all the time,” she said. “You build thick skin as a woman with our layered identities.”

On Friday, the Muslim chaplaincy of Laurier held a drop-in support session to discuss the “the recent incidents on campus regarding racism and Islamophobia.”

Selda Sezen, the Muslim chaplain for Laurier, told that she “had never experienced something like this” during her time at the University, but “that doesn’t mean it does not happen off campus or in daily life.”

She held the drop-in session to offer students a way to “process the incident,” and said that the feedback was positive.

“Laurier is a diverse, multi-faith community…we have been trying to promote safety and cultural inclusion, we want students and faculty to be secure in who they are.”

Sezen says other members of the multi-faith resource team came by the session and offered support to the Muslim students, including offers to walk them across campus.

“These are all teachable moments for all us,” Sezen says. “We learn through our life experiences, it lets us get ready for real life experiences and this is giving us opportunity to be able to respond to these kind of controversial comments in life in a healthy way and without taking them personally.”

Sezen says the special constable’s investigation has not confirmed the woman’s identity, but “she’s not believed to be a part of the Laurier community.”



Egyptian Woman Brutalized in Arab Spring Protest Continues Rights Campaign

April 26, 2019


In 2011, when protests began in Egypt’s Tahrir Square, Hend Nafea was a college student in Banha, north of Cairo. As she saw the images of young people demanding an end to the three-decade rule of Hosni Mubarak, she knew she had to take part.

“I participated there not only to seek freedom, dignity, social justice and to call for human rights in Egypt, but also for my rights as a woman,” Nafea said in an interview at VOA’s studios in Washington.

Nafea left school and traveled by bus, joining the protests without telling her family. And although the revolution exhilarated her, she soon saw an ugly side of the upheaval.

‘Beaten and stripped’

On December 17, 2011, Nafea was participating in a protest against military rule when security forces attacked her.

“I was dragged, beaten and stripped, and there were around 15 soldiers beating me, sexually harassing me, touching private parts of my body. And they dragged me into the Shura Council building in Tahrir Square,” Nafea said.

Authorities arrested nine other women that day, Nafea told VOA, all of whom were held in a room for many hours, tortured with electric shocks and threatened with rape.

Nafea said the soldiers finally released her to a military hospital after she lost consciousness.

Nafea was handcuffed to a bed, even though her arm was broken. Her wounds were left to bleed, without treatment, for two days.

The abuse of Nafea and other women that day provoked public outrage. Thousands of women marched in the streets, demanding an end to violence against women and military rule.

Today, Nafea is the subject of a documentary, “The Trials of Spring,” which depicts how women influenced the Arab Spring revolutions.

Women’s roles

Across the globe, women are playing leading roles in protest movements. In Sudan, 22-year-old Alaa Salah has become a symbol of the revolution after photos of her leading chants from the top of a vehicle were shared around the world.

“We want a better Sudan, a democratic state. One that judges all in accordance with the law, without favoritism. So we’re currently in the square until our demands are met,” Salah told Reuters.

And in Algeria, women have played a key role in protests that brought down longtime ruler Abdelaziz Bouteflika. A photo of an Algerian ballerina defiantly balancing on her toes in front of a flag has gone viral.

Protests by women, particularly in Islamic societies, seem to be an especially powerful symbol, and security forces have reacted harshly, often using sexual violence as a tactic of suppression.

“They use gender-based violence to crush women and push women away from protests and from participating in the public space,” Nafea said. “They were blaming us, the women, for going to Tahrir Square instead of blaming the people who did this to us,” Nafea said.

‘We are fighters’

Despite the pain she has endured, Nafea says the sacrifice was worth it. She was forced to flee Egypt to Lebanon, and now lives in the U.S. But her efforts have brought awareness to systemic abuses in her home country.

The Egyptian government tried and convicted her in absentia, and sentenced her to 25 years in prison for her role in the protests.

“Many may think that we are only victims, we are victims of our own men, society and government, and everyone around us. Yes, we are facing a lot of human rights violations, we are facing a lot of gender-based violence and discrimination, but we are fighters,” Nafea said.

“Even when the repression is increasing in Egypt, Egyptian women are still fighting back.”



'Protected Behind Bars of Morality': AMU Women Condemn Posters Depicting Them as Caged Bird

April 26, 2019

Aligarh: The creaking, old walls of Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) are dotted with posters. On them, is a caged bird, ‘protected’ behind the bars of ‘faith’, ‘dignity’, ‘submission’ and ‘morality’. The bottom of the illustration reads -- All the evil wants women freedom. The eulogy is a horrific endorsement of the idea that women must be protected from 'monsters' of ‘feminism’ ‘liberalism’ ‘atheism’ and ‘communism’ in order to avoid sexual abuse.

The message is clear. The walls of an educational institute, which has been a relic of India’s past and has symbolised progress -- are now marred with a deep and unmistakable shade of misogyny.

These posters are the work of Islamic Youth Federation (IYF), a fringe outfit of the AMU unit formed in 2009 under the name of Student Association of Islamic Ideology. The organization, which was renamed in March, is based out of Delhi and has a small functioning center in AMU.

Some of the other posters include those which demand for a crackdown on the activities of the Cultural Education Centre, the creative wing of the university that brings together students to dabble in arts, music and theatre.

Pitting it as against Islam and its values, the fringe outfit has also initiated social media campaigns against the cultural activities taking place in the university. For them, the ‘liberal’, ‘communist’ values of girls and boys dancing and singing together, is against the ‘Aligarh Muslim University Tehzeeb’.

“We have issued all our posters in the interest and safety of women students and we are getting them to support us. The values of liberalism, feminism and communism are against our cultural legacy,” says Mohammad Akmal, an Arabic research scholar and also a member of IYF.

Countering regressive message

However, strong voices of dissent can be heard from the campus. Unhappy with IYF’s attempts of indoctrination, the women of AMU have been widely circulating an anonymous message on social media in response to the outfit’s ideological whitewashing.

In their message, they question why the “onus of protecting the dignity of women on women themselves and would do nothing to admonish the filthy behavior of Muslim men who require severe spiritual introspection.”

A faculty member of AMU shared the full statement on the condition of anonymity. “We, the women students of AMU would like to condemn and register our protest against the regressive, misogynistic poster brought out by the Islamic Youth Federation-AMU Unit. We condemn the representation of Muslim women as a caged bird,” it reads.

The women feel that IYF’s ideology not just misrepresents them and modern values but also their religion Islam.

“We also discard the representation of Islam and Islamic values as a cage. As Muslims, we consider Islam to be the source of our spiritual fulfillment, an inalienable part of our identity and reject its values to be iron bars that cage us,” adds the statement.

Citing the murder of a 19-year-old Bangladeshi woman Nusrat Jahan Rafi, who was burned to death for reporting that she was sexually harassed by her madarssa teacher, the statement also highlights that many Muslim women have shared experiences of being harassed while doing their hajj.

Questioning IYF’s logic that “Women’s dignity can be safeguarded through founding principles of Islam only”, the women add, “Wasn’t Nusrat or the several women who were performing hajj not abiding by the founding principles of Islam? Then why was it that they were subjected to such oppression including death?”

The statement ends with a scathing advice that IYF should educate and target men who have don’t respect women instead. “As adult, rational human beings we know how to navigate our lives keeping our faith intact and do not require the protection of any self-proclaimed Islamic organization. It is our ardent hope that organizations like IYF will spend some of their energy and resources in cultivating haya among Muslim men and teach them to lower their gaze,” it says.



‘Women Can Change Fate of Muslim World’ Say Women Members of Saudi Majlis-e- Shura

April 27, 2019

ISLAMABAD: Women members of Saudi Arabia's Consultative Assembly (Majlis-e- Shura) met International Islamic University President Dr. Ahmed Yousif Al-Draiweesh and addressed a seminar on ‘progress of Muslim world and women’ here on Friday.

“Women are the force that can change the fate of Muslim World,” said Leena Bint e Khalid who is a member of Saudi Consultative Assembly and also fluent in Urdu. She said her mother was first broadcast journalist in KSA and she was always a staunch supporter of women empowerment. Leena asked the female students to take inspiration from the women of Islamic History who were true representatives of women. She also recalled her memories of her father’s 15 years long stay in Pakistan.

Dr Fatima Faiz, member of KSA Consultative Assembly, called upon the Muslim world to forge unity among the ranks. She said Muslims are one nation and they are like a body. She maintained that women participation in the society can lead to the pathway of success and progress. Senator Nuzhat Sadiq hailed Pakistani women for contribution in the society saying that they have conquered all fronts in terms of progress. She urged female students to believe in their skills and think big. She added that a woman can play a significant role in building a positive, constructive and literate society. Dr. Ahmed Yousif Al-Draiweesh said no society could make progress unless it provided equal opportunities to women. He said Pakistani women are intelligent and skilful and they have excelled in all the fields of the hour. “We are providing the best female minds to Muslim societies and results are clear as these female students are making a great difference in all the societies due to education and milieu they are being provided at the university,” he said.

Dr. Farkhanda Zia, Vice President Female Campus in her vote of thanks appreciated the participation of guests in the seminar. She paid special tribute to KSA consultative assembly members for attending the seminar. She said that the presence of more than 15 thousand female students at a separate campus in IIUI is an omen of bright future. She also thanked IIUI President for support and encouragement. The speakers were presented university crests by IIUI President at the end of the programme.




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