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Islam, Women and Feminism ( 26 Sept 2013, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Tunisian Former Mufti: Women Are the Victims of Wahhabi Thoughts, Jihad of Nikah

New Age Islam News Bureau

26 Sept 2013

Malala Yousafzai at UN


 Muzaffarnagar's Muslim Women Seek Safety through Marriage

 Send Books Not Guns, Malala Yousafzai Pleads At UN

 Qatar Airways ‘Requires’ Hostesses to Get Permission before Marrying

 Afghan Women Gain Education and Rights but Still Face Abuse, Forced Marriages

 First Sexual Health Curriculum Launched In Pakistan by Hayat-Lifeline Campaign

 Women 'Unqualified' To Drive: Saudi Police

 How a Malaysia Miss Entered the World Muslim Women Beauty Pageant

 No Bikinis or Medals in Beach Volleyball in Jakarta

 7 Get Life Term for Raping In Ctg, Bogra

 820 Hapless Bangladeshi Women To Get Jobs For Five Years

 ‘White Widow’ Samantha Lewthwaite Rented Property in South Africa

 Saudi Arabia Worst on Women’s Legal Issues: Report

 Saudi Woman Breaks Male Monopoly in Construction

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau





Tunisian Former Mufti: Women Are the Victims of Wahhabi Thoughts, Jihad of Nikah

 September 26, 2013

Othman Batikh, a former top cleric in Tunisia slammed the authorities in this country for sending young girls for Jihad Nikah and called them as the victims of Wahhabi and extremist thoughts, reported Taqrib News Agency (TNA).

He warned against the outcomes of sending Tunisian girls to Syria and called for more control over their behavior so that extremists do not brainwash them.

This Tunisian scholar added,” The most painful point is that the victims of this Nikah Jihad are among very young girls who are misused by the extremists with the vows of paradise for their Nikah jihad.

He urged prayer leaders to confront these views and said the result for the silence of Tunisian authorities is tens of victims among young girls.



Muzaffarnagar's Muslim Women Seek Safety through Marriage

 Sep 26 2013

New Delhi: When Mohammed Imran heard that there could be an attack on his village, Kakda, which is located near Muzaffarnagar, he fled with his family.

It was the only way he could protect them. For nearly three weeks, he found refuge in a house in Shahpur. With the present seeming secure, his thoughts turned to his daughter’s future. And Imran found a way out again: Nikaah.

On Wednesday, Imran’s daughter Gulasta, and 26 women like her were married in Haji Saeed’s house where they have sought refuge since September 8. There are at least 350 families here from three villages — Kakda, Kutba and Majra — that witnessed attacks between September 7 and 10 and many included young women who were about to be married.

Saeed, Maulana Arshad Madani, who performed the ceremony, and the Uttar Pradesh government presented each newly wed with Rs 50,000, Rs 10,000 and Rs 1 lakh respectively.

On September 7, clashes erupted between Jats and Muslims in Muzaffarnagar and continued for four days. Fifty people were killed in the violence and hundreds injured. Since then, at least 40,000 people have left their homes fearing more attacks.

“The women stay inside and the men sleep in the yard under a canopy. They are safe here, but none of them want to return and have no future or livelihood left. So we met all the families last week and it was decided that we would perform nikaah for all the families that wanted it,” Saeed said. He added that a maulana was called from Delhi and 27 nikaahs were performed on Wednesday.

Imran said it was the only option left. “I have nothing left in Kakda, I will never go back. We were about to start looking for a groom when news of the attacks came and we fled. This is the first time I have smiled since that day. My son-in-law, Zafar, is from Ghaziabad and I know my daughter will be safe with him,” Imran said.

Khalid Mohammed, also from Kakda and whose sister Nafeesa was married on Wednesday, echoed Imran’s sentiments. “Our parents are old and I have a family. Nafeesa was to wed a man from our village, but we do not even know where he is now. We have to look for a new life in some place far from here and marriage was the only way. My sister will at least be away from this place,” he said.



Send Books Not Guns, Malala Yousafzai Pleads At UN

AFP | Sep 26, 2013

UNITED NATIONS, United States: With a maturity and poise that belied her tender years, Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani teen shot by the Taliban for championing girls' education stood by world leaders on Wednesday and called for books not guns.

"Instead of sending weapons, instead of sending tanks to Afghanistan and all these countries which are suffering from terrorism, send books," she pleaded.

"Instead of sending tanks send pens," she urged, her hair modestly covered by a scarf as she took part in the first anniversary of the Global Education First initiative at the United Nations in New York.

In October last year, Malala was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman as she was on her way to school in her usual bus in an attack that drew worldwide condemnation.

Gravely wounded and close to death, the Pakistani schoolgirl was flown to Britain for surgery. She returned to school in England last March, after recovering from her injuries.

Now she has become a global advocate for the right of all children, and in particular girls, to have a proper education.

"Instead of sending soldiers, send teachers," Malala argued at an event attended by Nobel peace laureate Desmond Tutu, Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Croatian premier Ivo Josipovic.

According to the United Nations, some 57 million children around the world of elementary school age are denied an education -- and 52 percent of them are girls.

"This is my dream to see every child to be educated," Malala told the gathering, building on themes of one of her heroes, Martin Luther King. "This is my dream to see equality for every human being."

"This is my dream to see peace everywhere in the world, in Nigeria, in Syria, in Pakistan, in Afghanistan."

It was not Malala's first trip to the United Nations building in New York. Earlier this year in July, she received a standing ovation for an address to the general assembly at which she vowed she would never be silenced.

"We want women to be independent ... and to have equal rights as men have," Malala said on Wednesday.

"We believe in equality and to give equality to women is justice," she added, receiving resounding applause. "We are here to find a solution for all these problems that we are facing."

UN chief Ban Ki-moon hailed the teenager for "your courage and triumph" which he said "have inspired millions of people across the world."

Malala's courage has already won her numerous awards including the highest honor from Amnesty International, which announced she would be named an Ambassador of Conscience.

Time magazine also listed her as one of the 100 most influential people in the world, and she has just been nominated for the prestigious European Parliament Sakharov Prize.

Next month her book "I am Malala" is due to be published and she has also launched an organization called the "Malala Fund."



Qatar Airways ‘requires’ hostesses to get permission before marrying

 September 26, 2013

Qatar Airways has come under scrutiny on Wednesday after it was accused of forcing its female workers to seek permission from the company when they decide to get married.

In a report released by the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) on Tuesday, the airline was found to also mandate that women tell a supervisor if they become pregnant.

The airline then reserves the right to fire them upon the discovery, according to the ITF report, alleging the violation of the basic labor rights of Qatar Airway’s 28,000 employees.

When Al Arabiya English contacted Qatar Airways on Wednesday, the airline’s Senior Corporate Communications Manager Madonna Walsh said a statement in response to the report would be released shortly. She declined to comment further.

According to the ITF, a standard hiring contract for thousands of the airline’s female workers reads: “You are required to obtain prior permission from the company, in case you wish to change your marital status and get married.

“The employee shall notify the employer in case of pregnancy from the date of her knowledge of its occurrence. The employer shall have the right to terminate the contract of employment from the date of notification of the pregnancy. Failure of employee to notify the employer or the concealment of the occurrence shall be considered a breach of contract.”

Meanwhile, trade union officials aren’t holding their breath for a ground-breaking response to the allegations from Qatar Airways.

“We would expect that the airline will try to paint a picture of their operations and say [that the allegations] are essentially not the truth,” International Trade Union Confederation general secretary Sharan Burrow told Al Arabiya English on Wednesday.

“We have stories from workers that show they are one of the worst airlines in history and that women are at risk of being stalked, are subject to curfews in their accommodation and that there are attempts to bribe workers who will report other workers who are on duty.

“It’s a terrible culture of denial of rights and indeed an inhumane approach to teamwork in an industry that’s based on people’s trust of each other.”

Burrow had said in a statement earlier that international pressure is growing, from the International Labor Organization and the U.N. Special rapporteur, for “companies in Qatar to take responsibility for workers’ rights and follow global rules.”

The ITF, which represents around 4.5 million transport workers in 150 countries, is currently in Canada to lobby the ICAO (the International Civil Aviation Organization) to take action on what it termed “flagrant abuses of aviation workers’ labor rights” by carriers based in Qatar and the UAE.

Painting a 'happy picture'

The secretary of the ITF’s civil aviation section Gabriel Mocho told Al Arabiya English that he believes the airline will now try to portray a “happy picture.”

“They will attempt to show the world that their staff is very happy with living in Doha and that they are treated well. This is what they have been saying publically,” said Mocho, adding that clear abuses of labor rights among workers are now evident.

Earlier this year, Qatar Airways CEO Akbar al-Baker addressed the ongoing criticisms of the Gulf state’s labor policies.

“If you did not have unions you wouldn’t have this jobless problem in the western world… It is caused by unions making companies and institutions uncompetitive and bringing them to a position of not being efficient,” Baker told Arabian Business.

“If you go and ask the politicians in most of the countries in the western world they would love to have the system we have: where the workers have rights through the law but they do not have rights through striking and undermining successful institutions that provide jobs to their knees,” he added.

This attitude continues to be denounced by the ITF.

“The fact is that these companies are making a fortune from the efforts of hardworking staff who, undefended, can be discharged and deported on a whim,” ITF president Paddy Crumlin said.

The official statistics as to how many women are currently employed at Qatar Airways have not been made public in the past, says Mocho, but the airline prides itself on hiring from all over the world and employing 150 nationalities among its crew and pilot staff.



Afghan women gain education and rights but still face abuse, forced marriages

 September 26, 2013

KABUL — In a hidden shelter on the edge of the Afghan capital, a dozen girls and women crouched on thin cushions one recent afternoon, their faces drawn with fatigue and fear. Some had been found wandering the streets; others had traveled long distances in flight from abusive families, forced marriages or unhappy lives.

Raya, 18, a pretty girl with green eyes, said that when her parents insisted she quit school and marry a man they had chosen, she ran away instead. “Now we are living in a democracy, so we should have the right to choose,” she said.

Shafia, 40, a hospital worker in an embroidered dress, told of being confined by her in-laws for 20 years. Last month, she fled. “I am an educated woman, and they wouldn’t even let me out to visit my parents,” she said.

Twelve years after the overthrow of the Taliban, many Afghan women are caught in a confusing time warp. They are absorbing new ideas about freedom and rights through the Internet and attending school and college in record numbers. They are talking with men on cellphones and watching bedroom soap operas from India and Turkey.

Yet they still live in a deeply traditional society where male elders decide their fates and in-laws rule their lives. Many are virtually sold as teenaged brides, and if they run away, they are branded as “bad women.”

As a result of this growing gulf between promise and reality, Afghan experts and advocates say the number of women and girls fleeing intolerable domestic conditions has skyrocketed, keeping the handful of urban shelters constantly full. In addition, according to Afghan human rights groups, the number of girls and women charged with moral crimes (usually some variation of zina, or sex outside marriage) has increased 50 percent in the past several years.

Since 2001, Afghanistan has been governed as a Western-backed democracy, officially committed to women’s rights and education. The Taliban’s strictures on women working and studying are now confined to insurgent-plagued rural zones, and its tight controls on contact with the outside world are long gone.

But in a phenomenon that cuts across regional and class lines, women’s rising expectations are crashing headlong into persistent pre-Taliban traditions, including child marriages, trading girls to settle disputes and ritual hounding by in-laws.

Even though several million Afghan girls are attending school, more than half are married before the age of 18 and about one-quarter are wed by their mid-teens, often because their families cannot afford to support them. In most cases, this means they must leave school forever. Many who end up in shelters or prison are fleeing such situations. Although no longer strictly a crime, running away from home for a woman is viewed as tantamount to committing zina, a serious crime in this conservative Islamic country.

“We have come a long way in our struggle, but the mind of the society has not changed,” said Mary Akrami, an Afghan activist who operates several private shelters, negotiates with families and helps represent victims in court. “Afghan women are learning they have rights and finding the courage to stand up, but what good does that do if families don’t change?”

‘We are fighting’

The past several years have brought both legal advances for women and a political backlash against them, Akrami and others said. Many police officers have received training in how to treat female runaways and victims, but the number of female police officers remains low. About 350 men have been prosecuted under a 2009 decree criminalizing violence against women, but the measure has recently been challenged as un-Islamic by conservative leaders, and a legislative change in the criminal code now forbids family members from testifying on behalf of abused women.

In early September, Human Rights Watch sent an appeal to Afghan President Hamid Karzai, warning that these moves could seriously compromise Afghanistan’s development. The letter asked him to step up enforcement of the 2009 decree, support making 18 the minimum age for marriage, promote women’s shelters (which are often criticized as brothels) and increase the number of female police officers.

The government has not responded officially, but analysts said Karzai, due to leave office next summer, is unlikely to alienate conservatives by speaking out on the issue. With NATO forces preparing to withdraw and the country facing an uncertain political future, many women’s advocacy groups fear that the gains they have made in the past decade are starting to erode as conservatives reassert themselves and Taliban insurgents wield more sway.

In a recent interview, the president’s adviser on religious affairs, a conservative Muslim cleric named Enayatullah Balegh, accused the West of trying to force change on Afghan culture.

“Women in our country have all the rights and respect they are due in Islam. I feel sorry for Western women who are treated like prostitutes and shown naked on television,” Balegh said. “We settle our problems through our religion and our families. Nothing the international community does will change that.”

But change is already coming fast to this once-insular society, leading to frequent and sometimes violent clashes within families over arranged marriages, love affairs, incest and poisoned relations with in-laws. Many girls are beginning to refuse arranged marriages and insist on staying in school. High-profile abuse cases have been shown on Afghan television, encouraging other victims to flee or come forward.

Yet even prominent women who speak out for women’s rights are not immune to retribution. Noorzia Atmar, a former member of parliament, fled an abusive husband and tried to seek a divorce. After her story appeared on Afghan TV, the husband burst into her office and threatened to kill her.

“I am a woman and I know my rights in Islam, but look where I am,” said Atmar, a forceful woman of 40, in an interview at the Kabul shelter where she is in hiding. “We are fighting, but all the power in this society belongs to men.”

‘I just want to be free’

Many of those who try to escape marriages end up in prison. The female wing of the Juvenile Rehabilitation Center in Kabul, a padlocked dormitory inside a prison complex, currently houses 25 girls and young women who are awaiting trial or serving sentences for crimes linked to moral misbehavior. Those suspected of zina are required to undergo medical exams to determine whether they have had intercourse.

On a recent afternoon, between embroidery class and preparing dinner, about 10 of the inmates told their stories. As with those living in shelters, they were allowed to be interviewed on the condition that their full names and faces not be revealed.

Many gave convoluted and semi-coherent accounts of family abuse, forced marriages, love affairs, rebellious behavior or vengeful violence. But there were several tragic common threads.

All of the detainees had endured harsh treatment and crushing dilemmas they were far too young to handle. And most of them had taken daring or desperate paths to escape — running away with young men, trusting unscrupulous strangers, stealing money from home.

Narany, 17, wept into her blue head scarf as she told of being married at 15 and bearing a son, then being forcibly divorced and married off for a second time to an older man she did not like. She ran away with her former husband, got caught and is now serving four years in prison for adultery.

Ruma, also 17, said that when she was in seventh grade she was taken out of school and ordered to marry a man who already had a wife and three children and who used her as a servant. A policeman took pity on her and they ran away together. Now, she is serving a jail term for adultery and theft. “I don’t want to go home and I don’t want to be married. I just want to be free,” she said, sobbing.

On a bunk bed in one corner, a girl was playing with something. It was a tiny bird she had tied to a string, and it fluttered frantically as it tried to escape. She had also fled an unwanted marriage, becoming involved with a boy and getting arrested.

“My family wants to come for me, and they will have a big meeting about me,” she said in a flat voice, looking down at the bird. She had once summoned the nerve to escape an unhappy fate, but now she was resigned.

“I don’t care what happens to me any more,” she said. “I have shamed them and I have to accept what they decide, even if they decide to kill me.”



First Sexual Health Curriculum Launched In Pakistan by Hayat-Lifeline Campaign

 September 26, 2013

ISLAMABAD: Hayat-Lifeline Campaign launched Pakistan’s first curriculum regarding Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) at a national conference held here on Wednesday.

The launch is an attempt to impart formal education to youngsters on SRHR.

The curriculum has been developed through close engagement of religious scholars, government officials, parents, teachers and youngsters.

The curriculum has two different levels and separate editions for boys and girls. Level One is for children aged 10-12 years, while Level Two is designed for adolescents aged 13 -15.

A number of renowned religious leaders and political personalities participated in the launching ceremony. The event was distributed in four different sessions with various speakers talking to the audience on different aspects of SRHR education.

Minister of State Education and Standards in Higher Education, Baleeg-ur-Rehman was the guest of honour at the launching ceremony.

Four provinces sign MoUs

Several Memoranda of Understandings (MoUs) were signed between Hayat-Lifeline and different government departments such as Youth Affairs Department Government of Balochistan, Women Development Department Govenrment of Sindh, Population Welfare Department Governent of Punjab, Social Welfare Department Government of Balochistan, Sports and Youth Affairs Department Government of Sindh and Social Welfare Department Govt. of Punjab.

Baleegur Rehman launched the curriculum in the third session of the ceremony, voicing ample admiration for the initiative. He also noted that the federal government should take all necessary steps to eliminate the loopholes in our current education system.

Former Federal Minister of Industries Jahangir Tareen also shared his thoughts at the event, emphasising the need to educate youngsters.

Tareen said that the K-P government had set aside a large portion of the budget for education, as per PTI’s education policy.

He commended Hayat-Lifeline on completing the tough job of developing a curriculum on SRHR.

Former Minister for Population Begum Shehnaz Wazir Ali in her address stated that an important matter such as SRHR education should not be overlooked just because it is considered to be a taboo in our society.

Chairman Ruet-e-Hilal Committee Mufti Muneebur Rehman stated that the age factor should be kept in mind when spreading such education.

General Secretary Wifaqul Madaaras Molana Muhammad Hanif Jalandhri pointed out that student in religious institutes were already being given this education.

Chairman Ulema Council Pakistan Hafiz Tahir Asharfi termed Hayat-Lifeline’s initiate as great, saying that time has come to address these issues because there are several problems due to these social problems.

Federal secretary ministry of Capital Development and Authority (CAD) Faridullah Khan fully endorsed the campaign and curriculum, saying authorities at the federal level would help the campaign implement this curriculum.

Literati Amjad Islam Amjad elaborated the role of a father in educating and guiding the children. He was of the view that being the caretaker of the whole family, role of the father is really crucial.

Youth Leader Ali Moeen Nawazish discussed the key problems faced by youngsters these days. He stated in clear terms that parents and teachers usually don’t guide adolescents on such issues.

Fourth and the final session was based on panel discussion which included a number of religious leaders and opinion makers including Dr Raghib Hussain Naeemi, Allama Amin Shaheedi, journalists Kashif Abbasi, Nadeem Malik, Dr Moeed Pirzada, Javed Iqbal, Asma Shirazi and Talat Hussain. Politician Marvi Memon was also a part of the discussion.

Religious leaders answered the questions raised by participants on the Islamic perspective of SRHR knowledge, in detail.

Marvi Memon of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz appreciated the involvement of religious scholars over the sensitive subject of SRHR.

Hayat-Lifeline Campaign Chief Executive said that the next step was implementing the curriculum, which required that government officials, religious scholars, media and other stakeholders continue supporting the cause.



Women 'Unqualified' To Drive: Saudi Police

 Sep 26 2013

Saudi traffic police have fined several car owners after six women were found defying the kingdom's male-only driving rules, a Saudi daily reported on Wednesday.

The fines in Eastern Province coincide with a campaign called by women's rights activists to challenge the ban on women driving in the conservative Islamic kingdom late next month.

Traffic police issued fines totalling 5,400 riyals ($1,400) for allowing "an unqualified person to drive", al-Sharq newspaper reported, quoting an acting police spokesman.

"The cases were stopped near the beach and in uninhabited areas that are still being developed," Major Mansour al-Shakra said. "They were driving for fun and not to learn how to drive."

No laws explicitly ban Saudi women from driving, but citizens must use locally issued licenses. These are not issued to women, making it in effect illegal for them to drive.

Women who have defied the rules in the past have also faced charges of organising political protests, which are also prohibited in the monarchy, where there are no political parties and the only elections are for city councils.

A group of Saudi activists last week called on women to get behind the wheel on Oct. 26 to challenge the ban.

At least two similar campaigns in the past two years have failed to bring change, with the authorities detaining several women and making them sign pledges not to drive again.

Saudi Arabia is a conservative monarchy backed by religious scholars. It upholds an austere form of Sunni Islam and gives wide powers to clerics who dominate the judicial system and run their own police squad to enforce religious morals.

King Abdullah has pushed some cautious social reforms in Saudi Arabia, including efforts to bring more women into the workforce and to give them a voice in policy making by appointing them to the advisory Shoura Council.

($1 = 3.7503 Saudi riyals)



How a Malaysia Miss Entered the World Muslim Women Beauty Pageant

 Sep 26 2013

She has a beaming smile, poise, even poses like a model. She is the World Muslim Woman Netizen 2013.

That’s the prize that Nurul Husna Zainal Abidin won as Malaysia’s first entry to the World Muslim Women Beauty Pageant, organised by an Indonesian TV host who was fired from her job for refusing to take off her tudung while on duty.

This is the third year that pageant organiser Eka Shanti has put together what she touts as the Muslim world’s answer to better known events such as the 63-year-old Miss World, which will be held in Bali this weekend.

Her own event this year was seen as partly a protest against the Miss World pageant, which had to be moved from the Indonesian capital of Jakarta to diffuse objections from Islamic hardline groups.

They say the competition should not be held in Indonesia at all and that it would be an insult to the Muslim faith.

How is Eka Shanti’s event different from any other beauty pageant?

For starters, the grand final began with the women reciting verses from the Quran “before strutting down the stage, wearing loosely fitting outfits and veils instead of revealing gowns”, reported the Jakarta Post.

It added that “while some of the women paraded with a model’s confidence, others were more awkward as they tottered by in glittering high heels and long gowns”.

Then there were the honorary judges of the contest: children from 100 orphanages.

Also, Malaysia’s Nurul said, "Islam is portrayed as something beautiful. The Quran readings and other events in the beauty pageant were all planned according to Islamic law."

She wanted the Malaysian government to consider organising a similar pageant.  She said, "If the government organises a Muslim beauty pageant here, it would be well-received. The Muslim version of the beauty pageant teaches Islamic knowledge without sidelining the hijab fashion style.

"It isn't wrong to organise such an event as it can open up opportunities for Muslim women to learn something new. At the same time, the government could use the opportunity to promote tourism in Malaysia."

Nurul finished among the top 10 finalists. She heard about this competition from an Indonesian friend. She registered online and was told to submit a video of herself. She was then invited to Jakarta where there were about 100 contestants.

"Participating in the beauty pageant has deepened my knowledge of Islam as all the activities involved teaching the contestants how to be a Muslim woman and face the challenges of modern times," Nurul told The Malaysian Insider.

A total of 20 women from six countries, including Indonesia, Brunei and Iran, showed off their skills and Islamic knowledge in the final round, which was held in Jakarta on September 18.

Nigeria's Obabiyi Aishah Ajibola, 21, won the competition. Nurul was grateful to walk away with her own prize.

"I am thankful I made my country proud. This has been a priceless experience," said the 21-year-old University Technology Mara student from Negeri Sembilan.



No Bikinis or Medals in Beach Volleyball in Jakarta

September 26 201

Nanda Ragillia/Riski Dwi Andriani of Indonesia defeated Kuck Sea Theng/Luck Teck Hua of Malaysia 21-14, 21-18 in a women’s beach volleyball exhibition match on Wednesday at the Islamic Solidarity Games (ISG), in which the players wore a bit more than the customary bikini.

The games’ organizing committee decided there would be no medals awarded in women’s beach volleyball because only two countries — Indonesia with two teams and Malaysia with one team — were taking part.

The committee also said that the players would not wear bikinis, which the participants agreed to.

“During the technical meeting, the committee decided that the dress needed to be appropriate for the ISG,” competition head Djoko Pramono said.

Nanda said she felt more confident in the fuller jersey she usually wore during training.

“I feel more comfortable without bikinis. When playing overseas I wear shorts that go down to the thigh,” she said.

Lack of competitors has also prompted women’s basketball to be played as an exhibition, with the three participants — Egypt, Qatar and Indonesia — facing each other in a round robin format.

Given the cooperative nature of the ISG, Djoko said matches would still be played in all events, despite few participants and no medals being awarded.

“If we strictly followed international rules, many matches would be cancelled,” he said.

Nanda said she enjoyed the game, even without medals at stake.

“We regarded it as a good practice match against the Malaysian team,” she said.

The men’s beach volleyball teams are divided into two groups with Indonesia 1, Oman 1, Qatar 1 and Palestine in Group A and Indonesia 2, Malaysia, Qatar 2, Oman 2 and Uganda in Group B.

Elsewhere, lifter Sinta Darmariana added to the host country’s gold medal collection after she won the 63-kg division at the Jakabaring Graha Serbaguna Hall.

Sinta managed a lift of 90 kg in the snatch and 112 kg in clean and jerk for a total of 202 kg.

Samar Said Habashy Ahmed Hussein won silver for Egypt with an equal total lift but Sinta was awarded the gold because the Indonesian weighed less than her rival — 62.09 kg compared to 62.83 kg.

Fellow Indonesian Dwi Atika Sari lifted a total of 183 kg (78-kg snatch, 105-kg clean and jerk).

In the 69-kg division, Ghada Hssine of Tunisia emerged as the winner, followed by Siti Sarah of Indonesia and Boshra Mohammad of Syria.

In the men’s competition, Eko Yuli Irawan was unchallenged, winning the 62-kg gold with a total lift of 299 kg (140-kg snatch, 165-kg clean and jerk).



7 Get Life Term for Raping In Ctg, Bogra

 Sep 26 2013

Seven persons were handed down life term imprisonment for raping two garment workers and a schoolgirl in Chittagong and Bogra districts respectively.

Our Chittagong correspondent reports: A Chittagong court on Wednesday awarded life term imprisonment to three people for gang-raping two garment workers in 2011. The court also fined them Tk 100,000 each.

The convicts are – Parvez, Rana and Nasir.

Judge of Women and Children Repression Tribunal 1 Md Rezaul Karim pronounced the verdict.

Meanwhile, the court acquitted four other accused-- Hazrat Ali, Mithun, Riton and Sohel-- as the complaint against them was not proved.

Rana and Parvez were sent to Chittagong Central Jail immediately after the verdict while Nasir was on the run.

Public Prosecutor Chandan Talukdar told the Dhaka Tribune the court awarded the accused life term as the complaint against them was proved beyond any doubt.

According to the case statement, the victims were kidnapped on October 28, 2011 while they were returning home.

The criminals took the girls to a house and gang-raped the duo.

On the following day, one of the two victims lodged a case with Chandgaon Police Station accusing the seven persons.

After completing the investigation, police submitted the charge-sheet before the court on February 8, 2012 while the court framed charges on May 7, 2012.

The court gave the verdict after testifying five prosecution witnesses out of 19.

In Bogra: Four people were awarded life term imprisonment for abducting and raping a schoolgirl on August 6, 1997.

The convicts are — Khokon, Tojam, Siraj and Bakkar.

The court also fined them Tk. 25,000 each and in case of their failure of paying the fine, they have to serve two more years in jail.

Judge of Women and Children Repression Tribunal 1, SM Shaiful Islam gave the verdict.

According to the case statement, the convicts abducted the schoolgirl while she was going to school and held her hostage for a ransom of Tk 20,000. Later, Khokon raped her with the help of three other criminals.



820 hapless Bangladeshi women to get jobs for five years

 Sep 26 2013

Eight hundred and twenty destitute women, 10 each from 82 unions of the district, are going to be employed for five years under the government’s Rural Employment and Road Maintenance Programme.

The selection in the district started on September 14.

The beneficiaries — divorced or widowed women or those abandoned by husband, and belonging to age group 18 to 35 years, will be employed for daily wage of Tk 150 to look after the rural roads for small repair and maintenance for five years, said Belal Hossain, executive engineer of LGED in Gaibandha.

“They will get Tk 90 for daily work while the rest Tk 60 will be deposited with the bank account against their name for five years. After five years, each of these women will get a substantial amount that will help their rehabilitation,” he said.



‘White Widow’ Samantha Lewthwaite rented property in south Africa

 September 26, 2013

A British woman thought to be linked to the Nairobi mall attacks used an assumed South African identity to take out bank loans and rent property in Johannesburg, local media reported Wednesday.

Samantha Lewthwaite -- wanted by Kenyan police for alleged involvement in a separate terror plot -- used the known alias Natalie Faye Webb to rent at least three properties and run up debts of $8,600 (6,400 euros), according to the eNews Channel Africa (eNCA).

The 29-year-old Muslim convert -- nicknamed the "White Widow" because her husband was among the 2005 London suicide bombers -- signed rental leases around Johannesburg, but it was unclear whether she lived at any of the premises.

According to credit records released by eNCA, she was listed as living in the city's predominantly South Asian neighborhood of Mayfair for four years.

Kenya's foreign minister has said a British woman was among the Islamist attackers who shot dead dozens of people at a Nairobi shopping mall from Saturday.

President Uhuru Kenyatta later said the reports could not be confirmed.

But Kenyan authorities issued a wanted notice for Lewthwaite after she entered the country from Tanzania's northeastern Lunga and Namanga border posts in February and August 2011 using a South African passport under the name of Natalie Faye Webb.

Two months later South African clothing stores signaled debt defaults worth almost $2,700.

In August 2012 a Johannesburg court issued an order against her for default on $2,800 debt with South Africa's First Rand Bank.

Lewthwaite was married to Germaine Lindsay, one of four suicide bombers who attacked the London transport network in July 2005, killing 52 people.

A local terror expert and academic said earlier this week that she regularly travels to South Africa and stayed in South Asian suburbs of Johannesburg earlier this year.



Saudi woman breaks male monopoly in construction

 September 26, 2013

JEDDAH — It was by mere coincidence that Zainab Al-Mahi entered the contracting profession and successfully broke the male monopoly in the building materials market.

Al-Mahi had never dreamed of this measure of success. She got attached to this profession by chance and even competed against veteran male contractors.

Al-Mahi, speaking about her beginning, said while overseeing the construction of her house four years ago, she entertained the idea of entering the world of construction and contracting. She saved a lot of money by not relying on the contractor to purchase the materials for her house. She took the initiative to personally go to the factories and purchase the materials herself.  

Al-Mahi said, “I saw a truck unloading cement next to my house when it was being constructed. I asked the workers where they had brought this cement from. The driver said it was from Yanbu. I asked him if I wanted to buy a truckload of cement where I could get it from.  “The driver gave me the telephone number of the cement factory. I telephoned them and requested for a truckload of cement after inquiring about the price and the margin. I reaped a profit of SR150 from this deal.”

Al-Mahi said this was her starting point. “The transaction thrilled me and the idea of investing in the contracting sector started growing in my head. I started with an initial capital of SR50,000.”

Al-Mahi talked about the difficulties she faced at the start. She said, “The biggest problem was that society did not have confidence in a woman working in this field. They expected me to fail. But I had confidence in myself and my capabilities.

“I believed that nothing should stop me from entering this field, experimenting and doing what I found suitable. I used to have some frustrations in the beginning when I was told this field does not suit women.”

Al-Mahi said entering a certain field solely depended one’s personality. “So long as the woman is diligent, all hardships will be overcome.”

Speaking about her experience, Al-Mahi said society would accept women working in all fields so long as they stay within the limits set by the Shariah (Islamic law).

“There will be nothing hindering their work. Society will gradually accept them.”

She said some segments of society still oppose women working in this profession.

When asked about the increasing number of women engaging in trade, Al-Mahi said, “Our country is witnessing comprehensive development. When we look at the next five-year development plan, we see continuous activity in this field, which is open to all.”

Speaking about field work, including supervision, Al-Mahi said, “I personally supervise work in the field in most of my projects. When the building materials arrive at the site I go there to see everything is fine.”

She calculates the distance and the cost of transport, gets in touch with the project owners and checks their needs, and always sticks to schedule when it comes to delivery.

As for the means of marketing her products, Al-Mahi said she benefits from all forms of advertisement, including word of mouth from satisfied clients. She focuses on her good reputation, describing it as the biggest advertisement for any work. There are clients who bring other clients due to the credibility she enjoys.

Speaking about her ambitions in this field, Al-Mahi said, “I’m still at the beginning stage. I’ve achieved only a little so far. My ambition is bigger than this — to expand my work and run a company with branches all over the Kingdom and abroad. I wish to own a Saudi company of international standards.”