New Age Islam
Wed Nov 25 2020, 03:14 AM

Islam, Women and Feminism ( 11 Aug 2017, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Turkey’s Attacks on Women Wearing Shorts
















Protesters hold signs and banner as thousands gather in Istanbul on July 29, 2017 to denounce the increase in violence and abuse against women. (Erhan Demirtas/NurPhoto/Getty Images)

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Mangaluru Facebook Page Targets Muslim Girls for Tying Rakhis

Worrying Signs: 4m Saudi Women Have Passed Age of Marriage

First Saudi Female Head Chef in Riyadh Hotel

Iran: Female Islamic Guidance Patrol Set Up To Crack Down On Women in Qom

Muslim Woman Creates ‘Hijab-Grabber’ Defence Move

Moroccan Video Sparks Debate on Sexual Harassment

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islam,-women-and-feminism/new-age-islam-news-bureau/turkey’s-attacks-on-women-wearing-shorts/d/112189

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Turkey’s attacks on women wearing shorts

Adnan R. Khan

August 10, 2017

A video that began circulating on social media on July 29 has put Turkey’s liberal women on alert. The dark, grainy clip, shot on a cellphone at dusk in Istanbul’s Maçka Park, shows a chaotic scene in which a crowd of people have gathered around a woman who is obviously incensed about something.

“I’m going to go crazy! I’m going to go crazy!” the woman, dressed in short shorts and a light white blouse, can be heard screaming as the camera sweeps left and right. “This is not your business! You cannot disturb me like this!”

According to witnesses, trouble started when someone complained about the way the woman, Burcu Senturk, was dressed. “You cannot go around like this in the park,” another woman, who was conservatively dressed with a headscarf, reportedly said.

The situation escalated when one of the park’s security guards arrived. He sided with the conservative woman, telling Sentürk he could not allow her to be in the park dressed the way she was, “like he was my grandfather,” she later told Turkey’s DHA news agency.

Earlier that day, Sentürk had joined a demonstration in Istanbul’s staunchly secular Kadiköy district protesting the growing violence secular women in Turkey face for the way they dress. Hundreds of women, waving placards and chanting, “Don’t mess with my outfit!”, had marched to condemn Turkey’s emboldened conservative class after a spate of attacks against women wearing shorts.

Women’s rights have increasingly come under pressure in Turkey. On May 29, the country’s constitutional court struck down a law that forbade couples from cohabiting if they had only performed a religious marriage ceremony. The law, rooted in centuries-old Ottoman tradition, also required a civil service and was originally intended to protect women from abuse, including child marriages.

Supporters of the court decision claimed the original law discriminated against believers. “There is no punishment for those who are not married and living together but there is punishment for those who have a religious marriage,” Mustafa Sentop, deputy chairman of the Islamist-leaning AK Party, said. “Such logic is unacceptable.”

The situation escalated when one of the park’s security guards arrived. He sided with the conservative woman, telling Sentürk he could not allow her to be in the park dressed the way she was, “like he was my grandfather,” she later told Turkey’s DHA news agency.

Earlier that day, Sentürk had joined a demonstration in Istanbul’s staunchly secular Kadiköy district protesting the growing violence secular women in Turkey face for the way they dress. Hundreds of women, waving placards and chanting, “Don’t mess with my outfit!”, had marched to condemn Turkey’s emboldened conservative class after a spate of attacks against women wearing shorts.

Women’s rights have increasingly come under pressure in Turkey. On May 29, the country’s constitutional court struck down a law that forbade couples from cohabiting if they had only performed a religious marriage ceremony. The law, rooted in centuries-old Ottoman tradition, also required a civil service and was originally intended to protect women from abuse, including child marriages.

Supporters of the court decision claimed the original law discriminated against believers. “There is no punishment for those who are not married and living together but there is punishment for those who have a religious marriage,” Mustafa Sentop, deputy chairman of the Islamist-leaning AK Party, said. “Such logic is unacceptable.”

Women’s rights activists argued the decision needed to be taken in context. Under the rule of the AK Party, they said, Turkey has experienced a steady decline of secularism. Gender equality is under threat as Turkey’s religious conservatives, energized by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s open declaration of war against liberalism, take it upon themselves to impose their moral codes on society.

Recent AK Party changes to Turkey’s education system have offered proof to the conservatives that the government is on their side. On July 18, Education Minister Ismet Yilmaz announced the theory of evolution would be eliminated from the high school curriculum, arguing such a sensitive topic is too complex for young, impressionable minds.

At the same time, he announced the addition of jihad to the elementary school curriculum. The concept, Yilmaz said, would be taught as “love for one’s country” and would offer a counter-narrative to the extremist use of the term.

But jihad-cum-nationalism doesn’t sit well with many secular Turks, nor does it arouse the sympathies of Turkey’s religious moderates. Islam in Turkey has historically been a heterodoxy of beliefs ranging from mysticism to moderate orthodoxy. Fundamentalism has always occupied the fringe in Turkish society and politics. The harnessing of such a loaded term as jihad for a nationalist agenda has some people worried.

Mustafa Akyol, a Turkish commentator and author of Islam Without Extremes: A Muslim Case for Liberty, sees it as a government-sanctioned colonization of secularism by religion. In Turkey, a state institution, the Diyanet, set up at the behest of Turkey’s founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, is tasked with overseeing Turkey’s religious space. The Diyanet sets the tone for the role of religion in Turkish society. It hires and fires preachers and approves their sermons. Under Erdogan, the Diyanet has grown into one of Turkey’s largest institutions, raking in more funding than the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

On July 31, the head of the Diyanet, Mehmet Gormez, a reformist academic who was supposed to retain his position until 2020, was fired, setting off speculation of a power struggle within Turkey’s religious leadership. Akyol reads the move as a victory for the more radical conservatives, who have been critical of Gormez’s reformist tendencies.

Those conservatives have increasingly made their presence known in Turkey’s public spaces. They have formed neighbourhood associations that regularly target secularists for perceived slights to Islam, attacking people for drinking alcohol in public or eating food in the daytime during the fasting month of Ramadan. They permeate Turkey’s pro-government news outlets, condemning critics with a vehemence that borders on incitement to violence.

Women are now in their crosshairs and rights activists worry if a hardliner is appointed to head the Diyanet, it will only get worse. But on the bright side, some women inside the AK Party have started to voice concerns over the direction Turkish society has taken. Two, Aysenur Bahçekapili and Aysenur Islam, expressed their opposition to the changes to Turkey’s marriage law, a rare instance of dissent among AK Party parliamentarians. And in November 2016, a pro-government women’s rights organization overseen by Erdogan’s own daughter opposed a draft law that would have allowed rapists to marry their victims to avoid prosecution. The proposal was withdrawn.

Turkey’s slide into religious intolerance, led by men, appears to be accelerating. But it may very well be women who put an end to it.

http://www.macleans.ca/news/world/turkeys-attacks-on-women-wearing-shorts/

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Mangaluru Facebook Page Targets Muslim Girls For Tying Rakhis

Aug 12, 2017

Facebook page Mangalore Muslims has been in news in the past for its controversial comments. Earlier in the year, Suhana Sayed, a 22-year-old singer from Shivamogga, was criticized on the page for participating in a Kannada singing reality show and singing a Hindu devotional song.

The page has yet again targeted Muslim girls. This time for celebrating raksha bandhan. A post on the page questioned if the girls in the photos can claim to be Muslims. The page claimed that tying a rakhi on a man is against the principles of Islam.

What is all the more shocking is that they have also questioned the purpose of education. The post in Kananda reads, “Why do families send their children to college? Can’t they get them married at the age of 18? Is college important for Muslims or is Islamic education important? What are they trying to achieve by sending them to college? After marriage, they are supposed to work at the husband’s house. Still, the parents trust them and send them to college but don’t these girls have common sense. Today, they tied a rakhi and tomorrow they might tie a thali. Hasn’t Allah blessed them with brains?”

Earlier, the page had questioned singer Suhana stating that, “Being a Muslim, having a Muslim name and wearing hijab, ignoring the principles of Islam and presenting your beauty in front of other men is not an achievement. A lot of young children learn the Quran by-heart. You are turning out to be role model for other Muslim girls in a wrong way. You do not have the right to wear the burqa.”

When contacted, Mangaluru city police commissioner TR Suresh assured us that he will look into the matter at the earliest.

http://bangaloremirror.indiatimes.com/news/state/mangaluru-facebook-page-targets-muslim-girls-for-tying-rakhis/articleshow/60025131.cms?

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Worrying Signs: 4m Saudi Women Have Passed Age of Marriage

August 12, 2017

MAKKAH — The number of Saudi women who have passed the age of marriage has hit to four million in 2015. Today, statistical reports have shown that the number is on the increase ever since. This is one of the most alarming issues which make many families worried sick, as they ponder about the future of their young daughters, Al-Riyadh daily reported.

Dr. Ahmed Albo Ali, a mosque imam in Al-Ahsa City, said the number of Saudi women beyond the usual age of marriage was 1.5 million in 2005 and jumped to four million in 2015. This means that two thirds of Saudi girls above 30 years old have not gotten married over the past ten years.

Islam grants full rights to widows and divorced women; they can marry again if they want to. Unfortunately, many men prefer to marry women who have not been married before. As a result, the number of widows and divorced women, who have not gotten a chance to remarry, has risen and is rising.

“There is nothing wrong with a widow or a divorced woman. Many of them have better awareness levels about the meaning of marriage than young women who have not been married before. Many divorced women have gotten married again and lead now a happy marital life with their husbands,” he said.

Muhammad Al-Saleem, director of Al Oyun City Family Development Center, said divorced women in Arab societies are viewed differently; there is a social stigma attached to divorced women. Most people blame divorced women for their unsuccessful marriage and tend to make harsh judgments about those women.

“It is wrong to make a hasty judgment about a divorced woman and blame her for the failed marriage. She might be innocent and a victim of oppression at the hands of a cruel husband or she might have not been able to take it any longer because of her husband’s drug addiction. We need to change the way we look at divorced women and give them the respect they need and deserve,” he said.

Responsibility

Hussain Al-Obaidan, social development expert, blames the high number of divorced women on the spread of social media websites. Many husbands and wives today spend more time on social media sites than with one another.

As a result, they grow emotionally detached. Moreover, a large number of husbands spend most of their time with their friends and rarely stay at home with their partners. A wife ends up bearing a lot of pressure as she has to play the role of a wife, a mother, and a caretaker. Due to this high pressure, she crumbles and files for divorce because she cannot take it anymore.

Ahmed Al-Otafi, a social activist, said many Arab countries suffer from the high rate of women who have passed the age of marriage and most of them are women who refused to get married young in order to pursue postgraduate studies. Some women have missed the train of marriage because their guardians refused to marry them as those women were the sole breadwinners of the family.

http://saudigazette.com.sa/article/514924/SAUDI-ARABIA/Marriage

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First Saudi female head chef in Riyadh hotel

August 12, 2017

DHOHA ABDULLAH has become the first Saudi female chef in the Kingdom where she’s become a head chef at a hotel in Riyadh.

Dhoha, who holds a Master’s Degree in social services from King Saudi University, told Sabq that she began to improve her cooking skills after her family encouraged her and told her she cooked better food than hotels and restaurants did.

Dhoha studied cooking in Lebanon and India and mastered the international cuisine in particular while adding her own touch, thus becoming an expert in the Italian, French, Indian and Syrian cuisines, in addition to the Saudi cuisine.

She said many supported her move such as the minister of labor who visited her and encouraged her to pursue this career.

Dhoha, who had to travel to study due to lack of culinary schools in Saudi Arabia, called on the vocational institute to open cooking institutes, adding that she is willing to cooperate with them and help others for nothing in return.

Earlier in March, Eastern Province Ministry of Labor Recruitment Director Omair Al-Zahrani said the ministry always encourages and supports women employment in various fields as long as her work does not contravenes Islamic teachings and her nature as a woman.

He said: “The ministry has constricting regulations on women working in hotels because there has been a record of hotels violating the ministry’s regulations on women employment.

“Hotels have employed women as receptionists, forcing them to interact with men.”

He said women may work in places where they are not obliged to constantly deal with men, they have their own entrances and exits to the workplace and they have their own rest rooms and facilities.

“The ministry’s regulations do not prohibit women working as chefs at a hotel as long as her work environment is clear of men and she has the freedom to use the rest rooms available for her,” said Al-Zahrani.

Gulf Tourism Committee member and former Eastern Province Chamber of Commerce and Industry tourism committee head Abdullah Al-Qahtani said the chambers of commerce and industry always support women’s employment.

He said: “The role of women in society and the labor market has become vital. Women entering the hospitality industry is a good move toward social development.

“With the right training and exposure, women’s involvement will raise the quality of our hotels to an international standard. However, hotels must cooperate and abide by the ministry’s regulations.”

http://saudigazette.com.sa/article/514912/SAUDI-ARABIA/Saudi-female

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Iran: Female Islamic Guidance Patrol set up to crack down on women in Qom

August 11, 2017

by IranHRM

The Prosecutor of Qom said on August 9, 2017, that a special female (Islamic Guidance) patrol team was allocated to inspect women’s public centers, according to the state-run ISNA news agency.

“The Special Qom Prosecutor Patrol Team, with the management of female judges, will inspect women’s centers including studios, swimming pools, women’s gyms and beauty salons”, Mehdi Kaheh said.

“This team has so far inspected more than 45 beauty salons and 10 swimming pools and has given each place legal notices regarding their offenses with a timeframe. If they do not amend the mentioned affairs, they will be legally and judicially dealt with”, he added.

http://iran-hrm.com/index.php/2017/08/11/iran-female-islamic-guidance-patrol-set-crack-women-qom/

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Muslim Woman Creates ‘Hijab-Grabber’ Defence Move

11 August 2017

DUBAI: A New Yorker is teaching Muslim women how to protect themselves against hate crimes, including a move she calls the “hijab-grab”.

Rana Abdelhamid started learning martial arts when she was just 7-years-old, her parents having enrolled her into Shotokan karate classes.

But it was when she was 15 that she experienced hate crime for the first time.

Describing the incident, she said: “I remember I was walking down the street in Queens, New York, which is actually one of the most diverse places in the world… I remember feeling a tug at the back of my hijab. A man aggressively assaulted me, trying to take off my hijab.”

She said the attack left her feeling vulnerable and insecure. But rather than dwelling on her fears, it inspired her to help other women from any future hate crimes.

“Our main goal is to be able to give Muslim women the tools to be able to confront anti-Muslim violence, gender-based violence and state-based violence,” Abdelhamid explained.

Abdelhamid teaches the classes under the banner of the International Muslim Women’s Initiative for Self-Empowerment, an organization she founded to run self-defense classes and to teach leadership skills.

The classes teach the women how to cope with “typical” attacks, including the shockingly common grabbing of a woman’s hijab.

“We’ve actually put together and invented, almost, a technique called the ‘hijab-grab’ technique, which is so messed up because why should we have to invent that?” she said.

She also teaches the women how to defend themselves verbally, teaching them how to shout confidently.

In one of her videos she tells her students: “I need you to go home and I need you to scream, I need you to practice, to use your voice to say ‘stop,’ to say, ‘no.’”

According to the New York Post a study from the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding revealed that 42 percent of Muslim Americans report religious-based bullying.

But Abdelhamid stops short of blaming the Trump administration, saying the problem dated back long before this year.

She explained: “This sort of marginalization isn’t just a Trump administration thing,” she said. “Unfortunately, it was also happening under Obama, it was also happening under Bush, and it was happening under Clinton.”

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1143091/offbeat

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Moroccan video sparks debate on sexual harassment

12 August 2017

RABAT: A video showing a group of men hounding a young woman walking alone in a Moroccan street has been shared widely on social media, sparking a heated debate in the North African country.

The video, lasting just 10 seconds, shows a clearly panicking woman in jeans and a T-shirt being chased by a large group of young men.

The mob tries to surround her on a well-known avenue in the northern town of Tangiers.

The video triggered contrasting reactions on social media. Some condemned the young men, but others blamed the woman for wearing “indecent” clothes and suggested she was promiscuous.

“She can strip off if she wants, but not in our conservative town,” wrote one.

Another wrote that the woman “got what she deserved.”

Moroccan media and human rights activists condemned the harassment.

“I am as scandalized by this violent and collective aggression as by the reactions blaming the victim for her supposedly provocative dress, although she wore only simple jeans and a T-shirt,” said Nouzha Skalli, a gender rights activist and former women’s minister.

Mustapha Ramid, minister of state for human rights, said Moroccan law “condemns harassment of women at work, but not in public spaces.”

But he said Parliament was examining a “comprehensive” bill that would for the first time criminalize harassment in public places.

Media outlets said the incident reflected a wider problem in society.

“The group chase of a young Moroccan woman brings to the forefront the issue of sexual harassment,” said Hespress.ma, Morocco’s most popular news website.

Another popular site, Ladepeche.ma, suggested harassment had become “a national sport.”

Morocco has been ruled since 2011 by the Justice and Development Party (PJD), which came to power following Arab Spring-inspired protests.

Official discourse plays up Morocco’s long tradition of religious moderation.

But official figures show that nearly two out of three Moroccan women are victims of violence. That violence is most visible in public places.

Many women say walking alone in the street has become uncomfortable. Many have been subjected to derogatory remarks, insults and sexual assault.

“It’s a real crisis of values in our society,” said Khadija Ryadi, former president of the Moroccan Association of Human Rights (AMDH) and 2013 winner of a UN award for human rights work.

In the heart of Rabat, few women sit on the terrace in the countless cafes that line the famous Boulevard Mohammed V.

“We’re in an upscale neighborhood! Go and look in the poorer parts of town. Women are excluded from the public space,” said Sara, a resident of the district in her 30s.

“Not to mention conservative cities or remote villages. This gives you an image of the male hegemony.”

Skalli said the issue reflects a “traditional culture” which regards public space as reserved for men and “the presence of women as an undue intrusion.”

She said there had been an upsurge in public harassment of women, revealing the contradictions of a society torn between modernity and conservatism.

That pits the “liberalization of morals, which legitimizes sexual attraction toward women and trying to seduce them” against “a misogynistic and aggressive ideology which accuses women of dressing provocatively and considers them responsible” for being harassed.

Recent years have seen several high-profile cases of sexual assault, especially on beaches, where women are increasingly reluctant to wear swimsuits.

Harassment is often collective and carried out by young people who consider themselves “defenders of virtue,” Skalli said.

http://www.arabnews.com/node/1143181/middle-east

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