Photo: An Iranian woman checks make up at a cosmetics shop in northern Tehran on May 6, 2014. (AFP/Atta Kenare)
Iran Will No Longer Punish Women for Breaking 'Islamic Dress' Rules
General Court in Riyadh Retracts Ban on Unveiled Women
Twitter Account of Imprisoned Palestinian Teenage Girl Ahed Tamimi Deleted
‘I Ran For a Day and a Night’: Yazidi Girls Share Blood-Curdling Stories Of ISIS Slavery
Bahrain ready for Arab women’s tournament
Who Is Shadia Bseiso? The Wwe Just Got Its First Arab Woman in the Ring
This Arab Journalist Was Arrested For Wearing Pants
Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau
Turkish Fatwa: Calling Wife ‘Mom’ or ‘Sister’ Means Instant Marriage Annulment
27 Dec, 2017
Turkish women be warned: if you remind your husband too much of his mother, your marriage could be in grave danger.
A fatwa issued by Turkey’s Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet) has declared that any husband who tells his wife that he sees her as a sister or mother has effectively annulled their marriage.
“If a man tells his wife that he sees her as a mother or sister, the man will be considered divorced from his wife. However, if they have not divorced before, they may come together with a new marriage,” the nonbinding ruling on Islamic law read, the Hurriyet daily reports.
Issued on December 25, the fatwa is not the first instance of the directorate offering guidance to Turkish couples. The Diyanet previously issued a fatwa on divorce, ruling that unhappy unions can be dissolved via telephone call, fax, letter or even text message. The break-up method, known as a ‘triple talaq’ divorce, allows a husband to divorce his wife by saying ‘talaq’ [divorce in Arabic] three times. The ‘triple talaq’ is not mentioned in Islamic law or the Koran, and most Islamic countries do not recognize the instant divorce technique.
Turkey’s preeminent religious authority has a long track record of issuing oddball fatwas. For example, in November, the Diyanet declared the digital currency bitcoin “inappropriate at this moment in time.” Then in December, the religious body issued a fatwa on hair dye for men, followed by a prohibition on purchasing national lottery tickets. Several days later, it warned against “immoral music.”
In December, the European Court of Justice ruled that ‘talaq’ divorces are not legal under EU law.
------Iran Will No Longer Punish Women for Breaking 'Islamic Dress' Rules
Published December 28th, 2017 - 06:00 GMT
Iranian police are taking a softer approach to breaches of Islamic rules, opting for education over punishment, according to Tehran's police chief.
There are more than 100 counselling centers in the Tehran province alone where people are educated on Islamic codes.
'According to a decision of the commander of the police force, those who do not observe Islamic codes will no longer be taken to detention centers nor judicial files opened on them,' Brigadier General Hossein Rahimi said in a speech in the Iranian capital.
'We offer courses and 7,913 people have been educated in these classes so far.'
Rahimi, who was appointed in August, did not elaborate on which Islamic codes were in question or when the new guidelines were introduced.
It marks a stark shift from his predecessor, General Hossein Sajedinia, who announced in April 2016 that there were 7,000 undercover morality police reporting on things like 'bad hijab' - a blanket term usually referring to un-Islamic dress by women.
Figures are rarely given, but Tehran's traffic police said in late 2015 they had dealt with 40,000 cases of bad hijab in cars, where women often let their headscarves drop around their necks.
These cases generally led to fines and a temporary impounding of the vehicle.
Mandatory headscarves have been key symbol of Iran's Islamic rule since the revolution of 1979, fiercely defended by hardliners but ever harder to enforce, particularly in wealthier areas where loose and colourful scarves have become the norm.
President Hassan Rouhani, who came to power in 2013 promising a more moderate stance, has said it is not the job of police to enforce religious rules.
'It is not the police's duty to enforce Islam. No police officer can say I did something because God or the Prophet have said so... Many religious issues are a matter of personal faith,' he told a police conference in 2015.
Although his comments attracted criticism from conservative clerics and supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, there has been a generally softer approach on the streets, with far fewer reports of morality police accosting women.
Earlier this month an Iranian female footballer was banned from playing the sport for her country after posting photos of herself playing football without hijab in Switzerland.
Shiva Amini has now applied for asylum as she fears she will face jail time if she returns to the country.
Just last year Iranian police arrested eight models for 'un-Islamic acts'.
On top of the eight arrests, criminal cases were opened against 21 other people as part of a sting operation that focussed on photos posted on Instagram.
Two years ago Iranian actress Sadaf Taherian sparked outrage in her home country two years ago after posting pictures of herself without a hijab.
Iranian officials branded her 'immoral' and revoked her work licence, which means she can no longer work in Iranian cinema.
General Court in Riyadh retracts ban on unveiled women
ASEEL BASHRAHEEL |Arab News Staff | Published — Wednesday 27 December 2017
JEDDAH: The General Court in Riyadh amended the decision to limit the entry inside the court to veiled women. Women can now enter courts without the need to cover their faces, as long as they dress modestly and adhere to the court’s dress regulations.
The court replaced a circular issued last year by the court’s president in which he stressed that women would not be admitted to the court if they are not dressed appropriately in revealing garments or without the face being covered.
Shoura member and associate professor at King Saud University Dr.EqbalDarandari told Arab News: “Any applicant frequenting a government department is expected to uphold and adhere by its dress code. Courts of law, specifically, are governed by religious sanctions, which calls for women to dress accordingly in modest attire.”
In response to the news she said: “That, however, does not mean that we restrict all women under a specific Islamic sect, as there have always been differing opinions and sects when it comes to hijab. I’m sure everyone is grateful and appreciative of such a decision, as it helps the court to provide women with all needed services.”
She also believes it will enable women to feel more comfortable in frequenting courthouses, for when they dress as they regularly do, they’ll feel welcome and at ease.
Hala Abdullah from Riyadh told Arab News: “I was ecstatic, of course. It’s not just a step in the right direction – it’s completely necessary and couldn’t have come sooner. Proper representation of women in the courts of law cannot take place if we’re literally and figuratively invisible. We need to be seen.”
@iPhonjy responded with a tweet saying: “Finally, true Islam is slowly but surely returning to Saudi Arabia.”
Twitter Account of Imprisoned Palestinian Teenage Girl AhedTamimi Deleted
Thu Dec 28, 2017 1:50
Another account has been created, calling for Twitter to reinstate Tamimi’s original account, RT reported.
While it is unclear if Twitter itself deleted the account, Manal Tamimi, a relative of Ahed, suggested Twitter did indeed ban the account.
Israeli forces confiscated computer equipment from the Tamimi residence during the nighttime raid. It is possible that Israel accessed AhedTamimi's account from those computers.
Ahed, 16, was arrested by Israeli forces during a predawn raid on her home last week in the village of Nabi Saleh, located in the central occupied West Bank.
Tamimi’s cousin Nour was also arrested. Her mother NarimanTamimi was detained as well, when she went to the police station where her daughter was being held.
She became the latest face of Palestinian resistance when footage emerged of her slapping one and then another fully-armed Israeli officer in the face during a protest in her home village of Nabi Saleh, near the Palestinian city of Ramallah.
Ahed, whose family is well-known internationally for their activism against the Israeli occupation, was arrested over a video that went viral on social media of her slapping an armed Israeli officer during a raid on Nabi Saleh.
She is well-known across Palestine and the Arab world for videos of her, since her childhood, defiantly resisting Israeli soldiers who clash with Palestinians in her village nearly every week.
An Israeli soldier shot AhedTamimi’s brother Mohammad, 14, in the head during a demonstration in late December. He has been released from the hospital after undergoing surgery and a medically induced coma.
The Tamimis have long been targeted for their activism. In 2011, an Israeli soldier fired a tear gas canister from closer range at Mustafa Tamimi, killing him.
While it is unknown if Israeli authorities requested that Twitter suspend Tamimi’s account, the social media giant has collaborated with Israel before.
In 2016, Justice Minister AyeletShaked revealed that Twitter was removing content it deemed “harmful.”
‘I ran for a day and a night’: Yazidi girls share blood-curdling stories of ISIS slavery
Published time: 28 Dec, 2017
A woman who spent three years as an ISIS slave and a girl who was only five when taken are among the lucky few to have returned home, while hundreds of Yazidi girls remain in captivity. RT spoke to them about the ordeal.
Samiyah was pregnant when Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) militants descended on her village in 2014. After three bitter years of slavery in the former IS Syrian stronghold of Deirez-Zor she managed to break free and was finally brought home a mere three weeks ago.
RT’s Murad Gazdievtraveled to the northern Iraqi district of Dohuk, where the former captive lives with her mother. She told him of her despair when IS ransacked the village, capturing her husband and almost all of her family. To escape her fate, she chose to take poison. Though it proved not enough to kill her, it was fatal to her unborn child.
“I was left alone with my mother. So I took poison, I decided it was better to die. When they caught me, I thought that since my family, my husband and my house were gone, it would be better to die,” she told Murad.
Soon, Samiyah joined some 3,000 Yazidi women and girls, turned into forced laborers and subjected to daily rape. Seeing the Yazidis as devil-worshippers, their IS captors treated the girls as commodities.
The men would offer us as gifts. In the evenings, they would get together and trade the women, and have their fun with us,” Samiyah recalls.
IS brutality against the Yazidis was recognized as genocide by the UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria, investigating human rights abuses in the protracted conflict.
Samiyah fled during one of the bombings, breaking the window of her sealed cell. She said she ran for “a day and a night” before a local family sheltered her and told her where the Kurdish YPG units were. She threw herself on the mercy of the YPG as soon as she reached them, and within two weeks she had made her way home.
Inas is now nine years old, and her mother found herself in a state of utter despair when all her family members either perished or went missing, including her then 5-year-old daughter.
“It was indescribable for me. Life turned into endless suffering, tears, and hunger. I couldn’t do anything but cry,” she told RT.
Nevertheless, she did not give up hope of finding her child. She posted the girl’s photo on Facebook, and everything changed overnight when someone contacted her relatives, reporting having seen Inas.
In order to reunite with her daughter, she first had to collect $10,000, a ransom demanded by the human traffickers.
“The seller was in Turkey, but said he would deliver her to Baghdad. We paid over 10,000 dollars,” she told RT. After four years away from her mother, Inas did not at first recognize her. The child seems happy, but it will undoubtedly take her some time yet to adjust to a normal life after all that she has been through.
Bahrain ready for Arab women’s tournament
Thu, 28 Dec 2017
Bahrain will take part in eight disciplines at the Arab Women’s Sports Clubs Tournament (AWST) to be held in Sharjah from February 2 to 12.
Bahraini athletes will compete in volleyball (Muharraq Club), table tennis (Bahrain Club), basketball (Ministry of Youth and Sports Talents), athletics (Busaiteen), shooting (Bahrain Club), karate (Bahrain Academy Club), fencing (Bahrain Club) and archery (Bahrain Club) in the Arab region’s largest women’s sports event.
Shaikha Hayat bint Abdulaziz Al Khalifa, member of Supreme Council for Youth and Sports and Bahrain Olympic Committee and chairwoman of the women’s sport committee, held a meeting with members of the clubs to discuss preparations.
Present at the meeting were representatives of the Ministry of Youth and Sports Affairs and the participating clubs.
Shaikha Hayat said that the Supreme Organising Committee of the tournament had finalised 10 venues for competitions and training for the 11-day event.
The decision follows a series of inspections carried out by the members of AWST’s technical committee and board of directors of the Union of Arab National Olympic Committees chaired by Arab Sports Council president Prince TalalBadr bin Saud bin Abdul Aziz.
Who Is Shadia Bseiso? The Wwe Just Got Its First Arab Woman in the Ring
BY MARIA PEREZ ON 12/27/17
Shadia Bseiso will be the first Arab woman to join World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) as a professional wrestler as part of its incoming training class in January.
Bseiso, a Dubai-based TV host and voice artist, holds a blue belt in jiu-jitsu and is a Crossfit enthusiast. The 31-year-old originally auditioned as an announcer for the WWE’s first Arabic television show, WWE Wal3ooha, after she had completed training at WWE’s Performance Center in Florida. During her audition, she talked about how much she enjoyed martial arts.
Bseiso went up against 33 other competitors, with only seven other women who were not full-time athletes. For four days, Bseiso ran drills and performed moves in front of crowds.
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“On the fourth day, just before we all went home, Matt Bloom [WWE’s head trainer] pulled me aside and said, ‘Are you ready to move to the U.S.?’” Bseiso told the Los Angeles Times.
The TV host grew up in Jordan and did not know much about the WWE but came across matches on television or on videotapes. When WWE came to Dubai, she was already hosting popular sporting events like “Desert Force,” a mixed martial arts tournament.
Shadia Bseiso will be the first Arab woman to join the WWE as a professional wrestler in January 2018.
Bseiso is not the first person in her family to be an athlete. Her sister, Arifa Bseiso, is a boxer who is one of Nike’s brand ambassadors in the Middle East.
Canyon Ceman, WWE’s senior vice president of international talent development, offered Bseiso a spot in athlete tryouts earlier this year in Dubai.
Ceman said there has been an effort to expand the WWE’s growing roster of athletes globally. He wants to have characters in the ring that fans can identify with.
“We’re looking for size, charisma, work ethic, diversity, language, country of origin… and we train them as sports entertainers from zero,” Ceman told the LA Times.
Besio's spot on the roster is not guaranteed, but she says she is working hard and enjoying her new job.
“I spend the whole day in my gym when I’m on my day off. Now it’s my job. That’s something I love,” she said.
WWE has portrayed Middle Eastern characters as villains in the past. Characters like the Iron Sheik (Hossein Khosrow Ali Vaziri) or General Adnan (Adnan Al-Kaissie) would square off against WWE legends like Hulk Hogan with storylines that centered on the Iranian hostage crisis in 1979.
But, Bseiso, who is still learning what it takes to be a WWE wrestler, is optimistic and hopes to leave a lasting impact on the franchise.
“I don’t know wrestling yet, but I’m going to be as good as I can be,” she added. “I’m in this to headline Wrestlemania. I want it all,” she said.
This Arab journalist was arrested for wearing pants
Wini Omer faces charges of "indecent clothing."
Earlier this month, journalist, rights activist, and 2017 Mandela Washington Fellow Wini Omer was arrested on the streets of Khartoum on charges of "indecent and immoral acts" ... for wearing pants.
Omer's arrest came after she had attended the hearing of 24 women charged with indecency for wearing pants during a private women-only party. While charges were dropped against the 24 women accused of wearing pants and tight skirts, the ruling of Omer was delayed until December 21.
The judge's decision came upon the request of the defense to hear three witnesses, including the director of the CenterFor Training And Protection Of Women And Child’s Rights (SEEMA) NahidJabrallah, and two other people who were present at the moment of Omer's arrest, according to Sudan Tribune News.
Omer denied the charges of indecent clothing before the judge of Aldaym Court, Kamal Ali al-Zaki.
In her statements, she stressed she is a "Muslim and she knows her religion well".
"What I wear is not an indecent dress, but a dress worn by all the girls on the public street."
She further confirmed that her head was half covered at the moment of the arrest.
She posted a video on social media explaining how the incident happened. After the judge and the witnesses at her second court session found her clothing rather "decent", the police officer who conducted the arrest said, "he did not like the way she walked".
In her video, she criticizes article 152 which prohibits indecent acts, such as wearing "immoral" or "indecent" clothing and calls upon people’s participation in changing the law.
Monitiser Ibrahim is a journalist who was arrested after visiting Omer in detention.
The U.S. embassy expressed concern over the arrest of Omer and called upon Khartoum to review, amend, and even abolish article 152, as well as protect basic freedoms of expression.
Some government officials, including Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour, expressed intentions to amend the "controversial laws".
On Thursday, December 21, charges were dropped against Omer by the judge of the Public Order Court, Kamal al-Din al-Zaki, in al-Deem district, south of Khartoum.
The ruling came after the judge challenged the testimony of the public order police officer complainant, saying it "demonstrated a hostile intent" against Omer.
Omer shared a post on her Facebook page commenting on the verdict. She expressed her frustration with the legal system in her country and called for the removal of article 152.
"I am sad that I’m in a country that prosecutes us by law and accuses us of what it calls indecent and obscene clothing. I am sad that hundreds of women are convicted on daily basis with this article and the dignity of women and men in Sudan is constantly humiliated under the pretext of maintaining public order. I say again, there is no compromise on personal freedoms," she wrote.