• Sadaf Khadem: 'The Problem Is Boxing, Not the Hijab – In Iran They Say Men Only'
• 70 Pregnant Women Infected with Coronavirus Hospitalized in Oman
• Shoura Council Proposes Permanent Residency for Children of Saudi Women Married To Foreigners
• Another woman’s vicious murder stirs outrage in Turkey
Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau
Varanasi's Muslim women sent handmade Rakhi to Prime Minister Modi
Jul 22 2020
Varanasi: The month of Sawan is going on, and after a few days Raksha Bandhan is also coming. On this golden occasion, Muslim women in Varanasi have made hand made Rakhi and sent it to PM Narendra Modi by post. Women have been sending rakhi to Prime Minister Modi since 2013 under the leadership of National Woman of Muslim Women Foundation, Nazneen Ansari. Muslim women, angry with the betrayal done by China to India, have also called for a boycott of Chinese-made Rakhi this time.
Muslim women on Tuesday have made Prime Minister Modi, Trump, and Indresh Rakhi with popular songs on behalf of Muslim Women's Foundation and Vishal Bharat Sansthan at Subhash Bhawan in Indresh Nagar Lamahi. Muslim women started making rakhis by singing songs with the beat of the dhol. They made rakhi using star, Tikki, cardboard, lacquer, and PM Modi's picture. Subsequently, these Rakhi have been sent by post to the PMO.
Shri Ram Rakhi will also be sent to the families who were martyred in the movement of Shri Ram temple. Indresh Kumar of RSS has inaugurated Shri Ram Rakhi, Modi Rakhi, Trump Rakhi, and Indresh Rakhi online from Kaithal. The founder of Vishal Bharat Sansthan, Dr. Rajiv Srivastava said in his statement that Muslim women should send a rakhi to US President Donald Trump and strengthen the relations between India and America. Najma Parveen, SoniBano, Archana Bharatvanshi, Dr. Mridula Jaiswal, NazmaBano, Nagina, Munni Begum, Sunita Srivastava have been included in the makers of Rakhi.
Sadaf Khadem: 'The Problem Is Boxing, Not the Hijab – In Iran They Say Men Only'
21 Jul 2020
Sadaf Khadem: ‘I confounded the rules of my country. I wasn’t wearing a hijab, I was coached by a man – some people take a dim view of this.’ Photograph: Astrid Lagougine/The Guardian
Sadaf Khadem came from the mountains and underground gyms of Tehran to Royan, a seaside town in south-west France, so that she could have the freedom to fight. She came alone. In the salty air of Royan, she respectfully replaced the hijab with a blue headguard and gumshield. Khadem had already pulled on a vest and shorts and boxing boots.
MahyarMonshipour, a former world champion boxer based in France, was her trainer. As a man, who was not her husband, he was not meant to be close to her. But Monshipour wrapped her hands and slipped on the gloves. Khadem’s arms and her legs were bare as she walked to the ring in April 2019 for her first fight as an amateur boxer.
She also made history as the first Iranian woman to step into a boxing ring. Khadem wore a green vest, in honour of Iran, with her country’s name printed on the fabric even though she was challenging the rule of Islamic law in her homeland. She had uncovered parts of her body and Iran does not allow women to participate in a sport that apparently belongs to men.
Khadem is brave, dreams of boxing in the 2024 Olympics and, from there, becoming a pro fighter promoted by Eddie Hearn and fighting on the same bill as Anthony Joshua. She won her first bout last April but Monshipour received a warning the following day that she faced arrest if she returned to Tehran. Khadem, briefly, made news around the world. “I confounded the rules of my country,” she told L’Équipe. “I wasn’t wearing a hijab, I was coached by a man – some people take a dim view of this.”
Today, Khadem lights up her small front room in Royan with vivacity and intelligence. The 25-year-old has such a spark she already looks like a star. Khadem has 63,000 followers on Instagram but she is rigorous when stressing the seriousness of boxing.
“In football,” Khadem says, “in basketball and handball, they say you play a game. But in boxing you don’t play. Boxers look exactly like gladiators. The punches are real. You can be scared and hurt. But you have to accept the punches. You have to be fast. Sometimes you have to be cool. You have to dance in the difficult situation you endure. You are alone in the ring.”
Khadem, in simple but powerful English, tells her story. “I started this new life like an accident,” she says. “I came here with two bags. Nothing more. I lose everything I had in Iran. In Tehran I was a fitness coach and had my personal gym. Now I begin again. I am working in agriculture [on a farm] doing physical work.”
She smiles before saying her next stark phrase: “From nothing to everything. Here in Royan it’s very beautiful. Touristique. I have many friends. Last year I didn’t have any experience in boxing, but now I have 13 fights. I love this life. I choose to stay here. This is very important because I didn’t have a problem with Iran. I love my country. I love my culture. I always believe I’m Iranian. French people really help me and I love them. But I never forget my first home is Iran. My second home is France.”
Khadem is in that strange and haunting place called exile. The Iranian authorities have since denied she will be arrested but Khadem feels unable to return home yet. She misses her family. “Fortunately I see them on WhatsApp. Every day I speak with my mum – but it’s not reality.”
What does her mother think of her boxing? “She prefer I go to a sport like tennis. I went to a good school. We were not a poor family. I was learning English. I played viola.”
She reaches for her viola. “See,” she says. “I still enjoy it.” A viola-playing Iranian woman in the boxing ring is unusual but, as Khadem says: “My mother is a very strong feminist. She wants me to be independent. So she supports me. I just think about other girls when their parents don’t support their independence. I fight for them too.”
How did she discover a forbidden sport like women’s boxing? “I saw this movie about Mary Kom. She is an Indian boxer [who won a flyweight bronze at the London Olympics]. From that movie I liked boxing. One of my basketball coaches had also said: ‘Sadaf, if you want to be faster in basketball, try boxing.’ Two months later Muhammad Ali died [in June 2016]. I saw him on TV and then everything was about boxing. But it was not easy. I do it underground after I started training in Taleghani Park in Tehran. My coach had the pads and I hit them. But soon he can’t meet me in the park. He come to my home. In the parking area I prepared a little place for my training. After he can’t come to my home I went to his gym, one hour and 30 minutes away. I went with metro, taxis and buses.
“After I change my coach it was bad. I went with an older man. I can’t speak about this but he did very bad things with me. I went to the mountains. I did meditation and yoga. I found a person who is very holy. He helped me. He’s a professor and he tells me: ‘Sadaf, it’s better for six months to be alone, to think what you want to do in your life.’ So I stopped boxing and made my body and mind strong again.
“I come back to boxing and decide to train with the coach of the national team. He was very good. He helped me for six months but it’s impossible to fight. There is no women’s boxing in Iran. We have federations for women’s kickboxing, karate, judo, wrestling. But not boxing. I tried to create this. I had interviews with many journals in Iran. I speak with the president of the boxing federation. Ten times. I tell them: ‘Please accept me. If you want, I do boxing with hijab, with your rules.’ But they don’t accept me. They don’t want me.”
Khadem’s life changed when Monshipour returned to Iran for a visit. The WBA super-bantamweight world champion between 2003 and 2006 had been born in Tehran in 1975. When he was 11, as the war between Iran and Iraq intensified, his father had sent him to France with his aunt. Monshipour discovered boxing and became a ferocious fighter nicknamed Little Tyson.
“He was a great name in Iran,” Khadem says. “I see on Instagram he is coming to give boxing classes in the Tochal mountains near Tehran. I sent him a message. ‘Hello Monsieur Monshipour. Can you prepare a formal fight for me?’ And he accepted to help. It took a long time for me to get a visa to France and then a boxing licence. But Monshipour helped me.”
Finally, she could step into the ring in Royan to face Anne Chauvin, a French boxer. “She had four fights and I had none,” Khadem remembers, “and she was strong. There was big pressure. When I arrived in France, I see cameras, cameras, cameras. I say: ‘MrMonshipour? What is happening?’ He tells me I make an important step for women and my country. Now many people in the world look at me. I want to win because of my country. That time I didn’t think about technique. I was boxing with my heart. It was very hard but I won.”
Can she describe her emotions when her hand was lifted by the referee? “I was crying. I remember my first coach always said: ‘Sadaf, you never can fight for Iran.’ I told him: ‘One day I do real competition for Iran.’ I did that.”
Before the global pandemic Khadem had won 11 of her 13 fights. After six bouts she had switched to a new trainer, MickaëlWeus, and she says: “I am getting better but now it is difficult again. I had fights cancelled because of lockdown. But I have two fights in a Paris tournament on 23 and 24 October and there will be no public. It will be good because I have only lost two fights. The first was close but I accept the defeat. I was a boxer with just six fights. My adversary was champion of France. She had 20 or 30 fights.”
Who would she like to fight for in the 2024 Olympics in Paris? “For Iran, for France, whoever,” she says with a breezy shrug. “When you become Olympic champion, it’s you who wins. The country is important but you are the champion. It’s a pleasure for me if I do it for Iran or for France. But I need Iran to accept women’s boxing and for France I need the nationality. It takes four years so it’s not easy.”
She points out: “In kickboxing there is a very high female level in Iran. They do it with the hijab – no problem. Normally I don’t wear the hijab. But, if Iran wants me, I do it because I want to box for Iran. But the problem is boxing . It’s not the hijab. Iran just does not allow female boxers. They say men only.”
Would it be safe, politically, to return to Tehran after lockdown eases? “I hope so. Everything is possible.”
Now, however, she dreams of a grand future, “I love Anthony Joshua,” she says. “His character. His boxing. The way Eddie Hearn promotes him. In women’s boxing I love Cecilia Brækhus [the undisputed world welterweight champion, from Norway]. After 2024 I hope to box in England. It would be another world.”
Khadem might be attracted to the glamour of big-time boxing but she insists: “The problem is humans now pay attention to artificial things. I am interested in the ideas of a professor who might only have 20 followers. Of course I respect women who pay attention to her face, her body. But the ideas in her mind last much longer. Does she have a goal or is it just followers or money? It’s not the problem of the Kardashians. They do what the world wants. But here is my home [she gestures to her room]. I have my books. My clothes. Just this. I don’t have any TV. I prefer to read books to learn more. Now the world is focused on the artificial. Instagram is OK but [she snaps her fingers] it’s not reality.”
She looks very serious before breaking into another smile. “Boxing is reality. It’s hard but it’s good. It’s just like real life.”
70 Pregnant Women Infected with Coronavirus Hospitalized in Oman
July 20, 2020
MUSCAT — In Oman, a total of 70 pregnant women infected with coronavirus were hospitalized, including nine in the intensive care units, local media reported on Sunday citing a top official at the country’s Ministry of Health.
According to Dr. Moza Abdullah Al-Sulaimani, director of gynecology and obstetrics at Oman’s Royal Hospital, three critical cases went into premature labor in order to improve their response to treatment in which one case was before the 24-week of pregnancy and the fetus died, and two cases were after 28-week of pregnancy and the premature newborns were admitted to the neonatal intensive care units.
In a statement, Dr. Moza said: “Pregnant women being infected with COVID-19 is as usual as the rest of the community.”
“However, the physiological changes in their bodies, especially on the immune system, that occur in the pregnant woman’s body, may affect her resistance to viral infections in general. The pregnant woman is immunocompromised due to her body’s attempt to adapt and accept the existence of the fetus inside her,” Dr. Moza explained.
“The pregnant woman is expected to suffer from mild to moderate symptoms, nonetheless, because of the increase in the size of the uterus during the advanced stage of pregnancy that causes pressure on the chest and the lungs, may affect the interaction of the body if the inflammation of the lung occurs,” she added.
Dr. Moza also said that the department faces some challenges as some pregnant women refrain from informing the medical staff that one of their family members is infected before being admitted. “The increase in cases brings pressure on the hospital’s beds and the medical staff,” she said.
Therefore, all pregnant women are urged to report to the staff any case of coronavirus infection in their family, or herself or if showing any COVID-19 symptoms. The WHO suggests, pregnant women with symptoms of COVID-19 should be prioritized for testing. If they have it, they may need specialized care.
However, there is no evidence to date that a pregnant woman with the disease can pass the virus to her fetus or baby during pregnancy or delivery. The active virus, though, has not been found in samples of amniotic fluid or breast milk, according to the WHO. — Agencies
Shoura Council Proposes Permanent Residency For Children of Saudi Women Married To Foreigners
20 Jul 2020
Last week, eight members of Saudi Arabia’s consultative assembly, the Shoura Council, have called for the granting of permanent residency status for the children of Saudi women married to foreigners. A proposal was submitted, stipulating that these children be given the right to permanent residency (iqama) in the country, with no fee or lengthy procedures. Currently, children born to Saudi mothers and foreign fathers are placed under a sponsorship system.
This proposal comes at a time in Saudi history when the number of marriages of Saudi women to foreigners is increasing, making it necessary for the Kingdom to look at various factors to support revising the current status laws of children born in these marriages. The Council sees this support as a key step in empowering the Kingdom’s women. Not only does this milestone further consolidates their rights but also provides stability and security for their children.
According to Gulf News, the authors of the proposal backed up their case for the free residency “by citing the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) joined by Saudi Arabia, the objectives of the Saudi Vision 2030 and the status of the kingdom as a member of the Group of 20.”
This proposal submission marks the third time that members of the Council have attempted to address this very subject. In 2019, Council members Faisal Al-Fadel, Lina Almaeena, Noura Al-Musaed, and Huda Al-Holaisi also called for the granting of permanent residency status for the children of Saudi women married to foreigners. They presented the proposal at the time, urging the Ministry of Interior to make amendments in the executive bylaw of the Saudi Nationality Law.
Another woman’s vicious murder stirs outrage in Turkey
JUL 21, 2020
As Turkey strives to lower the rate of women murdered by their partners, another woman was added to the list of victims killed by their spouses. The body of 27-year-old PınarGültekin, a university student living in the southwestern province of Muğla, was discovered on Tuesday after she was reported missing on July 16. The murder renewed online protests against women’s murders.
Police detained Gültekin’s former boyfriend CemalMetinAvcı after he confessed to the murder. Gültekin's body was found buried inside a barrel in a forest in Muğla’sMenteşe district. Avcı initially rejected accusations but admitted to the murder after security camera footage showing him near the site of burial emerged. The footage showed Avcı filling a can of gasoline.
He said he killed Gültekin when she rejected his offer to get back together after the couple broke up. Avcı said he strangled Gültekin to death and wanted to burn the body but could not do it. He said he then decided to put the body inside a barrel and bury it.
Domestic violence claimed the lives of innocent 932 women between 2016 and 2018. Turkey is striving to eradicate the disturbing phenomenon by increasing prison terms for perpetrators and awareness campaigns denouncing violence targeting women, a product of a twisted patriarchal mindset. Forty women were killed in the first two months of 2020, according to the latest available data.
Zehra ZümrütSelçuk, Minister of Family, Labor and Social Services, said on Tuesday that her ministry would be a plaintiff in the case against the suspect.
“Another life is lost. We will be plaintiff in the case and will monitor the legal process for the murderer to be sentenced with heaviest sentence possible,” Selçuk said in a social media post.
Social media users also widely denounced the murder. Most users shared the simple message of “enough!” accompanied by a smiling photo of Gültekin while others shared names of women whose murders by spouses made headlines in recent years, accompanied by petitions calling for legal change..
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