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Islam, Women and Feminism ( 27 May 2017, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Women Entrepreneurs Take over Madinah’s Street Markets

New Age Islam News Bureau

27 May 2017

Contrary to popular belief, women in Saudi Arabia are seen participating in every day business activities, not just corporate jobs but also street markets



 Pakistani Man Kills 18 Year Old Sister In The Name Of Honour

 How One Kuwaiti Girl Fell Into the Daesh Trap

 Mothers, Wives and Suicide Bombers: Arab TV Show on Untold Stories of Islamic State Women

 Triple Talaq Row: Muslim Women Want Justice From Supreme Court, Not Charity From Law Board

 Portland: Two Dead in Stabbing Incident on Train after Man Yells Racial Slurs at Two Muslim Women

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau




Women Entrepreneurs take over Madinah’s street markets

May 27, 2017

By Mariam Nihal

Saudi Gazette

Contrary to popular belief, women in Saudi Arabia are seen participating in every day business activities, not just corporate jobs but also street markets. From primary to tertiary sector,women from different backgrounds in the country work daily and also act as the main source of income for their families.

It is common to see many women vendors on the streets of Madinah selling a variety of products to pilgrims and locals.

Most women tend to sell fresh food items apart from clothes, accessories, prayer mats and books, costume jewelry and toys. Their main source of income comes from selling in populated areas namely outside mosques and pilgrimage sites.

“I am the sole bread winner in my family, I have two daughters and son who is too young to work but he helps me carry fresh produce everyday that I sell to pilgrims and tourists in Madinah,” Amu Zain, a Saudi woman living in Madinah told Saudi Gazette. Ramadan is the peak season for most vendors in Madinah. “It really doesn’t matter where you are because Ramadan is a month of blessing and we make a lot wherever we are. Closer to the haram gets crowded so I set up my place after Asr at a mosque nearby to sell antiques, scarves, prayer mats and beads,” AmuHamza, told Saudi Gazette. Most vendors said they settle closer to their homes so it is easier to commute during Ramadan, at a time whenMadinah is full of pilgrims from all across the world.  “We work during the year and in Ramadan, most people who come from big cities toMadinah see women working everywhere and may be surprised. But this has been the way for us and the number of women working here has only increased,” a street vendor named Marwah, told Saudi Gazette. Many illegal vendors also tend to occupy public spaces, including children especially during this month in hopes of earning more through charity.



Pakistani Man Kills 18 Year Old Sister In The Name Of Honour

27 May 2017, BY AGENCIES

Multan: A man killed 18-year-old sister in Kacha Khuh village in district Khanewal in the name of honour on Saturday.

The assailant Muhammad Mudassir has been arrested and charged with murder, said police

The victim, Amna, had eloped with Muhamma Yasin and married in a court two months earlier. Mudassir was angry when he learnt about his sister’s marriage.

Around a week ago, a local court called upon both families to hear their arguments. The court had told Yasin’s to offer his 10-year-old sister in marriage to Mr Mudassir.

However, three days prior to marriage, Yasin’s father refused to give his daughter in Vani.

Mudassir was humiliated and avenged by murdering his sister with an axe.

The police has registered the case and are investigating.




How one Kuwaiti girl fell into the Daesh trap

 May 27, 2017

Kuwait City: She was like any other normal Kuwaiti teenager, enjoying a peaceful life and dedicating her time to her high school studies.

Until she met Fatima.

“I was a Grade 11 student in a Gulf country in 2012 and 2013 when I met Fatima, a Sudanese girl. “We became very close friends and shared a lot of things. Then, Fatima started telling me that she was closely following media details about Al Qaida and eventually gave me a memory card with pictures, poems, videos about Daesh. Fatima kept giving me more memory cards and my interest in the group steadily increased.”

Fatima warned her “best friend” to be very secretive about her new support for Daesh.

“People do not easily accept their ideology and the world needs some time to be convinced about it,” she said.

“As I was about to graduate and leave the Gulf country, Fatima showed me how to use social media, especially Twitter and Facebook, to communicate. When I went back to Kuwait, I added accounts recommended by Fatima to my social media platforms. They were related to the Daesh group. I used the moniker of Huda and I used my accounts to republish news and information from the Daesh accounts,” she said.

“And then, I met online one of the Daesh leaders who called himself Abu Muslim. We communicated in private so that only he and I could see what was being sent or received. He told me that his real name was Ali. He regularly sent me fatwas about the significance of Daesh and I leaned towards what he was saying.”

As Ali realised that she has grown dependent on him, he moved to the next stage.

“He persuaded me that I should leave Kuwait and embark on a terrorist mission. He asked me to go to Syria. When I acquiesced, he asked me to buy a ticket to Turkey where designated people will look after me and take me into Syri.a I bought the ticket in 2015, and on departure day, I sneaked out of house at dawn without informing my parents. However, at Kuwait airport, I was told that I could not travel because my passport would expire in less than one month.”

When I informed Ali about the failure of the plan, he became very upset.

“However, he quickly resumed correspondence and kept feeding me with the names of more accounts and of a radio station dedicated to Daesh news. He asked me to liaise with a woman called Rania, nicknamed Umm Zaid, on Telegram Messenger. I did contact her, informing her that Ali gave me her contact. She added my name to an account that had only women believing in Daesh ideology and started sending me fatwas and religious texts. I felt elated being among this group of women who shared the Daesh ideology. I felt transported myself to the days of early Islam.”

Some of the group members were already in Syria and Iraq, engaged in terror activities.

“There were also others, like me, who were waiting for their turn to join the battle. The women were in various countries, but as far as I know, I was the only one in Kuwait.”

Ali, her mentor, was still in touch with her.

“One day, Ali contacted me and asked me to book a ticket to Turkey from where I will be taken to Syria. However, this time, I told him that I did not have enough money to purchase the ticket. He asked me to send him a copy of my passport so that he could buy the ticket. After some time, I received the ticket. He told me that he had taken care of all the arrangements, from my reception in Turkey until I reach the designated place in Syria. Everything was fine and I was excited.”

Two hours before leaving her home, she received a message from Ali.

“He told me to freeze everything and not to go to the airport. He told me that the security situation in Istanbul was tense following an attack carried out by armed men on the airport. He said that I would be easily discovered. I followed the instructions and stayed home. We communicated for some time, and then, I did not hear anything from him. I later learnt from the websites that he was killed on August 2, 2016.”

She kept monitoring the sites dedicated to the terror group.

“I came across the account of Abu Abdullah who fully supported the group ideology and posted their news. We communicated regularly through messages on Facebook. One day, he asked me to travel and see him in Egypt where I will be engaged in a terrorist operation in Sinai. I agreed and on February 7, I headed to Cairo. I was received by several leaders of the group. However, I was arrested by the Egyptian security forces on April 11. I was questioned for days and on April 26, I was taken to a plane and handed over to Kuwaiti security people. In Kuwait, I was taken to a security building before I was referred to a court.”

During her trial, she told the judges about her life as a potential terrorist.

“I supported the ideology of the group and I was able to reach Egypt after I twice failed to go to Syria to join them. However, today I regret what I did because I have discovered they were wrong.”

Why did you regret your moves?

“When I went to Egypt and had my first physical contacts with Daesh leaders, I saw that they were not committed to religion. In one instance, one of them contacted my father and warned him that he would kill me if he did not pay a ransom of 5,000 Kuwaiti dinars. My father ended up transferring the money to a bank account in Egypt. Abu Abdullah was arrested when he went to the bank to withdraw the money. In his confessions, he told the police about me and they arrested me. After all the images I conjured up in my mind about Islamic groups, I was shocked to see how different they were in reality, so I bitterly regretted entering in contact with them. I anticipated being actively involved in helping terrorists in smuggling weapons or preparing someone to commit a suicide attack in the service of the ideology. I personally was not ready to blow myself up. But I discovered that the situation was totally different from what I had anticipated. As for the operation plans, I think they did not go through because of the lack of funds and because Abu Abdullah was arrested.”



Mothers, wives and suicide bombers: Arab TV show on untold stories of Islamic State women

May 26, 2017

They are mothers, daughters, wives -- and suicide bombers: an Arab television drama timed for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan tells the untold stories of women and the Islamic State group.

Inspired by true events, “Black Crows” airs over Ramadan -- prime time for television viewers in the Arab world -- which starts this weekend, and it is the first television series depicting life under IS rule in Syria and Iraq.

Produced by Saudi Arabia’s MBC Group, the series focuses on the stories of the women who volunteer with or are forced to join the jihadist group and “the fear that shapes” their relationships.

“We wanted to tell real stories that would both touch people and reflect the ugly reality of terrorism,” MBC spokesman Mazen Hayek told AFP at the network’s Dubai headquarters.

“We realised that the Arab media could no longer sit and watch while terrorist groups used media as a central part of their war.”

One episode features a girl and her grandmother, both in the niqab Muslim veil, selling dinner plates decorated with pictures of animals in an IS-controlled village in order to survive.

A group of armed women from the Hesba, the extremists’ female police unit, order them to pack their goods on the grounds that the animal designs were “haram”, or forbidden in Islam.

But the grandmother refuses to yield to Hesba’s authority, saying she would rather break her plates than give in.

She is shot in the head by a member of the Hesba.

Another episode shows a training camp for children with machine-guns and “human targets” -- prisoners taken by IS.

“Bullets are faster than people,” a gunman reminds a child aiming at prisoners scrambling to take cover. “Get two more of them and you can go see your mum.”

With a cast including actors from Saudi Arabia, Syria and Iraq, the $10-million production was filmed mainly in Lebanon and took over a year to research and another six months to shoot.

“Shocking scenes” in the series could “either attract or repel the viewer, but he could not remain indifferent,” said Fadi Ismail, head of the production company.

“It is strong drama and the viewer can always control what to watch,” he said.

‘Security challenge’

Lebanon, the main location, hosts more than one million Syrian refugees and has been the scene of deadly suicide bombings claimed by IS.

“Security was our most difficult challenge” during shooting, said executive producer Amer Sabbah.

“When you transform an area in Lebanon into what resembles an IS headquarters, you have to consider security and safety of your crew,” he said.

In 2015, an MBC-produced Ramadan special, a satire named “Selfie”, took aim at IS with a storyline in which the Saudi main character heads to Syria to bring back his son who had joined the group.

The actor, Nasser al-Qasbi, received a string of online death threats after the episode aired.



Triple talaq row: Muslim women want justice from Supreme Court, not charity from law board

Zakia Soman and Noorjehan Niaz

May, 27 2017

Earlier this month, the Supreme Court concluded the hearings on the abolition of triple talaq in response to the petitions filed by Muslim women. The abolition of triple talaq is long overdue in independent India. This unilateral, arbitrary practice results in women being thrown out of homes and rendered destitute in an instant. The husband can pronounce the three words in her absence, on phone, through a post card and the talaq or divorce just happens. The woman has no say in her own divorce and she must just submit to the whims and fancies of the husband who can decide instantly and unilaterally. Shayara Bano, Afreen, Ishratjahan, Atiya, Gulshan Parveen – all got divorced in an instant through this method. They petitioned the Supreme Court to put an end to this inhuman arbitrary practice.

The Quran, which is the sacred book for Muslims, does not validate this method of divorce. Instead, there is stress on efforts for reconciliation, mediation and dialogue between the couple in case of marital discord. If these efforts — which should go on at least for 90 days — fail, there can be a just and fair divorce. The question arises then about why triple talaq is allowed in our society. The simple answer is it takes place owing to patriarchal interpretations and distortions which rule the roost in our society in matters of marriage and divorce. This is illustrated amply by the latest affidavit filed by the personal law board in the apex court this week.The personal law board has intervened in the triple talaq matter in the Supreme Court to save triple talaq.

Their latest affidavit is a desperate move to preserve their own dominance and to prevent the court from acting in the matter on the side of gender justice.

The personal law board’s track record on triple talaq does not inspire any confidence in the women that they mean to uphold gender justice and gender equality. Sample these gems from their first affidavit which was filed in the Supreme Court in this matter: “Triple talaq is better than the husband killing the wife”. The right to divorce is given only to the husband because “men have more intelligence than women” and only men are capable of serious action.

Polygamy is some kind of social service performed by men if one were to believe the affidavit! So, why this u-turn now in the latest affidavit? This one talks about how they are planning to embark on a social awareness drive to stamp out triple talaq from society. It also says that the board will advise qazis to insist on a clause against triple talaq to be inserted in nikahnama at the time of the wedding. They have also said that those indulging in triple talaq would be socially boycotted. Clearly, they have been forced to put up this latest act as they desperately want to ward off any action from the Supreme Court. But can their intent change suddenly? Can the patriarchal elements who are instrumental in spreading distortions against women leading to practices such as triple talaq and nikah halala being passed off as “Islamic” have a change of heart? Can they really mean to root out triple talaq from society? And if so, why fear court action? It is precisely the verdict against triple talaq which is keenly awaited by all which has led to this latest gimmick from the personal law board.

For one, it has once again come to the fore that the so-called personal law board has very little understanding of the ground reality. A nikahnama is a legal document but only potentially. Our study published in 2015 found that over 47 percent women do not possess their own nikahnama and those who possessed the nikhanama were not much better off either. A typical nikahnama contains just basic details such as bride’s name, father’s name and not much beyond that. How then can it suddenly turn into an elaborate legal document that would protect a wife against triple talaq and other ills? How can a Muslim bride who is typically poor, unempowered and barely able to read/write understand and negotiate her own nikahnama? How can she beat a patriarchal set of male qazis and common sense of society that privileges husband over wife to insert legal clauses for her protection in the nikahnama? Especially when the personal law board has done nothing so far to popularise nikahnama as a legal document that every wife must negotiate and put to use as her safeguarding and legal protection!

If Muslim girls and women were so empowered, we would not be having the problem of triple talaq in the first place.

Besides, nobody knows how many qazis who operate on the ground are actually affiliated to the personal law board.

Social boycott is an idea that is antithetical to democracy. In our country, caste and untouchability are grave crimes that are punishable by law. Notions such as social boycott are at the root of caste and apartheid of any kind. How the personal law board can tout it as means to a noble goal such as abolition of triple talaq is hard to understand. Lastly, but very importantly, the women are seeking justice which they are entitled to as citizens in a democracy. They are knocking at the doors of the courts and the parliament. Women are not seeking charity or favour from any private bodies such as the personal law board. Women are confident that the Supreme Court will uphold gender justice and gender equality and rule against the patriarchal practice of triple talaq.



Portland: Two dead in stabbing incident on train after man yells racial slurs at two Muslim women

May 27, 2017

Police in Oregon say two people died and another was hurt in a stabbing on a Portland light-rail train after a man yelled racial slurs at two young Muslim women. The Oregonian Live reports- officers arrested the man on Friday afternoon who ran from the train.

Portland police Sgt. Pete Simpson says the assailant on the train was ranting on many topics, using “hate speech or biased language,” and turned his focus on the women. Simpson says passengers intervened and were “attacked viciously.” He says one person died at the scene and another at a hospital.

Simpson says police don’t know if the man has mental health issues or if he was under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Millions of Muslims marked the start of Ramadan Friday, a time marked by intense prayer, dawn-to-dusk fasting and nightly feasts.




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