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Women Lead Sudan Protests That Inspire New ‘Arab Spring’ Comparison

New Age Islam News Bureau

11 Apr 2019

US President Donald Trump’s Advisor, Ivanka Trump, praised Tuesday Egypt’s reform program for women empowerment



 Ivanka Trump Praises Egypt’s Efforts To Empower Women

 'About 67% Of Qatar's Higher Education Graduates Are Women'

 Angelina Jolie Says Women Must Be Included In Afghan Talks

 Egypt Still Suffers From The Gender Gap: Minister

 Egyptian Female Peacekeeper Receives UN Medal

 Pak Court Orders Teenage Christian Girl, Converted to Islam and Married Forcibly, Back In Parents' Custody

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau




Women Lead Sudan Protests That Inspire New ‘Arab Spring’ Comparison

By Seth J. Frantzman  

APRIL 10, 2019

A young woman dancing and chanting to a crowd has captivated Sudanese protesters and people across the Middle East. She was protesting against the Sudanese government of Omar al-Bashir, who has been in power since 1993. Some think that the demonstrations are part of a new wave of "Arab Spring" protests illustrating the demand for change across the Middle East.

The woman’s name was reported as Ala’a Salah and a viral photo was taken by Lana Haroun. It shows Salah gesturing to the crowd. Dozens of people filmed her, and other video has emerged of her speaking to the crowd and chanting. Locals say that women are playing a key role in the protests. Protests in Sudan appeal to many sectors of society and the government has been cracking down. The protesters are now holding a sit-in and picketing the army headquarters.

But it is Salah who is being welcomed as the inspirational face of this protest. Remember her name, say social media commentators. The protests have gone on for weeks now, but appear to be gaining momentum. The wider question is what ramifications the Sudanese protests will have.

Sudan, a close ally of Turkey, also receives support from countries such as Qatar. Bashir was welcomed in Turkey in December 2017 and that month, Sudan agreed to lease an island to Turkey. A high-level Turkish delegation arrived in the country in 2018. Despite the protests, Turkey received the ambassador of Sudan on April 9 with promises of further cooperation. At the same time, a member of Turkey’s ruling party said that Ankara supported “stability and a reform process” in Sudan and showed “solidarity with Sudanese people.” 

Al-Jazeera, which used to be supportive of Arab Spring protests, has had no op-ed articles on the Sudan protests in recent weeks but had seven op-eds on Israel and three on Ethiopia. It appears that Al-Jazeera in Qatar has chosen not to highlight the protests, showing the Qatar-Turkey consensus on opposing protests in Sudan.

This shows the cleavages in the Middle East that have developed since the Arab Spring protests eight years ago. Today, Turkey and Qatar are closer to Sudan’s Bashir, at least in part because of his Muslim Brotherhood background which links Qatar-Turkey foreign policy in support of Hamas and other groups. Others in the region take inspiration from the protests, remembering those days of 2011 when many believed that change could come. Similarly the protests in Sudan have been linked to massive protests in Algeria that saw the long-time leader pushed from office.

However, there is little taste for a re-run of the Arab Spring protests in other states, and strongman leaders have cracked down on dissent. Sudan and Algeria are both sufficiently on the periphery that, while they may inspire, they do not threaten the status quo across the Middle East.

Bashir, however, must be careful how he handles these protests. Too much violence will bring the spotlight. He wants to manage the protesters, the way the Maduro regime in Venezuela has managed theirs. This is the new model for confronting protests: no mass killing that could spark an uprising. Instead, regimes hope that they can outlast them. So far, Sudan’s regime has outlasted the protests, even if an inspiring young woman has become their symbol. The UK, Norway and US have urged a transition plan for Sudan. It is unclear, however, whether the US, UK and Norway have much sway.



Ivanka Trump Praises Egypt’s Efforts to Empower Women

By Walaa Ali

Apr. 10, 2019

CAIRO – 10 April 2019: US President Donald Trump’s Advisor, Ivanka Trump, praised Tuesday Egypt’s reform program for women empowerment implemented under the patronage of President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, expressing support for these efforts.

This came during her meeting with President Sisi at his residence in Blair House in Washington, according to a statement issued by presidential spokesperson Bassam Radi.

The meeting tackled ways of women empowerment, especially in light of the White House's initiative entitled "Global Initiative for Economic Empowerment of Women", which aims at supporting the economic empowerment of women as an entry point for achieving social peace and promoting economic prosperity.

Trump’s advisor affirmed her keenness to promote consultation and coordination with Egypt especially in the field of women empowerment in conjunction with Egypt's presidency of the African Union, stressing her intention to visit Egypt soon to promote the initiative.

“We encourage and support these reforms and look forward to working with the Egyptian government to advance these efforts,” Ivanka Trump previously posted on her Twitter account.

On the Egyptian Women's Day, President Sisi announced seven decisions related to women empowerment, including adoption of laws that aim at protecting women’s rights, putting an end to demotic violence and tackling the issues of early marriage and deprivation of education and post-divorce rights.

Moreover, Sisi proposed establishing a fund to address the challenges faced by the Egyptian women after he reviewed with the health minister the possibility to screen and treat women nationwide for breast cancer.



'About 67% Of Qatar's Higher Education Graduates Are Women'

April 10 2019

About 67% of Qatar's higher education graduates are women, said HE the Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Lolwah Alkhater.

This came during the participation of HE the Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in a meeting of the Women's Group for Foreign Policy in the United States.

Asked about women's rights in Qatar, she said: "Qatar is fine when it comes to women's rights. We look forward to seeing more women leaders. About 67% of Qatar's higher education graduates are women, 52% of women work in Qatar, we are more than men in the educational fields", she added.

On other issues, HE the Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs reiterated Qatar's support for the two-state solution on the 1967 borders and the right of return, and that East Jerusalem be the capital of Palestine in line with all UN resolutions and said : "The international community has agreed to these basic issues and, most importantly, to have them implemented."

In response to a question about the so-called "deal of the century", HE Lolwah AlKhater. said that any solution put forward by any party must comply with international law and UN resolutions, noting that the position of Qatar in this regard is no different from that of the UK, Germany or the European Union or most countries.

On Yemen, she said that Qatar was part of the Arab alliance in Yemen at the beginning, on the grounds that it would be a limited operation for three weeks. "Unfortunately, the situation is catastrophic in Yemen after four years, and the humanitarian crisis outweighs anyone's understanding. "

HE Alkhater considered violent extremism a phenomenon and that its root causes and factors that cause it must be addressed. She stressed that the solution must be comprehensive, noting that the Syrian situation requires transitional justice.

"As long as Bashar is permitted to commit his heinous crimes against his people, deterioration would continue in Syria".

She stressed the importance of a plan to resolve the Syrian crisis. "Rewarding the regime by restoring relations is certainly not a solution, and this has unfortunately begun," she said, stressing the need to reflect on the issue and its long-term implications and that one of the most important problems that the international community has to deal with is the problem of the families of the fighters in "Daesh", who were estimated in thousands.

"Those are subject to many risks, including human trafficking and the re-exploitation of terrorist acts, in addition to the problems of poverty, lack of resources and their inability to obtain an education that can rehabilitate them as good citizens in their countries," she said, stressing that Qatar is ready to be part of this comprehensive solution.

On the Gulf crisis, HE Lolwah Alkhater said: "When the blockade began, many in the world thought that this was just another tribal conflict in the Arabian Peninsula, but soon they discovered that those who started the blockade of Qatar were the same cause of instability in the Arabian Peninsula".

She regretted the absence of prospects for resolving the Gulf crisis and said: "The chances are slim because our neighbours are not responding to calls from outside forces urging dialogue," she said, referring to the call by many US officials for all sides to return to the negotiating table. "We are still open to dialogue," she added.

On Qatar's relationship with Iran, the official spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Iran is the only corridor to Qatar after the closure of all land and air borders with Qatar, where 90% of the food and medicine came through.

On Qatar World Cup 2022, she said Qatar welcomes visit by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, and other human rights groups to Qatar "to be provided with honest and transparent comments to take advantage of them including reform and improvement, noting that much had already been done".

"Qatar knows that expatriate workers represent the most vulnerable part of society," she said, adding that "the state has changed its policies and responded to the needs of expatriate workers because these people are ultimately helping us build our country," she said, stressing the importance of honoring and appreciating migrant workers and seeking to do more to improve their situation and accept the criticism with an open mind.

On freedom of expression in Qatar, she urged everyone to visit any of the universities in Doha to listen to the discussions taking place, including discussions on governance and whether the Gulf should be a monarchical or democratic system of government. "These are the types of discussions that we conduct in our universities freely, and that is the difference between us and many of our neighbours who prefer to silence the different views of their opinion. "

On the economic reforms in Qatar, she said said that Qatar had diversified sources of supply after the blockade and receives a lot of food supplies from countries such as Azerbaijan, Turkey, Australia and Africa. "We do not rely on one country, this the policy now", she added



Angelina Jolie Says Women Must Be Included In Afghan Talks

April 11, 2019

NEW YORK - American actor and United Nations special envoy Angelina Jolie has called for women to have a central role in ongoing Afghanistan peace talks, warning their exclusion would hamper any chance of lasting stability.

Women negotiators must be included in "significant" numbers in talks with the Taliban, the Islamist extremists that came to power in the 1990s and crushed women's rights, Jolie said in an opinion column published in Time magazine on Wednesday.

"Afghan women must be able to speak for themselves," Jolie wrote.

"This means including female negotiators in significant numbers as part of any Afghan government delegation and ensuring formal participation for women's groups representing civil society."

The US has held several rounds of talks with the Taliban in a bid to bring an end to the war against the insurgents that started in late 2001. Separately, Afghan politicians also have met with the Taliban in Moscow.

The talks to date have faced fierce criticism for their lack of female participation, and a meeting between a Kabul delegation and Taliban officials slated to take place in Qatar this month reportedly only has two women in a team of 22 negotiators.

"Women should have leadership roles during the development and implementation of any agreement and be consulted on all aspects of the future of the country - not just 'women's issues'," Jolie said, adding that the US should use its leverage to protect women's voices.

When the Taliban ruled Afghanistan in the late 1990s, it banned girls' education, forced women to stay home and executed women - sometimes by stoning - for alleged adultery.

Since the US-led invasion in 2001, women’s rights have improved across much of Afghanistan and women are now in positions of authority.

But Afghan culture remains starkly segregated and women fear hard-won freedoms could vanish in a rush for a peace deal.

"There won't be stability if a peace agreement ushers in a new era of injustice and oppression of women," Jolie warned.

The Oscar-winning actress is a UN special envoy for refugees. Last month, she addressed the international body at its New York headquarters and called on diplomats to ensure women are included in the Afghan talks.



Egypt Still Suffers From The Gender Gap: Minister

April 10, 2019

Egypt is still at a low level internationally in regards to closing the gender gap, Solidarity Minister Ghada Waly said on Tuesday during a conference on empowering women in Egypt held by the Faculty of Economics and Political Science at Cairo University. Waly said that the empowerment of women is very important and comes within a broader framework based on social justice through providing equal gender opportunities in accessing information, education, health care and various other services.

The conference discussed the economic and social dimensions in promoting the empowerment of women.

Although Egypt raised the women’s share in the Cabinet to 25 percent and in the parliament to 15 percent, women continue to face an unfair share in the labor market.

According to Waly, they sometimes work in several fields for long hours without an official contract or a good salary.

Waly stressed that it is in the interests of the nation to empower women and achieve a fair climate free of discrimination.

Egyptian women have made good progress in education which contributes to improving the country’s development indicators, the minister said.

The Ministry of Solidarity attaches great importance to women’s economic empowerment, through cash support under the ‘Takaful’ and ‘Karama’ program, or providing soft loans to help implement small and micro enterprises.

According to Waly, 2.7 million women receive cash support, with a monthly total of more than LE1 billion.

She added that 48 percent of Upper Egypt’s women suffer from malnutrition, which prompted the ministry to launch a program called “The first thousand days” to provide food packages to 50,000 women.

The ministry has established a database for nurseries to expand and develop, which will help women devote themselves to work and put their children in a safe place, she said.

Waly also referred to traditional crafts projects that employ about 5,000 women.

They have products marketed by the ministry, through exhibitions linking them with shop owners, with Waly pointing out that a woman from Sohag, employed with the project, won the 2019 Best Product Award of Bahraini Princess Sabeeka bint Ibrahim al-Khalifa.

The Solidarity Ministry is in the process of issuing a new program under the name “Awareness”, which is a package of awareness programs in the governorates of Upper Egypt on early marriage and female genital mutilation risks, while also encouraging women’s legal rights.

She said that the “Kefaya 2” program targets one million women in ten poorest governorates. Under this program the ministry has developed 33 clinics and inaugurated eight centers to protect women against violence.



Egyptian Female Peacekeeper Receives UN Medal

April 10, 2019

An Egyptian female peacekeeper was granted the UN Medal by Force Commander Lieutenant General Elias Rodrigues Martins Filho at a ceremony held by the United Nations Mission in the DR Congo (MONUSCO) at the Force headquarters in Goma, according to an official statement.

The Egyptian peacekeeper was honored among 51 personnel from various countries.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry noted that in 2018, around 3,000 Egyptian men and women were present across the Congo, Mali, the Central African Republic and Darfur.

The female peacemaker mainly protects women from sexual violence and advocates for the recovery and survival of victims of sexual violence according to United Nations standards for missions in unsettled areas.

The Female Military Officers Course, in collaboration with the governments of the Netherlands, Norway, Australia and Finland, has trained 340 female officers in addition to working with them at 10 sessions held in India, China, South Africa and Kenya.



Pak Court Orders Teenage Christian Girl, Converted to Islam and Married Forcibly, Back In Parents' Custody

10 APRIL 2019

By M Zulqernain

Lahore, Apr 10 A court here on Wednesday ordered that a teenage Pakistani Christian girl, who was abducted and forcibly converted to Islam after marrying off to a Muslim man in February, be handed over to her parents.

Shalat Masih, 14, was produced by police in the Lahore High Court and said that she was abducted from her native town Faisalabad and later sold to a Muslim man.

The girl's father told the court that some members of the Christian community of his locality had abducted his daughter and later sold her off to a Muslim man named Zafar Iqbal.

"After forcibly converting her to Islam, Iqbal married the underage girl. She was later taken to the Jamia Rizvia Mazhar-i-Islam Faisalabad on February 20 and was renamed Ayesha," he was quoted as saying by the Dawn.

During the hearing, Justice Tariq Saleem Shaikh ordered handing over the girl to her parents.

In a similar case last month, two Hindu sisters --Reena, Raveena, were allegedly kidnapped by a group of "influential" men from their home in Ghotki district in Sindh on the eve of Holi.

Soon after the kidnapping, a video went viral in which a cleric was purportedly shown soleminising the Nikah (marriage) of the two girls, triggering a nationwide outrage.

On an average 25 Hindu girls are reportedly converted to Islam and forcibly married to Muslim men in a month in Sindh. MZ RUP RUP RUP




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