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Islam, Women and Feminism ( 15 May 2018, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Women Motorcyclists Ditch the Side Saddle in Pakistan

New Age Islam News Bureau

15 May 2018

Pakistani women celebrate as they ride pink motorcycles during the pink motorcycles rally in Lahore on May 13, 2018. (AFP)



 How Indonesian Women Are Lured To Jihad

 Hadiya Re-Run? Uttarakhand Man Wants Wife ‘Freed’ From Parents

 Afghan Woman Activist Subject of Stinging Criticism on FB

 Two British Nationals of Pakistani Origin Murdered Their Sister for Contracting Free-Will Marriage

 Iran: Woman Jailed For Opposing Compulsory Veil Goes On Hunger Strike

 Aramco signs MoU to Launch Sustainable Development Program for Saudi women

 Man Told to Leave California Cafe after Insulting Muslim Woman, Incident Gone Viral

 Political Leaders Urged To Include Women Issues in Manifestos

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau




Women Motorcyclists Ditch the Side Saddle in Pakistan

May 14, 2018

LAHORE: Perched proudly on their brand new pink motorcycles, the recruits take to the road, the latest batch of women to demolish boundaries set for them by men in Pakistan.

It is not uncommon to see women on motorcycles in Pakistan — but usually they are sat in the dangerous side-saddle position behind a male driver and, often, several other passengers.

A woman straddling a bike to drive it herself is another thing entirely, an image that is still taboo in many parts of the deeply conservative Muslim country, where gender discrimination is routine.

But as part of a wave of women’s empowerment movements, the government of Punjab province is running “Women on Wheels,” a campaign that has trained scores of women to ride motorbikes in the last two years while raising awareness of gender-based violence and street harassment.

The importance of the issue is underscored by recent studies showing that some 75 percent of Pakistani women do not participate in the labour market, mainly due to a lack of transport.

“The aim is to basically empower women for their mobility because economic independence and economic empowerment depends on mobility,” Salman Sufi, director general of the Punjab strategic reforms unit, said.

“So we are giving 3,000 bikes, we have trained over 3,500 girls in all of Punjab and this is going to go on until we reach a target of around 10,000 plus.”

On Sunday the latest batch of dozens of new riders set out to challenge perceptions in Lahore.

“We’re becoming... independent,” rider Nageena Waseem said, adding that their new skills will allow them to do “everything which we want. Otherwise we were dependent on another person.”

Activist Nighat Dad said the women were “reclaiming these spaces,” adding that it was a “big big win for women today.”

“Today is a good day for us,” agreed another rider, Tallat Shaheen. “The purpose (is) to bring these girls together... (so) that they be independent and can feel confident and can go and work alongside men.



How Indonesian Women Are Lured To Jihad


Indonesia has been rocked by a spate of brutal suicide bombings over the past couple of days, drawing once again the world's attention to the risk posed by terrorism and religious extremism. In total, more than 20 people have been killed in the incidents. The perpetrators have targeted churches and police buildings, but the most remarkable aspect of the attacks is that they have been carried out by families, including women and children.

The six church bombers, for instance, included a mother and father, their two daughters, aged nine and 12, and two teenage sons. They have all been linked by police to local extremist network Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD), which has pledged allegiance to the so-called "Islamic State" (IS) group.

Speaking at a press conference, Indonesian national police chief Tito Karnavian said the motives for these attacks in Surabaya and Sidoarjo were interconnected, and that they were ordered by IS. "They feel cornered and therefore ordered other cells around the world to move into action," he said. 

Repeated attempts

Female suicide bombers are not something new to Indonesia, say police. "But this is the first time they have successfully carried out an attack," Karnavian pointed out.

Last year, Indonesian police managed to thwart an attempt by Dian Yulia Novi, a woman from West Java who tried to attack the presidential palace in Jakarta. Novi was later arrested and sentenced to over seven years in prison. Recently, two women who wanted to carry out a knife attack on police officers were also stopped and apprehended by the police.

Some analysts argue that there is a global trend in terms of terrorist outfits employing women to execute attacks, and Indonesia is no exception here. "Outfits like IS often use women as suicide bombers, as authorities find it more difficult to suspect and detect female attackers," said Sumanto al Qurtuby, professor and cultural anthropologist at King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. "Women can tie bombs to their waist and often hide them in their long abaya-style clothes," he told DW.

While many were shocked with the involvement of children in the latest attacks, terrorism researchers say it's unsurprising as groups like IS have long used children for this purpose. "Parents brainwash and prepare their underage children for jihad," said Rakyan Adibrata, an international anti-terrorism researcher.

'Dreaming of heaven'

These attackers are "dreaming of 'heaven,'" said Kalis Mardiasih, a researcher at the Gusdurian National Network, an NGO. She explained that the seeds of radicalism are sown in the Quranic study groups where imams deliberately preach animosity and hatred by arguing that we live in a "decadent society."

"They say many 'immoral activities' are taking place in our society, like free sex, gambling and alcohol, and ask those in attendance whether they want to live in a country like that?" said Mardiasih.

Ajeng Astrida has attended one such Quranic study group in Bekasi, not far from Jakarta, several times. She said some of the speakers delivered lectures that "sparked jihadi spirit."

"Some of my fellow participants have been brainwashed by those lectures and they hate other religions. So I changed my Quranic study group."

Another way women are radicalized is through marriage, she said, pointing to one of her friends who has been married to a radical Islamist. "Whatever the will of the husband, especially if it's carried out in the name of God, or defending religion, it is considered 'shahid' (martyr). She also wants to be seen more on social media as a pious woman, by posting pictures and statements on fundamentalist issues," said Astrida.

Experts say it's extremely difficult to identify a potential jihadist. "The recruitment is very secretive," said Alto Labetubun, conflict and security analyst.

Social media's major role

Social media also has a big role to play in this, with community groups on platforms like Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter and Telegram serving as havens for perpetuating extremist narrative and allowing women to play an active role in organizing the attacks, analysts say.

"The worrying thing is that people in these communities are provoking each other," said Noor Huda Ismail, adding that this sets in motion a "process of radicalization."

In order to counter rising extremism, observers call on the Indonesian government to ban television and radio programs of radical imams and extremist figures, in addition to their social media channels that often spread intolerant and hate speech.   

Ezki Suyanto, who is a member of the Cinta Damai and Pancasila community, an internet user group, called for the government to stringently control social media and remove any content professing hate and enmity.  

Public support is key to hinder such terrorist attacks and ensure security in the future, said Labetubun. Furthermore, the expert said, the government should increase the number of women security and intelligence officers. "That would improve the administration's ability to gather crucial intelligence about female suspects and thwart future attacks."



Hadiya Re-Run? Uttarakhand Man Wants Wife ‘Freed’ From Parents

May 15, 2018

The Supreme Court has asked the Uttarakhand Police to produce in the court on Wednesday a 20-year-old woman who converted to Islam to marry after her husband sought her “release” from her parents’ custody, in what appears to be a re-run of the Hadiya case.

Requesting the court to reunite him with his wife, 23-year-old Mohammad Danish on Monday told a bench-led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra that he was arrested for the abduction of his wife, Aisha alias Shweta Bhist, and was lodged in the Haldwani jail since April 20.

“We want to talk to the girl and know what she wants. Does she want to stay with her parents or otherwise,” CJI Misra said, ordering Aisha be in the court on Wednesday.

Danish and Aisha, who both hail from Haldwani, were pursuing bachelors in business administration in Bheemtal when they fell in love.

Also read |Kerala love jihad case:Hadiya says she converted to Islam, married Muslim man of her free will

Aisha’s parents were opposed to the relationship so they eloped and got married in Delhi on April 19 as per Islamic customs, the petition says.

Bisht took the name Aisha after converting to Islam of her own free will and they got the marriage registered in Ghaziabad, it says.

Her parents lodged an abduction complaint against Danish and the Uttrakhand Police arrested the couple from Delhi the next day.

The Uttrakhand government rubbished Danish’s petition. “The marriage certificate and the nikahnama are fake and it is a case of abduction,” deputy advocate general Manoj Gorkela said.

Danish said apprehending trouble, Aisha had emailed an affidavit to inspector general of police and Nanital senior superintendent of police informing them of her marriage and conversion.

In a landmark ruling, the Supreme Court in March upheld the marriage of Hadiya, a 26-year-old Kerala woman who converted to Islam and wed a Muslim man, upholding a woman’s right to choose a partner.

On her father’s petition, the Kerala high court had quashed the marriage and ordered Hadiya in her parents’ custody.

A bench led by Misra, after hearing Hadiya, ruled an individual’s right to marry a person was a matter of privacy, intrinsic to right to life and state and society had no role in determining the choice.



Afghan Woman Activist Subject of Stinging Criticism on FB

ByZirak faheem

May 14, 2018

NEW DELHI (Pajhwok): Dewa Nizai, an Afghan woman who has returned from India after five years and plans to runs for a Wolesi Jirga seat, has been the subject of public denunciation.

In the name of a Facebook campaign to denounce violence against women, Niazi has allegedly shared posts against Islam and Afghan traditions in India.

Determined to marry a man of her choice, Niazi had gone to India due to violence from her family. In New Delhi, the Indian capital, she tied the knot with Asad Mukhlis at the Nizamuddin Aulia shrine.

She conducted a long campaign on Facebook to protect the rights of Afghan women. Most of her posts denounced child marriage, domestic violence against women and patriarchy.

Some days back, she returned to her native eastern province of Nangarhar. The woman is said to be preparing for Wolesi Jirga elections, due in October this year.

Before returning to her homeland, she wrote on her Facebook page: “My land is a land of flowers.” But later on, she became the subject of a heated debate in the social media.

Mohammad Shoaib, a Facebook user, wrote: “Petty the people who went to welcome her at the airport. You gain nothing by just defaming eastern Afghanistan. We know Dewa inside out. There is no place for her in Nangarhar.”

Some other social media users got screen shots of Niazi’s posts against Islamic teachings and Afghani values. She is originally from Laghman province but lived in Nangarhar. Her husband also hails from Nangarhar.

She is likely to run for Wolesi Jirga elections from Nangarhar, as her husband has already hinted at her candidacy.

Abdullah Sahar, a civil society activist and journalist from Nangarhar, shared her photo with a long text on his Facebook wall. “O, God! Now she will be my representative. She has brazenly insulted Prophet Hazrat Muhammad Mustafa (PBUH).”

Habib Ashna wrote: “Dewa Niazi has not been complicit in killings or civil war. She hasn’t issue a fatwa against anyone. I expect all women to support her.”

Another civil society activist expressed a similar view. Abdullah Hood characterized her as a moderate Muslim woman of merit. “Additionally, she is qualified to contest the parliamentary elections.”

Khushal Khalil said about women’s role in social media: “On freedom of speech, we don’t have restrictions on women. Difficulties for them are largely rooted in our culture.”

Khalil remarked: “Unfortunately, very few girls used their real names while campaigning on Facebook. And they too are living as refugees in foreign countries.”

In response, Nizai said: “While having critics, I also have many supporters. I am annoyed by misplaced criticism, but not pay so much attention to hostile remarks. My struggle will continue.”

She vehemently denied ridiculing Islam, saying she was ready to answer her critics. “Fake accounts had been created to post and attribute profane things to me.”



Two British Nationals of Pakistani Origin Murdered Their Sister for Contracting Free-Will Marriage

Israr Ahmad

May 15, 2018

RAWALPINDI - Two British nationals of Pakistani origin along with their father allegedly murdered their step-sister for contracting a marriage of her own free will in Alang Village of Chatala, Jhelum, sources said on Monday.

A murder case (76/18 dated 13/5/2018) was registered against the killers on a complaint of the mother of deceased, identified as Sana, 24, the sources said.

The killers were identified as Ejaz Khizar, Faraz Khizar and their father Chaudhry Khizar Hayyat.

The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) meanwhile, thwarted the fleeing attempt of the two killer brothers, by off-loading them from an Istanbul-bound flight at New Islamabad International Airport (NIIAP) and handed them over to Jehlum police. The sources said the police also held Khizar Hayyat and the husband of deceased Sana, Shahzad Ahmed, into custody in connection with the murder and begun investigation.

According to the sources, a Lahore-based lady Yasmin Farzana had contracted marriage with Chaudhry Khirzar Hayyat after the death of her first husband Javed. The lady had three sons and a daughter Sana Javed. Sana shifted with her mother from Lahore to Alang, Chitala and started living with her stepfather Chaudhry Khizar Hayyat and stepbrothers Ejaz, Faraz and Sultan. However, the sons of Chaudhry Khizar Hayyat were not happy with the marriage of their father with Yasmin.

The sources said Sana also solemnized a court marriage with Shehzad Ahmed which also infuriated her stepfather and brothers. They said Yasmin Farzana along with her son Bilal and daughter Sana were in the market for shopping on May 13, when Ejaz, Faraz, Sultan and others, arrived in two cars and Ejaz and Khizar opened indiscriminate fire on Sana. As a result, she died on the spot while the killers fled the crime scene. The mother of the deceased has also implicated Shahzad in the murder case.

Yasmin Farzana, in her application, a copy of which is available with The Nation, said her stepsons Ejaz, Faraz and Sultan were annoyed over her marriage with their father Khizar. She said her daughter Sana’s love marriage with Shehzad also made them up-happy and they killed Sana during an armed attack. She alleged Shehzad Ahmed, Sana’s husband, was also accompanying the killers at the time of the attack.

Ejaz and Faraz were boarding the Istanbul-bound flight (TK-711) on Monday when they were taken into custody by FIA.

FIA later on handed over the killers to the Jhelum police.

A senior police officer said the police have held five accused including the two UK nationals offloaded from the plane.



Iran: Woman Jailed For Opposing Compulsory Veil Goes On Hunger Strike

14 May 2018

A woman who has been arrested and detained for the second time in an extrajudicial measure for protesting the compulsory veil, started a hunger strike.

Ms. Shaparak Shajarizadeh was arbitrarily arrested on May 8, 2018, along with her 9-year-old son in the city of Kashan, central Iranian province of Isfahan.

His son was freed several hours later but she is still in captivity.

Ms. Shajarizadeh is going to stand trial at Branch 1089 of Tehran’s Penal Court on June 10, 2018, on the charge of “violating (the compulsory) veil” and “promoting corruption.”

Iranian women immediately face violent arrest and detention if they do not comply with the compulsory veil and dress code, while those who have assailed women with acid and those who steal from people in corrupt financial enterprises are never punished and remain at large.

The Women’s Committee of the National Council of Resistance of Iran strongly condemns the arrests of Iranian women and girls under the pretext of mal-veiling and for protesting the compulsory veil; it urges international organizations and authorities defending human rights and women’s rights to take urgent action for the immediate and unconditional release of these women.

In her visit to the Council of Europe in Strasbourg in January 2018, the NCRI President-elect Maryam Rajavi called on EU member states to adopt effective measures and binding decisions to compel Iran’s ruling religious fascism to end subjugation of women and abolish the compulsory veil.



Aramco signs MoU to Launch Sustainable Development Program for Saudi women

May 14, 2018

RIYADH: Saudi Aramco has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Imam Abdulrahman bin Faisal University to establish a sustainable social and commercial program for Saudi women.

The top oil producer aims to increase job opportunities for women and enhance their collective skill set, so that they can play a bigger role in the kingdom’s development, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

“The MoU underscores Saudi Aramco’s active role in empowering women,” said Ziad Al Morshed, Executive Director of New Business Development at Saudi Aramco.

SPA said the agreement, signed in Dammam, is in line with an objective, of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, to empower Saudi women. It is aimed at increasing female participation in the workforce from 22 percent to 30 percent, in a bid to allow women to play an integral role in the kingdom’s future development.



Man Told to Leave California Cafe after Insulting Muslim Woman, Incident Gone Viral

May 14th, 2018

A white man was refused service and kicked out of a California cafe after he threw an angry Islamophic tirade at a young woman wearing a niqab.

The victim of the tirade filmed the moment she was verbally attacked by the white man who said 'I don't want to be killed by you' at the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf cafe.

The video of the Friday incident has gone viral online with 884,000 views.

The nearly two-minute clip begins with the white man standing at the counter of a Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf talking to the woman wearing a niqab, a religious head scarf that covers the entire face save for the eyes.

'Is this Halloween or something?' he says.

The woman films the man and responds saying: 'Why would you say that? What's wrong with me?'

'Do you know I'm a Muslim? What's your problem with that?' she adds.

'I don't like that because I don't like your religion. It says to kill me and I don't want to be killed by you. How's that?' he responds.

'Are you scared of me? Have you read the Koran?' she cuts him off, adding he needs to understand the context of such statements.

She then asks if he's a Christian and says 'let's talk about your Bible'.

But the man isn't having any of it and raises his hand to her face repeating 'that's all'.

'I don't have any kind of conversation with idiots,' he adds.

'You are committing hate speech!' she yells at him as he turns his back.

A store worker then approaches the two from behind the counter, asking them to separate.

In the background a loud man yells: 'Get out of here. Get out of here! F****** racist. Get the f*** out!'

The white man in the video looks around to see who the aggressor is and cusses him out.

The video then cuts to show the supervisor on duty asking the man to leave.

The man asks who she is and where the manager is.

The Muslim girl behind the camera asks: 'Why are you not serving him?'

As she speaks, the white man walks out the door.

'Because he's disrupting a public place and being very racist,' the supervisor responds.

'Thank you,' the Muslim woman replies before the video cuts off.

The Muslim girl and the white man in the video have not been identified.

The video, posted by journalist CJ Werleman, has sparked fury and praise on social media, many commending the supervisor for kicking out the racist customer.

'Big round of applause to the victim, to the person defending her from the background and to @TheCoffeeBean Hatred must not be the norm, it must not be the way, we cannot let it win. #Peace #NoMoreHate #StopTheHate #HateSpeechIsNotFreeSpeech,' one Twitter user wrote.

'Hear background voice - I suspect it was an American guy who was shouting at him. I admire those people regardless of their faith,' another wrote.

'Thank you to the stranger who yelled at the racist pig and to the supervisor at Coffee Bean who did the right thing. Hey, Starbucks - you could learn from this,' one Twitter wrote - referring to the Starbucks incident where two black men were asked to leave the cafe and were arrested when they refused.

'I'm so happy two people spoke up and one was the manager who refused to serve the racist. That's heartening. Perhaps not accepting all this poor treatment as the norm is what will turn the tide,' one Twitter user said.

'All applaud to the brave and sweet supervisor of @thecoffeebean cafe who timely stood against this racist and hate mongrer,' another added.

'Salute to the staff of this @TheCoffeeBean cafe in California for standing up to anti-Muslim bigotry,' CJ Werleman, who uploaded the video, added.

The coffee chain is yet to comment publicly on the Islamophobic incident.

The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf is also yet to respond to's request for comment.

The shocking display of racism and Islamophobia follows a series of other racist incidents sweeping the country.

In April two black men made headlines after they were kicked out of a Starbucks after they did not purchase anything and refused to leave.

Also in April in Canada four Afghan men were berated by a white Canadian woman as they were eating at a Denny's and speaking in their native tongue.

Several racial incident have also taken place at Waffle House restaurants around the U.S. over the past couple of months.



Political Leaders Urged To Include Women Issues in Manifestos

May 15, 2018

ISLAMABAD: With the general elections just a few months away, political parties of the country were urged on Monday to include women’s health and hygiene into their manifestos.

This was suggested by speakers during a day-long deliberation on gender equality along with the rights for maternal and reproductive health under the first “#HackThePad: Women Health and Hygiene Conference” organised by iCube, an organisation working for women empowerment through entrepreneurship, in collaboration with Peace University, Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), Motorway Police, and Young Parliamentarians Forum (YPF) at the Pakistan Institute of Parliamentarian Services (PIPS) on Monday.

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) lawmaker and Parliamentary Secretary for Ministry of Climate Change Romina Khursheed Alam said that even though women’s health has a direct bearing on upcoming generations, they were mired in traditional social taboos. “Women in Pakistan are living a life of fear and subjugation in many forms at many different levels, and we cannot even discuss or talk about the problems they face, so there is a need to break this vicious cycle,” she said, adding that there was a need to raise awareness at the grassroots levels to create an impact.

SDPI Executive Director Dr Abid Qaiyum Suleri suggested that political parties focus on attaining the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and include women health and hygiene as an election promise in their respective manifestos.

“We cannot achieve health-related SDGs unless we empower our women by giving them their due rights, providing them education and involving them in the decision-making process,” he added.

Peace University Director Ziad Khan said that it was unfortunate how issues such as women’s health and hygiene are not talked about or addressed the way they should be and the fact that something as natural as breathing is considered taboo requires introspection.

Moreover, Ziad pointed out that around 97 per cent of the women are victims of malnutrition in Pakistan.

“The Pakistani society is going through a formative phase where we have a chance and a responsibility to solve problems through entrepreneurship, technology and advocacy as a personal initiative,” he added.

Railways Police Inspector General (IG) Dr Mujeebur Rehman called for a change in attitudes and actions towards women and ensure an enabling working environment where women can harness their true potential.

He went on to add that a woman with poor health impacts negatively her family and subsequently impacts the whole society.

Motorway Police Additional IG Khalid Mahmood talked about the need to revamp organizational structures to include provisions for women and their unique role in the society.




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