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Islam, Women and Feminism ( 21 Oct 2018, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Women will soon be able to divorce husbands: Council of Islamic Ideology

New Age Islam News Bureau

21 Oct 2018

Photo: The Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) is working on a more “women-friendly” marriage contract which will grant women the authority to divorce their husbands without having to seek legal aid.


 Islamic State frees six Syrian Druze women, children 'after $27m ransom paid'

 Islamabad woman arrested for allegedly abusing, threatening police officials in viral video

 Petition seeks details of litigation expense in Dr Aafia case

 Creative Chaos CEO asked to resign after discrimination against hijab-wearing employee

 Women’s Bowling Championship 2018 wraps up in Jeddah

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau




Women will soon be able to divorce husbands: Council of Islamic Ideology

October 21, 2018

ISLAMABAD: The Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) is working on a more “women-friendly” marriage contract which will grant women the authority to divorce their husbands without having to seek legal aid.

This provision is actually a part of the Nikahnama under the current law, however, due to social pressure, it is never offered to the bride-to-be. Hence, women have no choice but to seek khula from a court in order to separate from their husbands. The procedure is tedious at best and puts them up to exploitation at the hand of resistant husbands.

Reported by a private media outlet, CII Chairman Qibla Ayaz said: “The nikahkhawan will be legally bound to inform the bride of her right to ask for the dissolution of marriage from her husband.”

He added that unlike khula in which the husband’s consent is mandatory for dissolution of marriage, this provision awarded to women will not require the husband’s consent as he will already have surrendered his right to the woman.

Under the proposed changes to marriage documents, the language of the contract will also be changed to make the rights of women clear.

“The draft of the new Nikahnama has been prepared by the Research Wing of CII and the same would soon be presented before a panel of religious scholars and family law experts for finalisation,” Ayaz said.

According to him, the old marriage document drafted in the 1960s was outdated as it did not have provisions fit for the 21st century. While the provision for the bride to dissolve the marriage was present in the old document, it was not elaborate and the bride was often given a document in which it had already been deleted by the solemniser.

“They won’t be able to do that anymore and there would be legal consequences for that and the Nikahkhwan would not able to delete it without the consent of the bride-to-be,” Ayaz said.

“The responsibilities of nikahkhawan will be enhanced under the proposed changes.”

Under The Muslim Family Law Ordinance, 1961 several important rights are awarded to women but their rights are not clearly written in the contract, including the first wife’s right to grant permission to her husband for second marriage. According to CII, the revised draft of the contract will include clear wording on the first wife’s permission for second marriage which is requirement under the existing Pakistani law.

“Most of the times the brides are given pre-filled marriage documents instead of discussing the conditions with her first, which is a mandatory practice under the Islamic teachings. In addition to the new Nikkah document, the council has also drafted a divorce paper (Talaqnama) to ensure the protection of divorced women’s rights.”

In the absence of Talaqnama, the divorced women have to face questions and accusations while going for a new marriage.

“Now the new document will act as a proof of divorce and it will also include all the terms and conditions of divorce in clear words.”

The authority is also in the process of finalising recommendations to stop the practice of men giving divorce to their wives in one sitting, also known as triple Talaq.

“Triple Talaq is not a desired practice in any Islamic school of thought. So, we would approach the issue through a legislation to punish those men who are involved in this practice as well as through raising public awareness of the practice,” Ayaz said.

According to the CII chairman, the council had examined the draft of Muslim Personal Laws of India before preparing the recommendations for revisions.



Islamic State frees six Syrian Druze women, children 'after $27m ransom paid'

20 October 2018

The Islamic State (IS) group has released two women and four children among 27 surviving Druze hostages it seized during a deadly July attack on the minority community's heartland in southern Syria.

State television broadcast footage of the six arriving in the city of Sweida on Saturday, joyful at being reunited with their families but haggard after their three-month ordeal.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based activist group, said their release was the first part of a deal that would see Syria free at least 60 IS members and pay a $27m ransom.

IS abducted around 30 people, mostly women and children, from Sweida province in late July during the deadliest attack on Syria's Druze community of the seven-year civil war.

As negotiations for their release dragged on, families led a series of protests outside government offices in Sweida to demand more be done.

"I cannot describe my joy," Rasmia Abu Amar told state television after being reunited with her husband.

"But it is incomplete, my son has not yet been released," she said.

A second woman appeared with her four children, their clothes still dirty from their long captivity and her sons with their heads shaved.

Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman told the AFP news agency that the six were freed on Friday night and that further hostage releases were expected "in the next few days or hours".

He said that in return for the release of all of the hostages, the Syrian government had agreed to free 60 Islamic State group prisoners and pay a ransom of $27m.

"Nine IS women prisoners held by the regime have already been handed over to the group along with seven children," Abdul Rahman said.

Stiff price

During the coordinated assaults on 25 July, IS carried out suicide bombings, shootings and stabbings that left more than 250 people dead, most of them civilians.

Sweida province is the heartland of the country's Druze minority, which made up around three percent of Syria's pre-war population, or around 700,000 people.

Followers of a secretive offshoot of Islam, the Druze are considered heretics by IS.

The group executed a 19-year-old male student among the hostages in August and then a 25-year-old woman in early October. IS said a 65-year-old woman being held by the group also died from illness.

Negotiations between regime ally Russia and IS for the release of the hostages had stalled.

But the latest round of talks appeared to have paid off, albeit it with a stiff price.

The Observatory said IS had also demanded the halting of an offensive against them in Sweida.

Government forces have battled IS fighters in the volcanic plateau of Tulul al-Safa in the east of the province since the July attack, AFP reported.

Abdul Rahman said the Syrian Democratic Forces, a Kurdish-led alliance that controls areas of the north and northeast with the support of a US-led coalition, "should also release some IS detainees" but he did not specify the number.

There was no immediate comment from the SDF, which has been taking heavy casualties fighting IS in its last pocket of control in eastern Syria, around the Euphrates valley town of Hajin.

On 10 September, the group launched a major assault on the area, where they estimate some 3,000 IS fighters are holed up. Hundreds of the fighters have been killed, but at the cost of scores of SDF dead.

Coalition air strikes on IS targets around the Hajin pocket killed at least 41 civilians, 10 of them children, on Thursday and Friday, the Observatory said.

Syria's grinding civil war has claimed more than 360,000 lives since it erupted with the bloody repression of anti-government protests in 2011.

A caliphate which IS proclaimed across large parts of Syria and neighbouring Iraq in 2014 has crumbled in the face of multiple offensives against them, but they remain a potent force.



Islamabad woman arrested for allegedly abusing, threatening police officials in viral video

Shakeel Qarar

October 21, 2018

A woman in Islamabad was arrested on Sunday after allegedly abusing, threatening and misbehaving with police officials at an entry point to the Diplomatic Enclave after her vehicle, which was missing a number plate, was stopped by police.

The incident came to the notice of law enforcement and government officials after a video of the back-and-forth between the woman and police officers went viral on social media on Saturday.

The viral video showed the woman furiously yelling, using abusive language and hurling threats at police officials who had stopped her at the checkpoint.

She repeatedly asked the police to provide a "genuine reason" as to why she had been stopped, and even pressured the police officers to permit the vehicle to enter the Diplomatic Enclave, a highly sensitive and secure location in Islamabad, where government buildings and offices are located.

A case was subsequently registered against the woman at the Secretariat Police Station under sections 341 (punishment for wrongful restraint), 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty), 186 (obstructing public servant in discharge of public functions) and 506 (punishment for criminal intimidation).

She was arrested from a local housing society today and shifted to a police station for women.

Minister of State for Interior Shehryar Afridi also took notice of the woman's behaviour with police officials and reminded citizens that no one is above the law. He directed officials to take action as per the law and asked police to submit a report on the matter.



Petition seeks details of litigation expense in Dr Aafia case

Malik Asad

October 21, 2018

ISLAMABAD: A petition has been filed in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) seeking the details of expenses incurred by the Pakistani government on litigation for the release of Dr Aafia Siddiqui from a United States prison.

The petitioner is a Sialkot-based lawyer who has sought the information under Article 19-A of the Constitution, which states that “every citizen shall have the right to have access to information in all matters of public importance”.

The 2017 Right of Access to Information Act was enacted to give effect to the fundamental right of access to information.

The petition stated that in 2010, a report submitted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the Senate Standing Committee on Interior had revealed misappropriation in the Dr Aafia Siddiqui Attorney Trust Account. The report said then ambassador Hussain Haqqani had formed a committee of three individuals to ensure transparency and monitor expenditure from the account.

The committee had directed then foreign secretary Salman Bashir to conduct an internal audit of the money spent on the legal team and submit a detailed report at the next meeting. This report was never made public.

The petition maintained that the preamble of the Right of Access to Information Act clearly stated that the ”government believes in transparency and the right to have access to information to ensure that the people of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan have improved access to records held by the public authorities and promote the purposes of making the government more accountable to its people, of improving participation by the people in public affairs, of reducing corruption and inefficiency in government, of promoting sound economic growth of promoting good governance and respect for human rights.”

The petitioner’s request for access to the information is to verify whether $2 million from the public exchequer were used in a fair and transparent manner, which is a matter of public importance.

The petition asked the court to direct the respondent authorities – the law, foreign affairs and finance secretaries and the auditor general of Pakistan – to provide the information regarding expenses incurred on legal proceedings regarding Siddiqui.

IHC Justice Aamer Farooq after the initial hearing issued pre-admission notices to the aforementioned authorities and sought their responses. Further hearing has been adjourned until a date to be fixed by the registrar’s office.



Creative Chaos CEO asked to resign after discrimination against hijab-wearing employee

OCTOBER 20, 2018

KARACHI: The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of a software house, Creative Chaos, was asked to resign today (Friday) as he reportedly asked a newly-recruited female employee to either stop wearing her hijab at work or to quit.

The software house took to Facebook to inform that the CEO of the company was asked to step down for workplace discrimination.

Later, the company’s board of directors issued a statement which read, “A young professional woman resigned from Creative Chaos Software Services in Karachi as she was made to feel that she will not be able to perform her duties due to her headscarf.”

“Of being made aware of the unethical situation, the group CEO immediately sent her an apology and requested that she reconsider her resignation and for her to give them some time to make it right,” it added.

According to the statement, the CEO and the hiring manager were both found to have violated the ethos of the company.

A few days earlier, a Facebook post went viral which shared details of how the newly appointed girl was asked by her line manager that she could only continue with her job if she did not wear the headscarf to work.

According to that post, the girl then took up the matter with the CEO, who responded saying that it promotes the “wrong image” and suggested her to apply to Islamic banks instead.

The CEO also asked the girl to resign and refused to make the demands in writing as she had asked. Moreover, the recruit was also warned against taking any legal action against the company.



Women’s Bowling Championship 2018 wraps up in Jeddah

October 21, 2018

JEDDAH: The first Women Bowling Championship in Saudi Arabia took place in October in three cities, Riyadh, Alkhobar, and Jeddah, where it finished at Ice Land Bowling Center on Saturday. Gada Nemer, 42, from Riyadh, who came first in the competition, told Arab News: “I participated in all three tournaments, in Riyadh, Alkhobar, and today in Jeddah. I won first place in Alkhobar too. “I am not a professional bowler, but I used to bowl with my kids. Two of them bowl on the national team. I am very glad to have the chance to participate in these tournaments, and look forward to future ones.”

It was the first tournament of its kind in the Kingdom, as the country is rapidly developing sporting facilities for women and increasing women’s involvement in sports by making reforms that have included allowing physical education for schoolgirls and opening female-only gyms. Sixty-three competitors, many of them amateurs, participated in the competition which consisted of four rounds. All competitors took part in the first round, 33 made it into the second round and 16 qualified for the third.

Participants were between 11 and 56 years of age. Nemer received a cash prize of SR5,000 ($1,335) and those in second and third place received SR3,000 and SR2,000 respectively.

The last round had the best three competitors competing for first place with Nemer winning first prize, followed by Meshael Alabdulwahed (second) and Wissam Al-Harbi (third).

Growing interest

Bowling is still a growing sport for women in Saudi Arabia. The first female bowling team officially registered in the Saudi Bowling Federation, and the Eastern Province bowling team is only seven months old, according to Dr. Razan Baker, member of the board of directors and head of media and women’s participation at the federation.

Baker told Arab News: “We were surprised by the excitement of the participants. The numbers were beyond our expectations.

“Many participants would like to become professional bowlers. With this high turnout I expect bowling centers to start supporting new female bowling teams.”

Abeer Abdulmalik, from Al-Qassim, participated in the tournament. Although she is new to bowling, she made it to the third round.

“I never bowled before in my life, and I did not prepare myself for the game. I am surprised and happy with what I scored, although I was hoping to be in the final round,” she told Arab News. “I would like to take part in future championships.”

Aminah Khan, who participated in the tournament with her two sisters, told Arab News: “I came here for fun, and to try my luck before I go to my midterm exam.”

Khan did not make it to the second round, but said she would start working to improve her skills and take bowling more seriously as a sport.

The championship was organized by the Saudi Bowling Federation, the Saudi Arabian Olympic Committee, and General Sports Authority, and in partnership with Arab News as the exclusive English media partner for the event.




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