New Age Islam News Bureau
22 Jan 2017
Photo: Demonstrators arrive at Union Station for the Women's March on Washington on Jan. 21, 2017, in Washington, DC. Jessica Kourkounis / Getty Images
• Woman Charged After Tirade Against Muslim Woman Outside Macquarie University
• These Muslim Teens Just Went To Their First Women's March, They Could Have Led it
• Fake Muslim Registry Appears At Women's March
• Indonesia’s Minangkabau Culture Promotes Empowered Muslim Women
Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau
Women’s March Brings Flood of Pink Hats, Fiery Rhetoric to Washington
WASHINGTON — Brandishing signs reading "The future is female" and "Make America kind again," tens of thousands of marchers turned streets near the National Mall into a sea of pink hats and homemade signs Saturday, raising their voices in support of gender equality.
Image: Demonstrators arrive at Union Station for the Women's March on Washington on Jan. 21, 2017 in Washington, DC.
Demonstrators arrive at Union Station for the Women's March on Washington on Jan. 21, 2017, in Washington, DC. Jessica Kourkounis / Getty Images
As Donald Trump attended a prayer service at the Washington National Cathedral on his first full day as president, demonstrators from across the country descended on D.C., arriving in buses, caravans and packing public transportation to gather near the National Mall and hear from prominent women's rights activists, lawmakers and celebrities. A slow-moving procession began Saturday afternoon along Constitution Avenue toward the Washington Monument, and planned to end near the White House.
Organizers say the Women's March on Washington was intentionally scheduled for the day after the presidential inauguration with the aim of sending a powerful message to the newly minted administration: Women's rights are human rights.
Related: Women's March Draws Supporters From America's Heartland
There was not a Trump supporter in sight around his hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue, as demonstrators posed for pictures in front of the barricades that surrounded the entrance. The mood was more festive than angry, with signs and chants that prized wittiness over confrontation.
Many people wore knitted pink hats with cat ears referred to as "pussy hats" — a symbol for the march and a wink to a past Trump remark.
"We march today for the moral core of this nation, against which our new president is waging a war," actress America Ferrera told the crowd. "Our dignity, our character, our rights have all been under attack and a platform of hate and division assumed power yesterday. But the president is not America. ... We are America and we are here to stay."
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Women Around the Globe March for Recognition and Equality 1:30
As the Washington march was expected to draw as many as 200,000 people, cities across the country and the world, from San Diego to Sydney, Australia, saw similar robust gatherings — a point made by the event's honorary co-chair and feminist icon Gloria Steinem.
"I was just talking to people from our many sister marches, including the one in Berlin, and they asked me to send a special message: 'We in Berlin know that walls don't work,'" Steinem said to applause, referencing Trump's pledge to build a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico.
For Trump, whose presidential campaign was dogged by past allegations against him of sexual harassment, Steinem had more pointed advice: "A Twitter finger must not become a trigger finger."
While the march comes in response to Trump assuming the power of the Oval Office, it is also a warning that he will be challenged over the next four years, some demonstrators said.
"I wouldn't call it an anti-Trump march, I would call it a 'We are watching you, Trump' kind of march," said Ayesha Ahmed, who came from Chicago with the Muslim Women's Alliance.
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America Ferrera Kicks Off Women's March: 'The President is Not America' 1:52
The march also attracted significant support from celebrities, with actresses Scarlett Johansson and Ashley Judd and singers Alicia Keys and Madonna speaking to the crowd. Performers included Janelle Monaé, Maxwell and the Indigo Girls.
Dr. Trinka Coster, a retired Army colonel, said she was marching because she wants all Americans to get the same "socialized medicine" that soldiers and veterans get. "I'm just glad I retired in July," she said of Trump's elevation to commander in chief.
Gallery: Pride and Fury: Supporters and Protesters at Trump Inauguration
Romaine Mills-Teque, who is African-American, rode down from Boston with her daughter, Brianna. "I didn't think I'd have to do this for my daughter because my mother and grandmother marched fought for civil rights and women rights for me," she said. "But I will continue to do it until the right is wronged."
"It's the most powerful experience I think I've ever had in my life," she said, surrounded by thousands of like-minded women.
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Gloria Steinem at Women's March: 'Don't Try to Divide Us' 1:04
Roschelle Weeks had a similar sentiment. "I'll remember this. I'll make sure my grandbabies hear about this," she said as she nudged her daughter with a laugh.
Many marching said they haven't been politically involved in the past, but the nature of this election awakened their civic activism. They said they're concerned about the gender pay gap, access to Planned Parenthood and health care services, and equal rights.
"It made me realize that the things I thought were enough to focus on, which I had been focusing on my life to that point ... were not enough at all," said Traci Feit Love, an attorney who started the Lawyers for Good Government Group after the November election.
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Phil McCausland ✔ @PhilMcCausland
This is the densest I've seen it get of all the crowds and protests since Friday #WomensMarch
10:00 PM - 21 Jan 2017
122 122 Retweets 388 388 likes
Grandmother Mary Hornig, 58, arrived from Aldie, Virginia, with three family members. "That's why I'm here," she said in reference to her grandchildren. "For the future. Now and the future."
She recognized that Trump might not listen to their message, but added, "I'm hoping some of the other Republicans might."
Mark Dunham, of Beacon, New York, held a sign with his wife, Kary, that read, "Human rights = women's rights." The pair cheered on as filmmaker Michael Moore, an outspoken critic of Trump's policies, spoke to the crowd and said the "old guard of the Democratic Party has to go."
Mark Dunham, 60, and wife Kary, 50, of Beacon, New York, at the Women's March on Washington on Jan. 21, 2017. Corky Siemaszko
"I think it's awesome," Kary Dunham, 50, said of the many men also in attendance. "I didn't doubt there would be so many men. They're not all crazy, misogynist pigs."
Rose Wurm of Hagerstown, Maryland, said she was determined to show her support in person.
The 64-year-old retired medical secretary from Bedford, Pennsylvania, carried two signs. One asked Trump to stop tweeting and the other asked him to fix former President Barack Obama's health care law, rather than get rid of it.
Wurm was riding one of the roughly 1,800 buses that had registered to park in Washington on Saturday — translating to nearly 100,000 people coming for the march just by bus.
One company had buses coming from more than 200 cities in 26 states.
At New York City's Penn Station, about 200 to 300 women gathered before dawn to board an Amtrak train to the capital. "If you think we were nasty before, just you wait," read one handmade sign, alluding to Trump sniping at rival Hillary Clinton as a "nasty woman" during a presidential debate.
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Meet the Women Responsible for Pink Protest Hats 1:11
The march began as the brainchild of a retired attorney in Hawaii who wanted to organize a small demonstration with a few friends following the election. The idea went viral and quickly became a global movement with more than 600 "sister marches" taking place around the world.
Marchers have mobilized in U.S. cities, from Boston to Philadelphia to New York City.
"It's become a global movement, an outlet, inspiring people all over the world to fight for equality and social justice," said Tina Cassidy, one of the organizers of the sister marches. "Women everywhere are standing up."
Woman charged after tirade against Muslim woman outside Macquarie University
A woman has been charged after she was allegedly filmed banging on a car window and calling a university student who locked herself inside a "terrorist", in an apparent hate-filled attack filmed at Sydney's Macquarie University.
In a video posted to Facebook overnight, a young couple locked themselves inside their car in the university’s carpark after the woman began banging on the vehicle’s windows and swearing at them.
She continues to slap the car's windows, and the couple can be heard discussing whether to call security or drive off first.
The woman then grabs a windscreen wiper, before the driver confronts her.
"Who are you? Why you got a mask? Terrorist. You have gun?" the woman can be heard saying as he steps outside.
In a statement from Macquarie University, the couple are said to be “shaken” following the attack.
Police have charged the 35-year-old woman with destroy/damage property and common assault.
She is expected to appear at Burwood Local Court on March 13.
© Nine Digital Pty Ltd 2017
These Muslim Teens Just Went To Their First Women's March. They Could Have Led it.
Jennifer Bendery White House and Congressional Reporter, The Huffington Post
Yasmin and Ekram Seid, 13 and 18, respectively, will be running circles around us one day.
WASHINGTON ? Early Saturday, Ekram Seid hopped on a city bus with her sister, Yasmin, and made the trek across town for the Women’s March on Washington. Neither had been to a political march before, but they felt a responsibility to go to this one.
“I’m the oldest of three girls,” Ekram told The Huffington Post, standing in a sea of people chanting and waving signs advocating social justice issues and opposing President Donald Trump. “So I just came here because I have to lead by example for them that it’s important that we speak on the issues that matter to us. And sometimes we have to take action.”
Ekram and Yasmin stood out in the crowd. Both are under 5 feet tall. Both wore hijabs. And both are teenagers. Ekram, 18, is even shorter than her younger sister and has braces. Yasmin, 13, stood quietly by her big sister. But once they spoke, they were far beyond their years. Both described what is at stake for Muslim women and other minorities if they don’t engage in politics and stand up for their rights.
“Donald Trump doesn’t scare me,” Ekram said. “It’s that it’s 2017, and there are people with this very provisional mindset, that kind of scares me and worries me. But I’m not scared for me. I’m scared for my sisters. I feel like I can handle anything.”
Yasmin, who is in eighth grade, said she wanted to be at the march because “I wanted to hear what people had to say and I’m a feminist, so it means a lot to me.”
Asked what it means to be a feminist, Yasmin replied, “Women’s empowerment and the belief that women can do anything men can do. And can do it better.”
Ekram, who starts college on Monday and wants to be an art therapist, chimed in, “I think everyone should be a feminist because women give life. If you’re not a feminist, you’re not supporting your mother. You’re not supporting yourself.”
Ekram and Yasmin navigated the masses with neon green posters that read “Girls Just Want To Have Fun-Damental Human Rights!” and “Women Can Do It All.” They’ve lived in D.C. since 2007, when their family moved from Ethiopia. Yasmin said she wished she was born in the United States so she could run for president.
“Maybe Congress will change the law back, that you don’t have to be born here,” she said. “If Congress changes the law, then I’m going to run for president.”
When HuffPost suggested she could run for Congress, Yasmin replied, “Yeah, but I want to be president.”
“You know, a lot of presidents have a background in politics,” Ekram offered.
“Yeah...” said Yasmin, uninterested and trailing off. “I want to go to medical school and law school. Women can do it all.”
CHICAGO TRIBUNE VIA GETTY IMAGES
Hundreds of thousands of people protested President Donald Trump in Washington on Saturday. Ekram and Yasmin soaked it all in.
Throughout Trump’s rise over the past year, and the ugly anti-Muslim rhetoric that’s come along with him, Ekram and Yasmin said they’ve gotten used to strangers coming up to them and offering words of support.
“I guess there’s not a lot of Muslim people in the McDonalds’ community,” said Yasmin. “When I go to McDonalds, people are like, ‘Oh, keep doing what you’re doing! Don’t listen to Donald Trump!’ Or something.”
There have been instances, though, of people treating them differently because of the way they look. When their family was at the airport recently getting ready to board a plane, Yasmin overheard one of the bag checkers say to another that they needed to thoroughly go through their family’s bags because “we don’t want any problems on the plane.”
“I felt hurt,” she said. “I had my hijab on, and my mother doesn’t speak full English and didn’t understand what he was talking about.”
But Yasmin ? who is, again, 13 ? decided this was one of those moments where speaking out mattered.
“I went up to the lady [behind the desk] and I was like, ‘You guys need to stop discriminating against us as Muslims because that’s not fair. You wouldn’t do that to anybody else,’” she said. “I just left it at that.”
“Yeah,” laughed Ekram. “That’s my sister.”
Fake Muslim registry appears at women's march
Jan. 21, 2017
CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad posted this photo of the fake Muslim registry in Capitol Hill. (Photo: USAT)
The Council on American-Islamic Relations — in a nod to a Donald Trump campaign call — advertised a fake Muslim registry at their Capitol Hill headquarters on Saturday.
The banner hung outside the CAIR offices during the Women's March on Washington and read, "Muslims Register Here" in big bold letters. Below, the banner hit its punchline with, "Just kidding. NOT on our watch. Join CAIR in defending religious freedom today."
During the presidential campaign, Trump said he would consider registering people of the Muslim faith. His chief of staff Reince Priebus later said Trump was not planning a registry.
Indonesia’s Minangkabau culture promotes empowered Muslim women
By The Conversation January 22, 2017
Though music and dancing are contentious topics in Islam, the Minang people cherish their traditional performing arts in their ceremonies and festivals. Sadiq Bhanbhro, Author provided
By Sadiq Bhanbhro, Sheffield Hallam University
In most of the Western world, the image of Muslim women is often distorted. Muslim women have been represented as homogeneous, veiled, submissive, helpless, oppressed and powerless victims.
Across Europe, countries are placing bans on veils on the grounds that they are symbols of oppression against Muslim women.
The construction and representation of Muslim women as being in need of saving, according to Lila Abu-Lughod in her book Do Muslim Women Need Saving?, is problematic. Western media often gloss over the wealth of diversity Muslim women possess with regard to cultures, languages, opinions and the spectrum of faith.
There are 1.6 billion Muslims in the world, half of them women. While many would think of oppressive regimes of Middle Eastern countries such as Saudi Arabia when thinking about Muslim communities, the majority of Muslims live in the Asia-Pacific. And here there are places where Muslim women exercise much power, if not more than men.
Anyone visiting West Sumatra, Indonesia, would be amazed – not so much by the beauty of its lakes and mountains, but by the prominent role women play in almost all spheres of life in the Minangkabau community. From the household to the marketplace, Minangkabau women hold pride of place.
The Minangkabau community provides empirical evidence and a case in point to understand the cultural diversity and integrative cultural patterns of Muslim communities.
“In your house, who is the boss?” asked a man while travelling from Jakarta to Padang. I was surprised by the question and paused to think of a response. “You see, I am a Minang and for a Minang woman is the boss,” said the man. The man belonged to Minangkabau – an indigenous ethnic group of Indonesia, which is famous for their long-held matrilineal tradition, or matriarchaat (from the Dutch).
The Minangkabau (in short Minang) are also known for their devotion to Islam. A dominant majority of both males and females pray five times a day, fast during the month of Ramadan, and express the desire to make the holy pilgrimage (Hajj) to Mecca at least once in their lifetime.
Each Minangkabau neighbourhood has a Musalla, which means “a temporary place of prayer” in Arabic but in Indonesia simply means a mosque. In the neighbourhood Musalla, men and women pray together, although separated into their respective gender-designated sections. A high percentage of women and girls wear the headscarf but do not wear the veil.
I did research in Padang and visited Batusangkar and Bukittinggi. These are three major cities of West Sumatra province, the home of Minangkabau people.
Minangkabau matriarchaat is an established social system that appears to be drawn largely from the customary practice (adat) that involves tracing inheritance through the matrilineal line and giving prominent roles to women in public ceremonies.
Minang women uphold these pre-Islamic adat customs, which not only trace ancestry through the female line but also involve a complex social system in which women and men share power and control based on the principle of interdependence and mutual responsibility.
Inheritance – Minang women have the upper hand
In Minangkabau, gender is a major factor in inheritance.
The ownership of property (such as land, house or livestock), for instance, must pass from mother to daughter; however, a father can pass earnings from a business or profession to son. The former follows principles of adat and the latter Islamic law.
Minangkabau King’s Palace at Batusangkar, heartland of the Minangkabau people. Sadiq Bhanbhro, Author provided
When couples marry, the groom moves to the bride’s house. Nearly all household decisions are made only after being deliberated by both husband and wife.
Since the Minangkabau are also devout Muslims, it is interesting to observe how this community integrates the tenets of adat with those of Islam.
“Adat does not contradict but [rather] complements [the] values of Islam— such as, Islam gives the right of inheritance to women, [the] same [as] does adat,” said a woman respondent.
Day-to-day decisions – Minang women lead
State policies and the increasing influence of Islam have escalated men’s claim to power and authority in Minangkabau society. Men assume religious leadership, titled positions and roles in public life.
“Yes, men have public power. But think of them as front men, representing the community to the state or to the mosque,” said Evelyn Blackwood an anthropologist who published ethnography on Minangkabau, Webs of Power: Women, Kin, and Community in a Sumatran Village.
Indeed, a closer look at various aspects of Minangkabau life shows that women exercise real power. They hold central roles in community ceremonies and ownership of resources – land, water and rice paddies. They also carry the lineage line.
Having actual power impacts Minang women’s daily lives. “I can buy whatever I like from the market for eating, drinking and wearing – my husband can’t interfere in it,” said a woman respondent.
Women’s ownership of land assures their power and position alongside men, said Blackwood. Minang women have the upper hand in daily decisions involving household running – they decide on the budgeting, shopping, and kids’ education.
The Minang ceremonies led by women – like a wedding (Baralek), harvesting (Manyabik), clan leader inauguration (Batagak pangulu) – are not only displays of women power but also play an important role in reminding young men of their cultural roots and responsibilities, according to anthropologist Peggy Sanday, who studied Minangkabau people.
Minang women value their central role
Minang women value their significant role in social and public life, especially during adat ceremonies and festivals when they sing and dance. Tari Piriang is one of the most famous traditional Minangkabau dances performed by both young men and women together.
“I feel Tari Piriang is an emancipatory art, which is not only about happiness but freedom,” said a medical student and member of a dance group.
Though music and dancing are contentious topics in Islam – fundamentalist versions of Islam such as Salafists and Wahhabis generally view music and dancing as forbidden (haram), while moderate believers regard them as permissible (halal) – the Minang people cherish their traditional performing art music, singing, dance and drama, and adore their ceremonies and festivals.
Although Islam may be generally thought to subordinate women and girls and to put men and boys in a dominant societal position, this devout Muslim Minangkabau community in Indonesia puts women at the centre of household and the community, presenting a very different picture of Muslim women.
Sadiq Bhanbhro, Researcher on Public Health and Gender-Based Violence, Sheffield Hallam University