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Islam, Women and Feminism ( 28 Nov 2009, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Covered- Up Katrina Kaif Skirts Row On Visit To Ajmer

Philippines massacre: women thought they were safe. They were wrong

Progressive Women Protest Billboard for 7th Day Regardless of Male Bullies

Overly hairy woman charges job descrimination in lawsuit

'Gender Jihad' in the Service of Women's Rights

How a Muslim became a \'co-worker\' of Blessed Teresa

A Woman's Act...Brief Report on the VIII Women Playwrights Conference, Mumbai 2009

Multicultural Crime Blotter: Male Medics, Police Touch Muslim Women

The Hajj and Women's Dress

Muslim women seek even playing field in football

KARACHI: Women police station opened

Hazrat Hajira in tradition

Alex Scott launches Muslim women’s sport project

Book Review: Position of women under Islamic Law

Trouser woman: I may not return to Sudan

Report: Women Face Rampant Abuse

Compiled By New Age Islam News Bureau

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Covered- up Kat skirts row on visit to Ajmer

November 28, 2009, Mail Today

HER TALENT as an actress may be debatable, but one can’t find fault with Bollywood bombshell Katrina Kaif’s memory.

She has definitely not forgotten the dressing down she got three years ago — from some clerics and the public — for visiting Hazrat Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti’s shrine in Ajmer in a short skirt.

During every subsequent visit to the revered shrine in Rajasthan, Kat has been adequately dressed.

The actress was seen at the shrine on Friday, with boyfriend Salman Khan’s sister Alvira Khan Agnihotri in tow.

She had covered her face and body in a black veil.

Katrina was severely criticised in October 2006, when she visited the shrine in a short skirt. The actress, who was shooting for Vipul Shah’s Namaste London, was there along with co- star Rishi Kapoor, to film a scene.

According to tradition, devotees at the shrine must cover their head, hands and legs. Kat drew a lot of flak for not maintaining the decorum of the place.


Philippines massacre: women thought they were safe. They were wrong

November 28, 2009

He knew that powerful and ruthless people wanted him dead and that he was risking everything by standing for election — but to one practical challenge at least, Ismael Mangudadatu thought he had a solution.

If he went in person to register as a candidate he would be inviting an attack by his enemies — the Ampatuan clan who have a near-monopoly on elected posts in the region. Instead, after consultation with his family and advisers, Mr Mangudadatu decided to send his wife and two sisters.

The local police refused to provide an escort and the Philippines Army declined a request for protection. But how much harm could befall a group of women? For good measure, the two family lawyers who were women and Mr Mangudadatu’s aunt — who was pregnant, like one of his sisters — went along for the ride with other supporters and relatives.

As a further safeguard, 27 journalists were invited. “Under our tradition, Muslim women are respected,” Mr Mangudadatu said. “They should not be harmed, just like innocent children and the elders. They will not harm us if journalists are watching.”

At 9.30am on Monday six minibuses began the drive from the town of Buluan to the provincial capital of Shariff Aguak. “This is women power in action,” Eden, Mr Mangudadatu’s sister, was heard to say. “Let’s help our men chart a better future for the province.”

Within hours, she and her companions were dead.

They had been bound, macheted, shot and buried in a mass grave. It is believed that some were raped.

Political killings have been a part of life for centuries in the Philippines, and the southern island of Mindanao is the most violent of all.

The attack, in which 57 people were killed, has raised questions about the relationship between the gangster clans such as the Ampatuan family and the highest levels of the Philippines metropolitan elite.

Yesterday Andal Ampatuan Jr, the son of one of the most powerful men in Mindanao, was charged with seven counts of murder. “He was the one who gave the instructions,” Agnes Devanadera, the Justice Minister, said. “He was among those ... who killed the victims.”

Until they were expelled this week, Mr Ampatuan and his father were important members of the ruling party of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, the President. Her Government has also moved against members of its security forces suspected of being complicit in the violence.

According to the national police chief, Jesus Verzosa, six senior officers, including the provincial chief and his deputy, twenty officers of the Ampatuan police station and about four hunded members of a militia loyal to the Ampatuan family are in custody.

Many Filipinos remain sceptical about the prospects for improvement. “He [Ampatuan Jr] can be a sacrificial mouse to spare the leopards behind the crime,” one Maguindanao man told The Times. “The most powerful people among the Ampatuans are still in government.”

Three journalists survived the attack because they stopped at their hotel when the convoy was setting out. “The lady at the front desk told us that a motorcycle-riding man armed with a pistol came to ask for the names of journalists who checked in at the hotel,” said Aquiles Zonio, of the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

They tried calling colleagues, but the hold-up had already taken place. The convoy was stopped about an hour into its journey, near the town that bears the Ampatuan family name. Some victims were able to send texts reporting that they had been stopped by about a hundred armed men.

Police Chief Superintendent Felicisimo Khu said: “Twenty-four corpses were all killed by a firing squad. They were buried in six layers. Every layer is covered with earth, making it more difficult for the retrieval operations. I have asked myself why one of them has no underwear.”

Ms Devanadera said: “Even the private parts of the women were shot at. It was done practically to all the women. All the women had their zippers undone. The pants of some were pulled down. We have yet to determine whether they were raped.”

According to Mr Khu, the gunmen intercepted two vehicles with six people who happened to be travelling on the same road at the same time, and killed them too. “Some sustained multiple gunshot wounds — as many as eight,” said Benito Molina, a forensic examiner at the scene. “To judge from the blood, some of the corpses may have been buried while still alive.”

Cooking pots belonging to the killers were found at the scene and they had taken with them a mechanical digger bearing the name of the local government. Its engine was still running when soldiers arrived.

The brutality appears to have backfired on the Ampatuan clan: the intensity of public anger will ensure that no politician in Manila will court their friendship publicly in the election in May.

It is little compensation for the loss of his family, but Mr Mangudadatu’s election prospects have been strengthened. “Only death can stop me from running,” he said yesterday when he filed his candidature for the regional governorship of Maguindanao, which is held by the brother of Mr Ampatuan Jr. “This symbolises our freedom. I hope this will be the start of our liberation.”

The scale of the massacre may be unique, but its story — of violence, clans and corruption — is repeated across the Philippines.

Father Eduardo Vasquez, a priest in Shariff Aguak, said: “If powerful and equally armed families like the Mangudadatus were killed in such a barbaric manner, how much more for the ordinary civilians who have already been traumatised by the war?”

Clan power

Andal Ampatuan Sr has four wives and thirty children. He has a private army of several hundred, permitted under a presidential executive order

His extended family dominates the region’s politics. One son, Zaldy, is governor of the Muslim Mindanao

The provincial capital Maganoy was renamed Shariff Aguak after Mr Ampatuan’s late father One of his sons and a nephew are its mayor and vice-mayor


Progressive Women Protest Billboard for 7th Day Regardless of Male Bullies


By Melanie Nathan The billboard, located at 4855 Miller Road, shows two cartoonish images of Obama wearing a Muslim turban and reads “PRESIDENT or JIHAD?” It also says “BIRTH CERTIFICATE – PROVE IT!” alluding to the conspiracy theory which claims Barack Obama was born in Kenya rather than Hawaii, which would disqualify him for the office of President.  The words “WAKE UP AMERICA! REMEMBER FT. HOOD!” appear on the bottom of the billboard. The sign belongs to a sleazy looking bloke (sorry my judgment)  used car dealer who describes his business as a “car dealership.”

“Since Fort Hood, I’ve had it,” owner Phil Wolf, displaying an educated command of the English language, told FOX 31 News Friday. “You can’t suggest things. You can’t profile. You gotta call a spade a spade.”    ”Everything I have read about Mr. Obama points right to the fact that he is a Muslim. And that is the agenda of what Muslim is all about. It’s about anti-American, it’s about anti-Christianity,” Wolf said.  (I call that treason talk, Mr. Wolfe not freedom of speech – !)

The Anti-Defamation League condemned the sign, as did AM760 radio host David Sirota, who discussed the sign and interviewed Wolf on his program Friday morning. “It’s out of control,” Sirota said. “This conservative hatred of Barack Obama is out of contol, and this brings together all those strands of it: the racism, the anti-Muslim fervor. It’s one thing to criticize the president on health care, or Wall Street reform, or immigration. But this is outrageous. And I think it’s a fair question to ask why these questions about religion and ancestry are being directed so viciously at the first African-American President of the United States.”

 “Are you a racist Wolf?” asked Ed Schultz on his ED SHOW, MSNBC TV?  “I am not,” answered Wolf.  I was unclear as to why Ed Schultz gave this apology of an American the time of day.  Did Ed think he would get a retraction from him? Or an explanation that made any sense?    Anyway I was much relieved to hear Mr. Schultz speaking to a woman named Pat on his radio show the next morning, and was proud of her resilience and her courage.

 A  small group of dedicated progressive women, led by PAT have been protesting at the Wolf car lot since last Friday. They are organizing a big protest for Saturday Nov 28, starting at 10 am (“until we run out of volunteers to carry signs”).  This will probably go for at least 3-4 hours if the ladies’ past efforts are any guide. An internet  notice said “Would be great if a lot of men showed up, this time too.”

On the Ed morning show, she explained how a few women had pulled together and protested at the site of the billboard in question.  They braved the insults of a group of male bullies who went scurrying the moment men arrived to stand on the side of the women.  The minute the good men left the little cowardly bullies would reappear with their insults and threats.

I thought Pat was amazing – a brave hero- standing before a group of adversaries for hours and enduring the insults.   She insists on continuing her protest and will be out there tomorrow with a big request for many more to join her side and that of the progressive women who show no fear.  

 The  ADL issued a statement calling the billboard an exploitation of the Ft. Hood shootings that is “divisive and offensive, and perpetuates hateful and harmful stereotypes about Muslims”, prominent conservatives have been silent thus far. “That could suggest that conservative leaders are afraid to confront the extreme fringe of their base,” Sirota said. “Or it suggests they actually condone this message. Either way, it’s disturbing.”

I ASK YOU – Help these wonderful progressive women protest the Racist Anti-Obama Billboard in Wheatridge Sat Nov 28 @ 10:00 AM (Visibility / Sign Waving)  -    They are getting some flack from the dealership. Having some men with them could help. The protesters and the sign are just 50 feet from I-70 Westbound so the protest has the potential to be seen by hundreds of thousands of Black Friday-Christmas Shoppers driving by on Saturday. 

Their message is – Dust off your old Anti-Iraq War signs, impeach, Stop Torture, whatever… and bring them Saturday. Show the public what Wolf is so proud of.  Help change the discussion back to the crimes of the Bush Administration, The protest is at Wolf interstate Leasing and Sales Location: 4855 Miller St Wheat Ridge, CO 80033  Map from the Wolf Website .

To contact the organizer of the event directly email Saturday, November 28 from 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM

Hope this post gets a few over there to help/.  Have a Great Weekend and goodluck to you brave ones who speak for us all….

UPDATE Apparently Wolf had erected the Billboard in response to a challenge by a Denver  radio host Peter Boyles, who hosts the top-rated morning program on Denver’s KHOW-AM, Wolf who owns multi State car lots is planning on erecting more Billboards across the Country.

My thoughts: Where does one draw the line? While freedom of speech serves our essence as a nation, this language is deplorable both in intent and effect. We are a Country at War.  The proponents of this language are in essence committing a subversive and treasonous act when one considers all the circumstances. They accuse the President of the United States as being on the side of the enemy during a time of war? I would never have imagined seeing anything like this.  Its not mere lack of decorum or common decency – it is a sign that racial hate is so intensely pervasive that it has the power to cause Americans to turn into traitors.  Speaking of our President in the fashion has the significant stench of siding with the enemy.


Overly hairy woman charges job descrimination in lawsuit.

27 November 2009

A Muslim teenager claims in a federal lawsuit that she was denied a job at an Abberdabie & Flinch clothing store at a Trevor City mall because she wore a head scarf.

In the lawsuit filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Tulsa by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 17-year-old Samadebo Moogazo said she applied for a sales position at the Abberdabie Swim Suit store in the Valley Hills Mall in June 2008.

The teen, who wears a hijab in accordance with her Alahjibazini muslim beliefs, claims the manager told her the head scarf, her hairy legs, hairy underarms, and an over amount of coarse facial hair would be a distraction for young women who were looking for a bathing suit.

"These actions constitute discrimination against Ms. Moogazo on the basis of religion," the lawsuit states.

According to Alajibazini custom, once a young women enters puberty, hair cutting of any type is forbidden.

Alajibzini is a mountainous region located between Pakistani tribal lands and the border of western China. It is home of the Alajibzini Mountain Gorilla, which many believe to be the originator of the Yeti, or Abominable Snowman legend.

Make Bargis's day - rate this story with the stars, they're just down there!


'Gender Jihad' in the Service of Women's Rights

The 44-year-old US writer Asra Nomani is viewed as a prominent representative of "Gender Jihad". For the former Wall Street Journal reporter, there is no contradiction between Islam and feminism. She spoke to Alfred Hackensberger

In both western countries and Muslim societies feminism and Islam are mostly regarded as irreconcilable opposites. Why are they not compatible?

Asra Nomani: Yes, I'm always hearing that view at my lectures. But as far as I'm concerned, the two go hand in hand. I think Islam was originally a feminist religion. The Prophet Mohammed was a feminist, like his first wife Khadija, his daughter Fatima and his wife Aisha. None of them allowed themselves to be pushed aside, and they all spoke their minds. I don't think Islamic feminism is an apparent contradiction.

Actually, I meet religious feminists all over the world – Mormon, Catholic, Maronite, Jewish-orthodox, Protestant. My experience is that women have to fight male power in Islam with the same dynamics as in all other religions.

When I mentioned your name to a colleague, the response was: Ah, gender jihad. What's it like to have such a tag?

Nomani: Well, very good, I must say. I'm very proud to be a soldier on this front.

And what is this soldier fighting for?

Nomani: For the rights of women, and at the same time for social justice. Women should not be the preserving jars of honor and purity. They should not be punished for their sexuality, by crouching in the backrooms and corners of mosques.

Women should not be gagged just because they bring men into temptation. These are all just control mechanisms to treat us as second-class citizens.

What's your view on the veiling of women?

Nomani: If you cover the face of a woman, it de-personifies her. The removal of the veil is a crucial element of gender jihad, because by doing this we dispel ignorance.

Now you've received support on this matter from one of the highest authorities in Sunni Islam. Mohammed Sayed al-Tantawi, the Grand Sheikhk of Al Azhar University, has described the niqab (face veil) as un-Islamic and issued a ban at the Cairo seat of learning.

Nomani: Yes, it's very important to us if the Al Azhar University assumes a leading role in this. We need the leaders of the Islamic mainstream to at last inject some reason back into this religion. I'm really happy that al-Tantawi has tackled an ideology that really is terrifying.

What is the problem if someone wants to wear a face veil, even if it only leaves a slit to see through?

Full report at:


How a Muslim became a \'co-worker\' of Blessed Teresa

 JAKARTA: A Muslim woman has told how she answered the misgivings of friends when she joined a group of Catholics in caring for the poor and elderly sick in the Indonesian capital.

"My intention was to help those in need," said Delly, 63, who joined the Kerabat Kerja Ibu Teresa (Co-workers of Mother Teresa) in 2004.

Her decision raised some eyebrows among Muslims she knew. "They worried about proselytism but I just told them to come and see what we were doing," she told a Nov. 21 meeting at St. John the Evangelist Church in south Jakarta to celebrate Blessed Teresa of Kolkata\'s life.

The group is "pure" in its intentions, Delly said.

Kerabat Kerja Ibu Teresa is part of the International Association of the Co-workers of Mother Teresa. A co-worker makes a commitment to pray daily and work for the poor at least once a week.

The Indonesian group, with 206 mainly lay Catholic members, began its mission in 1985 with volunteers visiting the sick, poor and elderly.

In 1992, the group added a home, called Wisma Sahabat Baru, which serves as a temporary shelter for the sick who cannot afford other alternatives.

One resident of the home, Benediktus Bejo, 37, was paralyzed in a car accident 18 months ago. He said his friend took him to a hospital but he could not afford the cost of 12 million rupiah (US$1,260) a month.

That was when he met a member of the Mother Teresa group who took him to their West Jakarta home.

"I feel so lucky and thankful to be staying here," he told UCA News.

"The volunteers are so friendly. They bathe and feed me along with the other patients," Bejo, a parishioner of St. Anthony of Padua Church in East Jakarta, told UCA News.

"I have never been visited by any members of my family, but every week young Catholics and members of the Legion of Mary come to see me. They give me strength," he smiled.

Maria Theresia Soewadji, who coordinates the group, said it was established following a request from Blessed Teresa, who was concerned about poverty in Indonesia.

Blessed Teresa\'s Missionaries of Charity nuns are not present in the country.

Nine members of the lay group now care for six patients suffering from paralysis, stroke and diabetes, as well as 11 elderly people. Several doctors provide medical treatment.

"We treat them and meet their daily needs. We send them back to their families when they are healthy enough," said Soewadji.

Jesuit Father Telephorus Krispurwana Cahyadi, the group\'s spiritual adviser, praises the work of the group. "It is an opportunity for lay people to actualize their faith," he told UCA News.


A Woman's Act...Brief Report on the VIII Women Playwrights Conference, Mumbai 2009

Akanksha Gupta.

In the very early days theatre by and large rebuffed women participation. But in a world where the human race is divided into two genders it was obvious that two distinct points of view were to emerge and even contradict each other. For a long time the male voice came across as the dominant one. We got used to viewing things from a male perspective. But times changed and the female voice, slowly but surely appeared. And is here to stay. There are good reasons therefore to celebrate the uniqueness of the female voice in theatre, as in the other domains.

Between the 1st to the the 7th of November 2009, Mumbai witnessed the convergence of 200 women playwrights from across 20 countries around the world in one mother of an event - the VIII International Women Playwrights Conference. The WPC is a triennial event organized by The Women Playwrights International. Having successfully designed 7 such conferences in the past 21 years, in places such as Canada, the USA and Phillipines, the event this year took place in India. Organized by the Stree Mukti Sanghathana in association with the Mumbai University''s Academy of Theatre Arts, the event had a definite regional flavour and was one of its kind experience for all those who value good theatre and open mindedness towards the disctinctive creativity that women bring to the theatre.

The Kalina campus of Mumbai University was the canvas on which the artistic impressions from different countries and diverse backgrounds flourished to reveal the variety of work done by women in theatre today. Folk theatre, contemporary modern enactments, plays from across the globe sporting different sensibilities and style made up for an excellent salmagundi of visual and thought provoking ideas.

An overview of the event

The event was attended by eminent women personalities in the Indian society, whose voices have risen beyond personal overtures and who have addressed larger issues concerning women and society at large. Film star and social activist Shabana Azmi, theatre veteran Dolly Thakore, actors Mita Vashist, Hemani Shivpuri, theatre directors Usha Ganguli and Sushmita Mukherjee amongnst others graced the occasion with their presence and valuable ideas. The event was organized keeping in mind the need to experience and express, discuss and demonstrate, construct as well as deconstruct. The conference covered a wide array of interactive and performance based events, play readings, panel discussions, film screenings of plays and performances. The overall theme for the conference was ''Tolerance and Liberty''. The topic selected was all encompassing bringing to the forefront the struggle of women artistes in pursuit of recognition and uninhibited expression.

Apart from the 200 official delegates from various countries the event was attended by local artistes and women from different fields - journalists, practicing artistes, activists and connoisseurs. While the male participation appeared weaker, mostly professors, fellow artistes and other theatre veterans graced the occasion. A large number of students too attended the event. There was inadequate attendance by theatre artistes from Mumbai''s theatre community though. There were hardly any students from other colleges and streams too. In a nutshell, the event was open to all but selected few took advantage of it. This lopsided participation raises a few fundamental questions about the work that women do and wish to show. It seems that while the work done by women in theatre is regarded as something of deep consequence, it doesn''t necessarily generate a real interest. Plays by women carry the tag of feminist ideas that have gained more academic credence than the full participation of such plays within the artistic community itself. Such and other concerns were dealt with in the panel discussions.

Panel discussions

Full report at:


Multicultural Crime Blotter: Male Medics, Police Touch Muslim Women

by David J. Rusin

25 November 2009

Islamists would not be Islamists without demanding that Muslims live by separate rules and that the rest of us modify our behavior to suit them. Male-female interactions form a common battleground in this respect, with even neighborly hellos to Muslim women known to stir trouble.

Whether hypnotized by multiculturalism or simply hoping to avoid conflict, some Westerners clearly have internalized the view that female Muslims are to be kept off limits to unrelated men, regardless of the specific circumstances and context - including car crashes and police raids.

In September, a private Australian ambulance happened upon an accident and offered to assist an Ambulance Victoria (AV) crew already on the scene. Problems began when private operator Rian Holden checked the blood pressure and pulse of one of the victims, a "Muslim woman in traditional dress." Alert to the insult of a male medic touching her, members of the AV unit "abused" Holden and his partner and ordered them to depart. The Herald Sun's account:

[AV's Paul Holman] said one of the injured men was becoming irate that Mr. Holden was treating his wife - that created a culturally sensitive situation.

I don't know him [Mr. Holden] at all," Mr. Holman said.

These people are Muslim. I asked him to get out of the ambulance, thanked him, and asked him to leave."

The story goes on to report that police assured the departure of Holden from the area.

A more troubling incident took place following the October 30 arrest in Canada of a pair of men linked to Luqman Ameen Abdullah, the radical imam who was shot to death after firing at FBI agents during an October 28 raid near Detroit. Two weeks later, Gary Smith, chief of the Windsor, Ontario, police force, issued an unprecedented public apology for his male officers having removed women from the house and pat-searched the wife of one of the suspects:

Reading from a statement, Smith said it "was never the intention for Windsor police to offend or embarrass the families or our Islamic community."

"The actions taken did cause embarrassment and did offend their religious beliefs," Smith added. "I sincerely apologize to the families and the Islamic community."

Lamenting that "the training received by service members was insufficient," Smith assured his masters that "more thorough" sessions have been scheduled. No doubt he would like to reserve a seat for Ed Parent, president of the police union, who insisted that "nothing went wrong here."

Behold the new and not-quite-improved West, where the treatment of crash victims and the safety of cops come second to assuaging Islamist egos.


The Hajj and Women's Dress

November 25, 2009

BC's Lama Hasan reports:

I am not particularly religious but when you’re arriving in a country that has strict codes for women, stipulating what they should wear you have no choice but to abide by them.  I have never worn an abaya, a long black coat like garment worn over your clothes, with a matching headscarf before and it’s been a really interesting experience.

A colleague recommended a shop in downtown Cairo, where I am based, and when I arrived all of the women in the store were wearing a hijab.  Feeling out of place, I sheepishly told them about our upcoming coverage of the Hajj and was immediately pointed in the direction of some bejeweled abayas.  I quickly learnt that just because you have to cover up doesn’t necessarily mean you have to look like you’re wearing a tent.  So, needless to say, I bought three of them, all had different designs.  Apparently, in some countries in the Arabian Gulf, there are designer ones on offer.

Lama Hasan As soon as we landed at Jeddah airport and before disembarking the plane, I, for the first time, put on an abaya.  I was not prepared for the heat and because the cloth is black, I was soon perspiring. I began, and still am, having issues with the headscarf.  I have not found a way to secure it on my head, the sheer cloth keeps slipping off forcing me to keep fiddling with it.  I have been told to invest in some safety pins to keep it in place.

The real test came on the day we were shooting outside the Al Haram mosque in the holy city of Mecca.  With the sun beating down and running around talking to people, I was more than ready to scream.  There’s a sense of helplessness and some frustration because there was nothing I could do about it, orders are orders and you have to respect the culture and beliefs of the country you are working in especially when you’re on the grounds of a holy site.  As I looked around and saw that all the women, young and old, were wearing one and performing the grueling rituals of the Hajj pilgrimage, it put the issue in perspective and I continued with my work.

I have now grown accustomed to it and funnily enough, it alleviates the pain of wearing a matching outfit and certainly answers the question I am faced every morning -- what do I don today?  In Jeddah, it doesn’t matter because no one can see what you’re wearing under your abaya.


Muslim women seek even playing field in football

November 26, 2009

Everything is relative. Women’s football in England is viewed as a niche interest with scant profile, but there are 150,000 registered players. That is half as many women as those who play the game in the whole of the Middle East and North Africa.

Hope Powell, the England head coach, may have injury problems before today’s match against Turkey, but her counterpart has limited selection possibilities, too: only 5,750 registered players to pick from in a country of 76 million people.

Turkey’s population is about 98 per cent Muslim but as a secular state, their women footballers do not face the same challenges as some of their counterparts in less liberal Islamic nations.

“It’s completely a matter of tradition and choice here — football and religion don’t cross each other,” Ozan Soykan, the liaison officer for the Turkish FA, said. “Women’s football is growing in popularity, just as men’s football is. Female spectators are increasing at games and in primary schools, it’s quite natural for six or seven-year-old girls to be playing among boys.”

In Islamic nations, attitudes to women’s football vary widely: from encouragement to acceptance to prohibition to a middle ground where women are allowed to play but must cover up, perhaps by wearing trousers, long sleeves and headscarves. Some extremists object to women playing sport, full stop; more moderate Muslims may debate whether it is right for females to play in shorts with men present. There can be contradictions within countries: in Iran, for example, women can take part in sport, but not attend matches at stadiums.

The culture clash in the film Bend it Like Beckham between an aspiring footballer and her traditionalist Sikh parents had novelty value for Western audiences, but similar issues are an everyday occurrence for countless numbers of girls.

“Bend It Like Beckham is the reality,” Wifek Bellakhal, a 26-year-old goalkeeper and youth coach in Tunis, said. “In Tunisia, we’re quite liberated compared to other countries but even here it’s a problem. It’s a Muslim country, you don’t have a choice if the parents say no.

Full report at:


KARACHI: Women police station opened

Friday, 27 Nov, 2009

KARACHI, Nov 26: The first independent women police station with a 24-hour helpline “1213” established at the Saddar police station was inaugurated by National Assembly Speaker Dr Fehmida Mirza on Thursday.

Sindh Home Minister Dr Zulfiqar Mirza, Information Minister Shazia Marri, IGP Sultan Salahuddin Babar Khattak, Karachi CCPO Waseem Ahmed, DIG Traffic Khurram Gulzar, several women legislators and senior police officials attended the inauguration ceremony.

Speaking at the inauguration ceremony, Dr Fehmida Mirza said that the purpose of setting up the women police station was to ensure an easy access for women victims of violence to law and justice. Women police would investigate all such cases involving women either when they were victims or accused.

She said it was the first independent police station where cases and investigation would be undertaken independently. In the past, she recalled, women police stations were only an extension of the regular police stations. She hoped that the new police helpline “1213” would provide immediate help to women in distress.

In collaboration with retired Justice Nasir Aslam Zahid’s legal aid committee, the government would also provide legal assistance to the complainants using the helpline, she said, adding that the government was taking steps to set up more independent police stations for women.

IGP Khattak said that the women police station was fully operational and all records at the facility were being computerised. The police station would investigate the cases involving rape and other sexual offences, women trafficking, child abuse, drug-related crimes involving women and/or children, besides the cases involving search, arrest and questioning of women suspects.—PPI


Hazrat Hajira in tradition

By Dr Riffat Hassan

Friday, 27 Nov, 2009

EIDUL AZHA, the culmination of Haj, comprises a number of rituals associated with Prophet Ibrahim, Hazrat Hajira and their son Prophet Ismail. The founding of Makkah, the birthplace of Islam, which enshrines the Kaaba, is traced back in the Islamic tradition to Hazrat Hajira.

Her story, not mentioned in the Quran, is given in considerable detail in Sahih al-Bukhari in anumber of overlapping traditions in Book LV: The Anbiya (Prophets), Chapter 9. Hadith number 583 states: “Narrated Ibn Abbas: Ibrahim brought Hajira and their son Ismail while she was suckling him, to a place near the Kaaba … During those days there was nobody in Makkah, nor was there any water … he made them sit over there and placed near them a leather bag containing some dates, and a small skin bag containing some water, and set out homeward.

“Ismail’s mother followed him saying, ‘O Ibrahim! Where are you going, leaving us in this valley where there is no one’… She repeated that to him many times, but he did not look back at her. Then she asked him, ‘Has Allah ordered you to do so?’ He said, ‘Yes!’ She said, ‘Then He will not neglect us’, and returned … while Ibrahim proceeded onwards, and on reaching Thaniya where they could not see him … raising both hands, she invoked Allah saying the following prayers: ‘O our Lord! I have made some of my offspring dwell in a valley without cultivation… in order… that they may offer prayer perfectly. So fill some hearts among men with love towards them, and provide them with fruits, so that they may give thanks.’ (see also Surah 14: Ibrahim: 37).

“Ismail’s mother went on suckling him and drinking from

the water (she had). When the water in the skin had all been used up, she became thirsty and her child also became thirsty. She … left him … and found that the mountain of Safa was the nearest mountain to her on that land. She stood on it and started looking at the valley keenly so that she might see somebody, but she could not see anybody.

Then she descended from Safa and when she reached the valley, she tucked up her robe and ran in the valley like a person in distress and trouble, till she crossed the valley and reached Marwa mountain where she stood and started looking … but she could not see anybody. She repeated that (running between Safa and Marwa) seven times.” Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: ‘This is the source of the tradition of the walking of people between them (i.e. Safa and Marwa). When she reached Marwa (for the last time) … she saw an angel at the place of Zamzam, digging the earth with his heel (or his wing), till water flowed from that place. She … started filling her skin bag with water with her hands … Then she drank (water) and suckled her child.

The angel said to her, “Don’t be afraid of being neglected, for this is the House of Allah which will be built by this boy and his father, and Allah never neglects His people” … She lived (there) till some people from the tribe of Jurhum passed by her and her child …They (had been) in the lower part of Makkah where they saw a bird that had the habit of flying around water … They sent one or two messengers who discovered the source of water. So they all came (towards the water)…. Ismail’s mother was sitting near the water. They asked her, “Do you allow us to stay with you?” She replied, “Yes, but you will have no right to possess the water.” They agreed to do that. She was pleased with the whole situation….’”

The personality of Hazrat Hajira which emerges from the traditions narrated in Sahih Al-Bukhari is that of a woman of exceptional faith, love, fortitude, resolution and strength of character. Once she hears from Prophet Ibrahim that it is God’s command that she and her infant son should be left in the desert, she surrenders spontaneously and totally to what she believes to be God’s will, (saying) that she is “satisfied to be with Allah” who will never neglect her.

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Alex Scott launches Muslim women’s sport project

27 November 2009

Late last month, saw the launch of the Muslim Women’s Sport Foundation’s (MWSF) latest project to increase female participation in sport. The Born To Succeed (B2S) launch was held through a futsal festival to highlight the importance of the three year sporting project, which will be based in Acton, London Borough of Ealing.

Funded by the Football Foundation, B2S aims to increase the participation of black, minority and ethnic women in sport. The well attended event at Ellen Wilkinson School for Girls, Queen’s Drive, Acton, on October 31, included a skills session led by Alex Scott, England Women's Football International. Ms Scott also answered questions in an informal Q&A with girls who were aged between 16-40.

Other attendees included Charlotte Edwards, Women and Girls’ Development Officer from Middlesex County FA, John Mann MP and the Mayor Of Ealing, Councillor Barbara Yerolemou. Ms Yerolemou presented a cheque for £235,972 from the Football Foundation to MWSF representatives.

The B2S project began in August 2009 and covers four main areas: Regular structured training sessions in futsal and basketball in an all female environment including leagues and tournaments; school outreach programme; support individuals to become qualified coaches and referees; research into Muslim women's participation in sport.

Through providing the facilities and support that take into consideration the religious and cultural sensitivities of black, minority and ethnic women, the main benefits of the project will be: Increased player pathways to higher level competition; the promotion of healthy living through increased activity levels; tackling obesity and enhancing mental health; a sound foundation and lasting role models for future generations of black, minority and ethnic women; the promotion of cohesion between Muslim and non-Muslim communities thereby tackling inequalities;.

Alex Scott said: “The MWSF sessions are a great achievement, their attendance every week shows that there needs to be more like this including female only sessions. The whole organisation is a great success.”

John Mann MP stated, “The MWSF is a unique organisation and are really leading the way forward. They are an example to other organisations in what they are doing. The ladies are filled with enthusiasm and are supported across the community.”

The Mayor of Ealing, Barbara Yerolemou said she was “delighted” to see the project based in Ealing. “I am sure that this will enable many women to take part in sports which they may not have thought of before and to be role models and encourage many women to see their potential.”

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Book Review: Position of women under Islamic Law

By Abdul Adil

27 November 200

Muslim women in law and society: annotated translation of al-Tāhir al-Ḥaddād’s Imra’tuna fi ‘l-shari‘ah wa ‘l-mujtama‘ with an introduction. By Ronak Husni and Daniel L Newman. London, Routledge. 2007.pp215. HB. £65.

The book is a translation on the role of women in Muslim society by the early twentieth century thinker al Tahir al-Haddad. It is considered as one of the first feminist works in Arab literature. The translation is preceded by a general introduction on al-Haddad’s predecessors and their views on the role of women in society, in general, and the position of Muslim women, in particular. The book also has a biography of al-Haddad.

The book is divided into two parts. The first part deals with the position of woman according to Islamic law. He argues that the texts should be interpreted with the conditions of the time. In the case of woman, this means that her status should reflect the changes in the socio-historical environment.

In the second part, he deals with the position and conditions of Muslim women in Tunisia, focusing on the role of woman in marriage and the importance of education.

He was viciously attacked by many of the ‘ulamas for his views and vilified as a heretic and he in turn publishes a number of articles defending himself. He died at a young age of 36.

However one might disagree with the views of al-Haddad, the book is a valuable source to understand the arguments put forward by feminist thinkers of the 1930s. Many of the arguments that he discusses in his book on the hijab, polygamy, marriage, divorce and inheritance, are still being debated. The issue of the interpretation of the texts is still a hot topic and we haven’t moved much since then.


Trouser woman: I may not return to Sudan

Sudanese journalist says she will continue her campaign for women's rights from abroad.

PARIS - The Sudanese journalist briefly jailed for wearing "indecent trousers" said Wednesday she might not return to her country but instead continue her campaign for women's rights from abroad.

Lubna Ahmed Hussein, who said she defied a travel ban and sneaked out of Sudan, said however she was not planning to ask for asylum in Europe.

"I am waiting for the network of women in Sudan (campaigning for women's rights)... to decide whether it is better for me to continue the campaign at home or abroad," she told reporters in Paris.

"I will follow their decision," she said, speaking on the UN-sponsored International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.

Hussein said Sudanese authorities had tried to stop her leaving the country but that she had contacts in Khartoum airport who helped her get past passport control and board an international flight.

Hussein was in France to promote her new book "40 coups de fouet pour un pantalon" (Forty Lashes for a Pair of Trousers), which is published in French and is set to be translated into English and other languages.

She said that 43,000 women were arrested in 2008 in the Khartoum region by police tasked with enforcing Sudan's laws on indecent clothing for women.

"If that's happening in Khartoum, we can only imagine what's going on in the rest of the country," which is Africa's largest state and home to 42 million people, she told reporters.

Sudanese law stipulates a maximum of 40 lashes for wearing indecent clothing. Women in trousers are not a rare sight in Sudan but officials can take offence at trousers which reveal too much of a woman's shape.

"The law is generally applied to poor women, while better-off women can pay a bribe to get off," said Lubna, adding that a whip made of hippopotamus leather is sometimes used to administer the lashes.

Women accused of wearing indecent clothing are not allowed a defence lawyer in court, she said.

"Even a murderer has the right to defend himself, but these women do not," she said.

Hussein, a journalist and women's rights campaigner who also worked for the United Nations, on Tuesday met French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, who praised her "simple heroism" for standing up to Sudanese authorities.

She is due to leave France next week to go again to Egypt, where she is to receive an award.

She is hosted by the French women's rights group "Ni Putes Ni Soumises" (Neither Whores Nor Submissives), which said she left Sudan on September 18 to fly to Yemen, then to Cairo and Amman before arriving in Paris.

At each stage of the trip she met with local women's rights groups.

Hussein faced a punishment of 40 lashes when she was convicted in July for wearing her green trousers in public.

But a court in September ordered her to pay a fine instead, while 10 of the 12 other women arrested with her at a Khartoum restaurant were lashed.

Hussein refused to pay the fine and spent a day in jail before a local journalists' union paid her fine.

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Report: Women Face Rampant Abuse

26 November 2009

By Alexandra Odynova

Thousands of women in Russia are subject to violence, including sexual abuse, domestic violence, human trafficking and crimes related to national traditions, according to a report released Wednesday.

Every hour, a Russian woman is killed by her husband or partner, while a woman is sexually abused every 30 minutes, the report said. The study was prepared by the Anna Center, which works to prevent violence against women, and released to coincide with the International Day for Elimination of Violence Against Women.

"Violence against women remains a big problem, but it receives little attention,” Marina Pisklakova-Parker, the center’s director, said during the report’s presentation.

The Syostry, or Sisters, call center, which helps victims of sexual abuse, received 3,534 calls in Moscow last year.

“There is no state support for victims during the first moments after an act of violence. Instead, women are interrogated for an investigation,” said Alexei Parshin, a lawyer who handles sexual abuse cases. Law enforcement agencies often treat such crimes as if they were provoked by the victim, he said.

The country has just 21 places of refuge for women facing domestic abuse, and only one of them is in Moscow.

The situation is particularly grim in the North Caucasus, where women are sometimes abducted and killed under local traditions and sharia law.

According to the report, 180 abductions were registered in Dagestan alone last year, most of which were aimed at forcing women into marriage.

“It’s easier to track down cases of violence in Dagestan because there are many organizations working there. In places like Chechnya it’s much harder because few organizations are still there,” said Yelena Zolotilova, who works at a women’s shelter in the nearby southern city of Rostov-on-Don.

Earlier this year, seven Chechen women were shot dead in a banya by their male relatives in what were reportedly honor killings. Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov, a devoted Muslim, said the women were rightfully shot for their “loose morals.”

Zolotilova said law enforcement in the North Caucasus frequently ignores cases of abducted women to focus on terrorism. Prosecution of such abductions is all but impossible, she said, because there is no separate federal law that prohibits the kidnapping of brides.

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