New Age Islam
Sat Feb 24 2024, 06:40 PM

Islam, Women and Feminism ( 5 Sept 2014, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Comment | Comment

Hindutva Activists in India Warn Women to Beware of 'Love Jihad': Conservatives Claim Conspiracy to Convert Women to Islam; Critics Say the Idea is Nonsense

New Age Islam News Bureau

5 Sept 2014

Hindu activist Chetna Sharma tells young women in Aurangabad, India, that Muslim men are out to seduce them and convert them to Islam. Junho Kim for The Wall Street Journal


 Video Showing Iranian Woman Dancing, Removing Hijab Goes Viral: Report

 One In 10 Girls Sexually Abused Worldwide: UN Report

 Chadar Orh Tehreek:  Jamaat Islami’s Day out to Veil Women

 IS Jihadists Petrified Of Dying At Hands of Female PKK Fighters

 Turkish Woman Victim of Islamophobic Attack In Austria

 Yazidi Girl Tells Of Escape from ISIS Kidnappers

 Leader of movement to free abducted girls: Nigeria must be pressured to rescue them

 Editor of Iran's Women Magazine On Trial For Promoting Un-Islamic Views

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau





Hindu Activists in India Warn Women to Beware of 'Love Jihad'

Conservatives Claim Conspiracy to Convert Women to Islam; Critics Say the Idea is Nonsense

05 Sep, 2014

AURANGABAD, India—Conservative Hindu activist Chetna Sharma looked sternly at her audience of more than 40 young Hindu women gathered in the living room of a rural home and issued a warning: Muslim men would try to trick them into marriage and force them to convert to Islam.

Given a chance, Muslim men would force a woman "to have two or three children and then leave her, or rape her, or throw acid on her if she resists, or murder her," she said. "You can't even imagine what can happen if you don't protect yourself from love jihad."

Right-wing Hindu organizations and politicians have mounted a high-profile drive against "love jihad," which they paint as a dark, international conspiracy aimed at eroding Hindus' demographic dominance in India by brainwashing Hindu women.

Authorities say they haven't found any proof of an Islamist conspiracy to convert or abuse Hindu women. Critics of the Hindu right dismiss the whole thing as nonsense. And Muslim leaders decry it as a campaign of hate.

But activists from a network of Hindu groups with close, if informal, ties to India's governing Bharatiya Janata Party are traveling from village to village in the country's most populous state, Uttar Pradesh, spreading the word—with some prominent BJP lawmakers speaking out in support.

The campaign comes amid a broader increase in religiously charged public discourse in India since national elections catapulted Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his BJP to power in May.

Both Mr. Modi and the BJP have deep roots in Hindu nationalism. Since coming to power, the Indian leader's agenda has focused on economic development. But some BJP figures and leaders of conservative Hindu groups have become increasingly vocal in proclaiming that India is a Hindu nation.

"A majoritarian Hinduism got elected and that is having rather subtle but threatening consequences," said Shiv Viswanathan, a Jindal Global University sociologist and critic of Mr. Modi's government.

In the north Indian state Uttar Pradesh, the message being spread by Ms. Sharma and her fellow activists from Durga Vahini, a Hindu women's organization named after a warrior goddess, isn't at all subtle.

Muslims, Ms. Sharma told the women in Aurangabad, target Hindu women as part of a plot to expand the Muslim population. India is about 81% Hindu and 13% Muslim.

"When one Hindu girl leaves to be with a Muslim, four or five new members will be added to that community" when she has children, Ms. Sharma said. Women are often tortured by Muslim husbands, she added.

To be safe, Ms. Sharma counseled, women should avoid contact with Muslims and tell their families not to befriend Muslim men or allow them into their homes.

Panchjanya, a right-wing magazine which says it is inspired by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, India's most important conservative Hindu group and one with close ties to the BJP, says in the cover story of its latest edition that Muslim men are being trained by militant Islamist groups based in Pakistan and India to convert Hindu women to Islam.

The cover, which depicts a bearded man wearing a traditional Arab scarf and dark glasses emblazoned with red hearts, asks: Is love blind or a business?

Many in the BJP are endorsing the message of Ms. Sharma and other campaigners. Laxmikant Bajpai, the party's state president in Uttar Pradesh, said love jihad "is a big social problem and we need to tell our women to be alert."

After pointing to violence in Iraq and elsewhere, BJP lawmaker Yogi Adityanath, the BJP legislator, said in a nationally televised interview that Muslims "can't do what they want by force in India, so they are using the love jihad method here."

Opponents of the BJP accuse the party of pursuing a two track strategy, with Mr. Modi and others taking the high road and focusing on the economy and development, while others, like Mr. Adityanath, fan communal flames.

Zafar ul Islam Khan, president of the All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat, an association of Muslim organizations in India, said the campaign was "a weapon for hate-mongering" by Hindu groups who were putting a spin on interreligious marriages to "malign one community."

"A hate campaign has spread after the elections because these people now have the support of the central government," Mr. Khan said. "It would stop if Modi sent a strong message to his party and these groups—but he has decided to keep mum."

Sambit Patra, a spokesman for the BJP, said his party wants to combat fraud or force in marriages regardless of the religions of those involved. BJP leaders in Uttar Pradesh were discussing love jihad in response to "fears that might have crept into the minds of the people," Mr. Patra said. "If there are suspicions about an issue, in a democracy there is no harm in discussing them."

Uttar Pradesh is India's largest state and one of its poorest, where Hindus and a relatively large Muslim minority live side-by-side. In parts of the state, road accidents and other small incidents can quickly spiral into communal clashes.

Charu Gupta, a University of Delhi historian said the current battle against "love jihad" is similar to a Hindu campaign in Uttar Pradesh in the 1920s and early 1930s that accused Muslims of abducting and converting Hindu women.

In more recent decades, about 400 low-caste Hindu families in a village in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu raised national anxieties when they converted to Islam en masse in 1981, saying they felt ill-treated by upper-caste Hindus. And over the years, many of India's most downtrodden have abandoned Hinduism for Christianity over similar complaints of poor treatment, much to the dismay of Hindu nationalist groups.

An echo of that concern can be heard in today's campaigns.

In Aurangabad, Ms. Sharma asked the women gathered to listen to her whether they ever visited the burial sites of local Muslim saints, known as Pirs. Half a dozen sheepishly raised their hands.

Ms. Sharma chided them, asking if the millions of Hindu Gods weren't enough that they felt the need to worship Muslim saints. She made them promise they wouldn't go ever again, saying these places were "hot spots" for love jihad.



Video Showing Iranian Woman Dancing, Removing Hijab Goes Viral: Report

05 Sep, 2014

(ANI): A video that is believed to have been shot in Iran and shows a Muslim woman dancing on top of a car and discarding her Hijab has reportedly gone viral on the internet and is the latest example of women defying the strict laws imposed by the Islamist regime in the nation, a report said.

The video starts off with a woman dressed in Hijab, a long black top and jeans. As she dances on top of a car, she removes her veil and is cheered by a crowd of spectators, reported Fox News.

The Islamic Republic of Iran enforces a strict dress code that requires women to cover their heads and wear long-sleeved tops that cover their hips and waist.

The popularity of the video showed that many Iranians are celebrating the woman's audacity despite the regulations imposed by the government, the report said.

However, the woman may face punishment from either the government or private enforcers of Sharia.

Ever since the Shah of Iran was ousted in 1979, the Islamic government in Iran has banned popular music, co-ed dancing and Western styles of dress.



One in 10 girls sexually abused worldwide: UN report

05 Sep, 2014

Around 120 million girls around the world, close to one in 10, have been raped or sexually assaulted by the time they turn 20, a new UN report has found.

In a global study of violence against children, the child welfare agency UNICEF reveals that one fifth of all murder victims are children and adolescents under age 20.

Homicide is the leading cause of death among boys and young men aged 10 to 19 in Latin American countries including Venezuela, Colombia, Panama and Brazil.

UNICEF says the study entitled "Hidden in Plain Sight" is the largest-ever study of violence against children, drawing on data from 190 countries.

"These are uncomfortable facts -- no government or parent will want to see them," said UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake.

"But unless we confront the reality each infuriating statistic represents -- the life of a child whose right to a safe, protected childhood has been violated -- we will never change the mind-set that violence against children is normal and permissible. It is neither."       

Other abuses include bullying, which regularly affected more than one in three schoolchildren aged 13 to 15 worldwide.

And as for violent discipline, the study found that about 17 percent of youngsters in 58 countries were subject to severe forms of physical punishment, including being hit on the head, ears or face or being hit hard and repeatedly.

The UN report also tackles the mindsets it says perpetuate and justify such violence.

It recommended six strategies for preventing violence against children. They include "supporting parents and equipping children with life skills; changing attitudes; strengthening judicial, criminal and social systems and services; and generating evidence and awareness about violence and its human and socio-economic costs, in order to change attitudes and norms."



Chadar Orh Tehreek:  Jamaat Islami’s Day out to Veil Women

September 05, 2014

LAHORE/KARACHI - Like other parts of world, Hijab Day was organised on Thursday in Pakistan. The importance of Hijab (veil) was highlighted in major cities of the country.

In Lahore, a sitting was organised by Nazria-i-Pakistan Trust at Al-Hamra Hall, notable speakers have stated that Hijab puts no restriction on the socio-political and economic activities of women.

“Chadar Orh Tehreek has become need of the hour that can bring a fruitful revolution in the lives of the Muslim women,” they highlighted.

Those who addressed include NPT Chairman and former president Rafique Tarrar, founder of the Tehrik Pir Syed Kabir Ali Shah, Justice (r) Aftab Farrukh, NPT Secretary Shahid Rasheed, Editor Nai Baat Prof Ata ur Rehman, Editor Daily Din Mian Habibullah, Brig (r) Javed Iqbal, Prof Dr Parveen Khan and others. A good number of people also participated in the conference, organised by Astana Alia Choora Sharif.

Tarrar said that the participation of a large number of women in the conference proved that the movement would materialise its dreams sooner or later. He said that we should focus on the education of girls.

Syed Kabir Ali said that the legislation against the obscenity projected by the media was much needed, adding that the women to wear Hijab to build their present their Islamic image in other societies. He said that noted journalist late Dr Majid Nizami, who participated in last conference, had said that ‘Chadar Orh Tehreek’ became need of the hour.

The other speakers talked about the significance of Hijab in Islam and urged the women to follow the teachings of Islam to glorify their lives. They said that Hijab was not a hurdle in progress rather it provides protection to the women during their routine.

In Karachi, a gathering was organised by Sindh Women and Family Commission at Karachi Press Club (KPC), where Commission president Atiya Nisar stated that Hijab was the prestige and honour of the Muslim women. She added that they should get opportunity and freedom to spend their lives according to the true teachings of Islam.

A large number of women belonging to different walks of life attended the event and recorded their protest against the discriminatory attitude being carried out with the women, who take veil in western countries.

The protestors raised placards and banners inscribed with “veil an honour of women”, “veil an identity of women”, “veil an esteem of Muslim women”.

“The Muslim women are protesting for their legal right, although the champions of human rights and women rights are become the silent spectators over the said issue”, Atiya added.

She also demanded of the human rights and women rights organisations to break their silence and raise their voices for women rights.

JI Karachi Chief Hafiz Naeem said that the western world was talking about the rights of the women, but unfortunately they did not advance in this regard.

He further said that the women were being disgraced in the name of freedom in the western world. However, the Islam has given the real status to women.

Hafiz Naeem further said that the Islam highlighted the rights of women in every aspect and ensured her grace and elegance.



IS Jihadists Petrified Of Dying At Hands of Female PKK Fighters

05 Sep, 2014

The Islamic State fighters are petrified of dying at the hands of women fighting alongside Kurdistan's Peshmerga, as many fear that getting killed by a female would mar their chance to go to heaven.

According to FOX news, the women fighters from the Kurdistan Workers' Party, also known as the PKK, told Stars and Stripes they have an intense interest in killing the bloodthirsty marauders who have beheaded Christians, raped women and sold females into slavery across a treacherous swath of Iraq and Syria.

Zekia Karhan, 26, a female guerrilla from Turkey said the Islamic State militants raped and beheaded women in the name of Islam, adding that the group had captured a lot of women and sold them for 100 dollars in Syria.

Karhan said that the extremists were terrified of being killed by women, as they believe that they won't be admitted to heaven if a woman kills them.

Meanwhile, PKK Commander Tekosher Zagros said that his comrades fighting the Islamic State extremists deserved credit and support from the Iraqi government, which they did not receive as the group was labeled a terrorist organization by the U.S. and



Turkish woman victim of Islamophobic attack in Austria

World Bulletin / News Desk

05 Sep, 2014

A 37-year-old Turkish woman in Austria was attacked on a train in Vienna in what is believed to be an Islamophobic attack, it was reported.

Zeliha Cicek said she believes she was targeted on the Vienna metro just because she was wearing a headscarf, and is the third Muslim to have been attacked in Vienna in the last month, The Local reported.

Cicek, who was talking to her sister on the phone while traveling on the U3 underground train, said she was attacked by a woman to started shouting abuse at her in English.

“I calmly told her she could speak to me in German and suddenly she stood up and slapped me in the face. I dropped my phone and it broke, I was so shocked,” she told Kurier newspaper, adding that the woman also attacked an English man who came to separate them.

About 7% of Austria's population is Muslim, most of whom are Turkish.



Yazidi girl tells of escape from ISIS kidnappers

05 Sep, 2014

When Adeba Shaker arrived at a house in Raabia, Iraq, after being kidnapped by ISIS militants last month, one of her captors received a phone call.

A few moments later all five men in the apartment picked up their guns and stormed out.

Shaker, a 14-year-old girl from the Yazidi ethnic minority, heard trucks leaving the property and then silence.

For the first time in 20 days she and another girl being held with her were alone with no guards, and the door was unlocked.

ISIS militants had trafficked Shaker from her village in the northeast Iraq region of Sinjar to the Syrian border and presented her as a “gift” to fighters on the front line. She was to be converted to Islam and forcibly married to one of them.

“When [the militants] left us I panicked, I didn’t know what to do. I saw a bag full of cell phones and I called my brother,” Shaker told Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone from a camp for internally displaced people in Iraq.

On the phone, her brother Samir told her to go to a nearby house and ask for help and directions to reach the border where fighters from the Kurdistan State Workers Party (PKK) were battling Islamic State militants.

He said the PKK would help her reach safety.

“This was a gamble as I didn’t know who was a friend and who was an enemy,” she said.

Shaker and her companion decided to try their luck. They snuck out of the house and knocked on a neighbor's door.

“We explained the situation to them and they showed us the way to the border.”

“We never looked back”

The two girls set off toward the front lines.

“I couldn’t walk straight, my legs were shaking and my heart was beating so fast. We ran and walked and we never looked back,” Shaker said.

After two hours on the road they heard gunfire. As they got closer, they saw a group of PKK fighters and started running towards them.

“I was crying and laughing at the same time,” she said. “We were free.”

Adeba Shaker is one of the few Yazidis to have escaped the Islamic State militants who have taken over large swathes of Iraq and Syria in recent months.

Tens of thousands of Yazidis fled their ancient homeland of Sinjar and other villages to escape a dramatic push by the Sunni militants, who regard them as devil worshippers who must embrace the Islamic State’s radical version of Islam or die.

In addition to Shaker, militants abducted at least 73 women and children from her village and trafficked them across northern Iraq.

Shaker recalled how the militants separated old women from the rest of the group. Then they took the children.

Young women and girls faced terrifying fates. Some girls were raped by the commander, who had the privilege of taking their virginity, before being passed round among the fighters.

After they had been gang-raped, they were likely to be sold off to the highest bidder.

Women and girls are auctioned for as little as $10, according to numerous reports. Others, like Shaker, were to be married off to militants.

Fear of the unknown

“The most terrifying moment was the first night after they captured us,” she recalled. “We arrived at a police station in another town and everybody was crying and screaming. We didn’t know what was going to happen to us.”

Shaker had been living in a small village with 25 family members. She loved school and wanted to become a teacher. When the family heard that Islamic State fighters were approaching, they fled to a nearby village.

But the fighters reached them shortly afterwards.

“They promised they were not going to hurt us if we surrendered,” Shaker said. “They separated women and kids from men … Then they took all our jewels, money, phones and vehicles.”

Two hours later all the prisoners were loaded onto trucks and moved to an unknown destination.

“At the beginning (they) were trying to be nice to us … They were trying to calm us down.” Shortly afterwards, their attitude changed and they became “abusive and aggressive,” she said.

Eventually, Shaker and her family arrived at the town of Badoosh, near Mosul, where they joined around 1,000 other Yazidi women and children.

She was separated from her mother and the rest of her family and was later sent to the house in Raabia from which she escaped.

Shaker is now safe in a camp for internally displaced people (IDPs) in Iraq, where she was reunited with two of her brothers. She doesn’t yet know the fate of 22 other relatives who are still in the hands of Islamic State.

“Sometimes I can’t sleep at night … I worry so much about them,” she said. “Those hours are the worst … Everyone is asleep and I still think about my escape.”

“I know I was lucky, God saved me.”



Leader of movement to free abducted girls: Nigeria must be pressured to rescue them

05 Sep, 2014

The international community must pressure the Nigerian government to make the rescue of more than 200 kidnapped schoolgirls a priority and confront the country’s Islamic extremist insurgency, a leader of the movement to free the girls said Thursday.

Nigerian women’s rights advocate Saudatu Mahdi said there is a lack of “political will” and an inability of the government’s security and military forces to respond to the Boko Haram militants who captured the girls in April. She cited reports saying the government forces lack the right arms and ammunition and capabilities to confront the insurgents.

Mahdi, one of the leaders of the BringBackOurGirls movement, said 276 girls were abducted, 57 escaped, 219 are in captivity and “zero have been rescued.”

Even after a government fact-finding mission reported that over 200 girls were still missing, “the right pressure to compel action by our government is still not yet yielded,” she said.

“We ask the international community to pressure the Nigerian government and compel the right action to bring back the 219 girls still in custody and confront the insurgency as a real threat to our development and our unity as a nation,” Mahdi said.

She spoke at a news conference at the U.N. to present a report by Watchlist on Children and Armed Conflict, which found grave violations against children in northeastern Nigeria during a six-week research mission between March and May. Watchlist is an international network of human rights and humanitarian organizations established in 2001 to defend the rights of children caught in conflict.

The report recommends steps that the federal and state governments in the north should take to better protect children and ensure that they can go to school safely.

“While the abduction of over 200 girls in Chibok, Borno State, has shed some light on how children are affected by the conflict in the northeast, most abuses are still poorly documented, understood, and addressed by key actors,” said Watchlist researcher Janine Morna.

The report expresses concern at the forced recruitment of children to spy and sometimes to fight by Boko Haram and by the Civilian Joint Task Force, a self-defence militia formed in mid-2013 in Borno’s capital of Maiduguri.

“Children as young as 13 are being recruited by both sides of the conflict and have nowhere to turn,” Morna said. “The government of Nigeria should denounce the recruitment of children by all armed groups, take immediate steps to release child soldiers in their custody, and develop procedures to transfer child soldiers to civilian actors.”

Watchlist also researched attacks on schools – almost all by Boko Haram – and said its media survey found that at least 414 students, teachers or civilians were killed, injured or abducted on school premises between January 2012 and July 2014.

“Continuous attacks on schools have devastated education in the region, creating a climate of fear for students and teachers, and leading to school closures,” Morna said.

Justin van Fleet, chief of staff to U.N. Special Envoy for Global Education Gordon Brown, said Nigeria has the largest number of out-of-school children in the world – 10.5 million – and 60 per cent are in the north. He said there are three boys in school for every girl in the north, which is mainly Muslim.

A Safe Schools Initiative, launched on May 7, aims to help protect schools and students from attack, he said.

© The Canadian Press, 2014



Editor Of Iran's Women Magazine On Trial For Promoting Un-Islamic Views

05 Sep, 2014

One of Iran's top women's magazines is facing charges for the second time.

Iran's Press Court is putting Shahla Sherkat, the editor of Zanan magazine, on trail next week for promoting un-Islamic and "obsolete" views. It is not yet clear what exactly the charges are in reference to.

However, this isn't the first time the magazine has had problems with censorship. In 2008, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad shut down the publication after 16 years, claiming it showed women in a "black light" and was "a threat to the psychological security of the society," according to the New York Times.

While the Iranian government may feel threatened by Sherkat, she has been applauded for her fervent coverage of women's rights.