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Islam, Women and Feminism ( 18 March 2020, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Hundreds of Women in India Brave Virus Threat to Protest Citizenship Law

New Age Islam News Bureau

18 March 2020

Indian women participate in a rally to protest against a new citizenship law in Rupahi hat village, east Gauhati, India, Sunday, Feb. 16, 2020. (AP)


• Arab News Closer To Goal of Gender-Balanced Newsroom

• Egypt Allocates LE242B for Women in 1.5 Years

• Malaysia's Women Eco-Activists Fight On In The Face Of Threats And Prison

• This Malaysian Woman Is Flying High In the Local Aviation Industry

• Afghan Women, Pilgrimages and Their Devoted Beliefs

• British-Iranian Woman Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe Temporarily Released From Tehran Jail

• Met Police Forced To Pay Out Damages to Muslim Woman

• Meet Saudi Arabia's Plus Size Model Ghalia Amin

• ‘Pakistani Women’s Talent Unparalleled’

Compiled By New Age Islam News Bureau




Hundreds of Women in India Brave Virus Threat to Protest Citizenship Law


March 18, 2020

NEW DELHI: Hundreds of women took to the streets in the Indian capital New Delhi on Tuesday, in defiance of the government’s orders against mass gatherings, to continue protesting against the new citizenship law.

 The activists demanded chief ministers from 29 Indian states de-link the census from the National Population Register (NPR) saying: “It would render many woman as stateless, regardless of caste and community, as the majority of them leave their natal homes upon marriage without any documents in tow.”

Humera Sayed, 26, said she was not afraid of the coronavirus outbreak despite the warning issued by the government to avoid public assembly.

“For me coronavirus is less dangerous than the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register for Citizens (NRC) that threaten the very existence of the Muslim community in India,” Sayed, who has been sitting at the protest site in Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh area since mid-December, told Arab News.

“If the government is really concerned about the safety of Muslim citizens, then why did it fail to protect their lives in the recent wave of violence in Delhi that claimed so many?” she added.

Ever since Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led government enacted the CAA in December 2019, protests against the law have been ongoing across the country.  The CAA makes it easier for religious minorities from three neighbouring countries — Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan — to acquire citizenship if they entered India before 2015, but it excludes Muslims. The new citizenship law also has the provision to prepare the NPR, where every Indian would have to give details of his ancestry besides providing personal information.

Activists believe the NPR is the precursor to the proposed NRC, an exercise in identifying the genuine citizens of India. Muslims in India fear that the NPR and NRC would render them stateless if they failed to provide citizenship documents, but that Hindus, for example, would be protected under the CAA.

On Monday, the government issued a warning asking people not to form a gathering of more than 50 people on account of the spread of the virus.

 “Coronavirus does not challenge our existence, you can be cured of coronavirus, but the law that the government has brought in threatens the very existence of the Muslim community in India,” said Zikra Mojibi, a postgraduate student at the protest in Delhi

told Arab News.

 “As a precaution to avoid coronavirus infection, we have asked elderly women to restrict their attendance,” she added. “We are planning to hold protests in groups rather than in a big numbers. But we are not going to back down and withdraw our protest.”

 On Tuesday, twenty women’s groups from different parts of India asked state governments to stop the process of the proposed NPR, set to roll out from April 1, the same day as India will launch its census, which is held every decade.

 “The amended citizenship law clearly says that on the basis of the NPR, there would be an NRC that means many genuine citizens would be rendered stateless, as happened in Assam, where the government prepared the NRC list in 2018,” said Poonam Kaushik of the Progressive Women Association.

 Last year, the northeastern state of Assam prepared an NRC where around 2 million people were left off, the majority of them belonging to the Hindu community. The Hindus were protected under the CAA, but more than 400,000 Muslims were rendered stateless. Many women could not register themselves as citizen because of a lack of valid documents.

 Women’s rights activist and writer Farah Naqvi said: “All women, irrespective of caste and religious community, will be affected by this new NPR-NRC regime that puts our citizenship to the test in a totally arbitrary and frightening manner.”

 On Friday, Indian Home Minister Amit Shah told the country’s parliament: “No document needs to be submitted. You can give whatever information you have and leave the other questions blank.”

 He added: “Nobody would be marked doubtful if documents are not produced.”

 Kaushik, however said: “The country is run by law, not by assurances. Shah’s statement does not carry any meaning until the citizenship law is amended or withdrawn.”



Arab News Closer To Goal of Gender-Balanced Newsroom


March 08, 2020

JEDDAH: Arab News has made great strides in improving the gender balance among staff in its newsrooms, and is getting close to its goal of achieving a 50:50 split by the end of this year.

The Riyadh-based newspaper revealed that in the past year, the proportion of female editorial staff has increased from 35 percent to 46 percent.

This includes employees at its offices in Saudi Arabia, London and Dubai, along with its regular op-ed writers and foreign correspondents. An all-female team was also assembled to provide special coverage of Hajj.

Arab News launched its gender-balance initiative in April 2018 during the inaugural Arab Women Forum at King Abdullah Economic City. The efforts it has employed to achieve its goal include active recruitment, and specialist training and career guidance provided by experienced professionals at the newspaper and from other prestigious news organizations. It has been assisted by the Saudi Research and Marketing Group, the paper’s publisher.

Arab News Editor-in-Chief Faisal J. Abbas said the initiative reflects the wider reforms in Saudi Arabia in recent years, which includes a drive to encourage more women to enter the workforce.

Assembling a diverse newsroom is not simply a box-ticking exercise, he added, it is about providing equal opportunities to all skilled journalists in Saudi Arabia and beyond.

“It is also about serving the community better by doing what we do best: Quality, insightful and inclusive journalism,” Abbas said.



Egypt Allocates LE242B for Women in 1.5 Years

Mar. 17, 2020

CAIRO – 17 March 2020: Egypt directed $242 billion to women’s favor in 1.5 year, from July 2018 to December 2019, according to Minister of Planning Hala el-Saeed.

Saeed affirmed Tuesday that the state's efforts and the serious steps it has made came in the field of women's economic empowerment, whether in the framework of the sustainable development strategy, Egypt's Vision 2030, or in the framework of the national strategy for empowering women 2030.

This came in a report of the Ministry of Planning and Economic Development, which monitors the progress made in achieving the sustainable development goals in relation to the fifth goal of the topic "gender equality" within the framework of the government's work program (18/201 - 21/2022) during the period from July 2018 To December 2019.

She clarified that the efforts aimed to address the factors affecting the economic empowerment of women, develop her capabilities to expand work options for her, increase her participation in the workforce, and achieve equal opportunities in employing women in all sectors, including the private sector and entrepreneurship.

The minister stated that this is in addition to the state’s efforts to implement training and capacity-building programs directed at Egyptian women, as well as efforts to empower women economically by encouraging the small and medium enterprises sector, which is one of the main sectors that accommodate decent and productive work opportunities for women in various Egyptian regions and governorates.



Malaysia's Women Eco-Activists Fight On In The Face Of Threats And Prison

18 Mar 2020

In conjunction with International Women's Day 2020 last week, StarLifestyle spoke to four Malaysian women activists who shared their stories on how and why they're passionate about protecting the environment.

As a child growing up in Penang, Puan Sri Shariffa Sabrina Syed Akil’s playground was the outdoors, where she would spend long hours on the beaches or exploring and trekking Penang Hill.

“I have always been into nature. As a little girl, all my activities were outdoors.

“I loved soaking up every inch of nature. But as time passed, I noticed that many of our natural resources were deteriorating.

“There were no clean rivers and trees were being replaced with buildings, ” she says at a recent interview.

So in 2010, Shariffa founded the Pertubuhan Pelindung Khazanah Alam Malaysia (Peka) to be a force for the protection and conservation of the natural environment.

Since then, Peka has been at the forefront of many issues and Shariffa, 58, is known for speaking out on deforestation, logging and the destruction of natural resources. She has even crossed swords with some powerful politicians, it seems.

Besides verbal threats and challenges, being belittled by others is a regular occurrence for Shariffa.

“Being an activist for any cause comes with a price.

“However, the most life-changing experience I had was when I was thrown into a lockup a few years ago in Johor.

“They kept me there for three days – like a prisoner – for fighting against environmental destruction, ” she recalls.

In 2016, Shariffa, along with Peka administrative assistant Norhayati Shahrom, were remanded for three days for allegedly insulting a state Ruler.

Besides championing environmental causes, Shariffa runs a string of cafes, restaurants, fitness centres and resorts. The certified patisserie chef and fitness instructor has established a chain of ecofriendly resorts called Tanah Aina in Pahang, Johor and Selangor.

The wife of prominent businessman Tan Sri Syed Mohd Yusof Syed Nasir admits that despite her colourful life and endeavours, her fight for a better environment is not even close to being over.

“Environmental issues consist of a very broad spectrum.

“There is still so much more to be done but it requires the government to impose stricter laws so that everyone can cooperate, ” she says.

Shariffa’s environmental wish is for the world to be educated on the importance of natural resources.

“I want to educate and remind people of the importance of nature and the environment.

“With no rivers, we have no clean water. With no trees, there is no fresh air. Dirty oceans lead to toxic seafood consumption.

“There are so many effects on human life if we continue to

destroy nature, ’’ she says.

For chemist and activist Pua Lay Peng, fighting illegal plastic waste factories around Jenjarom is an act of love for her family.

China’s decision to stop importing waste from other countries in 2017 opened up the floodgates for illegal plastic recycling factories to mushroom in parts of Malaysia, including Jenjarom, a quiet town of some 30,000 people in Selangor.

“If anybody says that they love their family, I will tell them to stand up and protect their families by saying ‘no’ to importing plastic waste, or any waste. To me, that is more important than my own life, ” says Pua, who describes herself as a “victim turned activist” since early 2018.

Two years ago, along with a small group of other concerned residents, Pua set out to uncover the truth behind the toxic odour that had begun to hang in the air at night and in the hazy mornings that followed.

While some could no longer enjoy unbroken sleep at night, others started to experience ailments such as headaches, skin problems and respiratory issues, recalls Pua, 48.

“We soon discovered a broken system.

“While developed countries have gotten used to dumping their waste here and in other developing countries, the root cause is actually due to corruption in Malaysia.

“The whole system was broken to allow the smuggling of plastic waste into the country, ” says Pua.

Due to what they saw as inaction from the government despite complaints from the residents, a band of them decided to stand up and fight for their rights by raising awareness of the issue with the general public and media.

Their activism received attention from international publications such as the Los Angeles Times and online news portals HuffPost and Mashable South-East Asia.

In December last year, Perak Ruler Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah even said in his speech during the launch of the environmental conservation book, 40 Hadith, that the “world needs more activists like Pua”.

As a result of the residents’ efforts, Pua says some improvements have recently been made, such as the government carrying out a review of the support letters it had issued to the plastic recycling factories.

“It used to be that factories running plastic recycling don’t even need to install any air quality monitoring devices.

“We sent inquiries to the government to ask why would they issue support letters to these factories without asking them to take care not to pollute the air?

“Now we see that some legal factories have started installing those facilities and the bigger ones were also asked to install a water treatment system, ” says Pua.

She acknowledges, however, that there is still a long way to go in the fight as weaknesses in the system are still allowing Malaysia to be a hotbed of plastic waste and e-waste smuggling.

“At every port in this country, there are containers that we need to send back, ” she says.

Burning plastic waste to solve the problem, says Pua, is a myth, as this will not solve the issue but will instead have an adverse impact on the environment and people.

“What the government should do is to reduce single-use plastics and impose a total ban on plastic waste imports, just like China, ” she says.

As long as plastic waste is still allowed into Malaysia to endanger people’s lives, Pua’s fight will go on.

And this is despite getting death threats from men who once assaulted Pua’s sister by splashing red paint on her after they mistook her for the activist.

“The paint almost injured her eye. Luckily it did not blind her.

“They also sent death threats to the residents, saying that they would take revenge against us if we continued to protest.

“But no matter what, we must make all Malaysians know that the country is a dump site and that the smuggling of plastic and e-waste is increasing, and the government has not been able to stop it, ” she says.

Pua’s wish is to be able to stop being an activist one day so that she can focus on environmental education for children.

“That is the thing that we need to focus on because the root of it all is education. Currently, we provide very little environmental education for our children, ” she laments.

Legal eagle Meenakshi Raman was one of the 106 activists and politicians detained under the now abolished Internal Security Act during Ops Lalang in 1987.

Meenakshi never allowed her 47-day detention in solitary confinement break her spirit or stop her from continuing to be an environmental defender. Today, the Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) president looks back at her time in prison as a lesson in strength and determination.

Meenakshi cut her teeth in environmental protection while reading law at Universiti Malaya, where she volunteered with SAM and the Consumers Association of Penang.

Upon graduation in the early 1980s, Meenakshi started a public interest law firm.

“One of the first cases I took up was the case of the Asian Rare Earth plant set up by Japanese-owned Mitsubishi Chemicals in Bukit Merah, Ipoh, ” she recalls.

The rare earth refinery and its radioactive exposure was blamed at the time for higher than national average rates of miscarriages, birth defects, levels of lead in the blood and illnesses among the people living in the vicinity.

“What was a community battle then became an international campaign, ” says Meenakshi.

In 1992, the people of Bukit Merah won their suit against Asian Rare Earth and the Ipoh High Court ordered its shut down.

“But the Supreme Court overturned the High Court decision. So we campaigned internationally and we had support from Japanese MPs and civil society there.

“And despite the success of their appeal, Mitsubishi decided to shut down the plant due to international pressure, ” says Meenakshi.

The Asian Rare Earth case is one of the early milestones in a life lived using her professional experience as a lawyer to help environmental causes on behalf of the people.

Decades later, Meenakshi, 62, is still a practising lawyer active in providing legal advice to the community besides being the president of SAM.

She represents SAM on the Environmental Quality Council, which, under the Environmental Quality Act, advises the Environment Minister.

Since the start of her journey as an environmental activist in the 1980s, Meenakshi has learned how women play an incredibly important role in defending the Earth.

“In much of the community work that we have with environmental groups, the women have always been the most important constituency. This is because of the higher health impact on them.

“They are always on the frontline, educating their fellow villagers. In many of the forest communities, women are the ones doing the agricultural work.

“When their lives are impacted by issues like logging and deforestation, they move very fast, ” she says.

Meenakshi hopes to see more women activists on the ground and more women participating in policymaking as well as more women Members of Parliament concerned about the fate of the country’s environment.

She knows her fight is long from being over, with environmental protection still on the periphery as the country focuses on economic development.

“The environment has to be the centrepiece and around it, we formulate development, jobs and policies.”

Beyond her glamorous life as an actress and television host, Maya Karin has pledged her lifelong commitment to the environment, even if she hasn’t tied herself to a tree – yet.

Maya was raised in a family with strong environmental awareness as well as an appreciation for nature and its resources and made her debut as a celebrity ecoactivist early on, in 2006. She says she will never stop playing a role in raising public awareness on environmental issues.

“It started in 2006 and The Star was one of the first media outlets to support me.

“They sent a reporter and a photographer to cover this very ‘exotic’ event of me going to the pasar malam with my own bag.

“Even something so normal was, like, a big thing back then, ” she says, laughing.

Maya has starred in some memorable local movies, like 2004’s Pontianak Harum Sundal Malam and 2011’s Ombak Rindu but she’s currently on a break from acting. She says she has been focusing on environmental conservation in the past four years.

The 40-year-old German-Malay actress constantly takes to social media to raise environmental awareness among Netizens, using her high profile to promote programmes and campaigns.

“I will never stop. This is not just a temporary hobby thing. I focus more on public awareness.

“I have not gone the Greenpeace way and tied myself to a tree yet. The key word here is yet!

“I may just do that if things come to it but for now, I choose diplomatic ways to raise public awareness, ” says Maya with a laugh.

One interesting campaign she promoted was when she was an ambassador for the Federal Territories Ministry’s “River of Life” campaign in 2019 to raise awareness about river pollution.

“I’ve worked on so many but the most successful one was that one, ” she says, adding with a note of wonder that, “until today, the #Maya-KarinChallenge is still going on. It’s been incredible!”

She introduced the #Maya-KarinChallenge on social media during the campaign and people are still posting videos today of themselves attempting the challenge, which involves submerging yourself in bodies of water to show how clear and pure the river, stream or lake is.

Maya is currently working on the “Save Harimau Malaya” campaign to draw attention to the critical state of tigers here – there are fewer than 200 of the animals left in Malaysia’s forests.

She believes celebrities should use their status to promote something worthwhile simply because there are a lot of eyeballs on their social media platforms and activities.

“They can easily penetrate through certain sections of people that NGOs are unable to, ” she explains, adding that her fans always ask for ways in which they could help out.

“I try to channel them to certain NGOs or organisations that suit their liking, ” she says.

Maya wants politicians to sit up and take notice of the nation’s rich biodiversity before it is lost for good.

“I’ve come to the belief that the incredible biodiversity in Malaysia that we have been blessed with needs to be protected.

“It’s up to us to either hack it down or protect it. It’s that simple, ” she points out.

The nation, adds Maya, cannot put gross domestic product targets and development at the forefront of its pursuits while ignoring the environmental costs.

“I need to tell the politicians that they are undervaluing Malaysia’s biodiversity richness and the future revenue that can come from preserving it.

“Often, for politicians, their priorities are the short-term benefits, which are viewed as more important than the long-term impact.

“But we have to focus on our children and realise that we have to leave something for them.

“We have to think long term and appreciate what God has given us.”



This Malaysian Woman Is Flying High In the Local Aviation Industry

16 Mar 2020

When Pushpalatha Subramaniam started working as a secretary at Malaysia Airlines some 30 years ago, little did she realise she would find her passion in aviation.

“I got into the industry ‘by chance’, but I had a keen interest to learn and grew with the company, ” said Pushpalatha.

Her father had passed away at that time so she had to come out to work.

However, she continued to pursue her studies part-time, eventually earning her degree in business administration (management).

She stayed on in the same company for 27 years, attached to different sections including reservations, airport operations, advertising and promotions, in-flight services, customer relations and product development.

“That gave me a deeper understanding of the different aspects of the aviation industry, ” said Pushpalatha, who is in her 50s.

Her last held position was senior vice president of consumer affairs. She attributes her career growth to her desire to learn, going beyond the scope of her duties, and having good mentors and leaders who were willing to guide her along the way.

Currently, Pushpalatha is serving her fourth year as director of consumer affairs with the Malaysian Aviation Commission (Mavcom), where she helps consumers resolve issues that they have with airlines or airports in an efficient and effective way.

"It's a balancing act between being an advocate for consumers, educating them about their travel rights, and helping them do something about it, while at the same time, ensuring the sustainability of the aviation industry," said the former board member of the Worldwide Airlines Customer Relations Association, which represents over 60 airlines worldwide.

Putting yourself in your customer's shoes is vital in consumer affairs, she explained.

"The customer is not always right, but they must always be treated with respect and their interests must be protected. It is however, important to be fair and reasonable, and get the facts from both sides – the consumer and the industry – before making a decision," she said.

Contrary to popular perception, not all roles in the aviation industry are male-dominated.

"Engineering and technical roles like pilots and ground handlers are, but there are also many areas which are predominantly female, such as cabin crew," she said.

Mavcom's workforce itself is 55% female. It was not intentional though, said the International Aviation Women's Association member.

"When we did the hiring process, gender was not on the table. It was competency and the perfect fit for each particular role," she explained.

Pushpalatha also believes that loyalty is not based on one's gender, nor that women rather than men tend to stay with a company long term.

"When you're comfortable with who you're working with and delivering your goals, that's where loyalty develops," she said,"regardless of whether you're male or female."

However, she does believe that women are innately more meticulous in making sure things are all right in their personal life and at work. They also naturally multi-task, especially if they have a family, and those are strengths.

The mother of two children, aged 20 and 17, credits her husband for helping her juggle a successful career and family life.

Sustaining a work-life balance is always a challenge, but with the right support, it is possible, she emphasised.

“Behind a successful man is a great woman, but the opposite is also true. If you have a good partner who believes in making sure you have your own identity, career and goals, that in itself is a success, ” she said.

Pushpalatha's husband, who runs his own business, took care of their children when they were younger whenever she travelled for work or was away at meetings.

There were occasions where she had to miss out on important milestones in her kids' lives as they were growing up.

"But I made up for it by allocating time for weekly family dinners and annual holidays, and spending quality time with them to catch up with their daily progress at school," she said.

Technology also plays a crucial role in helping her maintain a healthy work-life balance.

"In this digital age, you can work anywhere as long as you're connected to the Internet," she said.

"Success is also seeing my children achieve what they have."

Pushpalatha, whose son is pursuing his studies in aviation science, hopes to see more young people going into the aviation industry regardless of whether they are male or female.

Her advice to young people is to "know your passion, and be brave to pursue and excel in it, regardless of your gender".



Afghan Women, Pilgrimages and Their Devoted Beliefs

18 Mar 2020

Here I am discussing the Islamic Sufism and then the Afghan women’s beliefs on the shrines and saints.  A shrine is a place built over the grave of a revered religious figure, often a Sufi saint or dervish. Women often visit the shrines (Ziyarat), a term associated with religious visits and “pilgrimages”. It is also known as “Dargah” which is derived from a Persian word which literally means “portal” or “threshold. It is not necessary that just the poor who visit shrines, there are places where thousands unburden themselves, sharing their inner turmoil at the feet of holy people they believe can intercede on their behalf. The belief is that prayer by a saint can alleviate poverty, cure illness, mend relations with loved ones and provide solace from the trials of life. When a person becomes helpless after using all the possibilities in his/her hands then he/she refers to the spirituals, one of these spirituals is Sufism and saints. The partisans of this spiritual thinking that saints are the representatives of the lord who can build their relations with lord subsequent all their desires that can be directly heard and fulfilled by the Lord.

In Afghanistan, women do not a social life as compare to men because there are no opportunities for them to enjoy the recreational prospects outside the house. If married, they remain to stay at home or go to the home of their parents where they are more likely expected to only cook and work. Culturally in Afghanistan, the women are not allowed to leave the house alone for an outing and fun because it is believed that there is no security for them outside the four walls of their houses. The safest place for them is to go to the shrines for praying and giving their devotions. Therefore they are referring to the saints more and more. There are two types of saints, one is those who are alive and women can meet them for sharing their problems, while the second are those who have been passed away and lying in their graveyards (pilgrimages).

The living saints are available far and wide within Afghanistan and they demand their followers and devotees to bring with a sheep in reward of amulets. They say we do not want sheep actually giants wants sheep and in return, they will leave your body. So they ask to slaughter the sheep and leave there because giants will come and eat it. Some demand for bringing black hens and said we will write amulets by hen blood and in this way giants will leave you. But some of them want a higher fee which cannot be afforded by many ladies (families) therefore most of them are going to the pilgrimages of the dead saints that are gratis and complimentary. I would like to bring an example of my friend here; she said I fall in a spiritual disease and after visiting many doctors I did not feel well, so my parents took me to a Saint in Nimroz Province where he said you are badly affected by several giants and I have the solution but in return the giants want Mule. First, bring mule then I will cure your disease with 100% guaranty by amulets. She said we did not find mule but gave a big amount. As a result, my condition did not change but yet I felt sorry for the amount my parents paid to that Saint.

The fact that women are associated with local pilgrimage in Afghanistan is neither accidental nor incidental. Men are associated with the mosque, religious texts, reasoned theological discussions, formal ritual assemblies—in short, with intellectual aspects of religion. Women’s association with local pilgrimage points out that it is bound up with things of the heart, the troubling aspect of life which questions, unsettles, and answers obliquely. Women in Afghanistan are regarded as frivolous, emotional, irrational, and at times dangerous; the things with which they are associated are consequently dismissed as either inconsequential or at times downright suspect.

In Islamic Sufism there are several kinds of pilgrimages and visiting these are based on the need (desire) of the people. The ones who believe in saints are thinking that saints are alive even after death and they can support us as they used to do, and every saint can treat a specific sickness and or need, for instance, treating sicknesses, helpless nesses, finding husbands and making married life, bringing peace between the couples and etc. Here again I would like to bring an example of pilgrimage in Kandahar Province by the name of Sheen Ghazi Asabi pilgrimage. In that pilgrimage, there is a very old and big tree and most of women have believe on that tree and said this tree has miracles. Every Thursday a large number of women came to this pilgrimage and they said to make a wish and lay near to that tree if you roll up and down then your wish will come true but if you did not roll up and down then it means your wish did not complete.

People in need think that visiting the pilgrimages are not only for making dua’ (praying) and differs from a need to need, culture-wise they are organizing a duly different ritual, some examples of rituals are: Cooking and distributing food, lightening the candles and etc. A huge portion of the verbal literature of Pashtu language is set for visiting pilgrimages and most often it is linked to the life of the women, if this portion of the literature (poetry) is accurately explored, many of psychic, cultural, family life and social problems will be enlightened.

Visiting the pilgrimages is a duly general cure; the medical doctors say that there must be a factor out of three reasons behind every disease such as spiritual, psychical and bacterial factors. With visiting the pilgrimages at least the spiritual diseases can be treated especially if the sicknesses are because of a spiritual factor, although he/she will get rid of it, this will also result to lessen the effects of other sicknesses.  furthermore visiting the pilgrimages is a kind of fun and mind-relaxing hence when they are visiting the pilgrimages they will also meet other ladies who have or have had the same sicknesses, in the meantime, they are sitting together for a while and sharing their experiences as well as every one of them think that they are not the only ones who are suffering from this disease and there are many others. Visiting the pilgrimages strengthens the spirituality of the people and the ladies. Hazrat Mohammad PBUH said that visiting the pilgrimages is reminding you the death and equality.  You will see that the king, rich and poor are facing the same destiny and they will be arithmetician of their sins.  This will cause them to keep patience and to have a relaxed mind if his/her feelings are hurt by someone he will think that he will be accountable for it and there is someone who is asking for what he/she did or doing.

Last but not least Women are ritually polluted with the messy business of menstruation and childbirth, but these polluting elements are paradoxically life-giving. Similarly, local pilgrimage is disorderly and informal, but what goes on at the local shrines energizes religion. Ziarat gives scope to the personal and difficult aspects of life and allows both men and especially women to express their emotional sides—to grieve and wail in an approved setting and to celebrate joyously with others.



British-Iranian Woman Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe Temporarily Released From Tehran Jail

March 17, 2020

LONDON: British-Iranian dual national Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has been temporarily released from prison in Iran as it struggles to contain the spread of coronavirus.

Zaghari-Ratcliffe, 42, was part of a temporary release of 85,000 prisoners. She has been in prison since April 2016, and was sentenced in September that year to five years’ imprisonment for allegedly “plotting to topple the Iranian government.” She has vehemently denied all charges.

UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said: “I am relieved that Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe was today (Tuesday) temporarily released into the care of her family in Iran. We urge the regime to ensure she receives any necessary medical care.”

He added: “While this is a welcome step, we urge the government now to release all UK dual nationals arbitrarily detained in Iran, and enable them to return to their families in the UK.”

There are many other Britons and dual nationals detained in Iran on charges of spying or plotting against the regime.

Many have recently detailed the extent of sickness in Iranian jails, especially in the notorious Evin prison.

Last week, British-Iranian political prisoner Anoosheh Ashoori sent a recorded message to his wife saying his jail was in chaos because of the virus. He appealed to the UK government to do more to help secure his temporary release.

Ashoori, 65, was moved to a different ward as coronavirus allegedly spread among his inmates.

Zaghari-Ratcliffe’s release has been a major campaign effort for the British government, with several foreign secretaries calling for her freedom.

Soon after the news of her release was published, Zaghari-Ratcliffe was photographed smiling with a tracking device attached to her ankle.

She is permitted to remain within 300 meters of her family’s home during the temporary release.



Met Police Forced To Pay Out Damages to Muslim Woman

17 Mar 2020

A Muslim woman who was forced to remove her hijab under terror laws at London Heathrow Airport has won a “substantial damage payment” from the police.

The woman, known as Asiyah, pursued a judicial review after she had to take off her hijab under a Schedule 7 stop and search in October 2018.

The anti-terror law allows police and border guards to detain people without suspicion and hold them for up to nine hours at airports, ports and international rail stations.

Asiyah, who won £15,000 from London’s Metropolitan Police in an out of court settlement, said that “no Muslim woman should ever have to face this violation.

“Being forced to remove my hijab was the most dehumanising and embarrassing experience of my life.

“I was made to feel

worthless—I felt that my honour had been violated.

“The fact that the police can behave in such a way without any repercussions is frightening.”

A transcript of an interview with Asiyah shows that police told her, “We can take photographs that we need by force.

“You might end up being arrested because you wouldn’t let us take a photograph of your hair.”

Asiyah won her case with the support of detainee rights’ group Cage and Birnberg Peirce solicitors. Its director Muhammad Rabbani said, “It is clear the police knew they were discriminating against Muslim women.

“And therefore opted to settle in order to avoid the case setting a precedent for other women that have had their hijab forcibly removed.

“It’s high time Schedule 7 is scrapped.” He called for the All-Party Parliamentary Group on British Muslims to “take immediate steps to investigate the Home Office over its discriminatory ­operation of Schedule 7 powers”.

Cage previously revealed that “potentially close to one million” people—88 percent of them Muslim—have been stopped under Schedule 7.

Summayah, another Muslim woman who was forced to remove her hijab at London’s Gatwick Airport, said she was “mistreated” despite being chronically ill.

“Border Police removed me from the disabled cart and placed me in a glass room in view of everyone,” she said.

“I wasn’t aware of my rights and the police took full advantage.”



Meet Saudi Arabia's Plus Size Model Ghalia Amin

March 15, 2020

Sadiya A Nadeem

“Beauty comes in all colours, shapes and sizes. We need to accept ourselves and remember that each one of us is precious in our own unique way,” Ghalia Amin, Saudi Arabia’s first curvy model, tells Gulf News tabloid.

The Dubai-based model, who has been professionally modelling for over a year now, has posed for prominent brands such as 11 Honore, a retail giant offering plus-sizing clothing from high-end designers; Khloe Kardashian’s Good American, and bespoke, ready-to-wear Marina Rinaldi. She recently wrapped up her shoot for Vogue Arabia and Reemami. The soft-spoken body positivity activist is the epitome of self-love.

Amin feels proud to be among those who are striving hard to break the stereotype image of “media and society defined beauty” in Saudi Arabia and the Middle East.

“My greatest strength is having a different body type,” she says.

Saudi Arabia does not have a thriving modelling industry, but over the years there has been an influx of passionate Saudi fashion bloggers and designers on social media.

Sharing an anecdote, Amin said as a child and an adult she was always pushed to lose weight and look a certain way by people around her.

“Growing up as a little girl, I noticed that the fashion world and high brands associated themselves with a certain body type, which, initially, made me feel quite conscious about my body. But, I gradually realised that being healthy meant more than just being a certain size or weight,” she said.

The young model, who was born and brought up in Jeddah, moved to Dubai to pursue a degree in fine arts, but occasionally found herself modelling for her designer friends’ projects — and enjoyed it too.

“I knew there was a gap in the fashion world, and I knew I was not the only one feeling that way. I realised it was time to tackle that unspoken issue and make it a point for all women to realise that anyone could look good and stylish irrespective of their body type or size. I then started an initiative ‘Ana Ghalia’ [I am precious] for my social media platforms to promote body positivity because beauty is all about becoming the best version of you,” she asserts.

Amin was then noticed and picked up by plus-size Italian brand Marina Rinaldi, which was her first debut project in the world of modelling.

“It was an exciting project. I love their collection and their stand on embracing your body,” said Amin. Since then, there has been no looking back for Amin as her modelling career kicked off, and she was proudly strutting across high-fashion runways.

Sharing a pro and con of the fashion industry, Amin says: “The fashion world is becoming more inclusive, but it’s still very slow.”

One of Amin’s all-time favourite piece of clothing is a white shirt.

“It’s a must-have item as it not only can be styled in multiple ways, but it looks good on everyone,” she said.

Like her favourite American plus-size model and presenter Ashley Graham, Amin also works as a host for Rotana TV.



‘Pakistani Women’s Talent Unparalleled’

March 10, 2020

LAHORE: Wife of Punjab Governor Begum Perveen Sarwar said that women are standing firm to protect their rights.

“We all together will have to play our role in making Pakistan as envisaged by Quaid-i-Azam and Allama Muhammad Iqbal. Those committing violence and injustice with women do not deserve any mercy,” she said while addressing a function held in connection with International Women’s Day organised by Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) and Ehsas Programme, and later talking to the media here at Children Library Complex (CLC) on Monday.

She also participated in a walk. Provincial Minister for Population Welfare Hashim Dogar, PTI MPA Azma Kardar, Sarwat Shuja, CLC Chairperson Maryum Khokhar, BISP Director General Sagheer Ahmed Merani and a large number of women participated in the event.

Perveen Sarwar said that Pakistani women’s talent is unprecedented in the world, however, there was a need to further empower them, besides providing them employment. “I am glad the federal government is not only providing jobs to women but also overcoming their financial constraints through BISP and Ehsas Programme,” she added.

Law Minister Raja Basharat said that Punjab government had, in principle, decided to present the MTI Act (Reforms) 2019 in the Punjab Assembly, but assured the medical community of redressing their objections vis-à-vis legislation in this regard.

Speaking on the occasion, GHA Chairman Dr Salman Haseeb and Dr Khizer Hayat condemned the government for presenting the “controversial” bill in the Punjab Assembly for approval, which they believed, was aimed to privatise hospitals in the province.




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