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Islam, Women and Feminism ( 22 Jan 2021, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Hyderabad City Mosque Opens A Wellness Centre With A Gym For Women Residing In The Nearby Slums

New Age Islam News Bureau

22 January 2021

 • Eighty Six Percent Of Women Do Not Wear Seat Belts In Saudi Arabia

• Twitter Locks Account Of Chinese Embassy In US Over Tweet On Muslim Uyghur Women

• Arab Parliament Calls For Supporting Women Amid Virus Crisis

• World Memory C’ship Winning Pakistan Women Team Honoured

• The Black Tunisian Women Fighting ‘Double Discrimination’

• Morocco’s Najat Rochdi Among 20 UN Women Leaders Appointed In 2020

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau



 Hyderabad City Mosque Opens A Wellness Centre With A Gym For Women Residing In The Nearby Slums

Jan 22, 2021

Hyderabad: A mosque at Rajendranagar has set up a wellness centre with a gymnasium for women residing in the nearby slums. This is the first time in the state that a mosque has facilitated a gym for women with an expert trainer.

The aim behind the gym and wellness centre is to reduce the incidence of non-communicable diseases in women living in the slum areas.

A professional woman trainer has been hired to train women in physical exercises, in two sessions daily. It has also health counsellors and a physician.

The gym at Masjid-e-Mustafa located in Wadi-e-Mahmood in Rajendranagar is funded by SEED, a US-based NGO. Helping Hand Foundation (HHF), a city-based NGO, is coordinating with the mosque committee in running the wellness centre.

The gym follows a survey conducted in the slums of Old City which revealed that 52% women are at risk of cardiometabolic syndrome.

During the survey, women with high risk of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), mainly with body mass index (BMI) greater than 25 and those with morbid conditions, were identified for the purpose of being trained at the gym. “The key components of the NCD programme at the mosque clinic-cum-gym are risk assessment, counselling on diet and exercise and screening for renal, liver and eye issues. Trained and professional counsellors are part of the clinic,” said HHF managing trustee Mujtaba Hasan Askari.

The survey also revealed that women with polycystic ovarian disease (PCOD) constitute about 30% of the participants.

Women between 25 and 55 years were screened as part of the survey. About 12% had single or comorbidities like diabetes, hypertension and thyroid problems. All women (20-49 years and above) had a BMI more than 25 (obesity).

Mujtaba said 52% of women had high hip-waist ratio more than 0.8, which predisposes the women to the risk of cardiometabolic syndrome, which is now classified as a cluster of dysfunctions like insulin resistance, tolerance and de-arranged lipids that lead to the risk of diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular diseases.


Eighty Six Percent Of Women Do Not Wear Seat Belts In Saudi Arabia

January 21, 2021

RIYADH — A recent study revealed that nearly 86 percent of women in the Kingdom do not wear seat belts as drivers or passengers of cars.

The study was conducted over a period of two years with a sample of more than 5,000 adults — both males and females — who visited hospitals affiliated to the Health Affairs under the Ministry of National Guard.

The age of around 52.4 percent of those surveyed ranged between 18 and 25 years, and half of those were men.

According to the King Abdullah International Medical Research Center (KAIMRC), the study aimed to examine the prevalence of seat belt use and the awareness about it in the Kingdom.

It was also found in the study that 42.8 percent of those surveyed, including drivers and passengers, are consistently using seatbelts, while the rest of them do not fasten the seat belt.

The study recommended the need to work for enhancing the level of adherence to wearing seatbelts through awareness campaigns and the intervention of traffic police, especially for women, in order to bring down cases of traffic deaths and injuries.


Twitter locks account of Chinese Embassy in US over tweet on Muslim Uyghur women

21st January 2021

New Delhi: Twitter has locked the official account of China’s Embassy in the US over a controversial post that referred to Muslim Uyghur women as “baby-making machines” prior to government intervention.

The tweet was originally shared on January 7. The micro-blogging platform removed the tweet, with a notification that it is no longer available.

Now, the account has also been permanently locked, according to several media reports.

“We have taken action on this Tweet for violating our policy against dehumanisation,” Twitter had said in an earlier statement.

China has faced fierce criticism of its treatment of minority Uighur Muslims living in the Xinjiang province.

In a statement which came less than 24 hours before leaving office, former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declared that China “has committed genocide against the predominantly Muslim Uyghurs and other ethnic and religious minority groups in Xinjiang”.

In a tweet on January 7, the Chinese Embassy in the US had shared a China Daily report on the population change in Xinjiang published by the Xinjiang Development Research Center defending China’s oppression of Uyghur Muslims.

The report said that the Muslim women in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) are “no longer baby-making machines” and that the decrease in population growth throughout the province has led to a drop in terrorism.

The tweet backing the Chinese government’s policies against the Muslim community in spite of several reports revealing shocking data on involuntary abortions and sterilisations performed over the years in the region, invited instant scathing criticism from all corners of the globe.

“It is utterly appalling & shameful for the @ChineseEmbinUS & Communist #China to justify its genocidal policy in the #Uyghur region. I call on the international community to join USCIRF in condemning #CCP in the strongest terms,” USCIRF (US Commission on International Religious Freedom) Commissioner Nury Turkel had tweeted.

Twitter first said that the Chinese embassy’s “baby-making machines” tweet is not against its rules, which ban “the dehumanisation of a group of people based on their religion, race, or ethnicity” but reversed its decision by removing it, saying it “violated the Twitter Rules.”

Much has already been written about the Chinese government policies aiming at reducing birth rates among Uyghurs including involuntary abortions and sterilisations. It has been revealed that in 2018, 80 per cent of all the Intrauterine Device (IUD) placements in China were performed on women in the Uyghur Region, despite the region making up only about 1.8 per cent of China’s total population.

A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson announced on Thursday that the government has decided to impose sanctions against Pompeo and 27 other high-ranking officials of the Trump administration, accusing them of “prejudice and hatred” against Beijing.

The announcement came a day after Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th President of the US on Wednesday.


Arab Parliament Calls For Supporting Women Amid Virus Crisis

22 January, 2021

The Arab Parliament called Thursday on its member states to mobilize efforts for supporting Arab women amid the new coronavirus outbreak.

In a meeting held at the Arab League headquarters in Cairo, in the presence of the president of the National Council for Women Dr. Maya Morsy, the Arab Parliament commanded the great and sincere efforts of Arab women in facing the COVID-19 crisis.

“Arab women stand in the front lines in facing this crisis, particularly that the majority of medical personnel, especially nurses, are women,” a statement issued by the Parliament said.

It called upon relevant institutions to support Arab women, identify their own needs, and work on removing all obstacles posed by the pandemic.

The Parliament particularly praised the efforts of Egypt, through its Foreign Ministry and the National Council for Women, to support females.

In this regard, it mentioned the unprecedented adoption by consensus of a draft resolution submitted by Cairo on "Protecting the rights of women from the repercussions of COVID-19,” during the work of the 3rd Committee of the UN General Assembly on Human Rights and Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Issues.

Also, the Parliament said Arab States should implement the decisions of this resolution, which provides a practical vision of how to strengthen national and international commitment amid the economic and social repercussions of COVID-19 on the rights of Arab women.

Meanwhile, Dr. Mastoura bint Obaid Al-Shammari, the Chairperson of the permanent committee for social, educational, cultural affairs, women and youths of the Arab Parliament, who is also Saudi Shura Council's member, hailed the role of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in empowering women in various fields, with the support and patronage of its prudent leadership.

In a statement after the meeting of the Arab Parliament bureau, she stressed that women in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia occupy the highest positions at domestic, Arab and international levels.


World Memory C’ship Winning Pakistan Women Team Honoured

January 22, 2021

LAHORE   -  Pakistan’s women team that won 29th World Memory Championship in England in 2020, called on Director General Sports Punjab Adnan Arshad Aulakh at National Hockey Stadium on Thursday.

Pakistan’s women team consisted of coach Sania Alam, Emma Alam, Syeda Kisa Zehra, Abeerah Ather and Shuma. Director Sports Hafeez Bhatti was also present on this occasion. It is pertinent to mention here that Pakistan’s women team created history when they clinched the coveted World Memory Championship for the first time in the history of the country. Around 300 players from 16 countries participated in the championship. Overall, Pakistan team won 13 medals during the championship.

Emma Alam and Syeda Kisa Zehra also broke four world records during the championship. Emma Alam won gold medals in Names and Faces and Random Words competitions. She also grabbed a silver medal in the History and Future Dates contest. Emma is also the recipient of Gold Youth Avicenna Award 2021.

Adnan Arshad Aulakh appreciated the great achievement of Pakistan’s women team and said: “We are also planning to hold such events in Punjab in near future and Sports Board Punjab will get necessary guidance from the national women team keeping in view their expertise”.


The Black Tunisian Women Fighting ‘Double Discrimination’

29 December 2020

On 23 January this year – the anniversary of the abolition of slavery in Tunisia – seven women launched Voices of Tunisian Black Women, a Facebook group for Black women to discuss issues of abuse and discrimination. It’s the first organisation of its kind in the country.

Khawla Ksiksi, Maha Abdelhamid and Huda Mzioudet were the first three who decided to form the collective after they encountered negative reactions to a post on the #EnaZeda (#MeToo) Facebook page about sexual harassment faced by Black Tunisian women.

The women gathered to reflect on the backlash they had experienced and discussed the idea of creating an all-Black female safe space where women could express themselves without being judged or criticised.

“We shared this unease of talking in mixed movements where we couldn’t be free to say what we want,” said Abdelhamid, a PhD researcher in sociology based in France. “We agreed that local feminist circles could never represent us nor understand what we go through,” adding that Black women are often accused by fellow feminists of exaggerating and victimising themselves.

They explain that discussion of racism was taboo under former president Ben Ali’s 23-year dictatorship, which ended after an uprising in 2011. Since the early days of the anti-racism movement, Black women have been on the front line amid growing awareness of their greater invisibility in comparison to Black men.

Ksiksi, a 28-year-old anti-racist feminist activist who works at the Tunis branch of the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, a transnational political education institution, said Black women are victims of double discrimination – on account of their colour and their gender.

She added that they not only struggle with social, economic and professional discrimination, but also sexual harassment. Black women are often the target of particular forms of sexual harassment, because they are commonly perceived to be ‘sex machines’ and even miracle healers of all sickness.

“We are stigmatised, hyper-sexualised, and objectified,” she said. “Harassers take the liberty of doing anything against your will because they know Black people are marginalised.”

Voices started out by collecting testimonies from Black women about their experiences of racism, then coordinating group discussions around daily issues of concern to Black women. It also has a very active, private Facebook group with at least 400 members. Fortnightly webinars cover topics ranging from beauty standards to slavery, racism in the workplace and institutional racism.

“The whole idea is to shift Black women from the fringes to the centre, to enable us to claim our rights as a category of people who’ve been treated as if we never existed,” said Ksiksi.

“It’s no longer about debating whether racism exists or not. We need to talk about the situation of Black women, the multiple discriminations they suffer and try to find solutions,” argues 26-year-old Ghofrane Binous, an active member of the collective and former vice-president of the anti-racist association, Mnemty.

Binous insists that other group members should be encouraged to use the platform more to make their voices heard – as many women are alienated and afraid to speak up.

Binous herself once lacked the confidence to speak in public. She remembers how, when she was just five, children in her neighbourhood told her she was “dirty” because her skin was Black. Later, she started using bleach on her face in the hope her skin would turn lighter.

At primary school, one of her teachers would regularly slap her and kick her out of class without reason.

When she worked as a flight attendant with national carrier Tunisair, she endured racist slurs from one passenger. She said that management was unhappy with how vocal she was in speaking out about the incident and made her job increasingly difficult until she decided to quit. Her activism was a consequence of this racist experience.

Abdelhamid explained that Voices intends to restore a positive self-image and self-esteem for Black women in a society where they are made to believe they are “ugly” and need to use skin-whitening and hair-straightening products.

The aim is “to gain worthy visibility and emancipate, countering the biased portrayal that society has imposed on us through history”, she said.

Voices of Tunisian Black Women plans to launch a website in Tunisian Arabic, modern standard Arabic (Tunisia’s official language) and French. Lawyers are helping the collective, offering free legal support to victims of racist attacks, and filing suits against aggressors based on Tunisia’s anti-racial discrimination law.


Morocco’s Najat Rochdi Among 20 UN Women Leaders Appointed In 2020

By Sanae Alouazen

Jan 6, 2021

Rabat – With two decades of experience in a wide range of topics in international diplomacy, Morocco’s Najat Rochdi appears to have secured a solid reputation in the UN system.

In 2020, the UN Secretary-General appointed 20 women to senior management positions. Nine of them were appointed to positions in political or peacekeeping missions. Of these 20 women, nine are from Africa, seven from the Americas and the Caribbean, three from Europe, and one from Asia.

Among them is Morocco’s Najat Rochdi, appointed as UN Deputy Special Coordinator for Lebanon (UNSCOL) and UN Lebanon Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator.

Najat Rochdi has more than 20 years of experience in development and humanitarian assistance as well as international coordination in conflict and post-conflict areas. Prior to this appointment, she served as senior advisor to the UN special envoy for Syria and as Director of Peer to Peer at the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Geneva.

Previously, Rochdi served as Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator of the United Nations Peacekeeping Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA). She was also the Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Cameroon and Deputy Director of the Representative Office of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Geneva.

Before launching her international career, Najat Rochdi held several Moroccan government positions. She notably served as adviser to the prime minister, deputy minister of Small and Medium Enterprises, and director-general of International Cooperation and Development in the Ministry of Post and Information Technology.

Najat Rochdi holds a PhD in information systems from the National Institute of Statistics and Applied Economics (INSEA) in Rabat and a Master’s degree in mathematics and fundamental applications from the University of Paris Sud 11.

According to a study published by New York University’s Center for International Cooperation, the appointment of women to senior leadership positions markedly increased between 1995 and 2020.  While women made up 19% of senior U.N. appointments in 1995, they made up 62% of these high-level appointments in 2020.

Women from Western Europe and North America made up 48% of the appointments in 1995, and by 2020 they made up more than 38% of the senior positions. Women from Africa made up 42% of the senior appointments in 2020, compared to the 23% of high-rank roles they occupied in 1995.



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