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Islam, Women and Feminism ( 20 Aug 2012, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Indian doctors gift new lease of life to Pak woman on Eid

New Age Islam News Bureau

20 Aug 2012 

 Tens of thousands worldwide petition Iran to end child marriages

 Muslim girls’ enrolment in primary schools up 33% against average of 5%

 Bihar girls fight to end abuse ordeal

 Palestinian ‘Honor Killings’ Rising

 Medieval ritual tortures kids in name of religion

 Pakistani girl accused of Qur'an burning could face death penalty

 Report urged in Pakistan Down's Syndrome blasphemy case

 When a Tehrani woman tried to telephone her Facebook friend in Israel…

 Four women arrested for wearing prayer shawls at Western Wall

 Pakistan: Beautician turned fashion designer Aliya Tipu launches first-ever clothing line

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

Photo: Tens of thousands worldwide petition Iran to end child marriages





Indian doctors gift new lease of life to Pak woman on Eid

 Aug 20 2012

New Delhi : For 54-year old Zaib Un Nisa, a resident of Sialkot in Pakistan, the best Eid gift anyone could give her, has been delivered by a team of Indian doctors.

Doctors at Sir Ganga Ram hospital here gave the woman a new lease of life by transplanting the liver of her 26-year old son Umar Subhani on her after a challenging operation.

"This is the best Eid gift I can get. We came here with a lot of hope and by the grace of Allah I have got a new life this Eid. The doctors here have gone out of their way to help us. I can't thank them enough," Zaib Un Nisa said.

Wishing people on both sides of the border, a peaceful and happy Eid-ul-Fitr, Zaib Un Nisa said she hopes for more people to people contact between Indians and Pakistanis. "I want to wish a very happy Eid to one and all," she said.

The operation was done on 14th August, which happens to be the Independence Day of Pakistan and her son's birthday as well.

"A team of 21 personnel from Sir Ganga Ram Hospital operated Zaib Un Nisa in a 16-hour long operation on 14th August, during which we transplated Subhani's liver to her.

She was suffering from liver cirrhosis, a condition in which almost 80 per cent of her liver was damaged," Associate Director, Hepatobiliary and liver transplant department of the hospital, Dr Naimish N Mehta said.

The family had come to Delhi in February after getting a medical visa, he said. Suffering from Hepatitis C infection for more than 3-4 years, she and her family had lost all hopes till they came to know about the possibility of a treatment in an Indian hospital.

"My mother's condition was very bad. We were treating her at a hospital in Lahore and spent a lot of money on her treatment but all in vain. After I came to know about

treatment in India I contacted Ganga Ram Hospital in January this year. They were very cooperative and we came here for treatment. The doctors in India are better than Pakistan and I am very grateful to them," a visibly happy Subhani who works with Chief Minister of Punjab, said.

"It is not donation, I gave her part of my body which is rightfully hers as she has given birth to me," he added.

The doctors said the operation was technically challenging as Hepatitis C virus had caused damage to the patient's hepatic artery (which carries oxygenated blood to the Liver).

"During the liver transplant operation, the artery had to be reconstructed with a conduit. The conduit was obtained (removed) from patients right thigh vein. This reconstruction was simultaneously performed with implantation of the new

liver so that an arterial supply carrying oxygenated blood was established for the new liver, he said.

The operation costed Rs 17.75 lakhs to the family, which is a fraction as compared to any other centre in the world, and being the cheapest in the country as well, he added.

Touched by the immense support his family got from Indians from all walks of life, Subhani says that people on both the sides want to help each other. "From the hospital staff to my landlord everyone has been so helpful. Around 20 people, whom I don't even know, donated blood for the operation. I will always be grateful to them," he said.

Subhani had put up posters in Rajinder Nagar, where he is currently staying, asking for blood donations. 28-year old Aakash who is one of the blood donors, said that the

nationality or religion of the patient doesn't matter. I donated blood because they needed it. I am very happy to see that Umar¿s mother is getting better now, he said.

According to Mehta, Zaib Un Nisa will be discharged in a week and she can leave for Pakistan two weeks after that. But they will have to come for a checkup in 3 months, he added.

Hepatitis C is the 2nd commonest cause of liver cirrhosis and liver cancer infecting about 180 million people. 3% of World's population is infected, Liver cirrhosis develops in 15-20% of cases in 20-25 years.



Tens of thousands worldwide petition Iran to end child marriages

AUGUST 19, 2012


A call to action at created by Christian Miller targets the Iranian government and requests that it not legalize the forced marriage of girls under the age of 10. The petition has garnered the signatures of many thousands of people worldwide, a number of whom have expressed outrage at the Islamic Republic's move, which some consider to reflect an attitude towards female children as property and household slaves.

Entitled "Iran: Don't Legalize Marriage for Girls Under 10!" the petition reads:

The Iranian Parliament recently issued a statement that they regard the law prohibiting marriage for girls under 10 as un-Islamic and illegal. According to Parliament member Mohammad Ali Isfenani, "We must regard nine as being the appropriate age for a girl to have reached puberty and qualified to get married."

Over the past few weeks, over 75 girls under 10 were forced to marry much older men. Legalizing this practice would effectively legalize sex between a young child and an over-18 adult.

Nine-year-olds cannot understand and therefore can't enter the "strong covenant" of marriage outlined in the Quran. More importantly, their bodies are clearly not ready for sex, let alone child bearing. Many young girls have died from bleeding as a result of being forced into early sex and childbirth. Please sign the petition to tell the Iranian Parliament that child marriage should be illegal!

In the comments accompanying the petition appear expressions of dismay at this "legalized pedophilia" and "child rape." Others point out that children suffer greatly under such "relationships":

At age 10 a person does not have the capacity to give informed consent for a long term relationship of such importance, and [legalized child marriage] allows for barbaric exploitation of children.

Still others point out that the Islamic Republic of Iran ("IRI") is already one of the most hated regimes in the world and that it is an "embarrassment" to Muslims.

Child Marriage and Islam

However, the IRI contends that laws against child marriage are "un-Islamic," and such marriages have been common throughout the Muslim world for many centuries. In fact, this exploitation of female girls is widespread in many other Islamic countries and areas such as Afghanistan, Upper Egypt, northern Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Yemen. Child marriage is increasingly common in the West as well, with Muslim immigration in particular.

The practice is justified by Muslim clerics using the sahih ("genuine") hadiths that discuss the Islamic prophet Mohammed as having married a six-year-old girl and consummated the marriage when she was nine. These hadiths have allowed for such marriages and child sex countless times since Islam's founding. The result has been little girls not only raped repeatedly but also impregnated on a regular basis. Not a few of these young girls have died from complications of child birth.

The petition seeks to bring Iran in line with the morality of much of the rest of the world, which considers such behavior to be illegal, immoral and unconscionable. Petitioners note that such practices treat the girls as chattel with no will of their own, and abuse them physically, mentally and emotionally. Many want the legal age for marriage to be increased to at least 16, but others insist that only consenting adults over the age of 18 should be involved in such decisions.

U.S. Government recognition of problem

A recent report from the United State Government entitled "United States Strategy to Prevent and Respond to Gender-Based" addresses the abuse of females globally, including child marriage, and outlines various steps it has taken in ending such practices. The report begins by saying:

The United States Congress has long championed efforts to prevent and respond to gender-based violence, including in the context of child marriage, female genital mutilation/cutting, sexual violence resulting in obstetric fistula, and region-specific violence against women, from Latin America and the Caribbean to the Middle East and North Africa....

Gender-based violence takes on many forms and can occur throughout the life cycle. Types of gender-based violence can include female infanticide; child sexual abuse; sex trafficking and forced labor; sexual coercion and abuse; neglect; domestic violence; elder abuse; and harmful traditional practices such as early and forced marriage, "honor" killings, and female genital mutilation/cutting.

While the U.S./USAID report attempts to avoid associating all Muslims with these problems or to make it seem as if only Muslims are engaged in such behaviors, there are some telling points that there has been an issue not simply with various individuals who happen to be Muslim but with an attitude itself within Islam that inculcates disrespect for females.

U.S. trains Muslim imams on rights of females

Part of the process used by the American government includes "Child Marriage Eradication Committees" in Nepali communities, which are largely Hindu. However, the same process is being used in Muslim countries as well:

In Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, the Department of State’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor supported a program that promoted women's rights by training 450 imams using a curriculum on the compatibility of women’s rights and Islam.

This section reports favorably the practices of a Muslim religious leader or "imam" in Herat, Afghanistan, who asks the bride's age and requires proof of her consent. This approval of these practices reveals that many imams are not concerned with a bride's age or consent.

This process of education is good news, of course, but it does admit that these anti-female, child-enslaving practices have been occurring in many places globally, and that they are considered criminal, immoral and, therefore, not "godly," as the Iranian government is insisting with its push to legalize marriage for girls under the age of 10. It is clear from USAID's actions that what may be obvious to many must be taught to others, including large numbers of Muslim authorities.

The USAID report also comments that, unfortunately, "in a number of countries, despite data showing that intimate partner violence and/or child marriage are prevalent, there are no programs addressing these issues."

The efforts of various organizations tackling this abuse are to be applauded, encouraged and supported. Moreover, we must continue to identify the problem boldly, without dishonesty, as demonstrated by this increasingly successful petition against the Iranian government's attempts at legalizing what amounts to child rape and enslavement.



Muslim girls’ enrolment in primary schools up 33% against average of 5%

Subodh Varma

Aug 20, 2012

NEW DELHI: Ilma Sajid lives in a joint family in an ancient house in the congested lanes of Bulbuli Khana, Old Delhi. But she travels everyday to an English medium school in east Delhi.

Her name 'Ilma' means one who is knowledgeable, explains her mother Farhana. "Ilma wants to become either a teacher or a doctor — and we will support her till she fulfils her desire," she says.

It's a heartening story that is being repeated in many households. Muslim students' enrolment in primary schools is surging at a time when overall enrolment is either stagnating or even declining in some states. Between 2007-08 and 2010-11, Muslim enrolment in classes I to V (primary) shot up by 25% and for classes VI to VIII (upper primary) by 50% across the country, according to data collected from the country's 1.36 million elementary schools by the National University of Educational Planning & Administration. For classes I to VIII as a whole, this marked a rise of 31%.

In the same period, total enrolment in class I to V inched up by just 1% and for class VI to VIII by 12%. For class 1 to VIII, this marked a rise of 4%.

Girls' enrollment has blazed ahead even faster than boys in the Muslim community. For primary sections, Muslim girls' enrollment increased by 26% compared to just 1% increase in all girls' enrolment. For upper primary sections, Muslim girls' enrollment increased 54% while for all girls it rose 15%. For Classes I to VIII, the enrolment was up 33% for Muslim girls against an overall average of 5%.

Ilma is the youngest of Farhana's four children, and the only daughter. Her father runs a small bangle shop. Both her parents did not complete school but they are actively involved in the daughter's education. "We can't do much in terms of guiding her in studies," says Farhana, "but we send Ilma to camps and we get her all the material that she needs."

This is the new generation of young Muslim parents, which is driving an incredible surge in the quest for education in a community that was always blamed for being backward and conservative, especially with regard to girls' education.

Saima, Ilma's aunt, has three daughters, no son. "People call me unfortunate because I don't have any son," she says. "But my daughters will all become so successful that we will be recognized and respected as their parents."

Her daughters study in Classes II, V and VI, respectively, in a well-known convent school. They want to become IAS/IPS officers or doctors, says Saima, perhaps weaving her own dreams into her daughters' thoughts. But that is what drives this family.

Rehana, a socially active person in the area, says there are still many Muslim families who are unable to send their kids to school. "There is too much poverty, and the price rise has broken the backs of poorer families," she rues. But there is no doubt that among the Muslim community, there is a passionate urge to get education, says Rehana.

As Saima says, "I tell my husband — we may miss some meals, but my three angels will get the best education."



Bihar girls fight to end abuse ordeal

By Giridhar Jha in Patna

Aug 20, 2012

SEVEN college girls from a nondescript village have fought back after years of oppression and eve- teasing by a local goon and his accomplices in the Rohtas district of Bihar.

The girls from Aliganj village under Suryapura police station overcame their fears to knock on the doors of the state’s directorgeneral of police Abhayanand for justice, with help from the National Commission for Women member Charu WaliKhanna on Friday.

Narrating their plight, the girls said that they had been putting up with mental and physical harassment for the past five years at the hands of a local hoodlum called Manish Kumar and his associates who had targeted all the young girls in their village.

They said that the miscreants not only passed lewd comments at them, but also distributed their vulgar pictures, which were morphed. The girls alleged that they were also warned of an acid attack if they did not obey their orders.

“ We have lodged several complaints with the local police in the past five years but nothing has happened so far,” Neeta Sharma ( name changed), one of the girls, said. “ The police just ignored our complaints.” The girls, who happen to be students of Nagendra Mahila College, Badri Narain College and A. S. college in Rohtas, said that they had even stopped going to the college because of the constant fear of the goons.

“ Three of the girls from our village even tried to commit suicide because of the continuous harassment,” they said.

“ They have also tried to drag us from our homes,” they added.

Alarmed at the incident, the DGP ordered the district superintendent of police Manu Maharaj to visit their village and inquire into the incident.

He also asked the inspectorgeneral ( weaker sections) Arvind Pandey to record the victims’ statements and lodge separate FIRs against the accused. He said that the police would invoke the Crime Control Act ( CCA) in the case.

The district police officials said that they had received two complaints about the accused in the past and had also arrested them but they were later released on bail.

The girls said they had written about their harassment to the women’s commission and had come to meet its member Charu WaliKhanna who was on a visit to Patna.

WaliKhanna, who took them to meet the DGP, said that the girls from Rohtas district must get justice. She said that she was surprised to know that Bihar state women’s commission members were not aware about the case even though two of them belonged to Rohtas district.

She said that the local police seemed to be protecting the accused. “ The girls had written to the NCW after they failed to get justice here,” she added.

Mail Today



Palestinian ‘Honor Killings’ Rising

 Frank Crimi Bio

Aug 20th, 2012

A growing collection of Palestinian leaders are acknowledging that the recent rise in “honor killings” and other horrific acts of violence being perpetrated against Palestinian women can only be stemmed by changing the Arab cultural and Islamic propensity of violence toward women.

The latest victim of a Palestinian honor killing was Nancy Zaboun, a 27-year-old mother of three, who, moments after she left a divorce hearing in Bethlehem, was brutally murdered by her husband.

Nancy had been in the process of seeking an early exit from her marriage after having suffered repeated beatings over the course of her ten-year marriage, beatings that often required hospitalization but which never resulted in criminal charges being brought against her husband.

Unfortunately, Nancy Zaboun’s attempt to flee her abusive marriage caused such a stain on her husband’s familial honor that he stabbed her multiple times, a death sentence which tragically has been shared by a long and ever-expanding list of Palestinian women and girls.

In the years between 2007 and 2010, the Palestinian Independent Commission for Human Rights has reported 29 women were killed by family members in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. However, in the past two years, 25 women have been subjected to honor killings, with 13 women murdered in 2011 and 12 women slain in 2012.

Full report at:



Medieval ritual tortures kids in name of religion

M. C. Rajan/ Chennai

Aug 20, 2012

OBSERVING religious rituals, at times, borders on cruelty and horror. Children sporting miniature ‘ vels’ ( steel spears) piercing through their cheeks is no pleasant sight. Yet it continues to be performed at many temples in Chennai and elsewhere during the Tamil month of ‘ Aadi’. A group of children, mostly attired in shades of yellow and adorned with garlands, were made to undergo this ritual at the Nagavalli Amman temple in Chennai’s Kodambakkam area on Friday. They were not alone as adult men and women too endured the pain to perform it in fulfillment of a vow.

“ We do it out of faith. Initially, we feel pain but it subsides subsequently… the deity protects our children. I have done it ( piercing) myself and for my children,” K. Mahendran, an auto driver said.

Devotees piercing spears and swords in their bodies and dancing in groups on the way to Murugan and Amman shrines is common not only in the state but wherever the Tamils are settled — Singapore, Malaysia and Sri Lanka.

This is part of the annual ‘ Panguni Uthiram’ festival of Lord Murugan ( Subrahmanya) in the Saivite calendar. Similar is the case during the local festivals of Amman, mother goddess, in the month of ‘ Aadi’, which falls between July and August.

Child right activists have raised concern over the practice.

Any such ritual is a gross violation of the Child Protection Act, 1999, they said, demanding a ban on it.

Mail Today



Pakistani girl accused of Qur'an burning could face death penalty

Jon Boone

19 August 2012

Tensions rise between Muslim and Christian communities amid claims that 11-year-old desecrated text

An 11-year-old Christian Pakistani girl could face the death penalty under the country's notorious blasphemy laws, after she was accused by her neighbours of deliberately burning sacred Islamic texts.

Rifta Masih was arrested on Thursday, after complaints against her prompted angry demonstrations. Asif Ali Zardari, the president, has ordered the interior ministry to investigate the case.

As communal tensions continued to rise, about 900 Christians living on the outskirts of Islamabad have been ordered to leave a neighbourhood where they have lived for almost two decades.

On Sunday, houses on the backstreets of Mehrabadi, an area 20 minutes' drive from western embassies and government ministries, were locked with padlocks, their occupants having fled to already overcrowded Christian slums in and around the capital.

One of the senior members of the dominant Muslim community told the Christians to remove all their belongings from their houses by 1 September. "I don't think anyone will dare go back after this," said one Christian, Arif Masih. "The area is not safe for us now."

A few brave souls have stayed behind, but shopkeepers have refused to serve their Christian neighbours or supply them with water. Locals say only about 10% of families in the area are Christian, renting cramped houses from Muslim landlords. They tend to do dirty, menial jobs such as sewer maintenance.

Full report at:



Report urged in Pakistan Down's Syndrome blasphemy case

August 20, 2012

Pakistan's president on Monday called on officials to explain the arrest on blasphemy charges of a Christian girl with Down's Syndrome who allegedly burnt pages inscribed with verses from the Koran.

There is a growing debate about religious intolerance in Pakistan, where strict anti-blasphemy laws make defaming Islam or desecrating the Koran punishable by death.

Police said the girl, Rimsha, was arrested in a Christian slum of the capital last Thursday and remanded in custody for 14 days after a furious Muslim mob demanded she be punished.

A police official, speaking to AFP on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the case, said the girl was in her teens. Activists say she is 11 years old.

President Asif Ali Zardari took "serious note" of the arrest and called on the interior ministry to submit a report on the case, state media said.

His government was heavily criticised in the West for refusing to reform the anti-blasphemy law, despite the assassinations of a leading politician and a Christian cabinet minister in 2011.

Some reports suggested the girl had been burning papers collected from the rubbish for cooking when someone entered her house and accused the family of burning pages inscribed with verses from the Koran.

Full report at:



When a Tehrani woman tried to telephone her Facebook friend in Israel…

Laughter and tears as Israel’s Channel 2 interviews gutsy Shaharanz, in Farsi, in the Iranian capital, hours after millions marched in her country to call for Israel’s demise


August 17, 2012

Hours after millions of Iranians had taken to the streets chanting anti-Israel slogans and burning Israeli flags to mark Quds (Jerusalem) Day, an Israeli TV station on Friday evening interviewed an Iranian woman, in Tehran — a fascinating, sometimes surreal conversation, probably unprecedented since the Islamic Revolution in 1979.

Forty-year-old “Shaharanz,” a middle-class woman whose face was heavily pixelated to protect her identity, started and finished the Farsi-language conversation on Israel’s Channel 2 by wishing the Israeli viewers, in Hebrew, a “Shabbat shalom” — peaceful Sabbath. In between, she cried as she described impoverished Iranians imploring shopkeepers to give them meat and vegetables, and laughed when she recalled trying to get permission from the Iranian authorities to phone a Facebook friend in Israel to offer condolences after his father died.

Full report at:



Four women arrested for wearing prayer shawls at Western Wall


August 19, 2012

Women of the Wall calls arrests ‘unprecedented’

Four members of the feminist group Women of the Wall were arrested Sunday at the Western Wall in Jerusalem during morning prayers for the new Hebrew month of Elul.

According to the group’s spokesperson, the women were arrested for “behavior that endangers the public peace” and wearing prayer shawls. They will reportedly be banned from the Western Wall plaza for 50 days.

According to spokeswomen Shira Pruce, the Women of the Wall have met once a month for 20 years in the back of the women’s section at the Western Wall. She called the Sunday arrests “unprecedented” and said that “what we did today is nothing new.”

Women of the Wall activists have been arrested several times before for their activities. Most recently, a woman was detained in June for praying with a prayer shawl, and Women of the Wall head Anat Hoffman was arrested in 2010 and fined NIS 5,000 for holding a Torah scroll in the Western Wall plaza.

A 2003 Supreme Court decision prohibited women from wearing prayer shawls or phylacteries, or reading aloud from or holding a Torah scroll, in the main public area of the Western Wall. The same decision provided an alternative location in the archaeological area known as Robinson’s Arch.



Pakistan: Beautician turned fashion designer Aliya Tipu launches first-ever clothing line

Aug 20th, 2012

KARACHI: Senior beautician, Aliya Tipu took this Independence Day as an opportunity to launch her first-ever clothing line under the label of Alle’nora Aliya Tipu here at her boutique.

She is a famous and well-regarded beautician for about quarter-a-century now. Primarily a fashion designer, Aliya presented amazing designs and cuts. In her designs, she merged Arabic looks beautifully with South Asian styles. She selected beautiful, soft and sophisticated colours for embroidery, borders and fabric of the outfits. She used laces to provide dresses with some extra colours and ultra modern looks. The triple borders on prêt line seemed very charming. The collection exhibited comprised of formal and bridal wear. Pure materials like silks, chiffons and georgettes were sculpted beautifully in traditional yet trendy attire. The outfits were tastefully embellished in gold, silver with sprinklings. It is a collection ideal for a bride to be or for that formal occasion you always wanted to really dress up to.

When asked about the shift, she said, “Dress designing was something I always knew I would do. Being a beautician was something that just happened and I have been playing that role for more than two decades now. I am still a beautician first but designing outfits was always on the cards for me.”

Full report at:\08\20\story_20-8-2012_pg12_7