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Islam, Women and Feminism ( 5 Nov 2017, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Islamophobes are more likely to abuse Muslim women than men


New Age Islam News Bureau

5 Nov 2017

Photo: The report found that those in traditional dress are the most likely to be attacked (Picture: Getty)


 They should be able to control their sexual urges but they don't': Hardline Australian imam says women need to wear the hijab to keep men at bay – and tells them to avoid wearing bracelets in public

 Female Genital Mutilation: A Woman’s Right to Reject it over Religious Cultural Rights

 Saudi TV Presenter: Muslim Women Should Pray Alongside Men, Lead Prayer

 How do we know ISIS is losing? Now it’s asking women to fight.

 Boyfriend of 'suicidal' death row Brit who took painkillers into Egypt 'has Muslim wife and multiple girlfriends'

 Boom in entrepreneurs expected after ban on Saudi women driving lifted

 Female athletes to inspire younger generations at Abu Dhabi conference

 Egyptian Swimmer Farida Osman named Best African Female Athlete of 2017

 Yemen Army Targets Riyadh Airport with Long-Distance Missile (+Video)

 The French Muslim who renounced the veil

 Book launch: Women's contribution to 18th century society was significant

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau



Islamophobes are more likely to abuse Muslim women than men

4 Nov 2017

The majority of Muslims who are targeted in racist attacks on the streets are women, a new report has found. An annual study into Islamophobia by Tell MAMA (Measuring Anti-Muslim Attacks) showed that there was a 4% rise in reports of abusive behaviour against Muslims in Britain. Pervert tried to meet underage girls wearing Batman pyjamas Women who wear traditional Islamic clothing, such as a hijab or niqab, were the most likely group to face abuse, Tell MAMA said. The organisation said: ‘Given the impact of anti-Muslim hatred on the mobility of Muslim women and on the personal life choices that they make, the impacts are also felt within the family and have implications for integration and social cohesion.’ Its study found that 56% of Muslims who suffered incidents of abuse in person are women – making it the second year in a row its annual report found that women are more likely to be targeted than men. The report found that those in traditional dress are the most likely to be attacked (Picture: Getty) White men are most likely to launch an attack, Tell MAMA said, with the group responsible for 69% of incidents where the attacker is identifiable. According to female victims of Islamophobia, the language of many attackers had misogynistic overtones, meaning they were assaulted for their gender as well as their religion. In total, the number of street-based incidents reported in Britain in 2016 rose from 437 in 2015 to 642. MORE: UK Police arrest senior firefighter after cash stolen from Grenfell Tower 'Serial sex attacker' wanted after two women dragged into bushes hours apart Hunt for man who tried to kidnap girl, 17, as she walked home from college Hundreds of other attacks happened online, the organisation added. Tell MAMA also urged anyone witnessing anti-Muslim abuse to step in and intervene. It said: ‘A lack of intervention from members of the public during incidents, especially on public transport, can compound the deeper psychological impact that a hate crime can have on a person, compared to equivalent non-aggravated offences.’



'They should be able to control their sexual urges but they don't': Hardline Australian imam says women need to wear the hijab to keep men at bay – and tells them to avoid wearing bracelets in public

5 November 2017

A hardline Islamic leader says women need to wear the hijab so men can control their sexual urges.

Queensland Muslim leader Sheikh Zainadine Johnson has weighed into sexual scandals surrounding Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein to advise women on the need to cover up.

'Men should be able to control themselves. This is a common argument against the Islamic hijab,' he told his Facebook followers.

'I totally agree, they should be able to control themselves, however facts show many don't, this is why a hijab is necessary for women.'

The Muslim-convert and Sharia law advocate, who used to play in a band, followed this up with a sermon urging women to avoid wearing bracelets out in public.

'There's no problem with a female wearing a gold bracelet and making herself look beautiful as long as it's underneath her hijab or at home, no problem,' he told the Logan City Mosque south of Brisbane on Friday night.

Sheikh Johnson's argument linking the hijab with keeping at bay the sexual urges of men has echoes of controversial remarks by former western Sydney-based grand mufti Sheikh Taj el Din al-Hilaly, who in 2006 described women who don't wear the hijab as 'uncovered meat'.

Sheikh el Din al-Hilaly told 500 worshipers in September 2006 that women were asking for attention when they failed to cover up their flesh with a hijab.

'If you take out uncovered meat and place it outside on the street, or in the garden or in the park, or in the backyard without a cover, and the cats come and eat it ... whose fault is it, the cats or the uncovered meat?,' he asked.

'The uncovered meat is the problem.'

His remarks were condemned at the time by other Muslim leaders and then prime minister John Howard as 'appalling and reprehensible'.

Sheikh Johnson, a surfer and former bass guitarist with Brisbane rock band Grinder, used his latest sermon to urge Muslim men to avoid also wearing bracelets.

The hardline Sunni used the Arabic term for sinful, haram, to denounce the idea of men putting on metal, bodily decorations.

'For men, on the other hand, bracelets are haram. Why are bracelets haram?,' he asked.

'Because it is copying the females. Bracelets, necklaces, earrings, nose rings, eye rings, whatever rings.'

Sheikh Johnson, who grew up on the Sunshine Coast, has recently urged Muslims to refrain from celebrating Christmas and in August described as sexual harassment the idea of shaking hands with women.



Female Genital Mutilation: A Woman’s Right to Reject it over Religious Cultural Rights

Posted on November 5th, 2017

Why was SharmilaSeyyid’s invitation to the Tamil Literature Conference revoked? Simple answer is because she spoke openly against the prevalence of female genital mutilation among the Muslim community. We are boasting of democracy but the reality is that this lady who was officially invited to speak at the conference had her invitation cancelled because of influence by Muslim men in the organizing committee who supported FGM! So much for transparency in literature! Sharmila’s research on FGM is extensive and covers Muslim communities living in Mawanella, Akurana, Batticoloa, Ampara, Trincomalee and Puttalam with a child no more than 40 days old becoming victim to the blade! Muslim ladies should not be afraid to come out and go against new religious cultural trends that are harmful to women’s bodies.

It is surprising that while some Muslim women are averse to FMG there are some Muslim ladies who promote it. Why? Many of those who promote it believe it is part and parcel of being a Muslim? How right are they and if so why does it have to be carried out in secret even from a father? The other Muslim women against it believe it is a cultural insertion and has nothing to do with being Muslim. Two schools of thought in conflict no doubt. The health experts in WHO say that FGM can have serious health impacts on women years later. According to WHO it is a violation of a child’s right to health, security & physical integrity.

The All Ceylon JaamiyathulUlema issued a fatwa in 2007 stating it is obligatory for Muslim women but for some strange reason removed it from their website. However, the attached document given below is proof they issued it (it is in Tamil). The fatwa however still stands and local Muslim women are obliged to get themselves circumcised because of it. In fact, they could be forced to be circumcised since it is from the highest religious authority of Sri Lankan Muslims. We reliably learn that Non-Muslim women who marry Muslim men are also forced to endure the operation as adults, often without anaesthetics.

The recent article FGM raises its ugly head in Sri Lanka with Kerala Support by Bintari Hamza Zafar is important for many reasons as FGM is now being promoted with involvement of Islamic clerics in Kerala, India. A wholly wrong and distorted campaign is being promoted that women who do not practice FGM are unclean and likely to spread AIDS and other diseases. If that be so then all non-Muslim women should be suffering from AIDS! According to Bintari the practice is being openly promoted by female and male Islamic scholars at Wahhabi Arabic Ladies Colleges for Muslim girls in Malwana and Kal-Eliya. This type of extremism is totally against the cultural fabric prevalent in the country and is promoting extreme forms of religious cultures that are detrimental to the wellbeing of females.

An Indian NGO by the name of Sahiyo has exposed how the practice in Kerala is targeting poor and lower middle class Muslims. This type of ritual is common in Saudi Arabia, Egypt and parts of the Middle East but in this day and age should we be following such tribal cultures?

One wonders why there is a concerted effort to have Muslim women circumcised and that too by extremist Islamic religious scholars. What is confusing is that there are Muslim scholars who say that it is more of a cultural thing than a religious thing, Others who are extremely religious say it is an obligatory duty which every Muslim woman must go through. Yet no one is courageous enough to pinpoint the dangers and risks involved for the women both physically and mentally. Should these factors not be taken up for discussion first. A woman’s body should not have to go through any torment or torture just to satisfy the ideological beliefs of men who are following religious traditions without questioning the essence and the logic behind the call.



Saudi TV Presenter: Muslim Women Should Pray Alongside Men, Lead Prayer

By Morocco World News -  November 4, 2017

By Sana Elouazi

Rabat – Nadine Al-Budair, a well-known Saudi journalist and TV presenter, stirred controversy after calling for equality in the mosque prayer lines, stating that women should lead prayer and stand side by side with men.

On Thursday evening, the public figure shared a now-deleted tweet that read: “Religious advancement means we get to stand alongside or in front of men during prayer and not behind them. Islam is a religion of equality.”

Al-Budair is a presenter at Rotana TV, a satellite channel owned by Saudi Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Al-Saoud.

Her statement went viral on social media, sparking fury among many users, mostly men, who accused her of pushing against Islamic teachings.

In Islam, it is not permissible for a woman to be in front of men and lead the prayer, according to the Prophet Mohammed’s saying: “The best of the men’s rows is the first row and the worst is the last; but the best of the woman’s row is the last and the worst of their rows is the first.” [Muslim]

[For over 1,400 years (in Islamic tradition only) the woman has stood behind the man. Today you were upset by merely the suggestion of her standing in the front rows. We have a very long way to go.]

This is not the first time the Saudi journalist has courted controversy in the region.

In 2009, Al-Budair published in the Egyptian daily Al Masry Al Youm an article provocatively entitled “My four husbands and I,” pressing for gender equality in marriage laws.

“If Muslim men are entitled to marry up to four wives why can’t women, in the spirit of equality between believers, practice polygamy and have four husbands?” she asked.



How do we know ISIS is losing? Now it’s asking women to fight.


As the Islamic State’s sphere of controlthe territory it controls militarilycontinues to dwindle, the world anticipates that the self-declared caliphate will resort to ever more desperate and brutal measures to survive. More brutal, perhaps, than the well-documented atrocities already committed in its name: violent repression including enslavement, murder and rape. With its territory shrinking, to continue waging its war, the Islamic State increasingly relies on deadly attacks like Tuesday’s in New York City, alleged to have been committed by an Uzbek national living in the United States pledging fealty to the Islamic State.

The organization also recently declared it permissible for women to become warriors, an unprecedented declaration that makes the idea of “desperate” measures seem like an understatement. The outlaw regime, known for its ideological justification of extreme violence directed toward women, now appears willing to rely on women to help save it.

In an Oct. 5 article titled “The Duty of Women in Waging Jihad against the Enemy,” in issue 100 of the Islamic State’s weekly newspaper, Naba, women were called on to prepare themselves as “mujahidat,” female holy warriors, “to fulfill their duty from all aspects in supporting the mujahideen in this battle”:

“Today, in the context of this war against the Islamic state, and with all that is experienced of hardship and pain, it is mandatory for the Muslim women to fulfill their duty from all aspects in supporting the mujahideen in this battle, by preparing themselves as mujahidat in the cause of Allah, and readying to sacrifice themselves to defend the religion of Allah the Most High and Mighty…”

This wasn’t a musing in a casual forum. Naba is an official organ of the Islamic State, with articles often written by its top officials to broadly communicate policy. Even the Islamic State’s notorious publication, Rumiyah (published in numerous languages, including English) is heavily composed of translations of articles already published in Naba. The call for women to become, in effect, combat reservists can be read then as an official Islamic State directiveone that runs afoul of well-known, established Islamic State protocols. That is the only way to interpret this new language.

From Abu Musab al-Zarqawi’s formation in 2003 of what would eventually become the Islamic State, to the declaration and establishment of its “caliphate,” to until very recently, the group has made a strict and consistent pitch to women. Specifically, Islamic State propaganda and the messaging of a community of unofficial online recruiters have characterized the role of Islamic State women as submissive but essential to its caliphate: obeying one’s husband, taking care of the household and mothering the next generation of Islamic State soldiers.

Indeed, on Oct. 4, just one day before the release of Naba’s 100th issue, the Islamic State published a video typical of this characterization, showing the male children of a slain Uzbek fighter. Briefly leaving the focus on the boys following in their father’s footsteps, the video’s narrator described women’s “crucial role” in the Islamic State’s war:

“The Muslim woman has a crucial role in the ongoing war between truth and falsehood, and this is based in protecting and raising the generations on the Book of Allah and the traditions of His Messenger, Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him.”

Other guidance sets out a similar vision. Issue 12 of Rumiyah, from August, specifies that a woman’s “default” role is to “remain in her home.” Issue 9 included an article titled, “The Woman is a Shepherd in her Husband’s Home and Responsible for her Flock.”

Female Islamic State recruiters like Aqsa Mahmood, once a prominent Islamic State immigrant from the United Kingdom, have talked up the benefits for women of Islamic State lifementioning everything from job opportunities to the right to drive a carbut have remained clear when describing the limits for women in advancing the Islamic State’s military aims. In 2014, Mahmood, also known as “Umm Layth,” posted on her recruitment-purposed Tumblr:

“I will be straight up and blunt with you all, there is absolutely nothing for sisters to participate in Qitaal [battle] … we have plenty brothers who don’t even get selected on going on operations … For the sisters its completely impossible for the now.”

That same year, Welsh Islamic State fighter AseelMuthana (a.k.a. “Abu Farriss”) was asked on his why women weren’t allowed to fight. He stated:

“Apparently, head military of Sham said women are not allowed. They can do lots of other works. Today I spoke to one of Dawlahs main men in sham. He said even if uuwanna start a buisness here COME. Like if u wanna be a dr here or anything just come, u can do it all inshallah.”

He also wrote:

“I dont recommend sisters come here to fight. We were told women can not fight, however the women can help the men in other ways if they have professions or not.”

The Islamic State has also been wary of claiming responsibility for attacks performed by women in its name. When the group claims an attackwhether coordinated or inspired by itthe group frequently refers to male attackers as “soldiers of the Caliphate,” “mujahideen” or other honorifics.

However, when claiming responsibility for the San Bernardino massacre via its ‘Amaq News Agency, the Islamic State described attackers Syed RizwanFarook and Tashfeen Malik as “supporters of the Islamic State”avoiding referring to Malik, a woman, as a “soldier of the Caliphate” or “mujahid.”

Similarly, when claiming responsibility for an attack by three purportedly Islamic State-pledged women in Mombasa, Kenya, on Sept. 11, 2016, the Islamic State likewise referred to them as “supporters of the Islamic State.”

Now, though, the Islamic State is at least rhetorically starting to set forth a new permissible role for women, stating in Naba 100, in a historical context:

“To further clarify, my Muslim sister, about your duty in the intense struggle taking place today between the disbelieving faiths and Islam, we have to remind you of the mujahid women of the golden era of Islam. Among the examples that we are going to cite for you of the Muslim women, is one of the shining aspects in the life of the Muslim woman, the mother of heroes, the sister of heroes, and the wife of heroes. It is not strange to the Muslim women today to have the sense of honesty and sacrifice and love for the faith just like their predecessors of the mujahid women who supported Islam.”

The article cites the example of Nusaybah bit Ka’ab, a historic figure in Islam recognized for her participation in the Battle of Uhud. First only tending to soldiers, she saw the prophet Muhammad and others being encircled by enemy forces, and decided to take up a sword to aid them in the battle.

The meaning, for Muslim women living under the Islamic State’s jurisdiction, is clear: time to fight.

It also suggests that Islamic State-sympathetic women living in the West should carry out lone wolf attacks, given the Islamic State’s recent charge to adherents, issued in Rumiyah and elsewhere, to “escalate” attacks against enemies “to a greater level.”

But what “context” justifies this new call to arms, aimed at women, when the Islamic State has been in a state of war since its inception? Have its leaders genuinely developed a cohesive doctrinal rationale, or has this struggling group concocted new policy rationale, now that it finds itself short on troops?

As the Islamic State’s fighting strength wanes and with its ranks likely low in morale, its leaders could have opted not to waver from what they profess as their core ideology. Instead, the group, that projects itself as beholden only to a nonnegotiable, divinely-inspired dogma appears to have allowed itself an ideological lapse. This, as much as any battlefield setback, may be one of its most devastating wounds.

Rita Katz is a terrorism analyst and the co-founder of the Search for International Terrorist Entities Intelligence Group.



Boyfriend of 'suicidal' death row Brit who took painkillers into Egypt 'has Muslim wife and multiple girlfriends'

5 NOV 2017

The Egyptian boyfriend of a British holidaymaker facing the death penalty for taking prescription painkillers into Egypt has multiple girlfriends as well as a Muslim wife.

Jayne Synclair, 40, said her little sister Laura Plummer met Omar Caboo four years ago while on holiday in the country.

The mum-of-one says "naive" Laura quickly fell in love and now travels to see Omar, a sports activity administrator at a 5-star hotel in Sharm El Sheikh, between two and four times a year.

According to Jayne, the pair have signed "documents" which allow them to sleep together in an apartment during Laura's visits.

But she insists their "marriage" is "not legally binding" and "means nothing" in the UK.

"Laura isn't a secret," Jayne told Mirror Online. "She has met Omar's family and children. But he has a Muslim wife and he's allowed to have other girlfriends.

"Laura only signed documents in Egypt that allow them to live together when she goes to stay.

"He doesn't have a passport so can't come to England.

"I don't know much about him but he likes to take her out when she's there. Even though she's 33, she had never had a boyfriend before Omar."

Jayne yesterday revealed Laura has already threatened to commit suicide after 26 days locked in a "repulsive" tiny cell with 25 inmates, no air-conditioning and a hole in the ground to relieve herself.

The 33-year-old, from Hull, was arrested by Egyptian police at Hurghada International Airport when she was found to be carrying Tramadol and Naproxen in her suitcase.

According to her family, she is being held on drug trafficking charges at Hurghada 1st Police Department with "murderers, heroin addicts and prostitutes" sharing her 15ft by 15ft cell.

Laura claims she was carrying the prescription drugs to Omar because he suffers with severe back pain.

"Her life is in danger," Ms Synclair told Mirror Online. "We went out to see her last week and my mum collapsed at the sight of her.

"She looked over at us and said 'mum, mum, please help me, help me'. It was horrendous.

"She was handcuffed to a police officer with a machine gun and the court was full of men - not one woman.

"We are quite a glamorous family and she looked absolutely shocking. Her hair has fallen out and she has a really bad ear infection which has caused her whole face and neck to swell.

"She doesn't even look like herself. She couldn't speak properly and was wearing the clothes she travelled in.

"She can't stay in there any longer or she will be murdered or kill herself."

According to Jayne, Omar was in a car accident two years which left him suffering with severe back and arm pain.

Shop worker Laura, who works at a high-end women's clothing store, claims a colleague gave her the Tramadol after a discussion about her boyfriend's injuries.

"Laura is really naive and child-like so she didn't even check what the drugs were," Jayne says. "She lives at home with our mum in a small room with a single bed - she is the last person this sort of thing would happen to."

Laura has been described by her older sister as 'child-like' (Image: HullDailyMail/ WS)

Laura is one of six siblings and despite being the third youngest is considered the "baby of the family", Jayne says.

"She's a target in there because she's a foreigner," Jayne says. "She was being kicked and kicked until apparently the cell leader started watching her.

"They're not exactly friends because they don't speak the same language but she seems to be making sure Laura doesn't come to any harm.

"To give you an idea of the place Laura is staying in - this woman [the person alleged to be looking after Laura] is locked up for slitting her best friend's throat."

According to Jayne, Omar went to visit Laura as soon as she was arrested but has not been to see her since as he lives a five-hour drive away.

Laura's dad Nevile is said to have already spent £10,000 on legal costs.

"We finally seem to have a good lawyer and he keeps saying how serious the charges are," Jayne says. "We have heard 25 years in prison and even the death penalty.

"At the very least people say Laura is looking at three to five years. She will never make it. She will end up in an asylum."

According to Laura's family, the drugs she carried into Egypt had a "street value" of just £23.20. She was carrying 29 strips of Tramadol, each containing ten tablets, plus some Naproxen.

But while Tramadol is legal in Britain with a prescription, it is illegal in Egypt and known to be used as a heroin substitute.

Laura will appear in court on Thursday for her third hearing.

A Foreign Office spokesman said: "We are supporting a British woman and her family following her detention in Egypt."



Boom in entrepreneurs expected after ban on Saudi women driving lifted

ALICIA BULLER | Published — Sunday 5 November 2017

SVETI STEFAN: Montenegro: More local women are likely to become entrepreneurs after the ban on them driving is lifted in Saudi Arabia, according to a prominent Emirati fashion designer and businesswoman.

Sara Al-Madani, an entrepreneur and board member of the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce & Industry (SCCI), said: “I’m so happy about this, the women in Saudi (Arabia) are a huge wealth and it needs to be properly invested into the economy.”

“Imagine the effect it will have when millions of women can move and get to work? It will transform the country and it’s undeniable that force will have a big impact.”

Al-Madani, founder of Sara Al-Madani Fashion Design and the new British restaurant “Shabarbush” in Dubai, added that not being able to drive has never stopped women from setting up their own business ventures, but “this freedom opens up more opportunities for them so we will see more women on board.”

The entrepreneur, speaking to Arab News on the sidelines of the recent World Citizen Forum, said that the word “innovation” is now trending globally.

“I tell everyone, before you innovate in business or at your work, you need to innovate in yourself, you need to believe in yourself and break the stereotype.

“You need to stand up for your rights and believe in your dreams and accomplish them and, once you’ve done that, you can innovate externally … Women are strong, we just need inspiration.”

Al-Madani ventured into the business world at a time when very few Emirati women were doing so. Defying cultural norms, she started her fashion label Rouge Couture, now known as Sara Al-Madani Fashion Design, at the age of 15.

In 2014 Al-Madani, now 30, was selected by Sultan bin Muhammad Al-Qasimi, ruler of the UAE emirate of Sharjah, as a board member of the SCCI.

Al-Madani also runs the creative consultancy Social Fish, and is a brand ambassador for Nivea and Natura Bissé in the Middle East

She said: “This is just the beginning (of freedoms) for Saudi women. I wish the Saudi women all the best — they are graceful, smart and educated.”



Female athletes to inspire younger generations at Abu Dhabi conference

November 5, 2017

From chasing their dreams on neighbourhood streets to representing their country at the international level, female athletes will be sharing their journey with the world during a sports conference in Abu Dhabi on Monday.

The International Conference of Sports for Women 2017, by the Fatima bint Mubarak Ladies Sports Academy, will attract an array of athletes to talk about their journey and the struggles they faced to reach their goals.

“I started playing football in schools and streets with my brother,” said Houriya Al Tahri, a 31-year-old Emirati from Dubai. “When women’s football started in the UAE, it was in Abu Dhabi so I decided to move there after high school to get a job to rely on myself.”

Mr Al Tahri’s coaches supported her dream to play at the national level and told them that her presence on the team would help usher the next generation of female athletes.

Now the head coach of the senior women’s national football team in the Emirates, Ms Al Tahri witnessed many changes in the sport from a young age.

“There were only seven Emirati girls playing in 2004 and now we reached around 2,300 players,” she said. “It’s a great accomplishment. There was only one club, not even a league, but today we have all age groups with training centres – we never had any of this.”

Despite cultural reservations against women playing sports in the UAE, Ms Al Tahri was fortunate to get the full support of her family pushing her to pursue her dreams beyond what was generally accepted at the time.

“For them, it was normal because I was a kid. In the UAE, the culture is you play in school but then around 16, girls shouldn’t play. But with my family, it was different because it became a habit and it’s the one thing I love to do,” she said.

Her advice to young Emirati women wishing to follow that path is to be persistent saying “the first struggle you always face is you,”

Persistence was what Zahra Lahri, the 22-year old from Abu Dhabi, needed to achieve her goal of becoming a figure skater, which was met with resistance.

After watching the movie Ice Princess ten years ago, Ms Lahri’s love for skating began and was further nurtured when her dad took her to Zayed Sports City ice rink, where she began training the very next day.

However, it was also her father who two years later also advised her to keep skating only as a hobby, and nothing more.

“I was getting older and culturally it wasn’t acceptable in those days,” she said. “Nobody knew what figure skating was so he stopped me from competing but once he saw how much I loved it, he became very supportive.”

In fact, Ms Lahri’s grew so supportive of his daughter’s passion that he ended up opening the Emirates Skating Club, where his wife is member.

The 22-year-old will speak about breaking barriers to reach your goals.

“Awareness was the biggest struggle for me and having society understand what the sport is,” Ms Lahri said. “Girls weren’t really supportive at that time, but with the help of the Fatima bint Mubarak Ladies Sports Academy, we raised awareness about women in sports. A lot more women now are in sports and quite a few in figure skating.”

She said as a result, the number of Emirati female athletes is growing.

Among them is Amna Al Haddad, who was the first Arab woman to compete in the Crossfit Asia Regionals in 2012, and an Emirati Olympic weightlifter who won the Arab Woman Award in Sports last year.

“You see many local girls doing hockey, football and basketball and a lot of them want to be able to go to the Olympics,” Ms Al Lahri said. “It’s becoming very common now to find Emirati women trying to accomplish so many things in sports,” said Ms Lahri.

May Khalil, a 61-year-old Lebanese, will speak about her own experience with the Beirut Marathon, which she started in 2003.

“I used to be a long-distance marathon runner almost all my life until I had a huge accident in 2001 while training to do a marathon, and I was hit by a minibus,” she said.

She slipped into a 10-day coma and was hospitalised for two years, undergoing 40 surgeries to date.

But that didn’t stop her from pursuing her dream.

“The minute I woke up, I thought of organising a marathon,” she said. “It might sound strange but to me, it was an objective to look forward to and probably the values I learnt from running I found at the time I needed the most. So the determination, perseverance and commitment and setting an objective at that time helped me to stay in focus and overcome it.”

She thought if she could not run herself, she would want others to.

“I’m able to walk but I physically can no longer run,” she said. “But the determination I had made all these challenges seem rather small and manageable at that time. The marathon started at a time when people weren’t even familiar with the term and now you find thousands of people running all over the streets so our mission was to move and unite people through running.”

This year’s conference in its fourth edition is held under the theme of Inspiring Generations. “The way we look at it is that it’s both, forward-thinking and also reflective of generations and role models that will be at the conference talking about their journeys and how they’ve already inspired existing generations,” Sheikha Fatima bint Hazza bin Zayed, Chairwoman of the Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Sports Academy said. She said that “ICSW proposes ideas and discussions not just exclusive to the Middle East and the UAE but relevant to the women sports’ platform globally’. "It’s the only conference of its kind in the region of this calibre which in turn, allows us to place Abu Dhabi on the global map of female sports”, she commented on the strategic importance of the ICSW.

The conference will have six panels to engage conversations and eight workshops to serve on a more educational and interactive level. A sports photography competition will be hosted too with Getty Images open for local Emirati female photographers.



Egyptian Swimmer Farida Osman named Best African Female Athlete of 2017

November 4, 2017

Farida Osman, the first Egyptian to win a medal at the Swimming World Champions, has been named as the Best Female Athlete from Africa at the Association Of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) Awards 2017 in Prague on Thursday.

“Being the first Egyptian ever to win a medal at World Championships is so pleasing,” said the Egyptian swimmer after receiving her trophy at Thursday’s event.

“It’s not only a historic moment for me but also for Egyptian women, Arab and African women in general.”

“I’d like to thank my family, my dad is here with me tonight. I’d like to thank my coach, the Egyptian Olympic Committee and my country for supporting me along this way,” she added.

The 22-year-old won the bronze medal in the women’s 50m butterfly final in Budapest in July after she achieved a time of 25.39s, and claiming the country’s first-ever medal.

Osman also broke the African record for the event for the third time, topping her previous mark set at the semifinals by 0.25s. She missed the silver standing by 0.01s to RanomiKromowidjojo from Netherlands, while the gold was claimed by Swedish Sarah Sjoestroem  who swam a 24.60s.

ANOC award-winners were decided in September by the ANOC jury, comprised of representatives from each of the Continental Associations, the ANOC Athletes’ Commission Chair, ASOIF President, AIOWF President and ANOC Secretary General.



The French Muslim who renounced the veil

Carlotta Gall NOVEMBER 05, 2017

Shortly after the Paris terror attacks in November 2015, HendaAyari, a French citizen of North African parentage, wrote a bitter denunciation of Salafism and its encouragement of violent jihad among young French Muslims. She described how, as a student, she had been drawn into the fundamentalist Islamist sect of Salafism, and how, after 10 years of marriage and with three children, she had fought to break out of what she called the straitjacket of radical Islam.

Two weeks ago, she set off another uproar. Sitting at her computer and reading the accounts of women outing their sexual aggressors in the #MeToo campaign on social media after the Harvey Weinstein scandal, she joined in and identified the man she says raped her five years ago.

“It was something in my heart,” she said in a telephone interview last week. “I had a lot of difficulty with this for years, and I could not forget what happened to me that night with him, and so I decided.”

The man she accused of raping her in a Paris hotel room in spring 2012, and who she says threatened her into silence, was Tariq Ramadan, a Swiss-born Muslim scholar who teaches contemporary Islamic studies at Oxford University and who is a familiar face on television news programmes speaking about Islam and the Western world.

The same day Ms. Ayari exposed him on Facebook, she filed a complaint about the assault with the police in her hometown, Rouen, France. She has accused Mr. Ramadan of rape, sexual assault, wilful violence, harassment and intimidation, her lawyers said. Mr. Ramadan said in an announcement on his Facebook page over the weekend that the allegations were unfounded and that they were part of an organised campaign of slander by his enemies.

Ms. Ayari, 40, grew up in a working-class family in Rouen, the daughter of an Algerian father and Tunisian mother, both Muslims but not particularly religious. Her parents divorced when she was young and both remarried.

Goodbye to Salafism

She enrolled in college to study psychology and began to explore religion. She started to wear the veil and was quickly welcomed into a circle of conservative Muslims. Within months, they had set her up with a Tunisian Salafi who lived in Lyon. They married when she was 21.

For the next 10 years, Ayari lived a life of almost complete seclusion.

As their marriage deteriorated, she said, her husband became abusive. When a social services official told her she lived in a prison and advised her to seek psychological help, she realised she had to break out. Eventually, Ms. Ayari fled with her children. But restarting her life as a single mother while grappling with a crisis of faith proved to be too big a leap. She suffered a nervous breakdown and lost custody of her children for two years.

As she started questioning the extreme ideology of Salafism, she began following the teaching of Mr. Ramadan, who became an online instructor and mentor, eventually suggesting that they meet in Paris where he was attending a conference.

She said she viewed him as a saint and was shocked and terrified by what she says was his violent assault and his threats to her to remain silent afterward.

Since naming him as her attacker, she says she has been inundated with insults and abuse. “The reaction, the buzz, really frightened me,” she said in the phone interview.

Yet, she says the messages she has received from other women give her a sense of purpose. “I took a long time to open my eyes, to understand that they indoctrinated us,” she said.

“It is important to say to all women that they should speak out, that they should not be scared, that they are not inferior beings to men, that they are equal to men, that they should fight to be respected and that you do not have to wear a veil to be a good Muslim.”NYTImes



Book launch: Women's contribution to 18th century society was significant

Sunday, 5 November 2017

A thoroughly researched book on  women in 18th century Malta has been officially launched at the Megalithic Temples of ĠgantijaGozo which 300 years ago was surrounded by large cotton fields with the active participation of Gozitan women  in one of the most thriving industries on the Maltese islands. Maltese and Gozitan women were to be found in a variety of occupations, as farmers, cotton spinners, dressmakers, washerwomen, bakers, shop owners, actresses. Textile production was particularly demanding of female labour as well as the corsairing industry which also flourished at that time.

“Maltese women in the 18th century were not personally very much directly involved in any great movements or major political events.  They suffered many restrictions and limitations in legal and social rights but still they were neither invisible, inaudible nor unimportant.  However, their contribution in various sectors to the growth and development of their society was significant and should not be overlooked or undervalued.” remarked Yosanne Vella, the author of ‘Women in 18th Century Malta’.

Gozo Minister JustyneCaruana attended the book launch. She maintained that the publication was an important addition to Maltese literature and scholarship since women have historically, culturally and politically been by far the neglected protagonists, and sometimes even the heroes, of Maltese and Gozitan society. The publication begins to set the record straight, Minister Caruana said.

The publication unveils authentic stories of Maltese women appearing before the Courts of Justice accused of  criminal activity, including thefts, physical assaults and prostitution. Court records unveiled by the author include accusations against women both from Valletta and the villages of abusive and blasphemous conduct, drunkenness, theft offences, molesting, fighting and beating up people.

The author has also researched the Inquisitor’s archives which shed new light on life in monasteries. One Carmelite nun became pregnant in 1730 and tried to make an abortion.  Nuns at the Monastery of Santa Scholastica were accused of scandalous and pagan behaviour, one nun being accused of having sexual intercourse with the Devil.

Three hundred years ago the majority of Maltese women as well as men were illiterate. However some nuns could probably read the breviary, which was in Latin and taught catechism to girls.

The author reveals encounters between Maltese women and Knights from various Languages and the presence of Muslim female slaves. Some female slaves seem to have been equally high spirited and far from being intimidated often quarrelled openly and insulted Maltese women, even their own mistresses.

The author delves into  court cases involving adultery and sexual offences. Maltese women were victims of unwanted attention by the Knights who were loathed for the way they took advantage of them. Maltese women, who could be very sensual in their appearance, also sought  to lure innocent Knights. In many cases women were the victims of injustices and criminal acts. However, at other times it was the women themselves who were personally involved and committed the crimes. Violence against women occurred quite frequently. Most frequently much of the suffering was inflicted on the women by their own husbands. It seems that for a large number of Maltese wives beatings were part and parcel of married life.

The book,  illustrated with paintings from public and private collections in Malta, Paris and St Petersburg, will sell at €25 from local booksellers but will be sold at the special price of €20 from the SKS Stand at the Malta Book  Festival at the Mediterranean Conference Centre, Valletta between 8-12 November. The author will attend the Book Festival on Saturday 11 November between 6pm-8pm and sign copies of her latest publication.




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