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Islam, Women and Feminism ( 10 Apr 2017, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Malaysia’s Women’s Minister Told To Make Stand Against Child Marriage

New Age Islam News Bureau

10 Apr 2017

 EDL demonstration: Saffiyah Khan came to the aid of Ms Khan - and went viral as a result (PA)


 Bangladesh Minister Appoints 19 Female Drivers At Post Office

 UK Muslim Woman Describes Moment She Was Surrounded By 'Swarm' Of EDL Members Shouting Racist Abuse

 Pakistan: CM Approves Punjab Women Protection Authority Ordinance

 Rulers lack courage to ask US to free Aafia: Fauzia

 Prove My Husband Spread Shia Teachings, Says Amri’s Wife

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau




Malaysia’s Women’s Minister Told To Make Stand Against Child Marriage

April 9, 2017

PETALING JAYA: Women, Family and Community Development Minister Rohani Abdul Karim has been urged to make a stand against child marriages after she reportedly defended Umno’s Tasek Gelugor MP Shabudin Yahaya on the issue he raised in the Dewan Rakyat on April 4.

PKR Wanita chief Zuraida Kamaruddin hit out at Rohani for saying she would not interfere in the matter, calling on her to change her portfolio or resign immediately if she does not want to speak out for affected children and women.

She said Rohani should make a clear stand to reject Shabudin’s assertion.

“Children are not physically nor spiritually ready for marriage, even if according to Shabudin, those between 9 and 12 years old may have bodies like an 18-years-old,” Zuraida, who is also MP for Ampang, said in a statement today.

“These words are absolutely shallow beyond description and if this is the quality of judges and MPs we have, then we have to ask ourselves why we keep voting for such leaders to represent us.”

The Star Online reported Rohani as remarking yesterday that Shabudin was merely drawing on his own experience as a former Shariah court judge when addressing the issue and that it was “unfortunate” that his remarks had been taken out of context.

“Being a former Shariah court judge, he has encountered all these scenarios and was relaying his experience of handling such cases,” she was quoted as saying.

“He was not implying that a nine-year-old girl can get married, but rather, he was being detailed in his explanation,” she said. “He was being so detailed in his explanation to the extent that it got misunderstood.”

Shabudin was reported to have said in the Dewan Rakyat on April 4 that it was not wrong for a girl to get married to her rapist.

The former Penang State Islamic Council president reportedly said that marriage, even to her rapist, would be good for the girl as she would otherwise face a bleak future.

He also said some 16-year-old girls had “wild lifestyles” and their families found it hard to control them.

However, in a statement on April 5, Shabudin said he had been quoted out of context.

He said he was stressing that there was no provision in Islamic law that stopped under-aged victims from getting married. He also said the child could not be married off by her wali (guardian) without the permission of the shariah court.

Zuraida however claimed that Rohani had shocked the nation with her “callous remarks” towards Shabudin’s statement.

“Citing Shabudin’s experience as an ex-Shariah judge only means that Rohani respects Shabudin’s views on child marriages,” she said.

“Paedophilia is something that should be banned by all means and that is the reason why child marriages should never be allowed.

“Rape and child marriages are two different and wrong things,” she added.

Zuraida stressed that no child would want to marry her rapist and if her guardians gave permission for the rapist to marry the victim, then they should be punished for neglect, abandonment and failure to protect the child.

“Being raped is not the end of the world, but marrying off a child will deny the child of an education and a better future,” she added. “Marriage does not guarantee anything especially when there are so many cases of husbands not supporting the family.”



Bangladesh Minister Appoints 19 Female Drivers At Post Office

April 10, 2017

'This will set an amazing example of women empowerment as the females will achieve heavy vehicle driving licences'

Bangladesh Post Office has appointed 19 female drivers in the organisation as a part of its Mail Transportation Strengthening Project.

Tarana Halim, state minister of Posts and Telecommunication Division, on Sunday handed over the keys of the vehicles to the newly appointed female drivers in a programme held at the Post Office building premises.

The Mail Transportation Strengthening Project was initiated in September 2015 to ensure better mailing service. The project added 118 new vehicles to Post Office’s fleet and 33 garages to accommodate the vehicles. Among the 118 vehicles, 19 have been delivered to the Post Office already and the rest will be handed over to the organisation by June this year.

Tarana said: “I was trying my best to bring in the vehicles as soon as possible when Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) approved the project. I also had the directive to appoint a total of 20% female drivers.”

This will set an amazing example of women empowerment as the females will achieve heavy vehicle driving licences and will be eligible to drive heavy vehicles throughout the country, she added.

Among others, Shyam Sunder Sikder, secretary of Posts and Telecommunication Division, and Sushanto Kumar Mondal, director general of Bangladesh Post Office, were also present at the programme.



UK Muslim Woman Describes Moment She Was Surrounded By 'Swarm' Of EDL Members Shouting Racist Abuse

Apr 10, 2017

A Muslim woman has told of the moment she was surrounded by a “swarm” of angry EDL protesters at a march in Birmingham.

The woman, who has asked to be referred as Ms Khan*, said she had gone to a counter-protest against a march by members of the English Defence League (EDL) because she would not allow their racist narrative to go unchallenged.

Several dozens of the far-right group marched from New Street station to The Library of Birmingham on Saturday afternoon to protest against what they say is the “Islamification of Britain”.

Ms Khan said she was at the back of the protest when she heard some of the comments made about Muslims and Islam, portraying them as terrorists, extremists and “a threat of some kind that needs to be tackled”.

She told The Independent: “Now me being a Muslim, I could not stay silent. I could not allow that narrative being thrown around in public in such a central location in the city of Birmingham. [It] is such a vibrant city with so many different races and we all live alongside each other really peacefully.”

She said she began shouting “No to Islamophobia, no to war” when suddenly “they rushed towards me”.

“It was like a swarm of them. They came at me so aggressively”, she said “They had fully surrounded me and they were trying to get past the two or three officers who were stood in front of me and the few counter protesters who were standing next to me”.

She said one man tried to put an Islamophobic sign on her head while another draped an EDL flag over her face.

“These EDL members were trying to get past the police officers. They were shouting things like ‘you’re not English, this isn’t your country, this is a Christian country and go back to where you came from’”, she added.

Ms Khan, who was born and bred in the UK, believes she was targeted not for what she was saying but because she was “visibly a Muslim woman”.

She said: “I was so scared and so threatened by these people.

“Prior to me even saying a word, when they saw me there...the sort of looks I was getting from them – they were staring right through me in a really angry sort of way. The way they were looking at me... it was like they wanted to eat me.”

She paid tribute to her fellow protesters who rush to stand by her side when she was accosted by the EDL: “It was nice to see that there were some people who came and stood side by side with me and actually put their hands on my shoulders, giving me that support, saying ‘we are here with you’. I think maybe one of them was Muslim”.

A photo of one of those fellow protesters who came to her, Saffiyah Khan, smiling and unconcerned while an EDL protester shouts in her face has gone viral.

She later told Buzzfeed: "I didn't feel threatened in the slightest way. Though later the 25ish individuals who were circling [Ms Khan] then came to circle me and the other individuals who had an issue with that situation."

Ms Khan said the picture of Birmingham painted by the EDL and others as “the Jihadi capital of Britain” was completely wrong.

“Everybody lives alongside each other in complete harmony”, she explained. “You just have to walk into Birmingham city centre to see all people of different races, different religions living side by side”.



Pakistan: CM Approves Punjab Women Protection Authority Ordinance


Apr 10, 2017

LAHORE: The chief minister has finally approved the Punjab Women Protection Authority Ordinance which is going to be promulgated in the next few days, providing for a management structure for the innovatory women protection centres in Punjab.

One such centre has already started functioning in Multan, providing under one roof for the first time in the history of the country all sorts of protection and legal and medical assistance to women who are victims of violence. The government intends to establish such centres in every district.

The centres and the ordinance have been initiated and designed by the Chief Minister’s Strategic Reforms Unit.

According to a copy of the draft ordinance obtained by Dawn, the authority will be headed by a chairperson to be appointed by the government. Its members will include three MPAs, including two women, additional chief secretary or the home secretary, IGP, social welfare, women development and prosecution departments’ secretaries, four non-official members including two women and a director general.

To be promulgated in few days

The authority shall establish, maintain, monitor, govern, operate and construct women protection centres in Punjab, initiate, maintain and execute a continuous process of comprehensive planning for the protection system, formulate and ensure minimum standards, code of conduct and standard operating procedures to be followed by the persons engaged in the protection system.

It shall ensure that a case of violence registered with a police station in the province and the victims are referred to the protection centre, if not in the district concerned to a nearby one, for medical examination, collection of forensic, investigation, prosecution and protection.

It shall enlist women volunteers and organizations and assign roles to them in terms of advocacy, raising awareness, mediation and referring the victims to the protection centres, carry out administrative affairs and monitor and evaluate establishment or construction of protection centres and provide them funding for their functions.

The authority or its officials will approve annual budget, make regulations and policy decisions.

The director general shall be appointed by the government. The authority shall appoint officers, advisors, and employees, also having powers to acquire their services on deputation.

The ordinance provides that the authority may seek assistance of police in the discharge of its duties and performance of functions.

There shall be an additional IGP Women Protection, a woman officer, whom the authority shall authorize to supervise the working of police officers posted at the protection centres, report to the IGP on a bi-weekly basis all the cases at the centres, supervise and monitor prosecution of cases and oversee and monitor prosecution on gender-based crimes and performance of police officials at the centres.

Published in Dawn, April 10th, 2017



Rulers lack courage to ask US to free Aafia: Fauzia

April 10, 2017

KARACHI - Aafia Movement Pakistan leader Dr Fauzia Siddiqui has said that her sister Dr Aafia Siddiqui and her three minor children were handed over to Americans illegally.

This is violation of the constitution of Pakistan, she said while addressing a “Free Aafia” motorcycle rally from Safari Park to Tower on Sunday in connection with the ongoing campaign for release of Dr Aafia from “illegal detention” in the United States. She said this rally was aimed at demanding supremacy of the constitution in Pakistan. She said the common man in Pakistan would continue to be deprived of justice like Aafia Siddiqui until the rulers and government functionaries start obeying court orders.

A large number of people belonging to different walks of life attended the rally. Carrying flags and banners inscribed with slogans demanding release of Aafia, they raised slogans for rule of law in Pakistan.

Dr Fauzia said that struggle for release of Aafia from the American prison was symbol of a struggle for the rule of law and respect for human rights and personal liberties in Pakistan. She said that even 70 years after creation of Pakistan rulers and bureaucracy had kept the people of Pakistan enslaved. She said that Pakistani rulers lacked courage to write a simple letter to Americans and ask them to repatriate Dr Aafia to Pakistan. She said the history would never forgive these rulers for this betrayal.

She said that people belonging to various cities, towns and even other countries had contacted the Aafia Movement Secretariat and expressed solidarity with the “Free Aafia” campaign. She said that many women had contacted the secretariat and expressed their desire to join the rally.

Dr Fauzia said that Aafia was a Pakistani citizen and she never opted for US citizenship. She said that cases against Aafia were totally false and fabricated. She said that even US legal experts had declared transfer of Aafia to the US and her trial on the US soil totally illegal. She said that Dr Aafia was a top-notch educationist. She had returned to Pakistan to work on a plan to brighten the future of Pakistani children, she said. She regretted that Aafia was kidnapped along with her three minor children and trafficked to America.

Dr Fauzia expressed the hope that unity of people would soon lead to release and repatriation of Dr Aafia. She said the demand for release of Aafia was a collective demand of the entire Pakistani nation.



Prove my husband spread Shia teachings, says Amri’s wife

Nawar Firdaws

April 10, 2017

PETALING JAYA: Perlis activist Amri Che Mat’s abduction was recently linked to allegations that he had in the past, attempted to spread the teachings of Shia.

His wife, Norhayati Ariffin, drew a parallel to allegations surrounding another abducted activist, Pastor Raymond Koh.

Koh had been accused of proselytising Muslims, following a raid by the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) at a thanksgiving dinner in 2011.

Whether these allegation were true or false, they shouldn’t be a reason to silence these individuals through illegal means, Norhayati said.

She added that even if it was true that her husband was a Shia, the authorities should provide proof to back their claim.

“If they say my husband is a Shia, where is the proof? Why they (the authorities) never came and questioned him? Even the police never came to our house,” she told FMT.

Amri, 44, is a co-founder of charity organisation Perlis Hope. The organisation which is based in Amri’s house has been linked to Shia, a sect which the National Fatwa Council has deemed as deviationist and thus, is “haram” (forbidden).

“There are also those who claimed that Perlis Hope is a terrorist (pengganas) organisation. But just come to our house, or Perlis Hope’s office, and take a look at our accounts.

“We keep a record of all our activities because Perlis Hope is a registered organisation. We receive donations for our activities, even as small as RM3,” she said, reiterating that Amri was not Shia.

This was affirmed by Perlis Hope’s spokesperson Mahmud Al-Kaf, who also told FMT if the authorities have proof that Amri was a Shia, then they should take him to court.

Norhayati agreed, saying, “This country allows the freedom to practice one’s religion. And if the Muslims’ faith in their religion is strong, then they wouldn’t be easily influenced by the teachings of others.”

Amri, a foreign exchange trader and social activist was abducted at Bukit Chabang, Perlis on Nov 24 last year.

Norhayati had reportedly said that witnesses saw five vehicles blocking the path of Amri’s car before he was taken away just 550 metres from their home.

His black four-wheel drive was found later near Perlis’ Timah Tasoh Dam with the windscreen smashed.

In a conversation with FMT today, Norhayati questioned the authorities’ silence over her husband’s abduction, and their inability to uncover a single clue in the past four and a half months.

“They (the police) never contacted us to provide an update. I called them several times in the early days of Amri’s disappearance, but they kept telling me that they had no lead on the case.

“After a while, I gave up on them, and now, my family’s representative is the one communicating with the police. But the answers are always the same.

“I don’t understand how they can’t trace him. There were witnesses but they were never called in for questioning. Some witnesses I spoke to said they had seen a car monitoring my house for over a week.

“There are restaurants, convenience stores, and a workshop in the area, where the abductors might have visited.”

The mother of four also expressed fear for her family’s safety, and said that she had told the police of her concern.

But according to Norhayati, the police told her they had no plans to set up a road block around her neighbourhood, or monitor her house for a while to make sure no one would come for her or her children.

“The police could at least patrol the area. It doesn’t take that much work to just have a car patrolling the neighbourhood.

“Sometimes I’m scared to go out, or to send my children for tuition at night. But I have no choice. I have to be strong.”




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