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Why Meghan Markle Is A Fan of Somalia-Born, London-Based Ramla Ali, Winner of a British Boxing Title

New Age Islam News Bureau

7 Jun 2020

Somali boxer Ramla Ali is the first Muslim woman to win a championship title in the UK. Photo: @ramlaali


• Why Meghan Markle Is A Fan of Somalia-Born, London-Based Ramla Ali, Winner of a British Boxing Title

• Numbers Tell It: Increasing Role of Women in Saudi Sports

• Qatar Accused of Silencing Women’s Rights Activists on Social Media

• Association of Muslim Women In Business And Professions Condemn Spate Of Rape, Murder In Nigeria

• NCW Issues 3rd Edition Of Women Policy Tracker Amid COVID-19

• The Zay Initiative Puts Authentic Arab Fashion in The Limelight

• Protest Campaign Over Woman’s Murder In Robbery In Balochistan’s Kech Reaches Karachi

Compiled By New Age Islam News Bureau



Why Meghan Markle is a fan of Ramla Ali, the Somali refugee who became the first Muslim woman to win a British boxing title

7 Jun, 2020


For both African and Muslim women around the world, the news of Somalia-born, London-based Ramla Ali winning a British boxing title – and becoming the first Muslim woman to do so – was likely to be a source of deep pride and inspiration. And that was just the beginning.

Here is what you need to know about Ramla Ali, the former refugee who became a star sportsperson and fashion model alike.

Her family fled the bloody war in Somalia in the 1990s and came to the UK as refugees where they were granted asylum. She was a child at the time, and doesn’t know her exact age to this day. Once they settled in their new environment, Ali started going to an all-girls school to pursue her education. But unfortunately she was made fun of by other girls because she looked obese. Yet, she never gave up and finished her schooling thanks to her mother, who emerged as a pillar of strength, encouraging her to visit a gym to lower her weight. Along the way, she also went on to study law but wasn’t interested in pursuing a legal career at all.


Numbers tell it: Increasing role of women in Saudi sports


June 06, 2020

Last week, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) shared the great news that in sports, gender is not an issue.

The increasing level of awareness and interest in the field proved that women are as capable as men, and can be granted membership and positions at such a prestigious organization that engenders values through the promotion of sports to all mankind.

Within the framework of the IOC’s gender equality movement, it announced last week that female participation in the IOC commissions has more than doubled (from 20 percent in 2013).

The 2020 IOC commissions’ composition, which is established by the IOC president in tandem with the IOC executive board, also includes the appointment of two new female chairs — Khunying PatamaLeeswadtrakul of Thailand, who has been appointed chair of the Culture and Olympic Heritage Commission, and China’s Zhang Hong, who will chair the newly formed IOC Coordination Commission for the 2024 Winter Youth Olympic Games.

According to Reuters, the IOC says women now account for nearly half of the membership of its commissions, an all-time high in the organization's drive for gender equality. Across 30 IOC commissions, 47.7 percent of the positions are held by women, up from 45.4 percent in 2019.

“Advancing women in leadership roles in sport is truly a team effort, and I want to thank all those who have contributed to this for their continued support, commitment and inspiration,” said IOC President Thomas Bach.

Meanwhile, the situation is promising in Saudi Arabia as well. The first breakthrough was in 2008, when a royal decree was issued that had the first Saudi woman, Arwa Mutabagani, appointed as an official member of the Saudi Arabian Equestrian Federation. Mutabagani was also the first to supervise the Saudi women's delegation at the 2012 London Olympics, where our brave women participated for the first time (Sarah Attar, athletics 800 meters, and WejdanShaharkhani, judo).

In March 2016, another royal decree appointed Princess Reema bint Bandar director of women’s sports at the Ministry of Sports (MOS) and vice president of women’s affairs at the General Sports Authority. Princess Reema supported her peers and brought a team of Saudi women as she is a strong believer in their capabilities. Thanks to her, and to governmental support, the MOS now has female employees and members representing the 64 Saudi sports federations.

According to the latest statistics released by the Saudi Arabian Olympic Committee (SAOC), 28 women were granted positions in Saudi sports federations in 2019 as board members in 28 Saudi sports federations, which makes up almost 43 percent of the total number of federations. Additional positions were also given to women in 39 (70 percent) sports federations such as coaches, administration, and technicians.

Under the presidency of Prince Abdul Aziz bin Turki Al-Faisal, the SAOC also supported gender equality and four new positions were given to women in 2019, in addition to two more in 2020 in managerial and administrative positions.

I don't believe this is a coincidence, and I do believe that when the time is right for the Kingdom, Saudis of both genders will work together with pride to honor their country and will not settle for less.

This is what we witnessed when the number of Saudi women athletes increased massively when presented with opportunities during the past two years. For example, one of the recent international participations had the biggest Saudi women's delegation consisting of more than 100 athletes and team leaders at the 6th Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Women Games in Kuwait in October 2019.

According to the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the Tokyo Olympics is expected to have an almost equal number of female and male athletes for the first time, the IOC announced in March. The percentage of female athletes competing at the Olympics in Japan in July is expected to rise to nearly 49 percent, up from 34 percent in 1996, according to the IOC.

• Dr. Razan Baker is a director of international communication at the Saudi Olympic Committee, a specialist in corporate social responsibility in sports, and a sports columnist/journalist. Twitter: @RazanBaker


Qatar accused of silencing women’s rights activists on social media


LONDON –A prominent Twitter account titled “Qatari feminists” changed its name to “Qatari women” and featured an apology for the strong advocacy of women’s rights reforms, raising questions as to whether the account’s administrators had been intimidated by the Qatari government.

A statement attempting to clarify the account’s name change raised even more questions after it referenced “Newton’s third law” and declared respect for “Sharia law.”

“We have seen the implications of pushing on with what we were previously doing and sharing,” the statement said, with administrators apologising for their previous approach in defending Qatari women’s rights and stressing the need to call only for reforms that are in accordance with Sharia law.

Administrators said their platform had been effective in raising awareness on women’s rights, but that after consulting with “conscious and educated intellectuals who helped us understand the future and fate things,” they decided to change course.

Twitter users struggled to make sense of the statement, with some speculating that administrators had grown fearful of state sanctions or that the account had been hijacked.

Some sources said the account’s administrators had received threats and one Twitter user accused Qatari newspaper editor Abdullah al-Athbah of taking over the account.

Al-Athbah, who is also an adviser to Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, is known for his close ties with the Muslim Brotherhood and has been accused of extremist apologism.

Last year, Qatari authorities closed a separate account also titled “Qatari feminists” and arrested the administrators after making threats against their families.

After the account was disabled, Qatari users shared news on Twitter confirming that authorities had summoned the administrators for interrogation, forcing them to shut down the account.

Qatari activist Tahani al-Hajri wrote on Twitter that “the administrators were summoned and it appears they were intimidated into shutting down the account. We pray they are safe and fine.”

Activist Mariam al-Hajri backed up the news, noting that the families of the girls were also summoned by the authorities. The activist criticised how security forces had dealt with women’s rights activists. Hajri’s account, “@ mariama1hajiri,” later disappeared as well and her whereabouts are now unknown.

Another activist advised Qatari women earlier this year not to tweet with their official accounts and to use pseudonyms and stop-the-trace applications so that they would not be arrested or held accountable.

Qatari feminists previously launched the hashtag “#rights_of_Qatari_women,” after which some were arrested and signed pledges not to “provoke sedition.”

Such restrictions have motivated some Qatari women to flee the country to look for refuge abroad where they can express themselves more freely.

Activist Aisha al-Qahtani is one such woman who sought refuge outside Qatar. Qahtani accused Qatar last April of hiring a Saudi man to attempt to persuade her to return.

Qatar, whose media outlets routinely criticise Saudi Arabia’s record on women’s rights, ranks 130 out of 144 countries in the World Economic Forum’s 2017 Global Gender Gap Report.


Association Of Muslim Women In Business And Professions Condemn Spate Of Rape, Murder In Nigeria

By ShakirahAdunola

07 June 2020 

The Criterion, an Association of Muslim Women in Business and Professions, has condemned the spate of rape and murder in the country in recent times.

The Association also called for justice and a comprehensive investigation into the gruesome murders of Barakat in Ibadan, UwailaOmozuwa in Benin and Azeezat, who was also brutally murdered in Ibadan.

A statement by its National Ameerah (President), HajiaFatymahYewandeOyefeso, called on relevant authorities to bring perpetrators to book and ensure they do not go unpunished.

She said: “Violence against women in any form is against Islamic injunctions. Barakat was a decent woman that adorned hijab according to Islam dictate. It is pathetic that despite dressing decently, Barakat was raped and gruesomely murdered. We are yet to overcome the shock of the recent gruesome rape and murder of UwaveraOmozuwa, a 22- year-old Microbiology Student of University of Benin and this one happened again.

“We appeal to the Inspector General of Police to bring perpetrators of this heinous crime to justice immediately. The increasing incidents of rape and murder of girl-child is worrisome. Violence against women must stop.

“We feel the pains of the parents and relatives of these ladies. It is only Allah that can console them. We pray Almighty Allah grants their parents and loved ones the fortitude to bear this irreparable loss.”


NCW issues 3rd edition of women policy tracker amid COVID-19

Jun. 6, 2020

CAIRO - 6 June 2020: The National Council for Women has issued the third edition of its women policy tracker on responsive policies & programs amid the new COVID-19 Pandemic.

A Saturday statement said that the National Council for Women "continues its efforts in monitoring the policies & measures considerate to the needs of women which were taken by the Egyptian government as part of the efforts to contain the spread of the current covid-19," as the council announced the issuance of the third edition of the women policy tracker which take into account the needs of women throughout the past period and since the crisis began.

Dr. Maya Morsy, President of the National Council for Women, said that this report comes as a third edition of the two reports that were issued by the Council in the last two months with the aim of: Monitoring all policies & procedures taken by the Government that are responsive to the needs of Egyptian women; designing an easier tool that can be used as reference by decision makers for more collaborative vision on means of moving forward; documenting the coordinated efforts of the government; & reflecting on those policies.

Dr. Morsy also indicated that the third edition of the report monitored 80 policies/measures/procedures taken by the Government to contain and control the spread of the current covid-19; that are responsive to Egyptian women needs since the covid-19 hit Egypt until the 6th of June 2020.

It is worth mentioning that Mrs. Phumzile Mlambo Ngcuka, Under Secretary General and Executive Director of UN-Women, had previously praised the Women policy tracker on Responsive policies and Programs During COVID-19 Pandemic, & commended the leadership of the Egyptian government on ensuring that its responses has a gender lens, and the tracker serves as an opportunity to ensure that no policy is inconsiderate to women’s needs.


The Zay Initiative puts authentic Arab fashion in the limelight

3 Jun 2020

Imagine tracing back the stories behind the colours, fabrics and patterns of the Arab world. The intangible heritage that is subtly safeguarded from one generation to the other with every stitch. The Zay initiative managed to bring all that with just one click.

Founded by Dr Reem El Mutwalli, the Zay initiative is a compilation of ethnic textiles and traditional costumes of the Arab and Islamic worlds; over 400 women and men’s traditional garments from the UAE, Yemen, Morocco, Kuwait, Iraq, Syria, Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman and Saudi Arabia.

Born to an Iraqi family and moving to the UAE at the age of five, professor Reem El Mutwalli remembers clearly the vivid colours “ruby red, emerald greens on mom’s figures or the rugs, and the tapestries that filled our home”

Heading the Exhibition and Arts department for over 20 years at the Cultural Foundation Abu Dhabi , El Mutwalli studied Islamic art and archaeology.

For her undergraduate degree she majored in interior design, and for her masters she drew on Islamic architecture, “which led to a survey of the forts in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, culminating in the publication of the book Qasr al Husn, An Architectural Survey (1995), and for my doctorate continuing this notion of preservation of tradition and the protection of heritage.”

“The subjects I chose to pursue consciously or unconsciously drew from my life in the UAE, and for the blessing it has bestowed on me. Whereby I chose specifically to research the topic of dress and its evolution in the UAE.”

The Zay initiative opens up a whole world for each item, tracing its social history which evokes a fresh, vivid perspective to garments as we see it within context.

“I began gathering the UAE collection (Sultani) organically. As I worked on my doctorate, I found myself in the fortunate position of being the recipient of many of the dresses illustrated upon in my thesis, which was later published under the title ‘Sultani, traditions renewed; Changes in Women’s Traditional Dress in the UAE during the reign of Sheikh Zayid bin Sultan Al Nahyan 1966-2004’,” she told Ahram Online, explaining that the first edition of the book was issued in 2011. At the time, the Sultani collection encompassed 180 traditional UAE dresses. 

“Today, the Sultani collection makes up 500 artifacts of the larger Zay Initiative collection that is home to more than 1,320 pieces from all over the Arab world.”

“This is a crimson red hand-wovenabayaof silk, cotton and gold threads, wore by men. Syria was famous for this type of fabric at the end of the nineteenth century and early twentieth century. This fabric involves interweaving the lihma and the sadat in elegant geometric shapes that appear on both sides of the weaving, as was required by the men and women of wealthy families in the cities of Aleppo and Damascus in particular, due to the high price. Part of an ensemble was acquired by the Zay Initiative through an auction. Owned by a French lady and originally given to the vendor’s late husband by the Emir of Cyrenaica in Libya during the late 1930s. Her husband, a doctor, was crossing a bridge in Paris in 1937 or 38 when he saw a young man attempting to commit suicide, and stopped him from jumping. The rescued man was the son of the Emir, and the ensemble was given by the Royal family as a gift of thanks for saving his life.”

“An Ottoman antari dating back to the 20th century. Its length extends below the knees and is sewn in maroon and gold brocade with an ivory lining. The origin of the antari is the northwestern Anatolia region, which was inhabited by the Seljuks in the 11th and 12th centuries, the ‘Ottoman sheikhs’ who challenged the Orthodox doctrine in Eastern Europe and the Byzantine culture in the dark ages.”

“In line with Islamic Sharia law, the women of the region were forced to adhere to a conservative lifestyle. The Ottomans maintained the habit of wearing the Shalwar (baggy pants) underneath the antari, with the Kaftan worn as the outer garment. The fabrics used for sewing the garment reflected the financial status of the wearer. Women belonging to the palace wore the antari in velvet, brocade silk or silk woven with gold thread. The collar of the antari is a U-shaped collar, and above it, the women wore an embellished belt called the Cevberi to complement their elegance.”

“Mkhawas/Mkhalbas, khwarzarimfasas from 2011, was owned by one of the women from the Emirati Al Nahyan family. It is sewn as one garment made of two layers. ThawbKandurahMkhawas was a popular item of clothing with the Arabs and then spread to many regions of the world after the spread of Islam. It is an item of womens clothing, and it is said that when Shajar Al Dur took over the rule, they dressed her in the Sultana’s khala’a, which is a velvetkandurahembroidered in gold (the plural being kanadeer).

“In Egypt today, it is calledJalabiyah, Dishdasha in Iraq, Daraa in Kuwait,kandurahin Algeria, and Jilbab in Morocco. In the Emirates, it is the female and male kandurah. The termkanduraharabiah was used to distinguish the Emirati kandurah from other forms. In general, thekandurahis a long shirt worn by women and men, the length of which ranges between the knee and the top of the foot, depending on where it is worn. “

“These pieces tell the story of people from all walks of Arab life, mainly women, who come to this world and leave little trace behind,” El Mutwalli told Ahram Online, adding that the idea is about “recognising that this area is one that is akin to being a bountiful and constant plethora of rich and valuable resources that are more often than not swiftly being lost or misconstrued because of a lack of accurate documentation. Through the preservation of these pieces, the Zay Initiative plays a significant role in fortifying, encapsulating and sustaining a small but important part of Arab history.”


Protest campaign over woman’s murder in robbery in Balochistan’sKech reaches Karachi

June 6, 2020

The ongoing protest campaign demanding the arrest of attackers who killed a mother and injured her four-year-old child in an armed robbery in Balochistan’sKech district reached Karachi on Friday.

Hundreds of people, including women, mainly from the city’s Baloch populated areas, such as Lyari and Malir, took part in the protest held outside the Karachi Press Club.

Noted rights and civil society activists also attended the protest to show solidarity with the protesters. The protest was organised under the banner of the Bramsh Baloch Solidarity Committee.

The incident occurred on May 26, when three robbers stormed into a house in the Dannuk area intending to carry out a robbery. A woman in the house – named Malak Naaz – was shot dead for resisting their robbery attempt, while the four-year girl, Bramsh, was severely injured with bullet wounds.

Protesters outside the city’s press club demanded of the authorities to provide justice to Bramsh and arrest the culprits who orphaned the little girl. They chanted slogans and carried placards and banners inscribed with their demands.

“Our protest is part of an ongoing campaign to get justice for Bramsh and to show solidarity with her family,” said Hani Baloch, a youth activist, and the protest’s organiser. She said that incidents of robberies were on the rise in Turbat, Kech and other towns of Balochistan and “it is creating a sense of fear among the residents”.

Waheed Noor, noted poet and activist, said that wounding a little girl and killing his mother were an attack on “Baloch honour”. “It has hurt the sentiments of the Baloch community overall and the Friday protest has been held to express their anger over it.”

Akbar Wali, an activist, said the incident had made the “locals of Balochistanrealise that they are at risk no matter where, when, or who they are: men, women, or even babies”. AgharDashti, an academic, questioned the Balochistan government’s safety measures and demanded of the authorities to protect the residents. Protesters also demanded of the government to “stop supporting criminal gangs that are operating in the province and involved in robberies and other criminal acts”.

Nasir Mansoor from the National Trade Union Federation; Khurram Ali and Laila Raza from the Awami Workers Party; Saeed Baloch of the Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum; Abdul Hai from the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan; rights activists NaghmaShiekh, Zehra Khan, Qazi Khizer, Wahid Baloch, Ayub Qureshi; members of Baloch nationalist, and student groups also attended the protests. Keeping in line with the government-issued SOPs regarding the coronavirus, protesters outside the press club observed social distancing and wore masks.




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