New Age Islam News Bureau
24 Jan 2018
The mystery woman (pictured) was praised after a video of her standing on a pillar box without a headscarf went viral on social media
• Hijab Model Pulls Out Of Ad Campaign over Israel Tweets
• Iranian Woman in Iconic Video Feared To Have Been Arrested After Waving Hijab On A Stick
• Saudi Female Rock-Climbing Instructor Hopes To Scale Olympic Heights
• Triple Talaq Bill: Muslim Women Send Draft to Govt, Opposition; Ask To Retain Criminalisation Provision
• Iran: Five Men for Every Wage-Earning Woman
• Three French Female Jihadists Face Death Sentence In Iraq
Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau
Moroccan Cleric Says Extramarital Sex ’Causes Uterus Cancer’
January 23, 2018
“Sex out of wedlock causes uterus cancers,” Essekach said Jan. 19 on the Moroccan private radio channel Chada FM.
The cleric argued that during her first sexual intercourse, the woman’s vagina inscribes the “code” of her husband’s sperm. Therefore, in case of extramarital relationships, this “code” would not be recognized, and the wife would inevitably contract a uterus cancer. To support his arguments, Sekkach declared that this “extraordinary discovery” was made by “Western scientists.”
According to Sekkach, “Western scientists” have shown that the “idda,” the “mourning” period that a Muslim woman must observe after the death of her spouse or after a divorce before contracting a new marriage, corresponds to the time required for the vagina to erase the “code” of the former husband.
“What Western scientists have just discovered, the prophet already knew about it 14 centuries ago. He knew that the uterus needed these 4 months and 10 days to change the sperm code. How did he [know], if it is not the divine miracle?” he said.
The cleric’s comments sparked arguments on social media. Moroccan sociologist and feminist activist Soumaya Naamane Guessous expressed her outrage in a long post published on her Facebook page in which she insisted on the “danger” of such remarks.
“These broadcasts are an insult to Moroccans intelligence and to their dignity. I am ashamed! They are dangerous because they dull listeners who number in the thousands and even millions,” she wrote.
“Is it normal in 21st-century Morocco … to allow this kind of idiocy? Is it acceptable for radio station managers to give the antenna to such ignorant [people] to inform and guide our people. Do these officials listen to these programs, as some of them are progressive?” Guesous continued.
In 2016, the Moroccan High Authority of Audiovisual Communication “severely punished” Chada FM officials after Sekkach claimed that women “have no right to leave their homes, nor the right to work,” and that women’s main place remains at home.
“When a woman enjoys food, clothes, a house and a husband, she must stay at home. Otherwise, she becomes a sinner before God. These sentences are not of my own invention, they are directly taken from the holy Qur’an,” Sekkach added.
Following these comments, the HACA issued a press release stating that Chada FM’s guest and broadcasters violated Articles 3 and 8 of Law 77.03 related to audiovisual communication, which state that Moroccan audiovisual communication is free, and the exercise of this freedom must be “applied with respect and human dignity … audiovisual communication operators must promote a culture of gender equality and combat all forms of discrimination, especially those that degrade the image of the woman.”
Hijab model pulls out of ad campaign over Israel tweets
January 23, 2018
PARIS: British model Amena Khan, who had been chosen by a French cosmetics brand to appear in an advertising campaign in Britain, has pulled out over accusations she made anti-Israeli comments in a series of old tweets .
The French cosmetics giant last week selected her to be the first woman in a hijab for a mainstream shampoo campaign.
Khan’s messages, posted on Twitter in 2014, have since been deleted.
“I deeply regret the content of the tweets I made in 2014, and sincerely apologise for the upset and hurt that they have caused,” she said on Twitter on Monday.
“With deep regret, I’ve decided to step down from this campaign because the current conversations surrounding it detract from the positive and inclusive sentiment that it set out to deliver.”
The brand also said, it “approved” her decision.
“We appreciate the fact that Amena has apologised for the content of her tweets and for the reactions they may have aroused,” it said.
It is not the first time the brand’s advertising campaign to promote diversity has foundered because of controversial social media comments by a model .
Last summer the group dropped British black transgender model Munroe Bergdorf over Facebook comments she made accusing all whites of racial violence.
Iranian woman in iconic video feared to have been arrested after waving hijab on a stick
January 24, 2018
An Iranian woman filmed waving her hijab on a stick in an iconic image captured during an apparent protest against the Islamic Republic late last year is feared to have been arrested.
The woman, dubbed the “Girl of Enghelab Street,” is 31 and has a 19-month-old baby, according to an Iranian human rights lawyer who Sunday visited the neighborhood in Tehran where the protest was staged.
“What I am certain about is that this lady has been arrested,” Nasrin Sotoudeh told the AFP on Monday. “The witnesses on the scene who saw her being taken away -- and even accompanied her to the police station -- gave me this information. I have no contact with her family.”
The woman is believed to have demonstrated on Dec. 27 and was seen waving around a white headscarf, apparently in reference to the growing “White Wednesday” protest campaign in Iran, the AFP added.
The campaign was started in 2014 by My Stealthy Freedom, which describes itself as an “online social movement where Iranian women share photos of themselves without wearing the hijab."
“Since the Islamic Revolution in 1979 women in Iran have had to cover their hair in public, but many Iranian women and men feel that wearing a hijab in public should be a personal choice,” the MSF website adds.
The woman has not been seen in public since she appeared in the video, AFP reported, but the claim was not independently verifiable. Social media users, though, have been spreading her image using the hashtag phrase “#WhereIsShe”.
Sotoudeh told the AFP the woman appeared “at the end of (her) tether because of all the controls placed on her body over the 31 years of her life.”
“Women feel they have no control over their bodies. It is a prelude to infringing on all of their rights,” she added.
Women who violate Iran’s Islamic legal code, which requires them to wear headscarves and clothes that cover the arms and legs, are subject to up to two months in prison, AFP reported.
Iran in late December, however, reportedly said it was going to take a softer stance on the code.
“According to a decision of the commander of the police force, those who do not observe Islamic codes will no longer be taken to detention centers nor judicial files opened on them,” Brigadier Gen. Hossein Rahimi was quoted by local media as saying during a speech in Tehran.
Iran in recent weeks has been rocked by protests aimed at the country's leadership, with massive groups gathering to decry the economic and other hardships suffered by the populace.
Saudi female rock-climbing instructor hopes to scale Olympic heights
24 January 2018
JEDDAH: Yasmin Gahtani, the mother of two who became the first female Saudi certified rock-climbing instructor, now has another dream — to take part in the Tokyo 2020 Games.
She hopes she can raise the Saudi flag and inspire Saudis to participate in the Olympics. “This will make me proud that I was somehow involved in making them rock climbers, especially my own twin sons.”
Gahtani began to go rock climbing five years ago after she felt there was much more to live for than what she was doing.
The extreme sport fanatic says she was always a curious and experimental person, so she decided to get into a sport that would be highly challenging. Although she tried different sports, she found herself in the activity after a friend persuaded her to try climbing rocks – something she fell in love with immediately.
Speaking to Arab News, Gahtani said she started rock climbing five years ago when she decided to change her daily routine life of comfort.
The hardest part at the beginning was to trust herself and what her body could do on the wall. She was always, as she said, “an insecure and self-conscious person.” However, she managed to break out of those feelings and believe in herself, and finally lived the excitement of the adrenaline rush.
Another difficult issue was that climbing was a sport most people around her had never heard of. To tell her friends and family that she was practicing a sport they could only imagine would be for males was also a challenge. However, Gahtani was very grateful and impressed by how much everyone was highly supportive of her passion for a dangerous activity.
After her first dream had come true, Gahtani started thinking of living another — to become an instructor.
“After seeing how many Saudis were getting more and more curious about the sport that I was practicing, I started thinking about becoming a certified rock climbing instructor, to help greenhorns climb safely,” she said.
Last year, the ambitious Gahtani took her Climbing Wall instructor course in Chiacago through the American Mountain Guides Association.
The instructor told Arab News that her parents had spared no efforts to support her from the very beginning. “They have noticed the positive impact that my new hobby had left on me. Therefore, they became more encouraging. My twin boys have also become rock climbers and want to take up this sport professionally one day.”
She encounters no negative response when she introduces herself as a rock climber. “In fact, people are very happy for me, and proud that I found something I have passion for. Saudis are my biggest fans and they really show that to me. I am very lucky and grateful to them.”
She said many Saudi women, especially those in their twenties, are interested in engaging in activities practiced in inhospitable environments. “They are ready to take a challenge to prove to themselves and the people around them that the Saudi woman is strong regardless of the reputation that she is soft and cannot reach high levels.”
Gahtani’s activity seems to be uninterrupted as she still plans to improve her rock climbing skills to become even better at the sport.
“I see myself as having a long journey ahead of me that I will enjoy every second of. My dream also is to see more Saudis, regardless of their gender, take part in this sport. That will teach the youngsters a lot about physical and mental challenges,” she said.
Gahtani pointed out that the General Sports Authority has been keen to support community sports in recent years in Saudi Arabia, and the establishing of a climbing federation is a huge step that is hoped will back both rock climbers and instructors so that this sport becomes more accessible and more visible.
For nearly a year, the certified instructor has been giving climbing courses to a “good enough number” of females. “I am proud of my new climbers for encouraging their friends to try it, too,” she said.
Gahtani said there are many good locations in Saudi Arabia that can, one day, be world-class destinations. “We have so many attractive places in Abha, Al-Ula, and Al-Baha, but we need more work to create more routes on these naturally perfect climbing walls to pave the way for people to climb them. Funded projects need to be considered to make it happen.”
Triple talaq bill: Muslim women send draft to govt, opposition; ask to retain criminalisation provision
January 24, 2018
Ahead of the budget session, a section of Muslim women have demanded that the government retain the criminalisation provision in the triple talaq Bill while making it a bailable, compoundable offence which becomes cognisable only at the instance of the wife.
The Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA) has sent letters communicating their demands, along with their draft of the law, to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress president Rahul Gandhi, ministries of Law, Minority Affairs, Women and Child Development and Law Commission. Led by Zakia Soman and Noorjehan Safia Niaz, the BMMA was one of the interveners in the Shayara Bano case in the Supreme Court.
It said that following the tabling of Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2017 in Parliament, a consultation held with more than 60,000 Muslim women in different states showed that they want the imprisonment clauses in cases of talaq-e-bidat.
The BMMA states that despite the SC setting aside the aside triple talaq in its judgement of 22nd August, it is still very much in practice. Zakia said that almost all women they spoke to were of the opinion that by not sending the husband to jail, it shows that the concern is more about protecting the husband than the woman who has to bear the consequence of talaq-e-bidat. “We have therefore suggested a one year imprisonment term for the husband (instead of the three years proposed in the Bill) and/or a fine if even after exhausting all options, the husband is adamant about giving his wife triple talaq,” she said, adding that they want the Bill to go through proper scrutiny before a Select Committee of Parliament. “We have waited 70 years, we can wait some more time so as to have a watertight bill,” she said.
The primary objection of most opposition parties when the Bill was tabled during the winter session was to the criminalisation provision. Over a dozen women’s organisations, including the Hasina Khan led Bebaak Collective, one of the interveners in support of Supreme Court triple talaq petition, Jagori, AIDWA and over hundred academicians and activists such as Nivedita Menon, Teesta Setalvad, Mary E John, and, Nandini Sundar have signed petitions against making the violation of the civil contract of marriage into a criminal act.
While the proposed legislation does make the offence a cognisable one, BMMA has suggested that it should be made so only at the instance of the wife to prevent any misuse. Noorjehan added that since legal recourse is not affordable for everyone, their version of the Bill recognises alternate arbitration mechanism within the community structures provided so that any person such as the qazi or organisation that abets offender, in violation of the law, should be liable to a three-year imprisonment. “In addition to talaq-e-ahsan, the only valid form of talaq, the legislation should recognise khula (demand for divorce by wife) and mubarah (divorce by mutual consent). The legislation should outlaw nikah halala and mut’ah — a form of marriage with automatic divorce which happens in places such as Hyderabad where Shaikh hire girls for a short-term,” she said.
The letter sent to the PM and others reads, “Orthodox and patriarchal males have dominated the debate on rights of Muslim women and have stone-walled any attempt towards reform in Muslim personal law. In the process the Muslim women have been denied their Quranic rights as well as their rights as equal Indian citizens.”
Iran: Five men for every wage-earning woman
24 January 2018
Iranian men have five times more access to wage-earning jobs than women.
This is the finding of a survey by the Labor Ministry’s Center for Statistics and Strategic Information, published in the state-run media on January 23, 2018, revealing unequal access to wage-earning jobs for men and women.
According to this study done for the period spanning from March 2016 to March 2017, men’s share of wage-earning jobs was 82.7 per cent compared to women’s 17.3 per cent share. (The state-run Mehr news agency – January 23, 2018)
Three French female jihadists face death sentence in Iraq
Three French women who joined the Islamic State (IS) armed group before being captured by Iraqi forces could face the death penalty as they await trial in Baghdad.
The women were detained after Iraqi fighters ousted the jihadists from Mosul last July, one source said, confirming a report on RMC radio.
One 28-year-old woman left in 2015 for the group's "caliphate" stretching over parts of Syria and Iraq along with her husband, who has reportedly been killed.
She is being detained with her daughter, who was born after their arrival.
"We don't know what exactly she is accused of, what her detention conditions are like and whether she is being allowed the means to defend herself," said the woman's lawyer, Martin Pradel.
He said he had received "no response" from France's foreign ministry on the case. The Red Cross has been his only source of information, he added.
A second woman, a 27-year-old named as Melina, also left for the region in 2015, and is being held with her baby. Her three older children have been returned to France.
"We expect France, if Melina is sentenced to death, to mobilise with the same intensity it has for other French citizens sentenced to death, in particular Serge Atlaoui," said her lawyers, William Bourdon and Vincent Brengarth.
French diplomats have waged an intense campaign to free Atlaoui, who is being held in Indonesia and facing the death penalty on drug trafficking charges.
But government officials have said French fighters arrested in Syria and Iraq should be tried there if they can be guaranteed a fair trial.
Defence minister Florence Parly said Sunday that "we can't be naive" regarding French citizens who left to join IS.
"When they are caught by local authorities, as far as possible they should be tried by these local authorities," she told France 3 television.
On Sunday, an Iraqi court sentenced a German woman to death by hanging after finding her guilty of belonging to IS, the first such sentence in a case involving a European woman.
Around 40 French nationals, both men and women, are currently in detention camps or prisons in Syria and Iraq, with about 20 children, a source has said.
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