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Islam, Women and Feminism ( 8 May 2019, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Aasia Bibi, a Christian Woman Acquitted by the Supreme Court in a Blasphemy Case, Has Left Pakistan: FO Source

New Age Islam News Bureau

8 May 2019

Bibi was convicted and sentenced to death for blasphemy by a trial court in November 2010 [File: AP]



 Chechnya Gets Female-Only Taxis before the Start of Ramadan

 Unlikely Woman New Heroine Of Turkish Opposition

 Microfinance Funds Hope For Syrian Refugee Women

 FIA Intensifies Crackdown on Chinese Gangs behind Fraud, Women Trafficking

 Saudi Government's 'Wife-Tracking' App Linked To Domestic Violence and Abusive Working Conditions, Says Rights Group

 'Dehijabing' By Female Celebs Can Have Negative Influence, Says Perkasa Women's Wing Chief

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau




Aasia Bibi, a Christian Woman Acquitted by the Supreme Court in a Blasphemy Case, Has Left Pakistan: FO Source

Naveed Siddiqui

May 08, 2019

Aasia Bibi, a Christian woman who was acquitted by the Supreme Court in a blasphemy case last year, has left Pakistan, a well-placed Foreign Office (FO) source told DawnNewsTV on Wednesday.

"Aasia Bibi has left the country. She is a free person and travelled on her independent will," the source said.

The source did not specify what her destination was.

Aasia Bibi was acquitted of blasphemy charges by the Supreme Court on October 31, 2018, after spending nine years in jail on death row. The ruling sparked country-wide protests by religio-political groups.

After she was released from a Multan women's prison on November 7 last year, she was flown to Islamabad via special aircraft, and then taken to an undisclosed location amid tight security.

The authorities remained tight-lipped about her movement and whereabouts for security reasons.

Qari Salam, the complainant in the case, filed a petition seeking review of the judgement in January this year, which the Supreme Court dismissed on merit.

'False testimonies'

The allegations against Aasia Bibi were made in June 2009 when she was labouring in a field and a row broke out with some Muslim women she was working with.

She was asked to fetch water, but the Muslim women objected, saying that as a non-Muslim she was unfit to touch the water bowl. A few days later the women went to a local cleric and put forward the blasphemy allegations.

Speaking on the incident that sparked the allegations, the top judge said: "You are saying that Aasia said this [alleged blasphemous words] while addressing 25 people. Was she addressing a jalsa [rally]?"

"In front of the investigation officer, the women said that no dispute had occurred between them," the chief justice noted. "This case did not have as many honest witnesses as it should have had."

"The investigation officer says that the female witnesses changed their statements. The testimonies of the investigation officer and the witnesses are different.

"The falsa farm's owner did not appear in court to record his testimony. According to the law, if a testimony is not recorded under Section 342 of the CrPC [recording a statement by the accused], then it does not have any value.

"The farm's owner only came forward after the police started the investigation, 20 days after [it started]. His testimony holds no legal value.

"The delay of an hour is enough to create suspicion."

The lawyer maintained that the petitioners did not add Aasia [to the case] due to any ill intention.

The CJP questioned the five-day delay in registering of the FIR regarding the incident, also pointing out that the testimonies differed over the size and the place of the crowd which had gathered following the accusations against Aasia Bibi.

"Qari sahib says a crowd had gathered and then the FIR was registered. The testimonies of the villagers do not mention a crowd gathering. A lot of lies were told about a crowd having gathered.

"Had this been a normal case, we would have registered cases against the witnesses; we have shown a lot of patience."

At this, the lawyer admitted that there was "some difference" in the testimonies. "Difference? These are lies," replied the chief justice.

"Is this the picture of Islam that he [Qari sahib] wants to present? Are these the kind of witnesses [that should be presented in a case]?"

"There is a clear difference between the testimonies of all the witnesses, and yet you block all of Pakistan questioning why you did not get your way," the CJP reprimanded the lawyer.

"You blame us and say what kind of people are we [for acquitting Aasia] ... look at yourself, what kind of accusation have you made.

"We took into account the sensitivity of the case, otherwise we would have put the witnesses in jail for their false testimonies.

"Are we liable to be murdered now that we have executed justice? Is this Islam?

"If a judge says a testimony can't be trusted, that judge's verdict is not acceptable to you — because it is not in your favour?"

Reiterating what Chief Justice Khosa had asked multiple times during the hearing, Justice Isa asked: "Tell us what the flaw in the verdict is."

"We will not hear the case again," remarked the CJP. "We are hearing [the petition] for the satisfaction of those who gave fatwas [on the verdict] without reading it."



Chechnya Gets Female-Only Taxis before the Start of Ramadan

7 May, 2019

Women in Russia’s mostly-Muslim Chechen Republic can enjoy solo taxi rides with female drivers as the first women-only cab service was launched in the republic’s capital Grozny.

The Mekhkari (which means “girls” in Chechen) taxi service is supposed to become an alternative for Chechen women, who avoid traveling unaccompanied with a male driver outside their family circle for religious reasons.

“Currently five vehicles are operating in Grozny, but we plan to bring it to 20 by the end of the year. All drivers are, of course, females,” project initiator Madina Tsakaeva told the media, adding that the female-only taxi will not accept reservations from men.

According to the Mekhkari app, it also provides delivery of additional services such as home cleaning and even medicinal bleeding known as Hijama.

The project is funded by UAE’s Sheikh Zayed Fund, which finances small and medium-sized businesses in Chechnya. The new service is “suitable for transporting women passengers in terms of religious standards and traditions,” the fund said in an Instagram post.

Women only taxi services are appearing all over the world, including big Russian cities, aimed at ensuring the personal safety of female passengers. However, the initiative in Chechnya received mixed reaction from internet users. While many users perceived the enterprise as promoting gender segregation, even comparing it to “the Middle ages,” others praised it for safety and respect to religious beliefs.



Unlikely Woman New Heroine Of Turkish Opposition

Pinar Tremblay

May 7, 2019

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party’s (CHP) Istanbul chief criticized the Supreme Electoral Council’s (YSK) decision to annul the results of the local elections in Istanbul saying that official bodies should not override the people’s choice in elections.

The most contested election of the last decade in Turkey has been for the position of Istanbul’s mayor. And, after 36 days of complaints from the Justice and Development Party (AKP), on May 6, the first day of Ramadan, the YSK announced a rerun of the mayoral election. However, opposition candidate Ekrem Imamoglu’s now annulled victory and his strong stand after the election won the hearts and minds of not just Istanbulites but of most Turks. Along with Imamoglu, there is someone else who deserves credit: Canan Kaftancioglu. Kaftancioglu is the provincial chair of the CHP for Istanbul.

Kaftancioglu is a medical doctor, mother, motorcycle lover and feisty politician who ran a campaign against the AKP’s 25-year rule in Istanbul. She has faced many challenges, including the generic “terrorist propaganda” investigations that almost all opposition figures have to endure. Yet Kaftancioglu did not stop tweeting or speaking her mind, angering President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and other AKP officials.

At a time when most observers dismissed opposition parties as ineffective, Kaftancioglu and her team have proven that despite all odds a victory at the ballot box is possible. She is known as hardworking, tenacious and determined. Her management skills resonate with the least expected at both the top levels of the organization as well as the grassroots. Kaftancioglu has gained the admiration of most skeptical pundits. In an era where women’s participation and voice in Turkish politics is dwindling, she has been a hope for millions.

Al-Monitor spoke with Kaftancioglu about her life, motivations and how she manages it all. What is impressive is her compassion for those who have no or limited access to education, health care and other essentials. One of the least mentioned reasons for Erdogan’s loss of Istanbul is Kaftancioglu’s strong empathy with the city’s poor and deprived.

Al-Monitor:  You are a medical doctor specialized in forensics and your thesis studied torture specifically. You were involved in grassroots politics as a college student. Why this interest in politics as a doctor?

Kaftancioglu:  I was born in Ordu [Black Sea province] and grew up in a conservative family environment with minimal financial resources in the 1980s. The only way out for me was to study hard and keep dreaming without limits. I didn't know about politics then, but I recall sharing the suffering of my friends who had to get married in middle school and stop their studies. My readings taught me that poor or rich, male or female, we are all equal. Yet for this we have to work. As long as I can remember, I sided with the righteous and the underdog rather than taking the easy way out by approving of [the actions of] the majority and powerful. If Mustafa Kemal Ataturk [founder of the Republic of Turkey] and his comrades had not saved our country, I could have been one of those girls who was forced to get married out of elementary school and be dependent on my husband’s financial support for the rest of my life.

I became a doctor because at the time most successful students opted for medical school. My dream was to study law. During my medical school years I was always involved in grassroots movements. I think the reason why I opted for forensic science as my specialty and focused on the implications of torture was because of all these experiences I had and the way I perceive the world.

The struggle in my early youth was a necessity and I did not ponder whether to get involved in politics. I worked with civil society organizations that focused on rights and democratic principles. After Kemal Kilicdaroglu became the chairman of the CHP [in 2010] I realized there was a possibility for change and hope for Turkey. That's when I decided to get actively involved in politics. I would like to emphasize that once I decided to become politically active, I did not strive to become someone prominent but rather accomplish our goals together with everyone in the party.

Al-Monitor:  What motivates you to work diligently and tenaciously despite all legal, financial and political odds being against you and your party?

Kaftancioglu:  My struggle in the party organization was to focus on ideas rather than people. We need to work to get our ideals to win offices. If you do not hold personal expectations as your main goal, but rather work for ideas you believe in, politics becomes easier. As a medical doctor and hospital administrator previously my main concern was to serve the people. Now in politics I hope to serve more people. This is what motivated me to get involved in politics; it gives me inner peace to have this goal.

My concern for people’s well-being is not limited to equality before the law. We need to provide equal opportunity to all without concerns of party identity, ethnic, religious or other differences. My goal is the widespread dream of most Turks today.

We have a bundle of complex problems facing us. The gap in the distribution of wealth, unemployment, limited access to services such as health care and education leads to people facing injustice on their own. Women are systematically ostracized from social and economic life, people cannot achieve self-realization, minors suffer abuse and drug use is on the rise — just to name a few of these problems. The most crucial form of violence is prolonged poverty of the masses.

We keep saying every person is born equal but the political system we live in forces on us inequality in every aspect. Our republic was formed to care for those who are in need without support of anyone. We need to establish a system where a child born in poverty in a remote corner of Turkey can dream about being a doctor, businessman, teacher or president and gets the chance to realize this dream. This was the goal of our founding fathers. This is the path we are on.

Al-Monitor:  When you were elected in January 2018, there was a certain opposition to your name both within and outside of the CHP. In a short time, you achieved remarkable success in the March 31 election. What is the secret of this success?

Kaftancioglu:  The hype was expected. I was a last-minute candidate nominated by the party organization instead of those who have been in the game for years. I utilized different methods to earn votes. I didn’t bargain with the delegates but rather I approached each one of them as a valuable human being. I did not repeat what most of the delegates want to hear but rather told them the facts and my beliefs. At the end of this process, the party won rather than just a candidate. The CHP’s establishment felt strongly that if we rest on the truth, on facts we can deliver results.

The criticism and attacks from outside is also much expected given the conditions of Turkish politics. We represent a language that rejects the obedience culture. We did expect that right-wing politics would be disturbed as we refuse to act within their standards on left-wing politics — that of “timid politics.” What really angered them was the realization that I am not scared. All dictators are most angered by the presence of people who are not scared despite all of their power — especially if that's a woman.

The CHP party establishment deserves all the credit in keeping election results in check. They put up a great fight with strong conviction and effort. Since I was elected, I emphasized that we will win the Istanbul mayoral seat. My team believed in this and carried on with this belief. That's precisely why they could survive night shifts in the cold [guarding the votes during the recount process] and attacks of right-wing Grey Wolves.

Al-Monitor:  We actually share our love for motorcycles. Yet it is rare for women in Turkey to ride motorbikes. How did you start?

Kaftancioglu:  Growing up in a time and place where riding bicycles was a taboo for girls, my love for cycling evolved into motorbikes. I think in a way I wanted to change the prejudice “women can’t drive well” into “women even ride motorbikes.” Yes it is a dangerous activity but it is also dangerous for a woman to walk home alone after dark or speak the truth without fear. It is as dangerous as any other activity you engage in in Turkey in the name of freedom. The only way to minimize the risk in all activities in the fight for freedom is to be more persistent in defending our rights and liberties.

Al-Monitor:  What would be good advice for outside observers analyzing the Turkish opposition?

Kaftancioglu:  Turkey is not just about the AKP or Erdogan. Remember that Turkey is home to different cultures. Since its establishment as a republic Turkey has turned its face to the West as it would like to have good relations with its neighbors for peace and stability. We are basing our social democratic policies on this solid foundation. We aim for development of our country. We strongly believe Turkish membership in international and regional organizations would help reduce tensions in this region.

Al-Monitor:  What is your take on the YSK’s decision?

Kaftancioglu:  Istanbulites went to the polls and made their decision on March 31; they chose Ekrem Imamoglu as their mayor. The people’s will and decision cannot be dashed by government agencies, which should not act as the stick in the hands of those in power. I invite everyone to follow the situation calmly and act in accordance with the decisions our party is going to take.



Microfinance Funds Hope For Syrian Refugee Women


The Turkish branch of Grameen, a groundbreaking microfinance program that helps entrepreneurs who cannot afford to set up businesses, is reaching out to Syrian refugee women in the country. At over 3.5 million, Syrians make up the majority of the refugee population in Turkey and mostly depend on charities and illegal labor to earn a living.

Grameen will provide loans amounting to TL 1.1 million in total in a program to support Syrian women, including those with their own ideas to launch a business.

Halil Orhan, head of Grameen's Turkey branch, says they want to help resolve the "refugee crisis." Since 2003, Grameen Turkey has offered microloans to women without the capital to start businesses. Speaking to Anadolu Agency (AA), Orhan said they gave out microfinance loans to more than 180,000 women. He added that they cooperated with CARE International, one of the world's biggest international charities, for the microcredit program they will start in southern Turkey.

The pilot project will focus on Gaziantep, Şanlıurfa and Kilis, three Turkish cities on the Syrian border that have been receiving a steady flow of displaced Syrians from Turkey's southern neighbor mired in a civil war since 2011. "For the first year of the project, we will deliver TL 1.125 million to 900 women, including 540 Syrians," Orhan said. "To increase participation to this project, we contacted women who received microloans from Grameen and asked them to tell any Syrian refugee woman they know capable of starting up their own businesses about the program," he said. The project also aims to boost friendship between Turkish and Syrian women, to instill self-confidence and a will to make economic decisions in refugee women. So far, the program has reached out to 100 Syrian women, and Orhan says they want to reach out to 900 more by September in the one-year program.

Grameen operates with 93 branches in 63 provinces of Turkey, mainly catering to women. The loans are mostly used by women to set up handicraft businesses since these types of businesses tend to take up less time, allowing them to spend more time with their families. Grameen offers unconditional loans to women based on a system of mutual trust. Women can access up to TL 1,000 per year once they sign up for the program, and this amount can increase to up to TL 5,000 in subsequent years. Though the loans may be regarded as small, Grameen allows women to create groups of five, with each individual receiving up to TL 1,000, to help them pool their resources and maintain solidarity.



FIA Intensifies Crackdown on Chinese Gangs behind Fraud, Women Trafficking

May 08, 2019

LAHORE/RAWALPINDI: Over a dozen more Chinese nationals and seven locals were arrested while a few Pakistani girls were rescued on Tuesday amid an intensified crackdown on the gangs involved in fake marriages with Pakistani girls for trafficking them to China allegedly for organ removal and sexual exploitation.

Ten Chinese nationals along with their three local accomplices were arrested in Lahore, while another three Chinese nationals and four locals were held during separate raids in Islamabad and Rawalpindi on charges of fraud, forgery and women trafficking.

Read: 3 Chinese men arrested as FIA tightens screws on suspected transnational prostitution ring

The arrest of the 20 suspects came a day after 11 members of a Chinese gang were taken into custody by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) in Lahore amid reports that over 90 Pakistani women, many of them belonging to less privileged Christian families, have already been trafficked after being trapped into fake marriages.

As the sex and human trafficking scam came to light, federal Interior Minister retired Brig Ijaz Ahmad Shah took notice of the issue directing the officials to engage ambassadors and government officials in the matter while chairman of the Senate standing committee on interior Rehman A. Malik sought a detailed report from relevant officials on the issue within the next three days.

On Tuesday, an FIA team raided a couple of houses in a neighbourhood near the Allama Iqbal International Airport where they arrested nine Chinese men and a woman along with their three local accomplices. During the raids, which were conducted under the supervision of Deputy Director Jamil Ahmad Khan Mayo, the FIA team also rescued two Pakistani brides.

“Acting on the information obtained from the Chinese nationals held a day ago, we arrested 10 more Chinese for their alleged involvement in trafficking Pakistani girls to China,” a senior official told Dawn.

The suspects were being interrogated, he said, hinting at further arrests in the coming days.

The FIA swung into action on reports that some Chinese nationals were allegedly involved in sexual exploitation and organ selling of the Pakistani girls they took along with them as brides to China. Last week the FIA had arrested two such Chinese bridegrooms while contracting marriage in Faisalabad. The FIA said the Chinese gang would target poor families, mostly Christians, in different cities of Punjab. “The gang would bear all expenses of the marriage and also give cash and gifts to the bride’s family,” it said.

Extending the scope of their ongoing crackdown on the gangs to Rawalpindi and Islamabad, the anti-human trafficking cell of the FIA conducted raids in the twin cities and arrested seven suspects, including three Chinese nationals.

The FIA later sent a report to the Ministry of Interior, while the Chinese embassy in Islamabad was also informed about the arrests.

Speaking to Dawn, the deputy director of the anti-human trafficking cell in Rawalpindi, Kamran Ali, said the raids were conducted on the complaints lodged by two Pakistani girls, Tayyaba Gul and N. Benish Rasheed, with the FIA director general.

Both victims of fake marriage narrated to the FIA DG how they were being exploited by a gang led by Chinese nationals, he said. Subsequently, Mr Ali added, the FIA DG ordered a crackdown for which the FIA Islamabad Zone director constituted a team under his supervision.

He said three Chinese nationals, including their gang leader Song Chuaoyang, along with Sajid, the facilitator, Rafiq Hussain, the translator, were arrested. He explained that the FIA team during a raid in Islamabad’s sector E-11 arrested two suspected couples Guyong Da along with Saima Mustafa, and Fusing Bu along with Saba Jahangir.

Besides, the FIA also seized copies of marriage certificates from their procession.

Mr Song, the suspected gang leader arrested by the FIA, had already tempered with his birth record in China to show himself as Muslim. The Chinese arrested by the FIA had travelled to Islamabad on the “visa-on-arrival” facility and had been residing in Sector E-11, the FIA sources explained.

They said the Chinese nationals used to claim themselves as Muslim with the help of fake conversion certificates in a bid to cheat the Pakistani families.

As many as six fake marriages came to light during FIA’s investigation as the Chinese nationals maintained their marriage with Pakistani girls for two to three months and later divorced them. “As many as four divorce cases have also surfaced so far,” a senior official of the FIA said, adding that two or three more women were likely to be arrested in connection with the fake marriage scam.

According to the sources, two couples comprising Chinese bridge grooms and two Pakistani girls had flown to China only a few days ago from Islamabad International Airport, however, they were allowed to travel as there had been no intimation from any law enforcement agency to stop them from travelling.

Only a day ago, the FIA had arrested eight Chinese nationals, including a woman, along with their four local accomplices in Lahore. The FIA had also rescued four Pakistani brides who were later handed over to their families.

When the FIA deputy director was asked whether there was any police official involved in the fake marriage scam, he said it was yet to be confirmed, as investigation was under way to arrest other gang members.

The FIA registered two separate FIRs against the Chinese suspects and the local facilitators. The FIA also traced two to three local women who arranged marriages for the Chinese men though efforts were on to arrest them.

Preliminary investigation by the FIA showed that the Chinese men paid cash and gold ornaments to the Pakistani facilitators for marriage with Pakistani girls.



Saudi Government's 'Wife-Tracking' App Linked To Domestic Violence and Abusive Working Conditions, Says Rights Group

MAY 08, 2019

A controversial Saudi government app that can be used by men to control women’s movements and stop them from travelling enables domestic violence and abusive labour conditions, a leading human rights organisation has warned.

Absher, an app owned and operated by the kingdom’s interior ministry, is available in the Saudi version of Google and Apple online stores.

The app, which has been downloaded more than one million times, gives men the power to grant and rescind travel permission for women and to set up SMS alerts for when they use their passports.

Human Rights Watch has called for Google and Apple to strongly urge the Saudi government to end the male guardianship system.

Under the kingdom’s restrictive guardianship system, women are legal minors and cannot marry, divorce, travel, get a job, be released from prison or have elective surgery without permission from their male guardians. Women are also forbidden from mixing freely with members of the opposite sex.

Human Rights Watch argued companies should always assess apps to determine whether they infringe human rights – saying there should be extra scrutiny for apps which are developed or sponsored by governments.

They should also revise their terms of service to ban apps specifically designed to violate rights and make every effort to alleviate any human rights harm before making such apps available, the organisation said.

“Saudi authorities allow male guardians and employers to trap women and migrants in the country,” Rothna Begum, senior women’s rights researcher at Human Rights Watch, said. “Such control over people’s lives facilitates domestic violence and abusive labour conditions.”

She added: “The mobile app Absher is a modern tool for an outdated and repressive system of control over women. Saudi Arabia should end its humiliating and discriminatory requirement for women to have male guardian permission to travel abroad.”

Human Rights Watch said the mobile app is used to stop Saudi women from leaving their country without a male relative’s permission. In a question-and-answer document, the organisation explains how male guardians use the app to control women’s foreign travel, and how employers utilise it to control the travel of migrant workers.

The Absher portal is a government e-service that allows Saudis and residents to renew passports, obtain ID cards, and apply for or renew migrant workers’ visas.

It also allows male guardians to view all the trips in and out of Saudi that their female dependents make – displaying destination countries and dates of travel.

Human Rights Watch has documented cases where male guardians have barred women from travelling abroad – including to study or work. They argue that necessitating permission for women to travel abroad generates obstacles that makes it trickier for women to get jobs and advance in their careers – as well as intensifying the difficulties for women experiencing family violence to escape abuse.

Absher, which roughly translates as “yes sir”, also enables Saudis who sponsor foreign nationals to control whether their foreign workers, foreign spouses, or foreign children can leave the country, the organisation said. They can do this by specifying when they must return to Saudi Arabia on exit and re-entry visas and by approving or denying their final exit visas.

Saudi Arabia is the only country in the region that requires all migrant workers to request an exit permit from their employer to leave the country. This is part of the kafala (sponsorship) system, which ties migrant workers’ legal status to their employer-sponsor, and which leaves migrant workers vulnerable to abuse and exploitation.

Human Rights Watch does not currently support the removal of the Absher app, which has been dubbed the “wife-tracking app”, as it could have accidentally negative consequences for some women who might secretly change travel permissions or stop text message alerts on their male guardian’s phone. They have documented at least three cases in which Saudi women were able to escape the kingdom after they got hold of their father’s mobile phone password and changed the Absher travel permission settings.

Apple and Google have come under mounting scrutiny recently – 14 members of the US Congress wrote a letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook and Google CEO Sundar Pichai asking both companies to stop hosting the app back in February.

They accused the technology giants of enabling gender discrimination – describing both companies as “accomplices in the oppression of Saudi Arabian women”.



'Dehijabing' By Female Celebs Can Have Negative Influence, Says Perkasa Women's Wing Chief

08 May 2019

By Tan Mei Zi

PETALING JAYA, May 8 — Malay rights group Perkasa’s women’s wing has expressed concerns over celebrities who choose to “dehijab” or remove their headscarf, saying it would bring a negative influence to younger Muslim women.

The group’s Wirawati head Marini Nasution was asked to comment on online shaming that criticises Malaysian actresses and models for their clothing, particularly those who reveal that they would no longer be wearing a hijab.

“Female celebrities in Malaysia are often criticised on social media like Instagram because the majority of them are Malay Muslims.

“As Malay women who adhere to Islam, they should be expected to wear respectable clothes and cover their aurat,” Marini told Malay Mail in a WhatsApp interview.

She said these celebrities should act and dress accordingly to their status as public figures and that any deviant behaviour would indirectly influence young women to “copy” them.

“It’s worrying when Muslim celebrities like Emma Maembong and others (remove their hijab) because they are icons and idols for their fans.

“Their actions will indirectly promote ‘dehijabing’ and influence Muslim women to copy their actions, especially younger women who may be wavering in their faith,” she said.

Actress Emma Maembong retaliated against keyboard warriors after she stopped wearing a headscarf earlier this year, telling Harian Metro that “religion doesn’t teach us to criticise one another harshly”.

Another actress Fathia Latiff also experienced similar backlash from social media users when she stopped wearing a tudung last month.

In an interview with Harian Metro, she defended her actions in the face of negative comments pouring in about her online.

Marini added that it was equally inappropriate for non-Muslim female celebrities to wear revealing and sexy clothes in a country where the majority of citizens are Muslims.

While Marini is an advocate for advising fellow Muslims on their behaviour, she said that lines must always be drawn between criticisms with goodwill and cyberbullying.

“Criticism with good intentions always take the form of constructive advice that can be conveyed to someone tactfully without shaming the person.

“Whereas criticisms that lean towards ‘cyberbullying’ are filled with condemnation, scorn, curses, and there are some that go overboard by punishing and insult a person.”




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