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Islam, Women and Feminism ( 30 Dec 2014, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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All-Female IS Police Squad Tortured New Mother for Breastfeeding in Public

New Age Islam News Bureau

30 Dec 2014

The Countess of Wessex has spoken out in support of Muslim women who express their fashion sense while wearing traditional clothes like the Burqa



 Indian Women Need ‘Azadi’ From This Surveillance Regime

 Man Kills Wife, Policeman for ‘Honour’ In Pakistan

 682,000 Saudi Women Say No to Pvt. Sector Jobs

 UK Muslim Women Face Rising Hate Crimes

 Muslim Women Are Fashionable Under Their Burqas: Countess of Wessex

 Malala Most Admired Woman by Americans after Hillary Clinton, Oprah: Poll

 Saudi Female Investors Warned Against Swindlers

 Two Women Convicted Of Human Trafficking In Dubai

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau





All-Female IS Police Squad Tortured New Mother for Breastfeeding in Public

30 Dec, 2014

The so-called Islamic State's all-female police unit tortured a breastfeeding mother by clamping her chest with a barbaric spiked clamp, it is claimed.

The al-Khansa brigade, the female religious police in Raqqa, the insurgency's de facto capital in Syria, is said to use the bear trap-like device to punish women who defy their strict laws.

Opposition media group Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently claim that in one case it was used on a 24-year-old woman who was arrested while breastfeeding her baby in the city centre.

The woman, given the name Batol to conceal her true identity, was quoted as saying: 'I was in the market buying a few items when Khansa battalion came and arrested me on the grounds that the niqab [Islamic face covering] which I was wearing does not meet Sharia requirement because it was transparent[.]

'[T]hey took me to the "Hesba" headquarters in the city, and escorted me to the torture chamber, then they asked me to choose between a whip or a "biter"[.]

'I did not know what a "biter" was and I thought it is a reduced sentence, I was afraid of whipping, so I choose the "biter", then they brought a sharp object that has a a lot of teeth and held me, placing it on my chest and pressing it strongly, I screamed from pain and I was badly injured. They later took me to the hospital.

'I felt then that my femininity has been destroyed completely, we no longer afford to live this way, I was not the only one that was tortured with this instrument, there were a lot of women in the headquarters and their situation was tragic.'

Raqqa's al-Khansa brigade has achieved notoriety in recent months after dozens of British women who have travelled to join the Islamic State's insurgency boasted of joining the police unit.

They used social media to brag about doling out savage beatings, punishment lashings, ordering executions and managing brothels where thousands of Yazidi sex slaves are believed to be imprisoned and raped daily.

Britons including privately-educated Glaswegian Aqsa Mahmood, 20, and Lewisham-born Khadijah Dare, 22, are understood to have joined, helping to patrol Raqqa with guns and daggers hidden beneath their robes.

The group operates as an ultra-oppressive police force monitoring the behaviour of females in Raqqa - meting out brutal punishments to anyone wearing shoes that aren't black, or those wearing veils made from the wrong material.

While Batol's story could not be verified, it does fit with other stories of the behaviour of al-Khansa extremists, who are among the Islamic State's most feared members in the areas the insurgency controls.

In September Abu Ibrahim Raqqawi, a member of Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently, told VICE News: 'The most difficult thing for us, is the al-Khansa Brigade...

'I don't know who's from al-Khansa and who isn't. So when I get out my cell phone and I am taking photos of the city I don't know if any of them are looking at me or not.'

'If you are taking photos and one of the women from al-Khansa is looking at you, they will catch you immediately, and you'll be executed immediately. This is a big problem for us,' he added.

Mr Raqqawi described how the majority of women in al-Khansa are foreigners 'from the UK, from the U.S, Dutch, Chechen.'

He added that even though many of them can only speak a few words of Arabic, their reputation is such that men and women alike fear their presence.

A man also told activists that he was flogged and thrown in a cell for nothing more than smoking a cigarette, another vice now banned under the Islamic State's hard-line regime.

Sami, 25, was quoted as saying: 'ISIS's Hesba bureau arrested me on charges of smoking and they took me to their headquarters and then put me to the torture chamber [.]

'[T]he room floor was full of blood, and then they flogged me 40 times and threw me in a cell, there were a lot of detainees, when I looked at them I saw death in their eyes and their situation was pitiful[.]

'[D]uring the three nights I spent at the headquarters, I heard the screams of women and men who ISIS was torturing.

'[T]o hear the screams of the people of my city when they are being tortured at the hands of strangers is a torture of another type, which has destroyed my dignity.

'It seems that this city is no longer ours, and we have become strangers here, then I began to seriously consider leaving it.'



Indian Women Need ‘Azadi’ From This Surveillance Regime

Kavita Krishnan

30 December 2014

The hardest and most urgent challenge in India today is to change the conversation from that of ‘safety from rape’ to that of women’s autonomy. In her recent article Rape, Rhetoric and Reality in a national newspaper, Rukmini S points out that while sexual violence is indeed a serious concern, India’s problem of epidemic proportions is the “restriction on women’s autonomy, across caste, class and religious groups”.

This means that instead of finding ways to lock women away for ‘safety’, our priority must be to expand their autonomy and mobility. The main finding of a ‘safety audit’ conducted by women’s organisations in Delhi on December 16 is that “the single biggest factor that would make women feel safer is the presence of other women in public spaces”. In other words, it is women’s freedom to wander in public spaces, rather than the presence of CCTV cameras, which actually makes those spaces safer for all women. It is this understanding that underpins the ongoing #Why Loiter campaign that has women sharing experiences of ‘loitering’ for the sheer pleasure of being in public spaces and demanding that the State provide infrastructure that enables and encourages such a presence of women in public space.

Rukmini S has also pointed out that no less than 40% of “what is classified as rape is actually parental criminalisation of consensual sexual relationships, often when it comes to inter-caste and inter-religious couples”. Each of the women in these ‘rape’ cases, then, is a victim not of rape, but of coercion and violence by her own parents and family, in her own home. But this violence remains an open secret, surrounded by a complicit silence.

The movement that followed the December 16, 2012, gang rape in the Capital broke that secretive silence with the full-throated cry for ‘Azadi’ — freedom — not only from the fear of rape, but from the Khaps and the parental and social restrictions on the freedom to dress, love and live as they choose.

In the two years since then, it seems that there is a powerful political offensive seeking to drown out that cry for freedom. Women’s safety becomes the pretext to justify political riots in Muzaffarnagar and racial mob violence against African women and men in Delhi. Such rhetoric allows the perpetrators of actual violence against women — the khaps in Muzaffarnagar that commit ‘honour’ crimes and those who raped Muslim women, or the mobs in Delhi that victimise alleged sex workers and transgenders — to pose as ‘saviours’ of mothers, daughters, sisters and morality.

From the new Haryana chief minister, Manohar Lal Khattar, to the Hindu Mahasabha and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh student outfit Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, to police in various states, there has been an exponential rise in organised moral policing, attacking the right of women to dress in jeans or have mobile phones. Prominent leaders of most political parties have indulged in blaming of rape victims.

The khaps and moral policing-Hindutva outfits are exposed and ridiculed by the media, which assumes that these are remnants of ‘backwardness’ and a ‘medieval mindset’. What is less acknowledged is the use of the same moral policing to control women workers in modern, globalised industry. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is now exhorting multinationals to come and ‘Make in India’. Under what conditions do women currently ‘make’ for MNCs in India? Flawed Fabrics, a report by the Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations and the India Committee of the Netherlands on women workers in Tamil Nadu’s textile industry that produces for a variety of top American and European brands, reveals the extremely exploitative conditions there.

Women workers are admonished and penalised for going to the toilet, for speaking to male co-workers, and are denied the right to form unions. They live in hostels they describe as ‘semi-prisons’, where they are denied mobile phones and allowed phone calls to parents only in the presence of wardens. These conditions, predictably, are defended by managements in terms of “safety and security” concerns of the workers’ parents, and “our Tamil Nadu culture.”

Therefore, it is not just Indian families or Khaps that are implicated in moral policing — the multinationals and global capital is equally implicated. And working-class women as much as college girls feel the need to fight for the right to have mobile phones, befriend male and female co-workers, ‘loiter’ freely outside tightly controlled hostel premises, and join organisations and unions.

Why are our ruling parties, governments and mainstream media silent on such work conditions for women? If these conditions are not rectified, ‘Make in India’ can only mean that India is offering cheap labour, cheap health and lives, and unfreedom of women and oppressed castes, as the USP to attract global capital.

Around December 16, one heard many in the media demanding why the Supreme Court had not yet disposed of the appeals of the convicts of the 2012 gangrape who are sentenced to death. The same week, the Supreme Court directed `10 lakh compensation to be paid to the mother of Thangjam Manorama, raped and murdered by Army personnel in 2004. An inquiry report revealed the ‘brutal and merciless torture’ to which Manorama had been subjected — was this any less brutal and merciless than the torture suffered by the December 16 victim? Hardly any in the media were heard asking why Manorama’s rapists and murderers are yet to be brought to trial! Manorama’s torment is a brutal reminder of the AFSPA, which emboldens and shields the perpetrators of such torture, and is a tool to suppress and deny the autonomy of the people of the North-East and Kashmir.

What women need and demand above all in India today is ‘Azadi’ — freedom — from the regime of surveillance and control to which they are subjected to by families, communities, schools and colleges, factories as well as security forces in conflict areas. Are the political parties, governments, and global funding agencies listening?

Kavita Krishnan is secretary, All India Progressive Women’s Association

The views expressed by the author are personal



Man kills wife, policeman for ‘honour’ in Pakistan

30 Dec, 2014

SUKKUR: A man allegedly shot dead his wife and a policeman in Kandhkot town on Monday over suspicion of an extramarital affair between them.

According to the B-Section police, Ahsan Soharyani shot dead his wife, Amna Soharyani, and policeman, Noorullah Jagirani, at the Mai Masjid bus stop and fled.The bodies were taken to the Kandhkot Civil Hospital for a postmortem examination and then handed over to the heirs.

No FIR was registered against the suspect till late in the evening.

Meanwhile, a jirga (tribal court) held in Kechi Bajkani village near Tangwani town of Kandhkot-Kashmore district on Monday imposed a fine of Rs950,000 on a man who was found guilty of having an extramarital affair with a woman of his community.

The aggrieved pleaded its case during the jirga, headed by Wadera Sher Ahmed Bajkani, who also heard the other side and found Saader Bajkani guilty.

Saader Bajkani and his family were made to pay Rs50,000 to the aggrieved side on the spot and undertake to pay off the remaining fine amount within the next three months.

Accepting the ruling, the two sides declared an end to their hostility over the matter.



682,000 Saudi women say no to pvt. sector jobs

30 December 2014

JEDDAH — More than 682,000 Saudi women job seekers have refused to accept private sector employment offered to them by the Labor Ministry’s Hafiz unemployment assistance program, local daily Al-Madina reported on Monday.

A government report said 417,000 women preferred to have jobs in education while 265,000 of them said they would like to have government jobs.

According to the report, issued by the Central Department of Statistics and Information, the number of women jobseekers crossed the million barrier and now women account for about 77 percent of all unemployed citizens.

As many as 454,000 women were employed in the private sector under Hafiz until the end of 2013, a six fold increase over their number employed during the past 30 years that was about 55,000. According to the report, 534,000 women job seekers, representing about 49 percent, were aged 18-20 years.

It said as many as 232,000 women job seekers are holders of university degrees while 343,000 are holders of secondary school certificates.

The report said there were only 55,600 women employed by the private sector until 2010, but their number went up to 99,400 after the Labor Ministry’s Nitaqat program to improve Saudization was introduced.

“The number of women employed in the private sector increased to 215,800 in 2012 and reached 454,000 in 2013,” the report said.

The report noted that the labor law does not differentiate between men and women in terms of job rights and duties and said there were more than 25 fields that women could join including education, health and industry. According to the report, about 1.5 million Saudi men and women are currently employed by the private sector.



UK Muslim Women Face Rising Hate Crimes

30 Dec, 2014

LONDON – Amid soaring Islamophobic attacks across Europe, the number of hate crimes targeting Muslim women in the UK has risen by up to 10% over the past two years, according to a national project measuring anti-Muslim incidents.

“Over the last two years our data has shown that women suffer more incidents of hate and they also suffer more aggressive incidents of hate,” Fiyaz Mughal, director of TELL MAMA, told Sky News on Monday, December 29.

“The veil seems to delegitimize the sense of femininity of that person in the eyes of the perpetrator.

“It seems to become something they become fixated upon rather than the individual, the female behind the veil,” he added.

According to Mughal, the number of hate crimes targeting Muslim women has witnessed a 5-10% increase over the last 18 months.

He also said that number of veiled women reporting hate crime has also doubled in the last two years.

Yet, TELL MAMA couldn't attribute this increase either to the soaring incidents or better reporting of the problem.

Muslim women victims are likely to face “opportunistic” verbal or physical attacks, mostly by men, according to a research by TELL MAMA.

An earlier report by think-tank Chatham House identified a considerable Islamophobic sentiment in Britain, detecting a “wide reservoir of public sympathy for claims that Islam and the growth of Muslim communities pose a fundamental threat to the native group and nation.”

A Financial Times opinion poll showed that Britain is the most suspicious nation about Muslims, estimated by 2.7 million.

A poll of the Evening Standard found that a sizable section of London residents harbor negative opinions about Muslims.


Yasmeen Khalid, from Bromsgrove, is one of the women who have become an easy target for Islamophobic attacks that intensified in recent months.

The 21-year-old woman has only reported two hate crime incidents out of 30 different attacks she faced.

“By looking, they instantly know I'm Muslim... sometimes people call me a terrorist, sometimes they say ‘Paki’, sometimes someone has called me ‘Taliban’ or stuff like that,” the young Muslim woman, who dons a hijab, said.

“Sometimes I walk off humiliated - I shouldn't be humiliated but I am humiliated.

“Sometimes I speak up, sometimes I just cry, go away somewhere, and cry because I don't know what to do.”

Another veiled Islamophobia victim, Shalina Litt, from Birmingham, urged women to report hate crime attacks.

“Actually we are mothers, we are daughters, we are sisters,” she said

“I really just hope that any mothers, any daughters etc., can speak to their sons and say actually it's not right and we do need to change how we approach this.”

Despite the rise of the reported anti-Muslim hate crime, TELL MAMA pointed to the “substantial under reporting” by the Muslim community.

There’s “been an enormous shift in the language of anti-Muslim hate,” Mughal said.

“International and national incidents create differences in the way narratives are set.”

Hundreds of anti-Muslim hate offences have been carried out across UK in 2013, with Britain’s Metropolitan police recording an increase of 49% than 2012.

The Metropolitan Police recorded 500 Islamophobic offences from January to mid-November that year, compared with 336 offences in 2012 and 318 in 2011.



Muslim women are fashionable under their Burqas: Countess of Wessex

30 Dec, 2014

U.K. - The Countess of Wessex has spoken out in support of Muslim women who express their fashion sense while wearing traditional clothes like the burka.

The countess told Harper's Bazaar magazine women from the Islamic world could be stylish and modest at the same time.

In an interview by the women's fashion magazine ahead of her 50th birthday on January 20, the countess said that under a burka there was probably a woman wearing "something really quite fashionable".

Her comments followed an event she hosted at Windsor Castle where she met representatives from the organisation Islamic Fashion Festival.

She said: "It's very evident that Muslim women can be fashionable while also retaining their modesty... And it's a great way of bringing people together, and saying, 'Look, this is what we're really like'.

"And what people forget is that underneath the burka and everything else, there is somebody who is probably wearing something really quite fashionable."



Malala most admired woman by Americans after Hillary Clinton, Oprah: poll

30 Dec, 2014

WASHINGTON: Nobel Peace Prize winning Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai is among the most admired woman by Americans, after former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and television icon Oprah Winfrey and, polling agency Gallup said Monday.

Clinton, a likely 2016 US presidential candidate, won the honor for the 13th year in a row, earning 12 per cent of the votes.

Winfrey garnered eight per cent, while five per cent chose the 17-year-old Yousafzai, who survived being shot by the Taliban and went on to win the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize for promoting child education rights.

President Barack Obama was the most admired man, earning 19 per cent of votes, followed by Pope Francis on six per cent. Former US President Bill Clinton rounded up the top three with three per cent of th

For the last seven decades Gallup has asked Americans who the men and women are that they admire most, anywhere in the world.

The question is open, a polling technique that appears to reward the long-standing fame of public figures such as Queen Elizabeth.

Hillary Clinton, who was been in the public eye since the early 1990s, has won the honor a total of 19 times since 1993.

Obama has been the most admired man for the past seven years. According to Gallup, the sitting US president almost always ranks first.

The poll was conducted between December 8 and 11 among 805 adults in the United States. Its margin of error is four percentage points.



Saudi Female Investors Warned Against Swindlers

30 December 2014

A number of Saudi working women are falling prey to scammers in an attempt to hide their savings and properties from their husbands. By blindly following past experiences recounted by other women, these women end up caught in the traps set by con men, who pretend to help them make instant money.

Economist Abdullah Al-Maghlouth believes that it will be beneficial for the whole country if Saudi women were to enter the real state sector and own real estate. This would establish a female presence in the Saudi market. However, he warned that women’s lack of expertise could be detrimental if they don't seek counselling. “Investors in this market have to consult real-estate experts and legal counsellors so they learn about contracts that protect the rights of all parties,” he said, adding failure to seek expert advice is one of the main reasons for fraud.

Al-Maghlouth said that some women decide to conceal financial information from their husbands in order to protect their savings and secure a good financial future. However, he advised women to invest in several fields and not just limit themselves to real estate.

“They can buy stocks and precious stones and jewels like gold and silver, and they can invest in investment funds through banks and bank-managed investment portfolios which are considered a safe way to keep the money,” the expert added.

But female investors face several obstacles in the Kingdom, according to economist Fadel Al-Bouainan, most of them pertaining to fraud and deception. “There are many fake real-estate companies that could exploit people’s naivete, and not only women’s, to make money,” he said explaining that female investment is limited to some fields, and the stock market is a high-risk sector that requires good skills.

Al-Bouainan warned of the dangers of following relatives and friends when investing. “Investment should be based on knowledge, advice and an analytical reading of the economic situation,” he added, advising women not to invest in the stock market because it’s one of the riskiest fields.

He warned women against investing in the real-estate market, unless it’s to buy a personal home and advised them to work in e-marketing which could yield 100 percent revenue and has low risks.



Two women convicted of human trafficking in Dubai

Salah Al Deberky/Staff Reporter / 30 December 2014

They lured the Moroccan victim to come to the UAE by promising her job in a beauty salon and tried to force her into flesh trade.

Dubai - Two women expatriates, who lured a Moroccan girl and brought her into the UAE promising her a job at a women’s beauty salon but forced her into prostitution, have been convicted of human trafficking, fraud and pimping.

The Dubai Criminal Court of First Instance on Monday sentenced the two defendants — one Moroccan, identified as A.F., 22, and a jobless Syrian, identified as R.M.A, 28 — to three and two years in jail, respectively, for cheating the victim, identified as A.S., after they learnt she was looking for a job. The duo bought the air ticket for A.S and after picking her up from the airport, they took her to an apartment and locked her up when she refused to give in to prostitution.

According to court records, the case dates back to the beginning of this year when the victim said she was contacted by A.F while she was at home in Morocco, and promised her a job at a beauty parlor in the UAE.

Later, A.F told the victim to keep in touch with an unidentified woman in Morocco who asked her to sign a 10-million Moroccan dirham trust receipt saying that it was a debt contract. The unidentified woman told the victim that only after she signed it, her work visa, flight ticket and other procedures could be processed.

A.S signed on the trust receipt, and when she arrived at the Dubai airport, she called up A.F., who asked her to take a cab and come to her apartment in Al Nahda neighbourhood. On reaching, A.F. withheld the victim’s passport, and told her that she would have to work as a sex worker in a brothel instead of a beauty salon, to which A.S. refused, but A.F. prevented her from leaving the flat.

The next day, A.F. forcibly took the victim, along with some other girls to a hotel, where she presented them to a group of men, so that each man could choose one girl for six hours of sex against Dh1,500.

However, the victim was not selected by the group of men, and returned to A.F’s flat where she stayed for a week, after which A.F took her to a hotel and gave her passport to her as the hotel policy required the guests to surrender their passport before taking a room. The accused then took the victim to a room where she saw four men and a Syrian woman waiting for them. She was handed over to one of the four men, a Saudi, who gave her Dh1,500.

But when she wept and told him about her ordeal, he at once took her to the airport, where he bought her an air ticket to go back home. However, when she was going through the passport control counter, the officer did not let her pass as her labour contract was not cancelled.

She then went to the airport police and told them her story.

Police arrested A.F, who denied the charges levelled against her. But the victim identified her in an identification parade. Later, the second accused was caught from Al Muraqqabat area in Deira, and it was found that she used to get Dh700 from each girl. Police also recovered contraceptive pills and a number of condoms as well as a register that she used for the trade flesh business.

The duo was referred to the public prosecution, which charged A.F with human trafficking and illegal detention, and R.M.A with running a brothel, exploiting women and debauchery.