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Islam, Women and Feminism ( 17 Jun 2013, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Girls Primary School Attacked In Bahrain by a Group of Saboteurs

New Age Islam News Bureau

17 Jun 2013 

Students at the Sharjah Girls’ Centre. —Supplied photo


 Sharjah Girls’ Centres Help Sharpen Talents

 Haia Calls for Setting up Homes for Rejected Women

 Indonesian Police under Pressure over Ban on Headscarf

 Iran Women Battle against Bigotry

 How NGOs Are Promoting Girl-Child Education in Northern Nigeria

 Ethiopia Women Get Empowerment through Banking, Micro-Loans

 Afghan Women Lose Political Power As Fears Grow For the Future

 Female MP to Run For Mali President

 Women Work as Cashiers, Waiters in EP Restaurant

 The Final Leap Of Making Physical Education for Girls in Saudi Arabia a Reality 

 These Young Women Get a Real ‘Kick’ Out Of Levelling the Playing Field

 Left By Husband, Woman Marries Lover, Ostracized By Panchayat

 Many Factors Hinder Success of Women-Owned Small Businesses

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau





Girls Primary School Attacked In Bahrain by a Group of Saboteurs

17 June 2013

A group of saboteurs have targeted Bilad Al Qadeem Primary School for Girls, detonating a gas cylinder at its vicinity.

The boundary wall of the school was damaged due to the impact of the explosion. The incident was reported to the security authorities for investigation. In a statement on Saturday, the Ministry of Education announced that 196 attacks on various schools have taken place during the last two years.

Meanwhile, the Director-General of the Capital Governorate Police has said that the security forces intervened to disperse rioters who had created chaos in Bilad Al Qadeem village on Saturday.

The thugs committed acts of sabotage, destroyed public property and blocked roads to disrupt traffic. The terrorists also attacked the security forces with firebombs (Molotov cocktails), stones and iron rods, prompting riot police to disperse them in order to enforce the law and restore order, he added.

The director-general said that a number of saboteurs had been arrested.



Sharjah Girls’ Centres Help Sharpen Talents

Lily B. Libo-on / 16 June 2013

Girls’ centres in Sharjah come alive in the early evening to prepare them to become future decision makers. Set up as a department in the General Department of Children and Girls Centre in 2004, the centres train 2,455 talented girls to compete locally and internationally in arts, sports, IT, culture, music, crafts and cooking.

Their classes last from 5pm to 7pm as they expand their knowledge and vie in several competitions in as far as Japan, Poland, Slovenia and Romania, amongst others.

Of the centres, Kalba has 710, Khorfakkan takes care of 537 and the biggest chunk of the girls come from Sharjah City, 1,208.

The three branches came into being when the Girls Centres expanded in 2006 to give opportunity to girls outside Sharjah City.

Earlier, these girls were trained in the Children Centres. But Shaikha Aisha bint Khalid Al Qasimi, assistant director of the centres, said the separation came on the instructions of Shaikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, wife of His Highness Dr Shaikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, and Chairperson of the Supreme Council for Family Affairs.

“Her Highness wants to focus on girls and develop the programmes that target their talents believing in the girls and their ability to become women pioneers of the future. This was followed by a deep study and thoughts on how we can translate Her Highness’ instructions,” she said. Now a dependable organisation under the umbrella of Her Highness Executive Office (HHEO), the centres focus closely on the girls and provides them with high-quality programmes. “It is obvious that girls’ needs are different and require special treatment and management. Her Highness wants the best for these Emirati girls,” Shaikha Aisha said.

The centres cater to Emirati girls between 13 and 18 years.

“Our doors are open to students with special needs, and they are one of our target audiences. But, for now, we do not have such students as there is Sharjah City for Humanitarian Services (SCHS) that is under the umbrella of the Supreme Council for Family Affairs that takes care of special needs students,” she said.

The management was in the process of designing new workshops that benefited their valued students, Shaikha Aisha said. “We aim to translate Shaikha Jawaher’s vision, which is to improve and build strong, dependable, and confident girls.”

Funded by the  Sharjah government and supported by several sponsors, the centres aim to keep implementing new programmes.



Haia Calls for Setting Up Homes For Rejected Women

 17 June 2013

The general presidency of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (Haia) has called for setting up homes for women that have been rejected by their families.

Haia said in a report that there should be a hotline and fast communication methods to report women escaping from homes, blackmail attempts and abuse by family members. Haia also recommended counselling centres in all provinces and governorates for high-risk families.

Women that run away from home are not a rampant phenomenon. Haia teams have dealt with 76 cases of runaways last year. Of these, 34 took place in Makkah Province, 18 in Riyadh Province and 10 in the Eastern Province. The Northern Border Province has not recorded any such case while other regions recorded only a few, the report said.

The report stressed on the importance of paying attention to inhabitants of popular areas. These residents should be informed about the issue through lectures and economic aid should be given to unemployed men and women.

The report said those who blackmail women should be given severe punishments.

The report also called for opening a special television station for adolescents under the supervision of religious scholars, media personnel, and psychological and social experts.



Indonesian police under pressure over ban on headscarf

17 June 2013

JAKARTA (June 17, 2013): Muslim and human rights groups have called on Indonesian National Police chief Gen Timur Pradopo to revoke a 2005 ban on the 'hijab' (Islamic headscarf) for women personnel in the police force.

Poengky Indiarti, the executive director of the rights watchdog Imparsial, urged Timur to review the decree to restore justice and religious freedom.

"The opportunity to become a member of the police force should be equal, including for Muslim women who wear the hijab. It's discrimination if only female members of the corps in Aceh are allowed to wear the garb," Poengky was quoted as saying by the English daily, The Jakarta Post, Monday.

A decision by the then National Police chief Gen Da'i Bachtiar in 2005 required all members of the corps to wear only the official uniform and prohibited women personnel from wearing the hijab.

Violating the ban subjected the personnel to dismissal. However, female personnel of the police force in Aceh are excluded from the regulation because Aceh's 2001 Syariah-inspired bylaws oblige all women to cover their hair.

Muslim scholar Azyumardi Azra said the police would be upholding Indonesia's motto of 'Bhinneka Tunggal Ika' (Unity in Diversity) by lifting the ban the on hijab.

Amidhan Shaberah of the Indonesian Ulama Council (MUI) said the hijab ban showed that the police were a "repressive institution" and the MUI was expected to deliberate the issue in an internal meeting soon.

The National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) and the Indonesian Police Watch (IPW) also rejected the ban.

"In Indonesia, many institutions have allowed their employees to wear the hijab. I urge policewomen to look for support from the House of Representatives' Commission III on Legal Affairs and the Women's Empowerment and Child Protection Ministry for the abolition of the ban," IPW chairman Neta S. Pane said.

Indonesian Police spokesman Senior Commissioner Agus Rianto said the protests would not influence the police to change their policy and they would continue to comply with the decree until it was amended. – Bernama



Iran Women Battle against Bigotry

Sharifa Ghanem

17 June 2013

Women in Iran are becoming more angry and are beginning to show their frustration through underground campaigns aimed at ending what activist Samira Mekhani told is “the bigotry of a male-dominated society.” For her and other women in Iran, fighting daily to change the use of language and “stupidity” is a never-ending affair.

“We battle over and over against this idea of women’s honor and protecting women that exists here,” she said via telephone. “Iran must step out of this continuous denial of women and our rights if we are to be respected again across the world.”

She referred to the Iran government, in March, pushing forward with an educational endeavor aimed at teaching toddlers in the country ideas of chastity and the hijab.

Islamic dress and notions of chastity are to be taught to toddlers in Iran, as part of a move by the country to instil Islamic teachings into the younger generation.

The governor of Tehran, Morteza Tamadon, stressed the importance of “popularizing” chastity and Hijab among Iranians, advising that kindergarteners be taught, “before reaching those in higher education,” the Guardian reported.

“We cannot expect to see Hijab and chastity exist in society without proper cultural work,” he said. “Our goal in the social transformation plan devised by the government is institutionalizing chastity and Hijab as a natural [demand] in society,” he said.

Islamist rulers in Iran have recently ordered stricter enforcement measures from the Iranian Moral Police and the Revolutionary Guards.

Recently, Iranian police have bolstered the enforcement of modesty laws. Women wearing mandatory headscarves improperly or in “vulgar” dress are usually warned before being fined or detained in police stations.

As for a program targeting toddlers, the welfare office of the Iranian city of Qom is reportedly “training 400 experts on Hijab and chastity who will be sent to kindergartens across the city,” according to the Guardian.

The report added that 1,530 kindergartens under the jurisdiction of a north-eastern province have already held “chastity and Hijab exhibitions” in recent months.

“Research has found that indirect methods have more effect on kids,” welfare officer Tahereh Bakhtiyari said in comments to the newspaper. “Using art expression is one of these methods.”



How NGOs Are Promoting Girl-Child Education In Northern Nigeria

By: Yahya Sarki

June 16, 2013

In most places in Nigeria, especially in the North, girl-child is at disadvantage compared to their male counterparts in terms of education. Yahaya Sarki writes on  the efforts of Non Governmental Organisations in promoting the girl child education.

In Northern Nigeria particularly North West, Sokoto, Kebbi and Zamfara States, it is a known fact that the Girl child is at disadvantage over the male child educationally. These are because of several factors ranging from social, religious, economic and even, cultural reasons. LEADERSHIP Sunday takes a critical look at the efforts of both international and local Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs)in promoting the girl child education through bridging the gap between the male child and the girl child education.

The intervention was purposely mapped out in Northern Nigeria where enrolment of girl child, retention and completion is comparatively low, it tends to reduce the disparity in education between the male child and the girl child in the North. Before the beginning of the campaign to enhance girl child education, NGOs conducted research and the research revealed the ratio one girl to six boys in a class. In some places, there were no girls at all in the schools.  This situation agitated the Non Governmental Organisations to take a course of reversing the trend by launching EGBEN : Enhancing Girl Child Basic Education in Northern Nigeria.

 Action Aid Nigeria, an international non governmental organisation in 2001 along side some local NGOs in Sokoto, Kebbi and Zamfara States unfolded the EGBEN project to enhance girl child education by adopting measures to ensure increase in enrolment, retention, transition and completion of girl child education at least, at the primary level. Incidentally, before the commencement of the project in these states, a base line survey was carried out to identify communities where girls do not attend school.

In Kebbi State, the following communities have been identified as the most prone areas needing urgent attention. The communities were Raishe, Gungun Tagwaye, Tungwani in Ngaski local government . In Aliero local government, the communities were Sadam, Gangije and Sabiyel while in Dandi local government , the communities involved Tukurwa, Kwakkwaba and Rijiyar Mai kabi.

Action Aid Nigeria with their local NGO partners in Kebbi, the Youth Advancement Organisation of Nigeria (YAON), and Federation of Muslim Women Association (FOMWAN) begun the onerous task of carrying out awareness campaign in the communities coupled with the certain  strategies  to empower girls and their parents to send their female wards to school just like their male counterparts. The process also involved Ministry of Education, Ministry of Women Affairs, House of Assembly, UBE, SUBEB, LGEA, Community leaders like, the village heads, stakeholders in education who brainstormed  and came out with particular issues to address.

The NGOs used strategies such as formation of school based management committee which comprises the head teacher, village head, women leader, youth leader, Imam and some parents. This strategy was aimed at involving parents in the school governance. Other strategies adopted included the formation of girls club in the schools, fighting poverty by empowering the women folk to engage in business, lack of female teachers, Women role model; women of proven ability and success were identified in the community used to address the girls to get them motivated on the importance of education.

The activities of the NGOs on the girl child education have recorded significant success in the communities they operated. The indication was that in most of the communities where the project was carried, there were significant improvement in enrolment of girl child into schools, retention and even in some cases transition to secondary schools. The data gathered before the commencement of the project, that is situation analysis and in the end post project analysis was carried and the two data compared which revealed improvement in the girl child enrolment and even posting of female teachers to schools .

The  programmes Director of Youth Advancement Organisation of Nigeria (YAON),Haruna Alkasim Yauri ,one of the NGOs executing the project since 2001 till date said, “ Well most of the success story about the project took place in Ngaski Local Government , most of the communities witnessed great improvement in girl child education especially in Raishe and Gungun Tagwaye, the girls are in school, they remain in school and even transited to secondary school, but in places like Sadam and Gangije not much were recorded, I think due to the culture of the people and some of the challenges we faced was the difficult terrain, parents will also put their children in school and when we go they will remove them’’, Alkasim said.

Following the success recorded in the EGBEN project in Kebbi state, another one year projected was unfolded in early 2012 called the Enhancing Girl Child Basic Education in Kebbi (EGBEK) which is expected to be completed at the end of 2013 with the aim of consolidating the success recorded and improve in areas where problem was noticed. A new partner NGO called the Active support for Rural Peoples Initiative (ASURPI) came on board to join YAON. Both NGOs covered the following communities in Ngaski, Aleiro, and Augie. The communities involved Mera, Raishe, Gungun Tagwaye, Yola, Hakimawa, Sabon Gari Dinkiri, Tiggi, Gubin Dari, Sabon Garin Gwanda, Sadam, Tungan Bature, Gafara, Lugga, Agoda, Gidan Kwano and Gangije.

Fatima Buhari, the sponsorship officer of ASURPI highlighted on EGBEK Project which is being sponsored by Oxfam Novid and Action Aid Nigeria in partnership with organisation in Kebbi, ASURPI and YAON. She said recently they have organised a workshop to empower women so that the women in turn could help in the education of their children by sending them to school.

 “This programme today is about empowering women, we picked four women from 16 communities. We want to find a way of establishing linkage with NDE and Ministry of Women Affairs so that these women can access loan from these organisations and how the loan can be managed if granted. We felt that these moves would reduce the dependency from the male parents and the female parents would assist in sending their children to school, especially the girl child,” Fatima said.



Ethiopia women get empowerment through banking, micro-loans

Mohammed Awad

June 16, 2013

ADDIS ABABA: Ethiopia women are praising efforts over the past month to increase their empowerment within the business sector of the country. In recent weeks, Ethiopian women have been able to increase their living by applying for loans at a nationwide bank launched by women for women.

“Without the new loan I have got in the past few weeks, I would not have been able to start the process of creating my own medical clinic in the village,” Hallelujah Desalign told She recently established a small clinic about an hour outside Addis Ababa that gives women pre-natal care and children now have access to daily healthcare and medicine.

“It’s all because of the banking system and how women are helping women out,” she added.

She was referring to last month’s launch of a bank pushed by 11 Ethiopian women and some 7400 shareholders with the aim to serve and support women and empowerment in the country.

“This is a great time for women in Ethiopia,” an economic consultant for the government told “We are seeing initiatives that are helping to make better business opportunities for women and this will help boost our overall economy.”

Meaza Ashenafi, Chairperson of Bank Board of Directors, told reporters that 64 percent of the shareholders are women.

Meaza revealed that the Bank has been launched with initial capital of 120 million Ethiopian Birr (about 18.5 Ethiopia Birr equals 1 US dollar), to be raised to 500 million Ethiopian Birr in two years time.

The Chairperson noted that it is women’s initiative potentially to be one of the biggest banks in Ethiopia.

The bank launched its services with two branches in Bole and Bambis areas of Addis Ababa.

The Chairperson stated that they would expand the bank’s services by opening other branches in different parts of the country and also by using mobile bank.

“We have launched the bank, the first women’s bank in the country; and potentially be one of the biggest banks in Ethiopia. It is women’s initiative. It was promoted by eleven Ethiopian women and we have over 7,000 shareholders,” she said.

She said they wanted to use mobile bank as it has huge potential to reach all.

Speaking at the launching ceremony, Mekonnen Manyazewal, Ethiopian’s minister of trade, noted that the bank initiated by Ethiopian women would have its contribution to development activities in the country.

The bank has said that it provides bank services uniquely in a manner it improves citizens’ saving culture and loan services that promotes investment in the country.



Afghan women lose political power as fears grow for the future

 June 17, 2013

KABUL — A legal requirement that women make up at least a quarter of all provincial elected officials was quietly removed by conservative male parliamentarians, officials said, the latest in a series of decisions undermining advances in women's rights in Afghanistan.

The change, engineered in mid-May, was only discovered by women members of parliament a few days ago.

The action has sparked fears among women's rights activists that President Hamid Karzai's government is increasingly willing to trade away their hard fought gains to placate the Taliban as part of attempts to coax them to the peace table.

Full report at:



Female MP to run for Mali president

 17 June 2013 

BAMAKO — A female lawmaker will run for president of Mali in elections due to be held in the troubled west African country next month.

Aissata Cisse Haidara, 54, threw her hat into the ring on Saturday at a rally attended by several thousand supporters, mainly women and young people.

“I am a candidate, not just to make up the numbers but to play a role in the rebuilding of the Mali, which has become an unrecognizable country today,” she said.

Haidara is an MP for Bourem in northern Mali, the center of the conflict which erupted after armed Tuareg rebels and Al-Qaeda linked extremists seized control of the vast desert area last year.

Full report at:



Women Work As Cashiers, Waiters In EP Restaurant

17 June 2013

DAMMAM — Five Saudi women are working in the family section of an international restaurant as cashiers and waiters, according to a local report.

The restaurant manager said that the management of the international chain of restaurants is seeking to increase the Saudisation rate in their branches in the Kingdom.

He said that the management is seeking to interact with Saudi society, and that it is looking to employ more Saudis of both sexes.

Full report at:



The Final Leap Of Making Physical Education for Girls in Saudi Arabia a Reality 


 17 June 2013

Last month news came out that private schools for girls would be allowed to have a physical education curriculum. Many of these schools already did include such a curriculum such as Kingdom Schools and Manarat Al Riyadh. But there were more and more private schools that boast of having physical education as a way to stand out without having the proper infrastructure for their students to exercise and play properly and safely. So the ministry wisely decided to regulate it instead of banning it completely.

Full report at:



These Young Women Get a Real ‘Kick’ Out Of Levelling the Playing Field

By Umer Bin Ajmal

June 16, 2013

KARACHI: When it comes to fancy footwork on the football field, some of Karachi’s women are no less skilled than the men.

When 20-year-old Maheen Aqeel, a striker for the Karachi Gladiators Football Club (KGFC), scored goals in a football tournament held a couple of months ago, each kick was a strike at long-standing stereotypes about which gender belongs out on the field.

For her, the game is not a means to get physically fit but something she’s really hooked on to – and you can really tell by the gold medals and trophies she’s won as a team captain. “I hope to continue playing sports in the future and improve my game, work harder than I ever have before and achieve what I haven’t done as yet,” she said. In a society where women are hardly provided with much opportunity to showcase their skills on the field, the KGFC’s football league for women organised at the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) ground was a chance to step into the limelight.

Full report at:



Left By Husband, Woman Marries Lover, Ostracized By Panchayat

Alok K N Mishra, TNN Jun 16, 2013

RANCHI: Twenty-five-year-old SajidaKhatoon's only fault was to marry the person she loved after her husband left her. Her neighbours ostracized her and the panchayat threatened to teach her a lesson for such adultery.

Residents of Sataknadu village, 25km from Ranchi, restricted Sajida's domain outside the village for two years. The woman's ordeal does not end there. The panchayat body also threatened to tonsure her and insult her if she dared to enter the village before 25 months.

The Jharkhand Women's Commission has ordered an immediate inquiry into the matter.

The incident only belies all claims of women empowerment in the country.

On June 6, Sajida Khatoon married her lover Nematullah after a two-month courtship. But the couple could live together for only five days.

Full report at:



Many factors hinder success of women-owned small businesses

17 June 2013 

TABUK — A record number of Saudi women have established small businesses due to an increase in awareness of work culture and the availability of government and private funding. However, a number of obstacles and challenges hinder business growth that has resulted in a high failure rate among small businesses owned by women.

Nawwaf Al-Mesrei, manager of Shell Intilaaqah program for the development of small and medium sized businesses, was quoted by Al-Riyadh newspaper as saying that it was important to encourage women to play more active role in running their businesses, especially considering the high unemployment rates among Saudi women.

Full report at: