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Saudi Cleric Warns Men of Abusing Right of Divorce

New Age Islam News Bureau

12 Feb 2017

Photo: Sheikh Salah Bin Muhammad Al-Budair, the Imam of The Prophet’s Mosque, Madinah


 Widowed At 18, Teen Says ‘Marrying Into the Islamic State Brought Shame and Disgrace’

 UK Store Brings Hijabs into Mainstream Fashion

 KSA to Start Granting Female Gym Licenses This Month

 Lindsay Lohan Getting Closer To Islam Conversion

 Woman, 27, Charged Over Alleged Anti-Muslim Attack In Huntly After Video Goes Viral

 Attack Not Surprising: Islamic Women's Council

 Syrian Arab Women Battle IS, Social Stigma

 Two women in niqab rob cabbie

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau




Saudi Cleric Warns Men of Abusing Right of Divorce

Arab News | Published — Sunday 12 February 2017

RIYADH: The imam of the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah warned men against blackmailing their wives and of abusing their right to divorce, according to the Alriyadh daily newspaper.

Speaking at his Friday sermon, Imam Saleh Al-Bedeir criticized overusing the threat of divorce and deemed such behavior impermissible in Islam. He labeled it a bad habit that Muslims should avoid.

The marriage contract obliges couples to treat each other decently; “women shall have rights similar to the rights against them, according to what is equitable,” (Surah Al-Baqarah 2:228) the imam cited in the sermon.

He said Muslims must be patient, as few find a flawless spouse. The trick is in overlooking the bad traits in each other in order for life to go on.

He advised husbands not to divorce their wives over small issues, and not to let their anger get the best of them and regret it later.

He also advised wives to control their behavior, obey their husbands, and avoid constant debates.



Widowed at 18, teen says ‘marrying into the Islamic State brought shame and disgrace’

FEB. 9, 2017

Eman was 16 years old when she agreed to marry a 28-year-old Islamic State fighter, known by the nomme de guerre Abu Mousa a-Tunisi, who arrived at her parents’ doorstep with a marriage proposal and SP3,000,000 ($14,000).

“I come from a very poor family,” she tells Syria Direct’s Noura al-Hourani, “and I was too young to understand the consequences.”

It was April 2014, and the Islamic State had seized her northeastern Aleppo hometown of Manbij three months earlier. For the next two and a half years, IS held the city under its control, as residents ran out of food, fuel and medicine.

During that time, Eman gave birth to a baby girl. She Also learned next to nothing about her husband, who she says threatened her often and “didn’t let me leave the house without his permission.”

“He hid all information about himself,” Eman, now 18, tells Syria Direct. “I didn’t know anything about him except that he was from Tunisia, according to his nickname,” which literally translates to “the Tunisian.”

“I never even learned his real name.”

“The Ink Pilgrim,” by Assaad Farzat. Photo courtesy of Creative Memory of the Syrian Revolution.

In Syria, a husband’s name is required to officially register marriages and births—meaning that Eman’s daughter, now two-and-a-half years old, officially does not exist. This is one of many consequences of the unhappy union that linger, even after Abu Mousa’s death in a nearby battle in 2016.

“I’m taking care of a young daughter who has no birth certificate or identification,” Eman says, from a northern Aleppo village outside Manbij, with her parents, daughter, and younger brother. The family fled their hometown in summer 2016, during a three-month offensive by the Syrian Democratic Forces to wrest control of Manbij from IS that ended when the SDF took over in August of the same year.

Today, Eman can’t travel without a passport for her daughter, and has trouble getting medical care and humanitarian aid with no ID for her.

“I’m living a very miserable life.”

Q: When did you get married? Can you discuss how it happened?

I got married in April 2014 to a man named Abu Mousa a-Tunisi, after he approached my parents and asked for my hand.

My family agreed to the proposal, and so did I. We registered the marriage with the Islamic State-run sharia court, with two IS members acting as witnesses.

Q: Were you forced to get married, or threatened at all?

No, they didn’t force me into the marriage. My family and I agreed to everything.

I come from a very poor family—my eyes were blinded by the money and the gifts that Abu Mousa brought me, and I was too young to understand the consequences of all this.

Q: What gifts did Abu Mousa bring for you and your family? Did he tell you anything about himself?

He brought my family a mahr [Ed.: money that the groom's family gives to the bride's family as part of the marriage agreement] of SP3,000,000 ($14,000), as well as a house and gold. He also offered my father a position in IS if he wanted it.

I didn’t know anything about him except that he was from Tunisia, according to his nickname [Ed.: The Arabic name a-Tunisi literally translates to “the Tunisian.”] He hid all information about himself, and didn’t tell me anything about his family or relatives. I never even learned his real name, despite all the curiosity that was brewing inside me.

Sometimes, I would try asking him about his name or his life before he came to Syria, but he responded with threats, telling me to stop asking him questions, because my duty was to obey him.

Q: The legal age of marriage in Syria is 18 for both men and women, according to the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. When you married Abu Mousa, you were only 16 years old. Do members of IS prefer to marry minors? How long did the marriage last and how did your husband treat you?

I don’t think it’s a goal for IS members to marry minors, because they marry women of various ages. But for people around here, it is socially accepted for women to marry from a young age until at most 25. After that, a woman is looked upon with pity as a spinster.

My part [of Syria] is very conservative. In our society here, a good wife is completely obedient to her husband. The majority of women here don’t complete their education, and some don’t even go to school at all. Their duty is simply to get married by age 20, raise children and take care of the household.

“The Forgotten Ar-Raqqah,” by Miream Salameh. Photo courtesy of Miream Salameh.

The marriage lasted for a year and a half, and I gave birth to a baby girl who is now two and a half years old. One day, one of my husband’s friends told my father that he had been killed in a battle with regime forces near the Kweiris Military Airbase in 2016.

[Ed.: Islamic State forces surrounded the Kweiris Military Airbase, located in Aleppo’s northern countryside, in spring 2014, holding the isolated base under a tight siege for nearly two years until the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) broke the encirclement in November 2015. In January and February 2016, the SAA advanced westward from the airbase, seizing IS-held territory in the Aleppo countryside.]

To be honest, he lacked moral character and treated me very badly. He didn’t let me leave the house without his permission, and he would come with me whenever I wanted to see my family. My parents’ house was the only place he allowed me to visit. He also forbade TV and cell phones inside our house.

Of course, he didn’t allow me to go to school and he often left the house for long periods of time. I felt like I was living in prison. We were not living a shared life together—rather, I existed just to carry out orders. Whenever I made any mistakes, he shouted and threatened me with punishment, including forbidding me from visiting my family for a long period of time.

Q: Where are you now? What kinds of consequences are you facing from your marriage to Abu Mousa?

Right now, I’m living with my mother, father and younger brother in a village in northern Aleppo province. We fled there when the battle intensified in Manbij.

[Ed.: The majority-Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), backed by coalition airpower, wrested Manbij from IS control over a grueling three-month offensive in the summer of 2016, during which at least 190 civilians were killed by coalition airstrikes, independent monitor Airwars reported. As many as 20,000 residents of Manbij city and its surrounding countryside fled their homes as the SDF made gains against IS forces amid heavy airstrikes, Syria Direct reported at the time.]

Personally, I’m suffering a lot—especially now that I’m taking care of a young daughter who has no birth certificate or identification. When she grows up, who will admit her to school without any papers or identification?

When I go to the clinic, they ask to see her identification papers. The same thing happens when I go to aid organizations for help. I’m living a very miserable life. I can’t leave because I don’t have a passport or papers for my daughter.

I couldn’t register my marriage because it was carried out by IS, and the witnesses all used fake names. I don’t even know if they are alive or dead. Marrying a member of IS brought shame and disgrace to my daughter and me.



UK store brings hijabs into mainstream fashion

Published February 12th, 2017

A major British department is set to become the first to stock hijabs on its shelves as a part of a new rage of modest clothing for Muslim women.

Debenhams announced this week that is it partnering up with the one of the world's leading modest wear brands, Aab, to begin selling its line in selected stores starting from May.

"We are delighted to introduce the Aab range to our international and select UK stores," Jeanette Whithear, trading director International at Debenhams told local media.

"Adding the high-quality fashion range to our product mix enables us to offer collections that are highly relevant in both international markets and to our domestic customers and is a step closer to creating a product offer that caters for broader customer needs," she added.

Debenhams will offer a range of clothes for Muslim women including tops, dresses, jumpsuits, kimono wraps, hijab pins and cap.

The hijab - a scarf covering the hair, ears and neck, revealing only the face - is commonly worn by Muslim women around the world.

Last year, France's highest administrative court suspended  a controversial ban on the "burkini" by a French Riviera town after it was challenged by rights groups.

French police fined Muslim women for wearing burkinis on beaches in several towns, including in the popular tourist resorts of Nice and Cannes, sparking controversy in France and abroad.

The burkini is a modest swimsuit for women that covers the whole body except the face, the hands and the feet.

A poll last year revealed that almost half of the British public would back similar bans on the burkini swimwear in Britain.



KSA to start granting female gym licenses this month

12 February 2017

RIYADH: Licenses will be granted for women’s gyms by the end of February, Princess Reema bint Bandar, vice president for women’s affairs at the General Authority of Sports, told local daily Okaz.

A target is in place to open gyms in every district and neighborhood, it was reported.

Three ministries are set to take part in this process, including the labor, rural affairs and commerce ministries.

Licenses will not be issued for gyms that offer competitive activities, such as football, volleyball, basketball and tennis. The focus will instead be on techniques that contribute to weight loss and fitness, such as swimming, running and bodybuilding.

Workshops and seminars will be held within two months, in order to motivate women to invest in gyms.

As for the high cost of women’s gyms, the authority is working on finding solutions through involving entrepreneurs in what is known as “micro-business.”

Social rejection of women’s sports can be avoided through explaining the enormous benefits of sports for overall health, according to the princess.

“It is not my role to convince the society, but my role is limited to opening the doors for our girls to live a healthy lifestyle away from diseases that result from obesity and lack of movement.”



Lindsay Lohan getting closer to Islam conversion

Published February 12th, 2017

Lindsay Lohan was afraid travelling to New York because of her recent interest in Islam.

The actress stopped by's NY office on Friday to take park in a Facebook Live Q&A session with Femail Editor Charlie Lankston.

The 30-year-old has gone through a renewal and discussed politics, her love life, her work with refugees, past acting roles and possible future ones too.

And following several questions from the thousands of live viewers, she revealed she had not yet converted, but had not ruled it out.

'I've studied the Quran for quite some time,' she said.

'It's a process to convert to anything. I respect all religions... it's a beautiful religion and i am a very spiritual person... it's something I've been studying,' she added. 'You can't just convert overnight to a religion.

'Anything's possible; this is more of a personal journey,' she continued. 'A lot of different religions and spiritualities appeal to me.

Explaining her attraction to it, she said she found it found a very peaceful feeling with it, and admired how everyone comes together for prayer, pays respect that they're alive.

'I really admired that, and found solace in it,' she said.

However she admitted: 'I was scared to come here with everything going on because of my personal beliefs.'

She also discussed plenty of politics, called on the public to unite behind Donald Trump.

'I think always in the public eye you're going to be scrutinised,' she said.

'He is the president - we have to join him,' she insisted. 'If u can't beat him, join him.'

The Mean Girls star has been spending a lot of time in Turkey, and urged President Trump to visit the country and follow their lead on Syrian refugees.

'I think it would be a positive thing for America to show their care and support, and for him to experience what it's like for these people... experience how giving Turkey has been to the refugees and how many they have welcomed in.

'[Prime Minister Tayyip] Erdogan has a very big heart, and his country stands by him,' she said, without touching on the very recent military coup there. 'I think we all need to unite like that.

She denied her visit to refugee camps was her seeking attention, and insisted her heart was still in movies.

'I love acting, it's my forte,' she said, revealing next film 'touches lightly on' the refugee situation, and that she intends talking to Netflix about distributing it.

In terms of future roles, Lilo revealed that her dream part would be to play Ariel in The Little Mermaid.

Universal already have their leading lady in Chloe Grace Moretz, but the planned Disney live reboot is still up for grabs.

Lohan also discussed revisiting perhaps her most beloved role - Cady Heron -  for a much anticipated sequel to her 2004 hit Mean Girls.

'Mean Girls 2 would be great, it's something I've always interested in doing... it has such a great cult following it, would be wonderful to do something else,' she said, insisting she was going to talk to producer Lorne Michaels about it.

She also hinted it could be titled Mean Moms: 'All of us should have kids, like a Housewives of...' she suggested. 'And all my kids are from Africa... we've adopted them or something funny.'

She insisted the entire same cast should return, but she would like to add the likes of Chris Lilley, Jimmy Fallon and Drake.

Lindsay also explained THAT bizarre accent she briefly developed in a recent televised interview, which was subsequently dubbed 'Lilohan' after a viral spread across the web.

'I was learning Arabic and Russian, and I studied french for nine years... i was also picking u[p on some Turkish, and then Greek... when I'm around different people and different places I tend to change and talk very quickly... things come out and a flip into [accents] depending on who I'm with,' she explained. 'You acquire different dialects.'

And after about 200 marriage proposals from Facebook Live, she confirmed she was single.

'I'm dating myself,' she said. 'I don't have a Valentine.'



Woman, 27, charged over alleged anti-Muslim attack in Huntly after video goes viral

February 12th, 2017

A 27-year-old woman  is in custody facing assault and offensive language charges over an alleged racial abuse incident in Huntly last night that has since gone viral online.

Woman arrested after tirade hurled at NZ Muslim women in Huntly

Mehpara Khan posted video of the incident on social media last night, saying in a Facebook post that she was attacked "for being Muslim" by a woman who "took a couple of swings at me".

Ms Khan has said it happened after she and her two friends went to use public toilets in Huntly.

'You don't have the right to be here, you Muslim' - woman's disgusting racist attack on women wearing hijabs in Huntly

Mehpara Khan and her two friends went to use public toilets in Huntly, when a woman started abusing them.

Source: Facebook/Mehpara Khan

Waikato police say following an incident reported in Huntly yesterday, they have arrested a 27-year-old woman.

She is in custody and faces charges of assault, assault with a weapon, and offensive language, and will appear in Hamilton District Court tomorrow, said  Waikato West Area Commander, Inspector Naila Hassan in a statement this afternoon.

The incident was first reported to police last night and after being provided with video evidence, staff have acted quickly to make an arrest, Ms Hassan said.

Police do not condone threatening behaviour, she said.

"Complaints such as these will always be thoroughly investigated by police, and victims should not hesitate to report incidents to us.

"While we appreciate the video will generate public discussion, the matter is now before the courts, and police do not intend to make any further statements," Ms Hassan said.

The video was uploaded to Facebook last night and has since been viewed nearly 400,000 times.



Attack not surprising: Islamic Women's Council

Sunday Feb 12, 2017

A racially-motivated attack on a young Muslim New Zealander yesterday was of the more extreme kind but was not unique, the Islamic Women's Council says.

Mehpara Khan, 28, was accosted and assaulted by a stranger yesterdaywhen she and a group of friends who were travelling from New Plymouth to Auckland stopped for a toilet break in Huntly.

She videoed the woman yelling abuse at her on her cellphone.

"I don't care if you were born here, you don't have the right to be here. Now get the **** off, you ugly ******* Muslim *****," the attacker yells in the footage, which Khan posted to Twitter.

Islamic Women's Council spokeswoman Anjum Rahman said it was "very disappointing but not surprising" for such an attack to happen.

"Muslim women are often the ones who bear the brunt of attacks by strangers in public places.

We get a lot of drive-by comments. People yelling at us.

"Many Muslim women have reported incidents in supermarkets, when they're just doing their own shopping. It does happen and it is disturbing whenever it happens."

Rahman told the Herald the attack directed at Khan was among the worst in recent months.

"With the stuff that's been happening in America, with the Muslim ban and so on, we've felt that people have actually come out and been more supportive and sympathetic, so it was sad to see this kind of thing happening.

"But the thing is that even though these are isolated attacks, what it is does is make people, particularly women within our community, a bit more afraid to be going out, a bit more afraid to be interacting with people. So I think it's important to take action on this."

The council wanted to meet with Khan's attacker and talk to her about Muslim women's contributions to New Zealand, Rahman said.

"It would be really good to try to understand the young woman and what has been going on with her that she lashed out like this."

The attack also presented an opportunity for New Zealanders to start a dialogue about what it meant to be a Kiwi, Rahman said.

"I think it's time for the narrative to change around the fact that Kiwis are now different colours, different ethnicities, practicing different religions and we're all part of this country."

Khan is New Zealand-born and can be heard in the video telling the woman attacking her: "Hey, I was born here. I've got the right to be here".

The council condemned all racism and bigotry and offered support to Khan and her friends. Its members appreciated the frustrations of tangata whenua, Rahman said.

"Our community is diverse, and a number of our Muslim sisters are tangata whenua. We encourage all Muslim women to report instances of harassment and abuse, either to us or the Human Rights Commission, and to the New Zealand police where appropriate."



Syrian Arab women battle IS, social stigma

Feb 12, 2017

Raqqa :Though fighting the most-feared members of the militant Islamic State (IS) group in Syria, hundreds of Arab female fighters are also battling with the disapproval of their relatives and society.

"I braved my tribal clan, my father, my mother. Now I'm braving the enemy," says 21-year-old Batul, who is part of an Arab-Kurdish alliance battling to capture IS's Syrian stronghold of Raqqa.

She is one of more than 1,000 Arab women who have joined Kurdish male and female fighters in the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) alliance, according to a spokeswoman.

Standing in the desert some 20 kilometres from Raqqa, Batul speaks passionately about her decision to fight IS, which holds the nearby village of Al-Torshan.

"My parents told me, 'Either you put down your weapons or we disown you'," she says, wearing an ammunition vest and a floral scarf around her shoulders.

Her parents have not spoken to her since.

Batul comes from the Al-Sharabiyeh tribe, one of the best-known of the Arab tribes of northeast Syria.

Her family views her as a rebel, who removed the headscarf worn by many Muslim women and refused her father's orders to pray in front of him.

But she is proud of the decision she took two years ago to join the Kurdish Women's Protection Units, more commonly known as YPJ, which is an all-female Kurdish military organisation and a key component of the SDF alliance.

Also read: Women soldiers: If the boot fits, why shouldn't they wear it?

"I joined the YPJ to liberate my homeland, but also to free women from slavery," she says.

"We must no longer remain cloistered behind four walls."

Syrian Kurds and Arabs have been fighting IS since late 2015, with air support and other backing from the US-led coalition against the militant group.

But the current battle for Raqa is the first time Batul has been on the front line, where warplanes roar overhead carrying out strikes, and mortars boom in the distance.

"The first time I held a weapon, I was very afraid," she admits.

"But now, my weapon has become part of me. It frees me and protects me," she says, speaking in Arabic with her sentences peppered with Kurdish words picked up from her fellow fighters.

"The relations between us and the Kurdish women are good. We don't speak the same language, but we're all here to free the country and women," Batul added.

Jihan Sheikh Ahmad, spokeswoman for the campaign on Raqa, said the SDF now counts more than 1,000 Arab women in its ranks.

"The YPJ's experience has had a positive impact on society," she said.

"The more territory we liberate, the more Arab female fighters have joined us."

In a tent near the front line, six young Arab female fighters joke and share secrets as they sip tea.

"My goal is to liberate women from the oppression of Daesh (IS), but also societal oppression," says Hevi Dilirin, an Arab woman who adopted a Kurdish nom de guerre when she joined the YPJ.

"In our society, women have no say. But they should have the same rights as men," she says, dressed in a camouflage jacket and white-and-grey sneakers.

Syria's Kurds have emphasised gender equality in both their militias and nascent autonomous institutions.



Two women in niqab rob cabbie

Feb 12, 2017

KUWAIT CITY, Feb 11: Police are looking for two women wearing niqab for stealing a taxi and robbing the Asian taxi driver, reports Al-Anba daily. A security source said the Asian taxi driver has filed a complaint with Sulaibiya Police Station. He told the police the women asked him to drive them from Al-Zahra to Sulaibiya and as he approached the area, they requested him to change direction and go in the direction of the desert. He said he did not doubt their ill intentions because they are women.

However, he was shocked when one of them pulled out a knife and ordered him to give all his money (KD 180), ordered him out of the vehicle and escaped in his taxi. Police are conducting intensive investigation to unravel the mystery of the incident.

Car broken into: An unidentified Asian has filed a complaint with the Fahaheel Police Station accusing a burglar of breaking into his vehicle which was parked in the parking lot of a mosque and stealing KD 620, reports Al-Shahed daily. The daily did not give more details




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