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Two Saudi Women Umpires To Officiate In Arab And West Asian Badminton Event

New Age Islam News Bureau

1 Sept 2019

Hatoun Al-Sadhan is set to participate for the first time as an umpire in the Arab and West Asian badminton championships scheduled to begin in the Jordanian capital, Amman.



 Women’s Fashion another Aspect of Change in Saudi Arabia

Asia Bibi Pleads For Justice for Victims Of Pakistan's Harsh Blasphemy Laws As She Plans To Settle In Europe

 Sudan Women Fight Gender Imbalance In Transition

 Hubby Booked For Triple Talaq; Two Firs Lodged In Four Days

 The Lebanese Bus That Fights Gender-Based Violence

 Most Kuwaiti Citizens Content With One Wife; Only 15 Men Married To 4 Women

 Pakistan Women’s Foundation calls for peace on garbage

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau




Two Saudi Women Umpires To Officiate In Arab And West Asian Badminton Event

August 31, 2019

RIYADH — Two Saudi ladies, Hatoun Al-Sadhan and Ruba Al-Lehaidan, are set to participate for the first time as umpires in the Arab and West Asian badminton championships scheduled to begin in the Jordanian capital, Amman, on Saturday.

Al-Sadhan, a badminton player, is a member and an umpire in the Saudi Badminton Federation and a female coach in the first recognized badminton academy. She narrated her story on becoming a professional badminton player to

She said: “I started playing badminton as a hobby under the tutelage of a Korean women coach. I found the sport appropriate and enjoyable. The Saudi Badminton Federation, which was my main supporter and of all the women umpires, coaches and players, then helped us develop and enhance our skills with constant encouragement.

“The Federation provided us with courts for practice as well as to stage competitions. It also held local championships and training courses that elevated our skills both as a player and as an official.”

She added: “Since childhood, I’ve been participating in various sports and have become a professional in several disciplines, including basketball, soccer, volleyball, and squash, among others.”

As to her advice to girls, Al-Sadhan, who holds a bachelor’s degree in languages and translation, said: “Whoever wants to play badminton, must learn the basic skills, rules, objectives, and also how to keep scores in the game, aside from honing tactical play that will help them improve their standard and skills.”

“From my perspective, the player must have the ability to focus on the rival player’s moves and the shuttlecock at the same time. He/she should have the ability and agility to cover the court intelligently and keep the shuttle in play — always ahead in predicting the rival’s moves and tactics.

“And to reach this level, the player has to build his stamina and endurance level with regular exercising while also show great patience in developing his/her strokes and shot-making and undergo training continuously,” she said.

Al-Sadhan said: “Despite playing many sports, I liked badminton the most, as it involves a lot of enthusiasm, pleasure and safety. For this reason, I joined the training classes as a regular student. This created keen interest within me to accomplish something in this sport — both as a player and an official. After that, I began to develop my skills in the game.”

She added: “Selecting me as one among the umpires is a challenge and a new opportunity for me to represent my country in this important sports event, along with an elite panel of Arab and international umpires.

“I’ve gained a lot of experience both as a player and a keen student of the game. My experience of becoming an umpire and then officiating in games in every aspect helped me grow as I learned not only from my mistakes but from the mistakes made by players and officials, understood the handling of some exceptional cases in counting points, in addition to becoming proficient on how to manage big competitions efficiently and skillfully.

“With all these qualities, I’ve been able to overcome the most difficult technical, administrative and organizational pressures. These have had a positive impact on my method of work and skills in the field of umpiring and training.”

Al-Sadhan added: “I’ve participated in the administration and umpiring of many local women’s championships held by the Saudi Badminton Federation. Among these were the First Women’s Championship and the Kingdom’s Open Championship for Women, in addition to many championships organized by foreign badminton clubs in Saudi Arabia.”

She said: “I was keen to grow in the game and kept in touch with some international coaches and umpires, who have long experience in this field. This I could do due to my interaction with some female players in the overseas Indian and Philippines badminton clubs, which enabled me to gain a lot of experience.”



Women’s Fashion another Aspect of Change in Saudi Arabia

August 31, 2019

DUBAI - Fashion and female empowerment are two concepts Renad Hefni was adamant to combine in her daily life.

After studying fashion design at Dar Al-Hekma University in Jeddah, Hefni propelled herself into the world of entrepreneurship with a clear idea in mind.

“When I was young, clothes always fascinated me,” she said. “I liked the idea that people always judged each other according to their outfit. When you want to look feminine, for instance, it’s a way to express yourself without speaking. So, I loved the idea of creating powerful clothes to make women feel powerful without them knowing it but looking it.”

She started her brand, Royaled, in her last year at university, following her dream.

“I knew before I had the opportunity to go into college when I was in high school, that this is what I wanted to do,” Hefni, 26, said. “The name Royaled comes from ‘royaling’ — someone or crowning someone — and is therefore about making women feel like they are queens.”

The pret-a-couture brand offers bespoke, powerful and stylish pieces, developed through careful tailoring and high-quality fabrics. Hefni described the brand as catering to women with no labels and no rules, crowning each other and lifting each other up, as fearless and unstoppable creators.

“The message is important because women should feel appreciated,” Hefni said. “I go around in the world looking at women and some of them don’t feel confident or powerful and they deserve gratitude.

“Women are daughters, mothers, teachers. They create generations so they should feel the power and if they don’t get it from people, they should feel it within themselves.”

Becoming an entrepreneur was not easy for Hefni, who faced a lot of difficulties starting out in the field.

“Creating a licence for the brand was one issue, as well as doing a fashion show,” she said. “Being in Saudi Arabia and creating something out of the box wasn’t easy but I’m still working on it. Being an entrepreneur and a woman in the kingdom has been a challenge but it’s going well so far.”

Her clients are diverse, ranging from Saudi women to foreigners, from the early 20s to the late 40s. Her target is Saudi women as the country shift towards modernism.

“Saudi Arabia is changing with progressive acts of openness,” she said. “Having women drive was a great step and my brand is about making women gain their power back.”

She spoke of the Saudi fashion scene as evolving as well, explaining that people were not necessarily “edgy” and “did not understand” her specific fashion when she started. “They liked it but they never wore it,” Hefni said. “In the first year, I didn’t make a lot of sales. People enjoyed looking at it, mainly, but after the progressive act of Saudi Arabia, the market changed.”

Along with that, she said, came more travel among young Saudi women, calling for a need for more stylish clothes.

“They wanted to look unique, so they decided to go to local designers because sales were less than international brands,” Hefni said. “As the kingdom changed, so did the habits of women in shopping. Women used to be inside the lines. They thought they had guidelines in how they dressed and appeared and they didn’t want to look too bold and out there so they were too safe.”

Dubai, she explained, offers a lot to foreigners who wish to pursue their passion but Saudi women, in her opinion, have a lot to offer as well.

“They have the potential to show more and I believe that, in the next five years, people will hear a lot about Saudi women. They will thrive and everyone is going to hear about it. It won’t take away from Dubai but the Saudi woman is capable of a lot,” Hefni said.

The Jeddah-born designer said she has ambitious plans, including fashion shows in New York, Paris or London. “I want to take it to the next level, somewhere international,” Hefni said. “I need my brand to go to another level other than just a Saudi-based company and my aim is to do that in the next few years.”

Her advice for entrepreneurs is to drop their fear and take the risk, after studying the market thoroughly. “If you have a passion for anything, you should go for it,” she added. “Life is too short to just wish you are an entrepreneur.”

Hefni said she has high hopes for the evolution of women’s position in general.

“Women are taking action in being what they want to be,” she said. “We have people who used to sing behind closed doors and now they are signing at events so talents are emerging and people are showing that they are not afraid anymore. They can go out. They changed and they are not afraid to show who they are anymore.”



Asia Bibi Pleads For Justice for Victims Of Pakistan's Harsh Blasphemy Laws As She Plans To Settle In Europe

31 AUGUST 2019

As Asia Bibi sits free at last in a secret location in Canada, the Pakistani Christian woman who spent years on death row after a false blasphemy charge thinks of those left behind still facing the same ordeal.

Nearly four months after the 54-year-old finally left Pakistan following a miscarriage of justice that caused worldwide outcry, she has the opportunity to rebuild a new life for her and her daughters.

Yet while she is enthusiastically grateful for the international efforts to free her, she says the world should know that Pakistan's harsh blasphemy laws have left many others still behind bars.

In her first ever newspaper interview, she told The Sunday Telegraph she had at times fallen into...



Sudan Women Fight Gender Imbalance In Transition

August 23, 2019

KHARTOUM: They were on the front lines and in the negotiating rooms that brought down military rule but Sudan’s women have yet to take their rightful place in the new institutions.

The signing last week of the documents outlining the transition to civilian rule was a moment of national jubilation, turning the page on 30 years of dictatorship and eight months of deadly protests.

But as the ceremony attended by a host of foreign dignitaries unfolded, one thing jumped out: the only female speaker at the three-hour event was the host.

“That scene was a slap in our face,” Rabah Sadeq, a woman activist and longtime campaigner for gender equality, said the next day.

“So many women are talking about this now, we have to raise this issue,” she told AFP.

Some women attending the signing heckled the speakers to express their displeasure and the indignation quickly spread to the street and social media.

“The participation of women in the revolution was very high, they even encouraged men to join the demonstrations,” said Sarah Ali Ahmed, a student in Khartoum.

“I was very shocked to see the low representation of women... We want to play a role in the civilian government, just like men,” she said.

On Wednesday, Sudan’s new joint civilian-militaryruling body, which is meant to guide the country through 39 months of transition to full civilian rule, was sworn in.

Out of its six civilian members, two are women, although only one was included in the list of nominees initially put forward by the protest camp.

While the opposition alliance’s chief negotiator in the run-up to Sudan’s landmark political deal was a woman, Ibtisam Al-Sanhouri, women were poorly represented in the various negotiating committees.

The shock caused by the all-male line-up at the signing last week, which will go down as a key date in Sudan’s history, appears to have had some impact in recent days.

Sudan’s new prime minister Abdallah Hamdok, who arrived in the country on Wednesday, raised the issue in his first comments to reporters after being sworn in.

“We have to concentrate on women’s participation. Sudanese women played a very big part in our revolution,” said the 61-year-old former UN economist.

“But during the negotiations... as well as during the signing of the documents, it was only men. We have to correct this,” Hamdok said.

Samahir el-Mubarak, a spokeswoman for the Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA), an independent trade union confederation that played a central role in the protests, argued that women’s under-representation was not too surprising.

“This absence in the institutions is not acceptable but it’s also understandable in a way,” said Mubarak, a 29-year-old pharmacist.

“The organizations and political parties that are active in the transition now have existed all along, and they excluded women.

“But I’m very optimistic this is going to change,” she said.

The legislative body which is due to be formed soon to help steer the country to democratic elections in 2022 will have at least 40 percent of its seats reserved for women.

“In the condition we are in now, we need some kind of positive discrimination... but eventually women are qualified enough to become a majority in parliament and government,” Mubarak said.

Growing awareness over female under-representation in the transition appears already to be bearing fruit, and a woman is now tipped as the next chief justice.

“This is progress but it’s still not the level we want. Women should continue to be empowered,” Rabah Sadeq said.

Sarah Abdul Laleel, a UK-based paediatrician, agreed that women were insufficiently represented.

“When you compare the street and the protests to the institutions, there’s a mismatch,” she said.

Abdul Jaleel, also a member of the SPA, said that political parties did not have people’s trust and that a debate was needed to find news ways to integrate women in the country’s institutions.

Rabah Sadeq argued that parity was in the country’s best interest.

“Asking for more women isn’t just symbolic, they are more committed to peace. It’s not just for equality, it’s for the chances of success of this transition,” she said.

Samahir el-Mubarak said that after decades of oppression under Bashir’s Islamist military regime, women had gained a lot of self-confidence in recent months.

“Women were the dynamo of this revolution, they can’t be taken out of the picture. Otherwise there will be another revolution.”



Hubby Booked For Triple Talaq; Two Firs Lodged In Four Days

Sep 1, 2019

Yavatmal: The Pusad police have registered an FIR against a man for giving triple talak to his pregnant wife. Triple talak was scrapped by the Central government to protect the rights of Muslim women.

According to sources, complainant Noorjahan Parvin lodged a complaint with the Pusad police on August 20 against her husband Asif Khan Shabbir Khan (27), a resident of Rahamat Nagar. She alleged that her husband divorced her by giving triple talak, a custom somewhat still prevailing in the Muslim community despite the ban.

The complainant, eight months pregnant, alleged that her husband divorced her without any rhyme or reason. The police registered the case under sections 498 (A), 323, 506 and 34 of the IPC instead of recording it as an offence under the recently-introduced Muslim Women’s (Conjugal Right Protection) Act.

Finally, on Friday, the police filed the FIR under section 4 of the Muslim Women’s (Conjugal Right Protection) Act. The police have launched an investigation but no arrest was made. This is the fourth case in the state.

Earlier, on August 26, the Mahagaon police registered an FIR under section 294, 506 of IPC and under section 4 of the Muslim Women (Conjugal Right Protection) Act, 2019.

According to police sources, Nasreen Parvin lodged a complaint on August 15 alleging that her husband Sheikh Mobin Sheikh Jabbar, a resident of village Hivra of Mahagaon tehsil of Yavatmal district divorced her after pronouncing the banned triple talak.

However, the police station officer Damodar Rathod turned down her plea by saying that the incident did not occur under their jurisdiction. The victim persisted with her efforts and finally the Mahagaon Police registered her FIR on August 26. No arrest was made so far.

It was the first case in the district after the new law came into force. It is learnt that two similar cases were registered in the state earlier after the law was implemented.



The Lebanese Bus That Fights Gender-Based Violence

Samar Kadi

August 31, 2019

BEIRUT - While many women and girls in marginalised areas of Lebanon have no access to protection from gender-based violence, ABAAD, a local NGO that advocates for gender equality, has been reaching out to those in need for such services through its Jina al-Dar project.

Jina al-Dar involves a bus touring the most underprivileged areas of towns and villages, transporting a specialised team to provide services on the prevention and reduction of violence against women and girls, said project co-manager Hani al-Salhani.

“The idea behind the project is to access people in the most isolated, remote and marginalised areas in Lebanon who have poor access to public services, social services or associations that deal with issues of domestic or gender-based violence,” Salhani said.

“We aim to raise awareness, respond to cases of violence and refer victims to the relevant services they need. We assist all those who are in need regardless of race, nationality, background and religion.”

The Jina al-Dar bus spends two days in each location, contacting victims of gender-based violence, raising awareness about legal rights and informing about medical and mental health associated to physical and verbal violence.

“Over two days, we have five sessions covering relevant subjects, including health problems, legal rights, who they can resort to in case they are victims of gender-based violence, how to access the needed services, where to find psycho-social and medical support and assistance, et cetera,” Salhani said.

“We are seeking to inform people in remote areas who are not aware that such services exist and how to access them,” he said.

Since it was launched in August 2016, Jina al-Dar has reached 60 central villages around Lebanon, covering more than 300 communities.

“In the past three years since the project started, we have come across various cases of domestic abuse and gender-based violence, including early marriages and early childbirth. Such cases are found in all backgrounds and social classes, though they are more common in underprivileged and poorly educated rural communities,” Salhani said.

In Lebanon, early marriages and girls having children at a very young age tend to increase in poorer socio-economic conditions, especially among Syrian refugees who live in informal camps in remote rural areas near the Syrian border. Girls as young as 14 years old are sometimes married out.

In the case of physical abuse, health hazards and risks of childbirth among young girls the beneficiaries are referred to the relevant services and in severe cases of violence and sexual abuse they are taken in by ABAAD in its secret safe shelters.

“Each case is treated individually,” Salhani said. “Depending on the case, some are transferred to social care or medical centres, while others are offered immediate safe sheltering.”

ABAAD runs several emergency safe shelters, referred to as Al Dar (“Home” in Arabic). They are free and safe temporary houses for women at risk or survivors of gender-based violence, including single and married women, their children, as well as adolescent girls.

In parallel to Jina al-Dar, ABAAD promotes a Masculinities programme, which seeks to engage men in working towards achieving an equitable society, free of hegemonic masculinities and violence against women.

“Special sessions are conducted with men to highlight what we call ‘positive masculinity’,” Salhani explained. “We run a documentary titled ‘Men in the Shadow,’ which exposes positive experiences of men — both conservative and liberal — who have played positive roles in their community by championing women’s empowerment and rights. This helped us establish a constructive dialogue on gender equality.”

Reaction to Jina al-Dar varied depending on how open and permissive the communities are, Salhani noted. “In certain places we visited we were asked to come back and conduct more activities. In other places they were not as receptive but they were always welcoming,” he said.

Given that in many Middle Eastern countries, patriarchal cultures tend to permeate all elements of society, the lack of political and religious will to include women has strengthened social “norms” that support male dominance and amplify the conditions that have led to inequality, violence and unfair access to resources.

Jina al-Dar was specially designed to mitigate the adverse effects of marginalisation and exclusion on health, gender-equality, non-violence and social cohesion. “It has an added value especially for the most relegated communities because of their geographic location,” Salhani said.



Most Kuwaiti Citizens Content With One Wife; Only 15 Men Married To 4 Women

September 1, 2019

KUWAIT CITY, Aug 31: The issue of a second wife, which surfaces from time to time with the issuance of statistics, indicates that most Kuwaiti men are satisfied with just one wife. The law grants citizens the right to have more than one wife but the natural tendency of Kuwaiti citizens is not inclined towards polygamy, reports Al-Qabas daily.

Professor of Psychology in Kuwait University Dr Hamoud Al-Qasha’an explained that 99 percent of men in Kuwait don’t prefer polygamy due to many reasons. In the past, husbands represented a social guarantee for their wives and played an economic role in their lives. However, women these days spend money on their husbands.

There is a social dimension to this. Some wives impose pressure on their husbands to stay away from men who have more than one wife.

He revealed that there are only 15 men who are married to four women in Kuwait, which is not a big number.

Meanwhile, lawyer Abdurrahman Al-Torfa said the law is one of the most important factors behind the trend of one wife for each man, because of the weakness in the legal situation for the man due to marital expenses that cost the husband more than his capability.



Pakistan Women’s Foundation calls for peace on garbage

August 31, 2019

KARACHI: The port city has been orphaned and abandoned. Once it was considered the cleanliest city of Asia but now it the sixth most unlivable city in the world.

These views were expressed by speakers at a press conference on garbage situation in the city held by the Pakistan Women’s Foundation for Peace (PWFFP) at the Karachi Press Club on Friday.

Pakistan Medical Association General Secretary Qaisar Sajjar, Nargis Rahman, Justice (R) Shaique Usmani, Dr Minhaj Qidwai of the PWFFP and others were present on the occasion.

The speakers said that as soon as rains lashed the city, sewage flooded most of the streets, heaps of garbage on the streets worsened the cleanliness situation, breathing and walking became a dangerous exercise, pedestrians were electrocuted to death and life came to a complete standstill. The port city, a home to over 20 million residents and the nerve centre of Pakistan, which rendered 70 per cent revenue to the national kitty, had been left helpless by the authorities.

They lamented the state of affairs in the city and urged people to take matters in their own hands. The city had become home to all kinds of disease and bacteria, and no one was willing to take care of it. The authorities lived in a mantra of shameful denial although local, national and international press carried headlines of Karachi’s degradation and consequent suffering and losses.

The approach and management of the city's provincial and local government officials were very distressing. The Sindh government claimed that they had performed all their duties satisfactorily despite many incomplete projects.

The mayor complained that through the Sindh Local Government Act, 2013, the city slashed its revenue resources and authority by returning of the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board to the provincial government and establishing the Sindh Solid Waste Management Board, the speakers added.




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