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With Climate Change Driving Child Marriage Risks, Bangladesh Fights Back

New Age Islam News Bureau

22 Jul 2017

Muslim cosplayers prepare for a cosplay event. Photo: Reuters



 Man and Woman Brutally Killed For 'Honour' In Karachi

 Hijab Cosplay Grows As Muslim Women Embrace Fan Culture

 UK: Muslim Acid Attack Victim Abused Online After She Leaves Hospital

 Runaway German Girl, 16, Ended Up As an ISIL Sniper Until She Was Captured In Mosul

 Iran: SSF Chief, Religious Scholars Justify Crackdown on Women

 Iran: Imprisoned Women Protest Guided Tour of Evin Prison

 Iran: Security Forces Clash with Women in Mashhad, Tear Their Clothes

 WPC Set Up To Address Female Cops Problems

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau




With Climate Change Driving Child Marriage Risks, Bangladesh Fights Back

July 22, 2017

Monitoring of child marriage rates over the last two years suggests that numbers are falling

Climate change-driven extreme weather – from flooding and mudslides to blistering heat – is accelerating migration to Bangladesh’s cities, raising the risks of problems such as child marriage, according to UNICEF’s head of Bangladesh programmes.

“In Bangladesh, climate change is in your face. You can’t avoid it. You can see it happening,” said Sheema Sen Gupta in an interview in London with the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

“Every year you have cyclones, floods, landslides. It’s a given. It’s now part of everyday living, and the clearest thing you see (from it) is rural to urban migration.”

But surging migration to cities by rural families no longer able to make a living from farming or fishing brings other threats, from worsening urban overcrowding to child marriage, as families seek to keep girls “safe” in a new environments.

“I hesitate to say climate change and urbanisation are the major causes of child marriage. But they do compound it and make it a bit more difficult to intervene,” said Sen Gupta, who has been in Bangladesh for seven months and previously worked for UNICEF in India, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Ghana and Somalia.

However, innovative efforts to curb the threat – particularly training young people to help each other – are paying off, with Bangladesh’s government now incorporating programmes started by organisations such as UNICEF and Save the Children, she said.

Across Bangladesh, more than 4,000 youth clubs have been set up which gather young people regularly to listen to radio broadcasts on human rights issues, health, nutrition and other topics, and then discuss the issues.

Youth Initiatives

Preventing child marriage is one of the main focuses of the groups, Sen Gupta said, with members keeping an eye out in the community for girls at risk, and then, if they see a threat, alerting community leaders, who are able to step in.

“The best tool is the adolescents themselves,” she said “They intervene – they know who to contact, they have a helpline. They call and say a marriage is planned.”

Better yet, said Sen Gupta, a psychologist by training, the groups have created a growing conviction among many girls that early marriage is not only bad for their health and prospects, but something they can avoid with community support.

“Adolescents themselves are more able to say ‘I’m not getting married'” she said. “Girls are able to stand up to their parents.”

Monitoring of child marriage rates over the last two years suggests that numbers are falling, but Sen Gupta said UNICEF is not yet fully confident of the data.

Bangladesh in February passed a Child Marriage Restraint Act, which bans marriage of girls under 18 – a significant change in a country where 18 percent of girls are married before 15 and more than half by 18, according to a 2016 UNICEF study.

However, the new ban has a gaping loophole that allows parents to agree to such marriages in “exceptional circumstances” with a magistrate’s approval, Sen Gupta said.

UNICEF and other partners are now “trying to frame the rules about what the exception is so everything doesn’t become an exception”, she said.

Sen Gupta said that low-lying and densely populated Bangladesh, widely seen as one of the countries most vulnerable to climate change, sees the risks and has proved adept at scaling up successful pilot efforts run by non-governmental organizations into broader government-run programmes.

“Bangladesh has a good framework of climate adaptation, based on the fact that they need to survive,” she said. “Clearly there is an awareness (climate impacts) are increasing and we need to do something.”

That is an attitude needed more globally, she said.

“People need to understand how important this is for kids, for their rights, for their development,” she said. “If we don’t look at climate change, at addressing these issues, we won’t make the progress we’re committed to making.”



Man and woman brutally killed for 'honour' in Karachi

Imtiaz AliJuly 21, 2017

A young man and woman were killed in Karachi, allegedly in the name of honour, Superintendent of Police Gulberg Bashir Ahmed Brohi said on Friday.

According to the police, 22-year-old Sajid Bahadur and 20-year-old Kalsoom were stabbed to death in the early hours of Friday in Nazimabad, police said.

According to SP Brohi, the two were murdered allegedly by Kalsoom's father and brother using meat cleavers.

The incident took place at the woman's house, and the suspects as well as the rest of the girl's family managed to escape the scene, police said.



Hijab cosplay grows as Muslim women embrace fan culture

Jul. 22, 2017

JAKARTA: After donning a blue Cinderella dress, Sind Yanti carefully arranges her pale yellow hijab, or traditional headscarf, into folds that resemble hair. “Wearing a hijab should not be a barrier for anything. We are free to be creative,” the 24-year-old Indonesian designer said after posting selfies of her latest “cosplay” outfit.

She is among a growing number of young Muslim women in Southeast Asia who are taking part in “hijab” costume play, finding creative ways to incorporate the head covering into colorful fantasy costumes.

Yanti’s fashions are inspired by Disney and Japanese anime characters, with artful hijab designs that resemble wigs or hoods. She can express herself while preserving the Islamic requirement of modest dress for women, Yanti said.

Her made-to-order designs cost between 250,000 rupiah ($18.79) and 500,000 rupiah each.

The fashion play is also popular in neighboring Muslim-majority Malaysia, where young people dressed as superheroes, warriors and princesses flocked to a cosplay show in Kuala Lumpur, the capital.

Among them was 20-year-old film student Nursyamimi Minhalia, who wore a black hijab cut to form a fringe with two buns on either side.

She did not include the hijab when she began cosplaying in 2012, but was later inspired by others wearing the headscarf.

“It’s quite challenging. Usually I pick a character that covers most of my body, so it’s easier for me to wear it in the ‘Muslimah’ style,” Minhalia said, employing the Arabic term for Muslim women.

Costumed role-play, which can feature revealing outfits and elaborate hairstyles, has long been part of the fan culture linked to anime and comics. Hijab cosplay is a new phenomenon that appears to be growing in appeal among the wider Muslim community. Sharifah Maznah Syed Mohd, 48, whose son is an avid cosplayer, said the role-playing hobby was acceptable as long as participants stuck within religious boundaries.

Yanti said hijab cosplay has helped her stay true to her faith even while enjoying the cosplay experience.

“If I took off my hijab just because of cosplay, I’d feel sorry for myself,” she added.

“It would feel like there is a conflict inside my heart.”



UK: Muslim Acid Attack Victim Abused Online After She Leaves Hospital

July 22, 2017

An aspiring model who was left with horrific facial injuries after an acid attack has revealed that she by an internet troll after she failed to reply to his message while she was in hospital.

Resham Khan wrote in a blog post that a man had sent her a direct message on the social media site, Instagram, saying he hoped she would get well soon.

“Long story short, my lack of response or effort to make casual conversation led to him calling me a bitch and telling me to delete him (although I don't actually follow him)," the 21-year-old, said.

“So it might sound silly, but it really wound me up. Who says that just because a guy messages a woman it means she MUST reply, and if she doesn’t she is a rude, mean person that deserves to be called a bitch.

She added: “Don’t push your toys out the pram just because a woman isn’t entertaining the conversation. The reasons for her reply, or lack of, is not up for discussion.”

Ms Khan was attacked along with her cousin Jameel Muhktar, 37, as they waited at traffic lights in Beckton, East London on 21 June.

John Tomlin, 25, has been charged with GBH with intent and is due to appear at Snaresbrook Crown Court on 8 August.

Ms Kahn, who left hospital this week said she managed to go for a walk outside for the first time since her attack.

The student added that she had gone to a local shop with her father wearing sunglasses. She said she was proud that she “did it on her own terms”.

She added: “More than likely I’ll try again, maybe aiming to go out closer to rush hour the more my face begins the heal."

She now wants to ensure “no one ever goes through the living nightmare” and “unbearable pain” that she had suffered.

Her comments came as public concern over assaults with noxious substances has been mounting following a spate of attacks in London.

Last week a 16-year-old boy was charged over five linked acid attacks which took place in just 90 minutes on 14 July.

But despite suspects being identified in 60 per cent of cases, the vast majority never even reach court

Eighty per cent of the 455 acid attacks reported to the Metropolitan police in 2016 failed to make legal proceedings, according to the newspaper, which cited figures released through Freedom of Information requests.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd has hinted at plans to introduce life sentences for people who attack their victims with acid.



Runaway German girl, 16, ended up as an ISIL sniper until she was captured in Mosul


By Josie Ensor and Luna Safwan in Beirut

The German teenage girl captured in Mosul was married to a Chechen ISIL fighter and has admitted killing Iraqi troops, according to one of the soldiers who arrested her. Linda Wenzel, 16, who was discovered hiding in a tunnel under Mosul’s Old City last week, is being questioned by American and Iraqi interrogators in Baghdad.

Mortada al-Aboudi, an officer in Iraq’s counter-terrorism unit, told The Daily Telegraph she was a sniper for Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

“We found her with a gun in her hand next to her Chechen husband, who was then killed by Iraqi forces in a firefight. She said she had killed a number of our men in the battle.

“I believe she was a Daesh sniper, but maybe her husband pressured her into it. She looked scared,” he said, using a pejorative name for the jihadists.

Vian Dakhil, an Iraqi MP, said Linda was found near explosives and was “ready to attack the advancing troops”.

“She was with other women in that tunnel and all of them were ready to attack in busy streets, just like other ISIL women did before,” said Dakhil.

More than 20 other foreign women were reportedly found alongside the girl, including Russians, Turks and Canadians. Aboudi said Wenzel had the ID card of a Yazidi, thousands of whom were kidnapped by ISIL in 2014, and claimed to be one the missing girls. However, when Aboudi’s unit asked civilians to identify her they shied away.

“They looked afraid to answer, which made us think she wasn’t a Yazidi,” he said. When a soldier said a few words in German, she responded immediately.

It is understood the Chechen fighter struck up a relationship with Linda online, exchanging messages in a chatroom and ultimately convincing her to join him in ISIL’s so-called caliphate.

Thousands of Chechens travelled to Syria and Iraq, making the majority-Muslim region of Russia one of the biggest exporters of fighters to ISIL. Linda travelled last year from her home in the German town of Pulsnitz, near Dresden, to Istanbul and from there the Syrian border, posing as her mother Katharina.

She grew up in a Protestant family, and had not showed any interest in religion until a few months before her disappearance. In the spring of 2016 she told her parents she was interested in Islam. Friends in Pulsnitz say she converted and started learning Arabic, taking the Qu’ran to school and wearing more conservative clothing. After she went missing, her mother found a secret Facebook account which she used to contact jihadists.

Dakhil said Linda’s mother had confirmed the girl in custody to be her daughter, but that she would still have DNA tests before a decision about whether to return her to Germany.

Dakhil said she was pushing Iraq to try her as an adult and not to extradite her. “Iraq does not have any agreement with Germany to exchange terrorists or people held in custody,” she said. “She is a German woman who came to Iraq to kill Iraqis, thus she should be prosecuted here in Iraq.”



Iran: SSF chief, religious scholars justify crackdown on women

12 July 2017

“All forms of abnormal behavior and improper veiling inside cars would be dealt with legally. SSF forces will counter the case and impound the vehicle belonging to those who are improperly veiled.”

This was announced by the State Security Force Commander Ashtari in news conference on July 11, 2017. (The state-run Mehr news agency, July 11, 2017)

On the same day, mullah Makarem Shirazi announced, “Some people think there is a private space inside their cars. Religiously, if one can see through any environment it is not considered private and the space inside a car is among those.”

Makarem Shirazi added, “It is as if a house is made of glass. Although it is a private limit but it could not be considered private as long as people can see through.” (The state-run Alef website, July 11, 2017)

Another religious scholar, mullah Safi Golpayegani, also declared on July 11, 2017, “When the power of SSF grows, the power of religion grows. SSF commanders and officials must be conscious of the value of their work. It is your duty to promote virtue and forbid evil, but you must deploy it in a proper way to combat corruption.” (The state-run Tasnim news agency, July 11, 2017)



Iran: Imprisoned women protest guided tour of Evin Prison

11 July 2017

The clerical regime organized a guided tour of Evin Prison for ambassadors of 45 countries on July 5, 2017. Subsequently, political prisoners Golrokh Iraee and Atena Daemi wrote an open letter to the above-said ambassadors on July 8 and explained the intolerable conditions of Evin Prison.

In part of their letter, Ms. Iraee and Ms. Daemi wrote about “solitary cells that have no windows, ventilation and lavatory.” They wrote of “dungeons and dark interrogation rooms” and of “cells known as grave.” The asked the visiting delegation why they had not been taken to the women’s ward where female political prisoners like themselves are held?

They also revealed that Ward 4 where they had visited had been renovated by prisoners whom had been taken to solitary confinement in IRGC Ward 2A on the day of visit.

The also wrote about the conditions in the women’s ward of Evin. They wrote about the shortage and absence of disinfectants and washing detergents, of shortage of nutritional food for prisoners, of the absence of any female nurse for injections and electro-cardiograph. They also pointed out that the ward’s doctor does not examine the patients and prescribes medicine just by looking at the patients. They said hundreds of prisoners suffer from kidney problems due to the bad drinking water in prison. They wrote that in contrast to what the head of the Prisons Organization claimed, prisoners are allowed family visits not every week but only once a month.

In the end, Golrokh Iraee and Atena Daemi called on the ambassadors, and particularly the UNSR on human rights in Iran, Ms. Asma Jahangir, to visit prisons in Tehran and other cities without prior notice.



Iran: Security forces clash with women in Mashhad, tear their clothes

11 July 2017

A number of residents of Mashhad who have suffered financial loss after depositing money in the Caspian Credit Institute, staged a protest on Tuesday morning, July 11, 2017, on Koohsangi Ave. outside the Prosecutor’s Office in Mashhad. They chanted and cried out “God is Great!”

In the course of this protest, the State Security Force clashed with the protesters. They humiliated the participating women and tore up their clothes.



WPC set up to address female cops problems

July 22, 2017

MULTAN-The National Police Bureau has constituted a "Women Police Council" to resolve problems faced by female cops. The Regional Police Officer (RPO) Multan Sultan Azam Taimoori issued notification for the constitution of the council on Friday which said that Maria Mehmood, SP CIA Rawalpindi was appointed as its first Director. The notification further revealed that SSP Operations Multan Ammara Athar, SP Gulgasht Multan Shazia Sarwar, SP Investigation Vehari Zubaida Parveen, SP Punjab Highway Huma Naseeb, DSP Multan Shabina Karim, DSP Highway Patrol Atia Naheed Jafri, Inspector Saadia Saeed, Sub Inspector Nazima Mushtaq, Sub Inspector Sana Saqlain and Sub Inspector Fauzia Sehr were nominated as the members of the Council for Multan region.

The council is tasked to appoint a female instructor for lady police trainees at Police Training School, appointment of women at all women desks in the region, arrange separate washrooms for female cops, establishment of recreation rooms for lady police, arrangement of separate transport and fixing work hours for lady cops.

The Council will also give its recommendations for appointment of female SHOs, investigation courses for lady cops, deployment of women in the field, establishment of a separate women hostel, anti-terrorism and anti-riot courses.

No flood threat

Deputy Commissioner (DC) Nadir Chattha has said that there is no fear of flooding in Multan as the water level in Chenab River is within normal range.

"But if any flood like situation takes place, we're fully prepared to cope with it and 14 flood relief camps will be set up in the district for the affectees," he declared while talking to the media after inspecting flood banks in Bosan, Head Muhammadwala and Sher Shah areas on Thursday.

The DC added that although there was no flood-like situation in Multan district, the precautions for flood fighting had been adopted. "The flood banks have been risen and strengthened. The height of each flood bank is risen by three foot," he disclosed.

He said that the round the clock surveillance of flood situation was being done but there was no chance of flood as the upper areas did not receive heavy rains. He added that all concerned departments were put on red alert in view of flood. He issued order for elimination of all encroachments from flood banks.

Giving further details of flood fighting preparation, he said that the inspection of endangered areas had been done and flood fighting exercises were done in these areas. He urged upon the people living in riverine areas to cooperate with the administration and vacate the area when flood warning is given. He also asked them to make appropriate arrangements for the shifting of their livestock.




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