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Afghanistan: ‘Palpable’ Fear of ‘Brutal and Systemic Repression’ Of Women Grows

New Age Islam News Bureau

23 September 2021

• Women's Inheritance Can Only Be Claimed In Their Lifetime, Rules Pakistan SC

• Jewish, Arab Women March in Jerusalem for Palestine-Israel Peace Deal

• Princess Nourah: The Woman Who Had ‘The Brain of 40 Men’

• Yemeni Woman Turns Home into School

• Chandigarh: Cycle Rally In Support Of Afghan Women Rights

• Women’s Handball’s Success Can Motivate Iranian Girls: Coach

• Woman Complains Of Forced Conversion Bid, Converted To Islam

Husband Booked In Himachal Pradesh

• Afghan Women MPs Arrive In Greece on Way to US

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau



 Afghanistan: ‘Palpable’ Fear of ‘Brutal and Systemic Repression’ Of Women Grows

September 22, 2021


©UNICEF/ As schools slowly reopen in parts of Afghanistan, it is important to ensure that both girls and boys are able to return safely.


NEW YORK — Since the Taliban seized power in Afghanistan last month, they have made some commitments to uphold human rights. However, their subsequent actions have “sadly Contradicted” those promises, the UN rights chief told a side event of the General Assembly on Tuesday.

Michelle Bachelet informed a high-level event on safeguarding 20 years of international engagement in Afghanistan, that women have been “progressively excluded from the public sphere”, prohibited from appearing without a male guardian and face increasing restrictions on their right to work.

“The Ministry that once promoted women's rights has been disbanded, and its premises taken over by a Ministry for the propagation of Virtue and the prevention of Vice — an all-male office that will apply guidelines on appropriate dress and behavior” the human rights chief said.

Moreover, Taliban representatives have dismantled many other former government offices for women’s affairs, gaining access to sensitive files, threatening staff, and accusing women's civil society groups of spreading “anti-Islamic” ideas.

“There is real and palpable fear among Afghan women of a return to the Taliban's brutal and systemic repression of women and girls during the 1990s,” said the High Commissioner.

Severe consequences

Meanwhile, a growing humanitarian crisis across the country is putting one million children in danger of extreme hunger, with families headed by women — most of whom can no longer work — among those at greatest risk.

Over the last 20 years, Afghan women have worked towards ensuring greater respect for and protection of their rights to education, work, political participation and freedom — of movement and expression.

“These rights are part of the evolution of Afghan society and are integral to the development and economic growth of Afghanistan,” underscored Bachelet.

As women and girls comprise half of Afghanistan’s population, she reminded that the country would benefit by utilizing their talents and capabilities.

Uphold human rights

The High Commissioner said that “first and foremost”, women and girls must have full and equal access to essential services, including healthcare and education; be able to work in every sector of the economy; be free to move without restrictions; and live free of all gender-related violence.

“In short, Afghan women and girls’ human rights must be upheld and defended”.

When engaging with the Taliban, Bachelet stressed that the international community, including the UN and all its member states, must commit to “strong advocacy that demands compliance with these basic requirements for any fair and just society”.

“Respect for the rights of the women and girls of Afghanistan now will be a harbinger of the country's future”, she said. “They face extraordinary challenges – and we will remain at their side”.

School closed for girls

Henrietta Fore, executive director of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), outlined some of the country’s advances, from tripling the number of schools since 2002 to increasing youth literacy from 47 to 65 percent over the past decade.

“Over the past 20 years, school enrolment has increased ten-fold, reaching almost 10 million children today. Four million of those children are girls”, she said, calling them “significant improvements.”

Most recently however, girls over the age of 12 have been prohibited from attending school — with the genders separated at the university level and female students prohibited from being taught by male professors, who make up the majority of instructors.

Amidst her deep concern that many girls may not be allowed back to school, the UNICEF chief called it “critically important” that Afghan children have “an equal chance to learn and develop the skills they need to thrive”.

“Girls cannot, and must not, be left behind. It is critical that...[they] are able to resume their education without any further delays”, she spelled out.

Pay teachers, support learning

For this to happen, Fore stressed the need for female educators to resume teaching and be “actively” protected.

She noted that the international community must also increase investment in education.

“At a bare minimum, every child needs foundational literacy and numeracy skills,” she said, adding that “girls and boys need qualified female and male teachers, who regularly receive their salaries and are supported to teach”.

Never ‘more urgent time’

Despite improvements, the plight of Afghanistan’s children was clear even before the Taliban took control of the country.

Fore highlighted that of the 4.2 million children not enrolled in school, 2.6 million are girls. And for those who are, COVID-19 has thwarted ten months of education and threatens the most vulnerable from ever returning to the classroom.

According to UNICEF, “access to quality education” is not only a right for every child, it is also an investment to expand opportunities for each child, their families, and their communities.

“There has never been a more urgent time to stand with the children of Afghanistan — boys but especially girls — and with the people who inspire and guide them,” concluded Fore, urging everyone to “protect and support these children”. — UN News

Source: Saudi Gazette


Women's Inheritance Can Only Be Claimed In Their Lifetime, Rules Pakistan SC

Haseeb Bhatti

September 23, 2021

The Supreme Court (SC) ruled on Thursday that a woman's inheritance could only be claimed in her lifetime and her children could not lay a claim after her death.

The apex court issued the ruling in a case wherein the children of two deceased women, who were residents of Peshawar, claimed a share in their maternal grandfather, Isa Khan's property.

Isa Khan had transferred his property to his son, Abdul Rehman, in 1935, without giving a share to either of his two daughters. Neither of his daughters had challenged the move in their lifetime to claim their right on their father's property.

Their children, however, had filed a case in 2004 to claim their share in Khan's property.

While a civil court had ruled in their favour at the time, the high court had later nullified the judgement.

At the hearing in Islamabad on Thursday, the SC upheld the high court's decision, with Justice Umar Ata Bandial observing that the law provided protection to women's inheritance rights.

Women's inheritance rights bill

In June, the National Assembly Standing Committee on Law and Justice approved The Enforcement of Women’s Property Rights Bill 2019 (section 7).

The bill is aimed at helping women get their due right of property ownership.

The statement of object and reason of the bill said the Constitution gives due respect to women in society and guarantees their right of ownership.

“However, the rights of ownership of women in inheritance are violated usually by their family members by means of coercion, fraud, fabrication, forgery and cheating, etc.,” read the proposed bill.

It added: “It is therefore necessary to provide an effective and speedy redressal mechanism to protect and secure the rights of ownership of women in property.”

The proposed bill said women could file a complaint with the ombudsperson if court of law does not proceed for speedy redressal of their complaints.

After completing legal formalities when the ombudsperson announces the decision, the deputy commissioner concerned will submit the compliance report within seven days.

Source: Dawn


Jewish, Arab women march in Jerusalem for Palestine-Israel peace deal

Sep 23, 2021

Jewish and Arab women rallied in Jerusalem on Wednesday to mark the International Day of Peace and call for a peace agreement between Israel and Palestine.

"We marched in Jerusalem, demanding the advancement of an agreement," Women Wage Peace, an Israeli peace group composed of Jewish and Arab women that organized the event, said in a statement.

The women created a human chain around the walls of East Jerusalem's Old City near the Jaffa Gate and chanted songs for peace.

Women Wage Peace was formed by Jewish and Arab women in 2014 aimed for peace between Israel and Palestine and for women's involvement in the negotiations.

The last round of peace talks between the two sides failed in 2014.

Source: Global Times


Princess Nourah: The Woman Who Had ‘The Brain of 40 Men’

September 22, 2021

RIYADH: The tale of the heroism of the small band of brothers who fought alongside Abdulaziz ibn Abdul Rahman, the founder of Saudi Arabia, in his epic battle to recapture Riyadh in 1902 is a key part of the story of the creation of the Kingdom.

But what should also not be forgotten on National Day is the role played in those turbulent times by the future king’s older sister, Princess Nourah bint Abdulrahman Al-Saud.

One year his senior, Princess Nourah was Abdulaziz ibn Abdul Rahman’s playmate throughout his childhood and was by his side throughout the family’s exile in Riyadh after the defeat of their father’s forces by the rival Rashidi dynasty at the battle of Al-Mulaida in 1891.

When destiny beckoned, wrote the Saudi historian Dr. Dalal Mukhlid Al-Harbi in her 2008 book “Prominent Women from Central Arabia,” Nourah was “a great inspiration behind Abdulaziz’s quest to regain his forefathers’ seat of authority in Riyadh.”

The Princess “nourished his will to recapture Riyadh after his first failed attempt. When he completed his preparations for his second attempt to regain the city, his mother cried long and hard and tried to dissuade him, but Nourah encouraged him to complete the mission, which he did successfully. This was part of her supportive role for her brother while the family was in Kuwait.”

That role became still more important to her brother after the recapture of Riyadh and the return of the Al-Saud family to their heartland, as Abdulaziz set out on the long and difficult road that would eventually lead to the unification of the Hijaz and Nejd and the foundation in 1932 of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Born in Riyadh in 1875, Princess Nourah was close to her brother growing up and shared his trials during the family’s exile.

Their bond only grew stronger as the future King took on the burdens of statehood, wrote Al-Harbi, going on to highlight “the close relationship Nourah had with her brother, a relationship in which the natural bonds of family were mixed with friendship and all that entails: consultation, asking for opinions and giving advice.”

Such was the depth of the lifelong connection between the two that, as King, “Abdulaziz would visit her every day, keen that a day should not pass without seeing her.”

When the telephone was introduced to Riyadh in the 1930s, the first line to be laid ran between the palaces of the King and his sister.

The Princess was a confidante upon whom the King could always depend for a straight answer and sound advice. She was “frank with King Abdulaziz, telling him what was on her mind without fear or hesitation,” Al-Harbi wrote.

In his biography of his father — King Abdulaziz’s half-brother, Prince Mohammed ibn Abdulrahman Al-Saud — the late Prince Bandar Ibn Mohammed Ibn Abdulrahman Al-Saud wrote that Princess Nourah was “one of the few women of her time who mastered reading and writing.”

As a result, she was “a woman of the deepest understanding, proper judgment.” Possessing the “best of character,” she was “adored by all members of Al-Saud family” and “also very close to people’s hearts and minds.”

Prince Bandar, who passed away in January 2020 at the age of 95, added that Nourah became a popular girl’s name among parents throughout the Kingdom, who “named their daughter after her in recognition of her noble character, right judgment, good faith, generosity, proper tongue, and humbleness.”

Aside from all of these characteristics, he added, Princess Nourah “had an amazing ability for solving the problems of those around her, Al-Saud and others alike ...  using her clear and enlightened judgment (and) was also able to connect with others, Saudis and non-Saudis.”

Abdulateef Al-Mulhim, writing as a columnist in Arab News in 2012, said the princess was “the most popular, charismatic and influential woman, not only in the Kingdom, but also in the Gulf area. Some of her advice had a very big impact on the history of the area.”

Western scholars considered her “the first lady in a country ruled by kings,” Al-Mulhim said, while many older Saudis referred to her as “the woman who has the brain of 40 men.”

Without doubt, he added, in addition to being a “very charming lady and a woman of wisdom,” she was also “a top-class political and strategic thinker.”

In her book, Al-Harbi recalled the impact the Princess had on foreign visitors to Saudi Arabia during the early years of the Kingdom.

Violet Dickson, the wife of Lt. Col. Harold Richard Patrick Dickson, who until 1936 was Britain’s political agent in Kuwait, met Nourah in 1937. She later described her as not only “one of the most attractive and joyful women I have ever met ... one of the most beautiful, great and famous girls of all times,” but also “one of the most important personalities in the Arabian Peninsula.”

For Harry St. John Philby, a British colonial officer who converted to Islam in 1930 after becoming an advisor to King Abdulaziz, Nourah was nothing less than “the First Lady of her country.”

The Princess, wrote Al-Harbi, “played an influential role in many aspects of political and social life,” and perhaps never more so than in the critical healing of a breach in the Al-Saud family.

Her marriage in the early 1900s to Saud ibn Abdulaziz ibn Saud ibn Faisal ibn Turki, from a branch of the family that had fallen out with her brother, was the “outward symbol of the process of reconciliation between Abdulaziz and his cousins.” Although the dispute continued for some time, “by 1912 the matter was settled and Saud became one of Abdulaziz’s staunchest supporters.”

Al-Harbi adds: “I would suggest that some credit for this change of heart must be given to Nourah, for Saud loved her dearly. This action shows her wisdom, soundness of mind and eagerness to heal the rift between him and her brother.”

Right up to her death in July 1950 at the age of 75, Princess Nourah remained a source of advice and inspiration for her brother, who died three years later. Many sources recall that, whenever faced with challenging situations that demanded boldness, wisdom, and quick thinking, King Abdulaziz would reach a decision with the declaration “I am the brother of Nourah!”

Today, Princess Nourah’s name and spirit lives on in a fitting tribute to this pioneering woman.

In 2006, the first university for women was established in Riyadh, bringing under one roof half a dozen colleges, the first of which had been established by the General Presidency for Girls’ Education in 1970. On October 29, 2008, while laying a foundation stone at the campus, King Abdullah ibn Abdulaziz Al-Saud renamed what has become the world’s largest all-female educational institution the Princess Nourah bint Abdulrahman University — known today as simply PNU.

“Women carry a responsibility that is more than a duty, to maintain the stability of society and contribute to building the economy of the nation, and to represent the community and the nation to the highest standards, outside and inside the country,” the King said at the ceremony.

In a speech that might have been addressed directly to Nourah, his father’s beloved sister and confidante, he added: “To be the caring mother, exemplary citizen and productive employee. Outside the nation, to be the ambassador of her country and community, and to represent well her religion, faith and our values.”

Source: Arab News


Yemeni woman turns home into school

September 22, 2021

AL-TUHAYTA, Yemen: Yemeni teacher Amina Mahdi gives a science lesson to children sprawled across the ground at her home in a remote village in the southern province of Hodeidah.

For these boys and girls, learning at Mahdi’s sun-scorched compound is their only opportunity for an education in the small rural area of Muhib in the Al-Tuhayta district.

She had already been teaching children to read and write before the outbreak of the impoverished country’s devastating war in 2014.

“What pushed me toward teaching was the high rate of ignorance in the village and that children were deprived of an education,” Mahdi told AFP.

With dozens of children to tend to, Mahdi has divided them into three groups based on age, teaching each class for two hours a day.

Other than learning how to read and write, the children also get lessons in maths and science.

But Mahdi said her house, with hundreds of books piled on a single shelf, is not really equipped for teaching. “There is lots of damage from the sun and heat,” she said, wearing an all-black niqab.

Yemen’s war pits the government against the Iran-allied Houthi rebels.

Tens of thousands of people, mostly civilians, have been killed and millions displaced in what the UN calls the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. More than 2,500 schools in the country are unfit for use, with some destroyed and others turned into refugee camps or military facilities.

UNICEF has estimated that 2 million children were without school even before the coronavirus pandemic, a further systemic shock which it warns has likely propelled the number even higher.

“We wouldn’t have been able to read, write or learn if it weren’t for Miss Amina,” one of the pupils, Ibrahim Mohib, told AFP.

His father, Mohammed, said he had no regrets sending his three children to learn at Mahdi’s home.

“They were taught there from the first until the fourth grades, and thank God for (Mahdi) striving to teach them,” he said.

Mahdi said she hopes to get some form of help to teach the children.

“I ask all those who are charitable to bring joy to these children ... and offer aid to establish a real school,” she said. “My small home is not good enough, and it has become a public place where I am no longer comfortable.”

Source: Arab News


Chandigarh: Cycle Rally In Support Of Afghan Women Rights

Sep 22, 2021

Celebrating International Day of Peace, Yuvsatta –an NGO – in collaboration with the Afghan Students Unity Group in Chandigarh, St John’s High School and St Joseph’s Senior Secondary School, organised a bicycle rally in support of ‘Girls & Women Rights in Afghanistan’. Hundred students participated in the rally.

Students take out a bicycle rally in support of ‘Girls & Women Rights in Afghanistan’, in Chandigarh on Tuesday. Manoj Mahajan

Kajal, the Girls India Ambassador and Class VII student of Government Model Senior Secondary School, Dhanas, flagged off the really from the Parade Ground, Sector 17.

The rally passed through Sectors 22, 21, 20, 19, 18 and 17 before culminating at Gandhi Bhawan in Sector 16.

The rally was followed by an interactive session on ‘Following the footsteps of Mahatma Gandhi & Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan’.

Source: Tribune India


Women’s handball’s success can motivate Iranian girls: coach

September 22, 2021

Iranian women made history in the 2021 Asian Women's Handball Championship by advancing to the semifinals of the 2021 Asian Women's Handball Championship underway in Jordan.

“The players did excellent during the competition. We started the games with a loss against Japan. However, we played well in that match and could control the game, especially in the second half. Our players did their job without any stress and even deserved to win the game. Such a performance gave us all hope and optimism for the next games,” said Shafeyan in her interview with Tehran Times.

Iran were defeated 23-20 against Japan but won all their next four matches against Kuwait (38-11), Palestine (52-9), hosts Jordan (28-22), and Syria (38-19) respectively to seal their ticket to the 2021 World Women's Handball Championship.

“We did not know much about the Kuwait team because they were in training camp for two months. Fortunately, we could handle the game against them with proper pace and movement in the game. Against Palestine and Syria, we already expected to win the games and did our job in the best way possible,” she said.

“The most crucial game for Iran was against the host country, Jordan. Two hours before the game, we were informed that I and two other members of technical staff had contracted Covid19. It was a big shock for us, but our players did their best during the game with their commitment and hardworking and earned victory against the strong opponent. With that win, we were relieved about qualifying for the world championship,” Shafeian added.

Iran will meet the Korea Republic in the semifinals on Thursday.

“Korea are a high-level team with the experience of playing in the Olympic Games. We want to keep our players safe and without injury in this game and focus on the third-place play-off match. As a coach, I should be logical. Korea are strong and hard to beat for us,” she added.

To book a place at the 2021 World Women's Handball Championship in Spain can motivate the Iranian girls to follow the sport, she said.

“I am delighted that we could make Iranian people happy. I hope that this success will motivate all Iranian girls and also inspire Iran's junior and youth teams as they are also on their way to the world championships qualifiers,” Shafeian concluded.

Source: Tehran Times


Woman Complains Of Forced Conversion Bid, Converted To Islam

Husband Booked In Himachal Pradesh

Sep 22, 2021

MANALI: Kullu police have booked a man, who converted to Islam after marriage, for trying to force his wife to convert. He has been booked under the Himachal Pradesh Freedom of Religion Act, 2019, on the complaint of his wife, who is from Shamshi area in Kullu district.

According to police, the woman had married Punjab resident Jaswant Rai, as per Hindu rituals in 2008, when he was working as a manager with NHPC.

Jaswant was transferred to Bandipora in Jammu and Kashmir and the family shifted there in 2012-13.

The couple had a girl child in 2015. She said Jaswant started following Islam and threatened to kill her and their daughter if they continued to follow Hinduism. He started harassing her to observe Islamic rituals and even dress as a Muslim, she said.

“In 2017, Jaswant again got transferred to Parvati project and the family started living in Kullu. He continued harassing me to accept Islam. He threatened to stop giving me money for household expenses. My husband officially changed his name from Jaswant to Muhammad Junaid in July. As I don’t want to change my religion, I have no choice but to register a police complaint,” she stated in her complaint.

Kullu SP Gurdev Chand Sharma said police have booked Muhammad Junaid under sections of The Himachal Pradesh Freedom of Religion Act, 2019, and the IPC.

“The case will be sent to the court for domestic violence as well. No person can convert or attempt to convert, either directly or otherwise, any other person from one religion to another by use of misrepresentation, force, undue influence, coercion, inducement or by any fraudulent means or by marriage,” he said.

Source: Times of India


Afghan women MPs arrive in Greece on way to US

September 22, 2021

ATHENS: Greece on Wednesday said it was temporarily hosting six Afghan women MPs and their families who fled Afghanistan ahead of eventual resettlement in the United States.

Greece was hosting a “symbolic” number of Afghans who are “defenders of fundamental values, freedom of expression and gender equality,” the foreign ministry said.

“Six Afghan MPs arrived in Athens via Tbilisi (Georgia) a few hours ago, accompanied by family members,” it said, revising an earlier statement referring to seven MPs.

“(They) will be hosted in Greece for a short time until resettlement procedures to the United States are completed,” it said.

The women, whose identities were not revealed, left Afghanistan with assistance from the New York-based NGO Zaka Khan, the ministry said.

Greece took part in US-led evacuation efforts in August to remove a small number of people from Afghanistan following the Taliban return to power after two decades.

A ministry source said Greece has so far taken in around 65 Afghan evacuees, and evacuated three Greek nationals.

Greece is currently home to 40,000 long-term Afghan refugees and asylum seekers, making it the largest migrant population in the country, according to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

Source: Arab News




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