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Islam, Women and Feminism ( 4 Jun 2014, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Some Call Huggies Diapers Ad in Israel Sexually Suggestive

New Age Islam News Bureau

4 Jun 2014

Meriam Yahia Ibrahim Ishag and husband Daniel Wani pictured on their wedding day


 Feminisation of Pharmacies, Jewellery Stores in Two Years in Saudi Arabia

 Conflicting Reports on Death Row Woman Reflect Sudan 'Confusion'

 2,100 nurses coming from India and Philippines to Saudi Kingdom

 Cunning White Widow ‘Posed as UN Aid Worker in a Bid to Blow up Kenyan Soldiers’

 Over 4,500 Saudi Women Register For Pap Smear Screening

 Iranian Media Smears Champion of Unveiled Women

 Achievements Made By Moroccan Women Showcased In London

 Mohammad Sijam Married 72 Times, 'TTE' Gets Jail Ticket

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau





Some Call Huggies Diapers Ad in Israel Sexually Suggestive

04 June, 2014

Two darling toddlers dressed as rockers and accessorized with shades, guitars and skateboards are eye-catching models in a new Huggies diaper ad now airing in Israel. The little girl turns her denim-clad bottom to the camera, striking a provocative pose. She adjusts the boy’s tie, and we are sold.

“[It’s] the cutest thing on the screens right now,” one viewer tweets on the YouTube channel that features the ad.

The ad campaign also includes billboards featuring the same babies in playful poses with the line: “Huggies Jeans, the most important item in the wardrobe.”

But critics say the ad, created for Kimberly-Clark Corp. by McCann Erickson Israel, and tame perhaps by U.S. standards, sexualise children. At least one comment on YouTube describing it as “revolting.”

Sara Ivry of the online Jewish Tablet writes: “As the parent of a toddler, I agree, in part: diapers are vital. Their being pseudo denim is not.”

Some parents have called it offensive and called on McCann Erickson Israel to pull the ad for making “child pornography.”

“One irate individual on Twitter likened what he saw in the ad to the poses of prostitutes found in the windows of Amsterdam’s Red Light District,” Ivry writes. “Hoo mamash magzeem, as they’d say in Hebrew. That seems like an exaggeration.”

Alan E. Lawrence Kazdin, a professor of psychology and child psychiatry at Yale University, said, “This video is in a long string of similar ads.”

“Twenty years ago, we would have thought this ad was weird and bad,” he told “Think about the context. There are greeting cards with children dressed up as adults kissing each other in a romantic way. Dolls are provocative and children as young as 4 and 5 wear over-the-shoulder fashions. On TV, high school students have children. Shows have sex in the title. Who’s watching these? There is huge sexualisation all over the place.”

Kimberly-Clark spokesman Bob Brand told ABC News in a prepared statement that the ads were approved by The Second Authority for Television and Radio, the public authority in Israel.

"Since we launched a special edition of the fashion Huggies jeans commercial celebrating colour and fun a few weeks ago in Israel, a small number of consumers have shared negative reactions with us, although the response to the product and the commercial remains overwhelmingly positive," he said. "In fact a number of parents have shared images of their babies wearing the denim diapers.

"We respect consumers’ opinions and will continue to listen closely to the feedback. We are acutely aware that our brand is based on the loyalty and trust of moms and dads who use our products on their babies every day. We certainly regret that anyone might have been offended, that was never our intent."

The Irving, Texas-based company has no plans to pull the ads, which has not run in the United States.

McCann Erickson Israel offered ABC News the same statement as Kimberly-Clark.

Many parents were shocked in 1981 when a then 15-year-old Brooke Shields famously posed in a Calvin Klein Jeans commercial with the tag line: “You want to know what comes between me and my Calvins? Nothing.”

Fast forward to 2011, when child model Thylane Loubry Blondeau, who had been modeling since the age of 5, appeared in a sexually charged pose in French Vogue at the age of 10. The Parisian preteen, made-up, dressed in high heels and haute couture, reignited a debate about that ended up in the French legislature about messages young girls receive about beauty and sex.

Yale’s professor Kazdin says that Americans have in some ways normalized this kind of advertising, but a recent report from the American Psychological Association is damning.

A 2010 task force report of the sexualisation of girls cites numerous examples in “virtually every media” -- television, music videos and lyrics, movies, magazines, sports media and video games.

“In study after study, findings have indicated that women more often than men are portrayed in a sexual manner (e.g., dressed in revealing clothing, with bodily postures or facial expressions that imply sexual readiness) and are objectified (e.g., used as a decorative object or as body parts rather than a whole person),” it says. “In addition, a narrow (and unrealistic) standard of physical beauty is heavily emphasized. These are the models of femininity presented for young girls to study and emulate.”

Kazdin said “in some sense these ads are tame.” But, he warned, “We don’t want them to be tame, because they are provocative and we know that videos and not just violence are a serious problem. Now we know that watching TV is modelling and can change the brain. We don’t want to legitimize the bar going lower for too many things. And this bar is low.”

But commenter’s on the YouTube video of the ad seem to disagree.

“I don't see anything sexual here,” TheTubePortal writes. “They are just posing for fashionable diapers. What kind of sicko interprets this as sexual?” And Josh Apple writes: “I have two small kids and I have dealt with my fair share of diapers. If you think disposable underwear that will most likely be full of p*** and s*** is sexy then you need help. Sexy isn't the word that comes to mind after dealing with my little boy's upset tummy and the bio hazard that is left behind.”



Feminisation of Pharmacies, Jewellery Stores in Two Years in Saudi Arabia

04 June, 2014

RIYADH — The Ministry of Labour is planning for pharmacies, jewellery stores and shops selling beauty products to be staffed by only women after two years.

The ministry decision also prohibits women working before nine in the morning or after 11 at night and those only Saudi women will be eligible.

Shop owners are also required to provide chairs for women workers to sit and should designate an area where women can rest and pray.

The ministry pointed out that around 300,000 Saudis enter the job market each year and the public sector cannot accommodate them all. It added the private sector is cooperating in providing jobs to help accommodate job seekers.

This decision received a mixed reaction on Twitter. Some tweeted that the decision would contribute in providing job opportunities for Saudi women.

Others tweeted that the decision should first be implemented for pharmacies and include Saudis of both genders.

They said pharmacies should be divided into two sections for men and women and be equipped with CCTV cameras to prevent any mixing between the two genders.

Some have tweeted that the initiative is considered one of the most important projects for the future of the country.



Conflicting Reports on Death Row Woman, Meriam Yahia Ibrahim Ishag, Reflect Sudan 'Confusion'

04 June, 2014

KHARTOUM - Conflicting comments by Sudanese officials over whether a Christian woman sentenced to hang for apostasy will be freed reflect confusion within the Islamist government, hit by international outrage over the verdict, analysts say.

Khartoum is torn between hard-line Islamists, who demand the execution of the 27-year-old mother of two, who just gave birth to a daughter in prison, and foreign pressure to free her, Sudanese analyst Khaled al-Tijani al-Nur says.

Meriam Yahia Ibrahim Ishag, who was born to a Muslim father, was sentenced to death on May 15 under the Islamic Sharia law that has been in place since 1983, and which outlaws conversions under pain of death.

Ishag was raised an Orthodox Christian, her mother's religion, married a Christian man originally from South Sudan and already had a 20-month-old son before she gave birth last week.

She denied ever committing apostasy.

Her judge showed no mercy, also sentencing her to 100 lashes for adultery, as marriage between a Muslim woman and a non-Muslim man is considered adulterous under Sudan's interpretation of sharia law.

Diplomatic mine field

On Saturday, Abdullah al-Azraq, a foreign ministry undersecretary, told AFP and other media during a visit to London that Ishag would be "freed within days in line with legal procedure that will be taken by the judiciary and the ministry of justice."

But the following day, Sudan's foreign ministry denied that she would be freed soon. It said quotes attributed to Azraq had been taken out of context and that Ishag's release depended on whether a court accepted an appeal request by her defence team.

Nur attributes the about-turn to the "confusion" that typifies the government's policies and reflects the country's diplomatic strategy.

"At the foreign ministry, they operate as if they were in a mine field... where explosions lead to a change of mind," Nur said.

"Some religious extremist groups are exerting pressure on the government in the case of Meriam Ishag."

But when foreign pressure started to grow, the government wanted to resolve the problem by freeing the woman, he added.

A government source supported his interpretation of what happened.

"Some in the government had decided to resolve the matter after the strong international reactions. But the leaks to the media (of this initiative) showed that the government interferes in the decisions of the judiciary," said the source, who requested anonymity.

"The ministry then wanted to stop it (under pressure from) internal forces who were angered" by the announcement of Ishag's imminent release.

A former Sudanese diplomat, Rachid Abu Shama, said these contradictions were explained by "the state's political confusion, which results in these equally confused declarations, to the point where some officials pronounce on a subject they are not responsible for."

"The foreign ministry undersecretary was abroad for health treatment," when he said that Ishag would be freed, "which the judiciary had not decided on."

Awaiting appeal

After the foreign ministry officials' comments, Ishag's husband, Daniel Wani, told AFP he did not believe she would be freed.

"No one has contacted me and I don't think it will happen. We have submitted an appeal but they have not looked at it yet, so how is it that they will release her," asked Wani, a US citizen.

Ishag's lawyer Mohannad Mustapha also expressed doubts she would be released or that charges against her would be dropped.

"The only party who can do that is the appeals court but I am not sure that they have the full case file," he said on Saturday.

The court had given Ishag three days to "recant" her Christian faith, but she refused to do so.

Her case sparked international condemnation, with British Prime Minister David Cameron denouncing the "barbaric" sentence.

Amnesty International said Ishag was raised an Orthodox Christian by her mother because her Muslim father was absent, and called the sentence "abhorrent."

Sudan has paid heavily for the policies of its Islamist regime. In power since 1989, it has suffered diplomatic and economic isolation since the late 1990s when the United States imposed sanctions in retaliation for Khartoum offering refuge to militant Islamists.

Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was based in the country from 1991 to 1996.



2,100 nurses coming from India and Philippines to Saudi Kingdom

 04 June, 2014

RIYADH – A total of 2,100 female nurses from India and the Philippines have been contracted to work in various government hospitals in the Kingdom, the Health Ministry announced.

Director of the ministry’s nursing department Ilham Sindi told Makkah daily that the new nurses would assume their duties within a month after completing their recruitment procedures. She said 1,800 nurses would be coming from India while 300 would come from the Philippines. Sindi said the recruited nurses are highly qualified and experienced.

“They are holders of bachelor’s and master’s degrees,” she added. She said the new nurses would be a real asset to the ministry’s medical cadres and will fill vacancies in a number of government hospitals. “There will be no shortage of nurses any more,” she added.

Sindi, a member of the selection committee that had just visited New Delhi and Manilla, said more nurses from the two countries would be contracted if there is a need for them. She said the contract term is for one year and renewable.

Sindi noted that Saudi female nurses do not possess any of these nursing specializations. “Whenever we do have a Saudi nurse with the required specialization, she will immediately replace the expatriate nurse,” she said.

According to 2009 data from the Ministry of Health, out of the 110,858 nurses across all healthcare sectors in the Kingdom, only 32.3 percent of them were Saudi.

But nursing as a profession is slowly being accepted by Saudis. When Umm Al-Qura University first opened the nursing program, which is a five year program, only 20 students enrolled.  In the second year 45 students enrolled and in the year after that, 72 young women sat for their first year of nursing,.

King Abdulaziz University introduced the first baccalaureate nursing education program in the Kingdom in 1977.



Cunning White Widow ‘Posed as UN Aid Worker in a Bid to Blow up Kenyan Soldiers’

04 June, 2014                                          

White Widow Samantha Lewthwaite posed as a UN aid worker in a bid to try and trick police into escorting her to a military base so she could bomb Kenyan soldiers in Somalia, it has been reported.

The British fugitive, who is a mother-of-four and originally from Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, is said to be one of the leading players in Somalia's radical al-Shabaab group.

The Muslim convert, aged 30, is on the run after she was suspected of helping to coordinate last September's attack on a Nairobi shopping mall in which 67 people were killed including five Britons.

According to security sources in Kenya, a woman fitting Lewthwaite's description, tried to trick police into escorting her to a military base using fake documents in April.

But it is thought border officials in the coastal town of Lamu stopped her and she left with three men before they had a chance to question her.

A security source told the Daily Mirror: 'This could have been one of the biggest chances to catch Samantha Lewthwaite.

'There are severe suspicions this was an audacious attempt to reach the camp in Ras Kamboni to plant an explosion and murder scores of soldiers.'

It is also believed that Lewthwaite and the men fled in the same Toyota 4x4, which was used in the shooting of two soldiers in Milmani last week.

Last week sources claimed the British fugitive married suspected warlord Hassan Maalim Ibrahim who is also known as Sheikh Hassan.

He is a senior commander in the radical terror group al-Shabaab which is linked to al-Qaeda.

Lewthwaite is the widow of 7/7 bomber Germaine Lindsay, who blew himself up on a Piccadilly Line train between King's Cross St Pancras and Russell Square stations.

She was the daughter of a former soldier before converting to Islam and is believed to have moved to Kenya in 2007, just months after she condemned the deadly role her husband Lindsay played in the 7/7 London bombings that killed 52.

She moved to South Africa in 2008 and adopted the identity of an unsuspecting young woman who had moved to the UK with her parents as a baby.

Lewthwaite went into hiding in December 2011 after she convinced anti-terror police to let her go when she was arrested following a raid on an al-Shabaab cell.



Over 4,500 Saudi Women Register For Pap Smear Screening

04 June, 2014

JEDDAH — The head of Basalamah Chair at King Abdulaziz University said more than 4,500 women have registered for an early cancer detection program.

Professor Khalid Sait noted there was a lack of health awareness among women of the importance of the early detection of cervical cancer, often leading to a late detection where the cancer may not be curable.

He pointed out 200,000 mobile messages were sent to women in Jeddah encouraging them to have Pap smear tests during the summer, adding that the program targets women aged 30 to 65 and women who have been married for three years.

"It is a free program and targets Saudi and expatriate women alike," he added.

Sait explained there are 40 health centres who are cooperating in the project and three-day training courses have been held for women doctors in these locations.

The university hospital will also begin receiving the smears due to an agreement between the chair and the Ministry of Health.

He noted cervical cancer is the second most widely spread cancer among women after breast cancer, with around half a million cases discovered every year.

"This cancer is caused by many factors such as venereal diseases and medicines that reduce women’s immunity," he said.

He said that there are no obvious symptoms for cervical cancer, but there are some indications such as vaginal bleeding, lack of appetite for no known reason and weight reduction in a short time.

"Some 150 new cases are discovered, 55 deaths are recorded every year and this is expected to increase to 309 new cases and 117 deaths a year by 2025 unless more efforts are made to combat this disease," he said.

Sait noted there are three possible scenarios when changes are discovered in the cervix; these changes will disappear, they may remain without causing any problems or they may develop into cancer.

He asked women to register on the program by calling 012-6408222, extensions 11521, 11523 or 11851, or through the website



Iranian Media Smears Champion of Unveiled Women

04 June, 2014

The world took notice when Iranian women used a Facebook page to openly defy the clerical establishment by posting pictures of themselves in public without a Hijab.

Now the country's hard-liners appear to be using more traditional media to hit back at the woman who set up the page through a smear campaign that accuses her of espionage, drug use, and immorality that led to her rape.

"Iranian Women's Stealthy Freedom," the brainchild of exiled journalist Masih Alinejad, has garnered more than 400,000 "likes" and received extensive media coverage since the exiled journalist started the page on May 3.

It also got the attention of hard-line blogs and news sites, including the semi-official Fars news agency close to the powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), who have accused Alinejad of working with foreign intelligence services and promoting immorality and promiscuity in Iran.

The latest attack came over the weekend by Iran's state-controlled television, which accused Alinejad of moral corruption and said that she was trying to deceive Iranian girls and women.

State television claimed Alinejad had been raped in London after using drugs and undressing in public. The report said the alleged rape, by three men, took place in front of Alinejad's son in the London Underground.

In an interview with RFE/RL, Alinejad dismissed the report as a lie and described those who fabricated the story as "dangerous" individuals. "They have very easily turned a rape scene they created in their imagination into news," Alinejad said. "They didn't even have pity for my son, and they made him a witness of the [fabricated] rape."

On her Facebook page, Alinejad reacted to the report by posting a video of herself singing "in the same London subway" in which -- according to Iranian state TV's "imagination" -- she had been raped.

"If I would sing freely in my own country like I do in London, what you would do to me?" she wrote, adding that there are millions of Iranians like her who long for freedom.

"Do you ignore them or rape them in your mind?"

Bad Hijab

Alinejad says she considers the state television report an assault on all the Iranian women who have posted their photos on the "Stealthy Freedom" Facebook page.

"This is not just an attack against me; it's an attack against all the women who have used the Facebook page I created as a [platform] to say: 'We exist in Iran, we want our voices to be heard. We don't like the obligatory Hijab.'" 

Dozens of women openly defied the Iranian establishment by using the page to post pictures themselves unveiled in public.

One picture shows a smiling woman who has thrown her black scarf into the air as she stands on an Iranian street.

"What I want is freedom of choice not a meter of cloth! I'll remove this piece of cloth! Look! I am still a human!" she wrote.

In another picture a young woman with sunglasses is seen sitting on a bench overlooking what appears to be Tehran. "Freedom means having the right to choose. Hoping for the day all the girls and women of my nation can taste it with their whole bodies and souls," the caption reads.

The pictures go against the official state line and propaganda that tell women that their value is exhibited through their Hijab and modest appearance.

Alinejad says the Hijab is the "Achilles heel" of the Iranian establishment, and is used to show the world that Iran is an Islamic country.

"The regime is afraid of women who unveil themselves, so they try to destroy me in front of these women," she said.

The Islamic Hijab became obligatory following the 1979 Islamic Revolution and the creation of the Islamic republic. Yet despite years of harassment and state pressure that can include fines and arrests, authorities have not been able to force women to fully respect the Islamic dress code.

Over the years, the scarves women use to cover their hair have become smaller, looser, and more colorful, as the coats that are supposed to cover their bodies have become tighter and shorter.

In recent weeks, hard-liners have expressed renewed concern over "badly veiled women" and called for action to ensure that the dress code is strictly enforced.

Asieh Amini, a well-known Iranian women's-rights activist, tells RFE/RL the smear campaign against Alinejad demonstrates that the "Stealthy Freedom" Facebook page has struck a nerve.

The Norway-based Amini added that the state television report encourages violence against women.

"The establishment is trying to humiliate her femininity and promote the idea that she deserves to be raped," Amini says. "It is trying to belittle her."

"I think this demonstrates the weakness and desperation of an establishment that cannot enter into a dialogue with a critic or opponent at the same level of that individual," Amini concludes.

Iran's state-controlled television has a record of airing fabricated reports about critics, political activists, and intellectuals in order to discredit them.

Alinejad said she is planning to file a formal complaint with Iran's Judiciary against state television and also a hard-line reporter she claims called her "a whore" on social media.

"I have to take action so that the world knows that the state television, through which [Iranian] leaders and officials address the people, is the same state television that is raping our intelligence."



Achievements Made by Moroccan Women Showcased in London

04 June, 2014

London – The achievements made by Moroccan women in the political, social and economic fields were showcased, on Friday in London, by Wali of the Gharb-Chrarda-Beni Hssen region, governor of the province of Kénitra Zineb El Adaoui.

Speaking at the opening of the Forum on Women Leaders in the Arab World, El Adaoui, first wali woman in Morocco, underlined the special interest by King Mohammed VI in the issue of women and the promotion of their rights which are getting reinforced since the enthronement of the sovereign.”

Thanks to the King’s solicitude for Moroccan women and their empowerment, woman can now make achievements in all areas of life, whether economically, politically, socially or culturally,” she said.

“Under the reign of HM the King, Moroccan women are holding high-ranking positions which enabled to strengthen their status within society and make it a model in the Arab-Muslim world,” she added.



Mohammad Sijam Married 72 Times, 'TTE' Gets Jail Ticket

04 June, 2014

PATNA: Luck finally ran out for a 35-year-old man, who posed as a railway employee and conned more than 70 women into marrying him and relieving them of their cash and ornaments.

When Bihar police arrested Mohammad Sijam, nobody believed the man had married 72 women from Bihar and neighbouring West Bengal.

Sijam enticed young village girls by presenting himself as a railway official and promised them a lavish life after marriage. After solemnizing the marriage, he used to stay in the house of his newlywed wife for some days and then decamp with all valuables, including ornaments, informing the family that he has been transferred to a new place and would soon return after joining there.

He used to present himself as a Hindu if the girl happened to be Hindu and a Muslim if the girl happened to be a Muslim. He possessed over a dozen aliases as he used to transform his identity quickly. He even used to travel on trains wearing the attire of the railway TTE (travelling ticket examiner).

“He was so smart that none of his wives ever came to know about his earlier marriages,” said police officer Raj Kumar Paswan, who interrogated him.

“After his arrest, when his phone was put under surveillance, dozens of calls came from different women claiming to be his wife,” the police officer said.

Most of his victims were from West Champaran, Sitamarhi, Muzaffarpur, Bhagalpur, Begusarai, Purnia, Madhepura, Kishangunj and Katihar districts in Bihar and Midnapore, Asansol, Malda, Sealdah and Howrah districts in West Bengal.