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Islam, Women and Feminism ( 7 Jan 2023, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Statue Of 1st ‘Muslim Woman Teacher’ Fatima Sheikh Unveiled In Andhra Pradesh

New Age Islam News Bureau

07 January 2023

• Saudi Women Compete In Princess Noura Camel Race

• 'I Do...I'm Done': Divorce Spikes Among Syrian Refugee Women In Germany

• Saudi Database to Boost Women Participation in Economic Sectors

• India To Deploy Platoon Of Women Peacekeepers To UN Mission In Sudan

• Aurora Colorado Women Train To Protect Themselves As Anti-Muslim Sentiments Rise In US

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau



Statue Of 1st ‘Muslim Woman Teacher’ Fatima Sheikh Unveiled In Andhra Pradesh


Statue of Fatima Sheikh unveiled. (Photo: Twitter)


6th January 2023

Andhra Pradesh: The first statue of Fatima Sheikh, one of the first Muslim woman teachers in modern India, was unveiled in Andhra Pradesh on Thursday.

The ceremony was held at the Zilla Parishad Urdu High School, Emmiganur town in Andhra Pradesh’s Kurnool district.

Fatima Sheikh was one of India’s finest social reformers and educators bearing the credit of being the first Muslim woman to have tutored modern education in the country.

A couple of social reformers, Jyoti Rao Phule and Savitribai, who fought to promote girls’ education, were known to have lived with her.

Fatima Sheikh encouraged the couple to establish the first all-girls school in Bombay Presidency at the former’s home in erstwhile Poona and thought students at all five Phules’ schools.

She established two schools in Mumbai on her own in 1851 and also played an important role in teaching Dalit children.

Earlier, the Andhra Pradesh government added a lesson on Fatima Sheikh’s contributions to the eighth-class textbooks.

Fatima’s statue was donated to the school by Nakkmittala Srinivasulu.

The ceremony cited attendees including Patnam Rajeswari, who led the programme and High School headmaster, Kondaiah, teachers and students.

Social activists, N. Vijyalakskhmi, K. Jeelan, Parashi Asadulla, Prbhavathamma, and writer SVD Azeej (Kurnool) were also present on the occasion.

Who is Fatima Sheikh?

Sheikh, born on January 9, 1831, in Pune, was a feminist and an icon who co-founded one of India’s first schools for girls, the Indigenous Library in 1848, alongside social reformers Jyotirao Phule and Savitribai Phule.

Sheikh reportedly met Savitribai Phule at a teacher training institution run by an American missionary, Cynthia Farrar. She also took part in the founding of two schools in Bombay in 1851.

Phule and Sheikh taught the marginalised communities of Dalit, Muslim – women and children, who were discriminated against, based on religion, caste, or gender and denied education.

Sheikh actively took part in the equality movement, ‘Satyashodhak Samaj’ (Truthseekers’ Society), to provide educational opportunities to the downtrodden communities. She went door-to-door to invite people to the Indigenous Library, seek education and break through the rigid Indian caste system.

The movement faced backlash and resistance from the dominant classes, who attempted to humiliate all those involved, but miserably failed.

The Indian government has recognised her work for society by featuring her profiles in Undu textbooks alongside other prominent educators.

Source: Siasat Daily


Saudi Women Compete In Princess Noura Camel Race


Many families visit the southern Sayahid area (east of Riyadh 130 km) to enjoy attending many events organized by the King Abdulaziz Camel Festival. (Supplied/Camel Club)


Hebshi Al-Shammari

January 06, 2023

RIYADH: As part of the seventh edition of the King Abdulaziz Camel Festival, held under the slogan “Himt Tuwaiq” 130 km north of Riyadh, 30 women participated in the Princess Nourah race.

The participants will appear in front of the final committee of judges and the audience on Saturday, Jan. 7, and then the winners will be announced.

Fahd bin Falah bin Hathleen, chairman of the board of directors of the Camel Club, approved naming the women’s race at this edition after Princess Nourah bint Abdulrahman, sister of the founder of Saudi Arabia, King Abdulaziz.

According to a statement issued by the club, the empowerment of women was a key aim behind their participation in the festival.

Munirah Al-Meshkhas, a former contestant, expressed her pride in being the only media specialist to participate in the first women’s race at the festival last year.

“Camels are part of the religious, national and popular heritage (of the Kingdom)…and we view them in Saudi Arabia as a symbol that we are proud of,” she told Arab News.

The festival has been consistently seeing a growing interest and has been introducing people around the world to the cultural heritage associated with camels in the region.

Al-Meshkhas called on the festival’s organizers to increase the number of women’s races in the next edition. She expects a robust competition for this race and has promised to participate next year as soon as she finds “a strong financial supporter.”

Nada Al-Busaily, one of the contesters, is participating in this year’s race with a camel named Shaqha.

“My goal is to introduce my daughter to this experience, as the camel is a symbol of Saudi heritage, and we aspire through our participation to foster this legacy among our children,” she said.

“Camels are a promising investment, and I encourage my daughters to enter the business, as it is a promising field in light of the current government support for women,” she added.

The women’s race was approved for the first time in the festival’s sixth edition when the individual women’s race was held for Maghatir camels of all colors.

Each woman participated with only one camel. Upon the initial sorting, 10 participants who were presented to the committee of judges qualified. Five participants went on to win, with Haya Askar winning first place, Rasma Al-Dosari second, Malaz O’un third, Lamia Al-Rashidi fourth and Dalal Al-O’taibi fifth.

Source: Arab News


'I do...I'm done': Divorce spikes among Syrian refugee women in Germany

Srishti Ghosh

January 6, 2023

KREUZBERG — For the past 18 months Hiba, a Syrian refugee in Germany, had been trying to divorce her husband with not much luck. To her surprise, in November, he finally agreed. Few days later, he married his new wife.

Hiba found out through her family.

“[My daughter] still can’t believe that he is married,” Hiba told me, glancing over at the little girl running circles around us. “He tried to tell her a couple of days ago, but she cried and cried and cried.”

When Hiba first escaped to Germany from Syria in 2016, she was alone with her daughter and pregnant with her son. She was excited to finally reunite with her husband, who had moved to Berlin four months earlier.

She said she could never have imagined the life she’s living now, six years hence — divorced, in her own apartment, sharing custody of her children and studying German to find a job.

“At least for my kids, I have to be here,” she explained. “I cannot go back to my country.”

Hiba sat across from me at a coffee shop in Kreuzberg, six minutes away from where she lives with her children. She insisted on meeting there because she was worried about unexpected visitors interrupting this conversation at the house. She was a little nervous — her hands twitched in her lap and she gently chastised her energetic children before turning back to smile sheepishly, as if to apologize for them.

I asked how long she had been married to her husband.

“Since 2012,” she said. “But it wasn’t so bad in Syria. In Syria, we had fights like normal. Here, it became really, really bad.”

Divorce in hopes of finding alternatives

Her story is one of many contributing to rising numbers of divorced Syrian refugees in Germany.

While the actual number is unavailable, Najat Abokal, a family lawyer from Morocco practicing in Berlin, told me she saw a dramatic increase in divorce cases in 2017, a year after Syrian refugees first fled to Germany.

“I’ve never seen so many people of one nationality want to get divorced,” she said.

Last year, the Federal Statistical Office in Germany reported a total of 449,000 Syrian nationals residing in the country since 2016 and 19,100 Syrians who were naturalized in 2021.

Yasmine Merei is the founder of Women for Common Spaces, an initiative to empower and connect Arabic-speaking women in exile in Berlin, as well as a Syrian refugee herself. She is not particularly surprised by the spike in divorce.

“There are a lot of social changes that are happening for these families,” she said. “It can take a man who arrives in Germany years to get permission for reunification [with family in Syria]. It’s not easy to stay away from your family for that long. People change.”

Even when families finally reunite, they’re expected to quickly integrate into a culture that can feel alien at first.

“It’s especially different for the women,” Merei added. “In Syria, a lot of women never worked. Even if they did, they lived under the umbrella of the father or the husband.”

In comparison, she said women who move to Germany have a new kind of independence. They have an independent stream of income, legal protections, easy access to health care and child care and an overall greater sense of control over their lives.

“If they are not happy in their marriage,” she said, “they have no reason to stay.”

For some Syrian women, the freedom they enjoy in Germany accelerates the unraveling of their marriages. Abokal said she noticed the phenomenon in the cases she has seen over the last five years.

“Personally, I think it’s important that they have this opportunity to be free. But I don’t know if the freedom is good for them,” she emphasized. “It can be like some kind of freedom shock.”

“The man is given very little money to move to Germany,” she explained. “So when the woman joins him, it’s not exactly to a four-bedroom apartment, you know. Often, the women don’t want to live there. They want to leave and sometimes they threaten to take the children, too.”

“Because now,” she said, raising her shoulders, “they feel like they can.”

Merei said this freedom makes men lose the sense of control over their wives and children that they were used to having in Syria.

“A lot of men think that if their wives go out, they will be talking to other men,” she shared. “I remember during one of my workshops with Syrian women, one of them took a video call from her husband and turned the phone around to show him that she was with other women because he didn’t trust her.”

“I was shocked,” she said. “I told her you cannot do that. But this is the truth. The men feel like they don’t have the value that they had before, the power they had before.”

Domestic violence another trigger for divorce

Aryn Baker, a senior correspondent for TIME magazine, spent a year and a half following six refugee families that left Syria for Europe in 2015 and 2016. In that political climate, she said, it could also sometimes be harder for men to get new jobs. She thinks that reality conflicted with men’s expectations of themselves to be the provider for their families.

“When he can’t fill that role, and his wife can, it’s threatening,” she said. “I feel like a lot of Arab men at the time just felt constrained by life in Germany.”

Merei’s experience was that some men grew depressed as a result, while others became aggressive. She explained, “It led to violence, and that led to divorce.”

It’s the reason Hiba finally decided to leave.

“We didn’t have that much understanding,” Hiba said of herself and her husband. “Everything we started talking about, we argued about.”

Despite the trouble, she stayed with him — until he started hitting her in front of their children.

“I had to send her to a therapist,” Hiba said, looking gently at her daughter. “That’s when I knew I couldn’t bring them up in that atmosphere anymore.”

So she asked him for a divorce, and when he refused, she moved out. Hiba moved into a female-only refugee camp for a few months, where she met many others in similar situations.

“I had a roommate from Homs,” she remembered. “Her husband married another woman and then divorced her.” In fact, she recalled, most of the women at the camp were either separated or divorced.

But it is not that Syrian women are unable to divorce their husbands in Syria. Abokal said, “The Syrian law is a very good one, actually.”

Marriage disputes in Syria are arbitrated in Sharia courts, which follow jurisprudence derived from Islamic scripture.

“The religious texts are actually very clear about this issue," Merei said. The concept of khul in the Quran permits women to initiate divorce but it requires her husband's consent.

Syria's Personal Status Law has always granted both men and women the right to divorce. In February 2019, the Syrian government amended the law to grant women custody of their children after divorce and the right to petition for divorce without anyone else’s permission.

“The problem is that the community deals with divorce based on society’s interpretation of the texts. And social traditions in Syria are much more effective than laws," Merei said, explaining that the social tradition is based on shame rather than legality. So although women are legally permitted to divorce at will, they are unlikely to seek it out for fear of social backlash.

“Divorce in [Syrian] communities is a stigma,” she said. “So Syrian women hold onto the idea that we will be stigmatized if we divorce.”

Merei is divorced herself. In fact, she lived in Syria as a divorced woman for a few months before leaving the country. But getting the divorce was not an easy decision.

She said, “I remember my father telling me that it is my right to be divorced, but that I had to choose whether I really wanted to be divorced.” Her father couldn’t bear to think about what people in the city would say about her if she got divorced. So he insisted that if she made that choice, she would have to return to their home in the countryside, giving up the life she had built for herself.

“You have to consider the reputation of your family on the one hand,” Merei said, “and your future and career on the other.”

Her father passed away before she divorced her ex-husband.

“If my father were alive at the time, I would not do it," she said.

Different landscape in Germany

In Germany, the social landscape is different.

“Their rules of life change when they come here,” Abokal said of her clients’ experiences. “They don’t have the same level of social observation from neighbors, relatives and everyone.”

For many women, divorce symbolizes a brighter future for themselves and their children. But often, the reality is not quite the fairytale it seems. From her experience following six Syrian refugee families to Europe, Baker cautions against seeing divorce as the liberation that Western feminists often assume it is.

“I see it as a handicap,” she told me. “It is still considered a disgrace in traditional Syrian society, so you will be isolated and looked at as 'that woman.'”

For one Syrian woman Merei was in contact with through Facebook, the fear of social ostracism kept her from ever asking her husband for a divorce, even at the expense of her own safety.

“She never shared her real name with me,” Merei said. “She used a fake name throughout because she was so scared her identity would be revealed.”

The woman, who had been married for 26 years and had four adult sons and daughters, told Merei that she had not left her house at all in the last eight months because her husband refused to let her leave his purview.

“This is in Berlin,” said Merei, wide eyed and shaking her head in disbelief.

Even if they muster the courage to ask for a divorce, women can suffer unfathomable consequences.

For her project, Baker spoke to 23-year-old Aya, who moved to Germany in 2015 only a month after she got married. Aya absolutely loved Germany.

“I think when she got there, she realized that there were so many more opportunities for her to be who she wanted to be and express her dreams, desires and independence,” Baker said. “She was exposed to a whole new world and culture, and she embraced it.”

Her husband Mohammad was not on the same page. The deeper Aya dove into German culture, the more Mohammad resented it. Their disagreements escalated to loud arguments and then to physical abuse, and it continued that way for a year until Aya decided that she could no longer tolerate it and asked for a divorce.

Two weeks later, she came home to find Mohammad and their two-year old son Joud missing. Mohammad had taken Joud back to Syria. He told Aya that the only way she would be reunited with his son was by returning to join them.

Aya’s case is, of course, in no way standard.

Hiba’s ex-husband is living a new life with his new wife in a different state in Germany. Hiba insists that she doesn’t want her children to be estranged from their father. They talk with him over the phone every day.

“They love him and he loves them,” she tells me earnestly. “He is a good man. We just couldn’t get along.”

Finding freedom in divorce

For some women, divorce may deliver on everything it promises. On the same project following Syrian refugees to Europe, Baker met Oula, a 38-year-old single mother of four living in Tartu, Germany. Getting divorced offered Oula freedom, control over her own life and even the chance to discover new companionship. But it came at a heavy price.

“The day people found out I was seeing a German,” Oula told Baker, “I lost all my Syrian friends.”

Baker remembers it being a tough time for her. She said, “You’re still a woman alone, trying to raise a kid, four kids, in Germany and childcare is not a given.”

Oula was left completely isolated, living in a foreign country with a foreign culture and no Syrian community to fall back on.

The stories are multiplying throughout Germany. And yet divorce is still not openly discussed within Syrian refugee communities.

“We grow up with the social education of not sharing our stories,” Merei said. “The more silent we were as women, the better.”

Hiba hasn’t told anyone except her brother all the details of her marriage and divorce. Even when she was in the refugee camp with other women, she could not bring herself to share her experiences. Sharing it with me was carefully conditioned on a clandestine coffee shop rendezvous, away from the eyes of anyone she might know.

Divorce's persisting taboo is the reason Merei founded Women for Common Spaces. She said, “Sharing their stories in a common forum will change the stigma into solidarity.” After all, they have no option but to find a way to move forward.

“I’m very proud to have helped them,” Abokal said of the Syrian couples she has advised in Berlin over the last couple of years. “At the end of the day, I think it’s good to have a good family and to be happy in their lives. But I think it’s important to have the possibility to make such a decision if they want.”

The comparative freedom to divorce in Germany promises Syrian women a lot — safety, security, independence, control, happiness. But there is still a price to pay.

I asked Hiba how she feels after securing her divorce, if she thinks it was worth it. “Do you feel happier now? More independent?”

“Aqwaa,” she said firmly in Arabic. “Stronger.”

Source: Al Monitor


Saudi Database to Boost Women Participation in Economic Sectors

6 January, 2023

Asharq Al-Awsat learned that the Council of Saudi Chambers intends to involve businesswomen in various economic sectors, issues, training and qualification programs, initiatives, and investment opportunities.

It will do so by building a database for directing invitations to enable women to enter appropriate projects.

At the Council of Saudi Chambers, a Women Empowerment Coordination Council (WECC) was established in accordance with a Cabinet decision.

The decision stipulated the formation of a women’s committee with experience and competence to coordinate with the relevant authorities to encourage private sector establishments to find activities and fields of work for Saudi women.

Furthermore, the WECC issued a circular asking all Saudi chambers to collect the required data to be able to send invitations to the programs and initiatives offered.

The WECC aims to increase the participation of Saudi women in the national labor market as it seeks to ensure the localization of the female labor force, the provision of new opportunities, and the development of capabilities.

Overall, the council looks to activate the role of Saudi Women in the field of economic development. It also wants to remove obstacles inhibiting their participation in various fields of work.

Saudi Arabia, according to its national strategic objectives, is pursuing the empowerment of Saudi women, as the number of establishments owned by women reached more than 174,000 in 2021.

Among the efforts spent by the Council Saudi Chambers in terms of women empowerment is Saudi women being given representation on the boards of directors of chambers. They have also been given a chance to chair several national committees and business councils and attained membership in those committees and commissions.

The empowerment of Saudi Arabian women is at the heart of the Kingdom's 'Vision 2030' reform program with the stated aim of increasing women participation in the job market from 22 % to 30 %.

The Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development worked to empower women, raising their participation in the labor market by the end of the third quarter of 2022 to 37%, exceeding the country's vision goals of 30%.

Source: Aawsat


India to deploy platoon of women peacekeepers to UN Mission in Sudan

January 06, 2023

New York: India is set to deploy a platoon of Women Peacekeepers in Sudan’s Abyei region as part of the Indian Battalion in the United Nations Interim Security Force (UNISFA).

This will be India’s largest single unit of women Peacekeepers in a UN Mission since it deployed the first-ever all-women contingent in Liberia in 2007, stated the Permanent Mission of India to the UN press release.

In 2007, India became the first country to deploy an all-women contingent to a UN peacekeeping mission. The Formed Police Unit in Liberia provided 24-hour guard duty, conducted night patrols in the capital Monrovia, and helped to build the capacity of the Liberian police.

The Indian contingent, comprising two officers and 25 Other Ranks, will form part of an Engagement platoon and specialize in Community outreach, though they will be performing extensive security-related tasks as well, added the release.

Their presence will be especially welcome in Abyei, where a recent spurt in violence has triggered a spate of challenging humanitarian concerns for women and children in the conflict zone.

The deployment in Abyei will also herald India’s intent of increasing significantly the number of Indian women in Peacekeeping contingents, added the release.

The Security Council, by its resolution 1990 of 27 June 2011, responded to the urgent situation in Sudan’s Abyei region by establishing the UNISFA. The Security Council was deeply concerned by the violence, escalating tensions and population displacement.

The operation has been tasked with monitoring the flashpoint border between north and south and facilitating the delivery of humanitarian aid, and is authorized to use force in protecting civilians and humanitarian workers in Abyei.

Long tradition

UNISFA’s establishment came after the Government of Sudan and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) reached an agreement in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to demilitarize Abyei and let Ethiopian troops monitor the area.

More than 200,000 Indians have served in 49 of the 71 UN peacekeeping missions established around the world since 1948.

India has a long tradition of sending women on UN peacekeeping missions. In 1960, women serving in the Indian Armed Forces Medical Services were interviewed by UN Radio before being deployed to the Republic of the Congo.

Women Peacekeepers are highly regarded in Peacekeeping Missions throughout the world for their ability to reach out and connect with women and children in local populations, especially victims of sexual violence in conflict zones, read the release.

Indian women particularly have a rich tradition in Peacekeeping. Dr Kiran Bedi, UN’s first Police Adviser, Major Suman Gawani and Shakti Devi have made a mark for themselves in UN Peacekeeping.

Our teams in the Congo and South Sudan have also done sterling work in mainstreaming women and children into Community and Social developmental projects at the grassroots level, the release said.

Indian peacekeepers have served in UN peacekeeping missions around the world. They protect civilians and support peace processes, and also carry out specialist tasks. In Eritrea, Indian engineers helped to rehabilitate roads as part of the UN Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE).

Moreover, Indian doctors provided medical care to the local population in missions around the world, including in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Veterinary doctors are also sometimes deployed as part of the peacebuilding process.

Source: Gulf News


Aurora Colorado Women Train To Protect Themselves As Anti-Muslim Sentiments Rise In US

By Saja Hindi

December 29, 2022

Use their momentum to your advantage. Put your hands around the back of their neck and push their head down, wrap your arm around their neck to apply the choke and subdue your attacker.

About a dozen women, many wearing hijabs — or headscarves — faced their partners in a fighting stance. This was one of the boldest moves they’d learn that day — the standing guillotine.

“I’m always going to be hands-up, protecting my face. Odds are, in self-defense, if somebody wants to hit me, they want to strike me, they’re probably going to at some point, right? I am not some like Muay Thai champion that I can evade these strikes, but I can protect myself,” Onyx Jiu Jitsu Coach Jesse Wright told them.

Mosque leaders at the Islamic Center of Aurora Colorado hosted the event to provide a space for women to feel empowered against anti-Muslim sentiment, threats against women and crime in general. Class participants also listened to a presentation by Aurora police officers, including a Muslim officer, on tips to protect themselves in precarious situations.

“We need to be self-aware for our own safety and the safety of others around us. … Having these classes and trying to educate the community in general, it doesn’t matter what faith or place of origin they come from, I think it’s just their safety,” said Officer Abdul Syidi in an interview.

“At the end of the day, we just want them to be able to help themselves and ultimately help another human being,” he added.

Two officers provided the women pamphlets with general safety tips – keep cars locked, don’t leave valuables visible, be aware of surroundings – and pointers about suspicious activity. But they tailored the presentation specifically to Muslim women.

“For safety purposes, I would say please keep that (hijab or headscarf on) loosely enough that if somebody does grab it … and they pull, at least they’re not pulling you down with it,” Syidi said.

“Your safety – that’s more important than trying to keep that hijab on and then now you’re being assaulted,” he continued.

The officer recalled a similar incident in Aurora more than a year ago. The victim didn’t report it to police – a witness called it in.

Aurora police investigated three cases of bias-motivated crimes against Muslims since 2018. In two, a suspect wasn’t identified, and in the third, the victim refused to prosecute, resulting in the case being closed, according to Matthew Longshore, Aurora police spokesperson.

But not all bias-motivated incidents are reported to police, and Muslims across the country have reported heightened Islamophobia in recent years. In April, the Council on American-Islamic Relations released a report, noting a 28% increase in hate crimes and bias-motivated incidents against Muslims in 2021 and stating that the numbers from local law enforcement are drastically underreported or not reported at all in the FBI’s database. Another reason the agency cites for numbers appearing lower is a lack of trust in law enforcement due to issues like mass surveillance after 9/11.

In 2020, more than 70,000 people in Colorado identified as Muslim. Aurora, which is known as the most diverse city in the state, is home to several mosques and Muslim communities.

Wright told the students that they should trust their instincts and if they have the chance to leave a situation that makes them uncomfortable, that’s the best course of action. If they can’t, they should try to create distance between themselves and the other person, and make their boundaries clear with their words and body language. Then, if all else fails, they should employ the self-defense techniques they learned against attackers. She stressed how important repetition is to perfecting the moves.

Zaituna Gishu was all smiles as she and her class partner attempted the moves the instructors provided them. She was the first person to register for the class. Her son is training for the U.S. Taekwondo Olympic Team.

Gishu said she tried taekwondo, but it was difficult. Still, she wants to learn to protect herself, because she works for an airline at Denver International Airport, and over the past few years, it’s been a scary experience. Not all of the anger directed toward her is related to her religion, she said, though that has happened before.

In 2019, a passenger punched her after getting mad about something, and it made her realize she needed to know how to protect herself better.

“I really appreciate everything (the instructor) gave us, the knowledge,” Gishu said. “And I got a lot of knowledge on how to defend myself from this class. I hope everyone listens and tries to protect themselves.”

Hirah Sheikh, a 23-year-old board member at the Aurora mosque, was excited to learn about the self-defense class and to get involved. She was already practicing different types of martial arts and believes that it’s important for women especially to have some training in it. Sheikh grew up in the Aurora area.

“I definitely have felt a change (over the years) and I feel like I’m definitely more self-aware. And like the instructor was saying to have your guard up, I think I definitely do that more now, even if I’m in a different city as well,” Sheikh said.

Several of the women in the class echoed those sentiments, saying they were glad to have a safe place they could learn in case they ever had to put the techniques to use.

Mom and daughter duo Mariam and Zaynab Sabr were intently following along with the instructions, rolling on the floor and asking questions to make sure they could perfect their moves. Mariam Sabr had heard about the class through the mosque and attended with her 17-year-old daughter.

She said she was glad to learn a few techniques and wishes the class was longer.

Sabr worries more about her daughter, who will be attending college soon, possibly in another state, and her environment. In Aurora, she feels safe in her neighborhood and community surrounded by other Muslims.

Zaynab acknowledged that being a “hijabi” makes Muslim women “an easy target, especially now, it’s a lot more controversial, so people need to protect themselves.”

The class garnered such positive feedback that the center hopes to partner with other mosques in the area to host more classes in the future.

Source: Denver Post




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