Photo: Nazia said her actions were spontaneous and she didn't hesitate even for a second to think about her won safety.
'You'll have To Burn Me First' - The Story Of A Woman Who Faced Off Against The Taliban
Two Muslim Women Are Escorted Off Passenger Plane for 'Staring At Flight Attendant'
Nine-Year-Old Girl ‘Raped In Open Hall’ By Isis Member, New Report Claims
Dear Massi, Are Jinns Attracted To Women On Their Period?
What’s New about Punjab’s ‘Treacherous’ Pro-Women Law?
Mum-Of-Two Urging Adult Students to Use National Careers Week
Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau
Teen Muslim girl gets bravery award for saving Hindu classmate from kidnappers
Anuja Jaiswal | TNN | Mar 8, 2016
AGRA: Amidst the communally surcharged atmosphere in Agra following, the killing of VHP leader Arun Mahor, this is a story that both communities need to take lessons from and then celebrate it. 15-year-old Nazia was on Tuesday awarded the Rani Laxmibai bravery award by chief minister, Akhilesh Yadav, for saving a 6-year-old Hindu girl from kidnappers in August last.
It was the afternoon on August 7, when Nazia, a student of Saghir Fatima Mohammadia Girls Inter College, was returning home when she heard cries for help from a young girl, who was being forcibly pulled on a motorcycle by two youths. Unmindful of her own safety, Nazia rushed to the girl's help and held her hand and managed to pull her away from the kidnappers, who then fled the spot.
It was only after she had rescued the girl, Dimpy, Nazia learnt that she was her junior from school. Today, when tension prevails between the two communities, Dimpy's parents treat Nazia as their own daughter and are indebted to her for saving their child from the clutches of the kidnappers.
Talking to TOI on phone after receiving her award, Nazia said her actions were spontaneous and she didn't hesitate even for a second to think about her won safety. "It was about 12.30 PM when I heard Dimpy's cries for help. I just rushed to her and caught hold of her hand", she said.
Recalling the moment, Nazia said, "It was like a tug of war for 2 minutes. While they tried pulling her on the motorcycle, I kept pulling her back", she said adding that the suspects finally gave up and fled.
Nazia said since the incident had happened near Sadarbhatti area, which is just 100 meters away from their school, she immediately rushed there with Dimpy and informed the Principal. "Dimpy was crying. After the school authorities informed the police, I took her home to her parents", she said adding that she is now treated as a daughter in Dimpy's home.
When contacted, Dimpy said she was very happy that "didi" had been awarded for her bravery. "Agar didi uss din na hoti to woh log mujhe le jaate (they would have taken me away that day if 'didi' hadn't been there)", she said.
'You'll have to burn me first' - the story of a woman who faced off against the Taliban
March 9th, 2016
Gul-e-Khandana is a hero for many women. A social activist, mother, wife and friend, Gul runs a government school for girls in Swat - a city ravaged by the Taliban, which was eventually secured after a military operation in 2009, and where militants shot activist Malala Yousafzai in 2012 for advocating education for girls.
A short film shared by documentary film-maker and two-time Oscar winner Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy "in celebration of the International Women’s Day" highlights the life and struggles of Gul, a woman who has taken a stand against societal norms to not only acquire an education, but to also educate other women in her area.
She attributes her success to her biggest support - her husband, Haroon, a man who encourages his wife to seek her highest potential.
Gul says it was her dream to become a teacher when she was a child. "I would go to school but my family was against me. They would mock me," she recalls. "When I finally became a teacher, they stopped talking to me."
But despite staunch opposition, Haroon stood by his wife. "My husband supported me during this time... We are friends first, then husband and wife."
Haroon weighs in: "Women can make a difference in all aspects of life. But if women lag behind then nothing can be changed."
Today, Gul says, 262 girls are enrolled in her school, Government Gulzar Primary School Swat, with over 1,500 having graduated from there.
‘You'll have to burn me first’
"In our village, a middle school for girls was burnt down," Gul says, as she recalls the days the Taliban roamed freely on the streets of the city. "Mostly women and children were killed during the fighting," she says.
"Fifteen terrorists came to our school. They carried guns and their faces were covered; they asked us to evacuate the school because they wanted to burn it."
But Gul stood firm outside the school’s gate. "I said, 'If you want to burn the school, you will have to burn me first because there are little girls studying here.' So they left the school"
"Education is our right. It is specially important for girls because they can make a difference in their households."
Many of her students have gone on to become nurses, teachers and doctors. "They work with me as well," she says.
'I have become brave because of my wife'
Haroon cooks for the family and sets the dinner table as Gul returns after a day’s work. "When I reach home, the food is ready and the table always set."
She says she would be lost without her husband. "Whenever I face any problem, I tell my husband first."
The couple are shown enjoying a meal with their children and playing with their youngest daughter.
"A husband and wife are like wheels of a car. If they work fine together, there will be no difficulties at any turn of life," Haroon says.
For Haroon, having such a brave woman as a wife is also a form of empowerment. "I have become brave because of her."
The activist says she faces major problems with her social work. "I am working for women, trying to equip them with skills and education. But people want the poor to remain poor so they can keep working for them. That is the mentality of the rich," she laments.
She says she wants to help empower women and make them stronger.
"After retirement, I want to become a leader for women here and make a political party for the poor in this area."
There is hope in her eyes as she concludes her story. "If I live long enough, I will bring change."
Two Muslim women are escorted off passenger plane for 'staring at flight attendant'
9 MAR 2016
The JetBlue flight attendant was reportedly overheard "smugly" telling a co-worker that she "didn't appreciate being stared at"
A plane passenger filmed the shocking moment two Muslim women were escorted off a jet by police amid claims a flight attendant accused them of "staring" at her.
Having flown to Los Angeles from Boston on the JetBlue flight without incident, the two women were marched off the jet after touching down in California.
The women, wearing hijabs, are seen in the mobile phone footage silently gathering their hand luggage while other passengers remain seated.
According to the Sun, the video was filmed by witness Sharon Kessler and posted on YouTube by her friend Mark Frauenfelder.
Ms Kessler apparently told Mr Frauenfelder that she overheard one of the cabin crew explaining to a co-worker hat she "did not appreciate being stared at".
She's also said to have appeared "smug" when she relayed this information.
Mr Kessler later wrote on Facebook that the women had been quietly watching films throughout the flight and that it felt like "overkill from the flight attendant."
JetBlue responded to the newspaper in a statement, saying the flight attendant believed one of the women had been filming the journey.
Mark FrauenfelderTwo Muslim women escorted off Jetblue plane for 'staring'Sat quietly: Witnesses reported that they could not understand what the women had done wrong
“If a crew member believes a customer may be filming safety procedures, the crew member may report it for further review," the statement read.
“In this instance, our crew members acted in accordance with security procedures.
"We appreciate our customers’ patience and cooperation, and apologise for the inconvenience.”
Nine-year-old girl ‘raped in open hall’ by Isis member, new report claims
Ashley Cowburn | The Independent | Mar 9, 2016, 12.52 PM IST
A nine-year-old girl living within Isis-held territories was openly raped in a hall where she was being detained alongside other women, it has been claimed.
The distressing report appears in the wide-ranging analysis Children of the Islamic State, released by the London counter-extremism think-tank Quilliam, which has investigated how the terror group indoctrinates children.
Girls, it claims, are known as the "pearls of the caliphate" and must remain veiled, hidden, confined to the home, and taught to look after husbands. In one particularly disturbing case study used by the authors of the report, two young women allege that they had been raped by Isis members or fighters associated with the extremist group.
One of the women described how she heard "screams of girls who had been taken to from the main hall" where she and others were detained. Another Isis fighter pointed a gun at young girl who had been resisting.
The women were then escorted from Mosul to a school in Tal Afar, a district in north-western Iraq, where there were "more than 100 small children". The report adds: "The second girl said she was raped in a hall where she was being detained with other women in Mosul after her abduction by IS. She said the guards raped her three times a day for three days.
"According to her account, she also saw an eight or nine-year old girl being raped openly in the hall. IS then moved her and other women and girls to an abandoned school in Tal Afar."
In a separate account a young woman recounted that, after her capture in Sinjar in August 2014, she moved to Tal Afar with a hundred other girls and young women.
"After several days, she and a thirteen-year-old girl were sold to IS fighters. The fighter who bought her raped her and if she tried to resist, he would beat her with his shoes. She reported, 'I used to hear a lot of cries and screaming from the other girl in the house, as God knows what the man was doing to her. She was too young to understand and probably was very scared."
In the same report, it was claimed that more than 31,000 pregnant women living within Isis-held territories were being used to create the next generation of terrorists. Nikita Malik, a senior researcher at Quilliam, told The Independent: "There's a systematic creation of the next generation of mujahideen - the next generation of fighters."
She added that it "shows it's not being done randomly in any way, this is a very long-term preparation for these children to grow up with severe religious, theological and national indoctrination."
Dear Massi, Are Jinns attracted to women on their period?
8 March 2016
Dear Massi, My dadee (grandma) always tells us strange stories from the village, and even though she believes all the weird stuff, me and my cousins put it down to old wives tales.
Out of all the far fetched things she has told us, she told me and my sister that jinns are attracted to women on their period.
We don't believe it, but when we asked our mum, she said we should be respectful of the supernatural stuff because jinns do exist.
It has scared me a little bit because I usually walk home from college, and it gets dark really early nowadays, and jinns are known to be under trees and stuff.
Massi Says, There are many old wives tales that have a remote cultural or religious connotation.
These stories are often relayed for conversational or humorous purposes.
Very often, there is nothing concrete to substantiate the anecdote.
There is no evidence to suggest that supernatural forces are attracted to women on their cycle.
You have taken all the other stories that your grandmother has told you with a pinch of salt, so I would be inclined to address this anecdote in the same way.
What’s new about Punjab’s ‘treacherous’ pro-women law?
March 9th, 2016
ISLAMABAD: Even though laws to prevent domestic violence already exist in the provinces, none of these laws – existing or proposed – have generated as much controversy and opposition as the recently-passed Punjab Protection of Women against Violence Act, 2016.
This is surprising, since the law contains very little in the way of new stipulations that were not envisioned by previous laws. Its detractors, such as the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII), claim that by passing the bill, the provincial legislature has committed ‘a treasonous act’.
According to Human Rights Commission of Pakistan Chairperson Zohra Yusuf, “Violence against women is so widespread in Pakistan that this certainly needed to be addressed.”
In her opinion, the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) already provides remedies for violent crimes against a person, be it a man or a woman.
“But there are no laws to provide relief to women victims of domestic violence. Therefore, it was necessary to have special mechanisms and interventions for women and children,” says Punjab Commission on the Status of Women chairperson Fauzia Viqar.
Unlike the Sindh law against domestic violence, the Punjab law does not criminalise domestic violence itself, but rather provides civil remedies such as fines or residence orders through the courts. Violators can only be imprisoned for a violation of a court order, not for abuse.
Despite loud opposition, Punjab domestic violence act contains few stipulations not contained in existing laws
But how can a case be registered under an act that does not criminalise domestic violence? According to leading human rights lawyer Asma Jahangir, domestic violence is a “civil matter” under the Punjab act and complainants must turn to a protection officer or the family courts to register a case, not the police.
The onus of proof is not as high when it comes to proving cases under acts such as this, she said.
Recently, a case that was purportedly registered under the new bill made headlines across the country. However, since the new domestic violence law is yet to be activated, the case was, in fact, filed under the relevant section of the PPC, and subsequently quashed on the complainant’s request.
The law’s opponents also insist that drawing up legislation that caters specifically to women – which is also what the Sindh law does – is unfair to men.
A CII official hinted at the reason behind their recent rejection of both the KP and Punjab bill. The English draft of the law uses the general term ‘aggrieved person’ and also defines the kinds of aggrieved persons, which also includes men.
“The translation of the KP law that we received refers to the ‘aggrieved person’ as ‘mutasira’, the feminine term for victim,” he said. This indicates that those opposing the law may not necessarily be clear on what exactly it stipulates.
The Punjab law does feature uniquely specific definitions. Its explanation of psychological violence “includes psychological deterioration of aggrieved person which may result in anorexia [emphasis added], suicide attempt or clinically proven depression”. The law thereby identifies connections between mental health issues, such as anorexia or depression, and domestic abuse.
The Punjab act has also made the home a scrutable area. “Earlier, homes were treated as a private space and domestic violence was again a private matter, so now [the police] can enter a home where reports originate from,” Ms Yusuf said.
However, she criticised the provision that the defendant will be asked to leave the house for two days, saying it may be ineffective if he is allowed to return and continued abusing the victim.
Similar to the acts that came before it, the 2016 act also calls for residence and financial support for victims.
However, where the Sindh act states that a victim cannot be evicted from the household without consent, Clause 5 of the Punjab act states that the court can restore the position of a victim who has been wrongfully evicted if “the aggrieved person has right, title of beneficial interest in the house”.
What sets this law apart from the rest is extensive enforcement mechanisms. According to Mumtaz Mughal of the Aurat Foundation, it is much more realistic to expect that the law will be implemented and enforced better than the laws passed by other provinces.
The law calls for the constitution of Women Protection committees at the district-level, which will consist of a police representative, a social welfare officer, a public prosecutor, civil society representatives and a district women protection officer who will act as the secretary.
Ms Viqar of the Punjab Commission on the Status of Women explained that the district protection officer will be a paid officer, and the government functionaries in the committee would already be drawing a salary from the government, while members who are from the civil society will be working on a purely voluntary basis.
But even she was not clear on how quickly these mechanisms will be created. The law itself provides the government 120 days to make rules and set up the relevant functions under the act, such as a toll-free helpline, District Women Protection committees, and legal, psychological assistance and shelter.
The government has yet to constitute district women protection committees, and the process will entail advertising for appointments in the committees and the receiving and vetting of applications.
Mum-of-two urging adult students to use National Careers Week
March 9th, 2016
A mum-of-two is urging adult students to use National Careers Week as the opportunity to get careers advice and change their lives.
Forty-two year old Shanaz Sardar, is about to complete her Masters in Social Work to become a qualified social worker – a journey which nearly didn’t happen.
“I was working as a teaching assistant at Nuffield Primary school and doing my degree when I decided I wanted a career in social work,” said Shanaz.
“I started on the Foundation Degree as I was already working in the sector and it seemed the natural thing to do. However, to then get into social work meant I had to do a Masters and study for a further two years.”
Shanaz made an appointment with a Careers Advisor at Blackburn College when she realised her career aspirations were changing.
“I wish I had made the appointment sooner. I would urge all adults to speak to a Careers Advisor before you start applying for courses. I’ve done it but I have ended up doing a much harder and longer route” warned Shanaz.
Despite her journey to her ideal career taking longer than expected Shanaz is positive about studying.
She added: “Studying at University Centre at Blackburn College is a rewarding and life-shaping experience, created by a friendly environment and a nice atmosphere.”
“I loved my time studying there – the amount of support I received was second to none and a warm welcome was always shown by the tutors – helping in smaller groups or on a one to one basis.”
“It was not easy to achieve my goal without support and at Blackburn I got that and I wouldn’t be doing what I am now if it wasn’t for them”.
Victoria Wilding, Assistant Student Services Manager at Blackburn College who manages a team of Careers Advisors said: “We helped Shanaz prepare for her interview for her Masters in Social Work and got her on the right track for her dream career.
“It’s not unusual for people’s aspirations to change and help and support is available for all adults who wish to change jobs or direction.
At Blackburn College we offer drop in sessions and dedicated appointments for adults across Pennine Lancashire and are urging people to take up the offer of our support.
“Adult students have busy lives and often reach to the internet for information about courses and routes into education – there’s a lot of incorrect information though. It’s far better to speak to a qualified Careers Advisor.”
Blackburn College has been awarded international accreditation for delivering impartial information, advice and guidance.
The accreditation is an international quality mark measures the overall quality of the information, advice and guidance service.