Photo: Forced To Undergo Six Abortions, Says Triple Talaq Challenger Shayara Bano
Female Idlib Resident: All-Woman Police Force ‘Gives Impression of Being Watched’
Saudi Women's Hunger for Kickboxing
Women Protection Law: First Round of Pakistan Govt, Clerics Talks Complete
Muslim Woman Teaching Muay Thai Boxing and Self-Defence
Women May Be More Affected By Shift-work than Men
Attorney: FBI Agents Posed As Muslim Women to Entrap Man
Female Indian External Affairs Minister in Iran and Society's Obsession With Women's Clothes
Arab Woman Awards Winners Announced
Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau
Forced to undergo six abortions, says triple talaq challenger Shayara Bano
Apr 19, 2016
NAINITAL: Shayara Bano, who catapulted into national headlines with her petition in the Supreme Court questioning the legality of triple talaq, told TOI here on Monday that she was forced to go to the SC against all odds because she could "no longer bear the ordeal". The 37-year-old post graduate in sociology from Kashipur in Udham Singh Nagar district, said she just wants "justice and move on with my life."
Alleging that she was made to undergo as many as six abortions by her husband who forcibly administered her pills which ruined her health, the mother of two said she longed to be with her children who are still with her husband.
Bano's husband, Rizwan Ahmed, had summarily posted a 'talaqnama' to her in October, which led to her taking recourse to the judiciary to get the triple talaq or talaq-e-bidat (verbal pronouncement of talaq) declared illegal. The case grabbed attention when the SC last month admitted her petition seeking triple talaq be declared unconstitutional.
The apex court had also initiated suo motu proceedings to examine the need for protecting the rights of all Muslim women. The All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB), which is a party to the case, has decided to contest any move to scrap the triple talaq, setting the stage for a confrontation on this sensitive issue.
As she gets ready for a long legal battle, Bano said, "There will come a time when triple talaq will be banned in India. When this happens, millions of women will be liberated from the fear that they are cruelly subjected to," she said.
Female Idlib resident: All-woman police force ‘gives impression of being watched’
APR. 18, 2016
The four-woman outfit began operating last month in Idlib city, where they patrol the streets near a local university in a minivan emblazoned with a Victory Army logo. Victory Army all-female police unit patrols streets near the Free Idlib University. Photo courtesy of syrian-mirror.net.
The Victory Army is a coalition of Islamist rebel brigades that captured Idlib’s provincial capital and the surrounding countryside from pro-regime forces in the spring of 2015.
Last December, the Victory Army issued a decree requiring all women to wear Islamic clothing, including headscarves, in the streets of Idlib province. Unlike the Islamic State, the Victory Army does not require women to wear the khimar, a head-to-toe black covering.
The new police unit “intimidates women and limits their presence in places where they go to learn,” Idlib resident Umm Khaled, a 35-year-old mother of two, tells Syria Direct’s Noura Hourani.
“This interference in women’s lives has caused some young women to stop attending university,” says Umm Khaled.
Q: Have you seen the all-female police patrolling the streets?
The female police unit is patrols in Idlib city.
They mostly operate around the university, near high schools and in public spaces.
When they see a woman breaking a rule they summon her husband, father or brother to give them a warning. They deal with the woman’s guardian and not the woman herself.
A single police unit in Idlib city, such as this one, is obviously going to have limited impact. As I said before, I think the goal is simply to give the impression that you are being watched.
Q: As a woman resident of Idlib, what is your opinion of this project?
In my personal opinion, the formation of this female police force—given our current situation—just intimidates women and limits their presence in places where they go to learn.
Like many women here, I’m not against Islamic dress. Our clothing is already Islamic and was so before the revolution. The issue is that people need to have a sense of personal freedom. A woman has the right to wear whatever she wants as long as it doesn’t violate Islamic law.
But when clothing becomes a way for one group to impose their authority on another, I can’t support that.
Also, clothing is not a priority in a time of war. Imposing Islamic dress should not be our priority at this time. We should be focusing on security for women and children, procuring medicine and food and enabling women so that they can support their families at a time when so many men are not around because they have been killed.
Q: How are the activities of the new police unit impacting women in Idlib?
This interference in women’s lives has caused some young women to no longer attend university.
We no longer have personal freedoms. Clothing is about personal freedom and I don’t want to feel that I’m being imposed upon.
Our society is not against Islamic law; we are against the imposition of authority on people’s freedom.
Saudi women's hunger for kickboxing
19 April 2016
There is little provision for organised sport for women in Saudi Arabia and female students at public schools are simply not allowed to engage in activities popular around the world.
One woman has begun teaching kickboxing in her parents' house in order to try and fill the gap and she says her lessons are extremely popular.
Recently the Saudi authorities formed a ministerial panel to study the introduction of sports in girls' schools, but a decision is yet to be made.
Women protection law: First round of govt, clerics talks complete
Tue Apr 19, 2016
LAHORE: Religious parties and the Punjab government completed their first round of talks on the women protection law here on Monday.
The talks were held at the Model Town offices of social welfare department. Religious parties were represented by Prof Sajid Mir, Asadullah Bhutto and Kamran Mustafa, while the department’s secretary, deputy secretary of law, Maulana Zahid Qasmi, Ghulam Muhammad Sialvi,
Raghib Naeemi and Pir Mehfooz Mashahdi, while Salman Sufi participated in the meeting through video link.
Prof Mir says both sides discussed the first four clauses of the controversial law and his team pointed out ‘anti-Shariah’ provisions in them.
He says that clause-wise revision of the law will continue as well, while the government has also been asked to submit a summary of the 200 letters it received in response to 1,100 letters written to clerics to seek their opinion on the law.
He says that during the meeting, the clerics also objected to leaving the penalty to be imposed on violators of various provisos of the law up to court’s discretion, while there is no mention of adequate evidence there. This “loophole”, he say, leaves the law prone to its misuse.
Muslim Woman Teaching Muay Thai Boxing and Self-Defence
April 18, 2016
Khadijah Safari holds a black belt in martial arts. She is teaching classes of self-defence and Muay Thai boxing to other Muslim women who feel threatened by attacks that are especially administered against people of the Islamic faith.
Safari, who is a kick-boxer by profession, is now helping other women so that they can protect themselves in the face of danger.
In this BBC video, Safari says the women don't feel safe walking around by themselves and that their clothes sometimes become the very reason why they are targeted. Self-defence is helping these women gain confidence and to stand up for themselves.
Women may be more affected by shiftwork than men
ABC Science By Dani Cooper: 19 April 2016
Women are more likely to be affected by jobs involving night shiftwork than men, according to a new study.
The study shows women's ability to perform tasks accurately is reduced when working night shifts into the early morning — particularly common in medical professions.
The finding comes from a paper published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science journal that details for the first time how changes in sleep-wake cycles and circadian rhythm differently influence brain function in men and women.
To track these differences, lead author Professor Derk-Jan Dijk, from the University of Surrey, and colleagues from the UK and Singapore rescheduled the sleep-wake cycles of 16 men and 18 women to a 28-hour day, which involved going to bed and waking four hours later each day.
For the 10-day experiment, all time cues and external light were removed from the laboratory and low-light conditions maintained during "waking hours".
Dr Dijk, director of the Surrey Sleep Research Centre, said sleep was regulated by two systems — the body's sleep-wake cycle and the circadian biological clock.
The sleep-wake cycle helps people maintain enough sleep throughout the night to balance against the time they are awake, while the circadian clock regulates the timing of periods of sleepiness and wakefulness.
The circadian clock adjusts according to environmental time and light levels — in general adults' strongest sleep drive is between 2am and 4am.
28-hour day tests the sleep cycle
Dr Dijk said the creation of a 28-hour day disrupted the sleep-wake cycle and made it easier to determine the impact of the body — or brain — clock on performance.
"We normally sleep at night and are awake during the day, and this makes it difficult to assess the separate contribution of 'internal time of day' as determined by the brain clock and the duration of wakefulness," he said.
"We can assess the separate contributions of these two factors by scheduling the sleep-wake cycle to a 28-hour day. The brain clock ticks at approximately 24.2 hours and cannot keep up with this 28-hour day.
"When we do this for a week or so, sleep and wakefulness have been scheduled at … the internal brain time and we can then estimate the contribution of time awake and brain time to performance."
If we are interested in the effects of circadian rhythms and sleep on brain function in humans there is, of course, no good reason to limit ourselves to only men.
The activities included rankings of sleepiness, mood and effort required to complete tasks and tests to measure attention, accuracy and motor control.
Dr Dijk said the study showed in women the performance on certain tasks was more impaired by "being awake at the wrong time of day" than in men.
"Extrapolation of these findings to the real world implies that women may be more affected by shiftwork than men," he said.
The researchers also suggest this difference "may in part reflect social factors such as family and childcare responsibilities that lead women to work longer hours and to sleep less on days off than men".
Women under-represented in sleep studies
Dr Dijk said the study was the first to investigate sex differences in circadian regulation of performance while awake.
He said women were generally under-represented in sleep studies because of concerns that any variability between women and men was due to "variations in hormones related to the menstrual cycle".
"But, if we are interested in the effects of circadian rhythms and sleep on brain function in humans there is of course no good reason to limit ourselves to only men," he said.
Attorney: FBI agents posed as Muslim women to entrap man
April 19, 2016
Text messages his attorney recently released show the 21-year-old Dearborn Heights man was thrilled to meet online a woman named Ghadda, whom he planned to marry.
"Every time I close my eyes, I see you right by me," he texted to her on Dec. 13. "Words can't explain my love for you."
But the person Abu-Rayyan thought was a Pakistani-American Muslim woman who loved him actually was an undercover FBI agent. Soon, the person acting as a love interest cut off the relationship, leaving Abu-Rayyan distraught. The next month, another woman, identified as a 19-year-old Iraqi Sunni Muslim, interacted with Abu-Rayyan online, also claiming she loved him. During their discussions, they chatted about ISIS and Abu-Rayyan mentioned attacking a Detroit church.
But that person, too, was an undercover FBI employee, said his attorney, Todd Shanker.
"The government resorted to a mind-boggling double-team against Rayyan with not one, but two young, fictitious Islamic women, who mercilessly manipulated him and pretended to be potential wives to Rayyan, a young U.S. citizen with no prior criminal history before the government’s aggressive involvement in his personal life," Shanker wrote in a court brief filed Friday in an attempt to get him released on bond.
On Monday, U.S. District Judge George Caram Steeh denied his request for bond and also ordered that Abu-Rayyan undergo a competency exam, saying that a psychologist who spoke Monday in court was not qualified to evaluate Abu-Rayyan's mental competency.
Steeh said that Abu-Rayyan posed a potential danger, saying he had an "obsession with some of the conduct of jihadists."
The new details provided by Abu-Rayyan's attorney show how serious the FBI was in going after him, Shanker said.
It was a case of entrapment, said Shanker and Abu-Rayyan's family. Shanker had said in February that an undercover FBI employee, Jannah, was posing a woman. On Friday, Shanker revealed that another woman, Ghadda, was in contact with Abu-Rayyan before his interaction with Jannah.
"Vulnerable as Rayyan was, the government chose to orchestrate a reprehensible drama where the young man was uplifted to Cloud 9 — he was engaged to marry the first informant ('Ghadda'), they discussed how many children they would have together, and planned a wedding ceremony — only to be utterly devastated with her breakup. The next step in the government’s plan was to exploit the defendant’s devastation and loss through a second informant ('Jannah') who then would try to instigate Rayyan to agree to an act of terrorism."
A spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Detroit did not comment Monday on Shanker's claims. Prosecutors said in their court filing on April 12 that Abu-Rayyan is dangerous.
"There is clear and convincing evidence that he is a danger to the community based on his expressed support of a designated foreign terrorist organization, his continually voiced desire to engage in a martyrdom operation, his fascination with death and killing, particularly beheadings, his on-going mental health issues, his possession and attempted possession of firearms, his drug use, and his prior assaultive conduct," wrote Assistant U.S. Attorney Ronald Waterstreet.
In the April 12 filing, prosecutors said that Abu-Rayyan had once threatened his school, and talked about beheading non-Muslims and Shia Muslims. On Dec. 22, Abu-Rayyan told his brother he "was involved in an altercation with a group of Shia at his gym," texting his brother: "I had my knife just in case things went south," wrote prosecutors in the court filing. Abu-Rayyan is a Sunni Muslim of Palestinian descent.
According to prosecutors, the undercover FBI employee asked Abu-Rayyan: "Do you feel the anger more on kafirs (unbelievers)?"
Abu-Rayyan replied by text on Jan. 8: "Ya mostly them. I want to behaed (sic) them Especially shia."
Abu-Rayyan is not charged with any terrorism crime. In a federal complaint unsealed Feb. 4, he was charged with weapons and marijuana charges. Prosecutors say that Abu-Rayyan did not disclose, when asked, on a federal form he filled out to purchase a gun whether he uses illegal drugs. He smoked marijuana often, said prosecutors.
At one point, Abu-Rayyan talked about targeting a big Detroit church near where he worked at his father's pizzeria on 7 Mile and Telegraph.
The second FBI undercover employee posing as a woman asked Rayyan about his church plans, saying: Would you even kill women and children?
Abu-Rayyan replied, according to Waterstreet: "I would have killed every one last of them ... women and children. ... I would have shown no mercy ... It would have been a bloodbath.""
Shanker has said that Abu-Rayyan, the oldest of six brothers and sisters, worked 70 hours a week at his father's pizza place.
In his court filing Friday, Shanker said the FBI was very manipulating of Abu-Rayyan, taking advantage of his emotional state.
"The government’s plan was to have the second woman, 'Jannah,' be experiencing the loss of her fiancée ('Ahmed'), just as Rayyan had lost his ('Ghadda')," Shanker wrote. "The government knew full well after reviewing Khalil’s interaction with 'Ghadda,' that this young man only wanted a wife and family, not to be a part of any terrorist act. Yet the government still moved forward with 'Jannah,” fully comprehending that Khalil would be utterly destroyed emotionally after it directed an end to what the defendant truly believed was a wedding engagement. The coordination and implementation of this insidious plan was an act of cruelty committed on an innocent, vulnerable young man."
The family of Abu-Rayyan and some advocates have expressed concern about the prosecution of him, saying it's the latest example of overreach by prosecutors in the war on terrorism with the use of informants.
Civil rights advocates say that prosecutors are often charging Muslims with minor crimes, and then trying to link them to terrorism in court filings, as they did in the case against former La Shish restaurant owner Talal Chahine. Prosecutors, though, maintain such actions are needed to disrupt terrorist activity and that Abu-Rayyan was a potential threat.
Muslim-American groups have said the U.S. government is singling out their communities with undercover informants.
A lawsuit filed this month by attorneys with the Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations said the FBI has been pressuring Muslims to become informants. Federal officials maintain they don't profile communities simply based on religion.
"They entrapped Khalil," said his father, Rayyan Abu-Rayyan, after Monday's court hearing. "They played this game. ... They try to create a fear to justify their paycheck. ... They want the public to fear, fear, fear."
Female Indian External Affairs Minister In Iran And Society's Obsession With Women's Clothes
Mon, 18 Apr 2016
There was a lot of hue and cry about Sushma's choice of clothing during her visit to Iran.
It doesn’t matter how far a woman has travelled in the world or where she has reached or even what she has achieved, some people will never get past her appearance or what she’s wearing. The latest to bear the brunt is External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj who wore a sari and a pink shawl for her meetings in Iran, which drew more attention than anything she did there.
Social media chatter focused on how Swaraj had covered her head, which is absolutely ridiculous. For starters it wasn’t even a hijab, Swaraj had simply covered her head. Why she chose to do so isn’t known but one assumes it was because as a graceful guest, she chose to follow the norms of the country that she was visiting.
Sushma Swaraj — not the only one
Kate Middleton in Malaysia in 2012.
A recent memo by Air France, demanding it stewardesses to wear veils when entering Iran was met with derision. On the other hand, a host of celebrities including Katy Perry, Madonna, Selena Gomez, Kim Kardashian and Rihanna have been pictured wearing either the hijab/niqab/burqa on their visits to Dubai, Morocco and other Islamic countries.
Hillary Clinton wearing the hijab in a recent campaign video.
Similarly, a US Navy Sailor was forced to wear a hijab when detained in Iran. Celebrities and soldiers aren’t the only ones who comply with the strict Islamic adherents. The late Princess Diana wore a headscarf when she visited Pakistan in 1997, Democratic candidate hopeful Hillary Clinton wore one on a state visit to Pakistan (and even wore one during a recent campaign video). Laura Bush wore one when she visited Saudi Arabia.
However, others have refused to comply from time to time. German Chancellor Angela Merkel was bare-headed on her Saudi visit in 2012 (though she wore one in 2007 to Tajikistan). Similarly, Michelle refused to wear one when she visited the late Saudi king’s funeral, a move that caused some backlash in Saudi Arabia.
Hijab politics in Iran
For centuries, since ancient pre-Islamic times, female headscarf was a normative dress code in but the situation changed in the Middle Ages with the arrival of Turkic nomadic tribes from Central Asia. Things took a turn under the pro-Western Reza Shah, who in a hardline modern-secular French way, banned all forms of veils since he didn’t want Westerners to laugh at them. Instead of giving a choice, he asked the police to physically remove the veil off women wearing them in public. Many women chose not to leave their homes and the move was even criticised by the British consul in Tehran.
The terror continued till the Reza’s abdication, and during the Iranian Revolution, the headscarf became a major rallying tool. Two years after the revolution ended, in 1983, the hijab became mandatory in public places. Again, the state sought to control women’s clothing and even a strand of hair outside the hijab was unacceptable in public.
Now Iranian women are taking to social media to protest against the outfit, and it has become a strong social media movement. A dedicated Facebook page called My Stealthy Freedom actively puts up pictures of bareheaded women without hijabs and currently has almost 1 million followers.
The page was started by journalist Masih Alinejad, who was forced to leave the country in 2009. Sadly, there’s little hope for the citizens of Iran where an Iranian parliament passed a bill in October 2014, that gives the moral police a free hand. It lets them follow the principle of ‘commanding the right and forbidding the wrong’ and says no person or institution has the right or authority to prevent the enforcement of “commanding the right.”
This means that law allows the police to take harsh measures without fear of prosecution while those who are being oppressed don't have the right to respond. High-ranking religious leaders such as Grand Ayatolla Naser Makarem Shirazi and former conservative presidential candidate and a member of parliament Gholamhossein Hadad-Adel are strong supporters of the garment.
Even President Rouhani, a moderate in most cases is forced to walk the line and has defended the garment, taking pot-shots at Reza Shah Pahlavai’s forced unveiling.
The Supreme Leader of Iran, Sayyed Ali Hosseini Khamenei has also criticised Iranian women’s rights activists and is a well-known advocate of the practice. He has sought to turn the debate by blaming the West, stating that women have lost their ‘honour’ : "In effect, they have been treating women like a commodity, like another of their products. If you were to look at the magazines, which are published in the West, you would see that they advertise a commodity for sale next to the naked picture of a woman. Can you imagine a bigger insult to women? They [the West] must be answerable [not Islam]."
All of the aforementioned has created an atmosphere where women are the subject of acid attacks for not dressing up.
Women's clothes — society's biggest problem
At the end of the day, whether it's Sushma's sari, a hijab (which covers the head), a niqab (which covers the face except for the eyes) or the burkha (which covers the entire body), it all boils down to an authoritarian group, mostly made up of men, deciding what a woman should or shouldn't wear.
All the three garments have been the subject of debates across the world. While many in the Western world consider wearing either of these garments itself an oppression (while those freely choosing to wear them say that dictating such terms is oppression), in many Islamic countries women groups continue to fight religion, sometimes backed by the state, to not wear these garments.
Sadly, all of this stems from people not realising a woman's fundamental right to choose. None of us have a right to choose what a woman should wear, whether it's the niqab or a bikini. That's her fundamental choice and any society that bans either, or any piece of clothing in between, has no right to call itself a civilised society.
Arab Woman Awards winners announced
KUWAIT: The winners of the Arab Woman Awards were announced on Sunday at a ceremony at the residence of the Undersecretary of the Department of Protocol Affairs at the Amiri Diwan Sheikh Mubarak Fahd Al-Salem Al-Sabah’s. The private winners’ ceremony was attended by the board of judges, this year’s winners and their families and VIP guests.
“The overarching aim of the Arab Woman Awards is to highlight and recognize the outstanding contribution by women,” Sheikh Mubarak said. “We had had such a fantastic range of entries this year, with so many women involved in wonderful projects across a wide variety of fields. The awards identify excellence and celebrate achievements.”
The Arab Woman Awards Kuwait was launched in 2013 by ITP and was co-founded by Dr Labiba Temmim; Executive Director at the Hayatt Ruqayah Abdul Wahhab Alqatami Breast Cancer Foundation, along with ITP’s Deputy Managing Director Sue Holt.
Culturally accepted platform
The Arab Woman Awards mission is to provide a culturally accepted platform to raise public awareness of the significant achievements of Arab women across the GCC and provide positive role models for young women. The Arab Woman Awards represents an exclusive opportunity to access top female members of the society; receive editorial and advertorial coverage on ITP consumer media platforms, logo placement on artwork, award sponsorship and on-site activations where they can demonstrate products and services direct to end consumers. .
Launched in 2009, the Arab Woman Awards was established by ITP with the aim of providing a culturally accepted platform to raise awareness on the significant achievements of Arab women in areas including business, finance, legal, media and the humanitarian field. The awards are held annually in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait and to-date over 250 women have been presented with the prestigious trophies.
The Arab Woman Awards board of judges was announced ahead of the winners’ presentation ceremony.
The full lists of recipients of the 2015 Kuwait awards are:
Businesswoman of the Year: Najla Al-Ghanim
Finance: Riham Al-Ghanim
Education: PR Moudi Al-Humoud
Art: Amira Behbehani
Entrepreneur: Noor Al-Qatami
Literature: Basma Al-Enezi
Sport: Taiba Al-Nouri
Fashion Designer: Amna Al-Salem
Young Designer: Muneera Al-Sahrhan
Medical: Dr Rajaa Al-Attiyah
Media: Arwa Al-Wagayan
New Media: Ascia Al-Faraj
Humanitarian: Dr Seham Al-Foraih
Legal: Esra Al-Amiri
Young Talent: Fatemah Al-Ali and Fatemah Busakhr
Energy: Badria Abdul Raheem
Woman in Government: Hind Al-Subaih
Inspirational Woman of the Year: Nada Al-Shammari
Lifetime Achievement Award: Mariam Abdul Malik Al-Saleh
Special Recognition: Moodi Al-Sultan
Judges’ choice: Sheikha Basma Mubark Al-Sabah
By Faten Omar