photo: Austria's far-right government has introduced a draft law to the
parliament to ban the headscarf in primary schools
Women Start Driving Family Taxis
Muslim Woman Lifting the Veil on Sex Education in Myanmar
Saudi Women Are Wearing Their Clothes Inside Out
Women Delegation in Senegal to Set up A School for Girls
Women Convert to Islam in Search of Spirituality, Logic - Researcher
Women Associated with ISIS Might Face Death Penalty in Iraq
Resigns after Saying He ‘Will Not Vote For Women’ In Turkey’s Local Elections
by New Age Islam News Bureau
Prepares For Headscarf Ban in Primary Schools
far-right government has introduced a draft law to the parliament to ban the
headscarf in primary schools, planning to implement it without the support of
Minister Norber Hofer told a news conference following the Council of Ministers
meeting on Wednesday that the government sent the draft law to the opposition
said that no negotiations would be made with the opposition ahead of the voting
of the draft law in the parliament, calling the opposition to vote in favor of
draft prohibits children to wear Muslim headscarves before the age of 10 in all
primary schools, including private schools across the country.
the draft law is approved, parents who violate the ban will be subjected to pay
a fine of 440 euros or serve two weeks jail time.
ban will come into force in 2019 if it passes through the parliament.
main opposition Social Democratic Party (SPO) and the New Austria and Liberal
Forum (NEOS) said that the draft law should be comprehensively evaluated.
government was planning to implement the draft law as a constitutional decree
by taking a two-thirds majority of the parliament, but due to the opposition's
approach, the bill is planned to pass only by the votes of coalition partners.
the elections in the fall of 2017, the Conservative Party (OVP) led by
Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, the youngest leader in Europe, and the Extreme Right
Party (FPO) formed a coalition government.
large number of non-governmental organizations, journalists and activists,
particularly the Muslim community living in Austria, opposed to the ban.
is home to around 700,000 Muslims, including 300,000 of Turkish origin. Many of
them are second or third-generation Austrian citizens from Turkish families who
migrated to the country in the 1960s.
widespread fears from the refugee crisis and international terrorism, Austria’s
right-wing parties proposed several controversial measures -- including strict
controls on mosques and Muslim associations, and immediately closing them in
the case of a suspicious activity.
Oct. 2017, Austria already applied a face-covering ban, which prevents people
from concealing their face in all public places, including transport
— Saudi women are now able to drive family taxis as the rules governing the
operation have been activated, the Public Transport Authority (PTA) announced
for family taxis are issued to only registered companies not individuals. Only
qualified Saudi women are allowed to drive these taxis.
the rules and regulations approved by the PTA, women drivers cannot take
passengers if there is no adult Saudi woman among them. Under the rules, no men
or young male children will be allowed to occupy the front seats.
transport companies must have an electronic payment system and GPS navigation.
regulations do not prevent Saudi women from working in any other road transport
activities as long as the necessary conditions and controls are met.
establishments involved in the family transport activity should have a fleet of
at least 10 vehicles. Cars should not be more than five years old.
car should also have a screen displaying all the required data such as the
driver’s name, the name of the establishment with all its contact numbers and
the plate number. — SG
Myanmar - Adjusting her hijab and looking around the class, Dr Thet Htwe starts
the day's lesson with a simple question.
wants to know about the human sexual response?"
raises their hand, some sheepishly giggling.
a country where there's still a debate over the proper word to use for
"vagina" and simply talking about sex is considered taboo, Dr Thet
Htwe is breaking down barriers.
35-year-old Muslim woman is one of the country's leading teachers of sexual
education, travelling around the country to provide classes lasting from one
day to one week on subjects from arousal to menstruation, and sexual
family doctor by training, Thet Htwe has been teaching sexual education under
her organisation, Strong Flowers, since 2016.
Myanmar, like many countries in Southeast Asia, sex education is not something
that's taught at school so Dr Thet Htwe teaches people of all ages - from
teenagers to people in their 60s - and is often hired by companies to run
classes for their staff.
young women learn about these things from their aunties or mothers," said
Thet Htwe. "A lot of times these things are not talked about at all. But
then even when these topics are discussed, there is a lot of
classes also have another role - discussing consent, women's rights, and
tackling sensitive topics including gender-based violence.
to the United Nations Population Fund, violence against women is a "silent
emergency" in Myanmar, characterised by a high level of social acceptance
of such abuse and a legal system that fails to create an environment where
women are protected.
common proverb in the country translates to: "If you beat your wife until
her bones are broken, she will love you more."
estimated 17 percent of married women between the ages of 15 and 49 experienced
physical and/or sexual violence from their partner, according to 2017 data from
the Ministry of Health and Sport, and the International Coaches Federation, a
experts say the actual number is likely to be much higher because women don't
understand their rights or are afraid to report abuse for fear of the stigma.
our society many women do not know that they can say 'no'," said Suu May,
a 22-year-old woman who took Dr Thet Htwe's class in 2016. "Not only in
relationships, but also with family or in the workplace. Taking this class
taught me about consent, and helped me learn to respect myself."
Thet Htwe said her classes are starting to attract a new type of student as
used to be almost always just women attending, but there is definitely an
increase in the amount of men coming now," she told Al Jazeera.
Thet Htwe admits some of the men attending the classes are required to do so by
their employers, she's also noticed an increase in the number of young people
who sign up for the class by choice, seeking a safe space in which to discuss
me, it was eye opening and a great learning experience," said Min Joor,
17, who attended a course on sexual harassment. "I was surprised learning
about sexual harassment, because what I knew was different from what we were
Joor said when he finished the class he began treating women differently,
thinking about the lessons he had learned from Dr Thet Htwe.
was the sort of a boy who teased girls a lot, but after the training I tried to
be more cautious about it," he said. "I changed my behaviour, for
a country as predominantly Buddhist as Myanmar, Dr Thet Hwe has also become
something of an ambassador for religious understanding.
United Nations has said the country's military carried out mass killings and
gang rapes of the Rohingya minority with "genocidal intent", and
Myanmar's Muslims have often been the target of abuse and discrimination.
of the change'
Thet Htwe acknowledges being a hijab-wearing Muslim woman also ends up playing
an educational role in classes.
are a lot of challenges in this world - and in Myanmar there are a lot of
challenges for women as well," she said. "I would say for Muslim
women, the challenges are double.
people provide course feedback they often tell me, 'When we saw you we thought
you would say something controversial about culture or religion. But the whole
training period we noticed you were similar to us. We noticed you have no major
differences from us.'"
Dr Thet Htwe admits long-lasting societal change will take time, she said her classes
do help build understanding between people.
from 20 people in a class one person changes or feels they've gained something,
it's a positive impact for the entire community," she said. "But I
will continue to so whatever it is I can to spread knowledge and be the part of
the change needed in this society. This is my determination."
across Saudi Arabia are striking back against the strict rules that govern
their lives by subverting the kingdom’s dress codes.
decades, women have been required to wear the Abayah, a loose, body-covering
robe, when in public - a dress code strictly enforced by police.
appeared to have changed in March, when Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman
declared that his female citizens only needed to dress modestly and not
necessarily to wear abayas. The prince told CBS TV: “The laws are very clear
and stipulated in the laws of Sharia, that women wear decent, respectful
clothing, like men... The decision is entirely left for women to decide what
type of decent and respectful attire she chooses to wear.”
practice, however, wearing the abaya is all but compulsory - and Saudi women
have had enough,” reports Quartz.
have posted images online showing them wearing the traditional robes inside
out, under the hashtag “inside-out abaya”, in a growing campaign aimed at
winning women more freedom.
abayas as “another form of dehumanisation for women”, US-based Saudi activist
Amani Al-Ahmadi called the protest a “brilliant move” that could create real
see another woman in flipped abayas - it builds solidarity between women and
shows that they are not alone,” she told Reuters.
Arabia has long been a restrictive country for women.
women gained the right to drive last year, several female activists have since
been arrested “under an apparent crackdown on dissent”, the BBC reports.
women still need the permission of a male guardian - usually a husband, father,
brother or son - to apply for a passport, travel abroad, open a bank account,
and get married, among other things.
educational programme in Senegal is the first of a series of programmes to be
implemented in developing countries.
for girls education, a delegation from the Dubai Women Establishment and Dubai
Ladies Club, along with a few high-end Emirati designers are visiting Senegal
to lay the foundation stone of an elementary school as part of their 'teacHER'
campaign to provide quality education for girls. The delegation will not only
lay the school's foundation stone but will also be actively involved in the
first practical steps of its set up and will also participate in a number of
local educational and cultural activities and events.
project, in line with the Year of Zayed, will be implemented in collaboration
with Dubai Cares, part of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global
Initiatives, and is among the ongoing humanitarian efforts of Al Manal
Humanitarian Initiative, which was established in 2013 by Sheikha Manal bint
Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, president of the UAE Gender Balance Council,
president of Dubai Women Establishment (DWE), president of Dubai Ladies Club
and wife of Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and UAE
Minister of Presidential Affairs.
educational programme in Senegal is the first of a series of programmes to be
implemented in developing countries as part of the 'teacHER' campaign, which
was launched by Al Manal Humanitarian Initiative in 2017 to advocate for girls'
programme is primarily supported by 'Designs of Hope', an annual charitable
exhibition organised by Dubai Ladies Club in which pre-loved luxury gowns and
high-end clothing items by Emirati designers are sold to raise money for
charity. All proceeds from the exhibition in 2017 and 2018 were dedicated
towards supporting educational programmes in Egypt, Nepal, Senegal, Ethiopia,
by Lamia Abdulaziz Khan, director of the Dubai Ladies Club, the delegation is
visiting Senegal from November 18 to 23 for the official inauguration of the
school that will be built in the western region, Thiès.
the importance of empowering girls across the globe with education, Sheikha
Manal stated: "We understand that there are social and economic factors in
many developing countries that prevent children - particularly girls - from
receiving the education they need, negatively impacting their future. Consequently,
this affects their societies as a whole, as it hinders overall development
processes and economic growth. This initiative aims to make a difference in the
lives of girls and contribute towards their happiness as productive, effective
and successful members of society."
Khan highlighted the importance of education as a valuable tool that equips
young girls with the necessary knowledge and skills required to participate as
equal partners in the development of the vocational, cultural and economic
spheres of society. She said: "In line with the Club's commitment to the
values of unconditional generosity and giving, we aim to become a global
platform for female empowerment." Lamia Khan highlighted that the Club has
been organising the annual exhibition since 2013 to support various
humanitarian causes, the latest of which is the 'teacHER' campaign. The
educational programme in Senegal will be implemented in collaboration with the
philanthropic organization Dubai Cares and its partner, buildOn.
women converting to Islam don't see the veil as a symbol of oppression, but as
a sign of liberation from superficial beauty, a researcher specialising in
religious issues has claimed.
women on Finnish streets have become an increasingly familiar sight. This is
partly due to the recent wave of migrants and asylum seekers from Muslim
countries starting from 2015 and partly to Finnish women converting to Islam of
their own accord, national broadcaster Yle reported.
to University of Jyväskylä researcher and ethnologist Meri Tuovinen, Turku and
other major Finnish cities have seen a rise in conversions to Islam, most often
by ethnic Finnish women who previously had no affiliation with and no exposure
to Muslim culture. Big cities offer more opportunities in finding like-minded
spirits and have more events going on, she explained.
stressed this goes in lockstep with the international trend, as Islam keeps
growing across the Western world, while other religion shrink or at best stay
at the same level.
the absence of national statistics, Tuovinen is positive that the number of
converts is on the rise in Finland. For her extensive research, she interviewed
31 ethnic Finns-turned-Muslims in various parts of the country. Of them, 28 are
women and three men.
the respondents are a mixed group, of different ages, backgrounds and with
different positions in society, what all the 31 converts had in common was the
perception of Islam as a 'logical' and 'intellectual' religion, which 'better
fits with historical events'. Yet another explanation was that Islam allows
people to establish a 'direct contact with God'.
female Finnish converts also claimed to be 'liberated through the Islamic
headdress', which allows them to 'escape Western beauty ideals and
paradox is the women themselves feel that they are freed by their headgear
while this outfit in the West is generally regarded as a sign of compulsion and
inequality," Tuovinen explained to Yle.
idea that the number of converts is rising was shared by Pia Jardi, a proud Muslim
since 1986, Helsinki Mosque employee and a collaborator with the National Forum
for Cooperation of Religions (USKOT). According to Jardi, people are drawn to
Islam by its clarity, direct contact with God and rites with transparent
2016, the Pew Research Centre estimated that about 2.7 percent of Finland's 5.5
million population is Muslim, suggesting that it could grow to 15 percent by
2050. Historically, Finnish Muslims almost entirely consisted of Finnish
Tatars, but has grown to embrace other population groups, such as Arabs,
Somalis, Kurds, Turks and Albanians.
a 2018 survey revealed that almost two-thirds of Finns (62 percent) believe
Islam is fundamentally incompatible with the culture and values of Finland.
Furthermore, over a quarter said they would never accept a Muslim as a family
member, whereas 14 percent were opposed to having Muslims as neighbours.
– Morocco’s North Observatory for Human Rights (ONDH) shared a statement today
on its Facebook, saying that a source at a refugee camp in northern Syria told
women living in the camp, including Moroccan women, that they might be handed
over to Iraqi authorities in a period of no more than six months.
source added that the ISIS-linked women might be subject to the death penalty.
statement added that women and children are suffering from dire conditions,
including nutrition issues.
also recalled that it has been calling on the Moroccan government to return
Moroccan women and their children back to Morocco and try to reintegrate them
in Morocco based on the requirements of the international humanitarian law.
his recent interviews with national and international news outlets, Head of
Morocco’s Counter-Terrorism Bureau (BCIJ) Abdelhak Khiame expressed concern
over the threat imposed by ISIS returnees.
to Khiame, Morocco’s position regarding
returning fighters was established in 2015, allowing police to apprehend them
for investigation and place them in custody.
typically receive sentences ranging from 10 to 15 years in prison.
July, Moroccan newspaper Akhbar Al Yaoum reported that Iraqi authorities wanted
to extradite wives and children of Moroccans with ties to ISIS.
August, ONDH said that a Spanish-Moroccan security unit arrived in Syria to
interview Moroccan women with alleged ties to ISIS to repatriate them.
security intelligence team called the women individually and interrogated them
beginning from the time they adopted the radical ideology to the moment they
joined ISIS and fell in the hands of the Democratic Federation of Northern
Syria’s forces,” ONDH stated.
Moroccan suspects are spread throughout the MENA region, but are mainly in
Iraq, Syria and Libya.
added that 1,666 Moroccans joined the conflicts in Iraq and Syria, of whom 929
225 other fighters have criminal records with terrorism-related charges.
chief added that 642 Moroccan fighters died in Syria and Iraq due to suicidal terrorist operations.
dean of a university in Turkey’s Central Anatolian province of Konya has
resigned after public outcry following his statement that he “will not be
voting for any woman” during the March 2019 local elections.
am declaring it here: I oppose some policies regarding family life. Raising a
good child, being a good housewife is much more necessary than being a
minister, mayor or successful businesswoman. I will not vote for any woman
mayoral candidate in the local elections,” Necmettin Erbakan University’s
Aviation and Space Sciences Faculty dean Prof. Dr. Mehmet Karalı had said in a
tweet earlier this week.
tweet was slammed by thousands of social media users as sexist and offensive,
which led Karalı to delete it eventually. “I am withdrawing my tweet because I
was uncomfortable that it was used to discuss different subjects,” the dean had
said in a fresh tweet, which also failed to stop reactions.
Karalı announced in another tweet on Nov. 21 that he resigned from his position
as the faculty dean. He claimed that his view should have been respected in the
scope of free expression, but it was “taken out of context” and started to
“harm the university and the city” of Konya. “The responsibility of my office
prevents me to respond to the harsh criticism I face, so I am resigning from my
administrative duties,” he said.
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