ARAB woman walks past a Jewish couple at the Western Wall. (photo credit: MARC
Star Ibtihaj Muhammad Attacks French Attitude To Sports Hijab
Court Scraps Lashes for Nine Women Protesters, Says Lawyer
Muslim Activist Saddened By Conflict over Women of the Wall
Key to Democracy: Turkish Minister
Woman Stuck In Saudi Arabia Granted Residency after Years of Repression
by New Age Islam News Bureau
Muslim Congresswomen, Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, Criticize Saudi Arabia on
two Muslim female lawmakers on Tuesday called out Saudi Arabia and criticized
the U.S. for supplying the kingdom with weapons for its war in Yemen.
Arabia is consistently ranked among the worst human rights abusers in the world
and is responsible for famine/cholera outbreak in Yemen. Yet it is the top
buyer of U.S.-made weapons," congresswoman Ilhan Omar said in a tweet.
"Why is Donald Trump siding with weapons manufacturers over human rights
lawmakers have recently taken up more efforts to criticize U.S. President
Donald Trump for his continued support for Saudi Arabia’s war efforts in Yemen,
which has left the country in ruins and created one of the worst humanitarian
catastrophes in the world.
month, the House of Representatives voted to pass a measure to end support for
the war efforts.
Arabia has been leading a coalition of countries against Yemen's Houthi rebels
since 2015, when Riyadh and its Sunni-Arab allies launched a massive air
campaign in Yemen aimed at rolling back Houthi gains that began in 2014.
campaign has devastated Yemen’s infrastructure, including its health and
sanitation systems, prompting the UN to describe it as one of the worst
humanitarian disasters of modern times.
tweet was in response to a post by fellow Muslim lawmaker Rashida Tlaib, who
said Trump would "rather give Lockheed and the Saudis money for
missiles," than provide funding to Medicare and Medicaid services.
congresswomen have been vocal about Saudi Arabia in the past, with Omar also
saying "we need to reign in arms sales to human rights abusers like Saudi
will not shy away of criticism of any government when I see injustice —whether
it be Saudi Arabia, Somalia, even our own government!" she tweeted in
American Olympic fencer Ibtihajj Muhammad and representatives of her sponsors,
Nike, criticized French attitudes to the hijab on a promotional visit to the
was attending a long-planned event in Paris at which the US sportswear brand
launched their strips for 14 nations, including the hosts, in the women’s World
Cup in France this summer.
February, the American sportswear company was embroiled in a controversy when
retailer Decathlon withdrew sports Nike’s hijab from its French stores after
one day following threats.
be in my @Nike pro hijab every damn day,” Muhammad, who in 2016 became the
first American to compete in a hijab in the Games, tweeted before traveling to
sad to me that France has not joined the global conversation around
inclusively, around diversity. To prohibit a company from selling a sport hijab
is shameful,” the Olympic bronze medallist told AFP on Monday.
think that it hurts much more than it helps your nation here.”
Hoyt, a Nike vice president, said the company were looking forward to the
women’s World Cup in France.
goal is to provide the access for all women to have the opportunity to play
sport and to play women’s football,” he said.
believe that we are at the beginning of a journey and we believe that the World
Cup in June will be a tipping point for the future of the women’s game.”
Nike hijab provoked a strong reaction in France.
spokeswoman for President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist party, Aurore Berge, said
the sports hijab goes against French “values.”
Guirous of the center-right Republicans said it went hand in hand with “the
submission of women.”
think you’re not a feminist if you believe that wearing a hijab is not a
choice,” she said. “Anyone who believes in individual rights, freedom of
choice, should support women who choose to wear it.
not your choice. It should be our choice.
anyone who sees a problem with that does not belong in sport, because sport is
a place that it supposed to be inclusive of everyone, not matter where you’re
from, your sexual orientation, your faith, your skin color, your gender, it
doesn’t matter,” she said.
the French government, only Sports Minister Roxana Maracineanu supported the
sale of the hijab.
want to go and get women, mothers, girls wherever they are and as they are, to
encourage them to practice sport, because it is, I am convinced, a powerful
lever of emancipation,” Maracineanu said.
hijab is not visible once she dons her fencing mask.
do not necessarily need a sports hijab to practice the sport I’m doing, but I
know it has made my life easier,” she said.
hope it will help women all over the world to be more integrated by being
active. There are so many stereotypes and bad perceptions that exist about the
Muslim community,” she said.
Sudanese court on Tuesday overturned flogging sentences for nine women for
taking part in protests against President Omar al-Bashir’s three-decade rule, a
defense lawyer said.
emergency appeals court scrapped a verdict issued on Saturday by a lower court
which had sentenced the women to 20 lashes and a month in prison each.
appeals court canceled the punishment of flogging the women,” defense lawyer
Enaam Atieg told AFP.
court ruled that the women had already spent enough time in jail and ordered
their immediate release, she said.
were arrested on Thursday for participating in a “banned demonstration” earlier
in the day in the capital’s eastern district of Burri, a site of regular
protests against Bashir’s rule.
authorities have set up special emergency courts to investigate violations of a
nationwide state of emergency, imposed by Bashir on February 22 after an
initial crackdown failed to suppress the protests.
Monday, Sudanese parliament approved a six-month state of emergency across the
country instead of a year as originally declared by Bashir.
president also banned all unauthorized rallies and gave sweeping powers to
security forces for carrying out raids and searches.
has dissolved the federal and provincial governments, and appointed 16 army
officers and two security officers from the National Intelligence and Security
Service as governors of the country’s 18 provinces.
initially broke out in Sudan on December 19 following a government decision to
triple the price of bread.
quickly mushroomed into nationwide demonstrations against Bashir’s rule, with
crowds calling on the 75-year-old leader to step down.
himself has acknowledged that the protests were led by youths, the majority of
say 31 people have died in protest-related violence so far, while Human Rights
Watch says at least 51 people have been killed including children and medics.
Muslim Activist Saddened By Conflict Over Women Of The Wall
Deen, a Muslim woman from California, was present on March 8 when scuffles
broke out between ultra-Orthodox worshippers at the Western Wall in Jerusalem
and members of a Jewish women’s group who have been seeking the right to pray
at the holy site in their own – decidedly non-Orthodox – way.
I heard that for 30 years, the Women of the Wall were agitating for this
change, it really made me sad because I always looked up to my Jewish reformist
community to lead me in a lot of activism,” Deen told The Media Line. “I didn’t
know they were stuck here with this deep-rooted unwillingness by the
ultra-Orthodox to change.”
prayer service was part of a regular activity by the Women of the Wall to mark
the start of each Hebrew month. It was also part of the organization’s
celebration of 30 years since its founding, and Deen, an interfaith activist,
had been invited to take part.
matter where we live, women’s struggles are the same, and some of these struggles
are deeply entrenched in religious dogma,” she said.
Hoffman, who chairs Women of the Wall, told The Media Line that “we are at the
top of the agenda of religion and state in Israel. Women wearing tefillin
[phylacteries] and tallitot [prayer shawls], and reading from the Torah, is now
considered local custom.”
was referring to Jewish religious traditions generally practiced only by men.
women’s group felt moved to lodge a complaint criticizing police for their
failure to protect the participants at the Western Wall service.
founder of the Muslim Women Speakers Movement, Deen, from the Los Angeles area
but a native of Sri Lanka (where she has served on the National Women’s
Political Caucus), became an interfaith activist after her son was bullied and
called a terrorist.
began speaking at events held by the Muslim community but grew frustrated that
she could not speak in her own mosque, so she decided she wanted to be part of
an effort to expand Muslim reforms in the U.S.
is a kind of apathy in the Muslim community because we are taught that Islam is
the last and most perfect religion, and nothing in the Koran needs to be
altered,” she told The Media Line. “What we are saying is that we need to
change ourselves. We don’t necessarily have to alter the Koran, but let’s
adjust the way we think about it.”
particularly wants to change how women are treated within Islam, advocating
against polygamy and female genital mutilation (FGM). She also wants women to
be able to speak in holy places and lead prayer.
described going to a Paris mosque with her daughter last year and being forced
to cover her hair and dress in a certain way, saying the experience gave her
the impression that “there are men leading our mosques that might know
something about the text, but they have no understanding of the context.”
interfaith events, she made Jewish friends who advocated on her behalf, which
in turn spurred her to speak out against anti-Semitism.
was a personal crusade for me to really educate Muslims that [distrusting the
Jewish community] is a value that should not be taught,” she said.
efforts have not been without consequences within her community.
called an Islamophobe and a Zionist, so this is not easy work to do,” she explained.
said that by joining in the anniversary celebrations of the Women of the Wall –
and witnessing the disturbances – she learned that women have to demand power.
one,” she explained, “will ever come to a woman and say, here, have some power.
Do you want it?”
added that this proved a need for more women in politics, including in Israel.
this was the case, [the situation at the Western Wall] wouldn’t be this bad,”
Women of the Wall’s 30th anniversary celebrations over the weekend included an
awards ceremony. Among those honored were some of the Israeli paratroopers who
captured the Wall area and other parts of Jerusalem in 1967.
won over the Jordanian Army, but we didn’t liberate the Kotel,” Micah Eshet,
one of the paratroopers, told The Media Line, using the Hebrew word for Western
Wall. “The Kotel is still in captivity, held by the extreme-right Orthodox
under the protection of [Israel’s] Chief Rabbinate and government.”
representation of women in public is one of the key principles for democracy,
Turkey’s minister of labor, social services and family said Tuesday.
Zumrut Selcuk said equality between men and women is strengthened in Turkey,
where legal reforms are being made to not only gender equality, but to make
sure there is "zero tolerance towards violence against women."
spoke in New York at a conference, “the Role of Women-Friendly Policies in
Empowerment of New Generations”, organized by Turkey as a part of the UN's 63rd
Session of the Commission on the Status of Women.
said there were training programs conducted on combating violence against women
throughout his country, and 120,000 police officers, and more than 100,000
health care professionals had taken part.
minister outlined “the Strategy Paper and Action Plan on Women’s Empowerment”,
a five year plan to ensure women’s equal access to rights and opportunities.
of 2017, Turkey ranks 69th in the world in gender equality, a rank the UN noted
as being 'high human development'.
according to data from the World Bank, the amount of salaried female workers in
Turkey rose more than 20 percent between 2000 and 2017.
initiatives created by Turkey include: supporting young girls who want to be
engineers, providing stipends to grandmothers who are taking care of
grandchildren, various vocational trainings, organized seminars on financial
literacy and provide benefits to working moms.
mentioned one other program funded by the EU which planned to increase the
number of babysitters for working mothers who find it difficult to get back
into the workforce due to having to take care of their child.
also highlighted the rate of women representation in Turkish parliament, which
rose to 17.4 percent after last year's elections, up from 4.4 percent in 2002.
will continue to work resolutely in order to ensure that women take part in all
spheres of life in a more active, productive and stronger way," Selcuk
American teacher who was trapped in Saudi Arabia after her marriage fell apart
due to the country's draconian guardianship laws that give men power over
women's movements has been granted residency in the kingdom and given access to
her bank account.
Vierra, who is originally from Washington state and taught at a women’s
university, said in a statement Sunday that Saudi officials had intervened in
was never trying to escape Saudi Arabia," she told The New York Times, who
first reported the story. "I have dedicated my life's work to this country
and being a part of its growth, development and vision for its future."
2011, Vierra met a Saudi businessman. Two years later, they wed and had a
daughter named Zaina. After the marriage went south, she had her rights
stripped and got a taste at what life as a second-class citizen in the kingdom
cousin Nicole Carroll said the kingdom’s guardianship laws, which give men
power over women, prevented Vierra from using her bank account, leaving the
country, traveling with her daughter or even seeking legal help.
is completely stuck,” Carroll said at the time. “She is out of options.”
Arabia’s restrictions on women aren’t new – but they are severe.
the guardianship system, Saudi women are given a legal status similar to that
of a child. Women must have a male “guardian” with them whose permission they
need in order to obtain a passport or even receive certain medical procedures.
Male guardians can grant or deny permission to travel through a government app
and can even be notified when any woman they have oversight over passes through
though Vierra was granted residency as the mother of a Saudi citizen, her
4-year-old daughter is still under the legal guardianship of her father,
Vierra's ex-husband. Zaina is forbidden to leave the country without his
permission - something he has refused to grant.
the new development in Vierra's case is seen as progress for women's rights in
the notoriously male-dominated country.
it is true and this is a possibility, I suppose it means the country is
actually moving forward in the right direction on this,” Carroll said of her
cousin’s new ability to travel to see relatives in the United States.
kingdom’s restrictions on women were highlighted earlier this year when a Saudi
teenager ran away from her vacationing family and barricaded herself in a Thai
airport hotel. Her case grabbed global attention after she mounted a social
media campaign via Twitter for asylum. Her efforts picked up enough public and
diplomatic support to convince Thai officials to admit her temporarily under
the protection of the United Nations. Eventually, Canadian Prime Minister
Justin Trudeau announced his country would allow the teen in as a refugee.
case highlighted the plight of women’s rights in Saudi Arabia. Several Saudi
girls and women who have tried to flee alleged abuse by their families have
been caught trying to seek asylum abroad and forced to return home.
Arabia has come under fire for its treatment of women. Last year, Crown Prince
Mohammed bin Salman boasted the country had loosened some restrictions on
women, letting them drive and allowing them into sports stadiums.
a “60 Minutes” interview, he said that men and women were equal. “We are all
human beings, and there is no difference.” However, when asked about
guardianship rules in a different interview, he said his country needed to
“figure out a way to treat this that doesn’t harm families and doesn’t harm the
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