students at the entrance to the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound (Haram-Al-Sharif), in
2013, part of the exhibition “Veiled Women of the Holy Land: New Trends in
Modest Dress.” Photo by Menahem Kahana
Gov't Vows Zero Tolerance on Violence against Women
Are There So Few Statues of Women in Egypt?
Women Directors Bring Empowerment Message to Venice
Women Determined To Vote in Presidential Polls
Detains 22 Men and Women for Attending Mixed-Gender Party
Jolie Sends Message of Support As First Independent All-Afghan Movie Premiers
Woman Given Triple Talaq for Giving Birth to Girl
by New Age Islam News Bureau
in Jerusalem Challenges Perceptions of Modestly Dressed Women
(RNS) — In this holy city, hats, hijabs and clerical habits are a way of life
and go all but unnnoticed on its busy streets.
so, No’am Bar’am-Ben Yossef, an expert on religious garb, was surprised when, a
decade ago, she began to see Jewish women dressed much like devout Muslims and
Orthodox Christian nuns.
along the invisible seam between East and West Jerusalem, “there was a point
when I couldn’t distinguish between Jewish women, Muslims and Greek or Russian
Orthodox nuns when I was seeing them from behind,” Bar’am-Ben Yossef told
Religion News Service.
was eager to learn what motivated this small but growing group of Jewish women
to dress in ankle-length black robes and layers of scarves, wraps and,
sometimes, face veils.
investigation propelled her into the world of the most insular Jewish sects and
broadened to include interviews with devout Muslim women and nuns.
to share the women’s words, Bar’am-Ben Yossef, a senior curator in the Israel
Museum’s Art and Jewish Life department, asked Ari Teperberg, a theater
director and performer, to co-create the exhibition “Veiled Women of the Holy
Land: New Trends in Modest Dress.”
society is becoming more religious,” Bar’am-Ben Yossef noted. “I think it’s a
reaction to perceived secular promiscuousness, but also a way to feel more
secure in an uncertain world.”
Yossef said she and Teperberg created the exhibition to challenge the public’s
perceptions of women who cover almost every inch of their bodies.
the entrance to the exhibition, visitors see artistic photographs of random
modest or covered women walking in the city’s streets and mannequins
representing the three faiths dressed in startlingly similar attire.
clothing bears no resemblance to the modest but Westernized long-sleeved shirts
and below-the-knee skirts commonly worn by mainstream ultra-Orthodox women and
is far more conservative than the brightly colored hijabs and lively
accessories favored by most of the city’s Muslim women.
the exhibition’s core is a 16-minute video that allows three women — one from
each faith — to explain why they adopted what many consider to be a life of
the video starts, the women are fully clothed, but as they tell their stories
they shed some of their layers of clothing (they remain modestly dressed) as if
they are peeling an onion. Toward the end of the video they put the layers back
women on screen are actresses but the words they convey are meticulously
compiled from the interviews Bar’am-Ben Yossef conducted.
from the start, the exhibition asks visitors to consider whether choosing to
dress extremely modestly is the result of patriarchal oppression or actually an
expression of feminism, and to examine their own biases.
one of us perceives the world through a virtual veil or filter,” said the curator.
“We put tags on people but we don’t really listen to them. I’d really love
people to put aside this virtual veil and look at these women.”
Yossef said Israelis — including ultra-Orthodox Jews — view veiled Jewish women
as outsiders and extremists.
call them ‘Taliban women,’ something they perceive as very offensive.”
the interviewees were raised in vastly different cultures, the common
denominator is their thirst for spiritual purpose and meaning.
religion, ethnicity and physical modesty are hot-button topics in Israel,
Bar’am-Ben Yossef and Teperberg initially planned to show the videos of the
three women in three separate rooms.
thought it would be interpreted as disrespectful to imply that they are part of
a single phenomenon,” Teperberg said. “But there was a moment in the process
when we understood the viewing experience had to culminate in something. So all
three videos are shown in one room, side by side.”
all, the creators strived to be respectful of the women who told their stories.
realize that exposing modesty is a contradiction in terms,” Teperberg said. “We
always thought, How would these women feel if they watched this? We didn’t use
their stories to stab them in the back.”
of the participants attended private showings of the video when the museum was
closed to the public.
the vast majority were pleased — especially by the term used to describe them,
Jewish modest women — some were shocked to be compared to the women of
Milman, one of the women who participated in the project, told RNS she agreed
to speak about her life “because there is a lot of misconception about women
who dress this way.”
whose long robes and scarves distinguish her from her ultra-Orthodox neighbors,
said she adopted this way of dress very gradually.
husband and I heard about the phenomenon and I started meeting with other women
who were growing in modesty. They showed me the Jewish texts where it’s written
what a woman should wear.”
today’s rabbis do not require that women dress the way they did in ancient
times, “it is not forbidden,” Milman emphasized.
has not seen the exhibition because, as a woman who values modesty, “I don’t
want to draw attention to myself,” Milman said.
Yossef has been gratified by the public’s positive reaction to the exhibition,
where Jews, Muslims and Christians can often be seen watching the video
Israel, Jews don’t know anything about nuns and little about Muslim women, and
vice versa. They all live within themselves. Our goal is to encourage them to
look around and listen.”
government has reassured the public that it pursues and would continue to
pursue a "zero tolerance" policy on any acts of violence against
Minister Abdülhamid Gül told reporters Friday that the courts have issued since
January some 375,425 orders for the protection of women threatened with
violence. He did not elaborate on the orders but they usually involve
restraining orders for suspects and in some cases, preventive detention of
reject and condemn violence against women and children. We approach such cases
with zero tolerance. All relevant authorities are in coordination to ensure
this and our prosecutors resolutely pursue all cases involving violence toward
women," he said.
murder last month sparked public outrage over violence against women, prompting
calls for strict sentences for perpetrators and better protection for women.
attack on Emine Bulut, from central Turkey's Kırıkkale, saddened and horrified
millions when a video where she was seen covered in blood after her former
husband stabbed her in a cafe was circulated. She later died in the hospital.
cry in the video, "I don't want to die" was turned into a social
media campaign to raise awareness against the issue plaguing women in Turkey.
According to unofficial figures, 49 women were killed either by their spouses,
family members or relatives in August and 294 women were killed in the country
since January in acts of domestic violence.
with awareness campaigns, experts say harsher laws are needed to fight domestic
violence. More often than not, Turkish courts reduce sentences in such cases if
the victim "provoked" the suspect, under a controversial
interpretation of Turkish laws.
violence claimed 932 lives between 2016 and 2018. Turkey is striving to
eradicate the disturbing phenomenon by increasing prison terms for perpetrators
and awareness campaigns denouncing violence toward women, the product of a
twisted patriarchal mindset.
perpetrators justify murders by saying the victim deserved it for
"staining their honor," or cheating and in the case of former
husbands, marrying someone else. The government plans a new bill to hand down a
sentence of at least 40 years in prison for crimes against women.
women’s rights defenders in Egypt aren’t
quite preoccupied with the alarmingly low number of statues depicting
women in the country. Understandably, the issue pales in comparison with more
pressing agenda items, like the many forms of de jure and de facto
discrimination against women—from legal marital rape and inheritance
inequality, to rampant FGM and sexual harassment.
the absence of the female from our public squares and perpetually bustling
streets is indicative of a sexist mentality that places far more value on
honoring and recognizing men’s achievements than it does women’s.
statues and sculptures are a reflection of a nation’s history and identity,
fully woven into the fabric of our everyday lives. They are the landmarks that
guide our travels through our great
metropolis. Once used to cement the status of political figures, such as
members of the Muhammed Ali dynasty from the 19th to the mid-20th century,
public statues now shape cultural and social perceptions of greatness worthy of
commemoration and iconic imagery. And it is usually male figures that dominate
this aspect of public life, signaling to the unsuspecting eye the superiority
aren’t much better for women elsewhere in that regard. All over the world, men
enjoy more representation, with statues of male figures far outnumbering those
of women. Among the countless statues scattered across New York City, only five
depict women. Many aren’t even named after the women they depict, such as The
Statue of Liberty, which was originally inspired by an Egyptian woman holding
up a lamp, dressed in the loose fitting garment of a fellaha (peasant).
combat this, a number of campaigns were launched to change that reality. One is
#MonumentalWomen, which has recently won approval from New York’s Parks
Department to build statues honoring women’s right pioneers Susan B. Anthony
and Elizabeth Cady Stanton in Central Park. The iconic urban park only features
fictional female statues on its grounds.
notable campaign is inVISIBLEwomen in the UK, which advocates for more public
statues of women, arguing that “female figures are largely semi-clad, often
reclining, and typically depict a maternal, saintly or sexualized image of
womanhood, rather than worldly achievements.”
March 7th, 2017, one day before International Women’s Day, Kristen Visbal’s
Fearless Girl was initially installed facing the much older Charging Bull.
Visbal’s bronze structure became an instant global sensation, earning a
permanent place in Manhattan’s Financial District. “This statue has touched
hearts across the world with its symbolism of the resiliency of women,”
Democratic congresswoman Carolyn Maloney said in a statement.
MAN’S WORLD IN EGYPT?
Egypt, few women have been honored with such colossal monuments, such as Umm
Kulthum, who is indisputably recognized as the Arab world’s greatest recording
artist. With a career that spanned three decades, Umm Kulthum has more than
earned the bronze statue immortalizing her across the street from the Umm
is also the illustrious Nahdet Masr statue (Rising Egypt), which depicts a
peasant woman standing next to the Sphinx to symbolize Egypt’s national
aspirations during the struggle for independence from British occupation.
while the peasant woman seems to be symbolize emancipation, the full statue
seems to co-opt her identity for the bigger purpose of nationalism. With no
name, no history, and no background, the woman stands as a lifeless figure
rather than a human being that relates and directly speaks to the onlooker, the
way Umm Kulthum’s statue does. At best, the sculptures almost renders the woman
invisible and incidental.
example of this kind of erasure and appropriation can be seen in the statue of
Mustafa Kamil Pasha by Leopold Savine, which shows Kamil, a nationalist
activist, with one hand on the head of a sphinx while a peasant woman below
them is seen listening to his chants of freedom.
to Lesley Lababidi in her book Cairo’s Street Stories, it was in 1872 when
Ismail Pasha, the khedive of Egypt at the time, decided to adopt the European
tradition of installing statues of heroic figures in public displays as a
symbol of the continuing authority of the Muhammed Ali dynasty. One example
being the Ibrahim Pasha sculpture, which stands at the Opera Square in Cairo,
after Khedive Ismail asked French sculptor Charles Coedier to build a statue
commemorating his father.
tradition continued on in the 20th century when Egyptian sculptor Mahmoud
Mokhtar began to pay tribute to several other political figures, producing the statue
of Saad Zaghloul, located on the Qasr El-Nile Bridge. Out of all the statues
mentioned in Lababidi’s book, however, only Umm Kalthoum stood out as a
pioneering female figure in modern Egypt, next to men like Muhammad Farid,
Talaat Harb, Ahmed Maher, Muhammed Abd El Wahab and many others.
is unfortunate considering the number of notable and successful women who are
never held in such high regard or afforded the same iconic status for their
achievements, such as world-renowned Egyptian nuclear scientist Sameera Moussa,
prominent Egyptian feminists such as Huda Shaarawi, Doria Shafik, and Dr. Nawal
El Saadawi, and politicians like Hikmat Abu Zayd, the first female cabinet
minister in Egyptian history, appointed in 1962.
has always needed art to survive and grow. And just as politicians have used
sculpture to bring life to their past achievements and authority, so too should
Egyptian women make their marks on our streets. Egypt’s feminist movement
deserves to be honored and recognized, and the longtime struggles and successes
of its pioneering women merit a more visible presence in our streets.
Italy — Female Saudi Arabian directors Haifaa Al-Mansour and Shahad Ameen
brought a message to the Venice Film Festival along with their movies: Women
must be seen and heard.
"The Perfect Candidate" is one of two films by female directors out
of 21 competing for the festival's Golden Lion award, telling the story of a
woman doctor facing gender-based challenges while running for municipal
"Scales", which screened out of competition, focuses on a young girl
surviving against superstitious villagers who believe she is a curse.
directors hope their films will convey a message of empowerment at a time when
Saudi Arabia has been easing male guardianship rules.
a lead female character, it is indirectly empowering women," Mansour said.
one who will make most money in this film is the girl, she is not a supporting
role, she is the main role. You invest in her journey, love her and root for
her that is what is very important for a conservative audience to see."
start of Mansour's film reflects the changes in the Kingdom, with protagonist
Maryam driving her car to work. Last month, Saudi Arabia also ended travel
restrictions for adult women, allowing them to do so without permission as well
as giving them more control over family matters.
what she wanted Saudi female audiences to take away from the film, Mansour,
also known for the English-language film "Mary Shelley", said:
"That it is about time to put themselves out there and not to be afraid of
failure or to be judged.
come from a very traditional society so even with the liberties, like ...
(women) driving is legal but not a lot of women drive because it is not
accepted still socially. So it is very important for women ... to take
advantage of the new freedoms given to them because that is ... how to move
"Scales", Hayat has been saved by her father from a village tradition
of families sacrificing their daughters to sea creatures, making her an
was my story, it was my experience ... of people treating me in the country
that I was in, in a very segregated society, in a society which obviously they
prefer men over women," Ameen said.
we come to accept these bodies that they've disfigured for years in our head
with their voices? Do we come to have our own voice at the end? I think it's
every girl's story, not just in the Middle East."
2018, Saudi Arabia lifted a nearly 40-year ban on cinemas. Mansour has
previously described how she at times had to hide in a van while directing her
2012 film "Wadjda" about a young Saudi girl determined to buy a
changed a lot, I don't have to be in the van anymore ... and accessibility ...
we shot in really remote areas and we were able to shoot, she said.
also noted changes for filmmakers in Saudi Arabia, which will host a film
festival next year.
all the social media, people are much more at ease with cameras, especially
with the changes happening in Saudi. I'm from Jeddah, it’s like a different
city," she said.
you see women in the streets, functioning in the society, it brings change to a
city. It makes it colorful." — Reuters
Sep 7 (IANS) Fearing that a Taliban-like fundamentalist government may return,
many women in Afghanistan are determined to vote in the upcoming presidential
polls to defend their hard-won rights enshrined since the collapse of the
Islamist regime in 2001.
Muqadasa Ahmadzai, 25, was a child when the Taliban ruled the country for five
years from 1996. She works for women in Nangarhar, one of the most dangerous
provinces where the Taliban and the Islamic State (IS) insurgent groups
dominate vast territories, Efe news reported on Saturday.
women are teachers, doctors, pilots, they have the right to drive, take part in
elections, and advocate for their civil and fundamental rights," Ahmadzai
told Efe news, explaining the progress made in the past 18 years.
contrast, she said, under the Taliban regime "women were killed, flogged
in public for not wearing burqa, schools abandoned and hospitals
women still have challenges, the progress we have made is significant,"
starting almost from scratch, women now occupy 27 per cent of civil service
posts, and dozens of them hold senior positions in the government as Ministers
or Ambassadors in the country where 39 per cent of over 9 million school
students are girls.
has asked women to mobilize through democratic means, especially during the
elections set for September 28.
protect their achievements and defend their rights, women need to take an
active part in upcoming elections and should elect a president who can truly
defend their rights against the Taliban in the peace talks," said the
are 18 candidates in the fray, including incumbent President Ashraf Ghani, who
is seeking a second term, his CEO Abdullah Abdullah, former insurgent leader
Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and former intelligence chief Hanif Atmar.
of the 9.6 million registered voters, only 3.3 million, or 34.5 percent, are
women, despite the efforts by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) to
increase female participation.
participation in urban areas is good, but due to family and cultural
restrictions, insecurity, and lack of awareness, the number goes down as we
move from cities to rural and remote areas," Abdul Aziz Ibrahimi, IEC
spokesperson, told Efe news.
for women like Lina Faiz, the Taliban's threats were not enough to deter them
from exercising their democratic right.
threats should not stop us. We should use ballots against the Taliban's
bullets," Faiz said.
police have detained 22 men and women at a mixed-gender party in Tehran
province, the country’s official news agency has said.
party, illegal under Iranian law, was held in a villa near the city of
Damavand, IRNA reported.
prosecutor Hassan Ebrahimi was quoted as saying 13 men and nine women were
said “some alcoholic beverages were confiscated from them”.
took possession of all the participants’ cars, the report said.
Iran it is illegal to drink alcohol or hold parties attended by Muslim men and
women who are not related.
are typically detained for a brief amount of time, but could also be charged.
winning actress and director Angelina Jolie sent a message of support to the
director, cast and crew of ‘HAVA, MARYAM, AYESHA’, the first independent
All-Afghan movie which premiers today in Venice.
by first-time female Afghan director Sahraa Karimi, HAVA, MARYAM, AYESHA is the
story of three Afghan women from different social backgrounds, living in Kabul,
who are facing big challenges in their lives.
a traditional pregnant woman whom no one cares about, is living with her father
and mother in law. Her only joy is talking to the baby in her belly. Maryam, an
educated TV news reporter, is about to get a divorce from her unfaithful
husband, when she finds out she is pregnant.
an 18-year old girl accepts to marry her cousin because she is pregnant from
her boyfriend who disappears after hearing the news. Each of them has to solve
her problem by herself for the first time.
MARYAM, AYESHA is produced by female producer and sales agent Katayoon Shahabi
said “We would like to thank Alberto Barbera and the festival of Venice for
inviting my movie and giving me a platform to bring attention to the issues my
country is facing – in particular the need to guarantee fundamental women’s
rights in Afghanistan. Gender equality enables a country to gain prosperity and
is fundamental for global peace.”
Academy-award winning actress and director Angelina Jolie sent a message of
support to the director, cast and crew of the film.
said “This delicately made and moving film chronicles the lives of young women
in contemporary Afghanistan. It shows the grace, beauty and spirit of Afghan
women as they navigate marriage, love, friendship, family and motherhood. Every
film made in Afghanistan is a triumph against the odds. At a time when the
future of Afghanistan is hanging in the balance, it reminds us of all that is
at stake for millions of Afghan women, who deserve the freedom, independence
and safety to make their own choices – in their own homes, and throughout
society as a whole.”
A 30-year-old woman has accused her husband of giving her triple talaq after
she gave birth to a girl child, in Rupaidiha area of Bahraich. Police said the
complainant, Aquila Bano of Salarpur village, was married to Mohammed Hasan of
the same village in 2012.
husband wanted a son. In 2016, I gave birth to a girl child after which Hasan
often thrashed me. He would often leave home and not return for months. In his
absence, my in-laws tortured me,” Bano told police.
August 26, I again gave birth to a girl. Agitated over this, Hasan hurled
abuses at me and pronounced talaq thrice on the day of delivery,” she said.
Station house officer, Rupaidiha, Manoj Pandey said an FIR had been lodged
against Hasan, his parents and three others under the Muslim Women (Protection
of Rights on Marriage) Act, 2019.
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