Nadia Mohammad Salem dances
with her relatives outside her family home the day before her wedding, in
Cairo, Egypt November 2, 2018. (REUTERS)
Marriage Costs Cause Slump In Egyptian Weddings
Muslim Women Are Fighting For the Freedom to Swim
Women 'Will Be Able To Leave The Country Without Man's Permission'
of Yazidi Women Torn Between IS Kids, Or Return Home
Women Thrown Off a Thomas Cook Flight For Complaining About ‘Terrorist’ Muslim
Head Coverings: The Difference between Hijab, Niqab and Burqa
Activist Successful In Helping Women Seek Asylum From Gulf States
Young Saudis Undergo Intensive Guidance and Counselling On Marriage through
by New Age Islam News Bureau
The number of couples getting married in Egypt has continued to slide due to
the high costs involved, according to experts.
figures released by Egypt’s Central Agency for Public Mobilization and
Statistics, showed the number of marriages fell from 912,606 in 2017 to 887,315
last year, down 2.8 percent. With 938,526 weddings recorded in 2016, the data
highlighted a decrease of more than 25,000 Egyptian marriages a year.
Hassan Al-Khouli, a professor of sociology, blamed economic and social reasons
for the decline, with the high rate of youth unemployment in the country a key
factor in making marriage too expensive for many families.
some cities the cost of getting married can run to almost 1 million Egyptian
Abdul Hamid Zaid of Fayoum University said the economic situation in Egypt had
hit the middle classes hard.
told Arab News that there were still plenty of couples who wanted to wed and
start families, but they did not have enough financial security to follow it
through. Soad Hussein, 30, from Cairo, said that prior to her marriage she
spent around 80,000 Egyptian pounds on her wedding supplies, including kitchen
utensils and other items, and had to save for years to fund it. She and her
husband held a small street party to celebrate the ceremony last November.
I have a daughter, I hope things are easier for her,” Hussein told Arab News.
to data, the average cost of getting married in Egypt for the bride is between
500,000 and 650,000 Egyptian pounds, with a house costing around 400,000. The
bride’s gold gift averages between 20,000 to 100,000 Egyptian pounds depending
on local and family traditions.
some parts of Egypt young people have launched campaigns to reduce the cost of
marriage by cutting out or scaling back expensive traditions.
was the summer of 2017 when Ruhee Kapadia, a Muslim mother from Long Island,
New York, took her 13-year-old daughter to their local pool.School was out, and
her daughter was excited to finally enjoy the long-awaited summer break in the
staff at the Echo Park Pool said Kapadia’s daughter wasn’t allowed to swim,
citing her clothing. Her daughter was wearing a bathing suit layered with
leggings and a T-shirt, which staff said wasn’t appropriate swimwear. When the
39-year-old mother tried to reason with the pool staff, they told her it was
out of their hands and to take up her concerns with local West Hempstead
met with Laura Gillen, a Democrat who was running for Hempstead town supervisor,
a suburb of New York City that had been governed by Republicans for more than a
century. Though Gillen’s candidacy was considered a long shot, she promised
that if she were elected, she would address Kapadia’s concern.
the last decade, Muslim women across the globe have been subject to an
increasing amount of harassment when swimming while wearing less-than-revealing
swim attire. Just last week in France, where the burkini is banned in several
cities, Muslim women staged a protest defying the prohibitions. Although no
such bans exist in the United States, Muslim women across the country say they
are criticized or denied admittance to their local pools because of their
2018, Gillen won, and, she told HuffPost, she wanted to promote “tolerance and
transparency” in her new role. So this summer, there are new signs posted local
pools that read, “To respect religious customs, a burkini can be worn.”
and her daughter were pleased to see the policy in writing when they went back
to Echo Park Pool over the Fourth of July weekend.
was like a dream that day. It was just this moment of this is it,” Kapadia told
HuffPost. “I want not only my children, I want every kid here to feel the
belongingness. Nobody should feel any different than anybody else.”
Yamout, a 21-year-old Dallas resident, told HuffPost that she applauds towns
that explicitly allowed modest swimwear at pools, because the policy prevents a
type of harassment she has faced. Last summer, Yamout was at a neighborhood
pool with her niece and sister-in-law when another resident at the pool yelled
said the man, who was swimming in a T-shirt and shorts, told the women their
swimming attire violated the rules set by their homeowners association. When
the women explained their clothing was indeed swimming attire specifically made
for the water, the situation only escalated. The man told the women they
“weren’t even Americans” and needed to “go back to their country.”
by the situation and perplexed by the alleged rules, Yamout sent the
homeowner’s association an email, seen by HuffPost, documenting what occurred
at the pool and inquiring about the rules regarding burkinis. The next day, an
official told Yamout that the man was wrong and that her attire was indeed
allowed at their pool. In fact, there was even a sign at the gate, showing a
burkini as acceptable swim attire.
see something that makes them a little bit uncomfortable, and they need to make
a big deal about it,” said Yamout.
women acknowledged having the rules on their side made their situation easier
and that accommodations like clearly permitting burkinis should be the norm
across the country. If it isn’t, they urged Muslims to take action.
easy to sit and talk,” Kapadia said. But she encourages people to call their
public officials: “We live in this community. We are equal. We share ... the
same things as anybody else. So why settle for less?”
planned by the Saudi Arabian government could mean that women living in the
country may be allowed to travel without the permission of a man as early as
legislation means that women of all ages require the express consent of a male
relative to hold their own passport or travel abroad. Saudi officials have told
the Wall Street Journal that the laws are due to be relaxed as part of a series
of gradual social reforms.
member of the Saudi royal family allegedly told the Wall Street Journal that:
"There is no question that the leadership, the government and the people
want to see this system changed. The current discussion is about how to make
this happen as soon as possible without causing a stir."
change to the legislation surrounding travel could have a radical impact on
life for women in the country, where human rights organisations claim that
sexism and misogyny have denied women basic rights for generations.
women will still require permission from male relative to do other things
however, including getting married, divorcing and obtaining their own passport.
on the potential reforms, executive director of Human Rights Watch, Sarah Leah
Whitson, stated: "We certainly hope it’s true. It’s odd that this news has
not come from an official announcement, but it could be a sign that internally
there is an effort to leak information like this to pressure Mohammed bin
Salman into actually making this move."
activist and academic Hala al-Dosari stated: "If it does happen it would
lead to a spike in women seeking asylum. It would also be a huge fanfare for
[Bin Salman’s] supposed credentials as a reformer."
country's alleged human rights violations have come under much scrutiny this
month after rapper Cardi B pulled out of a scheduled festival there, after
facing significant backlash from irate Saudi conservatives.
Iraq: Freed after years in jihadist captivity, Jihan faced an agonising
ultimatum: abandon her three small children fathered by an Islamic State
fighter or risk being shunned by her community.
course I couldn't bring them home. They're Daesh (IS) children," said
Jihan Qassem matter-of-factly, sitting in a sparse concrete structure she now
could I, when my three siblings are still in IS hands?," she added,
highlighting the harsh reality that the children serve as constant reminders of
the brutalities inflicted on the closed, tight-knit Yazidi community by the
so-called Islamic State group.
of Yazidi women and girls systematically raped, sold and married off to
jihadists after being abducted by IS from their ancestral Iraqi home of Sinjar
in 2014 have faced the same gut-wrenching dilemma. What to do about the
children born of these forced unions?
freed, the women are desperate to heal from the wounds inflicted on the
conservative minority -- but raising jihadist offspring would make closure
impossible, they said.
at 13, Jihan was forced to marry a Tunisian IS fighter at 15 and then fled with
him and their children from IS's bombarded Syrian holdout of Baghouz four
US-backed forces learned she was Yazidi, they whisked her and her two-year-old
boy, year-old girl and four-month-old infant to a northeast Syria shelter
hosting other mothers from the brutalised minority.
safehouse, known as the Yazidi House, circulated her photograph on Facebook and
her older brother Saman, still in northern Iraq, recognised his long-lost
wanted her home. But without the children.
days of an anguished back-and-forth, Jihan decided she would leave her infants
with Syrian Kurdish authorities in exchange for what she said was her real
were so young. They were attached to me and I to them... but they're Daesh
children," she murmured.
said she doesn't have any pictures of her children and doesn't want to remember
first day is hard, and then little by little, we forget them," she said.
one asks about them'
centuries, Yazidis who married outside the sect -- even against their will --
forcefully taken by IS in 2014 risked suffering the same fate, but a landmark
decree by Yazidi spiritual leader Baba Sheikh said survivors of IS's sexual
abuse should be honoured by the community.
compassion however has not been extended to their children.
April, the Yazidis' Higher Spiritual Council issued an ambiguous decree
welcoming "children of survivors," sparking hope of a second
reformation to accept those born of a Yazidi mother and IS father.
a ferocious backlash from conservative Yazidis prompted the Council to clarify
that nothing had changed: it would only welcome children born to two Yazidi
further reform was seen as a threat, opening the floodgates of change to a
traumatised community, said Yazidi activist Talal Murad.
there's this kind of change in the creed, other things could change too --
there will be a breakdown, a total collapse of the Yazidi religion," said
Murad, who also heads Ezidi24, an outlet covering Yazidi affairs.
representative Ali Kheder told AFP the debate wasn't solely about dogmatic
according to Iraqi law, any child with a missing father will be registered as a
Muslim, automatically," said Kheder in the Council's headquarters in
law, on which the Iraqi constitution is based, stipulates that religion is
inherited from the father.
too, Kheder said the Yazidi society remained too scarred by the prolonged
abduction of their own people to accept raising the children of their abusers.
now, we have thousands of Yazidi women and girls in IS hands. No one asks about
them. They ask about a few children that can be counted on one hand," said
Council said it does not keep statistics on returning Yazidi survivors with
infants born of rape.
most Yazidi mothers leave their children at the Yazidi House in Syria, some
brought IS-born infants home to Iraq. They declined interviews because of the
woman insisted to her Yazidi family that she would raise her year-old infant
fathered by a missing IS fighter, but balked when she discovered she could not
acquire Iraqi identification papers for him as his father was not present.
gave him up for adoption, her doctor said.
18-year-old arrived in Iraq in the spring after finally being freed, but was
heavily pregnant by her IS captor, according to a social worker involved in her
spent weeks in a safehouse without her family's knowledge until she gave birth,
sent the newborn away and joined her relatives in a displacement camp.
year, five children born to Yazidi mothers and IS fathers were left at an
orphanage in Mosul, which helped local Muslim families adopt them, according to
Mosul's director of women and children's issues Sukaynah Younes.
are now registered as Muslim.
psychological impact of this separation will likely be long-lasting. Jihan
herself still seemed torn.
ago, she had described her children to a social worker as her "flesh and
blood," saying she missed them.
she sounded more detached when speaking to AFP, a shy smile crossed her face as
she remembered them. When she was out of her brother's earshot, she cried
it was up to me, I would have brought them," she said.
genocide goes on'
believe the events of 2014 were the 74th "genocide" suffered by the
minority in its 4,000-year history, and that it has not ended.
most painful wound is that hundreds of men, women, and children remain missing,
despite hopes they would be found after IS's "caliphate" collapsed in
100,000, nearly a fifth of the pre-war community, have been resettled abroad
and another 360,000 remain displaced in Iraq with their villages lying in
genocide is ongoing. People can't go home to Sinjar, we still have women and
girls missing, everyone is looking to leave to Europe," said Kheder.
Shawish, a cleric and custodian of the Yazidis' holiest site at Lalish, blamed
federal government in Baghdad knows very well that thousands of Yazidis remain
captive, but it has not decided to arrest the kidnappers. It's not cooperating
bill introduced in April by Iraq's president proposes reparations for Yazidis
and a way to determine children's legal status, but parliament has yet to
by such pressing issues, Yazidis expressed frustration with what they saw as
misplaced global pressure to enact religious reform and welcome children born
best option, community figures said almost unanimously, was for Yazidi mothers
to be resettled abroad.
a very complicated issue, and the most appropriate solution right now can be
found outside Iraq," said Vian Dakheel, a Yazidi and former
my view, it's for these women to go to Europe with their children."
Nagham Hasan, an obstetrician-gynecologist who has worked extensively with
Yazidi survivors since 2014, said patients with young children had all but
given up on Iraq.
been warning that we would be dealing with the issue of mothers for
years," she said.
wants to leave. The Yazidi community is broken."
women were thrown off a Thomas Cook flight from Turkey to Gatwick after they
allegedly said three Muslim men in white prayer shawls were “terrorists” and a
“threat” to the safety of the plane, other passengers have claimed.
of the incident, which took place after 1am on Friday, show one of the women,
who are believed to be British, removing her bag from the overhead luggage rack
before being escorted off the plane by police.
incident meant the flight from Dalman to Gatwick was delayed by over an hour.
Van Poppel, a Belgian father-of-three who was on the flight, said the woman was
a “crazy racist”.
passenger on our Thomas Cook flight refuses to stay on the plane because three
bearded men in white prayer robes are on board,” he tweeted.
Kerry, who was also on the plane, said the women had tried to have the men
taken off the flight.
said: “They went to the front of the plane, spoke to the flight attendants
& attempted to get the 3 men removed by stating that they are ‘disgusting’
& ‘a threat’.”
said when one of the women “came back to get her bags, abuse was just flying
around the plane – quite a few people called her out for the racism … she
continued to tell us we are stupid for staying on the plane with the three
Kerry also said the woman called her a “fat bitch” when she confronted them for
their “disgusting behaviour”.
a statement, Thomas Cook told The Mirror: “Two passengers on flight MT105 from
Dalaman to London Gatwick were removed from the aircraft by police following
offensive behaviour on board.
safety of our customers and crew is always our first priority and we do not
accept this kind of behaviour on our aircraft. We are sorry to our customers
for the delay this caused to their flight.”
Hijab is a headscarf worn by many Muslim women across the world. It can come in
a variety of colours and most commonly covers the neck, leaving the face
visible. Hijab means “cover” in Arabic and the word can be used to refer to a
variety of head coverings.
Al Amira is a two piece head covering, made up of a tight-fitting cap or large headband,
worn under a tube-like scarf.
Khimar is a long cape-like veil that covers the body until below the hips.
Tight-fitting around the head, it leaves the face clear.
Niqab is a veil that covers the head and the face, but leaves a place cut out
for the eyes. It originally comes from the Arabian Peninsula: Saudi Arabia,
Yemen, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates.
Bushiyya also originally comes from the Arabian Peninsula. It is a black veil
that covers the face completely, with no openings for the eyes. It is worn with
an abaya (a type of long dress) or other types of overgarments.
Burqa is a garment that covers the whole body, from head to feet, including the
eyes. It originally comes from Afghanistan.
are just a few of the types of muslim head coverings. There are also different
muslim head coverings worn in Central Asia, the Caucasus, India, Indonesia,
Malaysia, and other parts of Asia.
Al-Abdulmohsen, a Saudi Arabian activist, created a website to help former
Muslims gain asylum in other countries and abscond maltreatment in their Middle
Eastern native countries - wherever they may be, according to a BBC News
is currently living in Germany under asylum, he left Saudi Arabia after
renouncing his Muslim faith in fear of persecution, an claims himself now to be
an atheist. He created the website wearesaudis.net, in order to help those who
have found themselves in a similar situation compared to his own.
created a website to help people seeking asylum, especially from Saudi Arabia
and the Gulf region," Al-Abulmohsen said in the BBC interview. "I use
basically WhatsApp, Twitter, Telegram. If I have time, I spend you know [in
total] helping Saudi asylum seekers between 10 to 16 hours a day, if I have
some Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia, disaffiliating, abandoning or
renouncing the Muslim religion, also known as apostasy, can be punishable by
life was threatened back in Saudi Arabia after his renunciation, and now his
website has helped hundreds of former Muslims escape victimization themselves
in the Gulf region.
only Arab country from which I did not have an ex-Muslim seeking help until now
from me is Oman," he said, alluding to the fact that many citizens across
all the Gulf Arab nations are either experiencing the same victimization he faced
or fear the repercussions of pushing back against government or family
of people who approach me are women between 18 and 30 years old,"
website has now become quite popular after dealing with the high profile case
of Rahaf Mohammed, a Saudi teen who was detained in Bangkok airport by Thai
authorities while attempting to seek asylum in Australia from Kuwait, earlier
publicly stated that she left her country in order to escape her family which
she claimed both abused and threatened to kill her for leaving the Muslim
religion. After an appeal to social media for help, gaining her worldwide
attention, Thai authorities decided instead of returning her to back to Kuwait
to hand her into the protection of the United Nations High Commissioner for
Refugees. Mohammed was granted asylum in Canada just six days after her
detainment in Bangkok.
is now assisting a woman known as "Dina" from the United Arab
Emirates on her journey through the asylum process. Dina similarly to Mohammed
fled her country to escape her family, and she used wearesaudis.net to decamp
from her uncompromising Muslim family, in fear that her relatives will force
her to marry.
wasn't allowed out with friends. I was forced to wear a hijab. I obviously took
it off when I went to school because I didn't like it and most of the girls in
school didn't wear it," Dina said. "I enjoyed fasting because other
people around me did it but I was forced into that too and as I got older I
to Dina, if you renounce Islam in the United Arab Emirates you will be
sentenced to fifteen years in prison.
UAE is fully committed to tolerance and is extremely proud of its religious
diversity," a Spokesperson for the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs told
the BBC, and claims that there are no repercussions for apostasy in their
according to the BBC report, Dina's largest fear stems from maltreatment from
her family members.
decided to leave when my mother started bringing up marriage. I made it clear
to her that I didn't want to so I decided to leave right there and then,"
Dina said to the BBC. "I was scared that my family would go tell on me. I
was scared that they wouldn't get me out if I did get in jail."
don't miss my mom and dad but I miss my sisters. I mean if my little sister got
older and she wanted to come here I'd help her, I'd help her come and be with
me," she concluded.
Al-Zawaj, a civil association helping young Saudi people in marriage and family
guidance, has launched an intensive training program for 3,000 young men and
program, which will be held at Al-Zawaj’s headquarters in Jeddah, consists of a
list of training courses offered by a number of specialists in family rehabilitation.
Al-Sultan Al-Omari, chairman of Al-Zawaj, said the courses would help young
people to understand the requirements of marriage, and their responsibilities
towards each other in order to build a stable family and live a friendly and
year, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered a social initiative titled “SNAD
Mohammed bin Salman” program, based on social and nonprofit initiatives the
crown prince has launched in partnership with various parties.
first initiative was “SNAD marriage,” which aims to motivate young people to
get married and to ensure a stable family and social life.
program aims to address the needs of different sectors of society as well as
setting up frameworks and rules for Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s charitable
the program announced the distribution of more than SR90 million ($24 million)
to 4,700 beneficiaries.
its launch, the program has given over SR300 million to more than 15,000
Saudis, as part of its aim to support newlyweds, promote knowledge and achieve
sustainable social development.
are received via https://snad.org.sa/marriage.
New Age Islam, Islam Online,
Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian
Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women,
Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and