Photo: This weekend’s barbaric massacre at the
Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh didn’t just personally touch those sisters
in the Pittsburgh chapter; it affected all of us. (Joe Raedle / Getty)
Asia Bibi went from being the first woman in Pakistan on death row for
blasphemy to freedom
after women, don’t make polygamy easier, say activists
gets first woman president of Supreme Court
Saudi-British artist Nasreen Shaikh Jamal Al-Lail
women don't need Israeli supermodels to bring them 'freedom'
women find work as Saudi unemployment rate steadies
theme park opens in Saudi Arabia
Group family entertainment centers empowering women
least 14 young women and girls commit suicide in Iran cities
National Canoe Polo Team of Iran lacks facilities to practice
activist women tortured by intelligence agents in Iran
by New Age Islam News Bureau
Jewish and Muslim Women Are Working to Save Our Democracy
women throughout the United States, and from as far away as London and Toronto,
are reaching out to their Jewish sisters and bringing them meals, reciting
prayer together, sending cards and email messages, calling on the phone to
check in, and just sitting together and holding hands.
Because these are the sisters of the Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom and when one
of us is hurt, we are all hurt. This weekend’s barbaric
massacre at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh didn’t just personally
sisters in the Pittsburgh chapter; it affected all of us. These women know that
the same people who hate Jews often hate Muslims, and vice versa.
Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom is the first and only North American grassroots
organization of Muslim and Jewish women dedicated to relationship building and
fighting hate toward one another. What began after an emotionally overwhelming
trip to Poland in 2010 has turned into a movement of others who want to ensure
that history does not repeat itself. The existence of the Sisterhood signals
that the Muslim and Jewish communities are officially joining together to fight
our common enemies of hate, racism, and bigotry.
the Sisterhood began just five years ago, we’ve
experienced rapid growth across the country
and in Canada. We now have 160 chapters operating in 32 states and teen
chapters starting throughout North America, and these women are empowered to
make change like never before.
massacre came at a time of unprecedented activism by Muslim and Jewish women. The swelling of the #MeToo movement calling
attention to sexual misconduct has been concurrent with a rise in religious
bigotry and hate that is endorsed at the highest levels of the federal
government. We are motivated to vote more than ever before because of the
misogyny, Islamophobia, and anti-Semitism plaguing our nation. We will defend
our bodies and our rightful place in the religious fabric of the United States.
fall, our chapters have focused on voter registration drives and are now
mobilizing to make sure everyone turns out to vote. Carrying signs that read “Muslim
and Jewish women come together to vote,” Sisterhood chapters across the United
States have organized voter registration drives in their local communities.
Some focused on
helping new citizens, for whom this may have been their first opportunity to
vote; others set up weekly registration drives at mosques, churches,
synagogues, grocery stores and farmers markets. Never before, to our knowledge,
has there been an organized national voter registration effort by Muslim and
our own efforts, we rejoice at the historic number of women and Muslim
candidates running for office. More than 90 Muslims have run for office during
this election cycle, according to NBC News, and 476 women ran in Democratic or
Republican primaries for Congress.
of the most high-profile races in the country have involved Muslim and Jewish
women running for office. Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar would become the first
Muslim women elected to Congress, and Jacky Rosen’s run for
Senate in Nevada is one of the most closely watched races in the nation.
while in Congress, stood up for her Muslim sisters by denouncing the president’s
Muslim ban executive order after the Supreme Court ruled in its favor: “Denying
individuals entry to the U.S. based solely on religion or nationality is wrong
and out of touch with our American values. This travel ban won’t help keep us
safe, and I will continue to stand up against this Administration’s ignorant
and xenophobic policies.”
Tucson, Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom member Alma Hernandez is running for the
Arizona House of Representatives. Hernandez would be the first Mexican-American
Jewish woman to hold elected office in the state. Hernandez was recently
featured in InStyle magazine for being one of the ten worthy candidates who are
seeking to effect change and advance bipartisanship progress.
election means much more to Muslim and Jewish women than just doing our civic
duty. And, after this past weekend, it takes on even more meaning. We face two
open questions: Will America continue to welcome people of all religious backgrounds?
And, will our sisters penetrate our country’s mostly male
answer these questions with definitive affirmation and we will raise our voice
louder than ever and pray with our feet to cast our votes accordingly.
Sunday, we will gather outside Philadelphia for our fifth annual conference.
Muslim and Jewish women from across the country will come together for
fellowship and strategic planning for our movement. We will not ignore or erase
our differences, but instead embrace the richness found in them—and
claim our spot in our society to live safely and proudly as Muslims and Jews.
We have created a
movement that is coming out strong to crush the hate that surrounds us. And, we’ll again see firsthand how Muslim and
Jewish women are coming together through the Sisterhood.
being acquitted of blasphemy by the Pakistan Supreme Court, Asia Bibi walked
free Thursday. She had been in solitary confinement for almost 10 years. But
thanks to death threats and protests by Islamists after her acquittal, she may
have to leave the country.
lawyer, Saiful Malook, said that his client was taken to an undisclosed
location for her safety
after being released from prison. He said that she would soon leave the
country. France and Spain have offered asylum to the 47-year-old mother of
four, who is a Roman Catholic.
Asia Bibi was accused of blasphemy
Noreen was the first woman in Pakistan to be sentenced to death on charges of
June 14, 2009, Asia is alleged to have made some “sarcastic and
defamatory remarks” against Prophet Muhammad during an argument with three
Muslim women. The three women had allegedly refused to drink water from a container that
had been used by a Christian. A few days later, a mob accused her of insulting
Islam’s Prophet Muhammad, and that led to her initial conviction.
trial court sentenced Asia to death in November 2010, under section 295-C of
Pakistan Penal Code. The offence carries a mandatory death sentence. The Lahore
High Court upheld the verdict in October 2014.
2011, Punjab governor Salman Taseer voiced his support for Asia and spoke up
against the blasphemy law. Taseer was assassinated by his guard Mumtaz Qadri
for his comments.
was convicted and executed in 2016. but later was hailed as a martyr by
religious hardliners, and millions
visited a shrine set up for him near Islamabad. Shahbaz Bhatti, Pakistan’s
minister for minorities,
was also killed in 2011 after seeking justice for Asia.
said she had a “quarrel” with the three women and “hot
words” were exchanged after which Mafia and Asma (the two women she was arguing
with), and Qari Muhammad Salaam (the
complainant) and his wife, fabricated a case of blasphemy against her. Asia
also reportedly said she had “great respect and honour for the Holy
Prophet (PBUH) and the Holy Quran” and denied making any blasphemous remark.
document released by the International Court of Jurists (ICJ) said that the “hot
words” Asia mentioned in her defence were treated as her confession by the
trial court which sentenced her to death.
who had pleaded not guilty, appealed against her conviction. The Supreme Court
agreed to hear it in July 2015. The first hearing took place on October 13,
2016, but the matter was adjourned when one of the judges recused himself.
October 8, 2018, a Supreme Court bench – headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian
Saqib Nisar – heard the matter again and reserved its verdict. Asia was finally
acquitted on October 31, 2018.
judgement on October 31, 2018
the trial court and the Lahore High Court verdicts, the Chief Justice of
Pakistan said,”Tolerance is the basic principle of
our religion of Islam comes down heavily upon commission of blasphemy, then
Islam is also very tough against those who level false allegations of a crime,”
the judgement said. A Dawn report which quoted the judgment said that the
Supreme Court had said that the prosecution has “failed to prove its case
beyond reasonable doubt.”
the judgment invited sharp reactions from Pakistan hardliners, with the Chief
Justice also receiving death threats.
demanded that Asia be publicly executed. Security forces moved quickly,
deploying outside churches to protect minority Christians and urging
demonstrators to disperse peacefully. Commandos were sent to protect Nisar and
the other two other judges after a Lahore cleric urged religious extremists to
outburst over the divisive blasphemy law prompted Prime Minister Imran Khan to
deliver a televised address to the nation guaranteeing the judges’
safety and to criticize those who made verbal attacks on Pakistan’s
institutions, including his government.
after women, don’t
make polygamy easier, say activists
JAYA: Vocal women’s rights group Sisters in Islam (SIS) has
called on the Perak government to strengthen laws to safeguard the welfare of
women instead of making it easier for husbands
to enter into polygamous marriages.
to the state’s plans to amend Section 23 of the
Islamic Family Enactment (Perak) 2004 to make polygamy easier for Muslim men,
SIS said it would be better to enact laws that compel husbands to pay nafkah, or maintenance costs, to
their wives and children.
to ensure swift justice when they (their wives) need to face the shariah court
system,” SIS communications manager Majidah Hashim told FMT.
the proposed amendments, the shariah courts will have discretion on whether or
not to call the first wife to court when arriving at a decision.
the existing enactment, the courts’ hands are tied if the first wife does
not appear in court to state her case.
said it was distasteful for the Perak government to amend laws specifically to
make it easier for husbands to have more than one wife.
urged the authorities to view the wives’ absence from court not as an excuse but
as a sign of deeper, more underlying issues.
Nik Elin Nik Rashid agreed that the state should focus more on getting fathers
to pay maintenance for their children than on facilitating polygamy. In many
cases, she said, polygamous marriages were why these fathers failed to pay up
in the first place.
added that polygamy degrades not only the wives but also the children of these
the Perak government wants to do is to dispense with the presence of a very
important person who would be greatly affected by the polygamy,”
said the present law requires that all affected parties be present in court for
is a good law,” she said. “To make it even better, call
the children too and ask if their nafkah has been regular, and whether the
father has been giving them the necessary care as is his responsibility.”
Ethiopian parliament on Thursday approved the nomination of the first female
Supreme Court president in the history of the country.
Ashenafi served as a judge of the High Court of Ethiopia from 1989 and 1992. In
1993 she was appointed by the Ethiopian Constitution Commission as a legal
1995, Meaza founded the Ethiopian Women Lawyers Association.
will replace Dagne Melaku, her predecessor.
week, Sahle-Work Zewde, a long time diplomat and UN official, was appointed the
first woman president of the state.
also received global acclaim for achieving gender parity in its Cabinet with 10
female ministers out of 20.
Shaikh Jamal Al-Lail is a Saudi-British artist. She is the founder and director
of Variant Space, an art collective that provides a space for Muslim women to
creatively express their experiences through art.
mixture of painting, video and photographic works are investigations into the
connection between self-identity, individual experiences and the physical space
in which these conflicts exist.
been raised in both Saudi Arabia and Britain, her personal experiences have
shaped the way she perceives the fluidity and dynamism of cultural identities.
latest creative artwork was on display on Thursday night at GPP Slidefest in
Jeddah. A highly popular
format, GPP Slidefest offers photographers and artists the platform to showcase
their latest projects through a series of slideshows followed by a Q & A
session from the audience.
artwork incorporates both a subjective and objective point of view that urges the viewer
to reflect on how multi-faceted and fluid the concept of identity can be. Her
artwork is known to interlace ideas of both culture and gender, as well as
religion and politics.
earned her bachelor’s degree in photography from the University of
Westminster in 2013. She continued her studies at the University of Westminster
London, gaining her master’s degree in photographic studies.
she founded Variant Space in 2014, her work has been exhibited in both Saudi
Arabia and Britain.
has grown the project to become a powerful medium through which Muslim women
can collectively showcase their creative achievements.
on the principle of appreciative collaboration, Variant Space continues to
extend this offer to all Muslim women around the world who wish to be a part of
this dynamic expressive artistic platform.
week, Israeli fashion brand Hoodies released a series of adverts depicting
women removing hijabs and niqabs in the name of freedom.
campaign features a video that opens by asking "Is Iran here?" What
follows is Bar Refaeli - supermodel and reportedly a co-owner of the company -
appearing, solemnly in a hijab and niqab. With a quick tug she is liberated of
the clothing, to reveal a happy, dancing, carefree - or rather, a western -
because all Muslim women are waiting for is a clothing brand to free us of
those pesky hijabs. But this label seems to lack basic reasoning skills and
branding expertise, as they're criticising head coverings while their company
name and flagship item - hoodies - literally comes with a built-in hijab.
being liberated of the hijab and niqab, (all too easily - anyone who has ever
actually worn a niqab or hijab could tell you that nobody would go out on an
autumn day with such a weather-unworthy veil) and after turning suitably
joyous, as any poor oppressed Muslim would surely be, the advert tells its
viewers, "Freedom is basic."
is basic, and it's about a person's right to choose, to autonomy and to
practice those rights without demonisation.
great irony is that this campaign was purported to "call out racism and
bigotry," according to The Jerusalem Post, with plans to co-opt Hassidic,
Ethiopian and transgender Israelis into future advertisements. The closest this
Israeli brand could get to stomaching a Muslim for their diversity box-checking
exercise was a white woman playing dress-up in a niqab.
advert is a far cry from supporting Iranian women's right to choose, as
generous analyses claim it was intended. Instead it perpetuates the false
dichotomy that women in the hijab or niqab cannot be happy, cannot dance,
cannot be fashionable until we are unshackled from our headcoverings.
Refaeli was wearing her Hoodie outfit the whole time, but - and this is the
point, no doubt - she only enjoyed it once she removed the niqab.
in the hijab are able to wear sweatshirts and jeans without their scarves being
whipped off. Or have I missed the memo that says we have to pledge lifelong
allegiance to either black hijabs or the jumper?
video advert was removed from Instagram after its obvious Islamophobic nature
was called out, but it's still live on YouTube and the billboards across Israel
with the image of a niqabi, remain, as does Hoodies' Instagram photo campaign.
the past two weeks, their page has featured the image of a woman in jeans, topless
but for three pairs of jeans tied around her head and chest, in the style of a
hijab. Behind her an anonymous man pulls at the clothes, proof that this
campaign does not promote freedom, but rather removing the clothes of Muslim
women, without our consent. Clearly, it was never about freedom.
obvious that in advertising today, the hijab guarantees attention, whether the
campaign vilifies or promotes its wearers.
few months another brand releases a clothing, makeup or haircare advert that features
a hijabi – though usually they enlist an actual
hijab-wearer, rather than a caricature of an approximation.
knew exactly what they were doing when they set out to vilify the hijab and
niqab. They knew that the hijab and Islamophobia would translate into clicks.
And they did not give a thought to the danger of this pervasive single
the United States, hate crimes against Muslims are currently higher than they
were post-9/11, and last year the UK experienced a record number of anti-Muslim
attacks. For an Israeli company to act as the moral compass for Muslims is
patronising and hugely ironic.
more than that, it dangerously incendiary and it is unlikely that is mere
a time when Arabs are vilified in political campaigns in a similar vein to
Hoodies' advertisement, and when the dehumanisation of Palestinians is
commonplace, it is both reckless and foolish to release a campaign that echoes
these nefarious tropes.
advert is set to a song that states, "It's all about freedom, finally
breaking the chains, costing my freedom."
the campaign does the opposite of what it claims, it does not liberate Muslim
women, it puts them back within the four walls of a tired and one-track
narrative of helpless, exotic beings who need saving by white outsiders.
in Saudi Arabia remains at nearly 13 percent, according to new data released by
the country's General Authority for Statistics (GaStat).
unemployment rate remained unchanged at 12.9 percent in the second quarter of
2018 compared to the previous quarter, said analysts Jadwa Investment.
said the labour force participation rate rose among females, rising from 17.4
percent in Q2 2017 to 19.6 percent at the end of this June, indicating more
enthusiasm among females to join the workforce.
said that with increasing number of females joining the labour market, the
female labour force participation rate rose, but the number of unemployed
females is still higher than unemployed males.
the beginning of this month, the Ministry of Labour and Social Development
announced 68 new initiatives to stimulate Saudization in the private sector,
distributed between job seekers and employers.
addition, the Minister of Labour has recently stated that the unemployment
target is 10.5 percent by 2022.
said the total number of foreigners in the Saudi labour market has declined by
around 1.1 million since the start of 2017, with 312,000 leaving the market
between March and June.
also shows that all sectors saw a drop in the number of foreign workers, with
construction losing the biggest number by 187,000 workers, followed by trade
with 65,000 workers.
the same time, two sectors showed a marginal increase in the number of Saudi
workers during Q2, with mining and quarrying and financial services seeing
numbers rise by 1,800 in each.
Entertainment, Saudi Arabia's largest leisure and amusement chain, has
announced the opening of AlHokair Time AlAzizyah in Al-Khobar city, a theme
park for women only.
park, which also features the Sky Zone Trampoline Park at its Eastern Province
location, is managed by a team of women and is open to girls aged 5 and above.
Time AlAzizyah also features a Snow Forest, with activities such as skiing,
snowball throwing, and camping on offer, a statement said.
Al Hokair, executive vice president and general manager of the Entertainment
Sector at Al Hokair Group, said: “AlHokair Time is the largest theme park
destination in the region that offers a unique family entertainment experience.
Al Hokair Group is committed
to offering the highest quality and safety standards for customers within the
unique entertainment experience, enabling them to have a great time with their
Group, which employees more than 4,000 people, operates 91 entertainment
centres and 35 hotels in Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
Group for Tourism and Development has hired a number of Saudi women across its
entertainment centers in the central, eastern, western and southern regions and
in the city of Madinah as site supervisors.
employees started as accountants and were trained, qualified and provided with
new knowledge and skills required for supervising the entertainment site to
ensure the highest levels of safety of all visitors, especially children. This
reflects the commitment of Al-Hokair Group to provide opportunities for young
people, particularly, Saudi women.
Al Hokair, Executive Vice President and General Manager of the Entertainment
Sector, said: “We, at Al Hokair, Group strive to empower
women in the Saudi entertainment sector in line with the goals of Saudi Vision
2030 and to encourage
Saudi women›s participation in social and
added that the Group is proud of the work of women and their leadership
positions. “We will encourage women to pursue their
career ambitions and drive the development process as per the vision announced by the
government to encourage more Saudi women to take up challenging roles across
all business sectors.”
Hokair emphasized that facilities will be provided to talented and educated
Saudi women to ensure they have equal opportunities to contribute to the
Al Hokair Entertainment, one of the leading family entertainment organizations
in the UAE and Saudi Arabia, is now planning to establish its footprint within
the global $50 billion virtual reality gaming sector. With 91 active
entertainment centers, under Al Hokair’s key entertainment brand ‘Sparky’s’, the
group will now focus on embedding their centers with comprehensive virtual
reality (VR) gaming zones. — SG
least 14 young women and girls in Iran have committed suicide and ended their
lives in October. At least six teenage girls, 13-17, were among the victims.
and depression led a 16-year-old girl in one of the villages of Khormoj, in
Bushehr Province, to commit suicide on October 7, 2018, by setting herself on
fire as a result of which she lost her life.
October 15, 2018, Raziyeh Rubina, 46 from Marivan in Kurdistan Province,
commited suicide by hanging herself.
October 19, 2018, a 16-year-old girl named Sholeh Sobhani from Ravansar in
Kermanshah Province, ended her life through self-immolation.
16-year-old girl from Sanandaj, in Kurdistan Province, ended her life by
jumping off the Shalman Bridge on October 20, 2018.
October 21, 2018, a French-language female student from the University of
Tehran commited suicide by throwing herself off the multiple-storey building of
the municipality's parking.
on October 21, a 13-year-old girl in Tehran hanged herself at home after her
Ghaderi, a middle-aged woman residing in Marivan, Kurdistan Province, commited
suicide by self-immolation on October 24, 2018, due to family problems and
differences with her husband.
the same day, Shima Dastan, a young woman from Saqqez, in Kurdistan Province,
who was the mother of a young child, hanged and killed herself because of
Friday, October 26, 2018, Maryam Jangali, 37, committed suicide in Piranshahr,
West Azerbaijan Province. She threw herself off the fourth floor of an
apartment building due to the problems she had with her husband.
Saturday, October 27, 2018, a Kurdish woman by the name of Shermin Ahmadi, from
Oshnavieh, set herself on fire and lost her life.
night, October 29, 2018, a 17-year-old girl in Fouman, Gilan Province in the
north, committed suicide and died.
reports during the past month also indicated three more suicides without
mentioning exact dates:
14-year-old girl from Jamshidabad, Abadan Province, hanged herself.
female students in Tehran also committed suicide.
to the Statistical Yearbook of the Iranian Coroner’s
Office, published in September 2018, at least 1365 Iranian women committed
suicide in 2017, i.e. an average of 4 women per day.
Women’s National Canoe Polo Team of Iran is facing many problems
during the cold
Rahmati, a member of the Women’s National Canoe Polo Team of Iran, said,
"We do not have a well-equipped pool in Khorramabad, that is why we are
practicing in Keeyow Lake." The arrival of the cold season has contributed
to the problems and practically
eliminated the possibility for the Women’s National Canoe Polo Team to practice.
have good talents in the Canoe Polo field who can reach the highest levels, but
since we practice at the Keeyow Lake in Khorramabad, many families do not allow
their daughters to participate. Now it's a season that does not allow us to
train in the lake because of the cold and we cannot have our practices
regularly," said Saba Rahmati in an interview about the Women’s
National Canoe Polo Team.
the success of the Women’s National Canoe Polo Team in Iran, the
canoe-poloist from Lorestan said, "Canoe Polo was first tested in the
Asian games which led us to the championships, and is now considered an Olympic
field. Therefore, officials should pay more attention to it. Women's sports should
be one of the concerns of the authorities so that we can succeed." (The
state-run ISNA news agency – October 27, 2018)
women athletes do not have any governmental support. The restrictions imposed
on them - for example, the ban on the official broadcast of women’s
sports competitions from state television - have worsened their situation
because they cannot obtain any nongovernmental or private sponsors. This
situation has had serious consequences for them. Sometimes the teams have been completely
disbanded, and occasionally teams have not been able to travel to another city
to participate in a tournament.
only do professional athletes not receive any wages, but gold medalists are
also left to provide for their livelihoods through street peddling and farming.
civil activist women, Hakimeh Ahmadi and Nasim Sadeqi, were tortured by the
Ministry of Intelligence agents after and during their arrests.
Hakimeh Ahmadi, a civil activist detained by the Ministry of Intelligence
agents on October 18, 2018, was subjected to physical and psychological
torture. The agents broke her fingers and two of her rib bones. According to
her husband, Gholamreza Ghorbani, Hakimeh is hospitalized at the Tabriz Army
Hospital, and the Intelligence Ministry agents have demanded that he pay the
hospital and treatment fees.
the arrest of this civil activist woman, the intelligence agents beat her and
even threatened her and her husband with their weapons.
Hakimeh Ahmadi, the mother of two young children, had previously been detained
in September and was released after three days on a 100-million-touman bail.
civil activist woman, Nasim Sadeghi, who is currently in detention, explained
about the tortures she had been subjected to during a telephone call to her
children, saying that the security guards had beaten her repeatedly during her
detention and threatened her.
information on the arrest of Ms. Lamya Hemadi indicates that the 20-year-old
woman detained in an unknown location, is seven months pregnant. Ms. Hemadi had
been previously summoned by the intelligence department for her cyberspace
activities and arrested by security forces in October 2018.
Iranian regime has been cracking down on the populace in and around Ahvaz,
making dozens of arbitrary arrests since September 22, 2018, when the parade of
its military forces were attacked by armed men. Around 600 people from
Khuzestan province have been detained by security forces and under
interrogation. Arab human rights activists have announced that many of the
detainees are civil activists.
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