are sending their pictures to a Facebook page called Stealthy Freedoms of
Iranian Women. The page was created by London-based Iranian journalist Masih
Alinejad on May 3, and had notched up over 170,000 Likes by May 14., 2014
Assembly Raises Alarm over Kidnapping, Forced Conversion of Hindu Girls In
'Phoenix': Hijab-wearing Wrestler Nor Diana Breaking Barriers
Women Celebrate Guru Purnima In Varanasi
the Taliban Actually Become More Progressive on Women’s Rights?
The New Afghanistan, the Future of Women Must Be Protected
Russian ISIS women jailed in Iraq: Lavrov
by New Age Islam News Bureau
Women Seek Greater Freedom over Head Coverings
in public has become a protest for a young Iranian woman who moves through
Tehran’s streets without her head covering, or hijab.
is risking arrest. Iran’s morality police are looking for women like her: women
who refuse to follow the rules for women’s appearance. Those rules were put in
place after the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
have to confess it is really, really scary,” the 30-year-old fire safety expert
said in a WhatsApp audio message. She would not permit her name to be used because
she is afraid of repercussions.
she also is hopeful. She says she believes the police and other officials find
it difficult to stop the protests as more women join.
are running after us, but cannot catch us,” she said. “This is why we believe
change is going to be made.”
hijab debate has angered some Iranians. It comes at a time when the country is
suffering under strong sanctions placed on the country by the United States.
President Donald Trump restarted the sanctions after the U.S. withdrew from the
2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers last year.
the exchange value of Iranian money is collapsing, house prices are rising and
unemployment is high. So how much can the government really do about the
protesting women? And how far will the women go?
is some evidence that more women are pushing back against the rules. They are
trying to test the ruling Shiite Muslim government and their security agencies.
Associated Press reporter saw about 24 women in the streets without a hijab
over nine days. It was mainly in the richer parts of Tehran.
other women have decided to test the rules in a different way. They cover a bit
of their hair with loose, colorful scarves.
Grand Bazaar attracts traditional women, but even there many women wore a loose
hijab. Still, a large number were covered completely in black and wore tight
struggle against wearing the hijab began in December 2017. That was when a
woman climbed onto a box in Tehran’s Revolution Street and waved her hijab on a
stick. Since then more than 36 protestors like her have been detained. Nine are
still in detention, said Masih Alinejad. She is an Iranian activist who now
lives in New York.
police try to silence protesters, public debate has only grown. It has been
helped by social media.
month, a widely watched online video showed a security agent grab a young girl
who was not wearing a hijab and violently push her into a police car. The
incident was strongly criticized.
have called for punishments, even lashes. They argue that permitting women to
show their hair leads to social problems and the collapse of families.
judiciary recently asked Iranians to inform on women without hijabs. It asked
them to send photos or video to government social media accounts.
more women dress in an openly sexual way, the less we’ll have social peace,”
said Minoo Aslani last week. She is the leader of the women’s part of the
paramilitary Basij group.
lawmaker Parvaneh Salahshouri said that forcing people to obey does not work.
we see is that the morality police have been a failure,” said Salahshouri. She
wears the hijab because of her religious beliefs.
laws are unlikely to be changed, she said, urging women to use non-violent
will be hard, she said, adding “Iranian women will not give up their efforts.”
hijab issue goes back to the mid-1930s when police forced women to take off
their hijabs. This was part of a Westernization policy of Shah Reza Pahlavi who
ruled at the time. Under his son and successor, women could choose. The wealthy
dressed like Westerners.
have changed. In 1980, about 66 percent believed women should wear hijabs.
Today, fewer than 45 percent think the laws should be enforced, an Iranian
research group said.
activists in Iran take risks.
March, human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh was sentenced to more than 38 years
in prison. She has represented women protestors. Her husband said she will
serve about 12 years.
April, activists Yasaman Aryani, her mother Monireh Arabshahi and Mojgan
Keshavarz were arrested after posting a video showing themselves without
headscarves in the Tehran metro.
International said Monday that Iranian officials have used detentions, and
threats against families to try to force activists to change their ideas. The
“confessions” are videotaped. The group said it had seen six “confessions”
The issue of kidnapping and forced conversion of Hindu girls in various
districts of the province was raised in the Sindh Assembly on Tuesday when
opposition Grand Democratic Alliance’s Nand Kumar filed a private resolution
seeking protection of the girls of the minority community.
Kumar’s resolution reads: “This house resolves that [the] provincial government
takes notice of recent surge of kidnapping of Hindu girls from various
districts of Sindh and take steps to arrest the culprits [involved] and give
them exemplary punishment and stop forced conversion.”
lawmakers belonging to other parties in the house felt that the resolution
should not be restricted to Hindu girls, as girls irrespective of their faiths
should be protected from being kidnapped and forcibly converted in Sindh.
Kumar later moved an amended resolution in the house in which he omitted the
word ‘Hindu’ from the original resolution.
Speaker Rehana Leghari put the amended resolution before the house, which was
law to protect Hindu community
his speech, Mr Kumar said “hundreds” of Hindu girls had been kidnapped in
recent years and they had been subjected to enforced conversion.
a few months this year,” said the GDA lawmaker holding printed photos of some
of the victims, “41 girls belonging to Hindu faith have been kidnapped and
said girls from his community had been kidnapped from various districts despite
the fact that “we are the most ancient community living here for millennia and
should be given due security”.
said an amended law to protect the Hindu community drafted and tweaked by him
had been lying with the minority affairs department since April with no
interest visible on part of the government to present it in the house.
made it clear that it was not just a matter of scoring points, but, “genuinely
we want to live under certain laws that you are not giving to us”.
referred to a recent statement of Pakistan Peoples Party chairman Bilawal
Bhutto-Zardari during his visit to Ghotki in which he had assured the Hindu
community of his full protection. “I don’t think that the [PPP] chairman does
not want to get that bill passed. His statement clearly indicates that he
genuinely wants to protect us. I am sure that we would have not been in such a
pathetic state if Mohtarma [ex-premier Benazir Bhutto] was alive today.”
said the Hindu community should not be pushed to the wall to the extent that
they found no way but to migrate from Sindh. “Migration of our people is
continuing. We are protesting for protection, but no one is there to ensure us
Qaumi Movement-Pakistan’s Mangla Sharma said communities practicing minority
faiths felt a grave sense of anxiety and insecurity.
said it was the first time in the past 70 years that Hindu community was
protesting in almost every town and city of Sindh. “This is for the first time
that Hindu women have taken to streets and everyone knows the reason.”
said the community had high hopes from the PPP chairman to get the required
Sharma said official figures showed that the ratio of minority communities was
on a decline because of lack of protection they were being offered. “Our ratio
was 3.72 per cent of the total population in 1998 census, which is now 3.57pc.
[Has] anyone ever [thought] why the ratio of minorities has reduced by 0.15pc in
the past 20 years?”
however, said minority girls were being deceived instead of being forcibly
converted. She lamented that politicians from all but the ruling PPP had
supported the minorities’ protests.
Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf objected to the word ‘Hindu’ in the resolution, saying
such issue was mainly regarded as a social evil instead of saying a particular
community was being targeted.
Jawed Hanif said it was a fact that Hindu girls were being kidnapped and
forcibly converted. He said religion disliked forced measures and the country’s
Constitution protected all communities.
said all Pakistanis should be protected in such times when similar issues were
haunting Muslims and other minorities in India. “We, at least, should keep
[our] house in order.”
Dewan Sachal said basically it was a law and order issue as Muslim girls were
facing similar problems.
Affairs Minister Hari Ram Kishorilal seconded PTI lawmakers when he said it was
an issue that equally affected the girls belonging to Hindu, Muslim and other
migration of Hindus from Sindh’
said a draft bill by GDA’s Nand Kumar would be finalised unanimously by all
parties in the house.
claimed that there was no migration of the people belonging to Hindu community
added that the PPP and the Sindh government were taking all required steps to
maintain religious harmony in the province.
parliamentary party leader Haleem Adil Shaikh supported the resolution, but
reiterated the party’s stance that the matter should not just be considered a
Hindu-specific one. “This is a social issue and not a religious one.”
Nusrat Sehar Abbasi said on the advice of lawmakers from other parties, Mr
Kumar would amend his resolution. “We should not send a wrong message
internationally by adopting such a resolution in its original form,” she said.
Minister Sardar Shah said interfaith harmony in Sindh was exemplary, which was
evident from the fact that in his home district Umerkot, 52pc of its population
was Hindu and to maintain the harmony “we do not eat beef”.
said kidnapping of girls had not just affected the Hindu community, but it was
a social evil and should be dealt as such.
Majlis-i-Amal’s Abdul Rasheed said that Pakistan’s Constitution gave greater
rights to its minorities.
Affairs Minister Mukesh Kumar Chawla said the provincial government was serious
in its responsibility to protect all and would continue to serve the whole of
Lumpur: A hijab-wearing, diminutive Malaysian wrestler known as
"Phoenix" cuts an unusual figure in the ring, a female Muslim fighter
taking on hulking opponents in a male-dominated world.
in flame-patterned trousers, a black and orange hijab and top, Nor Diana uses
sophisticated moves to throw and pin down her larger rivals in front of
hundreds of cheering spectators.
just 155 centimetres (five foot, one inch) tall and weighing 43 kilograms (six
stone, 10 pounds), her speed and agility make her a match for almost any
far from being criticised by conservatives for throwing herself into wrestling,
the 19-year-old has become a hit on social media and spurred the interest of
other headscarf-wearing women.
though I am Muslim, and I wear the hijab, nothing can stop me from doing what I
love," she said in the ring after winning a recent fight.
takes part in local outfit Malaysia Pro Wrestling (MyPW), which has
similarities with hugely popular World Wrestling Entertainment from the United
WWE, the Malaysian version is as much theatre as sport, as participants compete
against one another with matches ending in a pre-determined outcome.
Diana, a pseudonym as she prefers not to reveal her true identity, seems an
unlikely wrestler -- outside the ring, she is shy and soft-spoken, and her day
job is working in a hospital.
when she puts on her wrestling gear, she transforms into the fearsome Phoenix.
Phoenix, I'm a totally different person. She may be small, but she can do
things that people can't imagine," Nor Diana told AFP at a wrestling gym
in Puchong, outside Kuala Lumpur.
she's in the ring, she's fast and always wants to win," she explained.
Diana first started training as a wrestler in late 2015, following her teenage
dream of becoming a fighter, and made her debut a few months later.
than 60 percent of Malaysia's 32 million people are ethnic Malay Muslims and,
while the form of Islam followed is generally moderate and tolerant, society
can still be conservative.
Muslim women in the country wear the traditional headscarf and loose-fitting
clothing in line with Islamic requirements for females to dress modestly.
the beginning it was always hard for me, because a lot of people said I can't
wrestle because I'm a Muslim and I wear the hijab," she said.
she has soldiered on, with her family’s full support, and enjoyed her greatest
success so far in early July, defeating four men to be crowned Malaysian
she competed wearing a mask, to reduce the chances people would recognise her.
But after losing a match last year she removed it and has been competing
without one ever since.
remembered being fearful about the reaction -- but her popularity has only
increased since, with thousands now following her on social media, helping to
boost wrestling's profile in Malaysia.
it is growing in popularity, wrestling remains relatively small in the
Southeast Asian country. There are about 30 fighters and matches take place
every two to three months in front of a few hundred supporters.
Diana is one of just two women wrestlers.
soon as she became popular, we received a lot of messages from fellow hijabis
who inquired about joining wrestling as well," Ayez Shaukat Fonseka, her
coach and fellow fighter, told AFP.
kind of broke the barrier and just proved to them that if she can do it, they
can do it too."
The Guru Purnima celebrations at Patalpuri math were special this year giving a
strong message as burqa clad Muslim women joined Hindu disciples in performing
religious rituals here on the auspicious day on Tuesday.
large number of Muslim women took part in the festival at the math. While some
of them washed feet of their guru Mahant Balak Das, others paid respect to
their guru with ‘salaam’ during the event organised by the Vishal Bharat Sansthan
(VBS). The disciples garlanded the mahant before applying tilak on his
forehead, presented him ‘Ramnaami shawl’ and sought his blessings.
500 years old, the math is said to be founded by Mahant Ramanad and is very
closely associated with saint Kabir.
us, guru is above all as he makes us understand the life and guides us even in
the worst of the situations”, said national president of the Muslim mahila
foundation of the body, Naznin Ansari. Such events are a befitting reply to
people who try to divide the society on the basis of religion, said Ansari who
has done her MA in conflict management from Banaras Hindu University (BHU). She
has earlier translated Hanuman Chalisa and aarti of lord Ram in Urdu.
on the occasion, Mahant Balak Das said, “This is the place of god and has no
place for nay kind of discrimination. Efforts of these devotees would send a
larger message to the society”.
of VBS, Rajiv Srivastava said, “As the disciple regard their guru irrespective
of their caste, religion or gotra (sect), the guru too never discriminates
disciples. For a guru whosoever imbibes his teaching is his follower”.
“Respecting our guru is the most important as he is the one who guide us,” says
Taliban, a movement and organization known for their oppression of women and
minorities, came to the negotiating table with the United States and Afghan
representatives last week, along with 10 women from differing backgrounds,
raising the question of whether or not they have transitioned into a new era of
historic intra-Afghan peace talks took place in Doha and could potentially lead
to the end of an 18-year war that has ravaged the region. Asila Wardack, the
director-general of the United Nations Department of the Afghan Ministry of
Foreign Affairs, was present at the latest conference between the groups in
Doha and revealed that the Taliban who were present at the talks have vastly
changed in the last few decades.
went on to say that the Taliban who attended the talks are not the rough
fighters many think of, rather they resembled politicians you would see in a
more traditional government. Wardack recounted how at one point a Taliban
representative even joked that the group of Afghani women representatives were
“dangerous women” and asked them not to give the Taliban a hard time.
findings – maybe I’m wrong – but their attitude has totally changed towards
women, towards government employees,” she said.
also described how the atmosphere at the most recent talks was different to
earlier talks in Moscow, where only one woman was present. Among the group of
10 women in attendance in Doha, there were four Tajiks, three Hazaras, one
Pashtun and one Uzbek. Wardack said the women were treated respectfully by all
is a shift from the Taliban who ruled Afghanistan from 1996 until 2001, when
the U.S. invaded and ousted them from power. During this time the group drafted
a constitution which declared that the country be governed by Sharia law and that
the Hanafi school of Sunni Islam was the official religion, with little mention
of minorities such as the shi’i sect. The constitution dictated that “women’s
education, within the limits of Islamic Shariah, will be arranged through a
special law,” yet in practice schooling for girls was extremely rare.
polished Taliban attending the talks last week have shifted their position from
their original constitution to appear as a nationalist movement fighting for
Afghanistan’s sovereignty, rather than a group who are only capable of
punishment, said Robert Crews, a professor at Stanford University.
the U.S.-led intervention destroyed the Taliban government and dispersed its
leaders, the Taliban have proved quite adaptive in numerous ways. They skillfully
launched a formidable and flexible counterinsurgency movement,” he said to The
Globe Post. “At the same time, they worked to recalibrate their image to appear
more as a nationalist movement devoted to defending the national sovereignty
and independence of Afghanistan.”
there is a disconnect between what Taliban leaders are saying and those on the
ground who are still carrying out terror attacks across the country and not
discriminating when it comes to their victims. Earlier this month the group
carried out a series of attacks in Kabul which killed around 40 people,
including children. And on Saturday they killed another six people, including
four police officers and two civilians, at a hotel in northwestern Afghanistan.
the seventh round of intra-Afghan peace talks, the Taliban and Afghan
representatives released an eight-point plan to achieve lasting peace. The
sixth point in the plan states “assuring women’s rights in political, social,
economic, educational, cultural affairs as per within the Islamic framework of
Islamic values.” Although this may sound like they are taking women’s rights
into account during the peace talks, the vague language and exclusion of a
definition of “Islamic framework” leaves many Afghan women worried about their
rights if the peace declaration is put in place, said Wania Yad, an Afghan
fulbright scholar at New York University, at the event at Georgetown
recent years Afghan women have made considerable progress towards equality. In
2001, less than 900,000 children were in school with almost none of them
female. Today, nine million children are enrolled in school, with 3.5 million
of them being girls. Additionally, 100,000 women are currently studying at
private and public universities in the country, according to Alice Wells, the
acting assistant secretary of state for Central and South Asian Affairs.
the Taliban seemingly has loosened the reins on girls attending school, Crews
said in reality their attitude towards female education isn’t so
have acknowledged a limited right to education for girls, but, in practice,
their approach to girl’s schooling has been mixed. The latest wording of an
agreement signed at the Qatar talks is quite limited and vague, suggesting that
the Taliban are not willing to concede very much on women’s rights,” he
also questioned the Taliban’s commitment to women’s rights despite their
friendly meeting in Qatar. She said that she is unable to definitively say that
the Taliban’s behavior has changed because on the first day of the intra-Afghan
conference in Doha, there was an attack that wounded 100 school children in
eastern Afghanistan. This contradicted their claims that they wanted to
“minimize their civilian casualties to zero,” and their new stance of endorsing
education and human rights.
believes the attacks are an attempt by the Taliban to maximize their bargaining
potential. However, he sees this backfiring as talks progress because civilians
will lose trust in the groups participating in the talks.
claims that the Taliban have started to accept modern interpretations of human
rights can also be accredited to the group adapting their language, rather than
their actions, said Crews.
leaders also learned from the technocratic language of the various NGOs
[non-governmental organizations] and international organizations that promised
reconstruction of an Afghan government that would provide Afghan citizens with
security and services,” he said.
peace talks continue, Yad said it is imperative that the Taliban back up their
claims of support for human rights by guaranteeing they will not be infringed
upon if a peace treaty is signed.
are pleased with the sound of peace, we are happy that the bloodshed will stop
eventually,” she said. “But we are not going to compromise our freedom and our
liberties that we have achieved so far.”
2012, a novel titled The Taliban Cricket Club, by the writer Timeri N Murari,
was published worldwide. Set in Kabul, its main protagonist was Rukhsana, a
young journalist who chafed at the restrictions placed by the Taliban regime on
Afghan women. Fired from her job at the fictional Kabul Daily, Rukhsana uses a
pseudonym to file news stories for an Indian newspaper on life under Taliban
she employs her unique skillset – knowledge of cricket – to outwit the
Taliban’s attempt at complete control. Rukhsana coaches her brother and male
cousins in order for them to win a government-organised cricket tournament. In
this way, she is able to secretly challenge the Taliban’s stark injunction as
described in the book: “Women must be seen only in the home and in the grave”.
She makes her mark as an educated Afghan woman and “a good off-spinner”.
Taliban Cricket Club is not a great literary work, but it does accomplish
something few other books on Afghan women had managed until then. It makes the
dreadful reality of Taliban rule easier to imagine and comprehend. Humans, as
the philosopher Yuval Noah Harari says, “think in stories”.
in recent days suggest that Rukhsana’s resistance to the severe constraints
imposed by the Taliban are becoming relevant once again. The US is talking to
the Taliban about withdrawing troops. Intra-Afghan talks have been held in
Doha, jointly organised by Qatar and Germany. Recently, the Taliban delegation
indicated a new willingness to acknowledge women’s rights. The Taliban
representatives were in the same room as Afghan women who weren’t related to
them. They talked to the women and ate with them.
of this has fed a new hopeful sense of coming change in Afghanistan. A new
narrative is said to be taking shape, with the conflict-scarred country moving
forward towards a brighter future, which is to be based on an intra-Afghan
consensus. The US administration, which is understood to want a deal with the
Taliban by September, has already been talking up the real and symbolic
importance of what is under way.
Khalilzad, US President Donald Trump’s special envoy for Afghanistan
reconciliation, has denied the US wants to cut and run, abruptly ending the
18-year war it has prosecuted there. Instead, he insists, “We would like to
leave a very positive legacy here”. And Alice Wells, acting US assistant
secretary of state for South and Central Asia, has warned that Afghanistan's
future relationship with the US will “depend heavily” on preserving the gains
made by women. “No current or future Afghan government should count on
international donor support if that government restricts, represses or
relegates Afghan women to second-class status,” she said.
is tough talk but the Americans may withdraw anyway, pronouncing themselves
satisfied that Afghanistan is at peace. That may mean an unenforceable
agreement with the Taliban both with respect to power sharing and gender
difficulties lie ahead.
there are the discrepancies in various translations of the declaration agreed
in Doha. The Pashtu version, the only one likely to be read by the majority of
the Taliban’s supporters, reportedly had no mention of protecting women’s
rights. Was this mendacity or merely a mistake? Is the Taliban pretending it
will safeguard women’s rights while reassuring its core constituency there will
be no compromise on ideological positions with respect to gender?
consider the Associated Press report on an exchange from the Doha conference.
It might have been either playful or ominous, depending on who you ask. The
news agency quoted Asila Wardack, a female member of the Afghan peace council.
She said two of the Taliban approached her and other female conference
participants. The Taliban said they had heard a group of “dangerous women” were
going to be at the meeting. One of the men added: “Please don’t give us a hard
could that possibly mean? Was it a jocular way for the Taliban to acknowledge
women had a right to be angry? Is the Taliban now willing to accept their five
years in power, from 1996, were horrific for women, who were barred from
schools, colleges, offices and from any public presence except as veiled
figures? Or did those two Taliban men speak in that way to Ms Wardak and other
women because they honestly believe the female sex comprises harridans and
consider the “roadmap to peace” agreed between the Taliban and Afghan
government representatives in Doha. The Taliban insisted the government
representatives attend in a personal capacity, which means the roadmap doesn’t
really have any official sanction. And the promised protections for women’s
rights are to be within the vague and unspecified parameters of an
"Islamic framework". The Taliban could quite easily define the
“framework” in terms of their past misogyny. There are bound to be theological
differences about Islam’s view of women’s rights. The Taliban do not have
political positions so much as religious ones. Political positions allow for
compromise; moral ones do not.
(Kurdistan 24) – There are 66 Russian women in Iraqi jails for various
violations of the country’s laws and Moscow is closely following their cases,
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told a local newspaper.
far, we managed to return 90 children to their homeland. According to our
information, about 30 of them still remain in Iraq and we expect to take them
home in the coming months,” Lavrov said in an interview with Russian Argumenty
i Fakty Daily newspaper, quoted by Russian News Agency (TASS).
the cases of their mothers are more difficult to handle. All of them were
convicted for violating Iraqi laws: trespassing the border, illegally staying
in the country, participating in terrorist activities. The 66 Russian citizens
are imprisoned. The Russian embassy in Baghdad follows the situation and
renders them necessary assistance.”
started to repatriate its underage citizens from Iraq in autumn 2017, when
local authorities informed the country of the capture of Russian women and
their children during operations against the Islamic State in Mosul.
established an inter-agency commission that year to deal with children sent
home from combat zones.
Dec. 2018 and Feb. 2019, Russia brought back 57 children from Iraq. Last week
alone, Moscow repatriated 33 Russian children in Iraq from the capital of
Russian Presidential Commissioner for Children’s Rights, Anna Kuznetsova, told
local media that all Russian children imprisoned in Iraq for terrorist
activities would be returned to Russia by August.
mentioned that most of the children are four years old or younger, born outside
of the territory of Russia.
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