United Nations had declared July 12 as Malala Day to commemorate not only young
activist’s birthday, but also the day she delivered a powerful speech at the UN
to call for worldwide access to education.
Reema Bint Bandar: Walking in Her Father’s Footsteps
in Syria's Raqqa Enjoy Newfound Freedoms after Islamic State
Women Note Taliban Shift after Doha Talks
to Let Women Travel Without A Male
On Dissent Accompanies Reform For Saudi Women
by New Age Islam News Bureau
Day: Malala Yousafzai – Household Name in Fight for Women’s Right
winner and a brave heart Malala Yousafzai has turned 22 on July 12.
Yousafzai, a Pakistani activist for female education is the youngest Nobel
Prize laureate, has led a rather risky life in order to fight for the education
of girls in a previously Taliban-dominated area.
2008, Malala Yousafzai started writing about the rising influence of the
Taliban in Pakistan for BBC Urdu, under a pseudonym.
who became the extremist group’s target after publicly speaking about girls
having the right to education, gained worldwide recognition when she was shot
in the head by a Taliban gunman in 2012. At 15, she was attacked on her way
home from school. A year later in 2013, while recovering from her injuries in a
hospital in Birmingham, Malala decided to continue fighting for girls’
education and started the Malala Fund along with her father, Ziauddin
the 22-year-old student of Philosophy, Politics, and Economics at the University
of Oxford is a household name in the fight for women’s rights.
is Pride of Pakistan: CM Punjab
Minister Punjab Usman Buzdar said on Friday that Malala Yousafzai is an example
to follow for others as she lit the candle of knowledge in the darkness of
her birthday, recognized as Malala Day, the chief minister said that
celebration of Malala Day at the global level is a tribute to the efforts made
by the Pakistani girls for providing education to the local women.
said that Malala defeated fanaticism through education and proved that human
beings can do anything with hard work and consistent efforts.
said Malala Yousafzai is a pride of Pakistan in the world who emerged as a
symbol of bravery and commitment at an early age. The Punjab government is
following the policy of providing equal opportunities for education and
development to all women, he concluded.
her 23rd birthday, here are some quotes by Malala that will leave you inspired
someone takes away your pens you realize quite how important education is.”
is our basic right. Not just in the West; Islam too has given us this right.
Islam says every girl and every boy should go to school. In the Quran it is
written, God wants us to have knowledge. He wants us to know why the sky is
blue and about oceans and stars.”
child, one teacher, one book, one pen can change the world.”
guns you can kill terrorists, with education you can kill terrorism.”
have shown what frightens them most: a girl with a book.”
one man can destroy everything, why can’t one girl change it?”
struggle can ever succeed without women participating side by side with men.
There are two powers in the world; one is the sword and the other is the pen.
There is a third power stronger than both, that of women.”
the whole world is silent, even one voice becomes powerful.”
allowed politicians to fool people and bad administrators to be re-elected.”
can only be repaid with kindness. It can’t be repaid with expressions like
Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the US, Princess Reema bint Bandar, caused a stir
on social media after an image of her standing in her new office in Washington
D.C. became public, taken in the same office as was occupied by her father,
Prince Bandar bin Sultan, 35 years ago.
prince had a similar portrait taken of himself when he was appointed
ambassador, and many Twitter and Instagram users reposted the two images side
by side. Some commented on how the newly appointed ambassador was “walking in
her father’s footsteps” with one adding “like father, like daughter.”
Saudis continued to repost the images with messages of good luck, as the
ambassador started her new role.
Saudi writer @husseinshoboksh wrote: “Her father’s daughter … Ambassador Rima
bint Bandar bin Sultan.”
tweeted: “Stunning portrait of Princess Reema bint Bandar AlSaud @rbalsaud,
Saudi ambassador to the USA in her new office in Washington. Almost 40 years
ago, her father, Prince Bandar bin Sultan AlSaud, former Saudi ambassador to
the USA, took exactly the same picture.”
tweeted one of Princess Reema’s quotes, alongside her picture: “Saudi
Ambassador to the US Princess Reema Bint Bandar: ‘Financial literacy is key to
tweeted: “‘We are not working for anyone outside this nation, we are working
for this nation.’ (Princess Reema Bint Bandar)”
princess was sworn in as the Kingdom’s ambassador on April 16, taking the oath
in front of King Salman in Riyadh, officially making her Saudi Arabia’s first
female ambassador. Some 35 years earlier, her father performed the same oath,
holding the prestigious post from 1984-2005.
office on July 4, the 11th Saudi diplomatic representative to Washington has
extensive experience with US politics and diplomacy, having lived in the US
capital when her father was ambassador.
- Women in the Syrian city of Raqqa say their lifestyle drastically changed
after U.S.-backed forces freed their city from the Islamic State terror group.
Syrian Democratic Forces liberated the city in October 2017. Since then, Raqqa
residents have been determined to bring a sense of normalcy back to their city,
which was once the de facto capital of IS's self-proclaimed caliphate.
the partially restored market in downtown Raqqa, shops selling women's clothing
and cosmetics now openly showcase their merchandise, something unthinkable
during IS rule.
I can exhibit anything I want in front of my store," said a 37-year-old
man who owns a women's boutique.
Daesh was here, we had to hide things like revealing clothes and lingerie in
the back of the store. Men couldn't sell these things to women, so we had to
hire women to sell to other women," he told VOA, using the Arabic acronym
for Islamic State.
IS rule, strict social codes were imposed on the local population. Men and
women who were not related weren't allowed to interact.
in particular, were required to wear black dresses covering their entire bodies
and faces. Those who disobeyed received harsh punishments, including imprisonment
remember how my friend's older sister was humiliated on the street by two
female IS members because they thought her face wasn't covered properly,"
said a 21-year-old woman who was a teenager when IS ruled Raqqa. She declined
to be identified for security reasons.
terror group had established a vice police force, locally known as al-Hisbah,
whose sole mission was to implement Islamic laws and persecute those who did
not adhere to them.
is no comparison between now and then," said Khitam al-Musa, 30, of Raqqa.
least now, I can walk on the street freely. I can buy what I want. In the past,
I could have been arrested for the silliest reason," she told VOA. "I
was taken to interrogation a few times because I painted my fingernails and
wore open-toe sandals. It was unbearable to be a woman under [IS] rule."
SDF, a Kurdish-led military alliance that has been an effective partner of the
United States in the fight against IS, has established a progressive governing
system in areas under its control in northeast Syria.
rights and gender equality are the basis of SDF's newly formed entity, SDF
the SDF has offered is a very unique alternative form of governance not only
compared to IS's style, but also compared to the Syrian regime," said
Sadradeen Kinno, a Syrian researcher who closely follows Islamic militancy in
the war-torn country.
told VOA that while residents in Raqqa and other areas recently liberated from
IS enjoy the liberty the SDF offers, it would take a long time before the group
could enforce its progressive ideas among a largely conservative population.
freedoms are important for women and people in general, especially if you've
just experienced life under one of the most oppressive groups in the
world," he said. "But it will certainly be a major challenge for the
SDF to find a receptive population for its broader gender democracy."
Afghan campaigner who took part in breakthrough talks with the Taliban said
Thursday that she saw subtle improvements in the attitude towards women of the
insurgents, who severely curtailed their rights while in power.
a meeting earlier this week in Qatar, the Islamist militants sat down with
Afghan representatives and issued a joint statement that called for assuring
women's rights "within the Islamic framework of Islamic values."
conference, co-organized by Germany, came as the United States negotiates with
the Taliban to pull troops from Afghanistan -- with women's rights not
explicitly on the agenda.
Wardak, a women's rights campaigner who works for the Afghan foreign ministry,
said she was surprised at the positive atmosphere in Doha as women mingled
directly with the Taliban over dinner and tea breaks.
was interesting to me as an Afghan woman as they didn't shake hands but they
warmly welcomed us," she told a symposium at Georgetown University on the
peace process, speaking by video from Kabul.
Taliban delegates even showed flashes of humor, telling the Afghan women that
they heard they would be coming and saying, "'Please don't give us a hard
time,'" she said.
I'm wrong but their attitude has totally changed towards women, towards
government employees," she said.
I do not say that their behavior (changed) or, ideologically or strategically,
they didn't change anything," she said, pointing to a massive blast in
eastern Afghanistan that killed 12 and injured dozens of children just as the
Qatar talks were opening.
Haress, a constitutional scholar at the American University of Afghanistan,
said it remained unclear what the Taliban were saying by signing the
declaration in Doha.
term 'Islamic regime' is very vague, it's very broad and there is a fear of
what it will mean under the interpretation of the Taliban," she said.
we mean an Islamic regime like the one in Malaysia or Indonesia? Do we mean an
Islamic regime like Saudi Arabia or Iran? Or do we mean one like
Pakistan?" she said, referring to governments with varying degrees of
openness toward women.
Taliban were notorious for their harsh treatment of women during their
five-year rule of Afghanistan, which ended with the US-led invasion after the
September 11, 2001 attacks.
insurgents forced women to cover themselves completely under burqas, banned
them from working and restricted most education for girls.
US says watching women's role -
Donald Trump is impatient to withdraw US troops from Afghanistan, believing the
mission is not worth the cost after nearly two decades.
administration is aiming to reach an accord with the Taliban by September.
a deal is expected to have two main pillars -- a US withdrawal from Afghanistan
and a commitment by the militants not to offer sanctuary to jihadists.
Zalmay Khalilzad, the US negotiator who has held seven rounds of talks with the
Taliban, told the Georgetown event in a video message that he will ensure that
women "have a seat, or several seats, at the negotiating table."
Wells, the acting assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asia, said
that Afghanistan's future relationship with the United States will "depend
heavily" on preserving the gains made by women.
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.
Arabia is to begin easing its laws forbidding women to travel without the
permission of a male relative, removing the most contentious provision of its
notorious guardianship customs.
move would be the most significant change yet to a system under which adult
women are treated, in effect, as minors, requiring the consent of designated
male relatives to perform even basic tasks.
would allow women over the age of 18 to travel abroad for the first time
without male permission. They would, however, still require a guardian’s
consent to acquire a passport, or to marry or seek work.
officials said the directive had come “from the top”; a reference to Crown
Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who has tasked a government committee to begin
overhauling guardianship laws as part of his reform agenda for the kingdom.
is no question that the leadership, the government and the people want to see
this system change,” a senior Saudi royal told The Wall Street Journal. “The
current discussion is about how to make this happen as soon as possible without
causing a stir.”
of the plan emerged as Saudi Arabia prepares to host next year’s G20 summit,
hoping to put to rest the international condemnation surrounding the murder of
Jamal Khashoggi in its Istanbul consulate last year. UN special rapporteur on
extra-judicial executions Agnes Callamard has urged governments to boycott or
move the summit, calling it “a slap in the face” for human rights defenders.
Arabia has come under increasing international pressure over its treatment of
women, with a number of young Saudi women seeking asylum abroad this year to
escape the guardianship system. Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun, 19, fled to Bangkok
while on a family holiday in Kuwait in January, barricading herself into an
airport hotel room and calling for help on Twitter until she was rescued by the
UN refugee agency. She was later granted asylum in Canada.
the plan without an official announcement follows in a pattern for the
introduction of reforms in the deeply conservative kingdom. The crown prince,
known as MBS, has spoken of the need for Saudi Arabia to find a more moderate
expression of Islam and for women’s empowerment as a tool of economic reform.
one element of the guardianship system to relax, and testing the public
reaction before it is made official, is seen as the royal court’s way of
avoiding “a stir”. However, there could be a backlash, and not only from
clerical circles, if easing restrictions were to lead to a large exodus of
young women seeking to escape family control.
has also been wary of granting rights that activists have fought for,
particularly women’s rights or freedom of speech. Last year, a month before the
historic lifting of the ban on women driving, the authorities rounded up a
number of leading female activists who had campaigned against the guardianship
system as well as for the right to drive. Those women remain in jail.
Reema bint Bandar, 44, Saudi Arabia’s first female ambassador, presented her
credentials to the State Department in Washington this month to begin her
tenure. She is believed to have been released from the guardianship system
after a divorce. Princess Reema has argued in favour of measures to make it
easier for Saudi women to work, saying the country cannot develop when half its
workforce stays at home.
need for more women to be economically active was seen as a key factor in the
lifting of the driving ban last year.
restrictions on Saudi women are typically enforced through a government app
called Absher, on which men can grant or deny permission for their female
charge to travel.
am my own guardian,” became the rallying cry for Saudi women on social media
campaigning against the archaic system of guardianship that controls the
of those still using that Twitter handle today do so from inside Saudi Arabia,
where a crackdown on dissent has accompanied the reform agenda of Mohammed bin
same day in 2017 that the Saudi government announced it would lift the ban on
women driving, activists who had campaigned for just that received phone calls
from security forces, warning them not to try to claim the move as a victory
for their movement.
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