military and peacekeeping program for Arab women was launched this week at the
Khawla bint Al Azwar Military School in Abu Dhabi. (WAM)
Amends Civil Law Giving Women More Rights
Women's Rights Activist Released From Detention
Cafe Giving Hope to Women In Pakistan's Lyari
Rahman, AR Rahman's Daughter, Has Now Opened Up On Facebook to Defend Her
Christian Leaders List Evidences against Female Circumcision
Women Emerge From ISIS's Crumbling Caliphate
Effat University Celebrates A ‘Female Success Story’
Young Jewish Woman and A Young Muslim Woman Teach School kids About Racism
Australia Targeting Saudi Women Fleeing Oppression?
women complete 5-day trek from Abu Dhabi to Al Ain
Women Scale Significant Heights At All Fronts: Shaikha Fatima Bint Mubarak
few women nominated as mayoral candidates in Turkey’s local polls
by New Age Islam News Bureau
and Peacekeeping Programme for Arab Women Launched
ceremony to mark the launch of the military and peacekeeping programme for Arab
women was held today at the Khawla bint Al Azwar Military School in Abu Dhabi.
Colonel Afraa Saeed Al Falasi, Commander of the Khawla bint Al Azwar Military
School; Noura Al Suwaidi, Director-General of the General Women's Union; Dr.
Mouza Al Shehhi, Executive Director of the UN Women's Liaison Office for the
GCC; senior military officers; and representatives of Ministry of Foreign
Affairs and International Cooperation attended the ceremony.
on the occasion, H.H. Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, Chairwoman of the General
Women's Union, GWU, President of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and
Childhood, and Supreme Chairwoman of the Family Development Foundation, FDF,
said the UAE’s collaboration with UN Women to host the Arab women military and
peacekeeping capacity-building training programme was a testament to the great
confidence in the country’s leadership. The UAE signed a Memorandum of
Understanding with UN Women on 28th September, 2018, to develop the
capabilities of Arab women in military and peacekeeping operations.
Fatima affirmed the UAE’s success in achieving gender balance and stressed the
importance of women’s representation in all work avenues. She highlighted the
UAE’s support to women’s participation in maintaining peace and security in the
Arab region, and around the world. She noted the presence of women in
peacekeeping missions was necessary and contributed significantly to the
effectiveness of such operations. It also gives women the ability to perform
their duty towards their countries and the needy around the world.
bin Ahmed Al Bowardi, Minister of State for Defence Affairs, emphasised the
ministry’s strong interest in training Arab women in the fields of military and
peacekeeping operations. He said the UAE was committed to advancing the agenda
of women, peace and security, and fast-tracking the adoption of Security
Council Resolution 1325 at home and abroad.
Bowardi added that the UAE was committed to providing women with the necessary
skills to contribute to global peace and security, defending the interests of
the state and providing humanitarian assistance during crises. The programme
has more than 100 participants from seven Arab countries, including the UAE.
Colonel Afraa Al Falasi said, "Khawla bin Al Azwar Military School is
honoured to host the first batch of trainees for this programme, the first of
its kind to be held in an Arab country. Participants will be trained in
military sciences, including infantry, weapons, combat paramedics, internal
security, field engineering, physical fitness, Jiu Jitsu, martial arts,
defence, coexistence, field skills and topography."
programme will contribute to preparing women officers for the United Nations
peacekeeping operations, increase the number of women qualified to serve as
officers in the army, and establish support networks for women interested in
military action and peacekeeping.
Syria’s parliament passed groundbreaking amendments to the country’s civil
law—in place since 1953—including raising the minimum age for marriage to 18.
the war child marriage spiked dramatically as economic conditions worsened in
the country and families found themselves in compromising positions.
the war, marriage age was fixed at 17—but exceptions were allowed if girls as
young as 12 were capable of proving they were “physically and mentally” ready
for married life.
such legal waivers—which many young girls had been forced to sign by their
fathers—have been scrapped.
new law—passed on February 5—also prohibits women being married off by a family
member without her verbal consent.
women are now allowed to specify in the marriage contract that they forbid
their husband from taking a second, third or fourth wife—as permitted by
a husband does re-marry, without consent of his wife, he is now subject to
legal punishment and his wife is empowered to file for divorce.
the amendments do not abolish polygamy they could upset conservatives in the
country who consider men are entitled to marry multiple women according to
amended civil law also allows women to inherit from their grandfathers, if the
parent dies while the grandparents are still alive.
only male grandchildren were entitled to such an inheritance.
clauses were made amending child-custody rights, which previously kept male
children in the care of their mothers until the age of 13, and girls to the age
argue the legislation is the least of the country’s worries given its dire
economic condition having just come out of a grueling eight-year war.
speculate the legislation is aimed at diverting public attention away from
acute shortages in electricity and heating fuel, while others say the
government was trying to market Syria as a progressive country that was
children and women-friendly in an effort to shed the negative publicity that
came with the war.
— One of Pakistan's leading women's rights activists has been released from
police custody, she told AFP Thursday, after Amnesty International said she and
others had been detained "arbitrarily".
Ismail was arrested along with 17 other members of the Pashtun Protection
Movement (PTM), a peaceful organization defending the rights of ethnic
Pashtuns, during a protest in Islamabad on Tuesday.
was very painful for my family, who took 30 hours to know where I was,"
she told AFP, adding that she had been freed late Wednesday.
was separated from the other activists, she said, and was not placed under official
didn't charge me with anything. They didn't let me contact my lawyer. They just
kept moving me around," she said. "You cannot arrest citizens and
just disappear them."
Islamabad police official dealing with the case swept the claims aside. Police
follow "a proper procedure and her claims of an encounter are
unthinkable," he told AFP, referring to extra-judicial murders, or
"encounter killings" as they are commonly known in Pakistan.
accused Ismail and the other activists of uttering "anti-state
was briefly detained in October after speaking at another PTM meeting. Her
brief disappearance this week has inflamed social networks, with the hashtag
#WhereIsGulalai going viral.
has been freed, but "as a human rights defender, she is still not
safe," said Rabia Mehmood, a researcher for Amnesty International.
is really alarming that peaceful protests are constantly targeted by the
Pakistani state," she added.
PTM is demanding, among other things, an end to what it says are enforced
disappearances and extra-judicial murders of ethnic Pashtuns by police and
other security officials.
is also the co-founder of Aware Girls, an NGO that promotes gender equality.
She has received several international awards. — AFP
Faras Ghani & Zehra Abid
Pakistan - Set up in 2017, the Lyari Girls Cafe is located on the roof of a
block of residential flats on a street called Phool Patti (petal) Lane.
bullet-poked walls of the buildings around the cafe are a reminder of Lyari's
area suffered at least two decades of conflict and almost became an adjective
to describe Karachi's violence.
this cafe, giving hope to female residents, offers English language classes.
Makeup and hairstyling lessons are delivered in Kachchi, the language spoken by
many in the area.
are computer classes in Urdu and guest lectures on topics ranging from mental
health to photojournalism and cybercrime laws.
AR Rahman’s daughter, Khatija attended an event which was organized on the
occasion of the 10-year celebrations of the music of ‘Slumdog Millionaire’.
of focusing on what she said, many netizens trolled her for wearing ‘Hijab’.
a few of the reactions of Twitterati.
to the report published in Times Now, Khatija defended and said, “The recent
conversation of myself on stage with my dad has been doing the rounds.
Although, I didn’t expect such an overwhelming response. However, there were
certain comments which said that this attire is being forced by my dad and that
he has double standards. I would like to say that the attire I wear or the choices
I make in my life does not have anything to do with my parents. The veil has
been my personal choice with complete acceptance and honor. I’m a sane mature
adult who knows to make my choices in life. Any human being has a choice to
wear or do what he/she wants and that’s what I’ve been doing. Hence, kindly
don’t make your own judgments without understanding the exact situation.
A.R. Rahman also shared his family photograph with caption, “The precious
ladies of my family Khatija, Raheema, and Sairaa with NitaAmbaniji
may be mentioned that on the occasion, she appreciated her father’s generosity
and said, “the world sees you for your awards and accomplishments but for me, I
think the most important thing that you have done as a father is the values you
have taught us. Your humility matters the most for me. Not an atom of your
character has changed ever since you won the Oscars. Ten years back and now,
you are still the same except the time you spend with us has reduced. I think
you are making it up now by taking us on short trips!”.
further said, “I am deeply inspired by your generosity. There are a lot of
things (social welfare work) which you do and which you don’t tell us and I
come to know through third persons”. “He (AR Rahman) follows the Prophet
(PBUH)”, she added.
she asked her father to give advice for his kids, Mr. Rahman said that he had
taught everything he had learned from his mother and now, she has to follow her
heart. “Pray to God, he will guide you”, he added.
team of Slumdog Millionaire also attended the celebration.
and Muslims leaders under the auspices of the Side By Side Movement for Gender
Justice in Nigeria (SBSMJN) have urged the Federal Government to commence
aggressive actions to stem Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in the country.
made the appeal Wednesday in Abuja at the briefing marking the International
Day of Zero Tolerance for FGM in Nigeria.
Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) Chairman North-west zone, Dr. Israel
Akanji and a lecturer at the Bayero University Kano (BUK) Prof. Mustapha
Hussain Ismail, who are the co-chairs of the movement, told newsmen that unlike
the male circumcisions which have evidence in the Abrahamic covenant with God,
there are no scriptural evidences for female circumcision.
were accompanied by the Acting Executive Director of the African Centre for
Leadership, Strategy and Development Centre (Centre LSD), Mr. Monday Osasah and
women leaders of CAN and FOMWAN among others.
genital mutilation (FGM) which is practiced for a variety of cultural reasons
and involves the ritual cutting or removal of some or all of the external
female genitalia is a practice having no health benefits to the victim but with
well-documented evidences of harms. FGM comprises all procedures that involve
partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other injury to
the female genital organs for non-medical purposes.
practice is mostly carried out by traditional circumcisers, who often play
other central roles in communities, such as attending childbirths. In many
settings, health care providers perform FGM due to the erroneous belief that
the procedure is safer when medicalized. The World Health Organization (WHO)
strongly urges health professionals not to perform such procedures. Female
genital mutilation (FGM) is recognized internationally as a violation of the
human rights of girls and women,” they said.
to them, the practice reflects deep-rooted inequality between the sexes and
constitutes an extreme form of discrimination against women, as it is nearly
always carried out on minors.
said the practice also violates a person’s rights to health, security and
physical integrity, the right to be free from torture and cruel, inhuman or
degrading treatment, and the right to life when the procedure results in death.
includes procedures that intentionally alter or cause injury to the female
genital organs for non-medical reasons. The procedure has no health benefits
for girls and women and the procedures can cause severe bleeding and problems
during urinating, which later could result in cysts, infections, as well as
complications in childbirth and increased risk of newborn deaths. More than 200
million girls and women alive today have been mutilated in about 30 countries
in Africa, the Middle East and Asia where FGM is concentrated, FGM is mostly
carried out on young girls between infancy and age 15,” they said.
also listed immediate and later complications of FGM including hemorrhage,
acute infection, bleeding of adjacent organs, violent pain resulting in serious
shock while later complications include vicious scars, chronic infection,
hematic complications and obstetric complications among others.
(CNN)Her face covered by a black veil, with just a slit for her eyes, Dura
looks like dozens of other black-clad women clustered on blankets with their
children, all former subjects of ISIS's crumbling caliphate in Syria.
this woman is a long, long way from home.
I address her in Arabic, she replies in English with a distinctly North
American accent. "I'm sorry, I don't speak Arabic very well," she
this nondescript patch of ground on the vast plains of Eastern Syria, hundreds
of people from all around the world are being identified, questioned, sometimes
detained. More arrive every day, as they flee ISIS's last enclave, the besieged
town of Baghouz Al-Fawqani.
spoke to people from Canada, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Iraq and Syria, as
coalition warplanes roared overhead looking for targets. With the exception of
Dura and a fellow Canadian woman, nearly everyone denied any connection with
ISIS. Each had ended up in this desolate corner of Syria by sheer chance, they
college student from Toronto
Ahmed, 28, is originally from Toronto, Canada. She arrived here like the others
on the back of a pickup truck driven by fighters with the US-backed Syrian
Democratic Forces (SDF).
switch into English. "How did you end up in Syria?"
husband came here first in 2012," she says. "He tried to convince me
for two years to come, but I said no, no, I don't want to. Then finally he said
you have to come, but I was studying."
ask her what she was studying.
and Middle Eastern studies. I didn't know anything about ISIS or anything. He
said just come and see. Come and see."
were studying the Middle East and didn't know anything about ISIS?" I
didn't really watch the news. No one liked to talk about it. I was really
oblivious to what was going on. In the end I said fine, if I don't like it,
I'll come back," she said.
to Raqqa, ISIS' de-facto capital, she came in 2014. What she saw, she liked.
"It was an easy life. It was a city. It was stable," she said.
"You're there and you're eating Pringles and Twix bars. You're just there.
You don't feel like you're in a war." "But hadn't you heard all the
stories of people having their heads cut off, of mass executions?" I asked.
she replied, and then adds, as if talking about the weather: "Briefly,
just briefly, I heard about some executions taking place."
you hear about the slaughter of Yezidis, of Yezidi women being enslaved?"
I came here, I heard. I haven't seen one, but..." Her answer trailed off
with a nervous laugh. "Well, having slaves is part of Sharia," she
finally ventured. "I believe in Sharia, wherever Sharia is. We must follow
whoever is implementing the way, the law."
she regret coming to Syria, I asked, wondering if she felt disillusioned with
the Islamic State, after years of being forced back by a US-led coalition,
moving from place to place, and ultimately ending up in a "caliphate"
of just 1.5 square miles under frequent airstrike.
I had my kids here," she replied. Her two young boys, Mohammed and
Mahmoud, were at her feet. Their faces and clothing were caked with dust, their
noses running. The younger one, Mahmoud, had no shoes.
graphic designer from Alberta
Dura's blanket, apart from the other women, was a 34-year-old graphic designer
from Alberta. She declined to tell us her name, but described her life in Syria
too, came to Syria at her husband's bidding.
like, 'it's obligatory for you to come here. You have no choice, and as your
husband I'm telling you to come here.' And as a Muslim wife you have to obey,
even though it was really hard for me to do it." She takes a deep sigh.
"I had to."
Dura, she claims she knew nothing about ISIS or Syria before she made the journey
not the kind of person who watched the news," she said. "I didn't
follow any of this kind of stuff. I used to be a graphic designer and I used to
work from home and just take care of the kids. I was never interested in what
was going on in the world."
first husband was Bosnian, and left Canada to join ISIS "as a cook, not a
fighter," she says -- a common description from ISIS wives. Cook or not,
he was eventually killed in the fighting, she says.
two years she was single, and then re-married, this time a fellow Canadian. He,
too, was killed in the fighting. She is pregnant.
both marriages, she lived a cloistered life in Raqqa, attending to her two
sons. She didn't send her children to school, she says. "It was too
dangerous and there were too many bombings. They don't speak Arabic. So I
taught them myself," she replied.
I tried the most basic of Arabic out on her son, Yusif, he stared at me
middle-aged man visiting 'a dear friend'
adult who arrives is questioned by intelligence officers with the US-backed
Syrian Democratic Force. All adult males, and foreign women, are also
questioned by American, British and French personnel who have parked their
armored vehicles on a low bluff overlooking the assembled civilians. Our SDF
escorts made it clear we were not to approach or take images of the American
staff and their colleagues.
US military had questioned Fattah Al-Khatib, a man in his 50s with a thick
white beard, originally from Idlib Province in Western Syria. Fattah told me he
made the journey east to visit a "dear friend." When fighting broke
out, he and his family were forced to follow the retreating ISIS fighters.
you or any or your family have any connections with ISIS?" I asked him.
he answered, adding "that's exactly what the American intelligence people
asked me. No, I don't."
asked him about the situation inside Baghouz Al-Fawqani, where food and
supplies are known to be running low, and people are living in tents.
"It's normal," he said. "People have set up stalls and are
selling and bartering food and other goods. There are people from all over the
world. There are many people from Chechnya."
strange," I said, "that you find a Chechen in Baghouz Al-Fawqani,
isn't it?" I ask. Baghouz Al-Fawqani, even in the best of times, has never
been on the tourist circuit, and SDF commanders say there are many Chechens
among the 500 ISIS fighters holed up in the town.
don't know if it's suspicious or not," he replied, shrugging off my question
with complete nonchalance.
last survivors of an airstrike
Rahman, a young man in his 20s, and his extended family were on the receiving
end of an airstrike in the town. When I met him, he was sitting upright with a
blanket on his lap. His face, hands and arms were severely blistered. A bandage
wound round his head above bloodshot eyes. Next to him sat his kid sister, with
burns on her face as well.
Rahman's house in Baghouz Al-Fawqani took a direct hit at about three in the
morning, a few days ago. Asked if anyone died, he responded quickly: "My
mother, my brother, his wife, his son, my sister, my wife, my daughter, my
uncle, his wife and their two children," he says.
father, Salam, 45, listened. He has a bandage on his left hand and his face is
severely scarred. Another bandage winds around his neck and over his chin; he
says his jaw was broken in the airstrike.
afraid," he told me, his voice shaking. "Do you understand? I'm
afraid. All I have left is my daughter and my son." He covered his face
and broke down in tears.
mid-afternoon, two white buses arrived. Women and children climbed onboard for
a five-hour drive north, to an already overcrowded camp for the displaced near
the town of Al-Houl. Men believed to be ISIS members are sent to a separate
camp for further questioning. This includes more than 800 foreign fighters.
for the crying of babies, the passengers are subdued. Willing or otherwise,
these former subjects of the once-feared Islamic State have lost everything.
Their so-called caliphate has been reduced to a tiny dot on the map, soon to be
erased all together.
they lived under ISIS rule, state preachers and propagandists doubtless argued
that the terror group would resurge to defeat its enemies against all odds.
Some might still believe it.
on the bus, it seemed, reality had sunk in. The caliphate is on the brink of
death. This is the end.
Effat University celebrated 20 years of educational achievement on Feb. 7 under
the patronage of Prince Khalid Al-Faisal, adviser to the Custodian of the Two
Holy Mosques and governor of Makkah Region.
its 20th anniversary, Effat university also celebrated the graduation of 1,100
ceremony was attended by many members of the royal family, including Prince
Turki Al-Faisal and Princess Lulwa Al-Faisal, vice president of the board of
trustees and the general supervisor of Effat University.
Lulwa opened the proceedings with an inspiring speech about the story of her
mother, Queen Effat Al-Thunayyan, and about her work in supporting women’s
education in Saudi Arabia.
University is a pioneer in creating new educational opportunities for Saudi
we celebrate a purely female success story,” said the princess.
the graduates, she said: “The question (that was asked 70 years ago) was: Why
teach women? Why give them jobs? The answer is: We were preparing for this day,
for the era in which Saudi women have their natural position in public life, in
building the country and developing it. Where women stand completing the row
next to men, their brothers, where they stand as an impenetrable wall for their
princess said that women in Saudi Arabia are finally able to bridge the gaps
that could not be filled before.
are the answer to this question that has been asked for 70 years. You are
answer to the call of the present time. Congratulations! I feel I can see Queen
Effat putting her pen cap back on and smiling. Triumphantly, Effat Al-Thunayyan
answered the call with her words and deeds, perseverance and patience.”
President of Effat University Haifa Jamal Al-Lail delivered a speech addressing
the importance of this celebration, since Effat was the first private female
college. It was established in 1999 and became a university in 2009.
said: “The goal of the celebration is to highlight the role of the university
in the process of national development, to celebrate the achievements of the
university and to strengthen the identity of the university locally and
the ceremony, there was a video presenting the most prominent Effat graduates
and showing how Effat has paved the way for them to pursue their careers.
professor and provost Malak Al-Noori told Arab News how Effat helped to prepare
females for a bright future: “Effat was established to offer women empowerment
opportunities and special majors that are not offered by other universities.’’
added: “We also help our students to get not only the academic aspect of an
education, but most importantly a well-grounded personality.”
University was founded by Queen Effat Al-Thunayan, wife of King Faisal.
was a pioneer in the education and empowerment of Saudi women, and started Dar
Al-Hanan School, the first school for girls in the Kingdom in 1955, opening
doors for Saudi women to be educated right to this day.
Turki Al-Faisal said: “The university will continue to pursue the excellence
that is worthy of the name Effat.”
told the graduates: “You are the future and the hope to achieve the aspirations
of leadership of your country.’’
happiness of this day would not be perfect without family support, said Hala
Al-Zahrani a first honor architecture major graduate and a mother of one,
speaking to Arab News.
am really thrilled. I cannot believe that I finally made it to this day. I
appreciate all that Effat university taught me and the way my family supported
me led me to this success.’’
classroom is full but attentive, with the students, aged 14 and 15, sitting in
chairs arranged in a horseshoe shape.
front of them are two young women; Zaynab Albadry, who is Muslim, and Roxana
Jebreel, who is Jewish.
workshop session they are conducting is highly interactive.
parts of people’s identity are protected by the 2010 Equality Act,” Ms Jebreel
says, discussing the UK’s main legislation codifying anti-discrimination law.
going to ask you to form groups and try to work out what those nine aspects of
identity might be.”
a couple of minutes, students are encouraged to suggest answers. Some come
easily — gender, race, religion, sexuality, disability. Others, such as age and
gender reassignment, take a bit more time. The final two — pregnancy and
maternity, and marriage and civil partnerships, are provided by the session
people still face discrimination?” asks Ms Albadry. “Yes,” multiple students
respond in unison, without hesitation.
seminar is the brainchild of an organisation called Stand Up! Education Against
Discrimination. It was launched in January 2017 as part of Streetwise, a
partnership between the Community Security Trust and Maccabi GB which works to
empower Jewish students in certain areas, including anti-bullying, personal
safety — and antisemitism and discrimination.
Servi, the head of education at Maccabi GB, is manager of both the Streetwise
and Stand Up! projects.
2015 we had a review of all our work and decided that we really felt the need
to export antisemitism education to mainstream schools”, he said.
we really wanted to do was to create an interfaith partnership. The obvious
outlet for this was Tell Mama.”
Mama, a national project which, as its acronym indicates, works on “Measuring
Anti-Muslim Attacks”, works closely with the CST.
idea was to have somebody from a Jewish background and someone from a Muslim
background, together coming into a classroom of around 30, anything from 14- to
17-year-olds and discuss racism and discrimination, with a specific focus on
Islam and Judaism, and therefore antisemitism and anti-Muslim hate.”
programme has received funding both from the government and from private
we’ll go to funders and they will ask us, ‘who else is doing this work, outside
of the community?’” Mr Servi said.
are a number of projects and organisations that do similar type of work, but we
have a number of USPs. First of all, having two young representatives of their
faiths, of their communities, come in together is really powerful. The
factuality of our programme as well is probably unique, because we use CST and
Tell Mama resources, statistics and incidents.”
the last two years, Stand Up! has run seminars for over 10,000 students in 55
schools around the UK, primarily in London, but also in cities including
Manchester, Bristol and Liverpool.
sessions are usually an hour or two hours — either an hour where we then go
back for a second part, or two hours straight,” Ms Albadry explained.
sessions are from students between 13 and 18, with slight adaptations depending
on age, “but the structure is almost always the same.
start by talking about discrimination as a whole, and the Equality Act. We
frame it around the Equality Act because obviously not all students are Muslim
or Jewish, and they need to understand that discrimination as a whole is
unacceptable, and then we tell them that we will be focusing on one part.
actually talk about being abused based on different aspects of your identity
and not just one type of identity, which we think is important also.”
Servi stressed that “one thing we have been very careful in doing is represent
our expertise, but also be very open about what is not our expertise.
with all the other protective characteristics, we’ve partnered with other
national organisations that support those categories. For example, with LGBT
advocacy and training, we’ve partnered with Galup and Keshet UK.”
sessions then move on to discuss Islam and Judaism — via an interactive quiz,
in which students are asked questions about both faiths.
break down the stereotypes for both communities,” said Ms Albadry.
hand out an A5 sheet, which asks, ‘What stereotypes do you know?’ In some
schools they’ve never actually met a Jewish person and don’t Jewish students or
anything, but they will always know the stereotypes, which is really
of the things that come up include ‘rich’, ‘stingy’, ‘big families’ sometimes,
‘greedy’, ‘controlling the world’ — conspiracy theories come up quite a lot,
from ‘controlling the media’ to ‘controlling the world’ — and when you ask them
where they’ve heard this they say ‘oh, we’ve just heard it on YouTube or
something like that.’
the Muslim community it will be things like ‘terrorism’, ‘sexism’ comes up
quite a lot, ‘dress rules’, specifically for women, do come up.
we try to break these down. We talk about both communities — where the hatred
and discrimination started from, historical tropes — and then we move on to
talk about what’s happening today. We’ll talk about terrorism and immigration
with the Muslim community, with the Jewish community we talk about where the
idea of being money-hungry, of being stingy, comes from.
the second part we move on to talk about reporting and the importance of
reporting. So we take them through a range of incidents, whether it’s happening
on the bus, or online — because they usually think that the online space is
show them statistics from CST and Tell Mama, and we ask, ‘Have you experienced
anything?’ In almost every class, a student will put up their hands — if not
most of them — and they’ve faced discrimination at a very young age — sometimes
they’re opening up for the first time, because we’re trying to create that safe
then when you ask them whether they’ve experienced anything online, more hands
go up, because they haven’t considered it as an incident or an act of
we focus on reporting. We give out cards at the end, with the numbers of
different organisations to report incidents to.”
in on a couple of sessions at local schools in London, pupils’ engagement with
the subject matter was clear to see, whether Jewish, Muslim or otherwise. By
the second session, even students who were clearly less confident had started
to make their voices heard.
one session, pupils were told what to do if there’s an incident of
discrimination happening on a public bus: you can alert the driver and they
should have recordings of the incident via multiple cameras, and be able to
contact the police directly via a specially installed panic button.
not all sessions were as straightforward.
had a kid who told Zaynab, ‘I hate all Muslims, but you’re a really nice one”,
Mr Servi recalled.
had times where a student has said to us, ‘We just want the UK to be for white
normal English people’, and we’ve turned round to him and said, ‘What’s normal?
Do you not think we’re normal?’” Ms Albadry said.
don’t actually shut them down completely — we’ll just keep asking them
questions. Sometimes the students around them will be agitated and want to
respond to them, so we give them the chance to do so as well.
eventually they realise that the statement being made was not right. When we
break it down, they tend to realise it themselves and just start absorbing. Or
they realise that their ideas are being challenged and they need to go and do
their research further.
had times when students — I’ve showed them an example of something that’s being
shared online, like a picture saying, ‘Keep calm and kill all Muslims’ — and a
student said to me, ‘Actually that’s dark humour, that’s fine’. And other
students turned around to them and said: ‘What if someone said kill all your
group of people’ — and everyone started thinking about it, and then they
realised it wasn’t right. So usually the response comes from students within
a number of challenges. You sometimes get left-wing challenges, sometimes
right-wing challenges At times we go into Muslim schools or schools with a high
percentage of Muslim students, and we hear a lot of anti-Jewish conspiracies,
from 9/11 to all the stuff that we adults know about.
up until about a year ago there was a huge amount of conversation about UJS and
students on campus, and antisemitism on campus specifically. And I said that
antisemitism doesn’t start on campus, it doesn’t start at Fresher’s week.
the same goes for anti-Muslim hate, and the same for any other type of
discrimination. Without having a serious intervention, and a serious programme
that tackles these issues early on, then we can’t expect for it not to pop up
Up! has a number of other exciting projects in the pipeline. The organisation
has been working on video to “introduce Judaism and Islam to young people.
has two rabbis and two Muslim leaders, one male, one female [of each]. From the
Jewish perspective there’s an Orthodox and Progressive rabbi; from the Muslim
perspective, there’s a very well known imam and a female faith leader.”
above all, they’re hoping to expand the programme further afield.
terms of reach we’ve exceeded our expectations and been in many more schools
than we thought we would be,” Mr Servi says.
opportunities for expansion are “almost limitless. There are 3,400 secondary
schools in the country”.
Servi expressed his thanks to MHCLG and Betty Messenger Charitable Foundation,
which have funded Stand Up! until now and will do for the next three years.
Australian television programme is contending that Australian border forces
have been targeting women they suspect are fleeing Saudi Arabia and blocking
them from entering the country and applying for asylum. The Australian
investigative television show Four Corners unearthed evidence of at least two
young Saudi women being sent home after arriving at Sydney Airport and
indicating they planned to file asylum claims.
Corners also found that Australian authorities ask Saudi women who arrive alone
why they are traveling without a male guardian, and ask for their guardians’
recent reforms in the Kingdom, Saudi Arabia maintains a severe system of male
guardianship that requires women to have a male relative a father, uncle, husband, brother or even a
son serve as their guardian and make
critical decisions on their behalf. Women are prohibited from applying for
passports or travelling abroad without permission from their male guardian.
system strangles women …and considers them as minors in society,” Suad
Abu-Dayyeh, a women’s rights activist and MENA region consultant for Equality
Now, told FRANCE 24.
things considered normal for women even in other parts of the Arab world, such
as baring skin, wearing too much makeup or swimming in public are considered
moral crimes that can land one in jail. Women also become the targets of honour
killings at the hands of their families.
Corners spoke to several Saudi women who managed to flee to Australia. All of
them are still waiting for their asylum claims to be processed. But even in
Australia the women don’t feel safe because they are regularly harassed by
Saudi men trying to persuade them to return home. Four Corners confirmed that
at least one of the men involved in the harassment works for the Saudi Ministry
of the Interior.
least 80 women sought asylum in Australia in recent years, according to the
Four Corners report. According to World Bank data, 1,169 Saudis left the
country as refugees in 2017. That same year Australia resettled 15,100
refugees, according to UNHCR. In 2015-2016, the numbers of refugees originating
from Iraq and Syria eclipsed those from other countries, according to
Settlement Services International. Saudi Arabia was not in the top 10.
of the Saudi women interviewed on the TV show said that, in 2017, she went to
the Sydney airport to meet a friend who had fled Saudi Arabia via Indonesia and
was planning to ask for asylum in Australia. She never emerged from airport
arrivals, and her friends in Australia haven’t heard from her since.
program also detailed the case of a woman who landed at the Sydney airport in
November, 2017. She was interrogated, detained for three days without access to
a lawyer and then forcibly deported, according to Taleb Al Abdulmohsen, a Saudi
psychiatrist and activist based in Germany who spoke to FRANCE 24 and was
interviewed on the show. He said the woman was detained for three days without
access to a lawyer and then forcibly deported.
started to meticulously interrogate girls at the Australian airport at least
since August 2017. It is getting worse," Abdulmohsen said on the program.
"They ask the Saudi woman if her male guardian allowed her to travel. They
ask for his phone number to call him. They also ask her to give them her cell
phone and read her SMS, WhatsApp and other chat messages and emails, searching
for signs of asylum intent, and they meticulously search the luggage to find
any signs of asylum intent such as school certificates."
woman denied entry to Australia still has the right to apply for asylum, but
the process becomes very different. “They take you to a detention centre, and
the treatment is very harsh,” Abdulmohsen told FRANCE 24. For an asylum seeker,
a detention centre in Australia is “the worst place you can be in all developed
women do not get as far as Australia. Four Corners also told the stories of two
Saudi sisters who were planning on traveling to Sydney from Hong Kong last
September. The young women had valid Australian visas but Saudi officials
stopped them at the Hong Kong airport, took their passports and asked
Australian consular officials to cancel their visas. The officials complied.
The sisters have spent the last four months in hiding in Hong Kong.
getting out of Saudi is an ordeal.
really two methods for doing this,” Adam Coogle, a Middle East Researcher for
Human Rights Watch told the program. “One is they hack into their father's
phone and change the permission settings for their travel … and run to the
airport… The other method is if the family takes a vacation, they flee and
abscond while outside the country.”
Four Corners investigation began in January when Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun, a
Saudi teenager, ran away during a family vacation in Kuwait. She intended to go
to Australia, but was detained in Bangkok. Thai authorities initially said they
would deport her, but she barricaded herself in her room at the airport transit
hotel and quickly opened a Twitter account, sending the #SaveRahaf hashtag
the time, Qunun had a valid Australian tourist visa. Her plan was to spend a
few days in Bangkok before she continued on to Melbourne, where she would apply
for asylum. As soon as she landed in Bangkok, she told Four Corners, a man
approached her saying he was there to help her get a visa for Thailand. That
was a lie; the truth was her family had reported her missing and he worked for
the Saudi embassy. He took her passport.
soon as she heard about the case, Australian journalist Sophie McNeill flew to
Bangkok, snuck past the guards outside Qunun’s room and barricaded herself
inside with the young Saudi woman. Qunun said she would not leave the room
until she spoke to a representative from the United Nations High Commission for
UNHCR gave her refugee status. The Australian government said they would review
her case but it would take time. Canada granted her status within a matter of
hours of her request. A week later she arrived there.
told Four Corners she had been warned about border agents in Australia. "I
heard that they investigate women, especially Saudi women and ask them where
their guardian is," she said. "So, my plan was to tell them that my
father knew about this and he has allowed me to travel."
outcome for girls leaving Saudi Arabia isn’t always as rosy as it was for
April, 2017, 24-year-old Dina Ali Lasloom was stopped in the Philippines on her
way to Australia and had her passport confiscated.
story also went viral after a stranger she befriended in the airport filmed a
video of her saying she would be killed if she returned home and posted it on
social media. But the intervention was to no avail. Men who were said to be her
uncles showed up in the airport, duct taped her mouth shut, taped her arms and
legs together, and forced the screaming young woman onto a plane. Activists
heard reports she was being held in a shelter for women, which effectively
serve as prisons, but she hasn’t been heard from and her exact situation is
is sure is that women who are returned to the Kingdom face bleak futures. “They
will be living in hell,” Abu-Dayyeh told FRANCE 24. “If they are not killed
they will be locked in home, they will be imprisoned at home.”
Australian Border Force issued a statement after the broadcast, without
addressing any of the specific allegations in the piece. “Any traveller who
seeks to engage Australia’s protection obligations are subject to a process that
confirms their circumstances and whether their reasons for seeking to enter
Australia require further consideration against Australia’s non-refoulement
obligations, or whether they can be removed to their home country or place of
departure, consistent with Australia’s international obligations,” the
statement read in part.
Dhabi: Sixty women from different nationalities were welcomed back by their
families on Tuesday after completing a five-day 170km Women’s Heritage Walk
across the desert from Abu Dhabi to Al Ain.
in its fifth year, the Women’s Heritage Walk, which is supported by groups
including the Salama Bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation and the Department of
Culture and Tourism — Abu Dhabi, looks to replicate the historical journey
Emiratis used to make when going from Abu Dhabi to Al Ain for trade and cooler
part of their journey, the women would start their day just before sunrise,
walking an average of 10 hours until near sunset when they would set up camp
and sleep under the stars.
celebrate the completion of the walk, a closing ceremony was held at the
Cultural Foundation in Abu Dhabi as each woman was awarded a certificate by
Shaikh Nahayan Bin Mabarak Al Nahayan, Minister of Tolerance, who was there to
congratulate the women.
the fifth consecutive year, courageous and adventurous women representing the
diverse population of the UAE have renewed a tradition that has shaped Emirati
culture,” said the minister.
planning, prudence, physicality, prowess and persistence are all admirable,” he
Nahayan also praised the diversity of the group, which he said made the
Heritage Walk a unique and special event.
came from different nationalities, cultures, religions and ethnicities. You are
a microcosm of the UAE’s amazing diverse population.
community has been strengthened by your walk across the desert, you all
undoubtedly walked with one another and bridged many cultural gaps. Your tired
muscles and sand-filled boots differed not one bit from those of your
companions, as you all discovered your communal humanity,” he added.
Tamim, a British resident who took part in the walk said it was her first
adventure into the UAE’s desert after living in the country for 25 years.
joined the Women’s Heritage Walk to experience the UAE in a different way,” she
said. “I’ve lived here for 25 years and have never done a desert trip.
were walking on average for about 10 hours day and experienced every type of
weather along the way.
do a lot of fitness training so I didn’t get any aches or blisters, and in fact
that was one of things I wanted to challenge myself on — to see if I was going
to be able to endure the whole walk,” she added.
Zaatari, a Lebanese resident who took part in the walk said she enjoyed being
outdoors and reconnecting with nature.
was a very beautiful experience. This was the first time for me, leaving my
family and everything behind.
enjoyed every moment of the walk and the chance to bond with so many different
ladies,” she added.
Ca Aya, from the Philippines, said she was proud to have completed the long
was amazing, we were out walking every day for almost 10 hours covering a
distance of up to 30 kilometres. The big challenge for me were the big sand
dunes, but once we reached the top of the dunes, the view of the desert was
weather was also a challenge, there were rain storms, wind storms, cold
weather, hot weather and humidity — all of this made the experience more fun,”
spoke fondly of what she called the sisterhood that formed between the women
during the walk.
were strangers at the start, but as we were in this journey together, we all
helped and motivated one another. For five days, it was like one big family.”
women scale significant heights at all fronts: Shaikha Fatima Bint Mubarak
Dhabi: Her Highness Shaikha Fatima Bint Mubarak, Chairwoman of the General
Women's Union (GWU), President of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and
Childhood, and Supreme Chairwoman of the Family Development Foundation (FDF)
has affirmed that Emirati women have scaled enviable heights in both the government
and private sectors thanks to the support provided by the country's wise
Fatima made the remarks as she received this evening at Qasr Al Bahr, Gulshara
Abdykalikova, Secretary of State of Kazakhstan, now on a state visit to the
is setting a precedent in gender balance and women's empowerment at the
workplace as they now account for more than 66 percent of jobs in the
government sector," Shaikha Fatima said, highlighting the recent
directives by the UAE leadership to boost the representation of Emirati women
in the Federal National Council to 50 percent from the next legislative
23,000 Emirati businesswomen are running UAE40 billion in successful
investments and are excelling themselves across various economic and social
domains," she added.
commended Shaikh Fatima's significant role in ensuring Emirati women's
empowerment at all fronts.
the meeting were Shaikha Alyazia Bint Saif bin Mohammad Al Nahyan, the wife of
Shaikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and
International Cooperation; Noura Khalifa Al Suwaidi, Director-General of the
General Women's Union, and Farida Al Awadhi, Chairwoman of the Emirates
Business Women Council.
a women’s rights organization which advocates equal representation of women and
men in all fields of life, has criticized Turkish political parties for
nominating very few women to run as mayors in the upcoming March 31 local
number of female candidates nominated by parties for the March 31 elections has
created a total disappointment. Very few women have been nominated as mayoral
candidates by the People’s Alliance and Nation Alliance,” KA.DER said in a
press release issued on Feb. 6, referring to the electoral alliance between the
ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Nationalist Movement Party
(MHP) and the one between the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP)
and İYİ (Good) Party, respectively.
the 1,297 mayoral candidates that the AKP has announced for across Turkey, only
24 are women, corresponding to a staggeringly low 1.25 percent, according to
information the association has gathered from party headquarters and media.
main opposition CHP, on the other hand, has so far released the names of 842
mayor candidates, only 44 of them are women, corresponding to a mere 5.23
the 750 candidates announced by the MHP, 14 are women, whereas İYİ Party, which
is the only political party to have a female leader, has named only five women
as mayoral candidates, out of a total 122 names (corresponding to 3.85
percent). The Saadet (Felicity) Party has named only two female candidates for
the upcoming elections, making up 0.77 percent of the total 261 names.
election, the party to have nominated the most female candidates is again the
Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), putting forward 145 women, out of 290 in
total, as mayoral candidates. This makes it 50 percent female representation in
the local elections.
interest of women in political party membership and politics is increasing day
by day, but their visibility in the parties’ decision-making structures and
mechanisms is very low. The political figures that overlook women have lost
their plausibility and sincerity regarding women issues,” said KA.DER President
Nuray Karaoğlu in the press release.
discrimination remains unfulfilled’
positive discrimination [for women] has again remained unfulfilled,” an
academic at the Istanbul-based Altınbaş University has said, also criticizing
the number of female mayoral candidates.
the 51 metropolitan municipality mayoral candidates that the CHP has announced,
only two are women [Aydın Mayor candidate Özlem Çerçioğlu and Amasya Mayor
candidate Arife Serpil Saraçoğlu]. For the district mayoral candidates on the
other hand, of the 785 people, only 39 are women. In Istanbul’s 39 districts,
there is only one woman candidate. I find CHP chair Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu’s
statement ‘Women suggest male candidates’ very unfortunate,” said Zeynep Banu
Dalaman, the manager of the Research Center on Gender and Women’s Studies at
Altınbaş University, in a statement on Feb. 8.
is an indicator of how the patriarchal mentality which the CHP harbors is
actually far from its social democrat principles. This statement, in a time
when women abstain from competing with men in politics, when they go through
anxiety of being ill-treated in nomination races, shows how they [women] are
right regarding their concerns,” said Dalaman.
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