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Islam, Women and Feminism (15 Sep 2019 NewAgeIslam.Com)



Milk Kinship: Many Years Ago Muslim Babies Were Breastfed by Hindu Women and Vice Versa at Kerala's Nadapuram












New Indian Express Illustration

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Egypt Teen on Trial for Killing Bus Driver Who Allegedly Raped Her Ignites Debate

Toronto Raptors Are Selling A Team-Branded Hijab For Muslim Women Athletes

Education Authorities In Pakistan To Girls: Wear ‘Abaya’ To Avoid Eve-Teasing And Harassment

Tamil Nadu: Parents Threatening To Kill Girl For Converting To Islam?

Domestic Violence in the Middle East

Afghan Women Weave War Into Their Rugs

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islam,-women-and-feminism/new-age-islam-news-bureau/milk-kinship--many-years-ago-muslim-babies-were-breastfed-by-hindu-women-and-vice-versa-at-kerala-s-nadapuram/d/119746

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Milk Kinship: Many Years Ago Muslim Babies Were Breastfed By Hindu Women And Vice Versa at Kerala's Nadapuram

14th September 2019

By Amiya Meethal

KOZHIKODE: Polarisation between Hindu and Muslim communities of Nadapuram has been much talked about in the wake of the communal clashes. However, many years ago, there existed an unparalleled kinship between the two communities, which was nourished with breast milk.

In his Facebook post, Delhi University assistant professor and Nadapuram native Yasser Arafat elaborates on how Muslim babies were breastfed by Hindu women in his home town.

Arafat came out with the Facebook post in the wake of a video of a Muslim religious speaker Simsarul Haq Hudavi appearing on social media in which he exhorts his community members to desist from taking part in Onam-Christmas celebrations as it amounted to polytheism. Though the video is old, it resurfaced on social media ahead of Onam.

“I first heard of this unique ‘milk kinship’ from my grandmother. Different anecdotes over the same were heard from my mother, father and his friend Kalarikkal Narayani,” said Arafat who had submitted a research paper on the topic, Transcending breasts: Milk kinship, Identities and Communal living in Malabar. “My father was breastfed by two Hindu women. Many of my uncles were breastfed by Hindu women. There were Hindu children who were breastfed by Muslim women as well. All these wonderful people shared a unique camaraderie transcending religious differences,” said Arafat.

Multiple reasons

According to him, there were multiple reasons for this unique kinship.

“There were many Hindu women working as domestics in affluent Muslim households. During that time, irrespective of religion, women had many children and often the kids were breastfed by domestics or neighbours belonging to another community. Also, kids who lost their mothers were breastfed by women often belonging to another community. I have a relative named Poyil Abdulla who was breastfed for years by a Thiyya woman,” said Arafat.

According to him, caste was not a factor as both Nair and Thiyya women breastfed Muslim kids.

Moidu-Chirutha kinship

The fraternal bond between K Moidu Moulavi and Chirutha is a glowing example of ‘milk kinship’ in Nadapuram. Moulavi was a prominent leader of the Jamaat-e-Islami and he was breastfed by a Hindu woman who had a daughter named Chirutha. Moulavi and Chirutha were treated as siblings. Retired teacher M A Vanimel said it was at a public meeting held in the wake of Nadapuram flare-up the Moulavi disclosed his kinship with Chirutha.

http://www.newindianexpress.com/good-news/2019/sep/14/keralas-nadapuram-where-muslim-babies-were-breastfed-by-hindu-women-and-vice-versa-2033270.html

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Egypt Teen on Trial for Killing Bus Driver Who Allegedly Raped Her Ignites Debate

14 Sep, 2019

The prosecution of a 15-year-old girl who killed a bus driver after he allegedly tried to rape her has reignited debate over the treatment of women in Egypt's legal system, including the practice of virginity tests and blaming victims of sexual violence.

In July, the teenager made headlines after she confessed to police that she stabbed to death a bus driver who she alleged had kidnapped her in a deserted rural area near Cairo and sought to sexually assault her at knife point. The girl said she tricked her alleged assailant, took away his knife, and stabbed him several times before running away.

Shortly after her arrest, the teenager was required to undergo a virginity test, an invasive procedure that rights groups say in itself amounts to sexual assault.

Several women's rights groups have offered legal assistance, arguing for leniency for the teen because she defended herself against a sexual attack. They hope that a judge's ruling in her favour could set an important legal precedent and help challenge what they view as a deep-seated misogynistic culture of blaming female victims rather than male attackers.

"This case reveals the dualism in Egyptian society," said Intissar Saeed, president of the Cairo Foundation for Law and Development. "I myself have sympathised with her since day one. But when I wrote about her on my Facebook page some male lawyers attacked the girl on my page saying she was not a decent woman."

The teen's name was widely published in the Egyptian media. However, The Associated Press does not generally identify individuals who say they have been sexually assaulted or those under the age of 18 who are accused of crimes.

The case highlights the culture's obsession with female virginity. In conservative areas, relatives celebrate a new bride's loss of virginity by brandishing a bloody sheet in public, a practice they believe affirms the family's honour.

Unlawful virginity examinations garnered attention in 2011 when several women said they were detained by military personnel and forced to undergo virginity tests while protesting the interim military government that took over the country after the ouster of former President Hosni Mubarak.

During her interrogation, the girl said she was on a date with her boyfriend before riding the bus — a statement that could easily undermine her reputation and probably her credibility in conservative Egyptian society, where dating is frowned upon. Her boyfriend, along with a friend of his, are in custody pending investigations into any potential links to the crime.

After her detention, the girl was required to undergo a vaginal test which determined she was a virgin — which in the Egyptian context could be viewed as helpful to her case.

Saeed explains that this test is a routine legal procedure whenever a woman reports a rape or alleged rape. Yet, she finds it irrelevant in this case.

"She said (the bus driver) tried to rape her but did not so I believe there was no need for this examination," said Saeed, whose advocacy group is part of the teen's legal team.

Feminists have been campaigning for the girl's release and calling for her to face a lesser charge than murder. However, last month, the investigating judge upheld an appeal by the prosecutor against an earlier court decision to release her and ordered her detained for another 30 days.

"There is a frightening misogynistic sense of solidarity in the society," said Mozn Hassan, founder of Nazra for Feminist Studies, a group that has long provided legal and psychological support to women who had to undergo a virginity test. The test has become a tool to weigh the virtuousness of the victim in cases of sexual assault, added Hassan.

"If she is not divorced, married or widowed and turned out not to be a virgin, she gets automatically labelled as indecent and deserving what she had gone through."

"The man is always presumed innocent. Yet, it is very logical in a country where more than 95 percent of women are sexually harassed, that we should start off by believing what the woman is saying," she said.

Sexual harassment, mostly ranging from catcalls to occasional pinching or grabbing, is rampant in Egypt. Polls have found that most men and women in the conservative Muslim country believe it is justified if women dress "provocatively" in public.

Surveys indicate that a vast majority of Egyptian women feel insecure in the streets.

In 2014, Egypt's penal code was amended amid pressure from women's groups to include a broad definition of sexual harassment and tougher penalties. However, most women remain reluctant to file complaints for fear of stigmatisation.

The teen's lawyers hope she will be charged with a so-called honor killing rather than murder. Honour killings traditionally are acts of vengeance committed by male family members against female family members deemed to have brought dishonour upon the family. But the girl's attorneys believe the concept could be applied in her case.

Under Egypt's penal code, men are more likely to receive lighter sentences if convicted of an honor killing, a discrimination that activists have been struggling to reverse for decades.

But there are no guarantees for the young female defendant, Hassan said.

"The law takes into consideration the emotional status of a man when he rises to defend his honor, which is very patriarchal," she said. "However, this (has not been) applicable to women. Honour only concerns men."

The investigating magistrate is still expected to receive a detailed forensic report of the crime before deciding on the charges.

"This is the first time we have a girl that goes as far as killing the man who tried to rape her. If the court rules in her favour, it will be a historic precedent for the Egyptian judicial system," said Saeed.

https://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/news/article.cfm?c_id=2&objectid=12267725

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Toronto Raptors Are Selling A Team-Branded Hijab For Muslim Women Athletes

By Alaa Elassar

September 14, 2019

(CNN)The Toronto Raptors are making history once again.

In June, they became the first Canadian team to win an NBA Championship. This week, they became the first team to sell a branded hijab, the headscarf worn by many Muslim women.

The Raptors unveiled the team-branded Nike Pro Hijab on social media Friday.

The hijab, which features a Raptors claw on one side and a Nike Swoosh on the other, was "inspired by those brave enough to change the game," the team said on Twitter.

Toronto Raptors

@Raptors

Inspired by those brave enough to change the game.

The Toronto Raptors Nike Pro Hijab is available now.#WeTheNorth

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7:30 PM - Sep 13, 2019

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The tweet included a video of Muslim women playing basketball. In the video, a woman says: "Growing up, I didn't have so many role models that looked like me."

"It's about Muslim females not having to give up their identity or feeling like they have to sacrifice some portion of their identity, but also still play whatever sport they want."

The women in the video are members of Hijabi Ballers, a Toronto-area athletic club for Muslim girls and women.

The club collaborated with the Raptors to launch the branded hijab.

"We're excited and humbled to partner with none other than the 2019 NBA Champions @raptors to present our mandate to the world — celebrating and increasing opportunities for Muslim girls and women in sport — as they launch the new Toronto Raptors @Nike Pro Hijab!" the club said on Instagram.

They also thanked the Raptors for recognizing the role Muslim women play in "changing the culture around sport" in the city.

Amreen Kadwa, founder and executive director of Hijabi Ballers, said the Raptors were accommodating and respectful of the club and what they needed to bring to the hijab to market.

"It's one thing to do a launch. But it's another thing to actually involve the local community and involve the athletes that are going to be using these hijabs, so that was really nice of them to involve us in the process," Kadwa told CNN.

The 24-year-old founder said the response has been overwhelming.

"With the Raptors releasing a hijab to this market of hijab-wearing athletes, it shows that they're a team that actually truly respects diversity and inclusivity and will take that extra step to involve Muslim athletes in their growth as a team and organization," said Kadwa.

The branded hijab sells for $40 at the Real Sports Apparel store at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto. It is currently not available online.

Nike launched the "Pro Hijab" series in 2017. It has since been worn by athletes at a range of sporting events, including fencing and figure skating.

https://edition.cnn.com/2019/09/14/us/toronto-raptors-hijab-trnd/index.html

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Education Authorities In Pakistan To Girls: Wear ‘Abaya’ To Avoid Eve-Teasing And Harassment

Sep 15, 2019

ISLAMABAD: Education authorities in Pakistan’s Haripur district have made it mandatory for all female students of government schools to wear an abaya, gown or chador, aimed at “protecting them from eve-teasing and harassment”.

In a circular issued to all principals and headmasters of government schools, district education officer Samina Altaf said that since providing police protection to girl students at every nook and corner was not possible, the administration had decided to make it binding upon them to observe “proper purdah for their safety”.

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/pakistan/pakistan-district-to-girls-wear-abaya-to-avoid-harassment/articleshow/71132287.cms

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Tamil Nadu: Parents Threatening To Kill Girl For Converting To Islam?

14th September 2019

MADURAI: A 24-year-old woman has approached the Madurai Bench of HC seeking protection, alleging that her parents are threatening to kill her for ‘family honour’ as she converted to another religion. The petitioner, M Keerthana Devi belongs to caste Hindu from Theni.

She converted to Islam of her own volition and changed her name to Shaheen Zainab Fathima, despite objections. In the petition, she claimed that seeing her conversion as a dishonour to family name, her parents beat her up, threatened her, and kept her under illegal confinement.

“Consequently I left home on September 12 and approached a jamath named Jammiyathul Ahlil Quran Val Hadees (JAQH) which gave me shelter. But my parents threaten to kill me for family pride,” she alleged. Further, claiming the local police were supporting her parents, and were constantly harassing her by asking her to come to the station for inquiry, she prayed to the court to grant her protection. 

When the case came for hearing before Justice GK Ilanthirayan, a counsel appearing for Devi’s parents contended that they did not threaten her and are worried about her safety. Following the same, the counsel for petitioner submitted that she is not willing to go with her parents and is ready to appear before the court on Monday to clear the apprehensions of her parents.

http://www.newindianexpress.com/states/tamil-nadu/2019/sep/14/tamil-nadu-parents-threatening-to-kill-girl-for-converting-to-islam-2033418.html

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Domestic Violence in the Middle East

By César Chelala

September 14, 2019

Gender violence, manifested essentially as violence against women, is one of the most significant epidemics in the Middle East today.

This kind of violence occurs in practically all countries in the region and affects families of all backgrounds, religions and social spheres. It affects not only families but societies as a whole.

It is estimated that 37% of women in Arab countries have experienced domestic violence. According to a United Nations report, approximately 200,000 women were victims of domestic violence in Israel between 2014 and 2015.

Various cultural, economic and social factors, including shame and fear of retaliation from their partners, contribute to women’s reluctance to denounce these acts.

The women who speak up mostly turn to their families and friends rather than the police. The lack of effective judicial response to their accusations contributes to their discouragement. North Africa and the Middle East have the fewest legal protections against domestic violence.

Consequences of domestic violence

“Violence against women has multiple consequences, at the individual level, within the family, community and wider society. It can lead to fatal outcomes and have a significant burden on the economy,” said Manal Benkirane, regional program specialist at the UN Women’s Regional Office for Arab States.

Worldwide, violence is as common a cause of death and disability as cancer is among women of reproductive age. It is also a greater cause of ill-health than traffic accidents and malaria put together.

Public health experts increasingly consider violence against women a public health issue, one requiring a public health approach.

The experience of violence makes women more susceptible to a variety of mental health problems such as depression, suicide and alcohol and drug abuse.

Sexual violence also increases women’s risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS (through forced sexual relations or because of the difficulty in persuading men to use condoms). It may also lead to serious gynecological problems.

A global problem

The World Organization against Torture has expressed its concern regarding the high levels of violence against women worldwide.

Although provisions related to domestic violence are included in several national policies and laws, there are difficulties in implementing them.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “nearly half of women who die due to homicide are killed by their current or former husbands or boyfriends.”

Public health experts increasingly consider violence against women a public health issue. Studies carried out in the Arab world show that 70% of violence occurs in big cities, and that in almost 80% of cases those responsible are the heads of families, such as fathers or eldest brothers.

In most cases, they assert their right to punish their wives and children in any way they see appropriate.

Of the 22 United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) member states, only Jordan, Lebanon, Tunisia, Morocco, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia are considered to have laws to protect women against domestic abuse.

The good news

There has been some progress, however, regarding this problem. Tunisia, for example, continues to raise the bar for Arab women’s rights in the 21st century.

In 2014, The Ministry of Women and Family Affairs wrote a draft bill condemning and criminalizing domestic violence. The draft law was approved in 2016.

In Lebanon, there are no reliable statistics about domestic violence, a subject that still remains a taboo in Lebanese society.

In 2009, the second Arab Regional Conference for Family Protection took place in Jordan. It was held under the patronage of Her Majesty Queen Rania, chairperson of the National Council for Family Affairs (NCFA).

The conference formulated a unified strategy for safeguarding families from domestic violence, with the attendance of family experts and sociologists from the Arab world.

In Morocco, the Union of Women’s Action (UAF) has organized forums to raise public awareness of violence against women, and lobby local groups to protect victimized women.

At the same time, counseling centers have been set up to allow women to talk about their problems and receive help.

In Egypt, where the phenomenon is pervasive in society, Beit Hawa (The House of Eve) was founded as the first comprehensive women’s shelter in Egypt and the Arab world.

In December of 2018, protesters across Israel criticized the government’s failure to address violence against women.

Chanting to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “wake up, our blood is not cheap,” the protest was a reaction to the killings of 24 women last year at the hands of a partner, family member or an acquaintance.

After the protests, the Welfare Ministry reported a 150% increase in complaints about domestic violence cases in the country.

Addressing domestic violence

However, more work has to be done if this epidemic of violence is going to be controlled.

Government and community leaders should spearhead efforts to create a culture of openness and support to eliminate the stigma associated with this problem.

Furthermore, it is necessary not only to enact but also to enforce legislation that criminalizes all forms of violence against women, including marital rape. Laws should be followed up with plans for specific national action.

The 2009 report by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) stated that women’s lack of social participation “is primarily attributable to the existence of discriminatory laws, failure to implement the nondiscriminatory legislation that does exist and a lack of awareness by women of their rights in such matters.”

There cannot be true development in the Middle East without women’s progress and the recognition of their rights.

As a Human Development Report stated, “The rise of Arab women is in fact a prerequisite for an Arab renaissance and is causally linked to the fate of the Arab world and its achievement of human development.”

https://www.theglobalist.com/middle-east-domestic-violence-gender-equality/

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Afghan Women Weave War Into Their Rugs

Sep 15, 2019

Central Asian women have been weaving hand-made rugs and carpets for thousands of years but in recent years, they have begun incorporating weapons and machines into their creations, marking the change in Afghanistan’s political climate.

Artsy, an art website, posted an extensive story by Vanessa Thill on the phenomenon and noted that the flowers, birds and decorative knots in traditional rugs have been replaced by machine guns, grenades, helicopters and tanks.

Many of the creators of these rugs were displaced during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and are living as refugees in Pakistan and Iran.

These carpets have become part of a niche market for Western collectors.

Thill noted that in the carpets’ compositions, perspectival viewpoints merge and flatten to integrate three-dimensional forms with maps and repeating decorative patterns. Some of the rug designs are based on Charbagh, a quadrilateral layout inspired by the four gardens of Paradise described in the Holy Quran. Another genre of rugs depicts national maps of Afghanistan, which may have been influenced by Alighiero Boetti’s map series.

The Italian Conceptual artist traveled to Afghanistan and Pakistan in the 1980s and worked with female weavers, first in Kabul and later in Peshawar, to create brightly colored tapestries depicting world maps with national flags labeled with bold text. Some of the war rugs feature Roman characters spelling out “USSR,” “Made in Afghanistan,” or “Long Live US Soldiers.”

New York-based artist Leah Dixon first encountered war rugs online in 2010 and now makes colourful yoga mats. She described the work as a homage to the carpet weavers and a jab at the United States’ commercialized relationship with war.

https://www.samaa.tv/culture/2019/09/afghan-women-weave-war-into-their-rugs/

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