this photo taken Thursday, Sept. 20, 2018, praying ensembles and dresses are
displayed in the exhibit Contemporary Muslim Fashions at the M. H. de Young
Memorial Museum in San Francisco.
A Muslim Woman, I'm Visually-Impaired and I'm A Boxer'
Woman to Be Caned, Jailed For Prostitution under Islamic Law
Women's Run Adds New Platform for Empowerment
in Afghan 'Mullah' Sex Tapes Arrested
Women Push For Cafes of Their Own
Growing Repression, Turkey's Women Graffiti Artists Shine
FRSC ‘deliberately excluded’ Muslim women from recruitment exercise – MURIC
Case: How Indian Supreme Court Underlined Women’s Autonomy as Facet of Human
Pashto Singer Arrested for ‘Uploading Girl’s Personal Pictures Online’
Model Shot Dead In Baghdad, In the Latest Murder of Women
by New Age Islam News Bureau
Muslim Women’s Fashion Debuts at San Francisco Museum
head covering is among the most identifiable parts of Muslim women’s clothing.
choice of dress is often thought of as uncreative and restrictive to many
new exhibit in California shows that the covering used by some Muslim women can
be very colorful.
show, called “Contemporary Muslim Fashions,” opened September 22 at the M.H. de
Young Memorial Museum in San Francisco. Visitors can see fashion products from
nearly 60 designers from around the world, including the Middle East and
clothes are colorful, beautiful and playful. They include high-priced,
made-to-order fashions and bright, lively streetwear.
a deeper understanding of fashion
show is said to be the first major museum exhibition of its kind. Organizers
say they hope to create a deeper understanding of the women who are part of the
second-largest religion in the world.
Hariri is one of two Iranian-born sisters whose company designed the exhibit. She
told the Associated Press that “Muslim women are being increasingly targeted
for using their fashion choices to assert their independence and identity. We
hope that this exhibition will allow a positive review and examination of a
community that’s often talked about, but rarely given the chance to speak and
present itself,” she said.
exhibit comes at a time of conflicts in Western countries over Muslim clothing.
government recently barred women from wearing face veils in public. It said the
move was needed to ensure public safety and to support Danish values. Austria,
Belgium and France have similar laws.
D’Alessandro is the curator for costume and textile arts for the Fine Arts
Museums of San Francisco, which includes the de Young Museum.
said ideas for the exhibit started to develop before the election of Donald
Trump as president of the United States. She said the issue was raised in 2016,
when people in France protested a ban on “burkini” swimwear worn by some Muslim
women. At the same time, D’Alessandro said she was seeing examples of stylish
“modest fashion” by young Muslim women who also wanted to show their religious
modest fashion has become a $44 billion industry, with more Western fashion
houses creating products for Muslim people.
year, Nike began selling a headscarf made of high-technology fabric. A Max Mara
fashion show in 2017 had a model wearing a hijab and a long coat, which is a
common look among wealthier Muslim women.
Institute for Social Policy and Understanding studies American Muslims. The
group released a study that showed most women said they wear a hijab for
religious reasons. Only one percent said they were required to do so by family.
Mogahed, the institute’s research director, is happy the de Young Museum agreed
to the exhibit. Mogahed is not allied with the show. She says she objects to
governments that force Muslim women to cover themselves in a certain way and
those that won’t let women cover up as they wish.
of D’Alessandro’s favourite finds is a 2012 “Hoody Dress” by British designer
Sarah Elenany. She created long-sleeve, knee-length dresses for the Scout
Association in the United Kingdom so Muslim girls could play sports and climb.
The dresses were worn over leggings.
among the pieces is a traditional Pakistani wedding dress by Saba Ali, a San
Francisco-area stylist who served as an adviser to the exhibition.
feel it’s so important in this day and age and the climate we live in. A lot of
people don’t know Muslims,” Ali said. “Art is a means to a conversation for
people to get to know a culture or people better.”
strong, and with a steely determination behind her eyes, Sannah Hussain has
many of the traits you need to be successful in the boxing ring.
she is very different to your average amateur boxer.
is a Scottish Muslim who wears a headscarf and dresses modestly and also lives
with a series of debilitating health conditions
25-year-old was born with Albinism, a condition which affects the colour of her
hair, the pigment in her skin and has caused a serious visual impairment.
also has an autoimmune condition, called Myasthenia Gravis, which causes muscle
weakness and fatigue.
the Glasgow-based charity worker is adamant her health conditions will not
prevent her from stepping into the ring for her first exhibition fight this
always been an active person regardless of my vision, regardless of my
muscles," she told BBC Scotland.
always been a go-getter, I've always wanted to be up and about, doing
passion for the sport developed after she set up a class for women from
minority groups as part of her job with the Human Appeal charity earlier this
wanted to provide safe, friendly, and empowering fitness sessions for women who
might normally wear the hijab.
Saturday morning sessions at the Kynoch Boxing gym in Glasgow's Kinning Park
have been popular with women uneasy in a "normal" Lycra-dominant gym
arranged to have the gym closed off to anybody else at that time of day, so the
girls could come in, take their hijabs off and feel comfortable with what
they're wearing and focus purely on the working out and not feel
self-conscious," Sannah said.
really helped break that barrier that women can't do this, or women of this
community can't do this, because they certainly can.
everything in life, it's just about finding a way around the things that are
the project has had an unexpected effect on Sannah herself.
didn't realise how much I would fall in love with it," she said.
though it makes me tired and sometimes sick of being here, overall I love doing
something that makes me feel independent.
isn't about being part of a team, it's about what you put into it is what
you'll get out of it.
I may never be as successful as other people, I can certainly see an
improvement in myself, in my own happiness."
says she has lost weight, gained confidence and seen her overall fitness
improve since setting up the classes in February.
been a remarkable journey for a woman whose sight is so bad she struggles to
catch the right bus or train because she can't see the signs.
ability to see detail or read small writing is limited and it took her an
additional two years to complete her degree.
she takes strong daily medication for a muscle condition which can cause
extreme fatigue in her arms and legs, and even slurred speech.
she says her new training regime has given her confidence to push herself
further, despite the limitations of her medical conditions.
in here, you're training so hard sometimes that you really just want to
stop," she said.
the coaches, they're not going to let you stop, they know that there's more in
you and there's more that they're going to get out of you and they'll keep
you overcome that barrier, it makes you realise that there's so much more you
can probably do that you didn't realise and you want to discover those
she has signed up to fight at Judgement Night, a boxing event in Glasgow which
includes a series of exhibition clashes featuring beginners like Sannah.
has been training hard for the clash against an as-yet unknown opponent and she
is determined to give her best performance.
she admitted: "I am really nervous, I am really scared, but if I let that
stuff stop me then I'd never leave the house."
wants to use the fight to break down barriers to the sport and raise money for
children who don't get similar opportunities.
SK Promotions are allowing her flexibility in everything from the length of the
rounds, to what she wears in the ring.
I want to wear leggings and a long-sleeved t-shirt they'll let me do
that," she said.
I'm going to wear my sports hijab, they'll let me do that because they
understand from speaking to me how important this is to show to other people
there's no limits, there's always a way round something."
cash she raises by taking part in the fight will help child welfare around the
literally fighting for their right for survival," she said.
it wasn't for me being in this country, having the healthcare system that we
have, having the family that I have, and the opportunities that I have, I
wouldn't be who I am today. "
TERENGGAN: A Malaysian woman was today sentenced to be caned and jailed for six
months for prostitution in violation of Islamic laws, weeks after the flogging
of two lesbians sparked outrage.
30-year-old single mother of one admitted to offering sexual services in a
hotel in the conservative northern state of Terengganu this month after being
caught by religious enforcement officers.
Malaysia has a dual-track legal system, with Muslims subject to Islamic laws in
certain areas. Critics say a traditionally tolerant brand of Islam in the
Muslim-majority country is being eroded as more conservative attitudes gain
the divorcee to six strokes of the cane and jail time, judge Rosdi Harun told
an Islamic court that he was "very disappointed" the woman had not
shown any remorse.
punishment will give you time to reflect on your mistakes and repent," he
woman, who was not identified, has 14 days to appeal against the sentence. If
the caning goes ahead it will take place in the prison where she is serving her
Isa, executive director of women's rights group Sisters in Islam, criticised
the sentence: "There really is no compassion in these kinds of punishment.
Is this really where we want the country to go?"
women were caned in Terengganu on September 3 after admitting breaking Islamic
laws that prohibit lesbian sex, sparking a storm of criticism from politicians
and rights groups.
said it was the first time women had been caned for same-sex relations in
Malaysia, and that the case highlights the worsening climate for the country's
under Islamic laws is carried out with a thin rattan cane on a person who is
fully clothed. It is also a punishment for many crimes under civil law in
60 percent of Malaysia's 32 million people are Muslim, and the country is also
home to substantial ethnic Indian and Chinese communities.
year, eight chosen women will champion and motivate others to lead an active
lifestyle while inspiring wellbeing, self-appreciation and happiness in the
new platform 'Women of Substance' will be added to the eighth edition of the
Dubai Women's Run that will take place on November 16 at the Festival Bay in
Dubai Festival City.
b, organiser of the Dubai Women's Run, said the new platform will facilitate a
network of chosen inspirational women who will be the guiding force. This year,
eight chosen women will champion and motivate others to lead an active
lifestyle while inspiring wellbeing, self-appreciation and happiness in the
Singh, race chairman of the Dubai Women's Run and founding chairman of Plan b Group,
said: "The key to the platform will be an ongoing interaction of inspiring
women who will not just focus on their individual networks but will come
forward to reach out to the larger society. Their stories and engagements will
help in raising awareness of the greater importance of taking control of one's
life for an empowered future."
year the Women of Substance will epitomise their passion to transform their
ideas into realities while also striving to give back to society. "These
women are all from different fields and different nationalities and they were
picked on the basis of how they are making a difference in the society by
giving back to the society in many ways. As women of substance, they will
create workshops, webinars, mentorship programmes throughout the year,"
Al Kamali, president of the UAE Athletics Federation, said: "A collective
effort in promoting fitness and wellbeing especially among women is the way
forward. The initiative will build a stronger community of girls and women who
are an integral part of our society."
to take part
to the event are open online at www.dubaiwomensrun.com and on-ground
registrations are available at selected Liali and Lorna Jane stores. Scheduled
to take off from Festival Bay, Dubai Festival City Mall, there are two options
of 5k and 10k with an entrance fee of Dh150.
(AFP) - Afghan police have arrested a married woman who allegedly appeared in a
viral video having sex with a self-proclaimed mullah, an official said
Thursday, as a nationwide search for the man continues.
woman, a police officer in the northwestern province of Faryab, was detained
after she was identified by her colleagues from the videos that have been
widely shared on social media, attorney general spokesman Jamshid Rasooli told
faces charges under the moral crimes section of Afghan law, which prohibits
adultery. The offence carries a jail sentence.
female police officer also has been arrested for allegedly encouraging the
woman to see Mullah Rasool, a traditional healer, for her fertility problems.
officer allegedly helped Rasool film the illicit sexual encounters and use the
videos to blackmail the woman into having sex with "multiple men",
including a traffic police officer, who also has been detained, Rasooli said.
woman said she was "not in a normal condition" when she had sex with
Rasool, suggesting she may have been drugged.
also said that she did not know she was being filmed.
women who appeared in the videos, which have been viewed hundreds of thousands
of times on Facebook and YouTube, have not been found, according to local
who wrote amulets for clients, is accused of sexually exploiting and raping
several women who had gone to him for help. He is on the run.
healers are much-revered in the countryside, where illiteracy remains rampant
and conventional health services are scarce.
religious leaders in Faryab have ordered Rasool's death by stoning, while the
provincial governor has offered his own car as a reward for information leading
to his arrest.
the identities of the other women are not yet known, their faces are clearly
visible in the videos, raising fears they could be murdered by relatives in
so-called "honour killings".
women's affairs department head Sharifa Azimi told AFP earlier the women had
been "tricked" and has urged religious leaders to tell their
worshippers that they are "innocent victims, not bad women".
videos have become a hot topic of conversation in Afghanistan where sex is
usually a taboo subject and women are treated as second class citizens.
Afghanistan has witnessed a sea change in women's rights since the 2001 US-led
invasion toppled the misogynistic Taliban, many men still believe that women
should be hidden from public view to protect their honour.
all-women cafes mushroom in Baghdad and the rest of Iraq, women’s views are
divided whether these are pockets of freedom from sexual harassment or the
embodiment of segregation.
is important for us to sit at ease in a calm place, away from the guys’
[unwelcome] looks and indirect harassment. I am pleased that I can frequently
visit such a cafe,” Zahraa Saad, one of the patrons of Viola Cafe in Baghdad,
29, works for an investment company in Baghdad. She sees Viola Cafe, which
opened in July, as a place where she and her friends can enjoy some freedom and
privacy. “Although I do not agree 100% with the idea of segregation as it will
further deepen the gender gap, I believe that there should be women-only cafes
and restaurants,” she said. “Choosing to go to such a cafe or restaurant does
not mean that I do not want to communicate with my male friends and colleagues.
It is however a chance for me to stay away from men and their problems.”
cafes and restaurants in Iraq have come at a time when increasingly more
women-led cultural activities, such as book clubs, are organized around the
country. Women’s integration into the society and economic life and women’s
empowerment are also encouraged through international programs, such as
preventing early marriage or securing legal aid for women subjected to domestic
cafes and restaurants have only recently sprung up in various cities in Iraq.
Besides Baghdad, various women-only cafes and restaurants opened in Nasiriyah,
Erbil and Halabja in the last few years. In fall 2009, an all-women internet cafe,
Ishtar Internet Center, opened in Baghdad. However, it closed after several
months as the demand proved to be low.
Cafe suffered a setback when its owner and manager Rasha al-Hassan, also a
well-known beautician, was found dead in her home on Aug. 23. The cafe is still
open, but its employees are reluctant to talk to the press.
am happy to have worked at this cafe for over a month. But I have been hesitant
[to continue] ever since the owner died,” an employee who asked not to be named
told Al-Monitor. It seems that for customers like Saad, the owner’s death is no
reason to stop going to the cafe.
employee recounted the first days following the cafe’s opening in July,
describing the place as “cosy” and customers “very responsive.” She said, “The
cafe is hosting an increasing number of female customers and they all welcome
the owner of the cafe, had told the press of the niche for women-only cafes and
her plans a few months before her death. “I love being the person to bring this
experiment [of an all-women cafe] to Iraq, as I have seen them in a number of
Arab countries," she said. “Iraqi families are mostly conservative and not
all women are able to go out to mixed-gender places. That's the reason we
opened a place where customers can find privacy.”
harassment of women in public places is also a motive behind the all-women
cafes and restaurants. This is what prompted Tara Mohammed to open on Aug. 28
the first women-only restaurant, Luxury Time, in Erbil.
herself has been the victim of sexual harassment in the past. She told
Al-Monitor that men have attempted to enter the restaurant and that she is
planning to hire a security guard. “I [wanted to open] a place where women can
be at ease without being harassed. This will allow them to have a good time and
feel comfortable away from [social] restraints and stares.”
added, “I hope it is the start for future projects of this kind so that women
can enjoy themselves and relax.”
Kareem, a researcher for the Iraqi Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, told
Al-Monitor, “Sexual harassment of women and girls is a reason for women to
launch these kinds of projects. This is the right way of thinking — it does not
restrict the freedom of women and it fends off sexual harassment.”
said, “Yet eventually we must end sexual harassment; segregation is not a
solution to curb sexual harassment. Ongoing dialogue between the sexes in the
workplace and in society is a must.”
women are not just patrons of all-women cafes; they actively participate in the
restaurant business. In the city of Hilla in Babil province, a group of women
currently manages Abjad Center, a family cafe, which also organizes cultural
activities. Similarly, Finjan Restaurant that overlooks the Tigris River in
Baghdad has employed all-female staff since 2010.
is seeing an explosion of creative graffiti, with women artists largely behind
the blast of color that is sweeping Turkey’s main city in the face of what
critics say have been mounting restrictions on expression.
and more, the new generation are very into painting on the streets, but for me
it is still very much at the beginning,” said Gamze Yalcin, who has been
putting her art on the city’s public places.
we are having more and more limits for our street life from what we used to
have,” she said, “people want to see colors, they want to see art. Whatever you
do on the street is a gift for everyone.”
speaks to VOA as she applies the finishing touches to her latest work, on the
wall of a derelict building in Istanbul’s trendy Tophane district.
latest work spanning 10 meters is a myriad of images and symbols in pastel
colors with an abstract depiction of a woman at the center, encompassing a
range of themes found throughout Yalcin’s work.
have very limited parks, so green areas is always a subject I like to include
with symbols of plants and greens,” she said explaining her work, a myriad of
Yalcin, featuring women as a central theme represents female empowerment, she
says, and “a symbol, for all the women, that they could do whatever they want.
They can do their dreams, they can make it true.”
Istanbul’s walls for the past six years, Yalcin - a classically trained artist
- is a veteran of Istanbul’s fledgling graffiti world. She is also one of a
growing number of women graffiti artists, a trend she is busy building on.
organize workshops, [which] women, girls are very much into, and they always
come and attend to learn,” she said.
feel very lucky that as a female artist painting on the street wherever I go,
that brings so much power and so much inspiration,” she adds. "Whatever
you do on the street is a gift for everyone, so they [people] are really taking
as a gift, and they feel connected.”
graffiti in many parts of the world is generally seen as vandalism and a
nuisance, here, for this genre of it, there is appreciation.
regularly stop, to offer Yalcin encouragement as she paints, while others take
photos of her work.
are not ordinary doodling, but something that makes the places more beautiful,”
said Ulas a local restaurant manager, “coloring the walls and shop fronts is
beautiful rather than having shutters down or derelict walls bare. This is much
more colorful. When you wake up in the morning streets, look much different. I
think this is super.”
a heavy police presence in central Istanbul as part of an ongoing crackdown on
political dissent, the graffiti wave sweeping parts of the city has met little
resistance from authorities.
didn’t have trouble yet, and I hope it goes like this,” Yalcin said. “Sometimes
they [police] see me, they say actually it is forbidden, but that is fine. And
they say ‘thank you, thank you for creating art for our places,’” she adds,
say such police tolerance can in part be explained by the fact that most
graffiti artists stay away from overt political themes. Although the recent
jailing of Ezel, a Turkish rap star, on charges of encouraging drug use, saw
some graffiti artists pushing back with images of support.
the Asian side of Istanbul, the Kadikoy municipality invites local and
international graffiti artists to decorate neighborhood.
around Kadikoy, a traditional center of opposition to the government, one is
regularly struck by huge murals adorning the sides of the buildings. The images
range from psychedelic colored tigers or huge robots to abstract pictures of
art is becoming an integral part of the city’s popular culture. At an art and
cartoon festival in Istanbul this month, the graffiti section made up of women
artists is among the most popular.
artist Fulya Fu creates a surreal image of a woman whose hair is decorated with
eyes; many watching Fu are young teenagers.
majority [of graffiti artists] are youngsters who started at a very early age,
around 12-13,” said Fu, and they start from the street, inside the street
culture, perhaps going out at night. They start from scratch and pursue
graffiti. Also, there are also lots of people coming from the art scene, fine
arts. Many artists try this once in a while,” she said.
is among a growing number of artists making a living from graffiti. Decorating
cafes and doing corporate work for companies seeking to catch the halo effect
of the coolness of street art, is becoming increasingly lucrative. None of the
artists interviewed was willing to say how much each of their works fetches.
the commercialization of graffiti it still retains a cutting edge as one of few
remaining outlets for public expression.
art is constantly evolving with what we are experiencing,” said Fu.
the space of freedom we experienced 10 years ago has become more restricted,”
she continued, “and graffiti is already seen as an illegal, so what people
express, tell, even scream with their work will likely be a reaction and
reflection of these changes.”
the past, we perhaps saw more simple writings ideas,’ but now it's evolving.
People are trying to form new sentences, new ideas, to express more,” she said.
John Owen Nwachukwu
Muslim Rights Concern, MURIC, has alleged that the Federal Road Safety Corps,
FRSC, deliberately excluded Muslim women in the ongoing nationwide recruitment
exercise of the corps.
rights group claimed that by requesting applicants to appear in white shorts,
white round neck T-shirts, canvass and socks, the FRSC deliberately did not
want women of the Muslim faith to take part in the exercise.
in a statement signed by its Director, Professor Ishaq Akintola and made
available to DAILY POST on Thursday morning, described the requirement as a
deliberate religious marginalization, economic deprivation and undisguised
discrimination against Muslim women.
Islamic rights organization wondered why FRSC would issue a directive which was
allegedly designed to exclude a section of Nigerian citizens.
statement continued, “The whole world knows that Muslim women do not wear
shorts. It is therefore strange to hear the FRSC requesting applicants of both
sexes to appear in shorts. FRSC is a federal road safety concern and its
recruitment exercise should be inclusive
is FRSC telling us that it only recognizes Christian women alone? Is FRSC
telling us that it cannot tolerate the sight of Muslim women? Is this federal
agency only interested in giving jobs to Christian women to the disadvantage of
their Muslim counterparts?
FRSC unaware of the economic implication of this among the Nigerian Muslim
population? Is this not a deliberate attempt to empower Christians and
continuously impoverish Muslims?
believe it is a deliberate attempt to exclude Muslims. We are disappointed that
FRSC has joined the clique of anti-Muslim institutions that claim secularism in
order to shortchange Muslims. Muslims are being shut out of the economy of this
country. Muslims are being dragged to the bottom of the pyramid of poverty in
Nigeria. Instructions which make it impossible for Muslims to participate in
nation-building are being rolled out on a daily basis in public and private
remind FRSC that the marginalization of any section of the Nigerian population
by any agency is a violation of Section 14(4) of the 1999 Constitution of the
Federal Republic of Nigeria which stipulates that “The composition of the
Government of the Federation, a State, a local government council, or any of
the agencies of such Government or council, and the conduct of the affairs of
the Government or council or such agencies shall be carried out in such manner
as to recognise the diversity of the people within its area of authority and
the need to promote a sense of belonging and loyalty among all the people of
therefore rejects the FRSC recruitment exercise for failing to recognize the
diversity of our population. It is illegal, unlawful and unconstitutional to
issue directives which are designed to exclude any section of the country. The
exercise can best be described as incomplete, sectional and discriminatory.
complete the exercise, FRSC authorities must give Muslim women their own
opportunity to participate. A new date must be fixed for the recruitment of
Muslim women in the next few weeks. Nigeria belongs to us all. MURIC will not
fold its hands while our common patrimony is shared out among Christians alone.
advise FRSC and all uniformed formations to take note of this observation in
order to correct the anomaly in future exercises. Marginalisation is the oil
which lubricates the engines of bitterness, animosity and rancour in any
heterougeneous community like Nigeria. Part of the problems facing Nigeria
today is the failure of public institutions and agencies to accept and fully
integrate Muslims into the system. Most institutions assume that the
anti-Muslim system bequeathed by the colonial master is the ideal thing. They
never bother to look around to know if it is all-inclusive”.
a message for Muslim women, MURIC called on them to demand “your Allah-given
fundamental human rights and that includes the right to employment, right to
decent living and right to the dignity of your human person. Nobody under the
sun has the right to ask you to expose your body. The Glorious Qur’an affirms
that Allah Himself created mankind with dignity. (Qur’an 17:70). Why then
should you allow anyone to deprive you of your Allah-endowed dignity?
urge the Federation of Muslim Women Associations in Nigeria (FOMWAN) to
sensitise and mobilize Muslim women across the country for the coming struggle
which is aimed at emancipating Nigerian Muslim women from the clutches of
neo-imperialists. Freedom is never offered on a platter of gold. It is no longer
fashionable to be docile.
Qur’an asserts, ‘Why should you not rise in the cause of Allah to defend men,
women and children who are oppressed due to their weakness? The weak ones cry
out, “Our Lord! rescue us from this city (Nigeria?) whose people are
oppressors; and raise for us from Thee one who will protect us, and send to us
a helper!” (Qur’an 4:75-76).
you dare to struggle, you will dare to win. Muslim women in Nigeria must keep
their eyes open. They must adopt ‘discrimination against one is discrimination
against all’ as a motto. The Nigerian Muslim woman has become an endangered
specie and this is the only way she can be defended because the authorities
never show any concern for their freedom. Eternal vigilance is the price of
statement ended by calling for a special recruitment exercise for Muslim women
to be conducted by FRSC in the next few weeks, adding that, “We advise the
federal agency to consult FOMWAN on the modalities.”
“beauty” of the Constitution is that it includes “I, you and me”, Chief Justice
of India Dipak Misra observed in a landmark judgment that decriminalised
adultery. In a unanimous verdict through four concurring opinions on a
five-judge Bench — CJI Misra and Justice A M Khanwilkar; Justice R F Nariman;
Justice D Y Chandrachud; Justice Indu Malhotra — the Supreme Court struck down
the archaic Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) due to its “manifest
arbitrariness” in punishing only men for adultery and for treating a woman as
her husband’s property.
his judgment, the CJI declared that the husband is neither master of his wife,
nor does he have legal sovereignty over her. He observed that “any system
treating a woman with indignity… invites the wrath of the Constitution”.
Chandrachud overruled the judgment of his father. In 1985, former CJI Y V
Chandrachud had upheld Section 497 (Sowmithri Vishnu vs Union Of India &
Anr); on Thursday, Justice D Y Chandrachud called the provision a relic of
Victorian morality and observed that it “proceeds on the notion that the woman
is but a chattel; the property of her husband”. Justice Chandrachud emphasised
the ability to make choices as a fundamental facet of human liberty and
dignity, and observed: “Autonomy in matters of sexuality is intrinsic to a
dignified human existence… Section 497 denudes the woman of the ability to make
these fundamental choices.”
Nariman termed Section 497 violative of Article 14 (equality) and Article 15 as
it discriminated on grounds of sex and punishes just men. Referring to “ancient
notions” of the man being the seducer and the woman being the victim, he said
this is is no longer the case today.
Malhotra observed that Section 497 institutionialised discrimination and was
“replete with anomalies and incongruities”, such as an adulterous relationship
not constituting an offence if a married woman had her husband’s consent.
court noted striking similarities between the offences of ‘theft’ and
‘adultery’ under the IPC. Under Section 497, a wife could not prosecute her
husband or his lover for violating the so-called sanctity of the matrimonial
home, as the husband was not her exclusive property but a husband. Under
Section 198(2) of Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 — also struck down — only a
husband could prosecute the man with whom his wife had a sexual relationship.
Moreover, if the husband had an affair with an unmarried woman, divorcee or
widow, no offence of adultery is made out against anybody.
did the British-era law exempt women? In fact, the First Law Commission of
1837, under Lord Macaulay, had not included adultery as a crime in the original
IPC it had drafted, counting it only as a civil wrong. The Second Law
Commission in 1860, headed by Sir John Romilly, made adultery a crime but
spared women from punishment for adultery due to the conditions in which they
lived — child marriage, age gap between spouses, and polygamy. The drafters of
the IPC looked at this as being sympathetic to women, and also viewed men as
the real perpetrators.
| Wife is not property of husband: Supreme Court
1954, the Supreme Court too treated Section 497 as a special provision made in
favour of women in exercise of the state’s powers under Article 15(3) of the
Constitution (Yusuf Abdul Aziz vs State of Bombay). In 1988, the court upheld
Section 497 by saying only an “outsider” is liable and this exemption is
basically a “reverse discrimination in favour of women” (Revathi vs Union of
India). The Supreme Court held that breaking a matrimonial home is no less serious
a crime than breaking open a house, and refused to strike down Section 497 as
this was a question of policy, not constitutionality. These judgments now stand
just the IPC, most legal systems used to treat adultery as a serious crime. The
Encyclopedia of Diderot & d’Alembert, Vol. 1 (1751) too equated adultery
with theft: “Adultery is, after homicide, the most punishable of all crimes,
because it is the most cruel of all thefts.” In 1707, English Lord Chief Justice
John Holt stated that a man having sexual relations with another man’s wife was
“the highest invasion of property”.
and Islamic laws prescribed punishment for both men and women, and also for
relations with an unmarried woman.
treatise gave adultery an extremely broad definition — “offering presents to a
woman, roaming with her, touching her ornaments and dress and sitting with her
on bed, all these acts are adulterous” — and prescribed death as punishment for
adultery, provided the offender was not a Brahmin. For wives involved in
marital fidelity, Yajnavalkya’s treatise declared: “An adulterous wife should
be deprived of her authority over the servants, should be made to wear dirty
clothes, should be given food just sufficient to enable her to live, should be
treated with scorn and be made to lie on the ground: she becomes pure when she
has her monthly period, but if she conceives during the adulterous intercourse,
she should be abandoned.”
law, which prescribed 100 lashes for adultery, defined the offence in narrow
terms — intercourse outside marriage — but made it almost impossible to prove,
by insisting on the testimony of four witnesses to the actual sexual act. If
four witnesses do not testify, then a punishment of 80 lashes was to be given
to the person making the allegation, as well as to those witnesses who did
testify — and their evidence would never be accepted in the future.
Wednesday, the court took note of global decriminalisation of adultery. Today,
it is no more a crime in most European countries. In the US, some 10 states
retain various criminal statutes outlawing adultery. Some prohibit only “open
and notorious” adultery, others prohibit “habitual” adultery, with penalties
varying from fine (ranging from $10 to $1000) to imprisonment up to three
years. Doubts have been expressed about the continued validity of these
adultery laws since 2003, when the US Supreme Court (Lawrence vs Texas) struck
down laws penalising sodomy.
countries such as Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Pakistan, adultery continues to be
treated as a capital offence. In India, the judgment is set to face criticism
from diverse groups such as the RSS, the All India Muslim Personal Law Board
and Christian fundamentalists. The BJP-led government too had opposed
decriminalisation of adultery.
will continue as a ground of divorce and, therefore, remain in civil law.
Thursday’s verdict will be welcomed by those who believe there should be less
use of criminal law in matrimonial matters.
Pashto singer and dancer Muneeba Shah on Thursday was arrested in Peshawar for
being allegedly involved in posting private pictures of a girl via a fake
social media account.
victim, who has been identified as Sana, claimed that the singer was uploading
her photos on a fake Facebook account in her name.
had lodged a complaint with the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Cybercrime
Wing, which conducted a probe into the matter.
FIA also carried out a raid on Muneeba’s residence in which she was also taken
into custody by the authorities.
to authorities, the Facebook account was created on a mobile SIM card and was
being used via a wireless internet connection.
FIA has now registered a case against the accused singer.
Zubair, another accused, had confessed to posting the images at the behest of
Wednesday, a passenger was offloaded from a Denmark-bound flight and taken into
custody by FIA at the Islamabad airport.
airport authorities verified the identification of Nigel Brian Rabellow, a
Pakistani citizen, it was found that he was implicated in a cybercrime case.
Iraqi social media star became the latest woman victim of a spate of murders
across the country this week by unknown gunmen.
Fares was shot dead in her car in the capital Baghdad on Thursday, just a day
after she was voted one of Iraq's most popular social media stars.
was murdered by unknown gunmen in the Kam Sara neighbourhood of Baghdad, with
the ministry of interior saying they are investigating the killing
model and journalist had a huge following on Istagram, with over 2 million
final post on the social media platform displayed a black-and-white photo of
Fares with a message mourning her passing.
and friends of Fares turned to social media to remember the social media star,
who spent much of her time abroad, and in the more liberal Kurdistan region of
Fares reportedly began to spend more time in the Iraqi capital where she met
shocked at the tragic murder of Iraqi
model Tara Fares. I knew her through a friend. Tara began her journey
when she competed in Miss Baghdad contest in 2014," wrote one person on
model and blogger Tara Fares was shot in killed in Baghdad today, RIP," an
Iraqi radio station tweeted.
women involved in the beauty industry have also been reportedly murdered in
Iraq in recent months.
week, a prominent women's right activist, Soad al-Ali, was shot dead in in her
car in Basra.
the military defeat of the Islamic State group, other militias still continue
to dominate much of the country, some of whom strongly oppose liberal elements
within Iraqi society.
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