Aisha Al Mansouri (UAE) Senior
First Officer of Etihad airways.
Image Credit: Ahmed Kutty/Gulf
Probes Talk On Muslim Women Giving Up Headscarves
The Emirati Female Pilot Who Flies A380s, One Of The World's Largest Passenger
ISIS Bride Blames Islamophobic Bullying At Her British School For Driving Her
To Marry A Syrian Jihadi Like Shamima Begum
Court Rules Company To Pay 23,000 Euros To Muslim Woman Fired For Refusing To
Take Headscarf Off
Scouts Team Created In Taif University
International: Stop Crackdown on Women’s Rights Defenders
by New Age Islam News Bureau
Women Go Online To Set #Myredline For Peace
Kobra Samim, who rides for Afghanistan's national cycling team, wrote on
Facebook that women's participation in sport is her "red line" as the
US tries to forge a peace deal with the Taliban.
politician Farkhunda Zahra Naderi tweeted that the protection of female leadership
roles should be non-negotiable. And activist Samira Hamidi is demanding that
women be included in the peace talks.
Afghanistan, women have taken to social media to join a campaign dubbed
#MyRedLine that aims to pressure the government, the Taliban and the United
States into ensuring women's hard-won advancements are not tossed aside in a
rush for a peace accord.
the Taliban come back, we won't have the right to education, sports, and we
will even be banned from coming out of houses," Samim, 23, told AFP as she
adjusted the saddle on her mountain bike before setting off along a run-down
want peace, but also we want to continue our sports and cycling."
Forotan, a journalist and activist who started the #MyRedLine campaign with
support from UN Women Afghanistan, said her own red line was "my pen and
my freedom of expression".
peace doesn't bring social justice to all victims of war in every corner of the
country, then it won't be a stable peace," Forotan told AFP.
said the #MyRedLine hashtag had been shared or retweeted thousands of times
since the social media campaign was launched last month, with even President
Ashraf Ghani tweeting that women's rights were the government's "red
line" in the peace process.
campaign is also being shared on Facebook, in English, Pashto and Dari.
being toppled by the US invasion of 2001, the Taliban governed Afghanistan for
nearly five years with a strict interpretation of sharia law.
were confined to their homes, forced to wear burqas and forbidden from going to
school. Some were publicly stoned to death on flimsy allegations of adultery.
were more vulnerable than anyone during the Taliban regime," Forotan said.
United States is holding direct talks with Taliban leaders — all men — in a bid
to forge a peace deal.
Afghan women were invited to informal talks in Moscow in February between the
Taliban and Afghan representatives, but their presence was very peripheral.
second, similar summit between Afghan delegates and the insurgents that was to
take place in Doha this weekend and had been set to include more women has been
observers have blasted the talks, led on the US side by peace envoy Zalmay
Khalilzad, for their lack of female inclusion.
social media hashtags such as #afghanwomenwillnotgoback have also gained
traction, and Khalilzad appears to have taken note.
a trip to Afghanistan this month, the Afghan-born American envoy met with
locals from all walks of life and with women's groups.
Taliban, however, appear unmoved. Spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid recently tweeted
to deny reports that women were being included in the Taliban negotiating team
and "neither do we believe it is necessary".
Barr, the acting co-director of the Women's Rights Division at Human Rights
Watch, said the online campaign was encouraging.
up against tough odds at the moment, but their efforts are a sign that Afghan
society is changing in fundamental ways, regardless of the outcome of these
talks," Barr told AFP.
the United States, powerful women are lending their voices to the Afghan
Jeanne Shaheen, who sits on the influential Senate Armed Services Committee
that oversees the US military, said such a move is key.
interests, as well as the interests of a broad segment of Afghan society need
to be included as part of any negotiation," Shaheen told a group of
journalists on a visit to Kabul this week.
is vital for women to be included in talks with the Taliban."
actor and United Nations special envoy Angelina Jolie brought some celebrity
power to the campaign last week, penning an opinion piece in TIME magazine
calling for women to be included in "significant" numbers.
women must be able to speak for themselves," Jolie wrote.
officials in Malaysia have launched an investigation into a public event that
discussed women who stop wearing the hijab, according to a group of female
activists who spoke at the forum.
probe into Saturday's "Malay Women and De-hijabbing" talk is the
latest sign of growing Muslim conservatism in the multi-ethnic nation, which
critics say is chipping away at a traditionally tolerant brand of Islam.
forum took place at a book shop outside Kuala Lumpur to mark the launch of a
book called "Unveiling Choice", about author Maryam Lee's decision to
stop wearing the headscarf.
the three-hour event, Lee and two other Muslim women shared their experiences
about giving up the hijab.
number of women from the country's ethnic Malay Muslim majority wearing the
headscarf has been increasing, in line with growing conservatism, but it is
also common to see Muslim women without their heads covered.
a social media backlash, the religious affairs minister called for an investigation,
and officers from the Islamic affairs department visited the shop to get copies
of the book and talked to a staff member, the women said.
condemn this unnecessary investigation as abuse of power to harass and
intimidate women activists," said the trio in a statement late Tuesday.
are ready to give full cooperation to the authorities however we are
unequivocal that there has been no transgression of Malaysian laws."
Islamic affairs department in central Selangor state, which is reported to be
probing the incident, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
a statement on Facebook, Religious Affairs Minister Mujahid Yusof Rawa had
expressed concern about the event and called on Islamic authorities to probe it
in a "fair and just manner".
60 percent of Malaysia's 32 million inhabitants are Muslim Malays and the
country is also home to substantial minorities of ethnic Indians and ethnic
Chinese, who do not typically follow Islam.
of different races and religions generally live side by side harmoniously but
critics say that influential Muslim hardliners are pushing an increasingly
conservative form of Islam.
Dhabi: Regularly flying across the world, traversing different time zones and
flying the world’s largest passenger aircraft — the Airbus A380 — is all in a
day’s work for Emirati pilot Aisha Al Mansouri, a senior first officer with
all started when her sister, who was already a pilot, took her to an air show
in Al Ain.
visiting the event there were some people working there who told me that a
national cadet programme was opening at Etihad, so I looked into the programme
and decided to join, and within eight months I was hired.”
first flight on the job was on an Airbus A320 to Ammam, Jordan.
had already done so much flight training — including flying a Cessna 172 — but
once I was in the cockpit it was a very different feeling.”
flew the A320 for five years before eventually moving up to bigger aircraft
like the A330 and, the biggest of all, the A380.
currently fly medium to long haul flights on the A380, so it’s to destinations
like Sydney, New York City, Paris and London,” said the pilot of nine years.
“When I started with the A380 I was in awe of its size. I trained beforehand in
a simulator, but once you see the aircraft up close for yourself you realise
the size of it — it’s like flying a small building.
the A380 is amazing, it’s a huge plane, but it handles like an A320, it reacts
very well and is really enjoyable to fly.”
her job as more of a lifestyle than work, she added: “One of the unique things
about being a pilot is that it is more than just a job, as a pilot you need to
manage your lifestyle accordingly to be able to handle all of the long haul
flights and the different time zones that come with it.
thing I try to concentrate on before I have long flights is to make sure that I
am well rested, that’s the most important thing for me. The night flights are
usually the tricky ones, for example if I have to fly at 3am I have to
basically sleep during the day or afternoon.”
regulations mean pilots must rest a minimum of 24 hours before flights.
than making sure I am well rested, everything else I do is to maintain a
positive health style, this involves eating right and working out.”
for the flights themselves, Al Mansouri says her favourite is the manual take
offs and landings.
doesn’t matter which destination I am flying to, the most enjoyable part is
flying the aircraft. My favourite moments are during take off and landing.
Having all the high-end technology is great for things like navigation and
troubleshooting, but when it comes to the take offs and landings, I like to
have a hands-on manual approach.”
what exactly does Al Mansouri do during those long flight hours? Unlike
passengers, pilots don’t have the luxury of television sets to keep them
manufacturers and companies make very good checklists for us to be doing during
the flight, so we’re not just sitting there doing nothing,” she said. “We are
doing constant checks on things like fuel, time, navigation and also just
checking that all the instruments are functioning correctly. As you fly more
regularly you get used to the long hours as well, at first I thought it would be
really difficult, but it’s really normal for me now.”
with the co-pilot, she said, was another good way of passing the time.
of the good things is that we are a very multi-cultured airline and so we talk
about each other’s countries and our cultures, and so it’s a very enlightening
to learn about your work colleague.”
as for long haul flights, Al Mansouri said that pilots are allowed to get some
go in two crews for ultra long flights, one crew starts the flight and halfway through
the flight the other crew will take over, and so you can get rest during the
first part of the flight or when the other crew takes over.”
on her role as a female senior officer, Al Mansouri said she is happy to be a
positive example for other women and young girls.
can be whatever they want to be, that’s what I think my example shows. All
women should follow a career path that inspires and makes them happy.
the UAE all fields are accessible as long as you really want it, and so if
there is a woman out there who believes she is capable of being a pilot and has
the necessary skill-set, then go for it.”
as a flight attendant
Galat, from the Ukraine, who works with Etihad Airways as a stewardess said
that her passion for travelling the world is what attracted her to the role.
always wanted to travel and see the world, when I first moved to the UAE I
started working for a hotel and became a flight attendant later on when my
friend advised me to go and join a training programme that was open. I loved
the training and I was lucky enough to get the job. It’s been an amazing
experience for me so far, I’ve been a flight attendant for three and a half
years now and I still enjoy everyday.”
says the job does have its many challenges despite the glamour that comes with
requires a lot of work. For long haul flights we are usually busy for most of
the flight looking after the passengers and so I don’t really feel the long
hours of work until the flight is over and I am off the plane. It’s important
to look after your body to be able to do this job properly.
travelling into different times zones is also another big challenge and so your
sleep patterns are always changing. To do this job successfully you need to
have a really big passion for it,” she added.
passengers happy is another big challenge according to Galat, who recalls some
of the strange requests she’s been given during flights.
was a passenger who didn’t like the brightness of the on-board television
screen and so the passenger requested if I could move the screen a little bit
to the left side. I kindly told the passenger I wouldn’t be able to do that as
I wasn’t an engineer.
difficulty is when some passengers don’t understand that I can’t do everything
for them, they see us in uniform and think that we can solve every problem, we
are obviously trying our best, but there are some things that are beyond our
control,” she added.
a flight attendant I think it’s also important to be understanding of
passengers as well, they might be going through an issue so we need to listen
to them and not be rude, it’s always good to be kind and to have a positive
attitude,” she said.
FORMER ISIS bride has blamed Islamophobic bullying at her British school for
driving her to marry a Syrian Jihadi like Shamima Begum.
Fatima spent two years in Syria before cutting all ties with the caliphate,
only now opening up about the reality of life with the "liberation
revealed how as an 11-year-old a gang of girls pushed her into a corner of
their playground and ripped off her headscarf , pulling out handfuls of her
whole time, they were screaming that I was a P**i b***h", she told the
would come up behind me, groping me, threatening to pull off my headscarf and
jeering that I would be a sl** without it. I have also been punched and kicked.
I never felt safe".
says it experiences like these that formed her resolve to marry a Syrian
revelations come after Begum, who left East London as a 15-year-old schoolgirl
to join ISIS and marry a Dutch jihadi, was refused entry to the UK after
begging to return.
says that on arrival in Syria in 2015 she was immediately given books
justifying the murder of children, imprisonment of "sex slaves" and
that destroyed the enemy or aided their terrorism was "fair game",
she was told.
months she was filled with so much resentment that she overlooked the horrors
taking place directly before her.
hear about attacks on British people on the news, but then compare that to the
women who threatened to kick an innocent baby to death just for being a Muslim
and suddenly you don’t feel so sorry for them anymore,” she said, referring to
her own experience of a friend being violently assaulted during her pregnancy.
Fatima says saw beyond her own resentment and awoke to the extreme violence
before her - abandoning both her husband and ISIS.
Begum, Fatima managed to return to the UK and to her family, who welcomed her
back on the condition that she cut all ties with extremists.
she claims her own case has parallels with that of the Bethnal Green
schoolgirl, who lost a third child while with the group.
believes it's “possible” that Begum has been threatened with consequences “if
she dares to be publicly disloyal to the Islamic State”.
you’re too far in,” she added, “for some, it can be difficult to get out.”
says she blames Islamophobia in Britain for helping create an environment where
female terrorists can thrive.
someone ties you to a stereotype for years, eventually you get tired of trying
to prove people wrong, and out of anger, you start living up to that
stereotype,” she relates. “People thought we were bad anyway – in my mind at
the time, we might as well just match their expectations.”
claims she wasn't brainwashed into supported ISIS - and compared her former
admiration for her husband as that of British women for the Duke of Sussex.
Versailles Court of Appeals ruled on Thursday against a company for firing an
employee in 2008 for refusing to take her headscarf off, saying she was let go
without a just cause.
court said Asma Bougnaoui had the right to wear the Islamic veil at work, and
there weren't any regulations or laws that forbade her from doing so in the
the decision coming 10 years late, the court also annulled the dismissal, and
ordered the computer consulting company Micropole to pay her 23,000 euros in
back-pay and damages.
had been working as an IT consultant at Micropole's office in Levallois,
Hauts-de-Seine for a year when she was fired. According to court documents, the
dismissal came after French insurer Groupama, a client Bougnaoui was working
with in Toulouse at the time, complained that her presence in the premises as a
headscarf-wearing woman created discomfort among employees. Company officials
had asked her to take off her headscarf the next time she visits, but she
protested, and the row ended with her being fired from the company.
had complained to an employment tribunal about the sudden termination of her
contract but it ruled in favor of her bosses. However, she then lodged an
appeal and her case ended up before the European Court of Justice.
ECJ said her firing constituted "unlawful direct discrimination," and
was illegal, saying customers and employers should get used to her wearing the
headscarf at work.
court underscored that her headscarf did not directly interfere with or hinder
her ability to carry out her assigned duties. In a preliminary opinion, Eleanor
Sharpston, the advocate general at the European court, said companies can
request specific clothing only if there is a "genuine and determining
occupational requirement," according to EU laws.
has the largest Muslim minority in Europe, estimated at 5 million or more out
of a population of 67 million. The place of religion and religious symbols worn
in public can be a matter of controversy in the staunchly secular country. For
years, rights groups have argued that France's secular laws foster Islamophobia
and discriminate against Muslim women.
was also the first country in Europe to ban Islamic face veils, such as the
burqa and the niqab, in public places in 2010. In 2014, the European Court of
Human Rights upheld the ban but said the law could appear excessive and
encourage stereotyping. France was also embroiled in a row over bans on the
burkini, a full-body Islamic swimsuit, in resorts around the Riviera.
— The first batch of women scouts, 48 in number, came into being at Taif
University. They paraded in front of the university President Dr. Hossam Zaman,
president of the university and other university officials.
the occasion of the formation of the scouts wing, the university launched the
first tent for the introduction of the women’s Scouts movement. The members of
the team offered the Scout greetings and took a pledge in front of the guests.
university president was briefed by the members of the Scouts team about the
rules and regulations of the Scouts Movement, and presented the initial skills
that the team members need to acquire during the training period.
Bandar Al-Baqami, dean of students affairs at the university, stressed the
importance of the role of the scouts in serving the Haj and Umrah pilgrims
during the peak season of Ramadan. “This is one of the most important aspects
in which the university is proud to participate effectively, as part of its
religious, national and social duty,” he said while commending the women’s
altruism and readiness to offer voluntary services in general and serving the
pilgrims in particular. — SG/SPA
International issued a statement urging the Iranian regime to stop harassing,
arresting and imprisoning women’s rights defenders peacefully protesting
against Iran’s degrading and discriminatory forced veiling laws.
decrees for the re-arrest of civil activists, Yasamin Ariani and her mother,
Monireh Arab-Shahi, and another decree to sentence a compulsory veil protester,
Vida Movahedi, to one year in jail (she is jailed since mid-fall 2018), Amnesty
International called for immediate and unconditional release of these jailed
women’s rights activists.
International also reiterated in its statement, “Iran’s intelligence and
security bodies have also subjected several other women’s rights defenders to
threatening telephone calls, warning them that they will be arrested if they
continue to campaign against forced veiling. Some have been summoned for
questioning and fear imminent arrest.”
Mughrabi, Deputy Middle East and North Africa Director at Amnesty
International, said, “Iran’s authorities appear to be lashing out in response
to the increased defiance displayed by Iranian women and the growing peaceful
popular movement against forced veiling laws in a bid to intimidate them into
silence and submission.”
part of the statement reads, “The criminalization of women and girls for not
wearing the veil is an extreme form of gender-based discrimination and cruel,
inhuman and degrading treatment that deeply damages women’s dignity. Instead of
persecuting and jailing women who are standing up to this outrageous injustice,
Iran’s authorities should immediately and unconditionally release all women’s
rights defenders detained for their peaceful activism.”
April 10, 2019, Yasamin Ariani was re-arrested by security forces at her family
home in Tehran. Yasamin Ariani’s mother, Monireh Arab-Shahi, was arrested the
next day after she went to the Vozara detention center in Tehran to inquire
about her daughter’s whereabouts. She was then transferred to the notorious
Tuesday, April 16, 2019, Mrs. Arab-Shahi was informed of her charges, namely,
“encouraging and preparing the grounds for corruption through publicizing against
and removing the veil,” “spreading propaganda against the system,” and
“association and collusion against national security.”
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