women have joined women from the region to launch the first Gulf women’s car
rally in Bahrain. (Supplied)
Women Promoting Yoga and 'Open, Moderate Islam'
Women Compete In Bahrain Formula One Circuit
Women Travel India Promoting Religious Amity
Court: A Crusade for Women’s Rights
of Trailblazing Iraqi Women Spark Conspiracy Fears
Jump in Number Of Female Lawyers
Group Holds Traffic Safety Seminar for Female Employees and Their Families
by New Age Islam News Bureau
Women in Social Media Support Ford against Kavanaugh
world watched closely as the trial of a woman finally rising up for justice
after suppressing her trauma in secret for decades unveiled.
Blasey Ford came out and accused U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Brett
Kavanaugh of pinning her down and assaulting her at a party when they were
teenagers in the 1980s, as he and a friend allegedly laughed hysterically.
hearing, which took place on Wednesday showed an emotional Ford who was finally
able to talk about her traumatic memories and decades of humiliation, treating
it as a civic duty to come forward, despite being relentlessly attacking on
deplored the accusations as a "grotesque and co-ordinated character
assassination" against him, giving an eerie warning of "what goes
around comes around."
media took to support Ford, not only with donations, but through various
hashtags that shed light onto why women stay silent for decades about sexual
and #WhyIDidntReport showed thousands of women giving their own
heart-shattering testimonies against why they have not reported their own
Arab world also watched closely at what was happening. With violence against
women still being rampant in the Middle East, women stood up on social media in
support of Ford and against the systematic physical, sexual, psychological and
emotional violence against women.
women rejected Kavanaugh's lies and his 'gang of predators'.
claimed that his wife standing with him proves his innocence - but this Kuwaiti
woman refused to allow the validity of the argument to persist.
a sparse, wood-floored studio, Saudi women squat, lunge and do headstands. Even
a year ago, teaching these yoga postures could have rendered them outlaws in
the conservative Islamic kingdom.
perceived as a Hindu spiritual practice, yoga was not officially permitted for
decades in Saudi Arabia, the cradle of Islam where all non-Muslim worship is
with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman vowing an "open, moderate
Islam", the kingdom last November recognised yoga as a sport amid a new
liberalisation drive that has sidelined religious hardliners.
efforts to normalise yoga in the kingdom is Nouf Marwaai, a Saudi woman who has
battled insults and threats from extremists to challenge the notion that yoga
is incompatible with Islam.
have been harassed, (and) sent a lot of hate messages," said the
38-year-old head of the Arab Yoga Foundation, which has trained hundreds of
yoga instructors in the kingdom.
years ago, this (teaching yoga) would have been impossible," added
Marwaai, as she began training a cluster of women students at a private studio
in the Red Sea city of Jeddah.
up their body-shrouding abayas and headscarves, the women stretched in unison
in an arching warrior pose known as "virabhadrasana".
outstretched, their bodies folded into a 180-degree backward bending posture
known as "chakrasana", or wheel pose.
a country where women have long been denied the right to exercise publicly, the
students -- some of whom regularly attend yoga retreats in India -- said the
exercise had transformed their lives.
Samman, a 32-year-old health educator, said yoga helped alleviate her lifelong
struggle with fibromyalgia, a chronic pain disorder that often left her
also works as therapy, the women said, helping them vent bottled up emotions
and tackle a woefully common ailment -- depression.
just opened me up like a water balloon," said Yasmin Machri, 32.
my first class... I started breaking down and crying."
just a few months since yoga's recognition, a new industry of yoga studios and
instructors has sprouted in various Saudi cities. That includes Mecca and
Medina, Islam's holiest cities, Marwaai said.
Mohammed, the de facto ruler, has sought to project a moderate image of the
kingdom, long associated with a fundamentalist strain of Wahhabi Islam, with a
new push for an inter-religious exchange.
Arabia in recent months has hosted officials linked to the Vatican and the
prince also met a group of Roman Catholic and Jewish leaders in New York
earlier this year, in a rare inter-faith gesture.
prince's outreach to other religions is apparent in the interfaith gatherings
and the new enthusiasm for Saudi Arabia's pre-Islamic heritage," said
Kristin Diwan, of the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington.
decades, Saudi rulers derived much of their legitimacy from their alliance with
a clerical establishment that pushed a puritanical vision of Islam.
the prince appears to have upturned the system, seeking instead to tap support
from the kingdom's swelling youth base through a surge of nationalism and a
much-hyped modernisation drive.
columnists have openly called for abolishing the once-feared religious police
as the kingdom introduces entertainment, including mixed-gender concerts, and
re-opens cinemas after a decades-long ban.
hardline Salafist clerics with millions of followers on social media have been
jailed, with some on death row, as the crown prince clamps down on dissent.
religious networks which once led campaigns against more liberal ideas appear
cowed, but new practices like yoga are always subject to ad-hoc attacks,"
is still regarded as a deviant practice in conservative circles, sometimes
associated with witchcraft, and Marwaai's students say they often confront
accusations of betraying their religion.
receive messages through social media asking: 'Are you a Hindu? Did you turn
into a Hindu?'" said Budur al-Hamoud, a recruitment specialist.
has nothing to do with religion. It's a sport... It does not interfere with my
faith." Yoga is seen at odds with several other faiths, but the
recognition of the practice in Saudi Arabia -- the epicentre of the Islamic
world -- appears to have given a new impetus to Muslim yoga practitioners
around the world.
is taking on conservatives not just in the kingdom but also India, the
birthplace of yoga where clerics last year slapped a fatwa, or religious edict,
against a female Muslim yoga teacher just days before the kingdom recognised
a shrill Indian television debate, Marwaai -- a lupus survivor and recently
awarded the Padma Shri, one of India's highest civilian honours -- calmly
sought to reason with Muslim clerics who hurled insults at her.
clerics were particularly opposed to "Surya Namaskar", a yoga
sequence designed to greet Surya, the Hindu sun god, and the chanting of Hindu
is not the worshipping of the sun and the moon," Marwaai responded as
tempers frayed, denying they engaged in chanting.
a cleric said the set of physical movements in the Muslim prayer ritual offered
slow meditation does not increase the metabolic rate, Marwaai retorted.
"Prophet Mohammed used to race with his wife."
women have proved their professionalism in driving Formula One cars as well as
different types of 4x4 vehicles as part of an intitiative being held for the
first time in the Gulf region.
initiative called “Yala Banat” or “Let’s go girls!” being held for the first
time has chosen Bahrain as its headquarters.
from the region are preparing to launch the first Gulf women’s rally for cars,
including a car decoration festival to be held in mid-October.
women's motorcade, with 250 Bahraini, Saudi, Gulf and international cars, will
be circling around the Bahrain International Circuit.
rally will be accompanied with a festival to decorate Formula One cars to
showcase women talents in designing the vehicles in ways that are far from
a press conference on the occasion, Al Arbaiya English spoke to Martina Al
Qassab, the chief executive for “Yalla Banat” who commented on the
participation of Saudi women in the rally.
have 10 Saudi women who have officially participated in the motorcade. As for
the guests who will be attending, we will have about 50 visiting Saudi women,
and this number could be increase, given the attention and support we have seen
after receiving many calls from Saudi women groups who are showing their
support [for the event].”
Qassab mentioned that Aseel Hamad, a well-known motorsport enthusiast from
Saudi Arabia, will be participating at the event, adding that it is such an
honor to welcome all the Saudi women participants at this event.
want to celebrate together all women in the GCC countries. We also hope that
through the event, that we support women who did not get an opportunity before
and are very talented to exhibit their works and arts on the event’s site.”
Qassab said that the idea of a 250 women-driven motorcade also celebrates Saudi
women who obtained their driving licenses for he first time.
of different faiths are travelling across parts of India to foster peace and
goodwill in their country, which they say is beset by sectarian intolerance and
100 women began their journey — named Batein Aman Ki or Talks of Peace — on
Sept. 20. Five caravan groups began from different parts of the country and are
scheduled to converge on New Delhi on Oct. 13.
five caravans, each comprising some 20-25 women, will pass through hundreds of
towns, cities and villages with message of peace and unity. Each group aims to
address public meetings to stress this ideal, organizers said.
are getting very good response from people of all walks of lives," said
Joycia Thorat, a Christian social worker and part of the organizing team.
rights groups and faith-based women groups — with Christian, Hindu, Muslim,
Jain, Buddhist, Parsi and Sikh backgrounds — have joined the program, Thorat
purpose is to stress the need to uphold the constitutional values of secularism
and religious freedom to help harmonious existence of people of different
religions in the country," she said.
Durga, a Hindu social worker from northern Rajasthan state and campaign
participant, told ucanews.com that India's social situation has worsened after
hard-line Hindu groups began attempting to make India a nation of Hindu
year, 111 people were killed and at least 2,384 injured in 822 cases of
sectarian violence, the highest figure in the past three years. In 2016, some
86 were killed and 2,321 injured in 703 incidents of religion-based violence,
said an official report released earlier this year.
parties say the pro-Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) encourages a
"divisive" policy that supports violence against religious minorities
in an attempt to consolidate Hindu majority votes ahead of next year's general
Minister Narendra Modi's BJP controls governments in 19 of India's 29 states
but Christian and Muslim leaders say their people face violence and
intimidation at the hands of BJP-supporting Hindu groups, who work to make
India a Hindu-only nation.
are living in a period akin to colonial rule as personal rights and freedom of
expression has been under great threat during the past four years," Durga
said referring to violence and intimidation meted out to those who criticize
the ideology of Hindu-nationhood.
are facing a serious threat to our constitutional rights of freedom of
expression and religion … from right-wing Hindu groups," said Durga.
said hard-line Hindu groups are projecting themselves as champions of Hindu
interests. "As a Hindu I do not find any threat to the Hindu
religion," she said. "I do not think any conversions of Hindus occurs
through force or allurement as is alleged."
hard-line Hindu allegations that provoke attacks on Christians will be
discussed in their numerous public engagements, Durga said.
events will stress such lies are being used for political purposes, spreading
hatred against other religions, she said.
spread hatred, and we reply with love," she said.
Hashmi, a social activist and Muslim, told ucanews.com the initiative aims to
embolden people "to speak their minds on the forces that are out there to
we ourselves are ready to come out for our protection, no one is going to do it
for us. It is our humble effort to wake up those in slumber to protect
ourselves and generations to come," she said.
D'Souza, a professor at Tata Institute of Social Science in Mumbai, told
ucanews.com that their mission is "to preserve the secular fabric" of
the country and strengthen its "democratic values as enshrined in the
past two years have seen the Supreme Court progressively question patriarchy in
religion to ensure emancipation for women, and set the course for the future.
But majority decisions in the court continue to take cover behind legal
technicalities when it comes to politically-charged cases like the Ayodhya
dispute and the arrest of five activists in the Bhima-Koregaon violence case.
court has not shied away from confronting age-old personal law practices,
usages and customs which were considered taboo.
Justice Dipak Misra belled the proverbial cat when he wrote in his main opinion
that “historically, women have been treated unequally”. No philosophy has so
far convinced the large population of this country to open up and accept women
as equal partners journey of spirituality, the Chief Justice wrote in the
Sabarimala, the court held that the ban on women, based on their menstrual
status, considering them as “polluted” and a distraction for worshippers vowed
to celibacy, is a “form of untouchability”. In no uncertain terms, the court
told the world that India still practices untouchability 63 years after the
social evil was abolished under the Untouchability (Offences) Act in 1955.
fact that the court, despite the changes in Chief Justices, has remained
steadfast in its objective to realise the equal status of women in religion was
witnessed in October 2016 when a Bench led by then Chief Justice of India T.S.
Thakur drew a parallel between the restriction on women worshipping in
Sabarimala temple and Mumbai’s famed Haji Ali Dargah. Chief Justice Thakur had
observed that ‘exclusion’ is practised by both Hindus and Muslims and the
“problem needs to be addressed'”.
a week later, the Dargah Trust conceded before the court that it has resolved
to allow women to enter the sanctum sanctorum of the dargah “at par with men”.
that not what Your Lordships wanted? Is this not progressive?” senior advocate
Gopal Subramanium, for the Trust, asked the Thakur Bench.
Khehar Court on August 22, 2017 declared the triple talaq unconstitutional and
anti-Quran. Justice Kurian Joseph, on the Constitution Bench, held that “Islam
cannot be anti-Quran... Triple talaq is against the basic tenets of the Holy
Quran, and consequently, it violates Shariat”.
the past year, the Misra Court has intervened with the Parsi elders to allow
Goolrokh Gupta, a Parsi woman, who married outside her faith, to pray at the
Tower of Silence for her departed father. It has also referred to a
Constitution Bench the question whether the practice of female circumcision or
khafz, prevalent in the Dawoodi Bohra sect, amounts to “female genital
mutilation” and is a violation of women’s right to life and dignity.
in the court’s decisions in three cases — Aadhaar, Ayodhya and activists’
arrests — the dissenting opinions of Justices D.Y. Chandrachud and S. Abdul
Nazeer resonate while the opinions of the majority on the Bench led by Chief
Justice Misra feel prosaic.
shy on politics
the case regarding the arrested activists, the majority opinion shared between
Chief Justice Misra and Justice Khanwilkar retains the probe with the
Maharashtra Police. The two judges do not address Justice Chandrachud’s
conclusion that investigation should go to a SIT as there is “prejudice” on the
side of the police.
the Ayodhya case, Justice Nazeer points out the question in the 1994 Ismail
Faruqui verdict, whether ‘offering prayers in a mosque is an essential part of
Islam or not’, greatly influenced the Allahabad High Court’s judgment to divide
the Ayodhya land in September 2010.
majority opinion of Chief Justice Misra and Justice Bhushan rests comfortably
on the conclusion that the observation was confined to the facts of the Faruqui
the majority opinion in the Aadhaar case, the lead opinion by Justice A.K.
Sikri holds the right to provide dignity to the poor outweighs the right to
privacy. The lead opinion strives for balance even as Justice Chandrachud, in
his minority opinion, argues that it is not necessary to sacrifice privacy for
Over the last few weeks, four go-getting Iraqi women have separately met
premature deaths — two falling victim to men firing automatic weapons into
deaths have sparked fear among women who dare to break the mold and visibly
achieve in the conservative country.
latest to die was 22-year-old social media influencer and model Tara Fares.
bloody demise at the wheel of a white Porsche convertible in Baghdad on
Thursday has sparked as much debate as her racy photos.
had built an Instagram following of 2.7 million people thanks to edgy fashion
shoots, assertive missives and eye-catching, colorful hairstyles.
also posted publicly about a violent ex-husband and a fiancé who died after
being attacked in Istanbul.
while Fares’ fearless embrace of social media inspired many young Iraqis, it
was the target of a deluge of online insults over her perceived lack of
modesty, in a society where many adhere to hardline interpretations of Islam.
was this darker side of online platforms that forced the outspoken Fares to
quit living in her native Baghdad and spend much of her time in comparatively
liberal, secular Iraqi Kurdistan.
is not the only Iraqi fashion and beauty entrepreneur to have met her death in
August, the managers of Baghdad’s two most high-profile aesthetic and plastic
surgery centers died in mysterious circumstances.
first was Rafif Al-Yassiri, whose nickname was Barbie — the same name as her
week later Rasha Al-Hassan, founder of the Viola Beauty Center, was also found
were found at their homes, and despite ongoing investigations, the causes of
their deaths remain undetermined.
the rumor mill has churned up plenty of theories: drugs, heart attacks and
Tuesday this week, two days before Fares was shot dead, came the first
officially confirmed murder among the spate of suspicious deaths.
circumstances that foreshadowed the social media star’s assassination, activist
and businesswoman Soad Al-Ali was shot several times while traveling in a car
in the southern city of Basra.
opened an investigation and pointed the finger at her ex-husband, who is on the
motivations for the two confirmed murders are far from officially established,
women’s rights group Amal is deeply concerned.
groups, tribes, criminal gangs... all these control positions” within the state
and security forces, Hanae Edwar said at the NGO’s Baghdad office.
recent assassinations are “threatening messages sent to activists in
particular, but also to the whole of society,” she said.
women who are public figures is a bid to force them to shut themselves away at
home,” Edwar added.
authorities have tried to distance themselves from the deaths and provide
Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi appeared to draw a link between the events in
Baghdad and Basra, ordering elite intelligence units to investigate.
a statement, Abadi cited “evidence suggesting that there is a plan formulated
by organized parties to undermine security under the pretext of fighting
Nasser, a stylist speaking under an assumed name who until recently organized
fashion shows, said she had already changed her behavior.
last few days, my daughters and I go out less and I stay away from the fashion
world,” she said.
are people who don’t want Iraq to develop, or for women to be visible. They
want to take us backwards.”
urged security forces to investigate the deaths, saying an “organized network”
was behind the “premeditated” actions.
women I know are saying that their turn will come” to be targeted,” she said.
Fares, Yassiri and Hassan all died on Thursdays.
time, this repeats itself,” said 29-year-old Hawa Walid, shopping in Baghdad.
every Thursday, the stress rises.”
— There has been a tremendous increase in the number of women lawyers in the
Kingdom in recent years, Minister of Justice Sheikh Waleed Al-Samaani said here
the Saudi Law Conference, the minister said the number of women who have
obtained a license to practice law shot up to 300 percent.
shows that women’s participation in the legal profession will witness a big
leap in coming years and a subsequent promising future for law in the Kingdom,”
minister said there has been a 60% increase in the number of those who have
entered the legal profession during the last two years.
who is also chairman of the board of the Saudi Bar Association, emphasized that
it was high time to focus on the prevention side rather than the therapeutic
side of the legal profession.
law seeks to encourage new methods and concepts for how legal services can be
delivered in the future to avoid conflicts and disputes.
the concept of providing legal services, the preventive aspect should be given
top priority with a serious move to resolving legal problems before they occur,
whether in the drafting of legislation or its working mechanisms.
specialists and lawyers may turn to the therapeutic side by providing legal
advice but the provision of special preventive legal services such as contract
drafting and arbitration will undoubtedly contribute to further development of
this profession,” he added.
conference of the Bar Association, which started on Saturday, is discussing a
wide range of topics pertaining to the legal profession.
Group, Saudi Arabia›s largest food products company, have reconfirmed its
support for improved road safety, organizing its innovative “Jahiza” initiative
to educate female employees, wives and daughters of Savola›s employees.
launch of the first of its kind campaign was timed to synchronize with the
implementation of the historic decree allowing women to drive, and it included
a workshop that was held for two days at the group›s headquarters.
the initiative, which was organized in partnership with Abdul Latif Jameel
Motors and in cooperation with Jeddah Traffic Department and Najm Insurance
Services under the slogan «Jahza» initiative, included series of
awareness-raising workshops on professional driving, traffic rules and
regulations in Saudi Arabia, as well as Najm›s procedures for traffic
accidents, technical guidance for choosing the right vehicle, changing tires,
recharging the battery and installing children›s car seat were highlighted.
Anees Moumina, Savola Group Chief Executive Officer, said that the 16-hour
event, which was held over two days, comes in line with supporting the Saudi
Vision 2030 and National Transformation Program which our government aimed at
activating the role of women as half of society.
said the workshops held at Savola Group were exclusive for female workers,
spouses of employees and their daughters aged 18 years and over, as part of the
company›s continuous efforts to develop its employees, achieve a healthy
working environment and support the families of employees as part of group›s
social responsibility, as part of its initiatives to raise community awareness.
appreciated the cooperation of the Traffic Department and the active
contribution of Abdul Latif Jameel Automotive Company and Najm in spreading the
necessary traffic awareness and how to deal professionally with car driving. —
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