Photo: Fathimath Rahila, Who was keen on pursuing the course, has scored 93%
More than Half of All Teenage Girls in Pakistan Believe Domestic Violence Is Justified, Report Reveals
Seven Women Given Cabinet Posts New UAE Government by Its PM
Arab Women Parliamentarians Network for Equality Launched in Rabat
Islamic Youth Leader Yassmin Abdel-Magied Pens Memoir
Dutch Queen Wraps Up Three-Day Visit to Pakistan
Female Journalist Receives 28 Months for ‘Insulting’ Erdoğan
Muslim Religious Leaders and School Students Educated About Domestic Violence in Australia
Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau
India: Karnataka Muslim Girl Tops Ramayana Exam With 93%
Kevin Mendonsa | TNN | Feb 12, 2016
MANGALURU: Here's a good example of religious tolerance in a district often troubled by the lack of it -Fathimath Rahila of Puttur has secured the first place in the Ramayana Exam.
The class 9 student from a Muslim family got 93% to be the Puttur taluk topper in the examination, conducted by the Bharatha Sanskriti Prathisthan in November 2015.
A student of Sarvodaya High School, Sulliapadavu, located on the Karnataka-Kerala border, she was keen on pursuing a course in the Ramayana and the Mahabharata."Her uncle supported her in this," says her father, Ibrahim M, who works in a factory. Her mother is a homemaker. The couple wanted their daughter to top the state exam.
"She put in a lot of effort every day to top in Karnataka, but could not achieve it," says Ibrahim.
Fathimath developed an interest in epic Hindu literature in class 9. "I prepared from the beginning of the academic year with my uncle's help," she says, adding: "I want to appear for the Mahabharata exam too". Shivarama HD, principal of her school, and P Satyashankar Bhat, coordinator of the exam, said students appear for exams after self-study and none of them are forced to appear for it.
"The exam is more about literature and contains no literature and contains no religious content," said Satyashankar.
Around 39 students wrote the exam this year from Sarvodaya High School. Shivarama said only students from class 8 and class 9 are allowed to write these exams while SSLC students are discouraged as they have to appear for the board exams.
"Fathimath, who will be take up the SSLC examination next year, wants to study for the Mahabharata exam during the summer vacation," he said.
More than half of all teenage girls in Pakistan believe domestic violence is justified, report reveals
Victoria Richards | The Independent | Feb 11, 2016
A report carried out by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has revealed that troublingly, more than half of all teenage girls in Pakistan believe that domestic violence is justified for at least one reason.
Refusing sex was just one of the reasons girls aged between 15 and 19 believed a husband would be justified in beating his wife, while more than 30 per cent of girls of the same age had already experienced physical or sexual violence in Pakistan.
The report, entitled 'Sexual and Reproductive Health of Young People in Asia and the Pacific', also included data from Cambodia, India, Bangladesh and Nepal which revealed similar attitudes about violence against women among teenage boys, the Express Tribune reported.
Between 25 and 51 per cent said that wife beating was justified.
It was discovered that factors such as low education, unemployment and family history of violence were linked to acceptance of violence in the home.
Pakistan was also revealed as one of the countries where the greatest number of adolescents aged between 10 and 19 live with HIV.
India (120,000) has the largest population of HIV-positive adolescents followed by Indonesia (46,000), Thailand (11,000), Myanmar (7,700), Pakistan (7,000), Cambodia (3,500), Iran (3,200), Viet Nam (2,600) and Nepal (1,200).
And when it comes to awareness of sexual health, only 28 per cent of young men aged between 15 and 24 in Pakistan, and less than half of 15 and 24-year-old girls know that condoms can prevent HIV.
Thursday 11 February 2016 16:12 BST
Seven women have been given Cabinet posts in the United Arab Emirates’ new government, its Prime Minister has revealed.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum announced the new positions yesterday – including the country’s first-ever Minister of State for Happiness, a role he said would be guided by “plans, projects, programs and indices”.
Ohood Al Roumi will take on the post, alongside her existing role as the director-general of the Prime Minister’s office.
Shamma al-Mazrui, Minister of State for Youth Affairs
Six other females were also appointed to the new 29-member Cabinet.
The 66-year-old Sheikh Mohammed, who is also the ruler of Dubai within the seven-state UAE federation, said on Twitter: “The new cabinet focuses on the future, youth, happiness, developing educating and combating climate change.”
The announcements came two days after he outlined plans to privatize some public services and merge a number of government ministries.
Oxford University graduate Shamma al-Mazrui, 22, was named Minister of State for Youth Affairs, while Sheikha Lubna Khalid Al Qasimi, previously minister for foreign trade, was given the new post of Minister of State for Tolerance.
Noura Al Kaabi, Minister of State for Federal National Council Affairs
Jameela Al Muhairi was appointed Minister of State for General Education, and Najla Al Awar Minister of Community Development.
The post of Minister of State for Federal National Council Affairs went to Noura Al Kaabi.
Reem Al Hashimi was appointed Minister of State for International Cooperation.
A number of powerful officials kept their jobs under the Cabinet shake-up, including the ministers of interior and foreign affairs, who hail from the ruling Al Nahyan family of Abu Dhabi, the federal capital that also controls the presidency.
The UAE has attracted millions of tourists and foreign workers in recent years, focusing on trade, energy and financial services.
It is home to the Emirates airline and Etihad Airways, as well as the world's tallest skyscraper, the Burj Khalifa.
10 February 2016
Rabat – The Arab Women Parliamentarians Network for Equality “Ra’edat” was officially launched Tuesday with the aim of boosting women’s participation in the political decision-making process in the region.
Ra’edat (Pioneer women in English) was launched during its first forum, held in Rabat on February 9-10, to discuss a unified agenda towards a more gender-responsive policy in the region and the inclusion of women in politics.
The network brings together over 100 current and former women parliamentarians, representing 12 Arab countries.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the forum, president of “Ra’edat”, Rula Al Farra Alhroob said that this network seeks to attract 200 members and 50 pc of former and current women parliamentarians in Arab countries by the end of 2016.
“Advocating women’s right to equal representation in the decision making process is not only our duty towards women, it is our duty towards our countries because women’s participation makes a difference and enhances the quality of policy making,” Rula Al Farra Alhroob added.
Islamic youth leader Yassmin Abdel-Magied pens memoir
12 Feb. 2016
A Perth-based mechanical engineer, writer, and tireless campaigner for diversity and acceptance has penned her first memoir.
Yassmin Abdel-Magied works on oil and gas rigs, is obsessed with Formula One and often appears in the media as a commentator on current political issues.
Her unique way of communicating controversial and often uncomfortable issues has not gone unnoticed.
Abdel-Magied's TED talk "What does my headscarf mean to you?", which addresses unconscious bias, has been viewed almost 1.5 million times online.
She was named the 2015 Queensland Young Australian of the Year for her work heading up Youth Without Borders, an international organisation she founded to enable young people to work for positive change in their communities.
After a decade of working for inclusion, Abdel-Magied decided to share her personal journey of growing up as a "brown Muslim girl", and how her life changed after the September 11 attacks.
She hopes her book Yassmin's Story: Who Do You Think I Am? will help people consider identity and faith, during trying times for multiculturalism.
"What I'm hoping is that people will gain a new perspective, one of a young Muslim migrant woman growing up in Australia and dealing with all the aspects of identity and faith," she said.
"And if they can't relate, hopefully they will at least be able to learn something from being exposed to a different viewpoint."
Born in Sudan, Abdel-Magied's family moved to Brisbane when she was almost two years old, with the help of a pen pal her mother had been writing to for many years.
"We were one of the first Sudanese families in Brisbane," she said.
"There was no internet, no Skype, and the only contact my parents had with home was a two-minute conversation once a week."
Despite successful careers as an architect and an engineer in Sudan, Abdel-Magied's parents were not considered qualified in Australia, and had to start from scratch, sleeping on mattresses in a spare room.
Muslim women talked about, but not 'talked to or with'
Abdel-Magied said the book was not the "voice of young Muslims" but would hopefully give people an insight into the kind of life an Australian Muslim leads.
"So often you don't actually hear from young Muslims or from young women of colour themselves. You hear about them. We are so often talked about, but never talked to or with," she said.
"This is an opportunity for me to talk with people directly and say this is what my life has been like."
Abdel-Magied said her stories would help give people a basic understanding of Islam.
"Yassmin's Story touches on how Sharia law works and the daily rituals of a Muslim," she said.
"Beyond that, I also hope to show people that the strength of women from the Muslim community has made me the person I am."
No choice but to accept bias as 'woman of colour and faith'
Abdel-Magied also said not all the stories were easy to share or reflect on.
"I wanted to share my mistakes I've made along the way, whether it was with my career or my relationships and what I've learnt from them, because those mistakes make us into who we are," she said.
"One example is a story about the first time that I realised the concept of racism existed and affected me personally.
"It was an incident involving my mother, and one that I struggled to come to terms with.
"The reality is that bias does exist and that is something that as a woman of colour and a woman of faith I've had to accept."
Abdel-Magied also shares her experiences working in male-dominated industries, including motorsport and on remote oil rigs.
"The rigs are a totally different world to the sheltered Sudanese existence I grew up in, and I had a lot to learn very quickly," she said.
"I am still learning, but there is something that draws me to these spaces. Maybe it is because I thrive on the challenge."
The book is being launched in Perth next week ahead of its national release.
Abdel-Magied said she now felt at home in her adopted city of Perth.
"Perth has grown on me in way I didn't expect it to, it's a place where I feel like I can contribute in a meaningful way and it is more accepting than I expected it be as well," she said.
Dutch queen wraps up three-day visit to pakistan
February 12th, 2016
ISLAMABAD: Queen Maxima of The Netherlands wound up her three-day visit to Pakistan after a meeting with President Mamnoon Hussain where she praised the $46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project, saying it would bring in prosperity to whole South Asian region.
The UN Secretary General’s Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance also praised Pakistan’s efforts for promoting more financial inclusion saying it was one of only 25 countries focusing on this issue.
A spokesperson for the Presidency said the queen also praised other projects and institutions, including the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) and the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP).
She lauded the government’s policies and hoped that the benefits of these policies would be passed on to the common man to improve their standard of living, a handout said.
Queen Maxima appreciated programmes initiated to help ordinary men, women and the youth to play their due role in the development of society.
President Mamnoon Hussain urged the World Bank and other international financial institutions to support Pakistan in surmounting the problems it faced to usher in an era of prosperity.
Separately, speaking to a group of Pakistani and Dutch journalists, the Dutch royal said the launch of a national strategy on financial inclusion and the subsequent establishment of a council for the implementation of the strategy was a welcome effort on the part of Pakistan.
She said that her first visit to Pakistan had yielded useful discussions with government leaders and that she was briefed on the challenges facing Pakistan in the realm of financial inclusion.
But since only 16 per cent of Pakistanis have bank accounts and the demand is huge, she said Pakistan had a long way to go noting that there was a great disparity between men and women with regard to the usage of banking services.
Published in Dawn, February 12th, 2016
Female journalist receives 28 months for ‘insulting’ Erdoğan
February 11, 2016
A Turkish court has convicted Hilal Kalafat, a local journalist based in Afyonkarahisar, and given her a 28-month prison sentence over a tweet that allegedly "insulted" Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
The Cihan news agency reported on Thursday that an Afyonkarahisar penal court of peace ruled that consecutive Twitter posts Kalafat wrote on March 20, 2015, constituted an "insult" against Erdoğan.
The news agency stated that the journalist criticized Erdoğan and the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government for “supporting” the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and its imprisoned leader Abdullah Öcalan by carrying out a settlement process that was launched in 2012 to end Turkey's long-standing Kurdish problem.
Speaking to Cihan, Kalafat said she had no intention of insulting anyone, adding that she criticized the government because she could not allow the process to pass without making her personal feelings public.
“Öcalan is a murderer. He and his people killed many of our people. I only thought of mothers of our martyrs when I saw [news of the] Dolmabahçe meeting in the media. How come a political party supported this terrorist organization?” Kalafat stated.
The AK Party government, under then-Prime Minister Erdoğan, initiated a settlement process in 2012 to resolve the Kurdish issue through secret talks with Öcalan, but the process came to a standstill in July 2015 amid criticism from Erdoğan. The government then backtracked on a series of planned steps, including the formation of a group of observers to monitor the talks between Öcalan and state officials.
The planned measures were revealed in a declaration read out by HDP deputy Sırrı Süreyya Önder after talks with Akdoğan and then-Interior Minister Efkan Ala at İstanbul's Ottoman-era Dolmabahçe Palace on Feb. 28, 2014.
By Danuta Kozaki: 12 Feb. 2016
Year 12 student Aisha Allazze wants to study law and become a human rights lawyer when she graduates from a south-western Sydney high school later this year.
The 17-year-old has taken part in a campaign to educate the general community about domestic violence and its impact on everyone in society.
Ms Allazze attended a seminar organised by the Lebanese Muslim Association this week as part of her Higher School Certificate Legal Studies subject at school.
"We learnt today what people suffer due to domestic violence and how it occurs in a household and a community. You realise that if it is everywhere. We have to address it. The seminar and the discussions today can help," she said.
"It does not only happen in Australia, it happens in other countries as well. We need to reach out and help others."
The seminar was an ongoing part of the LMA's 'Together We Are Strong' initiative funded by the Federal Department of Social Services.
One of the organisers, Fatima Elcheikh from the LMA, said the aim was to "provide relationship education to religious workers and leaders as well as the general public".
Fellow student Isra Boudellaa said she learned a lot from Legal Aid NSW solicitor Maha Najjarine, who was one of the key speakers.
"Today we learnt about Apprehended Domestic Violence orders and how many legal steps that are involved," Ms Boudellaa said.
"Young people need more awareness about domestic violence.
"It should be really easy for women to go and report what it is happening to them. But it is not. We need to find ways to help."
Domestic violence affects 'all parts of Australia'
LMA project officer Reuben Brand said domestic violence was an issue that cut across all parts of Australian society, including those from a culturally diverse background.
Mr Brand said along with religious leaders and workers, more than 30 school students from all walks of life including South Pacific and Middle Eastern backgrounds attended the seminar.
"These issues are prevalent in all communities, all societies, so to learn about these issues at a younger age will give you the tools necessary to combat it at a later age," he said.
"Giving people the skills, the know how is very important. Newly arrived people need to know where to go for help, especially for referral services."
Another year 12 student, Yazmin Annous, who wants to be a teacher when she leaves school, said she learned that one woman a week gets killed by her partner due to domestic violence.
She said information is important so that women do not feel shamed coming forward if they have a problem.
"Some women might not like to share it with the public because they do not want to bring shame to their family," she said.
"A change is needed. More workshops are needed to show what women are suffering through domestic violence."
Rape and Domestic Violence Services Australia executive officer Karen Willis said it is unfortunate that sexual assault and domestic violence are common in all sections of society.
"In fact one in four women in Australia will experience such violence at some stage in their adult life," she said.
"To change this terrible story all of us need to do what we can.
"Apart from individual change, the campaigns and activities that change attitudes will help."
Ms Elcheikh said there will be more workshops in the coming months under the 'Together We are Strong' initiative including talks around mental health and Islamic psychosocial skills care.
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