PHOTO: Democratic U.S. congressional candidate Rashida Tlaib canvasses a
neighborhood before Election Day in Detroit, Michigan, U.S. November 5, 2018.
Muslim Women Win House Seats, Blazing a New Path
Christian Woman Asia Bibi Leaves Jail, Flies Out Of Multan
Torkia's Modestly: There's No One Way to Be a Muslim Woman
Iranian Women Are Among the Most Vulnerable To US Sanctions
Unemployed Nurses in Iran Despite Acute Shortage Of Nurses
by New Age Islam News Bureau
Cheer First Palestinian Woman, Rashida Tlaib, In US Congress
into the news at dawn on Wednesday, the extended family of Rashida Tlaib, the
first Palestinian-American woman to be elected to the US Congress, celebrated
her victory in their home in the Israeli occupied West Bank.
a Democrat, ran virtually unopposed in Michigan’s 13th congressional district,
which encompasses southwest Detroit and its suburbs west to the city of
Dearborn. She previously served in Michigan’s state legislature.
has become “a source of pride for Palestine and the entire Arab and Muslim
world,” her uncle, Bassam Tlaib, said in the small village of Beit Ur Al-Fauqa.
her win, Tlaib, 44, will become the first Palestinian-American woman to serve
in the US Congress. Alongside incoming Minnesota Representative Ilhan Omar, she
will also be one of the first Muslim women to join the congressional ranks.
going to speak truth to power,” Tlaib told the Detroit Free Press on election
night on Tuesday. “I obviously have a set agenda that’s not going to be a
priority for the current president but that doesn’t mean I’m not going to push
district is home to one of the largest Arab-American populations in the United
States. Her win highlights a wave of Palestinian diaspora candidates and
activists who have embraced the Democratic Party’s progressive wing at a low
point in US-Palestinian relations under Republican President Donald Trump.
California’s 50th district, Ammar Campa-Najjar, a Palestinian-American who
spent part of his childhood in Gaza and whose father served in the Palestinian
Authority, was in a close race with incumbent Republican Congressman Duncan
Hunter, early results showed.
success of [Tlaib and Campa-Najjar’s] progressive messaging on a wide range of
issues, including Palestine, is reflective of a shifting public discourse that
Palestine activists have played a role in shaping,” said Omar Baddar, deputy
director of the Washington-based Arab American Institute.
Trump, Washington has alienated Palestinians by recognizing occupied Jerusalem
as Israel’s capital and moving the American embassy there, and by slashing US
funding of the UN body that aids Palestinians.
have broken off contact with his administration, which has promised to announce
a peace plan soon for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
the West Bank city of Ramallah and throughout the territory, Palestinians took
a cautious view of the election news.
is incremental, and Palestinians in Palestine are intimately aware of that,”
said Salem Barahmeh, executive director of the Ramallah-based Palestine
Institute for Public Diplomacy.
said, Tlaib’s election is seen as a glimmer of hope in a very dark chapter in
the Palestinian people’s history,” Barahmeh added.
Tlaib, the candidate’s uncle, said she had “stood against Trump” at a time when
“even our Arab leaders are unwilling to face (him).” — Reuters
Muslim women from the Midwest were elected to the House of Representatives on
Tuesday, making history as the first females of their faith to serve in
candidates secured their wins by running on a socially progressive platforms.
Tlaib, a Palestinian-American, will represent Michigan, and Ilhan Omar, once a
Somali refugee in Kenya, will represent Minnesota. Both received an
overwhelming majority of the vote in their respective districts on Tuesday and
join a surge of Democratic women coming to the new Congress.
women align with the left wing of the Democratic Party which focused its
campaigns on vows to extend Medicare health coverage to all Americans and
increase the minimum wage to $15. In 2016, Ms. Tlaib was arrested for
disrupting a speech from then-candidate Donald Trump in Detroit, where she
shouted at him that “our kids deserve better,” a move that cemented her
progressive political credentials for some supporters.
Ms. Tlaib, 42, and Ms. Omar, 37, have made comments that are critical of
Israel. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict was not a central campaign issue for
either candidate, but their views on the matter could test Democrats in a
narrow House majority. The party typically draws widespread support from Jewish
voters and donors. Seventy-one percent of American Jews voted for the
Democrats, as did 80% of Muslims, according to AP VoteCast, a pre-election and
Election Day survey of about 90,000 people who said they voted in the midterms
or intended to do so.
Tlaib has said she would vote against bills that include aid to Israel; Ms.
Omar has drawn criticism for a 2012 tweet in which she says that “Israel has
hypnotized the world” with its “evil doings.”
Street, a liberal Jewish lobbying organization, praised Ms. Tlaib’s progressive
social views, but the group withdrew its endorsement in August after the
candidate said she opposed a two-state solution for the Israeli-Palestinian
conflict. Ms. Tlaib told an online publication, “It has to be one state.
Separate but equal does not work.”
Jewish Democratic Council of America also criticized Ms. Tlaib’s push for
military spending cuts for Israel, calling it “inconsistent with the values of
the Democratic Party and the American people.”
is the largest recipient of U.S. aid and is slated to receive more than $3
billion in 2019
Omar, who wears a hijab and was on the cover of Time magazine in September
2017, has emerged as one of the more high-profile lawmakers within Minnesota's
Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party. She came to the U.S. as a refugee from Somalia
and was elected to the state House of Representatives in 2016. She will take
the seat vacated by Rep. Keith Ellison, who left Congress to run for attorney
has called for a reduction of military spending to Israel and said she plans to
“uplift the voices of Palestinians demanding an end to the occupation of the
West Bank and East Jerusalem.”
accused of anti-Semitism on Twitter, Ms. Omar responded in May of this year:
“Drawing attention to the apartheid Israeli regime is far from hating Jews.”
campaign didn’t return an email requesting clarification or more context on her
Tlaib, born in Detroit, is the daughter of Palestinian immigrants. She made
history in 2008 by becoming the first Muslim woman to serve in the Michigan
House of Representatives.
will fill the seat vacated by Rep. John Conyers, who left his office last year
after accusations of sexual misconduct.
Muslim men have been elected to Congress, Indiana Democratic Rep. Andre Carson,
who was re-elected on Tuesday, and Mr. Ellison, who in 2007 became the first
Muslim to be elected to Congress.
Christian woman Asia Bibi leaves jail, flies out of Multan
A Pakistani Christian woman has been freed from prison a week after the Supreme
Court overturned her conviction and death sentence for blasphemy against Islam,
and she is now at a secure location for fear of attacks on her, officials said
release of Asia Bibi, a mother of five, prompted immediate anger from a
hard-line Islamist party that has threatened to paralyse daily life countrywide
with street protests if her acquittal is not reversed.
53, was convicted of blasphemy in 2010 over allegations she made derogatory
remarks about Islam after neighbours objected to her drinking water from their
glass because she was not Muslim. She always denied having committed blasphemy.
case has outraged Christians worldwide, and Pope Francis met with Bibi's family
earlier this year, saying he prayed for her.
said on Tuesday it will try to help Bibi, who is Catholic, to leave Pakistan.
Islam's Prophet Mohammad carries a mandatory death penalty in Pakistan, which
is about 95 percent Muslim and has among the harshest blasphemy laws in the
world. Minority Christians make up about 2 percent of the population.
security officials told Reuters early on Thursday that Bibi had been released
from a prison in Multan, a city in southern Punjab province.
was flown to the airport near the capital, Islamabad, but was in protective
custody because of threats to her life, said the three officials, speaking on
condition of anonymity.
lawyer, who has fled Pakistan and this week sought asylum in the Netherlands,
confirmed she was no longer in prison.
I can tell you is that she has been released," lawyer Saif-ul-Mulook told
Reuters by phone from the Netherlands.
spokesman for the hard-line Tehreek-e-Labaik (TLP) party, which took to the
streets after the Supreme Court ruling, said her release violated a deal with
the government of Prime Minister Imran Khan to end the protests.
TLP activists are agitated as the government has breached the agreement with
our party. The rulers have showed their dishonesty," party spokesman Ejaz
Ashrafi told Reuters.
government deal last week promised not to block a petition for the Supreme
Court to review Bibi's acquittal in light of Islamic sharia law, the TLP said.
It also said the government promised to work to ensure Bibi could not leave the
Pakistan's government allows Bibi to leave, it could face more paralysing
protests from the TLP and other Islamist parties.
Torkia's Modestly: There's no one way to be a Muslim woman
is the story of my life. It's about me as a Muslim Brit embracing dual
identities, surviving the turbulent teens and transitioning from self-doubt to
self-belief... You can't get a Muslim woman in a hijab with no opinion, am I
right?!" The synopsis to influencer Dina Torkia's debut book sets the tone
for her journey into inspiring the world of modest fashion.
the last few years, the British Muslim fashion blogger has gone from strength
to strength. Today you will see Dina's face plastered for many fashion brands
while talking about being a social media sensation to the likes of Vogue. But
her journey began in early 2010, where many hijabis will remember her sharing
trendsetting hijab tutorials on a mannequin's head on Facebook. The quality of
the video was terrible, she was rather awkward in front of the camera, but none
of that mattered: the concept was new, it was unheard of and the hijabi
community was taken over with excitement.
then moved her videos to YouTube and was one of the first headscarf wearing
Muslim vloggers sharing her modest fashion creativity online. It was something
we had not seen before, and it was refreshing to see awareness being raised
about the huge lack of fashion possibilities for women who choose to cover.
has definitely paved the way for a hijabi presence online, and now boasts more
than 800,000 subscribers on YouTube and over a million followers on Instagram.
Of course, with such heightened success, one is prone to criticism, as the
blogger can recently relate to after being bombarded with negativity over her
choice to not wear her headscarf full time. But despite all that, the blogger
stands firm on who she is as a person and her first book Modestly gives a great
insight to the journey that has brought her here today.
the book, which was published by Penguin Random House in September, Dina talks
about her childhood growing up half English and half Egyptian, how she met her
husband, the struggles of getting married and becoming a mother, how she came
to be one of the first Muslim modest fashion bloggers, and everything else in
between - sprinkled with headscarf and makeup tutorials and a plethora of
modest style advice. Mostly, she writes about the struggles of being a hijabi
and about what modesty means to her.
the book she mentions "the inescapable shedload of bold statements."
However, I felt they were more 'statements' without the bold. Some interesting
topics are touched upon but only superficially. They are not really developed
into elaborate arguments and the depth I expected them to be in. These 'bold
statements' are also never backed with numbers or evidence, and are suggested
to be things the reader should know and acknowledge, when in fact they are
quite challenging of the common narrative.
some interesting topics covered in the book include her relationship with
prayer, her views on racism within Muslim communities and her own white
privilege, gender stereotyping and double standards when it comes to raising
children. She also touches on the taboo of relationships for people of colour
as well as talking about sex and marriage.
first chapter, My Journey, is a biography of her life. It begins with her birth
in Cairo in 1989 to moving to London a couple of years later, and then to Wales
to settle there with her parents.
talks about having her first period at the age of eleven and when she first
started to wear the hijab. She describes the awkwardness and difficulty she
faced wearing it during a time in her life when it would have been much easier
to "dress like the other girls."
also speaks extensively of the eating disorder and anxiety she struggled with
growing up and as a young woman. She very honestly admits that being a hijabi
never protected her from obsessively caring about her weight and appearance and
having faith in God did not shield her from a mental illness.
fights the stereotype that hijabis only care about piety and proves that they
too, are normal women and girls who can suffer from the same ills as their
non-Muslim, or non-hijab-wearing peers.
book is a very quick and easy read, it feels more like a fashion or picture
book than a serious autobiography, and it would probably not take anyone over
two hours to finish it.
writing style is not very overwhelming and feels more like speech that has been
written down; if you are familiar with Dina Torkia's videos, you will hear her
voice speaking the words as you read. In a way, she stays true to herself and
her personality, the book feels real, genuine and honest.
at the same time, if you have been an avid follower of Dina's blogging past,
you will feel that 95 percent of the written content is a repetition of the
things she has already said or ranted about on her YouTube channel or on her
Instagram posts. But then again, being a book about her life, these repetitions
are bound to be encountered.
reading this book, the question of who it is written for can arise. To be
blunt, Modestly feels like it was written for a white audience. This is
disappointing if you are a Muslima expecting it to be a book for you, when it is
mostly about you.
book has a lot of explanations; why some women choose to wear a scarf and
cover, how they do it, and everything around that. If you are Muslim or a
hijabi, you will probably not learn very much and none of the information will
be new or ground-breaking to you.
the descriptive nature of the book is not necessarily a bad thing either. It is
presumably written this way to reach a wider audience. This book makes the
concept of modesty and hijab accessible to anyone who wishes to learn about
them, with no danger of falling into complicated material that is too academic.
remain sceptical however of the number of non-Muslims who will buy the book and
actually learn from it, judging from the book launch events that mostly
gathered Muslimas and hijabis.
book seems at first sight to cater for Muslimas and women who choose to lead a
modest lifestyle but falls short of providing originality and novelty.
Hopefully it can prove to be useful in making the hijabi lifestyle more
accessible, less alienated, and less stereotypical.
Modestly, Dina manages to prove that the hijabi community is not just one
monolith: “The truth is this: the diversity is huge and colourful and, most
importantly, authentic to each woman.
don't all wear black abayas and we don't all tie our scarves the same. There's
no one way to do it, and there's definitely no one way to define being a Muslim
is a stylish, entertaining book full of humour and emotion that succeeds in
portraying a refreshing, positive and uplifting representation of Muslim women.
Iranian women are among the most vulnerable to US sanctions
November 5, further US sanctions on Iran went into effect and are expected to
bring devastating consequences on the Islamic Republic and its people.
is feared that women along with children and impoverished Iranians are most at
27, works at a public health policy start-up and teaches biology at a high
school in the Iranian capital, Tehran.
in Iran in the aftermath of the Iran-Iraq war, she and her family moved to
Canada and relocated to California at age 13.
graduating, she decided that she wanted to return. Like many others, she has
already started to feel the effect of sanctions.
definitely hasn't been easy," she told Al Jazeera. "Six, seven months
ago, when the dollar and [rial] went crazy, prices went up. It makes me doubt
if [returning] was really a good decision, and whether I can sustain this for
matter how much money I make, it is worth nothing in dollars."
the devaluation of Iran's currency, Fatemeh's monthly salary is equivalent to
about $160, a steep decrease from what it used to be, around $800.
add to income woes, women's products such as menstrual hygiene items and
certain medication have become steadily more difficult to find and much more
said searching for Western brands like Always or Kotex can be frustrating.
went to six or seven pharmacies in a day and I just couldn't find them
anywhere," she said.
ventured to Jordan, a more affluent part of town, but the shelves were empty
Iranian brands have become more expensive; what was once 100,000 rial is now
being sold for 160,000 rial, which is now worth around $3.80.
Moaveni, gender consultant at the International Crisis Group, told Al Jazeera:
"There are micro-shortages of every day things which erode the quality of
life of different classes in different ways. Over time, sanctions eventually
impoverish the middle class and they are designed to do that."
scarcity has also led to panic buying and hoarding.
the seller's perspective," Fatemeh said, "they might hold on to them
and wait until the next week to try to sell their products for a higher
a 22-year-old university graduate, works in her family's fast restaurant in
just aren't buying anything right now if they can avoid it. I haven't gone
shopping recently, all the items have become more expensive," she told Al
Jazeera. "We had to increase the prices on our menu but customers
understood that we didn't have a choice."
Norouz (New Year) celebrations last March, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called on
Iranians to support domestic production.
lot of people have taken it to heart," Fatemeh said, "even those who
don't necessarily politically agree with Khamenei."
even locally made products are more expensive. Nappies, for example, are made
with imported raw materials.
woman told Al Jazeera, speaking on the condition of anonymity, that the
sanctions could lead to a lower birth rate.
explained that people have been reconsidering having children because essential
items such as nappies and formula are now unaffordable, even for an average
the Central Bank is sanctioned, it makes purchasing goods near
impossible," said Washington, DC-based Sussan Tahmasebi, the director of
Femena, an organisation supporting women's rights.
explained that the inability to transfer funds through SWIFT - meaning from one
country to another - is the main problem.
the immediate and visible effect - shortages and high prices - analysts warned
that sanctions could disrupt the family dynamic.
the International Crisis Group consultant, said: "Women, as organisers of
family life, healthcare, education, will often carry the burden of trying to
come up with alternatives for their families in all instances.
men can't provide for their families in a society that is still largely
traditional and patriarchal, if they can't fulfil the [perceived] duties of
their gender role, it does tend to create tension and encourage forms of more
assertive masculinity that are not as constructive to women having a say in the
being able to earn or support the family has an impact on men's conception of
Monday, US Secretary of State, Michael Pompeo tweeted in Farsi: "[US]
sanctions do not apply to the sale of food, agriculture, medicine, and medical
US] stands in solidarity with the Iranian people."
according to more than 50 academic studies, economic sanctions in the past on
Iran have had a humanitarian effect.
have adversely affected the standard of living for ordinary Iranians, made
certain medications inaccessible, and triggered public health concerns.
say medicine isn't sanctioned and that humanitarian aid isn't sanctioned,"
said Tahmasebi, "but it is."
unemployed nurses in Iran despite acute shortage of nurses
to limited funds and lack of employment license, there are 30,000 unemployed
nurses in Iran.
an interview on October 29, 2018, Mohammad Sharifi Moghaddam, secretary general
of the House of Nursing of Iran, acknowledged the above, adding, "The
number of nurses having a job in Iran is lower than the world's average and
even lower than those of developing countries. This could have an impact on the
Secretary General of the House of Nursing added, "Presently, we have some
30,000 unemployed nurses in the country, because the government has not issued
licenses for their recruitment due to financial problems and lack of funds. For
this reason, people do not receive quality and safe services in government and
even private (medical) centers and suffer losses."
at least 30,000 unemployed nurses, "there are only 1.6 nurses attending to
every 1,000 patients in Iran," Sharifi Moghaddam said, adding, "To
receive appropriate nursing services every nurse can attend to a maximum of
four patients. But the world's average is six nurses for every 1,000 patients.
If we want to have the minimum number of nurses for Iran's population of
80,000,000, we must have at least 240,000 nurses working across the country while
we have only 160,000 nurses busy providing health services and care." (The
state-run Young Journalists Club website - October 29, 2018)
countries like the United States, France, and Belgium, there are over 10 nurses
for every 1,000 patients. In most European countries this ratio is between 6
Asghar Dalvandi, president of the National Nursing Organization, had told a
ceremony at the Azad University of Ardebil that nurses face undesirable
conditions at work and numerous problems. He reiterated, "The shortage of
some 125,000 nurses in the country's health care circles is palpable. We need
to recruit at least 30,000 nurses every year." (The state-run Tasnim news
agency - October 12, 2018)
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