file photo shows Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun, 18, addressing the media during a
press conference in Toronto, Canada, at the offices of COSTI, a refugee
resettling agency, on January 15, 2019. (Photo by AFP)
Teen Rahaf Al-Qunun Demands Social Disobedience In Kingdom
Arab Announces Women-Friendly Work Rules
Govt Bars Pakistani Woman from Returning Home After Divorce
Bibi’s Daughters Emigrate to Canada: Reports
Carey to perform in Saudi Arabia on January 31
Over Faith: India Bats For Women's Rights On Sabarimala, Triple Talaq In Mood
Of The Nation Poll
Filmmaker Haifaa Al-Mansour Discusses Portrayal Of Women At Davos
Women’s Empowerment Platform Nominated For Award
Of Men Sees More Syrian Women Enter Workforce
Saleh: Kidnapped Woman Brought Home To Britain 34 Years After Being Taken To
by New Age Islam News Bureau
Basis for Banning Female Circumcision: WAFIQ
International Women’s Alliance for Family Institution and Quality Education
(WAFIQ) wishes to clarify several facts concerning female circumcision (FC),
which was recently discussed in the launching of the United Nations Convention
on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (Cedaw) shadow
report by a group of women's NGOs.
first, it is refreshing to note that the panellists had used the term FC
instead of female genitalia mutilation (FGM) – which the Cedaw committee once
mistakenly believed was practised in Malaysia.
must be stressed that there is a huge difference between FGM and FC under the
Shafii school of Islamic jurisprudence.
to the statement by Sisters in Islam executive director Rozana Isa that FC is
nothing more than a cultural tradition, FC has a religious basis. The Fatwa
Committee of the National Council of Islamic Religious Affairs in 2009 stated
that FC is mandatory.
would like to take this opportunity to state that there are two views among
Muslim scholars regarding FC. One view is that it is compulsory like male
circumcision, and another view is that it is sunnah – an act of worship that is
encouraged in Islam, but not obligatory.
Malaysia, FC has been religiously followed according to the Shafii school of
law. Federal Territory Mufti Zulkifli Mohamad al-Bakri (photo) said that
“circumcision is mandatory for men and women”, and the idea that female
circumcision is “unlawful in Islam” is arguable.
states follow the Shafii school of law on female circumcision. The Perlis Fatwa
Committee, in 2017, following the second view, decreed that circumcision is
obligatory for men and sunnah for women.
views are based on narratives from the Hadith. One narrative was when Caliph
Uthman ibn Affan had invited an old woman who was a slave with other young
women from Rome to accept Islam. When the old woman and a young girl accepted
Islam, Uthman had ordered for them to be “circumcised” and “purified”.
narrative was graded “daif” or weak.
narrative was of a woman who performed circumcision in Madinah. It was said
that Prophet Muhammad had told her: “Do not cut severely as that is better for
a woman and more desirable for a husband.”
narrative was graded “sahih” or sound by al-Albani, and the Hadith has been
reported in Sunan Abi Dawud, Book 42, Hadith 5251.
other narratives are almost similar – it was narrated that Muhammad had said:
“Do not cut off too much as it is a source of enjoyment for the woman and more
likeable to her husband,” and “When you circumcise, you must not cut off too
much as it is a source of loveliness of the face and more enjoyable for the
can be seen from the narratives that Muhammad did not forbid female
circumcision, but encouraged it as commendable acts in religion.
to the Hanafi school of law, female circumcision is permissible, but not
sunnah. The Maliki school of law considers it a “preferred act” (mandub). The
Shafii school of law says circumcision is an obligation for both men and women.
This is the official ruling.
Quran, however, does not condemn female circumcision as long as it does not
compromise the health of the female.
to contemporary Muslim scholar Yusuf al-Qaradawi (photo): “It must be
ascertained that there is no mutilation by those who handle the affairs of
their daughters in the manner that comes from the Hadith.
cannot be labelled as a form of crime as committed in the 21st century, except
in cases that violate the agreed rules in syariah, excessive cutting, and
controlled by ignorant people from the midwives and beyond... and it should not
use the medicines that might barren the child.”
also welcome the views of the panellists that FC as practised in Malaysia is no
longer seen as a harmful practice. This is in agreement with the data from the
Health Ministry, which reported in 2015 that as many as 83 to 85 percent of
Muslim babies attending the government clinic had reportedly been circumcised,
while 15 to 17 percent of Muslim babies did not undergo circumcision.
Muslim babies who had been circumcised did not report any complications.
Anecdotal report should not be the basis of banning of FC in Malaysia.
to the question of should there be scientifically proven medical benefits to
validate religious practices, it must be emphasised that the rulings of Islam –
the obligation to perform prayer, fasting and circumcisions and others – were
ordained to Muslims 1,400 years ago as part of our faith.
had never known the medical benefits of many of these practices before modern
science comes yet they were religiously observed by the faithful. Thus, medical
benefits are not the prerequisite to maintaining a religious practice.
it is the presence of medical harms, that show how Islamic rulings may be
relaxed based on maqasid syariah (the purpose of syariah). A severely diabetic
patient, for example, does not have to fast, if by doing so, he may succumb to
also respectfully disagree with claims that FC perpetuates a “harmful ideology”
that women were not equal to men. There is simply no evidence to back this up.
2012 study conducted by Dr Maznah Dahlui of Universiti Malaya's Department of
Social and Preventive Medicine, found that 93 percent of Muslim women surveyed
had been circumcised.
fact that this practice is normally done in private by the family when a child
is of a very young age that she is unlikely to remember it, and the fact that
FC is hardly a subject one discusses openly, there is simply no correlation
that the practice confers a harmful ideology.
is, of course, in contrast to some cultural practices which have been banned in
African countries, as much older girls are subject to surgery that technically
suture their labia minora or labia majora as a form of FGM.
claim that FC is a harmful ideology needs to be substantiated with how women in
Malaysia have progressed all these years we were practising FC. In 2015, in The
Millennium Development Goal Index (MDG) praised Malaysia for our achievement of
women surpassing men in both enrolment and completion of primary and secondary
education (more than 95 percent). Almost 70 percent of those enrolling in
universities are women.
the 69th session of Cedaw in 2018, Naéla Gabr from Egypt and Ismat Jahan from
Bangladesh stated that Malaysia should ban FC following in their countries'
footsteps. Local women's NGOs have urged Malaysia to follow suit.
need to ask ourselves, what is considered as tangible measures for success in
women? Thus, we compared the Global Gender Gap Report for 2017. The Global
Gender Gap report benchmarks 144 countries on their progress towards gender
parity across four thematic dimensions: economic participation and opportunity,
educational attainment, health and survival, and political empowerment.
women’s health and survival, Malaysia ranked 53, with Egypt at 99 and
Bangladesh at 125. For educational attainment, we were at 77, Egypt at 104, and
Bangladesh at 111. For economic participation, we are at 87, Bangladesh 129 and
Egypt at 135. Bangladesh scored higher than us in one thematic, political
empowerment, because it has a woman as a prime minister.
does the banning of FC play any role in women's progress?
said that, we truly believe that there is plenty of room for Muslim women to
succeed, but we call for a more objective analysis of an issue backed up by
reliable and validated data, rather than assumptions based on intuition which
will not help with effective policymaking.
teenager Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun, who was granted asylum in Canada earlier this
month, has called for social disobedience in the oil-rich conservative kingdom
in the wake of a widening crackdown against Muslim preachers and intellectuals
as well as flagrant violation of human rights there.
took to Twitter on Friday to demand such an action, Arabic-language New
al-Khalij news website reported.
injustice becomes a law, resistance becomes a duty," she wrote.
18-year-old fled to Thailand while visiting Kuwait with her family in early
case grabbed international attention on social media after she barricaded
herself in a Bangkok airport hotel room to resist being sent home to her
told Canada's CBC News network and the Toronto Star daily newspaper on January
14 that she was beaten up for not praying and locked in the house for six
months for cutting her hair short.
was exposed to physical violence, persecution, oppression, threats to be
killed," she said.
felt that I could not achieve my dreams that I wanted as long as I was still
living in Saudi Arabia.
daily oppression. We are treated as an object, like a slave. We could not make
decisions about what we want,” the Saudi teenager pointed out.
landed in Canada on January 12, and was welcomed by the North American
country’s Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland at Toronto's airport. "This
is a very brave new Canadian," Freeland told reporters.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Friday that Canada had accepted a request
from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to take in the
Arabia severed its diplomatic relations with Canada last year, and barred the
Canadian ambassador to Riyadh after Ottawa criticized Saudi authorities for
detaining female activists and the kingdom’s human rights record.
to Gulf News, the proposed decision includes avoiding any measures that would
curb the freedom of women that is in violation of the labour system and wage
workers must be provided a suitable place to perform prayers and take rest.
new initiative also proposes that all workplaces with women must include
private toilets and separate work areas or counters.
initiative also specifies working hours for women – ending latest by 11pm.
in industrial areas will only work till 6pm.
ministry added that all work standards are detailed in a decree accessible
A Pakistani woman currently residing in India but hoping to return to her home
is not being granted clearance by authorities in India.
woman, identified as Kubra Gillani, originally hails from Muzzaffarabad
district. She had married Muhammad Altaf who was from Indian Occupied Kashmir
(IOK) in 2010 but after divorcing him in November last year, she wishes to
return back home.
the Pakistani High Commission in India had issued her a new passport, she has
been barred from travelling by authorities in India.
explained that she has been visiting the office of the interior ministry for
months now but she has not yet been granted permission to leave.
appealed to authorities in Pakistan to negotiate with the Indian government and
secure her return to Pakistan.
Aasia Bibi’s daughters have emigrated to Canada and are residing in the capital
Ottawa, media reports stated on Friday.
daughters were living with their stepmother during her detention. As per
further media reports, the family’s longstanding guardian and his family were
also granted asylum by the Canadian government.
October 31, 2018, the apex court had acquitted Aasia Bibi, who was facing a
death sentence for blasphemy and ordered to release her from prison
immediately, dismissing the Lahore High Court (LHC) judgement.
the acquittal verdict, protests had erupted in several cities.
masses had blocked several routes across the country for two days, while at
some places they had also set fire to vehicles. The demonstrations saw the
closure of schools, colleges and universities, as well as cancellation of
government and the protesters from different religious groups, led by
Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) chief Khadim Rizvi, reached an agreement two
days later on November 2.
law enforcement agencies had rounded up around 1,800 individuals by Monday
night. The Ministry of Interior had said that the arrested suspects had been
booked under the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA).
the government decided to take action against miscreants involved in vandalism,
torture and arson during the demonstrations across the country, it later showed
leniency by dropping the cases against the TLP workers.
the Supreme Court (SC) fixed a review petition against its verdict acquitting
Aasia Bibi in the country’s most high-profile blasphemy case last year.
case will be heard by a three-member bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan
(CJP) Asif Saeed Khosa and comprising Justice Qazi Faez Isa and Justice Mazhar
Alam Miankhel on January 29.
review petition has been filed by Qari Muhammad Salaam.
Mariah Carey is to perform in Saudi Arabia for the first time next week.
American singer will play a show as part of the first international golf
tournament to be played in the Kingdom.
concert will take place on Thursday, Jan 31, at King Abdullah Economic City.
performers during the course of the tournament include Dutch DJ Tiesto,
Yemeni-Emirati singer Balqees Fathi and Jamaican rapper Sean Paul.
of the European Tour, the inaugural Saudi International, powered by SBIA, takes
place between Jan 31 and Feb 3 at the Royal Greens G&CC.
is the latest major international artist to perform in the Kingdom.
string of live entertainment performances have been held in Saudi Arabia over
the last couple of years, following a lull in the Kingdom hosting such events.
October 2016, the New York-based theatrical group iLuminate took to the stage
in Riyadh in a rare public performance of music and dance.
January 2017, prominent Saudi star Mohammed Abdu performed live in Jeddah —
along with Saudi artist Rabeh Sager and the Iraqi-Saudi singer Majid
Al-Muhandis — in what was the city’s first open music concert in seven years.
last month, A-list stars including Enrique Iglesias, the Black Eyed Peas and
David Guetta took to the stage during a three-day music event held during the
inaugural Saudia Ad Diriyah E-Prix in Riyadh.
tickets for Mariah Carey and the other performers are on sale at Virgin
Megastores or through the website TicketingBoxOffice.com.
Supreme Court order allowing women, irrespective of age, to enter and pray at
the Sabarimala temple in Kerala contravening the established temple traditions
has triggered a contentious debate on two equally strong constitutional
principles -- Article 14 guaranteeing equality and Article 25 guaranteeing
freedom or religion.
of religion means the right to practice one's own religion, not the freedom to
undermine the fundamental rights of others. Nor does freedom of religion
warrant contravening the writ of the Supreme Court which grants explicitly to
women the right to worship at Sabarimala. Blinkered and diehard conservatism
has failed to perceive the role of inspiring figures, particularly in south India,
who challenged the bounds of orthodoxy, broke the rules of caste and gender,
and triggered popular movements of reform and renaissance over centuries.
latest MOTN reveals 59 per cent is of the opinion that women of all ages should
be allowed in religious shrines where they were traditionally barred entry
from. Those in favour are 60 per cent among Hindus, 46 per cent among Muslims
and 60 per cent among others. But political parties indulge in duplicity and
take a regressive stand, staggering backwards, in playing to the gallery
keeping elections in mind rather than pursue a forward-looking societal
is this which has made the Modi government re-promulgate the ordinance, on
January 12, banning the practice of instant triple talaq as the relevant bill
could not get parliamentary approval. Under the Muslim Women (Protection of
Rights on Marriage) Ordinance, 2019, divorcing through instant triple talaq
(talaq-e-biddar) will be illegal, void and would attract a jail term of three
years for the husband. A bill to convert the earlier ordinance, issued in
September 2018, was cleared by the Lok Sabha in December and was pending in the
Rajya Sabha. Seeking to allay fears that the proposed law could be misused, the
government has included certain safeguards, such as adding a provision of bail
for the accused before trial.
Arabian filmmaker, Haifaa al-Mansour, said her aim is to portray Arab women as
strong and “sassy.”
during a panel at the World Economic Forum in Davos on Wednesday, al-Mansour
said: “Whether it’s coming from the region, or internationally, I really enjoy
portraying strong female protagonists, women who don’t see themselves as
victims,” al-Mansour said.
all the scripts I get, Muslim and Arab women are all victims and sad, and
things are happening to them — and it’s like no, we’re very sassy. We’re very
strong. Don’t take us for granted.”
added that it was a stereotype to portray Arab women as weak, and although she
did not deny the hardships that some Arab women face, she said, “that is a huge
misconception, we are way more than who they think we are as women.”
was honored with the World Economic Forum’s Crystal Award, which celebrates the
achievements of leading artists and cultural figures whose leadership inspires
inclusive and sustainable change.
Arabia has witnessed waves of reforms as part of the Saudi Vision 2030, which
intends to diversify the Saudi economy and liberalize Saudi society. These new
changes introduced the opening of cinema theatres in the Kingdom, whereas in
the past movie theatres did not exist.
lauded the reforms and the focus on arts and entertainment in the Kingdom,
“Saudi Arabia is building its arts and culture industry, and that’s where we
should put our energy.”
Ananke, a Dubai-based digital platform empowering women through awareness,
advocacy and education, has been nominated for the World Summit on the
Information Society (WSIS) awards, to be held in Geneva, Switzerland, in April.
is an initiative to ensure the good of the internet, while Ananke strives to
enable women’s empowerment through equal participation in the digital
are extremely grateful to have been recognised for the work we do empowering
women globally,” said Ananke editor-at-large Melanie Bublyk.
important to my work is the ability to give all women a voice and utilising
digital technology to promote sustainable development, peace and fostering good
working relations transnationally.”
continues until February 10 and is open to the public.
an almost pitch-dark basement bakery near Damascus, Hiyam Hashash washed
plastic tubs while male colleagues fried dough balls in boiling syrup.
is the first time that the 40-year-old has worked outside the home, something
she had never previously imagined she would have to do. But her life changed
when her husband and eldest son were killed fighting for the rebel side in Syria’s
civil war. “Everything was fine, but after I lost my son I couldn’t find anyone
to help me and I had to start work,” said Ms Hashash, who wore a black
and with three children to support, she is one of many Syrian women living
through a profound shift in gender roles in an often conservative country whose
social fabric has been shredded by violence.
Bashar al-Assad’s regime claiming victory after an eight-year civil war, there
is still sporadic violence but fighting has ebbed.
government’s military campaign and sweeping conscription efforts have created a
demographic crisis. Of the nearly 500,000 people killed during the war, some 80
per cent were men, according to the Syrian Centre for Policy Research (SCPR),
which found male life expectancy fell from 70 years in 2010 to 48 by 2015. Men
aged 15-24 have experienced the sharpest decline in life expectancy.
more young men have sought refuge in neighbouring countries and Europe, fearing
conscription or retribution if they return. This has had huge social and
economic implications. Women are now the primary breadwinner and carer in about
one-third of Syrian households, according to the UN women’s agency.
where are all the men? If you wanted to get hitched you could marry ten women,”
said Wael, 42, as he tried vainly to sell puffy wedding dresses in Damascus.
Some women are even having weddings without grooms, said Muhideen Mubaideh, 48,
who runs a wedding shop in the same Damascus market. “The groom is in another country
so the bride has a small party, she wears a wedding dress . . . It
signifies a new beginning for her,” he said. The groom watches the ceremony via
fundamentally, the absence of men has changed the labour force. Before the war,
just one-fifth of women worked, World Economic Forum figures suggest.
men in short supply, many employers now have no option but to hire women.
“Surely there is a gender imbalance in the Syrian labour market,” said Rima
Kadiry, minister for labour and social affairs. “The percentage of women is
higher than the percentage of men.” One think-tank report suggested that the
rate of female entrepreneurship has risen from 4 per cent in 2009 to 22 per
cent in 2017.
the age of 51, Mariam Toufic Ghannoum, who moved to Damascus with her family in
2012 to escape fighting in Ain Tarma, is pursuing her first career — as a
decorator. She wanted to make more money after her husband retired because of
health problems and they found his pension could not cover their bills.
wanted to learn how to paint houses because when I left my home in Ain Tarma I
had only recently had it decorated, and the smell of paint was still there,”
she said, sitting in their cramped two-room rental apartment on the outskirts
of Damascus. Despite her efforts, Ms Toufic Ghannoum said they have not been able
to afford meat since fleeing in 2012.
access to paid employment depends on where in Syria they are, according to
research by humanitarian organisations including CARE International, and
attitudes vary across the country. Even in Damascus, women still battle
entrenched sexism. “I hate working with women,” said one factory manager, who
asked not to be named because his relatives are sanctioned for ties to the
regime. “She gets pregnant, and I’m sorry to say, she has every month five days
attitudes have not deterred Sara Kataf, 32, a software programmer who wants to
start “an app revolution in Syria”. After convincing her father to back her
financially she started her company Appfirm in July, and has already launched
an app helping Damascenes find late-night pharmacies.
women are often under pressure to take jobs considered feminine such as sewing
or hairdressing, Ms Kataf said she usually faces surprise rather than
discrimination. “When a girl who studied something that only men study and
opened a company that usually men do, that’s the shocking point,” she said.
British woman who was kidnapped more than 30 years ago and taken to war-torn
Yemen has returned to the UK.
Saleh was only 18 months old when her father abducted her and her two older
sisters, who were aged four and five, and took them to the Middle East.
mother, Jackie Saleh, from Cardiff, raised more than £7,000 as part of a
campaign to bring her youngest daughter back to the UK and in December helped
her flee from the Yemen town of Hodeidah.
town is being bombed by Saudi Arabian warplanes as they fight the Houthi rebels
who have taken over much of the country.
spokeswoman for the Foreign Office said: “Our staff issued Emergency Travel
Documents to a British woman and her children and we are pleased that they are
now reunited with their family in the UK.”
family arrived in Cardiff on Wednesday after Safia Saleh, now 35 and married
with four children, fled to Egypt in December.
Saleh said on Thursday she had been trying to leave Yemen since 2006. She said
they “had no money, no house and no school for the children” in Yemen.
mother Jackie thanked supporters and Welsh Assembly member Neil McEvoy for
their help in bringing her daughter home.
said: “I want to thank everybody for all your support and everyone who donated
to the crowd funder. This day would have never happened otherwise. I want to
thank Neil McEvoy for all his support and in organising the crowd funder.
am very overwhelmed and so, so happy to be reunited with my daughter Safia
after 34 years. I have also gained four grandchildren and a son in law.
never gave up fighting for my children. The 34-year journey has been a
roller-coaster. Everything has been so intense and I ask that our family be
left now to start our new lives. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart.”
have been trying to leave the Yemen since 2006. The Embassy in Yemen was no
help at all. They just took the fees and did not help. I still have the
receipts for the payments.
am very happy that I arrived to be with my mother and my sister. It was so
difficult in the Yemen. We had no money, no house and no school for the
children. There was no security.”
McEvoy AM said: “I hope they can all now live in peace and dignity and that
they have a happy home full of love. They deserve that.
my part, I’ll continue to help them in any way I can as they move on to the
next chapter in their amazing story.”
New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African
Muslim News, Arab
World News, South
Asia News, Indian
Muslim News, World
Muslim News, Women
in Islam, Islamic
In Arab, Islamophobia
in America, Muslim
Women in West, Islam
Women and Feminism
Quran, however, does not condemn female circumcision as long as it
does not compromise the health of the female.”If
so, where is the reference?
flying off the cuff pronouncement are the hallmark of the
conspicuously attired so called muftis, ulams and priests who know
that the ignorant masses, particularly the women who in reverential
wonder and fear of them will swallow the pronouncements hook line and
sinker and will never ask for reference.