elders banned females from voting in Mohri Pur, some 60 kilometres (35 miles)
from the central Pakistan city of Multan, around 1947 and the women have obeyed
Is a Feminist Issue: Saudi Women Want More Sway in Religious Affairs
of Afghan Women Experience Physical Violence
Elected To Head Opposition Council in Western Aleppo
Pakistan Conservative Areas See Women Vote for First Time
Is Nikah Halala? All You Need To Know
Abaya That Blends Faith, Fashion — and Function
by New Age Islam News Bureau
Pakistani Women Vote In Village in Multan, Over Fear of Divorce
women who had pledged to defy men in their village by voting for the first time
ultimately did not exercise their democratic right in Wednesday's election,
citing intimidation by their husbands.
elders banned females from voting in Mohri Pur, some 60 kilometres (35 miles)
from the central Pakistan city of Multan, and the women have obeyed ever since.
year many had vowed to cast a ballot following changes to Pakistan's election
laws and amid shifting attitudes towards women in parts of the deeply
patriarchal South Asian country.
3,200 women were listed on the electoral register in Mohri Pur -- but not one
voted, according to election officials and an AFP journalist at the village's
sole polling station.
have threats from our husbands that they will divorce us if we cast our
vote," 25-year-old Tanya Bibi told AFP as she walked past the polling
station, without going in.
8,000 men were registered to vote in the village. Large queues of them, each
clutching identity cards, formed at the polling station, located in a school.
are here to cast our ballots, but our women didn't cast their votes because it
is our old tradition which we have been preserving," Muhammad Shamsher
Iram, from a local NGO, said announcements were made from the village mosque
warning that women should not come to the polling station.
in Mohri Pur, which is located in Punjab province, banned women from voting
decades ago, claiming that visiting a public polling booth would
"honor" describes a patriarchal code across South Asia that often
seeks to justify the murder and oppression of women who defy conservative
traditions by acts such as choosing their own husband, or working outside the
in Mohri Pur told AFP recently that they had tried to vote in previous
elections but had been prevented.
2015, one woman, Fouzia Talib, became the only one in the village to vote in
local elections. She was ostracized.
Saudi feminists won international attention in June when Muhammad bin Salman,
the reform-leaning Saudi crown prince, ended the kingdom’s ban on women
driving. But beneath their niqabs, or face-coverings, their conservative
counterparts may be making even more ground. Female religious scholars have
added the feminine Arabic suffix, ah, to a host of once-male posts, including
da’yiah (preacher), alimah (Islamic scholar) and muftiyah (legal expert).
“Women, instead of asking a man…call a more understanding muftiyah,” advises an
online directory listing Saudi women qualified in sharia.
rise is the result of a surge of Islamic-study programmes for women initiated—ironically—by
the male clergy, many of whom were opposed to education for girls. They
sanctioned female attendance at primary schools in the 1960s, only on condition
that they could oversee the teaching (and budget). Today, female university
graduates in Islamic studies outnumber male ones.
women graduates used to go into teaching, but now aspire to men-only jobs. This
year the prosecution service began training its first intake of female
investigating magistrates. The all-male Islamic affairs ministry says it is
planning a women’s section. And on July 3rd the justice ministry began
recruiting female assistants for its male judges.
want to go further. They cite the Koran and examples from the first generation
of Muslims (whom Saudi traditionalists profess to follow) to argue that women
can lead prayers or even countries.
is underway. Judges now let female lawyers speak. They have revoked the right
of male guardians to manage a woman’s wealth, veto her marriage and keep
custody of her children. The growing sway of women in religious affairs makes
some liberals nervous. “We don’t want more fanatics,” says an official. She
fears conservative women could derail the prince’s programme of modernisation.
Shura Council, the kingdom’s quasi-parliament, is also concerned. Last
September, it ruled that aspiring muftiyahs require a government licence.
Prince Muhammad has muzzled the more independent ones. Ruqayya al-Muharib, a
muftiyah, had been expected to become the first woman on the Council of Senior
Scholars, the kingdom’s top religious body, but was detained in September.
are conservatives happy. Women keep demanding (and getting) more space in the
mosque, complains an official of Islamic affairs. “A generation ago,” he huffs,
“they would have stayed at home.”
article appeared in the Middle East and Africa section of the print edition
under the headline "Fatwa is a feminist issue"
(Pajhwok): The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) on Wednesday said 53 percent of
the Afghanistan women aged above 15 years endured physical violence.
Jan Naim, MoPH planning and policy manager, told a press conference here that
violence against women was not only a human rights issue, but also a health
problem. “Violence damages women’s physical, mental, sexual and reproductive
health,” he added. The MoPH has so far registered 22,957 cases of violence
against women pertaining to mental, physical problems, sexual assaults, sexual
harassment and forced marriages, he said.
said 61 percent of women did not seek solution to their problem while 56
percent faced physical and mental abuse, in most cases at the hands of their
providing specific figures, he said a large number of women faced violence
during their pregnancy without reporting it to any organization.
Wardak, deputy women’s affairs minister, who attended the conference, said that
despite having the elimination of violence against women law and anti-
harassment law, her ministry alone could not deal with the matter.
Afghanistan, these laws are not followed as should be and it is because of low
budget”, Wardak added.
criticized the ways rights for women were sought and said women needed to be
informed about their rights in order to get rid of violence and the media
should also play their role in this regard.
the other hand, Bannet Ndyanabangi, UNFPA representative in Afghanistan, said
violence against women damaged women’s safety, dignity and moral and it paved
the ground for further violence against the gender.
Syria — A woman is taking the reins of the Syrian opposition’s local council in
western Aleppo for the first time in the organization’s six years.
Hashem, a schoolteacher with a strong record of public service, took office
am very happy to be elected head of the local council,” Hashem told Al-Monitor.
“I consider myself a representative of the opposition women in Aleppo. I dedicate
my victory to all of these women. Although I was running this election in a
conservative society, I have not encountered difficulties for being a woman.
The people around me are very supportive, especially my family and my husband.”
council manages the six districts in the city’s western suburbs still
controlled by the opposition Free Syrian Army (FSA). In December 2016,
President Bashar al-Assad’s forces captured the city except for those
said that after she was displaced by Assad’s forces from the eastern districts
of Aleppo city, she worked in education and opened a school called Sanoud (“We
will be back”) in the city’s western countryside.
was head of the local council’s Social and Educational Affairs Office in 2015.
Hashem also opened the council’s office for women, supervised several centers
for empowering women in Aleppo and was a council member for two terms. She was
a member of the executive office for the 2015-2016 term.
the outbreak of the revolution in 2011, Assad legalized "local
administrative bodies" as part of a reform package meant to decentralize
power in an effort to quell protests. The opposition Syrian Interim Government
later borrowed language from these reform decrees to use as legal justification
for its own councils.
said she has many projects she plans to implement during her one-year term
leading the council.
have in mind projects aimed to provide more health and education services, and
other services for the displaced from the eastern districts of Aleppo. The
council will keep carrying out its routine works, which will focus on meeting
the needs of the six districts.”
and water services also will be secured, she added, and she plans to follow up
on the situation of women whose husbands were killed while fighting the regime.
council will also cooperate with local and international associations and
organizations that are still supporting the work of the local council,” she
said she will pay particular attention to awareness campaigns and educational
and training courses for empowering women, who are now assuming a lot of
responsibilities under the current circumstances.
said the work of local councils in opposition-controlled regions of Syria shows
the opposition can manage its areas in an institutionalized and democratic
manner and is capable of producing a conscientious, transparent and healthy
leadership far removed from injustice and favoritism.
opposition’s local councils proved they can manage people’s affairs and
administer local facilities,” Hashem said.
council is based in Al-Kahraba quarter; the other five districts are Shamiko,
Khan al-Assal, Kfardaal, al-Rashidin and Rif al-Muhandiseen.
Aziza, media office director for the Aleppo opposition council, told
Al-Monitor, “These are residential quarters housing tens of thousands of
displaced from the eastern districts and other local [areas].”
said the opposition local council of Aleppo city receives financial support
from various international organizations and maintains partnerships with a
number of charities in northern Syria covering the services sector, health,
education, hygiene, humanitarian relief and women's empowerment.
support continued despite the FSA's loss in the eastern districts. … In
addition to managing the western suburbs of Aleppo, the local council provides
assistance to thousands of displaced people from Aleppo living in different
areas in Idlib [about 40 miles southwest] and the northern Aleppo countryside,
and other areas,” he said.
western area of Aleppo city also has a Revolutionary General Assembly, which
includes many opposition figures who had worked in eastern district councils
when those areas were still controlled by the FSA. The assembly also includes
independent figures overseeing and assessing the work of the local council and
submitting proposals on elections and others matters.
choice of a woman to lead the council in western Aleppo is expected to set a
precedent for the opposition. Hashem seeks to improve the status of women by
focusing on projects that develop their capabilities. This will depend,
however, on how much support the council continues to receive from
international donors as well as from the Syrian Interim Government.
Qasim Shah | Shafiq Butt
In a historic first, women in some conservative parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and
Punjab came out of their homes to cast their votes in the general election on
Wednesday as candidates sought to fulfil the legal requirement of minimum 10
per cent women’s turnout to validate their result.
Balochistan, too, women came out in large numbers to vote despite terror
attacks and repeated threats.
in tribal areas and other conservative areas had been barred from voting in the
past general elections, as the practice of keeping women from voting is a norm
under verbal and written agreements between candidates and family elders in
for the first time in the country’s electoral history, the Election Commission
of Pakistan (ECP) annulled the result of Dir Lower (PK-95) by-polls in 2015
after finding that none of the registered women voters had cast votes.
Elections Act requires the ECP to declare an election null and void if women’s
turnout in a constituency is less than 10pc of its total polled votes.
Wednesday, candidates and local administration on ECP directives ensured at
least 10pc turnout of women voters in the districts notorious for barring women
from voting. The measures encouraged women voters not only in Khyber
Pakhtunkhwa’s Dir Lower but also in a village of Punjab’s Sahiwal district to
visit their respective polling stations and cast their vote.
the 1990s we had not seen women coming out in large numbers,” said Zahid, a
local journalist in Dir.
voted for the first time. My mother, aunt and cousins also went out today to
vote,” said a cheerful Shafi Naz from Dir Lower while speaking to Dawn. She
wanted to go to vote during the previous elections also, but the family elders
did not like women to leave their homes. Surprisingly, she said, nobody
objected to their going out to vote. However, she was not aware of the fact
that Election Act required 10pc women vote to acknowledge result of a
North Waziristan, Bajaur and other far-flung parts of Mohmand tribal agency
also saw a rise in female voters’ turnout despite lack of facilities and slow
past voting trends in the conservative parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the ECP had
issued directives to district returning officers and deputy commissioners to
ensure women’s voting in six districts namely Swat, Dir Lower, Dir Upper,
Shangla, Swabi and Batagram.
of Jahan Khan Village (111/9-L) in the National Assembly constituency of
Sahiwal (NA-147) also created history by voting for the first time in any
general election for which the administration, civil society organisations and
media could be credited.
are 4,022 registered voters in the village and out of them 1,822 are women.
village is divided among Jahan Khan, Shadookay and Kubaykay localities out of
which Jahan Khan is the most populated. The Joiya biradri dominates the
commissioner Mohammad Zaman Wattoo told Dawn that a special session had been
arranged to train women to vote by the polling staff. He said if the media had
not highlighted lack of women’s participation in elections, this year too they
would not have voted in the village.
Election Commissioner Rana Ghaffar said the election commission had
categorically told village elders and candidates that in case there was less
than 10pc turnout of women, the ECP would declare election results null and
by the terror attacks targeting election activities, women voters in
Balochistan, too, came out of their homes to cast votes.
brave sisters from Panjgur have come out in great numbers to vote, despite
threats repeated terrorist threats,” National Party chief Hasil Bizanjo stated
in a tweet to appreciate their courage.
Delhi: The much-debated Islamic practice, ‘Nikah Halala’ means that after
triple Talaq, a woman must marry another man and get divorced if she wishes to
remarry her former husband. After taking down the practice of 'triple Talaq', a
constitutional bench of the Pakistani apex court is going to review petitions
challenging this age-old practice. Many women's rights activists feel that it
violates the right to equality and liberty of Muslim women. In the Holy Quran
under the chapter ‘Surah al-Baqarah’s verse 2:230’ it’s mentioned that if a
husband ‘talaqs’ his wife irreversibly he cannot remarry that same woman. The
remarriage is only possible after she is married to another man and is
subsequently divorced by him. Only then the man and his former wife can
says that a woman becomes ‘haram’ to her husband after being divorced. In other
words ‘haram’ means forbidden. The reunification becomes lawful only after she
is divorced by another man.
fact, the Quran does not mention the term ‘Nikah Halala’. The word ‘halala’
finds its roots in the word ‘halal’ which means permissible and lawful. Thus it
means a lawful wedding if translated in the context of marriage. As per Islam,
a man has the liberty to divorce and remarry his wife twice. However, on the
third divorce, the woman has to go through the process of ‘Nikah Halala’.
bar was in fact laid down so that a man could not torture his wife by marrying
and divorcing her again and again. It made the concept of ‘Nikah’ sacred and
strict. It was introduced in order to maintain a strict discipline amongst
Wearing an abaya — the loose-fitting, full-length robes that symbolize a
woman’s religious faith — is part of
Saudi Arabian culture.
in a rapidly changing Kingdom, the traditional style of abaya is giving way to
new experiments that meet both the garment’s religious purpose and the demands
of 21st-century life.
Saudi branding stylist Zahar Al-Sayed and her artist fiance Ahmed Angawi have
launched the Abaya Factory, which offers a multifunctional abaya that can be
transformed into a jacket, changing the whole outfit effortlessly.
holds a BA degree in graphic design and MA in graphic branding and identity
from the London College of Communication.
two Saudi designers have come up with this new concept as an alternative
solution for female travelers abroad who take off their abayas and tuck it in
their bags. “Our abaya was a solution for people traveling from A to B without
really thinking what outfit they have to change into,” Al-Sayed told Arab News.
of the inspiration behind the designs, she said that “real women inspire us.
Women’s empowerment in general is one of our targets. We got our inspiration
from women’s needs.”
Abaya Factory offers their functional designs to all women-on-the-go, women who
have a lot on their plate, and multitaskers.
designers focus on all the details in their brand to suit women from all sides
— they tried to focus on linen and cotton as the main fabrics in designing
abayas, to suit the hot weather in Saudi Arabia.
factory’s prices are affordable compared to the market, according to owner
Al-Sayed, who said prices range “from SR800 ($213) to SR1,800 ($480). So, we
think it’s affordable for what it is, and for what we offer.”
a Saudi designer, Al-Sayed said, working in the fashion industry is different
today: “When we started out, there were a few people in the market and now I
think it’s just very competitive. It’s a normal market and everyone (is)
raising their game in branding.”
fierce as the competition may seem, she appears optimistic about the Saudi
fashion market: “They (designers) are actually taking care of all these details
that add value to the brand itself, so I think everyone has a space in this
market,” she said.
are more exposed through social media, more aware of designing and they really
appreciate the homegrown talents,” according to the designer .
local brand’s owner wants women to feel confident, comfortable and proud when
they wear their abayas.
Abaya Factory has its own studio where people can buy its unique designs at the
Homegrown Market in Jeddah or through the brand’s official website or WhatsApp
designers’ next step is to develop their creations by adding more functions to
their abayas. “Our future plan is to (have) showroom appointments (with
customers) so people can come in and choose the fabrics, colors and create
their own garments.”
have become more flexible in wearing their outfits. In 2007, Saudi designer
Eman Joharjy designed an abaya that would freely allow her to practice cycling
and was dubbed the “sporty abaya.”
concept was the driving abaya, which features a hoodie, tight elbows to prevent
the sleeves from catching on the handlebars, and shorter lengths to make
switching pedals easier.
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