Mahameed, first Muslim woman to ride a medical motorcycle . (photo credit:
Marriages Must End To Avoid Cervical Cancer’: Pakistan University
Grand Imam Endorses Monogamy as Fairness to Women, Children
for Women without Guardian, Shoura Says No
Writes Letters to PM Imran, Modi to Defuse Tensions
Islamic State, Women Lead the Way in a Bold Democratic Experiment in Raqqa
Becomes First Muslim Woman to Ride a Medical Motorcycle
Judge Declines to Fast-Track Lawsuit Brought By Alabama Woman Who Joined
Reunion of Yazidis with Families after Escaping ISIS
Aceh Whips Unmarried Couples after Hotel Raid
More Female Bangladeshi Workers to Return from Saudi Arabia
women’s development process unique: VP
Money, No Marriage' Sparks Duelling Social Media Campaigns
by New Age Islam News Bureau
Islamic Law Board Mulls Giving Women Right to Divorce, AIMPLB Calls It
Delhi: As the government of India promulgated the Muslim Women Marriage
ordinance for the third time making the act of instantaneous divorce by Muslim
men a criminal offence, Pakistan too has taken steps to introduce measures that
would enable women have the right to divorce their husbands in accordance with
Council of Islamic Ideology (CII), a constitutional body responsible for giving
legal advice on Islamic issues to the Pakistan government and its parliament,
has proposed major amendments in the Nikahnama (marriage document).
council headed by chairman Qibla Ayaz, has suggested that the priest or the Nikahkhawan,
who performs the marital ceremony will now have to mandatorily inform the woman
of her right to dissolve the marriage.
CII is a statutory body with a minimum of eight and a maximum of 20 members,
including one woman, whose function is to advise parliament on whether laws are
in consonance with Islamic injunctions.
in India, the law makes it a criminal offence to pronounce triple Talaq with a
penalty of maximum three years in jail, the CII too has recommended it to be
made a punishable offence, but said the punishment will only be meted out after
scholars of different Islamic schools are consulted with.
women in Pakistan can only resort to ‘Khula’ or divorce by approaching the
courts. But activists have complained that women are often subjected to serious
mental and physical harassment whenever such a step is sought to be taken.
the newly proposed amendments, the council has drafted a Talaqnama which would
specifically mention the rights of women and have the clause that she reserves
the right to dissolve the marriage.
under the amended law, it’s only the woman who can delete the clause or have
the clause deleted with her consent. Now it would be up to the woman on whether
she would surrender the rights and give her husband the power to dissolve the
marriage or not. With Pakistan taking this step, it now remains to be seen
whether the Indian government uses this as an example while again attempting to
pass the triple Talaq bill in Parliament.
the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) said this form of divorce
where woman has the right to divorce her husband was “not absolute but is a
Jilani, a member and counsel of AIMPLB, said, “This is known as as Talaq e
Tafweez and can only be given if the husband allows her to do so.”
concept of Talaq is prevalent in India over several years. It was in early
1990s that the board had decided to introduce the clause in the Nikahnama where
she can have the right to divorce subject to the husband’s approval. But this
is not widely practised,” Jilani said.
Punjab University Institute of Social and Cultural Studies Director Prof Dr
Rubeena Zakar has said that child marriages must be controlled to avoid
said that although the exact incidence and prevalence of cervical cancer was
not known, 20 women were diagnosed with the cancer daily. She was addressing an
awareness seminar on prevention of cervical cancer in Pakistan. The session was
attended by students, representatives of non-governmental organisations,
academia as well as civil society organisations.
Rubeena highlighted the importance of cervical cancer screening and prevention
and said that the cancer could be prevented if risk factors could be controlled
such as child marriages, smoking, and promoting a healthy lifestyle.
said that screening and early detection could prevent the growing deaths due to
Dr Javeria Saleem discussed the risk factors of cervical cancer and how it
could be protected through various vaccinations. She also apprised the audience
of HPV acquisition and its prevention by vaccination during adolescence.
informative video was also screened for the audience regarding signs and
symptoms of cervical cancer.
Imam of al-Azhar institute, Egypt’s Sunni Islam highest authority, has taken a
stand against polygamy, noting that monogamy is the rule in the holy book and
that polygamy hurts women and children.
Ahmed al-Tayeb who is considered as Egypt’s Grand Iman said those who practice
polygamy understand the Koran wrongly.
who say that marriage must be polygamous are all wrong,” the top cleric said
during his weekly television program and on Twitter.
the religious top leader a Muslim man should fulfil conditions of fairness if
he wants to marry multiple wives. Without fairness, the man is forbidden to get
more than one wife.
saying that his comments do not outlaw polygamy, Sheikh al-Tayeb bolstered his
stance in favor of women, who constitute half of the society and therefore must
represent half of society. If we don’t care for them it’s like walking on one
foot only,” he Twitted.
Sheikh’s comments received accolades from Egypt’s National Council for Women.
Muslim religion honors women- it brought justice and numerous rights which
didn’t exist before,” said Maya Morsi, the council’s president.
— The Shoura Council on Monday rejected a proposal to carry out studies to
allow Saudi women to have paper work done without the consent of their legal
Iqbal Darandri, a member, urged the Ministry of Interior to carry out studies
about the reasons for the delay in implementing a royal order, directing all
the concerned agencies to allow women to carry out paper work with regard to
getting services done or terminate services or speed up processing of services
without the consent of their legal guardian.
Al-Samaan, assistant president of the Council, said the Council rejected the
proposal with a majority vote after listening to a briefing from chairman of
the Council’s security committee.
the concerned agencies at the ministry have made no delay in implementing
provision of these services to women without the consent of their legal
guardian. — SG/SPA
Yousafzai has written letters to the prime ministers of India and Pakistan
urging them to “defuse the rising tensions” between the two countries.
per a statement, a letter signed by the Nobel laureates, under the aegis of the
Laureates and Leaders for Children, was submitted to India and Pakistan’s
permanent representatives to the UN.
the best interest of our children, we, the Laureates and Leaders for Children
call upon Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi and Pakistani Prime Minister
Imran Khan to demonstrate wise leadership and exercise immediate restraint at
this critical juncture to avoid any escalation into a full-fledged war,” the
is no place for violence, extremism and terrorism in a civilised world. This
epidemic has to be through concrete and time-bound actions.” “We reiterate that
children never create wars but are the worst sufferers. Therefore, we appeal to
the two Prime Ministers, faith institutions, media, youth and the citizens of
both India and Pakistan to work towards the restoration of peace the
restoration of peace in the region with utmost urgency,” the letter continued.
Nobel laureates who have signed the appeal included Leyma Gbowee, Shirin Ebadi,
Tawakkol Karman, Malala Yousafzai, Muhammad Yunus, José Ramos-Horta, Edvard
Ingjald Moser, May-Britt Mose and others.
Mustapha seems out of place. Almost anywhere else the skinny jeans,
leather-bomber jacket wearing 30-year-old probably wouldn't draw a second look.
we're in Raqqa, the once notorious capital of the so-called Islamic State,
where women were confined to the house and could only be seen in public in full
covering with a male guardian.
more, Leila is the city's new leader.
me a minute to finish my cigarette, just don't film me smoking," she says
as she flips back loose hair that's come out of a slicked-back messy bun.
I wouldn't ordinarily film someone smoking, Raqqa's female Civil Council leader
puffing away in her office would've been a simple way to show how far the city
has come since it pushed Islamic State (IS) out two years ago.
was banned under IS and its record on women is atrocious.
I'm more keen to tour the city with the former civil engineer to find out more
about reconstruction efforts. It's midday, and we only have a few hours of winter
sunlight left for filming. We also have to leave Raqqa before it gets dark.
city may have pushed IS out, but it has morphed into an underground network and
still poses threats — especially to people like Leila.
expected to take precautions, but these precautions don't prevent us from our
freedom, gender equality enshrined in law
is a part of the Autonomous Administration of North East Syria, the
little-known authority that rules roughly one-quarter of Syria.
dull name belies a set of principles that could challenge those of many Western
Kurdish-majority administration is enacting the philosophy laid out by a
leftist revolutionary named Abdullah Ocalan.
representation of men and women in all areas of governance are enshrined in
law, as is religious freedom.
democratic experiment is being rolled out in areas that the Kurdish-majority
Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) liberated from IS.
SDF, backed by a US-led coalition, is nearing the last of that territorial
campaign with just a sliver of land still under the group's control in the
village of Baghuz in the Deir ez-Zor region.
administration is seeking autonomy within a federated Syria
hasn't been recognised internationally but on the ground it functions as would
any other state, from leading large-scale reconstruction efforts including the
opening of schools and hospitals to the more bureaucratic work of registering
births, deaths and marriages.
this young democracy may soon face a far bigger threat than IS.
US is planning to pull out about 2,000 troops that have been providing support
to the SDF campaign against IS. They plan to leave behind only a small
that happens, the Kurdish-led authority will lose its protection.
has pledged to invade northern Syria and smash the Kurds. It fears autonomy
here will embolden the 15 million Kurds inside Turkey to rise up with similar
the coalition pull out from here we know that there are other people who are
worse than ISIS who want to fight us," SDF Commander Simko Shikaki says.
will watch the situation, and once Turkey attacks we will have a response for
life that we didn't even dream of is being built'
with war, young people are taking control of what they can. In a bar in the
town of Kobani, close to the Turkish border, I meet with a 19-year-old
journalist about to get married.
situation is peaceful for the time being. So we thought we'd get married
now," Bercem Abd al-Kadr tells me.
fiance Azad Ahmad is a little more optimistic about the future. He's a
26-year-old fighter with the YPG, the Kurdish military force.
a Kurd, the Kurdish flag is being raised."
makes their union exceptional is that their marriage will be a civil rather
than a religious one.
Autonomous Administration of North East Syria has brought in civil marriage,
allowing people from different religious groups to legally marry.
may seem like a small detail, but it's radical in a region where sectarianism
and tribalism dominate and where Islamic law had previously prevailed.
and Azad invited us to their vibrant and very Kurdish wedding party. It's a
time to celebrate, but there is also the lurking prospect of a conflict with
needed, he will go to war and I will continue working," Bercem says on the
day of her marriage.
first Muslim woman to become a volunteer in United Hatzalah celebrated another
first on Monday, when she became the first female Muslim to receive a Hatzalah
are dual-sport motorcycles that hold a medic’s life-saving equipment on board.
An ambucycle rider generally reaches the scene of an accident or the home of a
patient in an average of 90 seconds.
Mahameed, 31, received her ambucycle near her home in Umm el-Fahm.
was all smiles as she tested out her new three-wheel bike on the city’s hills
and potholed roads. She told The Jerusalem Post that despite the bike’s speed,
“I am not worried about it being dangerous. I am strong.”
she said that she is excited because she will have more opportunities to
is a lot of traffic in my area and it can be hard for a car to navigate,”
Mahameed said. “I want to be the first on the scene [of an accident].”
trained to ride the bike in a driving school in Afula. She paid for the
training course herself.
started out as an EMT two years ago, when she joined Hatzalah’s force of 5,000
volunteers. Of those, there are only around 400 Muslims and 450 women.
addition to her volunteer work with Hatzalah, Mahameed drives an ambulance for
the local EMS organization and works at the local Clalit health clinic. She
often serves as the EMT on duty at collegiate and high school sporting events
and as the accompanying EMT on school field trips.
said that she has known since she was a teenager that she wanted to become an
EMT. When she was 16, her aunt called her in a panic because her uncle had
passed out on the couch and was not responsive. No one was at home, so she ran
to her aunt’s house to try to help. Lacking medical training, all she could do
was call an ambulance, which came fast – but not fast enough. Her uncle died.
the incident, she recalled that her cousin was “standing over him screaming at
him, ‘Daddy! Daddy! Please wake up!’”
the incident,” she continued, “I decided that I would learn to become an EMT in
order to be able to help next time. I pray to God that I can help whoever needs
has seen her share of successes and tragedies.
was the time a man was shot in the chest and she was the first to arrive on the
scene. She managed to stop the bleeding and administer fluids, which kept him
alive until the ambulance came 40 minutes later. He underwent surgery and
there was the 80-year-old man who suffered a heart attack. She revived him, but
one month later he died.
there was a three-car pile up to which she found one of the drivers had died
before she arrived at the scene.
are so many stories,” she said with a sigh. “But I am not fazed. I continue to
leave work, my house – morning, evening, the middle of the night – it could be
2 a.m. or 3 a.m., and I will go.”
family and community embrace her decision.
look at me and say, ‘kol hakavod,’” she said, referencing the Hebrew phrase for
respect. She said that members of her Muslim community think it is unique that
she is a religious woman doing work that many assume is meant for a man.
Mahameed dresses modestly and covers her head with a traditional Muslim hijab.
a video interview, her father said that he and his wife have always been
supportive of their daughter.
told her that we would gladly help her with whatever she needed to succeed,” he
said. “My whole family holds our heads up high because of her.”
said that many young women approach her and express interest in her career. She
tries her best to offer guidance and support.
have helped many of them, thank God,” she said.
also plans to continue pursuing her own dreams. She told the Post that she
would like to complete training to fly an emergency response helicopter.
is very difficult to do this, but this is my dream,” she said. “And please God,
I will succeed.”
for now, Mahameed said that she is happy with her new three-wheel ambucycle.
amount of focus it takes to drive a regular motorcycle is incredible in its own
right, especially on the roads and highways in Israel where driving can be
treacherous at its best,” said Raphael Poch, head of resource development and
community relations for Hatzalah. “Riding an ambucycle, knowing that at any
moment you have to shift gears into emergency mode, and driving with all of the
care and responsibility that comes with it is a task only given to the select
Mahameed said with a smile. “It’s great.”
Spencer S. Hsu and
federal judge Monday declined to fast-track a lawsuit brought by the family of
an American-born woman from Alabama who alleges the Trump administration
unlawfully denied her return to the country after she joined the Islamic State
District Judge Reggie B. Walton of Washington rejected an emergency motion to
recognize the U.S. citizenship claim of Hoda Muthana, saying her family’s
attorneys had not proved she would be “irreparably harmed” by remaining in a
refugee camp with her 18-month-old son while litigation continued at a normal
father brought the case, and Walton indicated he would rule on her citizenship
claim in litigation that lawyers said could be completed by summer.
now 24, left her life as a University of Alabama student to go to Syria in
2014. She eventually married three Islamic State fighters in the country,
having a child with her second husband, who was killed in battle. In December,
she escaped from the dwindling territory held by the militant group and
surrendered to Kurdish forces.
we’re disappointed but understand the judge’s ruling . . .
focusing on whether there’s immediate harm,” lead Muthana attorney Charles D.
Swift of the Constitutional Law Center for Muslims in America said after the 90-minute hearing Monday.
the meantime, we’re also very encouraged. The judge’s comments certainly
foreshadow the ultimate outcome of this case in our viewpoint . . .
the fact that Hoda Muthana is a United States citizen,” Swift said.
undated image provided by family attorney Hassan Shibly shows Hoda Muthana.
case of the “ISIS bride” centers on a determination on when Muthana’s father,
Ahmed Ali Muthana, stopped being classified as a diplomat accredited to the
Yemeni mission to the United Nations in New York.
Ali Muthana said Yemen terminated his diplomatic posting before her birth but
did not notify the U.S. government of that fact until after she was born in the
Department attorneys argued “Muthana is not and has never been a U.S. citizen,
and her son likewise is not a U.S. citizen. Settled law applied to the relevant
events clearly demonstrates that Plaintiff enjoyed diplomatic-agent-level
immunity until February 6, 1995 — after Muthana’s birth,” wrote Joseph F.
Carilli Jr., a Justice Department immigration litigation trial attorney.
she was living in the self-declared caliphate in Syria, Hoda Muthana helped
spread Islamic State propaganda on social media and called for the death of
is a woman who went online and tried to kill young men and women of the United
States of America,” U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Monday in a radio
interview in Kansas. “She advocated for jihad, for people to drive vans across
streets here in the United States and kill Americans. She’s not a U.S. citizen.
She has no claim of U.S. citizenship. In fact, she’s a terrorist, and we
shouldn’t bring back foreign terrorists to the United States of America.”
an interview last month with the Guardian newspaper, Muthana described herself
as having been “brainwashed.” She said she regrets her decision and wants to
return home so her son can grow up as an American citizen.
look back now, and I think I was very arrogant,” she said. “Now I’m worried
about my son’s future.”
case presented the administration with a dilemma. Hundreds of former Islamic
State militants are being held in Syria by Kurds who now feel abandoned by
President Trump’s decision to withdraw most U.S. troops from the country. The
possibility of radicalized Islamist militants being set free has led Pompeo to
publicly urge other countries to repatriate their own citizens.
Trump tweeted last month that he ordered Pompeo not to allow Muthana back into
the country. The State Department has revoked the U.S. passport she possessed
based on her birth certificate showing she was born in Hackensack, N.J.
Shibly, a Tampa attorney who also represents the Muthana family, has accused
the Trump administration of trying to “wrongfully strip citizens of their
has released a 2004 document from the U.S. mission to the United Nations saying
Muthana’s father stopped being a diplomat Sept. 1, 1994, two months before his
daughter was born. It is unclear when his diplomatic visa was changed.
Monday’s hearing, Swift called the government’s position that a former diplomat
retains the status until the United States is told of the change “incredibly
shortsighted.” He argued it could give other countries “license to smuggle
spies or others into the United States” under diplomatic cover, terminate their
position to disclaim responsibility yet not notify the U.S. government, and
allow the individuals to assert immunity from any illegal conduct they might
is insane. That is really opening us up to danger,” Swift said, noting that
Walton, the judge, suggested the government was “grasping at straws.”
said he did not sign up to defend Muthana’s conduct or argue if she was a
sympathetic character but to defend her rights as a citizen, which he said are
not forfeited based on political viewpoint, “incredible unpopular statements”
or other conduct.
loss of citizenship is not a punishment,” Swift said, saying Americans should
“think long and hard” about setting a precedent allowing the government to bar
citizens from returning to the United States by asserting their dangerousness.
at the hearing Walton said he was not yet reaching a decision on the merits of
Muthana’s citizenship claim because her father had not established that she
faced an immediate threat.
claimed that because Muthana in news accounts has denounced the Islamic State
and sought to return to the United States, she was viewed by the terrorist
group’s supporters in one refugee camp as “a heretic — she now is not a Muslim
and should be executed and killed, so she faces significant danger from them.”
As a result, Swift said, Muthana was moved to another camp for her safety.
attorneys also claimed urgency by arguing that if the United States pulls out
of Syria, Kurdish forces holding Muthana would be less likely to cooperate and
aid her in making a return.
called the arguments speculative and said that he could not rely on media
accounts absent other evidence . He sai d if any emerged, Muthana’s legal team
could bring it to his attention later.
for the U.S. government said Muthana should be denied emergency treatment
because she created her situation by deciding to leave the United States in
2014 and join a foreign terrorist organization, and did not until now challenge
a January 2016 determination that she is not an American citizen.
would have understood this unchallenged determination that she was not a U.S.
citizen when she gave birth to her son abroad, and his circumstance is like
that of any child born abroad to a non-citizen,” Carilli wrote. “To the extent
that there are any plausible exigencies, they are of Muthana’s own creation.”
five years of captivity at the hands of the terrorist group Islamic Sate, a
group of Yazidi women and children reunited with their families in Iraq on
Saturday, Associated Press reports.
were cheering, hugging and kissing their relatives in an emotional scene, and
one teenage boy reportedly collapsed in his aunt’s arms and broke down in
group of three Yazidi women and eighteen children were among thousands of
civilians who managed to escape in the last few days from the last territory
held by the Islamic State group in the village of Baghouz, in eastern Syria.
crossed into Iraq from Syria on Friday, and were picked up by their families on
than 3,000 Yazidis are still missing after Islamic State militants attacked
their communities in the Sinjar region in northwest Iraq in 2014, and enslaved,
raped and killed thousands of them.
tribal leaders and organisations have recently called on the international
community to help investigate the fate of thousands of women and children still
missing after being kidnapped by Isis, and to punish ISIS fighters for their
call on the coalition forces, namely the US and all other troops that fight
Isis under the leadership of the coalition, to discover the destiny of victims
and help to return the prisoners soon,” said a statement from the Yazidi
leaders, according to the news website Kurdistan 24.
also call on the Foreign Ministry of Iraq to shoulder the responsibility it has
on its citizens to search for the Yazidi girls and return the bodies of the
martyrs or their remains through their relations with the concerned
governments,” it added.
November 2018, more than 200 mass graves containing up to 12,000 victims were
found in Iraq that held evidence of war crimes by the Islamic State group, the
UN said Tuesday.
is outrageous that thousands of our women and girls have been missing since
2014 and it has not been a priority or main area of discussion with the Global
Coalition and the international community,” said Pari Ibrahim, founder of the
Free Yazidi Foundation.
2014, ISIS fighters killed thousands of Yazidis and took more than 6,000 women
and children as slaves. The UN later declared the attack and the ongoing
enslavement of Yazidi women as genocide.
Yazidis are mostly Kurmanji-speaking religious and ethnic minority in Iraq and
northern Syria. Their religion, Yazidism, or Sharfadin, is a monotheistic
religion and combines elements of all Abrahamic religions: Christianity,
Judaism and Islam.
ACEH, Indonesia: Six couples were publicly whipped in Indonesia’s conservative
Aceh province Monday for relations outside marriage, with at least two women
unable to walk after the painful punishment.
is common for a range of offenses in the region at the tip of Sumatra island,
including gambling, drinking alcohol, and having gay sex.
is the only province in the world’s biggest Muslim-majority country that
imposes Islamic law.
twelve people whipped Monday were arrested late last year during a raid on a
hotel in the province’s capital Banda Aceh.
people were each flogged seven times after being found with a member of the
opposite sex who wasn’t a relation.
others — who were caught in more compromising positions — received between
17-25 strokes for having intimate relations outside of marriage, an official
12 also served several months in prison before the public punishment.
women cried out in pain as a masked sharia officer lashed them, and at least
two had to be carried from the scene by sharia officers.
of spectators and journalists watched quietly. Some winced occasionally after
the blows, while others used smartphones and tablets to film the spectacle.
law is designed to have a deterrent effect, not only for the offenders but for
the spectators who watch the caning,” said the head of the local public order
agency, Marwan, who like many Indonesian goes by one name.
added: “The pain of being flogged is not that bad, the embarrassment is worse.”
groups have slammed public caning as cruel, and Indonesia’s President Joko
Widodo has called for it to end.
the practice has wide support among Aceh’s mostly Muslim population — around 98
percent of its five million residents practice Islam.
adopted religious law after it was granted special autonomy in 2001, an attempt
by the central government to quell a long-running separatist insurgency.
December, two men caught having sex with underage girls were whipped 100 times
female Bangladeshi workers, residing in
Saudi Arabia, are set to return to their homeland on Tuesday.
are returning on the SV 804 flight at 9:20pm. They had been residing at
immigration camps in Saudi Arabia and at a safe home which is run by the
more women returned to Bangladesh, this morning, from Jeddah.
information was confirmed by Head of Brac Migration Program Shariful Hasan.
to bear barbaric torture at the hands of their employers, 90 Bangladeshi women
who worked as domestic help in Saudi Arabia returned home on February 27.
182 housemaids came back in January this year, according to Brac.
than 1,500 women had also returned from Saudi Arabia last year.
Khomeini, the late Leader of the Islamic Revolution, has introduced a new
ideology for women’s rights in order to preserve their dignity, stated the VP.
further described the Islamic Republic of Iran as a successful model for the
role of women in the social sphere while preserving religious and moral values
in the world.
women, honoring religious values, have taken important steps in many different
social fields and achieved great success.
vice president touched on the achievements and experiences of the Islamic
Republic of Iran in the field of women which can be used in international
arenas, especially in Islamic countries, which should be given more serious
attention in this regard.
discourse, challenges and issues they are facing now are among the most
important issues in all communities to be considered, the official said.
further appreciated measures taken by Qom Religions and Denominations
University to pave the way for interactions among different religions.
also emphasized the empowerment of women as one of the aspects of development
of the Islamic Republic of Iran, noting that women play an active role in
various fields of education, health, sports, and politics.
achievements do not mean that there exists no challenges and all the demands of
the young people have been met, Ebtekar explained.
barriers and problems should be removed through taking appropriate policies
about women, she specified.
— An Egyptian campaign calling for a marriage boycott until prospective brides'
families lower their financial expectations of would-be sons-in-law has spurred
strong reactions from Dar al-Ifta, Egypt’s ultimate religious authority, and
young women themselves.
online campaign Let Her Stay Single, launched on Facebook, urges young people,
primarily men, to boycott marriage rather than struggle to meet the financial
demands of women's families before they consent to their daughters marrying. A
typical demand might include a fully furnished home, jewelry for the bride and
family and a big wedding. The campaign, whose logo depicts a bride, a groom and
a crossed red circle, kicked off on Facebook in early January. Its popularity
attracted the attention of local media.
of the online postings maintain that if jewelry and a huge wedding are required
to get married, it might be best for young women to instead remain at home and
accept “spinsterhood.” Supporters share cartoons or pictures of what they call
“old maids” or “spinsters” along with anecdotes about how they failed to marry
the woman they desired because they could not afford her family's demands.
young man in his 20s who posted his experience on the campaign's Facebook page
and requested anonymity told Al-Monitor that his first relationship ended two
years ago because his girlfriend's family requested a house in an affluent
neighborhood, a huge dowry, an expensive wedding ring and a wedding party in a
luxury hotel. The total cost would have been 1.5 million Egyptian pounds ($85,709).
the young man earned a monthly salary of 8,000 pounds ($457), which is better
than most, he could not meet all of their requests over the course of a
two-year engagement. “I calculated that I had to save more than three-quarters
of my income for more than 200 months to fulfill their demands,” he told
women who feel that the anti-marriage campaign portrays women and their
families as money-grabbers were quick to start a campaign of their own, using
the hashtag #stayinyourmother'slap. Since its launch on Jan. 28, a number of
groups and individuals behind various Facebook pages have adopted the hashtag
with the common objective being to counter the claims that men face the
financial burdens of marriage alone. Many posts note that the brides’ families
shoulder costs as well.
Abdel Aziz, a campaign co-founder, told Al-Monitor that Let Her Stay Single
depicts most girls’ parents as materialistic, but it is actually only
“uneducated” families that seek to ensure material gains through the marriage
of their daughters. “Well-educated families that are keen on their daughters’
future do not tie marriage to money, especially since the girls’ parents
traditionally bear half the cost of the wedding.”
el-Masri, a co-founder of Let Her Stay Single, told Al-Monitor his side of the
story. “Our campaign does not intend to insult women,” he asserted. “Nor do we
portray only the girls as spinsters. Spinsterhood is a description that applies
to men and women. Many girls who have been denied marriage because of their
parents’ exaggerated demands support us.”
Dar al-Ifta has condemned Let Her Stay Single, declaring it “contrary to
Islamic law,” even if those behind it had good intentions. In a report
published Feb. 14 on its fatwa website, the authority called on Egyptians not
to join the campaign because reluctance to marriage could push youths into
extramarital relations, which is contrary to Sharia.
al-Ifta also pointed out the need to remove social and financial obstacles to
marriage. It urged families to lower their dowry requests and for young people
to take advantage of loan programs for newlyweds.
to Dar al-Ifta, Masri said, “We [also] believe that marriage is God’s will.
Ours is a call to end the harsh conditions imposed for getting married. … We
are calling for a temporary boycott, not an indefinite boycott.”
activists, among them Ahmed Hijazi, believe the campaign is unlikely to achieve
anything. “These young men are not only frustrated but immature,” he told
Al-Monitor, additionally claiming that they were mainly chasing beautiful and
rich girls beyond their economic class and therefore unattainable. He also
called them shallow in terms of their choices.
Afifi, a retired sociology professor at Menoufia University, explained the
problem of financial demands in terms of “inherited traditions.” “The fact that
these traditions continue to be observed today reflects the strong domination
of the older generations at the familial level,” she told Al-Monitor. The
younger generation, male and female, according to Afifi, often end up bowing to
said that she hopes the social media campaigns will create awareness and
empower young Egyptians, especially women, to demand greater freedom to make
personal decisions about marriage and in other areas of their lives. She called
on families to limit their input to advice and guidance, with ultimate
decisions being left to their children.
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