women shop at Al Hayatt mall in Riyadh in 2012. Single men are not allowed into
Women Explore Futuristic Options, Burying Old Barriers
Women Take Active Role In Promoting Tolerance
Hijab Day Celebrated In Solidarity with Muslim Women
A Muslim Tried To Help His Christian Wife Attend Papal Mass in UAE
Africa Marks Hijab Day, Calls For Global Tolerance
by New Age Islam News Bureau
Arabia Addresses Guardianship Abuses towards Women
Saudi Arabia is launching a programme to tackle abuses in the guardianship
system and ensure the rights of all individuals, mainly women and children, are
the guardianship system, a woman regardless of her age, education level or
marital status, remains a legal dependent and thus needs the consent of a male
relative - a father, uncle, husband, brother or son - in various aspects of her
May 2017, and as the kingdom embarked on a series of social reforms to help
empower women politically, economically and socially, King Salman issued orders
to ease restrictions, mainly on access to jobs, higher education and medical procedures.
Arabia has no laws that prevent women from having access to such services, but
some public departments demand the consent of a male relative before providing
parties within the society ensured the reinforcement of the system.
the abuse of the guardianship system by some males has prompted Saudi women to
report their frustration with the system that places restrictions on what they
can do without the permission of a guardian and to call for changes.
Sunday, a workshop in the capital Riyadh discussed the situation and offered
recommendations to deal with abuses in the guardianship powers.
Public Prosecution will spare no effort to protect individuals, whether women,
children or parents from the unfair treatment of those who abuse the
guardianship system,” the kingdom’s public prosecutor Saud Al Mojeb said.
victims can resort to statutory powers to initiate criminal proceedings as
provided by the regulations in accordance with the Shariah and the instructions
of the country’s rulers,” he said at a workshop dedicated to discussing a
project to deal with guardianship abuses.
workshop reviewed the definition of guardianship, the responsibilities and
powers of the guardian in the Sharia, and forms of guardianship abuses and
their social and psychological impacts, Saudi daily Okaz reported.
also discussed the criminal accountability of abuse as well as the steps to
initiate criminal action in cases where women are prevented from getting
married or from exercising their legitimate rights.
participants, who included prosecutors, advisors, Public Prosecution staff,
heads of departments, Ministry of Labour and Social Development staff and
experts, also discussed the measures to reduce guardianship abuses and the
mechanisms of cooperation between social protection departments, specialised
sectors and the criminal reconciliation offices in the Public Prosecution.
Public Prosecution, in its capacity as one of the justice agencies in Saudi
Arabia, is shouldering its responsibility towards the community by adopting
awareness and social programmes and projects to contribute to reducing the
excesses of those who abuse the guardianship,” Al Mojeb said.
Mojeb noted that although only a few complaints had been received about
guardianship power abuse, indicating that it was not widespread, the Public
Prosecution, by virtue of its competence as the social body representing
society, is responsible for filing lawsuits in criminal cases.
workshop is in line with the drive of the Public Prosecution to promote
awareness of social issues in general and the issue of abuse of the
guardianship powers in particular. We look forward to significant
recommendations to address the issue of abuses in the guardianship powers.”
recommendations will be referred to the higher authorities, he added.
— Saba was just 25 when she left her design job in New York to work on a
project renovating an art gallery back in her hometown Tehran.
months, she won three more contracts to do up galleries and the lobby of an
had dreamt of building my own company, but I hadn’t expected it to happen any
time soon. If I had stayed in New York, I wouldn’t have had this chance,” said
Saba, now 27.
says the position of women in Iran has changed a lot over the past decade.
now trust women in management positions. Still it’s hard, especially on a
construction site. But it’s hard anywhere. It’s hard in New York,” she told
the republic marks its 40th birthday, few issues are more politically sensitive
or full of contradictions than the status of women.
the revolution, laws gave women a lower legal status than men, requiring them,
for example, in many cases to gain permission from their father or husband to
leave the country. They are considered to have half the value of men in various
legal aspects such as inheritance and testimony in court.
the republic also encouraged education for women, who now outnumber men at
universities — a development that has transformed expectations and overturned
to university was a path forward for girls like us who did not want to end up
like our mothers in a traditional society,” said Mina, a 25-year-old
linguistics student in Tehran.
didn’t tell her father she was studying for the university entrance exam.
couldn’t believe it when I was accepted, that I would go to some other city to
live. He actually stopped talking to me for some time,” she said.
you do, your gender is the deciding factor,” said 26-year-old archeology
makes you believe that you have to have kids, you have to be modest. You can
barely believe that you can be independent, be seen as an individual with a
character,” she added.
of male arousal’
rulers claim that Islamic gender laws — particularly “hijab” rules that require
women to wear a headscarf and modest clothing — are designed to protect women.
leader Ali Khamenei tweeted in 2018 that the #MeToo movement was evidence of
how Western society had failed women. “The Western model for women is symbolic
of consumerism, cosmetics, showing off for men as a tool of male sexual
arousal,” he wrote. Nonetheless, clothing norms in Iran have gradually but
significantly changed in recent years.It is now unremarkable, especially in
wealthier areas, to see women in tight jeans with loose, colorful headscarves.
like it was’
authorities still draw the line at actively protesting the compulsory hijab:
several women were arrested last year for doing so, and a prominent rights
lawyer, Nasrin Sotoudeh, jailed after taking on their cases. But many also
recall how much they have clawed back since the early days of the revolution.
nothing like it was. You couldn’t even get a lift with a male friend,” said a
female journalist in Tehran.
were terrified of being stopped, because they were out there, checking cars. Or
going for lunch with a (male) friend -- it would never happen! Now no one even
thinks twice about these things.”
were still dismayed that “moderate” President Hassan Rohani, who ran on
promises to improve citizens’ rights, again failed to appoint a female minister
after his 2017 re-election.
is a glass ceiling and it will continue,” said Fereshteh Sadeghi, a political
journalist in Tehran. — AFP
Arab women will play an important role in the pursuit of tolerance in the
region, as more of them find roles in the education sector, a senior official
at the Organization of Arab Women (OAW) has said.
and men are all together, having active roles toward the pursuit of tolerance,”
Dr. Fadia Kiwan, Director General at OAW, told Arab News on the sidelines of
the Global Conference of Human Fraternity on Sunday.
underscored the prominent role of women in education — from guiding children
through their formative years to being professional educators in schools, which
she said is crucial in “teaching tolerance.”
see women in active roles in producing and transmitting values,” she said.
women are not just taking the lead in education, according to Kiwan, who
herself was an established professor of political science in Beirut.
have a moving situation in the Arab world,” Kiwan said, singling out Tunisia as
a country that “is taking the lead in many different fields.”
Arab countries are taking measures too. Most governments are making efforts
toward creating policies that are women-friendly — such as nominating women to
key government positions and allocating funds to address women’s issues,” she
said, making special mention of the recent move by Saudi Arabia to allow women
the Arab world “has made a lot of efforts in the past decade,” Kiwan admitted
that there are still some obvious gaps that need to be addressed.
results are not the same in each country. These discrepancies can be explained
by the differences in terms of wealth and stability. Some Arab countries live
in war,” she said, adding that the organization is currently prioritizing
victims of regional conflicts.
are millions of people who are out of their homes because of wars. People who
are displaced are our target, especially those in Yemen, Libya, Sudan,
Palestine and Syria,” Kiwan said, mentioning the close cooperation with the
Arab League in this endeavor. “Our target is to support them by giving medical
services, psychological services and educational services, as well as economic
training to help them to be ready to move back to their homes, and make them
capable to take part in the reconstruction of their own countries,” Kiwan said.
have a program already set up to provide support to women in terms of
revisiting legislations in different Arab countries to have the best modalities
— rules and procedures, as well as mechanisms to provide physical and moral
protection for women and girls.”
you provide women education, protection by the law, and empowerment to enter
the market, I think that women will play an active role in culture and public
policy,” she said.
is displayed in many forms, through the media, traditions and physical
characteristics, perhaps most notably in clothing.
Feb. 1, Ohio University, as well as other countries, states and religious
worshippers, celebrated World Hijab Day as a nod to the humility and
independence of Muslim hijabi (hijab wearing) women.
hijab scarf is a traditional piece of clothing used by Muslim women and men to
practice modesty and submission to Allah, or God, as stated in the Koran.
a country that has gone through the horrors of 9/11, America, as a nation, has
come to associate much with the traditional wear of Muslims. The hijab in
particular has come under fire many times via social media and in real life due
to its heavy association with radical Islam and Islamophobia.
hijab scarf has, in a sense, become a symbol for Islam and for Muslims,” Loren
Lybarger, an associate professor of classics and world religions with a
specialty in Islamic studies, said. “Oftentimes it has become a focal point of
graduated with a doctorate in religion studies from the University of Chicago
Divinity School and spent time in the Middle East studying Islam.
decision and the politics around the scarf are highly contested and debated
among Muslims themselves and Muslim women,” Lybarger said. “Muslims express
their relationship to Islam in many different ways, (therefore) women don’t
have to wear a scarf in order to be Muslim”.
the present stereotypes existing on the connection between radical Islam and
choice of dress wear, hijabs and other similar types of Muslim attire have
become more acceptable into modern day culture.
am personally not a hijabi, but World Hijab Day, for me, is a good way to show
solidarity to Muslims and hijab-wearing Muslims,” Adjei Nyua, a member of the
Muslim Student Association and an OU graduate student, said. “People tend to
judge others for what they are wearing and we, as women, endure that on a daily
over the globe, Muslim women are taking steps to show that the hijab isn’t a
symbol of aggression and violence, but self-humility and commitment.
fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad became the first Muslim woman to compete and win a
bronze medal while wearing a hijab. Soon after the 2016 Summer Olympics,
worldwide sportswear manufacturer Nike began a mass sale of a pro athletic
hijabs designed for female Muslim athletes.
media and fashion have also become major platforms for exposure for Muslim
Youtuber Aysha Harun uses her platform as a makeup and beauty vlogger to help
disrupt the stigma surrounding Muslim women. IMG model Halima Aden has become
highly sought-after with major fashion labels as her traditional, yet unique
style of the hijab draws attention on a global runway.
the outside appearance of the scarf says much, the hijab scarf in itself is
only a physical representation of the what the hijab embodies.
hijab scarf is, for Muslims, a way to worship God,” Aizah Muhammad, a junior
studying political science with a minor in Islamic studies, said. “You can be
modest and not dress modestly, because the hijab itself is a reflection of who
you are, who you choose to be, as a person.”
was among hundreds who queued up outside the church to grab last-minute tickets
for the mass.
Filipina expat Bernice Soroosh, a devout Catholic, was waiting for hours to get
her chance to get a ticket to attend the papal mass, her husband, Yousef
Soroosh, an Emirati, was patiently waiting in the parking lot of St. Mary's
told my husband that I would like to attend the papal mass and he offered to
drive me to St. Mary's Church to get a ticket. I was really touched by his
offer. This Papal visit has proven that people, even a married couple like us,
who come from different religious backgrounds and cultures, can arrive at a
common ground," said Bernice. "My husband is a Muslim and I'm
Catholic, but there is deep respect for culture and faith in our family."
couple met four years ago at Bernice's workplace. "We may have different
religions but we have the same faith and belief in one God. We look at the
similarities rather than differences of our religions," said Bernice, who
has been married to Yousef for over a year now.
said they have not decided yet which religion their future children would
follow, but "respect, compromise, love and tolerance" will be the
hallmarks of their healthy relationship.
was among hundreds who queued up outside the church to grab last-minute tickets
for the mass. She was not lucky enough to get a ticket to the mass, but
expressed happiness for those who did.
in other parts of the world where Muslim women are often discriminated for
wearing a headscarf, the story is different in South Africa, said members of
in South Africa celebrate Hijab Day by being grateful for the freedom our
country has afforded us in openly practising our religion and being able to
freely wear our religious garments,’’ Jawairiya Aboobaker of the Muslim NGO
Baitul Salaamz told Anadolu Agency late Sunday during celebrations to mark
World Hijab day in the capital Pretoria.
says commemorating Hijab Day was aimed at informing Muslim women to feel proud
of wearing their headscarf because it is part of their religion.
said although South Africa is a tolerant society, there are a few people who
sometimes target Muslim women dressed in the veil by calling them
gender activist said her organization will strive to educate bullies to respect
veiled women and understand why they cover themselves.
also called on citizens of other countries that often discriminate against
veiled Muslim women to be tolerant and stop the hate.
70 women gathered on Sunday to listen to various lectures commemorating World
Hijab Day at a mosque in Hammaskraal on the outskirts of Pretoria.
speakers dispelled myths surrounding the wearing of the Muslim religious head
cover, saying it was a religious obligation and should not be viewed as a form
of oppression against women as suggested by some critics.
year organisers of the day focused on black women who are a Muslim minority in
the country, mostly new comers to Islam.
of the ladies who attended did so for the first time and were willing to learn
about how other women fare in countries that don’t allow them to freely wear
the hijab,” Aboobaker said.
added that in South Africa it is a cultural norm for black women to attend
funerals and church service covering their hair as a form of respect or
schools also accommodate young veiled Muslim women and bearded young men,
unlike other countries.
make up about 2.5 percent of South Africa’s 57 million population. Regardless
of their numbers, Muslims play an important role in the country’s economy. Some
are engaged in politics, academia, and trade among others.
African Muslims are viewed as moderate and live in harmony with their fellow
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