Activist Loujain al-Hathloul
Rally In Yemen’s Sana’a To Condemn Saudi-Led Strikes
Muslim Americans Get Haircuts in Women-Only Salon
Supporters of Islamic Clothing Take Battle To Court
Torn as Women’s Day March Sparks Wave of ‘Masculine Anxiety’
of Terror Suspect Blows Herself Up and Her Children in Indonesia
Announces £400,000 For Malala-Inspired Pakistan Female Scholarships
by New Age Islam News Bureau
Women Activists Persecuted Under 'Bogus' Charges, Says Amnesty
activists imprisoned by Saudi Arabia for almost a year face "bogus"
charges, including contacting foreign media, human rights campaigners and international
organisations, Amnesty International has said.
trial of at least 10 women opened in Riyadh's criminal court on Wednesday after
they were held last year in a sweeping crackdown on activists, legal
authorities said, without specifying the charges.
put the number of women who appeared in court at 11, adding that they were
charged with promoting women's rights and calling for the end of the
restrictive male guardianship system.
women were also charged with contacting international organisations, foreign
media and other activists, including the Amnesty International," the
rights group said on Thursday, calling the charges "bogus".
a London-based rights group, said the women were charged under the kingdom's
sweeping cybercrime law, which carries prison sentences of up to 10 years,
based on their contact with "hostile entities", including human
charges against the activists are the latest example of the Saudi authorities
abusing legislation and the justice system to silence peaceful activists and
deter them from working on the human rights situation in the country,"
said Samah Hadid, Amnesty International's Middle East campaigns director.
trial is yet another stain on the Saudi authorities' appalling human rights
record, and shows how empty the government's claims of reform really are."
than a dozen activists, many of whom campaigned for years for the right to
drive, were arrested in May last year - just a month before the kingdom ended
its long-standing ban on female motorists. Some were subsequently released.
the time, the activists were accused by some government officials of
undermining national security and aiding enemies of the state, while
state-backed media branded them as traitors and "agents of
court official said the women would have access to independent lawyers for the
trial, a right that family members claimed they had been denied for the entire
stretch of their detention.
official did not specify a date for the next court hearing.
trial of the women comes as Saudi Arabia seeks to placate international
criticism over the brutal murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi inside the
kingdom's Istanbul consulate last October.
rally in Yemen’s Sana’a to condemn the killing of 20 women and a child in
Saudi-led strikes in the northern province of Hajjah.
US: Every woman seems to have a haircut horror story. Muslim American women
have ducked into salon backrooms, closets and basements to get their hair
styled. One woman remembers hiding behind a piece of cloth draped over a
doorway. Another recounts a haircut in a restroom. Others describe gut-twisting
moments when strange men walked in and saw their bare heads anyway. Everyone
remembers the shame and anger.
Ahmed knows the feeling — and she is determined to make a change. Ahmed, who
wears a hijab, opened a women-only salon last month designed for Muslim women
whose religious beliefs include not exposing their hair in front of men who are
really want to make a difference in people’s lives by creating a place where
women feel comfortable, safe,” said Ahmed, 34. “With this space, I can
guarantee that there’s not going to be guys that walk in, so women will have
the privacy they are looking for.”
was a time of hope and disappointment for wearers of the hijab at Tashkent’s
International Islamic Academy.
the first time in Uzbekistan’s history, a court heard a civil case about the
Islamic headdress. At stake was the resolution of a standoff between the
academy’s administration and young women angered about what they feel is the
denial of religious self-expression.
the drama should be playing out in what bills itself as an Islamic academy is
the ultimate irony.
suit against the International Islamic Academy was filed by 45-year-old
Abduvahob Yakubov, the father of a young woman at the institute.
petitioned the court to cancel the internal rule prohibiting women from wearing
hijab and scarves,” he told Eurasianet. “My daughter, Nozima Abdukharova, is in
her second year of studies and has been prevented from going to class in her
is a lawyer by training, so he decided to take on the case himself.
3 p.m. on February 15, the entrance hall at Tashkent’s Shaykhontohur district
court was packed. Police initially only allowed in representatives from the
academy and their lawyers. But a large and excited crowd had also arrived,
hoping to watch the highly unusual legal debate.
am very interested in how this hijab case turns out. It is the first time
something like this is happening,” Ulugbek Safarov, 23, a student at Tashkent
University of Information Technologies, told Eurasianet.
heard about the case through social media and decided to go in a gesture of
support for his fellow students.
Shermatov, a lawyer, traveled to Tashkent from Moscow out of curiosity to hear
both sides of the argument. He predicted that although the case was unlikely to
go the student’s way, it would undoubtedly draw considerable public interest.
Uzbek law, the appearance of citizens in public places in religious attire may
trigger a fine or administrative arrest for up to 15 days. Only [the clergy]
can wear religious clothes,” Shermatov said.
were on full display in the courtroom. Yakubov insisted on the abolition of
dress requirements at the Islamic Academy, arguing that there are no legitimate
grounds for banning hijabs in an educational institution.
a representative from the International Islamic Academy, Lutfullo Abdukadyrov,
showed the court a pamphlet detailing the rule of conduct for students.
the Islamic Academy, it is not just hijabs that girls cannot wear, the rule
also goes for short skirts and jeans. Students are required to attend classes
in a standard uniform – a form of clothing approved by the country’s Education
Ministry,” Abdukadyrov said.
hearing both sides, the court ruled in favor of the academy, arguing that it
had violated no laws in imposing the dress code.
court in Tashkent heard Yakubov’s appeal on March 13 and upheld the verdict
passed down last month. Yakubov says he now intends to pursue the matter to
Uzbekistan’s Supreme Court.
standoff began in September. Shukhrat Yovkochev had shortly before that been
appointed rector of the International Islamic Academy. Banning the hijab was
his idea. Staff was posted at the entrance to the building and those students
who declined to abide by the rule were forbidden from going to class.
rule elicited mischievous mockery. Some students wore wigs instead of hijabs,
to ensure they were nominally not exposing their uncovered heads. After class,
they replaced the wigs with hijabs.
its name, the International Islamic Academy is a secular institution, although
it is also seen as part of a government effort to optimize the quality of the
country’s religious education. It was created in April 2018 on the foundations
of what was formerly called Tashkent Islamic University.
was not alone in taking her stand.
Muminjonova, 19, moved from her hometown of Urgench, around 1,000 kilometers
west of Tashkent, to enroll in the International Islamic Academy. After passing
the entrance exams, she signed up to take classes in the Pilgrimage Tourism
when the first day rolled around, she was not allowed through the door.
is a sign at the entrance, it says that women may only wear dark skirts and
white jackets. Skirts have to be worn below the knee. I was told to wear this
uniform and take off the hijab. But I could not go along with that because
those rules contradict my religious beliefs,” she said.
quickly ratcheting up dozens of hours of unattended classes, Muminjonova was
said that she refuses to believe wearing a hijab can be legitimate ground for
expelling somebody from school. And so she too turned to Yakubov for help
filing a civil suit.
suit, which was heard on February 20, was also unsuccessful. Tashkent district
court ruled that Muminjonova’s expulsion was in line with the rules of the
International Islamic Academy.
preparations for her legal campaign have been underway, Muminjonova has been
working at a tourism agency and dedicating herself to improving her English,
which she wants to parlay into studying tourism management.
the Uzbek court does not restore my rights, I will appeal to United Nations
bodies responsible for upholding freedom of religion and belief,” she said.
told Eurasianet there are even more young women who have been expelled from the
Islamic Academy over their hijab.
to my information, there are about six young women,” he said. “But they still
want to keep a low profile.”
is not the first time that Uzbekistan has grappled – and chosen the path of
prohibition – with the matter of religious piety in education.
the death of President Islam Karimov in 2016, many have become more bold in
expressing their faith-based views in public. Last year, the government’s
official policy on school uniforms, which allowed for the headscarves to be
forbidden, provoked much umbrage among conservative commentators. Some wrote
angered commentaries about it online, only to find themselves being summoned to
the police station.
Nazarov, a historian, falls on the secular side of the argument. The Islamic
academy should be entitled to decide what its students may or may not wear, he
is constitutionally a secular state – there is a separation between religion
and state. So we can consider this court’s ruling something of a legal
precedent,” he said.
poster read: “Keep your dick pics to yourself.” Another had a drawing of a
vagina and two ovaries and the words: “Grow a pair!” A third said, “If you like
the headscarf so much, tie it around your eyes.”
posters featured at women’s day marches across Pakistan last week, and were
just a handful among hundreds that highlighted fundamental rights issues such
as access to education and employment. They have since unleashed a social media
storm. Thousands complained the marchers were “vulgar” opportunists who had
infringed on conservative values in the Muslim-majority country and supplanted
a legitimate fight for rights with a liberal, anti-Islamic agenda. Many called
for a parallel men’s march.
Shahid, arguably Pakistan’s biggest film star, wrote on Twitter he thought the
posters did not “represent our culture, our values”. Veena Malik, a popular
actor who caused an uproar in 2012 when she appeared almost naked on the cover
of an Indian men’s magazine, posted that the march had “brought humiliation to
women of Pakistan”.
Naheed, a poet best remembered for a poem called “Us sinful women”, was seen in
a video saying: “The next time you make such slogans, remember your culture,
of the profanity-filled tirades were more frightening. Javeria Waseem, a film
student, posted screenshots of a group of boys sexually harassing her
16-year-old younger sister online and threatening her with rape for posting on
Instagram in support of the march.
Dad, a rights activist who was photographed holding a poster that read:
“Divorced And Happy”, received messages filled with sexual innuendo and threats
of sexual violence.
least seven women who attended the march in Lahore and did not want to be
identified told the Guardian they had received threats of physical and sexual
violence from social media users after posting pictures of the posters.
Pakistan the threats of violence are not hollow. About 500 women are killed
each year by family members who believe their honour has been damaged,
according to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan.
can’t say you are happily divorced’
who organised the women’s march in Lahore, said people were angry over the
posters because most Pakistanis, especially men, could conceive of better
school and workforce participation and parliamentary seats reserved for women,
but were not yet ready to allow them free choice.
women make demands about their personal lives, their bodies, their sexuality,
that’s when people feel threatened,” Dad said. “So it’s OK to ask the
government for the right to education but you can’t say you are happily
divorced because the breakdown of a marriage is a shameful thing, a woman’s
failure, and you can’t say ‘don’t send me dick pics’ because so-called
respectable women don’t use words like dick.”
made sense, then, that the posters that got the most vitriolic responses were
“those that spoke to the intimate relations of power within the household”,
said Nida Kirmani, a feminist sociologist at the Lahore University of
popular poster called for men to warm their own food; another asked them to
find their own socks. And one read, “I’ll warm your food but you warm your own
course these kinds of slogans have unleashed a wave of masculine anxiety,” said
Sabahat Zakariya, a newspaper editor who runs a YouTube channel to explain
home is the seat of masculine power and the posters hit right at the heart of
that,” she said. “Men are afraid that women will now also start asking for
rights within the home; they will question why they should stay in abusive
marriages or always be the ones who cook. That’s a lot scarier for some people
than sending girls to school or letting them work.”
Dad called the protests “a great start”.
is a huge success of the march that taboo topics like women’s rights to their
own bodies, their sexuality, are being discussed for the first time.”
Police said an Indonesian woman with affiliations to the Islamic State had
detonated at least two home-made bombs in Sibolga, North Sumatra, early on
Wednesday morning (13/03), killing herself and two of her children.
incident happened at the tail end of a massive police operation that had netted
three terror suspects and 300 kilograms of explosives.
explosives were seized in the coastal town—an eight-hour drive south from the
provincial capital Medan—on Tuesday.
have been on the hunt for terrorist networks across the country to prevent them
from attacking officers and public facilities, with just over a month left
before Indonesia holds a presidential election.
scattered body parts of the Sibolga female bomber—who appeared to be in her
30s—were found inside her home, Brig. Gen. Dedi Prasetyo told reporters in
Tuesday afternoon, the police's anti-terror unit Densus 88 had arrested the
woman's husband, Husain, aka Abu Hamzah, a suspected terrorist who has been
affiliated with the Islamic State network in Indonesia. Husain was also
arrested in Sibolga.
had then gone on to Husain's home, where
his wife and two of the couple’s children, both under five years old, were
to the police, Husain's wife threw a bomb at officers as they rushed her home.
One police officer and a neighbor were injured by the blast.
police spent the next 10 hours negotiating with Husain's wife, trying to
persuade her to surrender. Husain had tried to help convince his wife to give
herself up to no avail, Dedi said.
an hour after midnight, the woman blew up two more bombs. The second bomb
killed her and the two children, the police suspected. Police have so far
recovered body parts from two individuals, a female adult and a two-year-old.
is an expert at making bombs and recruiting new members [to his terrorist
network], but it was his wife who was the real ideologue," Dedi said.
wife has always been much more militant than himself," the police officer
police’s bomb squad Gegana, including a robot unit, has been deployed to the
house to find and defuse more bombs.
of houses in the area have been damaged. The bombs used low explosives, but the
impact was significant," Dedi said.
said he had assembled dozens of bombs. His wife had four of them, as well as
dozens of kilograms of potassium that can be used as explosives," Dedi
home-made bombs were being assembled by Husain and his group to be used in
daring attacks of security officers, according to the police spokesman.
Husain's arrest, police had already captured other individuals from the same
network in Lampung and West Kalimantan on Sunday. The police spokesman did not
reveal how many are now in custody.
all from the same network. They communicate with each other on WhatsApp and
Facebook," Dedi said.
Politics, Law and Security Affairs Coordinating Minister Wiranto said the
operation in Sibolga was part of a continuing effort to fight terrorism.
networks get on the move again whenever our security forces do not monitor
them," Wiranto said on Wednesday.
to the minister, the Sibolga blast will not affect security and safety in the
country before the general and presidential elections on April 17.
will say the election is not going to be safe. I guarantee you, it will be,"
Sturgeon has announced £400,000 of funding to help disadvantaged women and
girls in Pakistan complete their education, inspired by education campaigner
the Scottish Government offered a masters degree scholarship to poorer women in
Pakistan and a separate programme for disadvantaged and minority children.
the new scheme will provide scholarships to women and girls through their
secondary education, undergraduate degree and masters degree.
has 25 million children who do not go to school and more than half of them
(55%) are girls, according to a Scottish Government report published last year.
the poorest 20%, two in three girls do not attend school, due to factors such
as discrimination, conservatism and lack of facilities and teachers.
First Minister attended the annual dinner organised by homelessness campaigners
Social Bite in Edinburgh on Wednesday evening where Ms Yousafzai, the youngest
Nobel Prize laureate, was a guest speaker.
Yousafzai became an activist for female education after being shot by the
First Minister said: “Tackling poverty and inequality is a central aim of the
Scottish Government, whether that is at home or abroad and girls still face the
largest barriers to accessing secondary and undergraduate education.
2013 we set up a masters scholarship scheme for Pakistani women which was
inspired by Malala Yousafzai’s courageous campaign for better education for
Scotland-Pakistan Scholarship for Young Women and Girls will help a new
generation of Pakistani women and girls achieve their full potential and
previous scholarship helped more than 500 women between 2013 and 2016.
than 5,600 women applied in 2017/18 and 173 scholarships were awarded.
children’s scholarship programme helped more than 4,000 children complete a
year of schooling, 2,000 of which were in 2017/18.
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