first mixed prayer, led by two female imams, Anne-Sophie Monsinay (front right)
and Eva Janadin (left), took place in Paris on Sept. 7. (Photo by Lionel
Women Absent From Presidential Campaign
Bomber in Muslim Woman's Gown Dies In Apparent Attack on Military Unit In Philippines
a Prayer: The Muslim Woman Who Photographed Bradford's Last Synagogue
Man Booked For Giving Triple Talaq to Wife via WhatsApp
Females Take Scouting Pledge
Dhabi TV anchor launches FNC election campaign
by New Age Islam News Bureau
Converted French Women Led the Country's First Non-Segregated Prayers Where
Wearing Of the Veil Was Not Compulsory
RFI with Alison Hird
French Muslim women are trying to lead prayer sessions in France. They face
major opposition, but on Saturday two French women who converted to Islam led
the country's first non-segregated prayers where wearing of the veil was not
Janadin and Anne-Sophie Monsinay led prayers before a congregation of 60. Men
and women kneeled, side by side, in a room in Paris hired for the occasion.
security reasons the location remained secret: an indication that
fundamentalist Muslims are still struggling with the move towards a more
"inclusive" expression of Islam in France.
la première fois en France, une femme a dirigé une prière musulmane mixte hier
à Paris >
image on Twitter
temps de prière mixte et progressiste, où le port du voile n'est pas
obligatoire. «Nous apportons notre pierre à la construction d'un islam de
France adapté aux acquis de la modernité», explique l'imame Eva Janadin >
- 8 Sep 2019
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a report by Le Parisien, Ann-Sophie Monsinay said they had faced opposition but
that thankfully “there had been more encouragement than threats”.
teaches history and Monsinay music. They both converted to Islam around a
decade ago and in 2018 co-founded VIE (Voice of an enlightened Islam) with the
aim of opening a place where they could lead Friday prayers.
historic first session was held on a Saturday "for logistical
reasons," Janadin explained, but "all the other meetings, held
monthly, will be on Friday evenings in line with traditional practice".
a French Islam
worked on the project alongside Fondapol (foundation for political innovation)
and has just received the funding to be able to preach once a month for a year.
idea is to measure the demand for this inclusive form of Islam which, in
Janadin's words “reconciles faith with reason and critical thought".
are helping to build a French Islam, adapted to what modernity has
achieved," she told Le Parisien.
two women would then hope to a find permanent premises, the first in France to
be managed by women. It will be named Simorgh mosque after a mythological bird
in Sufi poetry.
project to open a similar mosque is being led by Kahina Bahloul, a researcher
in Islamic Studies. Along with Faker Korchane she hopes to open Fatima mosque
and has just launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise the money for premises.
40 year old Bahloul told AFP she was struggling to find them.
premises is the hardest thing," Monsinay said. "Perhaps there is a
problem with the term ‘mosque’ and the message it sends out. And yet it’s just
a place where you pray.”
power of patriarchy
complicated because no town council wants to help them,” Didier Leschi,
president of IESR (European institute for the science of religions), told AFP.
yet the women insist Islamic theology does not forbid women imams; the barriers
are simply cultural and psychological.
to Tareq Oubrou, imam of Bordeaux, “the texts are not against the imamate being
entrusted to women. What counts is ability, not gender."
he recognises that "the social structure at the mosque remains very
Boubakeur, rector of the Paris Mosque and interim president of the CFCM (French
council of the Muslim faith) said they were examining the question. "Our
imams are studying the texts to see if there is a solid basis justifying the
desire of these women to be able to lead prayers."
not leading the way
is "lagging slightly behind" other western countries according to Ghaleb
Bencheik, president of the Fondation de l’Islam de France (French Islam
Foundation). He attributes this to “a general atmosphere polluted by violence
and terrorism” over the last few years.
US has had female imams since 2005 when Amina Wadud led the first prayers in
New York. In Denmark, imam Sherin Khankan created the Mariam mosque; Canada,
London and Berlin also have women leading non-segregated prayers.
Janadin and Bahloul are convinced there is demand here in France for their
is a silent minority, maybe a sizeable minority, of progressive Muslims, who
don't go to traditional mosques and end up praying alone," said Monsinay.
"They're waiting for a project of this kind."
(AFP) - Tunisia has long been seen as a pioneer for women's rights in the Arab
world, but on the eve of presidential elections, women are calling this
reputation into question.
promise a lot to women. But when Mr. Moustache arrives in power, nothing
happens," said Feryel Charfeddine, head of Calam, an association fighting
violence against women.
they be passionate activists, laywomen or former elected officials, many women
say they do not expect "much" from the polls that start with the
first voting round on September 15.
not a pessimist, I'm a realist," said Charfeddine, who is alarmed by what
she sees every day on the ground: increased violence, diminished rights and
aren't interested in politics anymore. Unconsciously, they know that it's the
same patriarchal system that endures," she said.
played a prominent role in the protests that toppled longstanding dictator Zine
El Abidine Ben Ali in 2011 and they were a courted group in previous
they have been largely absent from the 2019 presidential campaign, which has
focused heavily on security and economic issues.
are they well represented in the large pool of presidential hopefuls, with just
two women standing out of 26 candidates.
is staunch anti-Islamist Abir Moussi, the other a former minister, Salma
part of the alibi," said lawyer Bochra Belhaj Hmida, who was elected to
parliament in 2014 but is stepping back from politics.
had a very, very rich experience, but I'm leaving politics without
regret," she told AFP.
in office, Hmida helped spearhead an inheritance equality law, facing fierce
backlash from some sides for her position on the hotly debated issue.
expect women in politics to be the least disruptive as possible, that they
don't debate and especially that they don't make decisions. I lost a lot of
male friendships," she said.
noted as well a lack of female solidarity, saying it's "as if there was
only one spot to win and you have to fight each other for it".
'Changing minds' -
sometimes taxing environment can dissuade engagement.
don't feel supported and there is no willingness of political parties to change
that," said Zyna Mejri, a young activist.
has been considered relatively progressive on women's rights in the Arab and
Muslim world since its independence in the 1950s, adopting in 1956 a Personal
Status Code that abolished polygamy and changed divorce law.
Caid Essebsi, Tunisia's first president elected democratically by a nationwide
vote in 2014, boasted of having been carried to power by the female electorate.
oversaw the passing of several key texts, including a law on violence against
women and the repeal of a circular banning women from marrying non-Muslims.
true that we're way better off, but we still have a lot to do," Mejri
can have every day a new great law about equality, but the problem is the
enforcement of that law," she added, noting that "it's also about
changing the mind of Tunisian society".
Charfeddine calls it, pointing to the gap between the country's progressive
image of the society's strong conservatism.
'Universal principle' -
often collided with the aggression of young men that did not understand her
fight for equality.
she remains convinced of the need for debate and says she has at times shifted
her point of view.
I managed to establish a dialogue with some of these young people, it also
opened my eyes... I became aware of their frustration, of the way they think
the 'bourgeois' look at them," she said.
question of whether Tunisian society is "ready" for more equality
infuriates Yosra Frawes, head of the Tunisian Association of Democratic Women
not even a question, equality is a universal principle," she said, noting
however that she sees "an enormous setback" for women's rights in the
cites growing difficulties regarding sexual and reproductive rights, less
access to health care -- particularly in rural areas -- and the impoverishment
to a recent AFTD study, women make up more than 80 percent of Tunisia's
agricultural workforce, a sector the association denounced as precarious and
Bomber in Muslim Woman's Gown Dies In Apparent Attack on Military Unit In
– A militant wearing a traditional black Muslim woman’s gown was killed in a
suicide bombing attack Sunday on a military detachment in the southern
Philippines that failed to inflict any other deaths or injuries, officials
suicide attacker tried but failed to enter a detachment in Sulu province’s
Indanan town and died when a bomb the militant was carrying exploded, officials
said. It was the third known suicide attack in Sulu this year.
military chief Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana said the bomber failed to enter the
detachment due to tight security. The militant had long hair and wore a black
Muslim gown but a hand severed in the explosion appeared to be too large for a
woman, Sobejana said in a statement.
suicide bomber was … foreign looking with long hair based on the recovered
mutilated head, however, the recovered dismembered hand is similar to that of a
man,” Sobejana said.
military spokesman in Sulu, Lt. Col. Gerard Monfort, said by phone that troops
took cover and assumed combat positions, some behind sand bags, when the
militant refused to step away from the outpost’s gate and carried something
that bulged in the bomber’s gown.
wary soldier yelled at the militant to ‘Don’t enter, go away, go away’ and
other soldiers who heard him took cover and assumed combat positions,” Monfort
said. “Then an explosion killed the militant.”
blast damaged the detachment’s gate but did not cause any other deaths or
injuries, Monfort said, adding that there were no civilians in the rural area
at the time.
device that was apparently used to trigger the explosion was recovered from the
scene, which has been cordoned off and was being examined by bomb experts and
police investigators, Sobejana said.
was the third known suicide bombing this year by militants linked to the
Islamic State group in Sulu, including a deadly Jan. 27 bombing by an
Indonesian militant couple in a Roman Catholic cathedral in the predominantly
July, two suicide attackers separately detonated explosives in another military
encampment in Indanan, killing the two militants. Authorities later confirmed
through DNA tests of the remains of the attackers that one was a Filipino, the
first known local militant to carry out a suicide attack.
the suicide attacks, including Sunday’s explosion, sparked security alarms and
were blamed by the military on the Abu Sayyaf, a small but brutal group that
has been the target of ongoing military offensives. The Abu Sayyaf has been
blacklisted by the U.S. and the Philippines as a terrorist organization.
last UK census, which took place in 2011, found that there were just 299 Jews
left in Bradford, a tiny number for a city that became home to so many German
Jews in the 19th century that the warehouse district they created is still
called Little Germany. The Muslim population, meanwhile, hit 129,041 the same
city’s synagogue, a grade II-listed building, almost shut down in 2013, unable
to afford roof repairs – until the Muslim community raised funds to cover
costs. A £103,000 lottery grant followed, enabling full repairs, but the number
of worshippers has stuck stubbornly at just 45 – with occasional newcomers balancing
out the deaths of elderly worshippers.
of this caught the attention of Nudrat Afza, a Muslim single mother who –
despite never being able to afford her own camera – is about to exhibit a
series of photographs documenting the dwindling population of Bradford’s last
remaining synagogue. Afza, who came to the UK from Pakistan as a teenager in
the late 1960s, made friends with Rudi Leavor, the synagogue’s
“93-and-a-quarter-year-old” chairman, after carrying out a particularly heroic
mission to transfer a fridge from a synagogue in nearby Shipley when it closed
in 2013. Leavor arrived in Bradford as a refugee in 1937, part of the second
wave of German Jews fleeing the Nazis.
are welcome to attend services, says Leavor, as this is a modern reform synagogue.
“They can sing along and so forth, but they can’t take part actively – for
example, when we carry the Torah around the synagogue, they can’t do that. And
they can’t read prayers from the altar. But we welcome anyone to come and join
in 1880 in an unusual Moorish style, the place of worship had its second heyday
after the second world war. “On the high holy days,” says Leavor, “the
synagogue was so full we had to put extra seats in the aisles. But over time,
people started moving away, often to London or, like my own four children,
married out of the faith. In my cynical opinion, if we didn’t have such a
beautiful building, the Jewish community in Bradford would already have gone
elsewhere, but we have become a focal point that people like to visit.”
years ago, Afza embarked on her project to photograph what felt like the
synagogue’s final chapter, wondering how long it would last. “There are fewer
and fewer Jewish people left,” she says. “It’s this declining population and
disappearing culture that I wanted to document.”
photographs, all black and white, capture a mixture of the modern and the
traditional: an electric menora illuminates two women as they read a prayer
book, one with dip-dyed hair; a young woman in a leather jacket looks on as a
bald man in kippah and prayer shawl bows his head. Slightly grainy, they convey
with intimate tenderness a community Afza has come to know and treasure as much
as her own.
rabbi refused her request to take pictures during services, unless she used a
telephoto lens, which she could not afford, so they let her take pictures
before and after. Afza has never been able to afford a camera since becoming a
full-time carer for her disabled daughter 31 years ago, relying instead on
borrowed equipment and grants. Her exhibition, Kehillah, which can mean
congregation or community in Hebrew, is supported by Arts Council England.
inside the dimly lit synagogue posed particular challenges, even with
top-of-the-range cameras, including a medium-format Bronica and an XPan
Hasselblad given to her on permanent loan by Simon Beaufoy, the Oscar-winning
screenwriter behind The Full Monty and Slumdog Millionaire. Beaufoy became a
fan after seeing Afza’s exhibition about the female supporters of Bradford City
football club and insists the camera is hers to keep, though she won’t accept
with a phone can take a photograph,” says Beaufoy. “But not everybody is a
photographer. In the colourful noise of a billion images, a few people stand out.
Nudrat is one of them. Like all the best art, the images reflect the artist:
watchful, politely enquiring, melancholic with the hint of a smile.”
has never had a lesson and doesn’t work digitally, not having access to email
or the internet. But she has always loved photography, particularly the work of
Henri Cartier-Bresson and the war photographer Don McCullin, who has himself
documented Bradford’s Muslim community. She has now been made an honorary
member of the synagogue and continues to be a regular visitor. “I think she has
more to do with us,” says Leavor, “than with her own mosque.”
non-resident Keralite was booked by police here for allegedly giving triple
talaq to his wife through WhatsApp.
FIR was registered against B M Ashraf, a native of nearby Kudlu village, on
Sunday night based on a complaint lodged by his 29-year-old wife, hailing from
Shiribag, police here said.
to the complaint, the accused, on March 15, had said talaq three times through
a voice message sent via WhatsApp, they said.
accused was said to be in the Gulf when the incident happened. As per the
wife's complaint, the talaq message was sent to her brother's phone having
WhatsApp account," a police official told PTI.
man has been charged under the Section 4 read with Section 3 of the Muslim
Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage)Act, 2019, he said.
3 makes pronouncement of talaq by words, either spoken or written or in
electronic form or in any other manner whatsoever void and illegal while
Section 4 provides punishment with imprisonment for a term which may extend to
three years and shall also be liable to fine.
action would be taken after a comprehensive probe with the support of the cyber
cell, the official added.
is considered to be the second such case registered in the state after the
Parliament passed the triple talaq bill in July and the President gave his
assent to it.
August, E K Ussam (31) was arrested in Mukkom in Kozhikodefor allegedly giving
instant triple talaq to his wife, who had complained that the accused had come
home and said talaq three times in front of her parents.
was arrested following a warrant issued by the Thamarassery Judicial First
Class Magistrate Court, police had said.
was privileged to be one of the first eight female Saudi scouts to attend the
24th World Jamboree at West Virginia’s Bechtel Camp.
initiative from Saudi Arabia to empower women in the field of informal
education known as Scouting is in line with the American Scouting decision
earlier this year to merge the Boy Scout and Girl Guide movements.
more than 150 countries participating in the Jamboree and more than 45,000
female and male scouts attending, the Saudi female team worked in different
booths to serve the “Scouts for SDGs” initiative — to support young people and
boost their actions in local communities in line with the UN agenda 2030:
Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
have experienced together, for the first time, how to scout, understand the
pillars of scouting and listened to highlights from the director of the World
Scout Foundation, John Geoghegan, who believes that Saudi females are capable
of taking scouting in the Kingdom to a new level.
our assignments as volunteers, we conducted field research to resource a future
Saudi female scouts framework in Saudi Arabia.
heard about the respondents’ experience of scouting and how it has changed
their lives for the better and how this form of education is effective. Most
scouts see it as a liberating experience that teaches independence and brings
them closer to nature. We had the chance to attend the reception hosted by the
King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz International Center for Interreligious and
Intercultural Dialogue (KAICIID) and hear a speech from Ahmad Alhendawi, the
secretary-general of the World Organization of the Scout Movement (WOSM) and
the previous UN Youth Envoy, who highlighted the importance of scouting as an
informal method of education for long-term investment in youth.
Wickramanayake, the current UN Youth Envoy, delivered a speech during the “Unity
Show” on preventing wars and conflicts, encouraging scouts to change the world
and make it a better place.
Jamboree ended with a celebration of international friendships that share the
same values and a promise to fulfill the scouting promise. For me, this journey
was the beginning of another bigger journey to include, not only eight females,
but as many Saudi females as possible in scouting as a form of informal
education to align with our Vision 2030 and the UN’s SDGs agenda to create more
messengers of peace.
Ayesh Al-Majnuni is an English comparative literature postgraduate. She has a
postgraduate certificate in international relations from Columbia University.
She has worked in education management, research and development, and strategic
partnerships in different government entities.
Dhabi: Reaching out to more than 337,000 voters, many of the 495 candidates
running in the Federal National Council (FNC) elections started their campaigns
across the UAE on Sunday, in their bid to win the 20 parliamentary seats.
in Arabic dailies, social media and street posters listed issues that the
candidates would raise if elected. The final list includes 133 candidates from
Abu Dhabi, 88 from Dubai, 114 from Sharjah, 61 from Ras Al Khaimah, 26 from
Ajman, 20 from Umm Al Quwain and 53 from Fujairah. Campaigning will end on
Al Darmaki, an Abu Dhabi TV anchor running in this year’s elections, says if
she wins a seat in the House, she will be focusing on creating more jobs and
training opportunities for citizens, empowerment of women and boosting of small
and medium enterprises.
citizen has a right to get a job that suits his or her skills and
qualifications and that achieves their social security. That will top my
priorities,” Al Darmaki said.
added because women are half of the society, activating their leading role and empowering
them in all fields will be her main concern.
Darmaki had a BA from UAE University, Al Ain, majoring in radio and television
in 2007; then got an MA from Brunel University London, United Kingdom, in media
and communications in 2014. She is now a PhD student, Mohammed V University,
Rabat, Morocco, in media and diplomacy.
women are a global role model, becoming active partners in employment and
sustainable development. There are successful Emirati models in many areas,
most notably Her Highness Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak, President of the General
Women’s Union, President of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood,
and Supreme President of the Family Development Foundation (Umm Al Emarat). Her
Highness was able to transform the traditional role of women and raise their
profile and their participation in the labour market to 47 per cent this year,”
Darmaki said the participation of women in economic activity and the labour
market increased after the establishment of the Council of Businesswomen,
bringing the number of registered in the Chamber of Commerce and Industry to
more than 22,000 businesswomen working in the local and international market.
Women’s participation in the Council of Ministers has so far risen to almost 29
per cent, and finally its participation in the Federal National Council has
risen to 50 per cent. Thus, Emirati women are the first Arab women in
empowering women leaders and parliamentarians.
increase in the percentage of women in FNC elections to 50 per cent encouraged
me to be a candidate to be effective in the service of the nation and citizens,
especially as the next session will be half a century since the founding of the
UAE,” she said.
decision, Al Darmaki added, is historic and an exceptional milestone in the
political development of women in the country. “It promotes Women’s active
participation in elections as candidates and voters, increases their
sustainable and inclusive developmental contribution to a very advanced stage
of gender balance, and makes full use of their capabilities, energies and
potentials in all fields.”
Darmaki said she will also focus on boosting small and medium businesses.
National Strategy for Empowering and Entrepreneurship in the UAE (2015/2021),
launched by Her Highness Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak, provides a general,
reference and guiding framework for all government institutions, whether
federal or local as well as private, to help develop plans and programs of work
and provide a decent life for women to make them empowered and pioneering in
all areas of development and to achieve the best quality of life for them,” Al
strategy, she added, has enabled the empowerment of a number of prominent
female figures in the UAE and has overcome all odds in their participation in
all fields and in all sectors that have been restricted solely to men until
recently. “The nation has allowed them to participate in political and military
life to become an honourable model for women’s leadership.”
Darmak’s role models include many Emirati women in various fields where they
were pioneers, including the parliamentary field with Dr. Amal Al Qubaisi being
speaker of the Federal National Council.
the military field pilot fighter Mariam Hassan Al Mansoori, who defied
everything and fought to defend the homeland, although women rarely work or
exist in this difficult area,” she said.
Suhail Al Mazrouei, Minister of Youth Affairs in the UAE, she said, is another
role model as the youngest minister in the world.
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