Raya Al Hassan was appointed
the Arab world's first interior minister in the new Lebanese government.
Need Anti-Discrimination Laws Not Dress Codes, Women’s Groups Tell Putrajaya
Hijab Day Celebrated, Muslim Women Appeal To End Islamophobia
Northern Nigeria, Drug Abuse Remains A Problem Among Women
Hassan, First Female Arab Interior Minister
Women Urge Warden Of Qarchak To Observe Prison Rules
by New Age Islam News Bureau
Hijab Day: Activists, Lamu Women Want Ruling On Muslim Veil Reviewed
Hijab Day was marked on Friday with Muslims at the Coast joining in the commemoration
of the occasion themed 'Breaking stereotypes and shattering boundaries.
January 24, the Supreme Court overturned a ruling by the Court of Appeal that
allowed Muslims to wear hijabs in non-Muslim schools.
is a veil which Muslim girls and women use to cover their heads and necks.
group Muslims for Human Rights (Muhuri) held a procession in Lamu.
discussed the impact of the ruling and told women it is their constitutional
right to respect the practices of their faith.
Lamu field officer Umulkheir Ahmed said the Constitution provides for freedom
law allows us to manifest our religion through worship and observance,"
in Lamu want the ruling, which was overturned on technicalities, challenged.
said the rights of Muslim girls will be violated if schools ban the hijab.
said there is increasing discrimination against hijab-wearing Muslims.
West education officer Rukia Gilgil said education policies must respect an
powers bestowed to the schools' board of management shouldn’t contravene the
Constitution," she said.
a rare occasion in Lamu, female madrassa teachers and students came out protest
LUMPUR, February 2 — The Joint Action Group for Gender Equality (JAG) has
warned against a proposed dress code for Muslim staff in the private sector,
stating it could raise “unintended consequences” for those who might choose not
to comply with the guidelines.
coalition of women’s rights groups said a dress code would set norms and
expectations of “what people should or should not wear”, despite being
“optional” or non-binding.
are concerned that a dress code could have the unintended consequence of
ostracising both Muslim men and women who choose not to comply with the dress
code, and in turn subject them to social pressure, harassment, and, ironically,
further discrimination,” the coalition said in a statement.
than policing people’s clothing through guidelines that restrict rights and
place the burden on individuals to conform, the government should introduce
laws to stop employers from discriminating against employees based on their
dress and gender,’’ it added.
proposed dress codes are among the initiatives done by the ministry as a means
to address discrimination against Muslim women who wear headscarves, however,
JAG believed the issue could be resolved through proper amendments to the law.
believe that such discrimination can be tackled through upcoming amendments to
the Employment Act, the Sabah Labour Ordinance, and the Industrial Relations
Act, which includes protection against discrimination on the basis of gender
and religion,” said JAG.
JAG stands by the right of every person to choose how he or she dresses,” added
the statement, endorsed by eight groups including All Women’s Action Society
(AWAM), Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor (EMPOWER), Women’s Aid
Organisation (WAO) and Sisters in Islam (SIS).
comes as the Ministry of Human Resources stated on January 29 that it intends
to present the proposed guidelines to the National Labour Advisory Council
before the final draft is completed.
ministry had said that the guidelines would only apply to Muslim workers in the
private sector and the formulating of the guidelines was important to address
possible instances of workplace discrimination.
year, the minister in charge of Islamic affairs Datuk Mujahid Yusof Rawa said
Putrajaya received many complaints from Muslim women working in the airlines
and in the service industry who claim their employers prevented them from
wearing the tudung, citing their respective company code of conduct as excuses.
York: Muslim women assembled in the city of New York on the occasion of World
Hijab Day and appealed to the world to extend cooperation to eradicate racist
tendencies and Islamophobia.
day was also celebrated in Malaysia, Nigeria and West Balkan counties on 1st
meeting was organized by Muslim women in front of the Municipal Office in New
York. The participants of the meeting stressed the need to seek cooperation for
removing Islamophobia and racist tendencies. They felt that hijab is the
protector of their sanctity and dignity. They were also holding placards on
which slogans were written.
may be mentioned that Ms. Nawaz Nazima Khan of Bangladesh who had started
observing this day since 2013 told that she had faced anti-racist tendencies in
New York. She also said that 90 countries have supported her movement.
a similar program held at Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, Muslim women belonging to
various occupations participated under the banner, “It is our choice”.
Kaduna, Habiba, a young woman on the streets of Barnawa, shared her story as
she held a baby and a wrap of marijuana.
did not decide to be an addict, my family were a trouble to me, I was treated
ill by others, I didn’t feel loved by my parents, so I started to find solace
with my friends and neighbours,” she said.
16, Habiba’s friends introduced her to a cigarette-like stick.
did not like it at first but it gave me a good feeling, I was always smiling
and my worries became less,” she said. “I want to stop, I tried to stop, but
each time I go a day without codeine cough syrup or weed I become sad and
depressed and I feel like the world is going to end — so I continue, stopping
will be very hard for me. Sometimes I feel sick but I can’t stop.”
if she was scared of her baby learning her smoking habits, Habiba said, “I will
not want her to learn; it is very bad, but if it’s God’s will then let it be
done. I want my child to be a doctor to help people like me.”
Kano, Rasheedah, a married woman explained how drugs, codeine specifically, was
her only recourse after her husband broke her heart by deciding to take on a
never believed my husband will take another wife until my neighbour told me
during a regular evening gist,” she said.
became horrible for me, I went to see his family to discuss what I have heard,
but to my surprise, his mother knew about his plans to marry a second wife. Two
months after I found out about his plans to take a new wife, they got married;
all the top government officials were invited. I felt betrayed beyond my
imagination. My girlfriend Zainab (name changed) was always taking cough syrup,
I didn’t know what it was, but I tried it someday and that was how I found
peace of mind.”
Ugalahi, a psychiatrist with the Birmingham Solihull Mental Health Foundation,
London, highlights the effect of drug addiction among women, which is now
gaining a foothold in the northern part of Nigeria.
addition to all the adverse effects of drug addiction to humans which we know
of, females have certain roles and body build that increase the adverse effect
of drugs addiction on them. Females can tolerate less alcohol than males and
this is because they have less body water and more body fats,” she said.
alcohol does not have enough body water to dilute the alcohol and stays at a
higher concentration in the body. Some studies have also reported that women
have fewer enzymes in the stomach to breakdown alcohol and thus tends to get
more alcohol into their system. We are also aware that the elimination of
alcohol depends on the quantity in the body. Thus they stay drunk for longer,
their kidneys and livers are exposed to alcohol for longer, causing more
damage, than for males.
role of the female which includes bearing children means any drug addiction
does not stop on the person involved but it also affects another person-the
unborn child. Women who drink while pregnant risk their newborn babies
developing fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, the most severe is the fetal
explained that this syndrome comes with mental retardation and other adverse
problems. Cigarette intake, she said, has been associated with frequent miscarriages
in pregnant females, likewise the use of most of the other drugs. While
pregnant, the use of other drugs can result in withdrawal for the child,
example use of Benzodiazepines can cause floppy baby syndrome, where the child
cannot move including for essential things like breathing. Stimulants may cause
the baby to be hyperactive, irritable at birth and develop a disorder called
attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in childhood. The use of any form of
opioid including codeine in pregnancy may cause Neonatal abstinence syndrome
associated with vomiting, breathing problems and hypersensitivity to noise.
note that some drugs can be transmitted through breast milk depending on the
quantity taken. A child’s brain keeps developing after birth, and lots of
neuronal differentiation takes place during this period. Drugs have been known
to disarray this fine and precise arrangement and growth of these neutrons,”
of these brain changes can lead to mental disorders during adolescence or
adulthood, or mental retardation and problems with motor and behaviour skills,
the official adds.
general, the physical health of persons addicted to drugs is very poor.
Cancers, blood clots in the brain, liver disease, nervous problems, poor
nutrition and poor self-care are more or less permanent fixtures.”
said women who take hypno-sedatives or stimulants are at an increased risk of
engaging in risky sexual behaviour. This is because the drugs have the
potential to make them less in-control and increase sexual appetite.
sexually assaulted while under the influence can led to many unwanted outcomes
like pregnancies, STIs, HIV and emotional trauma, she adds.
Building Refotmatory Centre Kiru Kano state.
drug culture controls the life of the person. And the female will have to be
subject to the rules of that environment, which in a country as paternalistic
as Nigeria will be largely subservient. The cost of these drugs necessitates
debts as these women cannot hold a job and they need to buy expensive drugs in
a continuous blur. They live in fear of these drug suppliers and the law,” she
Mandara, the Nigerian Country Representative for Bill and Melinda Gates
Foundation, said some girls have been victims of drugs targeted at sexual
a young age, life and livelihood for girls is very important; and this is
unique to girls. It is because they have a product that can be used. A lot of
time, most of the girls are drugged so that you can get them off their mind,
off their guard. A typical Hausa girl to have sex with two men and others are
watching? It’s not regular,” she says.
vulnerability of girls is not just to have them on drugs but to have them on
drugs for the purpose of exploiting their sexuality,” she adds.
also harped on marital negligence as cause of the menace. This, she said, has a
more pronounced effect on the women.
find a husband who is not able to cater for his responsibility. In the north,
even if you’re a billionaire, you expect your husband to shelter you, clothe
you – no friends, no job, stress, yet no care from their husbands. It’s more of
if the Islamic law against the intake of alcohol has in any way fuelled the
spread of the abuse of hard drugs, Mrs Mandara replied thus:
Islam, alcohol is not the only thing that is forbidden. Everything that
intoxicates is forbidden. We need to redefine the definition of intoxicants
among Muslim clergies.”
blamed the government for not putting up measures to forestall the sale of
codeine even though it has been banned.
then charged the elite to break their silence and work on discontinuing the
menace by speaking and taking charge.
family level, we need to take our family more seriously. Honestly speaking, in
the north, men need to take their family more seriously. Because they are
relegating the responsibility to the women. In the north, men are in charge of
the home. At 18, if a mother talks to her child, the child would probably think
you are a parrot.”
Hisbah Board As Moral Police
Board in Kano is referred to as the moral police. At the time of visit, there
were about over a dozen young girls in their custody who were seen at the
inappropriate locations “at the most inappropriate hours” and picked up.
all the women under substance abuse have been transferred to the Kano state
reformatory centre, Kiru, however, all efforts made to access the reformatory
centre proved abortive.
with Khadijah, 14, who had been held for three days at the Hisbah Board for
fleeing her home in Adamawa State to Kano, she said she had to flee because her
step mum “doesn’t treat her well”.
losing both parents to Boko Haram rampage on her hometown, Adamawa, she has
since then been staying with her step-mom. She hopes to return to her
grandmother in Jalingo so that she could start going to school again.
young girl in the custody of Hisbah is Maryam, 19, who was caught at New
Paradise Hotel, Kano. Maryam is a dancer. She gets N3000-N4000 for dancing,
even if she makes more money, she’s not paid more than that.
for Khadijah, 19, who has been in the custody of Hisbah for a week, her parents
reported her to Hisbah. She was held, alongside her boyfriend, Mathew, 29,
whose house she fled to.
Are Doing Our Best’
with the Director General of Hisbah Board, Abah Seriyu Subi, he admitted that,
although rare, women have records of taking drugs and other substances.
Kahdijah 19years at the Hisbah Board.
have women but it has not been in our character (in the north). We have up 150
males and 50 females in our custody.
we have a challenge: People are denying (failing) to send their female children
to the Board because of stigmatisation. They hide their children because of
added that intake of drug by these women is mainly “for them to get high”, and
this, he said, has been aided as a result of peer pressure and poverty.
how the ban on codeine has reduced or increased the intake of other drugs, he
said: “You cannot say it is because of the ban on the consumption of codeine.
There are different substances that can make someone high: faeces of lizard,
some go to the toilet (to sniff ammonia), we have ‘solution’. And they very
cheap; with N5 to N10, you can get it.”
a cosmopolitan area in Kano, seems to be the worst hit in the prevalence of
drug abuse in the state. Therefore, the attention of the Board is drawn to the
will get all manner of drug addicts in the area. We are doing our best to
sanitise Sabongeri. Operating in the area is very complicated.”
Kano State Police Public Relations Officer, Magaji Majia, said the state police
have developed a mutual relationship with every community “which makes it easy
for information to be sourced when there is illegal distribution of illegal or
suspicious substance in Kano”.
(police) work alongside the vigilante and the community rulers to make sure
that the illegal consumption of codeine cough syrup and other illegal drugs is
Majia added that, recently, a man was arrested for storing over 25 bags, each
of which contained 25 parcels of Marijuana, in a residential building which he
has made a warehouse for these products.
man, the caretaker and landlord have been arrested for this. Also, a man was
arrested for importing banned Tramadol worth N19 million packed in an LG
Television carton in a trailer with the intention of depositing in Kano State
and Niger Republic.
Majia says the NPF with over 7000 officers are working tirelessly in bringing
perpetrators to law, though he said the police is more concerned with dealers
and importers of these harmful products.
are about 7000 officers working tirelessly to bring drug abuse and addiction to
women consume more Tramadol, Packaline, Rohypnol (Rochi),” he says.
From Drug Addiction In Women Lower— Psychologist
to Ayo Ajeigba, a psychologist with the Olive Prime Psychological Service,
“drug abuse and addiction is common among Nigerian women now.
use several substances even more than men, other types of substances used also
depends on cultures and religion, though in terms of comparison, men still
consume drugs more than women though the recovery rate from drug addiction
among women seem lower and they often get deeper as they have more emotional
reasons backing their substance use.
terms of after effect of substances, the long and short term effect also
depends on the type of substance consumed,” he explained.
to her, weed contributed to the smoothness of her pregnancy and speed of
did not stop smoking even all through my pregnancy, in fact it made me strong
and kept the baby healthy, I was in labor for just 20 mins and I believe weed
was responsible for my painless delivery; my baby is 12 months old,” she said.
is a need for rehabilitation centres, creation of awareness of the menace by
religious leaders and state actors in order to bring drug addiction to a stop,
like Ibrahim Gombe have gone a step further to weigh in.
Gombe, an advocate and director of the Drug-Free Arewa, a non governmental
organisation said the movement aimed to tackle the alarming drug abuse
especially among young people in the region.
said it also aims to pull the attention of strategic influencers and
stakeholders to the extent of the alarming damage, and the threat drug abuse
poses on the future of the region.
also aim to reposition the northern region gradually, back on its historic hub
of naturally and customary excellent and exceptional leaders, evident in
providing direction in national affairs, and as pillars of Nigeria’s
nationhood,” he said.
only winning six seats in the 128-member parliament during last May’s
elections, Lebanese women made a leap forward in the ministerial picture this
week after political forces named four women in the new cabinet, for the first
time in the country’s history.
Minister Saad Hariri surprised parties by appointing Raya Hassan, who made
history when she became the first woman interior minister in the Arab world.
51, had previously become the first woman in the region to be appointed finance
minister between 2009 and 2011.
new ministers were named on Thursday in Hariri’s 30-member government, while
nine remained unchanged and four were former ministers.
am proud of Lebanese women, proud of the four female ministers in the
government, proud of the first female interior minister in the Arab world,
proud of the future and proud of Lebanon," Hariri said via Twitter after
announcing his government.
previous Cabinet only included one woman in a secondary ministerial position.
close to Hariri told Asharq Al-Awsat that the PM has chosen to name Hassan as
Minister of Interior to empower women and because she has great competences,
earlier proved at the Ministry of Finance.
the new government, Nada Boustani Khoury was named Minister of Energy and Water
by the Free Patriotic Movement (FPM), headed by Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil.
ministry is considered one of the most important portfolios in the new
government, given its role in managing the electricity crisis and the oil
who is an activist within the FPM, has worked at the Ministry of Energy since
2010, offering consulting services at the electricity sector, and other
projects and issues related to the organizational structure of the Ministry of
Energy and its institutions.
anchor May Chidiac was named Minister of State for Administrative Development
by the head of the Lebanese Forces, Samir Geagea.
was the victim of an assassination attempt, which she miraculously survived,
six months after the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafic Hariri in
is now the founder and President of May Chidiac Foundation and its affiliated
fourth woman minister Violette Khairallah Safadi who was named State Minister
for Women Affairs. She is the wife of former Minister of Finance Mohamad
worked as a presenter at the Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation (LBC) and then
as a news anchor and political host at Murr Television (MTV).
Sufi women who have been recently locked up in the same ward with
drug-trafficking inmates in Qarchak (Shahr-e Ray) Prison of Varamin, wrote a
letter of protest to the prison’s warden, Mohammadi, on January 31, 2019.
to prison rules, the Prisons Organization is obliged to detain prisoners in
separate categories based on the crimes they have committed.
Sufi women, however, have been imprisoned in the same ward with prisoners
convicted of drug-related charges, theft and social crimes, despite being
prisoners of conscience sentenced on national security charges.
Yadollahi, Elham Ahmadi, Sepideh Moradi, Sima Entessari, and Shima Entessari
have been detained under the most difficult conditions in the Qarchak Prison.
Three of them were in the same ward with prisoners convicted of financial
crimes. The latter prisoners were recently relocated in the prison and replaced
with prisoners convicted of drug-related offences, murder and theft. Presently,
the Sufi women are in danger of physical threats to their lives.
Yadollahi who suffered a crack in her skull at the time of arrest, has chronic
headaches and is supposed to be detained in a clean environment according to
the doctors’ prescription, but is presently detained among addicted women.
latest reports indicate that she has lost her power of speech due to inhaling
smoke of drugs and cigarettes consumed by other inmates.
Ahmadi and Sepideh Moradi held a protest on Monday, January 28, at the entrance
to the prison hall, demanding action on treatment of Ms. Yadollahi.
State Security forces (SSF) shot Ms. Sima Entessari by shotguns at the time of
arrest. A year after the crackdown, the shots are still in her leg.
Sufi women have been humiliated and brutalized many times because they have
complained about the dire conditions in the Qarchak Prison and the treatment of
inmates by prison officials. They have also been deprived for long periods of
making telephone calls or having visitors.
Sufi women were arrested during the crackdown on the protest of Gonabadi
dervishes on February 19, 2018, and have been imprisoned in Qarchak Prison
since February 20 last year. Each of them have received a five-year sentence.
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