many pockets of Mir Alam Eidgah to Shastripuram in Hyderabad. Muslim women lead
the Tiranga Rally called by the United Muslim Action Committee
• In a First, Two Israeli Women
Win Gold at World Debate Championship in Thailand
• Canadian Solo Female Traveller
Converts to Islam after Living in Pakistan
• Dress Decently, Female Kelantan
Local Council Staff Told
• Kolkata: In Season of Protests,
Muslim Women Make Equal Statement
• Airman Becomes the Service’s
First Female Muslim Chaplain Candidate
• Malaysia’s Islamic Family Laws
Have Gone from Best to Worst, Says Activist
• Gaza's Women Entrepreneurs Make
It Possible To Send Gifts To Residents In The 'Open-Air Prison'
• Iran's Revolutionary Guard Tortures
Female Scholars Behind Prison Walls
By New Age Islam News Bureau
women lead the Tiranga Rally in Hyderabad
In many pockets of Mir Alam Eidgah to Shastripuram in Hyderabad. Muslim women
lead the Tiranga Rally called by the United Muslim Action Committee and headed
by AIMIM against CAA_NRC_NPR.
Hindu, Sikh, and Christian join hands and walk together in Tiranga Rally.
a First, Two Israeli Women Win Gold at World Debate Championship in Thailand
a historic first, an Israeli debate team made up of two women recently took
home a gold medal from the 40th World Universities Debating Championship in
competitors were the third group from Israel to ever have won first place, but
made history as the first female Israeli duo to win.
Goldberg and Maya Saveliev, representing Israel’s Open University Debate Team,
defeated 750 contestants from around the world in the English Second Language
final debate asked participants whether US criminal cases involving African
Americans should be discussed by special committees from the African American
community rather than traditional courts. The Israeli team argued against the
proposal in its winning arguments.
and Saveliev won the competition after enduring nine rounds of quarterfinals,
semifinals and finals, beating teams from Korea, Germany, Malaysia, Spain,
Serbia, Bangladesh, South Africa and Ghana, as well as fellow competitors from
the competition, a variety of issues were discussed including democracy,
morality, gender, geopolitics and law.
is not new to the international debate scene. Three Israeli teams reached the
finals in the European Debate Championship 2019, and Israelis won in both the
EPL and ESL categories in 2018.
Tel Aviv University team also won the European Round Robin debate competition
last year, an exclusive university-level debate competition in Poland, and an
Israeli high school team won the European High School Debate Championship in
2016, Israel was the first non-native English speaking country to win the world
championship in Thessaloniki, Greece.
solo female traveller converts to Islam after living in Pakistan
Gabrielle, a solo motorcyclist from Canada, arrived in Pakistan 10 years ago to
explore the beauty of Pakistan's picturesque North. Her Instagram account is
full of pictures not only showing the dazzling colors of Pakistan but also her
affection for local people and culture.
traveled across Pakistan, especially the northern Gilgit-Baltistan region,
which borders neighboring China, and is home to the snow-capped peaks, glaciers
and lakes. She was captivated by the majestic peaks, breathtaking plateaus, and
on top of it all, she rejoiced in the love, grace, and affection she received
from the locals.
praises Pakistan and its people for helping her achieve her ultimate goal,
saying: "to get rid of the pain I have been going through for years and
fulfill my desire to be free."
in pinkish white shalwar-kameez (local dress), her head covered with a dupatta
(sheet), and holding a copy of the holy Quran, Gabrielle posted a picture of
herself on Instagram on Thursday.
had an announcement.
converted to Islam," read the title of her story she pegged to explain
what "led me to take this big decision."
gives credit to her love for nature and beauty that brought her to Pakistan,
and ultimately led her to " find peace that one can only dream of having
in their hearts".
is a statement she posted on Instagram:
mentioned previously, this last year was one of the hardest in my life, and all
life’s challenges have led me to this point here and now. From a young child,
I’ve always had a unique connection with creation and special relationship to
God. My path was far from easy and I carried a lot of anger in my heart from a
lifetime of pain, always begging God, why me? Until ultimately coming to the
conclusion that all is meant to be, and even my suffering is a gift.
resonating with what I was brought up with, I denounced my religion 4 years
ago, going down a deep path of spiritual discovery. Exploration of self, and
the great Divine. I never let go the sight of the Creator, in fact, my
curiosity and connection only grew stronger. Now no longer dictated by fear, I
was able to fully explore this righteous path.
time passed, the more I experienced, the more I witnessed the true nature and
calling for my life. I wanted to be free. Free of the pain and shackles that
was hell. Liberation from the anger, hurt and misalignment. I wanted peace in
my heart, forgiveness and the most profound connection with all. And thus
started my journey.
universe brought me to Pakistan, not only to challenge myself to let go of the
last remaining traces of pain and ego, but also to show me the way.
kindness, humbled grace of the people I met along my pilgrimage, inspired my
heart to seek further. Living in a Muslim country for 10 years and traveling
extensively through these regions, I observed one thing; Peace. A kind of peace
that one can only dream of having in their hearts.
Islam is one of the most misinterpreted and criticized religions world wide.
And like all religions, there are many interpretations. But, the core of it,
the true meaning of Islam, is PEACE, LOVE ONENESS. It’s not a religion, but a
way of life. The life of humanity, humility and Love.
me, I was already technically a “Muslim”. My Shahada (Muslim profession of
faith) was basically a re-dedication of my life to the path of Oneness,
connection and Peace through the devotion of God.
decently, female Kelantan local council staff told
Sharifah Mahsinah Abdullah
BARU: The Kelantan government has reminded all Muslim female municipal council
staff to cover their aurat and dress decently.
Local Government, Health and Housing Committee chairman Dr Izani Husin said
this was to ensure that the good image of the state government was maintained.
is only a reminder. So far, we have not received any complaints (regarding
local municipal council female staff wearing revealing clothes).
conjunction with Visit Malaysia Year 2020/Visit Kelantan Year 2020, we
anticipate more tourists will visit the state.
we must make sure our slogan ‘Membangun Bersama Islam’ (Develop With Islam) is
put into practice,” Dr Izani said after witnessing the appointment of 24 Kota
Baru Municipal Council members here today.
Izani said the state government was confident that the state capital would
achieve city status in three years time.
realise this, he said the government would focus on five areas, and would
ensure all civil servants and members of the public followed the directives.
areas include ensuring cleanliness, ensuring traders do not hike up prices of goods,
and ensuring locals be polite and nice when dealing with others, especially
tourists,” he said.
In season of protests, Muslim women make equal statement
The protests against CAA and NRC on Friday brought to the fore unusual and
heart-warming images of several hundred Muslim women offering namaz in the open
alongside the men before leading the march in an assertion of their identity as
citizens, as well as individuals.
than three hundred women sat in straight rows outside Tipu Sultan mosque in
Esplanade to offer their Friday prayers. The elders in the community could not
recall any previous instant after Independence where Muslim women not only
offered prayers in the open but alongside the men. Women’s rights groups within
the community said it showed how ordinary homemakers were leading the protests
against the draconian CAA and NRC and also making a statement against
gives Muslim women the right to offer namaz in the open or in a mosque,
provided proper guidelines about separate space for ritual washing or wazoo
enclosures are followed. “There is no restriction on women from offering namaz
in open spaces or in the mosques. Instead, the religious scriptures say they
should go to the mosque and offer their prayers if there is a separate passage
for them and a separate place for ritual washing. When women are travelling,
they have to pray in the open. Islam prohibits anybody from blocking another
person’s way for prayers,” said Noor Jahan Shakeel, president of All Bengal
Muslim Women’s Association.
Fazlur Rahman, who leads Eid prayers on Red Road every year, said it was
heartening to see women fighting for their rights. “All of us must protest and
fight for our rights within the framework of the Constitution,” he said.
namaz is mandatory for every Muslim. Friday prayers, which are normally shorter
than the midday, or Zohar, prayers on other days, are considered special. On
Friday, the protesters — among whom almost half were women — started assembling
at Esplanade with the Indian flag in their hands from 11am. The women then
approached the organizers and asked for a place to offer their prayers between
12.30pm and 1.30pm.
women have come from far-off places and would have had to leave early without
offering their Friday prayers. We made the provision here instead. Separate
arrangements were made for the ritual washing or the wazoo,” said Uzma Alam, a
they offer prayers, it is man-datory for Muslims to wash their hands, feet,
face, clean their ears and nose and gargle. In Kolkata, only a couple of
mosques have this provision for women, as a result of which most of them offer
their prayers at home.
are reclaiming their own identity. They feel that being Muslim and women, they
are more vulnerable. NRC in Assam has shown women are the worst sufferers,”
said Hasnain Imam, a political scientist.
Becomes the Service’s First Female Muslim Chaplain Candidate
Air Force last month commissioned the first female Muslim chaplain in the
Lt. Saleha Jabeen was commissioned Dec. 18 at the Catholic Theological Union in
Chicago by Air Force Chief of Chaplains Maj. Gen. Steven Schaick, the Air Force
said in a release Friday.
Islamic Society of North America endorsed Jabeen to become the Air Force’s
first female imam, a spiritual leader in Islam, the release said.
time we advance religious freedoms, it’s a win for all persons of faith,”
Schaick said in the release. “This is a big day not just for Muslims, but for
persons of all faiths.”
Air Force chaplains are ordained in their own particular faith, they are
responsible for counseling and supporting the spiritual needs of all airmen in
their units, even if the airman follows a different religion, or no religion at
his remarks at the commissioning, Schaick spoke about the importance of
diversity in the Air Force’s chaplaincy.
Islamic Family Laws Have Gone from Best to Worst, Says Activist
LUMPUR: Malaysia’s Islamic family laws suffered two rounds of regression in the
1990s and early 2000s following amendments to the law, according to a rights
Anwar, executive director of international rights group Musawah, said the law
reforms took away many progressive reforms made previously, adding that
Malaysia’s Islamic family laws went from one of the best in the Muslim world to
one of the worst.
1984, the Islamic family law was amended and new laws were provided, which was
amazing. It gave us so many rights and expanded the rights for women to get
divorced,” she said with divorce and polygamy decided by the courts.
the 1994 amendments, you can divorce outside the court. Without going to court,
you can just pronounce talak.
wife doesn’t even know she’s being divorced because the husband has
disappeared. She gets a letter from the religious authorities sometime later to
say that she has been divorced.”
regression, she said, saw the responsibility of children born out of wedlock
being wholly given to the mothers, which meant they could not make any claims
for maintenance or inheritance from the father.
2003, another round of reforms meant that husbands in polygamous marriages
could make a claim for a share of their wife’s matrimonial assets despite
taking a second wife.
not even asking to ban polygamy. We just want them to ensure that the rights of
the first wife and existing children are protected, especially their financial
is galling is the fact that for non-Muslim women, law reforms have moved
forward to recognise equality. But for Muslim women, in the name of Islam, you
can be discriminated against.”
who led the rights group Sisters in Islam (SIS) previously, blamed these
regressions on the rise of “political Islam”, adding that these issues remain
due to the current patriarchal state of society.
said groups such as SIS and Musawah would not have to exist if Islam was
practised the way it should be.
go to Geneva for the women’s convention sessions and it’s shameful and
disgraceful that Muslim governments stand before the Cedaw (Convention on the
Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women) committee and say
they cannot reform the laws to recognise equality because it will be against
you’re standing there telling the whole world that Islam is an unjust religion,
that Islam is a religion that discriminates against women and shamelessly say
she signalled that the “reality on the ground” was beginning to shift.
Women Entrepreneurs Make It Possible To Send Gifts To Residents In The
to the Israeli blockade, getting personal items other than books into the Gaza
Strip is next to impossible, unless they are carried in by returning
Palestinians or internationals.
means relatives and supporters can't celebrate special occasions with the
people they love like most others in the world – by sending gifts. Until now,
that is – thanks to four female entrepreneurs in Gaza who founded the online
idea for the business came from having friends and relatives outside Gaza, who
can't share important events and occasions with us because of closed borders,"
says Yasmin Sarsour, 35, an engineering graduate.
Sarsour to found the business, with the help of funds from a startup incubator,
were Soha Abu Alfoul a 34-year-old information technology department graduate;
Islam Dahman, 24, who has a degree in business administration; and Noha Joma,
30, another IT graduate.
is the general manager, Alfoul and Dahman select the items to be sold and Joma
promotes the business on social media.
can purchase gifts ranging from cakes and chocolates, to perfume, flowers,
backpacks, miniature trucks and other toys.
a customer has a specific item in mind that is not featured on the website, the
women will secure it if it can be found in Gaza.
they personally deliver the item. If requested, they even will shoot a video of
the gift being delivered and opened.
the four years since its founding, most of the project's customers have come
from the UAE and Saudi Arabia.
is still not widely known, but one day, the women hope to establish more of a
customer base in the West Bank, where the relatives of so many Gazans live.
show that Sarsour and her friends are doing more than fulfilling wishes and
earning their own families additional income. In fact, according to a study by the
International Monetary Fund, adding women to the workforce increases a
country's GDP by an average of 35 percent.
the Gaza Strip, where the economy is strangled by a decade-long Israeli
blockade, a dearth of women in the workforce makes a bad marketplace even
Jamal Abullhanoud, PhD, professor of economics at the Arab College of Applied
Sciences, rattles off alarming numbers: "Employment is very low for both
men and women; you could almost say employment is absent," he says.
there is still a large disparity between the sexes: 43.5 percent of males are
unemployed, compared to 74.5 percent for females. Unemployment is the highest
among youth aged 15-24, and again you see the disparity: 65.3 percent for males
and 92.2 percent for females."
reasons for this gender gap are varied: For example, the culture in Gaza is
conservative; women often have a large number of children and shoulder the
burden of their care, confining them to the home.
without multiple children, social norms in many communities dictate that women
stay home. Likewise, some jobs in Gaza are not even open to women. According to
the World Bank, females made up only 2.9 percent of all workers in medium-sized
male-dominated sectors include medicine (only 13 percent women) and law (23
why women in Gaza like Sarsour are becoming entrepreneurs. Another is Iman Abu
Ali, 28, who has opened the first coffee shop just for women.
Ali lives in an area of the eastern Gaza Strip called Abasan, known for its
rural conservatism. It is not considered acceptable there for women to mix with
men they don't know in public, particularly social spots like cafes. So, one
day she wondered to a friend, "Why don't we have a place for women to go
to relax and chat with each other?"
shared the idea with her husband, and he encouraged her to create such a
business. Abu Ali's first step was to conduct some informal research: She
queried women in Facebook groups and in local associations. They welcomed the
completed a feasibility study and a marketing plan, then searched for
funding," she says. "I went to associations, businesses and banks for
months, but no one agreed to help me. I was about to cancel the idea, but my
husband told me not to give up, that we could do it ourselves by paying
suppliers in instalments."
not all men were as supportive as her husband. Other men in the neighbourhood
complained to the municipality, demanding that her business licence be revoked,
saying a woman-owned business was against local traditions. To allow these men
to see her business for themselves, she agreed to open the café to families on
Ali says, "I feel like a pioneer who has taken a first step so women can
change society's traditions and thoughts about women's freedom."
opening day for the Lamet Sabaya (young women gathering) Coffee Shop, customers
packed the cafe, thrilled with the feminine décor, availability of WiFi – and
the privacy. Word of mouth spread quickly.
Neal was one of the first customers. "It's a luxurious setting and the
food is delicious. We women are over the moon there is such a special place for
Abullhanoud notes that, "To increase women's employment, we must
rejuvenate the labour market. The most obvious necessity is to remove the
unnatural constraint of the Israeli blockade. But until then, we must invest as
much as we can in the human element – and that means, in part, encouraging and
supporting women's entrepreneurship."
Revolutionary Guard tortures female scholars behind prison walls
Christmas Eve, two female scientists began a hunger strike at the notorious
Evin prison in Tehran. Dr. Kylie Moore-Gilbert, a British Australian expert on
Shia Islam from the University of Melbourne, and Dr. Fariba Adelkhah, a French
Iranian anthropologist working at the Paris Institute of Political Studies,
were arrested during research visits to Iran and were accused of espionage by
the intelligence service of Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps.
who is in her early 30s, extensively wrote on the pro-democracy movement in
Bahrain. She was detained at Tehran airport in October 2018 while boarding a
flight back to Melbourne after making an invited presentation at the university
conference. She was sentenced to 10 years in prison in a closed trial that
shocked Australia. Since her arrest, she has been kept in solitary confinement
in a 65-square-foot cell.
Adelkhah, 60, who wrote about contemporary Iran and translated French poetry
into Farsi, was arrested by the Revolutionary Guard in June 2019 on charges of
“espionage,” “spreading propaganda against [the] political system,” and
“conspiracy against national security.” After strong protests from the French
government, the espionage charge was dropped, but the other two charges remain.
November 2019, after a lengthy trial, an Iranian court sentenced biologist
Niloufar Bayani, 31, a graduate of Columbia University and program manager of
the Persian Wildlife Heritage Foundation, to 10 years in prison for sowing
"corruption on Earth." She was arrested together with other Iranian
conservationists falsely accused of collecting military information under the
cover of environmental research. During the trial, Bayani complained that the
Revolutionary Guard threatened to pull her fingernails out if she would not
sign a confession.
a letter sneaked from Evin prison, Iranian physicist Narges Mohammadi, 47,
described how in late December 2019, several male guards supervised by an
intelligence officer violently dragged her through prison corridors and broken
glass while she bled from the cuts. It was payback for the hunger strike that
Mohammadi, together with seven other female inmates, held to commemorate the
lives of hundreds of protesters killed on the streets of Iran by the
Revolutionary Guard led by Gen. Qassem Soleimani.
vice president of the Iranian Center for Human Rights and recipient of the
Andrei Sakharov human rights award of the American Physical Society, is serving
a 16-year prison term for her “membership in an illegal organization whose aim
is to harm the national security,” a reference to her campaign for abolishing
the death penalty in Iran. While in prison, she has been repeatedly denied
medical care and visits by her family, which includes her underage children.
people swallowed by the grinding machine of the Revolutionary Guard is a
daunting task. Nasrin Sotoudeh is one of a handful of human rights lawyers who
have put their lives and freedom on the line. She represented Shirin Ebadi, the
first Muslim woman who received the Nobel Peace Prize (subsequently confiscated
by Iranian authorities), as well as falsely accused politicians.
spent 2010-13 in jail, held a 49-day hunger strike, and was released as a
result of the unprecedented campaign on her behalf by the European Parliament.
In 2018, she was arrested again. In March 2019, the Islamic Revolutionary Court
in Tehran sentenced Nasrin Sotoudeh in absentia (she refused to attend the
trial because she could not choose her own lawyer) to 38 years in prison and
on top of the unprecedented 38-year prison term for legal work, the court of
the country that calls itself the cradle of human civilization has ordered a
tiny, 56-year-old woman, one of Iran’s most prolific legal minds, to be flogged
with a stick 148 times.
carnage led by the Revolutionary Guard must end. Iran must acknowledge that its
growing number of female scholars is a precious treasure. If Iran wants to
establish moral equivalency with the West, it should stop destroying the minds
and lives of its brightest women by torturing them and sentencing them to
decades in prison on bogus charges.
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