Photo: Savagery under Islamic State rule has no limit. In a recent act of brutality, Islamic State militants were seen dragging a group of girls and women away from their families to pacify their sexual urges.
Female Attackers Are Still Few Among Islamic Extremist Groups
Three Women Linked To Al-Qaeda, Islamic State Arrested In Karachi
Iraq Gets First Beauty Queen Since 1972
Afghan Men March To Demand Reinstatement Of Woman Governor
Angelina Jolie To Donate ‘The Breadwinner’ Film Profits To Educating Afghan Girls
Singer-Actress Soo Wincci Says Demanding Najib’s Resignation A ‘Responsibility’
Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau
'Durshasans' Of Islamic State Drag Girls, Women Away From Their Kin To Make Them Sex Slaves
December 20, 2015 - 16:21
Watch – 'Durshasans' of Islamic State drag girls, women away from their kin to make them sex slaves
Beirut: Savagery under Islamic State rule has no limit. In a recent act of brutality, Islamic State militants were seen dragging a group of girls and women away from their families to pacify their sexual urges.
In the video uploaded by some Yazidi activists, IS militants are seen separating girls and women from their parents and a crowd of Yazidis is screaming.
Some of the girls were dragged by their hair.
Since the rise of Islamic State, Yazidi women in Iraq have been going through sufferance and pain. They are repeatedly raped, sold in slave markets and at times forced to undergo abortions.
However, some women were fortunate to have escaped the captivity, but many are still being held captive and desperately hoping for their release.
Female attackers are still few among Islamic extremist groups
A photo made available by Interpol shows Samantha Lewthwaite, a British woman believed to be a leader with the Somali militant group Shabab. (Interpol)
She is popularly known as "the White Widow," but the truth about the blue-eyed jihadist suspected of orchestrating the deaths of hundreds of people across Africa is as shadowy as the cloaked world of international terrorism she inhabits.
No one is quite certain of the whereabouts of Samantha Lewthwaite, a purported ringleader with the Somali militant group Shabab who is suspected in a string of grenade attacks, bombings and mass shootings in Kenya. Conventional wisdom has it that she put on 30 pounds and had plastic surgery to disguise her appearance. One theory is that she's now in Syria with Islamic State insurgents, training suicide bombers. Another holds that she died in Ukraine, shot by a Russian sniper. Some say she is alive somewhere in Somalia, married to a warlord.
Lewthwaite, a British soldier's daughter who converted to Islam as a teenager and later joined the terrorist underground, is one of the best-known of a growing cadre of operational women in the conservative and often patriarchal ranks of Islamic extremism. While significant numbers of women are believed to have flocked to Syria over the last two years to serve as home-base support for Islamic State, hardly any have been seen plotting and carrying out the grisly executions, shootings and bombings that have become the militant group's expanding signature around the globe.
The White Widow, as she's been dubbed by the British press, is an exception. So is San Bernardino killer Tashfeen Malik, who with her husband wielded a .223-caliber tactical rifle in the deadly Dec. 2 attack on a center that provides services for the disabled, killing 14 people, and then sprayed a hail of gunfire at pursuing police.
While women have a long history among violent militant organizations in Europe and Latin America — even in the Middle East, women have been an important part of the Kurdish rebellion in Turkey and northern Iraq — female attackers have been far more rare in such organizations as Al Qaeda, where women are normally encouraged to raise families and tend homes for male fighters.
Islamic State in recent years has established the all-female Al Khansaa brigade, and online propaganda glorified its role, featuring women clad from head to toe in black flowing garments and toting AK-47s. But the brigade's role is merely to police other women's veils and morals, ordering whippings for those whose face coverings are deemed too transparent.
But female operatives among Islamist groups are not unprecedented, terrorism analysts say, with examples of female suicide bombers dating back to the 1990s in the Russian republic of Chechnya, and in the Palestinian territories and northeastern Nigeria.
In some ways, terrorist groups may be looking to use women to their advantage because of the effect on Western "audiences," said Emily Dyer, analyst with the London-based think tank the Henry Jackson Society. "There's an added shock factor," she said. "Terrorist attacks in the West are all about Islamic State propaganda and gaining as much media attention as possible."
In the early days of Chechnya's unsuccessful war for independence from Russia, women in the conservative Islamic region were so subservient they didn't even eat at the same table as men. Yet there were dozens of female militants, who fought alongside men in rebel units, according to Mairbek Vatchagaev, analyst with the Jamestown Foundation. He said it was one of the few examples of Muslim women fighting beside men in war.
"It was their personal feeling in their soul that they must defend their homeland. But it wasn't compulsory for women to fight. On the contrary," Vatchagaev said. "The women in the first war (1994-96) didn't talk about Islam. They talked about their patriotic duty to their homeland."
The phenomenon of women taking up arms was unexpected in Chechnya's conservative culture, and some women's husbands divorced them for doing so.
In 1995, a group of Arab fighters steeped in conservative Islamist ideology, led by a rebel commander named Khattab, entered Chechnya and proclaimed it was a sin for women to fight. Still, they urged women to be suicide bombers, leading to the phenomenon of Chechen "black widows" who launched many suicide bombings in Russia.
"They taught them to blow themselves up and they told them it was good for Islam. The Arabs said if women blew themselves up, they'd go to heaven. But suicide bombings were totally alien to Chechens," Vatchagaev said.
By 2002, when 41 Islamist attackers took 700 hostages at a theater in Moscow, 19 of the assailants were women.
Thousands of Chechens are now in Syria, many of whom had been living in Turkey, Egypt and Saudi Arabia when Islamic State declared it was forming a caliphate in the region and invited Muslims around the world to join. There are many Chechen women in Syria, but none are known to be in combat roles, Vatchagaev said.
In northwestern Nigeria, girls as young as 8 or 10 have often been used as suicide bombers by the group Boko Haram, but there are suspicions that their explosive vests may be detonated by other people.
There have been scattered lone-wolf attacks by females. On Tuesday, a Palestinian woman carrying a large, concealed screwdriver was arrested by Israeli security forces on suspicion of planning a stabbing attack in Jerusalem.
In 2010, British student Roshonara Choudhry stabbed a British member of Parliament in an attack said to be inspired by Al Qaeda. He survived and she is serving life imprisonment for attempted murder.
There is also the lurid story of "punk rocker granny" Sally Jones, designated a terrorist by the U.S., who traveled to Syria to marry convicted hacker Junaid Hussain. Hussain, a key figure in Islamic State because of his computer technology capabilities, was killed in a U.S. airstrike in August. Jones, who reportedly was formerly in a punk band, is a prominent Islamic State figure on social media.
Lewthwaite, whose whereabouts remains unknown, took the name Sherafiyah when she converted to Islam in her late teens. She is the widow of Germaine Lindsay, one of four suicide bombers who attacked three London subway cars and a bus in July 2005, killing 52 others. Having met Lindsay at an antiwar march in 2002, she fled England after his suicide attack. She went to Africa and later joined the Shabab.
The subject of many breathless British tabloid headlines, Lewthwaite is the best known among contemporary female extremists because of reports, never confirmed, that she planned the 2013 attack on the Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya, which killed 67 people; and the attack this year on a university in Garissa, northeastern Kenya, which left 148 people dead.
Interpol, at Kenya's request, in 2013 issued a red alert for the arrest of Lewthwaite on charges of possession of explosives and conspiracy to commit a felony in 2011.
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Women play a vital social media role for Islamic State, extolling the virtues of life in the caliphate, laughing about Yazidi women slaves, or the time they saw their first body. Often, they act as cheerleaders for the brutal executions meted out by the group and attempt to groom young followers in the West, exhorting them to come to Syria.
Umm Layth, who has a popular Syria-based blog, answers questions from women who want to go to the country and urges them to do so. But she has told followers to forget any hope of fighting.
"I will be straight up and blunt with you all, there is absolutely nothing for sisters to participate in Qitaal [fighting]," she wrote. "These are all rumors you may have heard through some sources who themselves are not actually aware of the truth. And the women you may have seen online participating are all part of a propaganda. For the sisters it's completely impossible for now."
Three women linked to Al-Qaeda, Islamic State arrested in Karachi
The arrested females also played a significant part in hiding the terrorists.
KARACHI (Dunya News) – Three women identified as Tehmeena, Uzma and Seema with links to Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State (IS) were arrested Sunday from various areas of Karachi. Contact of the women with terrorists and facilitators of the Safoora incident has also been confirmed.
According to sources, the arrested women had links with Al-Qaeda as far back as 1996. The women were running 2 educational institutes in the city.
Arrested suspect Seema had provided workers of outlawed organizations with Rs. 5 lac after the Safoora incident.
The arrested females also played a significant part in hiding the operatives of these banned organizations. The female facilitators of terrorists had even setup a network in the city.
The female network is being run by wives of the Safoora incident suspects.
Also Read: Female supporters of ISIS active in Karachi
The wife of Khalid Yousaf who got arrested early today (Saturday) is running a so called educational institute which does not have any office but she has a network of more than 20 women from wealthy families.
These women brainwash young girls, provide funds for IS and also arrange wives for the terrorists of IS. The wife of Khalid Yousaf also distributes a USB stick containing videos of IS terrorists in order to brainwash the young girls.
Iraq gets first beauty queen since 1972
AFP | Dec 20, 2015
BAGHDAD: It was smoky, alcohol-free and there was no swimsuit contest, but Saturday's party produced the first Miss Iraq in four decades and left all feeling a small victory had been won.
"Some people out there think we don't love life," said Humam al-Obeidi, one of the organizers, as the crowd spilled out of the Baghdad hotel ballroom where the pageant was held.
The jury chose Shaymaa Abdelrahman, a tall, green-eyed 20-year-old from Iraq's multi-ethnic city of Kirkuk.
The decision was popular with those in attendance, especially in the back rows, where young men with hispter beards and tight blazers had been standing on their chairs shouting her name.
"I'm very happy to see Iraq going forward," the new beauty queen told AFP as she tried to fend off a scrum of admirers hoping to clinch a selfie. "This event was huge and put a smile on the faces of the Iraqis."
Wearing her sash and holding her bouquet, Shaymaa Abdelrahman was fast learning her new trade, saying all the right things without ever breaking her smile.
There was more talking than glamorous strutting during the pageant as the contestants, in high heels and evening dresses that were sleeveless but below the knee, pitched their charity projects to the jury.
Iraqi women taking part in the Miss Iraq beauty contest pose on stage. (AFP photo)
The pageant was designed to meet enough international criteria to propel its winner to the next Miss Universe contest, but some details, such as the Kalashnikov-toting guard at the door, set the event firmly in Iraq.
The winner said she would use her fame to forward educational initiatives, especially among the massive population of people who have been displaced by conflict.
One contestant said she would try to fix the Mosul dam, Iraq's largest and reportedly in need of urgent repair work, "because it threatened the entire country."
In the week running up to the event, the eight finalists embarked on a string of pre-pageant activities, including the visit of a camp for displaced people in Baghdad.
Speaking to AFP during a tree-planting ceremony near the ruins of the ancient city of Babylon on Thursday, Suzan Amer, a 22-year-old from the Kurdish town of Sulaimaniyah argued that a beauty pageant was more than a mere distraction in Iraq.
"It's my first time doing anything like this but it's an experience I wanted to be part of. I think Iraq needs events like these," said the young woman with ash blonde hair, bright fuscia lipstick and a rosebud tucked above her ear.
The beauty contest is the first one in more than 40 years to take place in the war torn country. (AFP photo)
Iraq is wracked by an ongoing war against the Islamic State, the world's most brutal jihadist organisation, and plagued by deep sectarian tensions and corruption.
But the pageant, which culminated with the jury announcing the winner as Beethoven's Ode to Joy filled the ballroom, left participants, organisers and guests feeling that beating the gloom was part of the war effort.
"I think it is wonderful; it makes you feel things can come back to normal," said veteran human rights activist Hana Edwar.
The last time the Miss Iraq competition was held was in 1972, when the oil-rich country was on an upward track.
Old footage of the contest available on the Internet shows Wijdan Burhan al-Din Suleimank, at a venue in Puerto Rico, introducing herself at the microphone, between India and Ireland in the speaking order.
Iraqi Rania Faisal (L) and Saja Ahmed pose during the Miss Iraq beauty contest. (AFP photo)
"We look forward to having a good ambassador for Iraq," said Senan Kamel, the 2015 pageant's artistic director, who also organised Iraq's first fashion show in years last March.
"What we're hoping to accomplish is to make Iraq's voice heard, show that it is still alive, that its heart is still beating," he said.
The fashion designer was carried out to the car park after nearly fainting from exhaustion and stress before the show but he was back on his feet and all smiles in time to vote with the jury and present the winner with her crown.
Afghan men march to demand reinstatement of woman governor
Dec 20, 2015
KABUL: An Afghan civil society leader says hundreds of men marched through a central provincial capital to call for the reinstatement of their woman governor, who was reappointed last week.
Waqif Khudayaar, an organiser of the protest, said on Saturday men from across society and of all ages marched through Firuz Koh, capital of Ghor, calling for Seema Joyenda to be reinstated.
Joyenda was appointed governor of Ghor, one of Afghanistan's poorest provinces, in June. On Thursday she was reappointed as deputy governor of Kabul province.
Joyenda, one of two women governors in Afghanistan, came under intense pressure from religious figures and local politicians, and received death threats — not unusual for women working in Afghanistan.
Khudayaar says she effectively tackled corruption and inequality. Marchers carried banners saying “Enough With Corruption".
Angelina Jolie to donate ‘The Breadwinner’ film profits to educating Afghan girls
By Khaama Press - Sun Dec 06 2015
Angelina Jolie donate film profits to Afghan girls educationThe American actress, filmmaker, and humanitarian, Angelina will donate all the proceeds from her work on the film ‘The Breadwinner’ to the education of Afghan girls.
Angelina has visited Afghanistan twice during the recent years and funds a girls school in north of Kabul through profits from her jewellery collection.
She is regularly visiting areas of conflict around the world as part of her role as a special envoy for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
“Angelina read the script, looked at the artwork with her children, and really loved the approach we were taking. I think she involves her children in lots of her decisions and certainly shows them things that are of interest to them. They helped her to make the decision to be involved in the project. It’s the kind of film that they like,” Irish filmmaker Nora Twomey who is making her solo directorial debut with the film told the UAE based The National newspaper.
Twomey further added “It’s a great challenge for us in the studio to try to tell a really simple, strong, profound story from this part of the world, which you hear about a lot in the news.”
“Angelina is so knowledgeable about Afghanistan and other areas of conflict, and she really means it – it’s something that she thinks deeply about and understands the complexities of,” says Twomey. “She has a very sensitive view of what its like to live there. Having help on the story from somebody who really understands the subject matter has been priceless. And having a fellow filmmaker to talk to about the artistic elements of the film has been fantastic,” Twomey added.
According to Twomey, Angelina was adamant to find as many cast as we could from the Afghani community in Canada, where the recording the voices being made.
With plans to release the film in Dari and Pashto, the most widely spoken languages in Afghanistan, ‘The Breadwinner’ tells the story of a headstrong young girl living under the Taliban in Afghanistan, who is forced to disguise herself as a boy to provide for her family.
Singer-actress Soo Wincci says demanding Najib’s resignation a ‘responsibility’
BY NABIHAH HAMID
20 December 2015
Malaysian singer-actress Soo Wincci says Malaysians must ultimately unite for the good of the country, adding that to keep on fighting will not improve anything. – The Malaysian Insider pic by Najjua Zulkefli, December 20, 2015.Malaysian singer-actress Soo Wincci says Malaysians must ultimately unite for the good of the country, adding that to keep on fighting will not improve anything. – The Malaysian Insider pic by Najjua Zulkefli, December 20, 2015.Malaysian singer-actress Soo Wincci recently made headlines when sponsors pulled out of her first solo concert in the country, after she made a video demanding Datuk Seri Najib Razak resign as prime minister.
But insisting that the show must go on, the former beauty queen bankrolled the October 31 concert herself and managed to get a full house at the Plenary Hall in the KLCC Convention Centre in Kuala Lumpur.
Looking back on the entire saga nearly two months later, the winner of the Miss World Malaysia 2008 said she had no regrets about releasing her outspoken video, made at the same time as the Bersih 4 rally in late August, despite the troubles it brought her.
She said the controversy surrounding Najib as well as the debt-laden 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) needed to be resolved immediately, and that all Malaysia's problems were caused by just one man.
"It is just one person at the end of the day. The leader is important. It is not about the party, it is about the leader.
"Just change the leader. We all have the right to this. We don't want leaders that control us, we want leaders that lead," said Wincci, 30.
The University of Reading (UK) law graduate, who has made a name for herself as a singer in Taiwan, urged every Malaysian to speak out for the sake of the country's future.
"We are born in the Asian culture, so we don't always like to speak out. In the end, we blame the leaders, but what matters is that we resolve the problems," said Wincci.
However, the award-winning singer said each criticism leveled against the government should be substantiated and "not too aggressive", and that each person had to be prepared to face the consequences of being vocal.
Reflecting on her own video calling for Najib to resign, Wincci said she had only meant to rally Malaysians to unite and "get rid of the problem".
"If we keep fighting, we won't improve. At the end of the day, we need to unite. Don't side with one party, open your eyes."
She said that after the eight-minute video went viral, she had received offers from several political parties to join their cause.
"But I didn't feel it was necessary, and I'm not interested in going down that path. I think it's enough that I observe and speak out," said Wincci, who spoke in English, Mandarin and Bahasa Malaysia in the video.
The video, uploaded on YouTube on August 30 with the title "Soo Wincci Words for Najib Malaysia Prime Minister" (see video below), was inspired by the Bersih 4 rally that called for democratic reforms as well as Najib's resignation, Wincci said.
"I know that you (Najib) have been on stage for too long, and you know what, the stage now is too crowded. Najib, hopefully that you can give us some space and please come down from the stage.
"Give us back some space for freedom," Wincci had said in the video, which was recorded in Taiwan.
A music video of her song "This is the Time" on YouTube also features scenes showing a sea of yellow protestors at the Bersih rally.
Wincci told The Malaysian Insider she studied law because her parents asked it of her, even though she had begun singing when she was 16.
But she pursued her studies without protest, earned her law degree as well as an MBA from the University of Sunshine Coast, Australia, and is now doing her PhD in Business Administration at the Open University.
She said she only began her career as a singer after completing her Masters, but admitted that it was difficult to get people to buy her album at first.
"I gave it a year. At first, I knocked on the doors of many recording labels, but they didn't want me because they were scared," she recalled.
Undeterred, Wincci said she released her first album herself, only for it to flop.
But the singer was determined to make it big, and after releasing several more albums in Chinese over the years, she eventually launched her first Chinese International album, titled "Happiness", in Taiwan.
She said she was now setting her sights on breaking into the Malay market, but had reservations because of the stiff competition.
"I'd love to work with Datuk Siti Nurhaliza and compose a song with her. She is one of my idols," said Wincci.
Not content with just singing, Wincci is also the one of the leading actresses of "Takhta Tiga Ratu", a six-part Astro series.
"I'm trying to make my mark in acting, but it's more challenging because the hours are long. When I first started out, I was just really confused, and was taking up roles as an extra," she said, adding that her experience had taught her how to multitask.
She has just completed filming alongside local actors Aaron Aziz and Izara Aishah, for a movie that is set to release next June.
"There were many scenes in the movie that were passionate and challenging for me. But I count myself lucky to have gotten the chance to work with such talents," said Wincci.
Last year, she founded her own talent management company, Beyond Artistes, and also took 4th place in "Malaysia's Master Chef: All Stars" edition. – December 20, 2015.
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