Sunday, March 22, 2015

Afghan Cleric and Others Defend Lynching of Woman in Kabul

Afghan Cleric and Others Defend Lynching of Woman in Kabul

Jordan’s Queen Rania and top Egyptian actress Yousra

Jordan's Queen Rania and Egypt's Yousra Honour Arab Mothers
Muslim Woman Headed For Islamic State under MI5's Nose, Claims Friend
Malaysian Woman In IS Calls on Western Muslims to "Terrorize" Civilians
As A Muslim Woman, I See the Veil as a Rejection of Progressive Values
U.N. Commission Blames Israel for Plight of Palestinian Women
More Emphasis on Protection of Women’s Rights Sought
UK Muslim Women Stand Against Radicalization
Palestinian Women Demand Quota Increase
806,000 Saudi Women Part of Kingdom’s Work Force
Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

Afghan Cleric and Others Defend Lynching of Woman In Kabul
March 21, 2015
Sydney- An Afghan cleric and a police official on Friday defended the lynching of a woman in central Kabul after a mob was filmed stamping on the woman and smashing a brick on her head after she was accused of burning a Koran, Islam's holy book.
The woman's body was set on fire and thrown onto the banks of Kabul's main river on Thursday.
It was unclear whether she had actually burned a Koran, but during Friday prayers at a mosque in a smart area of Kabul, a cleric's sermon broadcast by loudspeaker told devotees that the crowd had a right to defend their Muslim beliefs at all costs.
"I am warning the government not to arrest those who did this, because it will mean an uprising," said the cleric at the Wazir Akbar Khan mosque.
Another Afghan man boasted on Facebook of participating in the lynching, saying that "pious people of Kabul, including myself, killed her and then burnt her. Her place is in hell."
A spokesman in the Kabul police chief's office also appeared to justify the killing, saying the woman had deliberately insulted Islam.
"This (person) thought, like several other unbelievers, that this kind of action and insult will get them U.S. or European citizenship. But before reaching their target, lost their life," Hashmat Stanekzai wrote on his Facebook page.
President Ashraf Ghani's office said the killing would be investigated by both the Ministry of Interior and a committee of religious scholars.
"No individual is allowed to make oneself a judge and use violence to punish others," Ghani's statement said.
It added that the government "also condemns in strong terms any action that causes disrespect to the Holy Koran and Islamic values".
Anger among Afghans over Koran desecration has boiled over into violence several times. In 2011, riots killed seven U.N. staff after an American pastor broadcast a video of himself burning a Koran.
Foreign donors that have poured billions of dollars into promoting the rule of law and human rights programs did not issue statements on the killing, which took place just a short drive from the diplomatic quarter.
Heather Barr of Human Rights Watch urged foreign embassies, which often swiftly condemn violence linked to the Taliban, to publicly denounce the attack, to "make it clear that this kind of complete lack of rule of law represents a shocking failure".
The United Nations mission in Kabul late on Friday condemned the killing "in the strongest terms".

Jordan's Queen Rania and Egypt's Yousra Honour Arab Mothers
21 March 2015
Jordan’s Queen Rania and top Egyptian actress Yousra gathered this week in Jordan to celebrate this Mother’s Day, which falls on March 21 in the Arab world.
Both women, leading female figures in the Middle East, celebrated the event at the Zaha Cultural Cente in Amman.
Queen Rania posted a picture with Yusra on her personal Facebook page with the caption: “Had a delightful chat with the talented actress Yousra today, who's in town to honor Jordanian women on the event of Mother's Day in Zaha Center.”
Also in celebration of Mother’s Day, Queen Rania hosted a lunch in honoring elderly mothers, according to Jordan’s official news agency PETRA.

Muslim Woman Headed For Islamic State under MI5's Nose, Claims Friend
By David Barrett
20 Mar 2015
A British Muslim woman who tried to join Islamic State militants in Syria managed to get out of the country despite being in close contact with MI5, it has been claimed.
Jamila Henry, 21, spent seven months living with British Isil converts before returning to this country at the end of last year, and had been approached by the Security Service, a close relative said.
But despite claims that she was provided with a mobile telephone by MI5 – and implications that she was being kept under surveillance – Henry managed to leave Britain a second time.
She was detained at a bus stop in Ankara, Turkey, and is now being questioned by counter-terrorism officers on suspicion of preparing acts of terrorism, after arriving back at Luton airport on Thursday.
The mother is said to have used the passport of her twin sister Jalila to leave the country.
Her one-year-old son, Mustafa, was on holiday with his father in Cyprus at the time.
The Muslim convert, who was brought up a Christian, was already known to MI5 after taking the infant with her to Syria last May.
Friends said the little boy had been deeply affected by bombings and explosions in Syria and would still suffer a terrible reaction to sudden noises after returning to the family home in south-west London.
The source, who is close to the Henry family, said: "It's stupid that she has managed to get away for the second time.
"She must have felt that MI5 got lax after a few months.
"She was questioned for a very long time by MI5 and several times after it.
"But they provided her with a mobile phone and were obviously keeping tabs on her.
"I'm not sure what story she gave them but I think they were trying to use her to lead them to other suspects.
"MI5 checked on her a few times but she thought they were basically outside the house the whole time. Everyone is in absolute shock."
Henry, from Walthamstow, east London, was brought up in Tooting, south London as a Christian, despite her father being a non-practising Muslim.
She converted to Islam at 16 after finding out about the religion from school friends and married her Cypriot husband Soydan three years ago.
Friends said that soon after - despite her husband’s moderate stance - Henry started to become interested in Isil after accessing information on the internet.
She spoke of travelling to Syria to do "aid work" and her extreme views caused friction between her and her husband.
The pair split up just before she fled the first time, shortly after her son's birthday last May.
The source said: "She didn't tell anyone she was going and we only realised when MI5 turned up at her mum's house.
"She did confirm that she was there after sometime. She said that she was there and she wasn't coming back."
Henry is believed to have lived with a group of other female Isil converts in Syria.
Her son was apparently put on the local authority “at risk” register, preventing Henry from taking him out of the UK.
She is said to have waited until he was on holiday with his father before slipping away last Saturday.
"Everyone in her family is just really shocked and we can't believe that she has gone and done this," the source added.
"The fact that she has taken her twin sister's passport has made it even worse because she is just being really selfish. She's not thinking about anybody.
"Apparently it was the Turkish intelligence that intercepted her - it wasn't even the British that caught her.
"I'm angry really. The first time we were all worrying about her safety, but now she has put herself in that position again."

Malaysian Woman In IS Calls On Western Muslims To "Terrorize" Civilians
March, 2015
A 26-year-old Malaysian woman who has joined the Islamic State (IS) group in Raqqa has called on Western Muslims to "terrorize" non-Muslims in their home countries.
The woman, who tweets under the name "Shams" and who writes a blog under the name "Bird of Jannah" (Bird of Paradise) about her experiences in Islamic State-controlled Raqqa, says she is a doctor who made Hijra (a pilgrimage) to join the militant group in February 2014.
In a series of tweets on March 20, Shams addressed those Muslims who are living in "Dar ul-Kufr" ('the lands of the infidels'), urging them to band together.
"If you're still in Dar ul [sic] ul Kufr then find those who are on the same side. Form group and movement," Shams tweeted.
When they have sufficient numbers, Western Muslims should then strive to take control of local lands, Shams instructed.
"Get stronger. And when you have large number of people, gained power...then take control over [sic]! Learn from your brothers in Libya," she told Western Muslims.
If Western Muslims are not able to take control, Shams said that they should not let the "Kuffar" (infidels) and "Munafiq" (hypocrites who outwardly practice Islam but who are secretly unbelievers) live in peace."
"Terrorize them as how they terrorized us," Shams tweeted.
Shams' message to Muslims in the West and those living elsewhere in countries that are not under Islamic State rule reflects other messages from IS militants from Western countries.
The overall theme -- that Muslims should come to Islamic State controlled lands to fight, but if they are not able to do so, they should commit acts of terror against "infidels" at home -- has been repeated numerous times in videos released by the militant group.
Shams' call for Western Muslims to take action also contains another narrative common to other messages put out by Islamic State militants -- that Muslims are being "terrorized" and persecuted both in the West and by Western powers in Syria and Iraq.
The message aims to both promote a common cause, which sets the wider Muslim community apart from non-Muslims, and to provide a justification for attacks.
A French militant John Cantlie in February said that Muslims in France should rise up and commit acts of terror because while they are "sitting on their couches...Muslims are being slaughtered in every corner of the globe."
In an earlier video, released in November, a French militant addresses Muslims in France, saying that by staying in that country they are strengthening its economy by paying taxes that are used to "fight our sisters, our women and our children."
Western governments are imposing laws on Muslims and forcing them to use their passports, , before calling on French Muslims to "terrorize" civilians.
In her March 20 tweets, Shams not only calls on Muslims to carry out attacks at home, but says that the expansion of IS-controlled lands will make it easier for them to leave home and join the militants.
"Good news for all of you. Islamic state [sic] is expanding. If you cant [sic] fly to Syria or Iraq... then go to Libya! Or Nigeria or Somalia," Shams tweeted.
Shams' message referred to the recent oaths of allegiance to the Islamic State group sworn by militant groups in Libya as well as the Nigerian group Boko Haram. The Somalian extremist group Al-Shabab, however, has deep ties to Al-Qaeda. While have said that there is an interest in parts of Al-Shabab to align with the IS group, say that the Somalian organization is unlikely to go down the same path as Boko Haram.

As a Muslim woman, I see the veil as a rejection of progressive values
20 March 2015
It could be a millenarian crisis or a delayed reaction to decades of bad history, but millions of Muslims seem to have turned inwards, hankering for an imagined golden age. They are contemptuous of modernity’s bendable, ductile values. Some are drawn to reactionary dogma, and preachers while a good number have thrown themselves into political Islam to resist and combat western hegemonies – or so the story goes.
As a practising (though flawed) Shia Muslim, I watch the new puritans with apprehension. So too other Muslims worldwide, the silent many, watch and tremble. From the eighth to the early 20th century, Muslims strove for a broad education (as commanded in the Qur’an), questioned doctrines, and were passionate about scientific advancements, political and social ideals and art. Not even humiliating colonial rule deterred them from the march forward. Now the marchers are walking backwards. The hijab, jilbab, burqa and niqab are visible signs of this retreat from progressive values.
This article will divide people. Women I respect and like wear hijabs and jilbabs to articulate their faith and identity. Others do so to follow their dreams, to go into higher education or jobs. And an increasing number are making a political statement. I am not assuming that the coverings all represent simple oppression. What I am saying is that many women who take up the veil, in any of its forms, do so without delving fully into its implications, significance or history. Their choice, even if independently made, may not be fully examined.
Muslim feminists of the past critiqued and repudiated the veil. One of them was a man, Qasim Amin, an Egyptian judge and philosopher, who in 1899 wrote The Liberation of Women.He was the John Stuart Mill of the Arab world. Huda Shaarawi set up the Egyptian women’s union in the early 1920s. One day in 1923, as she disembarked from a train in Cairo, she threw off her veil and claimed her right to be visible. Educated Iranian women started feminist magazines and campaigned against the veil around the same time. These pioneers have been written out of history or are dismissed as western stooges by some contemporary Muslim intellectuals.
After the transformative 60s, Muslim feminists resumed the fight for equality. European rule was over. It was time. The Moroccan academic Fatema Mernissi, Egypt’s Nawal El Saadawi and the Pakistani scholar Riffat Hassan all argued for female emancipation. They rightly saw the veil as a a tool and symbol of oppression and subservience. Mernissi’s Beyond the Veil ( 1975) is a classic text. So too El Saadawi’s The Hidden Face of Eve (1975). But more conservative Islamic tenets have taken over lands, communities, families, heads and hearts.
The promise of this version is a return to certainties and “purity” of belief, a mission backed by Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states. Deobandi revivalists, funded by Arab money, now run more mosques in Britain than any other Muslim subgroup. Women are told not to travel without male relatives, not to work, to be subservient, to veil. This movement began as a reaction against the Indian raj and mutated into a fundamentalist creed. Today their pushback against “cultural imperialism” appeals to many alienated young Muslims. And, in part, it explains the growing popularity of the hijab, jilbab and full veil .
But in the Qur’an, the veil is mostly used metaphorically to describe barriers between good and bad, believers and nonbelievers. In two verses, women are told to lower their gaze, and to cover their private parts and bosoms. Men are also instructed to lower their gaze, and to dress modestly. One verse commands the women in the prophet’s family to fully veil, partly to protect them from enemies and supplicants.
Sahar Amer, associate professor at the University of North Carolina, has studied these sacred injunctions: “[Nowhere] is the hijab used to describe, let alone prescribe, the necessity for Muslim women to wear a headscarf or any other pieces of clothing often seen covering women in Islamic countries today. Even after reading those passages dealing with the female dress code, one continues to wonder what exactly the hijab is: is it a simple scarf? A purdah? A chador? Or something else? Which parts of the body exactly is it supposed to cover? Just the hair? The hair and neck? The arms? Hands? Feet? Face? Eyes?”
Veils, in truth, predate Islam. Zoroastrian and Byzantine upper-class ladies wore them to keep aloof from the hoi polloi. When Islam’s armies first reached Persia, they were shocked at this snobbery; then they adopted the custom they loathed; the control of women was hard-wired into their psyches.
All religions cast women as sinners and temptresses. Conservative Islam has revived the slander for our times. Women have to be sequestered or contained lest they raise male lust and cause public disorder. Some young Muslim women argue that veils liberate them from a modern culture that objectifies and sexualises females. That argument is appealing; but if credible, why would so many hijabis dress in tight jeans and clinging tops, and why would so many Muslim women flock to have liposuction or breast enhancements?
It is complicated: veils for me represent both religious arrogance and subjugation; they both desexualise and fervidly sexualise. Women are primarily seen as sexual creatures whose hair and bodies incite desire and disorder in the public space. The claim that veils protect women from lasciviousness and disrespect carries an element of self-deception. I have been at graduation ceremonies where shrouded female students have refused to shake the hand of the chancellor. Veiled women have provoked confrontations over their right to wear veils, in courts, at schools and in colleges and workplaces. But I regard their victories as a rejection of social compromise.
Of even more concern are young Muslim lives. Little girls are being asked to don hijabs and jilbabs, turned into sexual beings long before puberty. You can even buy stretchy baby hijabs with fake Calvin Klein and Versace logos.
Like a half-naked woman, a veiled female to me represents an affront to female dignity, autonomy and potential. Both are marionettes, and have internalised messages about femaleness. A woman in a full black cloak, her face and eyes masked walked near to where I was sitting in a park recently, but we could not speak. Behind fabric, she was more unapproachable than a fort. She had a baby girl in a pushchair. Her young son was running around. Will the girl be put into a hijab, then a jilbab? Will the son expect that of his sister and wife one day? To never have the sun warm your face, the breeze through your hair – is that what God wants? Whatever happened to sisterhood?
But do those who choose to veil think of women in Iran, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, and even the west, who are prosecuted, flogged, tortured or killed for not complying? This is not a freestanding choice – it can’t be. Although we hear from vocal British hijabis and niqabis, those who are forced cannot speak out. A fully burqaed woman once turned up at my house, a graduate, covered in cuts, burns, bruises and bites. Do we know how many wounded, veiled women walk around hidden among us? Sexual violence in Saudi Arabia and Iran is appallingly high, as is body dysmorphia.
Liberalism is being tested by the new Islamic ardency. A French-style ban would be unwise and unjust. But institutions can apply dress codes. A bank worker cannot dress like a stripper; a child cannot wear a boob tube to school. Have rules and stick to them, within reason. In 1899, Qasim Amin warned that unless Muslims embracedmodernity and equality, the future would be bleak. We are in that bleakness now, and few dare to speak up for its values.
• Yasmin Alibhai-Brown edits Provocations, a series of short polemical books

U.N. commission blames Israel for plight of Palestinian women
21 March 2015
The U.N. Commission on the Status of Women has approved a resolution blaming Israel’s ongoing illegal occupation of Palestinian territory for “the grave situation of Palestinian women.”
Israel’s U.N. Ambassador Ron Prosor denounced the resolution saying it was further proof of the U.N.’s bias against Israel.
“Of the 193 member states in this institution, dozens slaughter innocent civilians and impose discriminatory laws that marginalize women and yet they all get a free pass,” he said, noting that the commission includes “some of the worst violators of human rights like Iran and Sudan.”
The 45-member commission on Friday adopted the resolution, which was sponsored by Palestine and South Africa, by a vote of 27-2 with 13 abstentions. The United States and Israel voted against it while European Union members abstained.

More emphasis on protection of women’s rights sought
21 March 2015
The National Society for Human Rights (NSHR) Madinah branch recently recommended several proposals to protect women’s right, with an emphasis on governmental coordination.
The proposals stressed on the importance of joining the efforts and coordinating with the government bodies and the civil society organizations to activate the laws that support the protection of women’s rights. The human rights organization emphasized the need to get rid of the society’s traditions and norms that deny women of their lawful rights by conducting awareness and media programs addressed to the community.
The issue was raised during a discussion session held at the headquarters of NSHR with the participation of several government representatives, including the police department, the department of social supervision, the prison directorate, the health department and the Law School of Taibah University.
With the aim of shedding light on role of the government and the law to protect women’s rights, NSHR was keen on moving toward a joint mechanism to supervise that these rights are protected. The human rights branch recommended the creation of a joint cooperation with the department of human rights at the legal affairs department in the police center in the region, and strengthening the role of the educational institutions in spreading the Islamic cultural awareness on the rights of women.
NSHR also recommended the development of the employees’ capabilities in the professional sectors that provide services to women, boosting their skills to the services that are consistent with the legal standards. Sharaf Al-Qurafi, the general supervisor of NSHR branch in the area said there are certain circumstances that prevent women from achieving their lawful rights in a society that is already ignorant to such lawful and judicial rights, or because of the inherited negative social ideology.
“The leadership of the Kingdom made all possible efforts and attention to protect the rights of women.”

UK Muslim Women Stand Against Radicalization
20 March 2015
CAIRO – A British Muslim women’s group held a conference in Cardiff on Friday, March 20, as part of their nationwide campaign called “#MakingAstand” against extremism and radicalization.
"Women are the backbone of our communities and the first line of defense against radicalizers," Sara Khan, director of Inspire, a counter-extremism and human rights group, told BBC.
Held on Friday in Cardiff, the #MakingAStand conference is part of a series of events around the UK to champion the importance of Muslim women's voices in society.
It aims to give women practical tips on "making a stand - as individuals and as groups - in building stable and peaceful communities by challenging hateful, bigoted and extreme views".
Making a stand against radicalism, the features sessions on recognizing the dangers that groups such as Islamic State can pose to children on the internet.
A first defense line was by advising Muslim women on how to "challenge extremist ideologies, both here and abroad", Inspire co-director Kalsoom Bashir said.
"We know that our children are connected to this virtual reality on the internet.
"They are more connected to their virtual friends than to their family. It's about saying to our mothers they really do need to reconnect with our children.
"That can be literally around the dinner table".
She added said Inspire had received calls from Muslim mothers who fear their children have crossed into Syria to fight.
"Our advice is that we think they are under a duty to tell somebody," she said.
In Cambridge, the Muslim community has launched a new campaign targeting the strong bond between mothers and daughters to prevent girls from trying to join the militant groups.
The new initiative was suggested after many girls and women were reported missing across the UK over the past year.
Discouraging youth from joining the fight, mosques across the UK launched a campaign to encourage people to help Syrians through charities regulated by the Charity Commission, instead of going to the countries to help directly.

Palestinian women demand quota increase
Asmaa al-Ghoul
21 March 2015
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — A video of a Jordanian parliament session went viral Dec. 3. The clip, shared widely as “Sit down, Hind!,” shows parliament member Yahya al-Saud cursing the quota system that brought female member Hind al-Fayez to parliament in 2013 after he repeatedly demanded that she sit down and listen to him. Though it may have angered some, the quota system is the only solution guaranteeing the presence of women in Arab parliaments.
A 2006 study of the media coverage of electoral campaigns by researcher Nibal Thawabteh stated that the percentage of women in Arab parliaments stood at 4.6%, compared to 12% in African parliaments and 16% in Europe and the Americas. The average female representation in world parliaments does not exceed 13%, the same percentage of women in the Palestinian parliament.
In comparison to five women elected to parliament in 1996, 17 women won in the 2006 parliamentary elections, following feminists’ struggle to impose a 20% quota for women. Today, in coordination with feminist organizations, the General Union of Palestinian Women (GUPW) is preparing to increase the quota to 30%.
On Jan. 5, the GUPW started organizing meetings with the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) parties as well as with teachers, journalists and lawyers unions to discuss the increase in female representation in their councils.
GUPW activist Nawal Zaqout told Al-Monitor that there is intensive work going on to raise the quota that guarantees the presence of women in unions, political parties and parliament. She noted that this activity is part of a leap forward in the promotion of women’s participation in political decision-making positions, in collaboration with the UN Women organization.
She added, “So far, there is unanimous consent [during the GUPW meetings] on raising the women's quota in Gaza and the West Bank, including Jerusalem, to 30%” from 20%. She stressed the need for a quota in a patriarchal society.
On why the demand to raise the quota has increased at this particular time, feminist activist Andalib Adwan said that the parliamentary and presidential elections, which could be announced at any moment, must be prepared for. It is time for the feminist movement to apply pressure for the electoral law to be amended.
She told Al-Monitor, “A 20% quota was required in the 2006 elections, yet only 13% was achieved. For this reason, we are now demanding that the quota be raised to 30%, so that at least 20% of parliament seats are gained by women.”
Adwan attended the meeting on Feb. 10 between the GUPW and Palestinian parties, including Fatah and leftists, and explained that the reality of women's representation in these parties, according to their leaders, is as follows: Female members make up 12% of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), and 17% of its leaders. Female members make up 40% of the Palestinian Arab Front and 30% of the Palestinian National Initiative. Female leaders exceed 30% in the Palestinian Democratic Union (FIDA), and the party is headed by a woman, Zahira Kamal.
It is noteworthy that the only competitor to candidate Yasser Arafat in the first Palestinian presidential elections in 1996 was a woman, feminist activist Samiha Khalil.
During the 2006 parliamentary elections, the West Bank allocated the 20% quota for women according to the proportional representation system, including half of the parliament’s seats, while the other half is subject to the electoral district system, which does not have a quota.
Hamas is still excluded from the GUPW meetings, as it is not part of the PLO factions. Yet, women in Hamas support the quota system and participate in the GUPW meetings, though the GUPW does not seem to want this.
Hamas-affiliated parliament member Huda Naim told Al-Monitor, “Although the quota system does not awaken in me a sense of rivalry and competition with men, it is important at this stage.”
She added that women are unlikely to win in the elections without the quota system, and noted that no independent female candidate has won in the West Bank and Gaza without the support of the party she is affiliated with. The quota system, she said, is only applied in patriarchal communities that do not support women running for elections.
On the GUPW activities to increase the quota, Naim said that women in Hamas, including herself, are not asked to participate in the GUWP and feminist institutions’ activities for political and formal considerations.
She added, “I definitely support the 30% quota increase. We need more women in parliament to endorse laws that treat women fairly. Extraordinary efforts are [currently] needed to pass women's rights laws, given the lack of female parliament members.”
The percentage of female members in Hamas and Hamas’ Shura Council has not been approved for publication by Hamas. Based on Naim’s statements, the percentage of women in Hamas’ Shura Council is calculated based on the percentage of female Hamas members.
“The Shura Council is the only Hamas body where women are integrated, while there is a female counterpart to all other male-dominated bodies,” she said.
For women to win a large number of seats in the next election, more than the quota increase is needed. A shift to the proportional representation system is required, rather than the current parallel voting system. In the current voting system, 50% are elected through a proportional representation system, with the other 50% elected through contests between individual candidates in multi-member districts. The latter is highly influenced by families and tribes rather than the party-list system, heavily contributing to why women have been losing.

806,000 Saudi women part of Kingdom’s work force
21 March 2015
A total of 806,000 Saudi women are now employed across 20 sectors in the country, according to figures at the end of 2014.
Of this total, 71 percent work in education, 13 percent in human health and social services, and 5 percent in public administration, defense and social security. There were also women employed in production, manufacturing, mining, agriculture, forestry and fishing.
In addition, 1,506 women, aged 15 to 19, were working at the end of 2014. Of this total, 42 percent were employed in education, 32 percent in human health and social services, and 29 percent in manufacturing.
Tayseer Al-Mufrej, director of the media center at the Ministry of Labor, said these figures are for students working part time in certain sectors. Students must be at least 16 to be eligible for employment, according to international laws, he said.
Observers believe that some women under 20 are working out of financial need, with an element of fake Saudization where companies hire workers to improve their quotas under the Nitaqat system.
“The Ministry of Labor encourages students to work, and calculates their employment toward Saudization quotas.” Al-Mufrej said these jobs help prepare young women for the labor market, and makes them more professional.
Employment statistics are collected through sample surveys conducted by the Department of General Statistics, which is the main source of all labor market data.
Regarding Saudi male employees under 20, statistics reveal 20,600 were employed by the end of 2014, a 32 percent rise from the previous year.
According to the latest statistics, the number of small businesses with 10 employees or less fell by 11 percent, from 1.7 million in 2012 to 1.5 million in 2013. These enterprises are required to hire at least one Saudi employee.
Those firms with 10 to 49 employees declined by 9 percent, totaling 213,300 by the end of 2013.
In contrast, the number of medium-sized enterprises grew by 45 percent, increasing from 26,200 in 2012 to 37,900 by the end of 2013.
The number of large companies grew by 14 percent to 4,600. Large companies with 500 to 2,999 employees increased by 14 percent to 3,700 at the end 2013, while large companies with 3,000 workers or more increased from 807 at the end of 2012 to 896 at the end of 2013, an 11 percent rise.

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