Photo: DESPERATE: Islamic State are offering marriage counselling for brides to stop them fleeing
'Islamic Fashion' Creates Controversy in France
Pakistan Women Officers Want To Bring Positive Change in Society
Female suicide bombers motivated by revenge, radicalized by death of loved one – study
Saudi Women Pin High Hopes On National Reform Plan
Millennial Islamic Leaders Discuss Diversity of Female Community
Thinking About ‘Hijab Day’ At Notre Dame
Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau
ISIS forced to carry out marriage counselling to stop Brit jihadi brides fleeing
25th April 2016
Thousands of Westerners, including British women, left their comfortable lives to marry a fighter after being radicalised online.
But the constant threat of airstrikes has had a knock-on effect on the sick terrorist's funding, leading to many of the brides looking for a way out.
ISIS have been luring female recruits by promising them a new life if they go to Syria.
But the harsh realities when they arrive have left hundreds disillusioned.
Conditions are so bad that Islamic State's poor water supplies means many people suffer daily diarrhoea and stomach cramps.
A woman in Mosul interviewed by dissident site Open Your Eyes said: "At least before we had electricity, we could bake and cook.
"Our basic needs were met. Now we are back to ancient times."
In a bid to keep couples together, ISIS have opened its first marriage guidance centre in their stronghold of Raqqa in Syria.
Snaps from the regime's media wing show a troubled wife getting counselling, with a box of tissues on the desk for the upset spouse.
The brutal terror tactics of the group, including beheadings, hands being cut off and public floggings, has alienated many of the women.
Recently, evil Islamic State murderers hacked to death an English university professor for "calling to atheism".
And it is not just Islamic State that are desperate to keep their muslim brides.
Saudi husbands are being taught how to "discipline their wives", including advice to "beat them".
'Islamic Fashion' Creates Controversy In France
April 24, 2016
ome fashion houses have begun catering to Muslim consumers in Europe with loose-fitting, body-covering clothing lines that include head-covering scarves.
MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:
So we're going to talk fashion for a minute. It's an important global industry, but it's also a way to understand what's going on in the world. One sign of that - some major designers are launching fashion lines aimed at Muslim women. The offerings may include looser clothing, items like tunics or accompanying head veils. Originally designed for markets in the Middle East, the clothing is gaining appeal elsewhere, but in one fashion capital the trend is stirring controversy. NPR's Eleanor Beardsley sends this report from Paris.
ELEANOR BEARDSLEY, BYLINE: Islamic fashion from top designers, such as Dolce & Gabbana and DKNY, is now becoming available in stores across Europe. But Paris shopper Nellie Bertrand says she feels conflicted by the trend, especially the bathing suit with trousers and a hood, dubbed the burkini, which is now sold by retailer Marks & Spencers.
NELLIE BERTRAND: People are supposed to be able to wear what they want. But we are not used to this kind of clothes in schools, and they are not allowed.
BEARDSLEY: Bertrand is referring to the 2004 ban on the Muslim headscarf in French public schools and government offices. The debate over Islamic fashion turned into an uproar after Laurence Rossignol, the French women's rights minister, spoke about it in a radio interview.
(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)
LAURENCE ROSSIGNOL: (Speaking French).
BEARDSLEY: "We have to protect women from these forces that want to dictate what they wear," she said. When the interviewer pointed out that many women chose to wear the veil, Rossignol said, "yeah, sure, like some American negroes supported slavery." Yasser Louati heads the French Collective Against Islamophobia.
YASSER LOUATI: Any time you speak about Muslim women and anything dealing with Muslims in France, it becomes a hysterical debate. She is the minister for women's rights, and among those rights is the right to dress however you decide to dress.
BEARDSLEY: Rossignol later said she regretted her remarks, but other people expressed similar fears. Feminist philosopher Elisabeth Badinter called for a boycott of brands selling Islamic fashion, and Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo said she found the trend a little upsetting. Paris-based fashion writer Dana Thomas says fashion has long incorporated religious symbols. Take Dolce & Gabbana's embrace of Catholicism.
ELISABETH BADINTER: And they have pictures of nuns and priests in their ads. And they have baroque crosses as jewelry. And that's all OK. I think France is freaking out about this right now because they're just very nervous. And the French have always prided themselves on what they call laique, separation of church and state. And so they have to react in this way in order to shore up the argument for the anti-veil law - that we just don't have anything religious creeping into our everyday lives.
BEARDSLEY: With Europe's largest Muslim population, France is struggling to balance tolerance, secularism and personal freedoms in a climate of heightened fear and security following two Islamist terrorist attacks in the last year. Faiza Zerouala is a French journalist and a Muslim. Her book, "Voices Behind The Veil," tells the story of 10 French women who wear the hijab.
FAIZA ZEROUALA: (Through interpreter) To be Muslim in France is becoming more and more complicated because we are talking so much about Islam and its negative offshoots. And women who wear the veil are on the front line because people can't help but somehow associate them with these attacks.
BEARDSLEY: Zerouala says secularism is being used as a shield against Islam. It's unacceptable to say you're anti-Muslim, she says, but it's OK to say you're fighting to defend secularism. Eleanor Beardsley, NPR News, Paris.
Pakistan Women Officers Want To Bring Positive Change in Society
APR 25, 2016
MANSEHRA: Two women officers in the district have been taking the odd of society as challenge for their jobs and want to bring a positive change through effective administration.
Mansehra is the only district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa where two women officers are posted in police and food departments. The presence of Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Sonia Shimroz Khan and Assistant Food Controller (AFC) Uzma Shah is strange for local people, who are in the habit of seeing only men officers in the district. However, both the officers have proven their efficiency and dedication with their work in their respective fields.
“Women are weak and keep weeping over emotional issues but I am in police to prove it wrong,” said ASP Sonia Shimroz Khan, the first woman police officer in the province.
ASP Sonia Shimroz Khan and AFC Uzma Shah prove their dedication to work
She said women were joining army, air force and other fields but they were reluctant to join the police department. “I would ask them to come in this field too to bring a change in the society,” she added.
Ms Khan said that a woman officer could understand issues of women in a better way and could also address the same easily. “Although we have been facing difficulties while working in the field yet I think now conservative society like that of Mansehra has started accepting women officers in different departments,” she said.
Ms Khan also claimed that crime rate in her beat had drastically came down as she personally patrolled the area at night and kept check on her subordinates. “I love and enjoy my profession despite the hectic routine. I sacrificed domestic life for a noble cause,” she added.
AFC Uzma Shah is also the first woman officer in food department in the entire province. She also wanted to join a dynamic job except health and education departments as according to her more than 80 per cent women prefer to join these two departments.
“The society is yet to accept women as officers but I am optimistic that the notion will vanish soon. I regularly pay surprise visits to bazaars and raid shops and markets and confiscated items injurious for health,” said Ms Shah.
The regular checking of sale of unhygienic foods and eatables is part of job of Ms Shah and when she recently launched a crackdown on fake beverages, unhygienic goods in Baffa, the local traders stormed her official vehicle but the issues was amicably settled after the interference of police.
“Such tactics and protests cannot dent my resolve to curb sale of unhygienic items and eatables which are unfit for human consumption,” she said.
Ms Shah said that law allowed officers of food department to impose minimum fine of Rs5,000 on violators which sometime infuriated small traders, who put resistance.
“When we talk of consumers right at the same time we should also take up the issues faced by business community particularly of small traders. I think minimum fine limit of Rs5,000 should be decreased so as small traders could pay it,” said Ms Shah.
Female suicide bombers motivated by revenge, radicalized by death of loved one – study
25 Apr, 2016
Female suicide bombers tend to be motivated by revenge after having lost a loved one, usually a husband, according to a new study on female violence.
Dr. Helen Gavin, a psychology lecturer from the University of Huddersfield and co-author of a new book on female aggression, told an audience at the Defence Science and Technology Lab (DSTSL) she had been trying to identify “distinct” psychological traits in failed female suicide bombers.
While male bombers tend to be motivated to “avenge” for more ideological or religious reasons, women often sought “revenge” for more directly emotional reasons, she said.
Although “women are just as susceptible to ideological motivation” they tend to “need ‘revenge’ because they have lost a loved one, often a husband.”
Her conclusions bring into relief the ongoing debate over the impact of foreign policy on local populations in place like Iraq.
In 2011, after nearly a decade of fighting, the New York Times was told by the Iraqi Ministry of Planning that 9 percent of the country’s women – 900,000 – were widows. In June that year the Ministry of Women said the actual figure was nearer 1 million.
In 2008, the same newspaper reported that US success in killing Al-Qaeda fighters had often led to their female relatives being radicalized.
The use of women as suicide bombers is also a tactic informed by culture. Women are less likely to be searched at military checkpoints out of respect for their modesty.
In April this year, a study suggested up to 90 percent of young Iraqis consider the US an enemy. Similarly high figures were evident in the Palestinian territories.
“For years, many have argued that Muslims and Arabs, like other humans, don’t appreciate being bombed or occupied,” Haroon Moghul, an academic at the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding, told the Intercept at the time.
“Finally, we have a study to confirm this suspicion,” he added.
Saudi women pin high hopes on national reform plan
25 April 2016
Saudi women are anticipating with high hope the launch of the National Transformation Plan.
Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, second deputy premier and minister of defense, is set to announce on Monday his “Vision 2030,” which is expected to set goals for the next 15 years and a broad policy agenda to reach them.
Human Resources and Institutional Development consultant Amal Shirah said the transformation plan includes the Saudization of many economic sectors and fields of work.
“There are five million job vacancies for Saudis in the Kingdom. With the development of institutions such as the Technical and Vocational Training Corporation, there are now a number of new Saudi graduates with the knowledge the market needs,” said Shirah.
She added that the private sector does not have the excuse of not finding qualified Saudis anymore.
More and more jobs are opening up for Saudis with the expansion of Saudi Arabia to a more diversified economy which is not dependent on oil, Shirah said.
“We need to set a deadline for expatriates working in administrative and office jobs. Six years is the maximum period of time an expatriates should be able to occupy an administrative position in the Kingdom. Expatriates should be relieved from their post after they reach 45 years of age. The Kingdom must provide jobs for its own citizens,” said Shirah.
Human Resources and Administrative Development consultant Layla Al-Barakati said that national transformation includes the restructuring of the public sector which is an important step for working women in Saudi Arabia.
Millennial Islamic leaders discuss diversity of female community
April 25, 2016
Students, faculty and community members filled every seat and even sat on the floor to participate in a panel discussion about Islamic women at the Steven J. Green School of International and Public Affairs on Thursday, April 21.
The Role of Women in Islam panel discussion featured five community leaders and experts from Florida International University and were aimed at debunking common misconceptions about typical Muslim women, along with showing the diversity of the female Islamic community.
“It’s really important to clarify what we really think of women,” said Youssef Bouzoubaa, a Muslim senior studying management and marketing. “People think that Muslim women are undervalued.”
Panelist included: Karen Shah, vice president of the Broward Interfaith Council, Rabia Khan, resident scholar at the Islamic Foundation of South Florida and principle of an Islamic School, Isra Yahya Amin Ibrahim, student and secretary of the Muslim Student Association, Seema Pissaris, clinical management professor at Florida International University and Aslihan Akkaya, a visiting instructor in the department of global and sociocultural studies at Florida International University.
Each panelist gave a brief introduction on their family life, career and faith. Each woman’s story tied together only by their beliefs.
Shah was born and raised in Indiana and become a Muslim when she married her husband.
Khan, a single mother of five children, has memorized the entire Quran.
Ibrahim was the youngest woman on the panel and an active member in the Muslim community at Florida International University.
Pissaris was born in Pakistan and is a member of the Shia Ismali, a minority branch of Islamic faith.
Akkaya was born in Turkey and pursued architecture before studying anthropology.
The event proceeded with a question and answer session where attendees were able to direct questions to a specific panelist or all of the women. Questions varied from the media’s portrayal of Muslims today to marriage, education and radical Muslim groups.
The idea for the panel discussion was brought up to Dan Alvarez by Khan when she asked what initiatives were going to be taken for Muslim women in the FIU community.
“We can solve problems by having forums like this and talking,” said Khan.
The women stressed that what is shown by media does not represent the larger picture of the 1.6 billion Muslims and is often taken out of context. Islam is the fastest-growing religion in the world and the majority of Muslims live in Indonesia, not the Middle East.
“No one wants to hear the moderate voices,” said Pissaris.
While headlines of the extreme terror group, Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, are constantly displayed in the media, the panelists said nothing justifies what the group is doing. Adding that the group has killed more Muslims than non-Muslims.
The panelists emphasised that problems arise in media when scripture is separated from its context and only one piece of text is looked at.
“Any religious text can be abused by humans for their own manipulated reasons,” said Khan.
To break stereotypes about women in the Islamic community education is key.
“As millennials it’s our responsibility to unpack difficult content and have these difficult conversations,” said Ibrahim.
Pissaris encouraged those in attendance to go out and befriend a Muslim person, listen to their diverse story and keep the conversation going.
The panelists explained their rights to marriage, to divorce, to property and to education adding that there is a fight for all human rights.
“The millennial Muslims right now who are growing up here are American and they become the fabric of America,” said Ibrahim.
After the event concluded many attendees stayed to speak to panelists and ask more questions.
“Dr. Alvarez encouraged us to come and it was pretty interesting,” said Felipe Gomez, a freshman studying physics who hopes the event is bought back in the future.
The event was hosted for free by The Initiative for Muslim World Studies and the Middle East Studies Program along with the Center for Women’s Gender Studies.
Thinking about ‘Hijab Day’ at Notre Dame
Monday, April 25, 2016
Last Wednesday, the Muslim Students Association (MSA) sponsored a “Hijab Day” on campus. Members of the MSA could be seen in front of DeBartolo Hall fitting hijabs (or headscarfs) on non-Muslim women and sharing information about Islam. According to the MSA members I spoke to at the event, they hoped that this experience would both increase awareness about Islamic practices and build sympathy for the difficulties which Muslims — and especially Muslim women — face in American society. Still, “Hijab Day” at Notre Dame raises some interesting questions. I’d like to mention three of them.
First, what is the connection between the hijab and the larger principle of modesty? Most Islamic scholars see the headscarf as one element of a series of requirements for women to cover what is known as awra, the “forbidden” area of a woman’s body. According to most scholars, this includes much of her body: including arms to her wrists and legs to her feet. Most scholars insist that the face can be shown but some (notably in Saudi Arabia) disagree. Many Muslim scholars would find rather bizarre the idea of a woman who puts on a headscarf while wearing a short-sleeve shirt, or shorts, for example.
Second, what about Muslims who are opposed to the hijab? Many Muslim women (and men!) have noted that the Quran only calls on women (24:31) to cover their breasts, and never their hair or necks. Now, many Muslim women argue that wearing the hijab is a liberating experience because it forces men to deal with a woman’s character and not her body. Others, however, argue no less insistently that the very idea of hijab was imposed on women by a male-dominated society which — with no basis in the Quran — sought to impose unequal standards of modesty on women.
Third, at Notre Dame should we consider too the Christian experience of the hijab in Muslim countries? The (mostly) Christian girls of Chibok, Nigeria, (remember #BringBackOurGirls?) abducted by Boko Haram in 2014 appear in pictures in captivity with hijabs. In certain countries Christians (along with Muslims) are compelled to wear the hijab. Meanwhile in other contexts, Muslims have been compelled not to wear the hijab. Clearly this is a complicated matter.
I certainly understand the enthusiasm which Notre Dame’s MSA feels about “Hijab Day,” and I agree that we should explore ways to find solidarity with the Muslim-American experience. However, in light of the difficult questions surrounding this issue, I wonder if “Hijab Day” is the best way of doing so. Perhaps we can think together of other, creative ways of promoting inter-religious understanding at a Catholic university.