Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Muslim Girls Apply Mehndi to Hindu Girls on Gauri Vrat

Photo: In a commendable example of communal harmony, Muslim girls aplied henna (mehndi) on the hands of the Hindu girls on the occasion of Gauri Vrat festival on Monday.

Vermont Muslim Girls Making Change Spread Messages through Poetry
Indian Muslim Women Defy Tradition- And Men- To Be Islamic Judges
Emirati Woman Receives Award At Arab Fine Artists Forum In Cairo
RSS Eyes Rakshabandhan, Attempts To Attract Muslim Women
The World Is Simply Silent': Yazidi Woman Enslaved By ISIS Tells Parliament Her Story
Chris Christie Suggests Hillary Clinton Was To Blame for Boko Haram's Kidnapping Of Hundreds Of Schoolgirls
Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau


Muslim Girls Apply Mehndi To Hindu Girls On Gauri Vrat
Jul 19, 2016
In a commendable example of communal harmony, Muslim girls aplied henna (mehndi) on the hands of the Hindu girls on the occasion of Gauri Vrat festival on Monday. Gauri Vrat, which is observed for five days, is an important ritual performed by unmarried women and young girls. The fast is dedicated to Goddess Parvati.  Legend has it that Goddess Parvati observed this fast to get Lord Shiva as her husband and therefore it is a widespread belief that those who observe Gauri Vrata get an ideal life partner.   Communal Harmony- Muslim Girls Apply Henna On Hindu Girls’ Hands On Gauri Vrat

Vermont Muslim Girls Making Change Spread Messages through Poetry
Wednesday July 20, 2016
SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. - Four girls from Vermont are using their voices and powerful performance poetry to get their message out about being Muslim in America, stereotypes and other issues near to them.
Five months after forming their slam-poetry group, Muslim Girls Making Change competed last week in the Brave New Voices international youth poetry-slam competition in Washington, D.C.
"We write poems about things that we can't keep inside of us anymore ... things that we care so much about," said Kirin Waqar, 16, of South Burlington, whose parents are from Pakistan.
With poem titles like "American Dream," "Welcome" and "Chameleon" the girls address their parents' expectations coming to this country, the Syrian refugees and their own challenges balancing their American identity with where their family is from.
Like in the poem "Chameleon":
"We will never be white only pretend to be. We hide behind big mirrors and lies unsure of who we really are. African-American or the other way around? Pakistani first, American?" they say. "Tears roll off our face. The droplets form a perfectly curved rainbow. Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, which one am I?" they say, voices rising. "Which one are we? Maybe we're a mix. Maybe we are many. A combination of colors. Maybe we are one."
Through the poetry, 15-year-old Lena Ginawi, whose father is from Egypt and mother is from Yemen, wants people to know that "whenever you hear the word terrorism I don't want the first thing you think about to be Islam, because Islam to me is a religion of peace.
"Anything that these terrorists do has nothing to do with Islam," she said.
They not only have a powerful message and stage presence, but they are willing to discuss the issues they talk about in their poetry, answer questions and use that as platform for good and creating change, said Sarah Gliech of the Young Writers Project, which helped raise funds for the group's trip to Washington.
In middle school, Waqar said she tried to assimilate, wearing American clothing.
Then at 15, she decided her religion was more important and started wearing a hijab.
Her attire eventually prompted questions and started conversations, "which was really, really amazing," she said.
"We'd talk about common stereotypes and like Muslim countries and culture versus religion, almost anything; it was wide range," she said.
She said she still gets stares sometimes when she's out in public and sometimes feels afraid if someone gives her a weird look.
Hawa Adam, who got the idea to start the slam-poetry group, said a bigger challenge for her growing up was being black in a largely white school in South Burlington, where she said she felt some students made fun of her. She also was the only one wearing hijab at the school at the time. She now attends Burlington High School, which is more diverse. But, she said she feels segregated because most of her friends are either Muslim or black.
Muslim Girls Making Change is a way for her to express herself and connect with other people, said Adam, whose parents moved to Vermont from Somalia when she was 5 years old to escape the war.
"Because I know a lot of people come up to us after performances and say, 'Like oh, yeah, what you said right there makes sense to me because my story is similar to that,' " she said.

Indian Muslim Women Defy Tradition- And Men- To Be Islamic Judges
July 20, 2016
An Indian Muslim women's rights organisation is training women to be Qazis, or judges, a role traditionally reserved for men, amid growing demand for more representation for women.
The Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA) is training its first intake of 30 women in Quranic law, constitutional law and gender rights. The year-long programme aims to produce a steady stream of female Qazis across India, its co-founder said.
The Indian constitution allows Muslims, the country's biggest religious minority, to regulate matters such as marriage, divorce and inheritance through their own civil code.
The qazi, usually a hereditary title, plays an important role by solemnising marriage and finalising divorce and settlements.
"Traditionally, Qazis have all been men, and their judgment has never been questioned, even if many are unfair to women," said Zakia Soman, a co-founder of BMMA in Mumbai. "But it's important to have women hear and represent women who are in a vulnerable position. Besides, there is no bar on women qazis as per the Koran," she said.
The move comes at a time of growing dissent against laws that activists say discriminate against Muslim women. A survey by BMMA last year showed more than 90 per cent of Muslim women want to end the "triple talaq" divorce tradition and polygamy.
Last month, the Supreme Court said it would examine how far it could interfere in Muslim laws, as it heard a plea to end the practice allowing Muslim men to divorce their wives by saying "talaq" three times.
Muslims make up 13 percent of India's 1.2 billion population, yet government data show they are among some of the most excluded and marginalised communities.
The women being trained to be qazis are largely community workers and activists from states including Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Bihar, Soman said.
There are some female qazis in Muslim-majority Malaysia and Indonesia.
Women qazis in India can help prevent child marriage, ensure that a woman marries willingly, and that a divorce is only granted after a period of reconciliation, and with fair terms for the woman, Soman said.
The All India Muslim Personal Law Board, a non-governmental institution that oversees the application of Muslim personal law in the country, has criticised the female qazis.
"Women don't have the right to be a qazi," said Maulana Khalid Rashid Farangi Mahali, secretary of AIMPLB. "Besides, there is no need - there are enough men who are qazis. So it's completely unnecessary," he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
But female trainee Safia Akhtar said there was a need for women qazis. "There are many grave injustices against Muslim women, and we deserve a say in matters that concern us," said Akhtar in the city of Bhopal.
"If women can be prime ministers and pilots in this country, then why can't we also be qazis?" she asked.
Emirati woman receives award at Arab Fine Artists Forum in Cairo
Wednesday, July 20, 2016
Emirati artist, Nawal Al Baloushi, has, for the second time, won an award at the Arab Fine Artists Forum, currently in its 11th edition in the Egyptian capital, Cairo.
Al Baloushi won the award for her painting entitled "Emirati Woman". The painting was lauded by both fellow artists and critics, who said that the work reflects the Emirati woman in terms of modesty, traditional attire, henna, and decorative gold jewellery.
Al Baloushi expressed her pleasure at winning the award, which she immediately dedicated to H.H. Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, Chairwoman of the General Women's Union, GWU, Supreme Chairwoman of the Family Development Foundation, FDF, and President of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood. Al Baloushi also extended her sincere thanks and gratitude to the organisers of the forum.
Al Baloushi's work is influenced by the surrounding environment and Arab and Islamic customs and traditions, which are important characteristics of Emirati women's fashion, and she said that these features are reflected in the shape, colour and nature of fashion, catering for different tastes.

RSS eyes Rakshabandhan, attempts to attract Muslim women
Jul 19, 2016
ALLAHABAD: In a clear cut attempt to give a makeover to its anti-Muslim image, the Prayag Vibhaag of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh will facilitate the Rakshabandhan celebrations involving around 100-150 women of minority community. These Muslim women would be tying Rakhi on Akhil Bharatiya Boudhik Pramukh and senior RSS functionary Swata Rajan and others.
RSS, Prayag Vibhaag functionaries are busy in chalking out the strategy for the participation of Muslim women as well as men for the event that would be organised at Prayag Sangeet Samiti on August 18.
"The event will be an attempt to highlight the outfit's nationalist character, which seems to be taking measures for its image makeover and the event would be celebrated as a national festival to promote sisters' safety and honour," said a RSS functionary.
Prayag vibhaag pracharak Manoj said, "Earlier, there were similar programmes where a handful of Muslim women had participated but this time, the scale would be bigger, as 100-150 people of Muslim community are expected to take part. The women will tie a Rakhi on senior RSS functionary and other men from both communities," said Manoj.
Initially, the RSS Prayag Vibhaag had planned to invite margdarshak (guide) of Muslim Rashtriya Manch (MRM) Indresh Kumar, but his programme could not be finalized, as he is supposed to take part in Rakshabandhan programme in Jaipur on the same day (August 18).
RSS swayamsevaks are making efforts to reach out to more and more Muslim women and men to attend the progrmame of Prayag region comprising Trans-Ganga, Trans-Yamuna, Prayag Uttar, Prayag Dakshin and Kaushambi. Besides, the outfit have also assigned special task to its Muslim volunteers to spread the message and bring more and more community members on the event. The Allahabad district has already seen a 40 % rise in the number of daily shakshas, while the number of weekly shakhas have also gone up to 50%.

The world is simply silent': Yazidi woman enslaved by ISIS tells Parliament her story
Tuesday, July 19, 2016
A Yazidi woman who was forced into sex slavery by the Islamic State is urging the Canadian government to formally recognize the systematic killing of her people as genocide.
Speaking at the House of Commons on Tuesday, Nadia Murad Basee Taha recounted to MPs the atrocities committed against the Kurdish minority group at the hands of Islamic militants.
"When they took us, the girls and children, we were not simply held prisoner. They committed crimes against us, they forced us to change our religion, they raped us, they sold us," she told the House of Commons immigration committee through a translator.
Taha was living with her family in northern Iraq in August 2014 when ISIS militants stormed her village and chased her community into the Sinar mountains. Trapped in the remote wilderness, thousands of Yazidis were killed, taken hostage or starved to death. Men were slaughtered and women were sold into sex slavery, and scores of Yazidis were killed if they didn’t submit to their captors and convert to Islam.
Taha managed to escape with the help of an Iraqi family who lent her an Islamic ID and snuck her away from the chaos under a hijab. She later escaped and resettled in Germany.
“I was lucky, I had help,” she told CTV News.
But her family wasn’t so fortunate.
“I never got the chance to say goodbye to my mother, to my six brothers who were murdered,” Taha said.
The United Nations human rights panel recently declared the killings to be genocide. Taha has travelled to 17 countries to share her story, and she spoke in Ottawa in hopes of getting Canadian officials to formally recognize the bloodshed.
"This continues today against more than 3,000 women and children," she told the committee. "The world is simply silent.”
Taha’s comments came as the federal immigration committee holds a series of hearings this week into the plight of the Yazidi people.
Conservative MPs have cited the 2014 killings as a reason for Yazidis to have their Canadian resettlement papers fast-tracked. They have also urged the Liberals to increase the number of refugee applications being accepted from Iraq in 2016 to allow more Canadians to privately sponsor Yazidis.
But Liberals have clashed with Conservatives over whether religion should be the sole determining factor in deciding an applicant’s eligibility for resettlement.
While religion or ethnicity may be a reason someone seeks out refugee status, the UN does not explicitly make resettlement decisions based on religion or ethnicity. Conservatives have said they want the policy changed, but the Liberals have not challenged the UN rule.

Chris Christie Suggests Hillary Clinton Was To Blame For Boko Haram's Kidnapping Of Hundreds Of Schoolgirls
July 20, 2016
CLEVELAND ― New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) suggested during a speech at the 2016 Republican National Convention on Tuesday that presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton was to blame for the kidnapping of hundreds of Nigerian schoolgirls by the Islamic extremist group Boko Haram.
Christie said “every region of the world has been infected with her flawed judgment,” citing Clinton’s resistance to adding Boko Haram to the terrorist watch list.
“What happened because of this reckless action by the candidate who is the self-proclaimed champion of women around the world? These terrorists abducted hundreds of innocent young girls two years ago,” Christie said. “These schoolgirls are still missing today.
“What was the solution from the Obama/Clinton team? A hashtag campaign!” Christie continued, referencing the #BringBackOurGirls campaign that went viral in 2014.
Christie also condemned Clinton’s actions in Libya during her time as secretary of state, saying they allowed the Islamic State, a terror group also referred to as ISIS or ISIL, to dominate the country.

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