Man Spits At American Muslim Women; Tells Her To Get Off Bus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo: Image Credit: Sharareh Delara Drury Facebook

 

After terror attacks, Muslim women say headscarves have made them targets for harassment

Muslim-American women seek change from within

3 Women of Muslim Backgrounds Receive US Human Rights Prize

Laws must enforced to end violence against women

California shooting: IS ignored Tashfeen’s contact attempts, say US sources

Suicide attack by foreigner woman leaves 4 dead in Nangarhar

Saudi Council Recommends Allowing Women To Obtain Passports Without Male Guardians

16 Gulf women to climb region’s highest peak in Oman

Faith in their fight: Women campaign to scrap Haji Ali Dargah ban

Awareness seminar on women status

First Saudi vote campaign for women enters final day

Campaign ends for first Saudi vote with women participation

Muslim women launch developmental organization

Inside a container, visitors hear story of an abused woman

Bahrain puts spotlight on women’s status

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

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Man spits at American Muslim women; tells her to get off bus

11 December 2015

After US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump called for a ban on Muslims entering the United States in response to the shooting rampage by two Muslims in San Bernardino, California, there have been a growing number of hate crime and harassment cases reported against the Muslim community in the US.

The growing tension in the Muslim community was aggravated by the mass shootings by the couple who ISIS claim were followers of the Islamist militant group. While President Barack Obama called on Americans not to discriminate against Muslims, a young American woman, who is half Iranian took to Facebook to share and encounter that she and many others in the Muslim community experience in America.

Sharareh Delara Druryw, was born in Boston, Massachusetts and has lived in the US her whole life. On Facebook, she says her father was a 9/11 survivor and her “ancestor Hugh Drury who “helped contribute to the building blocks of what would become the United States of America” is buried in the “oldest graveyard in Boston”.

Recently, while Druryw was on a Chicago bus on her way back from work, she writes “A man screamed at me. Called me a sand ni**er. Told me I was the problem. That I need to get the f*** out of his country.”

“I may have been wearing my scarf higher on my head than usual because it was cold out. I may have somehow looked suspicious listening to Spotify. I am half Iranian, so maybe it was my skin or my eyes,” she says. Adding that she tried to calmly tell him to back off while he kept screaming at her. “Then this man spits at me. A man in a suit and tie. Like anyone else I’d see. He spits at me and looks at me with these regular eyes now filled with anger and tells me to get the f*** off the bus, do what I’m told, because this isn’t my country. This isn’t my place.”

Druryw said that people only decided to help her after she screamed back at him, which got the attention of the bus driver who eventually kicked the man off the bus. After the incident, she wondered, “How many others out there got screamed at and told today this isn’t their country, that they’re worthless somehow, that they don’t matter. How many?”

Druryw goes on to say,” My mother’s family (Iranian) came here to seek incredible opportunities and they found them. They’ve become doctors and entrepreneurs and athletes and writers and singers.” Druryw concludes she is American.”I’m here and I belong. I won’t get off the bus.”

You can read Sharareh Delara Drury’s entire post here:

Today. On a crowded bus. On Michigan Avenue. On my way home from a great job in a city in a diverse country that I was…

http://www.dnaindia.com/world/report-man-spits-at-american-muslim-women-tells-her-to-get-off-bus-2154424

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After terror attacks, Muslim women say headscarves have made them targets for harassment

Dec 11, 2015

When Leilah Abdennabi showed up for a lunch date at a popular Austin, Texas, cafe this week, she was surprised to find her friend crying.

Through tears, her friend Sirat Al-Nahi, 20, explained that while Abdennabi was parking, an elderly white man in the cafe began harassing her, suggesting Abdennabi didn’t know how to drive and “should go back to Saudi Arabia.”

In disbelief, Al-Nahi asked the man to repeat what he had said. He did, this time adding, “Do you have a gun? You should just shoot me.”

The restaurant staff seated the man and his companion as Al-Nahi started crying.

Al-Nahi, a senior at the University of Texas at Austin and a devout Muslim who — like her friend — wears a headscarf, hadn’t expected to be confronted at a locally-owned restaurant in Texas’ decidedly liberal capital, an eatery that serves a dish called Nabil’s Mid-East Feast.

Abdennabi, 24, asked to speak to the manager, who said there was nothing she could do. When Abdennabi approached the man and asked him to repeat what he had said, he told her to go away.

She surveyed the restaurant.

“No one was doing or saying anything. I was like, ‘Just so you guys know, we were told some very racist things at this restaurant and no one did anything because who cares about us?’ And someone shouted ‘Nobody’,” Abdennabi told the Los Angeles Times.

In the wake of the attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, Muslim women wearing headscarves have become visible targets for harassment, often by men.

The Washington-based nonprofit Council on American–Islamic Relations has documented dozens of Islamophobic incidents nationwide since last month, including many against women wearing headscarves.

In Cincinnati, a driver tried to run down a young Muslim woman. In New York City, a customer called a female pharmacist wearing a headscarf a terrorist and told her to “get out of his country.” In San Diego, a man shoved a pregnant Muslim mother’s stroller into her belly and a San Diego State student reported a man tugged at her headscarf while yelling at her in a parking lot.

“It’s not unexpected at all. In fact, it’s what my research shows — that Muslim women will be targeted because they are more easily identifiable; they can’t pass as non-Muslim,” said Sahar Aziz, an associate professor at Texas A&M School of Law.

Aziz researched similar harassment after the terrorist attack last January on the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris. She found harassment ranged from assaults to microagressions, such as passing comments and stares. Now, she said, “I suspect what happened in Austin is the tip of the iceberg.”

She said it’s like women in Muslim countries being harassed for not wearing headscarves: “It disempowers women from making choices about how they practice their faith.”

In reaction, some Muslim women in the United States have stopped wearing headscarves to avoid being targeted. Aziz said immigrants may be most likely to abandon the headscarf while those like Abdennabi and Al-Nahi, born in the United States, have deeply-rooted confidence in their rights and won’t sacrifice their faith.

“It really is an individual choice based on a person’s upbringing and beliefs, particularly in the U.S.,” said Aziz, 20, who is Egyptian American and has worn a headscarf for four years.

“Many of these women are putting the headscarf on as a feminist statement, desexualizing themselves. This needs to not just be a Muslim issue, but an American women’s rights issue.”

Abdennabi, a 24-year-old teacher’s assistant, is Palestinian American and has worn a headscarf, or hijab, since she was 18. Though she has heard some women talk recently about taking off their headscarves, she said she won’t give in.

“I don’t think we should shrink ourselves or hide ourselves. … Unlike when I was growing up, we have Facebook and Twitter and we can share our stories,” she said.

She and Al-Nahi posted on Facebook about the incident at the cafe, drawing scores of supportive comments, including some non-Muslim men offering to escort her for her own safety. The women also received calls and a public apology posted online by Mason Ayer, the CEO of the restaurant, Kerbey Lane.

“There should be no place for racist, ignorant behavior in our society, and it’s incredibly upsetting that an incident like this occurred at all,” Ayer wrote. In retrospect, he said staff should have asked the “hateful guest” to leave.

http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-1210-muslim-women-headscarves-harassment-20151211-story.html

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Muslim-American women seek change from within

Dec. 10, 2015

Several weeks ago I had the privilege of meeting Nadiah Mohajir, a Muslim-American woman who spoke after a Chicago screening of “Radical Grace,” a documentary about Catholic sisters working for justice.

For over five years, Nadiah has provided health education programming to over 2,000 Muslim women and girls in the Chicagoland area and cities across the country. She and her colleague, Ayesha Akhtar, co-founded Heart Women and Girls, a non-profit volunteer sexual advocacy organization for Muslim women. They did this after hearing heart-rending stories from Muslim women who had attended a health and wellness day they coordinated in 2009.

A principal from an Islamic school told of a fifth grader who missed three weeks of classes because she had started her period, didn’t know what it was, and was too scared to ask anyone, including her mother. Another young woman struggled with denial before being able to name her uncle’s unwanted intimate advances as sexual abuse. A newly married woman was experiencing sexual tension with her husband as they were unable to consummate their marriage.

These and similar stories led Nadiah and Ayesah to the conclusion that too many women in their communities “did not have a safe space to obtain health information in a way that was mindful of their religious or cultural upbringing and values.” They developed culturally sensitive trainings, workshops, and downloadable toolkits to help Muslim women “negotiate their American identities, while still appreciating and honoring their values.”

Nadiah’s work has not always been welcomed by the Muslim community. Educating Muslim women about their bodies can make people uncomfortable, and she has found it difficult to get mosques to permit her programs. This was particularly true after she spoke to the media last February about a woman who was sexually abused by a formerly revered Chicago imam, Mohammed Abdullah Saleem.

I was struck that Nadiah’s work within Islam resonates strongly with that of many Catholic women who have also chosen to stay within a patriarchal tradition and work for change. So I asked Nadiah for an interview and she graciously accepted.

Christine Schenk: You made a conscious decision to continue to practice Islam and to work for change from within. Why?

Nadiah Mohajir: I never left Islam because of my exposure in my early college years to the type of critical thinking … and the rich history of diversity and unconditional love Islam has for all communities, not just for the typical ‘mainstream’ Muslim — and so I knew that it wasn’t the faith that was problematic, but rather the superficial understanding of Islam that some communities have. A scholar, Dr. Umar Faruq Abd-allah, was integral in helping me explore this and the need to contribute to an ‘American Islam.’ Here is a great paper [“Islam and the Cultural Imperative”] written by Dr. Umar that explores this further.

I grew up in a mosque community, and some of my dearest and closest childhood friends come from that community. However, as I grew to understand life and its complexities around me, I realized that the kinds of experiences, critical thinking, and diversity I want my kids to understand and appreciate were hard to find at the traditional suburban mosque or Sunday school.  … so we essentially started our own ‘alternative’ Islamic studies program for the kids on Friday evenings.

What makes attending mosque difficult?

Many mosques, unfortunately, do not have a friendly demeanor toward women, and there is a lot of religious policing that goes on at mosques that I don’t find productive. (For example: Your pants are too tight, your shirt isn’t long enough, your hair is showing through your scarf, etc.).

How do you practice your faith without attending a mosque?

Going to a mosque regularly is not obligatory for women. In other words, leaving the mosque, or not being affiliated with one specific mosque, is not equivalent to leaving Islam. So while I never left Islam, I do not regularly attend a mosque.  Islam is a very private and personal religion in addition to one of congregation. Women can easily perform their five daily prayers and worship from home. I do attend the Eid prayers (our two holidays), but because I also live very close to a university, I generally attend the prayers on campus and not at a mosque.

You spoke about recent scholarship about early women leaders in Islam. Can you give some examples?

… [T]he examples that stick out for me: the Prophet’s [Mohammed] wife Aisha, may God be pleased with her, trained many of the greatest imams in the next generation after his death. She narrated hundreds and hundreds of hadith (prophetic traditions and sayings of the Prophet) and even led and army and issued legal opinions.

[Mohammed’s first wife] Khadijah ran a caravan business in Mecca. A wealthy and successful trader, she was also a twice-widowed single mother, 15 years Mohammed’s senior, and his boss.

Seventh-century jurist and scholar Ummal-Darda taught jurisprudence in the mosques of Damascus and Jerusalem; her students were men, women and even the caliph.

Fatimah al-Fihri founded the first university in the world, in Fes, Morocco called the Qarawiyyin.

Fourteenth-century scholar Fatimah al-Bataihiyyah taught both men and women in the Prophet’s mosque in Madina, and people would travel to learn from her.

Are there examples of present-day oppression of woman in Islam (wearing the burka, female education, etc.) attributed to the Quran/Mohammed that simply aren’t true?

Wearing the burka or hijab (scarf) isn’t inherently oppressive. In fact, many women find it a way to express their commitment to modesty and their faith. Many women find it very empowering and liberating. Others do it simply because God asked them to.

It’s important to note that wearing the scarf is not a measure of how religious one is. Modesty encompasses much more than external dress: Muslims — both men and women — are called to be modest with respect to their behavior, language, possessions, even their thoughts. A great article on this is here [“Removing hijab, finding myself”].

Using force to implement hijab or burka is an example of how patriarchy, misogyny, politics have motivated those in leadership positions to move forward their own agendas. Although the women during the Prophet’s time dressed modestly (some did wear the entire burka and face veil), they were also extremely empowered women. …

Other examples of oppressing women:

Women are not allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia

The Taliban do not allow girls to go to school

Many girls are subjected to forced marriages or honor killings.

All of these situations are falsely attributed to Islam. [Neither the] Prophet nor the Quran endorsed any of them. Women and girls are granted much independence and rights in Islam, including a right to an education, and free will when it comes to marriage.

Can you talk about the positive understanding of God that Islam brings to our world?

The most emphasized attribute of God in Islam is that of mercy. We begin everything (whether it’s our prayers, eating food, driving, taking an exam, etc.) with the following: ‘In the name of God, the all merciful, the mercy-giving.’ God has many attributes, but above all, he is merciful and his mercy is endless. This is an excellent article [“Mercy: The Stamp of Creation”] that explains this all beautifully. Specifically from the paper:

… In Islam, the All-Merciful (ar-Rahman) and the Mercy-Giving (ar-Rahim) may be said to be the greatest names of God after Allah. Of all his names, they are most descriptive of his relation to the world and emphasize his will in salvation history and throughout eternity to benefit creation and ultimately bring about the triumph of supreme good over evil.

This week Pope Francis launched a yearlong a Jubilee of Mercy.

I wonder if focusing on what Christianity has in common with Islam could help ease sectarian tensions that arise from extremist understandings of a God who seeks neither vengeance nor sacrifice, but rather mercy and justice.

God abhors violence – both the ostensibly “Christian” murders at Planned Parenthood and the ostensibly “Islamist” killings (including Muslims) in San Bernardino.

Women like Nadiah bring God’s healing love to women and girls and also enhance the beautiful diversity of our country. Women like Nadiah are perhaps our best defense against jihadist extremism.

Together, we must work with the All-Merciful Allah to “bring about the triumph of supreme good over evil.”

[A Sister of St. Joseph, Sr. Christine Schenk served urban families for 18 years as a nurse midwife before co-founding FutureChurch, where she served for 23 years. She holds master’s degrees in nursing and theology.]

http://ncronline.org/blogs/simply-spirit/muslim-american-women-seek-change-within

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3 Women of Muslim Backgrounds Receive US Human Rights Prize

Alberto Pimienta

December 10, 2015

Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Irshad Manji and Rebiya Kadeer came together Thursday from different corners of the world.

One of them survived childhood abuse, violence and a forced marriage in Somalia. Another receives frequent death threats and was the victim of an attack by Muslim extremists in Indonesia. And the other spent seven years in jail in China.

On a single stage Thursday in Washington, D.C., they looked at each other repeatedly without exchanging a single word. The shared looks were an implicit reaffirmation of what bound them together: the fight for human rights.

Thursday, on International Human Rights Day, the three women were awarded the Lantos Human Rights Prize.

The award is named after U.S. Congressman Tom Lantos, the only Holocaust survivor ever elected to Congress. Lantos was a fierce advocate for human rights, and his legacy can be felt in the halls of Capitol Hill where the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission routinely serves as a forum that defends human rights around the globe.

Since 2009, the Lantos Foundation has awarded the annual prize. In previous years, it has gone to the Dalai Lama and the Chinese human rights activist Chen Guangcheng, among others.

This year, for the first time, three women of Muslim backgrounds received the award.

From janitor to Parliament

Ayaan Hirsi Ali was born in Somalia in 1969. As a girl, she endured female genital mutilation. According to the World Health Organization, more than 125 million females — usually under the age of 15 — have been subjected to the process.

Later, Hirsi Ali was forced by her father to marry a distant cousin. That was when she decided to flee to The Netherlands.

There, she went from being a janitor and a translator to a member of the Dutch Parliament. For years, she has dedicated her life to fighting for women’s rights. No religion or culture justifies abuses against women, she says.

“The fact that my religion, the religion I grew up in — I am not a Muslim anymore but the religion I grew up in — is used as a tool to kill people, to rape women, to spread anti-Semitism, to throw gay people from tall buildings, it’s embarrassing, it’s disgusting, and I feel responsible to come out and say something about it and do something about it in the most peaceful ways,” Hirsi Ali said.

But those peaceful means can spark violence in others.

Filmmaker Theo Van Gogh worked with Hirsi Ali on Submission, a film about the oppression of Muslim women. In 2004, Van Gogh was stabbed to death in broad daylight in the streets of Amsterdam. The perpetrator, who had terrorist ties, left a note pinned on Van Gogh’s chest.

It was a death threat against Hirsi Ali.

But death threats have not stopped her from fighting for the rights of women around the world.

Rejection follows her

Irshad Manji, 46, was born in Uganda and moved to Canada when she was four. There, she grew up in a violent household. By the time she was 14, she was expelled from Islamic school for asking too many questions.

o she started studying Islam on her own. It was then, she says, that she realized she could reconcile her faith with different freedoms and rights.

For years, she has been a leading voice in the reform of Islam.

Her work has not been well received in many parts of the world, and she receives so many death threats that the windows of her apartment are bulletproof. During public appearances, Muslim extremists have stormed in and demanded her execution.

Manji said that receiving the award is about more than just Islam. It is about all human beings.

“This award represents for me the rare quality that I believe every human being has the capacity to develop, but most of us don’t give ourselves the permission to develop, and that is moral courage  —  which means doing the right thing in the face of your fears,” Manji said.

Imprisoned for 6 years

Rebiya Kadeer is known as the “Mother of all Uighurs,” an oppressed Muslim population in northwest China.

Kadeer, 69, came from poverty. She is now a millionaire entrepreneur. But, mostly, she is one of the faces of the Uighurs, a group that says it has been victimized by the Chinese government for decades.

Kadeer held various posts in Chinese political life before being arrested in 1999 for passing publications to her husband, who at the time was living in the United States and working for Radio Free Asia and Voice of America. She was accused of providing confidential materials to a person outside of the Chinese territory.

In 2005, she was released and moved to the United States. She still is a fierce critic of the authorities in Beijing and their treatment of Chinese Muslims.

“The Uighur issue is not a Uighur problem,” Kadeer said. “It is a Chinese government problem. A situation generated by systematic denial to Uighurs of fundamental human rights and freedoms.”

http://www.voanews.com/content/three-women-muslim-countries-us-human-right-award/3098387.html

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Laws must enforced to end violence against women

December 11, 2015

Though there are tough laws and policies to combat violence against women, the crimes can only be stopped if those are implemented, said Jatiya Sangsad Speaker Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury yesterday at the closing ceremony of the 16-day campaign to end violence against women.

She added, “It is important to make women aware of the acts and policies so that they seek legal redress whenever they are subjected to violence.”

Members of parliament, country representatives of organisations working for women empowerment, civil society members, and heads of missions pledged commitment to prevent violence against women.

The programme was organised by UN Women at the South Plaza of Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban.

Salma Ali, executive director of Bangladesh National Woman Lawyers Association, said, “We often see perpetrators of violence getting bail and living a free life while their victims live like fugitives.”

Aasha Mehreen Amin, deputy editor, Editorial and Op-ed at The Daily Star, said, “We are determined to highlight more the role of women in development, and social and economic progress to emphasise the need to create a violence-free environment for women and girls.”

Ayesha Khanam, president of Bangladesh Mahila Parishad, emphasised the importance of focusing on issues that lead to violence against women.

Christine Hunter, country representative of UN Women, said violence against women occurs across the world. No countries would be able to develop without ending such violence.

Fazle Rabbi Miah, deputy speaker of the parliament, and Robert Watkins, resident coordinator of United Nations, among others, spoke.

This year UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s UNiTE to End Violence against Women campaign was styled “Orange the world”, using the colour designated by the UNiTE campaign to symbolise a brighter future without violence. Orange events were planned in more than 70 countries around the world ahead of and throughout the 16 days.

http://www.thedailystar.net/city/law-enforcement-must-end-violence-against-women-185638

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California shooting: IS ignored Tashfeen’s contact attempts, say US sources

Dec 11, 2015

WASHINGTON: The militant Islamic State (IS) group ignored contact attempts from Tashfeen Malik in the months before she and her husband killed 14 people at a California holiday party, probably because they feared getting caught in a United States (US) law enforcement sting, US government sources said on Thursday.

The number of organisations that Malik, 29, tried to contact and how she sought to reach them were unclear, but the groups almost certainly included Al Qaeda’s Syria-based official affiliate Al-Nusra Front, the government sources said.

One source said investigators have little, if any, evidence that Malik or her husband, Syed Rizwan Farook, 28, had any direct contact with IS, which has seized control of large swaths of Syria and Iraq and claimed responsibility for the Nov 13 Paris attacks that left 130 people dead.

Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director James Comey has said Malik and Farook declared around the time of their attack that they were acting on behalf of IS ─ which in turn has embraced the couple as among its followers. But US government sources have said there was no evidence that the IS even knew of the couple before the killings.

Militant groups sought out by Malik likely ignored her approaches because they have become extremely wary of responding to outsiders they do not know or who have not been introduced to them, sources said.

Disclosures of Malik’s overtures to extremists abroad surfaced as the investigation of the Dec 2 shooting rampage in San Bernardino took a new turn with divers searching a small lake near the scene of the massacre.

On Thursday a team of divers from the FBI and San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department began searching the waters of Seccombe Lake Park, about 2-1/2 miles north of the Inland Regional Center, seeking additional clues in the mass shooting.

The search of the lake, which could last for days, stemmed from an unspecified lead “indicating that the subjects came into this area” on the day of the attack, said David Bowdich, assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles field office.

“We put a dive team into the lake as a logical part of that lead.” Bowdich said he would not discuss the “specific evidence we’re looking for”, but said it was essentially “anything that had to do with this particular crime”. He added: “We may come up with nothing.”

CNN reported they sought a computer hard drive that belonged to the couple.

‘Not on the radar: US officials search for missed red flags

FBI Director James Comey, along with US Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and John Mulligan, deputy director of the National Counterterrorism Centre (NCC), briefed members of both houses of Congress on Thursday about the investigation in closed, classified sessions.

The US government appears not to have picked up on extremist messages exchanged during the online courtship two years ago between Farook and his then-fiancée in Pakistan, Tashfeen, federal officials told members of Congress ─ who are concerned red flags may have been missed in the last two years ─ during the closed-door briefings.

American officials say Farook and his wife, Malik, discussed martyrdom and jihad online as early as 2013. But the couple never surfaced on law enforcement’s radar and Malik was able to enter the US on a fiancée visa last year despite having reportedly professed radical views online.

“The current impression is that these two people were acting alone,” US Senator Angus King of Maine told CNN after the briefing. But he added that he was troubled by the fact that the couple had tried to cover their tracks by destroying their cellphones and other electronic equipment.

“Everyone’s asking the same questions about how it is that law enforcement didn’t know, or intelligence officials didn’t know ─ that they could have flown under the radar and nothing gave an indication that they were a threat,” said Rep. Jim Langevin, a Rhode island Democrat and member of the House Homeland Security Committee.

Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said Malik was subjected to an in-person interview during the application process for a visa.

Republican Rep. Will Hurd of Texas, a member of the House Homeland Security Committee, said there’s currently no evidence Malik’s radicalisation would have been readily apparent when she was evaluated for a fiancée visa. “I don’t think there was missed information,” he said. “It appears that there was not any evidence that would have been discoverable during an interview for a visa.”

He declined to discuss what specifically led investigators to conclude that the couple had radicalised independently as early as 2013.

“It’s safe to say that the information about what happened prior to their marriage and to the attacks in San Bernardino was acquired through forensic investigations of these individual lives,” Hurd said. “These people weren’t on the radar,” he added.

Comey, who testified in the Senate on Wednesday, described Farook and Malik as examples of homegrown violent extremists who appear to have radicalised “in place”, drawing a distinction between the California attack and the one last month in Paris that officials suspect involved planning and training in Syria.

He said the FBI did not yet know if Farook and Malik’s marriage was arranged by a foreign extremist organisation.

‘Farook’s path towards extremism’

Investigators are trying to determine if Farook’s path toward extremism predated 2013 and whether it led to plans to launch an attack in 2012, according to two people familiar with the investigation who were not authorised to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

New revelations show a much deeper connection between Farook and Enrique Marquez, his friend who bought the assault rifles used in the shooting, than previously was disclosed. Marquez has not been charged with a crime.

At least three years ago, Marquez purchased the high-powered weapons that Farook and his wife used in the shooting.

Marquez and Farook “were plotting an actual attack” in 2012, including buying weapons, but became apprehensive and shelved the plan because of law enforcement activity and arrests in the area, said Idaho Sen. Jim Risch, a Republican who sits on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

Marquez, 24, spoke with federal authorities after they raided his mother’s Riverside house over the weekend. He and Farook were friends for years and became family last year, with a sister-in-law in common.

The two men were listed as witnesses on the marriage license when Farook’s brother, Raheel, wed a Russian woman in 2011.

Three years later, Raheel Farook and his wife, Tatiana, were witnesses to Marquez’s marriage to her sister, Mariya Chernykh, according to Riverside County records.

The ceremony took place at the Islamic Society of Corona-Norco, according to the marriage license, though the mosque’s facility manager denied it occurred there.

Malik’s father, reached in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, condemned his daughter’s actions and said he is “very, very sad. … I am in such pain that I cannot even describe it.”

The father, Gulzar Ahmed Malik, has been a resident in the kingdom since the early 1980s, the Saudi Interior Ministry said. His daughter was from Pakistan but travelled to Saudi Arabia.

California shooting

Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik were killed in a shootout with police hours after they opened fire with assault rifles at a holiday gathering of Farook’s co-workers at the Inland Regional Center social services agency in San Bernardino.

Fourteen people were killed, and the number of wounded was raised to 22 on Thursday from 21 after a woman injured in the assault came forward, officials said.

The FBI said it is treating the shooting attack as an act of terrorism. If the massacre proves to have been the work of killers inspired by militants, it would mark the deadliest such attack on US soil since Sept 11, 2011.

The attack has heightened security concerns in the US and become an issue in the US presidential campaign.

http://www.dawn.com/news/1225677/california-shooting-is-ignored-tashfeens-contact-attempts-say-us-sources

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Suicide attack by foreigner woman leaves 4 dead in Nangarhar

Dec 11 2015

At least four people were killed following a suicide attack carried out by a foreigner woman in eastern Nangarhar province of Afghanistan, local officials said Friday.

The incident took in Jalalabad, the provincial city of eastern Nangarhar province late on Thursday night.

Provincial governor spokesman said at least three children and an operative of the Afghan intelligence – National Directorate of Security (NDS) lost their lives in the attack.

There are no reports regarding the identity of the foreigner woman who detonated the explosives strapped in her body but Khogyani said the incident took place while the Afghan intelligence operatives were conducting a search on a group of suspected foreigners travellign in Daronta area.

Khogyani further added that five men were also among the group of the suspected foreigners travelling in a car when they were stopped for search and questioning.

Nangarhar is among the relatively volatile provinces in eastern Afghanistan where anti-government armed militant groups are actively operating.

Certain district of Nangarhar province have also became a hotbed for the insurgents pledged allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorist group.

http://www.khaama.com/suicide-attack-by-foreigner-woman-leaves-4-dead-in-nangarhar-1800

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Saudi Council Recommends Allowing Women To Obtain Passports Without Male Guardians

10 Dec 2015

Jaffa, Israel – The Security Affairs Committee of the Shoura Council, an arm of the Saudi Arabian parliament, has drafted a paper recommending that Saudi women be granted passports without permission from their male guardians, the Saudi news site Ozak reported.

The committee proposes extending the right to a passport to all woman holding Saudi identity cards. The recommendation will be voted on by parliament prior to its approval.

Saudi media predict that the law will pass after a series of fiery debates and opposition from conservative factions within the kingdom.

Under current law, Saudi women must have the approval of a “man in charge” for actions such as driving a car or divorce. Usually, the man is her father, husband, or brother.

Earlier this month, female divorcees and widows were granted ID cards that give them the authority to act independently of male guardians.

http://www.breitbart.com/middle-east/2015/12/10/saudi-council-recommends-allowing-women-to-obtain-passports-without-male-guardians/

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16 Gulf women to climb region’s highest peak in Oman

December 10, 2015

Muscat: Sixteen women representing various GCC countries will climb Jebel Shams, the region’s highest peak via Western Hajar mountain.

The trek — from December 10 to 12, 2015 — is being organised by Husaak Adventures Company in collaboration with Oman’s Ministry of Tourism.

The three-day expedition will see the 16 female mountaineers make their way to Jebel Shams’ summit over 3,000 metres above sea level, said the Ministry of Tourism in a statement.

Asma Al Hajri, Deputy Director General, International Tourism Promotions in the Ministry, said: “We are happy to support the brave women in this exciting adventure. The trek to the summit of Jebel Shams offers a dynamic and truly unforgettable experience that challenges the athleticism of our participants. The trip reflects the spirit of solidarity within the Gulf region and the success of the hikers upon reaching the top [will be] commemorated by raising the flags of the GCC nations.”

The trek began in the afternoon of the first day with the group gathering at the designated meeting point in Muscat. The hike covered a distance of over 20km along a trail deemed suitable for fit and active individuals. The trail has been classified as safe by the relevant environmental authorities.“We look forward to more challenges in the future, where the qualities of fitness and endurance are tested by courageous and determined Gulf ladies,”, said Asma.

The group consists of Rumaitha Al Busaidi, Linda Al Muqimi, Salsabeel Al Busaidi representing Oman, Lulu Al Awadi, Dalal Al Omar, Sabika Al Ayyar, Nourah Al Sabah, Lamia Al Ghareeb and Aseel Al Shaheen from Kuwait, Nada Jamsheer, Hadya Fathhallah and Fatima Fathhallah from Bahrain.

Nahid Al Dosary and Budoor Al Shadawi from Saudi Arabia and Sharifa Yateem and Danah Ali from the UAE.

http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/oman/16-gulf-women-to-climb-region-s-highest-peak-in-oman-1.1635370

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Faith in their fight: Women campaign to scrap Haji Ali Dargah ban

Dec 11, 2015

A landmark mosque in Mumbai is facing pressure to overturn a ban on women entering its inner sanctum, a move that could set a precedent on gender restrictions to places of worship in India.

A Muslim women’s rights group is locked in a bitter legal battle with trustees of Mumbai’s Haji Ali Dargah, built in the 15th century and popular not only with Muslims but Hindu devotees and sight-seeing tourists.

Women have been prevented entry to the mosque’s mausoleum since 2011, with its trust saying close female proximity to the tomb of a revered saint is “a grievous sin” in Islam.

Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA) has petitioned the Bombay high court seeking a ruling that the ban is unconstitutional, hoping such a decision would mark a major step forward for women’s rights in India.

“A positive ruling would set a precedent and would have a wider and long-term effect,” BMMA co-founder Noorjehan Niaz told AFP.

Read: Scholars divided over allowing women in Haji Ali dargah

“It would send a message and encourage women of all religions who are barred from entering places of worship to approach courts with similar demands,” she added.

The mosque is located on an islet accessible via a causeway at low tide. It was built in the 1430s in memory of a wealthy Muslim who gave up his worldly possessions and went on a pilgrimage to Mecca.

The mosque is located on an islet accessible via a causeway at low tide. (Kunal Patil / HT Photo)

Legend has it that Pir Haji Ali Shah Bukhari, who became a Sufi saint, died during his spiritual journey and his body washed up on rocks in the Arabian Sea off south Mumbai.

The mosque was constructed on the spot where his body was found, and his tomb, or “dargah”, lies in the inner sanctum — the mosque’s most sacred place.

Last month local media reported that a temple in Maharashtra suspended seven security guards after a female devotee stepped on a platform to worship an idol.

Women are barred from the stand and temple authorities later performed a “purification” ceremony on the idol, according to the reports.

‘Women are impure’

Haji Ali Dargah is one of Mumbai’s most recognisable landmarks and receives tens of thousands of visitors every week.

But Niaz said the trust started banning women from the mausoleum four years ago, although they are still allowed into the mosque’s other areas, where they can pray.

She said trustees cited menstruation as the reason for barring women entry to sacred spots, an argument often given by conservative elements.

Read: Allowing women inside Haji Ali dargah a sin, trust tells HC

“They’ve said women are impure. But menstruation is a natural event and responsible for the entire of humanity being born. How can it be dirty? It’s a ridiculous and demeaning argument,” she told AFP.

She complained to the board and then approached Maharashtra state’s minorities commission before launching legal action last year after making no progress.

“The shrine is symbolic for people of all castes, all religions and countries. It’s an iconic place and people travel from all over the world to visit it.”

Haji Ali Dargah is one of Mumbai’s most recognisable landmarks and receives tens of thousands of visitors every week. (AFP File Photo)

“How can you bar somebody from entering the sanctum just because she is a woman? The decision was anti-women and anti-Islamic and we had no option but to go to court. It was the last resort,” Niaz added.

A member of the trust declined comment when contacted by AFP on the grounds of sub-judice, saying only that he hoped Mumbai’s top court would settle the dispute when it holds its next hearing on December 15.

Maulana Mustaqeem Azmi, a member of the nonprofit All India Muslim Personal Law Board, said the rule was similar to those in other mosques.

“To insist that they be allowed into the tomb is against the religion,” he told AFP.

Human rights lawyers back the women, but are sceptical of whether their case will win. Instead, they are pushing for a law making it illegal for any trust to bar entry to a public place of worship on the grounds of gender.

“There are lots of temples where women are not allowed. If you go through each individual case it will be an endless exercise so you have to have state intervention,” prominent rights lawyer Mihir Desai stated.

“Courts also like to restrain themselves from ruling on religious issues. Whether the court will deliver a verdict in favour of the women is very doubtful,” he added.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india/faith-in-their-fight-women-campaign-to-scrap-haji-ali-dargah-ban/story-0ztupfKrSg6UQN98h9wllO.html

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Awareness seminar on women status

December 11, 2015

LAHORE – An awareness seminar was arranged by Punjab Commission on the Status of Women at Lahore College for Women University in connection with the 16-day campaign against gender-based violence.

Chairperson of the Commission Fauzia Waqar, Vice Chancellor Lahore College for Women University Dr.

Uzma Qureshi, Director Women Institute of Learning and Leadership Dr Saira Shahid, Dr.

Farzana Nazir MPA, SHO Women Police Station Bushra Aziz, Umer Aftab of White Ribbon, Additional Advocate General Punjab Asma Hamid, Head Surgeon Medico-legal Punjab, Capt Waseem Haider besides faculty members were present.

Punjab Commission on the Status of Women Chairperson Fauzia Waqar in her address highlighted the aims and objectives of the campaign against gender-based violence and the role of the commission.

SHO Bushra Aziz informed about the efforts of police in curbing gender-based violence and protection of women.

Other speakers, while expressing their views, said that due to measures taken by the government women today feel safer and are striving for a change in social mindset.

They said that as human beings women have all basic rights and these rights are guaranteed by the constitution.

http://nation.com.pk/lahore/11-Dec-2015/awareness-seminar-on-women-status

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First Saudi vote campaign for women enters final day

December 11, 2015

RIYADH – Saudi Arabia’s first election campaign open to women ends on Thursday but voters see little chance of a breakthrough for female candidates.

More than 900 women, along with some 6,000 men, are seeking seats on 284 municipal councils whose powers are restricted to local affairs including streets, public gardens and rubbish collection. The vote has been hailed as a small step forward in the kingdom, one of the most restrictive countries in the world for women. But many voters said tribal allegiances – rather than a candidate’s gender – would be a big factor in the ballot.

Um Mohammed, a 47-year-old woman living near the Kuwaiti border, said her daughters had helped organise the campaign of a female candidate, but she herself would back a man.

“I am voting for this candidate because he is from our tribe and he will ensure our rights. He also has a good personality and we have never heard anything negative about him,” she said.

Her husband had dinner with the candidate at his campaign tent, helping to confirm their choice, she said.

Such tents – traditional male gathering places in Saudi Arabia that can be as large as houses – have been a common way for candidates to get their message across during Saudi municipal elections.

Ballots for local councils have taken place twice before, in 2005 and 2011, with only male candidates and voters.

Ruled for decades by the al-Saud royal family of King Salman, oil-rich Saudi Arabia has no elected legislature and has faced intense Western scrutiny over its rights record.

Um Mohammed may have chosen her candidate but whether she makes it to the polling station on Saturday is another matter.

Unable to drive and with no taxis in her community, Um Mohammed said she can only vote if her husband takes her, or if a group of women rent a car and driver together.

Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world where women are not allowed to drive. They must also cover themselves in black from head-to-toe in public and require permission from male family members to travel, work or marry.

There is a strict separation of sexes, which applies to election facilities as well as elsewhere like restaurants.

A slow expansion of women’s rights began under the late king Abdullah, Salman’s predecessor who died in January. Many have welcomed female participation in the ballot as a step forward for women’s rights.

The campaign has been a struggle however, with some women candidates barred from taking part and others withdrawing under pressure.

Another northeastern woman, who asked not to be named, said the female candidate she wanted to vote for pulled out of the election after local Islamic scholars objected.

“She withdrew after the scholars said it’s forbidden for a woman to run in the elections,” said the woman, a teacher. “I don’t believe the female candidates will be given much power even if they win.”

A male voter in the eastern city of Hafr al-Batin said it was difficult to know whether to support a woman candidate as men have been unable to meet them or see their faces.

“You have to work extra hard to understand” a female candidate, he said, while he could share food or coffee offered by male contenders.

“I don’t think any man here would vote for a woman,” the man said, adding that he will cast his ballot for a fellow tribesman. “Even without the campaign I already know he’s a good man,” he said, declining to be named.

A Western diplomat has said “it will be a huge positive surprise” if any women are actually elected on Saturday.

Still, he said he expects some will be appointed as only two-thirds of council seats are elected.

The campaign has been low key, with rules preventing photographs of candidates applied to both men and women.

Omar Mohammed, a 49-year-old accountant who will vote in the Red Sea city of Jeddah, said he had not come across any female campaigners. “I will probably vote for one of the men,” he said.

http://nation.com.pk/international/11-Dec-2015/first-saudi-vote-campaign-for-women-enters-final-day

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Campaign ends for first Saudi vote with women participation

Dec 11, 2015

THE first Saudi election campaign open to women ended on Thursday but voters see little chance of a breakthrough for female candidates.

More than 900 women, along with some 6,000 men, are seeking seats on 284 municipal councils whose powers are restricted to local affairs including streets, public gardens and rubbish collection.

The vote has been hailed as a step forward. But many voters said tribal allegiances — rather than a candidate’s gender — would be a big factor in the ballot.

Um Mohammed, a 47-year-old woman living near the Kuwaiti border, said her daughters had helped organize the campaign of a female candidate, but she herself would back a man.

“I am voting for this candidate because he is from our tribe and he will ensure our rights. He also has a good personality and we have never heard anything negative about him,” she said.

Her husband had dinner with the candidate at his campaign tent, helping to confirm their choice, she said.

Such tents — traditional male gathering places in Saudi Arabia that can be as large as houses — have been a common way for candidates to get their message across during Saudi municipal elections.

Ballots for local councils have taken place twice before, in 2005 and 2011, with only male candidates and voters.

Um Mohammed may have chosen her candidate but whether she makes it to the polling station on Saturday is another matter.

Unable to drive and with no taxis in her community, Um Mohammed said she can only vote if her husband takes her, or if a group of women rent a car and driver together.

Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world where women are not allowed to drive. They require permission from male family members to travel, work or marry.

Like elsewhere in the country, strict separation of sexes applies to election facilities.

Women’s rights in the Kingdom took a leap under the late King Abdullah, who died in January. Many have welcomed female participation in the ballot as a step forward for women’s rights.

The campaign has been a struggle however, with some women candidates barred from taking part and others withdrawing under pressure.

Another northeastern woman, who asked not to be named, said the female candidate she wanted to vote for pulled out of the election after local scholars objected.

“She withdrew after the scholars said it’s forbidden for a woman to run in the elections,” said the woman, a teacher.

“I don’t believe the female candidates will be given much power even if they win.”

A male voter in the eastern city of Hafr Al-Batin said it was difficult to know whether to support a woman candidate as men have been unable to meet them or see their faces.

“You have to work extra hard to understand” a female candidate, he said, while he could share food or coffee offered by male contenders.

“I don’t think any man here would vote for a woman,” the man said, adding that he will cast his ballot for a fellow tribesman.

“Even without the campaign I already know he’s a good man,” he said, declining to be named.

A Western diplomat has said “it will be a huge positive surprise” if any women are actually elected on Saturday.

Still, he said he expects some will be appointed as only two-thirds of council seats are elected.

The campaign has been low key, with rules preventing photographs of candidates applied to both men and women.

Omar Mohammed, a 49-year-old accountant who will vote in Jeddah, said he had not come across any female campaigners. “I will probably vote for one of the men,” he said.

http://saudigazette.com.sa/saudi-arabia/campaign-ends-for-first-saudi-vote-with-women-participation/

———

 

Muslim women launch developmental organization

Dec 11, 2015

By Mathias Mazinga

Uganda Muslim Women’s Civilization Initiative, a local non-governmental organization that aims at empowering women spiritually and economically was on Thursday launched at Hotel Africana with a call on government and civil society to worker harder to end gender-based violence.

Speaking at the function, the US Embassy Charge d’affaires, Patricia Mahoney, who was the chief-guest, expressed concern over the persistent subjugation and harassment of women, which was evident world-wide.

“UN statics indicate that one third of women have experienced physical or sexual violence in their lives.  This is unacceptable. It is totally inhuman. We have to change this status quo now. Be the change and start right now,” said Mahoney.

Mahoney thanked the Executive Director of the organization, Shamirah Namutebi, for coming up with a sustainable initiative to promote women’s economic empowerment.

“It is ideal that women who are economically empowered so promote the economic empowerment of other women. If women are economically empowered, they will become self-sustaining and will thus be able to make independent decisions in their families and in society. They will advocate for their children’s rights, stop early marriages and lower HIV infections in their communities.”

Mahoney further asked Muslim women to work in solidarity with men and other faith-based organizations to promote development and religious co-existence.

The Chairman of Zakkah and Waqaf Committee, Sheikh Anas Kaliisa asked Muslim scholars to properly interpret the teachings of Islam about women. He said that off all the religions of the world, it was Islam which had fully liberated women from gender-slavery.

“There is no religion that encourages education like Islam. If you educate a girl, you will come walking hand in hand with her on the Day of Judgment. Islam also teaches that if a wife owns a business, it is hers entirely. But the business of the husband belongs to the family. So, where do people get these theologies that subjugate women?!

So, empower women and improve communities. Women, go out and do business. But be mindful to respect your husband.”

The organization’s Executive Director, Shamirah Namutebi said that they got the idea to start the organization after being inspired by the councils of Imam Mohammad Bashar Arafat, the President of Islamic Affaire Council of Maryland, USA, who strongly advocates for women’s empowerment.

What the Muslim women say

Hawa Kimbugwe

The contemporary economic challenges direly call for the empowerment of women of all religious creeds, which is why we need faith-based women’s organisations.

Mayi Buwembo

We need to come together as women, to do activities together and inspire each other. In this way we shall be empowered and subsequently alleviate poverty.

Fatuma Kasoga

If we wait for government to help us, we shall die poor. Let us just work with organisations like Uganda Muslim Women Civilization Initiative to transform our lives.

Sharifah Naigaga

I have benefitted a lot from the presentations of progressive women. I have resolved to start a business at home.

Shrifah Kyeyune

I am the PRO of Uganda Muslim Women Civilization Initiative.  It is our duty, the enlightened women, to empower the disadvantaged women.

Shamirah Namutebi

I am the Executive Director of Uganda Women Civilization Initiative. We desire to give disadvantaged women life skills, guidance and formal literacy to help them become financially self-sustenance. We shall work with other faith-based organisations to help our people attain self-sustenance.

http://www.newvision.co.ug/news/676752-muslim-women-launch-developmental-organization.html

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Inside a container, visitors hear story of an abused woman

December 10, 2015

Dubai: The Dubai Foundation for Women and Children (DFWAC) on Thursday launched a three-day interactive platform to highlight violence against women, which remains behind closed doors as victims rarely speak up.

The platform set up at Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR) inside an orange container invites visitors to a dark, cold room to listen to a five-minute heart-wrenching soundtrack of a woman who is abused by her alcoholic husband.

The audio narrative, based on a true story, is done by an actor, but captures in vivid detail mental trauma faced by a woman from her abusive husband, a man everyone thought was an ideal partner. She had to always surrender to him and keep quiet for the good of her family, but at one point she tells listeners she decided to speak about it.

The touching and emotional soundtrack is part of the Orange Campaign to raise awareness of violence against women, under the slogan, “Speak Up! Silence Covers Violence.”

It urges women to contact authorities and seek help by calling the helpline number, 800111.

Organised for the first time in the UAE, the campaign — which runs until this weekend — joins hands with the United Nations international campaign to stem violence against women.

“Seven out of 10 women experience violence in their lifetime, according to the UN,” said Fatima Al Falasi, the project manager, who was behind the concept. “Through this platform, we wanted to provoke people’s emotions by getting them inside the victim’s shoe and making them experience the pain she goes through for keeping silent,” she said.

Al Falasi said that it might not be them experiencing violence, but it could be someone they know. “They can think about that person and encourage them to seek help. More women are speaking up about domestic violence, so it’s a good sign but we still need to do more.”

Over 1,500 cases of domestic violence against women have been reported to the DFWC during the last seven years. The cases involved Dubai women residents over the age of 18, who come from different nationalities and have faced physical, emotional, or psychological domestic violence by men in their families.

Al Falasi added there is no country in the world which is free of violence against women. Over 600 million women live in countries where domestic violence is not yet considered a crime. “People need to identify signs and symptoms of abuse on the people they know, because there are some identifiable health effects, including social ones. Our brochures are available for people to pick up and our foundation is there to provide immediate intervention, psychological help and shelter to women who suffer from domestic violence.”

On Thursday, many visitors walked out of the container in tears.

Al Falasi said a couple were both in tears because the wife remembered her abusive ex-husband and her current husband remembered his mum being abused by his father when he was a child.

Shamma Al Falasi, who heard the soundtrack said the session brought home the pain of victims vividly as she closed her eyes and listened. “Although I haven’t experienced domestic violence, but I felt her pain. If I knew someone who’s getting abused, I will not allow them to stay quiet,” she said.

Madura Nayagam and his wife Sumithra were also touched by the soundtrack and said: “It was a short presentation, but it got to us immediately. We are aware of such things and if we know someone we will help them.”

Orange lights are being lit up in JBR for residents to identify the campaign and Al Falasi said the container will be moving to different places in a few months. The foundation will also continue to organise lectures and events for the same cause.

http://gulfnews.com/news/uae/culture/inside-a-container-visitors-hear-story-of-an-abused-woman-1.1635360

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Bahrain puts spotlight on women’s status

December 11, 2015

Manama: As the six heads of delegations sat around the impressive table in the august hall, the gender split was clear.

Only one woman was representing her country at the annual Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) meeting of the heads of foreign media while five men represented the other members.

The GCC, established in 1981, comprises Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

“It may raise brows, but the percentage is exactly the same as the that of the women attending the World Economic Forum (WEF) at Davos, which has now stuck at 17 per cent for the past few years,” Khawla, a Bahraini woman, said.

For Bahrain, being represented by a woman at the national level even within the GCC is not unusual or a breakthrough in its traditions.

Maysa Al Dhawadi has been representing Bahrain at such meetings for the last three years after she took over from another woman, Noor Al Rumaihi.

And whenever there is now a group picture for the GCC foreign media heads, Maysa is the only woman.

When the GCC Days were held in the Japanese capital in April, Maysa was the only woman standing with 23 men standing on the stage. And she did not feel intimidated in any way as she oozed self-confidence.

For Bahraini women, taking centre stage or holding high positions has become an accomplished fact. In fact, Bahraini women today talk more about partnerships with men in the nation-building process and in exerting professional efforts at all levels.

Formal knowledge acquisition, political rights, opportunities to vote and run in elections and chances to hold advanced positions in institutions and companies are facts of life that are now deeply-rooted in the collective consciousness of the people and in all legal texts.

Pioneer

Bahrain, often cited as a pioneer in the region in championing women’s rights, has been pressing for a greater political, economic and social empowerment of women across all areas.

“Bahrain is constantly striving to involve women alongside men in the nation-building process based on the belief that women are a key element in the development of the country,” King Hamad Bin Eisa Al Khalifa said last year. “Bahrain is also eager to open wider areas for Bahraini women to serve their country in the political, economic and social areas. Bahraini women are efficient and competent and they have an important role in the development and prosperity of their homeland and in bringing up their children and offering them sound guidance,” the King said.

The women’s rights movement started in the 20th century, but it was consolidated at the official level by the establishment in 2001 of the Supreme Council for Women, the entity tasked with elevating the status of women in the kingdom and ensuring they receive their fair share in both rights and duties.

National strategies to empower women politically, socially and economically were designed and implemented. Companies were motivated to hire more women staff and to advance and promote women to higher positions through national rewards.

Women were trained on all aspects of participating in elections and were encouraged to take part in running and voting to ensure their voices and voted counted.

While in 2002, it was a novelty in the modern history of Bahrain, the sight of women campaigning to be elected has now become highly familiar.

Within ministries, several women have been promoted to advanced positions and many private companies today pride themselves on appointing women to top levels.

The 2014 joint report by the Organization for Economic Development (OECD) and the Centre of Arab Woman for Training and Research, an advocacy group for the improvement of women’s status and of data collection, indicators and statistics, said that Bahrain had the highest percentage of women in senior and middle management positions in the public sector among the countries studied in the region.

The percentage of women employed in the public sector in administrative senior positions was 45 per cent, a figure that exceeds the 29.1 per cent regional average for MENA countries. In addition, Bahraini women’s share of public middle management positions at 59 per cent surpasses that of men.

The rising profile of Bahraini women was internationally acknowledged when Shaikha Haya Bint Rashid Al Khalifa was elected president of the 61st United Nations General Assembly in June 2006.

Women in high positions

Bahrain has several women who hold high positions as ministers, ambassadors, diplomats, and judges.

“When we mention Bahrain, we are talking about a country that has, thanks to the reforms launched by His Majesty King Hamad, been witnessing high levels of women’s empowerment,” Maysa said at a GCC Forum.

“Bahraini women have been essential partners in drawing up and implementing plans and programmes for a comprehensive development of the country. They have had a pivotal role in the nation-building process, thanks to their full political and economic rights enshrined in the constitution and in laws that promote and defend equality and equal opportunities in line with international standards and criteria. We value highly the efforts of the Supreme Council for Women to elevate the status of Bahraini women and to empower them politically, economically and socially,” Maysa said.

Under an initiative by Princess Sabeeka Bint Ebrahim Al Khalifa, wife of King Hamad and Chairwoman of the Supreme Council for Women, December 1 was designated as the Bahraini Women’s Day so that the nation in unison pays tribute to women.

The day was last week again celebrated with great fanfare and outstanding women were publicly recognized for their work and contributions.

Last week, King Hamad commended the crucial role of Bahraini women in the kingdom’s development process and emphasised Bahrain’s commitment to providing full support to them as they continue their progress.

However, Bahrainis are not falling into self-complacency. They are well aware that while several miles have been covered, the way ahead is still long and arduous at times.

An international conference on ‘’ Women in Public Life: From Policies to Impact” held this week stressed the importance of formulating national guidance instruments that would be assist policymakers in Bahrain on how to use existing parliamentary tools in following up the efforts to raise levels of women’s development and close any gaps.

http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/bahrain/bahrain-puts-spotlight-on-women-s-status-1.1635517

 

URL:http://newageislam.com/islam,-women-and-feminism/new-age-islam-news-bureau/man-spits-at-american-muslim-women;-tells-her-to-get-off-bus/d/105572

 

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