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Women in Islam
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kmaherali



Joined: 27 Mar 2003
Posts: 17104

PostPosted: Mon Oct 12, 2015 8:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Review Essays

Journal of Persianate Studies


Paul E. Walker, The Fatimid Caliph al-ʿAziz and His Daughter Sitt al-Mulk: A Case of Delayed but Eventual Succession to Rule by a Woman

In his youth the future al-Aziz, then merely the third son of the caliph al-Muizz, acquired a concubine, most likely a Greek-speaking captive, and produced with her a daughter who was to become the famous Sitt al-Mulk. Not only did her mother remain al-Aziz’s favorite long after he rose
to the Fatimid throne in 975, she remained so until her death twenty years later, and the daughter continued throughout to hold a claim on his attention many considered unusually intense and extraordinary. This favor, combined with her own political acumen and sharp intelligence, enabled Sitt al-Mulk to exercise authority throughout her lifetime until she finally became the real ruler of the empire upon the disappearance of her eccentric half-brother, al-Hākim, in 1021. Drawing on chronicles written by both Fatimid and anti-Fatimid historians, this article considers the context for Sitt al-Mulk’s rise to power amid the unusual dynamics of the Fatimid royal family. It reveals the implausibility of accounts that attempt to discredit her and demonstrates that when at last she governed the empire, she did so quite competently through a difficult time of transition.

http://www.brill.com/sites/default/files/ftp/downloads/JPS_5yr_anniversary_brochure.pdf
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kmaherali



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PostPosted: Thu Oct 22, 2015 7:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A child bride at 10, Afghanistan's youngest female rapper breaks silence through music

A “good girl” in Afghanistan is one who keeps quiet about all matters concerning her. A “good girl” won’t talk about her future. A “good girl” should listen to her family, even if they force her to marry a man of their choice.

“A good girl means you should be a doll; everyone can play with you and you have no say in it,” says 18-year-old Sonita Alizadeh at London’s Women of the World summit last week.

Escaping the shackles of child marriage at the tender age of 10, Sonita decided to go against the norms of Afghan culture and create a future for herself unlike her female counterparts.

And how did she fight for her rights? By becoming the youngest female rapper in Afghanistan.

Although she was interested in making music, Alizadeh was priced at $9,000 so that her brother could buy himself a bride. Her only question to her mother was “Don’t you care about my feelings? My wasted potential?” and her mother, who was married at 13, was as helpless as her, “I have no other way,” she responded to her daughter.

“I realised against my brother, I have no value. And they couldn’t understand me,” said the young girl in an interview with BBC reporter Zarghuna Kargar. And so she decided to help herself and make her own future.

After fleeing the war in Afghanistan, Sonita worked as a bathroom cleaner at an NGO in Iran. There she learned to read and write, gaining inspiration from American rapper Eminem and Iranian rapper Yas.

She wrote her first song Brides for Sale (2014) and uploaded it on YouTube. The video shows faux bruises and marks on her face, including a bar code on her forehead to symbolise that she is a price tag in this world and holds no value as a female. Her inspiration for the video came from her friend who was married at a young age and was victim to domestic violence.

“We were talking about how the music video should be, and one of my friends sitting next to me, had bruises on her face and she was quiet. When I looked at her, I imagined the music video in my mind and I wanted to show the horror story of millions of girls around the world,” explained Sonita.

Her husband beat her and other women told her it’s probably her fault

Her video gained traction and she was soon offered a full scholarship to study music at Wasatch Academy in Utah. Her music is her way of fighting and standing up for women all around the world who are subject to child marriage. Even her mother has since changed her views on the matter and is now a fan of her daughter’s song.


PHOTO: FACEBOOK/SONITAALIZADEH

“It was a terrible dream for my mother, she would always tell me, you’re shameless if you decide to sing. But when my mother watched the video, she called me and she said ‘it was good’… now she is a fan,” she recalled.

Her life has been documented in a film titled Sonita, which is set to premiere at the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam.

Here’s a clip from the documentary:

http://tribune.com.pk/story/976609/a-child-bride-at-10-afghanistans-youngest-female-rapper-breaks-silence-through-music/


This article originally appeared on Scoopwhoop
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kmaherali



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PostPosted: Mon Nov 02, 2015 12:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In Saudi Arabia, Where Women’s Suffrage Is a New Idea

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — In December, women in Saudi Arabia will run for public office and vote for the first time. In theory, that should count as an advance for female empowerment in this ultraconservative country, but the reality is more ambiguous.

Nassima al-Sadah, a prominent human rights advocate and a leader of the movement to allow women to drive, has declared her candidacy for a municipal council seat (the only positions women may run for), set up a campaign committee and held workshops to encourage other women to get involved. “Men have to know that women must sit beside them in every decision-making and that their voices should be heard,” she said when I visited her home recently in Qatif in the Eastern Province.

So far, though, of the 4.5 million eligible female voters, only 132,000 registered by the cutoff date and about 1,000 women are running as candidates, compared with 6,428 men.

More...
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/02/opinion/in-saudi-arabia-where-womens-suffrage-is-a-new-idea.html?emc=edit_th_20151102&nl=todaysheadlines&nlid=71987722
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kmaherali



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PostPosted: Mon Dec 14, 2015 12:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In Milestone, Saudis Elect First Women to Councils

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — In elections that allowed Saudi women to vote and run for office for the first time, more than a dozen women won seats on local councils in different parts of the country, officials said on Sunday.

While the move was hailed by some as a new step into the public sphere by women in this religious and conservative monarchy, the local councils have limited powers and the new female members will make up less than 1 percent of the elected council members nationwide.

The participation of women in the vote was a milestone in a very gradual social shift for a country that deprives women of many basic rights, barring them from driving and from making many important decisions without the approval of a male relative.

Yet attitudes have shifted as more women have begun working outside the home and the kingdom’s youthful and well-connected population has become better acquainted with the rest of the world.

More....
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/14/world/middleeast/saudi-arabia-women-elections.html?emc=edit_th_20151214&nl=todaysheadlines&nlid=71987722&_r=0

*****
Cartoon: Saudi Arabian Roadblock

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/15/opinion/cartoon-saudi-arabian-roadblock.html?ribbon-ad-idx=11&rref=opinion
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kmaherali



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Posts: 17104

PostPosted: Fri Jan 29, 2016 8:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Women in Art, by Taslim Samji

The role of women in the art world throughout many eastern civilizations, such as the Muslim sphere of influence, has clear distinctions and similarities from that of the Western world. In the past, prior to the 20th century, women of the Western world played a strong role as patrons of the arts: those with stature and privilege played a larger role and might be recorded in history for their innovative ideas and sources of inspiration. These women gave shape to commissioned works, such as a painting or a structure, reflecting on the conditions of their present time in history.

Similarly, Muslim women of stature have made a huge impact in the arts in regions such as Yemen, Syria, Turkey and Central Asia. Muslim women have shaped the architecture of these Muslim civilizations through patronage. Their countries and regions have some of the most beautiful mosques and structures.

Read more at the source (PDF): ArtbySamji

via Arts Council of Surrey. Art by Samji

https://ismailimail.wordpress.com/2016/01/29/women-in-art-by-taslim-samji/
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kmaherali



Joined: 27 Mar 2003
Posts: 17104

PostPosted: Mon Feb 22, 2016 11:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Why does China have women-only mosques?

The Islamic world is wide and various, its points of view almost as numerous as its people. And Islam in China, with its long tradition of women-only mosques, provides a good illustration, says Michael Wood.

http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-35629565
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kmaherali



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PostPosted: Sat Feb 27, 2016 9:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

WEBCAST: Ismaili Centre to host talk on women in Afghanistan

Nurjehan Mawani and Shireen Rahmani will feature in a talk on Women and the future of Afghanistan at the Ismaili Centre, London on 3 March 2016.

Ismaili Centre London


International Women’s Day will be marked at the Ismaili Centre, London with a discussion on Women and the future of Afghanistan that will take place on Thursday, 3 March 2016.

The event will be webcast at TheIsmaili.org/live, and is expected to start soon after 8:15 PM GMT (London time).

Nurjehan Mawani, Aga Khan Development Network Representative for Afghanistan will discuss how the AKDN is helping to shape a stronger Afghanistan by placing inclusivity and women's participation at the heart of its endeavours.

Shireen Rahmani, Director of Human Resources at Roshan Telecom will share insights about professional life for women in Afghanistan, and how she became a director at one of its leading corporations.

Meena Baktash, Head of the BBC Afghan Service will then join the speakers in conversation for what promises to be a thought- provoking and inspiring evening.

The event is being organised by the Aga Khan Foundation and the Women’s Activities Portfolio of the Ismaili Council for the United Kingdom.

Nurjehan Mawani

In her role as the Aga Khan Development Network Resident Representative for Afghanistan, Nurjehan Mawani has guided AKDN’s engagement through a period of transition while facilitating and coordinating the development activities of the AKDN agencies and institutions with the objective of improving the quality of life of the people of Afghanistan. Prior to this, she served as AKDN Resident Representative for the Kyrgyz Republic.

Mrs Mawani has also had a distinguished career with the Canadian Public Service including as the Chairperson and CEO of Canada’s largest tribunal, the Immigration and Refugee Board. In honouring a lifetime of dedication to the community and service to the nation, she received the Order of Canada. Over her career Mrs. Mawani has received numerous awards for her work and in 2012 was honoured with the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.

Shireen Rahmani

Shireen Rahmani has been with Roshan Telecommunications since 2003. Under her leadership, Roshan’s Human Resources department has applied successful strategies aimed at building local capacity, recruiting and training a new generation of young Afghan leaders. Mrs Rahmani has also helped recruit and train female staff members who now form almost 19 per cent of Roshan’s workforce and 18 per cent of the company’s management, a considerable achievement in Afghanistan.

In 2015, Shireen became the first Afghan woman to be recognised as one of the 100 most talented Global HR leaders at the World Human Resource Development Congress in India.

http://www.theismaili.org/ismailicentres/london/webcast-host-talk-women-afghanistan
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kmaherali



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PostPosted: Tue Mar 08, 2016 9:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In Honor of International Women’s Day (March 8 – 12 )Inspiring Ismaili Women

March 8, 2016 – A. Maherali for Ismailimail: It is said that to measure a nation’s or community’s progress one needs to look how material and moral investments are made to empower women and youths.

For empowering and educating women leads to empowering whole families, communities and nations, and empowering and educating youths secures the successful trajectory of tomorrow’s leaders, since youths are leaders of tomorrow.

It is with this sentiment that we pay tribute to all women with a selection of our inspiring Ismaili women, who represent thousands more, all of them providing a source of strength and wisdom – an example in practice of what is possible … role models for all of us.

Top (L-R): Almas Jiwani, Nurjehan Mawani, Mobina Jaffer, Samina Baig, Sabrina Premji, Yasmin Ratanshi.
Bottom (L-R): Farida Virani, Anar Simpson, Alyna Nanji, Salima Visram, Farah Mohamed, Karima Velji. ■Almas Jiwani, UN Women National Committe Canada President
■Alyna Nanji, One Billion Rising Child Activist
■Anar Simpson, Technology Entrepreneur & Technovation Global Ambassador
■Farah Mohamed, G(irls)20 Founder & CEO
■Dr. Farida Virani, India’s Professor, MET Business School
■Karima Velji, Canadian Nurses Association President
■Mobina Jaffer, Canada’s Senator
■Nurjehan Mawani, AKDN Resident Representative
■Sabrina Premji, Chief Exploration Officer of Kidogo – a social enterprise
■Salima Visram, Kenya’s Soular Backpack Founder
■Samina Baig, Pakistan’s Mountaineer
■Yasmin Ratanshi, Member of Canada’s Parliament

/ismailimail.wordpress.com/2016/03/08/in-honor-of-international-womens-day-march-8-12-inspiring-ismaili-women/

******
Global Views >> International Women’s Day
The overlooked challenge of development
By Ann Hudock for DevEx 08 March 2016

To succeed in this ambition we need to do three things:

First, instead of reconstructing the old order post-conflict, we need to build on the platform of new opportunities that women have created. Unless and until we design post-conflict assistance strategies that protect, preserve and deepen the economic spaces that women carve out organically during conflict, we will be rebuilding on a faulty foundation.

Second, we need to invest in research that tells us what happens for women during war in terms of livelihoods they create and what opportunities open up to them when men are less present to fill these same jobs. We also need to know more about what cultural shifts take place, what gender boundaries blur or disappear for women, and — significantly — what effect that has on their economic enterprise.

Women’s economic activities during conflict are often in the informal sector and involve self-employment rather than wage earning. For example, in Sierra Leone, men actively recruited women into breadwinning roles so that men were free to fight and the women were able to fund them.

Finally, economic empowerment for women post-conflict requires more than economic engagement. Women need access to land and land rights, political representation, savings, leadership training, and psychosocial support. There are important roles here for the private sector, post-war reconstruction generally and women’s economic empowerment specifically.

Given the informal nature of women’s economic participation, we know very little about what allows them to parlay the roles and opportunities that open up to them in conflict and war, and to leverage these for longer-term economic advancement.

ismailimail.wordpress.com/2016/03/08/in-honor-of-international-womens-day-march-8-an-overlooked-opportunity/
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kmaherali



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PostPosted: Fri May 06, 2016 10:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting phenomenon in the Muslim world, though it would be concerning if this trend translates into reckless sexual behavior and lose social/family values.

Sex Talk for Muslim Women

CAIRO — After I gave a reading in Britain last year, a woman stood in line as I signed books. When it was her turn, the woman, who said she was from a British Muslim family of Arab origin, knelt down to speak so that we were at eye level.

“I, too, am fed up with waiting to have sex,” she said, referring to the experience I had related in the reading. “I’m 32 and there’s no one I want to marry. How do I get over the fear that God will hate me if I have sex before marriage?”

I hear this a lot. My email inbox is jammed with messages from women who, like me, are of Middle Eastern and Muslim descent. They write to vent about how to “get rid of this burden of virginity,” or to ask about hymen reconstruction surgery if they’re planning to marry someone who doesn’t know their sexual history, or just to share their thoughts about sex.

Countless articles have been written on the sexual frustration of men in the Middle East — from the jihadi supposedly drawn to armed militancy by the promise of virgins in the afterlife to ordinary Arab men unable to afford marriage. Far fewer stories have given voice to the sexual frustration of women in the region or to an honest account of women’s sexual experiences, either within or outside marriage.

I am not a cleric, and I am not here to argue over what religion says about sex. I am an Egyptian, Muslim woman who waited until she was 29 to have sex and has been making up for lost time. My upbringing and faith taught me that I should abstain until I married. I obeyed this until I could not find anyone I wanted to marry and grew impatient. I have come to regret that it took my younger self so long to rebel and experience something that gives me so much pleasure.

We barely acknowledge the sexual straitjacket we force upon women. When it comes to women, especially Muslim women in the Middle East, the story seems to begin and end with the debate about the veil. Always the veil. As if we don’t exist unless it’s to express a position on the veil.

So where are the stories on women’s sexual frustrations and experiences? I spent much of last year on a book tour that took me to 12 countries. Everywhere I went — from Europe and North America to India, Nigeria and Pakistan — women, including Muslim women, readily shared with me their stories of guilt, shame, denial and desire. They shared because I shared.

“Where are the stories on women’s sexual frustrations and experiences?” Mona Eltahawy asks about women of Middle Eastern and Muslim descent. Tell us about the taboos you have learned to live with, or let go of, in the comments. We may highlight your response in a follow-up to this piece.

Many cultures and religions prescribe the abstinence that was indoctrinated in me. When I was teaching at the University of Oklahoma in 2010, one of my students told the class that she had signed a purity pledge with her father, vowing to wait until she married before she had sex. It was a useful reminder that a cult of virginity is specific neither to Egypt, my birthplace, nor to Islam, my religion. Remembering my struggles with abstinence and being alone with that, I determined to talk honestly about the sexual frustration of my 20s, how I overcame the initial guilt of disobedience, and how I made my way through that guilt to a positive attitude toward sex.

It has not been easy for my parents to hear their daughter talk so frankly about sex, but it has opened up a world of other women’s experiences. In many non-Western countries, speaking about such things is scorned as “white” or “Western” behavior. But when sex is surrounded by silence and taboo, it is the most vulnerable who are hurt, especially girls and sexual minorities.

In New York, a Christian Egyptian-American woman told me how hard it was for her to come out to her family. In Washington, a young Egyptian woman told the audience that her family didn’t know she was a lesbian. In Jaipur, a young Indian talked about the challenge of being gender nonconforming; and in Lahore, I met a young woman who shared what it was like to be queer in Pakistan.

My notebooks are full of stories like these. I tell friends I could write the manual on how to lose your virginity.

Many of the women who share them with me, I realize, enjoy some privilege, be it education or an independent income. It is striking that such privilege does not always translate into sexual freedom, nor protect women if they transgress cultural norms.

But the issue of sex affects all women, not just those with money or a college degree. Sometimes, I hear the argument that women in the Middle East have enough to worry about simply struggling with literacy and employment. To which my response is: So because someone is poor or can’t read, she shouldn’t have consent and agency, the right to enjoy sex and her own body?

The answer to that question is already out there, in places like the blog Adventures From the Bedroom of African Women, founded by the Ghana-based writer Nana Darkoa Sekyiamah, and the Mumbai-based Agents of Ishq, a digital project on sex education and sexual life. These initiatives prove that sex-positive attitudes are not the province only of so-called white feminism. As the writer Mitali Saran put it, in an anthology of Indian women’s writing: “I am not ashamed of being a sexual being.”

My revolution has been to develop from a 29-year-old virgin to the 49-year-old woman who now declares, on any platform I get: It is I who own my body. Not the state, the mosque, the street or my family. And it is my right to have sex whenever, and with whomever, I choose.


Mona Eltahawy (@monaeltahawy) is the author of “Headscarves and Hymens: Why the Middle East Needs a Sexual Revolution,” and a contributing opinion writer.

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/06/opinion/sex-talk-for-muslim-women.html?emc=edit_ty_20160506&nl=opinion&nlid=71987722&_r=0
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kmaherali



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PostPosted: Fri Jun 03, 2016 9:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Arab women before and after Islam: Opening the door of pre-Islamic Arabian history

http://www.arabhumanists.org/arab-women-pre-islam/

Extract:

Conclusion

Two arguments are being made in this essay: 1] the condition of women in pre-Islamic Arabia depended on which tribe they belonged to – not all women were mistreated, in fact some were far more empowered before Islam than afterward…these reports all exist in Muslim sources; 2] Islam did not choose the more women-empowering pre-existing cultural mores to lay down laws regarding women. It appears that the Islamic laws related to women, while striving for some form of compassion for women, are consistently formed in ways to benefit men, and the focus of many of these laws has been to satisfy the almost obsessive interest of Islam in paternity. Muslim gender equality activists argue that early male scholars deliberately misinterpreted the Quran, but their entire premise is based on the belief that Islam universally improved the situation of women who lived in the gloomy, unjust, pre-Islamic darkness. Without this naïve supposition (that we have seen is a false belief), their entire argument crumbles to dust. Some Muslims have already begun to realise this:

“I have become only further convinced that if Muslim women are to come fully to terms with cases in which the Qur’anic text lends itself to meanings that are detrimental to them, we must begin to confront those meanings more honestly, without resorting to apologetic explanations for them, or engaging in interpretive manipulations to force egalitarian meanings from the text. Furthermore, I have also come to believe firmly that we must begin to radically reimagine the nature of the Qur’an’s revelation and divinity.” – Hidayatullah (2014, p. viii).

As more and more historians reconsider the condition of pre-Islamic women, it will become exceedingly difficult for Muslim scholars to defend the supposed gender egalitarianism in Islam without radically reimagining the nature of the Qur’an’s revelation and divinity.
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kmaherali



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PostPosted: Fri Jun 10, 2016 9:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pakistan's Diana hunts for glory in cricket -- and football

By AFP Published: June 8, 2016

THE EXPRESS TRIBUNE > SPORTS


Diana Baig shifts restlessly in her seat, checking her watch every few seconds at an awards ceremony after leading her cricket team to victory. Soon she has to play a football match at another venue, and time is ticking.

Baig is no stranger to the pressure. The talented 20-year-old plays for Pakistan’s national team in both cricket and football, representing the country as one of the “Girls in Green” at the recent World Twenty20 tournament in India in between practicing her penalty shoot-out skills.

“It was an honour to be selected for the T20 squad,” she says, in between glances at her watch.

She did not make the starting team, but being at the tournament — even from the sidelines — was “very encouraging for me — it gave me new life, a new energy”.

The 20-year-old grew up playing street cricket and football with other children in the magnificent Hunza Valley, their makeshift arenas ringed by some of the world’s tallest mountains in Pakistan’s northern Gilgit-Baltistan.

The fact that she was a girl did not matter, she says: Baig belongs to the Ismaili sect of Shia Islam, who are followers of the Aga Khan — infamous in conservative Pakistan for their moderate views.

That largely freed her from the restrictions placed on other, more conservative women in the Muslim country, where her gender is battling for greater freedom.


From the streets, Baig began playing in community events and for local teams, and by 2010 she was leading the newly-formed Gilgit-Baltistan women’s team.

Two years later, she was selected for Pakistan’s A side, and then as a reserve player for the 2013 World Cup. In 2015 she finally won her first international cap, playing for Pakistan against Bangladesh.

But Baig says she had her moments of despair along the way.

“A time came when I could not see my future bright like this,” she admits.

Being selected for the A side changed all that. “After that, I started to work hard.”

Her journey to the forefront of Pakistani women’s football was even more dramatic.

In cricket-obsessed Pakistan, football — especially women’s football — finds itself largely unable to compete in the popularity stakes.

But while playing cricket in Islamabad in 2010, Baig tried out for the Gilgit-Baltistan football team on a whim after friends told her they needed players.

She made into the team and, to her disbelief, in 2014 was selected to play for Pakistan at the SAFF Championships in Bahrain.

She has been a member of the starting 11 as a defender ever since, she says, unable to hide her excitement.

Baig has had to fight harder for her cricket career.

Unlike in men’s cricket, Pakistan’s women’s players are not contracted and are selected on a match by match basis from lower-ranked teams, such as the several hundred playing at the provincial level.

That means that there were times when Baig was in — and times when she was out.

Fighting to keep her place was complicated by the fact that — again, unlike the men — Pakistan’s women have no regular facilities or practice time, meaning Baig was forced to rely on training with her university team to keep up to international standard.

But her selection for the World T20 meant the hard work on the playing fields at the Lahore College for Women University had paid off.

“It is because of this college, this ground, because regular practice is very important,” she says.

Now Baig is fighting to maintain a crucial balance between her sporting dreams and an education.

“It becomes very hard,” she says.

“I try to start from football… I play football in the morning, then our cricket training starts around 11 or 12 noon and continues until 3:00 pm or 4:00 pm.”

After that, she says, she heads to her university hostel for food and drink. “I start studying during the night, continuing until late.”

Women’s cricket is growing in popularity in Pakistan, she says, with corporations such as mobile companies increasingly arranging sports events.

The women’s team received unprecedented support from Pakistani fans disillusioned by the men’s dismal performance during the World T20 in India, with the hashtag #GirlsinGreen trending.

With cricket taking up more and more time, her studies — she is on a full scholarship at the university, where she is in her first semester of a health and physical education degree — are suffering, Baig admits. “But one has to manage it.”

Though determined, she knows that one day she will have to choose.

When asked which path she will take, she laughed.

“You know, in Asia, there is more charm in cricket,” she says, acknowledging her playing for the football team is the harder road.

She adds: “I see my future better in cricket.”


Read more: Cricket , Diana Baig , Football

http://tribune.com.pk/story/1118725/pakistans-diana-hunts-glory-cricket-football/
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shiraz.virani



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PostPosted: Sat Jun 11, 2016 10:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So I dunno where else to post this, been a long time so I hope everyone is doing ok on here icon_smile.gif

So recently while browsing on the net I came across this picture of zehra agakhan dated 1996.

In the picture she is seen smoking a cigarette and a glass of liquor on the table. Just curious to know if that pic is for real or fake (morphed)

It was supposedly taken at "paddy miles wedding" in 1996

Can somebody help me with this ?
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kmaherali



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PostPosted: Tue Jul 19, 2016 9:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

18 Extremely Offensive Things Women in Pakistan Have Ever Done

Women in Pakistan are extremely offensive and something needs to be done about this predicament. They affront the misogynists, they speak up, show courage and they have the audacity to live and breath among men.

Be it Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy winning an Oscar for the country or the “bodily motions” of a girls anatomy in a harmless TV commercial, offensive is all that a woman does. It’s like they’re looking for ways to ruin the honor of everyone around them and just create an imbalance in the society.

What our charming chauvinists seem to forget is that Pakistani women have been offensive to their notions of societal norms throughout history. Following are few of the extremely offensive things women in Pakistan have (thankfully) done:

More....
http://www.mangobaaz.com/pakistani-women-are-offensive/
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kmaherali



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PostPosted: Sat Sep 03, 2016 1:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Way People Look at Us Has Changed’: Muslim Women on Life in Europe

The storm over bans on burkinis in more than 30 French beach towns has all but drowned out the voices of Muslim women, for whom the full-body swimsuits were designed. The New York Times solicited their perspective, and the responses — more than 1,000 comments from France, Belgium and beyond — went much deeper than the question of swimwear.

What emerged was a portrait of life as a Muslim woman, veiled or not, in parts of Europe where terrorism has put people on edge. One French term was used dozens of times: “un combat,” or “a struggle,” to live day to day. Many who were born and raised in France described confusion at being told to go home.

Courts have struck down some of the bans on burkinis — the one in Nice, the site of a horrific terror attack on Bastille Day, was overturned on Thursday — but the debate is far from over.

“For years, we have had to put up with dirty looks and threatening remarks,” wrote Taslima Amar, 30, a teacher in Pantin, a suburb of Paris. “I’ve been asked to go back home (even though I am home).” Now, Ms. Amar said, she and her husband were looking to leave France.

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http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/03/world/europe/burkini-ban-muslim-women.html?emc=edit_th_20160903&nl=todaysheadlines&nlid=71987722
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 22, 2016 7:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Press Release: Canadian Muslim Women Who Inspire 2016

For immediate release September 22, 2016

Canadian Muslim Women Who Inspire 2016

Toronto, ON: The Canadian Council of Muslim Women (CCMW) will honour six outstanding Canadian Muslim women at its annual Women Who Inspire awards and scholarship fundraiser in Toronto on September 25, 2016.

This year’s honourees include an artist and curator of a northern art gallery, a leader in public policy, an advocate for health and physical education, instructor and an advocate for victims of violence, a feminist diversity advocate and a mental health and inmates’ rights educator and activist.

The recipients of this year’s Women Who Inspire awards:
•Salima Ebrahim: Executive Director of the Banff Forum, Edmonton, Alberta
•Melikie Joseph: Instructor at Fanshawe College, Victim Support Worker for the London Police Services, London, Ontario
•Nadia Kurd: Curator at the Thunder Bay Art Gallery, Thunder Bay, Ontario
•Rabea Murtaza: Founder of Muslims for Ontario’s Health and Physical Education Curriculum, Toronto, Ontario
•Jenny Ratansi-Rodrigues: Director General and Corporate Secretary for the Department of Canadian Heritage, Ottawa, Ontario
•Farhat Rehman: Co-founder of MOMS Ottawa (Mothers Offering Mutual Support), Ottawa, ON.

In addition to recognizing the honourees above, the Council will present a scholarship to a Canadian Muslim woman pursuing post-secondary education in disciplines ranging from epidemiology to urban planning. The scholarship is awarded in honour of CCMW’s founder Dr. Lila Fahlman.
•Hind Sadiqi: Student at the University of Montreal in nutrition and founder of Nutritionist of the World.

Read all the winners’ bios here.
http://ccmw.com/press-release-canadian-muslim-women-who-inspire-2016/
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 25, 2016 1:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Muslim women testing traditional boundaries

A Jordanian woman has transformed herself from housewife to licensed plumber, breaking gender barriers, in a country and a region where most women don't work outside the home. (Oct. 25)

VIDEO

http://www.msn.com/en-ca/video/viral/muslim-women-testing-traditional-boundaries/vi-AAjmk5i?ocid=mailsignout
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 10, 2016 7:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

November 13: Gender Justice in Islam

Presented by Dr. Zahra N. Jamal, Associate Director at Rice University's Boniuk Institute


Islam is often seen today as a religion that subordinates, oppresses, and discriminates against women. However, Muslims themselves often argue that the "real" Islam liberates, lauds, and protects women. Muslims and non-Muslims are reaching different conclusions on this issue. Some reject Islam altogether, others reject the way that the Quran, the Muslim Holy Book, has been interpreted, while still others embrace the traditional role of women articulated in earlier interpretations of the Quran. In these discussions, the question of gender equality in Islam is central, and specific practices like veiling and polygamy are the subject of debate as examples of gender (in)equality. In this class, we will learn about gender equality in Islam, as articulated in the Quran, and as interpreted by various people, including feminist scholars, religious leaders (imams), and "everyday" Muslims in a range of contexts, from the US to Egypt to Iran.

Dr. Zahra Jamal is Associate Director at Boniuk Institute for Religious Tolerance at Rice University. She has taught at Harvard, MIT, University of Chicago, Michigan State University (MSU), and Palmer Trinity. She founded and directed the Civil Islam Initiative at University of Chicago and the Central Asia and International Development Initiative at MSU. As well, Dr. Jamal served as Assistant Director of the Center for the Study of American Muslims at the DC-based think tank, The Institute for Social Policy and Understanding. She has consulted for the UN, State Department, Aga Khan Development Network, Swiss Development Cooperation, and Aspen Institute. Dr. Jamal received her Ph.D. in Social Anthropology and Middle Eastern Studies from Harvard, and double B.A. in Slavic Studies and Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies from Rice University.

http://saintphilip.net/Church_andSociety.html

******
Muhammad Was A Feminist

The prophet Muhammad would be appalled by how current Islamic Fundamentalists are treating women under their control. This suppression is done in the name of Islamic Law, known as Sharia. But the current suppression of women is shaped by cultural and history. It has little basis in the Quran and it is certainly not consistent with anything we know about what Muhammad taught or how he treated women. Of all the founders of the great religions - Buddhism, Christianity, Confucianism, Islam and Judaism — Muhammad was easily the most radical and empowering in his treatment of women. Arguably he was history’s first feminist.

This is of critical importance because if there is one single thing that Arabs and Muslims could do to reform and re-vitalize their crisis ridden cultures, it would be to liberate their women and provide them with the full rights women are enjoying in more and more countries around the world. Women’s equality is key to a real Arab Spring.

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http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jim-garrison/muhammad-was-a-feminist_b_12638112.html
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2017 3:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Farah Nasser – Redefining Muslim Women on TV

Farah Nasser brings extensive experience to her role as anchor on Global News at 5:30 & 6. Nasser began her career with RogersTV before accepting a position with Newstalk 1010 in 1999. There she started as a producer and worked her way up into a reporting role. Next, Nasser made the move to Toronto 1 where she worked as a journalist for two years before joining /A\ Channel News in Barrie, reporting for the Toronto Bureau. In 2006, she joined Citytv as a reporter and later became a weekend anchor. Prior to her position with Global News, Nasser was an anchor and reporter for CP24. Nasser has been informing viewers across the GTA for more than a decade. Among her career highlights are the Air France crash in 2005, G20 Summit in 2010 and the Toronto 18 terror trials. She’s a political veteran having covered municipal, provincial and federal elections.

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http://muslimlink.ca/in-focus/farah-nasser
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 23, 2017 9:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Samina Baig leads first national women winter expedition to Shimshal peak

Pakistan Youth Outreach, in collaboration with Karakorum Expeditions Pvt Ltd, initiated a national women winter expedition to an unnamed and unclimbed peak, for the first time in Pakistan’s mountaineering history.

National women winter expedition was led by Pakistan’s renowned and only female mountaineer Samina Baig. The expedition was initially planned to 6050m peak in the Shimshal Pamir region, known as “Mingligh Sar”. However, due to some logistic issues the plan was changed and the team decided to ascend an unnamed and unclimbed peak in the Boisom pass area in Gojrave valley of Shimshal in Upper Hunza, Gilgit-Baltistan.

The peak has never been climbed in the past even in the summers. Expedition in winters are challenging and have never been attempted before. This expedition was launched under the slogan of Women Empowerment, to encourage gender equality and unity among the youth/women across Pakistan. Women winter mountaineering aims to break barriers and stereotypes prevalent for women in Pakistan and encourage young Pakistani women to pursue mountaineering as a career choice and embark on challenging and unconventional outdoor sports endeavours.

https://www.geo.tv/latest/128042-Samina-Baig-leads-first-national-women-winter-expedition-to-Shimshal-peak
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 17, 2017 6:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Saudi woman’s plea for help exposes runaways’ plight

A video of female runaway Dina Ali Lasloom's cry for help has triggered a firestorm on social media.

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES—A young Saudi woman’s plea for help after she was stopped in an airport in the Philippines en route to Australia where she planned to seek asylum has triggered a firestorm on social media and drawn attention to the plight of female runaways.

For runaway Saudi women, fleeing can be a matter of life and death, and they are almost always doing so to escape male relatives.

Under Saudi Arabia’s conservative interpretation of Islamic law, a male guardianship system bars women from travelling abroad, obtaining a passport, marrying or even leaving prison without the consent of a male relative. Most Muslim-majority countries do not have similarly restrictive guardianship laws.

The mystery around what triggered Dina Ali Lasloom’s cry for help has only added to concerns for her safety.

In a video that appears to be shot with a mobile phone, the 24-year-old says her passport was taken from her at Manila’s international airport in the Philippines on Monday on her way to Australia. She alleges that Philippine airport officials confiscated her passport at the request of Saudi diplomats until her relatives could arrive to take her to Saudi Arabia.

“If my family come, they will kill me. If I go back to Saudi Arabia, I will be dead. Please help me,” she pleads in the video. Lasloom says she is recording the video at the airport so the public “know that I’m real and here.”

Wearing a beige coat, the woman does not show her face in the video. Most women in Saudi Arabia cover their face with a veil known as a niqab. Many do so believing it is a religious obligation, in addition to covering their hair and body. Some also cover their faces due to social pressure.

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https://www.thestar.com/news/world/2017/04/16/saudi-womans-plea-for-help-exposes-runaways-plight.html
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PostPosted: Sun May 07, 2017 5:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Amplifying Women Ulama’s Voices, Asserting Values of Islam, Nationhood and Humanity

EXTRACTS

BACKGROUND

The history of Islam shows that “female ulama” (women religious scholars) play an important role in the development of Islamic thought and in society. Female ulama as well as male ulama bring the Prophet’s mission to stand up and protect the dhu’afa and mustadh’afin (the poor and the weak). The presence and the role of the ulama (religious scholars) is often mentioned as being the heirs of the Prophet (warathat al-Anbiya), that is to spread kindness and blessings for the entire universe (rahmatan lil-alamin) so as to create a peaceful, just and equitable life.

In carrying out this prophetic mission, female ulama are often experiencing various challenges, such as being denied, considered not legitimate, and even facing violence. Therefore various efforts need to be done, like: strengthening the expertise and knowledge of female ulama, networking among them, affirmation and appreciation of their work, as well as strengthening their cultural existence.

........

Therefore, there is urgent need to revitalization of the role of ulama in bringing religion down to earth to promote humanity, women’s rights, and principles of nationhood. By amplifying the voices of women ulama on the ground, we facilitate critical dialogue on theory, conceptual framework, strategy, obstacle and challenges regarding Islamic teaching and the real work of women’s empowerment and advancement of the rights of women and girls in the national and global level. The 1st Women Ulama International Forum is part of Pre Congress activity that will gather women ulama from different continents, academia and practitioners to come together on a common platform for the future works of women ulama.

OBJECTIVE

There are four objectives we would like to achieve:

•Develop common knowledge about “ulama” from the perspective of history, socio political cultural context, roles and concrete contribution of women ulama in the advancement of women and human civilization

•Facilitate a forum for women ulama overseas to share their experiences and analysis in promoting Islamic teaching in the field of women empowerment and social justice covering strategy, obstacle, and challenge in mobilizing community for social change

•Build strong analysis on critical issues relating to violence against women, child marriage, migration, and preventing violence extremism from perspective of academia, ulama and practitioners of women empowerment

•Identify strategies to further develop the knowledge base and sharpen analysis on these issues, to be used by advocates to influence policy and practice in the region

•Contribute to the formulation of religious fatwa about contemporary issues on women and Islam on the basis of lived experience of women, Islamic texts, national and global instruments

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https://kupi-cirebon.net/international-forum-women-ulama/
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 18, 2017 12:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Saudi Arabia investigates video of young woman walking in miniskirt

Saudi Arabia’s morality police has called on other agencies to investigate the video of a young Saudi woman wearing a miniskirt and crop top in public, with some calling for her arrest and others rushing to her defense.

State-linked news websites reported on Monday that officials in the deeply conservative Muslim country are looking into taking possible action against the woman, who violated the kingdom’s rules of dress. Women in Saudi Arabia must wear long, loose robes known as abayas in public. Most also cover their hair and face with a black veil, though exceptions are made for visiting dignitaries.

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http://www.msn.com/en-ca/news/world/saudi-arabia-investigates-video-of-young-woman-walking-in-miniskirt/ar-BBEEVbI?li=AAggFp5&ocid=mailsignout
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 23, 2017 7:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A New Tune on Women’s Rights in the Arab World

LONDON — “I want to tell you something, so listen to what I say. When a man is talking, a woman should obey. She shouldn’t say ‘yes’ and then forget the next day. She should appreciate his value if she wants him to stay.”

So goes the title track of “The Man,” a new album by the Egyptian singer Ramy Sabry. Since its release in June, the song seemed to strike a chord with listeners across the Middle East, amassing more than three million views on YouTube.

This summer, however, legislators in several Arab states appear to have tuned out. Over the past three months, significant legal reforms on women’s rights have advanced in a handful of countries in the Middle East and North Africa. Last week, Lebanon’s Parliament finally repealed its rape law, which allowed assailants to escape punishment if they wed their victims. Two weeks earlier, Jordan, too, closed its “marry your rapist” loophole, and has also amended an article in its penal code that granted lesser penalties for “fits of fury,” a.k.a. honor killings — none too soon for at least some of the 36 cases of women murdered last year still before the courts.

Tunisia, birthplace of the Arab Spring, has gone farthest on this front. In July, its Parliament passed a landmark legislative package on violence against women. The laws break new ground in the region by stiffening penalties for sexual violence against minors (including the removal of a “marry your rapist” provision), mandating compensation and follow-up support for survivors, and explicitly recognizing that men and boys, as well as women and girls, can be victims of rape.

When it comes to women’s rights, governments across the region are generally more comfortable with criminalizing violence than they are with protecting freedoms. But last week, President Beji Caid Essebsi of Tunisia announced a significant departure from business as usual by launching a commission on how to put laws on individual liberties and equality into practice for women, including the incendiary topic of equal inheritance between the sexes. He also urged the country’s ministry of justice to repeal the law prohibiting Muslim women from marrying non-Muslim men, one in force across the region and much of the wider Islamic world.

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https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/22/opinion/womens-rights-rape-laws-arab-world.html?em_pos=small&emc=edit_ty_20170822&nl=opinion-today&nl_art=14&nlid=45305309&ref=headline&te=1
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 03, 2017 9:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In Indonesia, 3 Muslim Girls Fight for Their Right to Play Heavy Metal

JAKARTA, Indonesia — The three teenage girls — shy and even seeming slightly embarrassed as they peer out from their Islamic head scarves — do not look much like a heavy metal band.

But a dramatic change occurs when they take the stage. All pretense of shyness or awkwardness evaporates as the group — two 17-year-olds and one 15-year-old — begin hammering away at bass, guitar and drums to create a joyous, youthful racket.

They are Voice of Baceprot, a rising band in Indonesia, a country where heavy metal is popular enough that the president is an avowed fan of bands like Metallica and Megadeth.

But beyond blowing away local audiences with their banging music, the three girls are also challenging entrenched stereotypes about gender and religious norms in the world’s most-populous Muslim-majority nation.

“Baceprot” (pronounced bachey-PROT) means “noise” in a common dialect in the West Java region, where the girls live and attend high school in a rural town, Singajaya.

They say they want to prove that they can be observant Muslims while also playing loud music and being independent.

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https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/02/world/asia/indonesia-voice-of-baceprot-girls-heavy-metal.html?emc=edit_th_20170903&nl=todaysheadlines&nlid=45305309&_r=0
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 25, 2017 9:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote


'As a Muslim, as a Canadian, as a woman': writers share first-hand stories

Azmina Kassam explores issues of identity in her personal essay in 'The Muslimah Who Fell to Earth'


A group of Canadian Muslim women have come together to create an anthology of first-hand stories exploring the diversity, and intersection, of the Islamic faith and Canadian nationality.

The contributors say that too often, Muslim women are spoken for by others and their own voices are muffled. The new book The Muslimah Who Fell to Earth is an attempt to change that by telling the stories and experiences of 21 women.

Vancouver's Azmina Kassam is one of those "Muslimah" contributors — which is the feminine word for Muslim — and she said that writing down her story was as much a chance to share her experiences as it was to explore her own identity.

"When I was approached, I thought 'What a wonderful opportunity to share with other women my story,'" Kassam told CBC's host of North By Northwest Sheryl MacKay. "The story for me was also about going into 'What is my identity? What is it to be Canadian?'"

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/the-muslimah-who-fell-to-earth-1.4294051
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 27, 2017 8:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Driving change
Saudi Arabia will finally allow women to drive

But bigger changes are needed in the ultraconservative kingdom


THE roads in Riyadh are about to undergo a historic change. On September 26th Saudi Arabia announced the end of its decades-old ban on female drivers. It is the only country in the world to have such a stricture, which became a symbol of the ultraconservative kingdom’s repression of women.

For many Saudi women, the change is long overdue. Dozens of them got behind the wheel in Riyadh in 1990 to demand more rights. Some were prosecuted or lost their government jobs. The protests resumed in 2008 and peaked soon after the Arab uprisings in 2011. “We have lived to see this day after 27 years,” said Hessa al-Sheikh, one of the original activists.

They found a supporter in the youthful crown prince, Muhammad bin Salman (or MBS, as he is called), who has an expansive plan to change Saudi society. One piece is loosening the kingdom’s social restrictions. Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of Islam, has been ruled according to a strict interpretation of sharia, or Islamic law. The legal code has also incorporated many tribal customs that were later cloaked in religion. And puritanism was pushed hard as a response to a double political shock in 1979: the siege of the Great Mosque in Mecca by Sunni extremists; and the Islamic revolution in Iran, which became ruled by radical Shia clerics.

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https://www.economist.com/news/middle-east-and-africa/21729721-bigger-changes-are-needed-ultraconservative-kingdom-saudi-arabia-will?cid1=cust/ddnew/email/n/n/20170927n/owned/n/n/ddnew/n/n/n/nna/Daily_Dispatch/email&etear=dailydispatch
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 15, 2017 9:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Islam in Hiking Sandals—and Red Spike Heels

Crossing Central Asia’s remote and rugged Pamirs, one dance step at a time.


Walking across the world—if you happen to be a man, and particularly if your route winds through conservative rural societies—can be a chronically masculine experience.

Over the past four and a half years, while covering nearly 6,000 miles on foot through three subcontinents on the Out of Eden Walk, I have struggled to recruit women guides along my trail.

Twenty-four of my local walking partners so far have been male: a colorful band of brothers that has included Ethiopian camel nomads and a retired Saudi special forces general, a Palestinian photographer and a cross-dressing Israeli singer, a Georgian high school student and a blacklisted Kazakh divorce judge. By contrast just seven women have joined my global storytelling trek out of Africa. Almost all were visiting friends or fellow journalists. And most have walked along for relatively short lengths of time. True, my route has spanned societies where the sexes don’t often mingle causally. But a global fact remains: At the launch of the 21st century, whether threading the busy sidewalks of the Arab world, or plodding the frozen paths of remote Christian Orthodox villages in the Caucasus, we still live, by and large, in a deeply gender-divided planet.

So it’s been a welcome surprise in the high cold Pamir range of Tajikistan, easily the most rugged and wild landscape I’ve traversed to date, to work with tough women who think nothing of pounding out 25 miles a day—not in hiking boots but in sandals.

Furough Shakarmamadova and Safina Shoxaydarova, both 23, are lifelong friends and pioneers.

They are among the first generation of trained female hiking guides in their isolated community of Shia Muslim mountaineers called Pamiris.

........

If these women are extraordinary, it’s partly because Pamiri culture is special.

They are followers of Ismailism, a tolerant branch of Islam led by the 49th Agha Khan, a spiritual and temporal leader descended from the Prophet Mohammed. (The current imam, His Highness Prince Karim Aga Khan, is a Harvard graduate.) Ismailis are scattered across more than 25 countries. They emphasize self-reliance, community service, and political neutrality. More than most Muslim sects, they promote gender equality: A recent imam advised families that if they could only educate just one child, let it be a girl. In Tajikistan, the minority Ismailis are often blue-eyed and speak languages rooted in ancient eastern Iran. When Alexander the Great marched through, he married his only wife, Roxanne, here.

The last I saw of Shoxaydarova she was, as usual, walking.

Draped in traditional finery, she paraded with her husband out of her grandfather’s house in Khorog to pounding dance music, followed by relatives carrying a bow-wrapped wedding bed. She and Shakarmamadova plan to open the first woman-owned trekking company in Tajikistan.

Are you fluent in another language?

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https://www.nationalgeographic.org/projects/out-of-eden-walk/articles/2017-10-islam-hiking-sandals-and-red-spike-heels/?sf120509329=1
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 17, 2017 5:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

When women ruled the Muslim world

Were it not for the timely intervention of women down the centuries, many an Islamic dynasty would have torn itself apart. By Mohamed Yosri


The ancient East knew many female leaders who were successful rulers of kingdoms, yet authority in the Islamic world was the exclusive preserve of men. Sons, brothers and grandsons were the only ones with a recognised right to inherit power. Nevertheless, Islamic history is riddled with severe crises that threatened to destroy a number of dynasties had it not been for the intervention of women, who assumed guardianship of the young caliphs and kings as a way of protecting the caliphate and realising their own ambitions of power.

So how were these women able to scale the ladder – commanding armies, running states and kingdoms – in the face of cruelty, tyranny and violence?

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https://en.qantara.de/content/guardians-of-thrones-when-women-ruled-the-muslim-world?nopaging=1
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 05, 2017 5:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Muhammad Was A Feminist

The prophet Muhammad would be appalled by how current Islamic Fundamentalists are treating women under their control. This suppression is done in the name of Islamic Law, known as Sharia. But the current suppression of women is shaped by cultural and history. It has little basis in the Quran and it is certainly not consistent with anything we know about what Muhammad taught or how he treated women. Of all the founders of the great religions - Buddhism, Christianity, Confucianism, Islam and Judaism — Muhammad was easily the most radical and empowering in his treatment of women. Arguably he was history’s first feminist.

This is of critical importance because if there is one single thing that Arabs and Muslims could do to reform and re-vitalize their crisis ridden cultures, it would be to liberate their women and provide them with the full rights women are enjoying in more and more countries around the world. Women’s equality is key to a real Arab Spring.

Among the founders of the great religions, Confucius barely mentioned women at all and assumed in all his teachings that they we subordinate to men within a patriarchal order. Buddha taught that women could become enlightened but had to be pressured three times before allowing women to become nuns, and then only on the condition, as he put it, that the highest nun would be lower than the lowest monk. In the Gospel accounts, Jesus did not explicitly comment on the status of women, although he did associate with women of ill repute and with non Jewish women. Moses was thoroughly patriarchal and there is virtually nothing in the Torah that indicates specific concern about women’s rights.

Muhammad was fundamentally different. He both explicitly taught the radical equality of women and men as a fundamental tenet of true spirituality, and he took numerous concrete measures to profoundly improve the status and role of women in Arabia during his own lifetime. Muhammad was sensitized to the plight of women because he was born poor and orphaned at a very early age. He was also illiterate. He knew as few did what poverty and social exclusion meant.

Confucius was born into the gentry scholar class of ancient China. Buddha was born a wealthy prince in Nepal. Jesus was born the son of a carpenter with royal lineage and within a tightly knit Jewish community in Palestine. Moses was born into a Hebrew family and raised in the palace of the Pharaoh of Egypt. Muhammad had none of these advantages. Thus while other religious leaders seemed strangely silent about the oppression of women, Muhammad dramatically raised the status of women as a matter of religious conviction and state policy. Consider the following:

During seventh century Arabia, female infanticide was commonplace. Muhammad abolished it. A saying in the Hadith (the collection of sayings of Muhammad) records that Muhammad said that the birth of a girl was a “blessing.” Women in Arabia at that time were essentially considered property and had absolutely no civil rights. Muhammad gave them the right to own property and they were extended very important marital and inheritance rights.

Prior to Muhammad, the dowry paid by a man for his bride was given to her father as part of the contract between the two men. Women had no say in the matter. Muhammad declared that women needed to assent to the marriage and that the dowry should go to the bride, not the father; furthermore, she could keep the dowry even after marriage. The wife did not have to use the dowry for family expenses. That was the responsibility of the man. Women were also given the right to divorce their husbands, something unprecedented at that time. In a divorce, the woman was empowered to take the dowry with her.

Women were extended inheritance rights as well. They were only given half as much as their brothers because the men had more financial responsibilities for family expenses, but with Muhammad, women became inheritors of property and family assets for the first time in Arabia. At the time, this was considered revolutionary.

Muhammad himself was often seen doing “women’s work” around the house and was very attentive to his family. His first marriage to Khadija was monogamous for the entire 15 years they were married, something rare in Arabia at that time. By all accounts, they were deeply in love and Khadija in fact was the first convert to Islam. She encouraged Muhammad from his very first encounter with the angel Gabriel and the recitation of the first suras that were to become the Quran.

After Khadija’s death, Muhammad married 12 wives. One was Aisha, the daughter of his closest friend and ally Abu Baker. The rest were nearly all widows, divorced women, or captives. He preached consistently that it was the responsibility of men to protect those women who had met with misfortune. This was one of the reasons polygamy was encouraged. Even with female infanticide, women in seventh century Arabia far outnumbered men because so many men were killed in the inter-tribal warfare of the day. Several of Muhammad’s wives were poor and destitute and he took them in, along with their children, into his household.

In his Farewell Sermon delivered shortly before he died in 632, Muhammad said to the men, “You have certain rights over women but they have certain rights over you.” Women, he said, are your “partners and helpers.” In one of the sayings of the Hadith, Muhammad says, “The best men are those who are best to their wives.”

His wife Aisha took a leadership role after his death in bringing together the Hadith and another wife played a leading role in gathering together the suras that comprise the Quran. Each of the 114 suras that comprise the Quran with the exception of sura 9 begin with the words Bismillah al Rahman al Rahim. Translated most commonly as “In the Name of God, all compassionate, all merciful,” the deeper meaning of this phrase is “In the Name of the One who births compassion and mercy from the womb.” This invocation of the feminine aspect of Allah is key to an Islamic Renaissance.

Finally, there is nothing in the Quran about women wearing the veil, the Hejab. That was certainly the custom in Arabia at that time and Muhammad’s wives wore the Hejab to designate their special status as “Mothers of the Believers,” but the only thing the Quran says directly is that women should dress “modestly.” Muhammad said the same thing to men. For him, modesty of dress was expressive of modesty of the heart. Muhammad himself, even when he was supreme leader, never wore anything more than simple white woolen attire.

So radical were Muhammad’s reforms that the status of women in Arabia and early Islam was higher than any other society in the world at that time. Women in 7th century Arabia had rights not extended to most women in the West till recent centuries over 1,000 years later. The fact that women have ended up in such a degraded position in many contemporary Arab/Muslim counties is a tragedy and needs to be rectified if the Islamic culture and civilization is to flourish again as it did during the Abbasid Caliphate from the 8th - 13th centuries when Islamic civilization was a shining light to the world. Liberating women would have profound effects politically, economically, culturally, artistically, and religiously. It would take the Arab Spring to a whole new level, which is what is so desperately needed in those countries that suffered the first Arab Spring as a stillbirth.

It is time for Islam to liberate women fully and do so upon the example of Muhammad and the authority of the Quran that holds compassion and mercy as the first and foremost attributes of Allah.

Written with Banafsheh Sayyad, author, Dance of Oneness

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/jim-garrison/muhammad-was-a-feminist_b_12638112.html
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kmaherali



Joined: 27 Mar 2003
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 21, 2017 2:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Muslim Women, Caught Between Islamophobes and ‘Our Men’

Excerpt:

For Muslims, however, the reports have instead served as a reminder that we Muslim women are caught between a rock and a hard place — a trap presenting near-impossible obstacles for exposing sexual violence.

The rock is an Islamophobic right wing in other cultures that is all too eager to demonize Muslim men. Exhibit A is President Trump, who has himself been accused of sexually harassing women and was caught on tape bragging about it. Nevertheless, he has used so-called honor crimes and misogyny (which he ascribes to Muslim men) to justify his efforts to ban travel to the United States from several Muslim-majority countries.

An ascendant right wing in European politics meanwhile jumps to connect any reports of misconduct by Muslim men to their Muslimness and to Islam as a faith rather than to their maleness and the power with which patriarchy rewards it around the globe. Witness the aftermath of a sexual assault against women in Cologne, Germany, on New Year’s Eve two years ago, in which the men’s faith and ethnic backgrounds were highlighted as explanations of the assaults.

“Many Muslim women have been reluctant to discuss this Tariq Ramadan case because in part they don’t want to feed into elements of the media’s Islamophobic and racist framing of these allegations,” Shaista Aziz, an Oxford-based freelance journalist, told me. “This does nothing to encourage women to report sexual violence.”

The hard place is a community within our own faith that is all too eager to defend Muslim men against all accusations. Mr. Ramadan’s defenders have dismissed the complaints against him as a “Zionist conspiracy” and an Islamophobic attempt to destroy a Muslim scholar. Too often, when Muslim women speak out, some in our “community” accuse us of “making our men look bad” and of giving ammunition to right-wing Islamophobes.

But they get it wrong. It is the harassers and assaulters who make us “look bad,” not the women who have every right to expose crimes against them. Mr. Ramadan’s case is also a reminder of the veneration of Muslim male scholars that gives them incredible and often unchecked power.

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https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/19/opinion/muslim-women-sexism-violence.html?_r=0
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