Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Muslim Women Will Have To Lift Their "Niqabs" In Order To Vote

Muslim women will have to remove their niqabs (Muslim face covering) if they want to cast their vote in Quebec. However, in the beginning they were allowed to vote with wearing their niqabs, but now the public doesn’t want them to wear it while casting their vote. Marcel Blanchet said that he was reversing an earlier decision that would have allowed Muslim women to wear their niqabs when voting on March 26, however the decision started a violent debate in Quebec after it was reported in Montreal Newspapres. The chief electoral officer's headquarters were “flooded with angry e-mails and phone calls, which forced Marcel Blanchet to hire two personal bodyguards and assign security officials to survey the building.” Some people of Quebec warned to turn up at polling stations wearing masks. This prompted the authorities to reverse its decision so voting day could go on without having any trouble. Quebec’s three main party leaders have urged Blanchet to reverse the verdict by allowing Muslim women to wear burqa to vote. I think that it is not a big deal if you show your face while you are voting because Islam allows women to show their face. It does not say that you have to cover your face. Muslim women are not required to cover their face. Their outfits must cover up their whole body, but hands and face may remain uncovered. So, I think that there should not be any problem with taking off their niqabs

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Namira Creates History - She is the First Pakistani Women Astronaut

Namira Salim creates history!!! She is the first Pakistani women astronaut. She is thirty-five years old and she is all set to fly high in the space. She will be joining the crew members of the Virgin Galactic Spaceship for their space adventure scheduled to push off in the year 2008. She said that she has done a lot of hard work to pass through for this purpose. “I will create a new direction for Pakistani women,” Namira said. She also stated that the government and Pakistani people are excited and willing to witness this flight. I think that she is right since she is the first Pakistani women astronaut. She truly deserves appreciation, and she has definitely created history. She will be the first Pakistani to go into space “when commercial operations commence in 2008 and will participate in the birth of an incredible new industry on behalf of Pakistan-space tourism.” I think this is great because it shows that Muslim women are going ahead and are walking with men side by side. They are willing to prove themselves and have their own identity. It is wonderful because Namira will become an inspiration for young Pakistani girls and they would love to follow her foot steps. This means that the Pakistani women will liberate and will have a bright future. As of now, I think that President Pervez Musharraf’s policy of enlightened moderation is working and it is assisting Pakistani women in order to create a better picture of themselves in the world as well as creating a brighter future for themselves.

Monday, April 2, 2007

Dr. Sima Samar ~Hope for Women in Afghanistan

Dr. Sima Samar is an idol for women in Afghanistan. She has done so much for the liberation of native women and her support for human and women’s rights have raised criticisms from extremists. She said that despite the fact that things have changed for women as compared to Taliban regime, there are some areas that still experience violation of women rights like forced marriage, child marriage, job discrimination and child abduction and trafficking. When she was talking about the judicial system she said, “women have nearly no access to law enforcement and every now and then they are victimized to domestic violence.” For example, “the women who run away from abusive family male members end up in jail or are slaughtered by a family member. The family is then immune from prosecution for this “honor” killing. In order to escape these situations, women try to commit suicide and burn themselves.”

She also talked about the political scenario and she said, “women had victories in the parliamentary elections, still, there are no women among the advisors to the president and there is now only one woman in the Cabinet.” According to my opinion, she is right when she said that women need to be part of decision making bodies otherwise men will be taking decisions for them. This is why it is very important for women to take part in decision making bodies since they understand women’s problems and they will be able to come up with better solutions for women. Women of Afghanistan should support Dr. Sima Samar because she is a great hope for them and she can help them improve their status in a men dominated society. Hence, it is essential that women support each other and work together to establish their status and rights in Afghanistan.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

An Initial Step In The Direction Of Women liberation

President Pervez Musharraf announced Rs. 100 million for women’s welfare in Pakistan. He said, “To ensure the continuity of policies, vote for the people in next election, who support me. Mobilize other women and ask them to vote for the moderate people and those who support the policies of present government.” He said that when he was addressing a huge woman convention held to celebrate the Women Protection Act. He insisted on the women to eliminate extremist elements in the 2007 general election and vote for the reasonable forces to guarantee the permanence of the policies of development across Pakistan. The president announced Rs 100 million welfare package for the women of Balochistan, Pakistan. He also stated that the Women Protection Act is an accomplishment. It is the initial step in the direction of women liberation. In addition, he promised to eliminate injustices against women in the future as well. I think that Mr. President is absolutely correct when he said that the Women Protection Act was “in accordance with the injunctions of the Holy Quran and Sunnah” because justice is the basic of Islam and as we all know that Islam offers equal rights to men and women. However, some politicians use Islam for their political gains. I totally agree with Mr. President and I truly support his idea of enlightenment.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Sunday, March 25, 2007

~ The Ladies' Taxis ~

Can you believe this? In Dubai, pink-colored taxis will be carrying women only to different parts of the country. The purpose of this transportation is to offer a secure service to women to guarantee their liberated movement. It is a women only cab service, and it will make sure that women are able to commute around the country without having trouble. The Executive Manager for Public Transport of the Roads and Transport Authority named Mohammed Obeid Al Mulla said that “the move is an embodiment of RTA’s strategy to offer its service to all sectors of the community and secure a modern mass transport system enjoying the highest levels of safety and convenience.”

About fifty taxis were developed with pink roofs, pink seats and interiors that gave them a feminine look. These taxis were sent to the places that are frequently visited by women. More than one hundred female drivers had undergone extensive training programs for continuing the service. During their training, they were taught the necessary skills of driving, customer service, and handling emergency cases. I like this decision of introducing taxis for women only. I truly welcome this new idea because it will be a safe vehicle for women especially when it comes to traveling at night. It will be comfortable for working women because now they can easily travel especially in UAE since there are so many working women in Dubai as my cousins who lived there have told me. This will be an immense relief for single female passengers along with families because Muslim wives, mothers, and sisters will feel comfortable as well as safe traveling with female drivers. This is why I really like this idea of ladies' taxis.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Turkish Women Elected to Top Positions

Turkish women are going ahead and they are walking with men side by side. They have formed history by making an achievement in the field of business and politics. Arzuhan Dogan Yalcindag is the first female who has taken the top position at Turkish Industrialists and Businessmen’s Association. It has happened for the first time in the history of organization’s thirty-six years. She said, “It is a great honor for me to be elected the first chairwoman of the group’s executive board.” On the other hand, Gulsun Bilgehan has been elected as the head of the Parliamentary Assembly of Council of Europe committee on gender-based equal opportunities. She said, “It would be meaningful that a Turkish woman was elected to chair a committee dealing with women’s rights, equality, honor killings, domestic violence, forced marriage and the education of girls.”

It is awesome!!! I am happy that finally Muslim women are taking part in the government. It is wonderful to see Turkish women in well-known places and working as role models for young Muslim girls. They will be a great source of help because Gulsun Bilgehan is elected to lead a committee handling women’s rights, equality, domestic violence, forced marriages and the education of girls. It will be helpful because she will help improve women’s rights. It is a significant step towards Muslim women's liberation because both of them will play a big role in changing the status and lives of many Muslim women.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Women take up top jobs in Arabia!

The government of Arabia is trying to emancipate women particularly in the field of education. Thus, about twenty-seven women have been selected for top positions in the department of higher education. Some five women were previously appointed as deans who were working with the Ministry of Education before these twenty-seven women were chosen. According to the article, “The ministry has launched a campaign to provide employment to 200,000 women and appointed 30 women officials at its offices in Riyadh, Jeddah, and Dammam. The ministry’s offices are currently receiving applications from women job seekers.”
In addition, women are being trained for positions like cashier, retail seller, and receptionist. The training is provided by the General Organization for Technical Education and Vocational Training. It is the first time that such type of training is being offered to the women of Arabia. It is expected that Rakisa Holding, the lead developer of Prince Abdul Aziz ibn Musaed Economic City in Hail would create around 600 jobs for women in the current year.
I’m sure that this program must have fascinated many women who want to go ahead in life and prove themselves. I think that this is great because it would encourage Arabian women to go out and see what is going on in the world today. It will give them confidence and they will be able to create a better picture of Muslim women in the world by going forward in education. This would be influential in inspiring the women of Arabia. Besides this, it would also assist in providing jobs to the women who are without a job.§ion=0&article=90630&d=5&m=1&y=2007

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Monday, March 19, 2007

Afghan Women in Business?

YES! That is true because Kamila Kabuli who is only thirty-five years old is selling cosmetics products on the streets of Mazar-I-Sharif. She is running a small stall that was set up by provincial women’s department who assisted her set up a small stall. The provincial women’s department was very helpful for Kamila. It has set up two more stalls that sell handicrafts and clothes. It is a very important project because it is trying to get women into business. In the future, it is planning to open another 20 and rent them out to women.

I’m sure that they have experienced resistance since women are entering into business. As we all know that Afghanistan is a very conservative country and it has been dominated by men for a long time. Some women are extremely happy to see a female running her stall. While some men have opposed this project, others have welcomed it. According to Wakeel Ahmad, “It’s a good move.” He said, “I’m happy to see women doing business. We hope to have more and more women’s shops here, it will make life easier for women.”

Kabuli said, “I am very proud to have been chosen for this job although it is difficult. It can be a bit tough, but I can show that women can do it.” Bibi Fatuma said, “Women develop some comfort zone while buying products from a woman and this makes them easier to interact, which however is not the case with men shopkeepers.” So you can see that afghan women are enjoying their independence. According to the Quran, men and women are equal and women can also do trading as well as selling. There is nothing wrong with women entering into business because women used to be involved in business during the time of the Prophet Mohammad. This is why I think that there is nothing wrong as long as they are dressed up appropriately and follow Islamic rules.

Friday, March 9, 2007

My Reflection on Mariyah Moten

I was shocked when I heard about her. I don’t think that a Muslim girl can do such things because I am also one of them and I would never dare to do something like that especially when I know that our religion disallows such acts. Islam never allows a male or a female to do such things. She is not giving Muslim women liberation by doing this. She is bringing trouble for them because the entire world knows that our religion does not allow us to do that and by doing it so, she is giving them a chance to laugh at Muslim women. This type of people make radical Islamics go against the Western countries when it is actually not the West’s fault, but their own people who choose to do this. This is why she should have the courtesy not to use the word Muslim with her name. Then, she can do whatever she wants.

Pakistan is already in trouble since so many terrible things are being linked with its name, and such acts will not bring anything good to Pakistan. The enlightenment that President Pervez Musharraf talks about can be accomplished in several other optimistic ways. I don’t think that this is the enlightenment that he talks about. She is representing his enlightenment in an absolutely wrong way. I would love to ask her that who has given her the right to create this type of picture of a Pakistani woman in international media?

According to my opinion, she has disgraced and dishonored Muslim women all over the world. There is no way that she is representing Pakistan or Muslim woman by posing in a bikini. Neither Islam nor Pakistan permits women to wear such garments in public. She is just using Pakistan’s name because she is trying to become famous. This is embarrassing and a shame for Muslims especially for Pakistanis. She is in no way a representative of Muslim women and especially not of Pakistan’s women. I pray to God that may He give her and other people who are just like her consideration and understanding of what our religion Islam is.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Pakistan represented in beauty pageants?

Mariyah Moten represented Pakistan at the “Miss Bikini of the Universe 2006” pageant held in China on August 28, 2006. This is the second award that she has received in her pageant career. She won “Miss Charity” at the Miss Tourism Queen International pageant in July 2006. In August 2006, she won “Best in Media” title and for being the most photographed and interviewed contestant in the pageant. She is twenty-two years old and she was born and raised in Karachi, Pakistan. She came to America with her family eight years back. She is a hotel management student at the University of Houston.

There were objections about her entering the pageant as a representative of Pakistan since Pakistan is a dominant Muslim State as everyone knows. Pakistani officials are investigating how she entered “Miss Bikini” pageant as a Pakistani contestant because Pakistan does not hold beauty pageants. Culture Ministry spokesman Chaudhry Hafeez said, “This amounted to official recognition of the girl’s nationality in a contest that is seen by many as shameful. How can somebody use Pakistan’s name in such a contest.” Authorities are trying to figure out this matter.

According to Mariyah Moten, she has broken all barriers because she is the first bikini model of Pakistan. She told Chinese newspaper that “It’s the first time that Pakistan is participating in the bikini pageant, as we are an Islamic country.” She also said that “now there is less reproach in Pakistan on women’s participation in such beauty contests.”

Thursday, March 1, 2007

My Reflection on Veil teacher "should be sacked"

Although there are various thoughts regarding veil in Islam, few Muslims believe women should cover their entire body including their faces. On the other hand, others think that it is not essential to cover the whole face. According to Quran, which is a holy book of Muslims, veil defends women from the lustful gaze of men. Allah (God) has said in the Quran that women must guard their modesty. “Say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what must ordinarily appear thereof (Quran:24.31).” In other words, the Quran does not suggest that women should be veiled or they should be kept apart from the world of men. One of the verses in the Quran protects a woman’s fundamental rights. Verse 59 of Surah Al-Ahzaab reads: “O Prophet! Tell thy wives and daughters and the believing women, that they should cast their outer garments (veil) over their persons when outside so that they should be known as such and not molested.”

Muslim women must wear a veil when going out of their homes so that they may be acknowledged as “believing” women as stated by Quran. It distinguishes “believing women” from prostitutes. The intention of this verse is not to make women stay in their homes, but to make it secure for them to go out for their daily businesses without attracting lustful gaze of wicked men. In contrast, older Muslim women who are past the age of marriage are not required to wear the veil. “Such elderly women as are past the prospect of marriage, there is no blame on them if they lay aside their outer garments, provided they make not wanton display of their beauty; but it is best for them to be modest; and Allah is One Who sees and knows all things (24:60).” In short, the purpose of wearing a veil is modesty, and to protect against the wicked men. It is not a symbol of subjugation.

There are mix opinions about Muslim women wearing the veil in United Kingdom. It is a very controversial issue nowadays. Mrs. Azmi’s case has become center of attention in Britain relating to multi-cultures. Dewsbury’s MP named Shahid Malik who is Muslim, advised Mrs. Azmi to accept the tribunal’s decision because it is about teaching children while wearing veil in school and not about religion. Mr. Malik further said, “I would absolutely defend her right to wear the veil in society, it’s very clear that her wearing the veil in the classroom setting inhibits her ability to support children.” Whereas the other Muslim Council of Britain named Inayat Bugnlawala said that “Phills Whoola’s comments an outrageous and intervention from government.” The Prime Minister Tony Blair was requested for his view and he replied “full-face veil is a mark of separation that makes people of other ethnic back ground feel uncomfortable. This is an essential debate about the way Muslim community mix into British Society.”

I completely support the tribunal decision. Mrs. Azimi should take her veil off in classroom while she is teaching children because education should be the main concern in school. It is about schooling children aged nine to twelve and not about religion. The education authority’s decision is very logical that she should be dismissed. I must say that it makes sense and it is reasonable. Muslim women are NOT required to cover their face. Their outfits must cover up their whole body, but hands along with face may remain uncovered. There is no requirement at all for them to wear veil in front of children aged nine to twelve.

Mrs Azmi was appointed to assist children who needed assistance with language because English was not their first language. In her case, children were unable to understand her while she had her veil on. Consequently, I agree with Mr. Whoola that she has put herself in a condition where she cannot do her job. It will be hard for her to continue if she cannot do her job properly.

Another issue that I think is very important relates to men’s teaching rights. Basically, she is taking away their right to work in school by saying that she cannot take her veil off in front of male colleagues. In other words, she is going against men’s right to work in schools. Now, she is discriminating men. Therefore, Mr. Whoola made the best decision to dismiss her. Since after 9/11, Muslims are in a critical position in the entire world, I would suggest Mrs. Azmi to stay home if she cannot go outside without covering her face. As a Muslim, I already know that there are many misconceptions about Muslims’ ethics, and I would not want her to create another issue about Muslims’ women since it will bring fuel to set fire (terrorism). The other option is that if she cannot follow United Kingdom’s Laws then she should go back to her native land where she can practice her religion according to her own beliefs. I want to conclude by saying that we should all “LIVE AND LET LIVE.” We should live like a family in harmony with no violence and learn to adopt and adapt, especially nowadays with all these wars happening. It is necessary in order to survive in this atmosphere.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Veil teacher "should be sacked"

Aishah Azmi, a 23-year-old Muslim teaching assistant who worked at a Headfield Church of England junior school in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, United Kingdom was suspended because she refused to remove her veil in class. Phil Woolas who is a Britain’s race and faith minister said that she should be dismissed. On the other hand, she said that she would take her veil off, but not in front of male colleagues. The United Kingdom’s debate over “Veil teacher should be sacked” started last year in October 2006 and was broadcasted by BBC News.

It all started when children said that it was hard to understand her, and they were having difficulty understanding her English lessons. However, Mrs. Azmi’s lawyer Nick Whittingham said that “Mrs. Azmi is very well able to carry out her role as a teaching assistant providing support to people who speak English as a second language.” He also said that she can do this efficiently even with her veil on, and she has proved herself while she was being interviewed. She spoke fluently and clearly.

As said by Mrs. Azmi, people at Headfield Church of England junior school never criticized her veil. Whereas Phil Woolas said, “Aishah Azmi had put herself in a position where she can’t do her job.” He added to his statement by stating that “if the head teacher chose to sack Ms Azmi so be it.” Hence, her lawyer asked Mr. Woolas to withdraw his comments. She told the BBC that her veil never created any trouble between her and children. In fact, her relationship with children was great. She said, “If people think it is a problem, what about blind children? They can’t see anything but they have a brilliant education, so I don’t think my wearing the veil affects the children at all.”

An employment tribunal ruled that Mrs. Azmi was not discriminated against religion. Thus, she was given £1,100 for “injury to feelings.” Kirklees Council verified that she had been dismissed because the school’s action had “nothing to do with religion.” Therefore, a tribunal discharged her claims of religious discrimination along with harassment on religious grounds. In February 2006, she was suspended on full pay. However, she is still thinking to appeal against the decision.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Why women are converting to Islam?

Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world today. "One hundred thousand people per year in America alone are converting to Islam." Western women make up the largest number of converts, out-numbering male converts by a ratio of almost 4:1. This may seem weird to people who view Muslim women as weak and subjugated. However, the reality is that Islam offers a lot of respect and dignity to women and commands that society treat them with justice and respect.

There are many reasons why women in particular are converting to Islam. Here are some of them:
By clicking on the link below, you can actually read different stories about women as well as men who have converted and chosen Islam as a way of life:

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Women's Dress in Islam

Hijab is a word that indicates not just the headscarf but clothing in its entirety which meets the following conditions:
  1. Clothing must cover the entire body, only the hands and face may remain visible.
  2. The material must not be so thin that one can see through it.
  3. The clothing must hang loose so that the shape/form of the body is not apparent.
  4. The female clothing must not resemble the men's clothing.
  5. The design of the clothing must not resemble the clothing of the non believing women.
  6. The design must not consist of bold designs which attract attention.
  7. Clothing should not be worn for the sole purpose of gaining reputation or increasing one's status in society.

The reason for this strictness is so that the woman is protected from the lustful gaze of men. Islam protects the woman and it is for this reason that Allah gave these laws. Allah has stated in the Quran that women must guard their modesty. "Say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what must ordinarily appear thereof (Quran:24.31)." "Say to the believing man that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that will make for greater purity for them, and God is well acquainted with all they do (Quran:24.30)." Considering the fact that Allah has given us guidance through the Quran, He also given us the logic and common sense to apply these in our everyday life.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

The Veil

It is one of the great ironies of our world today that the very same headscarf revered as a sign of “holiness” when worn by Catholic Nuns, is reviled as a sign of “oppression” when worn for the purpose of modesty and protection by Muslim women.

The Quran does not suggest that women should be veiled or they should be kept apart from the world of men.
One of the verses in the Quran protects a woman’s fundamental rights. Verse 59 of Surah Al-Ahzaab reads: “O Prophet! Tell thy wives and daughters and the believing women, that they should cast their outer garments over their persons when outside so that they should be known as such and not molested.” According to the Quran, the reason why Muslim women should wear an outer garment when going out of their homes is that they may be recognized as “believing” women. The purpose of this verse was not to make women stay home, but to make it safe for them to go about their daily business without attracting wicked attention.

Older Muslim women who are past the prospect of marriage are not required to wear the outer garment. “Such elderly women as are past the prospect of marriage, there is no blame on them if they lay aside their outer garments, provided they make not wanton display of their beauty; but it is best for them to be modest; and Allah is One Who sees and knows all things (24:60).”

Monday, February 19, 2007

Why make Muslim women the center of attention when it comes to women's rights?

This question always comes up when women’s rights are being discussed. The reason behind this is that women’s rights in Islam need particular attention because women in Islamic countries are suffering by the system that is made by men. They try to defend their oppression of women by calling it their religion “Islam.” However, it is not true because true Islam requires us to honor and respect women! In Islam men and women equally submit to Allah because Allah treats them as spiritual equals. Quran 3:195 tells us:

“Their Lord responded to them: “I never fail to reward any worker among you for any work you do, be you male or female, you are equal to one another…”

Many of the Islamic countries who declare to follow Islam are treating women as a second class citizens as mentioned before. The sad part about this is that some of these women are actually accepting this situation thinking that is what Islam says about women. However, Allah in the Quran made an absolute spiritual equality between men and women.