Monday, 8 August 2022

‘Deserted By Husband ’— How Triple Talaq Criminalisation Has Increased Abandonment Of Muslim Women


‘Latka ke choda hua hai’ or ‘he has left me hanging’, is a common lament among several women at the Shaheen Women's Resource and Welfare Association—a centre in Telengana’s Hyderabad which has been working for the victims of Triple Talaq for decades.

Except in the three years since the parliament passed the law to criminalise Triple Talaq on 30 July 2019, the women’s help centre hardly ever gets complaints of women being subject to Triple Talaq. Instead, all they get are grievances and appeals from hapless Muslim women who have been deserted by their husbands. The criminalisation of the Triple Talaq has given rise to a new problem: abandonment.


Tuesday, 2 August 2022

Send us a man to do your job so we can sack you, Taliban tell female officials


Still so many brothers support the Taliban, and make excuses for them. Just be honest you wish to remove women from public sphere and impoverish them too.

As economy collapses, women from Afghanistan’s finance ministry say they have been asked to suggest male relatives to replace them

The Taliban have asked women working at Afghanistan’s finance ministry to send a male relative to do their job a year after female public-sector workers were barred from government work and told to stay at home.

Women who worked in government positions were sent home from their jobs shortly after the Taliban took power in August 2021, and have been paid heavily reduced salaries to do nothing.

But several women told the Guardian they had received similar calls from Taliban officials requesting they recommend male relatives in their place, because the “workload in the office has increased and they need to hire a man instead of us”, according to one woman who did not wish her identity to be revealed.

Sima Bahous, director of UN Woman. ‘An entire generation is threatened by food insecurity and malnutrition,’ she warned in May. Photograph: Rex/Shutterstock
Sima Bahous, executive director of UN Women, said in May: “Current restrictions on women’s employment have been estimated to result in an immediate economic loss of up to $1bn – or up to 5% of Afghanistan’s GDP.

“There is almost universal poverty in the country,” she added. “An entire generation is threatened by food insecurity and malnutrition.”

Maryam*, 37, received a call from the HR department of the Afghan ministry of finance, where she had worked for more than a decade. She said: “I was asked to introduce a male family member to replace me at the ministry, so I could be dismissed from the job.”

Her voice quivering with frustration, Maryam, said she had worked her way up over many years within the ministry to head of the department. “How can I easily introduce someone else to replace me?” she asked. “Would he be able to work as efficiently as I have for so many years?

“This is a difficult and technical position I was trained for and have years of experience in. And even if he could do the same work eventually, what would happen to me?

“Since they came [to power], the Taliban have demoted me and reduced my salary. I cannot even afford my son’s school fees. When I questioned this, an official rudely told me to get out of his office and said that my demotion was not negotiable.”

Several attempts by the Guardian to seek a response and clarification from Taliban officials at the ministry went unanswered. It is not clear if women from other state departments have also been asked to send male relatives to do their job. However, Maryam said she was aware of at least 60 female colleagues from the finance department who had received similar calls.

“The Taliban have a history of eliminating women, so hearing this is not surprising or new,” said Sahar Fetrat, assistant researcher with the women’s rights division at Human Rights Watch (HRW), which has documented extensively the Taliban’s atrocities against women since they took over Afghanistan.

In a report this year, HRW investigated the loss of women’s jobs and livelihoods in Ghazni province since August 2021, when the Taliban seized power in Kabul. “Nearly all the women interviewed who previously had paid employment had lost their jobs,” an interviewee said in the report.

“Only female healthcare workers and teachers can go to work. Women working in other fields are forced to stay home now.”

Fetrat said: “Within the Taliban’s misogyny, women belong to men, as a property and an object representing the honour of the family.

“Therefore, in some cases like this they give women’s jobs and titles to women’s male relatives, and in other cases like the hijab, they punish women’s close male relatives for women’s public conduct and clothing,” she added, referring to an earlier ban that criminalised women’s clothing. According to the decree, issued in May, the male “guardians” of women who appeared in public “uncovered” would be fined and jailed for the offence.

Fetrat said these policies imposed new standards of “harmful behaviour in society, and that is normalisation of the objectification of women. It has a clear message for men, and especially younger men, that they ‘own’ women in their families and they must act as a moral authority and actively police women’s conduct.”

Maryam and her colleagues are mobilising to protest against Taliban policy. “We do not accept their order and we will try to get them to change it,” she said.

“We have created a group of female employees of the ministry. We are negotiating now, and we will demonstrate if they don’t hear us,” she added, urging the international community to extend support and solidarity.

The country is in the grip of a severe economic and humanitarian crisis. According to the UN, 20 million people now face acute hunger, more than 9 million have been displaced since the Taliban took power, and severe drought has affected farming.


Monday, 1 August 2022

UK’s first-ever survey details attacks on mosques, Islamic bodies


About 42 percent of mosques or Islamic institutions in a  newly released UK report have experienced religiously motivated attacks in the last three years.

The survey, the first of its kind, was jointly carried out by two British Muslim organisations – Muslim Engagement and Development (MEND) and Muslim Census.

It said that the most common form of attack experienced by mosques and other Islamic institutions was vandalism, followed by burglary or theft (34 percent), with 83 percent being attacked at least once a year.

It also suggested that nearly 17 percent of mosques have faced physical abuse directed at staff or worshippers, with one mosque reporting that a religious cleric was stabbed outside the front entrance.

Mosques officials described receiving threats of physical violence on popular social media platforms and general abuse. In the report, they have expressed their frustrations and how increased Islamophobia hate crimes are taking toll on their wellbeing.

“We have witnessed individuals breaking windows, vandalising worshipers’ vehicles, and spraying racist graffiti on the mosque building,” an unidentified mosque official was quoted by the report as saying.

Nearly two-thirds of the 113 mosques who participated in the survey reported that the attacks harmed the wider community, with 9 percent reporting that their mosques or Islamic institutions were targeted frequently, at least every three months.

The report indicated that 15 percent of mosques saw an increase in attacks during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Toufik Kacimi, the imam of Sainsbury Park mosque in north London, told Al Jazeera that religiously motivated attacks have increased over the years, with the latest incident happening weeks ago when a member of the public hurled dog faeces into the mosque.

“Just last Ramadan, one man punctured six cars belonging to worshipers; we also received threats phone calls and hatred letters,” he said.

Kacimi also said that some of the attackers pretend to be Muslim to gain access to the mosque and steal money and mobile phones from the donation box and people’s jackets.

“We can say that hate crimes against Muslims have sharply increased in the last three years, and it’s costing us more money; we have hired four security guards and deployed more CCTV cameras in the mosque premise and it’s a huge financial burden to us,” he said.

Police response
The survey also investigated the UK police response to such attacks. It said 85 percent of the mosques that have been attacked or threatened reported these incidents to the police.

About 55 percent of the mosques were satisfied with the police response, while 38 percent said that no police action was taken when they reported the incident, according to the report.

In addition, 28 percent of the respondents said that the police provided extra surveillance to the mosques due to their reports; however, 15 percent of those deemed it unnecessary to contact the police and report the attack, supposing the police would not take any action.

However, the UK national police chiefs’ council lead for hate crime, Deputy Chief Constable Mark Hamilton, refuted the allegations, saying that they take all hate crime reports seriously since they have a devastating impact on individual victims and the communities involved.

“We work hard to build confidence by engaging with affected communities at a local and national level. We are in regular contact with our partners at the charity who support Muslim communities, and I would encourage anyone who suffers hate crime to report it to the police,” he told Al Jazeera.

“Everyone has a right to live their lives and practice their religion, without the fear of targeted abuse for who they are, either physically or verbally; and we will always seek to protect that right.”

Azhar Qayum, the director of MEND told Al Jazeera that though they have documented their concerns, they have also made recommendations to the police to address Islamophobic hate crimes in the UK.

“We haven’t had a response from the government yet; but we have made some recommendations, including the police to improve links with their local Muslim community and mosques and implement swift action when such attacks occur, and a full explanation when no action is taken and we will monitor to see if they have been implemented,” he said.

Some mosques mentioned in the report also stated that they kept quiet about these attacks for a variety of reasons.

About 64 percent of mosques reported that they feared these attacks would have a negative impact on Muslim communities, with responses ranging from worshippers being discouraged from attending mosques, to causing rifts in the community to Muslims losing faith in the police.

The UK Home Office statistics record 6,377 religious hate crimes between March 2020 and 2121 with almost half of them aimed at the Muslim community in Britain, which is estimated to be about 2.8 million or 4.4 percent of the British population.