SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) According to the sacred Shari’ah of Islam, it is haram (unlawful) to consummate marriage with married women. However, women who are taken captives by Muslim warriors are an exception and marriage with them is permissible under certain circumstances.
God, the Exalted, has permitted marriage contract with a female captive after one assures she is not pregnant from her first husband provided that the captive and her husband should be in two different places. If the woman and her husband are taken captives along with each other, she will not be halal for anyone other than her husband. This order is not applicable to the battles fought between two nations even though one of them might be the oppressor and transgressor.
The reason and philosophy behind Islam permitting marriage with female captives can be explained as follows: While the capture of women as prisoners is an unfortunate and bitter outcome of battles between warring nations, it is also a reality that is common to both the past and the present. Undeniably, the women that were captured and taken captive in wars were a part of the enemy’s army, and to release them would only assist the enemy in recuperating their lost numbers and strengthening their army. As a result, it would be completely illogical to release these captives unconditionally. In addition, keeping them in custody was also not a proper solution.
A feasible solution would be to employ these captives in positions of work such as mines, agricultural fields, etc., but this would mean denying them the fulfillment of their sexual drives which could give rise to very undesirable complications, moral and ethical degradation of the women. If these prisoners have their emotional and physical needs met within reasonable limits, these adverse effects can be avoided. Furthermore, if a big number of people are excluded from the society, the consequences would be graver because it would give rise to an impure generation in the society, a generation that will end up taking a position against moral and ideological values. In other words, they would represent the enemy’s thought and ideology and if this stance is not adopted, then there would come into being a population which is practically incompatible with the moral values of the society. Therefore, Islam officially recognized the permissibility of conjugal relations with them under specific circumstances. Such relations are thus considered within the realms of Islamic Shari’ah and intended to improve the social well-being of the parties concerned and society at large.
For further information vide: answer 1076 (site: 2541).
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) –Set goals and learn how to achieve them. “Whether you are in your twenties, thirties or forties, [or whether you’re] investing for school fees, retirement, dream holiday or second home, [it is important that you] determine how to achieve them,” said Tracey Hughes, consultant at Acuma Independent Financial Advice.
Don’t leave managing finances to your partner or spouse, otherwise, you’ll miss out on years of practical experience, said Hughes. “Discuss things together and learn what assets you both have so you can better understand your options and personal finance needs should something happen to either of you.”
Invest in an insurance policy and plan for your retirement while still young. Since women generally live longer than men, yet they tend to get diagnosed with critical illness as they get older, ensure that there is adequate insurance in place. For those who plan to get married, it is highly recommended that you take out an insurance in advance that will take care of maternity-related expenses. Don’t forget signing up to critical illness insurance as well.
If you have dependents, consider legacy planning, preserving wealth and managing the risk of liabilities that could be posed on your families, advised Ashok Sardana, managing director at Continental Group.
Learn the basic investing concepts. “One of the reasons why women tend to be less prepared for retirement years is due to lack of awareness of basic investment concepts. Women who contribute to the financial well being of their family should understand the various options available and the benefits each one of them have,” said Sardana.
“Financial planning is simply a means to an end. The end is your financial dreams and goals being achieved. Whether you are male or female, knowing the basic principles and then putting them into practice can put you in greater financial control of where you want to go and how you get there,” added Hughes.-www.shafaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – Libya’s Grand Mufti, Sheikh Sadeq al-Ghariani, has called on the government to ban Libyan women from marrying foreigners, Egypt’s state news agency MENA reported Wednesday.
He states that no Libyan women should be permitted to enter into marriage with a foreign man even if they are Muslims or Arabs.
Al-Ghariani says that he received several complaints that Shiite and Druze men from Iran and Syria are “taking advantage of the loose security grip in Libya and the chaotic situation in the public administration.” He cites this as justification for his call.
Sunni Muslim states, like Libya, tend to be sensitive to the entrance of Shiism into their societies through various means such as marriage and tourism.
Earlier this month, for example, Egyptian Islamist preacher, Safwat Hijazi, voiced objection to a tourism agreement with Iran. He expressed fear that the Ayatollah’s regime in Tehran may send Shiite missionaries disguised as tourists.
Hijazi told Al Arabiya in an interview that since the Islamic Revolution, the Ayatollah’s regime in Tehran has sought to disseminate the Shiite doctrine outside their country, especially among the Sunnis.
In Libya, the Grand Mufti’s call, if implemented by the government, would likely be seen as another setback for women’s rights in the post-Qaddafi era.
In February, the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court sanctioned polygamy after it abolished an old amendment that required men to have their first wife consent to them marrying a second one.-www.shafaqna.com/English
Source: aL Atabiya
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – A press release published in Brussels on 20 March 2013 revealed that Islamophobia or discrimination against Muslims is widespread in many European countries. Prejudice towards Muslims is often more visible than that affecting other religious or ethnic minority groups. This is the conclusion of the first pan-European qualitative survey on Muslim communities in Europe, part of ENAR’s 2011/12 Shadow Report on Racism in Europe and released ahead of International Day Against Racial Discrimination.
Manifestations of Islamophobia include discrimination and violence towards Muslims, criminal damage to Islamic buildings, and protests against the building of mosques even in countries, such as Poland, where some Muslim communities have been established and integrated for centuries. Muslim women and girls are particularly affected, facing an extreme form of double discrimination on the basis of both their religion and their gender. In France for instance, 85% of all Islamophobic acts target women.
In addition, anti-Muslim and anti-immigration discourses, promoted and exacerbated by both extremist and mainstream political parties, are fuelling discrimination and preventing ethnic and religious communities from participating fully in the European society and economy. This scapegoating is used as a deviation from the ‘real issues’ by many politicians to cover up a lack of vision and leadership in contributing as much as would be expected of them in steering the recovery of European societies.
Based on data collected by anti-racist civil society across Europe, the Shadow Report also highlights that discrimination continues to affect the lives of many ethnic and religious minorities throughout Europe as regards their access to education, employment, housing, goods and services as well as how they are treated by the police and criminal justice systems. For instance, Roma children form approximately one third of the ‘special needs’ school population in the Czech Republic. In Ireland, a study was conducted whereby fictitious CVs were sent to recruiters, half with recognisably Irish names and the other half with African, Asian and German names. It found that candidates with Irish names were twice as likely to be invited to interviews as non-Irish candidates with comparable levels of skills and qualifications.
ENAR Chair Chibo Onyeji said: “Today is also International Day of Happiness – an occasion to highlight that decision makers have a responsibility to ensure that ethnic and religious minorities in Europe also enjoy happy and fulfilling lives. The current climate of rising xenophobia and racist violence reflected in our Shadow Report findings should not obliterate the fact that, whatever our skin colour or our beliefs, we all strive for a better life, a better future, with better chances for our offspring. No special privileges are expected, but a clear political commitment to equality and inclusion for all people living in Europe is.”
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – Rush transcript: Dr. Mona el-Farra, physician, Union of Health Work Committees, Palestinian Red Crescent Society and Director of Gaza Projects with the Middle East Children’s Alliance
The Electronic Intifada: If you could give us your best analysis of women’s rights, as we commemorate International Women’s Day, under tightening Israeli restrictions, especially in Gaza, but all over Palestine.
Mona el-Farra: When I talk on this occasion, I think of ordinary women who are living under occupation and siege, and endure the most difficult situations, while living such a life. All the community are living under these circumstances. But especially women, they take the brunt of this occupation and siege. And when there is a prevalence of poverty in Gaza — I’ll talk about Gaza here — and an increase in domestic violence because of the abnormal life we are living under the siege and the occupation, so you can imagine how difficult is the life of those women.
And how admirable [it is] that we are still coping with the abnormal situations, women here in Gaza should celebrate their steadfastness but still it doesn’t mean that they are not subjected to trauma. For example, in our projects with the Middle East Children’s Alliance, we are faced with many women who are subjected to trauma because of the situation. And they have double roles — they have to take care of themselves and their family as well. And endure the bad economical situation, because as I have said earlier, the poverty level has increased because of the high unemployment, lack of resources, and all the life here in Gaza doesn’t help them to lead normal lives.
So it is not strange to see increasing number of women who are coming to our projects — the Middle East Children’s Alliance’s projects — to seek support. We support them through programs that educate them how to look after themselves, and how to look after their children during the crisis, and in normal life as well — because as I said earlier, that is very difficult, and these sort of [MECA] projects — we do it in cooperation with the Red Crescent Society and New Horizons for Women and Children, these projects aim to educate women about mental health issues, for example, post-traumatic stress disorder — how to deal with their children during a crisis. We try, we try to help.
And I think that while women in Gaza are still suffering from not having their basic needs, like the right to health, the right to education, a right to water, the right to live — because it is unsafe and insecure in Gaza — we are struggling hard for these basic rights while other women around the world are talking about equality with men and jobs and other issues, basic rights for the Palestinian humans, including women, are still violated and not sufficient for ordinary human beings.
EI: Dr. Mona, as a physician yourself, can you talk about what was included in this report that we ran by Eva Bartlett, talking about anemia and poor pregnancy outcome and also a rise in maternity deaths — can you talk about how the siege and occupation contributes to these health effects for women?
ME: I can say that anemia amongst women has increased — 45 percent of women in Gaza are … suffering from anemia, and this is a high level of anemia. And children too, [school-age] children, the anemia level is increasing, and this is very alarming too, but let’s go back to women. When 45 percent of women are suffering from anemia, that directs you to the next conclusion that this is poverty. This is poverty that is hidden. Because when you come to Gaza, on the surface you find life is normal, a lot of shops, many things, but poverty is there, not everybody, just 5 percent of the population can afford to buy [from the shops], and with the aid from the international aid agency, it supplies families with basic food but not the well-balanced food to bring up healthy families and healthy children.
EI: Dr. Mona, what are you most concerned about as a physician when you see these kinds of statistics?
ME: I am concerned about the future of the children, because anemia means that children will be unable to develop normally, and unable to focus at school. So we will be faced in the next few years with a generation that is not capable [to be] strong. And this is my main worry about the children.
It is these projects — we call our project Let Them Play And Heal. Because it is ongoing conflict, ongoing aggression and … against the children of Gaza, and so we do psychological support for women and children through entertaining activities. And because it is a longterm crisis, not an acute crisis — it is actually acute on top of chronic crisis — that’s why these projects where provide children with space, entertaining, reading, writing, drama, it feeds their psychological well-being. It is not just about food, food is very important, it is a basic need — but the psychological well-being of the children is very, very important.
Because as I said, this is ongoing, and we don’t want to end up with a very traumatized society, a very traumatized community, so these projects help to support their psychological well-being. -www.shafaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) –A group of Lebanese activists vowed Thursday to launch an open hunger strike next week to protest delays in the passing of a law to protect women from domestic violence.
Lebanon, which currently lacks legislation against domestic abuse, has seen over 16 gender-based murders in the last 14 months. A draft domestic violence law, which falls short of the demands of women's rights groups and the United Nations, was proposed in February 2012.
The country's semi-annual Regular Legislative Session is set to discuss the draft law on March 19th. However, the meeting faces the distinct possibility of being postponed, or boycotted by key players, due to political deadlock over an elections draft law.
Amid throngs of protesters in central Beirut Thursday night, young activists issued an ultimatum: scores of people would take part in hunger strikes in front of parliament if the parliamentary session does not go ahead as planned.
The announcement coincides with International Women's Day, normally celebrated in Lebanon by hundreds-strong marches.
Parliamentary Speaker Nabih Berri is set to confirm the session and announce its agenda on the 16th.
“I'm not posting [Facebook] statuses about dead women anymore. A phone call can save a life and these guys don't get it,” said founder of the feminist collective Nasawiya, Nadine Moawad.
Rights groups estimate that Lebanese police receive thousands of phone calls from women every year reporting domestic abuse, but fail to intervene because of the absence of a legal framework.
In 2009, one woman from Mount Lebanon complained four times of being beaten her husband before succumbing to wounds inflicted by him.
“We're telling the politicians: you want women to die, here are some women to die in front of you,” said activist Nay el-Rahi of the hunger strike she is helping organize.
Four permanent hunger strikers, including Moawad, would be on a water-only and multi-vitamins diet, supervised by a medical team. Scores of other strikers are expected to join them on two-day rotations.
“I think [the domestic violence law] doesn't need all of this,” MP Ghassan Moukheiber, a member of the parliamentary subcommittee studying the domestic violence draft law, told Al-Akhbar.
“Rather than go through such an action [the activists] should lobby the opposition to stop boycotting parliamentary sessions, so that we can push this law through,” Moukheiber added.
Lebanon's leading opposition group, the Future Movement, has vowed to boycott the session over a ultra-sectarian election law, known as the Orthodox Law. The divisive proposal would have voters cast a ballot only for candidates of their own sect.
However, activists are weary of placing blame on only one side of Lebanon's deep political divide. “The issue here is: do MPs see this as a priority?” said Moawad.
“What Berri can do is hold a session for the law before the elections discussion. This is more important than the elections law.”
The Future Movement has expressed support for the draft law, and it is expected that it would pass should a session inclusive of the party be held.
The proposal is not without fault, however, and activists are pushing to restore it to the version recommended by the United Nations.
Under the draft law, religious authorities maintain a final say in domestic abuse cases and women are not afforded special protections.
The UN recommends the creation of a personal status law to protect against gender-based violence. Currently, all personal and domestic affairs in Lebanon are governed by religious courts.-www.shfaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) –Thirty Saudi women have taken seats in Saudi Arabia's Shura Council, for the first time in the conservative kingdom's history, as they were sworn in before King Abdullah at his palace in the capital, Riyadh.
The women took their seats in the same room with their 130 male colleagues and were sworn in collectively, state television said on Tuesday.
"The development we are woring at must be gradual," King Abdullah said in a brief statement broadcast on state television.
He recommended that the council, an advisory body, show "realism" in its discussions and allow "reason to prevail in issues it has to deal" with.
On January 11, the king appointed the women, which include university graduates, human rights activists and two princesse, to the body, also known as the Saudi Consultative Council.
His decree marked a breakthrough in a kingdom that imposes stringent restrictions on women, with females banned from driving and denied the right to travel without the consent of a male guardian.
The monarch took the decisions following consultations with religious leaders in Saudi Arabia, which applies a strict version of Islamic law.
Abdullah has been carefully treading towards change, introducing municipal elections for the first time in 2005.
In 2011, he granted women the right to vote and run as candidates in the next local election, set for 2015, saying "we refuse to marginalise women's role in Saudi society".-www.shfaqna.com/English
Source: Al Jazeera
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – The RCMP is questioning the oft-cited claim by an aboriginal group and some federal politicians that about 600 aboriginal women have gone missing or been murdered in Canada.
On today's edition of CBC Radio's The House, host Evan Solomon says that when he contacted the RCMP to confirm that there are 580 cases of aboriginal women who were either missing or killed in the country, the force said it wasn't aware of about 500 of them.
The question of exactly how many aboriginal women are missing or killed in Canada comes during a week that included the Annual Day of Justice for Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women on Friday, and a debate in the House of Commons that included a Liberal proposal to strike a special committee to investigate the issue. This week also saw a report from New York-based Human Rights Watch that accused the RCMP in British Columbia of abusive acts, including rape, against aboriginal women.
The number 600 — used repeatedly in the House of Commons this week — comes from the Native Women's Association of Canada. In 2005, they began a program called Sisters in Spirit — a five-year research, education and policy initiative funded by Status of Women Canada – to collect data and examine the causes of the missing and killed Aboriginal women and girls. They say they documented 580 aboriginal women and girls across Canada as either disappeared or dead. That number counts cases until 2010, the year their funding was not renewed.
But spokeswoman Sgt. Julie Gagnon said in an email that the Sisters in Spirit have shared the names of 118 alleged victims with the RCMP's National Aboriginal Policing Services.
Sixty-four of the 118 names were confirmed to be in a police database, while 54 could not be confirmed.
"The RCMP is concerned with the over 500 possible victims from the Sisters in Spirit database that have not been shared," she said.
The RCMP said they investigate all cases missing and killed people regardless of sex, ethnicity, background or lifestyle and run special programs to investigate the aboriginal women file.
The Native Women's Association of Canada did not reply to a request for an interview.-www.shfaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – Women with a high intake of calcium from their diet and supplements could be at higher risk of dying from heart disease, a Swedish study suggests.
When researchers followed 61,443 Swedish women for an average of 19 years, they found nearly 12,000 deaths, including nearly 4,000 from cardiovascular disease and almost 1,900 from ischemic heart disease.
"High intakes of calcium in women are associated with higher death rates from all causes and cardiovascular disease but not from stroke," Dr. Karl Michaelsson, a clinical professor in the department of orthopedic surgical sciences at Uppsala University and co-authors concluded in this week's issue of the British Medical Journal.
In the study, the average intake in for those consuming the lowest amounts of calcium was 72 milligram a day, the equivalent of five slices of cheese, and in the highest 2,137 milligrams per day.
Women taking calcium tablets with a dietary intake above 1,400 milligrams per day were 1.5 times as likely to die from cardiovascular disease than those getting 600 to 999 milligrams a day.
The death rate from cardiovascular disease in the group with the highest calcium intake was 4.0 per 1000 person years while the death rate in the group with the lower calcium intake was 3.5 per 1000 person years. Person years describes the number of people, times the number of years exposed.
Diets with very low or very high levels of calcium can override normal controls and cause changes in the blood levels of calcium or related hormones, the researchers said.
The findings come on the heels of three recent reanalyses of randomized trials in women pointing to a higher risk of ischemic heart disease and stroke with calcium supplements. That was not found in a fourth randomized trial.
"Many older adults increase dietary intake of calcium or take calcium supplements to prevent bone loss and there had been speculation that increased calcium intake with or without vitamin D could improve cardiovascular health," Dr. Gregg Fonarow, an American Heart Association spokesman who wasn't involved in the study, told HealthDay News.
Osteoporosis Canada recommends getting about 1,200 milligrams every day of calcium, preferably from diet. One glass of milk has about 300 milligrams of calcium.
Taylor Wallace, a representative of the supplement industry, said the original Swedish mammography study was not set up to address the question it answered.
"It did not adjust for the role of hormone replacement therapy (HRT), and since science has gone back and forth as to whether HRT helps or hurts the heart, the jury is out as to how this might influence the findings," Wallace said in a statement on the Council for Responsible Nutrition's website.
No cause and effect relationships can be drawn from the study, which was funded by the Swedish Research Council.-www.shfaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – Human Rights Watch has accused Canada's federal police of intimidating and even sexually assaulting aboriginal women and girls in the province of British Columbia.
In a scathing report, which was released on Wednesday, the rights organization documented numerous accounts of women and girls in the province’s indigenous communities finding themselves in a constant state of fear.
"The threat of domestic and random violence on one side, and mistreatment by RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) officers on the other, leaves indigenous women in a constant state of insecurity," AFP quoted Meghan Rhoad, co-author of the 89-page report on the issue, as saying at a press conference in Ottawa on Wednesday.
The report also documented a number of disturbing allegations of rape and sexual assault at the hands of police.
"In five of the 10 towns Human Rights Watch visited in the north, we heard allegations of rape or sexual assault by police officers," the report stated.
The report was the outcome of an investigation into the "Highway of Tears" -- the name used to describe an infamous 800-kilometer stretch of highway in central British Columbia where 18 women have disappeared over the past several decades.
Two researchers, one from Canada and one from the US, spent five weeks last summer in the province’s north, interviewing 42 women and eight girls in 10 communities along the highway that connects the cities of Prince George and Prince Rupert in the westernmost province.
The researchers noted that all of the victims in the report were frightened about possible retaliation within their communities or by police, and insisted on having their identities protected.
“(This report) was about the level of fear that I and my colleague witnessed in the north at levels that we found comparable in conflict situations in post-war Iraq,” Rhoad added.
“It’s about the lack of meaningful accountability for police neglect or police mistreatment which creates an environment of impunity for violence against ingenious woman and girls,” he stated.
The report called on the federal government to launch a national inquiry into the murders and disappearances of indigenous, and called for an independent civilian investigation into the reports of police misconduct.
The RCMP said it took the allegations "very seriously" but that “it is impossible to deal with such public and serious complaints when we have no method to determine who the victims of the accused are."
Indigenous communities in Canada, also known as the First Nations, say they are frustrated with Ottawa’s failure to address the social and economic grievances facing many of Canada’s 1.2 million aborigines.
Many of Canada’s natives live in poor conditions with unsafe drinking water, inadequate housing, addiction, and high suicide rates.
In a report released on December 19, 2012, Amnesty International called on Canada to address human rights abuses in the country, particularly with respect to the rights of indigenous peoples.-www.shfaqna.com/English