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3671  General Category / The Newsroom / Sale: Talaq for Rs 599 only on: July 10, 2010, 12:22:58 PM
Sale: Talaq for Rs 599 only


In Lucknow, three Shia women beat up clerics who granted instant talaq to their husbands for a price. The victims are now fighting back, literally.

The first time Ali Imam brushed against her, Nishat Fatima dismissed it as an accident. Imam, her 67-year-old father-in-law, went a few steps further the next time. He barged into her room and tried kissing her. A terrified Nishat complained to her husband, who laughed off the advances and warned her not to make a mountain out of a molehill.

Ali Imam had allegedly tried the same trick on the other two daughters-in-law, Hina and Arshi, as well. Their husbands also made light of the issue till the three women got together, exchanged notes and resolved to fight back. Embarrassed, the husbands proceeded to get talaqs with shocking ease.

"It has proved to be an unequal fight," says Fatima, carefully unrolling the talaqnama which puts an end to her 12-year nikah. "They have the mullahs on their side." The muftis in Sultanul Madaris Darul Qaza (Shariat Court) in Lucknow gave an ex parte divorce without giving her an opportunity to be heard — a mandatory precondition among the Shia sect. Hina met a similar fate, and now Arshi is waiting for her estranged husband to flash a talaqnama any day.

"All it costs is Rs 599 to ruin a woman's life," Fatima sighs, though the 35-year-old school teacher is happy that she has had a chance to hit back quite literally.

Last Tuesday, the three women broke into the Darul Qaza and accosted the muftis. When the clergy tried to shoo them off, the women pounced on them and caught two of them by surprise. Blocking the passage, they showered them with blows and expletives even as a third ran for cover. "I don't regret it one bit. This is the least I could do to settle scores with a man who brought me and my children to the road," says Arshi.

A post-graduate with a law degree, the attractive young woman finds herself named in the FIR as one of the three accomplices for assaulting the clerics. She is unfazed. "What was expected of me? Wait till my father-in-law turned me into another Imrana (see box)? she shoots back. Assaulting the maulvis was the last resort, the women claim. "We tried all venues to seek justice... went to the police station, to the senior clerics of the Shia sect, also to the Women's Commission. But nothing worked, no one helped," Fatima recalls. Her husband, a property dealer in Nainital, procured the talaq to marry his girlfriend who was pregnant with his child. "I knew he was wayward, but thought he was humane and would not desert me and our 10-year-old son." Her worst fears came true when she was shown a copy of the talaqnama.

Buying a talaq is as simple as shopping for meat. You quote your price, bargain, strike a deal and come back with a sealed and signed document that no one can question. This is not the first time a talaq has been bought for a price in Lucknow. But, this is certainly the first time an aggrieved woman has dared to raise her hand against the maulvis.

Says Fatima, "Par khuda ki kasam bahut sukoon mila hai unko sabak sikhane mein (Beating them up was extremely satisfying )." Already, she has become a hero of sorts for women duped by their husbands. "At least 15-20 women have called me up and sought advice."

Like Fatima, there are others who don't want to suffer in silence. "There is a change and it's long overdue," says Naeesh Hasan, convener and founder member of Akhil Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan.

"Women are simply sick of the khap panchayat kind of justice delivered by the clergy. The same gender bias, the same insensitivity and cruelty... If the khap can kill, so can the maulvis by taking away all that a woman built in 15-20 years of her marriage, including her home," Naeesh says. "Auraton ne har mamle mein inki bahut dakhalandazi sahi hai (women have put up with a lot of interference in every walk of life)." The revolt of the three Shia girls in Lucknow shows how pent up their fury was.

Begum Shahnaz Sidrat, president of Bazme Khawateen , a women's organisation headquartered at Lucknow, says complaints of talaqnamas for sale are pretty common. She quotes the case of an IAS officer from UP who got rid of his wife after paying maulvis Rs 500. "The maulvis declared the girl was unchaste as her residence in Mumbai was above a pub and gave a onesided decree. Despite all our efforts, nothing happened. She went back to Mumbai and this man remarried."

Herself at the receiving end of the clerics' ire after she announced her intention to contest the Lucknow parliamentary seat (she was ordered to withdraw, stay indoors, and not set a bad example for the community), Sidrat declares, "I believe in Shariat and Islam, but not its interpretation by the mullahs."

Naeesh agrees that it's time for change. "Women, whether Shia or Sunni, have become victims of male whims. Among Sunnis, the man can end the relationship by pronouncing talaq three times. In the Shia sect, which makes serving three notices or the wife's presence mandatory in the proceedings, the talaqnama has turned out to be quite a money spinner for unscrupulous ulema."


An unlikely crusader

An illiterate mother of five, Imrana became a crusader of sorts when she charged her father-in-law with rape. Her story had a twist after a Darul Uloom Deoband decreed that sharing a sexual relationship with the father-in-law turned her into her husband's mother. Therefore, they said, any physical relationship between the husband and wife would be wrong.

Imrana is now back with her husband in Charthawal, Muzaffarnagar as her father-in-law languishes in jail, sentenced to ten years of imprisonment. The maulvis, though, still call the union haram.


http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/India/Sale-Talaq-for-Rs-599-only/articleshow/6150729.cms
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3672  General Category / The Newsroom / Enter the Islamic feminist on: July 10, 2010, 12:15:39 PM
Enter the Islamic feminist


They're not burning bras, or burqas. But a bunch of non-conformist Muslim women activists are making an attempt to free the sorority from the clutches of a patriarchial clergy.

Last week, Lucknow-based feminist Shaista Ambar was on television again. This time she was siding with the three daughters-in-law - Nishat, Hina and Arshi - who had beaten up some maulvis at Sultanul Madaris, the city's famous Shia madrassa which also houses a Sharia court. The maulvis had given talaqnamas (divorce documents) to the women's husbands without consulting them when they tried to get justice against the advances of their father-in-law.

Incensed, Ambar batted for the brave women whom the clergy predictably attacked for taking the law into their hands. "The maulvis should have spoken to the women before they wrote the talaqnama. The patriarchal, misogynist clergy will have to mend its ways or women know how to avenge injustice," Ambar told TOI-Crest in between giving interviews to news channels.

Ambar belongs to a small but increasingly influential group of Islamic feminists in India. They may not be as powerful as the senior maulvis who head leading Islamic seminaries or run Muslim Personal Law Boards and Sharia courts, both Shia and Sunni. But this band of non-conformist women is silently and successfully ushering in change.

They may not equal the audacity of the bra-burning feminists of several decades ago, but they've hit hard at the patriarchal and misogynist elements in Muslim society. And their guiding sources are the Quran and Hadith (the Prophet's traditions). Ambar, who founded the Muslim Women's Personal Law Board in 2005, saved the marriages of hundreds of Muslim couples in Muradabad (UP) village a couple of years ago.

A maulvi belonging to the Deobandi sect had led the namaz-e-janaza (funeral prayer) of a man from the Barelvi sect. Calling it a sin, another maulvi of the sect issued a fatwa that all those who had attended the funeral prayer under the imamat (leadership) of the Deobandi imam needed to remarry, as their wives had become haram (illegal) for them. "This diktat threatened not just to throw the marital lives of several dozen Muslims into disarray, but also inflame a sectarian strife in western UP," says Ambar, who quelled the crisis by opposing the fatwa. She cited the example of holy mosques in Mecca and Medina where lakhs worship behind Deobandi imams. Ambar was also among those who opposed the recent Darul Uloom fatwa that called women's earnings illegal. India's Islamic feminists are bucking trends courageously and cannily.

In August 2008, Planning Commission member Sayeda Hameed created history by becoming the first woman qazi when she solemnised a nikah ceremony in Lucknow - that of activist Naesh Hasan and PhD scholar Imran Naeem. "Naesh told me that she would remain unmarried if I didn't act as the qazi. I had to give in to her demands," recalls Hameed, who drew flak from a section of clerics who said there was no precedent of a woman acting as a qazi. "I asked them to show me a verse in the Quran or a Hadith which prevented a woman from becoming a qazi. If it was not forbidden by Allah and His Prophet, who were the maulvis to oppose it?" she asks. After they couldn't come out with a convincing reason, some maulvis spread the lie that Hameed had not covered her head while she chanted Quranic verses during the nikah. This was a lie, claims Hameed, fabricated to malign her.

The Islamic feminist movement is not confined to occasional acts of rebellion by contrarian "progressives" . There are some feminists who are respected by even senior clerics and regularly invited to their meetings. Mumbaibased Uzma Naheed is one such. Coming from the family of the clerics that founded the famous Darul Uloom Deoband (UP) in the mid-18th century, Naheed is a member of the All-India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIIMPLB) and heads Iqra International Women Alliance (IIWA), an NGO committed to empowering Muslim women. A few yeas ago, she drafted a model nikahnama which had, among other provisions, a right to talaq-e-tafweez (delegated talaq) which allowed women a right to put certain conditions in the nikahnma. If the husband failed to meet those conditions - like not taking another wife till the first wife was alive - the woman could divorce him. Many members privately appreciated Naheed's revolutionary nikahnama, but are yet to implement it.

Unlike most Muslim women who are expected to remain veiled when they meet strangers, Naheed doesn't use a face veil, though she covers her head with a scarf.

"Initially, some ulema were uncomfortable with my being unveiled. Now they have accepted me," she says.

Another feminist is Zeenat Shaukat Ali, who teaches Islamic Studies at Mumbai's St Xavier's College and has made "freeing Muslim women from the clutches of the clergy" her life's mission. Thirteen years ago, Ali created a stir among educated Muslims with her critically acclaimed book Marriage and Divorce in Islam (1997). "The book's main argument is that since Allah made male and female as complementary to each other, there is no reason to treat women as inferior to men," says Ali, who adds that her feminism is not about male-bashing , but about sharing space with them.

The academic has organised several multi-faith programmes, including a cricket match featuring maulvis, Hindu pandits, Christian, Zoroastrian and Sikh priests as players. Her Art for Peace project had similar multireligious participation where the participants were asked to paint on a theme of peace. "Many of the maulvis had never picked up a brush before," she recalls.

Fiery woman activist Daud Sharifa's aim is to build a mosque exclusively for women. Since mosques are binding forces for practising Muslims, there has been a movement to allow women to worship there, and a few mosques in India, like the Tajul Madaris in Bhopal, do allow women worshippers, though segregated by a wall or a curtain. But an exclusive mosque for women was unheard of in India till Sharifa took up the issue a few years ago.

Having seen the discrimination against Muslim women at the hands of the local jamaat in Tamil Nadu, Sharifa launched a movement for women's empowerment not financially but spiritually too. She is building India's first mosque exclusively for women in Pudukkottai, around 300 km from Chennai. "It will serve not just as a place of worship but even as a cultural centre where women can air their views and discuss their problems," explains Sharifa whom the local maulvis vehemently opposed, but failed to stop.

This bunch of Islamic feminists is fighting for a better future for sisters in distress. Ask the three women in Lucknow who, after bashing up the corrupt maulvis, found Shaista Ambar as a shield against the threats, both verbal and physical.


Spreading wings: Islamic feminism is a decade and a half old. In the 1990s Iranian, Egyptian, Turkish, Moroccan, South African, American, feminists and religious scholars, among others, found they were all simultaneously working on reinterpretations of women's rights under Islam. It is now well on its way to becoming a robust international movement with more and more women pushing for a progressive Islamic discourse to promote gender equality.

Seems that the light has started burning at the end of the Tunnel
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3673  General Category / Health and Fitness / Butter versus margarine! on: July 09, 2010, 12:33:00 PM
Butter versus margarine!


For years we have been discouraged from eating butter, largely due to its high fat and calorie content and nutritionists have often suggested margarine as a healthier substitute.

However, a recent study conducted by Harvard University, suggests the contrary. Although they are both sources of fat, butter and margarine contain different kinds of fat, which is important when deciding which one of the two is a healthier option, suggests the study.

What is margarine?

Margarine is used as a substitute for butter and it contains saturated fats. These are produced when hydrogen is heated in order to harden vegetable oils. It is often claimed that margarine contains polyunsaturated fats that contain Omega 3 and Omega 6 oils which are essential fatty-acids, but the body cannot manufacture them. However, the high temperature needed to produce margarine, destroys and vitamin E and other nutrients left in the oil. The final product contains trans-fatty acids which increase inflammation in the body. One of margarine’s supposed virtues is that it can help reduce cholesterol levels in the bloodstream, and thereby afford some protection from ‘cardiovascular’ conditions such as heart diseases and strokes.

Difference between margarine and butter:

Both Margarine and butter contain the same amount of calories present in them. On the contrary butter contains natural fats, which are essential for the strengthening the bones and has many nutritional benefits.

Ill-effects of margarine:

Excess intake of margarine can worsen illnesses such as colitis and arthritis. The hardening agents used in the production of margarine include nickel and cadmium. Nickel is a toxic metal that when consumed in excess, causes lung and kidney problems. Cadmium is among the most toxic of the heavy metals. It may contribute to serious diseases such as arteriosclerosis, high blood pressure and malignancy. The study conducted at Harvard University, found that a diet high in trans-fat, which doubles the chance for heart attack and decreases life expectancy.

Solution:

The best way to control the rising cholesterol levels, is by eating everything in moderation and not anything in excess. All products such as eggs, full cream milk, etc. contain minerals and proteins which are essential for the bones and cutting out these products will only lead to further health hazards.
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3674  General Category / Health and Fitness / Grocery shopping secrets on: July 07, 2010, 12:26:05 PM
Grocery shopping secrets


If you're following any diet, chances are you're shopping for lots of fresh, nutritious foods. To get through the grocery store in a timely fashion, stick to the perimeter of the store — it's where you'll find fresh dairy, produce, meat, poultry, and fish.

Most of the aisles in between have packaged goods, such as crackers, cookies, canned soups and vegetables, juices, etc. For more specific information on getting through the grocery store, check out our handy tips, below.

Produce. Load your cart with a variety of fresh, nutrient-dense, fiber-rich vegetables, like spinach, zucchini, broccoli, tomatoes, carrots and peppers. Stock up on fresh fruits, too, including apples, oranges, mangoes, pomegranates, melons, and berries.

Dairy. There are many items to choose from in the dairy aisle. For instance, eggs, part-skim ricotta cheese, and low-fat cheese are all excellent lean protein choices. Low-fat and fat-free milk count toward your daily dairy requirement, as do low-fat and non-fat plain yogurt and artificially sweetened low-fat and fat-free yogurt. You can also find unsweetened or artificially sweetened soy milk in the dairy aisle.

Meats/Fish/Poultry. Focus your attention on lean cuts of beef and poultry, which include eye of round, ground beef, tenderloin, top loin, and top round, as well as turkey and chicken breast, pork loin and pork tenderloin. Fish and shellfish are also good choices. Get to know your fishmonger — you should aim to eat fish four times a week. (Limit consumption of types of fish that contain high levels of methylmercury, including shark, swordfish, king mackerel, and tilefish.)

Frozen foods. The frozen aisle offers quick-to-cook vegetables — perfect if you're up against the clock. You can also find soy-based meat alternatives in the freezer section. Look for those that contain less than 6 grams of fat per 2- to 3-ounce servings. If you have a sweet tooth, try frozen fudge bars with no added sugar.

Miscellaneous. Other foods to seek out from the middle of the store: nuts (avoid honey-roasted or sweetened varieties), canned light tuna fish, extra-virgin olive oil, sugar-free gelatin, vegetable juice cocktail or tomato juice, sugar-free diet sodas, and sugar-free drink mixes. You can also stock up on whole-grain breads and crackers, brown rice, whole-wheat pasta, and low-sugar, high-fiber whole-grain cereals.
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3675  General Category / Health and Fitness / Here is the 'ultimate sex diet' on: July 07, 2010, 12:21:40 PM
Here is the 'ultimate sex diet'


Imagine having sex often to lose weight! Does it sound to good to be true? Well, it is entirely true. There are some drawbacks but ultimately, it gives you a great body, great skin and hair (all those endorphins do it for you!)So now do you think you'll be able to lose all that extra weight?

Appealing to both men and women, for possibly entirely different reasons, the Ultimate Sex Diet prescribes regular sexual activity to shed unwanted pounds. By regular, we mean a lot. You should have sex with your partner three to five times during the week and at least once (or more) on the weekend. It has been proved that those who engage in plenty of sexual activity experience many benefits like a healthy heart, healthy immune system, less depression, and weight loss.

Pluses

- Wake-up your sex life
- Lose weight
- Promotes a healthy heart
- No counting

Negatives
- Some food restrictions

Diet and nutrition: Enjoy your food much like you would the exercise-portion of this diet. Food should be eaten in a calm and inviting atmosphere, chew it slowly and lick your lips after each bite. Experts feel one should make love to your food as if it were your first time. Controlling portions is also important - you wouldn't want to over do it. Rather, take just enough of each part of the meal to satisfy you.

The accompanying diet is low-fat, high-fibre. Bread and pasta are the only really limited food item, everything else can be enjoyed in moderation. Choose low or no-fat dairy over higher fat options, whole grains, sugar-free desserts, fresh herbs and unique spices, seafood, fruits and vegetables. You are certainly permitted dark chocolate and wine – aphrodisiacs that will promote your exercise goals.

Exercise: Sex-exercising should be your focus to shed all those pounds. Other recommended exercises promote additional bonding between you and your partner, as well as strengthen the key muscles necessary for this regimen
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3676  General Category / Sports and Games / The World Cup....Result on: July 07, 2010, 12:11:15 PM
The World Cup....Result !


Believe it or not....This world cup is already determined by the numbers....

1. Brazil won the World Cup in 1994; before that they also won in 1970.Adding1970 + 1994= 3964
...
2. Argentina won its last World Cup in 1986; before that they also won in 1978.Adding 1978 + 1986= 3964

3. Germany won its last World Cup in 1990; before that they also won in 1974.Adding 1974 + 1990= 3964

4. Brazil also won the World Cup in 2002; before that they also won in 1962.Adding 1962+ 2002= 3964

5. Therefore if you want to know what nation is going to win the World Cup in 2010, you only have to subtract 2010 from the magic number that we have determined: 3964.3964 minus 2010 = 1954... In 1954 the World Cup was won by Germany!!!
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3677  General Category / Sports and Games / An unusual soccer match in 1994 on: July 07, 2010, 12:08:58 PM
An unusual soccer match in 1994




Barbados vs. Grenada, the demand for own-goals, 1994

There was an unusual match between Barbados and Grenada.

Grenada went into the match with a superior goal difference, meaning that Barbados needed to win by two goals to progress to the finals. The trouble was caused by two things. First, unlike most group stages in football competitions, the organizers had deemed that all games must have a winner. All games drawn over 90 minutes would go to sudden death extra time. Secondly and most importantly, there was an unusual rule which stated that in the event of a game going to sudden death extra time the goal would count double, meaning that the winner would be awarded a two goal victory.
Barbados was leading 2-0 until the 83rd minute, when Grenada scored, making it 2-1. Approaching the dying moments, the Barbadians realized they had no chance of scoring past Grenada's mass defense, so they deliberately scored an own goal to tie the game at 2-2. This would send the game into extra time and give them another half hour to break down the defense. The Grenadians realized what was happening and attempted to score an own goal as well, which would put Barbados back in front by one goal and would eliminate Barbados from the competition.
However, the Barbados players started defending their opposition's goal to prevent them from doing this, and during the game's last five minutes, the fans were treated to the incredible sight of Grenada trying to score in either goal. Barbados also defended both ends of the pitch, and held off Grenada for the final five minutes, sending the game into extra time. In extra time, Barbados notched the game-winner, and, according to the rules, was awarded a 4-2 victory, which put them through to the next round.
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3678  Fun Zone / Clean Jokes / AIDS WARNING for Age 55 and above on: July 06, 2010, 09:46:42 PM
AIDS WARNING for Age 55 and above


To all of you approaching 55 or have REACHED 55 and past, this email is especially for you......... ....

SENIOR CITIZENS ARE THE NATION'S LEADING CARRIERS OF AIDS!
HEARING AIDS
BAND AIDS GARDENING AIDS
WALKING AIDS
MEDICAL AIDS
GOVERNMENT AIDS
MOST OF ALL,
MONETARY AID TO THEIR KIDS!
Not forgetting HIV (Hair is Vanishing)
and
AIDS : Acute income deficiency syndrome    
I'm only sending this to my 'old' friends.
I love to see you smile.
Give me the grace to see a joke,
To get some humour out of life, 
And pass it on to other folk.
[/color] [/size]
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3679  General Category / Health and Fitness / Olive leaves can help fight obesity on: July 06, 2010, 01:18:24 PM
Olive leaves can help fight obesity

A new research has revealed that a cup of coffee prepared with olive leaf extract may help in combating obesity.

The study involved feeding rats a high carbohydrate, high fat diet for eight weeks until they developed signs of metabolic syndrome.

The rats given coffee fortified with olive leaf extract for a further eight weeks showed improved cardiovascular, liver and metabolic signs compared with rats given normal coffee.

Lindsay Brown of University of Southern Queensland's said the olive leaf extract led to weight loss because of its anti-inflammatory properties, reports the Sydney Morning Herald.

The role of inflammation in causing fat storage is the subject of studies around the world.

Green tea, turmeric, aspirin derivatives and ibuprofen are thought to have a similar weight-loss effect.

Greg Jardine, a biochemist said he had observed that olive leaf extract products encouraged weight loss.

Yet the results of the study on rats exceeded expectations.

The study was published in the American Journal of Nutrition.


http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/life/health-fitness/health/Olive-leaves-can-help-fight-obesity/articleshow/6130670.cms
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3680  Image Zone / Amazing, Breathtaking, Cute, etc. / Two-Headed Calf Born in Egypt Expected to Survive on: July 06, 2010, 11:53:05 AM
Two-Headed Calf Born in Egypt Expected to Survive

An Egyptian farmer this week said one of his cows gave birth to a two-headed calf, after two hours of strenuous labor.

 The farmer, Sobhy el-Ganzoury, called it a "divine miracle." The animal is expected to survive.

El-Ganzoury is feeding milk to the calf with a baby bottle, and he told the AP that the animal is a reminder that
 "God is able to do anything."

 A veterinarian told him that the calf is in stable condition, despite having weak
 legs from the difficult birth.



http://timesofindia.hotklix.com/Hotklix/content/Fun/Bizzare/Two-Headed-Calf-Born-in-Egypt-Expected-to-Survive
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