Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Nude & Prostitution - YES but Abaya - NO in France

Abaya not welcome: Sarkozy

PARIS (AP) - President Nicolas Sarkozy lashed out Monday at the practice of wearing the Muslim burqa, insisting the full-body religious gown is a sign of the "debasement" of women and that it won't be welcome in France.

The French leader expressed support for a recent call by dozens of legislators to create a parliamentary commission to study a small but growing trend of wearing the full-body garment in France.

In the first presidential address in 136 years to a joint session of France's two houses of parliament, Sarkozy laid out his support for a ban even before the panel has been approved—braving critics who fear the issue is a marginal one and could stigmatize Muslims in France.

"In our country, we cannot accept that women be prisoners behind a screen, cut off from all social life, deprived of all identity," Sarkozy said to extended applause in a speech at the Chateau of Versailles southwest of Paris.

"The burqa is not a religious sign, it's a sign of subservience, a sign of debasement—I want to say it solemnly," he said. "It will not be welcome on the territory of the French Republic."

In France, the terms "burqa" and "niqab" often are used interchangeably. The former refers to a full-body covering worn largely in Afghanistan with only a mesh screen over the eyes, whereas the latter is a full-body veil, often in black, with slits for the eyes.

Later Monday, Sarkozy was expected to host a state dinner with Sheik Hamad Bin Jassem Al Thani of Qatar. Many women in the Persian Gulf state wear Islamic head coverings in public—whether while shopping or driving cars.

France enacted a law in 2004 banning the Islamic headscarf and other conspicuous religious symbols from public schools, sparking fierce debate at home and abroad. France has Western Europe's largest Muslim population, an estimated 5 million people.

A government spokesman said Friday that it would seek to set up a parliamentary commission that could propose legislation aimed at barring Muslim women from wearing the head-to-toe gowns outside the home.

The issue is highly divisive even within the government. France's junior minister for human rights, Rama Yade, said she was open to a ban if it is aimed at protecting women forced to wear the burqa.

But Immigration Minister Eric Besson said a ban would only "create tensions."

A leading French Muslim group warned against studying the burqa.

VERSAILLES, France - The Islamic burka (Abaya) is “not welcome” in France because it is not a symbol of religion but a sign of subservience for women, President Nicolas Sarkozy said Monday.
“We cannot accept to have in our country women who are prisoners behind netting, cut off from all social life, deprived of identity,” he said.
“That is not the idea that the French republic has of women’s dignity.”
“The burka (Abaya) is not a sign of religion, it is a sign of subservience,” he told lawmakers. “It will not be welcome on the territory of the French republic.”
Abaya is called Burka in the Subcontinent and Chador in Iran.
Sarkozy told a special session of parliament he was in favor of holding the inquiry sought by some French lawmakers into whether Muslim women who cover themselves fully in public undermine French secularism and women’s rights.
But the president added “we must not fight the wrong battle, in the republic the Muslim religion must be respected as much as other religions” in France, which has Europe’s biggest Muslim population estimated at several million.
The proposal to hold an inquiry has won support from many politicians from both the left and right, but France’s official Muslim council accused lawmakers of wasting time focusing on a fringe phenomenon.
“To raise the subject like this, via a parliamentary committee, is a way of stigmatizing Islam and the Muslims of France,” Mohammed Moussaoui, head of the French Council for the Muslim Religion (CFCM), said last week. – AFP

A comment:
These are double standards of few European countries specially France, if Burqa is banned then they must also banned the NUN garments too as they too wear the same attire and not just this but all religious attires, is it not religious one?, when USA President Obama does not have problem with Burqa why France is afraid of do they want Muslim ladies to dress half or full naked dresses like European ladies, and degrade the value of Women’s, I don’t think this is wise decision

Temporary marriages are forbidden in Islam, declared grand mufti of Saudi Arabia

No to temporary marriages

RIYADH: Temporary marriages are forbidden in Islam, declared Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al-Asheikh, grand mufti of Saudi Arabia, while answering a viewer’s question on Channel One of Saudi TV.

Thinking the mufti was delivering a verdict on “misyar” marriages, many newspapers and websites were quick to point out that the mufti’s ruling was contrary to a fatwa delivered by 60 Islamic scholars at a Muslim World League meeting sanctioning misyar marriages.

Misyar is a form of marriage that fulfills all legal requisites of a normal union, but spouses are not committed to living together in the same house and the woman can give up some of her rights, such as monetary support.

The misunderstanding was perhaps caused by the channel running a banner on the screen saying that the grand mufti forbids misyar marriage, whereas he was only discussing temporary “misfar” marriages, in which men marry while staying abroad with the intention of divorcing their wives when they return home.

In his television broadcast, Al-Asheikh condemned temporary marriages, saying they were forbidden in Islam and only undertaken for pleasure. The concept of marriage involves settling down and making a home and temporary marriages do not allow this to happen, he said, adding that this could result in an uncertain future for children born from such matrimonies.

Speaking later about the mis-understanding, Al-Asheikh said, “My answer was regarding temporary marriages with the intention of divorce.”

While emphasizing the need for men to care for their wives, Al-Asheikh said he does not forbid misyar marriages as long as the legal conditions that constitute a marriage are met. He, however, added that he does not feel such marriages are suitable for women wanting to lead healthy married lives.

On the other hand, people who view all types of nontraditional marriages as corruption in society claim the grand mufti has finally admitted misyar marriages are inappropriate and children born from such unions have bleak futures.

Misfer M., a 36-year-old banker, said forbidding misyar and similar newly introduced marriages is the only way to ensure young people abide by religious regulations with regard to marriage.

“New types of marriages are giving young people an easy way to evade responsibility and legalize strange relationships. It isn’t right that people, even Islamic scholars, justify them,” he added.

Some people say there is no harm in misyar marriages, as long as they meet the requirements of Shariah. Maram, a 42-year-old hospital employee, is divorced and has two children. Maram lives with her children, elderly mother and a young sister, and is responsible for their care.

“No man will accept sharing this responsibility with me,” she said. “I am also unwilling to increase my responsibilities by taking on a conventional husband with full time responsibilities.”

It was because of her particular situation that Maram agreed to a misyar marriage in which she meets her husband during the week and keeps her weekends free for her children, mother and sibling.

Nojoud, a teacher and mother of a five-year-old girl, says there is nothing wrong in misyar marriages. The 28-year-old was recently divorced following a troubled six-year marriage. “I don’t expect my family to accept it as it is frowned upon by society. Provided its name change, it is a very convenient type of marriage for women in my situation,” she said, adding that her ex-husband has remarried and left her with their child.

“A full-time marriage for me means responsibilities in addition to my job and daughter. Such a marriage would most likely result in me neglecting my child,” she added.

Experts mention several reasons for the increase in new forms of marriages. These include increases in dowries and living expenses, leading to an escalating number of unmarried women; rise in the number of divorces; the inability of men to bear the responsibilities of having families and running homes; women willing to be part of polygamous relationships; career women finding it difficult to make full-time family commitments; and the unstable nature of work for men.

Debunking myths about entrepreneurs

Successful entrepreneurs are a rare breed because they face a myriad of obstacles. But one fundamental flaw in the system makes it even harder for entrepreneurs to realise their dreams.

According to Joe Tabet, Managing Partner of Melcion, Chassagne & Cie, a group of international senior business advisors dedicated to helping entrepreneurs, many highly-motivated entrepreneurs would have trouble working with institutional investors – which is counterintuitive because these investors are usually seen as primary financiers.

Entrepreneurs have the hunger for creating businesses, but also a strong need to be flexible and in control of their destiny. This naturally generates tensions with investors who need predictability and accountability, which often creates problems.

"Most investors do not realise that there is a disconnect between investors and entrepreneurs; they end up fighting with the entrepreneur, saying that they are impossible to manage, which results in destroying value for everyone. We do believe there is a philosophical and cultural mismatch to start with," Tabet told Insead Knowledge on the sidelines of the Global Entrepreneurship Forum held recently at Insead's Europe campus in Fontainebleau. Tabet is also the author of Hors Piste!, a book that debunks many myths about being an entrepreneur.

For example, Tabet thinks entrepreneurs should not be obsessed with raising capital from prospective venture capitalists (VCs). Rather, his advice is to avoid overfunding the company from the start, because it is a recipe for disaster.

According to a Harvard study on the Inc 500 (fast-growing companies ranked by Inc Magazine), less than five per cent have raised VC funding, and 67 per cent have less than $50,000 (Dh183,500) in capital. Entrepreneurs should look for financing in a much broader sense, tapping into other sources such as clients or suppliers, before giving away any equity.

"If you look at the VC model, from the entrepreneur's perspective, it looks more like gamble, and the chance for the individual entrepreneur to make money once they enter the VC game is probably as low as winning the lottery."

"We have observed that many entrepreneurs are kicked out of their own company in the year following a major investment round; all this makes the chance for the individual entrepreneur to succeed in that game quite tiny. In many cases, it's pretty much like Russian roulette… entrepreneurs often get 'killed' by investors because of this mismatch."

Another myth Tabet debunks is first-mover advantage. Citing e-Bay and Google as examples of companies which were not the first to move in their space, he says they were still able to achieve phenomenal success despite not being "new" as such.

He also gives kudos to Swatch, which he says was not that innovative from a pure product perspective; it just tweaked the formula and made wearing watches made of colourful plastic very hip.

"I like the notion of small giants; those are companies who identify a niche market, who secure their place in their eco-system, pretty much like the Blue Ocean strategy concept – you don't want to be where everyone else is."

Tabet's advice is to find a niche market and focus on customers. "I think the more you understand your customer and your eco-system, the more likely you will succeed as a new company."

"If you have the right people with the right mindset, who are smart enough and open-minded to adapt to the market needs, you come up with solutions that are faster to generate revenue. This is how entrepreneurial companies gain an advantage over larger firms," he adds.

In fact, Tabet says his firm has noticed a correlation between companies which do not have VC funding and higher levels of creativity. "They struggle, but they end up finding better, more robust and sustainable solutions than funded companies. In my opinion, the real competitive advantage that entrepreneurs have to secure their success, is to focus on what the money cannot buy; whatever money can buy, is a commodity."

While he is not against the idea of entrepreneurs teaming up with external investors, he says it is important that both sides understand their own strengths and weaknesses – and anticipate conflict.

VCs, for example, are very good at investing in innovation and fast-growing companies; what they need to realise is that they are not always on the same side as the entrepreneur.

Entrepreneurs, on the other hand, are very good at starting up businesses. But they are quite bad at mastering the capitalistic game. Tabet says there is one part of their life cycle they do not manage well: "Very few entrepreneurs manage their own personal exit and anticipate it; those who don't do it – unfortunately in most cases, will see it happen to them without them being in control anymore."

By Insead Knowledge