Category Archives: Women’s rights

De Arabische droom? Gedwongen trouwen in Jordanië

Publicatie: Groene Amsterdammer

HIGHLIGHT: Het aantal kindhuwelijken onder Syrische vluchtelingen is door de oorlog enorm gestegen. Cultureel-religieuze tradities en economische malaise doen ouders besluiten hun dochters uit te huwelijken.

Tientallen Syrische vrouwen drommen voor de afgebladderde deur van de Jordanian Women’s Union. In het vrouwencentrum in Al-Khaldeya, een kleine stad op honderd kilometer van de Jordaanse hoofdstad Amman, worden vandaag hulpgoederen uitgedeeld. De tassen met voornamelijk schoonmaakmiddelen vinden gretig aftrek onder de vluchtelingen; allemaal proberen ze snel een pakket te bemachtigen. ‘Sorry, dit was de laatste’, klinkt het opeens vanuit de deuropening. De vrouwen die mis hebben gegrepen kijken beduusd. Dan worden ze boos. Continue reading De Arabische droom? Gedwongen trouwen in Jordanië

Syrian mother becomes Marvel’s latest superhero

Publication: Al-Monitor

Marvel Comics usually publishes comic books about superheroes who save the world from villains, but this time, they’ve decided to do something different. “Madaya Mom,” a Syrian mother of five living in the besieged Syrian city of Madaya, has become Marvel’s latest superhero. “A hero, or a superhero, is a matter of heart and determination, and not about special powers. So if in the midst of war, you keep the strength to be a calm Continue reading Syrian mother becomes Marvel’s latest superhero

Trouwen op je veertiende

Publicatie: Trouw

HIGHLIGHT: kindhuwelijken | In vluchtelingenkampen in Jordanië huwelijken Syrische ouders hun dochters uit. Uit armoede en uit traditie.

Busra’s toekomstige echtgenoot zag haar voor het eerst toen ze van school naar huis liep door het stoffige vluchtelingenkamp. Zij was 14 en nog nooit verliefd geweest, hij was 22 en op zoek naar een vrouw. Een paar dagen later stond hij voor de deur van de aan elkaar gekoppelde trailers waar Busra en haar familieleden wonen sinds ze de oorlog in Syrië ontvluchtten. Of ze met hem wilde trouwen, was de vraag. Onder druk van haar vader zei Busra ja. Continue reading Trouwen op je veertiende

How this 14-year-old Syrian refugee is fighting to end child marriage

Published: Al-Monitor

PHOTO: BRENDA STOTER
PHOTO: BRENDA STOTER

ZAATARI, Jordan — Omaima Hoshan, 14, wasn’t really aware of early marriage until her best friend dropped out of school in the fifth grade. Omaima was very concerned. Her friend was an excellent student — the best in their class — and had always dreamed about becoming a doctor, so why would she leave school? Omaima learned from the teacher that her friend had married her 18-year-old cousin under pressure from her father. The girl hadn’t even turned 13 yet. Omaima never saw her again.  Continue reading How this 14-year-old Syrian refugee is fighting to end child marriage

How this young Yazidi is bringing hope to IS victims

PHOTO: Free Yezidi Foundation
PHOTO: Free Yezidi Foundation

Published: Al-Monitor

AMSTERDAM — Pari Ibrahim, 27, was a regular law student in the Netherlands who had a job in a library until she received a phone call at 5 a.m. in August 2014 that would change her life forever. A family member from northern Iraq called to inform her that the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS) had invaded Sinjar and had killed the men and kidnapped the women and children Continue reading How this young Yazidi is bringing hope to IS victims

How Syrian women are gaining new confidence in Turkish refugee camp

Published: Al MonitorIMG_0073

ISLAHIYE, Turkey — When Maysa fled from Idlib to Turkey more than four years ago, she thought she would live in the refugee camp in Islahiye close to the Turkish-Syrian border only for a short period. But as the war raged on in Syria, the days turned into years. Although Maysa is grateful for all the help she receives from the Turkish government, she said that it is not easy to live in a refugee camp where one’s life is put on hold.

“It is either really hot or freezing cold in the tent. Besides, we cannot find mental peace over here,” Maysa, 40, told Al-Monitor on Continue reading How Syrian women are gaining new confidence in Turkish refugee camp

De vrouwenhaat vlucht mee

Publicatie: Trouw en De Tijd. Best gelezen online Trouw-artikel van 2016. 

FullSizeRender (7)Je kunt het Midden-Oosten niet naar Europa halen zonder de vrouwenhaat en het seksueel geweld erbij te importeren. Kun je dat nog zeggen, vraagt Brenda Stoter zich af, zonder je aan racistische clichés schuldig te maken?

‘Jij hebt de helft van mijn verstand, dus ik heb meer recht van spreken. Staat in de Koran”, besloot mijn Jordaanse chauffeur Mohammed de discussie. Die ging over mijn relatie. Mohammed noemde mijn vriend een ‘watje’ omdat hij mij Continue reading De vrouwenhaat vlucht mee

Islamic State’s female bloggers draw European women to Syria

Publication: Al Monitor

AMSTERDAM — When Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared a caliphate in June, he called on Muslims around the world to be a part of it. The invitation extended to preachers, engineers, judges, doctors and people with military and administrative experience, basically every Muslim who wanted to play a role in the creation of a new Islamic caliphate, including women.

Initially it was widely believed that young women who were lured to Syria by the Islamists had gone there to provide sexual services to members of the Islamic State (IS). It was later revealed, however, that the women who join IS primarily fulfill traditional roles, such as taking care of the household. Mary, the mother of Vanessa, a 19-year-old Dutch woman who joined IS in August, underlined that women generally have noncombatant roles. Continue reading Islamic State’s female bloggers draw European women to Syria

After mass rape by the Islamic State, Yazidi women still struggle to break the silence

Publication: Al-Monitor

DAHUK, Iraq — The first man Aniya was forced to marry was an Islamic State militant called Abu Safouan. She was 41 and he was 22, but still he bought her and her 3-year-old daughter at a slave market in Raqqa. After he had raped and abused Aniya for 20 days, he told her he was fed up with her and sold her to a 27-year-old man who called himself Abu Ali Sham.

“He used to rape me when my daughter was outside the room. She often screamed and cried, because she knew something was wrong, Continue reading After mass rape by the Islamic State, Yazidi women still struggle to break the silence

Radicalized Western mothers lead children into Islamic State

Publication: Al-Monitor

AMSTERDAM — For Aysha and Luca Opdam’s father, it is still hard to accept that his children, born and raised in the Netherlands, are now living in Syria. In a letter, he describes how his ex-wife radicalized after she devoted her life to Islam around six years ago. After it was made public that Aysha, 7, and Luca, 8, were taken by their mother to join the Islamic State (IS), the letter was published by a local newspaper.

“If my kids — if I ever get them again — become Muslims that would be fine by me. But only at an age when they are able to make their own choices with full awareness,” he wrote on March 22. Continue reading Radicalized Western mothers lead children into Islamic State

Grandmothers bear the brunt of Syrian orphan crisis

Publication: Al-Monitor

ZAATARI, Jordan — It has been years since Da’ed and her family fled Syria, but when her granddaughter asks where her mother and father are, the 60-year-old woman cannot find the right words to explain. In fact, Najoua, 4, still doesn’t know that her parents were killed by regime airstrikes in Daraa province two years ago. In total, 140 people were killed that day, including Najoua’s father and her pregnant mother.

For a brief second, Da’ed pauses, looks at her granddaughter and puts her hand on her chest. “My heart aches when I think of all the people I know who have died,” Continue reading Grandmothers bear the brunt of Syrian orphan crisis

Financial burden, risk of violence pressure Syrian girls to marry

Publication: Al-Monitor

MAFRAQ, Jordan — Her first husband was a 46-year-old man from Saudi Arabia who already had two wives. Once every few months, he traveled to Jordan for business, and during these visits he would talk to Fatima’s aunt about marrying another woman. Her aunt told him she had a suitable candidate in mind: her young niece. Initially, the girl’s father didn’t want his daughter to get married at such a young age, but when he found out that the Saudi man was wealthy and religious, he changed his mind.

It wasn’t really up to the bride-to-be to decide whether she wanted to marry this man. As the eldest daughter still living with her parents, she felt like a burden to them. The family had fled Homs to Jordan in 2013 because of the Syrian war, Continue reading Financial burden, risk of violence pressure Syrian girls to marry

Deel 1: Vrouwen in het kalifaat ‘Mama, ik ga’

Publicatie: De Groene Amsterdammer

Naar schatting 35 tot 50 jonge Nederlandse vrouwen zijn vertrokken naar het kalifaat van Islamitische Staat. Moeder Monique vond vorige week dochter Aïcha terug aan de Turks-Syrische grens. ‘Ik had niet verwacht dat ze nog zou leven.’ 

MONIQUE LEEFDE maanden op sigaretten en koffie. Slapen lukte amper, hooguit een paar uur per nacht. En als ze eenmaal sliep, hoorde ze haar roepen: ‘Mama, doe eens open.’ Maar haar negentienjarige dochter Aïcha (de naam die ze na haar bekering aannam) stond nooit voor de deur. Die woonde in Raqqa of Al Bab, Syrische steden die overgenomen zijn door islamitische militanten. Tenminste, dat vermoedde Monique, want van de ene op de andere dag werd Aïcha’s telefoon niet meer beantwoord en bleven de dagelijkse updates op Facebook achterwege. Continue reading Deel 1: Vrouwen in het kalifaat ‘Mama, ik ga’

European women convert, join IS

Publication: Al Monitor

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands — Vanessa, 19, was always a rebellious and spontaneous teen. Someone who liked being the center of attention and didn’t let anybody tell her what to do. After she became a teenager, she was always hanging around “tough boys” from school. They made her feel protected and safe. And just like other teens, she had boyfriends: Some were really nice, but others treated her badly.

“And when she had a nice boyfriend, she started calling him constantly, testing his limits. On the one hand she denounced rules. Continue reading European women convert, join IS

European women in the caliphate

Publication; Middle East Eye

Young European Muslim women who feel there is no place for them in society seek to find a world they relate to in IS-controlled areas in Syria.

“Dear daughter, where are you? My heart is aching because I don’t know where you are. Please, if you read this, let me know if you are OK. I love you. Xxx mama.’’

It is one of the countless messages that Anna Smit – not her real name – sent to her daughter. The last time she spoke with Aisha was six months ago during a telephone conversation in late March. The 18-year old Dutch Muslim told her mom that she was happy with her newlywed husband in Idlib, Syria, but that she really missed her. The connection was bad and there was a lot of noise in the background Continue reading European women in the caliphate