Institute of Islamic Studies
(Reg. No. E-8900 (Mumbai)
Muslim Women’s Newsletter - Vol. 1 No. 9. December 2007 E-mail:firstname.lastname@example.org
Address: 602 & 603, Silver Star, Behind BEST Bus Depot, Santacruz (E), Mumbai: - 400 055.
Miss. Qutub Jehan Kidwai
Miss. Shirin Huda
From the Editor’s Desk
Personal Laws in Secular India
In India Religion & Law are closely inter wined as far as family laws are concerned. The communities most concerned with the connection between religion and personal law are the Hindus and the Muslims. It should also be understood neither “religion” is monolithic. Each has internalized customary practices. Customs and traditions is as importance as religion. Sikh, Parsis & Christian community also maintain traditional customs and practices.
During British colonial rule British found that they had to increasingly administer personal laws in addition to British law. When matter involving personal laws came to British Courts, religious authorities from the faith concerned assisted and advised British Magistrate. With the independence movement, a demand grew for secular law to protect fundamental, social and economic rights both of individuals and communities. In the Constituent Assembly (1946-1949), after the partition tragedy and its accompanying communal slaughter, members had to resolve the issue of religion and minority rights. Protecting communal rights, restoring communal harmony became the pre-eminent goal.
Eventually, when the constitution was drafted in 1950. As regards to constitutional provision for the personal laws, it is stated that constitution enforce the un-codified religious customary laws of Hindu and Muslim communities, some codified and un-codified laws of Sikh, Christian and Parsi sect as well. There are few central and local statutes protecting, enforcing and reforming these laws.
Presently the Muslim Personal Law Board governs Muslim community when it comes to personal law issues. MPLB is self constituted body established in the year 1973 at a time when then government tabled Adoption Bill in the Parliament and the Ulama and leaders feared that this as an attempt to subvert so called Shariah law or Anglo-Mohammadn Law and is a first step towards Uniform Civil Code. Their aim was to adopt strategies to protect and continue applicability of Muslim Personal Law. However, MPLB has failed to champion Indian women’s rights in all these years. Muslim women are getting victimized under the Un-Islamic practice of Oral divorce (Triple Divorce). MPLB has been continuously ignoring and isolating issues of Muslim women. There is a great need for codification of Muslim Personal Law.
- Ms. Qutub Jahan Kidwai
A Step Forward
Dekha Ibrahim Abdi (Kenya)
"... for showing in diverse ethnic and cultural situations how religious and other differences can be reconciled, even after violent conflict, and knitted together through a cooperative process that leads to peace and development".
Dekha Ibrahim Abdi is a global peacemaker from rural Kenya. She has engaged in peace work and conflict resolution in many of the world's most divided countries. Her comprehensive methodology combines grassroots activism, a soft but uncompromising leadership, and a spiritual motivation drawing on the teachings of Islam.
Dekha's early life
Dekha Abdi, born in Wajir in 1964, grew up in a mixed neighbourhood of different ethnic groups and religions, in which, although a Muslim, her closest childhood friends were Christian and of a different ethnic group. At the secondary school she attended pupils were divided along religious and ethnic lines into two camps, but Dekha and her childhood friends created a space between these opposing camps by sticking together; a space which grew as it was joined by many other students who did not want to be in one camp or another. It is this background which informs her philosophy of inter-religious co-operation and subsequent peace work, for she maintains that working towards positive relations between different faiths is crucial to achieving durable peace.
Starting a grassroots peace initiative: The Wajir Peace Committee
Wajir is one of the Northern Kenyan districts that was under emergency law from 1963-1990, with government forces fighting an active guerrilla movement (the Shifta war). When the emergency and quasi-occupation ended, the security situation deteriorated even more. There was an open conflict which claimed 1500 lives, and which resulted in a lot of hatred between different clans. In 1992 Dekha and other women set up the Wajir Peace Committee, with representatives of all parties - clans, Government security organs, Parliamentarians, civil servants, Muslim and Christian religious leaders, NGOs etc. - to implement the agreement. Dekha, who had been working as coordinator for a mobile primary health care project for nomadic people, was elected as Secretary of the Peace committee hence undertaking dual roles.
The model developed in Wajir, which Dekha describes as "a peace and development committee - a structure for responding to conflict at a local level", was used again in 1998, when the Christian community in Wajir experienced some violence. Dekha assisted in the formation of a disaster committee of Muslim women to assist and make amends with the Christian community. They held prayer meetings with Muslim and Christian women, in which both shared their experience and thereby strengthened their relationship. Subsequently the Wajir Peace Committee began to include Christian women, leading to the formation of an inter-faith committee for peace which has undertaken further activities to intervene in religious conflicts.
Fostering inter-faith dialogue and attempting to resolve tensions and conflict between religions has been a central focus of Dekha's activity since her first involvement in working for peace, and her methods have now been copied not only elsewhere in Kenya, but in Uganda, Ethiopia, Sudan, and South Africa. In addition, Dekha has taught in Somalia, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Canada, Cambodia, Philippines, Ghana, Nigeria, Netherlands, Zimbabwe, and the UK.
In 1996-97 Dekha was team leader for the Community Development training programme of the Arid Lands Resource Management Project in Kenya. She has written extensively and is the Organising Board Member of Nomadic and Pastoralists Development Initiative, a Kenyan rural development initiative. Also in 1997 she was a founding member of the regional Coalition of Peace in Africa (COPA). As East African Regional Coordinator, she was involved in the Linking Peace Practice to Policy (LPP) programme of the COPA, funded by Comic Relief in the UK. LPP seeks to support and link communities in volatile areas in conflict prevention and peace-building work. Dekha also became in 1998 Training and Learning Co-ordinator of Responding to Conflict (RTC) which engages in conflict transformation: planning, organizing and facilitating a range of conflict resolution training programmes. She is also a Board Member of Co-existence International, an initiative committed to strengthening the field of policymakers, practitioners, researchers, advocates, organizations and networks promoting co-existence. Dekha is a founding Member of a Global Peace Practitioners Network ACTION for conflict transformation and since September 2000, has been a member of a consortium of African and international conflict transformation specialists working together on development of a series of intensive, participatory workshops for the United Nations Department for Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA). UNDESA assists governments and civil society partners in sub-Saharan Africa to strengthen their capacities for anticipating, containing and managing conflict situations. Dekha has also been since 2002 a patron of the London-based NGO Peace Direct. She has worked towards inter-religious/ethnic co-operation in this capacity through co-facilitating a project which aimed to provide a platform for young Muslims from all UK backgrounds, after the London bombings, to explore issues and challenges around being a Muslim and British in current UK society. Dekha is a Member of the International Advisory Board of the University of Ulster, INCORE London-Derry, North Ireland. She recently accepted to be on the Board of the Bergh of Center in Germany.
Dekha now lives in Mombassa and works on peace, conflict and development issues with a number of organizations. She also raises funds to support community groups in peace-building and communication infrastructure and continues to work for the Wajir community with young people to create economic development. She supports Peace Practitioners through mentoring and coaching in order to create a second generation of peace workers in Kenya and on the Horn of Africa.
In Mombassa she has supported the setting up of the Oasis of Peace Centre, helping the local communities in Kikambala to do some basic mediation, and she works as an advisor to the Kenyan government for mediation work in different parts of the country.
In 1999 Dekha was awarded the Distinguished Medal for Service by the District Commissioner for Wajir on behalf of the Kenyan Government, and in 2005 was named Kenyan Peace Builder of the Year. She was also nominated as one among 1000 women for the Nobel Prize in 2005, now known as 1000 Peace women across the globe.
Qu'ran's teaching as background
Dekha's religious and spiritual identity as a Muslim forms a strong foundation for her peace work. Her religious beliefs inform her vision of how peace is to be achieved. She refers to and explores the Qu'ran's teaching on understanding the soul in the context of outlining what is necessary for bringing about a sincere and durable peace. Indeed, Dekha encourages individuals and communities affected by conflict to critically analyse themselves using verses from the Qu'ran, which she states will enable them to build their conflict transformation on a religious and spiritual base.
Dekha's principles for comprehensive peace building
Dekha has defined a set of principles that
summarize her experience of
comprehensive peace building, linking peace theory and policy with pragmatic action¸ and private lobbying/advocacy with public mobilizations. Sometimes she expresses this through the acronym AFRICA: Analysis, flexibility, Responsiveness, Innovation, and Context- specific and awareness, and Action/learning-orientation.
Stop Stoning and Killing Women! Launch of a Global Campaign
Women Living Under Muslim Laws (WLUML) is launching the Global Campaign ‘Stop Stoning and Killing Women!’ to end the persistent misuse of religion and culture to justify killing women as punishment for violating the ‘norms’ of sexual behaviour as defined and imposed by vested interests. This Campaign is inspired by and grows out of women’s struggles in their own locations to combat various manifestations of this phenomenon, for instance in Pakistan, Indonesia, Iran and Nigeria. The Campaign will support and enable women’s rights advocates, national and transnational women’s movements to resist those forces which politicize and mis-use culture and religion for subjugating women and the abuse of their human rights.
Stoning to death has been introduced as a legal form of punishment for ‘adultery of married persons’ (zina al-Mohsena) in Afghanistan, Iran, Nigeria (about one-third among 36 states), Pakistan, Sudan, and the United Arab Emirates. While the penalty has never been carried out by the state in either Pakistan or Iraq, incidents of stoning have been carried out by communities, seemingly encouraged by the the existence of the punishment in law. In May 2007, one such incidence was recorded and the disturbing video footage of a girl being stoned to death in Iraq began to circulate via the Internet. As this video demonstrates all too clearly, stoning is a particularly cruel and dehumanising punishment involving a slow and painful process until death, and takes place in public. Significantly, this public stoning occurred in a non-Muslim community. Recent cases of stoning by state authorities have mostly occurred in Iran, where stoning is not limited to ‘adultery.’ In May 2006, a man and a woman were stoned to death in Mashhad, Iran. A month later, Ashraf Kalhori was handed an official 15-day notification of her impending execution by stoning. Most recently, on July 5, 2007, Jafar Kiani was stoned to death in Aghche-kand village near Takistan, Ghazvin in Iran. Nine others, currently in Iranian prisons, await similar fates, including Kiani’s partner for alleged ‘adultery.’
Despite there being no mention of stoning in the Quran, the practice has come to be associated with Islam and Muslim culture. In fact, stoning is a highly debated topic within the Muslim religious community: reputable Iranian clerics, such as Ayatollah Nasser Makarem Shirazi, Ayatollah Yousef Saneii and Ayatollah Seyyed Mohamamd Mousavi Bojnourdi, have spoken out against it. Others have led lively theological debates to convey that the practice is not Islamic.
Sentences to death by stoning have been overturned after strong national and international protests in Nigeria and the UAE. For example, Amina Lawal of Nigeria finally escaped her stoning sentence after immense national and international pressure in 2002. In Iran, after a successful campaign by women and human rights activists, the Iranian Head of Judiciary, Ayatollah Shahroudi, ordered a ban on the practice in 2002. However, because these efforts were not sustained, these public pressures did not have a lasting impact; and despite the declarations of the religious authorities, stoning is still being used to execute people.
Today, with the advent and propagation of political Islam and other forms of religious extremism, stoning and other forms of cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment of women have been increasing in many parts of the world. With the establishment of the Sharia court in Aceh, Indonesia, women are now subject to caning or whipping for the alleged ‘crimes’ of ‘relationships outside of marriage’ (zina) and ‘improper Islamic dress.’ In Nigeria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, the Sudan and certain regions of Indonesia, the trend towards political Islam is being accompanied by a disturbing rise in the control of women’s bodies in the name of religion and culture.
The United Nations Commission on Human Rights acknowledges that so-called ‘honour’ killings have occurred in Great Britain, Brazil, India, Ecuador, Israel, Italy, Sweden, and Uganda as well as in Muslim nations such as Turkey, Jordon, Pakistan, and Morocco. In Latin America, ‘crimes of passion’ committed by men are not classified as murders and are instead treated leniently or completely excused. The abuse of women’s human rights cuts across boundaries, cultures and religions.
The Campaign ‘Stop Stoning and Killing Women!’ will be launched on 26 November 2007 (International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women), at 10 AM, in Istanbul (SantralInstanbul, Silahtaraga Kampusu).
Speakers at the launch include: Shadi Sadr (Iran), Ayesha Imam (Nigeria), Sri Wiyanti Eddyono (Indonesia), Nebahat Akkoç (Turkey), Yakin Ertürk (UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women), Farida Shaheed (Pakistan) will chair the launch.
The successful women demonstration in Pakistan
By: Farooq Tariq
The best thing that happened during the week was a defiant demonstration of women belonging to Labour Party Pakistan. On 19th November, 14 brave women went to the busiest area of Lahore demanding an immediate end of martial law in Pakistan. They all were wearing black ribbons of their heads with slogans like no to Martial law, release political prisoners and solidarity with advocates and media.
One newspaper Daily Express Lahore reported on 20th November that LPP women waited for over 30 minutes for police but police did not turn up. The paper reported a disruption of the traffic on several roads because of the demonstration.
It was very well planned and every aspect went according to the planning. A
demonstration in Lahore at any road means an immediate arrest and baton charge.
We had discussed the plan of this demonstration with a title “women against martial law”. It was decided that only those women should be at the demonstration that are ready to be arrested. They should not be arrested peacefully but a resistance will be offered to police. There will be no escape
plan and no one should run away from the scene. The vehicles will only drop women at the place but will not be there to pick them up. This was to safe the comrades who were driving them. No male comrade will accompany them. But we will make sure that the demonstration is well documented. It will be all women show.
It was also agreed that the demonstration will last for half an hour, if police arrive then there will be résistance till the arrests. But we will not wait for the police after half an hour and would disperse afterwards.
It was discussed and agreed that two comrades will contact the media and will only disclose the place half an hour before the demonstration. We will not send any written invitation to the media. In the media, there is a large infiltration of the intelligence agencies and we did not want to take a risk that police should be there before our arrival. To our utmost surprise, no one from the media informed the police and the media was there in large numbers even before the demonstrators arrived.
I waited eagerly at a safe place with another comrade to hear the outcome of the demonstration away from the place of demonstration. I was called by a journalist after 10 minutes of the demonstration telling me of women bravery and that there are intelligence agencies persons here taking photographs of the demonstration, but there is no police yet. He was pleased that many people are stopping and are waving to the demonstrators in happiness. Another journalist told me later that they were looking like Palestinian women fighting a repressive regime with utmost bravery.
A comrade in guise of a press photographer told me later that another journalist told him that 30 minutes gone and the women are still chanting slogans. Are they waiting for police to be arrested? This comrade immediately realized the timing and pointed to the watch hinting to one leading comrade at the demonstration.
She then declared to the press and to the people gathered at the place that we are leaving now, but will be back with more force, we are here to stay and fight, and we will not tolerate the military regime. We are working class women fighting a military regime and we have not much to loose but our chains.
No one was arrested much to our pleasant surprise. It was making a point without many losses. The demonstration has left a very good moral on all the comrades. It has given an extraordinary courage to all our male comrades. They will be on the move and you will hear that too. It was the first show of defiance by a Left group in Lahore where the level of repression is much greater than other parts of the country. The women led the way.
Nepal's Muslim women lead street march against dowry violence
Friday November 9, 02:07 PM
Kathmandu, Nov 9 (IANS) Since she was married four years ago, Hasrun Idrissi has been living a woeful life, abused and regularly beaten up by her husband and her in-laws for her father's inability to pay them the dowry they had demanded. Now, they have tried their best to kill her. No one came to her aid all this while. However, Nepalgunj, a town in southern Banke district with one of the highest Muslim populations in Nepal, saw an unprecedented scene Thursday when dozens of enraged Muslim women marched on the streets, demanding action against Hasrun's in-laws.Though living with violence and death for over a decade now, Nepal was still shocked Wednesday after a private television channel showed the 24-year-old Hasrun fighting for life in a hospital.
On Tuesday, to punish her for her father's inability to pay Nepalese Rs.50,000 (about $780), Hasrun's husband Wasim, his two brothers, sister and mother poured kerosene over the nursing mother and set her on fire.Though she cried for help, no one heard the calls of distress and came to her rescue. Hasrun survived with severe burns, including the lower part of her face. After the trauma, she continued to suffer at home. Her in-laws neither sought medical treatment nor gave her anything to eat.But finally, her neighbours came to learn about her distress, rescued her and took her to hospital.
On Wednesday, Kantipur, Nepal's biggest private television station, aired terrible images of the suffering woman, triggering national outrage.Messages poured in for the SMS poll called by the channel to ask how the guilty should be punished. An overwhelming 85 percent said the culprits should be given life imprisonment.In the wake of the broadcast, dozens of Muslim women, many of them wearing black burkhas and the rest with their heads covered, began demonstrating on the streets of Nepalgunj, demanding punishment for the perpetrators and compensation for Hasrun. Pressured by the outrage, police Thursday arrested Hasrun's husband, his brother and mother. Wasim's family reportedly comes from India. He and Hasrun have a three-month-old son and a two and a half-year-old daughter.The Muslim community of Nepalgunj is one of the poorest in the country, with a low literacy rate.
A large number of women from the community told the National Human Rights Commission, the apex rights body in Nepal, that they were reduced to prostitution and begging after being given talaq by their husbands -- the Muslim system that enables a man to divorce his wife simply by uttering the word talaq thrice.
Sub-continent's first Muslim woman doctor passes away
Posted at Thursday, 08 November 2007 20:11 IST
Dhaka, Nov 8: The first Muslim woman doctor of the Indian subcontinent, Zohra Begum Kazi, died last night at her residence in Gulshan area here. She was 97.
Kazi, also regarded as a pioneer women activist, obtained her medical degree from Lady Harding Medical College for Women in 1935 and received the "Viceroy Medal" for her achievement.
A gynecologist, Zohra was also the first Bengali woman doctor in Bangladesh. She joined the premier Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH) after Partition of the subcontinent the 1947 and served as the head of its gynaecology department for a long time.
She subsequently worked in different other health facilities and served as the honorary colonel of Combined Military Hospital and honorary professor of Holy Family Hospital and Bangladesh Medical College.
A 1952 Language Movement veteran, Kazi also directly extended her help to the freedom fighters during 1971 Liberation War.
The Bangladesh government had awarded her with Begum Roquiah Padak while the Bangladesh Medical Association honoured her with a gold medal for outstanding contribution to humanity and medical services.
Kazi was daughter of Dr. Kazi Sattar of western Madaripur and wife of former lawmaker Raziuddin Bhuiyan who died in 1963. She had no issues.
She was buried late last night at Dhaka's Banani graveyard
19-Year Old Saudi Rape Victim Ordered to Undergo 200 Lashes
Thursday, November 15, 2007
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — A 19-year-old female victim of gang rape who initially was ordered to undergo 90 lashes for "being in the car of an unrelated male at the time of the rape," has been sentenced to 200 lashes and six months in jail for telling her story to the news media.
In a shocking verdict, a Saudi Court has ordered a gang rape victim to undergo 200 lashes and six months in prison for "being in the car of an unrelated male" when the crime was committed.
The 19-year-old victim was initially ordered to undergo 90 lashes by judges from the Qatif General Court, but the case was referred back to an Appeals Court after her lawyer had urged a harsher punishment for assaulters, the Arab News reported.
In its verdict, the court, which punished the victim for "being in the car of an unrelated male at the time of the rape", also suspended her lawyer.
The seven rapists, whose previous sentences ranged from 10 months to five years in prison, also had their prison terms increased to between two and nine years. The verdict came in as a shock to everybody.
A source at the Qatif General Court said the judges had informed the rape victim that the reason behind doubling her punishment was "her attempt to aggravate and influence the judiciary through the media", the report added.
Saudi Arabia enforces a strict Islamic doctrine known as Wahhabism and forbids unrelated men and women from associating with each other, bans women from driving and forces them to cover head-to-toe in public.
Clerics seek death for ‘rapist’ father.
Jalpaiguri: Claiming divine sanction, a man here has married his eldest daughter, a teenager who is now five months pregnant. His wife stood by him swayed by talk of Allah’s instruction, but the villagers are up in arms against the incestuous relationship. Strangely he is still a free man as police have not lodged charges against him though the girl is a minor. The family was produced in the Jalpaiguri SDO’s court. Ironically the culprit Afazuddin Ali, a daily wage laborer, should have faced criminal charges as his daughter is a minor, but as the SDO’s court has no jurisdiction in criminal matters, all three were released.
As the news spread Islamic clerics from West Bengal to Uttar Pradesh asked for the head of Afazuddin Ali. While in Lucknow, Naib Imam of the Eidgah Maulana Khalid Rashid Firangi Mahadi called for ‘Sangsar’ - a punishment in which the guilty is buried in boulders up to his waist and stoned to death – Dar-ul-Uloom Deoband seminary at Muzaffarnagar declared the marriage “null and void” and said Afazuddin will be punishable under the Shariat laws on charges of rape if he did not break off the marital tie immediately. Stating that Islam prohibits such marriages, the ruling termed the marriages illegal.
Where are the women in Middle East politics?
Rafi'ah Al Tal'ei
The results of the recent elections in Morocco brought the debate on female political representation back into the political arena. Only 34 women won seats in the legislature's lower chamber, compared to 35 in the previous elections, a mere 5% of all representatives.
In Turkey, women won 50 out of 550 seats in the Turkish parliament. Although this is still only 9% of the total, it is an encouraging sign since the number of elected women more than doubled from the last parliamentary elections. This percentage of female representation is the second largest in the region after Iraq, where there are 70 women in the 275-member Iraqi parliament.
Women in the Middle East often suffer from very sensitive and complicated political, social and cultural conditions that restrict their ability to easily engage in the political arena. Many women shun political participation to avoid controversy. Conservative religious interpretations sometimes restrict female participation in public life, or prevent them from mixing with men or assuming public posts. There is also the family dimension to consider, with women still traditionally responsible for household duties.
Women are also often seen as less experienced in public affairs, and as a result, voters – both male and female - are less likely to vote for them. Consequently, women either refrain from running for political office or drop out early from a lack of local support.
This usually helps explain why only a small number of female candidates run for public office. For example, of the 800 candidates in the 27 October Oman elections, only 25 were women.
In addition, there are other factors that serve as obstacles for women to run for political office. These include varying and often unsatisfactory levels of democracy, freedom of expression, pluralism, respect for diversity and open dialogue.
Although these factors affect both women and men alike, when coupled with social and cultural structures that favor men over women in the political arena, women are more severely affected. This tends to influence the development and growth of political awareness among citizens.
Advancing the effective participation and genuine representation of women in politics means raising the awareness of the role of women in public life, training women to assume public posts, and encouraging them to enter the political arena in order to enrich their experience, gain voter confidence and prepare future generations of women to participate in even greater numbers.
One means of improving women's participation is through a quota system, which allocates a percentage of seats for women. In countries where such measures have been adopted, such as Tunisia, Iraq and Jordan, we see more women in politics. Most recently, women fought for and won a 15% quota in the upcoming Yemeni elections.
In addition to adopting quotas, leaders of political parties and heads of civil organizations should be persuaded to nominate women to their election lists and assign them positions of greater authority. Promoting a culture of fundraising to support candidates is also an effective way to overcome the difficult economic situation that may hinder women's participation since in many traditional societies men handle much of the family's finances.
In most Middle Eastern countries, there exist several organizations concerned with women issues and human rights. Networking among civil society institutions concerned with the participation of women, whether in a single country or at the regional and international levels, would help to enrich and support women politically.
Many Middle Eastern countries have a Ministry of Women's Affairs. Though this appears to be a step in the right direction, these institutions often work independently of other ministries rather than taking advantage of the role each ministry could play in promoting a cohesive national strategy to increase female representation.
At the international level, a number of organizations have dealt with local organizations in the Middle East to train women for politics, as well as help them overcome some of the problems they face. In past yeas, American non-governmental organizations such as the National Democratic Institute (NDI) and the International Republican Institute (IRI) have hosted joint activities, such as women's political training in the Levant, the Gulf and North Africa during recent election campaigns. NDI and IRI have also continued to organize conferences and workshops to help women gain experience in this field.
Joint coordination and networking among these organizations and individuals will help resolve obstacles to women's political participant at the grass-root level. Helping women realize the importance of their engagement in politics can lead to greater female participation on all levels.
The road to complete political gender equality is long but the struggle continues. These small advances are signs that there are many people working behind the scenes to shift the balance in the future.
Afghan women's Olympic dream
Friba Rezihi lived and trained in the
Palestinian territories for five years
Robina Muqimyar, who will run in the 100 metres, and Friba Rezihi, who will compete in judo, have been preparing for the Games on the Greek island of Lesbos, ahead of their debut at the games in Athens in August.
Afghanistan was suspended from the Olympic movement in 1999.
"I'm really happy to be participating in these games," Muqimyar told BBC World Service's Everywoman programme.
"I'm really happy that for the first time I will be in these games and I can raise the Afghan flag worldwide."
'The time to dream'
Rezihi said she was thankful to the Greek government for giving the pair permission to train in the country.
"It's a big opportunity for us and our people, and we will take advantage of this opportunity," she added.
"I want to be a role model for my country."
She added that she was not aiming to get a medal - which would be highly unlikely - but to "show people that it's a good chance and it's a good thing".
"It's like a gold medal for us to participate as Afghan women after a long, long time," she added.
Rezihi, who lived in the Palestinian territories between 1995 and 2000, only returned to Afghanistan after the country's hardline Taleban rulers fell.
She took up judo on the advice of her coach.
Both athletes were prevented from training under the Taleban. The national stadium was used to stage executions and floggings.
"We couldn't do any sort of sport. I couldn't feel secure enough to go out," Muqimyar said.
"The moment the Taleban went out of Afghanistan we started again... before this we couldn't do it.
"In the Taleban's time, we couldn't even dream about it. Now the time is our dream has started."
Although the Taleban have gone, there are still a number of strongly conservative mullahs in the country's interim government that have voiced opposition to Afghanistan's athletes competing in the Olympics.
I'm not scared of anything at the moment
Abdul Matin Mutasem Bilal, a mullah at Kabul's Abu Bakar Sidiq Mosque, has argued that they cannot attend because the strict Islamic dress code requires that all but a woman's hands, feet and face be covered.
"When I tell you that her neighbour shouldn't see all her face, how thousands of foreigners, non-Muslims, in a big stadium should be allowed to see her body?" he said.
Zia Dashti, the Afghan Olympic Committee's vice president, has said that the woman competing on the track will be required to wear tracksuits and not show their legs.
Muqimyar said she would "wear whatever they tell me to wear".
But she added that she did not see too many problems: "I'm not scared of anything at the moment.
"I'm really happy and dreaming of going back home to being welcomed by my own people."
And she added that she would be channeling her anger at being prevented from participating for so long into her performance.
"I learned from the Taleban how to be oppressed," she said.
"I'm going to teach people how to struggle against them, how to learn and how to get whatever you want in life."
TEEN AGE GIRLS IN AFGHANISTAN ENTER BOXING RING
Shabnam, 15, an Afghan girl who is training to be a boxer offers noon prayers at her house in Kabul, Afghanistan. Shabnam's sisters, Faima and Sadaf, are also training to be part of Afghanistan's first women's boxing team. Practice is held three times a week with the idea of putting together a real team for matches by the end of the year. But it's not just about the sport. The young women admit that the training is helping them raise their confidence and regain self-respect in a male-dominated society.
Faima, 17, an Afghan girl practices her defense stance in the gym at Ghazi Stadium in Kabul, Afghanistan "Move, move, move," coach Saber Sharifi barks at his students. "Steady, watch your left shoulder," he directs. It's like any team training anywhere in the world - with a couple of twists. This training is taking place at Kabul's Ghazi stadium, where the Taliban used to hold public executions in the late 1990s. Today at this venue a new generation is challenging the usual stereotype of Afghan women as shadowy figures concealed from head to foot behind powder-blue burqas.
Bahrain blaze to gold in women’s 200 m
Doha: Ruqaya Al Ghasara of Bahrain won a historic gold medal when she triumphed in the women's 200 metres at the Doha Asian Games on Monday.
Despite a slow start, Ruqaya stormed through on the final bend to win in 23.19 seconds.
Guzel Khubbieva of Uzbekistan took silver in 23.30 seconds, while former champion, Susanthika Jayasinghe of Sri Lanka, was pushed in to third place in 23.42 seconds.
Ruqaya Al Ghasara, distinct in her Arab dress code with a hijab and long track pants, created history at the Asian Games in Doha on a cold and windy day at the Khalifa Stadium on Monday.
The Bahrain girl won gold in the women's 200 metres in 23.19 seconds, beating her much-fancied rivals, Guzel Khubbieva of Uzbekistan and Susanthika Jayasinghe of Sri Lanka.
Ruqaya was the slowest off the blocks, but caught up with both Guzel and Susanthika on the final bend and then pipped them in to win gold.
For Ruqaya victory was compensation after the 23-year-old could only win bronze in the 100 metres.
"Its an unbelievable feeling. I cannot describe it. Thank god for winning the gold medal. I was completely prepared.": Ruqaya Al Ghasara, Bahrain, Gold Medal, 200 metres.
Ruqaya believes her victory will be a huge encouragement to many Muslim women who doubt their capabilities.
"I'm thankful for being a Muslim. It's a blessing. My achievement today is a glory to Arab women, to the Arab world, to Islam in itself, to Muslim women. Being conservative or wearing conservative clothes has actually encouraged me, it was not an obstacle. In fact quite opposite. It encouraged me and pushed me forward to make more efforts. Wearing a veil proves that Muslim women face no obstacles. In fact, it encourages them to participate in this sport more and more. And I have achieved the greatest or a record this year by qualifying for the World Championship in Osaka.": Ruqaya Al Ghasara, Bahrain, Gold Medal, 200 meters.
Ruqaya may have the most conservative of looks, but there is nothing conservative about her ambition and goal.
Her idol is the American sprinter Marion Jones, with a medal in the Beijing Olympics being the ultimate aim.
Ruqaya is one step closer to her goal already - she will contest in World Championships at Osaka in Japan next year.
Ruqaya's talent was spotted when she was seventeen years old.
With able guidance from her Algerian coach, Ruqaya has now progressed in to being a complete athlete.
She is now the first Bahraini woman to win a gold medal in athletics in the Asian Games.
"Ruqaya is special. She has the quality for a sprinter, for a good, good athlete. The problem is Ruqaya start late? I have this problem, but I alter a little bit. Now she has good stretching, good force. Step by step I work on the objective.” Tabjine Noureddine, coach.
Ruqaya may have started slowly, but with her fierce determination to prove the skeptics wrong, Ruqaya can only inch closer to her final objective of an Olympic medal.
IIS - Muslim Women’s Newsletter- December 2007