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Etymology of Ashura

November 30, 2011 1 comment

The Day of Ashura (Arabic: عاشوراء‎ ʻĀshūrā’, Ashura, Ashoura, and other spellings; Turkish: Aşure Günü) is on the 10th day of Muharram in the Islamic calendar and marks the climax of the Remembrance of Muharram.

It is commemorated by Shia Muslims as a day of mourning for the martyrdom of Husayn ibn Ali, the grandson of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad at the Battle of Karbala on 10 Muharram in the year 61 AH (October 2, 680 CE).[2] According to Sunni Muslim tradition, Muhammad fasted on this day and asked other people to fast.[3][4] Sunni Muslims also remember the day claiming that Moses fasted on that day to express gratitude to God for liberating the Israelites from Egypt.

In some Shi’ite regions of Muslim countries such as Albania, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Azerbaijan, Pakistan, Lebanon, and Bahrain, the Commemoration of Husayn ibn Ali has become a national holiday and most ethnic and religious communities participate in it. Even in predominantly Hindu country like India, Ashura (often called Moharram) is a public holiday.

Etymology of Ashura

The root for the word ashura has the meaning of tenth in Semitic languages; hence the name of the remembrance, literally translated, means “the tenth day”. According to the orientalist A.J. Wensinck, the name is derived from the Hebrew ʿāsōr, with the Aramaic determinative ending.[5] The day is indeed the tenth day of the month, although some Islamic scholars offer up different etymologies.

In his book Ghuniyatut Talibin, Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani writes that the Islamic scholars have a difference of opinion as to why this day is known as Ashura, with some scholars suggesting that this day is the tenth most important day that God has blessed Muslims with.[citation needed]

[edit] Commemoration of the martyrdom of Husayn ibn Ali

Mourning of Muharram
Events
Figures
Places
Times
Customs

[edit] History of the commemoration by Shi’a

This day is well-known because of mourning for the martyrdom of Husayn ibn Ali, the grandson of Muhammad and the third Shia Imam, along with members of his family and close friends at the Battle of Karbala in the year 61 AH (680 CE). Yazid I was in power then and wanted the Bay’ah (allegiance) of Husayn ibn Ali. Muslims believe Yazid was openly going against the teachings of Islam in public and changing the sunnah of Muhammad.[6][6][7]

Husayn in his path toward Kufa encountered the army of Ubayd-Allah ibn Ziyad, the governor of Kufa. On October 10, 680 (Muharram 10, 61 AH), he and his small group of companions and family members, who were between 72 men [8][9] fought with a large army of perhaps more than 100,000 men under the command of Umar ibn Sa’ad, son of the founder of Kufa. Husayn and all of his men were killed. Before he died, he said “if the religion of Mohammad was not going to live on except with me dead, let the swords tear me to pieces.”[10][unreliable source?]. Some of the bodies of the dead, including that of Husayn, were then mutilated.[2]

Commemoration for Husayn ibn Ali began after the Battle of Karbala. After the massacre, the Umayyad army looted Husayn’s camp and set off with his women and children for the court of Ibn Ziyad. A moving oration delivered by Zaynab in Kufa is recorded in some sources. The prisoners were next sent to the court of Yazid, Umayyad caliph, in Damascus, where one of his Syrian followers asked for Husayn’s daughter Faṭimah al-Kubra, and once again it was Zaynab who came to the rescue and protected her honour. The family remained in Yazid’s prison for a time. The first assembly (majlis) of Commemoration of Husayn ibn Ali is said to have been held by Zaynab in prison. In Damascus, too, she is reported to have delivered a poignant oration. The prison sentence ended when Husayn’s 3 year old daughter, Janabe Rukaiyya, died in captivity, unaware of her father’s martyrdom. She often cried in prison to be allowed to see her father. She is believed to have passed away when she saw her fathers mutilated head. Her death caused an uproar in the city, and Yazid, fearful of a potential resulting revolution, freed the captives.[11]

Zaynab bint Ali quoted as she passed the prostrate body of her brother, Husayn. ” O Muhammad! O Muhammad! May the angels of heaven bless you. Here is Husayn in the open, stained with blood and with limbs torn off. O Muhammad! Your daughters are prisoners, your progeny are killed, and the east wind blows dust over them.” By God! She made every enemy and friend weep.”
Tabari, History of the Prophets and Kings, Volume XIX The Caliphate of Yazid.[12]

Husayn’s grave became a pilgrimage site among Shi’a only a few years after his death. A tradition of pilgrimage to the Imam Husayn Shrine and the other Karbala martyrs quickly developed, which is known as Ziarat Ashura.[13] The Umayyad and Abbasid caliphs tried to prevent construction of the shrines and discouraged pilgrimage to the sites.[14] The tomb and its annexes were destroyed by the Abbasid caliph Al-Mutawakkil in 850-851 and Shi’a pilgrimage was prohibited, but shrines in Karbala and Najaf were built by the Buwayhid emir ‘Adud al-Daula in 979-80.[15]

Public rites of remembrance for Husayn’s martyrdom developed from the early pilgrimages[citation needed]. Under the Buyid dynasty, Mu’izz ad-Dawla officiated at public commemoration of Ashura in Baghdad[citation needed]. These commemorations were also encouraged in Egypt by the Fatimid caliph al-‘Aziz[citation needed]. From Seljuq times[citation needed], Ashura rituals began to attract participants from a variety of backgrounds, including Sunnis[citation needed]. With the recognition of Twelvers as the official religion by the Safavids, Mourning of Muharram extended throughout the first ten days of Muharram.[13]

[edit] Significance of Ashura for Shi’a Muslims

Taziya procession carried out by Shiite Muslims in Indian town of Hallaur on the Day of Ashura.

Shi’a devotees congregate outside the Sydney Opera House, Australia to commemorate Husayn.

This day is of particular significance to Shi’a and Alawite Muslims, who consider Husayn (the grandson of Muhamad) Ahl al-Bayt the third Imam and the rightful successor of Muhammad. Shi’as make pilgrimages on Ashura, as they do forty days later on Arba’een, to the Mashhad al-Husayn, the shrine in Karbala, Iraq that is traditionally held to be Husayn’s tomb. On this day Shi’a are in remembrance, and mourning attire is worn. They refrain from music, since Arabic culture generally considers music impolite during death rituals. It is a time for sorrow and respect of the person’s passing, and it is also a time for self-reflection, when one commits oneself to the mourning of the Husayn completely. Weddings and parties are also never planned on this date by Shi’as. Shi’as also express mourning by crying and listening to poems about the tragedy and sermons on how Husayn and his family were martyred. This is intended to connect them with Husayn’s suffering and martyrdom, and the sacrifices he made to keep Islam alive. Husayn’s martyrdom is widely interpreted by Shi’a as a symbol of the struggle against injustice, tyranny, and oppression.[16]

Shi’a Muslims in Malir, Pakistan performing zanjeer–ritual flagellation.

Shi’as believe the Battle of Karbala was between the forces of good and evil with Husayn representing good while Yazid represented evil. Shi’as also believe the Battle of Karbala was fought to keep the Muslim religion untainted of any corruptions and they believed the path that Yazid was directing Islam was definitely for his own personal greed.[citation needed]

Shia Imams strongly insist that the day of Ashura should not be taken as a day of joy and festivity. According to a hadith which is reported from Ali some people fabricated a hadith claiming it was on that day the God forgave Adam, Noah‘s Ark rested on dry land, The Israelites were saved from Pharaoh’s army, etc. The day of Ashura, according to Eighth Shia Imam, Ali al-Rida, must be observed as a day of inactivity, sorrow and total disregard of worldly cares.[17]

Some of the events associated with Ashura are held in special congregation halls known as “Imambargah” and Hussainia.[citation needed]

As suffering and cutting the body with knives or chains (matam) have been prohibited by Shi’a marjas like Ali Khamenei, Supreme Leader of Iran,[18] some Shi’a observe mourning with blood donation which is called “Qame Zani”[18] and flailing.[19] Yet some Shi’ite men and boys, considered heretics by some Muslim scholars, slash themselves with chains(zanjeer) or swords (talwar) and allow their blood to run freely.[19]

Certain rituals like the traditional flagellation ritual called Talwar zani (talwar ka matam or sometimes tatbir) using a sword or zanjeer zani or zanjeer matam, involving the use of a zanjeer (a chain with blades) are also performed.[20] These are religious customs that show solidarity with Husayn and his family. People mourn the fact that they were not present at the battle to fight and save Husayn and his family.[21][22]

Shia commonly believe that taking part in Ashura is to be absolved of sin[citation needed]. A popular Shia saying has it that, `a single tear shed for Husayn washes away a hundred sins.`[23]

[edit] Popular customs

Indian Shia Muslims take out a Ta’ziya procession on day of Ashura in Barabanki, India, Jan, 2009.

Shia Muslims take out an Al’am procession on day of Ashura in Barabanki, India, Jan, 2009.

For Shi’as, commemoration of Ashura is not a festival, but rather a sad event, while Sunni Muslims view it as a victory God has given to his prophet, Moses. This victory is the very reason, as Sunni Muslims believe, Muhammad mentioned when recommending fasting on this day. For Shi’as, it is a period of intense grief and mourning. Mourners, congregate at a Mosque for sorrowful, poetic recitations such as marsiya, noha, latmiya and soaz performed in memory of the martyrdom of Husayn, lamenting and grieving to the tune of beating drums and chants of “Ya Hussain.” Also Ulamas give sermons with themes of Husayn’s personality and position in Islam, and the history of his uprising. The Sheikh of the mosque retells the Battle of Karbala to allow the listeners to relive the pain and sorrow endured by Husayn and his family. In Arab countries like Iraq and Lebanon they read Maqtal Al-Husayn. In some places, such as Iran, Iraq and the Arab states of the Persian Gulf, Ta’zieh, passion plays, are also performed reenacting the Battle of Karbala and the suffering and martyrdom of Husayn at the hands of Yazid.[citation needed]

Tabuiks being lowered in to the sea in Pariaman, Indonesia, by Shia Muslims.

For the duration of the remembrance, it is customary for mosques and some people to provide free meals (Niazz) on certain nights of the month to all people[citation needed]. People donate food and Middle Eastern sweets to the mosque[citation needed]. These meals are viewed as being special and holy, as they have been consecrated in the name of Husayn, and thus partaking of them is considered an act of communion with God, Hussain, and humanity.[citation needed]

Participants congregate in public processions for ceremonial chest beating (matham/latmiya) as a display of their devotion to Husayn, in remembrance of his suffering and to preach that oppression will not last in the face of truth and justice.[24] Others pay tribute to the time period by holding a Majilis, Surahs from the Quran and Maqtal Al-Husayn are read.

Today in Indonesia, the event is known as Tabuik (Minangkabau language) or Tabut (Indonesian). Tabuik is the local manifestation of the Shi’a Muslim Remembrance of Muharram among the Minangkabau people in the coastal regions of West Sumatra, particularly in the city of Pariaman. The festival includes reenactments of the Battle of Karbala, and the playing of tassa and dhol drums.[citation needed]

In countries like Turkey, there is the custom of eating Noah’s Pudding (Ashure) as this day in Turkish is known as Aşure.

[edit] Commemoration of Husayn ibn Ali by non-Muslims

A tadjah at Hosay in Port of Spain during the 1950s

In some countries other religious communities commemorate this event.

In Trinidad and Tobago[25] and Jamaica[26] all ethnic and religious communities participate in this event, locally known as “Hosay” or “Hussay”, from “Husayn”.

[edit] Significance of Ashura for Sunni Muslims

Not related to Ashura and Karbala, some Sunni Muslims fast on this day of Ashura based on narrations attributed to Prophet Muhammad. The fasting is to commemorate the day when Moses and his followers were saved from Pharaoh by Allah by creating a path in the Red Sea. According to Muslim tradition, the Jews used to fast on the 10th day. So Muhammad recommended to be different from the Jews and recommended fasting two days instead of one.[27] 9th and 10th or the 10th and 11th day of Muharram.

According to Hadith record in Sahih Bukhari, Ashura was already known as a commemorative day during which some Meccans used to observe customary fasting. In hijrah event when Muhammad led his followers to Medina, he found the Jews of that area likewise observing fasts on the day of Ashura. At this, Muhammad affirmed the Islamic claim to the fast, and from then the Muslims have fasted on combinations of two or three consecutive days including the 10th of Muharram (e.g. 9th and 10th or 10th and 11th).[3][4]

A companion of Muhammed, Ibn Abas reports Muhammed went to Medina and found the Jews fasting on the tenth of Muharram. Muhammed inquired of them, “What is the significance of this day on which you fast?” They replied, “This is a good day, the day on which God rescued the children of Israel from their enemy. So, Moses fasted this day.” Muhammed said, “We have more claim over Moses than you.” Muhammed then fasted on that day and ordered Muslims too.[28]

The Ashura is commemorated for the following occasions which may have occurred on the 10th Day of the Muharram in different years:

Not all of the above incidents are confirmed to have taken place on Ashura in the Quran, nor by any strong Hadith. These have been reported in the weaker Hadith, but are nevertheless regarded possible by some of the Sunni Muslims. However many Islamic scholars like Mufti Taqi Uthmani[who?] rebuke such beliefs saying that “there are some legends and misconceptions with regard to ‘Ashura’ that have managed to find their way into the minds of the ignorant, but have no support of authentic Islamic sources”.[31]

The narrations of Muhammad mentioning the Children of Israel being saved from Pharaoh are indeed confimed by authentic hadith in Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim.

Today, some Sunnis regard fasting during Ashura as recommended, though not obligatory, having been superseded by the Ramadan fast.[32]

Sunnis in Egypt customarily eat a pudding (also known as Ashura) after dinner on the Day of Ashura; it is a wheat pudding with nuts, raisins, and rose water, and it is also known in Turkish as Aşure.

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Afghan woman being forced to marry her rapist

November 27, 2011 1 comment

Gulnaz says she at first tried to hide the attack against her because she could be killed for bringing shame on her community.

By Nick Paton Walsh

Kabul, Afghanistan (CNN) — Afghan prosecutors announced Wednesday that a young rape victim, jailed for adultery after reporting the crime and pushed into marrying her attacker, would have her sentence reduced from twelve to three years. The prosecutor said she would, for now, remain in jail — with her child — for not reporting her attack fast enough.

Gulnaz serving out her sentence with her child
Gulnaz is in Kabul’s Badam Bagh jail, serving out her sentence with her rapist’s child. (Photo: CNN)

In a remarkable case that is all too common in Afghanistan but has drawn international attention, 21-year-old Gulnaz was attacked by a relative two years ago, but sentenced to 12 years in jail for adultery.

She has since given birth to a girl from the attack. Because of the dishonor of sex outside of wedlock, she had been given the choice of marrying her attacker to get out of jail and legitimize her infant daughter in the eyes of Afghanistan’s conservative society.

The child is imprisoned with her at Badambagh Prison on the outskirts of Kabul.

Gulnaz says she at first tried to hide the attack against her because she could be killed for bringing shame on her community. Only her pregnancy exposed the attack and began criminal investigations that led to her conviction for adultery.

On Wednesday a spokesman for the Afghan attorney general said her sentence had been reduced by another court hearing to three years and that the main remaining charge against her was not reporting her attack early enough. A lawyer for Gulnaz, Kim Motley, said her client was only on Tuesday made aware of the reduced sentence and there had been no official notification of it.

The attorney general spokesman, Rahmatullah Nazari, said their investigation had concluded there was no rape, but instead sex outside of wedlock, resulting in both the male attacker and Gulnaz being convicted of adultery.

“Gulnaz claims that she has been raped. But because she reported the crime four months later, we couldn’t find any evidence [of an attack],” Nazari said. “She was convicted for not reporting a crime on time.”

Gulnaz’s attacker denied having sex with her. He told CNN he was serving jail time because he had been accused of rape. His conviction records show he is in jail for “zina”, a Dari word that directly translates as “adultery.” Human rights workers note that rape cases are often handled as adultery in Afghanistan’s court system.

The spokesman for the prosecutor added, however, that Gulnaz might soon receive a presidential pardon.

“There is a strong possibility that she would be pardoned under a presidential decree in the upcoming important dates like Prophet’s birthday or Afghan new year,” said Nazari.

Nazari said the Afghan prosecutor’s investigation had concluded that Gulnaz and her attacker had had consensual sex several times. Months later, when it emerged she was pregnant he said, their families met to try and settle the issue through a financial payment. When those discussions broke down, Nazari said, the accusation of rape was made.

The courts ultimately found both parties guilty of adultery, Gulnaz receiving two years, and her attacker seven. A later court ruling then increased her sentence to twelve years. A third court hearing, which happened in the past month but about which Gulnaz heard little until Tuesday, decided that she should serve a total of three years — not for adultery but instead for failing to report a crime quickly enough.

Throughout her interview with CNN, Gulnaz was emotional but consistent and clear in telling her story of a single incident of rape by one attacker, the husband of her cousin, when her mother left her alone to make a hospital visit.

Source: CNN

BAHAWI, Nesar Ahmad Gold medal in the Asian Taekwondo Qualification Tournament for London 2012 Olympic

November 27, 2011 Comments off

Bahawi at Glance:

18 registered fights, fighter won 9 out of them. That’s a rate of 50.0%
74 hitpoints distributed and 60 collected during fights.
Won 2 golden point(s) and lost 1.
Participated at 9 tournaments, 9 with international and 0 with national valuation.

China won 12 golds on Day 6, including two in the pool, and is on track to surpassing the record of 183 it set at the 1990 Beijing Asian Games. The Republic of Korea (ROK) is second in the table with 37 golds and Japan is third with 21.

Sun, 18, who was beaten into second place in the men’s 200m and 400m freestyle events by ROK Olympic champion Park Tae-hwan, finally outshone his rival in 1,500m. He dominated the longest event in 14:35.43, breaking teammate Zhang Lin’s Asian record by 10.41 seconds.

The time was 0.87 seconds behind the world record of 14:34.56 set by Australian Grant Hackett in July 2001.

Park finished second in 15:01.72 and ended his second Asiad with seven medals, including three golds.

“I thought Hackett’s world record was too far away from me, but now it’s so close,” Sun said. “But I have not thought about breaking the record. I will start from the very beginning tomorrow and work hard for next year’s world championships and the London Olympics.”

China claimed all but two women’s gold medals in the pool after six days of competition, with 14-year-old Ye winning two to prompt speculation she will make a big splash in the London Olympics.

Ye eased to victory in the women’s 200m individual medley in 2:09.37, adding to the 400m individual medley title she won on Sunday.

“My goal in the coming two years is to win in the London Olympic Games,” Ye said.

Tao Li of Singapore won the women’s 50m butterfly title to become the only swimmer from outside of “three giants” – China, the ROK and Japan – to win a swimming gold.

Japan was the biggest winner, with Naoya Tomita winning the men’s 200m breaststroke in the absence of Kosuke Kitajima and Junya Koga prevailing in the 50m backstroke. It also won the men’s 4x100m medley relay after China, which touched first, was disqualified.

Japan and China each won 16 gold swimming golds four years ago in Doha, but China ruled the pool this time with 24 golds. Japan took only nine and none of them were from its women. The ROK got four and Singapore had one.

Thailand, Indonesia and Jordan became the new countries to win a gold medal, increasing the number of gold-winning delegations to 17.

Nabil Hassan of Jordan defeated Nesar Ahmad Bahawi of Afghanistan to win the men’s 80kg taekwondo gold medal. Thailand’s Sarita Phongsri beat Vietnam’s Thi Hoai Thu Nguyen to win the women’s under 53kg taekwondo title. Indonesia tasted its first gold in the men’s dragon boat 1,000m straight event.

The ROK swept both gold medals on the opening day of fencing, with Kim Hye-rim winning the women’s individual sabre and Kim Won-jin taking the men’s individual epee.

In rowing, China bagged six out of seven titles and Japan got one.

Shooting also closed its action on Thursday, when the ROK’s remarkable run continued by winning three of four events, taking its tally to 13 golds, only two behind China.

In weightlifting, Kazakhstan stole the limelight as two lifters claimed gold medals to break China’s monopoly on weightlifting.

Two-time world champion and world record-holder Svetlana Podobedova clinched the gold of women’s 75kg with a considerable margin of 22kg from second-place and Olympic champion Cao Lei of China. Reigning champion Ilya Ilyin took the gold of men’s 94kg by snatching 175kg and jerking 219kg for a winning total of 394kg.

In soccer, the Chinese women emulated the fortune of their male counterpart, losing 8-7 on penalty kicks to the ROK after a 0-0 draw left them tied atop Group A. China still advanced in second place.

 By :Xinhua

* These data may not be used to assessing an athlete, as the level of the tournament (national / international, etc.) is not considered. Calculated on the basis of all available data.
GUANGZHOU – Chinese teenagers Sun Yang and Ye Shiwen emerged as gold hopefuls for the 2012 London Olympics as the Asian Games swimming competition wound down on Thursday and took host’s overall gold-medal haul to 109.

ON THE OCCASSION OF MOURNING MONTH

November 26, 2011 Comments off

Muharram (Arabic: المحرّم) is the first month of the Islamic calendar. It is one of the four sacred months of the year in which fighting is prohibited. Since the Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar, Muharram moves from year to year when compared with the Gregorian calendar. Muharram is so called because it is unlawful to fight during this month; the word is derived from the word haram, meaning “forbidden”. It is held to be the most sacred of all the months, excluding Ramadan. Some Muslims fast during these days. The tenth day of Muharram is called Yaumu-l ‘Ashurah, which is known by Shia Muslims as ‘the day of grief’. Many Sunni Muslims fast during this day, because Musa (Moses) and his people obtained a victory over the Egyptian Pharaoh on the 10th day of Muharram; according to them Islamic prophet Muhammad asked Muslims to fast on this day, and also a day extra either before or after, so that they are not similar to Jews (since, according to him, Jews used to fast for one day due to the same reason). Fasting differs among the Muslim groupings; mainstream Shia Muslims stop eating and drinking during sunlight hours and do not eat until late afternoon. Sunni Muslims also fast during Muharram for the first ten days of Muharram, just the tenth day or on both the ninth and tenth days; the exact term depending on the individual. Shia Muslims do so to replicate the sufferings of Husayn ibn Ali on the Day of Ashura. Shia Muslims, go further in their attempts of replication, including self-flagellation.

Commissioner of Police, Pune.

November 26, 2011 Comments off

Smt.Meeran Chadha Borwankar Commissioner of Police, Pune. To keep Pune and its citizens safe is the prime concern for all of us working in Pune Police. We seek active participation of community for achieving it. Currently we are seeking citizens’ active participation in three initiatives… ‘Pune Police Vidyarathi Abhiyan’ We offer twenty hours internship to students of different colleges to enable them to understand the basics of Policing. In the process we also learn about the youth, their issues, aspirations etc. Details of the program are on our web site. ‘Chowky Sabalikaran’ We improve our dialogue with citizens and have formed citizens’ committees to interact with chowky staff on regular basis. There are 107 Police ‘Chowkies’ in Pune and 29 Police Stations. Our objective is to understand the needs of local citizens and to reach them with our initiatives for crime prevention and maintenance of order. ‘Study Circles’ We invite local experts from various fields especially law Enforcement / Management / Health / Nutrition / to interact with us to improve our knowledge. Pl share your knowledge with us. Study Circles are held at Police Station/DCP/CP office levels. We also continue with ‘Mahila Dakshata Samities’, ‘Traffic Police Mitra’ and ‘Peace Committees’. Join us to make Pune a safe city so that all of us can reach our full potentials.

Source : Commissioner’s Message

On the Occasion of Thanksgiving Day In India

November 25, 2011 Comments off

Gratitude is the best attitude. There is not a more pleasing exercise of the mind than gratitude. It is accompanied with such an inward satisfaction that the duty is sufficiently rewarded by the performance.

A UN resolution designated November 25 as International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

November 25, 2011 1 comment


Violence against women is a technical term used to collectively refer to violent acts that are primarily or exclusively committed against women. Similar to a hate crime, this type of violence targets a specific group with the victim’s gender as a primary motive.
The United Nations General Assembly defines “violence against women” as “any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or mental harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life.” The 1993 Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women noted that this violence could be perpetrated by assailants of either gender, family members and even the “State” itself.[1]
Worldwide governments and organizations actively work to combat violence against women through a variety of programs. A UN resolution designated November 25 as International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.[2]

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