Saturday, 18 July 2015

Islam and women's rights

A number of news stories came to my attention today that I found profoundly disturbing, all of which involved Islam and women.

The first from Australia was reported by the BBC:

An Australian man has been jailed for eight years for arranging an Islamic marriage between his 12-year-old daughter and a man twice her age.

He said he allowed the girl to marry a 26-year-old Lebanese man, in a ceremony in New South Wales, because he did not want her to have sex outside marriage.

The 63 year old was found guilty in April of procuring a child under the age of 14 for unlawful sexual activity.

What makes this story even more worrying was this:

The father, who cannot be named to protect his daughter's identity, told Downing Centre District Court that he considered sex outside marriage a sin, so when his daughter reached puberty he decided she should marry.

When the Lebanese man, who was in Australia on a student visa, showed an interest, he arranged for a local sheikh to carry out the ceremony.

A predatory paedophile is assisted by the father in the name of religion. The local "Sheik" participates in the bogus marriage but doesn't seem to have been prosecuted. The BBC continues:

The judge told the court that religious beliefs did not justify the father's actions. "They were linked in the purpose that (the man) would have sex with his daughter," she added. 

Meanwhile in Canada:

An Iranian immigrant who regularly raped his wife and beat his children during their 16-year marriage is going back to jail after Ontario's top court on Wednesday increased his sentence.

In doing so, the Court of Appeal said the lower court judge who handed the man an 18-month term was wrong to assume cultural differences were a mitigating factor — even though the defence never raised the issue.

The report from CBC reports that the wife's views:

Her statement suggested a "significant cultural gap" between what is acceptable in Canada versus in Iran, Gorewich said.

"In Iran if she complained about any abuse she would be ignored — it is a different culture, it is a different society," Gorewich said. "Those cultural differences moved with them from Iran to Canada."

Where do these attitudes come from?

Lets hear from a couple of Iranian Clerics:

Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi: "Scientific "State Shiite Muslim" research reveals that female body cells decays faster if it is not fully covered in hijab.

Ayatullah Seyed Abolhassan Mahdavi, Iranian MP for Isfahan City who is behind the Acid throwing on women in Isfahan: " Immodesty is an important reason behind girls aggression and anger at home which is also popular in schools among them. Therefore I propose mandatory full body cover "Chador" to elementary school girls so the female students will grow up with modesty and timidness which can also demonstrate its effect in society."

Anne Marie Waters sums up the problem in her latest post on Sharia Watch:

Some apologists will tell you ‘it’s the culture, it’s not the religion’. In this, we’re supposed to believe that the religion which forms the law and dominates the society in such a way that you can be judicially killed for blasphemy, has no impact on the culture? The truth is that the culture and religion are the same, they are inseparable.

If we were to believe that the religion has no bearing on the culture in these countries, why are they so similar? Why do countries as different as Saudi Arabia and Iran (one Sunni and one Shia), impose such similar misogynistic punishments? Why did Al-Shabaab, a militant group in Somalia – a country vastly different from Saudi Arabia – apply the same punishment of death by stoning for adultery? What is the common denominator? What makes clerics in Pakistan agree with clerics in Sudan? The common denominator of course is Islam.

Let’s not deny the reality of life for many women in Islamic states. We need to think it through. Just imagine what it is like to be married to someone you despise, and of course under sharia law, a woman cannot decide to get divorced because divorce is the privilege of the man (she can’t divorce of her own volition, she needs either the permission of her husband or of a sharia court). Just imagine what it is like to have to cook and clean and bear children over and over again, to be perpetually pregnant by a man you can’t stand to touch you. And there’s no way out. If you leave, you may very well be killed for being dishonourable. Just imagine it.

Imagine what it is like to be told, over and over, that you are inferior, that you are confined to having no say over your own destiny. You are, in fact, a slave. I’ve said it before and I will say it again, if a man were treated the way women are treated in Islamic states, the world would recognise it as slavery. If a man were treated the way women are treated under sharia law, the world would recognise it as slavery. But the fact is that what is slavery for a man, is culture for a woman. It’s accepted. Almost as if there is something natural about the enslavement of women, it is a slavery that can’t be criticised or prevented because to do so would insult the enslaver.

You’ll be told that the misogyny of Islam has nothing to do with Islam itself? Is that really true? Here are some quotes from the Koran:

“Women are your fields: go, then, into your fields whence you please.” Quran 2:223, “The Cow,” Dawood, p. 34

“Men have authority over women because God has made the one superior to the other, and because they spend their wealth to maintain them. Good women are obedient. They guard their unseen parts because God has guarded them. As for those from whom you fear disobedience, admonish them and forsake them in beds apart, and beat them.” Quran 4:34, “Women,” Dawood, p. 83

“A male shall inherit twice as much as a female.” Quran 4:11, “Women,” Dawood, p. 77

“Call in two male witnesses from among you, but if two men cannot be found, then one man and two women whom you judge fit to act as witnesses…” Quran 2:282, “The Cow,” Dawood, p. 47

“Women shall with justice have rights similar to those exercised against them, although men have a status above women.” Quran 2:228, Dawood, p. 35

“If you fear that you cannot treat [orphan girls] with fairness, then you may marry other women who seem good to you: two, three, or four of them. But if you fear that you cannot maintain equality among them, marry one only or any slave-girl you may own.” Quran 4:3, “Women,” Dawood, p. 76 (this is the one used to justify polygamy)

“If you are in doubt concerning those of your wives who have ceased menstruating, know that their waiting period shall be three months. The same shall apply to those [of your wives] who have not yet menstruated.” Quran 65:4, “Divorce,” Dawood, p. 557 [Dawood notes: “On account of their young age. Child marriages were common.”]

“Enjoin believing women to turn their eyes away from temptation and to preserve their chastity; not to display their adornments (except such as are normally revealed); to draw their veils over their bosoms and not to display their finery except to their husbands, their fathers, their husbands’ fathers, their sons, their step-sons, their brothers, their brothers’ sons, their sisters’ sons, their women-servants, and their slave-girls; male attendants lacking in natural vigour, and children who have no carnal knowledge of women. And let them not stamp their feet when walking so as to reveal their hidden trinkets.” Quran 24:31, “Light,” Dawood, p. 352

“Wives of the Prophet, you are not like other women. If you fear God, do not be too complaisant in your speech, lest the lecherous-hearted should lust after you. Show discretion in what you say. Stay in your homes and do not display your finery as women used to in the days of ignorance.” Quran 33:32-3, Dawood, p. 421 [The “days of ignorance” refer to pre-Islamic times.]

You’ll be told that you must take these verses and hadith in context! Please tell in what context ‘beat her’ is ok. This is manipulation of language to hide the truth, as was described by George Orwell. It is also the case that regardless of the fact that these verses can be interpreted (or redefined) to mean something other than what they say, this does not change the fact that they are, and can be, used quite legitimately to impose second class status, as well as extreme cruelty, on to women.

You’ll be told that Islam, as a whole, is understood only by scholars who’ve studied the texts and its nuances and its complexities. Isn’t it odd then that the very countries that are being run by scholars who have studied Islam and its nuances and complexities are the very countries that stone women to death for adultery? That execute homosexuals and blasphemers? The fact is that the scholars come to the same conclusions as I do, the only difference is the morality. I think these punishments are deeply immoral, the scholars think they are moral.

How many of you believe that the problems associated with Islam stem only from a tiny minority of extremists?

The Pew Research Center has carried out the largest survey of opinion in the Muslim world. 55% of people in Pakistan believe honour killing is justified. In Bangladesh, it is 66%. In Afghanistan, 99% supported sharia as law of the land – of those, 85% favoured stoning to death for adultery. Of those, 79% support the death penalty for apostasy. In Pakistan, 84% said sharia should be the law of the land, of those 89% supported death by stoning for adultery, and 76% support the death penalty for leaving Islam.

In Britain, 78% support criminal sanction for insulting Islam. 78% of Muslims thought that the publishers of the Danish cartoons of the Prophet Muhammed should be prosecuted, 68% thought those who insulted Islam should be prosecuted, and 62% of people disagree that freedom of speech should be allowed even if it insults and offends religious groups.

Now that we know this, let’s get on to the second word we’re not allowed to mention – it is of course immigration. To express concern about immigration is nigh-on forbidden. You can talk about Islam provided you call it Islamism and are willing to say “all religions are equally bad”. But here’s the thing: they’re not. All religions are not equally bad, that is absurd. To argue that all religions are equally bad, you have to ignore the religion itself. You have to ignore what its founders preached and stories in its holy texts.

The need for a vigorous secular movement has never been greater and the left, including many feminists have become part of the problem. They are appeasers hiding behind bogus accusations of so-called "Islamophobia". They say it's racist.

Meanwhile women in Islamic societies are enslaved, abused and treated as second class citizens. Most of these women are not white comrades. Who is being the racist? Is it rights for white women only comrades?

Answers on a post card to Counterfire, SWP, Stop the War.....

The "anti-imperialist" left cannot be trusted. 

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