Bulletin Of The Oppression Of Women

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Our latest Bulletin of news and events regard!ing the oppression of women under Islam is now available. You can find archived issues here.

From Saudi Arabia

A Saudi court sentenced a local man and his girl friend to 50 lashes each and ordered him to wash 10 dead people after they were caught in a car parked in a deserted place under the cover of night.

The judge also sentenced the man to 15 days in prison and ordered him to memorize 10 Koran verses and 100 sayings by the Prophet Mohammed, according to Sabq newspaper.


In Saudi Arabia, girls and women are shut out of competitive sports, according to a just-released report by Human Rights Watch.

There are no national teams for women, and physical education for girls does not exist in state schools (although it does in private schools). Fitness clubs open to women are few and costly. Many of the swimming pools and running tracks that did exist for women were closed by the government in 2009 for being unlicensed, leaving women to search out gyms operating under the radar or to exercise at home.

Baad Is Bad

Shakila, 8 at the time, was drifting off to sleep when a group of men carrying AK-47s barged in through the door. She recalls that they complained, as they dragged her off into the darkness, about how their family had been dishonored and about how they had not been paid.

It turns out that Shakila, who was abducted along with her cousin as part of a traditional Afghan form of justice known as “baad,” was the payment.

Although baad (also known as baadi) is illegal under Afghan and, most religious scholars say, Islamic law, the taking of girls as payment for misdeeds committed by their elders still appears to be flourishing. Shakila, because one of her uncles had run away with the wife of a district strongman, was taken and held for about a year. It was the district leader, furious at the dishonor that had been done to him, who sent his men to abduct her.
[ . . .]

“Despite being denounced by the United Nations as a “harmful traditional practice,” baad is pervasive in rural southern and eastern Afghanistan, areas that are heavily Pashtun, according to human rights workers, women’s advocates and aid experts. Baad involves giving away a young woman, often a child, into slavery and forced marriage. It is largely hidden because the girls are given to compensate for “shameful” crimes like murder and adultery and acts forbidden by custom, like elopement, say elders and women’s rights advocates.

Read the rest here.

The honor/shame belief system of the mid-East is the engine that drives the oppression of women in these cultures.  Islam is the fuel that provides the machine with its power.

Muslim Brotherhood Drops the Veil on Belly Dancing

An Iranian born professional belly dancer, Farahnaz Raboudan, now living in Canada, talks about her art, its age limitations, and what she found on her last trip to Egypt.

Born in Tehran, Raboudan danced at parties and birthdays as a child. Her family fled Iran in 1989, 10 years after the Islamic revolution.

“Among other rules, women had to wear much more conservative clothing after the revolution and there has been no public belly dancing since then,” she says.

[ . . .]

Just back from Egypt — considered by many to be the longtime centre of belly dancing — Raboudan says the Muslim Brotherhood is dropping the curtain on belly dancing.

“It’s sad,” she says. “I fear Egypt will go the way of Iran. Fortunately, there are many Muslims in Edmonton who understand and enjoy belly dancing.”

Read the article here.

For those of you who have never had the pleasure of seeing a belly dance, here is a video of the best belly dancer in the world, Tito Seif, who happens to be a man, dancing with one of his students!  Here  is another video of the Classical Egyptian style belly dance by Zaheea.

Singing and dancing are disputed by various Islamic sects.  However, even some of the most fundamentalists in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan allow dancing at celebrations when it is gender specific and men dance with men, and women dance with women.  Also, some Muslims say that it is permissible for wives to dance for their husbands.  Here’s  a typical discussion about these arts.

“Verified Virgins” in Denmark

Young Danish women with immigrant backgrounds – most of them Muslim – continue to flock to private clinics across the country to have their ‘virginity’ restored for a few thousand kroner.

Several years after the little-known procedure became a topic of political debate, doctors are reporting that demand for hymenoplasty operations has not decreased.

Doctors who perform these operations have come under sharp criticism for legitimising the procedure and thereby protecting what critics say is the chauvinism and oppression that underlies the demand that new brides must be verified virgins.

“I don’t have any scruples about helping. The important thing is that these girls have good lives moving forward. You could call it my form of foreign aid,” Dr Christine Felding, who performs 30 to 40 hymenoplasty procedures each year, told Berlingske newspaper.

The procedure involves reconstructing the hymen – the membrane that partially covers the opening to the vagina, and which is presumed to tear and bleed the first time a woman has sexual intercourse. The doctor literally sews bits of the vaginal lining together to narrow the opening. It takes a little over an hour and is done under local anaesthesia. Felding charges 5,000 kroner. Other doctors charge as much as 12,000 kroner.

Felding estimates that three or four women with immigrant backgrounds call her each week asking about the procedure. Most of them, she said, are frightened about what will happen if their fiancés or their families find out that they are not virgins.

Women have been known to suffer rejection, public shaming and even violent retribution at the hands of men in their own families if there is a lack of ‘proof’, in the form of a bloody bed sheet, on the wedding night.

It is more cultural than religious. If the bride is not a virgin and does not bleed on the wedding night, it is a big shame on the family. There have been honour killings in extreme cases,” Dr Magdy Hend, a UK surgeon who performs several hymenoplasties a week, told the UK tabloid Daily Mail.

Doctors in the UK, France, Germany and Belgium also report that the procedure is highly sought after in Muslim communities. The irony, as Time magazine’s Bruce Crumley writes, is that “the increase in the procedure reflects the growing emancipation of women from tradition-rooted communities, but also the ongoing male oppression signified by the obsession with female virginity.”

Read the rest here.

(h/t to NewEnglishReview)

What Links these Stories?

Deaf Mute Girl Kept as a Sex Slave in Britain

A woman allegedly imprisoned in a cellar, raped and kept as a virtual slave while a child was stabbed in the stomach for smiling, a jury was told.

The woman, who is deaf and unable to speak, is said to have been subjected to years of abuse after being trafficked into Britain from Pakistan. It is alleged that she was locked in a cellar by Ilyas Ashar, 83, and his wife Tallat Ashar, 66, at their home on Cromwell Road in Eccles, Salford, and forced to sew, wash, cook and clean without pay.

Deaf mute girl allegedly kept in a cellar in Eccles was raped and treated as slave, court told. A jury at Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court was told she slept on the cellar’s concrete floor without access to a toilet until she was rescued by police in June 2009.

She is also said to have been regularly beaten, repeatedly raped and assaulted. The couple are on trial and deny any mistreatment.

Read more here.

Afghan woman burnt to death in Iran

The charred body of an Afghan refugee, allegedly killed by her in-laws in neighbouring Iran, was brought to southwestern Nimroz province, the victim’s father said on Monday.  

Abdul Basir told Pajhwok Afghan News his daughter was burnt by her mother-in-law and husband in Iran’s Sistan Baluchistan province five days ago. She had been sprinkled with gasoline before being set on fire, the father alleged.

Basir, who is currently living in Iran, said her daughter was married to a young boy of an Afghan refugee family a year ago. But her mother-in-law would always encourage her son to rough up his wife.

Read more here.

(h/t to the thereligionofpeace.com)

What links these stories? The answer is: the ideology of Islam.

“Steps to the Devil” for Saudi Women: Human Rights Watch Says Stop Discriminating

A human rights group called on the International Olympic Committee to require that Saudi Arabia’s participation in Olympic sporting events, including the upcoming London Games, be contingent upon the Arab country allowing girls and women to play competitive sports.

Human Rights Watch issued a report Wednesday saying that Saudi Arabiais violating the IOC charter’s pledge of equality. The country has never sent a woman to compete in the Olympics.
[ . . .]

In interviews with Saudi women and international sporting officials, the group found that Saudi government restrictions put sports beyond the reach of almost all women in the Gulf nation. The few women who play sports are limited to exercising at home or at expensive gyms, or playing in segregated underground leagues.

Within a year, the group wants Saudi Arabia to start introducing physical education for girls in all schools, and allocate money for women’s sports in the youth ministry, the Saudi national Olympic committee and Saudi sports federations. Human Rights Watch says such steps are necessary to prove the Saudis’ efforts to end discrimination against women in sports and allow the country to be represented in Olympic events.

“It’s not that Saudi Arabia doesn’t have the money to do this or women who want to,” said Christoph Wilcke, a senior researcher in Human Rights Watch’s Middle East and North Africa division who authored the 51-page report titled “Steps of the Devil.” “We have listened to Saudi promises for decades. This is not good enough.”

The report’s name comes from the comments of some Saudi government clerics who oppose sport as “steps of the devil” that would lead women to un-Islamic behavior and moral corruption.

Read the rest HERE.

What Muslim Women Must Do in Brunei

Muslim women who want to play a role in contributing to society must know their limits and know that what they do will not lead to fitnah (slander and gossip) or wrongdoings.

At the forum titled Muslimah Solehah Obor Ummah (Pious women are the torch of the Ummah), Ustazah Dk Norhayati Pg Hj Kasran, Religious Officer from the Islamic Dakwah Centre, said that women who want to contribute their services to the betterment of society must first know their rights and wrongs.

“When we want to contribute our services to society, we must make sure that the activities or work we get ourselves involved in would not lead to slander and gossip as well as wrongdoings,” said Ustazah Dk Norhayati.

Ustazah Dk Norhayati also said that the role of women in Islam, other than doing good, is to prevent herself from doing wrong and preventing the act of wrongdoing itself.

Before a woman finds other sources, such as motivational books, to make herself a better Muslim, it is more important she familiarises herself with the ayat (verses) found in the Quran which she can hold on to, said Ustazah Dk Norhayati.

Ustazah Dk Norhayati gave an example of one verse from the Quran, verse 71 of Surah At-Taubah which reads, “The Believers men and women, are protectors one of another: they enjoin what is just, and forbid what is evil: they observe regular prayers, practice regular charity, and obey Allah and His Messenger. On them will Allah pour His mercy: for Allah is Exalted in power, Wise”.

Ustazah Dk Norhayati continued to say that women must understand their two main roles. First, is to obey Allah SWT and second, obey Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

Part of obeying Allah SWT and Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), is to obey parents and the husband.

Ustazah Dk Norhayati said that it is important to get the consent of parents in everything we do.

Read the rest HERE.

Underage Girls Forced into Prostitution

The Montreal police Child Sexual Exploitation Investigations Section  has announced the arrest of six young men in a case of human trafficking and prostitution.

Two underage girls allegedly met the suspects in February 2011 and were forced into prostitution.

The girls told police that they managed to flee to their freedom a week later.

Police have arrested Abdul Karim Nassereddine, 20, Naib Ali Soilihi, 20 and Mohammed Rami Taha, 19. Mezri Mehdi Mohamed Hamza, 21, turned himself in Thursday after being sought by authorities.

The two others arrested cannot be named, as they were minors at the time of the alleged offences.

The suspects were charged with a variety of crimes related to sexual assault and prostitution of minors Thursday.

(h/t to barenakedislam.com)

Thoughts on the Bag and Mask

I ran across this photo  in my research and it triggered a visceral response deep in my guts .

What was it about this picture that horrified me?  I pondered on this for a few days and then formulated my thoughts.

To cover yourself from head to toe in a big bag, a burka, and cover your face with a mask, a niqab, makes you a non-person.  You lose your individuality.  Is this woman the man’s mother, sister, wife, cousin?  We can’t even guess.  We think it’s a woman but it could be a man.  All distinguishing features are concealed.  Only when we hear a voice can we know the gender.  And I wondered if this covering is a free choice or is it worn to keep this woman safe from rape, beatings or acid thrown in her face.

When you are shrouded like this you don’t participate in society.  Others can’t see your reactions, see your personality sparkle or see your inner beauty shining in your eyes.  Your humanity is hidden.  All that which makes you a unique person is covered, swallowed by a bag.  You can’t feel wind in your hair.  There is no expression seen in your face. There is no personal expression shown by your clothes.  There is no freedom to walk and run, unencumbered by veils and or a mask to cover your face.

Every woman (and man) should see the movie Kandahar.

The opening sequence is worth the price of the movie.  We are given the point of view of the women who puts on the niqab.  We see how much it hinders our vision, how much of our world is cut off.  We have no side vision and the front is obscured by mesh.  We can barely see. The outer world is filled with unseen things that may be dangerous to us and hinder our well-being.  It is a chilling, stultifying experience.

I have no problem with modesty, with the wearing of long sleeves and long skirts or pants.  Even if you think that your hair is a sin and must be covered by a scarf, I’m okay by that.  But the niqab defaces, taking away the face which allows us to relate to one another, to see the world and to experience humanity.  To deface is to destroy the person.


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