C. Vita


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Islam and women

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While cherished, life is a struggle for most people in the world.  Injustice and tragedy surround us everywhere all the time.  But I can not imagine anything more tragic than to be a woman in an Islamic country. 

In Islamic countries, women are not valued for their beauty or motherhood, not to mention their faculties or personality.  Rather, a woman in Islamic country is the guaranteed right of pious Muslim men.  She is a commodity used for pleasure and procreation.  Yes, the chador could be woman's personal choice, and wealth may soften woman's plight in an Islamic country.  But for most women in Islamic countries, life is utterly unjust. 
In Islamic countries, women need written permission from male relative, or chaperon, to go out of the house.  What if the child needed urgent medical attention?  In Islamic culture, a woman is stoned because she smiled at someone, her nose cut because she fled her abusive husband, and honor killing crowns her rape.  Women are prevented from going to school, but are allowed or required to marry when they are only 9 years old children.  The word of two women equals that of one man before a judge...  No law of heritance--an argument that Muslims never fail to bring up to demonstrate women status--can make any of these just. Is the guarantee of heritance worth it if woman's life is not guaranteed and could be lost at man's whim? 

"Many women who do not dress modestly ... lead young men astray, corrupt their chastity and spread adultery in society, which increases earthquakes."
HOJATOLESLAM KAZEM SEDIGHI, an Iranian Muslim cleric,
 blaming women for a spate of recent temblors around the globe

Jihab chador burka
Hijab Khimar Chador
In her books, Fatima Mernissi (pictured) captures all the problems of women of Islamic world. 
Reading Lolita in Tehran gives an account of how much the Islamic society loses by trampling women's dreams, creativity, and ambitions. 

 ".....The hijab is manna from heaven for politicians facing crises. It is not just a scrap of cloth; it is a division of labor.  It sends women back to the kitchen.  Any Muslim state can reduce its level of unemployment by half just by appealing to the shari‘a, in its meaning as despotic caliphal tradition.  This is why it is important to avoid reducing fundamentalism to a handful of agitators who stage demonstrations in the streets.  It must be situated within its regional and world economic context by linking it to the question of oil wealth and the New World Order that the Westerners propose to us."  (p. 165)

Islam and democracy:  Fear of the modern world, Fatima Mernissi

Soraya M 9-years oldI read about the stoning of Soraya M. (pictured when she was 9 years old) in late 80s in Bulgaria.  A paper in the leading literary magazine LIK told her story and introduced the expatriate Iranian journalist Freidoune Sahebjam who was the first to publish it. 

After reading it, I cried for this woman for days.  The comparison of my life to hers was dreadful. When I was 16 years old, I played soccer with the boys in the neighborhood, danced along ABBA's songs, and worried that I could not watch some movies because of age restriction.  Soraya was married at 13 and by the time she was 26 she had 9 children, two stillborn.  Only to see, in time, her oldest boy throwing a stone at her, with pride... The elders of the village gathered together and decided her fate in 1 hour; she was never allowed to say a word in her defense. 

Every aspect of the punishment by lapidation (stoning) is not just wrong, but sickeningly wrong:

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Updated:  17 October, 2010


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