Jihad Against the Feminine
By Sean Moffitt of womensassistance.com
photo, “Rebirth of the Feminine” copyright Jonathan Zap
Subjugation and abuse of women is one of the most critical social issues in all of human history. Violent oppression of women has been, and remains, a serious obstacle to the full intellectual growth and evolution of the human species. In recent years the subservient position of women suffering under Islamic regimes has become somewhat common knowledge in the western world where most people seem familiar with the oppression of women, particularly in Afghanistan . Yet for so many women and girls living in Islamic and Hindu communities, reality is far worse than what most westerners imagine. Western media says little about the ongoing brutalization of women although it could be one of the worst genocides in human history.
Over the past 16 months I’ve taken the time to speak individually with more than ten thousand people in an effort to bring this dark issue to light. Islamic and Hindu men are burning women alive in massive numbers and there are many additional murders inflicted using garroting wires, axes, sticks and bullets. I would like to carefully explain through well cited, current information the recent numbers of honor killings, the reasons these burnings and murders are taking place, discuss passages from various interpretations of the Quran that uphold this behavior and support men who brutalize, burn and torture women. I’ll also include several specific examples representing only a tiny fraction of the actual violence.
On December 15th 2005 a Pakistani serial rapist being charged in New South Wales , Australia for raping four 13-14 year old girls told the court that the girls had no right to refuse his sexual assault because “They were not covering their faces or wearing a headscarf. I didn’t do anything wrong.” This mentality is common in Pakistan and throughout the Islamic world. According to Dr. Gudrun Eussner, who has extensive experience as a journalist in nearly a dozen Islamic countries, gang rape is often handed down by local authorities and town councils as legal punishment for any type of alleged or perceived misbehavior including singing, smiling or laughing in public, answering a question inappropriately or leaving the house without permission. The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan reported in the year 2000, 804 cases of rape sentencing, 434 of which were gang rapes. One example is the case of Mukhtar Mai, who was sentenced to gang rape in 2002 by the town council of Meerwala, Pakistan because her 12 yr old brother was allegedly seen walking with a girl from a more prominent clan. Not surprisingly, one of the gang rapists was seated on the council. In many cases the relatives will immediately kill a rape survivor in order to cleanse the family honor.
Honor killings in the Islamic world, and dowry burnings throughout India , are simply not investigated thoroughly enough to make an entirely accurate assessment of the death toll. In Islamabad , Pakistan The Progressive Women’s Association of Pakistan has helped more than 4,800 women burned by their husbands since opening their safe house in 1999. They estimate 40% of honor killings go unreported and admit that percentage could be much higher. Husbands often claim that kitchen stoves are to blame but Shanhaz Bukhari, Director of PWAP stated “Either Pakistan is home to possessed stoves which only burn young housewives, and are particularly fond of genitalia, or these women are victims of deliberate murder.” In her book The Price of Honor…., Jan Goodwin reported 2000 girls and women burned in Lahore, Pakistan during a ten month period, with one precinct averaging 15 victims per month . Women’s Day Magazine estimates 25,000 girls and women are burned with acid or kerosene in India every year. The U.N. population report estimates 5,000 of those attacks are fatal while the remaining survivors are left with dramatic facial scars and ruined lives. In their 2002 report, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan estimated “90% of Pakistani women suffer domestic violence” and particularly alarming was the “Soaring number of cases of mutilation from pouring acid over women.” According to the same report 30% of women are pregnant at the time of burning. The exact same numbers were given this year by the Pakistan Institute for Medical Sciences. This behavior is rampant throughout India and the global Islamic community yet the western world, particularly Americans, know very little about it.
The underlying reasons for brutalizing women go far beyond the alleged crimes of not serving dinner on time, wearing toenail polish or holding hands. Devout followers of fundamentalist doctrines have a long history of oppressing and burning women alive, but the actual motives are also rooted in the violent sexual pathology that often arises when a man is given omnipotence over a woman. This pathology is further inflamed when a bloated sense of honor and social status is seen as infinitely more important than the life of an allegedly misbehaving daughter or wife. Using rape, murder and fear are currently the methods of choice to keep the female population subservient and preserve the social pillars of Islamic life, although there are many other systematic forms of oppression, such as denying the opportunity for education or even permission to leave the house. These social norms have several roots in the Islamic faith. According to Peter Raddatz, co-author of the Encyclopedia of Islam, devout Muslims, as prescribed by the Quran and prophetic tradition, divide the world into two populations: true believers and un-believers consisting of non-Muslims, apostates and disobedient women. Muslim men have a mandate from Allah to preserve and expand the Umma, or Muslim community. Therefore any woman behaving in an un-Islamic fashion is seen as a threat to the preservation of the community and can be lawfully subjected to Jihad in all its glory.
Islamic or Sharia Law sees a woman as being half the value of a man, for example two female testimonies are required to equal a man’s word in court and a daughter only receives half the inheritance of a son. In February of 2005, Muhammed Kuraidy, spokesman for Ayatollah Yacoubi in Iraq told the New York Times “ We don’t want to see equality between men and women because according to Islamic Law men should have double that of women. This is written in the Koran according to God.” The world Organization Against Torture quoted an official spokesman from Morocco in 2003 stating “The government of the Kingdom of Morocco makes reservations…particularly regarding the equality of men and women in respects of rights…equality of this kind is incompatible with Islamic Sharia. ” Legal inequality of women under Sharia law is based on several passages from the Quran.
Quran 2:228 – “….and women shall have rights similar to the rights against them, according to what is equitable; but men have a degree of advantage over them. And Allah is exalted in power, wise .”
Quran 4:15 – If any of your women are guilty of lewdness, take the evidence of four reliable witnesses from amongst you against them; and if they testify, confine them to houses until death do claim them, or Allah ordains for them some other way.
Quran 4:16 – If two men among you are guilty of lewdness punish them both. If they repent leave them alone; Allah is Oft-returning, Most Merciful. – Translations 2:228, 4:15 and 4:16 from respected Muslim scholar Abdullah Yusuf Ali.
Quran 24:4 – And those who accuse free women and do not bring four witnesses, flog them, giving eighty stripes, and do not admit any evidence from them ever; and these it is that are the transgressors.
Quran 4:34 – Men are the maintainers of women because Allah has made some of them to excel others and because they spend out of their property; the good women are therefore obedient, guarding the unseen as Allah has guarded; and as to those on whose part you fear desertion, admonish them, and leave them alone in the sleeping places and beat them; then if they obey you do not seek a way against them. Allah is High, Great. – Translations 24:4 and 4:34 by M.H. Shakir
These passages reek of blatant misogyny and assert the superiority of men as sanctioned by Allah. Women who have been raped must achieve the nearly impossible task of producing four eyewitnesses to the crime otherwise she is the transgressor of the rape. By divine mandate men have a “degree of advantage” which also allows them a degree of impunity. If found guilty of some “lewdness” such as gang rape, men can repent and be left alone, whereas if a woman is found guilty of having been gang raped, she must be locked in her house for the rest of her life according to the Quran. Verse 34 seals her fate with the words …”on whose part you “fear” desertion…” In this context fear means suspect, imagine, suppose or assume through any hearsay, rumor or gossip and there is no Quranic commandment requiring four eyewitnesses before a man can start whipping on the woman, or burning her or any other heinous act of violence imaginable. But lets not imagine. Let’s look at what is actually happening.
In 2000, Zahida Perveen’s husband suspected her of “having bad character”. He hung her by her feet, beat her with a metal rod, cut off her nose and ears, gouged out her eyes and tongue and left her for dead because he heard rumor of misbehavior that might bring dishonor to his name. – National Geographic Website
In 1994 in the Northwest Frontier Province of Pakistan Zainab Nur dared to speak to friends about the abuse she was enduring at the hands of her monstrous husband. As punishment he inserted red-hot irons into her genitals and burned out her rectum. She survived the attack and now wears a colostomy and urine collection bag.
Lahore , Pakistan – Ahmedi Begum was hauled into jail and gang raped for two days by police. After raping her more than 50 times police forced an oversized truncheon covered with chili-paste into her rectum then beat her unconscious. She awoke in prison. Her crime was failing to rent a room to a police officer.
– Price of Honor
Amnesty International reported on a case in which the husband woke up and killed his wife based on a dream that she had betrayed him.
Two sisters were hacked to death in Jordan by their ax-wielding brothers the day after Parliament rejected a bill to impose tougher punishment for honor crimes. – BBC News September 2003
The Associated press reported January 6 of 2006, – A teacher in Kandahar , Afghanistan was beheaded in front of his wife and children for the crime of teaching girls how to read.
After giving birth to five girls and being continuously tortured by her husband for not giving birth to a son, 35 yr old Faisan Mai killed herself in 2002 by throwing herself and two daughters in front of a train.
– Middle East Open Forum
During the months from March 22, 2004 to February 4, 2005 , 234 girls burned themselves alive in the town Herat , Afghanistan in hopes of escaping the physical and emotional brutality inflicted on them by husbands.
-Radio Free Europe Feb. 2005
Hamas morality police gunned down Yusra al-Azzami on the streets of Gaza for suspected lewdness. – Independent Media Review Analysis June 3, 2005
The Hamas religious police didn’t think to ask Yusra if she was legally engaged to the man she was walking with, which she was. Hamas never apologized for the murder and has recently enjoyed a landslide victory in parliamentary elections, controlling more than half of the positions in parliament. This confirms a sympathetic public mentality toward the fundamentalist values cherished by Hamas, which are mainstream and widespread in the Islamic world.
BBC News reported in July of 2005 The Northwest Province of Pakistan passed the “Hisba” legislation which requires religious police to patrol public places and enforce Islamic values under the authority of a cleric called a Mohtasib, meaning “one who holds another accountable”. Their duties include stopping unmarried men and women from appearing together, forbidding dancing or singing and monitoring media and advertising to ensure they are “useful for the promotion of Islamic values.”
On May 23rd of 1998 in Kabul , Afghanistan Taliban religious police under full authority bestowed by the Department of Virtue and Prevention of Vice gang raped Shukriya to death in broad daylight.
The reason for Shukriya’s death by rape is unknown although I suspect she may have been walking too proudly.
It is becoming clear to me that much of the Arab-Muslim world does in fact sympathize with the views stated in the letter below. The mentality represented in the next few paragraphs has recently swept Hamas and their trigger-happy morality police into political power.
MAINTAINING FAMILY HONOR
by Al Skudsi bin Hookah, roving reporter and foreign correspondent for The Gaza Gajeera.
Jan 20, 2003
I am very unhappy. Our way of life is under attack. And we are not fighting back. Deep down, we know that when a woman has disgraced her family, nothing will restore honor except by killing her. This is understood in Jordan , Syria , Yemen , Lebanon , Egypt , the Gaza strip and the West Bank . So why are we Arabs telling the Western press that honor killing is cultural, that it is not really part of Islam? Our way of life is based on maintaining our honor. And make no mistake about it: a woman does tarnish her family’s honor by engaging in pre-marital sex, or by getting herself raped, when she seeks divorce and when she marries against her family’s wishes.
Why are we pussyfooting? Are we ashamed of what we do? Why are some of us trying to play it down? Like the people who say it’s the same as battering women in America . Come on, now. Sometimes, when we correct a wife’s behavior by a well-deserved beating, we can maybe go a little too far. But that’s different. Or there’s this guy, Mohammed Haz Yahya at the Hebrew University (wouldn’t you know it), who makes believe killing to protect our honor is like the western world’s crime of passion. Come on now.
It’s not just religious leaders who know it’s the right thing to do. Many of the most progressive political leaders are the ones who defend the practice. To maintain the integrity of our society and our traditions, we must maintain our honor by any and every means. And keeping our women pure is a big part of our honor. So there’s no point saying honor killing isn’t really part of our religion. Our religion isn’t just what’s in the Koran. Honor killings fit into the cultural context of today’s Islamic teachings. Honor and Islam are inextricably bound; they are what give our life meaning. A strong religion demands we choose to maintain our honor.
I am also annoyed that news reports focus on gory details instead of showing understanding of what motivated the men who act vigorously to maintain honor. They are the real victims. Their honor was violated, so killing the offending woman is self-defense. Instead, like in this story, reporters graphically describe the damage done by the ax – of course an ax is going to do damage. Listen to this:
” Two months ago, when she tried to run away yet again, Kina grabbed a kitchen knife and an ax and stabbed and beat the girl [his daughter] until she lay dead in the blood-smeared bathroom of the family’s Istanbul apartment. He then commanded one of his daughters-in-law to clean up the mess. When his two sons came home from work 14 hours later, he ordered them to dispose of the 5-foot-3 corpse, which had been wrapped in a carpet and a blanket. The girl’s head had been so mutilated, police said, it was held together by a knotted cloth.”
“Kifaya Husayn, a 16-year-old Jordanian girl, was lashed to a chair by her 32-year-old brother. He gave her a drink of water and told her to recite an Islamic prayer. Then he slashed her throat. Immediately afterward, he ran out into the street, waving the bloody knife and crying, ‘I have killed my sister to cleanse my honor.’ Kifaya’s crime? She was raped by another brother, a 21-year-old man. Her judge and jury? Her own uncles, who convinced her eldest brother that Kifaya was too much of a disgrace to the family’s honor to be allowed to live. The murderer was sentenced to fifteen years, but the sentence was subsequently reduced to seven and a half years, an extremely severe penalty by Jordanian standards.”
This one is better. At least the reporter focused on why the brother had to kill his sister.
A 25-year-old Palestinian who hanged his sister with a rope: “I did not kill her, but rather helped her to commit suicide and to carry out the death penalty she sentenced herself to. I did it to wash with her blood the family honor that was violated because of her and in response to the will of society that would not have had any mercy on me if I didn’t . . . Society taught us from childhood that blood is the only solution to wash the honor.”
And here, at least, we can see it isn’t just some ignorant slobs who live in the boonies.
” `I would do what I have to do,’ said Bassam al-Hadid, a Jordanian with an American doctorate who spent 12 years as a hospital administrator in the United States, when asked whether he would kill a daughter who had sex outside marriage.”
“Samia Sarwar, 29, mother of two boys aged 4 and 8, was shot dead today in lawyer Hina Jillani’s office by a bearded man accompanying her mother and uncle. `He’s my helper, I can’t walk,’ said the mother, when Hina told the two men to get out. As the mother went to sit down in front of Hina’s desk, and Saima stood up from her chair, the bearded man whipped out a pistol from his waistcoat and shot Saima in the head, killing her instantly.”
Her impure state can destabilize morality in our whole society. If you don’t understand that, you won’t understand that our honor demands that we must tolerate no impertinence. Everyone must know his place. Men must be in control of their families. Women and children must obey. Women must devote themselves to the care of their husband and children. Or things will spiral out of control.
Although the eloquent Mr.Skudsi failed to cite the various sources for the murders included in his letter, I’ve come across each of them during the past year of research.
Islamic elected officials, and the male population they represent often see women as deficient and immoral.
“Women adulterers cause a great threat to our society because they are the main reason that such acts take place. If men do not find a woman with whom to commit adultery, then they will become good on their own.”
– Mohammed Kharabesh, Jordanian Parliamentarian
“Politics needs a certain mentality. There are very few women with this kind of mind”
– Ahmed Saati, Spokesperson for the University of Gaza
“Women are deficient in intelligence and religion. Never will succeed a nation which makes a woman ruler”
– The Prophet Mohammed as quoted in the Hadiths, Book of Life
Perceived immorality arising in any form is labeled un-Islamic and therefore a threat to the Umma, while also being a threat to the honor of any man bearing witness to the perceived immoral behavior, whether it be a misbehaving woman or a cartoon printed in a newspaper thousands of miles away. Apparently anything un-Islamic anywhere in the world is subject to the wrath of the devout.
In addition to the inhuman abuse of the feminine, fundamentalism continues to lash out at the world and seeks to inflict a mind-numbing morality upon it. Many claim Islam is a peaceful religion; that such brutalities are but tribal influences that have recently migrated into civilization from the wildlands. Yet taking into account the opinions of those who have made a lifelong study of the Quran, and who vehemently contradict this commonly held belief, sheds a different light on fundamentalism.
In Iran the Ayatollah said that “ infidels are like dogs, their existence is an affront to Allah.” Regarding the unbelieving population of the world, the Ayatollah himself said: “…Muslims have no alternative… to an armed holy war against profane governments. …Holy war means the conquest of all non-Muslim territories. …It will …be the duty of every able-bodied adult male to volunteer for this war of conquest, the final aim of which is to put Koranic law in power from one end of the earth to the other.”
“The leaders of the USSR and of England and the president of the United States are …infidels…. …Every part of the body of a non-Muslim individual is impure, even the hair on his head and his body hair, his nails, and all the secretions of his body. Any man or woman who denies the existence of God, or believes in His partners [the Christian Trinity], or else does not believe in His Prophet Mohammed, is impure (in the same way as are excrement, urine, dog, and wine).”
“Islam does not allow peace between a Muslim and an infidel.”
The Ayatollah disagreed with the supposition that Islam is actually a peaceful religion stating: “The leaders of our religion were all soldiers, commanders and warriors,” he wrote, “…they killed and they were killed.”
The Ayatollah, convinced Christ’s message had been deliberately distorted said: “This idea of turning the other cheek has been wrongly attributed to Jesus (peace be unto him); it is those barbaric imperialists that have attributed it to him. Jesus was a prophet, and no prophet can be so illogical.”
– Sayings of the Ayatollah
The Ayatollah was a very serious man. In her book Reading Lolita in Tehran Azar Nefisi quoted the Ayatollah as saying “there is no joy in Islam.”
The legal marrying age for girls in Iran and in many Islamic countries is at her first menses. There is a saying that a girl should have her first period in her husband’s house not her father’s. This belief has dragged hundreds of millions of underage girls into forced marriages and pregnancies with abusive husbands. Forced marriage and pregnancy denies them any chance to choose their own path in life and often causes horrific injuries called fistulas due to childbirth at a young age. According to the Chicago Tribune (December, 2004), one hundred million girls will be forced to marry before the age of 18 during the next decade. I can only assume the past few decades have seen similar numbers as will the following decade unless there is some dramatic shift in the treatment of women. Currently two million girls and women suffer from fistulas which are the only injuries I can think of that might be worse than being burned alive. I should also note here that the Prophet Mohammed married a six year old girl. According to the Hadiths, the sex act itself was not fully consummated until she was nine.
I’ve recently been exposed to a strange perspective which I can illustrate with a conversation I had with a philosophy student who had been taught by Ward Churchill. The young man thought it was wrong for me to try to interfere with another culture in the way that I was. Irrational assumptions like this are usually made by those seeking to claim a moral high ground by simply accepting any ingrained mindset as cultural prerogative. I asked him if he thought it was more enlightened to simply let these girls burn to death rather than lift a finger to possibly help. He said “yeah I guess that’s what I’m saying. ” I thought for a moment and asked him “ If you were walking on the streets of Kabul and you saw a girl engulfed in flames. Would you try to put her out? ” He said yes. “Even if it might affect the culture?” He said yes again. I told him that in my opinion his philosophy didn’t hold up under the extreme circumstances that are actually happening every day, unless of course he was sitting comfortably in Boulder , Colorado 8,000 miles away. I assured him that if he were living the life of a young girl looking over her shoulder at a murderous husband with carrying a bucket of kerosene, his only wish would be that someone could help. He agreed.
This strange mindset was expounded by Norwegian Professor Ms. Unni Wikan regarding a series of rapes perpetrated by Muslim men in February, 2006. “Norwegian women must take their share of responsibility for these rapes, as they are not dressing and behaving according to Muslim understanding.” In her view Norwegian women must realize they are living in a multi-cultural society and must adapt themselves to it. I find it strange she didn’t mention the same advice for the Muslim men. Fundamentalist men have incessantly waged war on the feminine for thousands of years. I’m curious what the world would be like if that was no longer the case. What would it be like if there were a balance of masculine and feminine on the planet?
The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing
In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.
Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.
Like an unchecked cancer, hate corrodes the personality and eats away its vital unity. Hate destroys a man’s sense of values and his objectivity. It causes him to describe the beautiful as ugly and the ugly as beautiful, and to confuse the true with the false and the false with the true.