To progress, Islamic countries must advance women's rights
By Khalid Jan
This is a rebuttal to John Hughes' article with the same title published in the Christian Science Monitor of January 18, 2006
Editor and CEO,
Desert Morning News,
30 E 100 South, P.O. Box 1257 ,
Salt Lake City, UT 84110
January 30, 06
Comments that follow are in reference to your article 'To progress, Islamic countries must advance women's rights,' posted on the Internet edition of Christian Science Monitor of January 18, 2006 ( http://www.csmonitor.com/2006/0118/p09s02-cojh.html)
In regards to the title of your article, your concerns on this very specific issue are commendable. However, a number of points in your article lack proper understanding of concepts, beliefs and directions.
To initiate a dialogue of this nature, certain presets must be clearly defined before views and opinions are put in place. The term 'Islamic countries' is commonly used by the secularists amongst the Muslim and non-Muslim to show that all social and economic problems of Muslims are a direct result of their adherence to the teachings of Islam. Taking reality into perspective, we can clearly see that this is not the case. For example, can we blame Christianity or Roman Catholicism for poverty and poor economic conditions in many South American or African countries? I would think not. We may find certain mainstream Muslims using this term 'Islamic countries' when referring to 'countries of the Muslims’. However, the difference between their usages of the term is not the same as the secularists. Recently, Cardinal Keith O'Brien declared Scotland to be a Christian country. Can we now say that crimes against women (1) and alcohol abuse (2) in Scotland are because people practice Christianity? Is the soaring crime rate and poverty in some of the major cities of Europe and North America indicative of masses as a whole following the 'religion of democracy?' These are social problems and we simply cannot put blame on any religion.
Those who Judge Islam by way of what governments and Muslims are doing in the so called 'countries of the Muslims', clearly have ulterior motives. Islam commands man to look after his wife and children. Man is supposed to be the bread earner and protector of his household. Parent’s duty is to ensure that their children grow up to be good and moral human beings. For a believing and righteous Muslim, life of this world is a test and temporary place where one has to obey God and thus spiritually uplift him/herself from the shackles of immorality and sin. Reward is in the hereafter which God has prepared for His righteous servants - be he man or woman.
Has the condition of woman reached a level where she is now a beacon of light for the 'miserable' and 'downtrodden' woman in the Muslim world? Although woman in the west is financially and economically more stable, but is she happy and secure? Picture looks quite grim in view of the following few facts:
1. "Every 2 minutes a woman is raped in the U.S" (3)
2. "25% of rapes take place in a parking garage or public area" (3)
3. "25% of college women have been victims of rape" (3)
4. "84% of women who were date raped knew their attacker" (3)
5. "A woman commits suicide every 90 minutes in the U.S. , but it is estimated that one woman attempts suicide every 78 seconds" (4)
6. "Objectification of women - women are denied their agency as well as their identity" (5)
7. "More than 100,000 Ukrainian women, many of them minors, have been trapped and enslaved as prostitutes in the West" (6)
8. " Vatican reports cited that there were countless cases of nuns forced to have sex with priests..."(7)
9. "Around 1,400 women are thought to be smuggled into Britain annually for prostitution" (8)
10. "models today shoot heroin under their toenails or tongue, where track marks cannot be detected..." (9)
11. “Teenage girls are being kidnapped and smuggled into Britain to be sold as sex slaves for £3,000 each" (10,16)
12. "Fifty-one percent of all Canadian women have experienced at least one incident of sexual or physical violence" (11)
13. "...350,000 men from Germany travel to Asia, Africa ...to avail themselves of the services of prostitutes or to purchase a wife..." (12)
14. “The cosmetic and fashion industry are parading girls as young as nine on a Catwalk, and forcing them to buy their products.” (13)
More statistical data and facts can be offered to highlight the very depressive and sad condition of woman in the west. She is used and abused by the fashion, advertising, cosmetic, pornographic and sex tourism industry (12). For a few dollars, she can be seen naked and raped in some of the major western cities of the world. The Fashion industry continues to design clothes to graphically expose her most intimate erogenous zones for the visual sexual pleasure of men. She is on the 'Catwalk' drugged, physically and psychologically abused (9). She has been turned into an expressionless and helpless toy by the greedy corporations, ruthless pimps and international sex traffickers. She is a ‘mail order bride, cabaret dancer, call girl, table top dancer, virtual mistress,’ but a wife and a mother - honorable titles indeed. To satiate their lust for young and beautiful women, men institutionalized and then legalized abortion so they can have as many mistresses as they desire, but without responsibility.
For many decades now, the west has been trying its utmost to somehow put a cap on soaring birthrate in the Muslim world. NGOs and other bodies were created to tackle this 'population explosion.' Since they have failed in achieving their goals through this method, they have now shifted their focus to the 'liberation of Muslim women.' The agenda now is to bring the Muslim woman into the workforce, fashion and pornographic industry under the slogan of 'economic and political progress.' The moment she takes a permanent career, becomes a model or an actress, she will have no time to get married and raise a family. She will put aside her Hijab and her traditional dress. To please men, she must then buy hair care and cosmetics products - sales growth for western made fashion and cosmetic industry, designer clothes with peepholes, a female friend with whom she can try all types of 'sextoys' - a $500 million market (14). It will then just be a matter of time when family structure breaks down and from it emerges a ‘librated woman’ without a husband or children. Once her beauty and sex appeal evaporates, those who exploited her will abandon her for a new generation of beautiful young women. She will have no one to share her grief or sorrow with, no sons or daughters to provide her comfort and no little ones to call her grandma (15). This is what we call the ‘ugly business of beautiful women.’
In conclusion, for the west to advance women's rights in the Muslim world, it must first look at the condition of women at home. It is pure hypocrisy to raise the issue of 'liberating' Muslim women while a significant portion of women in the west remains in ‘shackles.' Through decades of conditioning and brainwashing by various groups, she has finally lost her womanhood. If the west really wants to uplift the condition of women in the Muslim world, they should do it through credible Islamic institutions run by Muslims in the west. It is about time that the Muslim world and its culture are seen through Muslim glasses.
7. National Catholic Reporter, March 16, 2001
8. Sunday November 21, 2004, The Observer
9. Shut Up And Smile by Ian Halperin
10. The Sunday Mirror – UK , 1-2-04
13. http://www.guardian.co.uk/ September 8, 2004
15. Life of Gia Carangi http://www.gia-carangi.com/bio.html
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