Mean while women in Islam fight for a better life.
There are aspects of Islam that always will be used by extremists to undermine Muslim women’s emancipation, such as the Sharia concept that legally, a woman’s testimony is worth half that of a man. Muslim “feminists” must fight against such entrenched positions if they really want full equality. There are no Muslim spiritual leaders who are women. Some women may teach, but few are imams and in Sharia countries NONE are Imams.
Amina Wudud broke with traditions and led Islamic prayers in New York on March 18, 2005. The Islamic Friday prayers were held in an Episcopalian church under tight security. Three mosques had refused to let her lead prayers. She received death threats for her efforts.
She attended the first European conference on Islamic Feminism held at Barcelona, Spain, in October 2005. The conference ran smoothly, attended by 300 delegates from the Muslim world. Countries with Sharia as the basis for law prohibited women from participations meaning this conference consisted of only Muslim women living under NONE Sharia environments. Most from western nations with more liberal policies and the notion of female equality already deeply entrenched.
In Morocco, women are now allowed to act as Islamic “guides”, known as morchidat. In April 2006 the first batch of these female chaplains graduated. One of these “guides” said: “The imamate in Islam is restricted solely to men who are apt at leading prayers, notably those on Friday. The Morchidat will be in charge of leading religious discussions, give courses in Islam, give moral support to people in difficulty and guide the faithful towards a tolerant Islam.”
She knew she needed to play her part and bow as second to men but human rights are earned slowly by eroding traditions and laws which are in place to continue to enslave women. These brave ladies under strict Islamic rule know every little step must be taken as a victory. They are also fully aware that failure to “play nice” with restrictive laws is required to obtain the final goal. Slowly these archaic laws will fall and the true morality of equality will replace them, but it will be slow and it will be a fight.
There are many sincere and intelligent Muslim women who argue that the original Islam of the Koran is a source of women’s emancipation, such as Asma Barlas, and Mahsa Sherkarloo. In Malaysia, the daughter of a former president has campaigned for women’s rights. Marina Mahathir is still a Muslim, but has condemned Islamist legislation in her country.
These women know the Islamist and Sharia were never in the original Koran. They know in the time of Mohamed there was still injustice but women were closer to equality than they are today. These women know that Sharia is a perversion of the original teachings as does the growing group Sisters in Islam who have pledged support for Naked Jihad even at the risk of their own freedom.
These brave Islamic Feminists (freedom fighters) know there is risk and that freedom has a price. They know the fight for woman’s rights and the Arab woman’s spring will come with a price tag which may include imprisonment or death. They are ready to accept that price and they deserve our support and what pressure we can apply from outside Islam to accelerate and affect this change.
In Malaysia, the women’s group Sisters in Islam argues that the Koran should be used for the emancipation of women. In neighboring Indonesia, Lily Zakiyah Munir similarly maintains that despite 1,400 years of patriarchal Islamic jurisprudence, Islam as described in the Koran promotes the rights of women. She argues that a genuine form of Sharia law should promote justice, freedom and equality for women.
The efforts of these Muslim women who struggle to find a message of equality, freedom and liberation in the Koran should be applauded and supported. If there is any hope for a genuine reformation in Islam, it may come from the arguments presented by scholars such as these ladies.
However, even these women must concede that Sura 4:34 of the Koran grants a man permission to beat his wife. So the search for the truth of the passage continues. These scholars are committed to Islam as a religion of peace and they contend violence against women is not and never can be peace. They contend this verse has been added or modified from it’s original content or Islam is not what it professes to be.
The existing schools of Islam are not going to give women equal legal and religious status in a single stroke of the pen. These women and Naked Jihad know change will come in baby steps but it will inevitably come. The price women are paying for this change inside Islam is extreme. Just look at Amina imprisoned since 2009, daily beatings, daily or near daily rapes, psychological torture, physical torture with eclectic shock therapy and beatings. There are others suffering as well and perhaps worse and the world just doesn’t know about them yet.
Some others worth mentioning who gave so much like lose of home, living under constant threat and more. I will tell you about Ghada, Taslima and Seyran now.
Ghada Jamshir is a woman’s rights activist living in Bahrain. She is a Muslim, but refuses to let patriarchal clerics silence her criticisms of their methods. When Muslim woman doctor Taslima Nasreen wrote a newspaper article describing how in her native Bangladesh a Muslim cleric had organized the illegal stoning to death of a woman, reactions against her were swift and hostile. A death fatwa was put on her head, and she was forced to flee the country. 14 years later, she is still subject to persecution.
Taslima was forced to leave her home for western nations for daring to say the stoning on a woman was illegal. Think about that and the fact she lives under death threats for calling out injustice.
In Germany, Seyran Ates is a 44-year old lawyer who was born in Turkey. She has campaigned for two decades against forced marriages and so-called honor killings amongst Germany’s Muslim communities. For her pains, she was once shot at by the enraged husband of a client. In 2005 Ates was named “German Woman of the Year”, but in September 2006she announced that she was to retire. She claimed that the constant death threats against her and her daughter were getting too much to bear. Later, she did gain some support, and returned to work under tighter security.
For daring to shine a light on the problems within Sharia and Islam she now lives under security because of death threats. The boys club of Sharia won’t relinquish control easily but the days are numbered as pressure grows.
Seyran Ates sums up the problems created by well-meaning “liberals” who hide behind cultural relativism when gross abuses of Muslim women take place. She has said: “I want to know, and many thousands of Muslim girls and women have a right to know, why understanding and infinite tolerance is practiced with particular cultural traditions that are clearly oppressive of women. Human rights are universal and unconditional. And that goes most certainly for religious objectives. It is only girls and women who are forced to wear head-scarves. And it’s also a majority of girls and women who are affected by forced marriage.” If only Western-born feminists could be so forthright.
She points out the glaring failures of western feminism who seem to have lost their way. I think feminism has become the cult of male bashing but only those males who won’t kill you for doing it. They know the western male has been taught respect for women and wouldn’t hurt a woman so they bash on the western male. All the while in a country under Sharia near you men are beating, lashing, raping, disfiguring and killing women but the western feminist is a coward and dares not speak.
That again is why I prefer the term freedom fighter. I will not be silent to the plight of women under Sharia. I will stand and I will be counted. Call me a feminist I will laugh at you because I’m not a coward!
The women under Sharia and the women inside Islam attempting to make changes to benefit women and bring them to equal standing with men are the heroes of this fight. They are truly risking it all. They live under threats of death, have been forced from their homes, have had their reputations impounded, have been imprisoned and have suffered for this cause. They have suffered in ways most will never know.
I wonder where is our liberal media on the torture of women in Islamic Sharia jails? They claimed water boarding was torture and we heard about the poor terrorists for months on end and how they were so mistreated and tortured. The democrats in the house and senate and the two currently in the white house told us how America will NEVER accept the torture of human beings. All this was about water boarding.
Do you remember the twenty four hour a day coverage on CNN, ABC, CBS, MSNBC, NBC, and other liberal news outlets? I remember not being able to turn on the news without some democrats beating his chest and feigning injustice and torture. Feigning you say? Yes because IF they truly believed one word of what they said they wouldn’t let up on Sharia and the true torture of women forced to live under it.
And yet these women in jail are being beaten bloody, raped, eclectically shocked, and worse but this doesn’t elevate to the level of torture which the media or our liberal politicians are willing to talk about? What about force female genital mutilations. Stonings, lashing for rape victims and more that happens in Sharia dominated countries? Again blind eye not my problem because to criticize those doing this to women would make them mad at me. COWARDS!
Where are the months of non-stop news coverage? Where are the indignant cries of injustice? Where are the voices demanding the discontinuation of the systematic torture of women under Sharia law? Where are the liberal champions pounding the drums?
They are silent just like the feminists of the west. They are all cowards every one of them. They are hypocrites and the world should see it by now. After all if dunking some ones head in a bucket of water is torture then surely electroshock, beatings, forced mutilation of young girls genitals, lashings, stoning to death and rapes should elevate past the threshold they know to be torture.
Instead they create fake wars on women and close their eyes and pretend the real war isn’t happening because they just don’t honestly care about women. See another case of the actions and deeds betraying the voice. These same liberal champions sit quite because they are cowards. Crickets!
Perhaps these brave men who championed ending torture of these male terrorists think as well they are ONLY women and not worthy of their time and attention?
I’m no coward and if you aren’t then make your voice known and get involved. Share the news, spread the words, join the protests and let’s stop the real torture happening today. Let’s help free the women living under Islamist Sharia law.
~Michelle Styles – April 17, 2014