Thursday, 19 February 2009

Honor Killings: Murder in the Name of God

In the warped, convoluted world of Islam, women are, strictly speaking, creatures who rank low amongst the hierarchy of male patriarchs: Allah is deemed the solitary and supreme deity, below which, Prophet Muhammad is reserved a special place beside the deity as a sort of right hand man and proselytizer, followed by the average Arab male, and then his assortment of property, including women.

Like Christianity, Islam is the offshoot of Judaism, and like its predecessor, Islam shares a set of sectarian, desert-fakir beliefs, chief amongst which is the lowly status of women.

In the OT of the bible, the standard, virtuous woman is a submissive woman: She is to be humble and complying to her husband at all times, and is treated as no better than a mule and an average oxen, stuff which in times of war, are classified as "war spoils":

"They must be dividing the spoils they took: there must be a damsel or two for each man, Spoils of dyed cloth as Sisera's spoil, an ornate shawl or two for me in the spoil."

Judges 5:30

The Koran has this pearls of wisdom as well:

"Men are in charge of women, because Allah made men to be better than women. Refuse to have sex with women from whom you fear rebellion, and scourge them. " -4:34

In a way, Islam is a continuation of old Jewish traditions: Women are little more than properties, subjugated and manipulated by male patriarchs who are free to treat them as they so choose to.

Islam & Women

The Oppressed Women of Islam

In predominantly Islamic countries administrated under the auspices of Syariah law, women have little say in their own private lives: They are obligated to wear stifling, ugly-looking outfits known as burkas when they have to appear in public venues, are denied even the most basic of education, married off when they are in their pre-teens (that is, if they are lucky) or in their childhood (Prophet Muhammad famously married a 9 yr old girl) so as to ensure that the bridegroom is guaranteed to a spot of virginity on the day of the wedding.

So stifling is religion and culture in such religiously-dominated environments that the repercussions of disobedience can be deadly, as these 5 Pakistani women found out, to their own detriment.

Life Burial of Women: Activists Demand Action
By Zofeen Ebrahim

KARACHI, Sep 15 (IPS) - Prominent civil rights activists are demanding that the government act against those responsible for the burial alive of five women in Balochistan, in July, that politicians from the province have defended as an age-old custom.

On Jul. 14, in the remote village of Babakot, 80 km from Usta Mohammad town in Jafferabad district, three teenage girls and two older women were buried alive, allegedly on the orders of Abdul Sattar Umrani, brother of Sadiq Umrani, a provincial minister belonging to the ruling Pakistan People’s Party (PPP).
According to the version released by the Hong-Kong-based Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), the victims were taken to Nau Abadi, in the vicinity of Babakot, where Umrani and his six companions dragged the three younger women out of his jeep and beat them up before shooting and seriously injuring them. The girls were reported still alive when Umrani and his accomplices hurled them into a wide ditch and covered them with earth and stones.
AHRC said the two older women were an aunt and the mother of one of the girls. When they protested at the treatment meted out to the girls, they were also pushed into the ditch and buried alive.

Apparently the teenagers were being punished for asking to be allowed to marry men of their choice.

When the matter was raised in on Aug. 30 in parliament by opposition senator Yasmin Shah - who accused the government of turning a blind eye to the killings - a senator from Balochistan, Israrullah Zehri, retorted: "It is part of our custom". Zehri was supported by Senator Jan Mohammad Jamali who said the incident was being ‘’unnecessarily politicised.’’

Honor Killings

In Pakistan and other Islamic states run under the statute of the Shariah law, violence is usually meted out in outmoded, barbaric and crude manners, usually with the sort of brutality one usually associates with the Dark Ages: Stoning, decapitating, and other archaic practices are meted out accordingly in accordance to the infringement of religious laws.

This adherence to Islam also has a significant influence amongst tribal clans in Pakistan and Afghanistan, which, chief amongst other appalling acts of barbarity, includes the act of "honor killing": Women who do not abide by the rules of their male patriarchs are deemed to have sullied the honor of the family, and hence become liable for murder by their own family members.

In normal, secular circumstances, the abhorrent idea of murder is so repulsive, that it is often very difficult for anyone or the general public to vindicate such acts of violence, let alone the idea of death by live burial!

Imagine the sheer terror of being buried alive, literally, as your murderers and their accomplices shove earth and stones onto your face, slowly asphyxiating and choking the life out of you. Fuck, most people would find it difficult to mete out such treatments to animals, let alone human beings.

According to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, in 2007 alone, as many as 636 deaths were attributable to honor killings, possibly more as many cases do go unreported every year.

Why Religion is Dangerous

If anything else, religious laws are terrible abusers of human rights: Enforcers who enforce theocratic laws do not concern themselves with trivialities, such as the individual right of a person to fair trial, nor do they concern themselves with the sufferings of others.

And when it comes to women, the maltreatment goes way beyond the pale: Deemed as little more than human reproductive vessels with little inherent value, they are oppressed, ill-treated, and face real dangers of being abused by their very own family members.

This kind of misogynistic abuse against women should never be tolerated; unfortunately, religion condones and even mandates such atrocities. This is religion at its worst.

Abusing Women in the Name of God

-"When I began to study the Koran, the holy book of Islam, I found many unreasonable ideas. The women in the Koran were treated as slaves. They are nothing but sexual objects. Naturally I set aside the Koran and looked around me. I found religion equally oppressive in real life. And I realized that religious oppression and injustices are only increasing, especially in Muslim countries. The religious terrorists are everywhere. But if I criticized Muslim fundamentalists and mullahs in particular, it is because I saw them from close quarters. They took advantage of people's ignorance and oppressed them. They considered women as chattel slaves and treated them no better than the slaves of the ancient world."

-Bangladeshi Writer, Taslima Nasrin