Sunday, November 11, 2012

Muslim women's rights

On the internet there is a movement called "The revolt of Muslim women," that started when a young Syrian woman showed a picture of her face unveiled and wrote a statement (in Arabic and English) that she wanted to be able to feel the wind in her hair and on her face.  Soon this picture was removed from Facebook, but many other Muslim women wrote in support and said the same thing, and soon the original picture was reinstated.  Now there is a cyber movement of Muslim women in favor of their human rights and against the Muslim practice of veiling and covering women's faces and bodies in all-encompassing garments, such as burka, chador, niqab or hijab.   Where is the movement among liberal women in the West to support such a brave movement among Muslim women (they are too busy attacking Israel, the only country in the Middle East that has complete legal equality for women). 
These women's garments are supposed to preserve a women's modesty, because in fact Muslim men cannot control themselves and regard any woman alone, especially if unveiled, as fair game.  It was only recently that Egyptian women have been allowed to go out of their homes alone without being accompanied by a male relative, even a young son. The onus is put on the Egyptian women instead of focusing on the abuse by Egyptian men.  All over the Muslim world this enforced purdah is gradually crumbling, but ever so slowly.  In Pakistan the schoolgirl who publicly supported education for all females, Malala Yousufzai, was shot in the head by the Taliban and is now recovering in a London hospital.  Bombing of girl's schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan is common and many girls have been killed.   
An Egyptian Committee is writing a new constitution for Egypt after the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak, and there are demonstrations for it to be based on Sharia Law (Sunni Muslim religious law), which considers women as chattel.  But, there are no public demonstrations for women to be given elementary human rights, because if there were they would be physically attacked.  It is estimated that every other woman in Egypt has been raped or physically abused at some time in her life.  Why would men who have control over women agree to give up this control?  Muslim society is based on the use of women as property and as slaves, much as the American South was based on Black slavery.  Overcoming this primitive culture will take a long time, and perhaps even require a civil war, but until this culture of debasing women is changed Muslim society cannot advance. 


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