Monday, March 16, 2009
We hear this often - acid attacks on women in Islamic societies. It happens in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Kashmir, Sudan etc. - the only thing common to these places is they are Islamic societies in the grip of fundamentalist Islamists (i.e., practising Muslims). The problem is this - Islam simply does not regard women are fully human. They are property, and a man can do anything to property. This is reflected by the terrible state of women throughout Islam. I have always stated clearly that women are the primary reason why it is unethical to keep quiet about Islam. Islam dehumanizes women. And the world keeps silent. I won't.
If you want to see what pure unadulterated Islam does to women, look at the Taliban. That is pure Islam. 7th century Islam, the way Muhammad intended it to be. Look at the bastion of pure Islam - Saudi Arabia. There, a woman may not leave her home alone, may not drive, may not be in the company of a man who is not her "possessor" (i.e., father, brother, or husband). This should not surprise you, because after all, as per Islam, woman is property, with little to no independence and rights.
While the Islamic apologists say that the condition of women in pre-Islamic arabia (before Muhammad) was bad, there seems to be no historical evidence to support this. All traces of pre-Islamic arab culture was destroyed by Islam, so how do we know? Had Islam destroyed Hindu civilization as they had intended, do you think they would not say similar things about Hindus? Of course they would. The dead have no way to state their defence, and pre-Islamic arab culture is totally dead, with nary a trace left.
So let us look at what little evidence we do have of the position of women. The biggest piece of evidence is that Muhammad's first wife - Khadijah - was a wealthy businessWOMAN, and ran her own trading business. Muhammad was her employee for a few years, before SHE PROPOSED TO HIM. She was also much older. Now these 3 (businesswoman, herself proposed to a man, man was younger) suggest that women were perhaps pretty respected in pre-Islamic society. Another piece of evidence is that one of the poets Muhammad ordered assassinated - Asma - was a woman. She was writing poetry critical of Muhammad, and he had her killed. Again a woman in an influential position that is rare in Islamic societies.
I for one do not believe the Islamic position that pre-Islamic women were in a bad way and Muhammad "reformed" arabia. All the evidence in the Hadith is that Muhammad's band of warriors only destroyed the "Dharma" (way of life) of the arabs. Remember the Hadith where muslim soldiers are reluctant to rape captured Kafir arab women in the presence of their husbands? That shows at least some morality. And what did Muhammad do? He immediately "revealed" a verse from Allah saying it was OK to rape these women! Is this the work of a reformer, or a person who destroys morality and culture? You be the judge.