AHMEDI BEGUM, a 50 year-old woman, was showing two young women a room she was renting out when police rushed in and arrested the two girls and Ahmedi's nephew, who happened to be standing nearby.
That afternoon, Ahmedi went to the police station to see what could be done to release her nephew and the two girls, when the police arrested Ahmedi too, confiscating her jewelry and throwing her into a room.
In a short time, the two girls, naked and bleeding were thrown into the room too. Then police officers raped the girls in front of Ahmedi. She tried to look away, but they forced her to watch.
Ahmedi herself was then stripped and raped by several officers, and then beaten, and worse. At some point she passed out, and when she woke up, she had been charged with illegal fornication.
The country is Pakistan. Islamic law, otherwise known as Shari'a, has been applied more and more vigorously in Pakistan since the country was formed, but it's still not applied as strictly as it is in Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Iran.
Shari'a law says when a woman is raped, she has done something illegal, for which she may be whipped or even stoned to death. This is but one example of the abuses women suffer today in many Islamic states.
Women's lack of freedom and outright abuse is a fundamental feature of Shari'a, which is the system of law many Islamic governments use. Shaykh Ghawhi, a well-known and well-respected (in Islamic universities and throughout the Islamic world) teacher and author of Islamic studies and Islamic law says that according to Shari'a:
- A woman must only leave her house if she has a real need to do so.
- Her husband or guardian must authorize her leaving the house.
- When she is out, she must be completely covered, including her face.
- When she is out, she must not look left or right but keep her head bowed down as she walks.
- She must not wear perfume in public.
- She must never shake a man's hand.
- Even if she is visiting a female friend and is inside her friend's house, she must not uncover herself in case a man is hiding somewhere in the house.
Women in the Muslim world have been fighting for their rights for a long time. They've won some victories, but they have also lost some freedoms they had once gained, because on the other side of women's push for greater freedom is the religious authority's push for stricter adherence to Shari'a law. Many modern states that use Shari'a law begin to allow some freedoms, but then crack down again, as you can read about here: Fundamentalist Islam Around The World.
Under Islamic law, a woman is forbidden to be a head of state or a judge. She can only inherit half of what a man can inherit. In court, her testimony is only worth half of a man's. She is not allowed to choose where she will live or who she will marry. She is not allowed to marry a non-Muslim or divorce her husband.
Her husband, however, can divorce her with a wave of his hand. And according to Shari'a, he can and should beat her if she disobeys him.
This is beyond abuse. This is legally-sanctioned abuse on a massive scale. Islamic fundamentalists are trying to apply 7th-century law in the 21st century.
And they're not only doing it in Islamic countries, they're trying to impose their laws in the West, and they've been getting away with it because a moral strength of the Western democracies is being exploited by Islamists.
Honor killings are another even more heinous example of legally-sanctioned abuse. The word "abuse" isn't even strong enough. It is legally-sanctioned torture and murder. If a woman "dishonors" her family by falling in love with the wrong man or having an affair, her uncles and brothers are morally obligated to beat her to death. Here's a story of a recent honor killing in London.
The religion of Islam is unique in the world. It is both a personal religion and a political system, and it is part of a Muslim's religious duty to constantly strive toward living in a country that applies Islamic law. They take this seriously. A growing number of Muslims are making a concerted effort to slowly make America and Europe follow Islamic law. Here is how they're doing it.
Islamic fundamentalism is the source of the women's abuse we've been talking about, and it's also the source of most of the terrorism in the world. One way to fight terrorism is to work for women's rights. And one way to work for women's rights is to fight terrorism. The two are linked by Islamic fundamentalism.
Weaken the political power of Islamists and you accomplish both. You can learn more about how to defeat Islamic fundamentalism at CitizenWarrior.com here, at Bruno Wolfgang's site, and at the Infidel Blogger's Alliance. For seven practical actions you can take that will weaken the power of the Islamists, read Halt Terrorism.
Maybe you'd like to do something more specifically about the abuse of women in Islamic countries. Excellent. You can help Amnesty International write letters to put political pressure on Islamic countries so they'll release unfairly imprisoned women. Their letter campaigns have a proven record of success. Here's an example of one of their campaigns.
You can help end the practice of honor killings by participating in the projects of the International Campaign Against Honor Killings.
You can support and promote groups working for women's rights, like the Global Fund For Women, and Madre.
And all these actions will not only help save women from abuse, they will help defeat terrorism around the world.