"Crimes Against Women and Children in the Name of Islam" from Atheist Climber Blog

From Atheist Climber Blog

Mohammed, the prophet of the Islamic world, married his last bride Aisha when she was just six years old, and the consummated the marriage with her when she was just nine years old. In Islamic states, partly because of this precedent, this practice still happens in fundamentalist countries like Afghanistan. Muslims will say that a child of six or seven is almost certain to be a virgin. Mohammed was at least 50 when he married Aisha.

The practice of forced marriages (as opposed to arranged marriages) in some Muslim states such as Afghanistan is very common. Some reports claim that somewhere between 60-80 percent of marriages in Afghanistan are forced upon the girls involved or without the consent of the girls. These marriages are seen as a way to resolve conflicts between families, or as a way to absolve someone of a wrongdoing. The girls are treated as they would treat cattle, and are given to these men as offerings.

Some reports also estimate that 57 percent of Afghani girls are married before the age of 16, and it is unusual to find an unmarried girl older than 18 years of age. The practice is justified twofold; that the girls are helping to keep the peace between families, and that the Islamic prophet Mohammed had set this precedent.

In Afghanistan the legal age to be married is 16, but many people ignore this law or claim they were unaware of it. The children in this situation are robbed of childhood, and as you will see, many are robbed of their life. This practice is abhorrent, and any civilised culture will see it as such.

In Nigeria, a 49-year-old Muslim Senator has reportedly married a 13-year-old girl, and has allegedly previously married a 15-year-old in 2006, citing that he paid a dowry of $100,000 to the parents for her. Although looked down upon by other ministers in Nigeria it is still happening.

Women in Islam have no rights, especially if they are non-Muslim, and these men get away with their evils because people are too afraid to stand up against the barbarity of the culture which the religion they follow has instilled in them. Threats of death are imposed upon those who would stand up against this. In Lahore, a man and his entourage of Muslim lawyers has threatened to "burn alive" anyone who will come to the defence of a 12-year-old servant of his, whom he raped and murdered.

Many girls will find themselves in a marriage with a man much older than they are, and will be given the sole duties of looking after the household and giving offspring to the man. Some men have multiple wives, and the women become a harem for that man. The men are often abusive to these girls, sometimes to the point where the girl should be hospitalised, but often is not. The beating of wives is seen as the "honourable thing to do", for the wife must be kept in line with the wishings of the man and of Allah.

Often these girls will find themselves in these abusive relationships, and will seek a way out. But the way out is a problem in itself; if the girl were to leave she would bring shame upon her own family and her husband's, and would be hunted down and possibly stoned to death or just beaten withing an inch of her life; if she stays, she may be beaten thus anyhow. Sometimes out of pure desperation, a girl seeking to be free from the bonds of this abusive relationship will choose self-harm rather than bringing shame upon her people.

In Afghanistan, it is believe that more than 10 women and girls choose self-immolation (warning very graphic content) as the escape from their bondage. Around the web there are numerous stories of women who, feeling there was no better way, have chosen to set themselves on fire rather than continue living in such conditions. Some girls die from their injuries. Some do not but are so badly scarred so as to lose their legs, or are severely disfigured by these burns. Those that live may wind up on the streets, homeless.

The culture in Afghanistan is such that women are treated as slaves, and in some cases, worse than dogs. Not only do they wear the burqa in public at all times, they are not allowed to leave the home alone, not allowed to speak to anyone they don't know, and not allowed to make their identity known nor engage with any of their husband's friends they may meet in the street. They are not treated as second-class citizens, rather as livestock that can produce more sons for the family.

People blame Islam for these practices. And yet, there are many more Islamic people who don't practice this than do. Islam itself is not to blame wholly for these atrocities, rather the culture that bases itself upon Islam, then justifies these stone-aged practices based on the words of the Koran or the Hadeeth, saying it is God's will that this be done. When a culture is poor and has little or no access to education, these kinds of barbaric practices continue to happen.

The culture in Afghanistan is sick. The barbarism and sheer disrespect for human rights that occurs there is all so often backed up by the perverse and outmoded words of their holy books. This illness in the Afghan culture continues, even after the ousting of the Taliban, who were ultra conservative and would set upon women with batons for showing ANY skin, but it is not much better now.

While this culture is deeply ingrained in their societies, these practices in the name of Islam shows it toi be, in its extreme, nothing more than an ultra-conservative ultra-violent "boy's club" where it members all look after each other. And as sickening as all this is, nothing seems to be getting better.

These girls stories are the same story I have heard again and again of extreme desperation, of girls who see their only escape from forced marriage as being self harm. It is gut-wrenchingly sad to see such lives destroyed by the greed and stupidity of men. Here is an example of one girl's account of the horrors she has faced at the brutal hands of an extreme Islamic patriarchy.



See the original piece and comments at my blog

Views: 10

Tags: Atheism, Atheist, Culture, Humanitarian, Islam, Kindness, Muslim, Politics, Prejudice, Religion, More…Secular, Unjust, barbaric, evil, opinion

Comment by Todd on June 13, 2010 at 12:43am
It seems as though stories such as these are constantly coming in to my twitter feed, and many of them are absolutely horrific. Then, there are the people who ignore these atrocities in the name of multiculturalism or religious tolerance. When will the world demand an end to the large scale abuse of human rights which occur in these countries?

Tolerance does not mean that you stand aside while someone is abused, raped, murdered, enslaved, beaten, mutilated, or disfigured. Sadists who hide behind a religion should not be allowed to trample upon fundamental human rights in the name of religious tolerance.
Comment by Martin Pribble on June 13, 2010 at 12:57am
Well said!
Comment by Miss Herena on June 13, 2010 at 6:35am
You know what? Media always does this to sell news, how do you know that it has not been edited to death to do exactly that? Media controls how people view the world. Not everything you read or see is actually the true account. Maybe you should also look at other sources before you made a decision, after all, you are a free-thinker independant of what others would like you to believe.
Comment by Todd on June 13, 2010 at 8:35am
We all rely upon secondhand information about the world whether it is in books, the news media, blogs, wikipedia, twitter, facebook, or individual web sites. Certainly, there is always a risk that such sources could be deliberately misleading or biased. How do you determine which ones are accurate?

I do find it interesting that you assume that Martin or I have not evaluated other sources. On what do you base this assessment? In the case of religiously motivated violence against women within islamic cultures, the amount of information is overwhelming. Such violence often has the distinction of being particularly brutal and vicious which brings it to the attention of the media. However, it is certainly just one subset of violence against women which occurs throughout the world for which cultural and economic disparities also play a role.

If you are unwilling to accept the reports in the news media, then how about the UN? UNIFEM is an excellent resource with plenty of information. How about the UN Secretary-General’s 2006 Study on All Forms of Violence against Women which has the following statement.

While some cultural norms and practices empower women and promote
women’s human rights, customs, traditions and religious values are also often used
to justify violence against women. Certain cultural norms have long been cited as
causal factors for violence against women, including the beliefs associated with
“harmful traditional practices” (such as female genital mutilation/cutting, child
marriage and son preference), crimes committed in the name of “honour”,
discriminatory criminal punishments imposed under religiously based laws, and
restrictions on women’s rights in marriage.
Comment by Miss Herena on June 13, 2010 at 6:16pm
I used to work in the media, so I know exactly how they work. Admittedly, I was a little harsh but there is also a cultural aspect to this. People that based opinions don't really understand how the culture works or how people from different cultures think and their values, sometimes this comes from a western way of thinking of what is right and wrong. Maybe you should try some understanding. Some people mis-interpret and mis-understand, which I find alot in my own culture.
Comment by Martin Pribble on June 13, 2010 at 6:39pm
I did say in the article that it is a cultural problem. The religion is just a part of the problem. I too work in the media.
Comment by Miss Herena on June 13, 2010 at 6:43pm
Tell me this? Who determines what is right and wrong? What is acceptable behaviour? My argument is, you are not there, also you do not understand by saying what you did above. Understanding someone's belief and culture, you MUST at least see both sides of the story.

If you look back at early England, did they not call indigenous races "Savages"? Yet in their period they were the worst kind with their torture methods.

Example: The USA is a prime example of this telling the rest of the world how everyone should live. Nuclear weapons - USA is the only country that is allowed nuclear weapons, everyone else is not allowed to manufacture them (Russia, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan and North Korea to name a few) - admittedly some of these might be terrorist hotspots but my argument is, why should one country tell another country what they should and shouldn't do. Oil itself has to go through the USA before it's dispersed to the rest of the world even though most of the oil fields are based in a third world country. I am not anti-america, but if history serves me right, USA seems to be responsible for a lot of things.

They came to NZ asking to port one of their nuclear ships, which we refused (We are a nuclear free country) they threatened us with trade restrictions as we rely on agriculture and forestry as our main export earners - Is that not dictatorship?

Just recently I found on my twitter account an American woman had set up a website based in florida selling maori bone carvings. Yet she incorrectly named them, used the wrong type of bone, had images that did not even relate to NZ Maori, also the fact she is making money off my culture which is highly offensive and culturally insensitive. She hasn't even responded to me about this. Now tell me this, is that someone who is understanding?

Because I come from an Indigenous culture and I have had in the past dealings with other cultures I think I have a better understanding than most. I like to take the time out to actually get to know people and understand their world. Maybe you should too. We are a diverse country with many different races, and guess what? Some of them are middle eastern and highly educated women even some are doctors here.
Comment by Todd on June 13, 2010 at 10:38pm
Let me see if I understand the points you are making here.

1. I need to see both sides of rape, murder, child marriage, genital mutilation, and violence that includes the situation where women have acid thrown into their faces. I also need to see both sides of systematic discrimination which traps women into poverty or forces them into arranged marriages. When some women resort to extreme measures, such as self-immolation, in order to avoid such marriages, I need to see more than just their side of things. I don't live there, so who am I to judge.

2. In the past, the British people were hypocrites.

3. America is a giant bully who acts like they own the world. Because America often acts like a petulant child who demands that the rest of the world obey it's every whim, it is wrong for any country to ever demand that another country observe a basic set of human rights.

3. You met a woman who offended you by trying to profit from your culture while remaining completely ignorant of the culture itself. Then you ask if this is someone who is understanding. Well, uh, no.

4. Unlike yourself, I have never made any attempt to understand other cultures.

5. You live in a diverse country that includes highly educated women of middle eastern descent.

Well. Okay, then. It's hard to argue when you put it like that.
Comment by Miss Herena on June 14, 2010 at 2:43am
Glad you agree with me! LOL
Comment by Martin Pribble on June 14, 2010 at 9:26pm
@Miss Herena, I think you should watch this video, Sam Harris touches on the idea of culturally based practices, and how we should approach them

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hj9oB4zpHww

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