I see Barbara usually every Thursday and the subject matter runs of gamut of reason and tolerance. Last night it was the abuse of women in Muslim countries. It's hard to accept that this is reality.
Please forward this protest to anyone you know whom you feel isn't indifferent to human suffering. The following is not only a moral outrage, it's an insult to reason.
THE ISLAMIC HOLOCAUST
Barbara G. Walker
There is a widespread holocaust going on in the world today, with hardly any notice being taken, because it is perpetrated by a religion.
I refer to the holocaust perpetrated against women under Islam, a religion that claims to represent "peace," but whose name actually means "submission," particularly the submission of women to harsh lives of imprisonment, torture, rape, and frequently murders freely committed in the guise of "honor" killings.
In many areas dominated by Islam, women are deprived of basic rights to education, medical care, and personal liberty. Wives are prisoners in their homes, cannot drive cars, and must not go out without an adult male relative as escort and guard.
In some areas, young women are routinely rendered incapable of sexual pleasure for the rest of their lives, by the gruesome practice of genital mutilation, which is not only physical torture but also can result in horrendous and sometimes fatal infections. It is claimed that men will not find a woman desirable unless she has been mutilated. A comparable reversed situation would hold that women would not find a man desirable unless his penis is amputated.
Under Shari'a law, women have few legal rights. A female witness in court must have her word corroborated by two men. A rape victim can be punished by summary execution (to save the "honor" of the family's males), or by whippings and mutilation. Sometimes, the punishment consists of further gang-rapes inflicted by the authorities.
Still, according to Nicholas Kristof's book Half the Sky
, in some African countries under Islam, up to 90% of all females over the age of three have been raped. Sometimes, permanent injuries are inflicted by rape with sticks or gun barrels. Men are taught from boyhood to regard the women as fair game, rather less important than domestic animals.
The official "age of consent" for marriageable maidens has recently been lowered from twelve to nine years of age. Young girls can be betrothed by their fathers to decades-older men, whom they neither know nor like. A girl who objects to this kind of treatment can be whipped, imprisoned, or even killed for her disobedience.
Any hint of adulterous behavior, such as speaking to a strange man, or wearing the wrong kind of clothing, or leaving home without her husband's permission, can be punished by killing, or by throwing acid in a woman's face, or by cutting off her nose, ears, or lips. A man may deprive his wife of food if she misbehaves, or divorce her and turn her out of her home simply by saying "I divorce you" three times in the presence of (male) witnesses; but a woman can't divorce her husband.
A majority of Muslim women receive no education other than a religious indoctrination into their "inferior" status, so they have no inner recourse and no hope of improving their lot. Their situation is similar to that of Christian women only a few centuries ago, when churches tortured and murdered millions of women for alleged heresy or witchcraft, without allowing them any legal defense. Both Islam and Christianity use the same Old Testament Eden myth; both teach the guilt of Eve and the consequent sinfulness of all women.
The original suffragists in America had to abandon biblical traditions before they could make any real progress. Some day the women of Islam will also have to revolt against their training, an eventuality that the men of Islam are taught to regard with vastly exaggerated fear, leading them to impose horrendously brutal punishments for comparatively minor infractions.
For the moment, however, the horrors perpetrated against women in the name of Allah are not made very public. Western liberal thinkers usually try to be tolerant of the beliefs of others, even when they consider such beliefs erroneous. But perhaps we are too liberal in overlooking the despair of so many women's lives under Islam. General condemnation of these sexist practices has not been aroused. Scant publicity has leaked out, considering the vast scope of the problem.
A few news stories have appeared, and a few books have been published, such as Infidel
by Ayaan Hirst Ali, Because They Hate
by Brigitte Gabriel, and A Thousand Splendid Suns
by Khaled Hosreini. But most Westerners are still unaware of the extent and viciousness of Islamic sexism. They are also unaware that, because Islamic law allows polygamy and forbids birth control, the women can become essentially baby-making machines. Their birth rate now generally exceeds seven times that of non-Muslims.
In the 1930s and 1940s the Nazi holocaust was hushed up; and, despite its irrefutable documentation, there are some even today trying to claim that it never happened. Nowadays the lifelong bondage of Muslim women is hushed up, because it is a "religious" issue, and any members of a religious sect are presumed to have voluntarily chosen the faith for themselves -- even when they have done no such thing, but have been raised in the faith and have never heard of any alternative.
Even a woman raised and educated in the United States can have great difficulty in trying to escape an abusive Muslim marriage, as shown by Betty Mahmoody in Not Without My Daughter.
The situation calls for more attention from international organizations, more publicity, more outrage. It is a situation of routine inhumanity and abuse that must not continue. A religion that perpetrates such inhumanity deserves not tolerance but blame.
For further information on this important subject, read the books mentioned in the body of this article, and see the online publications of Robert Fisk, Middle East correspondent for The Independent,
especially his 9/7/2010 article, "The Crimewave that Shames the World". And be ashamed. Be very ashamed.