Mar 08 2011

100 years celebrating International Women’s Day on March 8th

Tag: Islamic values,Women IssuesMona @ 10:43 am

International Women’s Day March 8th

IWD2011 logo

Today it is hard to believe for instance that as late as 1977 the women of Germany got their legal right to work outside their homes without the permission of their husbands! Until 1953 when getting married the assets of the bride went automatically to her husband and until late 1960’s she could not open her own bank account without the permission of her father or husband.

We cannot but appreciate the wisdom of Islam that introduced 1400 years ago the right for women to inheritance and own wealth. She is not expected to share the cost of bringing up the family which is considered as the duty of the husband. The wife can voluntarily help but it is not required in Islam. The inheritance and the bridal money are clearly regulated in the Quran and applied since then.

In fact the majority of the Muslims is living outside of the Middle East (Far East),  are  more liberal and have little problems with women rights. I would say they are closer to the Quranic message of Righteousness.

Unfortunately customs in many areas are still pressuring women to give up their inheritance share to male relatives. Which is a clear sin for the males because it directly contradicts Quranic regulations. In many Muslim countries women are enjoying these rights but unfortunately in quite many especially in the poorest and most underdeveloped countries this is not the case. Not to forget some of the richest countries, where Islamic sects are distorting the original ideal of Islam and traditions lie heavy on the society.

Let us be optimistic, I am.
Mona

PS. An Article on recent events in the Middle East unrest and how women organisations are fearing a backlash if the Muslim extremists get more influence in the future.  Is revolution in Mid-East bad for women’s rights?


Mar 03 2011

World Press Photo winner 2010

Restoring Honour? Afghan Women and the Return of the Taliban

Hello, back blogging again after losing my whole blog content. Luckily I had saved my texts, but it will take some time to put them back again. Sorry, trying to be more focused in the future.

 

Today I am speechless and saddened, Horrified.   First I thought I should not take up this subject, because it could eventually do more harm than good for the task I have taken on. But things do not ever change if we do not address them!

So let’s analyze this.  We should not be too quick putting everything on the Religion, tragedies like these are hard to overcome and they happen quite often in some areas. Sad enough, the word Taliban means “Students of Religion”.  Old habits die hard and thousands of years old traditions are taken for religious practices. We can witness that everywhere and especially in the developing world. In Africa for instance Witchcraft (Voodoo, Vodou) is practiced along the main religions Christianity and Islam, and they do not see any contradiction in it. In the Middle-East there are Honour killings (fortunately not everywhere) denying women their God given rights for dignity. The right of choosing her own husband and eventually to get divorced is set in the Quran. According the Quran she can reject a suitor by saying “no” or if shy by staying silent (meaning she accepts) and a divorce is possible even for the only reason that she does not like her husband.

From old customs we have to remember also the pharaonic practice of circumcision of girls. It is justified in Africa by Islam, although the African Christians are practicing it equally. There is NO mentioning of it in the Quran or even in the Hadiths. I suppose that it came to the Arabian peninsula much later with pilgrims (many of them stayed there for good) from Africa where it is known since times of the Pharaos. Please read my topics on the right for “What the Quran has to say.. ”, “Hadiths”, ”Women and Islam” about them.

 

“If you see an evil, correct it with your hand; if you cannot correct it with your hand, correct it with your tongue (words); if you cannot do it either, feel that it is wrong in your heart.” (Prof. Mohammad)

World Press Photo of the Year 2010: South African photographer Jodi Bieber wins premier award.

Bibi Aisha     bibi aisha disfigured taleban

I quote from the article hoping worldpressphoto.org does not mind:

“The portrait of Bibi Aisha was also awarded First prize in the category Portraits Singles in this year’s contest. It was shot for Time and was featured on the cover of the 9 August issue of the magazine.
Her winning picture shows Bibi Aisha, 18, who was disfigured as retribution for fleeing her husband’s house in Oruzgan province, in the center of Afghanistan. At the age of 12, Aisha and her younger sister had been given to the family of a Taliban fighter under a Pashtun tribal custom for settling disputes. When she reached puberty she was married to him, but she later returned to her parents’ home, complaining of violent treatment by her in-laws.
Men arrived there one night demanding that she be handed over to be punished for running away. Aisha was taken to a mountain clearing, where she was held down, and had first her ears sliced off, and then her nose. In local culture, a man who has been shamed by his wife is said to have lost his nose, and such treatment is considered punishment in kind. Aisha was abandoned, but later rescued and taken to a shelter in Kabul run by the aid organization Women for Afghan Women, where she was given treatment and psychological help. After time in the refuge, she was taken to America, where she received counseling and reconstructive surgery.”

Another article:
“Promised to a Taliban fighter by her father when Bibi Aisha was 12 to satisfy an obligation, she was married at 14 and had been used as a servant and forced to sleep in an outbuilding with her in-laws’ animals. When she fled their abuse, neighbors turned her in. She was jailed briefly, and her father retrieved her and returned her to his in-laws, after being assured they would treat her better. Instead, her husband walked her into a mountain clearing and held her down while his brother chopped off her nose and ears as other Talib watched. Then they left her to die in the mountains where they’d disfigured her. “I passed out,” she said in an interview with CNN’s Atia Abawi. “In the middle of the night it felt like there was cold water in my nose.”

It was her own blood, so much of it, she told Abawi. “I couldn’t even see…”

Somehow Aisha managed to feel her way to her grandfather’s home, where she was hidden and then spirited away to a medical center run by the U.S. military, who eventually transferred her to a privately-run women’s shelter…”

In another article  the photographer Jodi Bieber tells how she felt this woman was beautiful and did not want to portray her as a victim but show her dignity. She was right and is an exceptional good photographer.

Bibi Aisha was very fortunate to get proper medical care after her attackers left her there to die. Hundreds, perharbs thousands of other girls are not so lucky.

After reconstructive surgery now 18 year old Bibi is smiling again

Bibi Aisha after surgery


Nov 26 2008

Books and Controversy

 

 

Today in the news:

 

Saviano Rushdie in Sweden

Writers Rushdie, Saviano discuss death threats at panel discussion in Sweden

Security high for visit of Rushdie and Saviano

All these years since The Satanic Verses controversy and the death sentence by Iranian Mullah’s I am wondering how it came exactly like Rushdie had planned. He wanted controversy and he knew that conservative Muslims would be infuriated. The news would go around the globe like a forest fire and he would be famous.

Why are Muslims so easy to trick to do exactly what is the aim of these provocateurs?

The same phenomenon was with the infamous Danish Islam caricatures. They were publishes i.e. in Egypt half a year earlier and nobody bothered to protest. Only after it came international news, when radical Muslims started burning Danish flags and puppets. Governments were forced to give statements that they are powerless, because there is a law for freedom of speech.   Again and again provocateurs are trying the same trick. These days, so I read, in Holland is a new cartoon movie in the making about Islam.

Fortunately Muslims are awakening and do not react as they wish anymore.  There is a sura in the Quran that advice believers to answer to provocateurs with words of  peace:

Quran [25.63“And the servants of the Beneficent God are they who walk on the earth in humbleness, and when the ignorant address them, they say: Peace.”

I am not a literature critic but at the beginning of this all I read several critics which suggested that Salman Rushdie is a mediocre writer at best. Now there are even rumors, that the Swedes would give him a Nobel literature prize soon.


Aug 30 2008

Democracy and Islam

While watching World News and Mayhem on my TV screen I have long been intending to write about Democracy because the common assumption is that Islam and Democracy do not go well together.  We should not confuse tradition with religion.

In older democracies the path to this day was long and slow. Some reached it earlier, like in Britain the first step was as early as in 1215  known as the Magna Carta Other countries have followed. Although one must sometimes wonder if democracy is the best way to govern. It is always a compromise which naturally is not the best solution to problems. And voters do not always choose the best candidate simply because of lack of knowledge and experience and they can be easily manipulated.  But there is no better way available and the rights and safety of individuals must be guaranteed.

In my opinion in the Quran  we have clear instructions for the early Muslim community to practice democracy:

“O you who believe! obey Allah and obey the Apostle and those in authority from among you; then if you quarrel about anything, refer it to God and the Apostle, if you believe in God and the last day; this is better and very good in the end.” (Q. 4:59)

“And their business is (conducted) through consultation among themselves.” (Q.42:38)

“God does not love the public utterance of hurtful speech unless (it be) by one to whom injustice has been done; and God is Hearing, Knowing.” (Q.4:148)

Traditionally, before Islam matters in the pagan Arabian Bedouin communities where already handled democratically. Clan elders discussed problems, set rules and practiced justice as they are still doing it among themselves in a smaller scale, because today we have governments and state laws. Like in almost all early human communities regardless of location worldwide.

It was much later than dictators have taken over motivated mostly by power and material gain.

It is still a long way for many, but I am hopeful that matters will improve. In my opinion the key to success is education, education, education and especially that of the women. They are the ones who educate the children and their influence on the society is tremendous.

Unfortunately in many places religion have been used to segregate women from men denying them the basic human rights the Quran guarantees them! (Please read also the Topic No.6 on the right “Women and Islam”)

As I already wrote, we should not confuse religion with tradition. I am quite critical about the Hadiths. They are orally narrated reports from the time of early Muslim community and were collected as late as 250-300 years after the death of the Prophet (p.b.u.h.). Bukhari, for example, examined 600,000 traditions of which he accepted only 7,397!

I have never forgotten an experiment we did in school, I was 11 years old (the last year before changing schools). At the beginning of class the teacher gave us a sentence or perhaps it was two sentences – a short story. We whispered it to each other and by the time bell was ringing for break the teacher asked the last pupil to tell what he had heard. We could not believe what from the story had become, it was unrecognizable!

I am not asserting, that this is the case with Hadith’s, but taken in account the time which passed (200-300 years) even the best-meaning and devoted believer can err. It is human, we are not computers that can record every word forever.

In my opinion we should put less importance on the Hadith’s (put them in perstpective) and more on the Quran, which gives us clear instructions and in this particular case we understand that Islam favors Democracy!

Quoting the late Dr. Lila Fahlman Dr Lila Fahlman

 

Founding President of the World Council of Muslim Women Foundation:

“Man-written Hadith’s have ruined Islam and do not speak to human rights or to equality for men and women, but rather favour the enslavement of women.”…   “Any Muslim who finds the Qur’an difficult to understand would do best to spend his time on the Qur’an rather then on the Hadith’s, which can never surpass the Qur’an as the Hadith is man written.”

 

 


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