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Islam Used To Oppress Women

ISSUE 257
Front Page
Index
Headlines

Kenyan Parliamentary Delegation Given A Heroic Welcome In Somaliland

Islamic Courts called on foreign Muslims to fight Ethiopia

Djibouti: A Double Agent

Somali Courts Chief Threatens To Free Men Convicted Of Terrorism In Somaliland

SOPRI Delegation Travel To Togdheer Region

United Nations Issues Call For Peace During Lull In Somalia's Fighting

Peace Hopes Fade In Somalia As Fighting Rages

UIC capture frontline town

Heavy clashes in Somalia: ICRC calls for protection of civilians

Regional Affairs

Ethiopia Warns Losing Patience As Somalis Clash

Kenya: State Acts to Control Fever That Has Killed 11

Editorial
Special Report

International News

Rice Welcomes Ugandan Role in Easing Somalia

Annan Deplores Escalating Somalia Conflict

Resource warfare intensifies across "Grand Chessboard" and Horn of Africa

Somalia Crisis Centers on Islamist Hardliners Versus Ethiopia, says Analyst

U.S. Does Not Plan To Send Troops Against al-Qaida in Somalia

Gang Leader 'Incredibly Violent'

U.S. Sees Growing Threats In Somalia

FEATURES & COMMENTARY

Why The United States Should Recognize Somaliland’s Independence

Chavez Landslide Tops All In US History

Seven Questions: War in Somalia

Africa's Challenge To Hollywood Dominance

INCREDIBLE: Nomads Survive On Camel Milk For One Month

Somalia: Country outlook

Food for thought

Opinions

An Open Letter To Hon. Muite Team In Somaliland

Somaliland Constitution & Islamic Sharia Law

The Reappearance Of Siyad Barre's Henchman

Think-Tank Mission To Somaliland By SOPRI

The Need For Somaliland To Be Vigilant...

Islam Used To Oppress Women

Arabs vs. Israel

Factors Behind Ethiopia's War Against Somalia

Is Rayale Eligible For Another Term?


bashir Goth

Goth is a veteran journalist, freelance writer, the first Somali blogger and editor of a leading news website . He is also a regular contributor to major Middle Eastern and African newspapers and online journals.

By Bashir Goth, United Arab Emirates/ Somaliland

Muslim women can only envy their Western sisters rising to the highest political leadership: Angela Merkel, Tarja Halonen, Hillary Clinton, and Segolene Royal. Turn to the Muslim world and the media will surprise you with daily reports of honor killings, hudood laws, female genital mutilation, social segregation, and political discrimination against women.

No matter how much they strain marshal all kinds of excuses for the lack of female empowerment, Muslim men always avoid mentioning the real truth. In almost every report and study prepared on the situation of women, Muslim and Arab intellectuals fail to mention Islam as part of the problem.

Calling for "...the dismantling of the centuries-old structures of discrimination against women," was the nearest that any Arab study has ever come to broaching this issue

But it is on Islam, rightly or wrongly used, that all reactionary groups base their arguments in denying women their rights. The truth is that women oppressors such as the Union of Islamic Courts in Somalia love to base the exclusion of women from political life by quoting the Prophet's saying: "No people will ever succeed if they hand their affairs to a woman."

It is on the basis of another saying of the Prophet, which says: "When one of you inflicts a beating, he should avoid striking the face" that many Muslim men use to justify their physical abuse of women. Any argument that is raised against the authenticity of these sayings will not change anything as long as there are people who want to use Islam to oppress women.

My Somali people still use female genital mutilation to protect women's virginity. As I wrote for Al Jazeera in a previous editorial about this issue:

This physical torture and mutilation of women's God-given sexual organs...causes enormous and life-long psychological scar to our women. It is a cruel and abusive practice aimed at...teaching them [women] that they are property and like any other property they have to be kept in lock and latches. It tells them that they are not trustworthy even with their own bodies and deprives them of having a healthy and comfortable sex life. They learn that they are only worth the scar and the stitches they carry...

Islamists may call this practice un-Islamic from now to eternity, but give me a single one of them who would accept an uncircumcised woman as his bride. Rightly or wrongly, the root cause of the problem goes to the nobleness of virginity that Islam ingrains in the minds of the believers.

This is why the Islamists in Mogadishu are herding women back to the home. Sadly, these are the same Somali women of whom the renowned Kenyan-American Professor Ali Mazrui once predicted to be the first in Africa to attain their country's presidency.

For every denial of rights a woman faces, whether it is not being able to drive a car, go to school, have a fair share of inheritance, marry the man she loves, take part in public decision-making, or simply wear what she chooses, it is always Islam that is put as a tall wall before her. I wonder when Muslim scholars will stop being apologetic and sift the right from the wrong in Islam to give women their right place in society.

 


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