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Let’s Talk about Real Oppression against Women

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Bismillah

Let’s talk about real oppression against women:

Congo- aka Rape Capital of the World: “Rape is used as a weapon of war in Congo. Armed groups rape to terrorize and control women and communities and to humiliate families. It’s calculated and it’s brutal.” [1]

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“These women are raped with bayonets, wood and even guns. 80% of fistula cases in Congo are a result of sexual violence.” [2]

Cambodia – Trafficking Women: “A 12-year-old girl from the Zheijang region was sold for US$40,000 to a trafficker. She was taken to Bangkok, Thailand for “instruction” in prostitution. Authorities found the girl in Italy. Her destination was Miami, Florida, USA.” [3]

South Africa – HIV/AIDS: “Nearly 1 in 3 women aged 25-29 in South Africa have HIV. Around 30 percent of pregnant women in South Africa’s 2009 National Antenatal Survey were HIV positive.” [4]

Ethiopia – Fistulas: “It is estimated that there are 100,000 new fistula cases each year, but the international capacity to treat fistula remains at only 6,500 per year. A fistula is simply a hole between an internal organ and the outside world that should not exist. There are two primary causes of fistula in women in developing countries: childbirth, causing obstetric fistula and sexual violence, causing traumatic fistula.” [5]

India and Bangladesh- Acid Attacks: “Acid causes the skin tissue to melt, often exposing the bones below the flesh, sometimes even dissolving the bone. Reasons for acid attacks during the years, the highest rate of occurrence took place over Land Disputes and Family dispute, the next highest rate of these brutal incidents are due to refusal of relationship/sex throughout the country. 47% of victims are women.” [6]

….Doesn’t niqab seem so trivial compared to these facts? Yet they forget these women who need real assistance and “liberation” and focus on a piece of cloth worn by a small percentage of Muslim women. They don’t care about women’s rights and needs. No, they are selfish people who focus on niqab because it doesn’t suit them but they dress it up to make it seem like they want to help others. Help these women, I don’t need your help.

_______________________

[1] Catholic Relief Services

[2] International Rescue Committee

[3] Coalition against Trafficking in Women

[4] AVERTing HIV and AIDS

[5] The Fistula Foundation

[6] Corrosion Doctors (warning: grapic image on this page)

 

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Amatullah is a student of the Qur'an and its language. She completed the 2007 Ta'leem program at Al-Huda Institute in Canada and studied Qur'an, Tajwid (science of recitation) and Arabic in Cairo. Through her writings, she hopes to share the practical guidance taught to us by Allah and His Messenger and how to make spirituality an active part of our lives. She has a Bachelors in Social Work and will be completing the Masters program in 2014 inshaAllah. Her experience includes working with immigrant seniors, refugee settlement and accessibility for people with disabilities.

29 Comments

29 Comments

  1. Amatullah

    April 13, 2011 at 7:06 PM

    I put this together quickly off the top of my head. This post is not about the opinion niqab has, or how people feel about it.

    And let’s not forget the rapes, murders, domestic violence, harassment, trafficking that go on in the US, Canada, UK, France and the rest of these so-called ‘liberated’ countries.

    • Lance

      April 16, 2011 at 9:35 AM

      But the west do not divinely sanction how to beat your wife, do they? Besides, you are unfairly tarnishing the west- these thinsg happen in your countries too. We have laws against it here in the west, do you?

      • Ubaid

        April 16, 2011 at 11:36 AM

        Something that is very strange about all this “liberation of Muslim women” is that a Muslim woman is not an outsider in a Muslim household. To some alien from another planet, the whole episode would look like Muslim woman is a property or trust given by the west to Muslim world. A Muslim woman is a mother, sister, wife of a Muslim. As if all women are prisoners of war held by Muslim men waiting to be rescued by the west.

        • Dominick

          May 31, 2014 at 12:24 PM

          You are right. It is that they are to be rescued from the men or from their religion — or both. You point out that they participate in their own oppression.
          How terrible…

      • tukdin

        April 16, 2011 at 4:11 PM

        The west doesn’t need divine instructions to beat a wife…they are quite capable of starting world wars, legalizing abortion, producing bastards or obliterating millions, and millions of people including husbands, wife, children, daughters, babies etc. with their own godless retarded intellect

        Second, yes..you have laws against prostitution but you also have laws that protect pornography ! Like a number other things morons like you continue to present this farcical reason to cover up the lack of protection given to women by delusional laws that your kufr infested society offers and tries to force down on other people

  2. M.M

    April 13, 2011 at 7:43 PM

    That’s so true!

    JazakAllahu Khair for pointing out the reality.

  3. Ify Okoye

    April 13, 2011 at 7:45 PM

    While I understand your point, the measuring or weighing of oppression, one against another seems to be a disservice to both. To speak about or advocate for one issue does not necessarily diminish or minimize other issues. Just as we emphasize the horrible nature of the rapes in Congo, let’s not forget the horrible nature of rapes right here in the U.S and Canada.

    There is an epidemic of AIDS here in the DC area with young black women having the highest rates of infection. In Prince George’s County, Maryland the infant mortality rate for babies born to mothers aged 17 and younger is nearly 1 in 4, while in DC and the surrounding counties it is less than 10%. That’s tragic. In the latest budget battle, funding for Planned Parenthood and women’s health in general (the U.S. having among the worst rates among developed nations despite its high level of expenditure) has become a target.

    In my own experience, I’ve seen women forced or pressured into adopting certain modes of dress or forced to uncover, oppression is oppression, and we should strive against it in all of its many forms.

    On a positive note, Zainab Salbi, a Muslim woman, formed a successful non-profit Women for Women, which helps empower women in a number of countries around the world.

    • Amatullah

      April 13, 2011 at 7:53 PM

      The reason why I put stats from around the world is because, from the articles and interviews I’ve seen on niqab, they talk about burqa/niqab in Afghanistan and Saudi etc and refer to it as oppression. My argument simply is, if they are really concerned with the situation of women in the world then they will have articles, ad campaigns, interviews and books written on these issues….But there are hardly any. Niqab is irrelevant when you look at trafficking, rape and AIDS. I’m just sick and tired of people justifying their dislike for Islamic dress code (whether you agree with it or not) by saying they are trying to help the Muslim women. Help them with health care, food, and education first. Worry about their dress code later.

      I commented right at the top about issues in the US etc. (Got stuck in mod)

      • Nawawi

        April 14, 2011 at 1:29 AM

        I agree with sis Amatullah – this definitely serves a point.

    • Dominick

      May 31, 2014 at 12:30 PM

      Ify,

      Please go back and do your research again. There is no possible way that 25% of babies born to mothers 17 and younger around Washington die. Please get real. We are able in the US to keep a fetus alive at probably 5 months gestation. Point #2 — Women’s health in the US is one of the worst in the WORLD?!!
      Are you out of your mind?????

    • Dominick

      May 31, 2014 at 12:37 PM

      Ify,’

      More —
      The Global Gender Gap, 2013, by some think tank, ranks the US as 23rd in disparity in equality outcomes and opportunities in various areas of life.
      The report has to be downloaded, which is a pain.
      Here is a graphic, a map of the world, with colors showing from ‘best’ (least amount, or no gap) — dark green to the worst (greatest gap), dark orange.
      Link: http://www.weforum.org/issues/global-gender-gap

      Scandinavia is the best — least gap — no surprise.
      US is of next rank — needs to be better.
      Muslim and African are worst — dark orange — no surprise, unfortunately.

  4. Siraaj

    April 13, 2011 at 8:11 PM

    Help these women, I don’t need your help.

    Golden words – regressives, pay attention.

    Siraaj

  5. Liajul

    April 13, 2011 at 9:20 PM

    Assalaamu ‘alaikum,

    jazakAllaah khair, nice post

  6. DiscoMaulvi

    April 14, 2011 at 6:32 AM

    Jazak’Allah Khairin Sr Amatullah. All are issues of extreme importance. In front of them the Niqab issue is totally trivial.

    -Aly

  7. ahlam

    April 14, 2011 at 9:38 PM

    La hawla wala quwata illa billah. We forget the ni’mah we live in.

    I always said these regressives never cared about women issues because they focus on the superficial and not the deeper psychological,spiritual etc problems that many women face. Just as long as they are more undressed and look like us they are fine.

  8. Qasym

    April 15, 2011 at 12:00 AM

    Ironically enough, in the same countries the media usually points out as “forcing their women to wear niqaabs”, there is a rapid growth in prostitution in those same (Muslim) countries but how come they never point that out?

    Is there a single website where we can get these facts and more from?

  9. Farhan

    April 15, 2011 at 1:38 PM

    Liked!

  10. Lance

    April 15, 2011 at 1:39 PM

    Oh and also, is it not hypocritical for Islamists to appeal to their secular/democratic rights in order to wear niqaab when these same Muslims refer to it as a ‘kufr’ ideology? There is disdain amongst Muslims for the ban, but you would enforce women to dress a particular way if you had your Islamic State – even though we live in the west, how can you preach to an an ideology that forces non Muslims to do a particular action and then complain when non Muslims want to force you to dress a particular way? Is this not double standards? Often it seems that Islamists , despite hating some aspects of the west often even prefer the west compared to Islamic States like Saudi, some Muslim movements e.g Salafis actually have prospered here in the west more so then the Muslim countries.

    Would it be arrogant/wrong for me to assume that the secular democratic state is better then the Islamic State ( capital I & S)

    • umm.esa

      April 15, 2011 at 8:46 PM

      Lol. yes. it would be arrogant/wrong for you to assume that the secular democratic state is better thAn the Islamic State.

      Please find me an “Islamic” State.

      • Lance

        April 16, 2011 at 4:09 AM

        I had a first part to what I wrote, somehow it did not come through? Any chance the admin could do that?

        As for an example Islamic State, then Saudi Arabia is classed as one by most Muslim scholars. Afterall, no one can say Saudi Arabia is a liberal secular country like Tunisia or Turkey can they? They enforce your hijab, ban alcohol, the clubs, collecet ‘Zakat’, lash the fornicator, enforce the prayer etc. So not exactly a land of disbelief.

        The fact that most of the members live in the west could show superiorty of the secular democracy.

        Talking of oppression, how would you reconcile what you would claim divinley legislated things such as wife beating, having 2 woman witnesses for 1 man etc? The difference in the above points mentioned in this article is that these things are not regarded as DIVINELY SANCTIONED where as what the western world regard as oppression in your religion IS.

        • umm.esa

          April 16, 2011 at 6:12 AM

          In case, you actually want to learn and this was a genuine question then, no, It is not hypocritical for “Islamists” to appeal to their secular/democratic rights in order to wear niqaab when these same Muslims refer to it as a ‘kufr’ ideology BECAUSE Muslims appealed to Negus to live and practice their religion in peace.

          If you have been around for sometime, you would know that there are many people who oppress women and call it, “Divinely Sanctioned.” Raising eyebrow over what Muslims do only reflects a vendetta against Islam. Many of these haters of niqaab don’t know and care about what Hindus or Orthodox Jews do in the name of religion to their women.

          What I find amusing is that with regards to niqaab, even if many niqaabis defend their niqaabs and give practical reasons why they CHOSE to wear it, people do not seem to understand. Sumun, bukmun, umyun, fahum la yaqilun.

          • Lance

            April 16, 2011 at 9:33 AM

            If the Negus banned the headscarf would the Muslims of gone and lived under him? My point is that you complain about enforcing a certain dress code, but you want to do the enforcing aswell, but you cannot because you lack authority in the west, even in your own Muslim countries.

            What I meant about divinely sanctioned oppression, is the verses in your Quran. The one that talks of the witnesses scenario and beating…many regard that as oppression.

            I know the Muslim reply is to say this beating is only light, but what if a Muslim did not know about the light beating and he followed the aparent meaning of the Quran, would he be excused by God? Secondly, how can the beating be a ‘light’ one, since when did tapping someone with a miswak change their mind? If you was rebelious to your husband, would him tapping you wit a toothbrush change you and make you want to become less wicked and rebelious? I find it strange, please do explain your beliefs to me. Also, i do not know arabic, can we stick to the discussion on english please? You may find it strange if I finished my paragraphs with Spanish at the end lol

    • Siraaj

      April 16, 2011 at 12:25 PM

      Lance,

      I’d have no problem living in an Islamic State if only the US wasn’t propping dictators up to oppress the general populace in order to rape their lands of their natural resources on behalf of corporate america and re-election prospects. By default, you can’t be the leader of an Islamic State if you’re a puppet of US interests. Those countries are really just US states without representation – I wonder what happens when you have taxation without representation for too long, hmmm? Oh, that’s right – revolutions. Seems to be sweeping the middle east right now.

      Siraaj

      • Lance

        April 16, 2011 at 4:35 PM

        Siraj, are you blaming the Musllim worlds problems on the west again? Ever thought about blaming yourselves for your own failures? Even Muslim communities in the west who have the perfect oppurtunity eventually self destruct.

        As for revolutions, sorry… are these revolutions Islamic? Where they Egytptians calling for Christians to pay tax because of their religious beliefs? Where they calling to the law of apostasy? In what way are the Islamists taking credit for it? Many Islamic groups have failed your Muslims world wide.

        • Siraaj

          April 17, 2011 at 3:42 PM

          Lance, if a beautiful, scantily clad woman is walking down the street in a neighborhood known for high crime and little to no law enforcement response, would we blame her and say she is responsible for being raped, if it occurred?

          It’s an ugly analogy, but it’s essentially my perspective on it. There is no doubt that Muslims have done themselves no favors in the way they’ve conducted themselves the past few decades – they should have done more to protect and take care of themselves rather than leaving themselves open and vulnerable to the exploitation of their abundant resources. A great deal of the problem, in my opinion, is not their being Muslim, but their LACK of being Muslim, of not following Islam, of not having better ethics, professionalism, discipline, and religious practice.

          Nonetheless, it doesn’t excuse those who do exploit, and exploit the US government does on behalf of corporate america. After all, who has been propping up the Saudi royal family the past few years? Most assuredly, it’s been the US government. Who’s been propping up Hosni Mubarak the past few years? Why, it’s the US government, paying “Egypt” money to support Israel (and really, it was just going into Mubarak’s pocket).

          Who empowered Saddam Hussein, gave him the chemical weapons he used against the kurds, and turned a blind eye to his genocidal tendencies when he played ball with them? Why, it was the US govt. Who trained Bin Laden and al-Qaeda, and glorified the concept of Jihad to Muslims in the 80s and 90s, more so than even the Saudis? Why, it was the US govt, using Muslims to fight their proxy war with the USSR.

          Who was it that maintained 12 years worth of sanctions against Iraq, starving and murdering over 1.5 million Iraqis? Why, it was the US govt again, with Madeleine Albreight, then Secretary of State saying the cost was, “Worth it.”

          It’s often said that freedom isn’t free, and that the US soldiers are fighting overseas to ensure the freedom of Americans, and I agree with both – you see, the people paying the price for your freedom are all those exploited people overseas, and the military is simply there to make sure that if the locals get a bit rowdy, they’re put down so that those people continue paying the price for your freedom.

          Western secular capitalist democracy doesn’t happen in a vacuum – it has no moral imperative to refer to, and therefore, it seeks to preserve itself and it’s “interests” at the cost of everyone else.

          And btw, the foolishness in your questions demonstrates the proof of what I’m saying – it’s not Islamists who are rising up – regular, moderate, everyday folks of all stripes in those lands are rising up because the tyranny of the US and its puppets are too much for anyone to bear.

          Siraaj

          • Mayubelle

            April 18, 2011 at 8:31 AM

            Salam Siraaj,

            I am a muslim woman living in the middle east, and I have to say a lot of young people here are extremely weary of the whole ‘America is Satan” narrative. I’m tremendously proud of the recent revolutions that have taken place in Tunisia, Egypt etc, and how the nationals of these countries have conducted themselves in overthrowing their leaders and seeking institutional reform. For decades these despotic regimes have also legitimised thier institutional failures,failed attempts at national building and failure to provide adequate service, education, employment etc by recourse to the whole ‘everything is a zionist/american conspiracy”…a common ploy by all these states irrespective of whether they simultaneously recieve substantive US aid, be it in the form of arms or non-military assistance. The Zionist bogeyman is perhaps the most common deflection mechanism. I am not contesting the fact that US policy has been injust and very destructive ramifications in the past. But I believe that the fault lies primarily and overwhelmingly with us.

            Where u take responsibilty for your own failures, take heart, put your trust in Allah and endeavour to change things, thats when Allah will facillitate change for you. The rallying cry of these recent movements was not “Death to America” or “Death to the Zionists’, it had a strongly domestic orientation, and it was about facing and addressing our own internal failures, and the systemic corruption which plagues our own society’s….not about pointing fingers and blaming others. And when u face your own problems, realise that they are primarily of your own making, and strive to address them, thats when you win other peoples respect. I think these recent revolutionary movements have generated a lot of respect for Egyptians and Tunisians (and indeed muslims) all around the world. I disagree with Lance that religion had nothing to do with these revolutions, it was a inspiration for many. Weeping and Wailing and screaming about how everyone is purportedly dead set against us and all out to get us would not have had the same effect. Respect has to be earned, it can’t be demanded. These dictatorships e.g Saudi might be backed by the US, but we have been endowed with agency, Allah has endowed us with agency, and the absence of a flourishing civil society, lack of foresight, lack of vision, lack of creative dynamism, and lack of courageous individuals in some of these countries cannot and ought not be attributed to the US. The blame game has gone on for too long, and it is petty and unbecoming for us as muslims.

            When a leadership is corrupt, ineffectual and without compassion this kind of stagnation seeps down to all levels of society. The sort of hedonistic materialism, and living just for the present, and inegalitarianism is not confined to the Saudi or Kuwaiti ruling elite, it extends to all sectors of society. take a look at the plight foreign migrant workers both muslim, and non-muslim, in the gulf states. Many of the worst treated are from the Indian subcontinent ad the Phillipines. The general responses of local citizens are denial, or worse, indifference. This rarely makes other muslims as indignant as it should make them. All our ire is reserved for the US and its Zionist sidekick. We do exercise our own double standards.

            Alhumdulila, I think that with the influence of recent events these things will change inshallah. One of the things I most admire about religious people is that they are intuitively introspective in nature, and thats what I think is one our Ummahs biggest problems, a tendency to deflect blame our legitimise the crap that goes on in our societies by identifying external players as its source. The US or “the west” is not the source of our problems, certain elements of the western ruling elite have capitalised on the pre-existing social, political and economic malaise infecting our societies. Once we overcome this, I believe that we are on the path to prosperity in this world and the next.

          • Siraaj

            April 18, 2011 at 3:20 PM

            Walaykum as salaam Mayubelle,

            Thanks for the response, my main comment on your post is that your thoughts mirror mine. The second paragraph of my post states my thoughts on the responsibility of the Muslims to protect themselves from being taken advantage of, but that their own behavior leaves them open to it.

            In bringing the US govt and corporate america (not all of America, most Americans are decent people subject to a propaganda machine of a govt that tells them there is never moral equivalency between what they do for their reasons in harming others vs when it happens to them), the point is not that Muslims aren’t responsible, but that western secular democracy is not in and of itself superior to an Islamic State system because:

            1. The Islamic State doesn’t exist and
            2. A large percentage of American stability and success is in manipulating markets, ravaging nations, and supporting despots for economic interests.

            I mean, let’s take Lance here, Lance is condemning Muslims for the Saudi govt, meanwhile the US govt supports them hand and foot for US benefits – a bit hypocritical, isn’t it?

            That’s really my point – if we’re discussing which is better, and here’s what Muslims are doing, and here’s what us secular democratic countries are doing with our freedoms, I say cut the crap, you’re not angels descended from heaven with revelation, you’re Prince John (corporate america) and the Sheriff of Nottingham (US govt) coming to collect from everyone else (middle and lower income americans, and other natural resource-rich 3rd world nations).

            Siraaj

  11. Sumeya

    April 15, 2011 at 8:53 PM

    Absolutely loved that article. It’s sad that a piece of cloth is given more attention than rape victims in Congo by the media. Insha’Allah people will come to their senses. Jazakhallah Khair

  12. Aideh

    April 18, 2011 at 2:03 PM

    THANK YOU

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