Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Afraid To Break Free

(All emphases by Always On Watch)

From this article, which appeared on the front page of the May 8, 2007 Washington Post:
"My husband beat. He show knife. I am scared for him, for all family," said Shamim, 21, the Pakistani bride, who was rescued by police. She is being sheltered and tutored in English at a private home. "They say no money, no call mother at home. I cook for all, I not eat. I not know 911 what is. I think I go crazy."
Here, in the United States. In the D.C. area, hardly a backwater region.
The article goes on to state the following:
A major obstacle to recognizing and fighting abuse, experts said, can be Islam itself. The religion prizes female modesty and fidelity while allowing men to divorce at will and have several wives at once. Many Muslims also believe that men have the right to beat their wives. An often-quoted verse in the Koran says a husband may chastise a disobedient wife, but the phrasing in Arabic is open to several interpretations.
A few imams have spoken out:
In Sterling [Viriginia], Imam Mohamed Magid at the All Dulles Area Muslim Society offers counseling to engaged couples, ensuring they understand their mutual rights and duties. In Silver Spring, Imam Faizul Khan at the Islamic Society of the Washington Area holds weekly counseling sessions for troubled couples.

"For many years, our community did not face these issues. Women suffered in silence and fear. Even today, many imams think it could never happen in their mosque," Khan said. "Islam gives equal rights to men and women, but there are myths in Muslim society that men are superior and violence is permitted. This is wrong, and it needs to be said."

Khan and others are also trying to bring men into the debate by forming a group called Muslim Men Against Domestic Violence. But they said recruiting participants is not easy. Even when taken to court on charges of abuse, several experts said, many Muslim men will argue that they were within their rights or are being victimized by vindictive spouses.
Perhaps the following, portions of the Koran not in keeping with the imams' soothing words, explain why Muslim men are not coming forward to support rescuing abused Muslim women:
Sura 2:228 states, "Women have such honorable rights as obligations, but their men have a degree above them." Sale is more to the point in declaring that "the women ought also to behave towards their husbands in like manner as their husbands should behave toward them, according to what is just; but the men ought to have a superiority over them. God is mighty and wise." (p. 32) The superiority is expressed in another fashion toward their wives. "Men are the managers of the affairs of women for that God has preferred in bounty one of them over another, and for that they have expended of their property. Righteous women are therefore obedient, guarding the secret for God’s guarding. And those you fear may be rebellious admonish; banish them to their couches, and beat them. If they then obey you, look not for any way against them." (Sura 4:34)


The Qur’an declares that a man shall purify himself before prayer, and among those polluting sources are women. (Sura 5:6) It may be worth noting explicitly here that men apparently are not similarly a source of pollution for women. Apparently women are inherently more unclean than men...
More examples at the above link.

Additional information from "Muhammad's Low Opinion of Women":
FACT #1: The Qur’an allows (or, perhaps, commands) men to beat their wives into subservience.


FACT #2: According to Muhammad, women lack common sense because their minds are deficient.


FACT #3: Muhammad offered women little hope for the afterlife.

Supporting data for Fact #1, the imams' concern as express in today's Washington Post:
Men are in charge of women, because Allah hath made the one of them to excel the other, and because they spend of their property (for the support of women). So good women are the obedient, guarding in secret what Allah hath guarded. As for those from whom ye fear rebellion, admonish them and banish them to beds apart, and scourge them. Then if they obey you, seek not a way against them. Lo! Allah is ever High Exalted, Great.

Men are the maintainers of women because Allah has made some of them to excel others and because they spend out of their property; the good women are therefore obedient, guarding the unseen as Allah has guarded; and (as to) those on whose part you fear desertion, admonish them, and leave them alone in the sleeping-places and beat them; then if they obey you, do not seek a way against them; surely Allah is High, Great.

Men are the protectors And maintainers of women, Because Allah has given The one more (strength) Than the other, and because They support them From their means. Therefore the righteous women Are devoutly obedient, and guard In (the husband’s) absence What Allah would have them guard. As to those women On whose part ye fear Disloyalty and ill-conduct, Admonish them (first), (Next), refuse to share their beds, (And last) beat them (lightly); But if they return to obedience, Seek not against them Means (of annoyance): For Allah is Most High, Great (above you all).
Perhaps the imams mentioned in the Washington Post article are abrogating certain portions in the Koran or advancing a more enlightened interpretation. If they are they should say so — not try to spin what the Koran says.

Sadly, even here in America, Muslim women are trapped, both culturally and physically. According to the Washington Post:
Social workers and government officials said there are numerous programs in the area to help Muslim women who are abused, such as hotlines with links to Arabic and Urdu speakers and shelters that serve meat slaughtered according to Islamic ritual. But if a young woman is brought to the United States, speaking no English and surrounded by in-laws, she might be as far from help as if she were living in a Pakistani or Moroccan village.

"Many women are kept inside, with no one to turn to," said Catherine Juhel, a counselor at the Foundation for Appropriate and Immediate Temporary Help (FAITH), an assistance program for Muslim women in Herndon. "They don't know the language or the laws here, only what their husband tells them. Often they come from a society where if you go to the police, they will bring you right back home. How can they be sure it would be any different here?"

A cudgel often wielded by abusive Muslim husbands in the United States is their power over the legal immigration status of their wives. Many brides arrive with temporary "marriage" visas obtained through husbands who are U.S. residents or citizens. Lawyers and social workers say an angry or demanding husband might threaten to "call immigration" and have the wife deported, raising the horrifying specter of her returning home in shame.


[E]ven U.S.-educated women can be browbeaten into enduring abuse for fear of shaming their families or facing cruel gossip at the mosque. Organizations that help them escape are viewed by some conservative Muslims here as dangerous saboteurs of Muslim values and family.

In Shireen's case [a professional born in Turkey but reared here in the United States], even a college degree and a good job could not fend off the demands of family and community bent on fitting her into a traditional Muslim mold. Now that she finally has freed herself from an unhappy match, she said, she has become a pariah to the family that once hovered around her.

"I know I was stupid to give in, but you get overwhelmed by all the pressure," she said. "Now I have been totally shunned. I embarrassed my husband in the eyes of the community. It doesn't matter why I left him or what he did to me. Even in America, you can't always get away from home."
Near the end of the Washington Post article, we find this poignant passage:
"Now I am freedom," Shamim said, grinning broadly as she took a tea break recently from her English studies. "I stay America. Not go home. In home, everyone blame woman, it is my culture. Everyone blame me."
May Shireen, Shamim, and others like them find true freedom here in America and break the shackles of Islam!

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posted by Always On Watch @ 5/08/2007 07:20:00 AM