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The Denigration of women in Islam.

(62 Posts)
Arthur2 Wed 25-May-11 23:23:22

Why is that women in this country are not more vocal about the way Islam treats women.

Take a look at 4.05 minutes, a women beaten with a baseball bat is told she must be a bad Muslim, in a so called Shari'ah court.
Women are forced to cover up so that men won't be tempted, what?
So why aren't women standing up for the oppression of women under Islam.
Genital mutilation, Forced marriage, rape within marriage.

Shari'ah courts that discriminate against women, give custody to children based on religion, not the welfare of the child.

Why are you silent on these isues.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 26-May-11 09:00:48

Women are not 'silent on these issues'. Women's rights are supported in Middle Eastern countries, often putting activists in great personal danger. In UK terms, there are strong equality laws that we can draw upon to protect all women and there is a new & welcome impetus to pursue incidents of 'honour killings', enforced marriages, and related abuse - rather than attributing it to cultural differences. We could always do more, of course. What muslims will point out is that it is not islamic teaching necessarily that has created a misogynistic system, but the traditions of various, rather ignorant, male-dominated, oppressive societies where islam happens to be the main religion. Blasphemy is used in these societies to oppress all kinds of people, rather than simply women, for example, and Shariah law is not even consistent across the nations that employ it. There are several versions.

Callisto Thu 26-May-11 12:36:34

Because nobody is allowed to criticise Islam.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 26-May-11 13:45:56

Of course we're allowed to criticise Islam. But it's a mistake to assume that a lot of the abuses carried out against women are directly attributable to Islam when, in reality, they are carried out for all manner of reasons.

onagar Thu 26-May-11 13:54:51

If something bad is done as part of a religion (any religion) then it must actually be bad men doing it and not part of the religion at all. If you point to women in the same religion who agree with it and claim it to be an important part of their religion then they don't count and are just brainwashed by the evil (non-religious) men.

Religion good - Men bad.

Callisto Thu 26-May-11 14:22:28

I disagree. Religion = bad. Religion is used as an excuse for an awful lot of nastiness and discrimination and misogyny is inherant in all religion, although I think that Islam is the worst, maybe because it is the dominant religion of some of the worst of the patriarchal societies. I think that it is very difficult to criticise Islam in any way without being accused of racism. Personally, I think all religions should be banished forever and especially any that openly discriminate against women. It is one of the reasons I find the Catholic religion so distateful, and because Islam openly discriminates against women, I find Islam distasteful also.

Callisto Thu 26-May-11 14:24:51

And, yes, I do think that an awful lot of muslim (and catholic) women are brainwashed into doing what the patriarchy/religion says. Why on earth would any scripture written at a time of deep-seated misogyny be useful today to any woman?

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 26-May-11 18:22:18

As I personally know many muslim women in the UK who are not beaten, mutilated, forced to cover up, stopped from driving or taking paid employment and who have had a free choice in who they marry, it is clear that the rules of what is acceptable within islam are open to a great degree of interpretation and are highly dependent on the attitude to emancipation in the country they find themselves. So religion = bad is simplistic rubbish. If the same misogynistic, oppressive, 'mediaeval' cultures were to suddenly become atheistic on a mass scale, without doubt the women within them would still be on the receiving end of the same treatment. Other rationales would be found.

The challenge is to improve the lives of women. The solution is not to ban islam.

Arthur2 Thu 26-May-11 18:37:00

I agree that women all over the world do protest, but they don't seem to here in England, to me there seems a sort of silence.

There are Shari'ah tribunals in the UK that award custody of children to the father at 7 years old, regardless of the best interests of the child and the women can then be cut off from the child and has no recourse because she is shunned by her community if she tries to go to an English court.

Mariam Namazie has tried in her campaign, one law for all to bring these things out into the open and has failed to gain any support.

Where is the help for some of these young girls who are brought over here, who cannot speak English, have no understanding of our legal system and are abused and sometimes treated like slaves.
If you managed to look at the youtube video, the women is treated by the Shari'ah judge in a most disgraceful way in 21st century Britain.

ttosca Thu 26-May-11 23:28:14

Sloobreeus Thu 26-May-11 23:45:59

During the recent Scottish election I attended a hustings organised by members of the local Muslim community. There were approx 150 people there, seven of whom were women, none of them Muslim. I can only speculate why this would be and if anyone of the faith or who has knowledge of the community can enlighten me, I would be very interested. Would the men present forbid their wives or girlfriends to attend? Would not one Muslim woman would want to be present at an event where local election candidates were being called to account in a public forum?

nailak Thu 26-May-11 23:46:49

has the shariah councils in enland actually awarded custody to any father?

i thouht 99% of their work was in awardin women divorces from opressive husbands?

and the majority of the muslim community dont use the shariah courts and wouldnt o to them, it is only the youn revivalists under 30s that would tbh, so im not sure who they would be cut off from? certainly not their families?

and there are plenty pf oranistaions in the uk that are not silent on these issues, just the thin is they tend to be islamic oranisations who are sayin we dont want muslim women treated like this and this is not islam, so non muslims tend to stay away from them.

Gooseberrybushes Thu 26-May-11 23:53:13

I think it's a mistake just to attribute it to bad individuals. I said this somewhere else, though not about Islam. The acts are the end results of a powerful social construct based around Islamic culture which needs to be challenged. Women in Britain need to feel protected by a non-discriminatory law and the freedoms that we fought for so hard. All women. Not just non Muslim women and not just Muslim women whose families are non-discriminatory. In fact, it's those Muslim women who will have the most powerful voice in this, like Baroness Warsi. It's inconceivable that any woman, including Muslim women, particularly Muslim women, can be defensive on these issues.

laiyan Fri 27-May-11 00:09:20

nailak, the point about women not being allowed to drive in saudi arabia, is that it is illegal. in exactly the same way as it is illegal for a 16 year old to drive in the uk. It is a law that needs changing certainly, but just getting up and flouting the law isnt going to accomplish that.

would you raise such a campaign if a 16 year old or someone older, but without a license got into a car and drove it about, and were then according to the law, arrested? no. you wouldnt.
yes, the law needs to be changed, but there is a civilised way to bring that change about. taking the law into your own hands, and then getting amnesty involved isnt the way to go about it.

as for the law about mothers not getting access to their kids. that is horrible and there are a LOT of groups out there campaigning for this. The trouble is that the news tends to focus only on the women who cant be bothered to do anything but complain about it all rather than the men and women who are actually trying to do something about it all.

laiyan Fri 27-May-11 00:10:51

oops. i think i posted rather hastily. ive had a bee in my bonnet about this for sometime now, and my apologies nailak. you havent actually said the stuff i have spoken about.

Gooseberrybushes Fri 27-May-11 07:36:39

Laiyan, the women have no recourse re: the driving. A sixteen year old driving is likely to be unsafe. A woman driving? I don't think so.

And if everyone waited for the slow wheels of repressive law to move we would never have got anywhere.

Gooseberrybushes Fri 27-May-11 07:55:31

It's good that Muslims who live a more modern interpretation ignore the precept that a woman's worth is half that of a man. But you cannot forget that it's there.

laiyan Fri 27-May-11 08:52:56

goosbumps, i disagree about women having no recourse.
i lived and worked there for years. Not driving was never an issue. The only time driving was a problem was in the uk because i had to do too much of it. I also only passed my driving test aged thirty because before that i really couldnt see the need for it.

As for recourse, of course there is always recourse. Instead of sitting around on their backsides, these women can get up and do something. get a law degree, work through the system, not just by doing soundbite media attention grabbing stunts. but most just cant be bothered, and the reason a great many cant is because it isnt that big a deal. I have to go now, but later in the day i will post an article that my friends friend wrote. I dont agree with everything she says, but its worth a read.

Also, whilst many may think of islam as denigrating islam, if youlook at the times it came about, it was a very feminist ideology. but more later

Gooseberrybushes Fri 27-May-11 09:37:11

It is an issue when your driver is not there and you have two cars sitting in the drive and want to go shopping. I too have lived in a driver/emploer community. How about you just want to go for a drive, alone, in your car? I'm disgusted that you can defend such a ban.

Gooseberrybushes Fri 27-May-11 09:38:26

Yes, there are tenents of Islam that speak of the worth of a woman, and there is also the statementt that a woman is worth half a man. In Egypt you still need two female witnesses in a court to counter the evidence of one male witness.

Gooseberrybushes Fri 27-May-11 09:39:31

bad spelling, no specs, you getit I'M SURE

Gooseberrybushes Fri 27-May-11 09:39:41

caps? sporry

laiyan Fri 27-May-11 11:14:00

lol, i do get it coz i cant do caps in mumsnet either

I speak from personal experience. I have NEVER found it to be a problem, not being able to drive. Exactly the same with all of my female friends and colleagues. It was always the men who complained far more about women being unable to drive and having to ferry them around.

laiyan Fri 27-May-11 11:15:32

this is the article referred to in the following post. I will cut and paste the letter written my my friends sister.

laiyan Fri 27-May-11 11:16:06


I saw the Newsnight report on Saudi Arabia, focusing on the lives of women who live there


I have to say, I have never seen such biased reporting in all my life. The reporter obviously had a set agenda and fed every Western-propagated stereotype that exists out there. I have lived for 22 years in Saudi Arabia, and go back every single year to spend the summer or winter holidays with my family. So I think it is fair to say that I know Saudi Arabia a bit better than your reporter.

There were so many blatant lies told in this piece, such as:

1. Until recently women in Saudi Arabia could only work as teachers - excuse my French but WHAT CRAP. Well over a decade ago I held jobs in Jeddah such as graphic designer, and newspaper editor of the largest English daily in Saudi. In both instances I had to work with male colleagues, and it was never an issue so long as all the parties concerned maintained a modest dress code (something the West would do well to learn from Saudi Arabia - ogling at your female colleague's cleavage and butt cheeks doesn't usually make for a productive, mutually respectful and safe work environment).

2. Women in Saudi need their male guardian's permission to work - again, a whole lot of BS. I have never ever been asked for my male guardian's permission before I was offered a job.

3. Women have to buy all their undergarments from stores that are manned by male salespersons - the Saudi woman you were tailing in this regard seems to be clueless that there are shops in Saudi that are manned by females, where men are not even allowed to enter; there is even a female Naomi and Body Shop in Saudi.
One of the issues you chose not to address in this regard is the fact that, its all very well for Saudi women to complain that there arent enough female salespersons; however, how many of them would step in to those jobs themselves? They look down upon such work, and are used to being served, not serving others. Until their mindset changes, and they become more pro-active and hands-on, they will continue to enjoy the luxury of complaining about problems without actually being part of the solution. What is stopping these women from setting up shops w/ female staff? These women own so many businesses, ask them why they dont hire more women?

4. Unaccompanied girls are not allowed to leave the house - well, all I can say to that is your reporter must have been blind while travelling the country, because wherever I go is teeming with unaccompanied girls. Every restaurant, mall, and public place is covered with them.

5. Women who cant afford chauffeurs cant work because they cant drive - ever heard of public transport? Whenever I am in Saudi Arabia, I hate troubling my brother or father to take me anywhere, so I cab it. Easy, quick, affordable, and safe. So these women who are so helpless that they cant work because they dont employ drivers need to again become more proactive and stop blaming their country for every sneeze and headache that they have.

6. Beyond teaching in an all-girls' school or college, career opportunities are limited - I have met women who work in fashion as buyers for French brands; women who run businesses; women working in journalism; as interior designers, graphic designers and fashion designers; female doctors and dentists; and so on. In which country exactly was your reporter may I ask???

7. Customs such as arranged marriages, underage marriages, and polygamy still prevail - if ever there was a sentence that sums up your narrow minded view and approach, this has got to be it. Your reporter has made it clear that if she doesn't like something or doesn't agree with something, then it has got to be bad and must be reported as such. In other words, all things Western are good, and everyone else must do as we do. The world is a varied place, with many different faiths, cultures, languages and dress codes; just because you subscribe to one of those doesn't automatically make the rest of them evil. That is like saying that, because I like chocolate ice cream, all other flavours are evil. Just because you cant understand polygamy or the concept of arranged marriages doesn't mean that its an evil; all it does mean is that you need to broaden your understanding and look at things from another person's point of view. Dig deeper into the culture and history of a place and try to be more understanding, rather than making up your mind at the outset.
As far as under-age marriage is concerned, look at your own society with its underage rampant sexual affairs and the immature, irresponsible teenage mothers that are a direct result of that. At least marriage gives a girl her rights, and protects the children that result from that marriage. When I was in hospital in the UK giving birth to my first child, that same day a teenager gave birth to a baby and refused to even look at or hold it, immediately putting it up for adoption, thus adding to the taxpayer's burden and increasing the drain on the country's resources, not to mention the trauma that child was no doubt going to experience. But your reporter would prefer that over underage marriage right? How blinkered can one get?

8. Women cannot leave the house without wearing an abaya - Again, if the blindness of your reporter ever lifts, she might see that numerous women can and do wander around without an abaya. The truth is that, a woman in Saudi prefers wearing the abaya in public because it makes her feel safe, she is shielded from the stares of every Tom Dick and Harry, and, as one British, non-Muslim personal trainer I met at the airport commented, it is a very elegant and beautifully tailored garment, and makes a woman feel like a woman (she was taking her abaya back to the UK with the intention of wearing it during the autumn months). In your report is a clip of women in a mall, all of them covered from top to toe. Again, your bias was shocking, as malls are full of young girls with their abayas open, their clothes on display, and not a headscarf in sight (after all, if they are going to spend a small fortune on having their hair styled, its got to be on show right?). But we didnt see that did we?

As for the lady with the victim mentality who moaned about Saudi Arabia being the world's largest female prison, my message to her is that the prison is in your mind. If you are proactive, intelligent, and determined, there is almost nothing you cant achieve in Saudi. The trick is to realise and celebrate your own faith and culture, and work with it, rather than try to ape the fatally flawed Western model of society with all its ills covered up by a facade of irresponsible freedom without any consequences (there are consequences, but the state ends up shouldering them and passing on the burden to the already drowning taxpayers).

Of course, Saudi Arabia is not a utopia, and like any other country, it has its share of good and bad. But your reporter went in with the sole purpose of creating a bad where it didn’t exist, exaggerating the bad that does exist, and completely ignoring all that is good in Saudi Arabia.

Sure, it would be great if women could drive, but judging from the women I have met there, many of them are simply not ready for such responsibility, and what’s worse, look down upon activities where they end up doing work instead of being served. All those women you interviewed – I challenge them to let go of their string of maids and drivers, and take charge of all the work they leave behind, including filling up their car with petrol at the station rather than getting a man to do it. They would be horrified to have to do such work.

But in the meantime, where’s the harm in complaining? At least it gets them on TV.

Safia, a SAUDI woman

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