The Mistreatment of Women in Muslim Countries
by SHARI GOODMAN
February 6, 2012
In examining the attitude of men towards women in Islamic culture it is important for readers to note that Islamic culture is derived from the Quran and codified into law by Sharia which is the civil code for the Quran. It codifies into law every aspect and action of a practicing Muslim's life. Within Islam, there can be no other law that supercedes Quranic doctrine; thus man made laws such as our Constitution would not be recognized and have no standing. It is difficult to separate the norms and mores of Islamic society from the underpinnings of those norms, and the underpinning for Islamic culture and norms is the Quran. When we read the actual passages pertaining to women, the following verses are just a few of the numerous verses that are at odds with the norms and mores of Western civilization.
Dr. Joan Lachkar, a noted psychoanalyst in private practice in Los Angeles ,stated that,
"In this ever changing world of multiculturalism, we are continually faced with contrasting dynamics. What is considered abuse in our country is considered “normal” in another. You cannot beat your wife. That is considered abuse in the West and you would get arrested for domestic violence, but in Islamic societies wife beating is permitted when they are disobedient!"
While we in the West value equality for all, Islamic attitude towards women is quite offensive to those of us who believe that women are equal to men in intelligence and status. Though women fought for the right to vote and equal pay, Judeo-Christian doctrine never relegated women to the back of the bus. That is not the case in Islamic doctrine; thus women are relegated to secondary status as illustrated by Quranic verse 4:34:
"Allah has made men superior to women because men spend their wealth to support them. Therefore, virtuous women are obedient, and they are to guard their unseen parts as Allah has guarded them. As for women whom you fear will rebel, admonish them first, and then send them to a separate bed, and then BEAT them. But if they are obedient after that, then do nothing further; surely Allah is exalted and great!"
The permitting of "beating" one's wife is not only offensive but illegal in western societies. Yet, Muslim women are often at the mercy of men. Non-compliance can cost a woman a beating at best or death at worst. It shocks our sensibilities that in Islamic culture women are regarded as prisoners of men and when a husband notices rebelliousness in his wife, Ishaq969 (found in the Sira, the biography of Mohammad) states:
"Men were to lay injunctions on women lightly for they were prisoners of men and had no control over their persons."
Women in the Muslim world do not have full stature with men in Islamic law. Children are the property of the man in the family and when divorce arises Islamic courts automatically award the custody of the children to the father. The notion of what is in the best interest of the child when determining child custody is not a criterion in the decision of determining custody as it is in Western societies. For instance Quran 4:11 states:
" A male should receive a share equal to that of two females."
and as verse 2:282 states
"It should also be known that a woman's testimony is worth half that of a man."
In regards to sexual attitudes another cultural norm practiced within Islamic culture and particularly in parts of Africa that is alian to us in the West is the practice of female genital mutilation. When girls come of age in Islamic society it is customary for them to undergo a clitorectomy. It is a brutally hideous practice that removes the clitoris in females and robs the female of the right to pleasure. Islamic apologists often will state that the practice is cultural and does not arise from the Sharia; however, when it comes to female genital mutilation Sharia law is very clear in “The Reliance of the Traveller,” e4.3:
"Circumcision is obligatory for both men and women by cutting off the piece of skin on the glans of the penis of the male, but circumcision of the female is cutting out the clitoris (this is called Hufaad)."
We also differ in the form of punishment meted out to those who transgress. We in the West have evolved over the centuries; thus, so has our form of punishment. For instance, Judeo-Christian doctrine does not condone fornication; however, we also do not believe that it warrants death as a punishment. We may view it with distain, shame, or shunning; however in Islamic culture such an act would warrant the death penalty as illustrated by “The Reliance of the Traveller,” o12.6,
"If the penalty is stoning, they are to be stoned, no matter the weather, or if they are ill. A pregnant woman is not stoned until she gives birth and the child does not need to nurse."
While we Westerners pride ourselves for our emphasis on equality and liberty for all, particularly insulting to Western women is the lack of appreciation and worth of women in Islamic culture and based on Bukhari 7, 62, 121 it appears that the most important thing that a woman brings to the marriage is her vagina. The attitudes and values imparted to sons is clearly stated when Mohammed said,
"The marriage vow most rightly expected to be obeyed is the husband's right to enjoy the wife's vagina."
It is safe to state that within Islamic doctrine and culture a woman is the property of the man with no rights of her own. She must obey the man or risk punishment. The punishment can be verbal or it can be violent, both permissible within Islamic law. Many of the women are virtual prisoners within their homes and not allowed to see the light of day. While the practice of chattel would be a felony in the United States, such a practice is sanctioned and practiced today in many parts of Islamic societies throughout the globe. Due to the increase in Islamic immigration to our shores we are now witnessing an increase in arranged child marriages, honor killings, and the practice of chattel in cities with large Islamic populations.
Just last week, a Muslim man by the name of Mohammad Shafia was convicted by a Canadian court in Kingston, Ontario for the "honor killing" of his three daughters and former wife (CBC News 1/29/12). Not only did this man not express any remorse, but he cursed them as "treacherous" for having boyfriends and said even if they came back to life 100 times he would "do the same again.”
Another similar case of domestic violence occurred when the victim's husband strangled his wife for having borne him a third child and not a son. (L.A. Times, 1/31/12, page 13) It boggles the mind that these practices are permitted to take hold here as our government officials look the other way.
The verses noted above and codified by Sharia makes it abundantly clear that women in Islamic society are enslaved by their masters and abandoned by Islamic society. It is incredulous that in this present day and age, the enslavement of women is not only practiced but sanctioned by Islamic clerics throughout the globe. It is incumbent upon us in the West to not only shed light on these barbaric practices but to shame those who condone it.
Family Security Matters Contributor Shari Goodman is the Chapter Leader of Calabasas-West Valley ACT! For America. A retired teacher, she has a Masters in Special Education from Kent State University and a B.A. in Sociology. As a wife, mother, grandmother, and daughter of Holocaust survivors she considers it a responsibility to be vigilant against supremacist ideologies that threaten our security, freedom, and Judeo-Christian values.