Here is an excellent article by Mona Eltahawy is an Egyptian-American journalist, though she must have been raised in Britain because of her English accent. In November 2011, Egyptian police beat her, breaking her left arm and right hand, and sexually assaulted her. She was detained by the Interior Ministry and military intelligence for 12 hours. She was only let go when they realized she was American and this could spell big trouble. She writes a very courageous article on the war on woman in the Middle East. Bookmark it. Read it all. I heard her interviewed in NPR yesterday, she made a very important points, that although Islamophobia is a serious problem, we must not be silent while women's conditions are horrible in Islamic countries, just for fear of feeding the Islamphobes. One can decry both the condition of women in Muslim countries, AND also Islamophobia. She also pointed out that rather than Islam, it is certain interpretations of Islam that are so ferociously anti-women.
In "Distant View of a Minaret," the late and much-neglected Egyptian writer Alifa Rifaat begins her short story with a woman so unmoved by sex with her husband that as he focuses solely on his pleasure, she notices a spider web she must sweep off the ceiling and has time to ruminate on her husband's repeated refusal to prolong intercourse until she too climaxes, "as though purposely to deprive her." Just as her husband denies her an orgasm, the call to prayer interrupts his, and the man leaves. After washing up, she loses herself in prayer -- so much more satisfying that she can't wait until the next prayer -- and looks out onto the street from her balcony. She interrupts her reverie to make coffee dutifully for her husband to drink after his nap. Taking it to their bedroom to pour it in front of him as he prefers, she notices he is dead. She instructs their son to go and get a doctor. "She returned to the living room and poured out the coffee for herself. She was surprised at how calm she was," Rifaat writes.
In a crisp three-and-a-half pages, Rifaat lays out a trifecta of sex, death, and religion, a bulldozer that crushes denial and defensiveness to get at the pulsating heart of misogyny in the Middle East. There is no sugarcoating it. They don't hate us because of our freedoms, as the tired, post-9/11 American cliché had it. We have no freedoms because they hate us, as this Arab woman so powerfully says.
Yes: They hate us. It must be said.
Some may ask why I'm bringing this up now, at a time when the region has risen up, fueled not by the usual hatred of America and Israel but by a common demand for freedom. After all, shouldn't everyone get basic rights first, before women demand special treatment? And what does gender, or for that matter, sex, have to do with the Arab Spring? But I'm not talking about sex hidden away in dark corners and closed bedrooms. An entire political and economic system -- one that treats half of humanity like animals -- must be destroyed along with the other more obvious tyrannies choking off the region from its future. Until the rage shifts from the oppressors in our presidential palaces to the oppressors on our streets and in our homes, our revolution has not even begun.
So: Yes, women all over the world have problems; yes, the United States has yet to elect a female president; and yes, women continue to be objectified in many "Western" countries (I live in one of them). That's where the conversation usually ends when you try to discuss why Arab societies hate women.
But let's put aside what the United States does or doesn't do to women. Name me an Arab country, and I'll recite a litany of abuses fueled by a toxic mix of culture and religion that few seem willing or able to disentangle lest they blaspheme or offend. When more than 90 percent of ever-married women in Egypt -- including my mother and all but one of her six sisters -- have had their genitals cut in the name of modesty, then surely we must all blaspheme. When Egyptian women are subjected to humiliating "virginity tests" merely for speaking out, it's no time for silence. When an article in the Egyptian criminal code says that if a woman has been beaten by her husband "with good intentions" no punitive damages can be obtained, then to hell with political correctness. And what, pray tell, are "good intentions"? They are legally deemed to include any beating that is "not severe" or "directed at the face." What all this means is that when it comes to the status of women in the Middle East, it's not better than you think. It's much, much worse. Even after these "revolutions," all is more or less considered well with the world as long as women are covered up, anchored to the home, denied the simple mobility of getting into their own cars, forced to get permission from men to travel, and unable to marry without a male guardian's blessing -- or divorce either.
Not a single Arab country ranks in the top 100 in the World Economic Forum's Global Gender Gap Report, putting the region as a whole solidly at the planet's rock bottom. Poor or rich, we all hate our women. Neighbors Saudi Arabia and Yemen, for instance, might be eons apart when it comes to GDP, but only four places separate them on the index, with the kingdom at 131 and Yemen coming in at 135 out of 135 countries. Morocco, often touted for its "progressive" family law (a 2005 report by Western "experts" called it "an example for Muslim countries aiming to integrate into modern society"), ranks 129; according to Morocco's Ministry of Justice, 41,098 girls under age 18 were married there in 2010.
It's easy to see why the lowest-ranked country is Yemen, where 55 percent of women are illiterate, 79 percent do not participate in the labor force, and just one woman serves in the 301-person parliament. Horrific news reports about 12-year-old girls dying in childbirth do little to stem the tide of child marriage there. Instead, demonstrations in support of child marriage outstrip those against it, fueled by clerical declarations that opponents of state-sanctioned pedophilia are apostates because the Prophet Mohammed, according to them, married his second wife, Aisha, when she was a child.
But at least Yemeni women can drive. It surely hasn't ended their litany of problems, but it symbolizes freedom -- and nowhere does such symbolism resonate more than in Saudi Arabia, where child marriage is also practiced and women are perpetually minors regardless of their age or education. Saudi women far outnumber their male counterparts on university campuses but are reduced to watching men far less qualified control every aspect of their lives.
Read the rest here.
WTF??? This may belong in Weird News.
Wednesday, 25 April 2012
Egypt’s National Council for Women (NCW) has appealed to the Islamist-dominated parliament not to approve two controversial laws on the minimum age of marriage and allowing a husband to have sex with his dead wife within six hours of her death according to a report in an Egyptian newspaper.
The appeal came in a message sent by Dr. Mervat al-Talawi, head of the NCW, to the Egyptian People’s Assembly Speaker, Dr. Saad al-Katatni, addressing the woes of Egyptian women, especially after the popular uprising that toppled president Hosni Mubarak in February 2011.
She was referring to two laws: one that would legalize the marriage of girls starting from the age of 14 and the other that permits a husband to have sex with his dead wife within the six hours following her death.
According to Egyptian columnist Amro Abdul Samea in al-Ahram, Talawi’s message included an appeal to parliament to avoid the controversial legislations that rid women of their rights of getting education and employment, under alleged religious interpretations.
“Talawi tried to underline in her message that marginalizing and undermining the status of women in future development plans would undoubtedly negatively affect the country’s human development, simply because women represent half the population,” Abdul Samea said in his article.
The controversy about a husband having sex with his dead wife came about after a Moroccan cleric spoke about the issue in May 2011.
Zamzami Abdul Bari said that marriage remains valid even after death adding that a woman also too had the same right to engage in sex with her dead husband.
Two years ago, Zamzami incited further controversy in Morocco when he said it was permissible for pregnant women to drink alcohol.
But it seems his view on partners having sex with their deceased partners has found its way to Egypt one year on.
Cultures and traditions are no1 enemy of women because can be worse than religion. Take, for example; "virginity tests" is a part of their traditions egypt. Clerics sanctify thes traditions even if they knew for sure that these acts has nothing to do with religion but they try to find some sacred verses and interpret these verses to support their agenda against women..
We don't have that 'virginity tests' in Saudi Arabia because it has nothing to do with our traditions.
Another example, when they ban women from "driving cars" the issue of the "male guardian" these things has nothing to do with religion BUT clerics =the a** holes can give a religious explanation of this ban or for this idea of a male guardian.
When theocracy controlled people, the world turn into tragedy and who gonna be suffering the most as result of all that? women of course... The sad thing about religion is that it sticks it's nose in everything.
Yes, this is absolutely true, they use religion to justify their prejudices and hatred towards women; it's all about power over other people, it's all about making women into second class citizens. Like Mona says, it's a horrible mix of culture and religion.
Egyptian husbands will soon be legally allowed to have sex with their dead wives - for up to six hours after their death. The controversial new law is part of a raft of measures being introduced by the Islamist-dominated parliament. It will also see the minimum age of marriage lowered to 14 and the ridding of women's rights of getting education and employment. Egypt's National Council for Women is campaigning against the changes, saying that 'marginalising and undermining the status of women would negatively affect the country's human development'.
One wonders: what part of Islam requires fucking your dead wife? Or is that what so much of modern fundamentalism is: a sick, new, totally invented justification for the control of others' lives and bodies and dignity?
Yes, i had posted that in my comment above. It's the craziest thing I've ever heard!!!! Some very sick people are trying to use religion to cover their perversions.
It turns out this was all bullcrap! I feel better. It was TOO sick to be true:
Late last week a strange story emerged alleging that Egypt's parliament was considering a 'Farewell Intercourse Law' to make it legal for Egyptian husbands to have sex with their dead wives for up to six hours after death. Why six hours? I assume to make sure the tender last moments are wrapped up before rigor mortis fully sets in. Though according to Wikipedia, rigor mortis begins after 3 to 4 hours, so that might be a bit awkward.
Naturally a lot of news orgs ran the story without bothering to do any kind of fact-checking. Then they had to backpedal after it became apparent there wasn't any kind of truth to the report.
TheAmericanMuslim.org tried to find the source of the story and traced it to a fringe Moroccan sheikh, Zamzami Abdelbari, who suggested (a while ago) that Islam might allow the practice. This recently inspired an Egyptian talk-show host to mention the idea. Then a pro-Mubarak columnist forAl-Ahram picked up on it, claiming it was an actual law that was being considered by the Islamist parliament. This provoked a TV commentary on the channel ON TV, which was then reported by the English website of Al-Arabiya. And this, finally, brought it to the attention of English-language news orgs that promptly ran the story. The whole thing was like an extended game of telephone.