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daily archive: 10/01/2004
zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
Special Prayers
In a surprising move across the Muslim world a judge ordered Muslim men to start appreciating their women and not treat them like property. Six men who were accused of beating their wives were ordered to perform special prayers five times a day.

(Hat tip: KianB)
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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
Scared Enough to Obey
I can think of several adjectives to describe this story but amusing is not one of them. The reality that many women endure in Islamic societies is not amusing at all.
On September 22, 2004 a sad report came out of Iran and was spread through the Internet that ironically many found amusing. It was about an Iranian woman, beaten every day by her husband, who asked a court to tell him to beat her only once a week.

The Aftab-e-Yazd daily reported that Maryam, the middle-aged woman, said she did not want to divorce her husband because she loved him. "Just tell him to beat me once a week ... Beating is part of his nature and he cannot stop it," Maryam told the court. When the court prohibited the husband from beating the wife, he protested: "If I do not beat her, she will not be scared enough to obey me."

In this comic/tragic drama lie two very sad realities that affect all Muslim women irrespective of their nationalities. The first is that Muslim women are raised to accept abuse as normal. Since childhood they are treated differently. In Islamic countries boys are preferred to girls. Girls are the source of disappointment to their fathers and an embarrassment to their mothers. If a woman gives birth to a boy she is lauded but if the child is a girl, she is snubbed. Little girls learn from infancy on that they are unwanted. At the table their brothers eat first and take the lion’s share. In poorer families, the female members cook and serve the males, then wait until these have had their fill. Thereafter the women scavenge the leftovers.

Boys get the first opportunity to go to school and get ahead in life. Girls are often denied this chance for there seems to be no need for them to become educated, since here are few work opportunities for women in Islamic societies. All to which a girl can aspire is to get married to a man who will take care of her. She inherits half of what her brothers inherit and has fewer rights. The rationale is that she would not need it because it is up to her husband to maintain her.

Daughters are liabilities to their families and they are “given away? in marriage as soon as possible. That could be as young as 9 years of age. All this conditioning happens with the blessing of “the best and the most perfect religion? of Islam. After all it was Muhammad who said women are “deficient in intelligence?. It was he who said men have a “degree of advantage over women?. It was he who said women who disobey their husband “should be beaten?. If Islam is the most perfect religion, then how can one dispute its teachings?

Thus Muslim women grow up knowing only one reality and that is they are inferior to men and must please them if they want to survive. The brainwashing is so complete that many Muslim women actually fight to preserve their lower status. Many of them insist on wearing veil and pride themselves in their servitude and lesser status.
Woman wants to be beaten only once a week
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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
According to Newsweek, if a Muslim cleric condemns the 9/11 attacks, he's a moderate. In an article that whitewashes the spread of Islamism and instead focuses on the low popularity of the U.S. in the Arab world and the "resistance fighters the Bush administration has presented as indistinguishable from the terrorists of Al Qaeda" - never mind that they blow up cars and kill Iraqi children, it takes the Bush administration to call them terrorists - they present a "moderate" Muslim cleric who supports suicide bombers.

Preaching Violence

The popular cleric called resistance to the United States “a religious duty.? He also sanctioned attacks on Iraqi civilians who commit “the crime? of assisting “the enemy,? and urged Muslims around the world to refuse to work for any companies that serve “the occupier.?

“If a Muslim land is occupied, then its people should fight the occupier,? Qaradawi continued. “Others should also help them with funds and weapons, in spirit through prayers and in any way possible.?


In a speech before the Egyptian Press Club in Cairo on Aug. 31, Qaradawi was reported in a number of press accounts to have sanctioned the murder of American civilians in Iraq. But in a subsequent interview reported on the Al-Jazeera Web site, he insisted that his words were taken out of context and that he was not calling for attacks on civilians. In his comments on Al-Jazeera last week, Qaradawi also appeared to condemn kidnapping of civilians in Iraq, saying that “resistance, as defined by Islam … is not without controls.?

But Qaradawi has not always been so careful in the past—at least when it comes to Israel. He has often sanctioned the use of suicide bombing as a legitimate tactic for Palestinians to use against Israel—a major reason a recent visit by Qaradawi to London (where he was formally greeted by the city’s mayor) drew strong protests from Britain's Jewish community.

Qaradawi’s connections with the Muslim Brotherhood have also put him on the radar of U.S. intelligence and law-enforcement officials. The Brotherhood is a secretive international movement founded in Egypt in the 1920s that, in the past, has been dedicated to overthrowing Arab governments throughout the Middle East. In fact, Qaradawi left his native Egypt years ago when the country was engaged in one of its periodic violent crackdowns against the Brotherhood.

Qaradawi’s name has surfaced in investigations into alleged international terrorist finance networks. Documents obtained by NEWSWEEK, for example, show that Qaradawi was an early and significant shareholder in Al-Taqwa, a financial network based in Switzerland and the Bahamas whose assets were frozen by the Bush administration because of alleged ties to terrorism.

Authors' Note: After this column was posted, a number of readers challenged an editing change that characterized Sheik Qaradawi as a "moderate," pointing out that he has long endorsed suicide bombings as a legitimate tactic against Israeli civilians. In light of that and other public comments attributed to him over the years, we agree that "moderate" was an inappropriate word to describe Qaradawi's views—his condemnation of the September 11 attacks notwithstanding.
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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
Islamist Movement in Iraq
MEMRI has an excelent article about Islamist pressures in Iraq
For most of the twentieth century Iraq was ruled by secular governments. This is understandable, considering Iraq's diverse religious, tribal, and ethnic composition. Saddam Hussein, in keeping with the secular pan-Arabism of his ruling Ba'th Party, had maintained the secular nature of his regime until the year 2000, when he launched his "faith campaign," reflected in the construction of mosques and the prefacing of his speeches with verses from the Koran. [1] However, there is every reason to believe that Saddam's newfound religiosity was not deeply rooted, but was rather instrumental in nature.

The Rise of Islamist Movements

With the removal of Saddam's regime in April 2003, an unprecedented measure of freedom was introduced into the country. Indeed, perhaps never in the course of an ongoing military conflict have so many freedoms - whether freedom of the press, freedom of association and political organization, or freedom of trade - been introduced. Seizing upon these freedoms, Islamist movements have arisen in various parts of the country, particularly among the Shi'ite majority in the south and some elements of the Sunni majority in the so-called "Sunni triangle," in the north-northwest of Iraq. For the Shi'ites, the demise of Saddam brought an end to oppression and an opportunity to gain political power denied them since the days of the Ottoman Empire. For the Sunni Arabs, the fall of the Ba'th regime has meant the loss of what had been near-total political power and has inflamed a desire to regain that power by any means. The Kurds (most of whom are Sunnis but who are not Arabs) have been able to isolate themselves from Islamist pressures.


The Veiling of Women

As early as the 1940s and 1950s, this author observed young women walking to their high school in the largely Shi'ite city of Basra without a veil. At most, women wore a black cloak as a sign of modesty. A well-known Arab writer has told the author that on visiting Baghdad in the 1980s she noticed the disappearance of the veil among Iraqi women. "It was uncommon," she said, "to see a student, an employee, or a housewife veiled."

These days, an unveiled woman on the streets of most Iraqi cities runs the risk of being harassed, if not worse. One unveiled student at the University of Basra, who is not Muslim, had her clothes torn off in public. [14] Any contact between male and female students is now taboo. Today, even young girls must go to school veiled. In Al-Sadr City religious vigilantes have not hesitated from hitting women with sticks if they appeared in public in immodest dress. [15]

The veiling of women is only one aspect of what an observer described as "the culture of religious prohibitions" ( thaqafat al-tahreem ). [16] Armed youth pounce on any manifestation they deem contrary to Shari'a. Examples abound. Stores that sell music that is deemed secular are first warned that they must sell the chanting of the Koran and religious sermons instead. Failure to comply results in the stores' being forcibly closed, or even burned down. Calling from the pulpits during their Friday sermons, many preachers restrict people from reading liberal newspapers, and they threaten to blow up restaurants that serve alcohol or allow the mixing of the sexes. At the universities, female students are forced to wear a veil, and those who do not risk being harassed or even assaulted. In government offices run by ministers from religious parties, female employees are required to adhere to the official veil or lose their jobs. Men are required to grow beards.
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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
Killing Children
Iraqis seethe after Baghdad car bombs kill 34 children
The wails echoed off the tile surfaces of the emergency room at Yarmouk Hospital. Amid the blood and stretchers, Majeed Aboud turned his tear-stained face to the body of his son, Mohammad, 5, one of at least 34 children killed Thursday when a car bomb exploded as they gathered around U.S. soldiers handing out candy and cakes in a southern Baghdad neighborhood.

The child's thin body was covered by a sheet. The sheet was covered with blood.

"My boy was playing around with other kids when the first car bomb exploded," Aboud said when he recovered the power of speech. "I brought him here, but they could do nothing for him."

"Why? Why?" a mother asked as a doctor bent over the bloodied chest of Russul Abbas, whose entire front was perforated by bits of metal smaller than dimes. "Why does this have to happen to my 8-year-old kid?"

In a month when more than 40 car bombs were detonated in Iraq, Thursday's attack stood out from the rest. At least 41 people were killed in the wide, hot street of the working-class neighborhood of al-Amel. But it was the young victims — by far the most children killed in one incident since the invasion 17 months ago — who galvanized the capital.

Most had gathered around U.S. soldiers after a ribbon-cutting ceremony at a new sewage treatment plant, an event designed to show that not all the news in Iraq is bad. The soldiers were passing out sweets to the children.

An officer of the Iraqi National Guard, which was responsible for securing the area, said a Nissan pickup parked near the plant apparently was detonated by remote control. A half-hour later, as parents carried away the wounded and ambulances pushed through the throngs who rushed to help, a gray Daewoo sedan nudged into the crowd and exploded.

There are no words.

(Hat tip: Jim Russell)
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