Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Islam’s Saints

I Could Scream: Examining the plight of women under Islam
The Christian convert in Afghanistan who faced execution in Afghanistan has been let go, at least for the moment. Because Afghanistan’s President is anxious to join the modern world, which has a secular rule of law, he was able to bring pressure to bear on the Sharia Court to let the religious prisoner go. And because he wants to bring his country into the 21st century, Karzai was open to the urging of world leaders who called him to intervene in this case.

Things will not go so well for the Sharia-shackled prisoners in Iran. The government there is deaf to any pleading, and in fact, is planning its executions in secret so as to fly under the radar of humanitarian groups who might seek to interfere. Here are two current cases:

The first is an 17 year old young woman named Nazanin who was out walking with her niece and their respective boyfriends in March, 2005. The two girls were set upon by three men. When the men began stoning the girls, the boys ran away. Injured from the stones, the girls were dragged to the ground and Act II, the rape, began. Nazanin managed to get out a knife she carried to protect herself from attacks. She stabbed her rapist in the chest and he died from the wound. So, of course, Nazanin now faces execution for this act of self-defense. She was sentenced in January, 2006, though the date of execution isn’t certain.

The second case is an older woman, Fatemeh Haghighat-Pajooh, who murdered her “temporary husband” for his attempted rape of her daughter. The whole sick idea of “temporary marriage” is Sharia-speak for permitting adultery and prostitution, which would otherwise be punishable by execution. “Temporary marriages” can be of any duration — from a quick assignation at lunch — to many years’ duration. You can be married to one woman and still contract with another for a muta. This is largely a Shi’ite permutation, though Sunnis have been known to use it when convenient. Needless to say, built in to this corruption is a lack of protection for the “wife” of these arrangements:

Haghighat-Pajooh was originally scheduled for execution in 2002, however due to international pressure the execution was stayed. Once again however, the Islamic Republic of Iran’s high tribunal has reinstated the ruling and has every intention of seeing the execution through.

Her execution, is reportedly scheduled to take place by or before April 1st, which is the last day of the Persian New Year.

According to various received reports, the Islamic regime is planning to execute her quietly so that any pressure from the international human rights groups can be foiled. The Islamic regime, fearing any further protests and challenges by Iranian women, plans to use Haghighat-Pajooh's case in order to strike more fear and intimidation in the hearts of Iranian women.

Sharia LawRemember those ugly public executions, devised to be as painful and slow as possible and to show the world Iran’s idea of law? The executions will remain the same, except now they will be done in secret and announced after the fact. Everyone understands now what Iran is, and besides, this secrecy will indeed serve to intimidate Iranian women.

Do you think any world leaders will personally contact Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to attempt to make a case for mercy? It would be like spitting into the wind.

Until Islam changes fundamentally its deep principles about the inferiority of women and non-Muslims, it will remain a backward and eventually doomed culture.

I have an idea, though, that might have some impact: each Muslim woman who is killed just because she is a woman ought to be canonized by the Western Christian church.

How does St. Nazanin sound?

4 comments:

a4g said...

That many of the women of Islam live in a wasteland of unredemptive sorrow has been convincingly (if under-) documented.

But so too these men, who can never know love because their Allah has given them nothing worthy of loving (and especially not He Himself, Allah the Eternally Offended Teenager).

The emptiness could make one want to explode.

Jauhara said...

I think this is a brilliant idea. It is time the church got back into the world to save lives and to point out the evils in our midst.

Rev. Huatou said...

Alas, to the Muslim mind, the Christian canonization of a Muslim woman murdered under Islamic law would only serve to reinforce their idea of justice and their belief that the West is evil and at war with Islam. Maybe it would help to wake up the West, however.

The only answer, I think, is in the very, very l-o-n-g term: foster education for women and men, and somehow strive to create a truly free press in the Muslim world. Only when the Islamic world is free to look outside its own state- and religiously-enforced viewpoint and truly debate the merits of Islam within that religious community will there be any possibility of "reform." And I really mean reform in a sense similar to Jewish halakha, in which the letter of the law (in our case, the Torah) is able to be reexamined and supplemented to fit the needs of a changing society. E.g, the Torah commands the death penalty, but Jewish law (halakha) introduced rules of evidence and procedure that led to the near-impossibility of a judge handing out an actual death sentence. I used to think that sharia law had a similar outlook, but apparently this is not the case. I will add, however, that a Muslim woman who once was a guest in my home, did point out that the general lack of education in the Islamic world often means that local judges (qadi) are poorly-trained, and hence, there are many unjust punishments meted out.
I think it's a long, long way to a better future for Muslim women in general.

Wanda said...

I think the time is right for a new religious order, devoted to the protection and hiding of converts from Islam to Christianity. Women especially need it, and it could be extended to protect all women persecuted by Islam. But a male order is needed for men like Rahman who convert, too. The Jesuits are finished; the decent men still in the order should be encouraged to form a new order - a fighting order, like the Jesuits used to be, willing to combat this profound evil.