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Islam, Women and Feminism ( 15 Oct 2017, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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How the Teachings of Islam Could Help Us Prevent More Sexual Abuse Scandals

By Qasim Rashid

15 October 2017

Harvey Weinstein is just another case of a powerful man abusing women because we live in a society that lets him get away with it, but we can change that

If the Harvey Weinstein sexual abuse revelations shocked you, then you’re dangerously ignorant to reality. According to RAINN, an American is assaulted every 98 seconds, one out of every six women will deal with rape or attempted rape in her lifetime, and 90 per cent of rape victims are women.

I’m a Muslim, and a civil rights lawyer with a special interest in advocating for women’s rights. My advocacy is informed not just by the law, but by strategies detailed in Islamic teachings and Prophet Muhammad’s example to pre-empt sexual abuse. Yes, the cancer of sexual abuse against women that we see in Christian majority America is just as prevalent in Muslim majority Pakistan, but also in Hindu majority India and state atheist China. This proves that men worldwide are failing in our responsibility to end sexual abuse and gender based violence.

Let’s start by understanding two facts. First, a woman’s attire, alcohol intake, marital status, and education level do not contribute to sexual abuse – abusive men do. Second, sexual abuse doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Every level of society – social norms, media, and Government – is complicit in promoting the rape culture that perpetuates sexual abuse.

Social norms demonise a woman for speaking out, victim-blaming her by asking what she was wearing, whether she gave signals inviting abuse, or asking why she didn’t speak up sooner.

The media also advances rape culture by disregarding women and their voices. Why didn’t the allegations against Weinstein gain clout when Rose McGowan screamed them from the top of her lungs years ago? Why has society advanced people like Harvey Weinstein, Roger Aisles, Bill Cosby, Bill O’Reilly, and even our Commander in Chief to the pinnacle of success, despite the decade’s long testimony of sexual abuse and rape from dozens of women?

How can we rely on government when 97 per cent of rapists never see a day in prison, judges punish rape of an unconscious college woman with a measly three months in jail, award rapists with equal custody of the child born from a woman they raped, and the US Department of Education rolls back rules that protect women in college from sexual assault?

The fact is that states are not moral actors – people are. But when people let bad behaviour go unchallenged we inch closer to societal anarchy. In truth, any expectation that we can simply pass a law to stop sexual abuse is foolish.

Despite laws in France that criminalise sexual harassment, an astounding 100 per cent of French Parisian women on public transit report sexual harassment. France’s proposed response is legislation to ban cat-calling. Such legislation, if passed, will also fail because state laws only punish the actor once the act is completed, they don’t prevent the act in the first place. This scenario plays out repeatedly worldwide, whether we’re discussing “revenge porn”, gender based violence, or sexual harassment in the workplace.

This is where Islamic teachings and Prophet Muhammad’s example provide a solution that no state truly can. And while there are people who don’t believe that sexual abuse is even a problem, some on the left will disagree that accountability to a higher power is a solution.




Total Comments (4)

  • 4 .
    The fight against sexual abuse necessarily entails more respect for women as equals with the same rights and freedoms as men. Hence patriarchal religions may not have much to contribute in this fight except in the sense of the general requirement that we must be righteous.

    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin 18/10/2017 11:13:28
  • 3 .
    Its may be true that Muslim may not need to sexually assault.
    I have witnessed lots of my Muslim friends that Muslim girls are reach to puberty they are first prey of their cousins.
    Why than they need other women's when they spoil their cousins in the name of freedom in Islam to take cousins as wife.
    Let me clear it not just limited to non-covered girls, even to covers girls as well.
    If Muslims clean their own dirt in their own house this showing dirt in other society it will be better.
    By Aayina 17/10/2017 21:34:36
  • 2 .
    a shameless member os the most persecuted sect in islam revels in his stockholm syndrome and crows about it. he never wonders why islam hates the ahmadis, if it teaches universal love.

    on the other hand he insinuates that somehow christian teaching encourages sexual harassment while islam does not.

    he turns a blind eye to sanctioned sex slavery, idribihunna, right hand posession, men are a degree above women and other islamic gems.

    good for him that he has probably not heard of taharrush - that eminently islamic practice so well perfected in the land of al azhar.
    By hats off! 17/10/2017 17:59:33
  • 1 .
    the rag that goes by the name of "the independent" is now owned by a saudi arabian.

    one saudi barbarian acquired majority stakes (some say 50%) in the stock of the dependent.

    i never believed this before. but now i have proof.
    By hats off! 17/10/2017 01:37:32