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Islam, Women and Feminism ( 30 Nov 2021, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Islamic Countries Have Done Little to Eliminate Violence against Women despite Quran's Clear Commands

Honour Killing, Rape, Torture And Exploitation Of Women Are Rampant In Muslim Societies

Main Points:

1.    Islam ended the practice of killing the girl child at birth or soon after, i.e., female infanticide.

2.    Islam is very particular about treatment of girl children and orphans.

3.    Islam discouraged slavery but women are still treated like slaves in Muslim societies.

4.    Mukhtaran Mai of Pakistan and Sharbat Gula of Afghanistan are living examples of the plight of women in Muslim societies.

5.    Turkey withdrew from Istanbul Convention this year causing a setback to women’s rights.


New Age Islam Staff Writer

30 November 2021

(File Photo)


On the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against women on 25th November, huge protests were held in many European and African cities like Mexico, Madrid, Paris, London and Barcelona. Protests were also held in countries like Turkey, Uruguay, Chille, Venezuela, Bolivia and Guatemala. Thousands of people protested against violence against women. Ironically, most of the protests were held in western countries that boast of giving women freedom, legal and social protection and equal rights. According to reports, at least ten women are killed in Mexico every day.  The placards of protestors said, “They don’t die, they are killed.” According to a regional commission in Latin America, at least 4091 women died of violence against them in 2020. There were no such reports of protests in Muslim countries on that day except in Turkey. The reason is that In Muslim countries, violence against women is seen as normal. In Muslim societies, violence against women is committed in the name of protecting the honour of the family. Honour killing is not only practiced in Pakistan but also in the Arab and African Muslim societies as well. Other forms of violence against women are rape, dowry torture, sexual exploitation etc.

The protests held over the Western world are a grim reminder of the fact that women are not safe even in the most educated and civilized society. Though women in the European countries enjoy greater freedom, they are not totally free of violence. At least, in western countries, people came out in protest against violence against women. In Muslim countries, the day passed off as usual because violence against women is not seen as a serious problem here. Mukhtaran Mai and other women of Pakistan are living examples of suppression of women’s rights in a feudal society. Sharbat Gula of Afghanistan is another reminder of the plight of women in the Muslim society. During the civil war in the aftermath of the emergence of the ISIS in Syria and Iraq, Muslim women were the most affected by violence. They were killed, raped, abducted, enslaved and sold like commodities.  In the government under the Taliban, women in Afghanistan have become prisoners who cannot enjoy social freedom, cannot go out to work or study or to participate in sports. A woman was shot in cold blood by Taliban in Afghanistan for not wearing veil.

(File Photo)


Violence against women was discouraged by Islam in an organized manner. The Quran prohibited killing the girl child and discouraged slavery and developed a social mechanism for the rehabilitation of slave women and men and their assimilation in the mainstream of the society. 

The Quran also had the provision that if a women feared violence from her husband she could enter into some peace agreement. The Quran also said that the husband and wife were the clothing of each other. This suggested to the equality granted by the Quran to women in family matters.

But the Muslim society did not work towards the emancipation of women in an organized manner. Women still face torture, exploitation and violence in many Muslim countries.

Since the Islamic countries did not make outstanding contribution towards the emancipation of women, the modern world bodies like the UN had to take steps in that direction. On the 25th November the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution for the End of Violence against women. The day was chosen because on that day in 1960, Mirabai sisters were brutally killed by the Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo for having fought for their rights.

(File Photo)


This year Pan-American Health Organisation (PAHO) has called for a 16 day activism against violence aginst women and has advocated elimination of violence in every sector of life. Statistics show that the incidents of violence have grown during the pandemic as people went through economic stress. This led to the rise in the cases of domestic violence.

Unfortunately, Turkey withdrew from the historic Istanbul Convention that was signed in Istanbul in May 2011. The aim of the Convention was to end the violence against women. But in March 2021, Turkey withdrew from the convention under pressure from the religious section that supported honour killing. Turkey’s withdrawal caused a setback to the women’s emancipation and was criticized by the opposition parties.

(File Photo)


Though Islam has emphasized a society free of violence and exploitation of women, advocated equal rights for women in the field of education, economics, science and bureaucracy, Islamic society still deprives women of their fare share of society and support overtly or covertly practices that lead to violence and suppression of their rights granted by the Quran and Hadith.


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