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‘Stop brutality against women’ ‘Many defy religious tenets’

The recent death of a pregnant 25 years old Pakistani woman Farzana Parveen who was publicly beaten to death with bricks by members of her family, and the case of the Sudani woman Meriam Yehya Ibrahim Ishag, sentenced to flogging and death by hanging because she married a Christian man are appalling.

What is terrible about these cases of brutality against women is not just their evil nature, but they might represent the tip of an iceberg of an evil subculture which prosecutes women for being females in some predominantly patriarchal Muslim societies.

Moreover, what is horrendous and vicious about the two incidents of brutality against women is that they happened in Muslim countries, in cultures which supposedly pride themselves for being tolerant toward women! Indeed, the Holy Qur’an is tolerant about women, many Muslims are not.

The Holy Qur’an prescribes an equal and a humane treatment of women, whether Muslims or non-Muslims. For instance in chapter 9:71 of the Qur’an God informs Muslims: “The believing men and believing women are allies of one another.

They enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong and establish prayer and give Zakah and obey Allah and His Messenger. Those - Allah will have mercy upon them. Indeed, Allah is Exalted in Might and Wise.” Men in Islam are supposed to treat women as their equals and all females should enjoy similar privileges like males. Among these Islamic privileges is for all women to be treated as equals and natural allies to men.

A case in point, if a woman asks for a divorce from her husband she should be granted her wish in addition to receiving material or financial compensation. One reads in the Qur’an: “for divorced women is a provision according to what is acceptable - a duty upon the righteous” (2:241).

Furthermore, a divorced woman has certain rights which are “due to the wives is similar to what is expected of them, according to what is reasonable” (2:228). Authentic and true Islam grants rights to women, yet few Muslim men do not acknowledge these rights.

The true message of Islam about women’s privileged position in society gets distorted by tribal, regional and cultural biases against women. For example, and according to the Holy Qur’an, men and women are genetically equals.

For instance, God explains in the Holy book: “O mankind, fear your Lord, who created you from one soul and created from it its mate and dispersed from both of them many men and women. And fear Allah, through whom you ask one another, and the wombs.

Indeed Allah is ever, over you, an Observer” (4:1). One can go on listing numerous instances in which the Qur’an requires men to treat women as equal human beings; not to oppress them; to guarantee their basic human rights; however, women’s situation in many contemporary Islamic societies is less than satisfying, if not terrible.

How is it possible for a culture which claims an Islamic “humane” identity to stone a woman to death with bricks simply because she married the man she loves? How can a people who respect themselves as Muslims flog a woman who was raised since childhood as an Orthodox Christian? Rational and sane Muslims do realize that the world is watching us as some of our “Islamic” societies seem to descend into unprecedented brutality and moral chaos.

Follow me on Twitter @khaledaljenfawi

By: Khaled Aljenfawi

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