IN HIS statement about women last week, Turkish religious cleric Nourdeen Yildiz said, “It is possible for a six-year-old girl to get married.” He recommended that women should thank their Lord because they get beaten by their spouses.
This statement got fierce responses from the Turkish society, culminating in the response of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at a ceremony marking the International Women’s Day.
President Erdogan stated that “the religious cleric issued statements and ‘fatwa’ concerning women which have no place in our religion (Islam).” He pointed out such clerics “are not living in our era. In fact, they are living in another world.”
He added, “They are incapable, up to the point of being oblivious to the fact that Islam must be updated as it is impossible to implement Islam with laws issued 14 or 15 centuries ago. Implementation of Islam varies, based on the place and time. This is the beauty and greatness of Islam.”
We hail Turkish President Erdogan for issuing the audacious statement despite being affiliated with a movement close to the Muslim Brotherhood Group in terms of ideology.
However, when it comes to a person ruling a diverse nation in terms of beliefs, behaviors, cultures and ethnicity; such person needs to think and behave in a ‘high-class’ manner by accommodating everyone without imposing personal beliefs on anyone.
We hope some of our leaders, especially those in our well-advised government, will comprehend this lesson. They should not be startled by the childish screams of fanatic extremists in our community whenever they issue orders which make them scream emptily about everything.
On March 8, the entire world celebrated equality between men and women. Equality here means equal civil duties and rights, not ‘Sharia’ obligations with definitive texts.
The government announced its participation in symbolic ceremonies marking the International Women’s Day at the Kuwait Stock Exchange building and Martyrs Garden.
A few members of the Parliament shouted in the face of the government, making us hold our breath out of respect for government and fear of its usual submissiveness.
Unfortunately, our fear came through. The government succumbed to the threats, so its officials missed the celebration held in the Martyrs Garden. Photos published in local newspapers showed that the seat of the government was empty.
With regard to the Kuwait Stock Exchange celebration, the theme changed from “Gender Equality” to “Empowerment”.
This means more wastage of authority and reverence. We expect that, whether in occasions or not, the screams of these people in the face of the government will intensify for them to bag more points from their fanatic extremist factions and supporters.
These factions have been muffled in modern and brotherly countries, except the State of Kuwait and its well-guided government which continues to bend until it breaks due to screams of those empty vessels.
The government failed to respond to the extremist forces in an ‘Erdoganic’ manner, because it made us get used to its attitude over and over again.
By Ali Ahmed Al-Baghli
Former Minister of Oil