LAST Monday, writing an article in The Times, British Prime Minister David Cameron stressed on the need for British Muslim women to come out of social isolation, the need to teach them the English language and address the issue of discrimination against them.
Speaking to a group of Muslim women during his visit to the Makkah mosque in the city of Leeds, Cameron linked the isolation of mothers from society, liberalism and their siblings to radical speech.
In the article Cameron said it is high time now to encounter the backward practices of a few Muslims. He said he would not avoid telling the ‘hard truths’ required to confront the minority of Muslim men whose ‘backward attitudes’ have led them to exert ‘damaging control’ over women in their families — their wives, sisters and daughters.
However, Cameron did not link extremism to conservative religious practices because — as he thinks — it is a big humiliation to peace-loving religious individuals and may contribute to luring young people towards radicalism.
In a bold step, Cameron speaking on a local broadcasting station called on women to give up wearing niqab in schools, courts and at borders — a brave call which needs to be heard by officials in our countries.
In order to encounter challenges, Cameron has drawn a new tendency to the ‘British Muslim women by announcing £20m to teach English to Muslim women who are in the greatest danger of isolation.
We call upon our government to contemplate the words of Cameron and consider them as a model for dealing with those who promote radical attitudes.
We also call on radical and extremist forces to stop their degraded outlook by treating women as just a body — a means for lust and sexual pleasure.
This we hear and see in their practices and everyday ‘sermons’, particularly the elder thinkers one of whom has recently issued a fatwa according to which a husband has the right to eat body parts of his wife to escape starvation.
These disgusting fatwas come from those who are looked upon by others as religious scholars and experts in Sharia and jurisprudence, which is untrue.
All their fatwas call for takfir, [takfir is derived from the word kafir (unbeliever), and is described as when ‘one who is, or claims to be, a Muslim is declared impure’], intolerance, murder, destruction and backwardness, and connects the honor of a man and his family with the body of the woman, irrespective whether she is his wife, sister or mother.
The belief in these ideas inevitably leads to social isolation and radicalism.
Why some of us who are decision-makers and those who can issue brave fatwas not adopt the ideas put forward by David Cameron of Britain about women?
It is ridiculous to think that some of us look at England as a country of unbelievers. Are our Muslim countries fully developed or advanced? We have always been shouting slogans to portray woman as the ‘better half of society’. Do we apply that in reality?
By Ali Ahmed Al-Baghli
Former Minister of Oil