Sunday, July 17, 2011

"Red-faced Men" torment women protesters in Afghanistan

It was a small protest as protests go, but the message was loud and clear: stop sexually harassing women on the streets.  30 women held signs and shouted slogans, demanding the streets also belong to them and to stop insulting, groping and touching women as they go about their business. 

Wait a minute, doesn't Islam tell us that women are respected, treated fairly and honorably and are the cornerstone of the Muslim family?  The leaders of Islam, at least those the West thinks are "moderate" re-enforce the mantra that they love women, they would never do anything to harm them or demean them and that Allah holds women in the highest esteem.  Somehow their words ring hollow and their insistence that they really, really believe women are equal in Muslim society turns out to be a lie.

If this was not a blatant lie, based in the concept of taqiyya then why would these women go and put themselves in danger? 

From NBC July 14 by Sebastian Rich

Afghan women rally, turning men red-faced with anger

KABUL – In any other country, the sight of a group of women holding colorful placards, marching and protesting is commonplace.

But not in Afghanistan.

In fact, a women’s protest on the streets of Kabul on Thursday was the first of its kind.

On a hot, muggy day, about 30 women of all ages mustered up the courage to speak up against the age-old indignity of sexual harassment by men.

With banners that read "This street also belongs to me" and "We won't stand insults anymore,” they marched with a confident stride from Kabul University to the Afghan Human Rights Institute.

Women in Afghanistan face intimidation and sexual assault on a daily basis. In the most extreme cases, schoolgirls have been terrorized by men throwing acid at them as they walked to school.

The United Nations Population Fund in Afghanistan (UNFPA) says that about 31 percent of Afghan women suffer physical violence and another 30 percent suffer from psychological trauma.

But it is unheard of for a woman to respond back to her tormenter on the streets of Kabul. Public harassment is so pervasive in Afghan society that women are used to it.

“As a woman that lives in Kabul, when I go every day, or when my mom or my sisters go out every day, we face sexual harassment at all different levels, from hearing bad things to being touched, to being pushed, to being stalked and followed,” Shaharzad Akbar, one of the protestors told NBC News. “No one has paid attention to this issue. We know this is a small step and we know not everyone will change their attitude – probably no one will – but at least discussing it as an issue rather than something that’s normal, something that’s OK if it happens, this is the idea of this walk today.”

As they marched, the women gently and politely handed out leaflets to bewildered men and women. Many of the men read them and then threw the pamphlets with disdain into Kabul’s already clogged gutters.

I watched with a smile as one woman, whose husband was standing next to a nearby fruit stall, read the leaflet she was handed. Furtively, she folded the paper and hid it up her sleeve. She caught my eye, blushed profusely and was seemingly riddled with guilt. I smiled and pressed my forefinger to my lips in an act of mutual and friendly conspiracy.

She was probably remembering sura 4 verse 34 which gives her husband the right to beat her if she does anything seen as dishonoring the family.

During the Taliban’s rule, women were forbidden to work or even leave their home without a male escort. Seeking medical help from a male doctor was also forbidden.

Still, today in Afghanistan, a staggering 87 percent of Afghan women are illiterate and the average life expectancy for women is just 44 years, according to the CIA World Factbook.

Read it all

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