On air: Do Muslims treat women badly?

This is an issue that has come up many times during WHYS discussions but we’ve never looked at it head-on. Here are some examples of articles, events and discussions on the topic.

What’s your view? Are women treated fairly by Muslims? Is it possible to generalise or do we need to look at specific countries, or specific interpretations of Islam? Is there a danger that some critics are judging Islam and Muslims by Western or Christian values, and fundamentally misunderstand the way Muslims want to live?

1. Human Rights Watch says Saudi women are ‘kept in childhood’.

2. A draft law in Afghanistan will ban men and women from socialising if passed. In January, an Afghan journalist was sentenced to death for downloading an article from the Internet that questioned women’s roles in Islam. Here’s a quote from one Afghan parliamentarian – “We have the same ideas as the Taliban. We want sharia law in our country. Women must ask permission from their husbands before they leave the home, and they must not wear clothes that are against Islam.” The Christian Science Monitor brought this to our attention.

3. Concerns remain about violence towards women in Pakistan. This is a report from last year.

4. Many many bloggers are discussing this issue. Take your pick.

5. Here’s one article arguing that it’s patriarchal societies as much as Islam that causes problem.

6. This is from 2006, but evidence that in Trinidad the treatment of Muslim women is also being considered.

7. Islam teaches respect for women
That’s what you’ll hear if you go to see the United Methodist Student Movement Ministry Team in America which is giving a series of talks about women in the Muslim culture. “If you ask me if there is any feminism in the Muslim world I say … it is in the Muslim world,” argues on speaker.

8. And I could go on. Type ‘Islam’ and ‘women’ in to Google and you can read all night and day.

199 Responses to “On air: Do Muslims treat women badly?”

  1. 1 thenooseinawindowpane
    April 21, 2008 at 14:29

    I am an atheist, polemicist and religious scholar. I specifically focus on Islam and Christianity. I grew up in a Muslim household and have studied it just as long. I am also an active feminist, promoting the values of women who are undermined simply for their gender. When all these combine within this context, I must agree that it appears to be Islam.

    Islam means “submission” and men take this further inciting women to be as such for them. Wahhabism, which is the strictly orthodox view of Islam, has women in burkas and whatnot. This is nowhere specified in the Quran or by Muhammad. Muhammad was arguably one of the first feminists, promoting equality amongst the sexes as much as his society allowed. The fact that he was supported by his powerful wife, Khadija, herself a self-made business woman only promoted his outlook as such. However, men with narrow minds have taken this further and claim through the hadith that they are justified. The hadith itself is always questionable, even more so than the absolute claims of the Bible. I do think that Islam at the very least promotes this view and way of thinking. Even in our moderate society, here in South Africa, women and men are separated in mosques and eat in different areas. Why? There is no reason for this!

    So, at the very least it promotes it – much the same way that religion will taint any form of violence or oppression and give it ample room for greater destruction. When you have God on your side, everything is justified. This is the complete opposite of Dostoevsky’s notion of “without God, everything is permitted” (well not Dostoevsky himself, but the character Smerdykov).

  2. 2 VictorK
    April 21, 2008 at 14:43

    This interview with Bill Warner of the Centre for the Study of Political of Islam is a good starting point.


    Gender apartheid and women’s inferior status in Islam aren’t really deabatable points. They are facts.The usual propaganda claims that ‘it’s culture/patriarchy, not Islam that’s to blame,’ are simply attempts to protect Islam’s reputation, even though the status of women is clearly prescribed by the Koran, the Sunnah and the hadith. It wouldn’t be Islam if it didn’t treat women the way it does. The only thing that the various countries in the world have in common where women are treated not merely as inferiors, but as inferiors as a matter of principle and ideology (and that’s the key), is Islam. Of course women are treated badly everywhere in the world; but only under Islam are misogyny and second class status matters of policy.

    Those are the facts. What should they mean to a Westerner? Very little. Muslims have their traditions and we have ours. I believe ours to be superior. But that’s not the point. Muslims are as entitled to their way of life as we are to ours. I deplore the treatment of women in Muslim countries, but it’s not the business of any Western government or organisation to make an issue of it or to try to change it. Western liberals should always recall Iraq and Afghanistan whenever they are moved to embark, uninvited, on another moral crusade to impose good by force on other people. The British army officer recently killed in Afghanistan had said that he believed that his mission was to bring the same freedoms to the women and girls of Afghanistan that his daughters enjoyed. His heroism was misplaced. That’s the responsibility of Afghans – if they they want it – not of highminded foreigners.

    It’s another matter when it comes to Muslims living in the West: freedom of religion (which I don’t think Islam should fully enjoy anyway) does not give them any right to treat women in ways that violate our basic values and traditions. The West should and must crack down on all the Islamic abuses that take place in our own backyard: forced marriages, the burkha/hijab, honour killings, withdrawing girls from secondary education for long periods of time, etc. There we are fully within our rights to attack Islam (let’s not beat about the bush) and its practices mercilessly. But in its own territory, Islam should be left alone to reign supreme, whatever the consequences for Muslims.

  3. 3 steve
    April 21, 2008 at 14:44

    I’m just curious if there were any studies on self esteem of women in the west vs. muslim nations. Something tells me that devout Muslim women have much higher self esteem than western women. Anyone who has ever dated in the west likely realizes this, that women have catastrophically low self esteem and will do pretty much anything to get attention/male approval, regardless of the consequence or cost (dressing like a stripper, being hyper promiscuous, etc, which all just further lowers their self esteem). Not a nice thing to say, but unfortunately I wish it were the exception, not mostly the rule. So I think there are perhaps pros and cons of how each system works. Freedoms with low self esteem and self destructive behavior vs. lack of freedom, but healthy self esteem. People with self esteem tend to be happy.

  4. 4 Ahmad Hammad
    April 21, 2008 at 14:56

    Does Bad Treatment with Women has anything to do with the teachings of Islam, Ros?

    Why can’t we raise the question after reading the issue of Polygamy by the rebels of the Mormon in Texas, that WHY CHRISTIANS THEIR WOMEN SO BADLY???

    Sorry to say, Yours seems to be a half-thought-over question!

    Please re-phrase the question as to why the Arabs and Afghanis treat women Badly….

    The Bad Treatment has NOTHING to do with Religion!
    I’ll write more after a few hours….

  5. 5 Ahmad Hammad
    April 21, 2008 at 14:59

    Does Bad Treatment with Women has anything to do with the teachings of Islam, Ros?

    Why can’t we raise the question after reading the issue of Polygamy by the rebels of the Mormon in Texas, that WHY CHRISTIANS TREAT THEIR WOMEN SO BADLY???

    If this question is unjustified and biased, then your question is unjustified and biased too; just without going into the matter in detail!

    I don’t know why we keep on loving the westerners and the westerners keep on trying to throw mud on our faces.

    This is tragic 😦

    Sorry to say, Yours seems to be a half-thought-over question!

    Please re-phrase the question as to why the Arabs and Afghanis treat women Badly….

    The Bad Treatment has NOTHING to do with Religion!
    I’ll write more after a few hours….

  6. 6 Ahmad Hammad
    April 21, 2008 at 15:01

    Great Steve!

  7. April 21, 2008 at 15:01

    I don’t know why do you keep asking these questions about Islam as is not obvious to you what Islam teachings are. I used to be a Muslim, and I don’t want to be anymore because there is no freedom or democracy in Islam! You cannot change your religion in Islam, you cannot wear what you like to wear, say what you want to say, associate or socialize with the people you like or even listen to the music you like! Does this answer your question!

  8. 8 Ahmad Hammad
    April 21, 2008 at 15:07


    Yours seemed to be a rational and moderate attitude. I liked it. But please ask Ros to either change the topic or re-phrase it as I requested in my previous blog.

  9. 9 Ahmad Hammad
    April 21, 2008 at 15:15

    By the way,
    my answer is NO, the Muslims (if they are truely Muslims, i mean, if they know what the Prophet SAW taught to His followers about the women rights) DON’T treat their women badly. They love them. They take them as the best companions and live quite happily with ONE wife for the whole life…!

    It should never have been happening since loooong if the Muslims treated their women badly!

    Treating badly may involve some cultural elements inside or probably illiteracy and poverty, but NOT the religion at all…

  10. 10 Ahmad Hammad
    April 21, 2008 at 15:17

    Since it’s an interesting topic, though wrongly phrased and seemingly partially biased, I would love to write on it…
    But later!

  11. 11 VictorK
    April 21, 2008 at 15:18

    “Here’s a quote from one Afghan parliamentarian – “We have the same ideas as the Taliban. We want sharia law in our country…etc”. Truly amazing. So, British soldiers are dying fighting the Taliban to enable a government of Taliban clones to implement the programme of the Taliban. The Western governments involved in Afghanistan (and Iraq) are led by seriously delusional men who are more of a danger than any Islamic fundamentalist.

    I first realised that the feminist movement in the West was absolutely worthless and didn’t deserve anybody’s support when I noticed that feminists never – for reasons of political correctness – had anything to say about the real oppression that Muslim women in the West (and out of it) were facing, as opposed to the pretend-oppression that feminists deafen us with complaints about (e.g. Andrea Dworkin’s view that consensual sexual relations could be construed as rape). I wouldn’t be surprised if Western feminists are responsible for the false claim that the oppression of women under Islam is ‘really’ all because of patriarchy and not because of gynophilic Islam. (Ex) muslim women like Hirsi Ali and Wafa Sultan know better. If this subject is discussed on air it would be good to hear from them.

  12. 12 Ros Atkins
    April 21, 2008 at 15:29

    Hi Ahmad. You suggest ‘Does Bad Treatment with Women has anything to do with the teachings of Islam, Ros?’ but then that would end up with a debate about the Koran. What we want to talk about is how people are behaving. Part of that is why they are behaving as they are, but if make the question about ‘the teachings of Islam’ then we’re going to quoting verses at each other for an hour. That’d be fine for a theological programme but not WHYS.

    You also say this has nothing to do with religion. That’s your view and your entitled to it, but it’s not everyone’s. Plenty would argue that the treatment of women by some Muslims is absolutely about their reilgion.

    In asking ‘do Muslims treat women badly?’ I’m not saying that’s the case, just starting a conversation. I hope that makes sense.

  13. April 21, 2008 at 15:30

    Hey Ros and everyone from sunny Los Angeles,

    Every religion is demeaning towards women. Religion is nothing more than a way to control social behavior, particularly sex, to control lineage and, by force, DNA survival. Why else are the most emotionally charged issues about homosexuality, abortion and female sexual freedom? It’s because sex threatens the control that organized religion exerts on every level. Of course women are mistreated as a result. The Methodists who made that statement have absolutely no idea what respect means. Hundreds of years ago, European knights stole the idea of romance from Muslim countries during the Crusades when they saw how women were put on a pedestal. They might be on a pedestal and even worshiped, but they are not allowed to make their own choices or have real power. It’s a substitute or illusory “power.” A charade. Just because a man bends his knee doesn’t mean he’s turning over his will. We have hundreds of years of political history to prove that point.

    And Steve, I’m sorry to say, your comments about “self esteem” need to be drawn out to their logical conclusion. There are many ways to give up one’s power. One can argue that Muslim women are willing to put up with horrible restrictions to get a husband who will control her for the rest of her life. Is that better than a woman who debases herself for sex? They’re both devastating, self-decimating behaviors. I’m certain Muslim cultures look at our female sexual freedom and denounce it as “attention getting” when we’re merely exercising our power. There’s a huge difference. No one controls American women unless we let them. And I’m sure there are many Muslim countries and cultures who would rather kill all their women than let them wear an outfit of their own choosing. That would mean the woman can choose her mate and have sex whenever she likes — the exact opposite purpose of religion.

  14. 14 Ahmad Hammad
    April 21, 2008 at 15:37

    @ Hiam:

    I wear whatever I want. And if you are girl, You should wear what suits your culture. In Turkey, women wear what they want!
    And if woman are requested to cloth themselves decently, the sole purpose is to safeguard their modesty and chastity, which are considered to the the crucial-most ornament of a girl in a Muslim society
    I am a practicing Muslim and I say whatever I want to. I go wherever I want to.
    And living in a democracy-loving nation! We have just rejected the dictatorship in the general Elections back in February…

    So, Islam DOES NOT curb freedom! Rather it channelizes/civilizes the wildest reflections and practices…

    I request Hiam to please contact me at my email address if s/he wants to get more information about the Muslims breathing on the Globe!

  15. 15 Ahmad Hammad
    April 21, 2008 at 15:52

    You wrote:
    “What we want to talk about is how people are behaving.”

    Well, to me, people seldom take/follow any guideline from their religious books when they are behaving. A lot is taken from the surroundings that’s another name of Culture.

    If women are treated badly in Afghanistan or Saudi Arabia, it doesn’t essentially mean that Islam convinced the Muslims to do so…

    After the 9/11, a lot of biased stuff has been produced about the Muslims and even the bad habits/customs practiced in Muslim countries owing to their ignorance are considered to have been extracted from the Quran.

    Let’s be clear that every Muslim country has its culture also, and generally people follow the traditions.

    However, Yes, weaker muslims like weaker christians justify their emotional/ignorant deeds by quoting their Divine Books respectively…

    And discussing only a small number of ignorant and extremists of all the religions doesn’t essentially make any sense. If you are to discuss at all, kindly discuss What Makes People to Treat their Woman Badly!
    You will find the right reason. And a student doing research on this topic will have a lot of stuff thereafter!

  16. 16 Ahmad Hammad
    April 21, 2008 at 15:56

    I wonder if you could tell me as to how could I paste my pic at the blog?
    You can reply me on my email address…
    I would be obliged!
    In fact, pasting my pic on the blog will be a practical tribute to your idea of pasting your pic on the blog…

  17. 17 Katharina in Ghent
    April 21, 2008 at 16:08

    @ Steve:

    If you start talking about self esteem, I would like to contribute my own observation: only men with low self esteem will treat a woman badly (if they can) to make themselves feel better. What this says about many muslim man I leave to anyone’s imagination.

    I have met many muslim men here at work who treat their women with respect, like any (normal) Western husband will do. But I have also met (a few) others who would never let their wifes (whom they got through arranged marriages in the first place) out of sight because otherwise she might just run away. As VictoK said: When they are on our soil they should live under scrutiny and have to treat their women properly.

  18. 18 steve
    April 21, 2008 at 16:21

    @ Katharina

    Self esteem doesn’t just reflect how others treat you, but about how you treat yourself. How many muslim women abuse drugs or alcohol? How many muslim anorexic or bulemnics are there? How many muslim women are cutters? How many life the sex and the city lifestyle and are absolutely miserable?

  19. April 21, 2008 at 16:32

    Ahmad you edit your profile on wordpress to add a photo.

    Now in response to your comment, it seems that your perception of whether Islam treats women badly is based on Turkey. Turkey is prehaps interpreted from a western perspective as being more moderate in its interpretation of Islam. It is a believe a very secular society.

    As demonstrated by some of the examples Ros cited in some countries people use Islam as a justification to subjugate women. This does not mean that Islam itself is oppressive to women, but people use it to support their position of oppression.

    As lubna and i were discussing earlier last week she chooses to where a headscarf because it is part of her identity. But there are come cultures where women have no choice but to where a burka or headscarf (Afganistan under the taliban is a good example). This is an example of Islam being used to oppress women.

    Islam is not the only religion which is used to justify the poor treatment of women, it is just the one which has recieved the most press. Christianity has been equally used to justify the bad treatment of women, until very recently in history the rules that a wife should submit to her husband were used to justify domestic abuse.

  20. 20 viola anderson
    April 21, 2008 at 16:49

    People who want to impose very strict rules about modesty on women are scary. People who need to control other people are scary. People who are afraid to look at a woman are scary. people who separate women into “good” women and “bad” women are scary. People who think it is O.K. to mistreat “bad” women are scary. People who think women don’t have burdens to carry are scary. Ignorant, mean people are scary. Intolerant people are scary. People who like others to be afraid of them are scary. Scared people are scary.

  21. 21 steve
    April 21, 2008 at 17:01

    @ Viola:

    But don’t you think “total freedom” can be a bit of a problem too? I know plenty of women living the Sex and City lifestyle, and they are total basketcases. I pity any man that gets involved with them. lots of women make piss poor choices, and it ads to baggage. If they want to be older, with herpes, alone, and with 10 cats, then living the sex and the city lifestyle is a good way to go. I used to know some chick that would boast about how some weeks she would have sex with 6 different guys in 5 days. She thought that was some way to get me to be the 7th guy that week. Didn’t work. I’ve lived a pretty boring life, yet I’ve experienced the anorexics and bulemics, the suicidal types, the cutters. It seems sane women are rather rare, and I really think “sanity” and baggage comes from personal choices. Given absolute freedom, people can make some pretty poor decisions when given absolute freedom, especially by parents.

    Let me ask you, or better yet, muslims, especially in muslim nations. Do any muslim women exist like this? I shortly dated a woman who was raised by hippie parents. Met her at a wedding, seemed pleasant, down to earth, etc.. Basically her parents would let her do anything, so she of course started with drugs early. Had a couple abortions by the time she was 18 (PS: I found out this stuff after we had broken up), admitted she goes through men like they are going out of style. She wasn’t anorexic or a cutter, but the key was what she chose to do for money to fund her lifestyle when she was younger. Porn. Honestly, what self respecting person would do that? Oh, and what do aspiring celebrity women do these days to promote themselves? Release a sex video. Do muslim women do this? Does it show a sense of self worth? So my ex girlfriend appeared in several movies you can buy from an adult video store, just so she could live the lifestyle she wanted (I laughed my a$$ of when I discovered this a year after we broke up, and ran to get an STD test). Lot of self respect, eh? Does this happen in Muslim nations? Me thinks not.

    Behavior like that is increasingly common, and it reflects a lack of self respect. So I would really like to know if there are studies about self esteem of women in the west vs. muslim women. And studies on who is happier?

  22. 22 John in Salem
    April 21, 2008 at 17:25

    Yes, SOME Muslim men (and Christian men, and Hindu men, etc.) treat women badly but it has little to do with religion. The impulse to dominance is born out of fear and all the other Freudian dramas that drive the male psyche, and the women of Islam will have to lead their men out of the mud just as the women of the West are still struggling to do.

  23. 23 VictorK
    April 21, 2008 at 17:35

    Muslims regularly boast that Islam is not just a religion but a total way of life. It governs how you dress, how you eat, your politics, your economic system (e.g. sharia compliant banking), how you wash, how you sit, how you stand…ad infinitum.

    But when it comes to discussing how Muslims treat women (and we know the answer is ‘Badly’) there’s a sudden about face. Islam, from being a total system that envelopes every single aspect of life down to the smallest detail, is now detached from local cultures, which it is now powerless to influence in any way, and and it is those cultures that are to blame for the bad treatment of women, not Islam. Sorry, but I’m not buying it.

    For those who want to divert attention from the issue and talk about Christianity I’d suggest another WHYS debate: does Christianity, which is not a total system like Islam, which is confined to the private sphere in the West, and which women are free to embrace or reject at they choose, without being murdered as apostates, does Christianity cause Christians to treat women badly? It can be the shortest and most pointless debate in WHYS history (no it doesn’t, and if it did the fact would be admitted and the call for reform would go out, led by Christian women).

    A religion and people who respond to all criticism with denial and defensiveness cannot possibly change and improve themselves. That’s why calls for an Islamic reformation are illusory. It’s very sad but it’s not something for Westerners to distress themselves about.

  24. 24 Duncan
    April 21, 2008 at 17:36

    Muslim woman are certainly not provided the same level of freedoms as woman in Western countries. I believe this is more a cultural and social issue than a religious issue, but that religion is intertwined with culture and the two are not mutually exclusive because it is not only Muslim countries that the problem of mistreating woman persists.

    Ultimately what will have the greatest impact on a woman’s life and whether they are treated fairly or not is the condition of the country e.g. maturity of the political system, level of education, ability to practice free speech, and the general wealth and wellbeing of all people within a particular country.

  25. April 21, 2008 at 17:40

    Indeed, Xtians should integrate the Koran into their reading practises. by God, the Koran is the final chapter. History tells us this as well. It is easy for me to prelate the orthodoxy of Islam – but rather, I can tell you in western terms (which is a euphemism for Xtianity) – as I am born and raised in the west: The 4th ‘book’ in the Koran is called an Nisa – or The Woman! Herein, u will find just how important the woman is to God, indeed.

    Similar to Judaism – Islam is the chronicle of Man before the one God. There are no in-betweens. If you r in a situation where some (man) is assuming such a role then the both of your r most likely fools. This is time-tested shit, no doubt. Your cable TV and iPhone notwithstanding. Basically, every humble thing you see women doing insofar as covering themselves with ethic scarfs and tunics are being done only for God.

    This notion is the real rub. Because as the Xtian philosophy usurped Judaism and well before the blessed Hazrat – Xtians stopped worshiping God and embarked on a man-made path. And this reality is bigger than the lot of us! Well beyond the big party going on in the western world. it’s quite too late for reason! Party-on Garth!

    Alas, women are GOLD! (allah karim) I’m sanguine to say that all this will never be resolved unfortunately and the downward spiral will continue. If the Female is to survive – and I think She understands this on the most primal level: she must respect God and she must assume her role to buttress Society – or (we) all will continue on our grisly path backward — which is ironic to the “freedoms” in the west — and will spell her certain doom.



  26. 26 Katharina in Ghent
    April 21, 2008 at 17:43

    Dear Steve,

    “How many muslim women abuse drugs or alcohol?” Probably none, because they don’t even have access to it. And to the other questions, one would have to perform a survey in muslim countries to get a percentage, which is impossible because they would never be allowed to discuss such issues openly. Just because some women in the Western world don’t know how to behave doesn’t mean that muslim women do it all perfectly. I have seen muslim women drink alcohol, even if not excessively, which also I myself have done only about 3 times in my life and now I know what it feels like, thank you very much.

    As with every thing else, what we see are the things that are sticking out, be it now ridiculous laws agains women or women behaving badly. The majority of us who have a couple of fun nights when they are younger and then get serious with their lifes or treat orther people, including their wifes, with respect do not catch the spectator’s attention.

  27. 27 steve
    April 21, 2008 at 17:56

    @ Katharina

    But would you say that there’s less of what I described in Saudi Arabia than in the USA? So in general, women probably have a bit more self respect in Saudi Arabia than in the US, even if the reason is that women don’t have the freedom to behave badly in Saudi Arabia, but do in the US?

    I still think the key here is self esteem and happiness. Something just tells me that if surveyed, women in muslim societies would poll themselves as having high self esteem and happier. maybe it has something to do with the controls on them, maybe it doesn’t. I don’t know..

    But from my experiences, it really seems women like to be controlled. Imagine if you had a date with a guy, who didn’t have it completely planned out. He even dared asked you what you wanted to do, where you wanted to eat, and deferred to what you wanted to do. He wouldn’t get a second date. Women like being told what to do. Really hard to keep a woman if you aren’t strong with her and tell her what to do, otherwise you get viewed as weak dormat. I think the Islamic system takes it a bit to the extreme, but just something about being controlled really seems to excite women and make them happy.

  28. 28 Brett
    April 21, 2008 at 18:26

    Do some Muslims treat women badly?


    Do some Christians treat women badly?


    Do some People treat women badly?


    I have known plenty of Muslims which treat women with the respect they deserve. Moreso in fact than ones who do not. That is not to say that this is the case all over the world. Just with the Muslims I have known.

    We have the bigoted “Christian” – Life and Liberty Ministries here in town, they preach that women should be submissive to their husband and take a place sumbmissively by his side. Is this oppressive sort of relationship not in parallel? Granted, they don’t kill women, but then again neither do the Muslims here.

    Religion historically has had a very little role in facilitating women’s rights to place them as 100% equals with men, lets not relegate maltreatment of women solely to Islam. In current affairs and modern times however, they are seeming to lead the way.

    Brett ~ Richmond, Va.

  29. 29 Laura in Minneapolis
    April 21, 2008 at 18:31

    Steve and Katharina,
    I think Katharina is trying to make, is that it may be the case that women in Saudi Arabia don’t even have the choice of self-respect vs. all the stuff steve mentioned. I don’t know, maybe that’s a good thing. I personally feel more empowered when all those bad options are out there, and I still choose not to participate in them.

    Laura in Minneapolis

  30. 30 Laura in Minneapolis
    April 21, 2008 at 18:42

    Once again, I totally agree with Brett. Well said.

    Laura in Minneapolis

  31. April 21, 2008 at 18:42

    I am a Christian and I think that Muslims do have many good laws on morality but I find some stances on women a little too hard like putting them behind fences and under the veil.

  32. 32 steve
    April 21, 2008 at 18:46

    @ Laura

    Too bad more women aren’t like you. It just seems given the freedom to make bad decisions, they tend to go very overboard with bad decisions, and then expect there to be no consequences (ie baggage, men holding things against you, etc). I think people need to decide what’s most important, freedom to do what you want, or happiness. I’m not really sure you can have both, given how miserable people tend to be in western societies, though it might just be the materialism and not the self esteem. Not really sure. Just not everyone has the ability to stop themselves from making poor decisions. Some love the drama a poor decision brings, regardless of the consequences.

  33. 33 Scott via email
    April 21, 2008 at 18:54

    I’m going to agree with Victor K’s comments this morning on the topic of the treatment of Muslim women. I do have to say, also, that the person who commented on the FLDS polygamists is correct too. Certain branches of Christianity definitely relegate women to a less than equal status with men. I’m sure, of course, that the Supreme Being has his reasons for the position of women in the cosmic design.

  34. 34 rajasthanroyals
    April 21, 2008 at 19:01

    Women are leading a miserable life and its definately got to do something with the teachings of Islam.Muslim countries are some of the most backward,poor,uneducated countries in the world.


  35. 35 steve
    April 21, 2008 at 19:07

    @ rajas

    Don’t be too sure. I think the jury is still out on whether women are miserable under islam, or perhaps they are more miserable in the west? I think a study should be done. How would my fellow WHYS react if muslim women polled as being happier than women in the west. Would you then view them as being mistreated? Would you rather be happy, or have total freedom even if total freedom meant you were:bulemic, promiscuous, herpes, single mother, depressed???

  36. 36 Will Rhodes
    April 21, 2008 at 19:15

    “How many muslim women abuse drugs or alcohol?” Probably none, because they don’t even have access to it. And to the other questions, one would have to perform a survey in muslim countries to get a percentage, which is impossible because they would never be allowed to discuss such issues openly

    I really think you have hit the nail on the head about how uninformed many in the west are, Katharina.

    If you think there isn’t drug use and prostitution in Muslim states you are 100% wrong. Drug use by women and men is as prevalent in Islamic states – but it is hardly ever reported or investigated.

    Prostitution is rife, it always has been but again, it is not reported. You have to ask the question why to this. It is debated by many who are Muslim that it isn’t the case – they know it is, but lying about it means it will go away – it won’t.

    To understand Iranian politics, cherchez les femmes: the fate of Iranian women sheds light on the eccentricity of President Mahmud Ahmadinejad. By Spengler’s Universal Law of Gender Parity, the men and women of every place and every time deserve each other. A corollary to this universal law states that the battered Iranian whore is the alter ego of the swaggering Iranian jihadi.

    “It’s a cover for prostitution,” said Um Akram, a women’s rights activist in Baghdad. “Some women, because they don’t want to be prostitutes, they think that this is legal because it’s got some kind of religious cover. But it is wrong, and they’re still prostitutes from the society’s point of view.” Um Akram, like the mutaa spouses interviewed, asked that only parts of her name be published.

    In Islamic countries women are treated badly – we all know this but still wish to sweep it under the carpet – again we have to ask why?

    Should this issue be raised? Most definitely and on a regular basis until the stoning, beheading, injustice and real oppression of women in the Islamic world stops!

    @ El-Al Hallaj – I am not an Xtian, I am Christian, if you cannot bring yourself to use the correct spelling then find something less offensive to use – I and many other Christians would appreciate it. Thank you.

  37. 37 viola anderson
    April 21, 2008 at 19:21

    Thank you, Steve. Don’t you think that men who seek out relationships with women of low self-esteem suffer from that same ailment? Something attracts the men who flock to those women and who are tickled pink to be taken advantage of bt them or to take advantage of them. Surely any man who is interested in any more than a quick tickle is able to assess a woman’s emotional health and steer away from the ones that don’t suit them. Please don’t blame your poor choices on the women with whom you choose to have a relationship.

    I’ve only ever visited one country where the official religion is Islam. That is Malaysia which has not outlawed other religions–yet. So I can’t really say whether Muslim women have higher self-esteem than women in my own country. I did observe that, in Malaysia, the women wear beautiful, colorful Islamic dress and buy things like padded bras and makeup and jewelry, which indicates to me that women there are just as concerned with their appearance as are western women and for the same reasons. I had a quiet chuckle when I observed young women riding on motorbikes with their traditional Muslim covering on top and their blue jeans down below. I was, however, puzzled when I saw grade-school age girls in what looked like nun outfits. My daughter had to explain to me they were their school uniforms. And, yes, the Muslim women and young girls there seemed happy and full of self-esteem as did the Indian and the Chinese women I observed.

  38. 38 Will Rhodes
    April 21, 2008 at 19:22

    Religion historically has had a very little role in facilitating women’s rights to place them as 100% equals with men, lets not relegate maltreatment of women solely to Islam. In current affairs and modern times however, they are seeming to lead the way.

    You also have to factor in the cultural difference, Brett – which many don’t.

  39. 39 viola anderson
    April 21, 2008 at 19:29

    Excellent point, VictorK.

  40. April 21, 2008 at 20:50

    Americans and many westerners will never comprehend the female role and God. They simply don’t have the real Faith. It’s a real thin culture there.

    Consequently, the thing that perpetuates American (in particular) myopia towards Islam is largely because of American isolationism. For all the Arabs and Muslims that live in the US – Americans still do not have dialogs with real Muslims. Rather, as you can see in this puerile thread – ‘yanks chatter amongst themselves, without getting any smart er on Islam beyond a couple of biased Hollywood movies.

    Obviously, the Uuhmah will not tolerate this madness.

  41. 41 Dee in Chicago
    April 21, 2008 at 20:52

    Sounds like you attract a less-than-desirable crowd (hmm, what does that say about you??). Anyway, to suggest that a woman must choose between happiness or total freedom and further, that total freedom amounts to being “bulemic, promiscuous, herpes, single mother, depressed” is, to state the obvious, absurd.

  42. April 21, 2008 at 20:59

    Do you think men make as many bad choices as women if given complete freedom? I don’t think making bad choices makes a bad person, it just makes them different.

    I suppose we also need to define what is meant by treated badly?

    Which of the following are we talking about?
    1. violence against women
    2. preventing women entering careers
    3. restricting the movement of women
    4.placing women under the complete control of men
    5. allowing women total freedom to do what they want
    6. Accepting that women can be as promiscious as men? ( steve is your replusion of the women who had 6 different men a week based on your lack of attraction to her or to her sexual practices, what would you call a man in the same situtation)
    7. is it giving women the opportunity to work
    8. is it claiming that women can have it all
    9. preventing contraception in country owing to its dialema with ethical codes and thus ensuring women who have sex are likely to get pregnant
    10. it is preventing women from living the life of a man

    All could be taken as versions of treating a woman badly surely, although it would depend upon what part of the world you live in.

  43. 43 Anti Ros
    April 21, 2008 at 23:46

    pity on you ros, they all must have agreed to bring this topic up just because mighty ros threw it on the table..HOLY ROS my a$$ that is.

    you’re trials of depicting a poor image to Islam will always shoot back at you and so nicely allow more people to find the true meanings of Islam.

    Ros: Guyss lets talk about how Muslims and Islam are being represented so badly at world have your say
    Ros: ooopss!! sorry guys i had a moment of self conciousness
    Ros: (back to the real me)
    Ros: Yeah, i have something not related to Islam this time.. lets talk about how Muslims eat halal chicken and let our poor butchers go bankrupt?
    Ros: i knew it was 😉 (FOOOL).

  44. 44 selena
    April 22, 2008 at 00:15

    What seems lost i this discussion is the role men play in the subjugation of women. Would women be prostitutes if there were no men to pay? Would women be porn stars, if no one bought the movies? Would women dress to please the sexual preferences of men if men did not condone it?

    Hannah, Viola and Brett seem to understand that men are no different than women when if comes to low self-esteem. But men view the same traits in women as somehow indicative of a person lower in value.

    It seems that the same behaviors in men are accepted by men and women. Women are their own worst enemies. Now why is this, I wonder? Well, I guess we know the answer. We are brainwashed into thinking that women have to adhere to a different moral code.

    I image the truth is the same things are going on in Christian countries and Muslim countries and other countries. The upshot is women are not free; men are not free.

    The hypocrisy is: in countries where governments control information, everything is covered up.

  45. 45 majaazi
    April 22, 2008 at 01:57

    let’s not let men of all religions, races and nationalities off the hook. there are men everywhere who beat their wives, degrade women, cheat on their girlfriends, and say anything just to get laid… and Saudi Arabia has a screwed up version of Islam that persists thanks to petrodollars. quit picking on islam and think of something creative to write about.

  46. April 22, 2008 at 02:40

    I think the question that we really need to be asking is what is a religion? Islam as a method of becoming close to God doesn’t treat women badly. Islam as the Ultimately Spiritual doesn’t treat women badly.

    But certain manifestations of Islam as a religion are particularly misogynist because the culture that the religion is filtered through is so to begin with. What is Reality? What is religion? What is culture?

  47. 47 Abi
    April 22, 2008 at 06:50

    Hiam Chipman and Thenoosseinawindowpane comments are very similar
    to those made to me by my many of my good Moslem friends, who believe strongly in their religion but sadly have opted to change their names in an attempt to disassociate themselves from being identified with fanaticism. There is no doubt that the well-publicised baptism of a Moslem man by his Holiness the Pope will be duplicated by many local churches unless the religion hardliners stop promoting violence and oppression as essential parts of the Moslem religion. I must point out that I have known many Muslim husbands, which treat their wives with respect.

  48. 48 Will Rhodes
    April 22, 2008 at 13:23

    Anti Ros April 21, 2008 at 11:46 pm

    pity on you ros, they all must have agreed to bring this topic up just because mighty ros threw it on the table..HOLY ROS my a$$ that is.

    So with your consummate insight into the world, would you like to answer the question of debate or would you rather continue showing yourself up as the obvious idiot you are?

  49. 49 steve
    April 22, 2008 at 15:08

    @ Selena:

    “Would women be prostitutes if there were no men to pay? Would women be porn stars, if no one bought the movies? Would women dress to please the sexual preferences of men if men did not condone it? ”

    That sounds like guys I knew, who’se girlfriends would blame my friends for her own poor decisions.

    Would there be lawyers if nobody sued each other? A market for something exists, but doesn’t mean you HAVE to go into that field. If a woman becomes a prostitute, chooses to be one, not a slave, then it’s her responsibility she chose that line of work. If she goes into porn, that was her choice. Don’t try to blame the men (you seem to think only men like porn, you apparently don’t know how popular it is amongst women) for women and their own choices. As for how women dress? They MOSTLY do it to show off and compete with other women. Do you think any man cares about your $500 Prada bag or shoes? Nope, women do that to compete with other women primarily, then to look “hot” for men. Again, don’t blame men for women’s actions.

    I was out with high school friends this weekend in Maryland, and one of my friends recently got engaged, and there was some woman at the bar, dressed like she was a stripper. You could hear ALL of the women commenting on her (you could tell they were all jealous), including my friend’s fiancee. She wouldn’t shut up about that woman and how she was dressed.. This happens all the time, and then other women sit there and bad mouth her, etc… Not everything women do is to impress men, though you won’t have any problem finding women that they freely admit they love getting attention from as many men as possible.

  50. 50 Ahmad Hammad
    April 22, 2008 at 15:26

    Dear Hannah:
    I am honored and thankful to you for telling me as to how could I paste my photo to my blog. I am thankful to Ros too for sending in an email in this regard.

    As far as your response to my blogs is concerned, you haven’t read my all blogs I’m afraid. I have concluded so because you have inferred a wrong point. Wrong inferences happen when someone doesn’t go into the whole text, or doesn’t pay the attention the text demands.

    I wonder if you could go through all the blogs again, and gather the points which are different from your blog versus the points which are in accordance with your ideas depicted in your blog.

    Astonishingly saying, You are saying exactly what I have said, but in a different way. However, as far as my perception being based upon Turkey only, is concerned, I would say that’s NOT the case!

    Rest shall be discussed once you are on the other end of my blogs while collecting the original idea which has been tried to put into the text…

  51. 51 Ahmad Hammad
    April 22, 2008 at 15:28

    I second Saha too…

  52. April 22, 2008 at 15:45

    Hi. I’m gonna be 22 years old in June, and I’m a proud practicing Muslim Shiite Iraqi woman. I chose willingly to wear headscarf since I was eleven years old, and right now I’m a fourth year medical student who wants to be a successful pediatrician after graduation Inshallah. Islam and the Holy Koran govern almost every little detail of my daily life. I do have an ultimate lover, the Prophet Mohammed, the most important man of my entire life. I always try my best to make sure that everything I say or do no matter how small would please and honour him and make him really proud of me. There’re some WHYSayers here on this page who are saying that Islam and the Prophet Mohammed’s teachings are discriminatory against women. To those good friends I say : Just look honestly and in an unbiased way to the way my lover Mohammed used to treat women with. His 1st wife Khadija was a successful business woman who was older 15 years than he was. She was a beautiful, powerful, and noble lady who loved the Prophet dearly and asked to marry him and he agreed (at the time they got married he wasn’t a prophet yet. He was 25 and she was 40). She was the 1st to believe in him when he received the divine inspiration from Allah at the age of 40 years old. When she died at the age of 65, he named the year of her death “grief year”, and remained without a wife for five years after her death. With my love. Yours forever, Lubna.

  53. 53 Brett
    April 22, 2008 at 15:55

    AntiRos makes me giggle… haha. The monologue was ‘cute’.

    Brett ~ Richmond, Va.

  54. 54 Ahmad Hammad
    April 22, 2008 at 15:58

    You see that the crux of the whole discussion is: Religions have NOTHING to do with the plight of women.

    We, the Pakistanis, are proud to have Ms. Benazir Bhutto suspiciously killed by some other guys. As ransom against the kidnapping of a pakistani embassador, the accused muslim killers have refused to be released! And also, they say that we DON’T kill women…

    The local Taliban have rejected any involvement of them in the assassination of Ms. Bhutto. They respect women to this extent that even if they found any woman guilty, they won’t kill her. Exceptions, however, are there…

    And also, we have elected Dr. Fahmida Mirza as the Custodian of the House. She is just back after visiting South Africa with a delegation.

    The governor of the State Bank of Pakistan is a woman. They are free to wear whatever they want to. They are free to talk whatever they want to.

    Nimra is another woman who has been chosen to travel to the space…
    In Pakistan, there is NO restriction of wearing or not wearing anything specific…

    But look at France, where mosques are burnt and girls are thrown out of the educational institutes if they wish wear a headscarf. Where is the Freedom then?

    Ain’t we, the Muslims more liberal?

    Confusing the Culture of Muslim countries with the Doctrine of their Religion is a fatal fallacy dear Ros…

    Let’s understand how a large number of Muslims, about 80-85% behave with their women…

    Pakistan is a less educated, poor and a vulnerable-to-terrorism-in-the-name-God country. Yet we have had great women in form of a silent force working behind the genii of time. For example, Ms Fatima Jinnah upon whom the Father of the Nation, Muhammad Ali Jinnah depended a lot had been a source of courage of her brother. The whole nation is indebted to her.
    Likewise, we are indebted to the vision and the teachings of Ms. Benazir….

    Why go far away? Just have a look at my home!

    My father and mother have been a happy couple for about 40 years. And there’s a large number of such couples in the Muslim World….

    Again, There’s NO such teaching in Islam that stresses upon supressing women. On the other hand, in Hinduism, there was a religious compulsion named ‘Satti’. A woman had to be burnt alive if her spouse died… And tragically saying, Satti is still exercised in India…

    At the end, I would like to request to please discuss, WHAT MAKES MEN BEHAVE THEIR WOMEN BADLY???

    You are likely to find something fruitful….

  55. April 22, 2008 at 15:59

    So where is UberRos, UltraRos, MegaRos and OmniRos? 😉

    I’m really not even sure where AntiRos is going with the diatribe. It’s convoluted and disjointed and a possibly parody?

    Anyway, I know Ros doesn’t need to hear this from me, but he’s a good man, great presenter and gracious host. Anyone that can’t see his talent and kindness is fooling themself.

    Keep up the good work Ros and crew. I might not contribute as much as I used to, but I’m still here! Just getting busy with the band! Download some of my songs from the myspace page http://www.myspace.com/planethairwolf


  56. April 22, 2008 at 16:01


    A little off topic, but what day is your birthday? Mine is June 15 and my wife’s is June 3?

    Just curious!

    Happy early birthday!


  57. 57 Ahmad Hammad
    April 22, 2008 at 16:06

    Dear Lubna!
    Why to be apologetic dear?

    Inquire from the West as to what she had been and have been doing with their women….

    Qur’an is mis-interpreted by the Orientalists for some obvious reasons…

    Ask them as to why they Burn the Mosques in France….
    Why the Christians still don’t let the women wear what they wish, in France?

    Why they confer the Knighthood upon the notorious novelist whose literary works are of lower standard….?

    Are Salman Rushdie and Jean Paul Sartre of equal caliber in their writings???

    Had you been a cricket player as woman-bat, I would have taught you to stroke a ball while being on front foot…
    The biased and mala fide allegations/questions are the balls which have to be played on the front foot and thus thrown out of the stadium….

  58. 58 Shirley
    April 22, 2008 at 18:42

    I am a Western convert to Islam.

    Violence against women is one of the unfortunate aspects of society. It permeates every corner of our world. There is no societal grouping on this earth that advocates the mistreatment of women. And rightly so. The association of any societal grouping with violence against women as an intrinsic part of its culture could even be said to constitute prejudiced thinking.

    Obviously, women are also mistreated in the Muslim world.

    Islam claims the implementation of its teachings as a thorough way of life, or culture. Islam holds women in a very high regard. Muslims believe that God created men and women as equal counterparts to each other: “Never will I [God] suffer to be lost the work of any of you, whether male or female, the one of you being from the other” (Qur’an, 3:95, also 30:21) and “Whoever does good, whether male or female…We [God] will most certainly give them their reward for the best of what they did.” (Qur’an, 16:97, see also 4:124)

    We also accept the sayings of Prophet Muhammad and his successors in what they said affirming the noble dignity of women. Prophet Muhammad said, “None would respect women except the magnanimous ones, and none would insult them except the ignoble ones,” and “Treat your women well and be kind to them,” and “The best of men is one who treats his wife well.” Imam Sadiq said, “Most benefits come from women.”

    Given the general nature of these statements from both the Qur’an and Sacred Tradition, we interpret the remainder of the sacred texts in light of the above. Where there is a direct contradiction, it should be interpreted according to these general Islamic principles or, in the case of spurious statements, discarded.

    There are indeed many aspects of Islamic culture that are not well-received in the western world. However, the nonsense of honour killings, wife beating, and imposed face covering are not among them. As for practises such as the hijab, they are widely adopted and appreciated by Muslims, as any visit to a Muslim-dominated discussion forum would reveal.

  59. 59 Shirley
    April 22, 2008 at 19:09

    VictorK, you’ve referred to gender segregation; and you have implied that there is the blame for the dichotomy between Islamic culture and its implementation in Muslim societies lies with Muslims.

    For the most part, gender segregation is implemented in mosques and other worship settings. This is done in order to keep a person’s focus on worship and to keep the mosques as places of worship, not just social centres. In practise, it does not always work out as intended. In too many cases, the segregation effectively keeps women in substandard conditions – not enough lighting, not enough space, not clean, etc. I have seen it done correctly several times, though. Some mosques have used a wall to section off a space in the rear of the mosque for women. Some have used a curtain to split the mosque down the middle. Some have built separate rooms for the women. Where these have been succesfully used, the women’s section had access to amenities, a comfortable worship space, good lighting, appropriate furnishings, and nice-looking decorations. And to be perfectly honest, I was more comfortable in those segregated congregations than in mixed congregations. I have not yet observed gender segregation in other situations (grocery stores, restaurants, clothing stores, etc.). We don’t need the singular focus on worhsipp in thsoe settings; and we trust ourselves as a community to behave.

    In one sense, though, I concede: you are correct. As a global community, Muslims shoud be doing much more to correct the maltreatment to which women are subjected in Muslim-dominated regions. At the same time, I would ask people examining this issue to look at this in the context of the broader Islamic culture and its implementation. For example, it is part of Islamic culture to give liberally to the poor so that they do not have to go hungry or be without clothing or housing. Yet we see that there still exists in Muslim societies a tremendous gap between the rich and the poor, and that many people still suffer hunger and lack of clothing and housing. As a culture, Islam calls people to modesty. Yet we can still see people dating and wearing revealing clothing – both males and females. Muslims as a global community have failed terribly in imposing very much of our Islamic culture on ourselves. Is this problem intrinsic to Muslims? Or is it something that is happening to global society in general? What can or should be done to correct it? Perhaps these could also be sub-points of discussion.

  60. 60 Will Rhodes
    April 22, 2008 at 19:20

    Ask them as to why they Burn the Mosques in France….
    Why the Christians still don’t let the women wear what they wish, in France?

    Whether you want to hear it or not Mosques are not seen in many western countries with the same reverence as by Muslims and those who commit these crimes are frustrated by the minority Muslim clerics telling western people how to live, and that they must convert to Islam.

    Churches are burned to the ground in Islamic nations are they not? Why should that be left out of you reply, Ahmad? Because of the terrorist attacks on the US, UK, Spain and other notions of murder of private citizens by (radical, fundamentalist) Muslims, the Islamic faith is taking a hit – and a big one in the west. The slow voicing of condemnation by certain parties is very loud in the ears of us in the west.

    Islam is accepted as a religious faith all over the western world, it has been for a very long time. Yet, as we have seen in recent years that faith has been tarnished by those who commit terrorism and murder in its name.

    Shirley –

    There is no societal grouping on this earth that advocates the mistreatment of women.

    Then pray-tell why women are accused and stoned to death for wanting to be free of the chains that bind them? You can see and read many stories and articles where women have been put to death for questioning their faith and those who preach that faith.

    There are indeed many aspects of Islamic culture that are not well-received in the western world. However, the nonsense of honour killings, wife beating, and imposed face covering are not among them.

    You will have to explain that further as I read it that you are saying these things do not happen when they obviously do!

    As for practises such as the hijab, they are widely adopted and appreciated by Muslims, as any visit to a Muslim-dominated discussion forum would reveal.

    As a person who has read the qu’ran please show me where it states that women are required to wear the hijab.

    Why would anyone want to visit web discussions where the PR aspect of Islam is opaque, Muslims living in the west are and should be subject to the laws and foundations of the country that they live in – I think you will find that is in the qu’ran.

  61. 61 VictorK
    April 22, 2008 at 19:30

    @ Anti-Ken in Cleveland: I’m waiting for Anti-Anti Ros.

  62. 62 viola anderson
    April 22, 2008 at 19:39

    What’s the question, again? Oh, yes. Do Muslims treat women badly? I don’t actually like that question, as I certainly do not believe that all Muslim men treat women badly. I would say that in the Muslim world, there are elements that condone the mistreatment of women, just as there have been elements that encourage the mistreatment of women in the Christian world, such as denial of access to education and occupations other than marriage, nursing, and prostitution. In my own country, alternatives are no longer closed to women.

    My friend just read a novel called “A Thousand Splendid Suns” written by a man born and raised in Afghanistan which apparently does talk about the injustices Afghani women faced under the Taliban and, now, are apparently are facing from the Afghani gov’t. She is outraged that her country and mine, Canada, went to war in Afghanistan in part because Canadians totally disapprove of the way women were treated under the Taliban. Now we hear in the news that the government in Afghanistan, which is in power because Canada and its allies defeated the Taliban, is sympathetic to the views of the Taliban and may bring back the repressive measures used against women in that country, such measures as denying access to medical care by forbidding women to consult a male doctor and forbidding women access to education so that female doctors can be trained to treat female patients.

    My friend asked a very pertinent and meaningful question: Where are the men in Afghanistan who should be stepping up to defend their wives, sisters, aunts, grandmothers, and daughters against such obviously outrageous practices? Men, the issue is not whether you own your women and can treat them any way you wish–you don’t and you can’t unless you do not love and respect your women as your prophet told you to. The issue is how do you want the women you hold dear in your lives to be treated by the country in which you live and by other people in your country?

    And, Steve, before you sound off about how, if women want privileges or even decent treatment, they have to take responsibility for themselves and fight their own battles, please be informed that your mother, grandmother, sister, aunts, and daughters if you had any would in a heartbeat step up to defend you if you were threatened by the kind of practices Afghani women face in trying to survive. Most women, unlike at least a lot of men, don’t view the world as being composed of people (men) and women.

    And another thing: A lot of women in the world are fed up with the technique of citing injustice to women as a justification for war and then backing away when these same injustices continue right on. Women don’t want to be an excuse for war or a propaganda tool to stir up people’s emotions.

  63. 63 steve
    April 22, 2008 at 19:46

    Freedom to do this stuff?? (this is more a comical relief, but then again, this is really scary stuff)


  64. 64 VictorK
    April 22, 2008 at 19:57

    @ Shirley: I read your comments with interest, especially this one: “As a global community, Muslims shoud be doing much more to correct the maltreatment to which women are subjected in Muslim-dominated regions.”

    This is fine, if we accept your view that what happens in Muslim countries regarding women is some kind of aberration that reason, goodwill and the practice of ‘true Islam’ can put right. But the situation is not so optimistic.

    These are the points of Islamic orthodoxy which mean that not only does Islam treat women badly, but it always will because these precepts are enshrined in the Koran, the Sunnah and the hadith:

    1. Islam officially declares women to be inferior to men;
    2. Islam endorses physical violence against women;
    3. Islam approves the enslavement of certain women;
    4. Islam approves women being taken as war ‘booty’ and used for the sexual pleasure of their captors;
    5. Islam denies women equal status with men by the practice of polygamy;
    6. Islam degrades women by declaring that a male shall inherit twice the share of a female;
    7. Islam facilitates the rape of women by requiring 4 witnesses to the crime – otherwise the rapist cannot be convicted (how is justice possible for a raped woman in a muslim country?);
    8. Islam degrades marriage and women’s role in marriage by allowing men to secure a divorce through uttering a mere verbal formula;
    9. Islam degrades marriage and women by allowing legalised prostitution in the form of temporary or contractual marriage (Q.: is this just a Shia practice?); and
    10. Islam treats the testimony of two women as equal to that of one man.

    Now I’m sure that you don’t support any of these positions, but they are all orthodox and unchallengeable parts of the religion you profess. I don’t envy you your dilemma, but if we are to discuss this let’s lay the facts on the table.

  65. April 22, 2008 at 21:14

    Hi. 1st of all let me say a very big WELCOME to you Shirley to this discussion. And I’d love just to mention a few more evidences to all of you guys about how women should be treated according to Islam’s teachings : 1-My lover Mohammed says : The believers with a perfect faith are the believers with the best moralities, and the best of all are the ones who treat their women well 2-and also my lover Mohammed says : A woman is a flower, not a servant 3-and also my lover Mohammed says : Seeking for knowledge is an obligation on every male and female Muslims 4-Dear Allah says in the Holy Koran : The one who does good, whether male or female, we shall reward the best 5-My lover Mohammed asked his companions to take two thirds of Islam’s teachings from his wife, Aysha. 6-Just take a look at the status of the Prophet’s daughter, Fatima. As one of the most prominent Muslim Hadith tellers, Aysha says: everytime Fatima enters a place where her father exists, he’d stand up, go to her, kiss her, and welcome her. And he always used to say : Fatima is a piece of me, the thing that hurts her hurts me, and the thing that angers her angers me. In the Holy Koran dear Allah says : You take the messenger of Allah as your good example. As a young practicing Muslim woman, I do really wish that all Muslim men would treat their wives and daughters as the Prophet Mohammed did ! With my love. Yours forever, Lubna (A proud pro-Ros 🙂

  66. 66 Shirley
    April 23, 2008 at 00:06

    Are you referring to women who are persecuted for leaving Islam, or women who are persecuted for so-called immorality? My take on the stoning of women is that it is nearly always a miscarriage of the Islamic system of justice. I know next to nothing about Islamic law in matters of apostacy. Lubna, ukhti, have you done any reading on it? Don’t feel bad if you have not – it’s just not something that any of us are well-read on.

    As for so-called immorality, I strongly suspect that most of thsoe charges are completely false. We women have been the target of with hunts since time immemmorial. Any time that a woman got too “uppity,” someone would cry “witch” or “adultress” so that she could be burned at the stake – or, in Muslim areas, stoned. I suspect that our lack of knowledge about the medicinal properties of common yard and forest plants is a result of our persecution of women on a global and historical scale. And we know that women are raped in places like Pakistan and then accused of “adultery” so that they can be stoned to death. In Islam, of course, we have the four witnesses rule: four witnesses must have observed a very specific act in order for anyone to be convicted of adultery. I know that this is a setback for investigations into rape cases. Once again, I admit my lack of knowledge of the Islamic justice system in this issue. I do know that most mundane applications of Islamic shari`ah law do allow for the admission and use of other forms of evidence, such as DNA. However, I do not know if it is admissible on its own accord, or whether it can only be used to pressure a confession out of the suspect. I don’t even know whether there might be other scenarios beyond these two. My reading abut Islam, fiqh, and shari`ah simply have not centred on “hudud” laws. I do know that falsely accusing a rape victim or an “uppity” woman of adultery is against Islam, and that killing someone without just cause is a breach of Islamic law, the punishment of which is execution. I also know that a Muslim who unjustly kills another Muslim has essentially left the religion – whether or not he is treated thus – and that our belief is that he will be consigned to an eternity in Hellfire as punishment. It does not appease my own desire for vengeance, but it is something for me as a Muslim to look forward to.

    The reason that I mentioned Muslim discussion forums is because they are typically dominated by western youths between the ages of 13 and 15. They do not typically concern themselves with any kind of evangelisation effort, unless it is sectarian (Shia vs Sunni arguments abound). When they do discuss issues of modesty, they reflect on their own views. I have seen less and less reference to rulings from Islamic jurisprudents and the source texts that those jurisprudents use to make their rulings. Those references do exist, but there is much opining and little academic treatment of the subect. And they do tend to discuss the latest trends in rap music and fashion more than they discuss other topics, unless the discussion forums are moderated more heavily.

    You asked about Qur’anic references to the hijab. I use 24:31 and refer to the word “khimar,” which is the same word that Prophet Muhammad used when he told women that the salat without the khimar is batil. No Muslim woman prays without covering her head, which is an indication of the meaning and application of the word to this day.

    Btw, if a Qur’anic injunction to live according to the laws of the land exists, I need a reference to it, please. Some of my friends despise wearing seat belts.

  67. 67 Shirley
    April 23, 2008 at 00:28

    VictorK, hello
    1. The Qur’an 2:228 refers to the fact that Muslim men have more rights in marriage. Islam grants them more rights in marriage as a result. I personally reject the use of that verse as evidence for claims of male superiority in Islam. When I learned that a Qur’anic commentary that I purchased contained such a reference, I took it back and insisted that the shop owner refund me. So yes, there are those who do use that verse to claim that men are superior to women in Islam. There are also those who reject that claim. An example from a source that I deeply respect is at http://www.almizan.org/Tafseer/Volume4/Baqarah61.asp . One can see that what I have said here is completely switched over there.

    2. The Qur’an 4:34 discusses marital infidelity and ways in which the husband is permitted to respond. The wording of the verse acts as a command to go through a certain process. As each step of the process is exhausted, the man proceeds to the next. The final step is described sa “daraba.” This is the Arabic word for “hit.” When Prophet Muhammad explained this permission, he said that a man could use no more force than a toothbrush. In Islamic law, if a man leaves so much as a red mark on a woman, she is entitled to sue him for compensation. The reason for this kind of constriction against the man is the general attitude with which women are treated in Islam in the Qur’an and in Sacred Traditions.

    3. Which ones? Are 3 and 4 the same thing? You know that Islam pushed for the phasing out of slavery, right?

    5. Just as I do not feel that commanding women to cover their heads is oppressive and degrading, I do not feel that allowing a man to marry more than one woman is oppressive and degrading. This is my own personal opinion. I think that even Lubna and other Muslim women would disagree with me here.

    6. The generality of the financial treatment of women in Islam results in the woman having more secure access to more financial and material support than men. I personally do not see inheritance laws as detracting from that generality. I think that there is more to life that how much I get when Uncle Joe dies, and how that compares to my brother’s share.

    7. (see previous post)

    8. I disagree with the Sunni Islamic practise of allowing a man to declare divorce to his wife with three successive words. Shia Islam requires a man to go through the residential cleric and have witnesses in order to divorce his wife. Some clerics let the man off easy, some do not.

    9. It is unique to Shia Islam. Many youth in Shia Islam argue for its legitimacy and rhetorically ask why it is not better accepted. Most Shia Muslim adults beyond the age of 35 despise it and call it prostitution. Shia Islam requires a woman to wait 45 days between each temporary marriage. No prostitute could run a business off of that kind of restriction.

    10. Indeed. Sorry you don’t like that.

  68. 68 Lameck Yonah Jr
    April 23, 2008 at 10:47

    Hi, this Lameck in Dar es salaam.
    I just wanna share a little about Muslims treating women badly. this is something that I have experienced in my own street, and in addition I have an Islamic friend who his father is what they call “Islams of a deep faith” here in TZ. His wife has never been to her home since she got married unless for burrial purposes. At first I took it as a joke when my friend told me that, but that is the reality. This is just a simple example of how women are badly treated in Islamic world. Women got to stand up and speak for themselves if they really wanna this to change!!!

  69. 69 steve
    April 23, 2008 at 12:48

    @ Shirley

    Do you have any views on the issue of self esteem and muslim women vs. women in the west? Remember, in the USA, we have some middle schools (meaning for kids aged about 11-14) where they hand out condoms to students and give birth control pills to girls, where girls dress like strippers, etc. My view, which very well could be totally wrong, is that by all of this attention seeking behavior, early promiscuity, leads women to have low self esteem, and their actions only makes it worse (like the more an alcoholic drinks, the worse they get). Any views on this?

    I also don’t think that not being able to leave home without an escort, not being able to drive, or vote probably isn’t that great for self esteem either, but I’m not sure it’s worse than having had 15 sex partners by age 18 and eating disorders (this was actually common in my high school, I’d say at least 25% of the girls had one, and had treatment at some point for them).

  70. 70 Katharina in Ghent
    April 23, 2008 at 12:48


    The clip about the woman in Sweden reminded me of something that happened a few months ago in Austria:


    Basically the judge demanded the the muslim woman shows her face, arguing that many muslim women around the world are comfortable just with a headscarf that covers their hair. Otherwise he could not judge whether she might be lying or not.

    @ Steven:

    “Do you think any man cares about your $500 Prada bag or shoes? ”

    Probably not, but I know many men who take silly pride in their cares, computers, blackberries, wrist watches, you name it. All these things cost even more than a pretty handbag, but is it less vain? If you already have a computer that is working fine, why do you need one that works one nanosecond faster? You wanna know how much I care???

    I talked to my Iranian collegue (woman) about this discussion and her answer was b%$^$^%t. She agreed with me that, at least as far as Iran is concerned, it depends on the individual man about how he treats his wife. The whole issue has more of a regional context than solely a religious.

    The problem lies possibly rather in the fact that more and more islamic countries are becoming more concervative again and try to be “holier than the pope”, as we Christians would say. This may also have to do with increasing financial strains in many countries due to environmental issues as in Bangladesh or sheer political instability in Pakistan and especially Afganistan. When the times become more insecure, people become more stressed and want to return to tradidional values, because “back then everything was so much better”. Does this sound familiar?

    There is even a parallel to this in the Western fashion world: when there is an economic downturn, skirts become longer and the classic chic returns.

    Over the long run, Muslims will realize that they are loosing half of their intelligent population if they don’t let their daughters go to school and become valuable citizens who can contribute to their society.

  71. April 23, 2008 at 14:03

    Talking about the treatment of Muslim women, this should be dealt case by case. There are Muslim countries like Saudi Arabia where women have to live under the tutorship of men throughout their lives regardless of their education or age. But there are other countries like Morocco where male tutorship has been abolished in all matters that concern women at the age of consent. Women here are free to travel abroad. They don’t need the consent of a male tutor to get a passport or a visa. They can travel inside or outside the country for studies, tourism or work. They are now free to choose their husbands. They no longer need the approval of a male relative. In the government, there are now seven women holding positions from ministers to secretaries.

    But this doesn’t mean it’s all white and black here. There is still the mentality that has more influence than the laws. Some women are still “coerced” to conform with traditions when it comes to relationship. It is still a shame for a woman to have a child out of wedlock as she can’t openly have a partner she can live with without a marriage contract.

    A visitor to Morocco can notice the dichotomy of traditional women as well as modern ones in terms of appearances, behaviour and education. There are still those who believe in the right of men to dominate their lives according to their interpretations of religion.

    On the whole the treatment of women depends on societies and communities. There are women who see no harm in getting a controlled treatment in all aspects of their lives. But there are those who are challenging such views citing women from past Islam eras who had their influence in their tribes or societies.

    Abdelilah Boukili,
    Marrakesh, Morocco

  72. April 23, 2008 at 14:22

    It’s hard to generalise that all Muslim women are badly treated because of the customs and the laws. There are some Muslim countries, like Morocco, where they are enjoying more freedom and good treatment compared to women in countries like Saudi Arabia where a woman can’t do anything without a male tutorship.

    Women are badly treated because of the mentality of some men who see themselves as superior and that the women are deficient both in religion and intelligence.

    The most horrific threat waiting for women in countries like Jordan and Syria is the killing of a female relative for the family honour if found out having a sexual relationship outside marriage or simply suspected of doing so. In this society the killer can spend a prison no longer than a year. That’s the kind of the worst treatment a Muslim can come to.
    Here is an article on BBC website about this issue: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7042249.stm

    Abdelilah Boukili
    Marrakesh, Morocco

  73. 73 Mohammed Ali
    April 23, 2008 at 14:44

    I really do think that women are our natural companions and any bad treatment of them is both against the teachings of any religion and the fundamental rightsof of women as humans. As a person from a muslim background, I fully agreed that majority of muslims treat women asa subhumans. I don’t beleive the Prophet Muhammad told them to do so. I think muslim societies treat women badly out of shed wickedness and lack of for respect for the rights of women.

  74. 74 muthee mwangi
    April 23, 2008 at 15:07

    Hi Chloe and the rest of the team,

    You know like Ahmad i first thought the question was a bit generalizing, but after some thought i think it is really a good starting point for a constructive discussion.
    I think that Muslims do not treat women badly in the general sense but there are some elements who purport to practice Islam but treat women badly.
    Having said that, i also believe the term ‘badly’ is relative because if one was to interpret it using Margaret Sanger’s and her ilks arguments, i would give a definite No.
    There is also the element of culture where maybe a group of people practising a particular religion, are driven by cultural norms rather than the religion where women are maybe not highly regarded.
    An example:Culturally an African setup has specific roles for each person and the roles of women vis a vis men are not interwoven. I therefore don’t think it is anyone’s business to determine who is being treated in what way by the other since this has been the norm since time immemorial, religion or no religion.

  75. 75 Ahmad Hammad
    April 23, 2008 at 15:15

    @ Victork
    Dear Victork:
    Kindly refer to some verses/sayings of the Holy Prophet SAW where the points have been emphasized what you have mentioned in your blog…

    You wrote: “1. Islam officially declares women to be inferior to men;”
    Kindly tell me where has it been written in the Qur’an or even in the Islamic Sharia (Jurisprudence)?

    Cotrary to your point of view, Allah has said in the Qur’an in Surah Al-Nissa that Men and Women are the protectors of each other.

    In practice, the Prophet SAW had been doing with the women of His house so politely. Lubna from Iraq has cited this behavior in her blog. Kindly consult that blog before going any further.

    Honestly, I don’t find any authentic injunction or judgement or even a statement described in the original sources, “1. Islam officially declares women to be inferior to men;”.

    Moreover, I have gone through your all points/objections. Believe me, my impression is that you haven’t at all gone through the matters seriously. You haven’t researched upon these points for yourself.
    The points you have mentioned have loooong been explained and elaborated by the muslim scholarship. You haven’t paid any rational attention to those elaborations and gone busy in re-inventing the wheel.
    I mean to say, these objections were primarily made by the Orientalists to defame the religion that brought Light to Europe through Spain and thus proved to be a threat to the clerik-feudals of the church…

    By replying to your lines, I am humbly trying to remind you as to how the scholars have worked out on the objections like yours. But you haven’t paid any attention to their serious work and still insist upon the ages-old, already elaborated very well, and mala fide objections.

    2. Islam endorses physical violence against women;
    No such Quranic evidence.
    3. Islam approves the enslavement of certain women;
    For example? Rather Islam practically put a cork on the enslavement of humanity being practised in those days when Europe was hostage to the worst religious fundamentalism

    4. Islam approves women being taken as war ‘booty’ and used for the sexual pleasure of their captors;
    Wrong! It’s no more in parctice. Moreover, there are a lot of other limitations over men warriors before marrying women. Please consult some more books before using such words…

    5. Islam denies women equal status with men by the practice of polygamy;
    And alongwith that, stresses men to do justice to all the wives, and that’s generally NOT possible. Thus Islam psychologically binds men to have ONE wife. And do you know how many pre-reqs are there before going to marry for the second time???

    6. Islam degrades women by declaring that a male shall inherit twice the share of a female;
    And Islam upgrades women by asserting her men to earn for them. women are the financial liabilty of the men.

    7. Islam facilitates the rape of women by requiring 4 witnesses to the crime – otherwise the rapist cannot be convicted (how is justice possible for a raped woman in a muslim country?);
    A wrongly interpreted law! Kindly consult the books by Ghulam Ahmad Parvez in this regard and you will find the letter and spirit of the law.

    8. Islam degrades marriage and women’s role in marriage by allowing men to secure a divorce through uttering a mere verbal formula;
    Have you heard of Khula??? I believe NOT. And if you have heard of it at all, kindly learn about it just profoundly so that you may be able to know of the rights of woman to break a marriage…

    9. Islam degrades marriage and women by allowing legalised prostitution in the form of temporary or contractual marriage (Q.: is this just a Shia practice?); and

    10. Islam treats the testimony of two women as equal to that of one man.
    Not in all judicial cases. There is only ONE case where 2 women are required and that is about the pact when people are making. There should be two women. And there are some psychological reasons behind it. Otherwise, in all the cases (which are countless), women are equal!
    Do you know that if a woman witnesses a murder, she alone could cause the culprit a capital punishment through courts???
    About the pragnancy of a woman could be confirmed by ONE females’ witness in the court. Men are not allowed to test it physically, since Islam stresses Hya..

    In the end Victork, I would earnestly request you to Please consult some books written by the Muslim Jurists. You will find the satisfying answers to these questions/objections, which to me are seemingly biased and based upon ignorance…

  76. 76 John in Salem
    April 23, 2008 at 15:20

    Religions do not CREATE the impulse to treat others badly. They can justify and rationalize cultural habits that already exist but they don’t create them.
    Boys learn how to treat women from the men around them. Always have, always will.

  77. April 23, 2008 at 15:30

    The question is too broad and needs to be focused on something more specific. If the question is supposed to deal more with Islamic law and it’s effect on women, I would say that these laws effect both men and women. Humans are animals. Laws cannot supress human nature so when there is a law prohibiting men and women from socializing with each other if passed, the animals turn to there own for social comfort. That social comfort leads to physical comfort.

  78. 78 Ahmad Hammad
    April 23, 2008 at 15:38


    Well, if that’s the reason of burning the mosques in the west, then, it is even the worst of insanity i.e. if someone says against your opinion, in place of arguing to convince him rationally, you start burning out his havens of sanctity. And thus give vent to their wrath.

    Have you ever compared the number of the Muslims killed by the westerners in recent years against the number of the westerners killed by the Muslims???

    The ratio is just terrible dear Will…

    One Iraqi kid is as dear to his mother as the daughter of Mr Bush or the son of Mr Blair to Laura and Cherry.

    Please stop terrorizing the Muslims by calling the Muslims as the terrorists by using the Meida Bomb.

    There’s NO Abu-Ghuraib or Guantanamo Bay made by any Muslim freedom fighter group.

    Don’t you agree that the West has devastated the peaceful countries for the sake of Oil???

  79. 79 Peter Gizzi UK
    April 23, 2008 at 15:40

    As an atheist I feel many religions treat their women badly. They are seen as breeding machines and housekeepers. Having said that there are non religious men who think much the same.

    If a woman seeks “freedom” she may be disowned, disinherited, or even put to death. God just watches!

  80. 80 CarlosK
    April 23, 2008 at 15:50

    Hi WHYS bloggers

    Let us not get carried away and reduce this discussion to a Islam/ Muslim bashing fest.

    For me the issue is not really about Islam/Muslim it is about the lack of freedom. Muslim women are not the only women suffering abuse/discrimination. In almost every culture/ country women are routinely discriminated against and in many instance are placed in a secon or third class position. This has nothing to do with religion and everything to do with the hardness of the human heart and the males egotistical and chauvanistic nature.

    Even Catholic women and especially nuns etc are discriminated against. They have to wear excessive clothing especially around the head region. Why don’t we in the West find this offensive?

    Personally, I don’t understand why anyone would choose to be a Muslim because the religion doesn’t make any sense to me. Just like Catholicism because of the emphasis on Man worship- Mohammmed/ Pope instead of God the creator of the Universe.

    I was appauled to see the pope Benedict accepting worship especially at ground zero. Why would any man think it appropriate to have another human being bow before him and kiss his ring? This is most offensive to me a practicing christian. The pope’s pilgrimage to the USA and the unfortunate man-worship sights and scenes are some of the reasons why many well thinking people turn to Islam. It is so tragic that we associate the Catholic faith with Christianity because it is not.

  81. 81 Arnaud Ntirenganya Emmanuel
    April 23, 2008 at 15:52

    Muslims do treat women as slaves…I even wonder whether Muslim women do have any right!

  82. 82 Shirley
    April 23, 2008 at 16:17

    I think that there is more to damaged feminine self esteems in the West than the sexual objectification of women. You should note that you have not referenced any scientific or social studies, even though what you say does ring a familiar tone with me. It is true that women are portrayed in ways that encourage their consumption by men as objects of entertainment: they are encouraged to expose more and more of their bodies and the shapes of their bodies, and they are encouraged to adorn themselves in ways that not only attracts attention to them, but also makes them look as if they just had a thorough workout or finished some kind of rousing activity.

    The fashions and styles, and the methods of applying makeup all try to highlight those physical characteristics of women that are related to their fertility. Add to that the fact that women are used to sell everything from cars to houses just by the presence of an under-clad, made up, highly fertile woman in a commercial. The amount and kind of focus that the media devotes to this portrayal of women, and the importance that they devote to a woman’s ability to effectively present her fertility and desirability to men, have the result that women strive to present herself as a desirable and fertile object to men. Those women who feel that they do not perform as well as the media-issued standard do indeed suffer varying degrees of emotional trauma.

    However, there are so many other factors that impact people’s happiness around the world. You must have heard by now of the study that showed how relatively unhappy people, especially youth, are in the U.S. as compared with other countries, especially certain European countries. And while some of those countries that were highlighted for their relative levels of happiness do encourage more of the display of women as desirable fertility objects, they also have excellent health care systems and easy access to education. Here in the States, people pay through the nose for third rate health care and any education beyond high school, while most of our jobs pay us far below the standard living wage required for us to afford food, housing, transportation, and other essential expenses. Anyone who understands the connection between a man’s ego and his ability to provide for his family can easily see how such a situation would result in a severe shortage in male self esteem.

    I would dare say that here in the West, it isn’t just us women who have low self esteem or suffer from lack of happiness; and that improving our standards of modesty is only one of several changes that must be made in Western society before we as a society will experience the same kind of happiness enjoyed by others around the world.

  83. 83 VictorK
    April 23, 2008 at 16:30

    @ Ahmad: I did put up a post earlier today, in response to Shirley, citing Koranic passages for practically all of the claims I made. It must have been too long, though, since it wasn’t published.

    There really is no need to consider books by Muslim jurists when the evidence is set out in the clearest terms in the Koran itself (and isn’t part of a jurist’s modern role in Islam to gloss over the embarrassing parts of the Koran and make that book fit to be presented to non-Muslims?)

    Islam is an enemy of women by making their mistreatment unreformable because it’s a matter – supposedly – of divine will as set out in the Koran.

    But I have no wish to reform Muslim practice in Muslim countries (which is no concern of mine or of any Westerner): I’m just responding to the subject of this thread. The truth about Islam may not be pleasant or welcome, but it’s still the truth.

  84. 84 steve
    April 23, 2008 at 16:44

    @ Shirley

    I kind of relate modesty to materialism, or lack of materialism. The least happy people (lets assume away starving people, and even they can be happy) are the most materialistic people. Nothing is ever good enough, they never have enough, and when they get something they want, they then just want something else. I think the reason so many in the west are unhappy is becaues they think money can buy happiness, hence they are always unhappy. I have a feeling that people who tend to be modest also tend to be less materialistic, hence more happy. I could again, be totally wrong. Maybe there’s no relation to modesty and materialism, but maybe there is.

  85. 85 Ahmad Hammad
    April 23, 2008 at 16:54

    Dear Victork
    I would love to read all those citations you have made earlier but couldn’t be published…

    Kindly email me if it is comfortable for you.

    By the way Victork, Muslim Jurists don’t do what you have said. They infer, and not tailor the law to suit the non-muslim thought. Let’s be clear on it…

    Secondly, I don’t, rather none of the Muslims does, ask you to reform. They don’t even expect any reformation from any non-Muslim westerner…

    Thirdly, the truth at your side is never essentially a truth at all sides. You might be standing at a different, if not opposite, angle.

    And the truth about Islam is: It’s a peace-loving religion. Spreads Equity and Justice. And if we enclose the spirit of Islam in one word, that is Justice…

    And the justice could NOT be done in a society that is discriminative. So, in a purely Muslim society, women enjoy their rights very well. I invite you to please come to Pakistan and see for yourself as to how we have reserved the seats in our National Assembly for women. It is the sole example in the modern world…
    Even in the US, there are no reserved seat with this much bigger number…

    I earnestly request you to please send all the Qur’anic verses in favour of your objections… I wonder if you could do it soon.

    You can mail me at iamhammad@gmail.com
    Thanking you in anticipation…

  86. 86 Mark Sandell
    April 23, 2008 at 17:03

    Dear Ahmad and Victork,
    we have a policy that “essays” won’t get published, just in the same way people making speeches on the programme won’t be allowed either. I want as many people as possible to be able to participate.I have -mailed personally some of our contributors and asked them to sub their longer pieces. If i edit them, i may take something out the contributor feels is important. All i’m asking is that the posters do that subbing for me.
    If , Victork, you’d like me to pass Ahmad’s address to you (and you are happy Ahmad), i’ll be more than happy to do so
    all best

  87. 87 Shirley
    April 23, 2008 at 17:06

    VictorK, might it be possible for you to work with the moderation staff on that post of yours? Can you find a way to summarise some of your points or refer to texts by partial quotes and title:chapter:verse citations?

    In the arguments that you make based on textual sources, have you been able to find real-life applications wherein women have been abused according to import of the texts that you cite?

    The reason that Ahmad referred to books by jurists is because collectively, they form one of the bases of Islamic law. Islamic law is based on the four bases of the Qur’an, the Sunnah, Scholarly Consensus, and Logical Analysis. There are several works that contribute to each of these bases, even that of the Qur’an, which has been commented on since the earliest days of Islam. Citing things in context in a discussion of Islam practically requires some familiarity with each of these bases and some of texts that comprise them.

    To those of you who see the covering of the head as a form of oppression, have you ever met a woman who covers her head personally and had a one-to-one conversation with her about why she covers her head and whether she feels oppressed? I found it strange to see someone referring to the oppression of Catholic nuns by virtue of the fact that many cover their heads.

  88. 88 Scott Millar
    April 23, 2008 at 17:16

    Yes, Muslims treat women badly! Christians and Jews also treat women badly although this has mostly been rectified, but the history is there. Islam hasn’t made the same progress, in equal rights for women, that the other two religions have. Perhaps because it is younger and less secular then the others, and the culture is more insular.

    -Portland, Oregon

  89. 89 Ahmad Hammad
    April 23, 2008 at 17:18

    Dear Mark!

    I like your mature and positive attitude. You guys provide your bloggers with a level-playing field. And I am comprehensively convinced as to why the speeches shouldn’t be made in the radio programs and the essays shouldn’t be published in WHYS.

    WHYS is a casual sort of forum engaged in a serious activity. I love to participate in its discussions.

    Well, I would rather be happy if you passed on my address to Vicotork. I have learnt a lot from Victork, from the lines written by other valued bloggers above and from you Mark and Ros… 🙂

    Love and Prays for your success in every field of life!

  90. 90 Ahmad Hammad
    April 23, 2008 at 17:21

    Great Shirley!!!

  91. 91 steve
    April 23, 2008 at 17:21

    @ Shirley

    “To those of you who see the covering of the head as a form of oppression, have you ever met a woman who covers her head personally and had a one-to-one conversation with her about why she covers her head and whether she feels oppressed?”

    It think this is also my point. Something tells me that a muslim woman who covers her head has higher self esteem and less issues than a woman who dresses like a stripper for a night out on town. Something tells me that the stripper-lookalike is out for a lot of attention, and we know attention seekers have low self esteem.

  92. 92 savane
    April 23, 2008 at 17:21


    @ Lubna and all the Muslim bloggers:

    Haven’t you had enough of Islam bashing? I’m not a Muslim, and I’ve had enough. How many times are we going to find a way to attack Islam? How much longer are we going to pass blanket judgement on Islam because of the actions of a few? Osama bin Laden, The Taliban and Sadaam Hussein are/were people who had enough charisma and influence and use(d) Islam as their tool for control and to abuse/harm others. They could have subscribed to any religion – they’d still be evil people!

    I know evil people who are not Muslims. We should pass blanket judgement on their religions too? Jim Jones (of Jonestown, Guyana fame), the head of the Mormon Church, the Church Heads of the Churches during The Crusades, the colonialists who used religion as one of their tools to justify colonisation (we had to protect our missionaries), the Catholic Church and Church of England in Northern Ireland.

    To ask if we judge Islam by our standards and beliefs is a politically-correct way to say we are bigots!

    Lubna, (Allah bless your good heart and tolerance) has given the same response every time Islam is the topic for discussion on WHYS. How many ways is WHYS going to spin this to get the answer they want? Neither Lubna nor any like-minded people (and not just Muslims) are going to change their opinion to Islam.

    Enough with the Islam-bashing! We can all learn a lot about the positive influence of one’s faith from this proud 22-year old Muslim lady! Not to mention her tolerance of those who choose to remain narrow-minded, intolerant of those who are different.

    Read The Koran! Mistreatment of women is not advocated for anywhere by The Prophet!

    FYI: I’m a proud Catholic woman whose appalled by The Pope’s bigoted comments about Islam.

    Nairobi Kenya

  93. 93 Shirley
    April 23, 2008 at 17:22

    Steve, you have hit on one of the most important concepts in Shia Islam: the dichotomy between materialism and monotheistic belief. We believe that not only does materialism eat away from one’s happiness, but that it actually causes one to stray from God. Another discussion for another day. I personally see modesty as part of the moderation that a person would adopt when he avoids a materialistic worldview, and I personally believe that Islam calls for a certain kind of moderation that would result in the perfection of belief in God and that would serve as a reflection of the perfection of belief in God. At this point, I want to note that Islam places a great deal of emphasis on financial and economic justice. Yet another topic for yet another day.

    Would you be inclined to think that the noble and dignified treatment of women is part of a lifestyle of moderation, or no? Do you think that such a treatment and such a lifestyle of modertation are intrinsic to Islam, or no? What do you think are some of the reasons that women are maltreated (real? or perceived?) in the Muslim world?

  94. 94 John Augustine
    April 23, 2008 at 17:30

    No. Muslims do not treat Women badly. Certain nations and certain cultures do, just as there were American Colonies where heresy was a crime punishable by gruesome death. But these are the acts of states and fearful, ignorant people, not Islam or Christianity. And it is not religion that justifies these acts, but the way humans see things from a one perspective, and rationalize accordingly.

    I would ask whether the question itself perpetuates such ignorance, but I couldn’t answer that. Anything which causes people to speak the truth…

  95. 95 Scott Millar
    April 23, 2008 at 17:30

    @ Steve.

    Do you have any evidence men in the west don’t have a problem with low self-esteem? Say bye, bye to your argument if you don’t.

    You also can’t and didn’t make the case that there is something “wrong” with promiscuity or single mothers. Nor did you make the case that promiscuity causes low self-esteem or conversely that promiscuity is caused by low self-esteem.

    -Portland, Oregon

  96. 96 steve
    April 23, 2008 at 17:46

    @ Scott:

    There is something wrong with promiscuity and single mothers. If you look at studies, kids of single mothers are more likely to commit crimes. Promiscuity, assuming away the self esteem issues, leads to a greater chance of getting some serious STD. Even things like HPV can cause cancer that can kill. 75% of American women get HPV at some point in their lives. You don’t have to be promiscuous to get HPV, just need to be with someone who is promiscuous.

    Now getting back to the promiscuity and self esteem. For women, promiscuious women tend to do it because they love male attention. Women that love male attention have low self esteem. They value themselves based upon the attention they get, and what better way to get attention than by having sex with some guy? Promiscuity in women is the direct result of low self esteem. Promiscuity in men, I’m not sure, it’s probably just the ability to do it that some men do it. But not nearly as many men have the ability, men simply don’t have the options women have. Some women have no control over themselves given how many options they realize they have. When it comes to sex in the prime years, it has always been 80% of women having sex with 20% of the men.

  97. 97 Scott Millar
    April 23, 2008 at 17:53

    @ Steve.

    Plenty of terrible, awful meanies have great, high-levels of self-esteem! So what?! Self-esteem has nothing to do with this. Maybe nuns have high self-esteem. Maybe strippers have high self-esteem, because they get so much attention. Maybe members of Al-Qaeda have high self-esteem. Maybe the Nazis had great self-esteem. Get the idea? A self-esteem meter has no relation to the collective validity of a culture or anything else.

  98. April 23, 2008 at 17:54

    Our law,has been taken from ”Kuran”grante no permisson to treat with woman badly, so realy muslim abiode to committr such ctrime.

    A woman has equal right under the law as man have there is no classification.

    there is no concepte of badly treatment in our muslim soiety if any one crosse the limits the relevant law of the stame take its cource without hesitation.

    women are respected fully.not treated with as European socities are doing.

  99. April 23, 2008 at 18:02

    Three members of the same family in California manifested what one would see in a ‘christian’ one. One was an idealistic student with a sweet nature and a feminist girlfriend. His uncle ran a corner store full of booze and porno but, to give a nod to Islam made deals with the local mothers to carry more diapers and veg and less hard core porno. His father was just nasty to all women and used Islam to justify control over family members, but grew great eggplant and tomatoes and shared them generously.

    human nature meets dogma in different ways

    Nora in the US

  100. April 23, 2008 at 18:04

    Do Muslims treat women contrary to divine revelation, as they believe divine revelation? Do you want them to violate their belief about divine revelation? Have you any right to dictate how they treat them? Are God and religion not sacred to you? Should you not treat what is sacred with reverence? Are you an iconoclast? Are you godless? Would you tolerate any interference with your secular or godless beliefs, practices, ethics, and values? Are you determined and desperate to convert everyone to your religion of godlessness or secularism?
    May God punish you to show you that He exists!!!

    Prince in Lagos, Nigeria

  101. April 23, 2008 at 18:05

    Read the book “Infadel”

    The woman Ms. Ali describes the different degrees of treatment that various nations extend to Muslim Women in the various societies from Somalia, Kenya,
    Ethiaopia, Saudi Arabia. Best Kenya, worst Saudi. She has a very interesting story and warning to the West regarding Islam.


    Nehalem, Or.

  102. 102 steve
    April 23, 2008 at 18:06

    @ Scott:

    “Plenty of terrible, awful meanies have great, high-levels of self-esteem! So what?! Self-esteem has nothing to do with this. Maybe nuns have high self-esteem. Maybe strippers have high self-esteem, because they get so much attention. Maybe members of Al-Qaeda have high self-esteem. Maybe the Nazis had great self-esteem. Get the idea? A self-esteem meter has no relation to the collective validity of a culture or anything else.”

    That’s not exactly true. I don’t want to take this off topic, but think of politicians. They tend to be narcissistic, portraying themselves as superior and entitled, tend to be meanies, but actually have very low self esteem because they are constantly trying to prove how they are superior to everyone else. These people you describe have low self esteem. Insecure people have low self esteem. If you have to proclaim you’re of some superior race, that you are the best, you above all, you’re obviously insecure and are trying to prove to everyone you are better, when if you were truly secure, you really wouldn’t care what others think, let alone try to prove you are what you pretend to be.

    Strippers? Come on.. How can you have any self esteem if you allow men to grope you for $1?? Don’t believe me? Go to the Wagon Wheel around baltimore. I went there once, and I honestly felt horrible for the women that work there. Zilcho self esteem.

    Seriously, take a look at society, take a deep look at women, many, too many than we like to admit, have serious, serious issues, that are not fixable, due to their choices, that normally result from their lack of self esteem. Some baggage cannot be shaken off unfortunately. Look for a lot of cat herders in the future.

  103. 103 Matthew Godwin
    April 23, 2008 at 18:07

    I think that social and cultural constructs, reinforced by male politicians, are responsible for the poor treatment of women in some Islamic states. However, Turkey is almost entirely Muslim and women are treated relatively fairly. It’s men – not Islam to blame.


  104. April 23, 2008 at 18:14

    It’s not just Muslims that do this. It’s fundamentalists of many religions. We are facing this now in the US with fundamentalist Mormons in Texas.

    John in the US

  105. April 23, 2008 at 18:15

    Western government talk more about south asian human rights but keeps their blind eyes over the human right abuse on women in muslim world . It’s mainly due to their oil resource and their monopoly.


  106. April 23, 2008 at 18:18

    Isn t it ironic that the US toppled the most progressive country – Iraq, and supports the least – Saudi Arabia

    Kiru in Jamaica

  107. 107 Nate, Portland OR
    April 23, 2008 at 18:18

    Steve, you correctly identify issues encountered by women in the west, but in my experience you blow them way out of proportion. Clearly your experiences are different from mine. In my life I’m surrounded by strong, healthy, happy women. They do tend to be well-educated, is that perhaps the difference? Most of them do like to dress attractively and be viewed as beautiful, but they’re not obsessed with it. They also liked to be viewed as smart, decent, healthy, fun, and hard working. They derive much of their self-image from these other things. How different is this from men who like to be viewed as strong, athletic and handsome? Is that much different from a woman wanting to be viewed as beautiful? To put too many of your self-image eggs in one basket is unhealthy for anybody. Clearly there are problems in the west where elements of society encourage women to put their self-image in the attractive-to-men basket, but judging from the many strong, healthy women around me it isn’t so difficult to avoid that it requires Islamic practices.

    The strong, healthy western women I know have earned the respect and care of the men around them. They engage with them as peers and both parties benefit greatly from the interaction. This type of interaction would not be possible in most of the Muslim world. I would not have had the many good (overwhelmingly platonic) friendships with women that have benefited me and them so greatly. In the Mulsim world these strong, healthy women would be unable to go hiking in shorts n’ t-shirt on a sunny day! They wouldn’t be able to travel freely. They wouldn’t be able to marry the man of their choice.

    Do you truly believe the solution to the problems related to objectification of women in the western world is to enforce restrictive dress codes and segregation? You get the approval of Ahmad Hammad and his Muslim ilk by making the problem appear much bigger and the solution far more intractable than they truly are. Many Muslims point to “the sex and the city” lifestyle and make it appear rampant so that they can argue that their way is the only way. Thats a lot easier than looking at the non-Muslim world as it truly is. The very successes of the non-Muslim world are apparently a threat to many of Muslims, and so they deny these successes and grossly inflate the negatives.

  108. April 23, 2008 at 18:19

    How would Saudi Arabia, who now tries to be a tourist destination, treat western women tourists if they want to drive on their roads?

    Kevin in Trinidad

  109. April 23, 2008 at 18:20

    It isn’t fair to single out Islam. Clearly it is fundamentalism. One only needs to look at the LDS church in San Angelo, TX. The difference is the secular government of the US protects the rights of the individual and Iran, Saudi Arabia, and other religious government suppress them.

    Timothy in Texas, US

  110. 110 steve
    April 23, 2008 at 18:21

    “It’s men – not Islam to blame.


    If that’s the case, then why are women free to do whatever they want, regardless of how harmful it is to them in the west if “men” are to blame. When women make poor decisions that harm themselves and whom they subject themselves to, is that also the fault of men?

  111. April 23, 2008 at 18:21

    Women in many parts of the Muslim world are treated badly because of the mentality of men and their outdated interpretations of Koran teaching. A Muslim woman conjures for some she is a person totally veiled and unable to do anything without permission from their male tutors.

    It’s true women get power within their families when becoming grandmothers as they have a “ruling” over their children and their daughters-in-law. But on the threshold of their homes, their “power” ends as men become the rulers of what is taking place outside.

    There are some who argue that the apparent restrictions on women are for their advantages as they are held in great esteem and protection. But for some such an attitude is like killing a child with kindness without giving it the right to act independently or to grow mature enough to be responsible for its actions.

  112. 112 Scott Millar
    April 23, 2008 at 18:22

    Why do we say anything negative is “cultural” rather then “religious,” but then anything positive its okay to call it “religious.” We can’t have it both ways!

    Clearly the culture is predicated by the religion. It’s obvious. Don’t sugarcoat reality to appear tolerant–so we don’t offend Muslims.

    -Portland, Oregon

  113. 113 Scott Millar
    April 23, 2008 at 18:28


    Steve you and I both have low “self-esteem” that’s why we are bantering back and forth like idiots trying to have our viewpoint heard, trying to be right, so we feel superior and better about ourselves. Be honest, at least… .

  114. April 23, 2008 at 18:30

    The report in the US of woman abuse is so high is because women are free to report it.

    Timothy in the US

  115. April 23, 2008 at 18:30

    Baroness Udlun is being completely disingenious to say that the treatment of women in Saudi Arabia is not reflective of the way women are treated under Islam. Specifically, sharia law is discriminatory against women on its face. There are several states that practice sharia law and use Islam as a basis to treat women unfairly. The Baroness must be ignoring the very movement within Britian to institute sharia law. The Baroness’ unwillingness to acknowledge this fact only sadly further demonstrates the affect on women of the inherent discrimination of sharia.


  116. April 23, 2008 at 18:31

    My grandmother used to have a saying. “truly stupid people don’t know they are stupid.” Along the same lines my wife didn’t want to give our daughter cinnamon because, “she didn’t need it. She has never had it, so she doesn’t know she is missing it.”

    Mistreatment is a relative cultural thing really. If these women have known the abuse for generations, and they accept it as “the norm”, is it another cultures right to tell them they should be unhappy?

  117. April 23, 2008 at 18:34

    If the “abusers” say they are doing it “for Islam” then they feel it is Islam.

    We in Oregon

  118. April 23, 2008 at 18:34

    The question is not phrased properly. It should read “are some human beings being ill-trated in Muslin countries”.?

  119. April 23, 2008 at 18:35

    I had started thinking that Mr. Khan is very sincere until he brought India into his dialogue where he talked about India, dowry system etc. Point to note, Indian Muslims are one of the more advanced Muslims in the world where most of the female muslim population goes for education, does not wear burkahs, drive cars etc.


  120. April 23, 2008 at 18:36


    I am almost 55 years old, and I have yet to hear about a secular or christian country who makes it a law to subjugate a woman. it does happen, but it is not sanction by the law.

    Jacques KO from Boston

  121. 121 steve
    April 23, 2008 at 18:37

    @ Dwight

    Right on. Who knows, these women might actually be happy being controlled. The only truly happy when I’ve ever met, the ones that don’t whine and complain about everything, are the women that LOVE men controlling every facet of their lives. From who they can talk to, what she can buy, etc..I personally wouldn’t want to live that way, but it’s shocking hearing a woman not complain about anything! I guess some women really love being completely controlled. If someone is happy, why complain about how they are being treated? If they have a problem with it, let them do it. Ever wonder why young women in the US seem like like bad boys more than nice guys? Becuase it makes them happier, even if it’s not in their best interest. Should we prevent them from doing that?

  122. 122 Justin
    April 23, 2008 at 18:39

    This grotesque abuse of women’s human rights is no more acceptable then apartheid was
    The use of the Muslim religion as an excuse is a damming indictment of that religion even that it is possible to use this religion as justification.
    The only reason the western powers are so meek on this injustice in saudi is OIL

  123. 123 Nate, Portland OR
    April 23, 2008 at 18:44

    Evon (sp?) is being profoundly disengenuous. This thing about driving is not about the rich being chauferred. Its about women being forced to being chauferred. The rich are chauferred whenever they want. Not rich women are chauferred whenever somebody else is able to spare the time. Did the Taliban return her freedom but steal her mind?

  124. April 23, 2008 at 18:45

    This issue is solely related to the psychological oppressive nature of SOME eastern men rather than to Islam’s teachings.

    Lubna in Baghdad

  125. 125 Jane
    April 23, 2008 at 18:46

    Given that the central Asian countries such as Kazakhstan and Tajikistan are extremely moderate and have equal rights for women and ALSO happen to be Muslim, I’m stunned that anyone thinks it’s the religion that’s the problem.
    It’s a cultural problem. Saudi culture has been stifled far too long and will, hopefully in my lifetime, join the modern world.
    Until such time, their long-suffering women will continue to suffer.
    Respect should be universal. Sadly it is not.
    However, I have no right to interfere in another culture’s workings.

  126. April 23, 2008 at 18:46

    Women in the muslim world are like the caged birds and they keep them like the jewell box under veil. Religion has no concept of bias actually. The condition of women may be changed with the advancement of education & science.


  127. April 23, 2008 at 18:48

    The thing is islamic world is still waiting to free it self from religion. It took the west centuries to acomplish that, but it seems that the process is much more slower in muslim societies…
    Some comments here from muslims seem to come directly from the european middle ages!
    The problem with women repression is not because of “some muslims”! I don’t know any muslim country who doesn’t repress women!… There is violence towards women in the west? Shure! And, eventually towards men, children and animals…It’s a shame that must be atended, but at least they have freedom and increesing equal oportunities. On the other hand, in muslim countries there is no freedom, no equal oportunities, less or no rights and the same or worst violence towards women…

  128. 128 Ryan
    April 23, 2008 at 18:48

    Before I get to the point, has anyone noticed that those who are apologists for the culture of Islam in other countries are often people with negligible ties to the area, or more unbelievably, have escaped repression in those countries? I know there are cultural differences, but not enough to excuse what’s going on over there.


    I believe that women in Muslim countries are treated poorly. I believe that it is based on the misinterpretation of Islam. I believe that most of the evil perpetrated on Muslim women comes from the Hadith, a secondary religious text.

    Whenever secondary religious texts with questionable practices are put on par with holy texts–be they Papal bulls, Doctrines & Covenants (mormons) or the Talmud–evil weeds its way into an otherwise proper religion and abuses abound.

  129. 129 L. Walker
    April 23, 2008 at 18:50

    shoved in a gilded cage? ‘protected’ and cared for? unable to drive because your ‘spoiled’?

    why WOULDN’T a woman just LOVE a life like that??

    One word.


  130. April 23, 2008 at 18:51

    I think it is important to recognize that choosing not to drive or preferring not to drive is entirely different from not being ALLOWED to drive. The former is certainly not an oppressive state, but I think most would agree that the latter certainly is. Likewise with the ability to work, move freely without escort, etc. If one chooses to live under the authority of another, that could very well be a wonderful and fulfilling existence, but if one lives under the authority of another without the option to do otherwise, then…it’s an entirely different story.

    Jennifer, in Los Angeles

  131. 131 Joan
    April 23, 2008 at 18:52

    I don’t understand why the Brittish journalist feels that the Sharia governments do not represent Islam. Overall, if you compare the treatment of women in Muslim countries to the treatment of women in Western countries, I don’t think there is any doubt about bad treatment.

  132. April 23, 2008 at 18:54

    Having been an female expat in Saudi Arabia for over 17 years, the way the Koran is interpreted in Saudi and therefore the way women are treated in the Kingdom is horrendous.

    Having to get a taxi everywhere, and cover up totally in all temperatures, and risk the chance of having the religious police chase you from the markets just because you are a westerner, and if you can’t afford a taxi, the only other choice of getting around is on the local buses when women have to travel in the segrated last, very small section only and over the engine so is extremely hot is humiliating.

    When travelling to other Muslim countries, women are treated normally and the third world country national men really despise the Saudis for the way the Saudis mistreat them when either visiting on the Hajj or to work and feel they bring down the Muslim faith by the way they treat non-Saudis.

    We used to use the way the Saudi herearchy to women would be:

    Son, camel, goat, sheep and then the women.

    Rosemary in the US

  133. April 23, 2008 at 18:55

    Why has it not been discussed what is good for men is good for women too? This argument has been used in all social revolutions. There are very little differences between men and women. Arguing these points will get closer to the issue of men hiding behind superstition to repress women.

    Portland, OR, USA

  134. 134 steve
    April 23, 2008 at 18:55

    Does anyone remember the show a year or so ago on WHYS about drug abuse? They had some woman on the show that would tell about her drug use, which I believe was cocaine? She said she was unemployed, did drugs constantly, and I thought the BBC had ignored the most serious implication of this. How did she get the drugs? They never asked her that, so I emailed up the show, they even edited the part of the question out where I was implying she was having sex for money or for drugs, and she honestly and immediately answered that she would have sex for drugs. Another negative aspect of drug use, but also reflects on yes, self-esteem, self worth, or whatever you want to call it. Something tells me these problems barely exist at all in the muslim world. It was just so obvious, such an important point, and the BBC didn’t even bring it up other than read my email, having edited out the “in these situations, women that use drugs, who aren’t employed, tend to have sex for money”.. Is this woman, a product of “total freedom” better off than women in Saudi Arabia? Remember, you may bring up the addictiveness of drugs, but not everyone does them, she willingly tried them, so we should hold her at least somewhat responsible for her decisions? If not, we are really no better than the Saudis, aren’t we?

  135. 135 Tarig
    April 23, 2008 at 18:55

    Islam treats women better than any other culture or believes, let us not steer our eyes away form the tons of the domestic abuses of the west. It is so disturbing that we connect whatever abuse impacted a lady in a Muslim country with Islam, and not treated as the personal responsibility. Saudi Arabia it is one Muslim country out of many Muslim countries, and if Saudis do not like their laws they have the right to change it, and if they feel oppressed and accepted shame on them.
    Washington, DC

  136. April 23, 2008 at 18:58

    Why can’t men in Saudi men allow the world to see Saudi women? Are they too beautiful so they are jealous about them? Or are they such ugly that they are ashamed the world will know about them? Are they too deficient in intelligence that they can’t have common sense and they are likely to tarnish the reputation and the honour of their male relatives? I simply wonder.

  137. April 23, 2008 at 18:59

    Yvonne Ridley is wrong to consider that being driven by someone else in a minibus, once a day for shopping, and havin you children picked up at school by a driver assigned by their compound is anything pleasant. It causes real inconvenience. One has to see life here, day in and day out to appreciate the constraints on women. That being said, in eastern province, women do go shopping unaccompanied, in the shopping malls such as the mall of Dhahran. But western women are forced to wear an abaya. But all rights flow to women on the Saudi Aramco propeeties, where they can drive, not wear an abaya, go jogging in shorts etc.

    Phil in Bahrain (travelling everyday over causeway to Saudi)

  138. 138 steve
    April 23, 2008 at 19:00

    @ Tarig:

    That’s not exactly possible in Saudi Arabia, given women cannot vote, hence they don’t have a right to change anything if they don’t like it. My problem is that people in the west are trying to speak for others without being positive these people don’t like their situation. How can we know for sure? But fact is, even if women did want to change the system in Saudi Arabia, they have no way of doing so. however, I’m one to believe that Saudi Women are happier than the critics give them credit for. In fact, I would say they are probably happier than western women.

  139. 139 Rashid Patch
    April 23, 2008 at 19:01

    I just wish that even 2% of the energy Westerners direct at “women’s oppression in Islam” was spent on domestic violence in Western nations.

  140. 140 Timothy
    April 23, 2008 at 19:03

    Do you know why there are so many report of women violence in the US? Because women are free to report it. Any woman speaking out in an Islamic country would be beheaded.

  141. 141 Shirley
    April 23, 2008 at 19:03

    There are indeed hadiths that promote an offensive attitude against women. However, the problem lies with those individual hadiths, not with the entire concept of hadith. There is much in Islam that has been based on Prophetic Tradition, which is derived mainly from hadiths. To discard Prophetic Traditions and hadiths is like throwing the babay out with the bath water.

  142. 142 JT
    April 23, 2008 at 19:04


    “Daraba” in Arabic also means to give/make distance — check Leila Bakthiar ‘s (of USA) translation. This defintion makes sense because Prophet Muhammad advised quarelling parties to remove themselves from a situation to cool off and to prevent an escalation of a dispute.

    However, I believe some sadly misguided Muslim men, either from the lack of knowledge of the Arabic language, or self serving, conveniently intrepreted the word to justify abuses against women.

  143. April 23, 2008 at 19:09

    Honesetly Arab nations deny their women their fundamental rights, or is it because of religious belief.

    Darius in Nigeria

  144. 144 Justin
    April 23, 2008 at 19:10

    to suggest that abuse of women in western countries condones the institutionalised abuse by Muslim countries is disgusting!

    The fact is that abuse and discrimination against anyone is not condoned by the laws of any western countires
    were as in Muslim counties Islam is used to condone abuse and discrimination


    Göttingen, FRG

  145. April 23, 2008 at 19:12

    The islamic religion does not regard women right but rather abuses women right and treat women as they were nothing in the society.

    William, a Liberian living in Accra

  146. April 23, 2008 at 19:14

    I don’t see any other major role of women in Islamic states apart from being subservient wives and giving birth. If you think otherwise…enlighten me.

    Elsa in Uganda

  147. April 23, 2008 at 19:15

    I’m a muslim women and I think that in Islam women are the most respected and are given a very high status. It’s the muslims that don’t respect islamic law.


  148. 148 Scott Millar
    April 23, 2008 at 19:15


    Wrong. Its related to some peoples interpretations of Islam. What a seemingly perfect defense the religious have created to justify oppression, Christians and Jews included. Whenever anything perceived negative results from religion it is not the religion just the interpretation or the individual. Well then nothing good results from religion either if you want to open that door.

    So are you actually willing to say the oppression of women in Muslim culture has nothing at all to do with the religion? Its just a coincidence. How thoroughly dishonest if you say “yes.”

    -Portland, Oregon

  149. 149 selena
    April 23, 2008 at 19:15

    Jennifer, I agree the answer lies in choices.

    Unfortunately, as long as we believe children have no rights, except those which are bestowed upon them by parents, we will continue to produce grown ups who have no concept of freedom.

  150. 150 Timothy
    April 23, 2008 at 19:16

    I suppose it is good islamic women wear vails. It covers up the abuse.

  151. April 23, 2008 at 19:25

    By comparison Nigerian Muslim women enjoy fairer treatment from men & the government,than women in Saudi Arabia & Afghanistan.

    Dogara in Nigeria

  152. April 23, 2008 at 19:26

    The panelist in the Nairobi studio must draw a line between states taking care of women and states giving women their freedom.


  153. 153 Will Rhodes
    April 23, 2008 at 19:26

    And yet, Shirley, in your reply to me did you not condemn the use of stoning a person to death as wrong.

    Would you advocate this use?

    Covering the head while praying is not wearing the hijab nor is it stipulating that the burkha should be worn.

    The Rushdie Affair remains problematic for western Muslims. When asked by the Guardian’s Steven Moss whether supporters of the fatwa should be tried for murder, Yusuf Islam replied, ‘If a person in the twentieth century is being chased because he says that the Ten Commandments should still apply, then I say there is something serious wrong.’ Yet, when called up in front of the Brent Educational Authority, he insisted that, under Islamic law, ‘Muslims are bound to keep within the limits of the law of the country in which they live, provided it does not restrict their freedom of worship.’


    I would advise using Google – I found about 150,000 hits with one search. As you are a convert to Islam surely you should read up on these things before making your final decision? But that is your choice.

    What you will find is that Sharia law is NOT Islamic law and that is what is being followed by many and advocated by many more – this is because it gives the law back to the Imam in judicial circumstance!

    The two are incompatible. And if I were you i would read the qur’an from cover to cover and not just have it explained to you – there are English versions available if you cannot read Arabic.

  154. April 23, 2008 at 19:27

    Women in muslim communities are generally not treated faily as their male counterparts. I live in a typical muslim community and so I know what I’m saying. I can say islam is a deliberate attempt to infringe upon the human rights of women…this needs to addressed greatly.

    Nana in Ghana

  155. April 23, 2008 at 19:28

    l get no chance to think about dogmatism. Once women had prestigious position in Saudi Arbia and the state has been changed. It is the aspect of Islamic fundamentalism. They feel it is correct to sink the mothers.

    Ramen in Kolkata, India

  156. 156 steve
    April 23, 2008 at 19:29

    “I suppose it is good islamic women wear vails. It covers up the abuse.”

    Reading comments like this really makes me understand the complaints I’m reading from Muslims on here. And BELIEVE ME, I am in no way shape or form typically one who Defends Islam. I’m as Pro-israel as you get, but this really seems to be a slugfest. That comment I quote above basically means ALL muslim men abuse all muslim women that wear a veil. You certainly know that’s not true, yet you paint an entire group with a single brush. Shameful if you ask me.

  157. April 23, 2008 at 19:34

    I want human rights groups to know that Islamic laws are different from their thouhts. So in whatever way men treat their women in Islamic countries, it is right.


  158. 158 Will Rhodes
    April 23, 2008 at 19:35

    Ahmad Hammad April 23, 2008 at 3:38 pm


    Well, if that’s the reason of burning the mosques in the west, then, it is even the worst of insanity i.e. if someone says against your opinion, in place of arguing to convince him rationally, you start burning out his havens of sanctity. And thus give vent to their wrath.

    I agree – but I turn the question back to you – why do Muslims burn church’s?

    Have you ever compared the number of the Muslims killed by the westerners in recent years against the number of the westerners killed by the Muslims???

    The ratio is just terrible dear Will…

    I completely agree with you.

    One Iraqi kid is as dear to his mother as the daughter of Mr Bush or the son of Mr Blair to Laura and Cherry.

    Again, I agree!

    Please stop terrorizing the Muslims by calling the Muslims as the terrorists by using the Meida Bomb.

    I use the word terrorist for those who use terror – irrespective of what faith they belong to.

    There’s NO Abu-Ghuraib or Guantanamo Bay made by any Muslim freedom fighter group.

    Shall we go into the extremely disturbing images that came out of certain countries of Muslims doing barbaric things to those who were there?

    Don’t you agree that the West has devastated the peaceful countries for the sake of Oil???

    No – what I will agree with is that this last war is an unjust war and was started in the pursuit of oil.

    I would also point out the effect that OPEC has had on may of the decisions taken in the west in the pursuit of oil.

    I know that you are a smart person, Ahmad, and I am sure we could debate this all day long – but when both sides agree that they have made terrible mistakes and look and yearn for real peace we will go round and around ad infinitum!

  159. April 23, 2008 at 19:36

    I was a moslem who converted to christianity at the point of marraige because of the opression and tyranny of Islam. My wife also converted.

  160. April 23, 2008 at 19:38

    I think the human rights groups should pay more attention to the poverty in Africa rather then provoking and brain washing the muslim ladies who are happy with what Islam teaches them. It’s about time the west mind ther own buisnes as we all know ISLAM is always being critisized by the so called human rights.


  161. April 23, 2008 at 19:40

    Hello, everyone.

    Reading the post and the resulting comments, I am astounded. The entire post and all of the comments talk ABOUT Muslim women, but there have been only two female Muslim voices out of 137 here (Salaams to Lubna and Saha!). Why do any opinions other than Muslim women’s opinions matter in this debate? We’re curious as to whether Muslim women were asked their opinions on this subject…?

    So here we are. In our female Muslim opinions, asking the question, “Do Muslims treat women badly?” is asking the wrong question. This implies that mistreatment of women is an Islamic tenet or an inherent practice of all Muslims, rather than a feature of all patriarchal societies that eventually bleeds into patriarchal interpretations of religion. Insinuating that mistreatment of women is an Islamic tenet is unfair and inaccurate. Women are not 100% safe anywhere in the world; it’s not fair to lay all of that on any religious practice.

  162. April 23, 2008 at 19:44

    Over here, some moslem women cover up everything but their eyes,and here I mean eyeballs. It really freaks me out. Are their husbands that insecure?

    Ko in Malawi

  163. April 23, 2008 at 19:46

    Every culture has it’s unique code of behaviour. To impose code of conduct on people is uncivilised and biased. Please leave Muslims alone.

    Kaduna, Nigeria

  164. April 23, 2008 at 19:47

    Muslim women are treated and honoured respectfully by Islam contrary to what the western media is advocating.

    Faisal in Tanzania

  165. 165 Mark Sandell
    April 23, 2008 at 19:51

    Dear Muslimah Media Watch,

    Can i urge you to please listen to the programme; three of our main 4 panellists are Muslim women. The first three callers (2 from Saudi Arabia) are Muslim women. ALL our remaining panellists/main guests are Muslims too.
    We post what we receive and if more Muslim women post, they of course will be published.
    thanks for your comments

  166. April 23, 2008 at 19:52

    Muslim women themselves are happy and proud of how they are treated. It is all about culture.

    Emmanuel in Ghana

  167. April 23, 2008 at 19:53

    It’s not religion which conflicts in islam, but culture.

    Dr. Elima, Uganda

  168. April 23, 2008 at 19:54

    It would be unfair to criticize another society without looking at our society first.

  169. April 23, 2008 at 19:54

    Muslims have no respect for women. They treat them like slaves. It’s unfair.

    Owerri in Nigeria

  170. April 23, 2008 at 19:57

    Talk of religion, you equally talk of human rights. I hate but I will admit that muslim women are living in bondage. There is a wide abuse of their fundamental human right especially that of movement which a given individual sees as bases of survival in this world.

    Okoye in Nigeria

  171. April 23, 2008 at 20:07

    Mark, my comments were directed mainly at the blog post/commenters. We’re very pleased to see that the majority of your panelists are Muslim women.

    However, I would very much like to listen to the program; is it possible to listen to it online? Would you please send us a link? Thank you.

  172. April 23, 2008 at 20:40

    All I am saying is this. If a sub-culture feels it is being abused, tortured, killed, or oppressed, then speak out. If there are enough voices to speak out and start a revolution (either passive or aggressive), then I say “lets help them.” They are willing to fight for their purpose, and it is one I agree with, let us equal their effort if we can”.

    But, If we can not find enough voices and participants to fight for their own freedom, then there will never be a way to guarantee it. It is this kind of “we must help people be like us” mentality that allowed the public to support the ill-fated actions the US has taken in the past. We end up fighting a cause for people who don’t want us to fight for them.

    As far as women wanting direction and abuse in free societies, or even not free one, it is a simple case of psychology. It is the quick to jump to corporal punishment mentality of most western families that leads to abusive situation. People beat, spank, verbally berate, tear down, and oppress their children in order to make them “easier to control.” The parents do this explaining, “I only beat you, yell at you, and belittle you because I love you.” Then they wonder why their daughter grows up to get into an abusive relationship with an a-hole who beats them, oppresses them, and treats them like they are little children. It is because that is what parents have taught their children to associate with “love”.

  173. 173 Moustafa Hassan
    April 23, 2008 at 20:58

    The difference between religeon and it’s cultural contamination needs to always be clarified. Muslim women are never oppressed by islam but by their cultural impositions. I strongly recommend the course or 14 CD set by Dr. Umar Faruq Abd-Allah (Wymann-Landgraf)titled “Famous Women in Islam” by the US Nawawi Foundation. It will clarify to all who want to find out or research: how it became and how it was during the prophetic periodand should be now.

    Syracuse NY

  174. April 23, 2008 at 22:18

    Yet, this is to say ” There is no equality between men and women in Muslim world”

  175. 175 Shirley
    April 23, 2008 at 23:42

    Christine said that there are very few differences between men and women and, based on that, called for the same treatment between men and women. The fact is that Islam recognises the biological differences between men and women and the various other differences that rise from those biological differences. This is why men are given more responsibility over women in terms of financial and material support, why they are not commanded to cover as much of their bodies as women, why there are differences in the ways that we worship, etc. This viewpoint is explained in several Islamic scholarly texts. Some from among those include http://al-islam.org/al-tawhid/women_behishti , http://al-islam.org/rightsofwomeninislam/13.htm (from http://al-islam.org/rightsofwomeninislam ), and http://al-islam.org/al-tawhid/default.asp?url=women-society.htm .

    Elsa wrote that she is unaware of any societal roles being made available to women in Islam outside of marriage and motherhood. The fact is that Islam has permitted women to hold all kinds of positions in society. They can work as doctors, educators, lawyers, businesspersons, politicians, and even religious scholars. Prophet Muhammad’s first wife was a businessperson. Lady Muslim doctors, educators, and lawyers abound both in the Western world and in the Muslim world. One can find an abundant supply of female Muslim politicians in Iran and Pakistan. Bint al Huda, an Iraqi lady, was a religious scholar who was violated and murdered by Saddam’s cronies on his command, thank God he’s dead. She was following in the footsteps of the daughter and granddaughter of Prophet Muhammad, both of whom were among the leading religious scholars of their respective day.

    There is indeed a drug problem in Muslim countries. It affects men as well as women. I would not be surprised for an instant if women used their bodies to get drugs, whether in the context of prostitution or even in that of an abusive (or extortionist) relationship. I know from media reports that drugs are a problem in Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. I know that even higher-class society in Saudi Arabia deals with various kinds of addictions, including alcoholism. I would not be surprised to hear of an increasing drug abuse problem in Iraq. So even if I have not heard stories yet of women using their bodies to get their drug(s) of choice, it simply would not surprise me to hear that it does happen. In the interest of continuing this line of discussion, it could be asked whether Islam in and of itself contributes to this problem, or whether it could present itself as a solution when implemented properly; and even whether it is possible to implement it properly in order to irradicate these problems.

  176. 176 Shirley
    April 23, 2008 at 23:45

    The way that the verb “daraba” is conjugated in the Qur’an 4:34 (a verse that deals with marital infidelity) can only refer to some form of hitting. There is no way to avoid it linguistically. When an Arabic-speaking mother wants to tell her children to stop hitting each other, she screams “la daraba! mu zian!”

    Even if “daraba” were to refer to a separation in that verse, it would then constitute redundancy – not poetic repetition, but straight up redundancy. It is not a tactic employed elsewhere in the Qur’an, so it is highly unlikely that it was introduced at that point and then not used again. Leila Bakhtiar did not study Qur’anic Arabic. She probably did not even try to. She is one of those “progressives” whose only interest in Islam is that of a spectator.

    The proper way to deal with that verse is to understand it according to its context in the Qur’an and the explanations given by Prophet Muhammad. Before being permitted to hit their wives, men must first advise them that adultery is fobidden in Islam. Then, they should remove themselves from the bed. Only if these first two steps have already failed can the man employ hitting.

    Hitting is given further conditions in the explanations of Prophet Muhammad, who forbade wife-beating and instituted a system of punishing anyone who left so much as a red mark on another person, and who explained the verse at 4:34 by stating that a man is allowed to use a toothbrush to physically punish his wife. The concept of wife-beating being carried out with a toothbrush so lightly that there is not even a red mark belongs in a comic strip, not Human Rights Watch.

  177. 177 Shirley
    April 23, 2008 at 23:48

    Hello, Will
    I was so hyped that this would be the discussion point for today; and then I completely missed its airing on the radio. I didn’t even get to hear if any of us regulars was aired during the programme.

    You ask if I would advocate stoning as a method of punishment and whether I consider it to be wrong. My answer is in two parts.

    Where a woman is stoned to death because she was raped and then covicted of adultery, or caught talking to a man, or someone accused her of adultery because she was tring to raise her position in society, then obviously I denounce stoning. If she is so guilty of adultery, then where the blazes is the man with whom she committed adultery? Why on earth was he not also executed?

    In the case of the person who indeed committed murder, or rape, or adultery, and the suspect confessed under proper circumstances, or four reliable witnesses saw him commit the crime, or forensic evidence was properly employed to obtain a proper conviction, then I affirm the use of stoning as a punishment. It is what my religion calls for, and I stand by it. Think what you will. I am a Muslim, and I stand by my religion.

    Why do you say that covering the head during salat is not the same as wearing a hijab? When a woman prays, she isto cover her body, except her face and her hands, which she is allowed to expose. In order to accomplish this, not only must she wear long sleeves and long legs, she must also drape a cloth from her head and secure it so that it obscures her ears, neck, and that spot behind the chin. Thi always has been the difinition of “khimar.” When 24:31 was revealed, the women unwound their khimars (“khimarihunna,” in the Qur’an) and let the tails drape over their chests. When the Qur’an used the possessive, it not only referred to a piece of cloth that was semantically defined as a headcovering, it also referred specifically to “their khimars,” or the very khimars that the women were wearing at the time that the verse was revealed, in the way that they were wearing them. Using that one word, the Qur’an referred to the fact that the women had a cloth on their heads, had given it the name “khimar,” and had kept that cloth off of their chests up to that point in time. Nowhere in the study of the Arabic language can one find evidence that the khimar changed definition from “head cover” to just a “cover” or to a “chest cover.” Furthermore, the extensive references in Sacred Traditions from several different sources to the covering of the woman’s body except the hands and the face, from Asma’s encounter with Prophet Muhammad to separate references to “antimony and tin” by more than one of the followers of Prophet Muhammad to the commands of the successors of Prophet Muhammad for women to cover their bodies except their hands and faces, all indicate that Islam calls women to cover her body from head to two, leaving her face and hands at her discretion. Arabic linguistics, the wording of the Qur’an, Prophetic commentary, and the explanations of prominent Muslims from the earliest days of Islam, all declare with one voice this obligation.

    Can you explain the quote that you presented? It doesn’t fit into the discussion of the hijab.

    By the way, don’t use apostrophes to pluralise words.

  178. 178 viola anderson
    April 24, 2008 at 00:49

    Still, it is strange that so few Muslim women posted on this subject. May I suggest that those Muslim women who feel any mistreatment they receive has its origins in Islamic law are right and that those who disagree with them can take a hike. Those who feel any mistreatment they receive is not caused by Islamic law are also right and anyone who disagrees with them should also take a hike.

    If Muslim women claim that women are never mistreated under Islamic law by members of their Islamic society, they are either lying or being defensive. I seriously doubt any but fanatics would make such a claim.


  179. April 24, 2008 at 01:45

    Do Muslims treat women badly? In the eyes of most Muslim men and of many women, the answer is no, they don’t. Within country and culture and their own experience, that is the way things are and are supposed to be. However, all Muslims are not the same, nor is the situation the same in all Muslim countries. I discovered my own ignorance on the subject and had my own prejudices and presuppositions revealed to me when I read ‘Infidel’ recently — the autobiographical book and New York Times bestseller by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, published in 2007 in English translaton from the original Dutch. Born in Somalia and raised in Somalia, Saudi Arabia and Kenya, three very different Muslim countries, Ayyan Ali’s depiction of her experiences remains brutally frank and refreshingly candid throughout. The book is apt response to WHY’s question, a brave indictement of female submission and women’s repression in male dominated cultures, and a courageous attempt to raise Muslim awareness towards the reformation and transformation of their culture and worldview–a process that the West experienced in the l6th century but has not yet happened in the Muslim East. The culprit is not Islam itself as much as it is the mindset of a 7th century desert culture that once dominted and still prevails in Muslim countries today, a mindset that has corrupted and misused Islam as a tool and weapon for male dominance and female suppression and currently victimizes both women and men.

    While living in India in the late 90’s, an incident in Pakistan hit the front pages in both Pakistan and India leading to an outcry of public indignation and opening the door to official investigations that revealed household conditions behind closed doors in that country.Two nine-year-old girls, identical twins, were brought to hospital in Islamabad. Undersized and underweight, the girls were listless and unresponsive, could no longer stand up much less walk. They showed extreme vitamin deficiencies and suffered from osteoporosis and malnutrition. Investigation revealed that the women and girl children in the household were not ‘allowed’ outdoors and these children had never been in the sun. An extreme case, to be sure, but the investigation led to other serious abuses of young women and girls by males in.Pakistani households. Though this was shocking to me, the condition of women in Pakistan was not news in India. The extremity of this case affecting children was.

  180. April 24, 2008 at 03:09


    as-salaamu ‘alaikum. “Do Muslims treat women badly?”, clearly a rhetorical question. And in fact an expression of bad manners. This question is like me inviting you to the Doha Debates then asking you, “Why did the U.S. invade Iraq when Osama was somewhere between Afghanistan and Pakistan?”

    Its time to show a bit of class with respect to media. We should all have gotten over the thrill of being able to say whatever we want, however we want and whenever we want on the Internet.

    Moving toward 2010, nearly 30 years after its advent its time to exercise some responsibility and not just lunge at every headline and opportunity. But we are Americans and prudence has never really been one of our strong points.


  181. 181 Defiant
    April 24, 2008 at 08:05

    Yes it does but the women wont realise this because of all the brainwashing they’ve had since birth. Lets not forget they still believe Islam is the “religion of peace” lol

  182. 182 Mark Sandell
    April 24, 2008 at 10:36

    Dear Muslimah Media Watch, there’s alink above to the right to hear the programme and it’s available as a podcast (again, top right). Failing that, you could always ask us very nicely and i’ll dig a CD out for you. Baroness Uddin told us after the programme that she would link to the show on her own site.

  183. 183 machinewarrior1
    April 24, 2008 at 14:42

    All religions are patriarchal misogynies their diktats are made by men for the benefit of men.

    Muslim religious culture varies from country to country and again within countries. However wherever it is it takes the biscuit for its level of sexual sadism. Catholicism is neurotic in its fear of female sexuality as is shown by the fact that its icon Mary goes from virginity to motherhood without anything exciting happening in between. But it seems that Muslim religious practices have reached a level of what can only be described as psychotic in its attitude to females.

    Any culture, and that includes a religious culture, that defines manhood by the subjugation and indeed the violent subjugation of women and girls has truly lost its way.

  184. 184 Will Rhodes
    April 24, 2008 at 16:17


    In the case of the person who indeed committed murder, or rape, or adultery, and the suspect confessed under proper circumstances, or four reliable witnesses saw him commit the crime, or forensic evidence was properly employed to obtain a proper conviction, then I affirm the use of stoning as a punishment. It is what my religion calls for, and I stand by it. Think what you will. I am a Muslim, and I stand by my religion.

    Then all I can say is that your indoctrination is complete.

  185. 185 Shirley
    April 24, 2008 at 18:41

    Actually, drug abuse is a problem in Muslim countries. Iran, Pakistan, and Afghanistan come to mind. And now we have Iraq. I would not be surprised at all if those womn who are addicted to drugs in those countries support their mean habits through various means that are demeaning to themselves. Here are some questions, then. Is it the fault of Islam that drug abuse has become a problem in certain Muslim nations? Can Islam provide a solution? Should it be applied as a solution? Are Muslims, or Muslim men, at fault in the sense that they are abusing women through drug business?

    Just to remind you of some questions that I asked before. I liked them enough that I hope that you would consider them and post on them. Would you be inclined to think that the noble and dignified treatment of women is part of a lifestyle of moderation, or no? Do you think that such a treatment and such a lifestyle of modertation are intrinsic to Islam, or no? What do you think are some of the reasons that women are maltreated (real? or perceived?) in the Muslim world?

  186. 186 Shirley
    April 24, 2008 at 18:42

    I just want to clarify my view of the question asked by WHYS “Do
    Muslims Treat Women Badly”). I repeat that I am a western convert to

    In general, I do not think that Muslims – the people – treat women
    badly. I think that we are on par with other religions and cultures
    in this aspect. At the same time, I have seen and heard of some
    eggregious abuses of women AND of children by individual Muslims,
    whether they were acting alone or as part of a gang. It goes without
    saying that I as a human being vehemently denounce these incidents
    and condemn the violators. As for the religion of Islam, there is no
    room in it as a belief system, a system of religious jurisprudence,
    or as a culture for the maltreatment of women or children. Where we
    see gang rapes, wife-beating, throwing children on cement like
    proverbial balls, willful deprivation of basic necessities, etc.,
    these are all violations of the beliefs, practises, legal system, and
    culture of Islam. Islam is innocent of them and theuir thuggery. May
    God curse the raping, murderous, wife-beating, children-tossing, and
    willfully negligent thugs to a deep, dark, ugly pit of Hell.
    {{{Muslim sister group hug}}}

    Moving on.

    Elsa has asked whether there is any role for women in Islam other
    than mariage and motherhood. Islam actually allows women to do quite
    a bit in society. Women can be businesspersons, educators, doctors,
    politicians, even religious scholars. Most people already know about
    female Muslim doctors and educators; some may even have met a few of
    them. Lady Muslim businesswomen have been around since Prophet
    Muhammad’s first wife converted to Islam. Muslim women politicians
    can be found throughout Iran, Pakistan, and now Afghanistan. Women
    have served as religious scholars since the days of Prophet
    Muhammad’s daughter Fatimah and his granddaughter Zaynab. A more
    modern example was Bint al Huda, who was a victim of Saddam’s
    campaign of raping, torturing, and murdering dissidents. Thank God
    he’s dead, may he be forever cursed in the Hellfire.

    Christine, the reason that women and men are not treated exactly the
    same is because Islam recognises the differences between them and
    rejects that those differences would be small or inconsequential. Men
    and women are treated equally in terms of their religious
    expectations. There are, however, ways in whcih they are treated
    differently. For example, women are exempted from worship and fasting
    at certain times during the month. There are other differences in
    Islamic law that derive from other differences between the two
    genders. This is explained in more detail in texts such as http://al-
    islam.org/al-tawhid/women-society.htm , http://al-islam.org/al-
    tawhid/women_behishti , http://al-islam.org/wii-persp-edt2 , and
    http://al-islam.org/rightsofwomeninislam/13.htm (from http://al-
    islam.org/rightsofwomeninislam ).

    Will, one does not convert to a new rleigion without believing in it.
    Sorry to disappoint.

  187. 187 Shirley
    April 24, 2008 at 18:53

    I just want to clarify my view of the question asked by WHYS “Do
    Muslims Treat Women Badly”). I repeat that I am a western convert to

    In general, I do not think that Muslims – the people – treat women
    badly. I think that we are on par with other religions and cultures
    in this aspect. At the same time, I have seen and heard of some
    eggregious abuses of women AND of children by individual Muslims,
    whether they were acting alone or as part of a gang. It goes without
    saying that I as a human being vehemently denounce these incidents
    and condemn the violators. As for the religion of Islam, there is no
    room in it as a belief system, a system of religious jurisprudence,
    or as a culture for the maltreatment of women or children. Where we
    see gang rapes, wife-beating, throwing children on cement like
    proverbial balls, willful deprivation of basic necessities, etc.,
    these are all violations of the beliefs, practises, legal system, and
    culture of Islam. Islam is innocent of them and theuir thuggery. May
    God curse the raping, murderous, wife-beating, children-tossing, and
    willfully negligent thugs to a deep, dark, ugly pit of Hell.

  188. 188 Shakhoor Rehman
    April 24, 2008 at 22:08

    To be frank a more pertinent question would be : who treats women well? This would make clear what listeners think are the conventional moral standards are(or as they say in the United States “the moral majority”)in this matter. I think your listeners might be shocked.To understand why women are treated badly you have to understand what constitutes treating women well. I will answer the question directly by saying yes as does every other religion on the face of the planet.

  189. April 24, 2008 at 22:38

    Yes! But then so does America treat its women badly, in many ways,. As we still have a gender preference in America, when it comes to men and women. The most outstanding abuse is, “No Equal Pay for Equal Work”.

  190. 190 Roberto
    April 25, 2008 at 13:01

    Are women treated fairly by Muslims? Is it possible to generalise or do we need to look at specific countries, or specific interpretations of Islam?

    — Of course we can generalise.

    Generalization is what humans do best and is encoded in our DNA. Unfortunately in a shrinking globe as all manner of cultures, races, tribes, religions, ect, come in contact with each other, these generalizations about “the other” are being exploited by local and regional leaders who seek only power through conflict and fear which is also encoded in our DNA.

    Right now Islam has a public relations nightmare because it’s in a civil war of sorts, a reformation of sorts bringing it into conflict with other cultures and itself.

    The whole world in an uproar and terrible atrocities becoming the rule.

    The answer to your specific question would be that I would guestimate that the majority of Muslim women located in their traditional cultures would be unable to access this format to reply even if they were literate, which most would not be.

    When I see them impossibly bundled up on a hot day or walking into the surf, I’m pained for them. I can’t answer for them, but the dialogue needs to begin.

  191. 191 m7md
    April 25, 2008 at 17:20

    when islam started,women were oppressed.They had no write in inheritance and no write to say their opinion.Islam taught people to respect women and to give them all their writes.Islam also ordered men to help and serve their relatives especially women.It is a big sin in islam not to help you relative women.Islam subsisted gown and ordered women/men not to muddle with strange men/women to save her from being just a (body) to men.

    In the other societies -especially western socities- women ae treated as bodies with no respect to her degnety,prudery,and feelings.Look at the Advertising,you will see that women body is essential.As an example, i once saw an advetising about a screwdriver.It did’nt talk about the kind of metal used or how long will it last.It just started showing a girl walking sexy and then she took the screwdriver and started (playing) with it !!

  192. 192 Mary
    April 27, 2008 at 01:35

    from a US publication / association . . .
    from the YWCA (Young Women’s Christian Association)

    sexual assault
    One out of three girls will be a victim of sexual assault before they are 18 years old. And one out of four adult women will be a victim of sexual assault or attempted sexual assault in her lifetime.


  193. 193 Mary
    April 27, 2008 at 02:20

    another YWCA link.
    this from their “week without violence” campaign:

    Click to access statistics%20rape%20dv%20hate%2010%2017%2005V2.pdf

    excerpt: on average, more than three women are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends in this country [USA] every day. In 2000, 1,247 women were killed by an intimate partner. The same year, 440 men were killed by an intimate partner. (Bureau of Justice Statistics Crime Data Brief . . .)

  194. 194 Sara
    April 29, 2008 at 05:27

    i am a woman, and a muslim, and i don’t treat myself badly 🙂 but i would like to say-to viola in particular-if you were/are a muslim woman and have been mistreated then you have my sympathies, but it sounds like you are trying to force your opinion on islam on others. ironic, as one one of the issues islam is (unfairly) critisized for is denying women a voice yet your post is basically saying “well we dont care WHAT your opinion is because its wrong either way”, which is another way of denying muslim women their voices. i think its strange that people talk on behalf of muslim women and how “oppressed” we are. i am sure there are some women who are muslim and are experiencing oppression (my prayers are with them) but you can’t say Islam is oppressing them as there is at least one muslim woman, who is free-proud to be a muslim, sees no conflict between being a westerner and a muslim and does not need someone else to voice her opinion.

  195. 195 MyLai
    May 1, 2008 at 08:34


    Why do I get the distinct impression that you are an Islamic “plant?”

    Your insistance at painting ALL western women as disfunctional is moronic. And you attempt to paint them as being disfunctional due to freedoms they have.

    Either you are a loser yourself who seems to only attract women who are also losers or you dislike the very idea of women anywhere having the same freedoms you do, in which case you are a Muslim “plant” using a western name.

    You are very suspect my friend.


  196. 196 Abdullah
    June 5, 2008 at 09:26

    Women’s inferior status in Islam is a myth. I am a muslim male who find it very insulting when people say such a thing. For God sake muslims do have sisters mothers and women that they do actually love. I don’t think that I am even close enough from being as a good person as my mom or in a higher status than her. My advice to every one is don’t judge what you don’t know. Islam is a whole package you can’t look at only one side and ignore the others. Many westerners ask me the question ” are male muslims allowed to marry four women?” and the answer is YES THEY ARE. and I strongly support it because in many muslim countries there are more women than men, and marraige is an essintial part of everone’s life. So to ensure that every women has the right of having a husband Islam allows male muslims to have four wives. It is funny that westerners accuse Islam of treating women badly. What do you call all the porn pailing up in the internet or the sex shows or stripping clubs. is in’t that an insult for women? Also what a sexy women has got to do with a frying pan? women are being used as sex objects in many different ways and it seems fine with everyone. It is up to westerners if they change it and muslims must not force good

  197. 197 Marybeth
    July 8, 2008 at 20:07

    Men and women ARE equals. The only women who aren’t treated as equals are the ones that allow it. Women are the ones who primarily instill their attitudes into their children. If a woman teaches her child to treat a woman as a second class citizen or a piece of property, then who is to blame for that child’s beliefs?

    The bottom line is that men who treat women as inferiors or as property do so because they actually FEAR women. You don’t need to be a psychologist to be able to see that for yourself.

    The world will never improve for everyone until women the world over take their place beside men – not in front of, not in back of, but beside them, working as a team.

  198. 198 Silverarrow
    January 28, 2009 at 01:32

    Steve:” Right on. Who knows, these women might actually be happy being controlled. The only truly happy when I’ve ever met, the ones that don’t whine and complain about everything, are the women that LOVE men controlling every facet of their lives. From who they can talk to, what she can buy, etc..I personally wouldn’t want to live that way, but it’s shocking hearing a woman not complain about anything!”

    –or you attract complete losers like yourself

    “In the case of the person who indeed committed murder, or rape, or adultery, and the suspect confessed under proper circumstances, or four reliable witnesses saw him commit the crime, or forensic evidence was properly employed to obtain a proper conviction, then I affirm the use of stoning as a punishment. It is what my religion calls for, and I stand by it. Think what you will. I am a Muslim, and I stand by my religion.”

    — and YOU’RE advocating that Islam treats women equally?

  199. 199 Silverarrow
    January 28, 2009 at 01:39

    It’s interesting to point out defenses on Islam — the usual rhetoric about how Islam is a religion of peace – in the face of bombings, killings, etc. everyday..well, how exactly does the Islamic treatment of equality translate into practice? I mean, since Islam is a total way of life, how many Muslim women (converts) WOULD LIKE to inherit less than their brothers? That is what the Qu’ran says, so how do we translate this into equality and justice for all? I mean, you could look at this as revolutionary, 1400 years ago, but not now.

    Another thing, Muslim apologists ALWAYS assert that the status of women was so terrible under Islam, then how does that explain Khadija? She was a woman who freely conducted buisness, moved about on her own..all before the rise of Islam. So..what about that? Leila Ahmed has an interesting article on the women in Jahilia times, very in-depth. The status of women was not so bad prior to the rise of Islam, and it was women who both converted and who both fought against Islam.

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