Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Oppression of Muslim Women and Geography

A beautiful woman practicing modesty in swimsuit burqa / Two women oppressed in abbayas

Note: Catholicgauze recognizes the difference between cultural and religious-imposed modesty and oppression. Most rules serve as a just protector of society. Modesty is a very good thing. Catholicgauze, when he isn't being a hypocrite, tries his best to be modest in many ways. However, there are rules that cross the line and oppress groups unfairly.

Throughout time it has been rough being a woman. The role of mother and wife have been held in such high esteem that men have viewed it their duty to protect women. The protection quickly becomes control and the woman, once viewed as a personal queen, becomes nothing more than an object.

Right now the worst place to be a woman seems to be the Islamic world with a distance-decay of things getting worse as one is closer to Wahhabi Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia has been seeing minor liberalization but women are being left behind. Women cannot drive vehicles, vote, use public facilities when men are present, and are even subject to Vice and Virtue police who try to prevent them from exercising outside. Some fear women excising will lead to a rise of homosexualism because the women would "become attracted to each other." Things are getting worse as the king has called for a ban of pictures of women in newspapers because pictures of women may lead young men "astray." Things can hardly get that much worse; however, with incidents like the Mecca fire where Vice and Virtue police prevented girls exiting a burning school because they would have been seen without their Islamic coverings.

Things are still pretty bad in the Middle East core. Honor killings are common for women in cases of adultery and even being a rape victim. If a woman loses her virginity before marriage she has "brought great dishonor" and is useless to the family. The only way to redeem the lost honor is to kill the woman, even if it is not her fault. Examples are everywhere. Countries like the Iraq and Kuwait have been improving with women being allowed to vote.

An outlier is Lebanon. A Christian-majority country before an Islamic population boom, Lebanon allows women to wear whatever they want (with the exclusion of the Hezbollah stronghold in the south). The “protest babe” phenomenon got its start by the Western dressed women of Lebanon.

Iran, long a symbol of Islamic radicalism in Western eyes, has actually been one of the better countries to women, besides the whole "put on the burqa because men will be led astray" thing. Women can vote in elections and enforcement is usually light. Things have taken a turn towards the scary with the possibility of religious groups (both men and women) being forced to wear identifying clothing.

The borders of the Islamic world tend to be more tolerant to women. Eastern European Islamic women dress in Western or traditional clothing and have about the same amount of rights compared to their male peers. The same goes for Turkey.

The borderland theory of people becoming more passionate as they become more distant from the core becomes evident as things take a sharp turn towards horrible for some in Europe. In the Western world where women are considered legal equals and are "liberated" some Muslim men believe their duty is to enforce Arab morals to "protect" women. Those who are "too Western" run the risk of being killed by their families. Organized groups exist to enforce harsh rules. The persecution of Ayaan Hirsi Ali is an example of what happens when a women steps "out of line."

Just as the West once had horrible restrictions on women; the Islamic world may change. Time will tell.

Category: Religion

3 comments:

UNKNOWN said...

TO ANYBODY WHO IS READING THIS,THIS ARTICLE IS A HUGE MADE-UP LIE.THESE FACTS ARE FALSE AND MADE-UP TO GIVE A BAD NAME TO ISLAM.ANYWAYS IN SAUDI RABBI THE "MEN"ARE THE ONES WHO ARE SUPPOSED TO LOWER THEIR GAZE NOT THE WOMAN.AND BESIDES THEIR WOMAN ARE NOT THE ONES GETTING RAPED EVERYDAY

Catholicgauze said...

Funny, this post has been citied positively by an Islamic blog
http://faraza.blogspot.com/2007/01/islamic-feminism-part-2.html

Anonymous said...

anin response to the anonymous comment about the article bieng a figment of someones immagination, thats all great and all but the fact that its the saudi men that have to lower their isnt all that repreiving when you refer to women as you would a pet. it is not "their women", they were not store bought and bred like you would cattle, women dont belong to anyone! and the fact that women all over the world are getting raped but lesser so in certain areas is certainly not a fact one wants to be recorded gloating about!!!!!!!!!!!