It was a political crime what allowed November 25th as the International Day for Violence against Women. In fact, the murder of Patria, Minerva and Maria Teresa Mirabal, from Dominican Republic, beaten with baseballs bats until death, because they were activists against the dictator Trujillo, raised awareness of the public opinion and became the starting point of the fall of the dictator. The crime of Mirabal sisters, political activists in 1960, was a sample of gender political violence.
Political violence is a form of relationship across society; is about using force towards someone or a group to break their will. It may come from different social actors; the “most popular” actions are torture, kidnapping resulting in missing or death, assassination, political imprisonment, apartheid and state terrorism.
Nowadays, violence against women has many forms and there are many arguments to justify it. One of the most shameful arguments is using religion to support violence and discrimination towards women. Some countries that call themselves Islamic, wanting to convince us they follow the rules revealed by the Quran and Sunnah, are not far from political violence and procedures and they don’t hesitate to use it. They use religion to discriminate, isolate, condemn, punish, abuse women, in total opposition to the principles of Islam under which they say are leading their countries.
Muslim Women Know About
I could give many examples about how gender political violence operates against women rights in Islamic countries. I will mention some of them, knowing that only one case is enough to make oppressors deserve our condemnation.
In Iran, we find, for example, Shirin Ebadi, Peace Nobel prize in 2003, who was not allowed to develop her career as a lawyer for being a Human Rights defender in public opposition to the abuses of the Islamic Republic. She told in her biography “Golden Cage” how she was removed from her judge position and had to face the dishonor of being treated like a second-class human being for authorities belonging to the new Regime.
The human rights activist Nasreen Afzali, was sentenced by a court in Teheran to six months in jail and ten lashes, during a march in favor of feminist journalists were being processed.
Narges Mohammadi, executive president of the Human Rights Defense Center in Iran, was sentenced to 11 years in prison after being changed of "propaganda against the system" and belonging to a group "aimed at disrupting the country's security ".
Somayeh Tohidloo received 50 lashes in Prison. The reason for this cruelty was insulting in her blog President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Somayeh was put in jail when she involved in the campaign of Mir Hussein Mousavi denouncing massive fraud in the presidential election of 2009.
Haleh Sahabi, prominent Iranian dissident Ezatolá Sahabi’s daugther, died of heart attack this year after a hard argument with security forces during the funeral of her father. She was attending by special permission of the prison where she was paying a sentence in political ideas based.
In Syria, Zainab al-Hosni, age 18, from Homs was beheaded, mutilated and even tore the skin from her body. She was kidnapped in this year in July for men suspected of belonging to the Syrian security forces in an attempt to push his brother Mohammad Hosni Deeb, an activist who was also arrested and tortured.
Yaman Qadiri, a medical student, 18 years. She was Kidnapped from her class, after being beaten in front of her school in Damascus.In Syria, according to reliable sources, more than 7000 people have been killed and over 60,000 arrested unlawfully and tortured in prisons. More than 250 of those killed are children. More than 300 are women.
In Morocco, Zahra Boudkour and Ihlan Hasnouni are two of the youngest political prisoner in the country. Zahra was released in 2010 and was tortured in front of men, naked, while having menstruation. Hasnouni was arrested for being involved in a protest to demand better food services at the University. Poisoning caused by spoiled food served ended with some of them at the hospital. Students took the streets to demand the university pay the medical bills and clashed with security forces. The police officers have beaten her until she lost consciousness.
In Egypt, Samira Ibrahim Mohamed and Salwa Hosseini were victims of that sexual abuse called "virginity test" by military, made with the aim to give an instructive moral punishment linked to a female sexuality repressor system. Aliaa El Ahmady could receive a punishment of 80 lashes for publishing her naked photo on a blog. At the moment this article was written, Egyptian-American journalist Mona El Tahawy was taken, beaten and sexually assaulted by police in Cairo. She was released after 12 hours.
In Saudi Arabia, women suffer daily gender apartheid. Saudi women can’t drive. They can’t receive medical care in a hospital or travel without written permission from a male guardian. They can’t do same studies allowed for men and are excluded from some professions.
Even when the right to vote has been given to them, there are still serious inequities in access to justice. We must not forget the victims of atrocities Saudis. In 2002, fire killed 15 school girls. The guardians of morality - a police- didn’t let them get out because the girls were not using hiyab and covered in the way every woman should be in public.
Shaima Jastaniya was arrested for driving her car to the hospital. She was sentenced to be whipped wildly. The King suppressed this punishment due to global protests, but a local court upheld the order. Ultra-conservative Saudi clerics seek in her case an opportunity to make an example for other women.
Islam and Human Rights
Islam is a religion of peace. There is nothing in the Quran or Sunnah, in doctrine or Islamic ethics that allow or encourage or justify violence against women in any form or under any circumstances.
Quran says: “O you who have believed, be persistently standing firm for Allah , witnesses in justice, and do not let the hatred of a people prevent you from being just. Be just; that is nearer to righteousness…” (5:8).
Life is sacred and shouldn’t be taken for any reason. When someone falls into transgression and take a human life, killing a person without justification, Quran compares that like the death of all humankind.
Prophet Muhammad (saw) said there is no difference between an Arab and a foreigner (not Arabic), between a man and woman, between a rich and a poor except by piety, the consciousness of God. Any person, who respects her-himself, must definitely be for Human rights.
Islam doesn’t allow anyone oppressing women, children, elderly, sick and wounded. Chastity and honor of women should be respected in all circumstances. The hungry must be fed, who has no clothes must be clothed, sick must be cared for and regardless whether they are Muslims or not.
Human rights are guaranteed by God and there’s no world government on earth with the right or authority to modify or violate them. Some of the Human Rights granted to men and women in Islam are: individual freedom and presumption of innocence, right to protest against tyranny, freedom of speech, freedom of association, freedom and protection of belief, protection against arbitrary imprisonment, legal equality, the principle that leaders are not above the law and the right to participate in the affairs of government.
So, the problem is not God, the conflict is not Islam, but Patriarchy.
I accuse Patriarchy and its violent, sexist and unfair interpretations of divine message to be the real reason for the abuses against Muslim women in the name of Islam;
Patriarchy and its total lack of respect and mercy;
Patriarchy and its fear for social justice
Patriarchy and its suppression of women rights granted in Quran.
I declare Patriarchy as a system not belonging to original Islam; without any comparison to Prophet Muhammad (saw) living example;
Patriarchy, a foreign ideology that pollutes the essence of our religion and twisted interpretations to put a part of humanity – we women- under conditions of inequality, far away from our human rights that have been granted us by God.
A so declared Islamic Government can’t use political violence. It’s not acceptable an Islamic government can exert some kind of political violence o illegitimate pressure on its female citizens. If it does then, is a liar, despotic and misogynist government, using religion to support crimes against women.
We Muslims, men and women, have to focus in a peaceful but intense Jihad to set the equal, fraternal and natural status Islam taught us more than fourteen centuries ago. To do this, women must recover the usurped spaces and patriarchy must lose its hegemony for the common wellbeing. Those who are ruling need to remember daily they must to be people’s humble servant and not vice versa and “… fear Allah; indeed, Allah is Acquainted with what you do” (5:8)
Spanish version of this article was published in Web Islam: