Simply put, women are treated as second-class citizens in most Muslim-majority nations. And this is not an anomaly of Islam: it fully follows from authoritative Islamic tradition. The example of Muhammad is paramount in this regard, and full justification for the poor treatment of women is found in all the main texts: the Koran, the hadith, and the sira.
And it does not take a Westerner to point all this out. Many within Islam are aware of the problems, and many former Muslims are speaking against this. One such former Muslim is Ibn Warraq. He has written extensively on this particular issue, and the dangers of Islam in general.
His 1995 volume was a real eye-opener: Why I am Not a Muslim (Prometheus). And his most recent volume offers more of the same: Why the West is Best: A Muslim Apostate’s Defense of Liberal Democracy (Encounter Books, 2011). In it he contrasts the achievements of the free and democratic West with the tyrannous and backwards societies of Islam.
He examines such things as prosperity, freedom, human rights, and intellectual freedom, noting how only in the West do we see these things in full fruition. He writes, “Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, this triptych succinctly defines the attractiveness and superiority of Western civilization.”
“It is the West that has liberated women, racial minorities, religious minorities” he says. “The West has given the world the symphony and the novel. A culture that engendered the spiritual creations of Mozart and Beethoven, Wagner and Schubert, of Raphael and Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and Rembrandt does not need lessons in spirituality from societies whose vision of heaven resembles a cosmic brothel stocked with virgins for men’s pleasure.”
Indeed, Muslims often criticise the West for its decadence and lack of morality. But as Warraq clearly demonstrates, the Muslim world is no Mecca of morality and wholesomeness (pun intended). Instead, it is rife with all sorts of problems, for example:
“-The highest numbers of drug addicts in the world are to be found not in New York but in Pakistan.
-Child prostitution is found throughout Asia, including Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Bangladesh.
-Practically every city in Pakistan, from Peshawar to Quetta, has child prostitution, and the abuse of children generally is rising.”
Indeed, it is women and children who are usually hit the hardest. He looks especially at Iran, but similar horror stories can be found elsewhere: “It is women, along the non-Muslim minorities, who suffer most in Islamic societies. The constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran explicitly reduces women to second-class citizens. A segregated healthcare system means that many women receive inadequate attention because there are not enough well-trained female doctors and nurses. A raped woman is liable to be executed or stoned to death on grounds of fornication.
“Since the mullahs took power in 1979, tens of thousands of Iranian women, including dozens of pregnant women, have been executed for opposing the regime’s policies. Many more have been imprisoned and tortured, usually raped repeatedly in prison; some have body parts amputated.”
He notes how many women in Iran have drug problems, usually linked with prostitution. “Iranian newspapers estimated in 2005 that about 300,000 women were working the streets. Many had run away from abusive families.” He continues,
“Not surprisingly, the rate of mental illness is very high among women, as is the rate of suicide. In Ilam, a western province of Iran, for example, about 70 percent of those who commit suicide are reported to be women, most of them between seventeen and thirty-five years old.”
And that is just in one country. Such misery is multiplied many times over throughout the Muslim world. Indeed, consider this news report which has just come in concerning the fate of women in Saudi Arabia. The headline states, “Electronic tracking: new constraint for Saudi women”.
The story opens, “Denied the right to travel without consent from their male guardians and banned from driving, women in Saudi Arabia are now monitored by an electronic system that tracks any cross-border movements. Since last week, Saudi women’s male guardians began receiving text messages on their phones informing them when women under their custody leave the country, even if they are travelling together.
“Manal al-Sherif, who became the symbol of a campaign launched last year urging Saudi women to defy a driving ban, began spreading the information on Twitter, after she was alerted by a couple. The husband, who was travelling with his wife, received a text message from the immigration authorities informing him that his wife had left the international airport in Riyadh.
“‘The authorities are using technology to monitor women, said columnist Badriya al-Bishr, who criticised the state of slavery under which women are held in the ultra-conservative kingdom. Women are not allowed to leave the kingdom without permission from their male guardian, who must give his consent by signing what is known as the yellow sheet at the airport or border.”
Yep, that’s a state of slavery alright. Yet incredibly, the secular leftists in the West condemn groups like the Republicans in America for being “hostile to women” without making a peep about the genuine hostility to women which regularly occurs in Muslim countries. I have spoken before of these strange bedfellows: billmuehlenberg.com/2011/10/18/islam-and-the-left/
The truth is, neither one cares very much about women. And the really dumb thing is, as the left keeps attacking the West while sucking up to the Islamists, one day they will get their wish, and Islam will take over the West. But when that happens, those leftists dupes will be the first ones to have their heads lopped off.
And women will continue to suffer.