Rape has long plagued the women of Pakistan. In a country where it is estimated less than four percent of rape cases result in conviction, it has become more than sex. Rape has become a tool of power, leaving its victims vulnerable in a world that resembles state sanctioned misogyny and oppression. From forensics to judicial safeguards, political perspectives to cultural misnomers, it leaves women powerless in one of the most populous countries on earth.
With protections continually being stripped, it is both important and difficult to unspin the entire ball of thread that is sexual assault, power, and religion in Pakistan.
A brief history of rape in Pakistan :
Rape, and other forms of sexual assault and abuse have been an intrinsic part of Pakistan’s history, stemming from the violent convulsions of the region that resulted in partition:
“Right before partition took place in August 1947, there were what we now know as the “Rape of Rawalpindi,” where Sikh and Hindu women killed their baby girls and then threw themselves into wells to avoid further “dishonor” or being raped. Women were bartered for the safety of families and some were killed by their kin, again, to protect the ‘honor’ of the family. During the Bangladesh Liberation War, more than two hundred thousand Bengali women and girls were sexually assaulted by the Pakistan Army and the religious militias.”
As if to highlight this is about power and politics and not sex :
“The rape of Muslim women by Hindu males during this period is well documented, with women also being complicit in these attacks. As was the rape of Hindu and Sikh women by Muslim males”
Yet, rape remains a contradictory nexus of shame and dominance:
It’s not hard to find veterans of the partition violence who admit sometimes with remorse, sometimes with an obscene pride that, yes, they rioted, and perhaps even killed. No one will admit to rape. Yet in 1947, there were tens of thousands of rapists Hindu, Muslim and Sikh exacting what they saw as communal vengeance, or taking advantage of the breakdown of order to brutalise and humiliate women.
The human cost during, and after partition, was severe:
Sheila Sen Gupta witnessed something of the agony of the women victims of partition when she worked with Mridula Sarabhai in locating and exchanging women who had been abducted. Khorshed Mehta served as a medical welfare worker in 1947, meeting the refugee trains as they arrived from Punjab at Old Delhi Station. She reckons that almost half the women she helped as they arrived, near destitute, had been assaulted.
Again, during the Bangladesh Liberation War:
….it is estimated that between 200,000 and 400,000 women and girls were sexually assaulted by the Pakistan armed forces and the Al-Badr (“the moon”) and the Al-Shams (“the sun”) militias that supported them.
Which of course carries a high human price :
The rapes caused thousands of pregnancies, births of war babies, abortions, incidents of infanticide and suicide, and, in addition, led to ostracisation of the victims. Recognised as one of the major occurrences of wartime rape anywhere, the atrocities ended after armed forces from neighbouring India intervened. Initially India claimed its intervention was on humanitarian grounds, but after the UN rejected this argument, India claimed intervention was needed to protect its own security, and it is now widely seen as a humanitarian move.
In 1979 Pakistan passed into law the Hudood Ordinance, which made all forms of extra-marital sex, including rape, a crime against the state. It also began, many activists say, thirty years of a nexus between the state and sexual crimes as a means to keep a geocentrically male ordered Koranic society. In 2006, Pakistan passed “The Protection of Women Bill” which sought to fix the perceived problems inherent in the Hudood Ordinance.
Between 1979 and 2006, rape was lumped together with laws criminalizing zina - extra marital sex and adultery - all of which carried a potential punishment of stoning to death if four male witnesses to the crime could be furnished. Without witnesses, rape and zina could be tried as lesser offenses under the criminal code, but police were often untrained and unwilling to collect forensic evidence that would prove force was used. Unable to prove their allegations, women were then often charged with zina based on their admission that they had had intercourse. While top courts threw almost all of the cases out on appeal, rights groups claimed thousands of women languished in prison for years awaiting the final verdicts.
In 2006, rape was moved back to the criminal code, to be prosecuted based on forensic evidence, and the practice of pursuing zina cases against women who could not prove rape was specifically prohibited.
Pakistan claims this has solved much of the issue, and that hysteria and profit are behind claims to the anterior, but i am not so sure.
“A report presented to the Senate last October said 10,703 rape cases were registered in Pakistan since 2009. According to War Against Rape (WAR), a Karachi-based NGO, less than four percent of Pakistan’s rape cases result in a conviction.”
rape is an even larger problem for women in captivity :
” Asma Jahangir, a lawyer and co-founder of the women’s rights group Women’s Action Forum, reported in a 1988 study of female detainees in Punjab that around 72 percent of them stated they had been sexually abused while in custody.
for female ‘bonded laborers:
“While bonded Labour exists throughout Sindh Province, the majority of those bonded in the north belong to the Muslim majority, while most of the bonded agricultural labourers in southern Sindh Province belong to dalit 2 (untouchable) and to tribal communities who have migrated from the drought-prone area of Tharparkar desert. Poverty and starvation have forced these communities to accept the landlords’ cash advances, and to be available for work from dawn to dusk. Bonded labourers may be detained or guarded to stop them escaping and in these situations of total ownership rape of women is not uncommon.”
And, of course, children :
In a study of child sexual abuse in Rawalpindi and Islamabad, out of a sample of 300 children 17% claimed to have been abused and in 1997 one child a day was reported as raped, gang raped or kidnapped for sexual gratification.
Pakistan’s justice problems are not necessarily restricted to rape and violence against women and minorities :
“Violent crime goes largely unpunished in Pakistan - even cases tried in special anti-terrorism courts net only an 18 percent conviction rate “
“… in the case of rape, a host of problems keeps the conviction rate in the single digits. Those include a lack of resources for DNA analysis, a dearth of female medical examiners, and a reluctance of victims to come forward. “
one reason victims may feel reluctant to come forward:
WAR is an NGO whose mission is to publicize the problem of rape in Pakistan; in a report released in 1992, of 60 reported cases of rape, 20% involved police officers.
and of course, misogyny :
“One senior police official told a delegation of local human rights activists that “in 95 percent of the cases the women themselves are at fault.”
And, while misogyny is a driving force, there are other, namely regional and cultural issues, at play:
“In our society, prosecutors and police think a crime is something to be settled among the parties.”
“Over the last five years, Karachi authorities conducted 1,482 medical examinations of suspected sexual assault victims, but only registered 387 cases. By law, police are required to always register cases.”
“This attitude is reflected in the way police handle cases of rape brought by a woman. We found that police routinely refuse to register such complaints, particularly if the complaint is lodged against a fellow officer. We also found that police officers often illegally detain women in police lock-up for days at a time without formally registering a charge against them or producing them before a magistrate within the required 24-hour period. Women can thus be held indefinitely without the knowledge of the courts. It is during these periods of “invisibility” that most sexual abuse of female detainees occurs.”
Very recently, DNA has become an area of heightened tensions within the general debate on rape and justice :
Until now, police have relied heavily on DNA tests to determine cases of rape. The Council of Islamic Ideology (CII), however, has declared that DNA tests are not admissible as the main evidence in rape cases.
In a meeting of the council on Wednesday, religious scholars observed that while the tool could aid investigation into rape complaints, it could not be taken as evidence. It could, at best, serve as supplementary evidence but could not supersede the Islamic laws laid out for determining rape complaints.”
Lets start off with an excellent quote from the homepage of No Answers In Genesis,
“Creationism is not the alternative to Evolution - ignorance is”
“No Answers In Genesis” as you might imagine, is an old website devoted to refuting Ken Ham’s nonsensical Answers in Genesis
Speaking of that guy, I should have wrote this right after the recent Bill Nye vs Ken ham debate, but I wasn’t able to get around to it at the time. This however sums up what went on with the debate pretty nicely.
— Tim (TPO) (@tpobserver) February 5, 2014
Contrary to whatever creationists, including Ham will tell you, creationism isn’t science and never will be, while evolution is science. The evidence for evolution is so overwhelming that nearly all scientists accept it. Creationists of course deny this reality and even try to convince us that evolution is not science.
On the other hand, despite what creationist may say, they can’t back up just about any of their claims with actually evidence. In the instances when we can test their claims, they pretty much always turn out to be flat out false. Here’s just one example. If the fanciful myth of Noah’s Ark for were true, all animals should have dangerously low genetic diversity like the Cheetah. Ironically in order to try to explain how all the animals alive today could have come from just one male and one female that survived the great flood, creationists have embraced a ridiculous type of hyper evolution. Or rather, super evolution as cdk007 calls it.
Yet despite this fact, creationism often gets taught in US public schools, at the tax payer’s expense. The good news is that this isn’t constitutional. The courts have repeatedly struck down laws designed to cast doubt on evolution in American schools. Since creationism is not only anti science, but a religious belief, masquerading as science, promoting it with public funds, violates the Establishment Clause. Despite the fact that under our constitution they’re not allowed to do it, they’re doing it anyway. They’re trying to get around the supreme court rulings by funneling money to private schools, through vouchers as Julie Crothers points out,
Indiana’s rapidly expanding voucher program, which funnels millions of taxpayer dollars into private schools, now funds some Christian schools that teach creationism or intelligent design.
Laws and court rulings limit what the state’s public and charter schools can teach in science classes based on separation of church and state challenges. But the curricula of private schools that enroll voucher students haven’t reached the courtroom.
The rapid growth of the program opens the door to an unanswered question: Can local private schools continue to teach intelligent design and creationism with state-funded voucher money flowing into the schools?
We need scientists to develop cures for diseases that threaten our lives and new technology to help solve our problems. But if people don’t understand science or are not interested in science, where will those scientists come from? If large numbers of people in the United States believe creationism over real science, it threatens our future.
Creationism of course isn’t unique to the United States, although here it seems to be the most widespread. No Answers In Genesis, awhile back compiled a list of articles debunking Australian creationists. Creationism is a problem in Australia to this day. US Creationists may even try to use the tactics used by Australian creationists to successfully pervert science education over there, here in the US.
Creationism takes many forms in addition to the Christian young earth version that we are used to here in America or in Australia. Intelligent Design is just one example.
Plus Christianity is not the only religion with adherents who reject the science of evolution. There is Islamic creationism. Many Muslims reject evolution as well, and what they believe is just as nonsensical as what Christians who reject evolution believe. One prominent Muslim creationist is Harun Yahya.
More exotic to most Westerners, is Hindu Creationism. In addition some Native Americans reject evolution, in favor of their tribal creation myths. Recently a group of Native American creationists interfered with an Archeological dig. But all forms of creationism, no matter what form it takes, and what creation myths people are trying to convince you are fact, are total hogwash. I’m not a scientist, but I can tell you based on what scientists have said, creationism is always pseudoscience. Wherever it is creationism is regarded as science by a large number of people, you have a large number of ignorant people.
Evolution is not incompatible with the idea of God. I don’t know who first said that, but its true. You can be a religious person and accept that evolution is a scientific fact. You don’t need to reject God to accept evolution, unless you insist that for God to be real, every single word of your “sacred texts” must be literally true. Evolution doesn’t threaten God. If there’s a God, he created all life on Earth through evolution.
However, rejecting science en mass threatens the future of our species. Just look at climate change denial. Many species may go exitint due to human activity not to mention the negative effects on human health caused by man made climate change. Lets not also forget rise in sea level that threatens coastal communities.
Lets also not forget the harm caused by the anti Vaccine movement. Just look at all the people who should have lived, but died because they didn’t get vaccinated.
In addition, here in the US we need good science education if we are to continue to compete with the rest of the world. Creationism doesn’t help anyone except those who profit from selling creationists materials or those who want to create a theocracy based on their religious beliefs. We need to continue fighting to keep creationism out of our schools and continue to promote the genuine science of evolution, regardless of how anyone may feel about it.
Check out each of the “Fox News” guests cutting out the “news” anchor’s entrails and feeding it to them on a silver platter. Bet they didn’t feel good afterwards!
Almost 12 years ago, a fire broke out at a Mecca School for girls in Saudi Arabia. Because several of the girls were, according to the Mutaween (religious police), not covered properly, they were not allowed to leave the building, and prevented by force civil services from rescuing these girls. 15 girls died, with 6 of the 15 being from various African states.
Why do I bring this up? Because it happened again, this time at a women’s college in the capital of this despotic nation, Riyadh.
Saudi female student dies after male ambulance crew denied access
However, when the ambulance arrived, the medics were not allowed to enter the college for two hours.
The university officials argued that the ambulance staff were males and could not enter the premises as the student was not covered and that no man could be allowed into the women’s college even though Amna needed prompt and vital treatment, local daily Okaz reported on Thursday.
Most of the students who witnessed the incident suffered a psychological shock and some of the young women collapsed after crying hysterically amid loud protests about refusing the medics to enter the building and rescue their friend who had suffered a massive heart attack, the report said.
Some of the students said that they were shocked by the university officials’ attitude not to allow male medics to enter the college.
“Islam is a religion that facilitates practices, and the religious rule, in exceptional situations, are relaxed,” some of the students told the daily. “We do not see any necessity that is more pressing than rescuing the life of a human being from imminent death.”
Once again, this is the nation we support in the region. This sick, twisted monarchy that persecutes everyone except for Wahhabi Males who came from what was, until about a century, the biggest backwater in the Muslim World, the Nejd.
It should also be noted, n regards to the Mutaween, that the are largely degenerate thugs. Research has shown most of them got their positions by memorizing the Quran in order to lessen their prison sentences, and have no other religious training, or skills for that matter.
Author Lawrence Wright has written of a conflict between the Mutaween and at least one allied imam and Turki bin Faisal Al Saud, the head of the Presidency of General Intelligence (Al Mukhabarat Al A’amah) between 1977 and 2001. After an imam denounced a female charitable organizations run by some of Turki’s sisters and accused them of being “whores” during a Friday sermon, Turki demanded and received an apology. He then “secretly began monitoring members of the muttawa. He learned that many of them were ex-convicts whose only job qualification was that they had memorized the Quran in order to reduce their sentences.”
Here are a few of their greatest hits.
In 2006 the police issued a decree banning the sale of dogs and cats, also seen as a sign of Western influence. The decree which applies to the Red Sea port city of Jeddah and the holy city of Mecca bans the sale of cats and dogs because “some youths have been buying them and parading them in public,” according to a memo from the municipal affairs ministry to Jeddah’s city government.
In 2013 two Saudi men were arrested for giving “free hugs to passersby”
And some yutz thinks Twitter is the Devil, again from the BBC:
In May, 2012, the head of the mutaween, Abdul Latif Abdul Aziz al-Sheikh, stated that anyone using social media sites, such as Twitter, “has lost this world and his afterlife”
In January 2013, the CPVPV marched into an educational exhibit of dinosaurs at a shopping center “turned off the lights and ordered everyone out, frightening children and alarming their parents”. It was not clear why the exhibit—which had been “featured at shopping centres across the Gulf for decades”—was closed, and Saudi’s speculated irreverently as to the reason on twitter.
It should also be noted that Saudi Arabia spends massive amounts of money per year peddling this toxic perversion of Islam. Including right here in the United States. Or to put it another way, we are shooting ourselves in the foot.
There is a wide range of hijab for Muslim women (including non-Muslims living in Muslim areas), from almost total coverage to simple head scarves. The Pew Research Center has published a survey of residents of seven Muslim nations, who were asked to rate the appropriateness of six kinds of hijab.
Respondents favoring the most coverage lived in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, with Iraq and Egypt close behind. Significant minorities in Lebanon, Turkey and Tunisia approved of no head covering at all.
Saudis, in particular, were heavily in favor of the niqab, the style most typical there. Other styles were significantly less popular, reflecting the ultra-conservatism of one of America’s closest allies (?) in the Mideast..
Veiling is such a sensitive issue in much of the Middle East because, in many ways, it’s about much more than just clothing. It’s about religious vs. secular identity, about the degree to which women are or are not afforded equality and about embracing or rejecting social norms that are seen as distinctly Islamic.
Robert Spencer is such a “good scholar” when comes to Islam and the Middle East, that he couldn’t get his work published by a university or reputable trade press. Instead he got his work published by Regnery Publishing, a propaganda outlet with standards low enough to print creationist garbage. Now he is worried about our president and we are supposed to take him seriously. He thinks its very likely he maybe a secret Muslim waging “stealth jihad” against America.
Now I partially agree with Spencer, despite the fact he’s promoting a conspiracy theory and thinks that having a Muslim president in and of itself would be a bad thing. It’s unlikely that Obama would be acting that much differently if he were a Muslim, but that’s only because contrary to Spencer, most American Muslims are nothing like the negative stereotype people like him put forward. Policy wise, I don’t think we’d see a lot of difference, only because being a Muslim doesn’t say that much about you. Even if he were a Muslim, ( which we have no good reason to think he is ) I doubt that as president of the United States, Obama would support our nation’s enemies, even if they were also Muslims.
Other wingnuts of course have also claimed that he’s helping Al Qaeda, ignoring the fact that he’s been responsible for killing large numbers of Al Qaeda terrorists not to mention the fact that Osama Bin Laden was killed by US special forces under his watch, and he praised them for it. Do you really not think that this is something that would not anger fanatical supporters of groups like Al Qaeda more than him leaving Islam? Even if he where a Muslim, he’s not acting like a friend to Jihadists at all.
The idea that Obama is part of some kind of “stealth jihad” is ridiculous. It’s laughable at best, but so is the entire idea of the “stealth jihad” conspiracy. Most US Muslims do not want to live in theocracies like Iran or Saudi Arabia. The biggest American Muslim Organization Supported a bill to ban discrimination against LGBT people for example. Something you would not expect if they thought the way people in the “counter Jihad” expect us to believe they do. The Muslim Public Affairs Council also put out a declaration condemning extremism, which condemned Muslim extremists as well. In addition there’s something else that makes the whole “stealth jihad / creeping sharia” idea ridiculous.
Muslims in fact are less than one percent of the total US population. Just look at this graph from the Pew Research Center
If you want a group that really threatens our freedom, that may destroy America as we know it, from within, look no further than the religious right, which Spencer is a part of. Radical Christians will be the ones to do it, if anyone will turn America into a theocracy. Some of them outright deny that non Christians have any right to practice their faiths under our constitution, despite the fact that first amendment protects religious liberty for everyone. Many of them have whined about persecution while promoting and defending regimes guilty of the real thing.
This isn’t because Christianity is inherently evil, its not, anymore so than Islam or any other religion for that matter. It’s just that the Christian religious right has wide spread support here in the US, the Muslim religious right does not. Even if the average American conservative doesn’t support their agenda wholesale, it’s far more likely to appeal to him, than the agenda of some radical Muslim extremist group.
Spencer and his supporters in fact have come out against the rights of Muslims on more than one occasion. In fact the “counter jihad” only supports things like freedom of speech and freedom of religion when its their rights that are being violated*
This is why you rarely see them condemn attempts to take our rights away that are endorsed by people who are not Muslims or groups like the American Religious Right, that are not comprised of Muslims.
Yet in spite of the total lack of evidence, and even evidence to the contrary, we are told we should be worried that Obama is a “secret Muslim” working with our enemies. The shear fact that Spencer even thinks that conspiracy theory is plausible, should be seen as more proof that he’s little more than a propagandist and an anti Muslim bigot.
*While I don’t entirely agree with Jacob Mchangama regarding the decision the court made dealing with MTA refusing to run Geller’s bus adds, everything else he wrote here is spot on.
In A Town In Syria, People Speak Aramaic, The language of Jesus & Christians & Muslims Live Side by Side
From the youtube video description
In a remote village nestled in Syrias picturesque Oalamoun mountains, resides a small Aramaic community. It is one of the last and it is devoted to preserving Aramaic: the language that Jesus spoke.
Protecting this 3000-year-old language has united Malulas residents: Christians and Muslims are like brothers in this town, says local resident Ibrahim Kamar. Whilst Mel Gibsons The Passion of Christ has revived interest in the language, fears that Aramaic is dying out continue. Malula, where the orphans must recite in Aramaic, is one of the last bastions for a language Mother Superior Savaf describes as a gift from God.
Produced by ABC Australia
Distributed by Journeyman Pictures
Some Spencer/Geller bait.
Five’ll getcha ten that they ignore some of the mitigating statistics in the last quoted paragraph.
One narrative about Muslim immigrants in Europe is that only a relatively small proportion holds views that are sometimes labeled as “fundamentalist.” Ruud Koopmans from the Wissenschaftszentrum in Berlin argues that this perspective is incorrect. He conducted a telephone survey of 9,000 respondents in the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, France, Austria, and Sweden and interviewed both Turkish and Moroccan immigrants as well as a comparison group of Christians.
His first finding is that majorities of Muslim immigrants believe that there is only one interpretation of the Koran possible to which every Muslim should stick (75 percent), and that religious rules are more important than the laws of the country in which they live (65 percent). Moreover, these views are as widespread among younger Muslims as among older generations.
He then looks at hostility toward out-groups. Fifty-eight percent do not want homosexual friends, 45 percent think that Jews cannot be trusted, and 54 percent believe that the West is out to destroy Muslim culture. Among Christians, 23 percent believe that Muslims are out to destroy Western culture. Koopmans says these results hold when you control for the varying socio-economic characteristics of these groups (although the analyses are not presented).
Religious fundamentalism is the strongest correlate of out-group hostility both among Muslims and Christians. Fundamentalism here is taken to mean beliefs that believers should return to unchangeable rules from the past, that the Bible/Koran should be taken literally, and that religious rules are more important than secular laws. Although Muslims are more likely to be fundamentalist and hostile toward out-groups than Christians, there are many more Christians in these countries. So, the overall numbers of Christians who feel hostile toward Muslims still vastly outnumber the Muslims who believe the West is out to destroy Muslim culture. This accounts for the success of extremist parties in many of the countries in which the survey was conducted. It may be that Muslim perceptions are partially a response to this but we can’t tell. (The study, as far as I can tell, has little to say about the sources of these attitudes).