Women and Religion

Readers must have been following the case of the Saudi rape victim who was, in a perversion of justice, sentenced to 200 lashes for being in a car with a man not related to her, when the rape occurred. She was sentenced to 200 lashes? Yes, you heard that right. Since Saudi law prohibits women (and men) from interacting with unrelated members of the opposite sex, she was considered a law breaker herself, not a victim, and sentenced to 90 lashes. Which was then, increased to 200 as a punishment for publicising it in the media.

Now it appears that King Abdullah, the current Saudi ruler, has pardoned the woman, while strenuously maintaining that the justice meted out was not unfair. Its just his prerogative you see, to pardon people, it doesn’t really mean anything.

I believe that almost all religions (or the customs through which they get defined) are oppressive to women. But where the state actively colludes to enforce this oppression, there is little hope except in the form of such knee jerk reactions.

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2 Comments

  1. There is a programme on British TV at the moment – Make Me a Muslim. It is an experiment where a few volunteers are learning to live like Muslims. I can understand some things like not eating pork etc.

    But two things amused and shocked me greatly.

    A woman being told that she should cover up so she does not get raped and she retorted by saying that she would like all men blind-folded instead.

    A gay guy being told he needs to stop hanging out with girls because that is why he behaves like them; then the Imam telling the camera that his gay-ness can be cured back; then the Imam going with his photo around town seeking him a ‘wife’ (I am serious); then the Imam taking him to a shop to buy clothes in dull grey and blue and black so the gay guy dresses more like a man and feels like a man.

    The avoidance of complex soclological contructs, the ignorance of biology, the complete disrespect of women as a result was eye-watering.

    I did not remember that the second part of 3 was on last night but will try and remember to watch the last part..

    Now what were you saying about the rape victim being pardoned?

  2. Shefaly – it sounds so ridiculous that one could almost think it was faked…however I recall that Imam in Australia who spoke of women as “uncovered meat”, so yes, it doesn’t sound too improbable! Homosexuality – well , when many people still don’t treat women as true equals, alternative sexualities are still a long way from being accepted….


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