16 November, 2018

Blog

Unmuting The Tabooed: FGM & Muslim Women’s Rights

By Meghana Bahar

Meghana Bahar

One of the most important principles of Islam is that you have to speak up for any form of injustice. If you do not, that is considered a sin.

In many countries, laws governing Muslim families stem from verses in the Qur’an, which guarantees gender equality. But the guarantors of justice are not just. Very often, such laws ensure that beneficiaries are, overwhelmingly, Muslim men. Whether it be divorce laws or laws on inheritance, men are generally the faction that Islamic jurists greatly favour, over women and children.

Inequality, in this regard, is a form of injustice.

The Qur’an asserts in many verses[i] that women and men are equal:

“I shall not lose sight of the labour of any of you who labours in My way, be it man or woman; each of you is equal to the other.” (Chapter 3: verse 195);

“The believing men and believing women are allies of one another.” (Chapter 9: verse 71);

This equality is echoed throughout the Qur’an, with ‘men and women’ emphasised multiple times:

“Verily for all men and women who have surrendered themselves unto God, and all believing men and believing women, and all truly devout men and truly devout women, and all men and women who are true to their word, and all men and women who are patient in adversity, and all men and women who humble themselves before God, and all men and women who give in charity, and all self-denying men and self-denying women, and all men and women who are mindful of their chastity, and all men and women who remember God unceasingly: for all of them has God readied forgiveness of sins and a mighty reward.”(Chapter 33: verse 35).

Islam and Feminism 

Islamic feminism is the active engagement of Muslim feminists, be they scholars, activists or artists, in reviving Islam’s egalitarian nature by articulating a feminist middle path, where one does not have to choose between religion and universal human rights, between critiquing the west and being servile to local conservatives—a more holistic framework that also considers the lived realities of Muslim women[ii].

Muslim feminists re-read the Qur’an and interpret it for themselves[iii]. They say women can be religious authorities too. This is a strong gesture of agency and one of self-empowerment. It demonstrates that Muslim women do not need to be saved nor do they need to wait for permission to be the navigators of their own lives. This act of reclamation is not applauded enough. Patriarchs fear this, because they do not want to give up their power. Instead, they offer up the uninformed view that feminism is immoral, and a foreign import. 

But, their fear is baseless, because in fact, there is enough power to go around. It is just that power is concentrated to a privileged few, just as half of the world’s wealth is owned by 0.7% of our planet’s richest people[iv]

Obtaining equal rights for women thus rests on how particular countries interpret Qur’anic verses and transfer them into laws. Islamic law consists of a broad range of legal aspects and is implemented in varying degrees across the world. In Malaysia, Tunisia, Egypt or Morocco, among others, Islamic law has undergone multiple reformations to address contemporary issues facing Muslim communities.

In Sri Lanka, the Muslim Marriage and Divorce Act (MMDA)[v] is currently undergoing a review process, which activists hope will lead to the removal of unjust provisions that violate the rights of women and children. We also want to see changes in how laws are administered by mostly male Quazi courts, who cannot know what it is to be a woman stripped of all her inheritance and made destitute.

Reforms have been delayed for far too long because of the actions of a privileged few, mostly Muslim male politicians, who attempt to derail much needed change for Muslim women and children. Such detractors, who stand in the way of feminist activism, demonstrate qualities that can only be seen as the behaviour of scared children.

In a polarised environment such as this, it is very easy to mount blame and guilt on the Muslim community by saying Islam is oppressive towards women. Such stereotypes do not help foster a harmonious and peaceful society in our multi-ethnic nation, where Muslim communities continue to contribute in colouring that diversity.

One way of not succumbing to this is to learn more about Islam from a variety of authentic sources. In some cases, testimonies by Muslim women would be quite sufficient simply because their stories and voices matter. 

Dismantling Man-made Myths about Female Circumcision 

Last week, social media spaces brought to light that gross misinformation was being shared by those who claimed to be guardians of true Islam. The fliers and articles  shared by a minority group within the Sri Lankan Muslim community, namely Wahhabi-Salafis[vi] , a puritan strain of Islam, attempted to illustrate that female circumcision (FC) is obligatory in Islam. They carried false information on Prophetic traditions based on unverifiable hadiths (sayings of the Prophet) to support their claims. It is very difficult to think of the Prophet as a woman-hater. There are more hadiths that praise women asking men to respect them. Islam should not be regarded by considering only a few weak hadiths.

Online engagements with members of this faction revealed that they intend for medicalised khithan or khatna, the Arabic terms for circumcision. One of the proponents of this practice claim they rather like the term ‘hoodectomy’, the act of removing a girl child’s clitoral hood, and think it is “nice”[vii]. Justifications for this procedure, apart from it being touted as obligatory, range from better health, cleanliness, decreased incidence of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), and enhanced sexual pleasure. They also cite a number of unverified doctors and researchers, particularly elevating American ones, and claim unsubstantiated testimonies of increased sexual pleasure by American women.

A 2013 research study conducted by Islamic Relief[viii] , a non-governmental organisation, in West Sumatra and Lombok, Indonesia, found that respondents believed that FC was important for “controlling female sexual libido” so that “girls could become good Muslims”. The study also found that there was no theological basis for the practice as they could not refer to any Qur’anic verse or verifiable hadith that advocated for it.

News reports of a visitation to the Parliament by this above-mentioned faction of Muslims, and indeed by their own social media advertising, highlight that the “sisters” are proud of each other’s efforts in lobbying Parliament. It is no surprise that some of the chief instigators of patriarchy are women.

Muslims are not a homogenous race. We consist of diverse ethnicities. We are not monolithic nor do we share the same ancestral lineages. This request for the medicalisation of FC in Sri Lanka by a minority faction within the Muslim community, therefore, raises grave concerns for all. The deciders should ultimately be all Muslims, and this means considering the views of Muslims of all walks of life, including the less privileged.

Largely a taboo topic, female circumcision among Muslims in Sri Lanka, specifically among Moor, Malay and Dawoodi Bohra women, is widely prevalent[ix]. The practice has taken place more as a cultural ritual passed down generationally. Although many women have opposed this imposition on their bodily integrity and denounced it in brave testimonies, the rise of FC touted as an obligatory practice is a modern phenomenon, running parallel to the upsurge of global Islamophobia.

Activists and women’s rights defenders, over the years, have taken their worries about medicalised FC or female genital cutting to universal human rights mechanisms. International covenants such as the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) specifically obligate governments to respect the rights of girls and women by upholding that female genital mutilation (FGM) violates those rights.

Indonesia reconsidered re-banning FGM[x], after it was initially banned in 2006 and reinstated in 2008, following an Islamic fatwa (decree) issued by the Majelis Ulama Indonesia (Council of Religious Leaders). It allows only medical professionals, such as doctors, midwives and nurses, to carry out the procedure “properly”.

In Malaysia, although it is widely prevalent[xi], FC or FGM is still shrouded in secrecy. It is still being contested as to whether it is mutilation that occurs because it usually involves a slight pricking or slitting of the clitoral hood—as if that is not already a violation. A 2009 fatwa issued by the National Fatwa Committee turned it into a religious matter and as in neighbouring Indonesia, medicalised it.

It should be noted that the World Health Organisation (WHO) has produced a list of health risks[xii] for FGM, including psychological consequences, urinary tract infections, menstrual problems, obstetric complications and sexual problems, among others.

FGM is un-Islamic 

Recently, Dar al-Ifta al-Misriyyah[xiii], a government-run educational and Islamic legal research institute in Egypt, a high ranking body that derives its research from Qur’anic and Prophetic literature, confirmed in a press statement that the practice “… has no religious origin, it only dates back to inherited traditions and customs, the biggest evidence of it not being a religious duty for women is that the Prophet Muhammad had not circumcised his daughters”[xiv]. The institution expressed that FGM is religiously forbidden due to its negative impacts on the mental and physical well-being of women and girls. The statement was supported by scientific research issued by accredited medical institutions and objective international health organisations.

Wahhabi-Salafis who insist on enforcing FC or FGM on Muslim girls and women in Sri Lanka maintain that it is for enhanced sexual pleasure—the question that then arises is who are the recipients of this sexual pleasure? Given the reality of already unequal relations between Muslim women and men, it is very hard to imagine that medicalised female circumcision is genuinely for the well-being of women and girls. 

“…A work of God, who has ordered all things to perfection.” (Chapter 27: verse 88)

If the creations of the Divine are perfect,  who are we to tamper with them? 

Access to Information on Bodily Rights

Religious clergy are the last font of sexual knowledge any reasonable individual would go to, for all the reasons stated in this article. Muslim women are not all victims. They have agency. They do not need self-serving men to speak for them. Least of all, to speak on behalf of their bodies, or even be told how to feel.

There is no confusion here. FC or FGM is a harmful traditional practice that has proven to be a violation of women’s and girls’ bodily autonomies. It should be banned. And more attention should be paid to empowering young women with tools and resources that inform them of their bodies. They should be encouraged to talk openly about issues that affect their health and well-being. Sri Lanka’s Family Planning Association and Women & Media Collective are safe spaces that facilitate such conversations among youth and the LGBTIQ community.

If women’s and girls’ full emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual well-being is prioritised by the State, discussing sexual health should not be shameful if it means it will help prevent future trauma. Initiatives like Instagram’s the Vulva Gallery[xv] and TARSHI[xvi], an Indian non-governmental organisation working on sexual and reproductive health and rights, are other channels of accessing diverse information.

The Sri Lankan Ministries of Health and Education should ensure that diverse voices of women are prioritised when raising awareness about women’s and girls’ bodily rights. These voices can be a good mix of the young and old, secular and religious, that represent every ethnic group. A culture of healthy, public debate on sexual and reproductive health and rights to demystify the myths and misconceptions surrounding these, is the way forward.


[i] Translations are from Muhammad Asad (1980): http://www.muhammad-asad.com/Message-of-Quran.pdf .

[ii] See the Musawah Framework for Action: http://www.musawah.org/about-musawah/framework-action .

[iii] See the work of theologian Dr Amina Wadud: https://global.oup.com/academic/product/quran-and-woman-9780195128369?cc….

[iv] Wealth distribution statistics: https://inequality.org/facts/global-inequality/ .

[v] About Sri Lanka’s MMDA: https://mplreforms.com/aboutmmda/ .

[vi] The Salafi movement: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salafi_movement .

[vii] The hidden truth and untold benefits of female circumcision: https://asiffhussein.com/index.php/2015/04/02/female-circumcision-the-hi… .

[viii] Indonesia under pressure over female genital cutting: http://indonesiaatmelbourne.unimelb.edu.au/indonesia-under-pressure-over…

[ix] FGM in Sri Lanka: https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/fgm-sri-lanka-nick-17121812285….

[x] FGM in Indonesia: https://www.scmp.com/news/asia/southeast-asia/article/2082455/indonesia-… .

[xi] FGM in Malaysia: https://www.themalaysianinsight.com/s/36377.

[xii] Health risks of FGM:http://www.who.int/reproductivehealth/topics/fgm/health_consequences_fgm… .

[xiii] About Dar al-Ifta al-Misriyyah: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dar_al-Ifta_al-Misriyyah .

[xiv] FGM is not Islamic: https://www.egyptindependent.com/female-genital-mutilation-is-not-islami… , and http://www.egypttoday.com/Article/2/51304/Female-Genital-Mutilation-is-d…, also http://www.dar-alifta.org/Foreign/ViewArticle.aspx?ID=1881&CategoryID=1 .

[xv] The Vulva Gallery: https://www.instagram.com/the.vulva.gallery/.

[xvi] TARSHI: http://www.tarshi.net/ , and https://twitter.com/tarshingo .

*Meghana Bahar – A Sri Lankan gender and media activist, Meghana began her career as a development journalist and documentary film producer at age 19. She has 19 years of experience working as a communications specialist for women’s and human rights transnational movements on access to essential medicines, Muslim family law reform, indigenous resistance, LGBTQIA rights, and digital literacy. She has also briefly been on the editorial board and served as a media advisor for New Ceylon Writing. She is currently an independent consultant for video for change pioneers, WITNESS. Meghana’s academic journey has been steered towards a focus on women’s bodily integrity and bodily autonomy, including sex, sexualities, sexual and reproductive health and rights, and healing woman- woman relationships, specifically mother-daughter relationships. Her passion lies in ancestral lineage healing.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Latest comments

  • 16
    4

    An excellent piece of writing …logical and rational and supported with evidence ..
    Yet; these idiot mullah live in another world ..
    RIFWI mufithi must read this ..
    He is a one who misguide all masses

    • 5
      1

      Meghana Bahar,

      RE: Unmuting The Tabooed: FGM & Muslim Women’s Rights

      “One of the most important principles of Islam is that you have to speak up for any form of injustice. If you do not, that is considered a sin.”

      So, all the women and men who are not speaking up are committing sins, and will end up in Hell-Fire? The Ulama do not mind the women ending up in hell fire, after all women are chattel owned by men, The men have it great, as owners of the chattel, and unless they have ethics, most Muslim men don’t as instructed by the Ulama, and will not speak up., as FC or FGM is a harmful traditional practice that has proven to be a violation of women’s and girls’ bodily autonomies, is not an issue for them.

      So the women have to speak up!

      Just read up on the debate on the MMDA, the Ulama Hegemony and how they have bought the politicians. A 1,000 years ago even the philosophers did not escape their wrath, to maintain their hegemony, as they used the rulers, politicians to maintain their hegemony, irrespective of the rights given by religion.

      Ibn Rushd in his darkest hour

      https://www.alaraby.co.uk/english/artsandculture/2015/4/9/ibn-rushd-in-his-darkest-hour

      Despite his philosophical brilliance Ibn Rushd was banished and his writings burnt. However, as a man, they could not do FC or FGM.

      Ibn Rushd is the most capable rationalist philosopher in the history of Arab civilisation, and the best versed on the achievements of his age and the ages before him.

      He also wrote The Decisive Treatise, Determining the Nature of the Connection between Religion and Philosophy.

      This book makes him the originator of the idea that Greek rational heritage does not contradict Islam and that scriptural sciences have an arena as do rational deductive sciences.

      • 2
        0

        Meghana Bahar,

        RE: Unmuting The Tabooed: FGM & Muslim Women’s Rights

        “One of the most important principles of Islam is that you have to speak up for any form of injustice. If you do not, that is considered a sin.”

        Does Islam HATES Women, or is it ACJU and the Ulama in General?

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w_qIF1VELj4

        Are women the Chattel of men?

      • 2
        0

        Meghana Bahar,

        RE: Unmuting The Tabooed: FGM & Muslim Women’s Rights/ Inbreeding Issues

        “One of the most important principles of Islam is that you have to speak up for any form of injustice. If you do not, that is considered a sin.”

        So, all the women and men who are not speaking up are committing sins, and will end up in Hell-Fire?

        There are many unhealthy practices in many cultures, and religions including Islam.

        The male circumcision, was a religious practice of the ancient Egyptians, around 2,500 BC. Did the FGM also start around the same time, that was picked up by the others?

        Islamic Inbreeding and Cultural Inbreeding. Why is that the inbreeding is high in Sri Lanka and India?

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=byQ-ZxAifUg

        Muslims are victims of their Islamic cult. Islam caused this and Muslims suffer from it.

        Inbreeding Within the UK’s Pakistani Community; It’s Costing the NHS Billions

        https://www.defendevropa.org/2017/migrants/inbreeding-pakistani-costing-billions/

        You may have seen the story circulating in the news this week about the “British-Pakistani” woman who refused to marry her cousin. Her refusal was due to the fact that she’d already lost members of her family to early deaths and learning difficulties; problems which had been picked up due to inbreeding.

    • 7
      4

      Lankan,

      If Rizvi Mufthi reads this, he will take this to his advantage saying “See who are the people fighting to abolish so perfect MMDA”

      A fighting has to have a strategy based on studying the enemy, little knowledge on who should be put in the front line and who should be backing etc. Some activist women popping up time to time in CT with an English article is not going to reach the ones who are the real victims. They need to prepare their army comprised of real victims and send them in the front lines. But articles like this is okay for CT readers entertainment

      • 2
        0

        Mohamed,

        “If Rizvi Mufthi reads this, he will take this to his advantage saying “See who are the people fighting to abolish so perfect MMDA”

        Rizvi Mufthi and his cohorts will claim that this is a hoax. Revelation vs. Reason Debate.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=poOwQH_MHm0

        Islamic Conversion Hoaxes.

        Many Muslims are somewhere between “the Moon landing was a hoax” and “Neil Armstrong heard the adhan on the Moon!”

    • 1
      5

      Watch what you say. Islam is Islam and who do you think can challenge Islam? A new prophet? Come on!

    • 2
      0

      Meghana Bahar,

      RE: Unmuting The Tabooed: FGM & Muslim Women’s Rights

      “One of the most important principles of Islam is that you have to speak up for any form of injustice. If you do not, that is considered a sin.”

      This is pre-Islamic. ACJU wants to preactice among the Sri lankan Muslim women and girls. Are the following the Devil, Satan?

      Female Genital Mutilation: Part of Islam?

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CKQXx6ABM-0

      Female Genital Mutilation: Islamic or Cultural?

  • 12
    3

    Excellent sister.As a gynaecologist practising in western world on numerous occasions I have told my colleagues our Muslim women are lucky in Sri Lanka as they do not have to face this horrible FGM.
    However the reality seems to different and it is happening secretly within our shores as the writer suggests.I have seen horrible effects of FGM and how they struggle during their lives.
    Muslim women are fighting for their rights in our country .They fight for due rights and it is the duty of other female organisations to join hands with them without isolating them.There were discussions about Muslims marital law as well .The women should not be circumscribed and also they are entitled for better quality education and employment.

    • 5
      10

      Madam Priya, It seems most of your patients in the western world are origins of South Asia and some selected African countries? Have had any Gulf country patients, Saudis, Qataris, Kuwaitis or West Asian Muslims who are Muslims too? Please don’t source your profession to make everyone believe in you.

    • 8
      5

      Neither FGM or circumcision have anything to do with Islam. They are cultural practices left over from the pre-Islamic religions of ancient Arabia, much as tree-worshipping is part of Buddhism in Sri Lanka.
      Some forms of circumcision till recently involved tearing off all the skin of the penis up to the navel, without anaesthetic. Its female counterpart was just as barbaric. The explorer Wilfred Thesiger described these customs in the 1940’s.
      Sadly, the Wahabbis have the money to push their ideas onto devout Muslims who have no idea where these customs come from.

      • 5
        1

        oldcodger or anubody else,

        “Neither FGM or circumcision have anything to do with Islam. They are cultural practices left over from the pre-Islamic religions of ancient Arabia, much as tree-worshipping is part of Buddhism in Sri Lanka.”

        Haj pilgrimage was a cultural practice of the pre-Islamic Arabs. They went around the Kabba seven times, perhaps because there are seven Gods, Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn, moving objects in the sky, as a respect to the Gods, and Allah was the supreme God, and the practice was continued for the supreme God, Allah. The Qaresh Tribe was happy, because they were able to have the pilgrimage business, and uninterrupted- The Qureshi Tribe concession, like the Temple of the Tooth concession, and the Sri Maha Bodhi Tree Worshiping at Anuradapura by the Buddhists.

        So the cultural practices have gott mixed up with the true religion, because of self-interest

    • 11
      2

      Priya,

      “Muslim women are fighting for their rights in our country”, yes read below:

      Some 3000 Muslims women were arrested and another 300 were shot dead by ACJU Mullas. Few MMDA fighter women attempted a failed suicide bombing on ACJU chief who in turn ordered his thugs to set fire on those women’s houses.

      Despite all these, MMDA fighter women are continuing their struggle, while another groups is not willing to give up their hunger strike until SL Govt abolish MMDA completely. Notably, about 10,000 Muslims women have filed divorce cases indicating their dislike to carry one with their Mulla husbands”

      Ha..ha…ha.. bloody hell, another biggest problem SL faces is these migrated people like you to trying to poke your fingers remotely into current affairs when you do not have full knowledge of what is going on here.. Because you get free net and don’t have to register at CT to post a comment?

      • 6
        0

        Thank you Mr Sajjad,
        You are trying to simplify and trivialise the issue and make fun out of it.Typical muslim male who thinks women are a property of men. Yes the numbers may not have shown up as you have suggested. However, there may be lot more women suffering silently behind the Hijab or Nikab in your own communities in your own areas.They are always subjected to the authoritarian attitude of their male counterparts .Women should stand up to get their due rights.Every woman born to this world should be able to make their own choices about education ,employement,relationships or marriage.Modern world is free thinking .These rights should not be hoodwinked by race,religion or caste.These things should not be decided by men and we should be able to make our own decisions.I like this lady for opening her heart bravely expecting the backlash from her own community.Yes I invite women to wake up to fight for their own rights.We should all hold hands together disregarding these man made barriers to achieve our own potential. Please ignore the paranoid male chauvinists who feel insecure in loosing their grip on women.Any fair minded man will support our cause as he will believe it will one day benefit his daughters or sisters at least.

        • 2
          1

          No worries sister Priya. I appreciate that you encouraged her. I just gave a sample what I would call a “fighting” for rights, sorry if that sounds funny. What belittled your comment is introducing yourself as gynecologist to talk about what you have witnessed among your patients – agree? If I did not correct, you would continue to discuss with your (poor) colleagues that FGM is happening among all Muslim women in every country :-)

      • 1
        0

        Some 3000 Muslims women were arrested and another 300 were shot dead by ACJU Mullas. Few MMDA fighter women attempted a failed suicide bombing on ACJU chief who in turn ordered his thugs to set fire on those women’s houses.
        From where did you get this info. This is serious matter. Pls pass this info to the relevant security – Police, CID if what u have stated r correct.

        • 0
          0

          Rasheed Farook, there is a more serious matter – that you coming to comment on English forums.

    • 1
      0

      Priya ,

      You are saying that you are a Gynaecologist working in the West . And
      I like to put a simple question to you as you are living in the West . I
      believe you should have seen enough girls in the Western world wearing
      jewellery on their belly buttons ! And as a gynaecologist , you should have
      come across at least a few in your career who pierced their Labia and Clits
      for jewellery ? Or at least I suppose you are in the knowledge that such a
      fashion stuff exist in that part of the world ? Would you recommend to the
      Muslim women to take this and leave the F G M ? As for me , I strongly
      agree that F G M must be stopped . But I would ask the critics of F G M to
      go deep into the history of it and be fair with their blame game !

      • 3
        0

        What you are saying is hilarious my friend.Theorically you are correct.Any form of mutilation to female genitalia is considered as FGM.But how can you justfy a clueless youngster without any form of proper medical care going through a such horrific psychologically scarring experiance against her wish to a clitoral or labial piercing.Yez I have seen enoough of them in my practise but these things are done as per the request of a consentng adult and not to an underage younster.Your response is best described in Sinhala language as “yanne koheda malle pol”

        • 0
          1

          Priya ,

          The funny part of your reply to me is , accepting my comment as
          “theoretically correct” and agreeing that piercing female genital
          is considered as F G M and then calling it like “yanne koheda malle
          pol .” I had made my view clear on the subject that the F G M must
          be stopped . I only exposed your double face and you have confirmed
          it ! And also remember that if you are truly Priya , you didn’t consent
          to be Priya ! Somebody else did it for you and you are living with it !
          In the similar fashion , what is now called myth and torture started
          thousands of years ago and it is now in their culture that will take
          time to reform and already in Srilanka , there are some religious orgs
          that have identified wrong practices that are prevalent among Muslims
          in the name of Islam .

    • 0
      2

      You must be from the Sathi-Pooja clan. Muslims don’t want FGM. What we ask is a medically safe procedure done at hospitals. No mutilation whatsoever. Get your facts right. For the record you cannot establish a woman’s chastity by throwing her into fire.

  • 6
    1

    There are so many translations of the Quran and, Sayings of the Prophet, on the web,
    that it is very confusing, and hence, convenient for diverse interpretations.

    FGM is a crime against all women, and should be universally banned.

  • 8
    4

    Meghana Bahar,

    What you says in the article is “I hate mango trees but I love mangoes”. Second important thing I noted is you linked Quran and Islam a lot in this article, and you are an LGBT activist (which is your choice and passion that no one can question), while Islam prohibits homosexuality from its roots. I guess you can’t stand on 2 different boats when trying to address this sensitive issue.

  • 11
    2

    “…A work of God, who has ordered all things to perfection.” (Chapter 27: verse 88)

    If the creations of the Divine are perfect, who are we to tamper with them? – If so, why there are Gays and Lesbos?

    • 5
      0

      Fathima,

      “If so, why there are Gays and Lesbos?”

      Evolution.

    • 0
      4

      Your mind may imagine some imperfection in their creation. But God didn’t. Further did you know Sloth was created as an excellent animal of its time? It was created beyond excellence so it has outlived its time. Shark is still a magnificent animal. But god forgot to recall him.
      If one idiot has his own life, he will not disturbed by an innocent living on this earth. Rizvis and mullahs have to stop being nuisance to the innocents’ lives; not just for the humans, but even for the animals.

  • 1
    0

    The spirit of Meghana Bahar is on human rights. Here she takes up “Muslim Women’s Rights”.
    MMDA1950 violates human rights but ACJU says “It is good as is where is”. ACJU has the power to blackmail dissenters to comply. Muslim leaders play “Zombie”.
    Compare this with the move by the government to ban slaughter of animals and birds in Hindu rituals in a FEW temples.
    .
    At least sixty years ago activists in Ceylon (now SL) successfully pointed out the ‘sacrifices’ as plain superstition. Hindu’s accepted this but a few Hindu temples in remote parts carried this tradition for commercial purposes. The present GoSL plans to ban this practice. The total ban will be accepted.

    One may ask ,”Why?”. The answer is obvious – There is no equivalent of ACJU among Hindus. GoSL please note the difference ACJU makes to the progress of Muslims.

  • 8
    3

    In my view, Muslim women and girls are the most oppressed segment of our population. Because they are oppressed by their own community to a degree not experienced by women in other communities. Belonging to a religious and ethnic minority in an increasingly theocratic majoritarian state, and their own community mired in medieval patriarchy, Muslim women and girls find themselves at the bottom of social hierarchy in Sri Lanka in terms of human/civil rights and gender equality. Lord have mercy.

    • 13
      4

      Ajay,

      “Muslim women and girls find themselves at the bottom of social hierarchy in Sri Lanka in terms of human/civil rights and gender equality”

      If there is a thing that does not depend on religion in SL, that is so said social hierarchy but it depends on who has money. So in SL, not just Muslims, you find more of poor Sinhalese and Tamils at the bottom of so said hierarchy who are neglected, treated and left alone worse than comparable Muslim girls and women. What more, you go in the Colombo lodges and Sea side Massage parlous and you will find these badly neglected women selling their body for a living. Then what about women go to Arab countries as slaves?

      In comparison, the numbers are much lower among Muslims. If you guys say you dignify your women, why they end up in these places or as slaves to Arabs? Why you guys make them work like donkeys while some of you enjoy your bottle-lives? In fact I felt the same when I see these girls travel so early in crowded buses hanging and holding the steel bars for hours for monthly peanuts…

      • 9
        0

        Sajjad
        I think we are talking about two different things here. By ‘social hierarchy’ you are referring to social class. What I meant was a hierarchy of human rights and personal freedoms enjoyed by citizens of Sri Lanka. Read my words again: “social hierarchy in Sri Lanka in terms of human/civil rights and gender equality.” In such a list the Muslim women and girls will be at the bottom – though they may be at different levels, according to their circumstances, in the class hierarchy. They can be rich, upper class and educated, but still can be at the bottom of the list if they are slaves of patriarchy, not entitled to fundamental human rights when it comes to making decisions about their marriage and about their own bodies. They are oppressed if they don’t have the personal freedom to make their own decisions as to when and who they are going to marry. Aren’t they in this unfortunate position because of their religion? You may give Muslim women a lavish standard of living and parade them in their niqabs, hijabs and burqas, but still, they’d be very poor when it comes to quality of life. Why are the affluent Saudi women, who live in one of the wealthiest countries and don’t go to work – let alone hanging and holding the steel bars in crowded buses – are unhappy with their lives and are fighting for their human rights? It’s sad they don’t have the rights enjoyed by women in Sri Lanka including sex workers and women who work at massage parlours. You betray your bigotry and misogyny when you belittle these women for the work they do. They are human beings with dignity, trying to earn a living in this harsh world. They don’t deserve to be disrespected. Finally, I must mention, I find it very objectionable and offensive when you say, “our women, your women.” That sounds very tribal and primitive. Women belong to nobody.

        • 7
          0

          Ajay,

          “What I meant was a hierarchy of human rights and personal freedoms enjoyed by citizens of Sri Lanka”

          HR is HR. Why you want to insert an hierarchy in it also? Why can’t you help MY3 in September telling this in the HRC who might trust you both and not people living in SL with everyday fresh experiences will trust you

          Next time, please do not leave room for confusions, I misunderstood and put everything out – SoRrY

        • 1
          0

          Ajay ,

          While I would agree with you on many of your views here I wanted to
          take you to an episode that unfolded a couple of weeks ago in
          Mathugama – Kalutara District . A Lawyer- Businessman (Sinhala)
          family friend of mine from Kotte – Colombo , went to a wedding in
          Mathugama with his wife and beautiful daughter . At the venue , one
          father of a son (Sinhala) approached my friend and proposed his son
          to my friend’s daughter ! My friend and his wife agreed ! They were
          not known to each other before . And before this , the girl was to marry
          a boy living in Australia , again a proposed one , but father didn’t want
          her to go Australia , so the break- down. The girl is still studying law .
          I don’t need to waste time explaining about the century we are living in ,
          the religion and culture the case belongs to etc, etc ! I really appreciate
          your concern about ‘quality of life’ ! Now , over to you Ajay .

    • 8
      0

      Ajay.
      Spot on.
      The ACJU is a farce and should be banned. It has no real knowledge of Islam; there is not a single Islamic Scholar in S L of any international reputation. The so called scholars are political hacks with ulterior motives advocating a defunct medieval culture in the name of Islam. There is not a single scholar in S L of any international repute;. The Prophet or the Quran never advocated this practice; TheProphets wives or his daughter never underwent this barbaric procedure.

      The Muslim women should be kept away from this quackery by law with stringent penalties enforced.

  • 2
    2

    Ajay,

    “Muslim women and girls find themselves at the bottom of social hierarchy in Sri Lanka in terms of human/civil rights and gender equality”

    If there is a thing that does not depend on religion in SL, that is so said social hierarchy but it depends on who has money. So in SL, not just Muslims, you find more of poor Sinhalese and Tamils at the bottom of so said hierarchy who are neglected, treated and left alone worse than comparable Muslim girls and women. What more, you go in the Colombo lodges and Sea side Massage parlous and you will find these badly neglected women selling their body for a living. Then what about women go to Arab countries as slaves?

    In comparison, the numbers are much lower among Muslims. If you guys say you dignify your women, why they end up in these places or as slaves to Arabs? Why you guys make them work like donkeys while some of you enjoy your bottle-lives? In fact I felt the same when I see these girls travel so early in crowded buses hanging and holding the steel bars for hours for monthly peanuts…

  • 1
    1

    Did you know that female circumcision is an obligatory Islamic duty? The Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) said:

    1) “When the (male) circumcised part meets the (female) circumcised part, bath becomes obligatory” (Ahmad, Tirmidhi)

    2) Abdullah Ibn Umar who states that the Prophet instructed some Ansar (Medinan) women visiting him to ‘be circumcised’ (Mukhtassar zawaid musnad al bazzar, Ibn Hajar).

    3) The Prophet told Umm Atiyyah Al Ansariyyah, a lady who circumcised girls in Medina: “When you circumcise, cut plainly and do not cut severely, for it is beauty for the face and desirable for the husband” (Abu Dawud, Al Awsat of Tabarani and Tarikh Baghdad of Al Baghdadi).

    4) Umm Al Muhajir said: “I was captured with some girls from Byzantium. (Caliph) Uthman offered us Islam, but only myself and one other girl accepted Islam. Uthman said: ‘Go and circumcise them and purify them” (Adab al Mufrad of Bukhari)

    5) Umm Alqamah says that when the nieces of Ayisha’s brother were circumcised, ‘A’isha was asked: “Shall we call someone to amuse them?” “Yes” she replied (Adab Al Mufrad)

    The evidence is clear that female circumcision is obligatory. Why would Hazrat Ayisha, the mother of the believers, have her nieces circumcised and Caliph Uthman order women who had embraced Islam to be circumcised if it were not obligatory? Besides, it’s a very simple procedure involving removal of the prepuce of the clitoris which is like the foreskin taken off from little boys at circumcision and benefits us in terms of genital hygiene and increasing sex pleasure.Even Western women are increasingly choosing to undergo it as a minor surgical procedure known as hoodectomy.

    • 0
      1

      “Why would Hazrat Ayisha, the mother of the believers, have her nieces circumcised and Caliph Uthman order women who had embraced Islam to be circumcised if it were not obligatory? “
      These are NOT Islamic practices. They are done for the same reason that Christians have Christmas on December 25th, and Sunday , which is named after a heathen god, is the weekend.
      Arabs were heathens before they became Muslim, and carried on with those practices. Not only Muslims, but non-Muslim Africans in Sudan and Ethiopia also do these things.It is wrong to impose these customs on South Asians in the name of Islam.Why should Saudi customs be obligatory? Even the Catholics have a South American Pope nowadays.

    • 3
      0

      Kubra.
      Hogwash.
      Then Prophet nor the Quran advocates this barbaric practice. The Prophets’ wives or daughter never undergo this ghastly practice.
      The Hadith literature you are quoting is not authentic; it is here say written more than 200 years after the death of the prophet. This was a practice of the desert Arabs, a Beduoin practice even before the advent of Islam.
      This is not a religious obligation and should be banned.There is no Medical indication either.
      This is not a religious obligation

  • 4
    1

    “Muslim women and girls find themselves at the bottom of social

    1. Prime Minister of Pakistan Banazir Bhuto
    2. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Bangladheshi
    3. Prime minister Begum Khaleda Zia Bangkadheshi
    4. Prime minister of Turki Tansu Çiller

    Movements for Muslim women to seek roles in national leadership have increased
    rapidly.

    mullah live in another world ..
    RIFWI mufithi must read this ..
    He is a one who misguide all masses, NO one such are on obstruction mode

  • 1
    2

    Very often, such laws ensure that beneficiaries are, overwhelmingly, Muslim men.

    It is not very often in some instance.

    Woman also are very often, disobedient to husband,
    Men have certain rights over your women, but they also have rights over you.

  • 1
    2

    Ajay

    In my view, Muslim women and girls are the most oppressed segment of our population. Because they are oppressed by their own community

    Nepal’s bleeding shame: menstruating women put to cattle sheds.
    Chhaupadi – which translates to “untouchable being” – has been practised for centuries in Nepal, menstruation as intrinsically “impure” and enforcing restrictions. Who is oppressed.

  • 1
    1

    The prophet of Islam , Muhammad did business with a woman whom he
    later married , named Khadija . Ayesha at some point led a war called
    ” war of camels.” His daughter Fathima is the role model of all Muslim
    women . Majority of Islamic rules are aimed at protecting all women who
    are Muslim . Male circumcision has been common among Jews and
    Christians as well . To my knowledge , it is only optional that almost all
    have taken it as obligatory just like the Haj pilgrimage has become today.
    Haj is not obligatory on every one , there are conditions . As for women ,
    one should not forget that south Asia specifically is , male dominated !
    Specially Srilankan males have no right to open their mouth about women
    freedom while women are being exported as maids to Mid East and even
    Italy , Singapore and Hon Kong . People who are guilty of exploiting their
    mothers , sisters and daughters lose the right to speak for others . It would
    be a terrible joke ! Back to Muslim women , the recorded world first
    University is the University of Al Qarawiyyin of Fez in Morocco founded
    by a Muslim woman called Fathima Al – Fahri . So , Muslim women had
    been in Business , War , Education and so on ! C T manages to keep its
    readers really busy with topics such as these over and over again and again
    because there are more racist readers on this forum than the rationale I
    suppose .

  • 5
    0

    whywhy

    Male dominated ! Specially Srilankan males have no right to open their mouth about women.

    What would you think of a child spending his young years in a Buddhist temple?
    who decides, s enjoying his childhood

    • 0
      1

      rbh ,

      The works of Aristotle described women as morally ,intellectually and
      physically inferior to men and saw women as the property of men and
      claimed that women’s role in society was to reproduce and to serve men
      in the household and he saw male domination of women as natural and
      virtuous . Aristotle was born in 384 BC . I have read mountains of
      comments by many non-Muslim commentators attributing all above written
      characters to Islam and Prophet Muhammad as if all of them are products of
      Islam and Arabs .Have we managed to do away with what Aristotle saw in his
      time about women ? I mean in any part of the world ? True , the developed
      world has made tremendous improvement but yet , much is left to be done .
      And that is why I said about South Asia as a region , nowhere near any such
      an achievement or change ! And let me come to your question about children
      being handed over to Buddhist Temples ! Not only to Buddhist Temples , what
      about Muslim children being handed to Madrasas ? Who decides this ? It is
      not issues of this nature that determines Male Domination in society .The
      sociologist Sylvia Walby explains it as a ” system of social structures and
      practices in which men dominate , oppress and exploit women .” In South
      Asia , Religions and related cultures guarantee that Aristotle lives in their
      lives in this century and many more centuries to come or even millenniums !
      And back again to your question of children to Buddhist Temples . Nothing but
      poverty and loss of father that send children to learn religion in Temples and
      Madrasas ! Simple as that ! I mean at least 90% of them !

      • 1
        0

        whywhy.
        Spot on.
        Probably this ghastly practice was prevalent during the time of Aristotle.There is no mention of this in the Quran nor did the Prophets wives or daughter undergo this ghastly procedure although this was a pre Islamic practice prevalent in the bedouin culture.
        .

      • 0
        0

        Muslim children being handed to Madrasas ? Who decides this ?

        If a muslim child goes to madrasas the can marry when you some one be a monk cannot marry. leave their family and all relationships behind

        If a marries man become monk it is a different story.

      • 0
        0

        whywhy

        Muslim children being handed to Madrasas ? Who decides this ?

        When a muslim child goes to madarasa they can marry.

        But child Monk cannot marry when his when his at age
        leave their family and all relationships behind

  • 4
    0

    Meghana Bahar,

    You’re a direct victim of FGM, and I am an indirect victim too. My dumb father-in-law also did the same to his daughter :-(

  • 2
    1

    African Journal of Urology in its issue of September 2013 , Volume 19 , issue 3
    and page 130 – 133 reports that F G M is practiced in Brazil , Mexico and Peru .
    It is also known that Uganda ,Tanzania and some more of Christian majority
    countries are in this practice than the Muslim world . It is more of a culture than
    religion according to all available surveys and researches .

  • 4
    1

    It is astounding how many men feel so entitled to opine about women’s bodies.

    Muslim women are not the world’s most oppressed. Some just don’t realise how strong they are.

    It is not Islam that oppresses. It is the male patriarchal elite, the mouthpieces of God, the gatekeepers of religion.

    We don’t need more men grandstanding for women. Simmer down and take a seat.

    I’m not a victim. My parents and grandparents enforced no vile, violent practice. In my household we are used to respecting consent. Perhaps this is new to some.

    Yes, more Muslim women who have been violated need to speak up. This should not be “strategy” of any movement, to use and exploit them for whatever means. It should come of these women’s own volition, consent. But first of all, do we already foster such environments that are safe, non-violent and non-judgmental? Just look at the nature of some of the comments here, even villifying the commentary of a professional—a woman gynaecologist.

    • 4
      2

      Meghana Bahar,

      Patriarchy is a natural order of things and that has dominated and still dominating in every community, culture and country. Generally men work harder as possible to provide for women and children, risking their lives for their families, community and country – So it is the respect and authority they are given naturally. Women misguidedly consider this an oppression. Women want equal-rights, but whenever and whichever suits them. Women want to be presidents, ministers, school teachers and principals, but how many will come forward as woman shoulder? Even if they do, how practical it is going to be?

      Even if you look at animal kingdom, it is the male who is in charge of their females. It is like a choice who should be given the leadership based on eligibility – And mostly a male is picked even by right-minded women because men have the drive, the testosterone, aggressiveness, and they are the go-getters. Even if it takes many more centuries, the natural order can not be changed.

      In the case of FGM, when a father decides, why can’t the mother grab her part of equal-right and stop it?

      • 2
        2

        Isharath,
        you say: “Even if you look at animal kingdom, it is the male who is in charge of their females.”
        You are dead wrong. Many spiders and insects eat the males after mating. The leader of a beehive is the female queen.Most female mammals look after their young independently.

    • 3
      0

      Meghana Bahar ,

      You have brought this controversial write up , right into the middle of
      men with the label of Islam and Muslim on it ! Majority of comments
      on this forum are usually from men on nearly all topics . So , why
      moaning now ? Reasonable arguments are building up in in he middle of
      a few harsh ones ! You entered the ring and now face the punches and
      kicks ! Not to chase you away , just face it and nothing is easier ! You see
      to my knowledge , F G M in Srilanka is completely a matter among
      women and men know nothing about it . It is only through media I came
      to realize , after ages , why an old woman walked into my sister’s house
      at the 40th day of birth of her baby girl ! Majority of men in Srilanka ,
      may be about more than 80 % , didn’t have any idea of F G M . It was a
      private mission for women ! In fact it is Srilankan Muslim men who need
      to be roaring about missing something vital in their married life because
      of a foolish practice of women !

  • 2
    0

    whywhy

    Muslim children being handed to Madrasas ? Who decides this ?

    When a muslim child goes to madarasa they can marry.

    But child Monk cannot marry when his when his at age
    leave their family and all relationships behind

  • 0
    0

    Muslim children being handed to Madrasas ? Who decides this ?

    If a muslim child goes to madrasas the can marry when you some one be a monk cannot marry. leave their family and all relationships behind

    If a marries man become monk it is a different story.

  • 2
    0

    Madrasas are “schools” where Islam is predominantly taught among other subjects; normally it is not a boarding school. When the equivalent of today’s universities started in the Muslim world they were named Madrasas; a place of learning. Today, unfortunately it has a pejorative understanding and meaning.

  • 0
    0

    Lankawe MMDA would and could have been easily reformed. EU had the key; but blind shortsightedly lost it to the trick of Yahapalanaya. One can say anything of how strong women are, but fighting with Riyals is too difficult. It cannot be denied that New Colonial Master Abdulazeeze is too strong. We saw how easily he crushed Canadian Human right voice for Muslim women. Lankawe Muslim women need a refreshed look of EU and it has to give a date their colleague Thalatha and if she doesn’t act, they have to act, punishing Yahapalanaya by withdrawing GSP+. EU has to become serious and should stop holding Yahapalanaya by the elbow, but should on the neck.

  • 1
    0

    Everybody: You know it is thee QUran that caused this problem. Why don’t you reqrite this chapter.

    • 3
      1

      The Holy Quran is absolutely silent on the subject of Female circumcision. It is only referred to in a few da’if (or weak) hadith attributed to the Holy Prophet (sal).
      This issue is yet another example of early Arab ‘scholars’ interpreting tenets of Islam to sanctify pre-Islamic Arab cultural practices in order to perpetuate their patriarchal system.
      A true believer does not have to eat, dress or adhere to Arab customs to be a good Muslim.

  • 0
    0

    JD

    Everybody: You know it is thee QUran that caused this problem.

    President George W. Bush placed the Holy Quran in the White House library in 2005.
    Truth is always universal

  • 0
    0

    Isharath,

    If you think women brought on this problem, then YOU are part of the problem.

    Take a BACK seat, sir. Far, far in the back please.

    • 2
      1

      Meghana Bahar,

      Every man opposes your view becomes a “part of the problem” for you?

      Ok sure, I would take the farthest back seat and be happy that you got a moment to enjoy some matriarchy, and to guide the misguided ones like you not worrying on an equal seat sister :-)

  • 0
    0

    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2/

Leave A Comment

Comments should not exceed 300 words. Embedding external links and writing in capital letters are discouraged. Commenting is automatically shut off on articles after 10 days and approval may take up to 24 hours. Please read our Comments Policy for further details. Your email address will not be published.