Price of Honor: Muslim Women Lift the Veil of Silence on the Islamic World

While women can be mistreated by individuals in any society, Islam, at least extreme Islam, sanctifies the systemic abuse of all women.

“A man loves first his son, then his camel, and then his wife”
Arab Proverb

This book, written in 1995 by Jan Goodwin, describes the sometimes gruesome position many women find themselves in just by living in many predominantly Muslim countries. It lays out a theory wherein the rising popularity of militant, extreme, Fundamentalist Islam is the main reason for the deterioration of the rights of Muslim women, as these Islamists increase they’re power base at the expense of women’s rights. Goodwin goes on to say that there is little or no basis in the Koran (the Islamic Holy Book) for the deteriorating position of women in many Muslim countries. The scope of women’s disenfranchisement varies from mild to severe from country to country as Goodwin addresses conditions in the ten countries she visited. It also varies according to the beliefs of branch of Islam to which the woman’s family belongs, Fundamentalist being the most oppressive. She also describes how this creeping tide of militant fundamentalist Islam in a danger to mainstream Islam and moderate Muslims. Though life in moderate or mainstream Muslim societies is very hard on most women it borders on slavery under extreme societies.

“There is no fun in Islam”
Ayatollah Khomeini

In the Peoples Islamic Republic of Iran, Khomeini lowered the marriage age for females from eighteen to thirteen (ya hear that Jerry Lee), but permitted girls as young as nine, even seven in some cases to be married if a physician signs a certificate agreeing to their sexual maturity. (pedophilia heaven). However, to the Ayatollah’s credit, he drew the line at seven, stating that it is forbidden to have sex with girls under seven!

“If a man and woman are alone in one place, the third person present is the devil”
Prophet Mohammad

“Under the law as it stands in Pakistan, women who have been raped can be charged with adultery or fornication. The proof required for zina (sex outside of wedlock including rape) is that there be four Muslim adult males of “good repute” present who can attest to the act of sexual penetration. No male witnesses of good repute, of course, are likely to stand and watch a rape in progress without trying to stop it. And because of this requirement it becomes impossible to punish the rapists. Instead the victim is prosecuted. Her legal complaint of rape is considered a confession of illicit sexual intercourse.”

“The majority of Muslim women find their lives controlled by their closest male relative. They are the daughters whose future marriage partners continue to be determined by their fathers. They are the brides who must be virgins on their wedding nights in a culture where, if they are not, honor killings are common and often carried out by the girls own brothers”


Muslim Irony

Fundamentalists restrict women from working, leaving the house unescorted and unveiled, being clergy, driving, reading the Koran, marrying an infidel, going to school after the sixth grade if at all and more.

The Irony of this treatment is in this Quote: “Such restrictions on women are necessary. They are to protect women’s honor and they are also a symbol of our enormous respect for women”

CONCLUSION

This book and several others like it document the ugly, onerous, abhorrent living conditions perpetrated on many Muslim women by Muslim men in the name of Islam. In fairness, The Author has on numerous occasion stated there is no basis for this treatment in the tenets of Islam. In Islam, especially the fundamentalist version religion is power. The Clergy gain power by elevating their male adherents, as do the adherents, over the females. They also gain power by espousing enmity toward a common enemy as Khomeni did toward the U.S. This is the politics of Theocrats. (The last three sentences are my observations)

As for the book, I highly recommend it. It’s 358 pages is well written, easy to read, compelling and chuck full of insights. The author, Jan Goodwin, did a tremendous amount of research, visiting and living in some ten countries, interviewing hundreds of, sometimes shy and reluctant, women to publish this very comprehensive book. Many of these women gave interviews, even though it endangered them. A couple observations I came away with is that the exception of Saudi Arabia, the holy seat of Islam, the quality of women’s living conditions increased with the wealth of the country or in large countries the area. Also it seemed to me that for the average Muslim male, appearances took precedence over the welfare of his womenfolk.

There are so many other things I would like to bring out, like how many Muslim women are malnourished by getting only leftovers, while doing three times the work of her counterpart but you really need to read the book.

July 27, 2008. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Atrocity, Islam, misogyny, religion, review, Sharia, Shiite, Sunni, Terrorism, Wahabism. 9 comments.

PRINCESS – A Shocking Expose of Misogyny Within Saudi Arabia

Princess was the first book that I’d read on the, shall we say, unusual treatment of women in Saudi Arabia. This led me to read other books on the subject which dealt with women’s precarious place in other Muslim countries as well.

Princess
princes_new.jpg

The story of Princess Sultana (a pseudonym) was written by Jean Sasson a twelve year resident of Saudi Arabia. It is the story of an anonymous Saudi Princess who grew up in a Saudi palace, her sisters, servants, friends and other unfortunate women she had heard about. Some have debated the veracity of the book but many things as I have outlined in my conclusion cannot be denied.

Princess Sultana was born into a Royal Saudi family of ten daughters and one pampered son. She was too feisty for her own good and managed to often manifest the displeasure of her father. Some of the things she did wrong were taking her toys back from her bratty, can do no wrong , brother and then trying to explain her side of things when she got in trouble, but as she and her sisters got older things became even more suppressive.

Supposedly an honor and a sign of adulthood, Sultana was forced to veil as punishment for standing up for herself a couple years before menses. She was saved from female circumcision, which her four oldest sisters endured when a foreign tutor intervened. Sultana goes on to describe how her favorite sister, Sara, was betrothed at sixteen to a man forty-six years older. Within five weeks Sara almost committed suicide due to her aged husbands sadistic and brutal sexual practices.

Sasson goes on to describe many practices and laws in Saudi Arabia that would make a westerner blanch, including the summary execution of a thirteen year old girl for fornication, who was most likely raped, a young girl drowned in the family swimming pool by her father for kissing a boy and girls who had been forced to marry as young as twelve, having four and five children before their eighteenth birthday.

Summary
Jean Sasson weaves a very interesting story. Her writing is easy to follow and extremely readable. The incidents she describe tend to stay in your mind for a long time and may cause indignation in the reader. She accomplishes a fairly good character development of Princess Sultana and other family members.

The book itself is 254 easy reading pages long and also contains four appendixes, The Koran and Women, The Laws of Saudi Arabia, a glossary on Arab terms and a Chronology of Key Events in Saudi History, all located in back. In addition there is a map of Saudi Arabia, the surrounding area, with facts on Saudi Arabia and the surrounding countries and a family tree of the House of Saud in the front of the book.

Conclusion

The conclusion I took from all the books I have read so far on the subject is, that while some, maybe even most, women in Saudi Arabia and other Muslim countries may be well treated, the underlying groundwork is there for the mistreatment, even killing of women.

It is hard not to notice than Muslims take exception to this and similar publications. They would like us to believe the conditions and incidents that take place in these books are fantasy and maybe they believe they are, but the undeniable facts that lie within, lend credibility to everything within the books.

I ask these people. Can women drive in Saudi Arabia? Are there modesty police? Can a woman get in trouble for not wearing a head covering, a veil, letting hair show, letting skin show? Has any women ever been executed for adultery? Have young women ever been killed by family members in honor killings? Can a Saudi man divorce his wife by saying I divorce you three times? Can a wife own property? Does a woman need three witnesses to report a rape? Can a Muslim man have multiple wives? Is a Saudi woman’s testimony worth only half of a man’s? Are many if not most of Saudi women’s husbands chosen by their father? Are Saudi women encouraged or even allowed to get an education? Can a Saudi women work in any field she chooses? Can a Saudi woman walk the streets unescorted? Can a Saudi woman date?

To be sure, women historically have had trouble in almost all societies but the second class citizenship that seems endemic in Saudi Arabia and several other Muslim countries is systemic and deeply rooted.

January 19, 2008. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , . execution, Islam, misogyny, Overzealous, review, Saudi Arabia, Sharia, Sunni, Wahabism, women. 31 comments.