Talk is cheap. I’ve heard a lot of talk about the Islamic faith in the past several years. I’ve heard everything from Muslims are pure evil to Muslims are the embodiment of all that is good and pure in the world.
As with most things pertaining to a group of people sharing a religion, I believe the truth about Muslims lies somewhere between the two extremes. Like Christianity, Judaism, or any other religion, there will be followers across the spectrum.
But one thing that most, if not all, Muslims share is the mistreatment of women. From subtle derogation to death by stoning, it is clear that Muslim women are not held in the same regard as Muslim men in the Islamic world.
It’s hard to ignore the cover of Time magazine this week, which features the haunting picture of teenage Aisha. Aisha had her ears and nose cut off by her husband last year, under the order of a Taliban judge. Her crime? Running away from her husband’s family because she was being beaten nearly to death.
But that’s the Taliban – the terrorist group following the strictest interpretation of Sharia (Islamic) law. What about more moderate Muslims?
Even moderate Muslim women are to live under the control of their husbands, fathers, or male guardians, no matter how harsh it may be.
I talked to a young Iraqi woman named Rafraf Barrak who told me the tale of being locked in a closet for four months because she had dared to eat her lunch with a boy. I asked her if, during that time, did she understand how wrong it was to be treated that way, or did she view it as just punishment for her actions?
Growing up there [in Iraq], I knew it was a punishment. I knew that what I was doing was wrong because there’s [sic] rules and … traditions and you don’t break them… It wasn’t that my dad hated me; it was just his way of disciplining me.
I’d be willing to bet that the boy did not receive the same punishment.