Those looking for the real war on women–as opposed to the one promoted by the American left and their media enablers—should focus their attention on Pakistan and Sudan. In the former nation, a 25-year-old pregnant woman has been stoned to death by members of her own family, with her father dubbing the atrocity an “honor killing.” In the latter nation, a 27-year-old woman has been sentenced to death for refusing to renounce her Christian faith. She was also pregnant, and has given birth while awaiting her sentence to be carried out. The common thread in both cases is as predictable as it is disturbing: the religion of Islam and the endemic mistreatment of women practiced by far too many of its followers.
Farzana Parveen was killed in broad daylight by nearly 20 members of her family before a crowd of onlookers outside the High Court in the eastern city of Lahore, Pakistan. As she walked up to the court’s main gate with her husband Mohammad Iqbal, relatives waiting for the couple’s arrival fired shots in the air and attempted to snatch her away. When she resisted, the attackers, who included her father, two brothers and her former fiancé, started beating her and her husband, before escalating the attack with bricks obtained from a nearby construction site.
Parveen subsequently sustained severe head injuries and was pronounced dead at the hospital, according to police.
All of the attackers but her father, Mohammad Azeem, escaped. He surrendered to the police and admitted taking part in the killing. He had no remorse. “I killed my daughter as she had insulted all of our family by marrying a man without our consent, and I have no regret over it,” the father was quoted as saying by police investigator Rana Mujahid.
Parveen had been engaged to her cousin, but married Iqbal instead, following an engagement of several years. In response, her family registered an abduction case against Iqbal, and Parzeen was to appear in court to argue that she had married him of her own free will, according to her lawyer Mustafa Kharal. Arranged marriages are the norm among conservative Pakistanis. Marrying for love is a transgression that ostensibly dishonors the family.
Iqbal, who started seeing Parveen following the death of his former wife with whom he had five children, claimed the couple was “in love.” He further alleged that her family wanted to extract money from him before allowing the marriage to take place. Instead, “I simply took her to court and registered a marriage,” Iqbal explained.
Parveen’s murder is hardly an anomaly. According to Pakistani rights group the Aurat Foundation, as many as 1,000 Pakistani women are killed every year by their families in such honor killings. The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan released a report last month revealing that 869 women were murdered in honor killings in 2013, but the Aurat Foundation insists the number could be far higher because the totals are based solely on newspaper reports. The Pakistani government does not compile any honor killing statistics.
Despite that ongoing reality, Zia Awan, a prominent lawyer and human rights activist, expressed shock at the brutal and public nature of the crime. “I have not heard of any such case in which a woman was stoned to death, and the most shameful and worrying thing is that this woman was killed in front of a court,” he said. He further noted that those who commit such violence against women are either acquitted outright, or handed light sentences, due to inadequate police work and improperly handled prosecutions. Even those convicted may eventually walk free as Pakistani law permits a victim’s family to forgive the victim’s killer.
Even more appalling, though most honor killings are committed by family members, they can instead nominate someone else to commit the murder–and subsequently forgive him. “This is a huge flaw in the law,” said the Aurat Foundation’s Wasim Wagha. “We are really struggling on this issue.”
In Sudan, the law has produced an equally despicable outcome. Yesterday, Meriam Yehya Ibrahim gave birth to a baby girl in the hospital wing of a prison in Omdurman, where she awaits execution for refusing to renounce her Christian faith and embrace Islam. Ibrahim, who has been imprisoned since February has her 20-month old son with her as well.
The 27-year-old doctor had a Muslim father, but was raised as a Christian by her mother. On May 11, a court in Khartoum convicted Ibrahim, who was eight months pregnant at the time, of apostasy and adultery and sentenced her to death by hanging. The verdict was reached after she refused to renounce her Christianity during a three-day “grace period.” In addition, the court annulled her marriage and sentenced her to receive 100 lashes for the crime of “zena” (Arabic for illegitimate sex) because she had sexual relations with a “non-Muslim man” who happens to be her husband Daniel Wani. Wani, who is an American citizen, told Fox News his wife would not convert, and spends her time “shackled” in prison with her son.
Her daughter has now joined them.
And once again, as in the case of Farzana Parveen, Ibrahim’s family is part of the equation. She was arrested in August of 2013 when men claiming to be from her father’s side of the family charged her with adultery. They claimed her real name was Abrar al-Hady, according to the Khartoum-based al-Taghyeer newspaper, who cited their lawyer, Abdel Rahman Malek. Malek claimed they presented a Sudanese nationality document to the court with both that name and her fingerprints. The complaint further alleged she had been missing for several years and her family was shocked to discover she had married a Christian. Under Sudan’s version of Sharia Law, any marriage of a Muslim woman to a non-Muslim man constitutes adultery. The apostasy charge was added in February 2014.
Wani claimed he never met anyone from her family because Ibrahim’s mother was an Ethiopian refugee who had no relatives in Sudan. He was introduced to his wife by his sister who attended the same church. “She was never a Muslim, she was always a Christian,” Ali said. “And even if she renounced Islam, she should not be punished for that.” Wani, who has been unable to see his new daughter despite making a request to prison authorities, illuminated his hope for the future. “We call on the world to ask the Sudanese government to drop the verdict and just let us live our normal lives,” he said.
That is not likely at this juncture. Sudanese officials have refused to allow Wani to take his son because the law forbids a Christian man from raising a Muslim child, as the court has so designated him. According to Amnesty International, the law also requires the postponement of Ibrahim’s execution until she has raised her newborn child for at least two years. Moreover, on May 18, the judiciary asserted that Ibrahim “enjoyed all the necessary requirements for a fair trial as a constitutional right,” according to a statement published by Suna, the state news agency.
In a twist to the story, the Daily Mail is reporting that lawyers hired by the US-based human rights organization Justice Centre Sudan have alleged that Ibrahim’s “half brother and half sister” tracked her down so they could take over her successful general store. “We believe the family filed the lawsuit because they want to gain control of the business. If Meriam stays in jail she could lose everything and they could be the ones to benefit,” said a spokesman for the organization.
All well and good in terms of sensationalism, but it doesn’t negate the reality that Sharia Law is the vehicle that has enabled the outrage that has a mother and her two children languishing in prison—until such time as Meriam Ibrahim is beaten and hanged.
Thus the ongoing and very real war against women in the Muslim world continues. It is a war largely ignored by the American left and their feminist cohorts, who have managed to largely ignore the real and present danger of Sharia Law. It is Sharia Law that relegates millions of women to second-class status at best–and honor killings, whippings and the hangman’s noose at worst. That the left’s so-called war against women extends only as far as the nearest member of the GOP and his or her position on abortion is myopic. So myopic that someone like Ayaan Hirsi Ali must be stripped of an honorary degree by Brandeis University, lest she use her acceptance speech to remind her audience where the most virulent aspects of the war against women originate. Islam is the tip of the spear, and no amount of politically calculated obfuscation by the American left will alter that reality.
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