July 16, 2007
There is a postcard on Post Secrets that is very true for me. Despite everything, I still love and respect my mother, even though we clash far too often.
There there are other women whom I admire, who are partially the reason why I get up in the morning and am proud to say that I’m a woman. They are part of the reason why I NEVER regretted being a woman. More importantly, they debunk the myth that women are merely fillers to men; they prove that not only can they stand equal to men, but that they are their own people, their own identity.
One of them is this courageous soul. I remember being outraged by the case when I was in college, and my joy that the woman, Amina, was acquitted. What I didn’t know was that she had been defended by another woman. In places where the Syariah court rules, it’s not very often that a woman is defended by another woman and she’s acquitted. But this perception also outlines another problem in Muslim-led, Syariah-based countries; that they are only allowed to defend themselves by men. This leads to most people accusing the Syariah court of gender bias, especially when it comes to cases that pits a woman’s word against a man. A man is considered to be superior to a woman, and she gets left by the roadside. Case in point? Hauwa Ibrahim, Nigeria’s first female lawyer who defended Amina successfully, still had to get a man to be her mouthpiece. Is there a problem speaking to women directly, judges?
There are many who say that this is because a man’s responsibility is greater than a woman’s, therefore it is only fitting that they should be given more responsibility. I don’t have an issue with that. If the laws of your religion say that, that’s fine with me. What I DO have a problem with is the interpretation and twisting of the law that does not allow recourse to the women. What I do have a problem with is the decision to take the law literally, rather than the spirit of it, which would enable more women to seek recourse in the Syariah courts rather than choosing to abandon Islam. What I have an issue with is the many times a woman gets sidelined because she’s not a Muslim. She gets sidelined because she’s a woman, although Muslim.
Is this unfair?
Is this in the Spirit of Islam, the so-called Great Belief? (bear in mind that I’m speaking from the perspective of a non-believer)
I may not believe in Islam per se (I have a distaste right now for most organised religions) but I believe it outlines the basic principles of living well in this day and age, no matter your religion. According to one translation of the infamous “Four men must testify to the rape,” I would like to ask a simple question:
Are we talking literally, four men have to be there to watch the girl being raped? Or is it that they are character witnesses who are there to defend the young woman?
I’m not bashing Islam, far from it. I just want a greater understanding of it. I live in this country too, remember?