Top Pakistani religious body rules women’s protection law ‘un-Islamic’

Mar 8, 2016

Photo credit: Reuters/Fayaz Aziz

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A powerful Pakistani religious body that advises the government on the compatibility of laws with Islam on Thursday declared a new law that criminalizes violence against women to be “un-Islamic.”

The Women’s Protection Act, passed by Pakistan’s largest province of Punjab last week, gives unprecedented legal protection to women from domestic, psychological and sexual violence. It also calls for the creation of a toll-free abuse reporting hot line and the establishment of women’s shelters.

But since its passage in the Punjab assembly, many conservative clerics and religious leaders have denounced the new law as being in conflict with the Muslim holy book, the Koran, as well as Pakistan’s constitution.

“The whole law is wrong,” Muhammad Khan Sherani, the head of the Council of Islamic Ideology said at a news conference, citing verses from the Koran to point out that the law was “un-Islamic.”

The 54-year-old council is known for its controversial decisions. In the past it has ruled that DNA cannot be used as primary evidence in rape cases, and it supported a law that requires women alleging rape to get four male witnesses to testify in court before a case is heard.


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24 comments on “Top Pakistani religious body rules women’s protection law ‘un-Islamic’

  • A powerful Pakistani religious body that advises the government on the compatibility of laws with Islam

    What?!? ( the incongruity of that quote with reality is stunning )

    Until there is change there will be no change!



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  • A powerful Pakistani religious body that advises the government on the compatibility of laws with Islam on Thursday declared a new law that criminalizes violence against women to be “un-Islamic.”

    It IS un-Islamic and it is also GOOD!

    Men are in charge of women by [right of] what Allah has given one over the other and what they spend [for maintenance] from their wealth. So righteous women are devoutly obedient, guarding in [the husband’s] absence what Allah would have them guard. But those [wives] from whom you fear arrogance – [first] advise them; [then if they persist], forsake them in bed; and [finally], strike them. But if they obey you [once more], seek no means against them. Indeed, Allah is ever Exalted and Grand.

    The Koran
    Surah An-Nisa 4:34

    Allah is “Grand” alright. Humans need to make laws to protect women from the big ugly misogynist in the sky.



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  • Fazlur Rehman, the chief of one of Pakistan’s largest religious parties, the Jamiat-i-Ulema Islam, said the law was in conflict with both Islam and the constitution of Pakistan.

    “This law makes a man insecure,” he told journalists. “This law is an attempt to make Pakistan a Western colony again.”

    Western imperialists meddling again!



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  • A bunch of mysoginist b……ds at their worst. The more I hear from these ‘men’ with a serious inferiority complex the more I dislike them. Obviously so fearful of women.
    I don’t care for any threats of jihad from any of them. God is pathetic, not great. Do they really not see how truly sad and hopeless both they and their ‘god’ actually are?

    What is it that makes all the religiots so frightened of women? I just don’t get it. As far as I’m concerned I have enough to do as it is. My last concern ever is the gender of who is in charge. Just good on them if they can take the responsibility.



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  • The Muslim prophet’s mother died when he was very young and he was looked after by an uncle who was a merchant who also died. The prophet then went to live alone in a cave – as one does – and there, heard the voice of none other than god.

    I just wonder what he then projected onto his imagined almighty with regard to women; could he perhaps have been a tad misogynistic?

    His behaviour also suggests that he suffered epileptic fits which at the time were misinterpreted as being bouts of religious possession and or ecstasy.

    Of course, I can only speculate, but, if this is the case, we are now paying a very heavy price indeed for superstitious twaddle.



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  • Women in all these male dominated countries/ cultures should get out of those hell-holes. They should make their way to free countries and like men, stick together and let their Bastard husbands and the like go without sex and heirs.. Like men, they can use weapons to defend themselves in stead of being maltreated and put down.. It’s up to them to stop this shit happening to them..



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  • We hear of Islam being a religion of peace, we hear of tiny minorities and of the overwhelming majority, and of the True Islam, but the problem is that we see so much evidence of fanatical, violent cruelty, and little evidence of engagement in the dialogue by the alleged peaceful, rational, silent majority.



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  • 8
    NearlyNakedApe says:

    @anti-theist-preacher #6

    Women in all these male dominated countries/ cultures should get out of those hell-holes.

    It’s not that simple. Many if not most of them do not have the resources to leave and even if they did, they have children to care for and males relatives that are constantly watching over them. They face getting severely beaten or killed if they get caught trying to leave.

    In countries like Saudi Arabia for example, a woman cannot get a passport or purchase a plane ticket without her husband/father/brother’s permission. Any attempt to leave the country by themselves will lead to them getting detained by the airport authorities until their “male guardian” comes to retrieve them.

    Simply put, those women are prisoners in completely male-dominated societies. To say that it’s “up to them to stop this s**t happening to them” is a bit rich to say the least. Again, we Westerners tend to see things through the lens of our own societies based on secular law and protection of individual human rights but it’s a whole different picture in the “Dar-al-Islam”.

    However, I do think that it is Muslim reformist women who will, through public awareness, ultimately bring about progress for the rights of women who are being persecuted in these insane theocratic/authoritarian/corrupt regimes: Asra Nomani, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Raheel Raza to name but a few.



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  • There is a story in the hadith about a guy who uses his shoe to give a stray dog a drink. Allah is impressed and the guy goes to heaven with all sins forgiven. Surely a religion that protects stray dogs would frown on cruelty to women.



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  • There is a story in the hadith about a guy who uses his shoe to give a stray dog a drink. Allah is impressed and the guy goes to heaven with all sins forgiven. Surely a religion that protects stray dogs would frown on cruelty to women.

    Roedy, it’s the interpretation of the sacred texts by malcontents which is the problem; they toss them around like pancakes to suit their own motives, which are all too often ulterior.

    Does the story you cite remind you of another such tale which preceded it in another holy book?

    It’s common humanity to help others less fortunate than yourself, so the hypocracy lies in the fact that it’s religious sectarianism itself which more often than not prevents our innate propensities from being expressed or manifested; they are rendered taboo.



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  • @Stafford Gordon…
    “Interpretation of the SACRED texts” – Next you’ll be telling us it’s all truly the literal word of god!
    And what makes a book “holy” – except a hole-punch obviously…….



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  • @ Stafford,

    I hope Laurie is about to comment on this?…..

    My experience (in the muslim world) is that women perpetuate religion much much more than men. It used to make me feel a little sick to watch mothers MAKE their daughters dress in a certain way and then marry them off early, before they had a chance to tarnish the family name (in some cases). The men generally went about their business being men and sometimes looked as if they were being used as the nuclear deterrent as in “wait until your father gets home’. Some men carried out their job with pride. The pressure of religion, but mostly tradition, that would force people to behave in a certain way even if they didn’t want to. Parents trying to give their children some freedom soon reeled in by rules set out long ago although self inflicted. The village mentality that I see even in the UK most of them surrounding a church of some sort. I have no doubt that not being part of the church activities would leave me isolated in such a village.

    Recently I have come out more boldly with my atheism. Most knew I was but when you seem as if you are not active on a day to day basis they assume that you are actually sitting on the fence and will eventually succumb. Being more vocal has had the men resort to saying “I am sure there is something out there but religion….bah”, were as the women look at me with distrust.

    I am not saying, by any stretch of the imagination, that men are just innocent bystanders in this as some enjoy the feeling of power that they get and the security that they can go and spend all evening in a cafe, discussing shit they know little about, knowing that his ‘harem’ will be there when he returns. I am afraid this goes for all religions and religio-traditions.



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  • Olgun

    I agree with all of that. Women use religion to advertise their purity and goodness. But I would emphasize the oppressive system of family/tribal honor that locks everyone into a chain gang of rigid expectations. The men in that system must go out the door every day and know that the behavior of their women and girls reflects on them and their extremely important reputation. Not only their personal reputation but the reputation of the whole tribe. This reputation is so important that I can’t think of one aspect of life that isn’t dependent on it. So if one single female makes one single wrong sideways glance at an unrelated male then everyone in the whole family is adversely effected.

    When the family honor is compromised, no one wants to marry into your family. No one wants to do business deals, men will lose status in public with their coworkers, friends, neighbors relatives, etc. Their view is that it’s up to those men in the family to control their women! So if they did a bad job of that then the whole family deserves to pay for that bad shoddy management. It is in their own best interests to bully, coerce and control. If they don’t then disaster will land on them.

    Add on the mate guarding that is so ramped up in that culture because of the arranged marriage custom that is ongoing even now. Think of it..if you find yourself married to someone that you never met until your wedding night, how can you expect her to find you attractive and to get along with her personally at all? What are the odds that it will go well? So of course a guy would be worried that she will lock eyes on someone who she prefers or that she will find his cousin to be more suited to her personality. Wouldn’t you be worried every time she looks his way? Maybe the mailman is hunk. Maybe it’s the fish monger…

    With the honor thing and the whole mate guarding thing going on, I really feel like these women are in a deep dark prison and I despair to think how they will get out of it.



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  • Olgun #12
    Mar 10, 2016 at 8:02 am

    My experience (in the muslim world) is that women perpetuate religion much much more than men. It used to make me feel a little sick to watch mothers MAKE their daughters dress in a certain way and then marry them off early, before they had a chance to tarnish the family name (in some cases).

    Interestingly:-

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-35773208

    The wife of Turkey’s president has described the harem of the Ottoman era as an “educational establishment that prepared women for life,” reports say.

    Emine Erdogan was speaking at an official event on Ottoman sultans in Ankara, say Turkish TV stations.

    Her comments came a day after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said a woman was “above all a mother” in a speech to mark International Women’s Day.

    Family members, servants and concubines all lived in the imperial harem.

    The sultans who ruled the Ottoman empire had a harem at Istanbul’s Topkapi Palace, which has been a museum since 1924.

    The sultan spent his domestic life in the harem, where his wives lived, as well as female family members and concubines, who numbered into the hundreds.

    Male staff were eunuchs.

    Mrs Erdogan said the harem was a school for members of the Ottoman dynasty.

    Traces left by harem women in the empire’s six centuries of history could be “an inspiration”, she said, according to Turkish media.

    Who was fighting “Islamic State” – again????



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  • It’s no surprise that Erdogan sees himself as a modern-day Ottoman Sultan – and of course – previous Turkish sultans were also designated caliphs of the Muslim world. It seems that he has a hankering to do this again:

    http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/radical-islamist-hizb-ut-tahrir-calls-for-caliphate-in-grand-meeting-in-ankara.aspx?PageID=238&NID=96179&NewsCatID=341

    Never mind ISIS trying to achieve this – the leader of a modern country who displays backward looking religious zealotry can do it for them!



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  • M27Holts:

    You’re pulling my leg!

    I used the words because I couldn’t be bothered to think of synonyms, which in their very nature amount to the same thing anyway.

    How about sacharine for sacred, and hollow for holy?

    Olgun:

    Hello; I hope all’s well with you.

    I bow to your superior knowledge sir; I always benefit from your insights.

    Aprospos of not very much at all really, I and a couple of acquaintances I’d met while travelling through Morocco were the only guests in an hotel in the Haute Atlas, having been snowed in, and so the Chef de Cuisine invited us to his house for the Feast of Abraham.

    One of our number was a six foot tall, blond, female Latvian Dental surgeon, who smoked cheroots. There she sat, towering over us, while we waited for the food to arrive.

    Although we never actually set eyes on them, we could hear the women chatting in the kitchen, and the pans being moved around as they prepared the dishes for us.

    The meal consisted of a delicious first course of lamb, followed by a second tasty course of lamb cooked differently, finished off by a third lovely course of lamb; after which we were served sweet meats.

    Our hosts were most welcoming and gracious, but I’m afraid I ended up with terrible indigestion, but it was a very pleasant evening.

    I’ve often wondered what the Moroccon men thought of “the tall one”; perhaps you have some idea!

    I knew little or nothing about Islam at the time, and just enjoyed the culture shock, which was what I’d travelled there to experience. But as it happened, the first wife of the Latvian’s husband, Diane Tamas, had made a film entitled ‘Women in Islam’; but that was way back in the seventies, and such peices of work are now pretty thick on the ground.

    Another fascinating thing happened, when the driver of the Land Rover we were travelling in, suddenly stopped and got out of the vehicle; I thought he was going to relieve himself, but of course, he knelt and prayed.

    Anyway, I thought you might be interested in hearing my little story.



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  • @ Laurie

    Frustrating system to get out of. Still can’t over women oppressing themselves and then their daughters but a lot has to change in order to break the loop. We left Cyprus when I was five and try as I might, I can’t believe I would have grown up in a closed minded little island mentality and not think the things I do. Going to school and singing xtian prayers and then going home to a (relaxed) muslim home showed me how ridiculous the whole thing was from a young age I suppose.



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  • @ Erol

    Never mind ISIS trying to achieve this – the leader of a modern
    country who displays backward looking religious zealotry can do it for
    them!

    Gulen being a rival with the Russians backing someone (anyone) from Iraq probably….;-)



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  • @ Stafford

    I am well thank you. Hope you are too.

    I of course can never be sure what they thought of her but people are able to lead dual lives and seem to be able to accept opposing views in themselves if the circumstance allows. In Turkey, Turks are supposed to hate Kurds and Armenians but the biggest music stars are Kurdish and Armenian, with Turks of course. They are supposed to hate gay people, and its against the law, but their biggest movie/singing stars are just that (for now anyway)….

    These people don’t need religion to confuse them even further.



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  • These people don’t need religion to confuse them even further.

    Ha ha ha! Your right there Olgun.

    Cognitive dissonance manifesting itself in spades, in an attempt to make sense of “the other”, or out group. It’s a natural trait in us, but, unfortunately, there are those who would take advantage of that tendency.



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  • 23
    Cairsley says:

    A powerful Pakistani religious body that advises the government on the compatibility of laws with Islam on Thursday declared a new law that criminalizes violence against women to be “un-Islamic.”

    Evidently this Pakistani religious body does not regard half of the population of Pakistan as citizens or even as human. There is clearly something wrong when a religious authority denies people their basic human rights. Protection against violence is surely one such right.



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  • It is the concept of another life that is the most troublesome. The belief that one would return to live again not on this planet but on another imaginary space where god’s favorite will drink milk and have sex with whomever and angels who are god’s slaves do all the work so no more raking leaves, isn’t limited to the Islamic faith. We need to figure out a way to go after this mad belief because it has caused suffering and gets away with cruelty.
    It is peculiar to see a country like a Pakistan which is virtually the United States wing so-to-speak has not been helpful to its society. In deed the military of Pakistan takes complete advantage of the backward religion which is a multi billion dollar operation to virtually scare the heck out of the public, most if not all of the religious propaganda such as ads on TV for instance one of which claimed that Aids is caused by friendship between a man and a woman; or a project harassment for instance, discriminating hindus or burning temples of anyone who is not a cutting edge Muslims like the Saudis and all of this funky business is funded by Saudi Arabia.

    President Obama visited a mosque here in the US where he told members/subscribers/spectators that they were “both Muslims and Americans.” Is that possible in the U.S? Having earned a law degree from an Ivy league one would have to ask him is that what the school taught him; where did he learn this rule; He was not promoting the law of this country that we can be sure of; was he self promoting as the cool guy for whom every one can be as bi polar as he; but what about the principles of the declaration of Independence and its tune? What kind of business is that? Did any one in America call him out to ask him? No so shame on us because that is how change is offered; it is without the American tune.

    If we in the West are honest people and we mean what we say that we don’t like what we see in this day and age knowing the negative effects of these maniacal beliefs on the psyche, the long term effects; we would take active steps ceasing every opportunity wherever it may show up to call out this bad business.

    Call out the US about its deep alliances with bed sheet nations that go all the way into the bedroom; question our posture and demand the proper form meant to vest upon we the People of the US; find out, if curious, the reason for our failure to influence positively; What do we do when we are out there? Do we talk like President Obama while we are out in the desert? Do we say, “oh how colorful your culture! Keep hiding women; continue stoning men and women, why not hold children hostage and burn atheistic temples….keep up the god’s work and hope $xxx billion is sufficient to cover god led operations.” you bet cha that is exactly the rhetoric. And it has such sobering effect on the nationals that they too even after being educated in the West return to their deserts dry. May be then we are a leaky vessel. May be it is time to evaluate ourselves vis a vis our deep and rich American roots.



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