As is now well-known to many non-Muslims, women in Pakistan are often, or nearly always, actually charged for being raped. (I shall get onto this later.) This is a quite incredible phenomenon. However, it has its roots in Islamic history and, more importantly, in the Koran and the hadiths.
Why do Pakistani Muslim men so often assume the guilt of the woman when it comes to rape? Perhaps it is because Mohammed and his followers have always believed women to be ‘dirty whores at heart’. Take the words of Shaykh Nefzawi:
‘Do you know that women’s religion is in their vaginas? They are insatiable as far as their vulvas are concerned, and so long as their lust is satisfied they do not care whether it is a buffoon, a negro, a valet, or even a despised man. It is Satan who makes the juices flow from their vaginas.’ (1)
(Yes, it does sound like the words of a serial-killer psycho in some Hollywood horror film.)
It may seem unfair to single out a Muslim writer as an example of Islamic attitudes to women in general. So what about Mohammed himself in this respect? Take just one example, sura 4:3 in the Koran. This permits men to have an unlimited number of women.
Marriage itself in the Muslim world of Muhammad, and after, was seen very differently than it is in the West. Put it this way. The Arabic word for ‘marriage’ is nikah, which is also the word for coition. In contemporary French slang niquer means ‘to fuck’. So there isn’t much love in many Islamic marriages, it seems.
None of this is a surprise, however. Mohammed’s wife Aisha (whom he married when she was nine-years-old) once said to the Prophet:
‘Allah comes to your aid rather conveniently when it is a question of your desires.’
And of course the Prophet himself had nine wives. He was very much a Real Man, according to al-Ghazali. He said that the Prophet could ‘perform his conjugal duties to all his nine wives in one morning’ (2). Well, that was very considerate of him.
Muhammad also said:
‘Your women are as a field – go unto them as you will.’ (Koran, sura 2.223)
Proving Rape in Pakistan
‘If any of your women are guilty of lewdness, take the evidence of four (reliable) witnesses from amongst you against them; and if they testify, confine them to houses until death do claim them, or Allah ordain for them some (other) way.’- Koran
The problem for a Pakistani woman who has been raped is that she requires four Muslim adult males of ‘good repute’ to testify in order for her to prove that the rape has actually occurred. Now, because men are often unwilling to speak out against other males when it comes to rape (in Pakistan especially), and the added possibility that they may know or be friends with the rapist, this makes it almost impossible for the woman to find such male testifiers. This goes alongside the extreme unlikelihood that four men would have witnessed the rape in the first place.
Because the raped woman is highly unlikely to have four males who can testify for her that the rape has occurred, the result is that she herself may well be charged for ‘illicit sexual intercourse’. The rapist will then go free.
It is hard to accept that all of this also applies to young girls. Take the case of one such Pakistani girl who was kidnapped and raped by a ‘family friend’. The father brought a case against the rapist. What happened? The girl was put in prison and charged with zina – ‘illegal sexual intercourse’. The father seems, at first, to have been relatively enlightened by Pakistani standards because he blamed the rapist, not his daughter… but not quite. We have also to think about ‘family honour’. Thus although the girl was freed (by bribery), her father and family still severely beat her. That is Islamic justice. That is also sharia law.
Take the next case of Safia Bibi, a sixteen-year-old domestic. She was raped by her landlord and his son. Like the earlier case, the father brought a case against the landlord and his son. Again like the earlier case, they were acquitted and Safia’s pregnancy was proof of fornication. She was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment, fifteen lashes and a fine of a thousand rupees.
If men can officially and literally get away with rape in Islamic Pakistan, what do you think the consequence of this is? Yes, you’ve got it. More rapes. Not only more rapes, but many more rapes. So many that Pakistan has one of the highest rates of rape in the world. According to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan’s annual report, one woman is raped every three hours in Pakistan. One in two of these rapes are against juveniles.
Now of course rape exists in every country. But not every country has a religion, Islam, and a system, sharia law, which basically makes it legal to rape women.
This Islamic hatred of women can be found elsewhere in the ‘criminal justice system’ in Pakistan. In the 1990s, according to Women’s Action Forum, 72% of all women in police custody in Pakistan are physically and sexually abused. Not only that, 75% of all these women are in prison under charges of zina – ‘illegal sexual intercourse’.
To conclude. Many Pakistani women are effectively found guilty of being raped. They then go to prison where they are often raped again. (Are they found guilty of being raped in prison as well?) (3)
After President Zia’s ‘Islamisation programme’ in the 1990s, the number of attacks on women increased (as happened in the case of the ‘Islamisation of Afghanistan’ by the Taliban). After the passage of the Sharia Bill in 1991, things got even worse.
All this shows a direct connection between sharia law, or Islam itself, and violence against women. As one woman put it:
‘The sharia bill is a means to control women and marginalise them instead of bringing in just order. It is a law that facilitates aggression against women but ignores the corruption in the country and it disregards violence against women.’ (4)
More Stats on Pakistani Women
In the 1990s Pakistan was one of only four countries where female life expectancy was lower than male life expectancy. It was 51 for females and 52 for males. Is this to do with Pakistan’s poverty? Not entirely. (Perhaps not at all.) In the same period the average life expectancy for all poor countries was 61 for women. That is ten more years than for Pakistani women.
On average, Pakistani women have 6.9 children. Pakistan is amongst the world’s bottom ten countries for female attendance at primary school (though higher than the Taliban’s Afghanistan). The literacy rate in rural areas is as low as 2%.
Has any of this got anything to do with Islam? Well, yes. It has a lot to do with Islam. (Though not everything to do with Islam.) For example, the Economist wrote this on March 5th, 1994:
‘Some of the blame for all this lies with the attempt of the late President Zia ul Haq to create an Islamic republic… Zia turned the clock back. A 1984 law of his, for instance, gives a woman’s legal evidence half the weight of a man’s.’
One may wonder, then, why the Muslim leader of Respect, Salma Yaqoob, says that ‘Islam gives women rights’. Not only that, ‘Islam gives women more rights than Christianity’. This must all depend on what rights Yaqoob is talking about, as well as on what she means by ‘rights’. For example, it is indeed true in Islam that the husband must financially ‘look after’ his wife. But doesn’t this just make wives subservient to - and dependent upon – their husbands?
In Pakistan it is uncommon for a family to mourn the birth of a female child. This may not seem surprising if we are aware of the situation for women in Pakistan. Who would like to give birth to a child who may in adulthood be convicted for being raped? Or who will probably die before she is 51? Or who may be banned from leaving the home? Or may be beaten up for wearing makeup or trousers?
It follows from all this that hundreds of baby girls are abandoned every year on the streets of Pakistan. It has even been estimated that in Karachi alone that more than five hundred children are abandoned each year, 99% of these children are, of course, female.
And Mohammed Said: Women, Stay at Home!
‘The woman is 'awrah [an ‘external genital’] when she goes outside (the house), the devil welcomes her.’ – (Ihy'a 'Uloum ed-Din by Ghazali)
‘A woman is closest to God's face, if she is found in the core of her house. And the prayer of the woman in the house is better than her prayer in the mosque.’- (Ihy'a 'Uloum ed-Din, by Ghazali)
When Pakistani, Afghanistani and Saudi men, amongst many others, ban their wives and daughters from leaving the home, most of us in the West are disgusted by this. (A lot of Western feminists, however, are not disgusted by this. They are only disgusted if whites or Westerners do such things.) However, one wouldn’t automatically think that such an attitude towards Muslim women would result in infections to the bones because of a lack of sunlight. That is exactly what happened to two Pakistani sisters.
We can add another Islamic perversion to this. The case of Muslim girls being banned from going outside as well as being ‘wedded to the Koran’! Some Pakistani girls are given the title ‘the Brides of the Koran’. These girls are forced by the fathers or families to literally marry the Koran. This happens when there aren’t enough male cousins - male relations - to marry. Thus the only thing left to marry is the Koran. Do not doubt the literalism of these marriages. They come complete with bridal dresses, guests, food and festivities.
More terror follows. These girls then spend their entire lives in total seclusion. They cannot see a single male in their entire lives. They are not even allowed televisions. There are only two things which these girls are allowed to do. 1) Study the Koran. 2) Do ‘craft work’.
It is easy to guess what one result of this child abuse, or child torture, is. Many of these girls become mentally ill or deranged. But it is a ‘religious tradition’. Therefore it's OK. It's OK to let thousands of young girls suffer in this way because we cannot say any bad things about any religion or other cultures (except our own). But many of these girls would probably want us to speak for them. As one girl said:
‘I wish I had been born when the Arabs buried their daughters alive. Even that would have been better than this torture.’
(Oh yes! The pre-Islamic burying of daughters, which the Prophet stopped and many Muslims are so keen to tell us about. The fact is that it hardly happened amongst the ‘pagan Arabs’. It has just been a good little propaganda story which Muslims use to defend and sell their faith and which naïve non-Muslims unquestioningly buy.)
(1) Shaykh Nefzawi, The Glory of the Perfumed Garden, London, 1978, pp. 203/4
(2) G.H. Bousquet, L’Ethique sexuelle de l’Islam, Paris, 1966, p. 118
(3) Kurt Schork, ‘Pakistan’s Women in Despair’, in Guardian Weekly, Sep. 23, 1990