The Nigerian kidnapping of 234 girls and the subsequent murder of hundreds of people by the group Boko Haram is actually just another ho-hum day at the office for Islamic militants. While this particular situation has captured the attention of the international press in a big way, until the underlying cause of such barbaric actions is addressed, there is no hope for real change to ever occur. Boko Haram has been kidnapping women and girls for many years, and they justify their actions in the name of God. This latest action is completely justified by the Quran, and until that reality is faced, these types of kidnappings will go on.
The actions of Boko Haram in kidnapping the girls have been widely denounced by Islamic groups and Muslim scholars as well as world leaders; and there has been an enormous outcry in the United States. Heck, they’ve even made a Twitter hashtag: #bringbackourgirls. That’s when everyone knows it’s serious. However, this ongoing slacktivism and the lack of attention to the real issue—the denigration of women by religious texts—are going to do nothing to help return the girls to their rightful homes. Muslim extremists really don’t care what Twitter hashtags say, and will go about their business regardless of what anyone else thinks because they believe they are serving Allah and the Quran tells them in very clear language that women are inferior to men, and should be beaten and raped upon the man’s whim. While the Muslim scholars say that Boko Haram is “twisting” the Quran, they ignore the fact that the Quran’s words are impossible to misinterpret.
There is an underlying problem with the idea of women being inferior to men inherent in most religions that creates a dangerous situation when those concepts are drilled into the minds of young men; and the Quran is particularly violent. One of passages that justifies the actions of Boko Haram in the Nigerian kidnapping is as follows:
Men have authority over women because God has made the one superior to the other, and because they spend their wealth to maintain them. Good women are obedient…As for those from whom you fear disobedience, admonish them and forsake them in beds apart, and beat them. Quran 4:34
It really can’t get much clearer than that, can it? According to the Quran, women are inferior and must be obedient. If they are not obedient, then they should be beaten.
The other passage which is widely cited is:
Your women are a tilth for you (to cultivate) so go to your tilth as ye will. Quran 2:223
In this passage, it is clear to see that women are objects and that men may have sex with women anytime the men wish to do so. Until these passages and similar passages in the Quran are addressed, and the discussion is opened up regarding the role religions around the world play in oppressing women, no solution will ever come to pass. The Nigerian kidnapping is completely justified by the Quran no matter what moderate Muslims say. Islamic militants may be written off as extremists, yet all they are doing is simply following what it states in the Quran and what is said to be the word of God. Since the Quran states that men may have sex with women anytime the men wish, women are reduced to objects. This sets up an environment where women have no rights and thus kidnapping them to be used as sex slaves becomes part of carrying out God’s word. Similarly, the Bible justifies many actions which are illegal in the U.S., so those who commit such actions in the name of the Bible and God are actually just following what they have been taught by a book that is held up as the ultimate authority for many Christians.
Having a religious text that advocates the idea that men are superior to women is the sole component that was the catalyst for this kidnapping, and not the organic inclinations of the men doing the kidnapping. However, in our overly politically correct culture, pointing out the actual verses in the Quran that justify these kidnappings is very unpopular. Boko Haram is far from being some isolated, fringe group. There are many millions of people around the world who follow Sharia law–law that denigrates women and girls by stating that they are inferior to men. The two passages mentioned above are just a couple of examples from a book chock full of misogyny. For example, there are many passages that state women are unclean, especially when they are menstruating. Women under Sharia law are viewed as little more than animals.
The rights of women and girls will never matter as long as the Quran is being taught to be taken literally. Similarly, the Bible also contains a lot of anti-woman language and it is part of the reason why U.S. culture is still stepped in sexism even after thousands of years, the women’s rights movement and the appointment of a female Secretary of State.
The Nigerian kidnapping is completely justified by the Quran, which states clearly that men are superior to women, that men may have sex with women any time the men want to, and that women should, indeed, be beaten if they are not obedient or refuse to comply with a man’s demands. These passages don’t need to be “interpreted” because the language is exceedingly clear. Perhaps if one day people stopped being so afraid to talk about the real issue, women around the world would be much better off.
Opinion by: Rebecca Savastio