Sexism in Pakistan


Pakistan follows the rules of a peaceful god to violent ends. According to the most basic teachings of the Islamic faith, a deed is defined as haram if it harms mind, body, soul or society, and is strictly prohibited. Honor killings due to sexism literally exemplify everything an action has to be in order to be considered haram, and in Pakistan they are commonplace.

To avoid haram behavior, Muslims must restrain from altering their brain state, so abstaining from drugs and alcohol is mandatory. Muslims are not to oppress or abuse others – not anyone, man or woman. Unmarried men and women are supposed to act as brother and sister, and therefore, they must both practice modesty. Many casual observers do not realize men are just as much a subject to the rule as women.  The idea behind the practice of modesty is that lust corrupts otherwise logical minds, and that it leads to haram behavior such as premarital sex or other indecent acts. Muslims must respect their parents and their wishes, including seeking their parents’ approval in marriage, but they are not necessarily forced to adhere to an arranged marriage, as the final decision is reserved for the couple. Arranged marriages became prevalent because men and women were not allowed to date before marriage, so families would arrange meetings so members of the opposite sex could converse in a safe environment without chance for lust to corrupt the meeting. In predominantly Taliban-ruled Pakistan, not only has the concept of introducing men and women in a safe environment been corrupted, but also the idea that killing in the name of honor and sexism is permissible in Islam.

According to Islam, killing is the equivalent to a sin in Christianity, and is most definitely frowned upon, to say the least, yet somehow, it has become commonplace in the region. The efforts by Muslims to spread their message of Islam, which is expected of them, often becomes haram in nature when ideals are spread using threats and violence. In other words, the Taliban and other large Muslim groups are violating their own rules. The Taliban, quite blatantly, are murdering anyone with different viewpoints, and are now even cultivating poppy plants and helping to spread heroin in the region due to the increase in demand, but according to the law of Islam, it is illegal to even be at a table where wine is being served. Unfortunately, they are not the only people violating the rules of the religion. Many of the predominantly Muslim countries have begun an almost systematic campaign against women’s rights.

Under authentic Islamic law, women have the right to participate in every activity that men do in so long as they abide by the rules of modesty, as men must also do. Women are allowed to get an education, have jobs and inherit belongings from their family. Muslim women have always been allowed to own property, even when most other cultures had considered it illegal. Women’s rights extended into marriage, as well. Upon entering the marriage, the woman has the right to keep her own last name and she has the right to not only keep her money, but also do with it as she pleases, while the man provides for wife and children.

The problem is that male-dominated societies have violated the rights of women for generations, and many have even gone so far as to create mutations of laws, allowing men to oppress their female counterparts further. Sadly, Islam is not the only religion that is misogynistic in nature. In both Christianity and Judaism, women are below men by definition, as they are guilty of the original sin of eating the forbidden apple. Islam originally disagreed with that assertion, and gave women equal rights. It was not until the rise of the Ottoman empire, when Turkish rulers were enticing Islamic Arabic men into subservience by promising total power over women, that women’s rights started to decline. Women began being treated like cattle or property, being used as a bargaining chip in marriages and proceedings of honor, and readily tossed aside if they outlived their value. Fathers, sons, brothers and husbands everywhere are killing and stoning women with not even a thought of facing repercussion for the murders, for there is honor in what they do. The true consequence is on the psyche of women everywhere, as they watch their sisters being treated like second-class citizens, beaten and killed with no remorse in the name of a religion that actually condemns their actions. Stories are pouring in from all manner of Islamic cultures about honor killings for various reasons, most of them starting with a lie in the name of Allah (most definitely not allowed) to bait women and couples into a situation where they can be murdered.

Within the past 30 days, three different stories have hit American news streams which describe honor killings. The most recent surfaced last week after a couple married for love. They were lured into a home after the girl’s parents swore on the Quran that they would go unharmed. The assault that followed ended in the couple being tied up and having their throats slit. A few days before, a story with a just ending was unearthed, as a woman who fled her arranged marriage to her cousin testified in a New York courthouse against her father. She was in tears as the court played his threats to kill her, the man she loved and the man’s entire family, but she gathered resolve before professing her love to the man she hoped to marry. Her family, who was present in the court room, sat staring in disgust as the girl did what she had to to escape her father’s wrath. The third surfaced just over a month ago, and involved a man who was mourning the loss of his wife, who had been killed in an honor killing, admitting that he had murdered his first wife to be with his true love, the second, who had just been murdered by his family. The staggering aspect of it all is that most of these killings go unreported, and the ones that do usually involve the family formally pardoning the murderer and allowing him to go free. In Pakistan alone, there have been nearly 1000 honor killings. Most go unpunished, allowing sexist killers to litter the streets. Is that honorable?

Opinion By Eddie Mejia


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