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News Women's Rights and Sharia Law

  1. Apr 17, 2010 #1
    Would we agree that Shia law is a violation of women's rights and that we suppose women's rights?

    not sure if this should be here or in politics forum.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 18, 2010
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  3. Apr 17, 2010 #2

    lisab

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    Re: Women's Rights and Shia Law

    All I know about how Shiria law is applied, is what I see in the media. And that isn't so good, definitely not in line with how the West sees the role and rights of women. Actually it seems harsh to all humans regardless of gender.

    But I also know how the media distorts and exaggerates things. Western media doesn't give a good picture of how that kind of law affects the people who live under it, really.
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2010
  4. Apr 17, 2010 #3
    Re: Women's Rights and Shia Law

    Ah Shiria thanks.

    I know media companies serve the owners of media companies and so have their biases.

    In talking with Egyptian, male friends who are university educated and world travelers they still believe stoning (of women not men) for adultery to be reasonable.
     
  5. Apr 17, 2010 #4

    lisab

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    Re: Women's Rights and Shia Law

    Of course stoning for adultery seems, well, insane to me. But I know to be careful when dissecting a culture so different - even foreign - to mine. It's very difficult to see the world from such a different point of view.

    For example, I remember reading about a group of Westerners were trying to convince some villagers in rural Africa that female circumcisions should be stopped. Seems a reasonable request, doesn't it? Well the biggest resistance came from the village women! How on Earth these women, who went through it themselves, want to continue to subject their daughters to it...I just don't get it.

    I don't know that culture well enough to understand the women's motivations. Were they being honest? Or were they merely saying what they thought they were supposed to say, according to their culture?

    It gets sticky pretty fast.
     
  6. Apr 18, 2010 #5
    Re: Women's Rights and Shia Law

    I thought the same way about female circumcision, but then I had a colleague who talked to women who preferred it for aesthetic reasons. She also told me that it doesn't interfere with the ability to orgasm and increases sexual pleasure because women are less ashamed of their bodies and therefore more comfortable.

    She compared it to the practice of male circumcision. She said that if you asked most circumcized men, they would not want to be caught dead with their foreskin still attached. Granted there are more and less extreme variations of female circumcision, but her point was the the concern should be with hygiene, safety, and pain management in the surgery - not with alienating women who approve of or even favor the practice.

    Generally I think you have to reflect on how the media portrays Islam and Muslims and how your reaction to the portrayals are caused by subconscious assumption of your cultural programming. The wearing of head-scarves, for example, has been inflated as a highly visible symbol of female oppression, but I've read that women simply wear head-scarves as an accessory and see it as adding to their appearance.

    The logic that it is oppressive to have to cover your hair if you're female is very similar to the logic of having to cover your breasts on the beach. Some women are aware that bathing suit tops and bras are required due to a cultural assumption that men have the right to be protected from erotic stimulation. Most women probably don't think of it that way, though. They just think that it would make them feel uncomfortable to go topless or not wear a bra. This is the exact same logic as covering up your hair with a head scarf but it gets inflated because it has yet to be accepted by some people as just as normal as breast-coverings.
     
  7. Apr 18, 2010 #6
    Re: Women's Rights and Shia Law

    Some people probably think Tiger Woods and Jesse James should be stoned, and if they don't they certainly don't think universal public humiliation is too strong. When I read the Scarlet Letter, the teacher told us that it was a story of how oppressive puritan treatment of adulterous women was, by subjecting them to public ridicule and humiliation. The closest I've seen to any public humiliation for the women involved in these affairs is the GF of Jesse James who publicly apologized to Sandra Bullock and said he lied to her too, or something like that - I get mixed up with these sex scandals. Anyway, the point is that people find it easy to judge cultures that they see as foreign or different, but they aren't even aware of the cultural ramifications of things that are happening right in front of their noses.
     
  8. Apr 18, 2010 #7
    Re: Women's Rights and Shia Law

    Are we talking about Sharia law? I don't think there is a Shia Islam law per-say.
     
  9. Apr 18, 2010 #8
    Re: Women's Rights and Shia Law

    Yes. I acknowledge my spelling mistake in post #3.
     
  10. Apr 18, 2010 #9
    Re: Women's Rights and Shia Law

    This circumcised male finds his genital mutilation completely unacceptable.

    On other threads there are plenty of men saying we must fight around the world to force human rights as seen by us on them. It is interesting that none of those folks have joined us here on this thread.
     
  11. Apr 18, 2010 #10
    Re: Women's Rights and Shia Law

    Personally, I'm not a fan of unnecessary cosmetic surgeries, but I have a hard time saying that other people shouldn't elect for them. When it comes to minors, though, there is a good argument that they shouldn't be subjected to them until they are mature enough to issue informed consent. The problem is that tradition is violently defended by people, especially when it comes to their right to subject children to various forms of violence, for some reason.
     
  12. Apr 18, 2010 #11

    russ_watters

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    Re: Women's Rights and Shia Law

    Well I'll weigh in as one of those guys....but I don't find anything particularly useful about this thread. It doesn't seem to have much of a point to me.....until this issue...
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2010
  13. Apr 18, 2010 #12

    russ_watters

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    Re: Women's Rights and Shia Law

    I find it very hard to believe that it could really enhance pleasure as it almost always involves removal of the clitoris: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Female...res:_World_Health_Organization_categorization

    If being ashamed is an issue, then it points to the issue some women preferring it, that makes the issue mostly about cutural pressure, not about physiology. And in any case, that women would have such things to say is a little odd, because women are bound by the culture not enjoy sex - and that's really the purpose of the mutilation! But that's basically would you would expect from people who are brainwashed by an extremist religion/culture. Thus, what is more imporant is the opinion of doctors: there is a reason it is prohibited by the UN and WHO.
    Since there are a lot more men of each than there are women who are "circumcised", and there is much less cultural pressure about the issue, there is a lot more legitimate info to be had on both sides. And as with the above, the opinion of doctors is most important:
    Anyway, the comparison with male circumcision is a little silly because the motive for doing it makes the difference clear: male circumcision is done for reasons of cleanliness. Female "circumcision" is done [mostly] as a means/demonstration of subjugating women.....

    ....and the term is fallacious anyway, as the procedures are not analagous. To make them equivalent, men would have to have the whole head of their penis cut off.
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2010
  14. Apr 18, 2010 #13
    Re: Women's Rights and Shia Law

    I have read that intact men experience immensely more penile sensation, but I think many circumcised men would consider that more of a liability for premature ejaculation than a reason to lament their circumcision. Plus I wonder why the UN and WHO don't prohibit male circumcision.
     
  15. Apr 18, 2010 #14
    As an American woman I was very interested in this topic so did some research. I'm 100% for advancing the rights of women and girls from around the globe. The document was very informative. Here is a small section taken from January 29, 2010 -Advancing the Rights of Women and Girls: Keys to a Better Future for Afghanistan . It discusses the Shia Personal Status Law.


    I absolutely agree with the following whether it be here in the U.S. or abroad. I don't care what nationality a person may be or race.

     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 25, 2017
  16. Apr 18, 2010 #15

    russ_watters

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    Re: Women's Rights and Shia Law

    Where did you read that? That's not what the consensus is. I posted a quote saying that the cost/benefit of the issue isn't clear-cut and the wiki contains references to many studies that say there is no clear evidence either way.
    Exactly for the reasons I stated above and in my previous post: Male circumcision is at worst an iffy cost-benefit scenario. That's not something that should be banned, much less worthy of significant effort in eradicating. Female genetal mutiliation, on the other hand, is generally agreed to be a bad thing.
     
  17. Apr 18, 2010 #16

    russ_watters

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    I consider the literacy issue to be a fairly obvious indicator of subjugation.
     
  18. Apr 18, 2010 #17
    Re: Women's Rights and Shia Law

    I guess since babies cry at everything, crying during circumcision wouldn't count as testimony.

    I've read the argument that foreskin traps pathogens and therefore can put men at higher risk of infection, but I presume that would be the same for labias. If you say that male circumcision isn't a problem, would you also say it wasn't a problem for people to scar or brand the shaft of the penis or pierce the scrotums of babies or children in addition to or in place of circumcision?
     
  19. Apr 18, 2010 #18

    russ_watters

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    Re: Women's Rights and Shia Law

    I'm not sure what the point of that is - just because something is painful, that doesn't have much to do with whether it is good or bad. All surgeries hurt if there is no anesthetic.
    You're misstating the procedure for women. Removing the labia (which would be analagous to male circumcision) isn't what is typically done. Removing the clitoris is.
    I don't know what you are referring to.
     
  20. Apr 19, 2010 #19
    Re: Women's Rights and Shia Law

    I've read there are different variations of female circumcision, including clitorectomy but some that spare the clitoris and remove one or both labia or just the clitoral hood, which would be the equivalent of male circumcision, I believe, since the labia is more like the scrotum, I think. Clitorectomy seems atrocious when compared with castration of the penis, but transsexual surgery removes the penis and does not limit the ability to orgasm, I believe (I'm not completely sure though).

    What I was saying with the scarring/branding of the penile shaft or piercing of the scrotum is that these procedures would be similar in pain to circumcision of the foreskin, so would you defend parents' right to do that to their children too?

    Why isn't pain a reason to recognize something as bad? Cutting hair and fingernails isn't nicer than inflicting cuts and burns? My basis for legitimating hair and fingernail cutting is that it's not physically painful. Some people disagree with the identity effects of cutting hair, especially shaving heads.
     
  21. Apr 19, 2010 #20

    russ_watters

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    Re: Women's Rights and Shia Law

    Descriptions of and prevalence of each is listed in the wiki article I linked. I suggest reading it. What you describe does not appear to be a major fraction of them.
    I don't really know what to say about that. It's so far outside the bounds of what is normal I can't imagine why you think it would be useful in this conversation. And even if I thought it relevant, I wouldn't be willing to stipulate to your claim without evidence to support it.
    What I was saying is that I don't know what "scarring/branding.....or piercing" means.
    Because it isn't. The logic is too obvious to be possible to explain any simpler than I already have.
    You can't just pretend that painful things that are good don't exist. It's like the 9/11 conspiracy theorists who show pictures of the Pentagon lawn that don't have airplane parts visible as evidence that there was no airplane...ignoring the fact that there are plenty of pictures that do contain airplane parts. Painful procedures that are beneficial exist. You can't make them go away by refusing to acknowledge their existence!
    Whether hair and fingernail cutting involve pain has very little to do with why they are legitimate. Again, this is a red herring. You can't examine the concept of whether pain is ok unless you look at legitimate procedures that are painful....and you can't do that if you won't even acknowledge the obviousness of their existence!

    So be clear here: do you consider an apendectomy a "legitimate" procedure? Do you recognize that it involves pain (even when anesthetic is used)?

    In any case, this whole line of argument has very little to do with the issue. Circumcision and female genital mutilation can be done with relatively little pain if people want to do it that way. Again, that doesn't have any bearing whatsoever on whether or not they can be considered legitimate. Whether they are legitimate is based only on the after-effects.
     
  22. Apr 20, 2010 #21
    Re: Women's Rights and Shia Law


    Here's something a lot of people in the west with that view don't get: We used to be like them. Granted we didn't have female genital mutilation, but untl the last century women had no rights at all, even 100 years ago most European countries were still ruled by absolute monarchies, and before industrialization all western countries used to be poor and feudal. The biggest difference between African, most Asian, and middle eastern cultures and our own is that they have not gone through these changes. That is why they can be thought of as backward, because they still hold onto attitudes about certain things (especially women's rights) that are decades, and in some cases centuries behind ours. We should not apologize for progress or for being (at least at this time) the leading civilization.


    EDIT: As for your point about the women resisting not having their genitals mutilated, keep in mind that people can be brainwashed into going along with something that is very harmful. North Korea today and China during Mao's time are classic examples of this.
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2010
  23. Apr 20, 2010 #22
    "Scarring/branding" are just two examples of painful cosmetic procedures that would be similar to circumcision. If you took a circumcised or intact baby boy and made incisions or burn the shaft of the penis to give it a certain "look," that would be very similar to circumcising it. The issue is whether it is legitimate to perform these kinds of painful procedures on a child's genitals or other body parts for aesthetic reason based on the cultural preferences of the parents or other adults. It is a question of cultural rights and whose prerogative it is to decide what to subject others to or not, for what reason, and when people/children should be protected from that.


    True, some painful procedures do have benefits that justify the costs. The question is how to reason what the benefits actually are and how to ethically weigh those against the costs.

    But not everyone recognizes that women's freedom has progressed as much as some people believe it has. Some people are claiming that women are still oppressed by the cultural expectation that they cover their breasts on public beaches, for example. Why would someone assume that women with bikini tops on at the beach are less oppressed that a women wearing a head scarf or full body/facial covering. The assumption may just be based on norms. The fact that one woman feels comfortable covering her breasts at the beach and another feels comfortable covering her hair, while yet another feels comfortable covering her whole body except her eyes, or even wearing a veil may suggest that each of those women feels equally oppressed and/or liberated in her clothing choices. Then, claiming that the woman wearing the bikini is more free than the one wearing a head scarf, when there are other women who are free to go topless is a false claim of liberation that has little more point than to praise one society/culture over another. Does it liberate women to be told that their society is less oppressive than another? I don't think so.
     
  24. Apr 20, 2010 #23
    Well then, this is an interesting discussion isn't it!
     
  25. Apr 21, 2010 #24
    Taking this one point at a time.


    That is most certainly not the case in Europe, where nude beaches are the norm, not the exception.

    Because the bikini women have a choice as to how much they choose to cover and expose. Compare this with 100 years ago when women were required to cover everything below the neck, even showing bare legs was considered "scandalous". In today's western country she has a choice, she can if we wants but she is under absolutly no obligation to do so according to anything but what she feels like. Isn't that freedom?

    In most islamic societies it isn't about comfort, it's mandatory and they are forced into into it either by the state (through sharia law) or by society (acid attacks anyone?). Also having to wear the veil does make a difference, more on that later.

    I don't recall making that claim anywhere. 100 years ago a wife was the LEGAL PROPERTY of her husband (at least in Canada), she had NO right to vote, after marriage she was REQUIRED to stay at home, violence against women was accepted, women were socially obligated NOT to go to university (although a few did), women are highly discouraged from entering into politics (that being a "man's job" and all), and I'm sure there are plenty more examples that prove quite conclusively that a great deal of progress has been made. While I'm not saying progress has been enough, it is certainly far above and beyond anything that has been done in the Islamic world. Why shouldn't we praise our progress?

    As for the veil, being forced to coverup does made a difference. I'm going to quote something written by a professor in a pakistani university:

    The rest of the article can be found http://ptonline.aip.org/journals/doc/PHTOAD-ft/vol_60/iss_8/49_1.shtml [Broken] if anyone is interested, the important part was bolded by me for emphasis.

    So, with the above quote in mind, how is being forced to cover up somehow not a tool of oppression?

    It helps. So do you think we shouldn't let them know they dont have to be satisfied with being second class citizens?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  26. Apr 21, 2010 #25
    You could say this, but is it really oppressive to cover up? Are men oppressed by having to cover up their pelvic regions in public? Are people oppressed by not being able to go to work in underwear?

    You don't think there are women who would prefer to cover up more but they are afraid to be seen as prudish if they do? You don't think there are women who flaunt their bodies for no other reason than to appeal to male-voyeurism?

    I always question the translation of divine revelation into worldly law, but that is because I question the relationship between God's will and human-application of it. This may be a derivative of Christian culture, with its emphasis on forgiveness, but I believe it also comes from the freedom to sin granted to Adam and Eve to pick the forbidden fruit. I thought the Adam and Eve story was common to Judaism, Christianity, and Islam so I don't know why the same model of freedom to sin and reap the consequences isn't being practiced by all muslims, not that it is by all Christians or Jews either.

    Sometimes I make sense of worldly religious authority in terms of the temptation to usurp God's power. If that is the case, and people trying to punish each other instead of allowing God to do it is the sin of Lucifer falling from grace through self-pride and competitiveness with God, then any force exercised by religious authority would be a satanic act. On the other hand, it also seems clear from scripture that humans are supposed to imitate God insofar as they are created in "His" image. So in that case it is a question of faithfully interpreting God's will for application in human actions.

    One thing I think secular, anti-religion people fail to understand is that it is not possible to evoke changes in religion by criticizing it from a secular point of view. Anyone with true faith is only going to see attempts to discredit their religion as temptation to stray from a holy path. Yes, there are some people that may have so little faith that you can win them over to secularism by exploiting their doubts, but others will only be strengthened in their resolve to resist temptation.

    You basically have two choices if you're critical of certain religious practices: 1) understand the basis for them and try to reform them through appeal to holy scripture and holy spirit or 2) abandon people to destroy themselves in worship of false idolatry and dogma. The third option would be to win them over to secularism through doubt, but like I said, this strategy is just as likely to strengthen people's faith who see it as evil rising up to tempt them away from their holy path.

    It depends on whether you see praise as having liberating or repressive effect. Praising progress can stimulate hope for continuing progress, which may be liberating. It could also generate hegemonic social forces where conformity, adherence, dogma, etc. are emphasized over continuing criticism and reform. People who think they are liberated sometimes fall into the peculiar conservatism that they've achieved the paradise so now they'll devote their energy to protecting it and resisting change.

    That's interesting. I wonder why they become child-like. I wonder if it is a direct effect of the veil, or just a by-product of a strong desire to submit to authority, which motivates them to wear the veil AND act in other submissive ways. For some reason, people who are abused or even those who aren't abused, develop a desire to submit to authority to gain rewards and power. One thing I like about religion is that it transforms the will to submit into submission to a supernatural authority that is not of the world, so that people can only discover it within themselves. That way, submission is taken from being temptation for someone else to enslave you to being a vehicle for liberation from worldly authority. Of course, leading the horse to water requires responding to the seeker's will to submission.

    Basically, it's about taking someone who wants to submit to authority and telling them the highest authority they can submit to is God. Then they want to know what God is and how to submit, which is of course an attempt once again to submit to human/worldly authority in the pursuit of God. People only become truly liberated once they overcome the drive to submit to worldly/human authority, no? This must also be true for secular liberationism, I believe.

    Only to the extent that it frees women from submitting to approval and rewards of the male sexual gaze.

    Ask any woman you know who feels like first class citizen and ask them if they feel better about themselves when they are dressed professionally and tastefully or when they dress up like they're going to a dance club. I would bet that everyone you ask says that they feel more powerful when they are dressed professionally - even though they probably have more seductive power dressed up to go to the club. Maybe the question you should be asking is why women don't embrace their sexual power of seduction? Could they at some level be uncomfortable with encouraging men to become driven by sexual desire? Could women actually gain some feeling of liberation by liberating men from sexual desire?
     
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