Author: cjamesyee

Yvonne Ridley: From captive to convert. BBC News Online [Copy link] 中文

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The first Afghan Minister of Women's Affairs to work after the fall of the Taliban, Dr. Sima Samar, did not even have her own office, Yvonne realized when she met her in March 2002. "In the end she was hounded out of office," she says.

"Being a woman in Afghanistan is a tough life," Yvonne concludes. "But it has been for centuries -- it has to do with customs and traditions."

Not even Afghan President Hamid Karzai has given up these traditions.

"Karzai is very much promoted as a man of America, as a U.S. puppet," says Yvonne, who now presents the political program 'The Agenda' on the Iranian Press TV channel. "But has anybody met Karzai's wife? Does anybody know her name? Is anybody even allowed to ask for her name?" she wonders.

"On one hand, he says he is promoting Western values, but, on the other hand, he is Pashto through and through. I don't see him doing anything to promote women. I wouldn't go as far as to say that the Taliban regime was great for women. But certainly their lives have not improved."

Even if women are often subjugated in Muslim societies, Yvonne is convinced that Islam stands far from these traditions, which is why she, a feminist, has joined this faith.

As her spiritual journey progressed, Yvonne gradually began adopting Islamic practices and cutting out un-Islamic customs like alcohol and cigarettes. "I had a battle with cigarettes which I finally won -- at last," she jokes.

Yvonne also started wearing the veil, finding it "liberating not to be judged by the size of her legs."

But then it was her own society that she felt oppressed. "I've always been outspoken," she says, referring, for instance, to her critical views against the way detainees in the war on terror are held captive without charge, and often tortured. "I have been a trade unionist all my live; I've been passionate against the war; I've spoken on anti-war platforms, on Muslim and non-Muslim events. But as soon as I put on a hijab (Muslim veil), I was called an extremist for my views."

Yvonne finds that interesting. "You can't win," she fiercely says. "You're criticized one minute for being silent, subjugated, oppressed and not saying anything. And when you do say something, they say: 'Oh, she's an extremist.'"

Yvonne's veil has nothing to do with extremism. Although, before her conversion, she recalls looking at veiled women as "silent, oppressed creatures," she now wears it as a means to show her Muslim identity, and to be respected as a Muslim who does not want to be offered a glass of wine. Yvonne knows what she defends -- Islam purely and simply.

The grades used -- largely by Western media -- to measure the levels of Islam such as "moderate Muslim" and "Islamist," are nonsense in her eyes. "What is a moderate and what is an extremist? I really don't know," she says. "I am a simple Muslim. I follow no scholars or sects. I merely follow The Prophet and the Sunnah (Prophet Muhammad's tradition). Does that make me an extremist?

"I once said being a Muslim is a bit like being pregnant. You are or you are not. Whoever heard of anyone being moderately or extremely pregnant?"

Yvonne strongly opposes media distortions and manipulations about Islam. She once declined an offer by a Hollywood producer who, after having read her book, "In the hands of the Taliban," expressed an interest in making a film, but had misinterpreted the Taliban as "dirty, filthy, stinking Arabs."

Fearing the story would be "demonizing an entire section of the Muslim community," she answered to the producer: "First of all, the Taliban are not dirty, filthy, stinking Arabs as you call them; they're largely from Afghanistan and Pakistan. Furthermore, they were all very handsome young men."

One wonders if it were their turbans that she got inspired by in designing her veil's style.

* Published in the MIDDLE EAST TIMES on Jan. 16, 2008. Asma Hanif is a post-graduate student at the London School of Journalism.

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Post time 2011-1-20 23:08:55 |Display all floors
<really frustrated with the filter this morning>

Pat Robertson also said Haiti was cursed by a 'pact with the devil'.  The dude is a religious extremists.  He would get along fine in the ME.
Most americans see him as a complete joke and embarrassment.

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Post time 2011-1-20 23:27:52 |Display all floors
Let us see what the Quran says about women. It says: men have a degree (of advantage) over them: 2:228 ; that the witness of woman is worth half of that of man 2:282; that women inherit half of their male siblings, 4:11-12; that a man can marry two or three or four women 4:3; that if a women becomes captive in a war, her Muslim master is allowed to rape her 33:50; that if a woman is not totally submissive to her husband she will enter Hell 66:10;   that women are tilth for their husbands (to cultivate them)  2:223; that men are in charge of women, as if women were imbeciles or minors who could not take care of themselves; that they must be obedient to their husbands or be admonished (verbally abused), banished from the bed (psychologically abused) and beaten (physically abused) 4:34.

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Post time 2011-1-20 23:28:34 |Display all floors
In fact, according to Muhammad few women ever make it to Paradise . The majority of them end up in Hell. Let us see what the Prophet says in this regards. This is where he describes his hallucinatory visit to hell and paradise:  

"Then I saw the (Hell) Fire, and I have never before, seen such a horrible sight as that, and I saw that the majority of its dwellers were women." The people asked, "O Allah's Apostle! What is the reason for that?" He replied, "Because of their ungratefulness." It was said. "Do they disbelieve in Allah (are they ungrateful to Allah)?" He replied, "They are not thankful to their husbands and are ungrateful for the favors done to them. Even if you do good to one of them all your life, when she seems some harshness from you, she will say, "I have never seen any good from you.' " Bukhari 7.62.125...

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Post time 2011-1-20 23:30:08 |Display all floors
More Islamic commands in regard to women are listed below.

It is forbidden for a woman to be seen by any man except her husband when she is made up or well-dressed. (Tirmzi P 430)

A woman is not a believer if she undertakes a journey which may last three days or longer, unless she is accompanied by her husband, son, father

A woman must veil herself even in the presence of her husband's father, brother and other male relations. (Tirmzi P 432)

She is forbidden to spend any money without the permission of her husband, and it includes giving food to the needy or feast to friends. (Tirmzi P 265)

A wife is forbidden to perform extra prayers (NAFAL) or observe fasting (other than RAMADAN) without the permission of her husband. (Tirmzi P 300)

If prostration were a legitimate act other than to God, woman should have prostrated to her husband. (Tirmzi P 42

If a man is in a mood to have sexual intercourse the woman must come immediately even if she is baking bread at a communal oven. (Tirmzi P 42

A woman who seeks KHULA i.e. divorce from her man, without a just cause, shall not enter paradise. (Tirmzi P 440) A husband can divorce his wife at will.

Majority of women would go to hell. (Muslim P 1431)

If a woman refuses to come to bed when invited by her husband, she becomes the target of the curses of angels. Exactly the same happens if she deserts her husband's bed. (Bukhari P 93)

A woman in many ways is deprived of the possession of her own body. Even her milk belongs to her husband. (Bukhari P 27) She is not allowed to practise birth control either.

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Post time 2011-1-20 23:31:36 |Display all floors
Sophia, a twenty two year old Pakistani woman of Muslim origin decided to leave Islam.  In her testimony (printed in Leaving Islam, she wrote:

My first rebellion was against a culture that teaches me to be subservient, to accept social sexual harassment, and even to be killed.  I worked with an organization in Pakistan where I witnessed acid being thrown over women because they married men they chose or they left men they chose to leave.  Women were killed for disobeying, and thus dishonoring the family, beaten because they raised their voice against a man.  Yes, all these things are directly related to religion.  Islamic preachers will tell you all that is cultural and that Islam has played no role in this.  Coincidentally, this culture seems to repeat itself in almost every Muslim country from Asia to Africa.

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Post time 2011-1-20 23:32:13 |Display all floors
Vasko Kohlmayer told the story of Samaira Nazir who spurned the offer of a pre-arranged marriage to a man chosen for her in Pakistan, and dated another man, a Muslim also.? Kohlmayer wrote (frontpagemag 6/28/07):

Seized upon in her family home, she was violently attacked by her father, brother and cousin. Her screams alerted a neighbor who knocked on the door only to be told that the young woman was "having a fit." Some moments later, Nazir attempted to escape. She ran out of the house but her family members caught up with her on the entrance porch and pulled her back by the hair. As the door was being shut, witnesses outside saw her waving her bloodstained arms desperately. When the police finally arrived, they found her body slumped in a pool of blood with a scarf wound tightly around her neck through which three deep cuts had been made. In addition, Nazir?s body bore eighteen stab wounds inflicted with four different knives. The investigation revealed that she was held down by her own mother as her male kin went about their ghastly task. Nazir?s two cousins ? girls aged two and four ? were forced to watch to teach them what happens to a woman under Muslim law who refuses to abide by her family?s wishes.

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