Why I’m offended by those Muslims who focus only on the ugly face of Islam
Muslim women praying (Photo: United States Forces -Iraq)
By Kinaya Hassane
Growing up as a Muslim in Northern Virginia has instilled a pride and loyalty to the religion in me that still burns bright despite the fact that I don’t practise regularly. Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani teenage campaigner for girls’ education
, embodies the fight for equality I see Muslim women taking up. Malala, who has just left hospital in Britain after surviving a Taliban shooting, was made Time
magazine “Woman of the Year”. She exemplifies the good face of modern Islam.
By contrast, Musa Furber’s recent article about Islam’s treatment of rape victims
focuses only on ugly Islam. I was quite offended after reading it: Furber (a Sheikh, no less) paints a picture of an unfair, intolerant religion that gives no mercy to young, suffering victims. This myopic view of rape frustrated me. The injustice committed upon rape victims is not just an Islamic problem — in fact, the young rape victim in India who was his starting point was not a Muslim, nor were her attackers: it is a problem that appears across the board.
A perfect example of injustice in the cases of rape comes straight from home. In California, a woman was raped by a man who pretended to be her boyfriend
. Because of a state law that gives unequal protections to women who are not married and were raped, the culprit had his conviction of three years in prison overturned. Just because this woman was not married and her rapist did not impersonate her husband, a criminal got to walk free.
More proof of injustice in American society towards rape victims lies in the statistics.
54 percent of sexual assaults go unreported and 97 percent of rapists walk free. These outrageous numbers probably stem from our culture’s habit of blaming the victim of rape.
Often, in Islam and beyond, girls are told to wear modest clothing in order to avoid harrassment from men. Girls who choose to behave promiscuously are shamed. However, almost no one is telling boys to treat women properly. In our day and age, males are often applauded for numerous sexual conquests. This disparity in society’s treatment of women and men encourages the hostile treatment of rape victims and discourages victims from actually coming forward and reporting rapes because of their fear of hostility.
Unfortunately but truthfully, the problem of victim-blaming and injustice isn’t a problem that exists in Islam alone. Furber’s ridiculous misrepresentation of my religion only skews the reader’s perspective on the issue of injustice towards rape victims. Worse, it encourages intolerance of Islam.