My father was a medical doctor. He was a rational man in a deeply religious society. He was born in a poor illiterate family. But he went to a school against his family’s wishes. He moved from his village to a city with a dream to become a doctor. He struggled a lot to make his dream come true. He did not have money to buy medical books. He used to borrow books from his classmates when they were about to go to sleep at night. After studying he returned their books early in the morning. He was the best student in the medical college.
He never prayed, and he never believed in superstitions. He taught me to believe in science, not in religion. He did not let anyone to force me or convince me to wear burqa. He did not let anyone to force me into marriage when social norm was to force teenage daughters to drop out of school and to marry someone. All my father wanted for me was to be an educated and enlightened person.
My father was a professor at the medical college where I studied medicine. He was my teacher. Without my father, I know very well that it would have been impossible for me to be the person I am today. He taught me to live without fear and walk with head held high.
When my father fell ill, I begged, pleaded, and cried to be allowed to see him in his last days. The Government of Bangladesh refused to permit me entry. My father died.
I am shedding tears for him today. In gratitude, I bow my head today.
Happy Teachers Day, Papa.
Pakistan’s biggest religious political party Jamaat-e-Islami launched a campaign to make it compulsory for women to wear the Hijab in public.
The women’s wing of the party has already held demonstrations in several cities demanding that the wearing of Hijab be made a part of the constitution and compulsory in Pakistan, and tomorrow the party will observe ‘Hijab Day’.
“Our society has been invaded by western values and women who wear the Hijab or Burqa are targeted as extremists and that is totally unfair,” said Durdana Siddiqui, the Deputy General Secretary of the party’s women wing.
We want to send a clear message to the anti-Hijab elements by observing this day that Hijab is not only part of our religious obligation but also a fundamental right and protective shield for women,” she said.
The JI plans to distribute free head scarfs to working women in the markets and offices besides setting up stalls to sell Hijabs on subsidized rates and will also hold protests in different cities with the biggest one planned in Karachi.
Stupid slaves of men, masochist morons are having their bizarre propaganda on facebook.
International Hijab Day? Or International Ignorance Day, Humiliation of Women Day!
Interesting news is, there was no female speaker at Jamaat-e-Islami’s Hijab Day rally.
Apologists for Islam are growing like mushrooms. The anti-women forces have been honored everywhere as defenders of human rights.
Islamists are claiming Hijab is a choice. But my question is, ‘if Hijab is a choice, then why is it necessary to make it compulsory?’
One day, as I returned from school and began taking my uniform off, I saw that my white salwar had turned red with blood. How? Had I cut myself? But how could I have done that? I wasn’t in pain or anything. So what was wrong with me? In a panic, I asked how I could be bleeding so much? Was I going to die?
Ma was in our kitchen garden, collecting cauliflower. I ran to her, buried my face in her lap, and wailed loudly. “Ma, Ma, there’s a deep cut somewhere. Look,” I pointed below my abdomen, “I’m bleeding!”
Ma stroked my head. “Don’t cry,” she said, wiping my streaming cheeks with a hand and saying, “Get some cotton and Dettol, quickly!”
Ma smiled. “There’s nothing to cry about, I promise. You’ll be all right.”
There was blood spurting out of my body, and yet Ma didn’t seem worried at all. She went back inside with a couple of cauliflower in her hand. For the first time, she made no attempt to grab the bottle of Dettol and dress my wound. On the contrary, she calmly shook the dirt off the cauliflower and said, with a slight smile, “You’re a big girl now. Big girls get this.”
“Get this? What do you mean? Get what?” I asked, looking with considerable disgust at the smile that was still hovering on Ma’s lips.
“All this bleeding. It’s called menstruation. We call it hayez. It happens every month to all grown-up women, even me,” Ma continued to smile.
“And Yasmin as well?” I asked anxiously.
“No, not yet. But it’ll start when she is grown up like you.”
So I grew up one evening, all of a sudden, just like that. Ma said to me, “Remember, you are not a little girl any more. You cannot play or go outside as you used to. You must remain in the house, as all grown women do. And don’t prance around everywhere, learn to sit quietly, don’t go near the men.”
Then she tore off a few strips from an old saree, folded them and passed them to me, together with a cord normally used to hold a salwar in place. When she spoke, she sounded serious. The smile had gone. “Tie this cord tightly round your stomach. Then put these pieces of cloth between your legs, make sure the ends are held in place by the cord. After that, just sit quietly. You’ll bleed for three days, or maybe four or five. Don’t be afraid. It happens to all girls, and it’s perfectly natural. When this pad gets wet, wash it and wear another. But make sure no one sees anything. It’s all quite embarrassing, so you mustn’t speak about it.”
This frightened me all the more. Not only was I going to bleed, but was going to happen every month? Why didn’t it happen to men? Why were only women chosen for this? Why did it have to be me? Was nature as unfair as Allah?
All at once I felt as if I had grown up like Ma and my aunts, that I could no longer sit around and play with my dolls. Now I would have to wear a saree like the adults, cook like them, walk slowly, speak softly. I was an adult myself. It was as if someone had physically pushed me off the playing field, off the squares I had drawn to play hopscotch. I had become a totally different person—not just different, but horrific. In no time at all, what little freedom I enjoyed vanished, like cotton-fluff before a strong wind. Was it a nightmare! Or was it all true, what had happened, what Ma had said! Couldn’t this be just a bad dream! Why couldn’t I just wake up and find that nothing had changed, that all was as before! I wished with all my heart for the whole thing to be no more than an accident, sudden bleeding from some secret injury within my body. This was the first time it had happened, and it would be the last. Please, please, let me be able to return those pieces of cloth to Ma and tell her I’m all right. The nightmare is over.
I banged my head on the wall of the bathroom, but felt no pain. My body had become only a carrier—I carried a bleeding heart within it. Little pebbles of anguish gathered in my heart and grew into a mountain. The torn pieces of cloth were still held in my hands. I was holding my destiny in my hands—a destiny that was mean, unjust, and unfair.
Ma knocked on the door and spoke softly, “Why are you taking so long? What’s wrong? Come on, do as I told you, and come out quickly.”
Why couldn’t Ma at least leave me alone to cry to my heart’s content? Cry with my face covered in my hands, shrinking with pain and fear! I was furious with Ma and everyone else in the house, as if they had all conspired against me. Only I would smell foul. If anyone was heading for disaster, it was I. How was I going to keep this obnoxious event a secret from everyone? How could I walk in front of everybody, knowing that under my salwar was a pad made of torn cloth, drenched with blood? What if people guessed? I hated myself. I spat on myself in revulsion. I was now like a clown in a circus. I was different from everyone else. I was ugly and rotten. Inside my body lay hidden a serious sickness. There was no cure for it.
Was this what growing up amounted to? I noticed that nothing I had thought or felt before had changed. I still enjoyed running across the field to play gollachhut, but Ma’s instructions in this matter were quite clear: “You mustn’t jump or run. You’re not a child any more.” If she found me standing in the field, she snapped, “Come inside at once. I can see men staring at you from their roofs.”
“So what? How does it matter if someone looks at me?” I protested faintly.
“You have grown up. That’s what matters.”
Why was that a problem? I never got a clear-cut answer from Ma. Men from outside my family were quickly banned from my life. Ma got completely absorbed in the business of keeping me out of sight. If any of her brothers came over, accompanied by their friends, Ma pushed me out of the living room. I was slowly becoming both invisible and untouchable.
One day, while looking for a bunch of keys, I happened to touch the Quran. Ma saw this and came running. “Never touch the Quran with an impure body.”
“Impure body? What do you mean?” I asked bitterly.
“You are impure while you are having menstruation. When that happens you are not to touch the book of Allah, or pray namaz.”
I had heard Ma call a dog “unholy” and “impure.” So even women could be that some times? The act of washing one’s hands and feet before praying namaz was supposed to cleanse one of all impurities. Anyone could to it, except women who were menstruating. I felt as if I had been thrown into a pool of stinking, stagnant water. From top to toe, I was immersed in filth. It made me feel vomit. I started hating myself. Every time I had to wash my blood-stained pads, I wanted to throw up. It would have been better if a jinn had possessed me, I thought. But I had to stow my revulsion and pain into a dark recess of my mind, bury it under ground in a secret spot where no one ever set foot.
I feared of standing, feared of walking. At any moment my pad could drop on the floor, and people would right away realize what was going on. I feared that the floor would be flooded with my foul blood. I feared of having listened the laugh of the people. This was my body, my body was insulting me. I shrinked with enormous fear.
Nor was this the end. Something else was causing me further embarrassment. I could no longer take my dress off, even if it was boiling hot in the afternoon. My breasts were growing bigger in size, Sad and depressed, all I could do was lie in my bed.
Three days later, exhausted and devastated by constant bleeding, I was found by Baba as I lay in bed, still as a corpse. He came charging in like a wild buffalo. “What is this? Why are you in bed at this time? Get up, start working. At your desk. Now.”
I pulled myself to my feet and dragged my poor body to my desk. Baba shouted again, “Why are you moving so slowly? Don’t you eat enough? Where’s your strength gone?”
Ma reappeared once more, my savior. She called Baba out and took him to the next room to explain. A few sounds pierced the wall and came through—faint whispers, I couldn’t make out the words. An invisible fire tied to every single word. It burned my ears. The letters in the open book became blurred. Slowly, that fire began to devour my books, my pens, pencils, notebooks, every object on my desk. A wave of heat rose from it and hit my face.
Baba got out from the other room and quietly came back to where I was sitting. I could feel him place something on my shoulder—was it his hand, or his whip? He said, “If you want to rest for a while, do. You can do your lessons later. Go, back to bed. The body needs rest, too. But that doesn’t mean that you should be lazy and sleep all day! You have a lazy brother, don’t you? Noman. He’s never done well because he’s so idle. He is studying psychology! What a subject! Only madman can choose this kind of subject. I have no hopes left.”
Baba pulled me from my chair and put me on the bed. Then he stroked my hair and said, “I have only two children left now, Yasmin and you. You know that, don’t you? You are my only hope, you are all I live for. If I can bring you up properly, see you well settled in life, I will find peace. If you cause me pain and disappointment, I will have no choice but to kill myself. All right, if you are tired, take a few minutes off. Then, when you feel rested, go back to your studies. I have never spared any expense in giving you good food and every comfort. Why? So that you are free to spend all your time on your studies. You are a student. Your only mission should be the earning of knowledge. Then it will be time to work, to earn a living. And, after that, time for retirement. Every phase in your life is run by a set of rules, and there is a particular time for every phase. Do you see?”
Baba’s hard, dry fingers pushed my hair away from my face, tucking it behind my ears. I had noticed him do this before. His idea of caressing me was to remove every strand of hair from my face. He wore his own hair firmly brushed back. He couldn’t bear to see loose strands falling over anyone’s face. Oh! How rough his hand was! I couldn’t believe it. His rough, coarse fingers ran all over my back. It was far from a gentle stroke. I felt as if Baba was removing all the dead skin from my back with a pumice stone!
I simply couldn’t bring myself to accept the situation. Why should I leave my games and sit at home with a long face, just because I had started to menstruate? How I had longed to grow up, grow so tall that I’d be able to reach the bolt on top of the door! I could reach that bolt if I stood on tiptoe, but this business of bleeding put an end to my childhood so quickly and placed such a high barrier between me and the world that it frightened me. When I turned eleven, Ma had made me long salwars that replaced my shorts forever. A year later, after my twelfth birthday, she had said I would have to wear a urna because my legs were now longer and my breasts were getting bigger. If I didn’t hide these behind a urna, people would call me shameless and brazen. No one in our society liked shameless girls. Those who are shy, who behaved modesty found good husbands. Ma hoped fervently that I would succeed in making a good marriage. Mamata, the bookworm in my class, had been married off some time ago. I asked her, “Do you know the man you’re marrying?” Mamata had shaken her head. No, she had never met him. The groom arrived on an elephant. The whole town watched his arrival. He had demanded—and received—an enormous dowry, consisting of 70 grams of gold, 30,000 takas in cash, a radio, and a wristwatch. After the wedding, Mamata, too, rode on the elephant to her new home. From that moment, she would spend her life looking after everyone in her husband’s family. Her studies had come to an end. That man who went about riding an elephant would make sure Mamata’s passion for reading novels was destroyed.
I had hardly come to terms with the idea, and inconvenience, of menstruation, when a supposedly important man in our village turned up one day with a large fish and told Baba that he wanted to see his son married to Baba’s elder daughter. Baba heard these words, returned the fish and promptly pointed at the front gate. He wished to hear not another word, he said. Would the man just leave?
Ma was quite put out by this. “What did you do that for?” she complained. “Don’t you want to get our girls married? Nasreen has grown up. This is the right time for marriage, I think.”
Baba stopped her at once. “I know when my daughter should, or should not, be married. You don’t have to poke your nose into this, all right? She is studying now. One day, she will be a doctor. Not just an M.B.B.S. like me—she’ll be an F.R.C.S. I wish to hear no more about her marriage. Is that clear?”
I pricked my ears and heard these words carefully. Suddenly, all my anger at Baba melted away. I wanted to get up and make him a glass of lemon sherbet. Maybe he was thirsty. But I hadn’t learnt to go anywhere near Baba, or give him anything unless he asked for it. It proved impossible to crash through the barrier imposed by age-old habit.
I noticed Ma was quite excited by my growing up. She bought a black burqa one day and said to me, “Look, I got this for you. Why don’t you try it on?”
My face went red with mortification. “What! You’re asking me to wear a burqa?”
“Yes, most certainly I am. Aren’t you grown up now? A grown woman must wear a burqa,” Ma replied, measuring its length.
“I won’t!” I said firmly.
“Aren’t you a Muslim? Allah Himself has said that all Muslim women should cover themselves and be modest,” Ma spoke gently.
“Yes, Allah may have said that, but I’m not going to wear it.”
“Haven’t you seen Fajli’s daughters? They wear burqas , such good girls. You’re good, too, aren’t you? If you wear a burqa, people will say what a nice girl you are!”
Ma began stroking my back. Normally, a soft, warm touch made me melt, all my defenses broke down. But I wasn’t going to let that happen today. I had to say no. I braced myself to utter that word.
“No? You mean you’re really not going to . . .?”
“I already told you, didn’t I?” I replied, quickly moving away from Ma. But she grabbed me and hit my back with the same hand which was stroking me before. “You’ll go to Hell!” she warned, “I am telling you, my child, you will go to Hell. You didn’t turn out right, after all. I took you to Noumahal so many times, but even that didn’t open your eyes. Didn’t you see those girls? Some the same age as you, others even younger, but they were all draped in burkhas. They looked beautiful. And they pray their namaz and observe fasting during Ramadan. You are getting older and you are giving up all. Yes, Hell is where you’ll end up, I can see.”
Let Ma hit me as hard as she liked, I would never wear a burqa. I went and sat down at my desk. A book lay open before me, but I only stared at the pages. The letters were blurred, as if hidden under the wings of a vulture.
I could hear Ma walking along the corridor outside my room. She was still talking, loud enough for me to hear: “She might seem meek and docile, but underneath that she’s a Satan. She answers me back! No one else does that. They don’t dare. If I could whip her the way her father does she’d listen to me. Well, if she goes on being difficult, I will have to act accordingly.”
When Ma decided to act “accordingly,” she changed completely. She wasn’t my mother any more, she turned into a witch. She looked so ugly! I found it difficult to believe that she was the same woman who once fed me lovingly, taught me rhymes, and stayed awake night after night if I happened to be ill. I became like dust on the floor, but deep inside, a blind rage began to gather force, as sharp as a sparkling diamond.
I felt like swallowing poison and ending it all. The world was such a cruel place—better to die than live in it as a woman. I had read in a magazine that somewhere in the world, a girl had become a boy. I longed to wake up one day and find that something similar had happened to me, that I had turned into a boy. That there were no unseemly mounds of flesh on my chest. That I could wear a thin, transparent shirt and roam all over town. That when I returned home late at night after having seen a film and smoked a cigarette with my friends, Ma would serve me the biggest piece of fish just because I was a boy, her son, the one who would carry forward the family name. No matter what I did, Ma would forgive me. No one would order me to cover my chest with a urna, with a veil, wear a burqa, or stop me from standing at a window or going up to the roof.
But who was going to turn me into a boy? I couldn’t do it myself. Who could I ask? Allah, Allah was the only one I could pray to. If only there was someone else, in addition to Allah! Hindus had millions of gods and goddesses, but why should they hear my prayer, I wasn’t a Hindu. I had prayed to Allah before, but He hadn’t granted a single prayer. So I prayed to no one, simply told myself what I wanted: either die, or become a boy. I repeated those words again and again. Baba had often told me that I could get what I wanted, if I had a strong enough will. So I willed myself, with every fiber of my being. I poured my mind, my heart, my thoughts, my feelings, my virtues, my sins into that simple act.
I just willed myself.
(From ‘my girlhood’)
Dear Saudi Women,
When I first heard of Saudi Arabia’s plan to build women-only cities, I got so angry that I shouted, ‘What the fuck! you wanna build a women-only city, like a black-only ghetto? You force women to wear burqa, they have no face, no identity, no rights! Now you wanna dump them? You have been apartheiding women big time! Fuck you, Saudi Arabia, go build your ass-only city!’
I am not angry anymore. I have been thinking a lot about women-only city. I have also been thinking of your country and your religion. They both hate you, they treat you like a piece of shit. You should know that burqa-only city is regressive, women-only city is double regressive. If you allow a pinch of humiliation, you will ultimately allow tons of humiliations! You know that you can’t say, NO. You already prove that you are not able to change anti-women system you are living under. You got support from all over the world, but you could not go out in public without burqa, you could not drive your car on your Driving Day campaign. You are afraid of being flogged. You failed to challenge an oppressive regime. You are now going to get a women-only city, you will then get a women-only land. They have created a prison for you. The prison is getting larger and larger. But dear sisters, think positive. More than 100 years ago, a Muslim woman called Begum Rokeya dreamed of a women’s land. Please read an excerpt from her classic ‘Sultana's Dream’.
When walking I found to my surprise that it was a fine morning. The town was fully awake and the streets alive with bustling crowds. I was feeling very shy, thinking I was walking in the street in broad daylight, but there was not a single man visible.
Some of the passers-by made jokes at me. Though I could not understand their language, yet I felt sure they were joking. I asked my friend, “What do they say?”
“The women say that you look very mannish.”
“Mannish?” said I, “What do they mean by that?”
“They mean that you are shy and timid like men.”
“Shy and timid like men?” It was really a joke. I became very nervous, when I found that my companion was not Sister Sara, but a stranger. Oh, what a fool had I been to mistake this lady for my dear old friend, Sister Sara.
She felt my fingers tremble in her hand, as we were walking hand in hand.
“What is the matter, dear?” she said affectionately. “I feel somewhat awkward,” I said in a rather apologizing tone, “as being a veiled woman I am not accustomed to walking abut unveiled.”
“You need not be afraid of coming across a man here. This is Ladyland, free from sin and harm. Virtue herself reigns here.”
By and by I was enjoying the scenery. Really it was very grand. I mistook a patch of green grass for a velvet cushion. Feeling as if I were walking on a soft carpet, I looked down and found the path covered with moss and flowers.
“How nice it is,” said I.
I became very curious to know where the men were. I met more than a hundred women while walking there, but not a single man.
“Where are the men?” I asked her.
“In their proper places, where they ought to be.”
“Let me know what you mean by ‘their proper places’.”
“O, I see my mistake, you cannot know our customs, as you were never here before. We shut our men indoors.”
“Just as we are kept in the zenana?”
“How funny,” I burst into a laugh. Sister Sara laughed too.
“But dear Sultana, how unfair it is to shut in the harmless women and let loose the men.”
“Why? It is not safe for us to come out of the zenana, as we are naturally weak.”
“Yes, it is not safe so long as there are men about the streets, nor is it so when a wild animal enters a marketplace.”
“Of course not.”
“Suppose, some lunatics escape from the asylum and begin to do all sorts of mischief to men, horses and other creatures; in that case what will your countrymen do?”
“They will try to capture them and put them back into their asylum.”
“Thank you! And you do not think it wise to keep sane people inside an asylum and let loose the insane?”
“Of course not!” said I laughing lightly.
“As a matter of fact, in your country this very thing is done! Men, who do or at least are capable of doing no end of mischief, are let loose and the innocent women, shut up in the zenana! How can you trust those untrained men out of doors?”
“We have no hand or voice in the management of our social affairs. In India man is lord and master, he has taken to himself all powers and privileges and shut up the women in the zenana.”
“Why do you allow yourselves to be shut up?”
“Because it cannot be helped as they as stronger than women.”
“A lion is stronger than a man, but it does not enable him to dominate the human race. You have neglected the duty you owe to yourselves and you have lost your natural rights by shutting your eyes to your own interests.”
“But my dear sister Sara, if we do everything by ourselves, what will the men do then?”
“They should not do anything, excuse me; they are fit for nothing. Only catch them and put them into the zenana.”
“But would it be very easy to catch and put them inside the four walls?” said I. “And even if this were done, would all their business, political and commercial – also go with them into the zenana?”
Sister Sara made no reply. She only smiled sweetly. Perhaps she thought it useless to argue with one who was no better than a frog in a well.
We talked on various subjects, and I learned that they were not subject to any kind of epidemic disease, nor did they suffer from mosquito bites as we do. I was very much astonished to hear that in Ladyland no one died in youth except by rare accident.
“Your achievements are very wonderful indeed! But tell me, how you managed to put the men of your country into the zenana. Did you entrap them first?”
“It is not likely that they would surrender their free and open air life of their own accord and confine themselves within the four walls of the zenana! They must have been overpowered.”
“Yes, they have been!”
“By whom? By some lady warriors, I suppose?”
“No, not by arms.”
“Yes, it cannot be so. Men’s arms are stronger than women’s. Then?”
“Even their brains are bigger and heavier than women’s. Are they not?”
“Yes, but what of that? An elephant also has got a bigger and heavier brain than a man has. Yet man can enchain elephants and employ them, according to their own wishes.
Saudi women! You have been forced to live in mobile prisons for fucking 1400 years. You have now no options left. You have to make a land for women where you will not be prisoners, you will enjoy your complete freedom. You are unable to make small changes. Why don’t you get ready to make a big change? You probably do not like reforms, you want a revolution. If you want to survive, you have to occupy the land, and you have to make ‘Sultana’s Dream’ come true. Use your brains and lock those insane sons of bitches up.
Sisterhood is forever.
As a child in Pakistan, I grew up observing the lives of the women in my father’s family. Members of a type of religious nobility who claim lineage from the Prophet Muhammed, they followed the traditions of the Prophet’s wives and segregated themselves from all men outside their own blood relatives – a system known in Pakistan as pardah or “curtain”. They wore burqas or chadors when travelling outside their houses, in cars with curtained or tinted windows. On the rare occasions they walked in the streets of the village the men were expected to turn their faces to the walls as they passed. They did not go to school and many of them were functionally illiterate. There was no question of school or jobs for them. Their sole function was to marry and produce children for their husbands, chosen for them from the many cousins in the family.
My father, academically brilliant and ahead of his time, didn’t agree with these traditions and he didn’t expect his own family to live the same way as his aunts had; my mother, a college graduate with a degree in psychology and a love of all things fashionable and modern, detested the harsh customs and made sure they had no place in our lives. In Karachi, the cosmopolitan port city where we lived, I went to an American school where I excelled in every subject; I read hundreds of books and played sports with children of all nationalities and both genders. My mother instilled in me the idea that not only would I receive the best education possible, but that I would learn to be independent so that I could support myself if I had to. My father went along with this, proud of his intelligent daughter but always fearful that his more conservative family members would disapprove of my upbringing.
But no matter how visionary or open-minded my parents were, they still had to make compromises for the restrictive environment in which we lived, and I was the victim of those compromises. When I went to , the seat of my father’s family in a rural part of Sindh two and a half hours’ drive from Karachi, I played and romped like the other children, running freely back and forth between the two sections of our family house, but as I grew older, I was not allowed to leave the walls of the “family” compound for the men’s section. My father no longer took me to his farm with him, as the “ladies” of the family were not permitted to be seen by the ordinary labourers who tilled the fields and kept the livestock.
As I approached adolescence, my clothing was restricted: I couldn’t wear anything but baggy shalwar kameezes, as my skirts and shorts were forbidden from me. Back in Karachi, I continued to excel in school but my social life was curtailed: I was not allowed to go to mixed parties or sleepovers; beach trips with friends were a no-no, and permission to go on school trips to other cities in South Asia were a hard-fought battle that I didn’t always win. Whenever I asked why I wasn’t allowed to do the things that I wanted, I was told “Because you are a girl.” And no amount of crying, pleading or begging could change that.
Thanks to my mother’s support and my father’s courage to break with tradition, I went to the United States to attend Wellesley College, a private liberal arts college in Massachusetts for women. I was the first women in my father’s family to go to university, let alone leave the country for an education. Officially I earned a degree in psychology like my mother, but I received an education of a different kind: I learned about women’s rights, the fight for justice and equality, and male privilege. When I came back to Pakistan, I had words for what had happened to me and what was happening to millions of Pakistani women every day: patriarchy, chauvinism, and misogyny. My eyes were opened and what was seen could never be unseen: I was aware and vigilant about a society that thought of women as inferior in every way to men. More than that: I was angry about the injustice, and determined to raise my voice against it as loudly as possible.
So I began to speak out, by writing about women’s issues. I wrote about the need for laws against domestic violence, the need to strengthen girls’ education, the need for economic independence for women, the need to reject hijab, burqa, chador and niqab as religious requirements. I wrote about the particular horrors enacted against girls and women in Pakistan: forced marriages, dowry, bride-burning, acid attacks. Today I’m an avowed feminist, thanks to my childhood experiences, my mother’s encouragement, and my academic education in the United States and my real-world education in Pakistan, where I’ve observed how religion, culture and society oppresses Pakistan women and I witness every day how women are fighting back against their oppressors. Feminism in Pakistan is a dirty word, a sign that you’re an atheist, a Western agent, a threat to the system. I’m neither an atheist nor a Western agent, but I’m proud to be a threat to this unfair and intolerant system and I’ll keep raising my voice against this system until it changes or I die, whichever comes first.
An Islamic council in Indonesia wants the country’s broadcasting commission to consider certifying TV programs as religiously acceptable.
But the country’s broadcasting commissioner has ruled out certifying TV programs based on whether they’re acceptable to Islam.
The term halal most commonly refers to foods that are permitted by Islam, but now the West Java branch of Indonesia’s Islamic Council is suggesting halal television too.
Indonesia’s Broadcast Law states that content should educate and entertain, but also implement religious values and the country’s culture.
So the Islamic Council is suggesting TV should be subject to a certification system, like foods, to show whether they’re religiously permitted, or halal.
The West Java Broadcast Commissioner, Nursyawal, says that’s not going to happen.
He says it’s up to Islamic Clerics to issue their own fatwa or religious law forbidding certain programs.
I never saw anything labeled as halal in my childhood. It is around 20 years ago I found that a word halal invaded the world. Muslims want everything halal or everything Islamic whatever they eat, or drink, or touch, or hear, or see, or smell. Muslims are now becoming more and more intolerant, ignorant and arrogant. The whole situation is so weird now that I do not need to know whether they are fundamentalists, they are Muslims or they believe in Islam–it has become a good enough reason to stay away from them.
Aren’t they becoming jokers too? Muslim women in Egypt have their Islamic TV. A bunch of faceless shameless women are placed there to humiliate human race. Now an Indonesian Muslim group demands for an halal or Islamic TV. It’s very simple. Their ancestors used swords to convert people to Islam. Today’s Muslims use hi tech media to convert people to Islam or just to brainwash millions of people everyday with misogynistic superstitions. Their aim is to occupy the world or make the world darul Islam or land of Islam. The aim has been the same, only the weapons are different.
Both burqas and sexualized ads or sexual objectification dehumanize women or reduce women to mere sexual objects.
The purpose of the burqa is to erase the individual, women are sexual objects, men get sexually aroused whenever they see women, so for the sake of men women must have their bodies covered. The purpose of the sexualized ads is to erase the individual, women are sexual objects, men get sexually aroused whenever they see women, so for the sake of men women must have their bodies uncovered.
Have you ever heard of a TV channel that only shows women wearing full face veils? For your information, it is the first TV channel of full face-veiled women. It will be launched on the first day of the holy month of Ramadan.
Here is the report.
Islamists are now ruling Egypt. They want to use TV and other media to preach Islam and to pull society backwards. Women wearing full face veils will be used to indoctrinate young women through TV.
The channel will be named Mariya after one of the concubines or sex-slaves of Muhammed. She was an Egyptian Coptic Christian slave.
You can read many hadiths about Muhammad and Mariya. He was supposed to spend a night with Hafsa, one of his wives, but unfortunately he was caught while having sex with Mariya. All of his wives, specially Hafsa and Ayesha, were furious with him. He was really in deep doo doo. Finally it was Allah who came to rescue him.
What is the difference between faceless women having a radio station and having a TV channel? Nothing. But it is a TV channel that tends to glorify faceless women. It will glorify women’s absence, their nothingness. Women will be there to show the nonexistence of women.