A 25-year-old Pakistani woman has been stoned to death by her family outside the Lahore High Court in a so-called ‘honour killing’ for marrying the man she loved, police said.
Farzana Iqbal was waiting for the court to open when a group of around dozen men began attacking her with bricks, said senior police officer Umer Cheema.
Her father, two brothers and former fiance were among the attackers, he said.
Ms Iqbal suffered severe head injuries and was pronounced dead in hospital.
All the suspects except her father escaped arrest.
He admitted killing his daughter and explained it was a matter of honour.
Many Pakistani families think a woman marrying her own choice of man brings dishonour on the family.
Ms Iqbal had been engaged to her cousin but married another man, Mr Cheema said.
Her family registered a kidnapping case against her husband, but Ms Iqbal had come to court to argue that she had married of her own free will, he said.
‘Huge legal flaw’
Around 1,000 Pakistani women are killed every year by their families in ‘honour killings’, according to Pakistani rights group, the Aurat Foundation.
However, the true figure is probably many times higher since the Aurat Foundation only compiles figures from newspaper reports.
The government does not compile national statistics.
Campaigners say few cases come to court, and those that do can take years to be heard.
No one tracks how many cases are successfully prosecuted, and even those that do result in a conviction may end with the killers walking free.
Pakistani law allows a victim’s family to forgive their killer, but in honour killings, most of the time the women’s killers are her family, said Wasim Wagha from the Aurat Foundation.
The law allows them to nominate someone to do the murder, then forgive him.
“This is a huge flaw in the law,” he said. “We are really struggling on this issue.”
Nothing is easier than killing women in this male dominated world. Go kill women in the name of whatever, you will get thousands of sympathizers and supporters.
I would not see such a strong campaign for feminism if I did not read #yesallwomen tweets. I am so moved by thousands of heart touching tweets posted by women of all ages, from different parts of the world. It is amazing to see the problems women facing in the West, in the East, in the South and in the North are the same. I can’t stop myself from mentioning some of my favourite tweets.
Wonderful film but very mild. Just a little bit of assault in the street. No rape or gangrape, no domestic violence, no dowry murder, no bride burning, no sex trafficking, no sex slavery, no stoning to death, no burqa etc. We know very well that we who do not want patriarchal society, do not want matriarchal society either, we rather want equal society. This film is not about equal society, this is just to imagine how a man might experience a sexual assault in a matriarchal society. Everyone should have some reverse experience. How would you feel if it happened to you? Men always forget the golden rule, ‘one should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself.’
The film maker Eléonore Pourriat is now working on her next project – a mockumentary about the removal of pubic hair. I am waiting for that film. I hope that will be much more stronger.
Martin S Pribble is my guest today. He is an Australian atheist- feminist. He has written this post for my respected readers. I hope you would like his opinions.
‘I’m sure it comes as no surprise to anyone that I am an atheist. All this means that I hold no belief in God or gods. I could be called an “anti-theist” because of my distaste for organised religions and the harm caused by them. I am also an “a-superstitionist”, a humanist, an environmentalist, and a male feminist. These are all separate to my atheism, but the edges of these “ists” cross over in several areas.
For instance, my dismissal of superstition crosses over into my atheism in the fact that religions are built upon a bed of superstitions, and all superstitions are equally false. Humanism and atheism cross over in areas where atrocities against people are bolstered by religious dogma and doctrine, or where religions are used as an excuse to kill and torture people. Environmentalism and atheism cross paths where dominionist groups such as The Cornwall Alliance use their belief in god to justify the pillaging of the earth’s remaining resources, all because the Bible says that it’s OK to do so.
But the biggest crossover occurs between atheism, Anti-theism and feminism. This is because most religions hold women to be second-class, and some even go so far as to blame women for all the evils in the world. Particularly in the Abrahamic religions, the ones I am most familiar with, women are blamed for the “fall of man” in the garden of Eden in the genesis chapters of the Old Testament, and it’s all downhill from there.
Throughout these holy books, women are mere secondary players in their versions of the origins of humankind, with all the “good” and “big” things being played out by men. With the exception of Mary, who was a mere receptacle for the unborn Christ, no other women are attributed with doing anything “good” in these stories. In fact one could say that women are often blamed for such things as seduction and “leading men astray” with their evil feminine prowess.
This is all back-story, however, and matters little in today’s world, unless you try to figure out why women are treated badly when under the control of a religious society. What matter is what is happening now, in the name of religion, and in the name of culture, that hinders the rights and positions of women.
Under the guise of religion, attempts are being made to control the reproductive rights of women, claiming that since god put a soul in a woman’s womb, that it’s god’s will that a baby be born. Under the guise of religion, women are expected to shave their heads and wear a wig, because their real hair is seen as evil or “a temptation”. Under the guise of religion, girls as young as nine are forced into arranged marriage, using the example of Mohammed and Aisha as justification. Under the guise of religion, women are denied the right to become a religious leader, and in some cases, are not even allowed into a place of worship.
In all of these examples, religion is used as an excuse, or a reason, for the subjugation of women. Yet in most cases the religions that people use to justify them make no mention of these practices directly, either in a ritualistic sense, or in an allegorical sense. In fact, what we see is the translations of ancient texts into whatever language the people within a society speak, then at the behest of the men in charge of the region, cultural practices are inflated out of these ideas. And this is not something that happened by chance, it happened by design.
Culture then holds onto these practices to keep them alive. This makes some kind of sense, for men are the ones in power, and it is in their interest to keep all people in a state of powerlessness. So by instantly discounting 50% of the population, half the job is already done, and it just leaves the men to get on with whatever business is at hand. If ever challenged on these practices, all a man need do is point at the holy book and threaten, not only from their own man-made power structure, but from the powers of the almighty god. Women are to be subordinate. The Bible says so.
The point here is not whether the old books explicitly state that women are to be treated as second-class citizens. The point is that the religions are used as a justification for such acts, and that women bear the brunt of these interpretations of the holy books. When Pat Robertson spins hatred toward women, he does so with the apparent authority of God (tornadoes). When the mullah shows disapproval at the baring of women’s breasts, he does so under the name of Allah (earthquakes). When an Islamic man beats his wife, he justifies it using Sura 4:34, which allows this practice.
As a man, I can’t tell you how it feels to be the one discriminated against in the name of religion, for I will never know that. Neither can I tell you what it feels like to have the whole religious card-deck stacked up against you. What I can tell you is that I recognise it is wrong, and that I can do something about this. The systematic deconstruction of the anti-women tenets of religion is needed, and from this standpoint, we can then work toward destroying the cultural practices that use religion to justify their existences.
The humanist in me says that this idea goes for any and all practices that hold down men and women, and I know this is like trying to put out a wildfire with a water-pistol, but I feel starting with 50% agenda (i.e. that of women) is a better place to start than any other. This is because the anti-women rhetoric appears not only in the context of religion, but also in everyday society. If a practice impinged upon man and women both it would be much more likely to be addressed.
What we see here, and one of the main reasons why I am against organised religion, is the justification of age-old practices in a time when we know better. Not saying that the practices were ever right; they weren’t. However at the times of the writings of these holy books, there was no recourse for women. Now, we have the power, the numbers, the information, and the means to show that bronze-age patriarchal practices hold no place in modern society. This is the hangover from a time when religion held power, when the word of the priest was more important that the word of the scholar.’
When we women in the East are learning from the Western feminists how to fight for our rights and freedom, opposing patriarchy and misogyny, breaking the age-old shackles, denying to be dependent on men, to be a slave of men, to be a cook, a cleaner, a care taker, refusing to be a child producing machine, to do chores and child care alone, wanting to go out of the house, to take a job, to become financially independent, and hoping to live with dignity and honour — Western liberated women have decided to go back to the dark ages, to be a full-time housewife, to make domesticity their career.
Meredith Tax is a brave feminist writer who has been fighting against gender-based censorship for decades. She believes, ‘free speech is a feminist issue’. I agree with her.
“The subordination of women is basic to all social systems based on dominance; for this reason, conservatives hate and fear the voices of women. That is why so many religions have made rules against women preaching or even speaking in the house of worship. That is why governments keep telling women to keep quiet: ‘You’re in the Constitution,’ they will say, ‘you have the vote, so you have no right to complain.’ But having a voice is as important, perhaps more important, than having a vote. When censors attack women writers, they do so in order to intimidate all women and keep them from using their right to free expression. Gender-based censorship is therefore a problem not only for women writers, but for everyone concerned with the emancipation of women.
“Women writers are a threat to systems built on gender hierarchy because they open doors for other women. By expressing the painful contradictions between men and women in their society, by exposing the discrepancy between what society requires of women and what they need to be fulfilled, woman writers challenge the status quo…[and] make a breach in the wall of silence. They say things no one has ever said before and say them in print, where anyone can read and repeat them.”
”Women writers symbolize, in their work and life, the free speech of women. That is why they become targets and that is why the global women’s movement and all democrats must defend them even when what they say or the way they live is controversial. Women have a right to be controversial: you don’t have to agree with someone to defend her right to speak. They have a right to be celibate or childless, to get divorced, to be lesbians, or to have many lovers. You don’t have to live the way they do to defend their rights. A democracy is defined by its ability to tolerate differences. The problem here is not the strength of conservatives but the lack of commitment of liberals when it comes to defending the free speech of women. When their own rights are threatened, it’s a different story.”
It is so true! I have experienced almost everything Meredith talks about. My books got banned, I was physically attacked, Fatwas were issued against me, hundreds of thousands of fanatics marched to execute me by hanging, I was thrown out of the countries. Other atheist writers were there, but I became the target. I became the target because I am not only an atheist, I am a feminist. Liberals shut their mouths when feminists are attacked. The same liberals protest loudly when male writers or artists are harassed even though the harassment they suffer is much less than the harassment I suffer. Women are still considered inferior beings who should stay at home, do chores, rear children and must not be outspoken. The misogynistic patriarchal media and men call me, ‘controversial writer’, but they call male writers having much less literary quality than mine, ‘superb writers.’ And when I express my ideas that are different than conventional ideas, they would call me, ‘attention whore’, and they would definitely call male writers who later express their ideas that are exactly like my ideas,’very bold and very courageous writers’!
On December 6, 1989, a misogynist murderer called Marc Lépine walked into École Polytechnique in Montreal, Canada and shot 28 women, killing 14 of them. He hated women. He separated the men from the women and before opening fire on the classroom of female engineering students he screamed, “I hate feminists.”