What if the Satanic Verses about Allah having three daughters and about worshiping those three daughters as goddesses were not deleted from the Koran and al-Lat , al-Uzza and Manat were worshiped today? Would Islam have been a bit less anti-women?
What if the Satanic Verses about Allah having three daughters and about worshiping those three daughters as goddesses were not deleted from the Koran and al-Lat , al-Uzza and Manat were worshiped today? Would Islam have been a bit less anti-women?
I understand why men believe in religion, but I do not understand why women believe in religion. Or perhaps I understand. Either they’re ignorant or they’re masochists. No woman who lives with dignity and honor will accept humiliation and abuse of women. No woman with self-esteem worships gods that hate women . Religion demands women to be chaste and silent. Religion wants women to be obedient and submissive to their husbands. All religions treat women as inferior beings. Women should read god’s texts and get angry with god. Women should stop worshiping god.
Women pray more then men, are more likely to believe in God, and are more religious than men. Some evolutionary psychologists try to justify it. I do not agree with them. They say, ‘women are inherently more risk-averse than men’. Aren’t women constantly taking risks more than men just for living their lives? They take risks of being raped, abused and murdered when they’re at home or at workplaces or just anywhere outside! Women have always been forced to stay behind, to practice religion, and to keep the anti-women patriarchal system intact. Even during the age of Enlightenment, women were not allowed to get an education, and even though the coffeehouses for intellectual exchange were generally accessible to everyone, but that did not allow women to participate, or express their opinions. Women’s place was in the kitchen, it is still in the kitchen.
If women do not fight to stop being oppressed by a shameful patriarchal and oppressive religious system, then shame on women! Shame on women for not protesting, for not fighting, for allowing a system to continue that will affect our children as well as our children’s children. We badly need to create a gender equal society where misogyny has no place.
Let’s see what some of the religious scriptures say about women:
Women in the Bible
“A woman who becomes pregnant and gives birth to a son will be ceremonially unclean for seven days, just as she is unclean during her monthly period. On the eighth day the boy is to be circumcised. Then the woman must wait thirty-three days to be purified from her bleeding. She must not touch anything sacred or go to the sanctuary until the days of her purification are over. If she gives birth to a daughter, for two weeks the woman will be unclean, as during her period. Then she must wait sixty-six days to be purified from her bleeding. These are the regulations for the woman who gives birth to a boy or a girl. She is to bring two doves or two pigeons, one for a burnt offering and the other for a sin offering. In this way the priest will make atonement for her, and she will be clean.” Leviticus 12: 1-8
“Women should remain silent in churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission…”1 Corinthians 14:34
“Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting to the Lord.” Colossians 3:18
Check it out:
2:22 Eve created from Adam’s rib.
3:16 Cursed with painful childbirth and domination by husband.
4:19 Man marries two wives.
12:13-19 Abraham prostitutes wife.
19:26 Lot’s wife turned into pillar of salt for disobeying god.
19:30-38 Lot impregnates his two daughters while drunk.
25:1-6 Keeping many concubines is OK.
20:17 Wife as property.
21:4 Wife and children belong to master.
21:7-11 OK to sell daughters. Female slaves can be used for sex.
Polygamy permitted. Unwanted female slaves can be set “free” without payment of money.
22:18 Kill witches.
12:1 Childbirth a sin, Women unclean after childbirth.
15:19-32 Menstruating women are unclean.
21:9 Burn daughters.
21:13-14 Priest must marry virgin, not “used” woman.
1:2 Census lists only men – women do not count.
5:11-31 Fidelity test for women only.
30:1-16 Woman’s vow invalid unless approved by her father or husband.
31:17-18 Kill all except virgins. Keep virgins for yourselves.
CH 12 Miriam punished for rebuking Moses.
20:14 Take women, livestock as plunder.
22:13-21 Stone non-virgin bride.
22:23-24 Stone rapist and rape victim.
22:28 Rape victim must marry rapist; rape victim’s father compensated for depreciation of his property.
25:11-12 Cut woman’s hand for touching foe’s penis.
24:1-5 Man can “send” wife from HIS house. Man must not marry “used” woman.
5:30 Women are spoils of war.
14:20 Samson gives wife to another man.
CH 19 Concubine pack-raped and butchered.
21:10-12 Slaughtered all inc. women and children. Saved virgins for wives.
21:21 Abducted girls for wives.
5:13 David took many wives and concubines.
CH 13 Ammon rapes his own sister.
16:21-22 Absalom sleeps with his father’s concubines.
11:3 Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines.
9:30-37 Brutal murder of Jezebel.
11:21 Hoards of wives and concubines.
CH 1-2 Queen Vashti dethroned for disobedience; setting “bad” example to all other women.
51:5 Sinful since conception.
127:3 Sons are heritage from god.
CH 5 Beware of wicked women!
31:3 Do not waste strength on women.
3:16-26 Lord punishes haughty women.
4:4 Filthy women.
13:16 Ravish wives, dash infants.
19:16 Will be like women! (insult to Egyptians)
9:6-7 Slaughter all including children.
CH 16 Prostitutes, stoning, promiscuity…
CH 23 Tale of two adulterous sisters
3:4… wanton lust of a harlot… prostitution… witchcraft.
3:5 I will lift your skirts over your face!
3:13… Your troops are all women. (insult to Nineveh)
5:32 Husband can divorce wife for adultery.
CH 25 Sexist tale of ten virgins.
11:2-10… Woman created for man.
14:34 Women must be silent in churches.
5:22-24 Wives must submit to husbands in everything.
3:18 Wives submit to husbands.
3:22 Slaves must obey masters in everything.
2:11-15 Woman must not have authority, she must be silent. Women can be saved with childbearing.
5:9-10 Widows should be faithful to husband and must wash saints’ feet.
2:18 Slaves submit to masters, even masters who are harsh.
3:1 Wives submit.
3:5-6 Sarah calls husband master.
Women in the Quran
Your women are your fields, so go into your fields whichever way you like. (Sura 2:223)
The share of the male shall be twice that of a female. (Sura 4:11)
Oh! ye who believe! When ye deal with each other, in transactions involving future obligation in a fixed period of time reduce them to writing and get two witnesses out of your own men and if there are not two men, then a man and two women, such as ye choose, for witnesses so that if one of them errs the other can remind her. (Sura 2:282)
And if the husband divorces his wife (for the third time), she shall not remain his lawful wife after this (absolute) divorce, unless she marries another husband and the second husband divorces her. [In that case] there is no harm if they [the first couple] remarry .(Sura 2:230)
And forbidden to you are wedded wives of other people except those who have fallen in your hands [as prisoners of war] (Sura 4:24)
And if you be apprehensive that you will not be able to do justice to the orphans, you may marry two or three or four women whom you choose. But if you apprehend that you might not be able to do justice to them, then marry only one wife, or marry those who have fallen in your possession. (Sura 4:3)
It is not within your power to be perfectly equitable in your treatment with all your wives, even if you wish to be so; therefore, [in order to satisfy the dictates of Divine Law] do not lean towards one wife so as to leave the other in a state of suspense.(Sura 4:129)
If you fear highhandedness from your wives, remind them [of the teaching of God], then ignore them when you go to bed, then hit them. If they obey you, you have no right to act against them. God is most high and great. (Sura 4:34)
O Prophet, when you [and the believers] divorce women, divorce them for their prescribed waiting—period and count the waiting—period accurately . . . 4 And if you are in doubt about those of your women who have despaired of menstruation, (you should know that) their waiting period is three months, and the same applies to those who have not menstruated as yet. As for pregnant women, their period ends when they have delivered their burden. ( Sura 65:1,4)
Women in Hinduism
“Almighty God, you have created this womb. Women may be born somewhere else but sons should be born from this womb” – Atharva Veda 6/11/3
“O Husband protect the son to be born. Do not make him a woman” – Atharva Veda 2/3/23
‘A virtuous woman is one who dies on the funeral pyre of her dead husband’ -this one?’ –Atharva Veda (18-3-1)
“Lord Indra himself has said that a woman has very little intelligence. She cannot be taught” – Rig Veda 8/33/17
“There cannot be any friendship with a women. Her heart is more cruel than hyena” – Rig Veda 10/95/15.
”Women are without energy. They should not get a share in property. Even to the wicked they speak in feeble manner” – Yajur Veda 6/5/8/2
‘…but woman, the Sûdra(untouchable), the dog, and the black bird (the crow), are untruth: he should not look at these, lest he should mingle excellence and sin, light and darkness, truth and untruth’ –Satapatha Brahmana 14:1:1:31
‘There is no creature more sinful than women; women are blazing fire; they are poison; they are snake; they are living lies..’ Mahabharata, 13:40
‘“Men must keep their women dependent day and night, and keep under their own control those who are attached to sensory objects. Her father guards her in childhood, her husband guards her in youth, and her sons guard her in old age. A woman is never fit for independence!’‘ –Manusmrti 7:149-150
Endless. You can read more.
Women-haters beat their wives. Patriarchal culture and customs allow wife beating. Almost all religions, monotheistic or polytheistic, advise women to be submissive.
In Muslim countries wife beating manuals have been always selling well. But recently an ordinary wife beating manual, ”A Gift For Muslim Couple” caught the attention of media because it was selling in Canada, where domestic violence is considered a crime.
It is a manual to control, restrain, scold, and beat wives into submission to create a happy, healthy, and satisfying marriage; a marriage to last a lifetime.The book says, research has shown men are looking for successful methods to achieve a happy satisfying life long marriage. Absolute control of and submission by their wives is the key.
‘There are many lessons in this book–
People who demand banning of the books that criticize religion do not say a word against the book that advises men to beat their disobedient wives. The book advocates domestic violence in order to attain a life long happy marriage.
The book was a big seller in North America. Canada talks about the book.
Moderate Muslims are angry. They condemn the book for inciting violence against women. They even demand ban on the book.
The book is 100 years old. Maulavi Ashraf Ali Thanvi, the author of the book died in 1943. I like old books about prophets and religions written by early biographers and scholars. They did not try to whitewash the anti women or the anti science parts of religious scriptures or did not try to hide prophet’s dirty linen under the carpet. Today’s scholars or religious apologists interpret the ‘holy texts’ as if the author of the texts is a rational, modern,scientific and humane. They try hard to make god sounds like an advocate for equality and justice rather than an ignorant and misogynist. They do it because in the 21st century it is not politically correct to treat women as inferior beings or slaves. Religion and superstition remain where they were, only the tips and tricks for making people fool have been changing over time.
If people who believe in equality between men and women think that ”A gift for Muslim couple’ is 100 years old and it is out of time and out of place and it should be banned, then what about the book which is 1400 years old and which also asks men to beat their disobedient wives (Surah Nisa 4.34) and incite violence against women! Anybody thought of banning the Quran as well as other misogynistic religious scriptures?
I am against banning books. I want people to learn what really the religious scriptures say, how barbaric, inhuman, hateful and misogynistic those texts are! In the meantime let’s try to prevent the apologists of religion from whitewashing religion’s justification for domestic abuse and encourage people to have a scientific outlook.
[Dwikhandito ( The life divided), the third part of my autobiography has been banned in Bangladesh since 2003. The book was also banned in West Bengal, India in 2003 but Kolkata high court lifted the ban on the book in 2005. The book is now free but heavily censored. The readers are still not allowed to read a few pages of the book . I was physically attacked by the Muslim fundamentalists for writing this book.
A price (unlimited amount of money) was set on my head. Here are the forbidden words! Translated from original Bengali.]
” …. I could not accept at all that the religion had ever brought any light to mankind. Religion had not spread anything other than darkness. Religion had grown out of ignorance and the fear of death. The monotheistic men had created religion for their own pleasure and to enjoy themselves in this life. Islamic history tells us that the Arabs used to live in caves and newborn girls were buried alive, and Muhammad ended all this misery. But I believe that more misery has been created after the advent of Islam. Previously, women were business people, they used to take part in wars, chose their own husbands and also divorced their husbands. Muhammad’s first wife Khadija was a businesswoman and Muhammad was her third husband and was also much younger than her. If girls were buried alive, then there would be fewer women in this world. The men used to marry more than one woman, but where did they find all these women? There would be scarcity of women if they were buried alive. But that did not happen. The Arabs used to pass their days in merriment and pleasure, they used to dine and drink well, they believed that there was no other life than this one and they used to enjoy themselves as much as possible in this world. Muhammad brought an avalanche upon this belief. He used the religion he created as a weapon to seize power. He killed people unhesitatingly, he bathed in the blood of members of other tribes, he brutally killed people of other religions, and he hoisted the flag of victory after invading Jewish areas with his own troops and looting their wealth and raping their women. This religion was never a spiritual one, it was a political one from beginning to end. He did not deprive himself of any earthly pleasures. He had done everything he wanted to do and he did it all in the name of Allah. After killing somebody, he said that he did it on the orders of Allah. Of course, he said at the outset that nobody can speak against the orders of Allah. Muhammad divided the hours of the night to spend time with his more than a dozen wives in the harem. He created a scene on the night he was due to spend with his wife Hafsa. Hafsa went to her father’s house that day but when she returned before the scheduled time, she found the bedroom door locked from inside. Why was the door shut? Who was in the room? Her husband, prophet Muhammad, the messenger of Allah, was in the room having sex with a slave girl called Maria. Hafsa was furious and told all the other wives about this. Muhammad, to hide his own guilt, dragged Allah down from the sky and said that he didn’t do it willingly, it was Allah’s will and he had only obeyed Allah’s orders, it was nothing more than that. There is a saying in Bengali, ‘The thief is bragging after stealing’. This episode was also like that. Far from being humble after doing wrong and without speaking to his wives in a subdued voice with his head bowed, he proclaimed a word of caution to his wives that Allah had told him, ‘If you divorce any of your wives, then Allah will provide more beautiful, more tolerant, more submissive, more shy and more trustworthy maidens or widows for you to marry’. Muhammad married his foster son’s wife Zainab and this time too he justified his misdeed by mentioning the name of Allah who, apparently, had told him to marry his daughter-in-law. Muhammad’s very young, beautiful and wise wife, Ayesha, said something excellent, ‘I see that your Lord always rushes to you to satisfy all your desires’. His friends used to look at Ayesha and Muhammad was very jealous of that so he put all his wives behind a curtain and gradually he ordered all women to cover themselves with an extra set of clothes. Islam is supposed to have given women much honour. Is this called honour! Allah’s resounding voice comes across the seven skies, ‘Men have the right to dominate over women, because Allah has created men as superior human beings to women and because men spend their money for women.’
What can I say! This is the character of the hypocrite known as our prophet and his hoax in the name of Allah. Millions of believers in this world are still keeping this religion alive but there is nothing behind it except the game of politics. Bangladesh is no exception. As his boat was sinking, President Ershad was desperately clinging on to Islam to find a port as he couldn’t find one any other way.
‘A carrot for the next life has been dangled in front of you,
Fear and temptation are always there before you.
Now wear a blinker of dark blindness over your eyes,
The more blind you are, the more faithful you will be.
Take your eyes out and throw them with this belief,
And lock up the cells of learning in your brain.
Well done! You are now a true faithful…’
‘A Sri Lankan woman is facing decapitation with a sword on a witchcraft charge in Saudi Arabia. A Saudi man said that his 13-year-old daughter suddenly started acting strange after seeing a Sri Lankan woman in a shopping mall. The Sri Lankan woman was accused of casting a spell on his daughter. Police arrested the woman. The punishment for practicing witchcraft and sorcery in Saudi Arabia is, beheading. Two persons were beheaded on witchcraft charges last year. Sharia, or Islamic law, is the basis of the legal system in Saudi Arabia The number of execution is increasing in the country. In 2010, 26 people were executed. In 2011, it was 76.’
Watch how people get beheaded in public places. Eight Bangladeshi men were beheaded last year. They say Allahu Akbar, Allah is Great loudly while beheading. An Indonesian maid was beheaded not long ago. They enjoy beheading people with a sharp sword. Hateful, revengeful, venomous god-lovers are not prevented from continuing their unethical and inhuman practices of Islam. We witness cruelty everyday but we shut our mouth because it is not politically correct to oppose Islamic barbarism!
”Religion is like a penis. It’s fine to have one and it’s fine to be proud of it, but please don’t whip it out in public and start waving it around… and PLEASE don’t try to shove it down my child’s throat.”
Taliban poisons drinking water. 150 schoolgirls were hospitalized in Afghanistan yesterday. Girls education was banned under Taliban rule (1996-2001). After girls schools are reopened, periodic attacks occur against girls, teachers and school buildings. It is not the first time Taliban poisoned girl’s school’s water, they did it before. In 2010, more than 100 schoolgirls and teachers were sickened in similar poisonings.
Taliban’s poison gas attack is well known. In August 2010 it was revealed through blood tests that a mysterious series of cases of mass sickness at girls’ schools across the country were caused by a powerful poison gas.
Acid was thrown at the girls while they were walking to school. Taliban have been blowing up girls school in Pakistan and Afghanistan. They threaten to blow up girl’s schools if they refuse to close. Taliban wages war against girls education. They try everything to destroy girls education. They burnt down over 125 girls schools calling women’s education un-Islamic.
“Female education is against Islamic teachings and spreads vulgarity in society,” Shah Dauran, Taliban leader said. Muslim Khan, Taliban spokesman said, “Female education is against Islam. They (women and girls) are required to sit at home and not venture out.”
The relationship between religion and patriarchy is deep-rooted. Patriarchy wants woman to stay at home and to protect her chastity. A woman is nothing but her husband’s property. It is men’s responsibility to provide food for his wives and children and it is women’s duty to obey her husband. It is only recently after decades of feminist movement that women get the opportunity to go to school, to get an education, to find a job, to make money and to become economically independent.
Whenever Muslim fundamentalists flog women for wearing trousers or stone women to death for adultery,or punish girls for getting education, there are people who would say, ‘it is not real Islam’. What is real Islam? Does real Islam believe in women’s equality? Is real Islam pro-woman? If real Islam is so pro-woman, it would not have said woman was made from the rib of man (Surah Nisa 4:1) or one of her bones was crooked. If real Islam is so pro-woman, it would not ask men to beat women.( Surah Nisa 4:34) If real Islam is so pro-woman, it would not say, a male shall inherit twice as much as a female ( Surah Nisa 4:11) , and the testimony of one man would not be equal that of two women. If real Islam is so pro-woman, women would get equal rights in marriage, divorce, and child custody, it would not permit men to have four wives (Surah Nisa 4:3) and it would not reward pious men with 72 virgins in heaven and pious women with nothing but the same old husband.
The life of Khadija, the first wife of Muhammad, tells us that the status of women was quite good during pre-Islamic period. Khadija was a rich businesswoman. Women could own and run a business. She was a widow. She married Muhammad who was 15 years younger than her. She had the right to hold and inherit property and was free to enter into a nuptial contract with the person she chose. Her polygamous husband could not marry any other women as long as she was alive.
It is true that Islam is not against women having ‘religious education’ but it definitely discourages women to leave home. It says, woman’s pray at home is better than going to mosque. Woman should take the permission of her husband before going out. Evils are behind unnecessary socializing of unveiled women . Woman should not wear perfumes. Women should wait behind men. Women should not walk in the middle of the road. Wives have great duty towards their husbands. Angels curses the disobedient wife. Woman should be grateful to her husband. Women should not imitate men in dress, movements, and way of speech. Women should cover her face in the presence of strangers and men who are not her close family members.
Despite all the attacks of the religionists, women in the Muslim societies are leaving home for schools or for work, it happens not because they embrace Islamic rules, but because they disrespect Islamic rules. Like all other religions, Islam is also anti-women. Today, Islam looks more intolerant and barbaric than other religions. It is because Islamists have been preventing people from being evolved and enlightened. Time to change.
I finally found the book. A small green book. A guide. A to Z guide to all things feminist. It is called ”The Guy’s Guide to Feminism.”
I just love the book.
If you do not like to read books on feminism by women, fine. Then read this one, written by two guys, Michael Kaufman and Michael Kimmel. It’s funny. Remarkable. Straight to the point explanation how and why feminism improves men’s life.
There are fascinating pieces —
”Do you believe that women should have the right to:
Did you answer yes?
Then you better lie down. . . . You’ve probably caught feminism.
The feminist contagion has spread far and wide. It infects both women and men. Most people in North America, Europe and many parts of the rest of the world have caught it. The terrible truth is that, nowadays, most of us support these rights and actually see them as basic rights of individuals in a democracy.”
”It’s true. As that Harvard professor observed way back in 1873, when women get more education, they do have fewer babies.
It’s not because their wombs shrink.
It’s because their options grow.”
”Does feminism Virus Target men? The virus really has it in for men. doesn’t believe that male biology causes men to rape or pillage or not listen or hog the channel changer. It actually believes that men are basically good!!!! It believes that men can (and should) be ethical, emotionally present, and accountable to our values in our interactions with women — as well as with other men.
Women who’ve caught feminism not only expect men to act in honorable ways, but have a deep belief in our ability to do so.
Beware, my friend. This is very insidious stuff.”
”A minister, a rabbi, and an imam were having coffee.
The imam said, “This sounds like the beginning of a bad joke.”
The minister said, “We’re all the children of Abraham.”
The rabbi said, “Yes, but which of his wives?”
The imam said, “Is that why feminists are so angry?”
The minister said, “What do you mean?”
The imam said, “They’re angry at us for several millennia of bad things that men have done.”
The minister said, “I like to tell my flock that women aren’t angry. They’re just insistent.”
The rabbi said, “What’s so wrong about a little anger? Imagine the world from their perspective.”
At that moment another friend, a Buddhist monk, arrived. They told him what they were talking about. The monk said, “See the world from women’s perspective? Well, let me start: How would you feel if every time you went out on a date, you worry you could join the one in four women who’d been sexually assaulted?”
The rabbi said, “Or what if there were people who wanted to make it illegal for you to have control over your own reproductive system?”
The imam said, “Or if you earned less for doing the same work as a man?”
The minister said, “If half the human race felt it was entitled to stare at your body or make comments about your breasts.
“And then, if you get angry, they accuse you of being a lesbian—”
“—as if that were a crime —”
“—or say how pretty you are when you’re angry.”
The four men thought about this for a moment.
“And it gets worse,” said the minister. “Imagine that you start speaking out against these daily injustices and people start telling you to lighten up. Stop taking things so seriously. It’s only a joke.”
The rabbi said, “I wouldn’t just be angry. I’d go ballistic.”
It was Friday, and the imam soon went off to Friday prayers. “Anger,” he said to the worshippers, “is a rational response to injustice. Anger can be a healthy emotion to feel, an expression that something is wrong.”
The next morning at Sabbath services, the rabbi said, “Anger can be a motivating force, an impulse to get up off your hiney and do something, to at least say this inequality is not okay.”
That afternoon, the monk said to those he had meditated with, “The problem isn’t anger, it’s finding appropriate ways to express it. Perhaps only by expressing it, can we ever let it go.”
The next morning in his sermon, the minister told his congregants, “Anger can also be coupled with a desire to change things. It can carry a belief that things can change for the better. Resigned despair is what happens when you don’t think you can change things. Anger can mean hope.”
On Monday, the four men got together again for coffee. They were joined by another friend, a Hindu priest.
The priest said, “But you’re not saying that anger is the main thing that these feminists feel.”
Now, this coffee shop had a waiter who’d been serving perfect cups of coffee for years. He’d heard the men talking the previous week and now heard this exchange. He’d often had this very discussion about women’s anger with his girlfriend, so when the priest asked whether anger was the main thing feminists felt, he didn’t hesitate to jump in.
“Excuse me,” he said, “But when a woman feels angry, perhaps she is most angry that she has to feel anything but love and trust and how it feels to be an equal in the world.”
The minister, rabbi, imam, monk, and priest nodded sagely to each other.
And that is no joke.”
By the way, not only I bought the book, I bought a dozen of my male- friends the same T-shirts that says, “A Man of Quality Isn’t Threatened by Women’s Equality.” They love it.
‘The right to life of women … is conditional on their obeying social norms and traditions.’ — Hina Jilani
‘It is a tragedy, a horror, a crime against humanity. The details of the murders – of the women beheaded, burned to death, stoned to death, stabbed, electrocuted, strangled and buried alive for the “honor” of their families – are as barbaric as they are shameful.’
‘An honor killing is a murder, carried out by a family to punish a female family member who has supposedly brought dishonor upon the family. The acts which are the cause of dishonor can be
The mere perception that a woman has behaved in a way that dishonors her family is enough to trigger an attack on her life.’
‘Men often use honor killings to maintain their dominant patriarchal status. Women in the family often support the practice in order to preserve the honor of male family members. Patriarchy is a system in which both men and women participate. It privileges the interests of boys and men over the bodily integrity, autonomy, and dignity of girls and women.’
‘Honor killing most likely originates from the belief that a woman’s chastity is the property of her families, a patriarchal culture that comes from ancient Assyrian tribes of 1200 B.C. A woman, who was considered by the tribes to be a machine for making men, was forced through honor killing to obey the husband’s family and not to reproduce outside of the tribe or the extended family. In Babylonian societies, women accused of adultery were forced to throw themselves into a river to prove they were innocent. In ancient Egyptian culture, imprisonment, flogging, or mutilation were common punishments for women who had been convicted of adultery. In ancient Chinese culture husbands cut off the hair of adulterous women and then lead them to their death by an elephant trained to kill. Some Native American tribes punished adulterous women by cutting off their limbs and mutilating their bodies. In Persia, adulterous women were pushed into a well and left to die. ‘
More than 20,000 women are killed each year because of honor based violence.
10,000 women get killed each year in the name of honor in Pakistan.
‘The practice of honor killings goes across cultures and across religions. It had been practiced in Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Turkey, Jordan, Yemen, Syria, Morocco, Lebanon,Iraq, Brazil, Ecuador, Uganda etc. In many countries, murdering female family members in the name of honor is NOT considered a crime. In some countries honor killing is like a crime of passion, a crime often not punishable. In Pakistan, the practice of honor killing is supposed to be prosecuted under ordinary killing, but in practice police and prosecutors often ignore it and often a man simply claim the killing was for his honor and he will go free. In Syria, men can kill female relatives in a ‘crime of passion’ as long as it is not premeditated. It is legal for a husband to kill his wife in Jordan if he catches her committing adultery. Crime of passion can be a full or partial defense in countries like Argentina, Iran, Guatemala, Egypt, Israel, Peru, etc.’
Honor killings take place in Western countries (UK, Sweden, Germany, Italy, Canada, USA) among immigrant communities. Rape, acid attack are part of honor crimes.
These are just some informations. Another important information is Honor killing incidents are increasing rapidly all over the world.
There is no honor in killing. But women are still oppressed, tortured and killed everyday in the name of religion, patriarchy, tradition, culture, custom, family honor etc.etc. etc.
Men must stop exploiting, abusing and killing women in the name of hundreds of thousands of bullshit.
“It was a shocking thing to say and I knew it was a shocking thing to say. But no one has the right to live without being shocked. No one has the right to spend their life without being offended. Nobody has to read this book. Nobody has to pick it up. Nobody has to open it. And if you open it and read it, you don’t have to like it. And if you read it and you dislike it, you don’t have to remain silent about it. You can write to me, you can complain about it, you can write to the publisher, you can write to the papers, you can write your own book. You can do all those things, but there your rights stop. No one has the right to stop me writing this book. No one has the right to stop it being published, or bought, or sold or read. That’s all I have to say on that subject.” — Philip Pullman, the author of The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ.
American Historian Peter Heehs is facing expulsion from his home of 41 years. He wrote a book on Indian spiritual Guru Sri Aurobindo. The disciples of Aurobindo claim that the book is blasphemous because Heehs wrote Aurobindo was schizophrenic and had a romantic relationship with one of his disciples.
Aurobindo was a talented man, a freedom fighter, philosopher,yogi, guru, and a poet. If he were alive today, he would probably not have allowed his disciples to expel Peter Heehs from his ashram.
We are now witnessing a gradual Islamization of Hinduism.
The disciples or the believers or the worshipers create problems. They can’t stand the truth.
They could not stand the truth Pakistani Dr. Sheikh Yunus said. During his lecture at a medical college, he said that Muhammad did not become a Muslim until the age of 40 when he received his first revelation from God, and also that Muhammad’s parents were non-Muslims because they died before Islam was created, and that Muhammad married his first wife when he was 25, without an Islamic marriage contract, and that he was not circumcised.
Sheikh Yunus was sentenced to death by hanging.
We have been paying the price for their collective ignorance big time.
( Dwikhandito ( A life divided or Split in Two), the 3rd part of my autobiography caused a furore in [East Bengal (now Bangladesh) and West Bengal, India]. I was accused of having written my sexual relationship outside of marriage. The book was later banned for hurting religious feelings of people in India. $4 million dollar demanation lawsuits were filed against me for writing Dwikhandito by two male writers both in Bangladesh and India . The Indian high court lifted the ban on my book. But the book is still banned in Bangladesh. I wrote this article when some media and male-writers were spreading hatred against me in 2003. )
“Freedom is always and exclusively freedom for the one who thinks differently”. — Rosa Luxemburg
When I look back, the years gone by appear dry, ashen. Suddenly, a half-forgotten dream tears itself from that inert grey mass and stands before me, iridescent, obtrusive. Odd memories tiptoe into my solitary room. Confronting me, they make me tremble, they make me cry; they drag me back towards the days left behind. I cannot help but walk down the serpentine, shadowy alleys of my life, foraging for remembered fragments. To what use? The past is past, irrevocably so. The dreams that are long dead are unrecognizably dead. What good can it do to dust the cobwebs off them with tender fingers? What is gone just isn’t here anymore. I know, yet my life in exile makes me reach back into my past, again and again. I walk through the landscape of my memories like someone possessed. Each night brings with it nightmares, its own thick blanket of melancholy. It is then that I start telling the story of that girl.
A shy, timid girl, who grew up in a strict family, uncomplaining, constantly humiliated; a girl encircled by boundaries, whose every desire, every whim was thrown away as garbage; whose small, frail body was prey to many dark, hairy hands. I have narrated the story of that girl. A girl with modest adolescent dreams, who fell in love and married in secret, hoping to live the ordinary life of an ordinary woman. I have told her story. A woman betrayed by her dearly beloved husband, whose convictions came crashing down like a house of straw, a woman who knew sorrow, pain, mourning, and bereavement; a woman who was tempted to follow the terrible road to self-destruction. I have simply told her agonizing tale. A woman who then gathered up the broken pieces of her dreams and tried to live again, to make a little room of her own in the midst of a cruel, heartless society; who surrendered to a guardian called ‘man’ because society demanded it of her. But the hurt, the pain kept growing, the traumatic pain of losing an unborn child, wounds that left her bloodied and sore, onslaughts of malice, distrust and unbearable humiliation.
All that I have done is to tell the story of that trampled and bruised girl. That girl who, with whatever strength remained in her body and mind, stood up again, without anyone’s help, turned away from all shelter, trying to be her own self once more, her own refuge; a woman who refused to renounce and retreat from the world that had deceived and rejected her, a woman who refused to heed people’s taunts and sneers I have narrated the story of this girl, of this woman standing upright. A woman who refused to obey society’s diktats, its rituals and traditions. A woman whose constant stumbling, falling, being thrown, taught her to stand straight. Whose stumbling steps taught her to walk, whose wanderings showed her the way. Slowly, gradually, she witnessed the growth of a new consciousness within her, a simple thought took hold of her – “This life was her own and no one else’s. She was the one who could rule over it, no one else”. I have told the story of that girl, of the circumstances that shaped her. It is the story of a girl who came out of the furnace of patriarchy, not reduced to ashes, but as burnished steel. Have I done wrong? Even if I don’t think so, many people think today that it was wrong of me to tell this story. Today, I am standing in the prosecution box waiting for the verdict. It wouldn’t have been such a terrible crime if I had not disclosed the identity of that girl. The girl was I, Taslima.
Had I used my imagination, I could have done whatever I pleased – written page after page of fancy and all would have been forgiven. But it is forbidden to stake my claim in this real world to being a flesh and blood woman and announce audaciously – “I am that girl; after those turbulent years of sorrow I am standing up again; I have vowed to live my life as I see fit”. Why would the world accept this bold stance? No woman should have this kind of courage. I am completely unfit for a patriarchal society. In my own country Bangladesh, in my very own West Bengal, I am a forbidden name, an outlawed woman, a banned book. Nobody can utter my name, touch me, read me; if they do so their tongues will rot, their hands will become soiled, a deep disgust will overwhelm them. This is the way I am. This is the way I have chosen to be. Yet even if the publication of Dwikhandito shatters me into a thousand pieces, I will still not confess to any wrongdoing. Is it wrong to write the story of one’s life? Is it wrong to expose the deep, secret truths of life as you have lived it? The unwritten rule of every autobiography is – ‘Nothing will be hidden, everything shall be written about’. An autobiography’s subject is the unknown, the secrets of a human life. I have simply tried to follow this rule honestly. The first two volumes of my life story, Amar Meyebela (My Girlhood) and Utal Hawa (Strong Winds) have not raised the kind of controversy Dwikhandito has. In any case, I have not started the controversy, others have. Many have said that I have deliberately chosen sensational subject matter, incapable of generating anything but controversy.
This question should not be raised in the case of an autobiography. I have described the years of my childhood, my adolescence, my youth, living and growing through all kinds of experiences. I have spoken about my philosophy, my hopes and despairs, my beauty and my ugliness, my happiness and sorrow, my anger and tears, my own deviation from my ideals. I have not chosen a titillating or sensitive subject. I have simply chosen my own life to write about. If this life is a stimulating and exciting life, then how can I make it less so? I am told this volume has been written to raise a hue and cry. Does every conception have to have a petty motive? As if honesty, simplicity cannot be adequate reasons. As if courage, something that I am told I have in abundance, cannot be a good enough reason. Controversy about my writing is nothing new. I am familiar with it from the very time I was being published. Actually, isn’t the truth rather simple? Just this: if you don’t compromise with a patriarchal society, you will find yourself at the centre of a storm? There are many different definitions of what makes an autobiography. Most of us easily accept those autobiographies that are idealistic and describe only good and happy events. Generally, great men write about their lives to inspire other lives, to reveal the truth and the path of righteousness. I am neither a sage, nor a great, erudite being, and I write not to show light to the blind. I am simply unmasking the wounds and blights of an ordinary human life.
Even though I am not a great litterateur, momentous things have happened in my life. Certainly it is no ordinary life, when, because of my beliefs and ideals, thousands take to the streets asking for my death; or when my books are banned because they carry my opinions; or when the state snatches away the right to live in my own land for speaking the truth! When it is all right for others to constantly describe my life, and add color to their portrayal, why shouldn’t it be all right for me to take the responsibility to describe it myself, fully, truthfully? Surely no one else can know my life the way I know it? If I don’t reveal myself, if I don’t depict the whole of myself – especially those events that have shaken me — if I don’t talk of all that is good and bad in me, of my weaknesses and my strengths, my happiness and sorrow, my generosity and cruelty, then I don’t think I can stay true to the responsibility of writing an autobiography. For me, literature for literature’s sake, or literary niceties for their own sake, cannot be the last word; I place a greater value on honesty.
Whatever my life may be, however contemptible or despicable, I do not deceive myself when I sit down to write about it. If the reader is disgusted or appalled by my tale, so be it. At least I can be satisfied that I have not cheated my reader. I am not presenting a fictitious narrative in the guise of an autobiography. I narrate the truths of my life, the ugly as much as I do the beautiful, without hesitation. I can’t change my past. The ugliness and the beauty must both be accepted; I won’t lie and say, “It didn’t happen”. The sharp arrows of mockery come flying from every direction. The mud of slander and humiliation is flung to soil me. There is only one reason for this assault. I have spoken the truth. Not everyone can bear the truth. The truths of Amar Meyebela and Utal Hawa can be borne; Dwikhandito’s is insupportable. In Amar Meyebela, when I described my ignoble childhood, people said sympathetically, “How terrible!” In Utal Hawa, when I described being cheated on by my husband, they expressed their sympathy. But in Dwikhandito, when I spoke openly of my relationships with various men, they began to point fingers at me. We can draw only one conclusion from this: As long as a woman is oppressed and defenseless, people like her and sympathize with her. But when she refuses to remain exploited or suppressed, when she stands up, when she straightens her spine, establishes her rights, breaks the oppressive social systems that chain her so as to free her body and mind – she is no longer admirable. I knew this character of our society; even then I was not afraid to speak freely about myself.
One of the main reasons for the controversy regarding Dwikhandito is sexual freedom. Since most people are immersed neck-deep in the traditions of a patriarchal society, they are irritated, angry and outraged at the open declaration of a woman’s sexual autonomy. This freedom is not something that I simply talk about; rather, I have established it for myself, in and through my life. But this freedom is not license; men cannot touch me whenever they please. I decide. Our society is not yet ready for such freedom in a woman. It refuses to accept the fact that a woman can sexually engage with and enjoy any man she desires, and yet rigorously decide where to draw the line in any encounter. Our renowned, famous, well-heeled writers delight in slandering me by calling me a fallen woman, a whore. In doing this they only prove themselves to be the figureheads of this disgusting, dirty patriarchal society! They first use ‘whore’ for their enjoyment and then deploy the words ‘whore’ as a term for abuse! There is really nothing novel in the use of women as sexual slaves. Although in this volume of my autobiography I have spoken about my personal struggle against patriarchy, and religious fundamentalism, spoken about the torture meted out by society on women and religious minorities, nobody talks of the fact that I have spoken of such things. They only notice my relationships with men. They notice the audacity that I have in opening my mouth about the deep, secret, ugly and repulsive subject of what happens to sexuality in a patriarchal society.
Whenever, in the history of the world, in times of darkness, a woman stands up against patriarchy, speaks about emancipation, tries to break free from her chains, she gets called a ‘whore’. Many years ago, in the preface to my book, A Fallen Woman’s Fallen Prose‚ I wrote about how I delighted in calling myself a ‘fallen woman’. It was because I knew that whenever a woman has protested against oppression by the state, by religion, or by society, whenever she has become aware of all her rights, society has called her a whore. I believe that in this world, for a woman to be pure, to be true to herself, she has to become a ‘fallen woman’. Only when a woman is called a ‘whore’ can she know that she is free from the coils of society’s diktats. The ‘fallen’ woman is really a pure and pristine human being. I truly believe that if a woman wants to earn her freedom, be a human, she has to earn this label. This title, coming from a fallen, degenerate society, should be seen as an honour by every woman. Till now, of all the prizes I have received, I consider this honour to be the greatest recognition of what I have done with my life. I have earned it because I have given a mortal blow to the decaying, rotten body of patriarchy. This is the true measure of the worth of my life as a writer, of my life as a woman and the long years of my struggle to be the person I am.
A writer in Bangladesh has sued me for defamation after Dwikhandito came out. Another in West Bengal has also followed suit. Dissatisfied with that, they have demanded a ban on my book. I really cannot understand how a writer can demand this about another writer’s work. How can they fight for freedom of speech and thought and then behave like fundamentalists. I believe every word of what Evelyn Beatrice Hall said – “Je ne suis absolument pas d’accord avec vos idées, mais je me battrais pour que vous puissiez les exprimer…” – (“I do not agree with your ideas, but I will fight for your right to express them”.) So many people have written about their lives. If it is a human life, it is full of errors, mistakes, black marks, and thorns, even when those in question are saints. St. Augustine (335-430 AD) wrote about his life, talked openly about his undisciplined, immoral, reckless youth in Algeria, his illegitimate son, his sexual exploits. Mahatma Gandhi spoken of how he tested his celibacy by making women sleep in the same bed with him. Jean Jacques Rousseau (1712-1774) in his Confessions narrates every incident of his life, without holding
back the ugly and the bad. Benjamin Franklin (1709-1790) confesses how he brought up his illegitimate son, William. Bertrand Russell and Leo Tolstoy have been equally frank about their lives. Why did these men talk about things they knew were unacceptable by society? It is because they wanted to let their readers know their real selves, and because
they felt that these experiences were important in their lives. Does anyone call them names because they have been indiscreet? Rather, these admirable men remain exactly in the position of honor they have always occupied, and it is reinforced by their telling of the truths of their lives. Catherine Millet’s La vie sexuelle de Catherine M (The sexual life of Catherine M) describes the sexual freedom of the sixties, her life with many men, vivid descriptions of sex. Hasn’t this book occupied a place among other literary works? Gabriel Garcia Marquez in his Vivir Para Contarla talks of other women with whom he had relations. Will someone run to court to ban Marquez’s book?
In every country, biographies are written about famous men and women. Biographers conduct research for years to unearth some hidden aspects of the life under examination. Even innermost secrets no longer remain so, and we have seen this even in the case of Rabindranath Tagore’s life. In spite of being a passionate spokesman against child marriage, why did he allow his daughter to marry so young? We now know the reason. But the question remains: Why does a reader need to know all this? Why do researchers spend years finding out the most intimate details of a person’s life? It is because in the light of these hidden facts we can analyze and understand the writer and his work in a new way. Many Bengali writers love playing games with women, and even if they hesitate to mention these escapades in their autobiographies, the characters they create boldly commit such acts. Nobody has ever questioned them, but if a woman talks of sexuality, in a fictional work or in her autobiography, eyebrows are raised. Sexuality is a man’s prerogative, his ancestral’ patrilineal property. I can’t possibly write like men. I must write more discreetly. I am a woman after all. Only a man possesses the right to discuss a woman’s body, her thighs, her breasts, her waist and her vagina. Why should a woman do it? This patriarchal society has not given me that right, but since I have thumbed my nose at this rule and have written about it, however sad or poignant my tale may be, I have crossed the limits.
For a man, a playboy image is something to be proud of. When a woman writes about her love and sexuality with honesty, she becomes a suspect, a ‘characterless’ woman. I have talked of certain things in my autobiography that I should not have. I have muckraked; I have crossed the limit allowed to me. One should not discuss what happens inside the bedroom or between two individuals because such events are unimportant. But I consider them important because all those incidents have shaped the Taslima that I am today – this woman with her beliefs and disbeliefs, mores and thoughts, and her own sense of her self. The world around her has created her brick by brick, not as a chaste domesticated angel, but as an ardent, renegade, disobedient brat. Then they say: I can destroy my own reputation, but why do I have to destroy the reputation of others? This question has come up, although I am writing about what is after all my own life. I fail to understand why those who are so self-consciously respectable do things that they consider contemptible? They say that I have broken their trust. But I never promised anyone my silence. People tell me there is an unwritten rule, but only those afraid my revelations will destroy their saintly images uphold this code of discretion. And then they try to intimidate me with their furious wrinkled brows! But what if I want to reveal whatever I consider important? What if I decide that what I am talking about is not obscene, at least to me? Who creates these definitions of obscenity and sets out the limits? I decide what I should write in my autobiography, how much to reveal, how much to conceal. Or should I not? Should I wait for instructions from X, Y, and Z, from some Maqsud Ali, some Keramat Mian, or from some Paritosh or Haridas Pal? Should I wait on them to tell me what to write, how much to write?
Critics want to characterize my freedom as self-indulgent license. This is because our likes and dislikes, our sense of right and wrong, sin and virtue, beauty and ugliness are moulded by thousands of years of patriarchy. So, patriarchy has taught us that the true characteristics of a woman are her diffidence, her timidity, her chastity, her lowered head, and her patience. Therefore, the critic’s habituated, controlled perceptions are afraid to face harsh truths, and quickly shut their ears in disgust. “Is she a real writer? Does she have the right to an autobiography?”, they ask in anger. I think that everyone has a right to talk about their lives, even the pompous critic who regards a pen in my hands as an outrage! I have been called irresponsible. I may be irresponsible, I may be irrational, but I refuse to give up the right to be so. George Bernard Shaw once said, “A reasonable man adapts himself to the world. An unreasonable man persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends upon the unreasonable man”. Taslima Nasreen is one of those unreasonable human beings. I do not claim that progress depends upon me; I am simply an insignificant writer. In the eyes of wise men, I am happy to be labelled an unreasonable or imprudent person. It is because I am foolish that I have not kept my mouth shut, I have stood my ground even as an entire society has spat upon me. I have remained firm when patriarchy’s ardent supporters have come to trample me. My naïveté, my unreasonableness, my irrationality are my greatest assets.
The question of religion has also come up. Those who know me also know that I always speak up against religious conventions. Religion is thoroughly patriarchal. If I insult religion or religious texts, why should men tolerate it, especially when these same men use religion and religious texts to suppress others? It is these pious gentlemen who have forced me to leave my country. I have paid the price for truth with my own life. How much more should I pay? Just like in West Bengal today, my books have been banned earlier in Bangladesh on the excuse that they may incite riots. The communal tension raging through South Asia is not caused by my books but by other reasons. The torture of Bangladesh’s minorities, the killing of Muslims in Gujarat, the oppression of Biharis in Assam, the attacks against Christians, the conflicts between shitte and Sunni in Pakistan have all occurred without any contribution from me. Even if I am an insignificant writer, I write for humanity, I write with all my heart that every human being is equal, and there must be no discrimination on the basis of gender, color, or religion. Everyone has the right to live. Riots don’t break out because of what I write. But I am the one who is punished for what I write. Fires rage in my home. I am the one who has to suffer exile. I am the one who is homeless everywhere.