The Miserable Fate Of Many Women In The Muslim World


May 22, 2012 - San Francisco, CA - - Egyptian-American columnist Mona Eltahawy recently wrote a very courageous article in Foreign Policy. She discusses the fate of women in the Muslim world, asking a very simple question: "Why do they hate us?" "They" primarily refers to Muslim men and Muslim clerics. "The real war on women is in the Middle East," Eltahawy claims, and she is not exaggerating. The so-called Arab Spring did not improve women's lives and rights – on the contrary, it caused a backlash from conservative forces which insist on women wearing the Islamic veil and want to force them to abide by totalitarian Islamic or "Sharia" law. It has also implications for the ever growing number of Muslim immigrants in Europe and North America who favor the introduction of Sharia law and hate the West. Most of these immigrants are from the Middle East, Asia (notably from Pakistan and Afghanistan) and Africa (notably from Somalia, Eritrea, Nigeria, Mali and Chad). Many of them, too, believe in Sharia law which justifies polygamy and wife beating.

What is needed in the Muslim world is not just a political change – overthrowing dictators such as Khadaffi and Assad –, but also a thorough cultural and religious change. Or, as Eltahawy puts it, "Name me an Arab country, and I'll recite a litany of abuses fueled by a toxic mix of culture and religion that few seem willing or able to disentangle lest they blaspheme or offend. When more than 90 percent of ever-married women in Egypt – including my mother and all but one of her six sisters – have had their genitals cut in the name of modesty, then surely we must all blaspheme. When Egyptian women are subjected to humiliating 'virginity tests' merely for speaking out, it's no time for silence. When an article in the Egyptian criminal code says that if a women has been beaten by her husband 'with good intentions' no punitive damages can be obtained, then to hell with political correctness. And what, pray tell, are 'good intentions'?"

"Not a single Arab country ranks in the top 100 of the World Economic Forum's Global Gender Gap Report, putting the region as a whole solidly at the planet's rock bottom," Eltahawy writes. "Poor and rich, we all hate our women. Neighbors Saudi Arabia and Yemen, for instance, might be eons apart when it comes to GDP, but only four places separate them on the index, with the kingdom at 131 and Yemen coming in at 135 out of 135 countries. Morocco, often touted for its 'progressive' family law (a 2005 report by Western 'experts' called it 'an example for Muslim countries aiming to integrate into modern society'), ranks 129; according to Morocco's Ministry of Justice, 41,098 girls under age 18 were married there in 2001." There are "horrific news reports about 12-year old girls dying in childbirth" in Yemen. "Demonstrations in support of child marriage outstrip those against it, fueled by clerical declarations that opponents of state-sanctioned pedophilia are apostates because the prophet Mohammed (also spelt Muhammad, V.), according to them, married his second wife, Aisha, when she was a child."

Saudi family expert Ghazi Al-Shimari claims that "the prophet Muhammad married Aisha when she was six years old, but he had sex with her only when she was nine. At that point, she had become a young woman and could cope with it." "Here in Saudi Arabia, it is different from Syria, where a girl of 12 or 13 years is considered to be a woman, ready for marriage. The same goes for Yemen." "In warm climates girls grow up quickly, in contrast to a cold climate." "My mother got married at the age of 13, and I have aunts and relatives who got married at the age of 13."

For us in the West and in most civilized parts of the world having sex with minors is still and rightly being considered to be pedophilia and those who practice it are put on trial, if they are caught, at least. Even mistreating or locking up adult women is punishable by law. Thus, in Spain a Moroccan immigrant was convicted in June 2010 for having locked up his wife in his own house.

The problem of sexual harassment and rape

"From Morocco to Yemen, sexual harassment is endemic," Eltahawy writes.

"In a 2008 survey by the Egyptian center for Women's Rights, more than 80 percent of Egyptian women said they'd experienced sexual harassment and more than 60 percent of men admitted to harassing women."

In the same country, Christian Coptic girls and women are kidnapped, subsequently raped and then forced to convert to Islam, and the police fail to protect them. One of them was 27-year old Laila, a married woman with a three year old son. She was even tortured by her kidnappers. They brought her to a house where she met eight Coptic girls who were still minors and who were equally forced to become Muslims. Miraculously, Laila managed to escape. After she reported her abduction to the police, her kidnappers threatened to retaliate against her family. Some 1500 Coptic girls have been kidnapped between June 2011 and April 2012. This is often justified by the Islamists as being part of a holy war against unbelievers. Their victims could then be seen as so-called "war captives."

A well documented Wikipedia article on "Rape in Islam" claims that "this practice of raping war captives was implemented by Islams' very own prophet Muhammed, in his life. On two occasions, he married (for the sake of marriage only) war captives and raped them. Those victims were namely Safiyya and Juwairiyya. Safiyya the daughter of Huayy was the wife of a Jewish rabbi named Kinana. When Muhammed conquered the Jewish village of Khaibar, he tortured and killed the Jewish rabbi and grabbed his wife. Sahih Hadith in Bukhari testifies to this fact."

"Sahih Muslim, Chapter 29: Title: It is permissible to have sexual intercourse with a captive woman after she is purified of menses or delivery. In case she has a husband, her marriage is abrogated after she becomes captive."

"Women are your fields," the Koran says. Note the plural (women)! "Go then, into your fields whence you please." (Sura 2: 223). A more correct translation says: "Your wives are a tilth (cultivated land) for you, so go into your tilth when you like."

Sexual harassment and abuse are also a serious problem in North American, Australian and European cities where male Muslim immigrants all too often target Western women or Muslim women they regard as being "Westernized." There were reported cases of harassment or rape by Muslim immigrants in, for example, Sydney, New York, Minneapolis, Vancouver, Toronto, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Utrecht, Brussels, Antwerp, Paris, Grenoble, Lyon, Marseille, Vienna, Berlin, Frankfurt, Munich, Zurich, Rome, Milan, Athens, Stockholm, Malmö, Gothenburg, Oslo, Copenhagen, London, Birmingham, Manchester and Glasgow. Muslim extremists and rapists justify the so-called "sexual jihad" or gang rapes. (They practiced this numerous times in Algeria in the 1990s.)

A Muslim leader in Britain was quoted in the British Daily Mail. He warned that some British Pakistani men "think that white teenage girls are worthless and can be abused without a second thought." Recently, nine members from a Pakistani gang in Manchester were sentenced "for a total of 77 years for raping and abusing up to 47 girls – some as young as 13 – after plying them with alcohol and luring them to takeways." "The trial heard that the men – who are all from Pakistan, apart from one who is from Afghanistan – groomed and 'shared' the young whiter girls because they were vulnerable." The gang's ringleader branded judge Gerald Clifton a "racist b******," the Daily Mail reported. The 59-year old ringleader was jailed for 19 years. The judge "accused the gang of targeting white girls because they were not part of their community and religion," the Daily Mail reported. They had treated their victims "as though they were worthless and beyond all respect."

"With experts on pedophilia insisting street grooming by Muslim men was a real problem, the judge made it clear he believed religion was a factor." "Detective Inspector Michael Sanderson of Greater Manchester Police, was quoted in the Daily Mail as saying that none of the convicted men had ever shown 'the slightest bit of remorse.'" Detectives are hunting "for forty more (Asian) men who may have had sex with underage girls."

In East London, a fundamentalist Muslim named Sunny Islam raped four women at knifepoint "to punish them for being on the street at night," the British Daily Mail reported. One of his victims was a 15-year old girl. Another victim "was repeatedly punched in the face until she was bleeding and then tied up and raped twice." Sunny Islam was sentenced to a minimum of 11 years.

"Norway is suffering from an unprecedented wave of rapes that are largely perpetuated by Muslim immigrants against local women," an Israel blogger named Yehuda Bello reported. "Bello reports that from January to late October (2011), 48 rapes were confirmed to have been carried out in Oslo alone, 45 of them by Muslims." The Norwegian police reported in 2011 that "all assault rapes in Oslo in 2010 were perpetrated by Muslims." The police were then accused of "ethnic profiling." This is what liberal multiculturalists and the powerful immigration lobby in the West are doing all the time: they don't blame the perpetrators, but their victims.

CBN TV reported last year that the victims were primarily native non-Muslim women. "Some blonde Norwegian women have begun dying their hair black and many travel only in groups." CBN quoted an eloquent Norwegian woman named Kristin Spitznogle, a therapist who has counseled some of the rape victims. She said: "For them (the rapists, V.), I think the hijab (Islamic headscarf, V.) is a symbolic marker which separates the submissive proper Muslim woman from what they see as the 'Norwegian whores.' When I say 'whores,' I am really referring to their own words. This is what they told the journalists."

The Australian city of Sydney was plagued by gang rapes, and the perpetrators invariably were Muslim immigrants from Lebanon. Nine of them were convicted. One of the victims told her story to "60 Minutes." She told of how the attackers called her an 'Aussie pig,' asked her if 'Leb cock tasted better than Aussie cock' and explained to her that she would now be raped 'Leb style.'" She was "raped 25 times by a total of fourteen men in an ordeal that lasted six hours." Rapists used SMS and mobile phones, texting messages as "When you are feeling down… bash a Christian or Catholic and lift up."

Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik justified his terrorist attacks as having been part of a so-called crusade against multiculturalism and "Islamization." In no way can serious critics of multiculturalism be associated with such a man and his obnoxious ideas. Breivik is a plain terrorist who copied the methods of Al-Qaeda. Al-Qaeda also targeted and killed many minors.

Vocal critics of Islam such as Salman Rushdie, the late Dutch sociologist and politician Pim Fortuyn, Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Geert Wilders never justified the use of violence. Nowhere in Wilders' latest book "Marked for Death" do we find a call to kill Muslims just because they are Muslims. As Wilders correctly points out: "There is no better metaphor to illustrate the difference between a pen and an axe. We settle our arguments with the former; Islam uses the latter. It is a frightening metaphor in some ways, indicating that when we are attacked with axes, we only have pens with which to defend ourselves." There have been numerous calls by Muslim radicals to kill Geert Wilders, Salman Rushdi and Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

A significant increase of so-called "honor killings"

Not so few Muslim girls who showed a distinct preference for Western clothing and culture have been murdered by conservative male family members who proudly justified these evil killings as "acting in defense of our family's honor." Nonie Darwish who now lives in the United States writes: 'Decades ago when I lived in Egypt, we were all aware of the hush-hush topic of honor killing. The religious community was silent about it, and we always presumed that it was supported by religion since no religious leaders ever condemned it." "Cases of honor killing have always been ignored by the religious community and Sharia experts. It is only now that Muslims are showing some sensitivity about the topic because Western countries are becoming aware of and alarmed by incidents in their own backyard by Muslim immigrants."

Most honor crimes occur in the Middle East, Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh. There are numerous reports of fathers killing their own daughters. Between April and November 2008, there were 50 honor killings in Iran alone. One dramatic case involved a 14-year old girl named Saeedeh who was stoned to death by her father Mohammad. "Sharif told the authorities that when he found out about his 14 years old daughter's relationship with a boy, he took Saeedeh to the mountains around the city of Zahedan and killed her by stoning and then shooting four bullets at her."

Women in Pakistan and Afghanistan who are accused of disobeying their husbands or fathers are often mutilated, for example by throwing acid at them, usually at their faces and so seriously damaging their skin. Another terrible ordeal for poor and defenseless female victims is cutting their noses off. A 14-year old Afghan girl named Bibi Aisha was forced by her father to marry a Taliban commander. She later fled but was caught. Her husband then cut off her nose and her ears – in the presence of her father. She was then left to die, but rescued later. She traveled to the United States, with the help of the Afghan Human Rights organization Women for Afghan Women. Her mutilated face was on the cover of Time magazine (August 9, 2010).

Once these horrid crimes were confined to the Middle East and Asia, but later they were increasingly committed by Muslim immigrants who settled in Western countries in the 1970s and after. In January 2012, "an Afghan immigrant to Canada, his second wife and his son were convicted of the honor killings of his first wife and three daughters," UPI reported. "Mohammad Shafia, 59, Tooba Mohammad Yahya, 42, and Hamed Shafia were immediately given the mandatory life sentence with a minimum of 25 years without parole." "The apparent reason behind these cold-blooded shameful murders was that the four completely innocent victims offended your twisted notion of honor, a notion of honor that is founded upon the domination and control of women, a sick notion of honor that has absolutely no place in any civilized society," judge Robert Maranger said.

"Hundreds of young female immigrants are hiding from their families in Germany after fleeing oppression, physical violence and even death threats," the German weekly Der Spiegel reported in November 2011. "Charities and social workers help women get new identities and build independent lives for themselves, but the risk of revenge from honor-obsessed relatives remains."

A dramatic example was a 16-year old German-Afghan girl named Morsal Obeidi who lived in Germany. Her parents blamed her for adopting Western habits. They wanted her to marry a traditional Afghan man in Afghanistan. She did not comply with those wishes. Her brother Ahmad Sobair Obeida was then ordered to do something about it. "We knew that she had a boyfriend," Ahmad later lamely justified the killing of his sister, according to Der Spiegel. "But in our society, a girl just can't do that." With a knife he stabbed his younger sister to death near the Hamburg railway station on May 15, 2008. He was subsequently sentenced to life imprisonment. In court he called the prosecutor "a son of a bitch" ("Hurensohn") and after the verdict the same prosecutor received death threats. Immediately after verdict family members attacked journalists.

"Honor killings accelerated significantly in a 20-year period between 1989 and 2009," Phyllis Chesler writes in the Middle East Quarterly. "The worldwide average age of victims for the entire population is twenty-three. This is true for all geographical regions." "Honor killings are a family collaboration. Worldwide, two-thirds of the victims were killed by their families of origin. Murder by the family of origin was at its highest (72 percent) in the Muslim world and at its lowest in America (49 percent); European families of origin were involved almost as often as those in the Muslim world, possibly because so many are first- or second-generation immigrants and, therefore, still tightly bound to their native cultures."

Emerson Vermaat is an investigative reporter in the Netherlands. Webside:


Mona Eltahawy, Why Do They Hate Us? Foreign Policy, April 23, 2012.

Reformatorisch Dagblad (Netherlands), April 17, 2012, p. 1 ("Kamer: Kaart ontvoering kopten aan"), Puntkomma (Reformatorisch Dagblad supplement), April 17, 2012, p. 2, 3 (Laila). On the abduction of Christian Coptic girls and women.

Rape in Islam,

MEMRI, Special Dispatch, July 23, 2010 ("Saudi Family Expert Ghazi Al-Shimari on Underage Marriage in Saudi Arabia"). Excerpts from a TV debate on marriages involving young girls in Saudi Arabia, which aired on Iqraa TV (Saudi Arabia) on May 20, 2010.

El País (Spain), June 10, 2010 ("Condenado a cinco años por encerrar a su esposa en casa").

Daily Mail/Mailonline (London), May 10, 2012 ("Asian grooming gang detectives hunt for forty more men who may have had sex with underage girls.")

Daily Mail/Mailonline, January 25, 2012 ("'Strict Muslim raped four women at knifepoint 'to punish them for being on the street at night'"); Algemeen Dagblad/ (Netherlands), January 26, 2012 ("Verkrachter 'leerde vrouwen die 's avonds op straat zijn lesje'").

Arutz Sheva 7/Israel National News, April 12, 2011 ("Muslim 'rape wave' reported in Oslo"); June 23, 2011 ("Police report: All assault rapists in Oslo follow Muhammad").

CBN/You Tube, September 10, 2011 ("Rapes in Oslo primarily Muslim men raping non-Muslim women").

Sydney Gang Rapes,

Geert Wilders, Marked for Death. Islam's War Against the West and Me (Washington, DC: Regnery Publishing, Inc., 2012), p. 4.

Nonie Darwish, Cruel and Usual Punishment. The terrifying global implications of Islamic Law (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2008), p. 70.

Iran Human Rights. Official website, November 29, 2008 ("50 honor killings in the last 7 months in Iran"); February 15, 2008 ("A 14 years old girl stoned to death by her father").

Time, August 9, 2010 (Bibi Aisha).

UPI, January 29, 2012 ("Family guilty of quadruple honor killing").

Der Spiegel/Spiegelonline (Germany), April 4, 2012 ("Immigrants flee families to find themselves"). The Morsal Obeidi case.

Die Welt/Weltonline (Germany), February 16, 2009 ("Staatsanwalt erhält Morddrohungen nach Urteil"). (Death threats against prosecutor.)

Phyllis Chester, Worldwide Trends in Honor Killings, Middle East Quaterly, Spring 2010, p. 3-11.

© 2012 Emerson Vermaat. All rights reserved