And I’m not talking about Madonna here.
As a Syrian and a Muslim it pains me to say this. But, there is an Arabic proverb that says “you see the sliver in other peoples’ eyes, yet fail to see the pole in your own.” So, just because I’d rather not be own of ‘those people’ I’m going to say it like it is.
By this day and age, everyone has heard of those horrific honour killings. Your daughter, sister, mother disgraces you and your family? Off with their head! Forget that there’s a God involved here, or a shariaa law that – as a Muslim – you’re bound to obey, or even basic concepts like humanity and familial ties.
When I first moved to Syria, a video was circulating depicting the public beating and killing of a woman. Oh Allah. My cousins held me down and forced me to watch. I’m not going to go into details but those images will be with me to my dying day. Thank God there is a God who will see that justice is meted out in the end, because we live in one cruel world!
It’s so sickening. When you hear of these people who contrary to everything they should know as humans and as muslims, acting in cruel, heartless ways. Don’t they fear God?? What goes around will come around… Ya Allah!
What bought this to mind was the story of Assiya Rafiq. Assiya Rafiq was kidnapped at the age of 16 and repeatedly raped and beaten by a group of thugs. A year later, once they’d had their fill, they delivered her to a police station. Unfortunately, salvation and peace were a long time coming, and Assiya was subjected to rape by the four police officers.
This all took place in Pakistan. Now, in Pakistan, the only option available to a woman who has undergone the shame of rape is to commit suicide. That was she cleanses herself and her family name. Never mind that she is innocent, or that suicide is FORBIDDEN in Islam.
But this particular woman isn’t having any of that. She’s fighting the system, demanding to have her rights recognized and the men who raped her prosecuted.
I’m in awe of her bravery. When I was in Syria, I faced that cultural wall quite a few times, when culture dictated I do something completely contrary to my beliefs. And even though it wasn’t something as oppressing and merciless as rape, I still felt as though I were being backed into the proverbial corner. It was not a pleasant experience. Some days I stuck by my beliefs. Others a faltered. May God give her the strength to see this through and break that damn cycle!