March 16th, 2011
07:32 AM ET

Will the revolutions help or hurt women? A country-by-country look

By Mona Lisa Mouallem, CNN

At the 15th annual Women in the World conference, held in New York City last Friday, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton voiced her concern about the future of women’s rights in the Middle East:

"In recent weeks, we have seen women on the front lines of progress in Egypt and Tunisia. Some of the earliest organizers ... that helped galvanize Egypt and Tunisia were smart, wired and committed young women. But unfortunately, in both countries, there is a very real danger that the rights and opportunities of women could be eroded in this transition period."

Indeed, in the aftermath of the revolutions, women have been sidelined from the formation of the new governments.

In Tunisia, only two women have been appointed to the transitional government.  Ousted Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali had far more women in his cabinet. Conservative voices in Tunisia are also calling for the scaling back of Tunisia's Personal Status Code, a series of laws that have protected women's rights in the country for more than 50 years.

In Egypt, not a single woman has been appointed to the council in charge of revamping the old constitution. And when Egyptian women called for a million-woman march seeking equal rights for all Egyptians, only a few hundred showed up last week. These women were greeted by a large group of men hurling misogynistic insults.

The fact that Middle East revolutions are not heralding improvements in women’s rights may come as a surprise.  After all, it was only a few weeks ago that women and men were protesting side by side in Tunis, pitching up tents in unison in Tahrir Square, and bringing food and water to those who couldn't leave the demonstrations.

So why – despite their important role in bringing about change – are Arab women getting sidelined now?

There are several possible answers.

First, most experts agree that the anti-government protests are, first and foremost, protests against the political and economic status quo. Arab women have been protesting against political regimes for decades, so their role in the recent protests – while seemingly revolutionary – isn't all that new and doesn't symbolize a victory for women's rights.

Second, even though the revolutions taking place are a step toward democracy, it is important to recognize the cultural reality in most of these countries.

"What people have to realize is that these are religiously conservative societies, so a democracy in a largely Islamic country would have religious tendencies," said Shadi Hamid, a fellow at the Saban Center for Middle East Policy. "Given that, we have to be honest with ourselves - there isn't much of a priority for women's rights."

Leila Austin, a professorial lecturer at Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies, considers it growing pains.

"If you look at revolutions throughout history, despite the idealism felt among the protesters, there is unfortunately a period of repression right afterwards. All the known 'contracts' have to get renegotiated – and there is always a battle going on between progressive and regressive forces. Women's issues are included in this."

So how will the revolutions taking place in the region affect women's rights? Is there a chance that women will become more marginalized than before?

Isobel Coleman, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and author of the book "Paradise Beneath Her Feet: How Women Are Transforming the Middle East," believes that the effects of revolution will vary country by country for women.  We asked Coleman to examine a few countries for us. Here’s what she had to say:

Bahrain

The protesters that have been gathering in Bahrain for weeks now are calling for the end of the Sunni Al-Khalifa dynasty, which has ruled the majority Shiite country for 230 years. But it is women that have comprised more than half of the protesting population, and their presence symbolizes a desire to participate more in politics.

Bahraini women earned the right to vote in 2006, they can run for election, and they enjoy more rights than their Saudi neighbors. Nevertheless, there remains inequality among the genders, especially where family law is concerned.

"While Bahrain's events are mainly about politics," Coleman said, "I'm hopeful that a better political outcome will benefit overall human and women's rights."

Egypt

Hosni Mubarak was ousted February 11 after 30 years of dictatorship, and women of all ages played a huge role in his exit. While Egyptian women enjoyed more rights than their neighbors under Mubarak's rule, it was still the norm for women’s rights to be undermined.

While we don't know yet what a new government or new constitution will look like, there is already concern that women's rights will be sidelined and/or rolled back. In the weeks since Mubarak left, women have been excluded from the decision-making table.

"There's a lot of concern about Egypt, as there is real potential for backsliding," Coleman said. "Women's groups are not united, and there is no common platform advocating for women's rights."

Coleman remains optimistic, however, especially because "Egyptians' desire for Sharia is balanced by a strong demand for modernization."

Libya

Since Gadhafi came to power in the 1969 coup, he has claimed staunch support for women's rights, especially in the realm of education and employment. However, cultural norms and Libyan law continues to favor males, leading to the belief that much of Gadhafi’s attempts for change were more for political show than anything else.

Coleman is rather pessimistic about women's issues in Libya: "There is a brutal civil war happening; there are going to be tribal conflicts. Gadhafi trampled so much on human rights as it was, and was inconsistent in his approach to women's rights that, essentially, there's nothing written in stone for them. No matter what happens with Gadhafi, women's issues will be secondary."

Oman

Women's rights have increased steadily over the past decade in this monarchy. There are currently more women than men enrolled in universities, and women's participation in the work force is on the rise.

Like Bahrain, women's participation in the protests have less to do with rights and more to do with economic reform and a desire for all citizens to have more of a say in the government. Coleman believes that women’s issues will benefit in Bahrain and Oman if the protests there result in a more open and free society.

Saudi Arabia

In Saudi Arabia, women's rights are highly restricted. Women are not allowed to drive or vote, and they are required to wear abayas and headscarves outside the home. Women are also not allowed to appear in court, and they find it very difficult to obtain a divorce.

Women's rights remain a contentious issue in Saudi Arabia between those who want change and those who favor the status quo. Opinion is divided even among women themselves, as many do not believe in secular reform. Coleman, however, believes that the current demonstrations – while political – will result in favor of an increase in women's rights.

"Already in these demonstrations, we've seen prominent Saudis on the side of moral reform, calling to lift the ban on driving and other laws,” she said. “I think women could actually benefit from the protests."

Tunisia

The protests that occurred in Tunisia in December and January succeeded in ousting its former president. Tunisians were calling for change in leadership in the face of increasing unemployment, inflation, corruption, and violation of civil liberties.

However, Tunisian women enjoyed nearly all the same rights as men under Ben Ali's leadership, and they made great strides in all fields including law, medicine and media.

Now, with Ben Ali gone, Tunisia has opened itself up to the possibility of regression on women’s rights. Nevertheless, Coleman is optimistic about the situation: "No matter who takes the reins, it seems there will be a pragmatic approach to Islam. We are already seeing evidence of this among the top leaders."

Yemen

As it stands, Yemen is one of the least progressive countries in the world when it comes to women's rights. Here are some facts:

– Yemen has the largest gap in literacy rates between men and women in the world; only 35% of women are literate
– There is no minimum age for marriage, which means that many females find themselves with a husband when they are as young as 12
– If a woman wants to marry, she must ask a male relative for permission
– Only one member of Parliament is female out of 301

"Women's rights have been nearly nonexistent, so it's safe to say that it can only go up from here," Coleman said.

A sign that things might be on the up: One of the leaders of Yemen's protest movement, Tawakkul Karman, is a woman. For a couple of years now, Karman has been an outspoken champion for human rights.

"Along with standing up against the regime, Karman has been pushing a human-rights agenda and garnering support from many Yemeni women,” Coleman said. “So even though the current protests are not a movement specifically for women's rights, this has the potential to lead to later political freedom."

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Topics: Middle East • Revolution • Women

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soundoff (164 Responses)
  1. TheTruth

    Truth be told, the arabs are a bunch of backward people still living way behind these modern times, mostly due to their practice of islam and the antiquated teachings of the satanic koran.

    March 16, 2011 at 11:36 pm | Reply
    • Suzan

      @the truth
      if being muslims means backward people in ur opinion, so YES we are backward arabs, and who u r to judge Islam. We really don't care whether u like our way of life or not. So calm down

      March 17, 2011 at 12:19 am | Reply
      • Zorro

        Suzan, if you really don't care if non-Muslims like your way of life then stop demanding we tolerate your beliefs, especially if you are not willing to tolerate our beliefs.

        March 17, 2011 at 1:23 pm |
  2. Suzan

    The topic of (women’s rights) is certainly exhausted and I won’t talk about it cuz. as a Muslim woman that talking from experience I realized that people of other religions won’t understand what woman means in Islam as they always take extreme examples of people ,who called Muslims while they aren’t , and apply to Islam as a religion. In regard to Islam, I would like to go through a few points:
    1- About accusing Islam of inequality, who did subjugated (black people ) for more than 400 years and treated them as animals and belongings. Muslims or Christians? I won’t refer to Christianity cuz. your ancestors as we all know changed the Bible, they compiled and rewrote it and as a result you have got tens of Bibles which contain a huge part that written by men and not God’s words. I am sure original Christianity doesn’t say treat people unequally if they have different colours , races or religions. So I am sorry, but you are Christians without Christianity. On the other hand, Islam erase social classes, gender and race inequality and clearly state that no differences between Arabs or foreigners whether men or women except by TAQWA-which is fear from God-. In the early period of Islam, rich people shared their money and properties with poor people and depicted a real picture of brotherhood, and until now no racial, social or economic classes in all Islamic countries, especially in Saudi Arabia which is the pyramid of Islam.
    2- While western societies held so many conferences to discuss women’s “basic human” rights, women in Islam live as equal as men. It’s only a matter of specifying roles and what everyone is capable of doing.
    3-Here, you are judging Islam and Muslims without knowledge and you are just repeating the same things over and over, your ways is taking some extreme examples and use them all the time to judge Islam as a religion. And unfortunately, when Muslims who know their religion very well and more than others prove the opposite of your opinions, you just put your fingers in your ears as you don’t want to admit the truth.
    4- You always say that Islam spread by sword, and I would like to say take only a few minutes and surf some recent researches and see which religion is growing very fast.Are Muslims with their swords fighting in the USA or any other country to spread Islam???
    5-It is important for everyone wants to come here and talk about Islam and acts as if he/she knows Islam very well to know that there is a big major difference between Islamic world and western’s. In Middle East, religion which is Islam, is an integral part of lives and societies and gov’ts build their laws and constitutions on this basis, as a result, obviously they will have unique lives that are different from yours. And of course being different and not having your ways of lives don’t mean you societies are better and Muslims are not satisfied with their lives. They don’t need to invent laws and try different ways of lives, Islam talks about every aspect of life and they follow their religion. Here is an interesting example which is Saudi Arabia. It is almost the only country that follows that it constitution is Islamic 100%, and it is the only country that people(men and women) stand beside the gov’t against the protests and call loudly that they don’t want a change in the constitution or the royal family. Saudi peoples like their law cuz. it is built on Islam, so even if the gov’t wants to change the law and constitution, people won’t allow that to happen. It’s really unfair to call it a revolution as it was only 10 people out of 27 million, and their demands were merely some reforms. In the east province of Saudi Arabia, which is Shiits’ region, there were demands to release some prisoners who are in prisons for so long time and accused of being extreme and bombing some buildings in a big Saudi city in 2001. Saudi Shiits stated clearly that there were no demands to change the Islamic law or system of ruling the country. In Tunisia, people protested cuz. their King didn’t rule by Islam and he didn’t allow them to practice their religion freely. Women can’t wear Hijab or cover their heads. In Egypt, the president was dictator and don’t listen to peoples’ demands. The point which I want to convey to you is that Muslims want real Islamic constitutions not only Islamic by name, and these revolutions are clearly exemplify that whenever gov’ts don’t rule by Islam, people will demonstrate and rebel. I don’t blame you guys cuz. ur sources are only the media which are 99% distort facts and in so many time intentionally convey only one side of the truth.
    Finally, I would like to thank both (AAA) and (S) for trying to show the truth. SALAM 🙂

    March 17, 2011 at 12:15 am | Reply
    • Robert

      @suzan, You, AAA and S accuse anyone who is not a Muslim of not understanding Islam and yet you all seem to think you understand Christianity. You assume that anyone who does not see the fruits of Islam as you all do has not studied history or taken the time to learn about Islam, yet you all seem to think you know everything about Western history and societies. You are all fine examples of the Islamic supremist attitude that is causing so much friction between dar al Islam and dar al Harb.

      March 17, 2011 at 10:29 am | Reply
    • Zorro

      Right, Muslims never had anything to do with enslaving people.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islam_and_slavery
      http://africanhistory.about.com/od/slavery/a/IslamRoleSlavery01.htm
      http://www.answering-islam.org/ReachOut/slavetrade.html
      http://www.voiceofdharma.com/books/mssmi/ch2.htm

      March 17, 2011 at 12:22 pm | Reply
  3. stop the bs

    filthy islamists you and your honor killings. You wild beasts are nothing but thugs. go camel fokking, that's what u do best.

    March 17, 2011 at 12:22 am | Reply
    • Jia

      haha.... u r funny!
      bte GET A LIFE u hating bitch

      March 22, 2011 at 12:14 am | Reply
  4. Suzan

    as I said b4, u here just taking the extreme examples and judge Islam throgh them, plz. get educated. Do yourself a favour and learn how to build ur opinion on real facts and not being bias. And the whole world know who fuck animals, do a quick search on the internet and see whether muslims get fucked by their animals or you. I didn't want to talk about such disgusting topics, but u forced me and at the same time I know that u don't feel shame of fucking animals as you are "modern and civilized " societies, hhhhh. THANK ALLAH that I am muslim.

    March 17, 2011 at 12:39 am | Reply
    • Zorro

      Wow, you blow your father with that mouth?

      March 17, 2011 at 12:01 pm | Reply
      • AAA

        @Zorro

        The type of language you use only exposes your lack of mental capacity and education.

        It is difficult for to carry on a discussion in a civilized manner.

        March 18, 2011 at 2:41 pm |
      • Zorro

        Suzan says non-Muslims get fucked by animals and you question my civility?

        March 18, 2011 at 11:00 pm |
      • Jia

        actually believe it or not.... its true... there have been reported casses of animal-human cases in the US...so i have heard a few times in the new in the last few years

        March 22, 2011 at 12:17 am |
  5. Informer

    I think human equal rights should be for all people, even for men. Alimony is slavery and clearly violates the 13th amendment of the United States Constitution and the Women in the World Conference will not bring up this subject. The idea of selective oppression irks me. My oppression is better than your oppression because ours in the USA is unacceptable. We are all human beings and should all be treated equally. Also the Women in the World Conference should help fathers in the United States of America get equal custodial parental rights to their biological children. There is no excuse or constitutional justification to deny that right to all parents, even if they happen to be male.

    March 17, 2011 at 12:58 am | Reply
  6. Cruz

    I am currently living in Bahrain. Women have (had) a greater place in society here than in most other middle-East countries. Saudi women come (came) to Bahrain to drive on the weekends because they are not allowed to drive there.
    In Egypt, a group of women were nearly assaulted very recently for attempting to speak out for women's rights. It is an unfortunate reality, even in Iran (in case you don't follow events) that women are subjected to an entirely different set of rules in society than men.

    It is more than just a part of the culture and has roots far deeper than anything in American history and thus one cannot make a comparison. To believe that religion plays no part in the situation is absolutely naive. I am not judging any religion. They have their place, they all have their faults, they have provided guidance and comfort to untold numbers however, they are ALL defined by the people who practice them and therein lies their greatest weakness. And yes, for all the pontificating and self-righteousness, that includes "christianity". Just look at some of the comments here and tell me how some here can make claim to any "god" or religion. (My own thought and that makes it rather singular.)

    As to the question of whether the current events in the region will help the plight of women in these societies, I would have to say I don't believe it will. I don't know whether that will change in the future but if it does I seriously doubt that it will in the lifetime of many reading and posting here, including myself.

    March 17, 2011 at 1:18 am | Reply
  7. AAA

    It is really sad to see that of all western countries, the American people are so misinformed. If you travel around western Europe you would know what I mean...

    Although they have at their disposal all these media outlets.

    I mentioned this in an earlier post; yes the women are treated badly in Saudi Arabia and Iran for example, but these are extreme examples.

    Did you ever ask your self how can women become heads of state in Muslim countries (Pakistan and Indonesia) and it is yet to happen in the USA?

    The women are not treated as you were made to believe...

    Try to think on your own!!!

    March 17, 2011 at 2:52 am | Reply
  8. Rana

    I'm wondering whether driving cars becomes the core of woman's human rights? lol
    Is it the only accusation that u r tryin' to prove to accuse Islam? Then I'll tell u KSA has their own reasons to not allow women to drive and just for the record that has nothing to do with Islam, because Islam doesn't prohibit women's driving. If 10% of women want to drive, the other 90% don't, and I'm one of the 90%. And it's your own problem to condider it whatever u want.
    Saudi Arabia isn't an extreme example, and from my own point of view if the gov'ernment and the people are both agreed and satisfied with what they're doing, then no matter what others think about them. The constitution is Islamic and the majority is happy with that and life is going on. LOL They enjoy their own lives over there while yopu are still killing yourselves here to interpret the situation and discuss things that are no longer important for them. lmao
    knock it off and take care of your own business...

    March 17, 2011 at 4:02 am | Reply
  9. Ali Baba

    Yes, it will help women. It will help them back into the kitchen and maternity wards where they belong in those backward cultures.

    March 17, 2011 at 6:12 am | Reply
    • Rana

      @ Ali Baba
      I am 100% sure that u talk about 10.000 years ago, don't u ?
      I can't believe that there r some people who still have this view. For God's sake update ur information 😀 and don't talk about something that u have no idea about .....I hate reading such stupid and unrealistic opinion.
      Advice: Change ur name (Ali) u don't deserve it wallah.
      3amar ya ARAB

      March 17, 2011 at 4:12 pm | Reply
  10. admiral149

    A vexing outcome of Islamic governments, who are mostly anti West, has been the disintegration of women's rights in particular, and all human rights in general. It must be horrible for a professional woman to be marginalized due to a change in government. The proliferation of conservative Islamic Governments in the Middle East is a movement of the peasantry being lead by very crafty politicians who really are guided by power and money just like all politicians. All the fears, superstitions, and anguish of the lower classes is mobilized against the Western political, and social philosophies adopted in these countries over the last seventy years. Hitler mobilized the sam kind of rage in Germany, and the public repudiated the freedoms of the Weimar Government, just as folds in the Middle East are repudiating just about everything Western today. Middle Eastern folks will one day lament that they were mislead by the likes of Bin Laden, just a Germans were mislead by Hitler. Any democratic aspects and components of this regional revolution will be hijacked by the political realists who understand that it is always about political power and money. Personal freedom, especially for woman, is not what this is about. They are exchanging inefficient dictatorships for new inefficient dictatorships that promise bread, and history has taught us where this road leads.

    March 17, 2011 at 8:46 am | Reply
    • Rana

      @ admiral149
      I start feeling tired of telling people that Bin Laden doesn't represent Middle Eastern people and he is mere an extreme example. If someone from the Middle East met you, he/she wouldn't hate or kill you because you have different beliefs or religion. C'mon. It really doesn't need to be explained.
      Women in Middle East live their lives as their counterparts in other countries, with keeping the Islamic and arabic identity. That's why they wear Hijab for instance. It isn't a man's order, it's a religious order and believe me even if men say to women put off your Hijab, none would listen. You should know that Middle Eastern people have different ideological nature and cultural background. Therefore, what someone in Western societies see it as against women's right, Middle Eastern people might see it as a woman's right. (Women's rights) issue is exhausted and all who talk about it don't consider the religious and cultural background of Middle Eastern societies and that religion is an integral part of their personalities, lives and societies. For example, in this article, the writer mentioned that women are required to wear abayas outside home but he/she should have mention that it's a religious order rather than men's abuse against women. The writer also didn't talk about whether people over there are satisfied with their lives or not. Who said women can't get divorced or hardly obtain it! Who said women can't appear in courts!! Women can go everywhere and do whatever they want but of course with their Hijab and modest abayas, which (abayas) from a western perspective might be considered violating of women's rights. I don't like to argue in this topic but I really see you talking about things that are not true. Last year, I decided to get divorced, it didn't take more than one month and without any problems. If there are some exceptions then I think they are everywhere not only in Middle East societies, and these problems mainly because of the couples not because of religion or of women's rights.

      March 17, 2011 at 5:26 pm | Reply
  11. CatastropheCathy

    All the arab women should just leave. I believe there are a lot of Chinese men that need partners. There problem solved! 😉

    March 17, 2011 at 8:53 am | Reply
    • Rana

      @CatastropheCathy
      u make no sense at all.
      & for the record all my chinese & Korean female neighbours and roomates have american boyfriends LOL. As if you don't have american females!! @_@

      March 17, 2011 at 3:51 pm | Reply
  12. judy

    just a couple of points of history and Christianity: churches did not sit idly by during slavery. Most–not all, but the majority–of anti slavery activists had strong religious motivation. Most of the underground railroad workers did so out of religious convictions. Churches also have provided physical buffers against Westboro Baptist hate; my pastor did that a few years ago. Churches were the main builders of hospitals and schools overseas. Now you can argue that colonization also did a lot of terrible things, and you're right, but there were also a lot of good things. There are people who use a religious basis to follow their own agenda. but there are many faithful Christians who work for dignity, prosperity, and rights for everyone, Christian or not. I have met them and seen them work, here and overseas. I worked in East Africa, and I saw, at that time, when this fanatical islam had not yet hit there, Christians and Muslims working together to provide food, tutoring, clothing and medical care to street children, regardless of their faith or gender.

    March 17, 2011 at 10:05 am | Reply
    • Rana

      @Judy
      of course no religion from God would courage slavery, violence, inequality or killing innocent people. But what to say to those who as Suzan said just take the extreme examples and start judging Islam as a religion. I know so many Christians who are tolerant and good but at the same time I know many who aren't and as u see in this page there r many examples. KKK is an extreme Christian group and as muslims we didn't judge Christianity through this example or any others. I mean in each religion there r extreme groups who just represent themselves & not the religion which they claimed they belong to .......

      March 17, 2011 at 4:00 pm | Reply
      • Robert

        @rana, we should be looking at what a belief system teaches. Christianity does not its followers to do what the KKK did. However, Islamic jihadists justify their violent actions against non-Muslims based on the teaches in the Qur'an and unfortunately moderate or reformist Muslims can not theologically refute them.

        March 18, 2011 at 12:55 am |
  13. Me

    Equal rights for women means: 1) Women are able to vote freely – and each woman's vote is equal to a man's vote – and each woman is guaranteed the ability to vote alone in the voting booth (so she cannot be coerced), 2)Women are able to obtain as much education as any man and can work in any career field as any man for the same pay as any man, 3)Women are not given different laws to live by: If a man can drive so can a woman, if a man can go out to a restaurant alone so can a woman, men and women are treated as equals in court (including divorce court), 4)Women are free to worship as they please – if they desire to change religions or leave religion altogether that is their right.

    Those are universal rights. They are not "Western" – they are God-given rights for all human beings both male and female. At this time in our world there are a handful of nations that have openly opposed God-given equal rights for women as outlined above. And, those nations have been primarily governed by Islamic practices. There is most certainly a correlation there. While Islam might have been revolutionary in its treatment of women many centuries ago, today the sad fact is that Islamic nations on the balance have not given women the status that God has intended for them – as equal partners with men on earth. In fact, these nations have instituted laws that allow for the torture and abuse specifically of the wives and sisters in society – through legalized rape (forced marriages and forced intercourse within marriage), punishing rape victims, turning a blind eye to or, in some cases even legalizing, so-called "honor killings" which are really just open murder, domestic violence (such as the ability to beat your wife if you are married), and even slavery (as can be seen in Saudi Arabia where female immigrants are enslaved in households).

    This is a very, very serious problem. And, dismissing these problems, trying to explain them away, turning to events that happened literally centuries ago, or out-and-out denial of these very real problems only serves to punish the women who live in Islamic countries all the more.

    Crime is not higher in the Western World than the Islamic World. Rather, what we consider crime in places such as Europe and the United States is considered perfectly legal in the Islamic World. So, yes, our abuse rate appears higher – but that is because the Islamic World protects abuse and refuses to see abuse as, well, abuse. If you have make some murder legal (such as honor killings) then, of course, you lower your murder rate. The Islamic World is not a safe place to be for any woman. It is less safe than the Western World because if you are a woman attacked in the Islamic World you will face punishment yourself and/or the crime will be ignored – your abuser or murderer might actually even be congratulated!

    The day that I can walk openly by myself in any Islamic country without a headscarf and wearing trousers without being harrassed, followed, or even attacked is the day that I can possibly hope Equal Rights *might* be coming to those nations. The day that I can divorce my husband in any Islamic nation's court and receive equal treatment as him regarding parental rights, financial settlements, and property dispersal is the day that I can say Equal Rights have begun to those nations. The day that I can marry whomever I want, change religions to whatever I want, and vote for whomever I want without coercion or threats or acts of violence in any Islamic nation is the day that I can say Equal Rights is in those nations.

    Sadly, this is not the case in the Islamic World today.

    March 18, 2011 at 1:34 am | Reply
    • Robert

      Well said and thank you for saying it!

      March 18, 2011 at 2:05 am | Reply
    • AAA

      You wrote "Crime is not higher in the Western World than the Islamic World"

      All the murder, armed robberies, school shootings plus all these people that go in their place of work and gun down their workers in cold blood...

      You are only fooling your self, look up the rate of the crimes that I mentioned your self.

      March 18, 2011 at 2:27 am | Reply
    • AAA

      @Me

      If women were treated as bad as you claim in ALL the Muslim countries then how were they allowed to be heads of state (Pakistan and Indonesia)?

      March 18, 2011 at 3:38 am | Reply
      • Robert

        We all know what happened to Benazir Bhutto...

        March 18, 2011 at 9:43 am |
  14. AAA

    @Robert you wrote;

    "Islamic jihadists justify their violent actions against non-Muslims based on the teaches in the Qur'an and unfortunately moderate or reformist Muslims can not theologically refute them."

    Sorry but that is totally false, the Koran is innocent of these acts that encourage killing innocent people.

    On the other hand here is a verse from the bible to directly go and kill kids;

    1 Samuel 15

    1 Samuel said to Saul, “I am the one the LORD sent to anoint you king over his people Israel; so listen now to the message from the LORD. 2 This is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘I will punish the Amalekites for what they did to Israel when they waylaid them as they came up from Egypt. 3 Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy[a] all that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.’”

    March 18, 2011 at 2:37 am | Reply
    • Robert

      Too bad for us non-Muslims the Qur'an does not consider us innocent.

      YUSUFALI: Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.
      PICKTHAL: Fight against such of those who have been given the Scripture as believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, and forbid not that which Allah hath forbidden by His messenger, and follow not the Religion of Truth, until they pay the tribute readily, being brought low.
      SHAKIR: Fight those who do not believe in Allah, nor in the latter day, nor do they prohibit what Allah and His Messenger have prohibited, nor follow the religion of truth, out of those who have been given the Book, until they pay the tax in acknowledgment of superiority and they are in a state of subjection.

      http://www.usc.edu/schools/college/crcc/engagement/resources/texts/muslim/quran/009.qmt.html#009.029

      YUSUFALI: Muhammad is the messenger of Allah; and those who are with him are strong against Unbelievers...
      PICKTHAL: Muhammad is the messenger of Allah. And those with him are hard against the disbelievers and merciful among themselves...
      SHAKIR: Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, and those with him are firm of heart against the unbelievers...

      http://www.usc.edu/schools/college/crcc/engagement/resources/texts/muslim/quran/048.qmt.html#048.029

      Your quote from the Bible are specific commands for a particular times and place, not universal commands for all believers for all time to make war against unbelievers, as we see in the Qur'an.

      March 18, 2011 at 9:40 am | Reply
      • Jia

        I agree with AAA....
        you just took a verse fromt the Quran without contextualizing it....
        before you say... oh here it says this & there it says this.... you have to look at the situation
        the Quran was revealed over 20+ years... and at varioius times, the situation was different for the Muslims.... that verse you mentioned is specifically for a specific situation that the Muslim faced at the time of the revelation of the verse....
        generally speaking.... killing anyone, whether Muslim or not, is prohibited (see Quran chpater 5, verse 33). Plus i advice you that for the verses you mentioned, read up commmentary on them (and the whole chapter) just so that you have a better understanding of the verse

        May peace be with you

        March 22, 2011 at 12:45 am |
      • Robert

        @Jia,

        Thank you and peace to you as well.

        If Qur'an 9:29 and 48.29 are for "a specific situation that the Muslims faced at the time of the revelation of the version" why are Islamic Jihadists killing non-Muslims today and justifying their actions based on this verse? Perhaps they are the ones who should read commentary on these verses so they can better understand them. The Islamic Jihadist, not the moderate Muslim, are the ones I, and many other non-Muslims, are most concerned about.

        Do you mean Qur'an 5:32 instead of 5:33?

        YUSUFALI: On that account: We ordained for the Children of Israel that if any one slew a person – unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land – it would be as if he slew the whole people: and if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people. Then although there came to them Our messengers with clear signs, yet, even after that, many of them continued to commit excesses in the land.

        PICKTHAL: For that cause We decreed for the Children of Israel that whosoever killeth a human being for other than manslaughter or corruption in the earth, it shall be as if he had killed all mankind, and whoso saveth the life of one, it shall be as if he had saved the life of all mankind. Our messengers came unto them of old with clear proofs (of Allah's Sovereignty), but afterwards lo! many of them became prodigals in the earth.

        SHAKIR: For this reason did We prescribe to the children of Israel that whoever slays a soul, unless it be for manslaughter or for mischief in the land, it is as though he slew all men; and whoever keeps it alive, it is as though he kept alive all men; and certainly Our messengers came to them with clear arguments, but even after that many of them certainly act extravagantly in the land.

        Because Qur'an 5:33 says

        YUSUFALI: The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger, and strive with might and main for mischief through the land is: execution, or crucifixion, or the cutting off of hands and feet from opposite sides, or exile from the land: that is their disgrace in this world, and a heavy punishment is theirs in the Hereafter;

        PICKTHAL: The only reward of those who make war upon Allah and His messenger and strive after corruption in the land will be that they will be killed or crucified, or have their hands and feet on alternate sides cut off, or will be expelled out of the land. Such will be their degradation in the world, and in the Hereafter theirs will be an awful doom;

        SHAKIR: The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His messenger and strive to make mischief in the land is only this, that they should be murdered or crucified or their hands and their feet should be cut off on opposite sides or they should be imprisoned; this shall be as a disgrace for them in this world, and in the hereafter they shall have a grievous chastisement,

        I hear Qur'an 5:32 mentioned a lot as an example of how the Qur'an prohibits killing anyone. But when it is mentioned the "We ordained for the Children of Israel..." part is left out.

        So, this verse is really a warning to the Jews to not fight the rule of the Muslims and if they do Qur'an 5:33 tells them what will happen to them.

        http://www.usc.edu/schools/college/crcc/engagement/resources/texts/muslim/quran/005.qmt.html#005.032

        I realize it may not always sound like it, but I truly wish the Islamic and non-Islamic worlds could find a way to live together as equals in peace.

        March 22, 2011 at 1:22 am |
      • Jia

        its interesting you made the suggestion that "islamic jihadist" should read the commentary... i mean don't they have to be able to read in order for them to actually read the commentary. The thing with them is that they either don't know how to read or they have never really tried to understand they meannig behind the verse or they simply don't care as long as things serve their purpose. jihadist call anyone they want "kafir" or "infidel" even if that person is a Muslim and doesn't agree with them.
        Another thing i noticed is that you mentioned "The Islamic Jihadist, not the moderate Muslim, are the ones I, and many other non-Muslims, are most concerned about", The fact is some ppl actually don't bother differenciating between the two and assume every muslim is a "jihadist" unless they prove so otherwise. For some reason, your anti-Muslim sentiments are apparent...and they don't really seem to be directed against only Jihadist.
        Anyways I don't wish to argue about that furthur.
        And my hope, like yours is that EVERYONE no matter their faith, background, race, gender, lives together peacefully and not let our differences come between that.

        March 24, 2011 at 3:11 pm |
      • Robert

        @Jia,

        re: For some reason, your anti-Muslim sentiments are apparent

        What have I written that you consider to be anti-Muslim sentiments or am I anti-Muslim because I ask questions about the tenets of Islam, especially as they pertain to non-Muslims?

        March 29, 2011 at 11:22 pm |
  15. AAA

    You misunderstand the Koran verse, this is talking about a war situation, if you read more you would see that.

    As for the bible verse I sent you,

    You wrote"Bible are specific commands for a particular times and place" so you you are saying that in that particular time God commanded an act of terror? I tell you that there is no excuse for targeting children no matter time or place or cause.

    Children are innocent and God would NEVER order anyone to go kill them.

    March 18, 2011 at 9:55 am | Reply
    • Buck

      I don't understand much about the old testment!!!! Jesus come to give life and hope. "For God so love the world that he send his belove son to die for our sin, whoever believe it him should not pearish but to him enternal life". If you look at Christain today. It will tell you alot about their God. I am talking about the "Born Again Christains".

      March 18, 2011 at 5:18 pm | Reply
  16. Robert

    Like Buck, I too am not that familiar with the Old Testament and I agree with you that this sounds horrible.

    As I understand it, this is a message from Samuel, the spiritual leader of Israel to Saul, the military leader of Israel to punish the Amalekites for their actions hundreds of years before when they were the first to attack the Israel after their escape from Egypt. Samuel told Saul this was a message from God. It is thought that this was a test of obedience for Saul as well as Israel but also speaks to the concept of just retaliation. The Amalekites attacked the weakest and most vulnerable of Israel and God wanted to make the judgment fit the sin.

    As far as the Quranic verse being about a war situation, that does not offer the non-Muslim any comfort (or safety) when you consider that Islamic Jihadists continually claim that the West is at war with Islam, be it by an invading army, cartoon, or by banning the wearing of the hijab and thus holy war against the unbeliever is justified as self-defense.

    March 18, 2011 at 10:49 pm | Reply
    • AAA

      You wrote;
      "Islamic Jihadists continually claim that the West is at war with Islam, be it by an invading army, cartoon, or by banning the wearing of the hijab and thus holy war against the unbeliever is justified as self-defense."

      Think of the invading army you talked about, for the last 2000 years the west always finds an excuse to be present there, until now, why is that? why don't they ever leave?

      To me these people are extremest, I don't think that way and I do not teach my kids to think that way and non of my friends think that way.

      Google football violence in Europe.

      In Europe they kill, fight and hurt each other over a football game (soccer), that's why i am not surprised to see some fanatics that call them selves Muslims try to kill some one over a cartoon or something silly of that nature.

      March 19, 2011 at 2:08 am | Reply
      • Robert

        Personally, I would love to see all American forces pulled out of Muslim lands.

        Yes, football fans have been violent but football rules do not teach that violence is part of the game. The point I have been trying to make through all my comments is that the tenets of Islam are inherently responsible for how Muslim women are treated and how violence is encouraged against the non-Muslim.

        Given the role Islam plays in every aspect of Muslim life, I am concerned, as a non-Muslim, that these tenets are going to prevent, or at least impede, the ability of our communities to live together in peace as equals. Having said that, I do not believe all Muslims follow every tenet of Islam anymore than I believe all Christians follow every teaching of Christianity and, for what it is worth, I am glad that you do not think like Islamic Jihadists, nor teach your kids to think like them and have no friends who think like them.

        March 20, 2011 at 3:22 pm |
  17. Amrullah Yousafzai, Margalla Hills

    To everyone who is saying Islam oppressed women....

    Of the 5 largest majority Muslim countries, 4 of them have had a female head of state and/or government.

    Of the 5 largest majority Christian countries, 2 of them have had a female head of state and/or government.

    March 19, 2011 at 2:09 pm | Reply
    • Robert

      And how does that translate to respect for those women who are not heads of state?

      http://arabnews.com/lifestyle/offbeat/article169982.ece
      http://www.jihadwatch.org/2006/10/muslim-leader-blames-women-for-sex-attacks.html
      http://www.alarabiya.net/articles/2011/01/23/134704.html
      http://www.jpost.com/Headlines/Article.aspx?id=203120

      March 20, 2011 at 2:30 pm | Reply
  18. Amrullah Yousafzai, Margalla Hills

    There are two Muslim countries that require a headscarf . Iran and Saudi Arabia

    There are two Muslim countries that ban the headscraf. Turkey and Tunisia.

    Other than that Muslim countries do not dictate how a woman must dress

    March 19, 2011 at 2:13 pm | Reply
  19. Amrullah Yousafzai, Margalla Hills

    Why couldn't all Afghan girls be like her?
    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3JfggTjKmUk&w=640&h=360]

    March 19, 2011 at 2:14 pm | Reply
  20. Ayub Khan Kanjarzai

    I WANT ALL MUSLIM GIRLS TO BE LIKE HER:
    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lnUwmK-7oFw&w=640&h=360]
    THAT WAY WE CAN FIGHT YOU FILTHY KAFIRS (infidels)
    GOD BLESS THE MUJAHIDEEN!! aLLaH Hu AKBAR!

    March 19, 2011 at 2:18 pm | Reply
    • Robert

      Bring it. The Global Anti-Jihad is on.

      March 20, 2011 at 2:45 pm | Reply
      • Ayub Khan Kanjarzai

        I KILL YOU FILTHY CAPITALIST ZIONIST PIG.

        March 20, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
      • Robert

        I'm waiting...

        March 20, 2011 at 4:47 pm |
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