Human Rights

Why a section on human rights, and why so much about honor killings among Muslims, along with women’s rights in Islam?

Because I just can’t remain silent. I so wanted NOT to rant about things not related to mental health, so let’s just say you can’t have good mental health when your fundamental rights are violated. There’s surely a study out there somewhere that would back that statement up. If you find one, let me know.

Back when I was doing my thesis work in anthropology (master’s), my area of study was women under Islam. Specifically women under Islam in the Soviet Central Asian Republics (which are independent countries since the breakup of the Soviet Union).

As an anthropologist, it’s important to try and separate your opinions from observations. And during my years in graduate school and beyond, I desperately tried to hold to that ideal. I read the Koran, with the greatest emphasis on the parts pertaining to women. I studied under an anthropologist who spent years living in Pakistan and now is a director at the Smithsonian.

I spent a lot of years making excuses and being on the defensive for Islam and its views on women. I’m done with that and while I miss anthropology a great deal, I’m no longer trying to defend something I never believed deep in my heart.

I do have criticisms of women under Islam, and they’ve been stored up for a long time. I also have a lot of criticisms of every person in America who now thinks s/he’s an expert on Islam because s/he read something in friggin Time Magazine or read a few paragraphs of the Koran online.

I’m also sick of this apparent requirement that every time someone says anything critical of Islam, terrorism, honor killings or anything that remotely brushes up against Islam, you have to use a preface: “I know most Muslims are peaceful blah blah blah…”

There’s no other group that requires such a disclaimer.

There *are* actual scholars on Islam, some are apologists and some are critics. My favorite happens to be Robert Spencer. He’s brutally honest and isn’t afraid to say the things that need to be said. He also has a sense of humor that I appreciate, and I just plain think he rocks.

Now’s the time when the spittle starts rolling and some start stuttering, “but, but, but Christianity, the Crusades, Timothy McVeigh, abortion clinic bombings….” Save it. If you’re thinking any of those things, please proceed to the nearest bookstore and pick up any book on original thinking. These things are such cliches now and I personally don’t care about Christianity’s history or Timothy McVeigh.

I’m not here to say Islam is good or bad. But I’m going to start bitching about things related to women under Islam that piss me off, because I’ve had it bottled up for years.