Denmark – Can Muslim Girls Working In Hospitals Ignore Hygiene And Safety Of Patients By Defying Hospital’s Dress Code?

Religious Reason?

Where should the line between Islamic and workplace dress code be drawn?  In the past, we have heard of Muslim girls insisting on wearing the Islamic burqa at their workplaces.  It happened in places like Disneyland, banks, schools, etc.  But can it happen in a hospital?  Two Muslim girls tried it recently in Denmark, and both are now in danger of being dismissed.

Good Muslim Girls

One of the 2 Muslim girls was troubled enough about wearing the correct dress code while at work in a Danish hospital that she consulted several imams for guidance.

According to press reports, these imams advised her that as a good Muslim, she has to wear long sleeves during working hours.  But this advice has landed her in trouble with her employer.

Hygiene Reasons

The 2 Muslim girls are laboratory technicians working for the Hvidovre Hospital.  The hospital dress code, for hygiene reasons, is short sleeves.

Torben Mogensen, Deputy Director of Hvidovre Hospital explained the hospital’s stand: “Short sleeves are part of the hospital’s dress code. This is to protect the patients, as you cannot wash your hands completely clean when wearing long sleeves. We do a lot to accommodate people with different ethnic backgrounds. But when it comes to hygiene, we cannot compromise the safety of the patients”.

Think About It

How can this problem be resolved?  Can Hvidovre Hospital not reassign these 2 Muslim women to other job functions instead of firing them?  Should imams be more understanding of employers’ reasons for not allowing Islamic dress code in work place like hospitals?  Who should give way in such an instance – the hospital or the girls.

Previous posts

Disney Sued by Ex-employee For Religious Discrimination And Harassment
Muslim Disneyland Employee Agrees To Beret Over Her Hijab

India – Muslim Politician Says Women Who Are Raped Should Be Hanged

“Rape is punishable by hanging in Islam”

India’s state Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Abu Azmi said that women who were raped should be punished. Abu Azmi defends his shocking statement by saying that it is Islamic teaching. In the Qur’an (24:4 and 24:13) it states that sexual crimes can only be established by the testimony of four male Muslim witnesses. If they cannot find four witnesses, they should ‘scourge them (with) eighty stripes and never accept their testimony’’ (24:4). In accordance with this law, women who accuse men of rape but cannot produce four witnesses are often accused of unlawful sexual conduct and are jailed. Azmi believes they should also be killed.

“Boys … Make Mistakes”

It all started with a comment by SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav’s comment on rape.  At a recent rally, Mulayam Singh Yadav said that the death punishment for rape was too harsh.  Mulayam Singh Yadav said: “Boys make mistakes, but this doesn’t mean you hang them. They are boys, they make mistakes”.

But state SP chief Abu Azmi disagreed, questioning whether his chief was quoted out of context.  Abu Azmi said: “See, I don’t know what context he said it in”.

“Girls Complain”

Abu Azmi believes that in today’s society, girls make complains towards boys even if there is no misconduct, and this ruins their reputation. He also stated that if a woman were raped, she should be punished along with the man, and that both perpetrator and victim should be hanged. Azmi also believes that even with consent, sex outside of marriage is wrong and both parties should be punished.

Abu Azmi started by saying: “Rape is punishable by hanging in Islam. But here, nothing happens to women, only to men. Even the woman is guilty”. Elaborating further, Abu Azmi said: “In India, if you have sex with a person with consent, it’s fine. But if that same person complains, it’s a problem. Nowadays, we see a lot of such cases. Girls complain when someone touches them, and even when someone doesn’t touch them. It becomes a problem then, and the man’s honour is ruined in this. If rape happens with or without consent, it should be punished as prescribed in Islam”.

So what is the solution?  Abu Azmi has an answer: “Solution is this: any woman if, whether married or unmarried, goes along with a man, with or without her consent, should be hanged. Both should be hanged. It shouldn’t be allowed even if a woman goes by consent”.

Think About It

Is it okay for boys to rape girls and discard it as simply a ‘mistake’? What about the innocent girls who have to suffer as part of these ‘mistakes’? But at the same time, it is very hard to prove rape. What if the girl consented at first and later accused the boy of rape? Once executed, the death sentence is irreversible.

What about the Islamic law that states that there needs to be four witnesses in order to prove rape? Wouldn’t perpetrators just commit crimes in private then? How does that protect girls? And why should girls be punished for being raped?

France – National Front Party Lifts Ban Of Pork In School Meals

Reversing A Practice

An opposition party of France, the National Front, has announced that it will disallow schools in towns where it has recently gained control from providing only pork-free meals to students, including those who are Jewish or Muslim. This decision comes after local elections that were held in the country early this month. Riding on the anti-immigration and anti-EU sentiment among a small but growing segment of the French people, the National Front triumphed in 11 towns and captured over 1,400 municipal seats nationwide. This performance is more than double its record from the 1990s.

For religious reasons, pork is considered unclean and thus its consumption by followers of the Islamic and Jewish faiths is regarded taboo.

The Decision’s Rationale

This unbanning decision was announced by Marine Le Pen, the leader of the far-right National Front in a radio interview. “We will not accept any religious demands on school menus,” she told RTL radio. “There is no reason for religion to enter the public sphere. That’s the law”, declared the legally trained Marine Le Pen, who came in 3rd in France’s  2012 presidential election at the age of 46, after Francois Hollande (the winner and current President) and Nicolas Sarkozy (the defeated incumbent).

Marine Le Pen described arrangements catering to Muslim and Jewish pupils who cannot eat pork as contradicting the French people’s secular values. As such, she saw the unbanning decision as necessary to “save secularism”.

Muslims Are Concerned

The pork-for-all stance of the National Front has caused some unease among France’s minority Muslim population, many of whom are immigrants from the Middle East and North Africa and their descendants. Though its people are overwhelmingly Catholic, France has one of the largest Muslim communities in Europe.

French Muslims interpret this decision as yet another and the latest way non-Muslims are imposing their own values on Muslims and other religious minorities. Already, any form of clothing linked to religious observance is disallowed in state schools, and the wearing of full-face veils in public areas has been outlawed since 2011. Thus, in the eyes of French Muslims, the disrespect and disregard for their religious practices are worryingly growing.

Think About It

National Front supporters have applauded Marine Le Pen’s announcement, saying that it is about time that Muslims in France respect the social and cultural practices of their adopted country and integrate themselves into the mainstream society. On the other hand, Muslims and their sympathizers have accused the National Front as playing the religion card for political gains at the expense of Islam. Is Marine Le Pen bravely not bowing to Islamic intimidation, as a party loyalist has labelled her unbanning announcement? Or, is she simply pandering to supporters and fishing for more votes, ahead of the upcoming European parliamentary election in May, when the French electorate will choose their representatives to the European Union? What do you think?

Nigeria – Muslim Child Bride Poisons Husband

The Bride Turned Murderer

Wasila Umaru kills her husbands and three of his friends with rat poison just after a week of marriage. Wasila Umaru is 14 years old. She was forced into marrying 35-year-old Umaru Sani and confessed she killed him because she was forced into marrying a man she did not love.

Rat Poison

Umaru Sani had invited a dozen friends to celebrate his marriage. Wasila Umaru bought rat poison at a local market and slipped it into a rice dish. Umaru Sani died on the same day, along with two of his friends, while another female victim died in hospital. Wasila Umaru is cooperating with local police but will probably be charged with culpable homicide.

Children below the age of 18 cannot be married under Nigeria’s Child Rights Act, but Islamic Shariah law justifies child marriages, and that law is upheld in most northern states. Child marriages are common in Nigeria. This is especially so among the Muslim impoverished north, where the number of child marriages increases in times of drought because a bride price is paid and it means one less mouth to feed. 50 percent of Nigerian girls living in rural areas are married before the age of 18, the U.N children’s agency reports. What is even more shocking is that despite laws in place, no one in Nigeria has ever been prosecuted for marrying a child.

The Plight Of Child Brides

Child brides are also susceptible to suffer difficult pregnancies because of their young age, often dying in childbirth. They are also more likely to contract AIDS and be subjected to domestic violence.

Divorces are also common among child brides. Under Islamic law, a man is only allowed to have a maximum of four wives at a time. Often brides are divorced in order to make way for another partner, or because of medical problems or difficulties during pregnancies. Most of these girls are put out on the streets.

Think About It

Why isn’t the government doing anything to stop hundreds of children from being abused every year? Why does Islam condone such behavior?

Is Wasila Umaru a murderer? Or was she just protecting herself? If she is not punished justly, will this case be a trigger for more child brides to kill their husbands and get away with it? What about the three innocent friends that were killed along with Umaru Sani

Iraq – Child Marriage Back With Government Endorsing Girls Marrying At 9 Years Of Age

Jaafari Personal Status Law Saving Women’s Rights And Dignity – Really? 

Iraq is on the verge of legalizing child marriage once the Jaafari Personal Status Law comes into force. A banner advertising this new Jaafari Personal Status Law addressed to Iraqi women says boldly: “The Jaafari Personal Status Law saves my rights and my dignity”.  But many do not agree, with critics saying this Jaafari Personal Status Law is a regressive step, bringing back child marriage which was officially banned in the mid 1970s.

The Previous Prohibition

Long ago, in the period following Iraq’s independence, child marriage (fasliyah) was common in the hills and plains of Iraq.  But fasliyah was officially banned in the mid 1970s as Iraq moved towards modernity and secularization.

When fasliyah was banned, many had high hopes.  Al-Monitor commented: “This decree [banning fasliyah] constituted the first step toward a civilized Iraqi community,” reports the Middle East publication Al-Monitor, “which would put an end to the failures of the tribal… society”.

Child marriage declined after that.  The Central Organization for Statistics reported that by 2004, only 15% of Iraqi women were married as children.  But then came the war, and by 2007, Al-Monitor said 21% of Iraqi women were married as children.

Now the Population Reference Bureau has confirmed this reversal of trend, saying that “the decline in early marriages has stopped”.  But that’s an understatement.  The truth is that the trend in child marriage has reversed, and is climbing.

By mid-2013, 25% of Iraqi girls were married as children, with 5% before 15 years of age.

The Jaafari Personal Status Law

Billed as the law to save women’s “rights and dignity”, the Jaafari Personal Status Law has been criticized as doing just the opposite.  This Jaafari Personal Status Law allows boys to marry as young as 15 years and girls can marry as young as 9.  But there is also a provision to allow girls below 9 years of age to marry with a parent’s approval.  So in effect there is no minimum age for a girl to marry.

Among the other provisions of the Jaafari Personal Status Law is one that prevents women from leaving the house without their husband’s consent.  This effective makes the house like a sort of prison.

Further, this Jaafari Personal Status Law grants automatic custody of children above 2 years of age to their father in divorce cases.

Marital rape is now legalized under the Jaafari Personal Status Law.

Lastly, non-Muslim girls are now prohibited from marrying Muslim men.

Reactions

Ayad Allawi, a former Iraqi prime minister voiced his outrage of the Jaafari Personal Status Law this way, saying: “It allows for girls to be married from nine years of age and even younger. There are other injustices [in the law] too”.

Joe Stork from Human Rights Watch said: “Passage of the Jaafari law would be a disastrous and discriminatory step backward for Iraq’s women and girls. This personal status law would only entrench Iraq’s divisions while the government claims to support equal rights for all”.

Women’s rights activist Basma al-Khateeb said: “Iraq is in conflict and undergoing a breakdown of the rule of law. The passage of the Jaafari law sets the ground for legalized inequality”.

Al-Monitor report other critics as fearing that the passage into law of the Jaafari Personal Status Law will “lead to the fragmentation of [the] national identity and divide Iraqis into various religious entities that are separate from one another both socially and legally”.

Think About It

Why did Iraq’s Council of Ministers approved this Jaafari Personal Status Law? Some critics viewed this move as an attempt to appease conservative Shiites before upcoming elections.  If this is true, then should politicians make use of young girls to achieve their political ends?  And why call this Jaafari Personal Status Law as a law to save women’s “rights and dignity” when it is not the case? Will Parliament approve this? Should it?

Pakistan – 1,000 Christian and Hindu Girls Forced to Convert to Islam Every Year

Forced Conversion

Approximately 1,000 Christian and Hindu girls are forced to convert to Islam and married to Muslim men every year in Pakistan, the Movement for Solidarity and Peace (MSP) reported. The report estimates that the true scale of the problem is likely to be much greater and that a large number of cases do not get reported.

Police Reports

Minority Christian women are being forced into marriages. Christian girls between the ages of 12-25 are abducted, converted to Islam, and married to the abductor or a third party.

The families of the victims would usually file a First Information Report (FIR) for the abduction or rape with local police stations. The abductor would then file a counter FIR on behalf of the victim, accusing the family of harassing the girl, and claim that she willfully converted and married, and for conspiring the girl to convert back to Christianity. The girl would then be asked to testify before the court whether or not she was abducted. However, while proceedings are carried out, the girl would remain in custody of the abductor.

If the girl testifies in court that she was abducted, the case is settled without relief for the family. While in custody, the girl may be subjected to sexual violence, rape, forced prostitution, human trafficking, or other domestic abuse.

Think about it

Why isn’t the Pakistani government doing anything to stop these abductions? Do they condone the abductor’s behavior? How many more girls must be abducted and forced into marriage before action will be taken?

The Quran states that ‘there is no compulsion in religion’ (2:256), but why are girls being forced to convert in the name of Islam?

Saudi Arabia – Religious Scholar Called For Chemical Castration For Sexual Predators

Chemical Castration To End Sex Crimes

A former dean of the Sharia College at the Imam University in Riyadh said recently that chemical castration should be applied to sexual predators in order to stop sexual harassment or sex crimes.  Saud bin Abdullah Al  Fanisan said this during a TV show.

What Is Chemical Castration?

Chemical castration, as defined in a medical dictionary, is “the treatment of men with paraphilia with methoxyprogesterone acetate, which inhibits gonadotropin secretion, thereby reducing sexual drives”.

That’s a mouthful of words.  But essentially it means a chemical way to make sexual predators lose interest in sex.

Why Chemical Castration?

Saud bin Abdullah Al  Fanisan justified his fatwa on chemical castration on the basis that anti sexual harassment laws and punishment by and large were unable to deter sex offenders, even in those countries where such laws are implemented.

According to Saud bin Abdullah Al-Fanisan, this chemical castration fatwa is an attempt to combat such sex crimes and sexual harassment.

Saud bin Abdullah Al  Fanisan puts it this way: “If there is a chemical solution to make offenders lose interest in sex, then I believe castration should be allowed”.

Saud bin Abdullah Al  Fanisan then went on to define a sexual predator, saying: “A harasser is usually a person whose sense of self-discipline and consciousness is weak”.

Think About It

Castration is prohibited in Islam.  What is the difference between castration and chemical castration?  In issuing his fatwa on chemical castration, is Saud bin Abdullah Al Fanisan going against the Islamic prohibition of castration?  Or is chemical castration not considered as castration?

Syria – It’s That Sex Jihad Thing Again!

Cleric Urged Syrian Women To Become Sex Slaves

Things must be getting desperate for sex-starved male jihadists fighting President Bashar Assad in Syria.  We heard of fatwas that call on Muslim women elsewhere to travel to Syria to engage in sex jihad with male jihadists fighting there.  We also heard of so-called rape fatwas that permit jihadists fighting inside Syria to treat non-Muslims women as sex slaves under the “right hand possession” doctrine.  Now a new fatwa calls on Syrian Muslim women to voluntarily become sex slaves under the same “right hand possession” route.

The “Sex Jihad” Fatwa

In what amounted to a New Year’s gift to jihadists fighting inside Syria early last year, Sheikh Muhammed al-Arifi, an influential religious cleric issued what amounted to a sex jihad fatwa when he said that Muslim women can engage in short term “intercourse marriage” lasting a few hours with male jihadists, and that those women doing so will qualify for a place in paradise.

This sex fatwa then spread outside of Syria and Muslim women from neighboring Muslim countries reportedly travelled to Syria to engage in short term “intercourse marriage” with multiple male jihadists.  Press reports said several Muslim girls from Tunisia did just that.

The “Rape” Fatwa

Around April last year, Salafi Sheikh Yasir al-’Ajlawni, who hails from Jordan but lived 17 years in Syria, issued another fatwa, this time legalizing the rape of Syrian women who are not from the Sunni branch of Islam, including those women from the Alawites (Bashar Assad’s own sect), Christians, Druze,  and the Shi’ites.

Sheikh Yasir al-’Ajlawni referred to these non-Sunni women as melk-al-yamin (non-Muslim sex slaves), quoting Quran 4:3 to support his fatwa: “Marry such women as seem good to you, two and three and four… or what your right hands possess”.  He argued that “what your right hands possess” refers to sex slaves.

The Latest Fatwa

Sheikh Yasir al-’Ajlawni has now issued his latest fatwa, also on sex.  This time round, Sheikh Yasir al-’Ajlawni urged destitute women in Syria to become “right hand possessions” of any man willing to support them.  Put another way, these women are to sell themselves into sex-slavery.

Explaining his fatwa, Sheikh Yasir al-’Ajlawni said that “the needy, disenfranchised Syrian woman is permitted to ask the Muslim man who is capable of supporting her, to enter into a ‘right hand possession’ contract with him, whereby she becomes his right hand possession”.

Sheikh Yasir al-’Ajlawni’s fatwa says:

“We hereby give fatwa permitting the Syrian woman who desires to be married to a Muslim man, via a ‘right hand possession’ contract – whereby he becomes her master and she becomes his slave – that all this contract needs is for the woman be clean of her menstruation period, and that this contract be registered with the sheikhs or other authorities, either in a Sharia or civil court…  Afterwards, once the woman says, ‘I give you possession over myself,’ via contract of ‘right hand possession’, this woman becomes his loyal servant, and he her lord; she becomes a slave and concubine to him, and he must support her according to a previously agreed upon monetary fee … thus they become governed by the rulings of ‘right hand possession,’ and there is no problem with this, Allah willing”.

Sheikh Yasir al-’Ajlawni concluded with this: “We call on the ulema of Syria to adopt this [fatwa], for it is the only legitimate way to guarantee that displaced Syrian women who have no one to rely on but Allah are not physically or sexually exploited or beaten in ways that contradict Sharia.  All prayers and blessings upon our prophet”.

Think About It

Why is  Sheikh Yasir al-’Ajlawni so persistent in issuing sex-related fatwas?  Is there really such a thing as a sex jihad?  Can rapes be committed in the name of “right hand possessions”? Why would Muslim girls, mostly teenagers, from countries like Tunisia obey Sheikh Yasir al-’Ajlawni’s fatwa and travel to Syria to engage in multiple short term “intercourse marriage”?  How can this be prevented?

Previous posts

Egypt – Are Muslim Brotherhood Female Supporters Ready To Engage In Sexual Jihad?
Syria – Fatwa Permits Jihadists To Have Sex With All Non-Sunni Women
Tunisia – Teenage Girls Going To Syria In Response To Alleged Fatwa On Sexual Jihad
Saudi Arabia – Fatwa On “Intercourse Marriage” Issued For Jihadists In Syria?

Philippines – Roman Catholic Church Defeated As Supreme Court Says “Yes” To Birth Control

“The Reproductive Health Law Is Not Unconstitutional”

The Philippines is a predominantly Roman Catholic country, with over 80% of the population claiming to be its members.  There are 2 sacred cows in the country – birth control and divorce, and both are illegal there.  This week, the first sacred cow was slaughtered when the Supreme Court ruled against a constitutional challenge by supporters of the Roman Catholic Church to prevent the Reproductive Health Law from becoming law. The Supreme Court ruled that the Reproductive Health Law is not unconstitutional, thus ending a 15-year Roman Catholic Church’s campaign against any law that permits birth control in the Philippines.

The Supreme Court’s Ruling

It was Theodore Te, the Supreme Court spokesman, who told reporters that “the Reproductive Health Law is not unconstitutional”, a decision that struck down more than a dozen petitions against this law filed by church groups.

In December 2012, in an unprecedented move, Philippine President Benigno Aquino signed the law into effect.  However the Supreme Court later ordered a suspension of this Reproductive Health Law following several petitions by church groups alleging its unconstitutionality.

The Reproductive Health Law contains provisions that allow people to get free condoms and birth control pills from government health centers.  Public health workers are now required to receive family planning training, and sex education is now compulsory in schools.  And those who undergo illegal abortion now can now legally obtain post abortion medical care.

Reactions

Legislator Edcel Lagman, the man principally responsible for the Reproductive Health Law, said: “This monumental decision upholds the separation of church and state and affirms the supremacy of government in secular concerns like health and socio-economic development.   A grateful nation salutes the majority of justices for their favourable ruling promoting reproductive health and giving impetus to sustainable human development”.

The Roman Catholic Church had, in the run-up to the verdict, held several street protests calling the Reproductive Health Law as “evil”.  It had also threatened to ex-communicate President Benigno Aquino.

Following the Supreme Court’s ruling, former senator Francisco Tatad, a petitioner to the court, said: “This means civil disobedience at the very least, actual revolt at the most extreme.  Some of us will want to defy the power of the devil and die as martyrs, if need be, in the only cause that gives us a chance to fight for something much bigger than ourselves”.

But women’s rights groups and other supporters of this Reproductive Health Law argue that this law is a powerful tool to fight poverty and also to reduce the country’s birth rate.

Think About It

Francisco Tatad said that this Supreme Court ruling permitting birth control  will lead to “civil disobedience” or “actual revolt”.  But a recent survey by the respected Social Weather Stations polling group shows that 72% of those polled were “in favour” of the law, and 84% agreed that free family planning options should be provided by the government.  Many of these respondents must be members of the Roman Catholic Church.  Will they revolt or engage in civil disobedience?  If not, does it mean that the Roman Catholic Church has lost its influence on over the population?  Does the passage of this bill, which is opposed by the Roman Catholic Church, and the Supreme Court’s ruling mean that the Roman Catholic Church has lost its significant role in Philippine political life?  If so, does it mean that the days of other sacred cow – divorce – are numbered?

Jordan – Women Not Allowed To Testify Without Veil

Court Agrees Woman Not Wearing Hijab Is A Slut

The Amman Sharia Court of Appeal (Jordan) announced last week that it agreed with one lawyer’s statement that a woman who does not wear a hijab (or at least is covered up) should not be allowed to testify in court, as it would affect the fairness and honesty in her testimony. Further, the Amman Sharia Court of Appeal agreed with the lawyer in calling such women ‘sluts’.

Objection

The Jordanian Women’s Union and lawyers objected violently to the statement made by the Court. The Women’s Union released a statement saying that the court’s decision was discrimination against women and a violation of the Jordanian Constitution.

The statement by the lawyer was apparently made in accordance with a fatwa (legal opinion or interpretation a qualified jurist can give on Islamic law) claiming that women who weren’t covered up are ‘sluts’ and that gives them a bad name. However, the Amman Sharia Court of Appeal was unable to support this fatwa apart from a written introduction of an Egyptian book ‘Islamic Theologian Sheikh Yusuf Al Qaradawi’.

The uproar was partly because the Jordanian Constitution calls for equality between men and women, and various groups felt that this statement by the Court clearly violates the Constitution. This was followed by a demand from the Women’s Union to reconsider the decision made, and to revise the Personal Status Law, saying that it still discriminates against women.

Think about it

Even with laws in place, are women really viewed as equals with men? And is there anything that can be done about it? Is there really freedom for women in Jordan? Is their own attire their choice?

Should courts be allowed to dictate what women wear to testify? Would this set precedence for allowing courts to rule according to their own beliefs? But is that really that different to the West stipulating a dress code for court and not allowing women to testify in bikinis? After all, who defines what is appropriate?