Of course, she couched it all as “misinterpretations” of Islam. But at least she didn’t do what one might reasonably have expected her to do: hail the wonderful treatment of women in Islamic countries. “Cherie chides Muslims over women’s rights,” from the TimesOnline, with thanks to Mark:
CHERIE BLAIR has risked offending Muslims by criticising the way in which Islam is used in many societies to keep women in check.
Mrs Blair told a group of Indian journalists in Delhi that attitudes towards women in some Muslim societies were out of date and needed to change. She urged Muslims to embrace more modern attitudes to sex equality….
At one table, Mrs Blair spoke of how as a Christian she was fascinated by Islam and thought there was much good about it. But after she was asked about the London bombings she said: “The religion has a deep philosophical base but there are misinterpretations by some groups in some parts of the world about women that I have a problem with.”
Mrs Blair then suggested that Islamic scholars should review or re-examine Muslim teaching on the place of women. But at that point she appeared consciously to check herself….
Misinterpretations by some groups? Hmmm. Really, mon Cherie? But what about these passages from the Qur’an, which:
- Likens a woman to a field (tilth), to be used by a man as he wills: “Your women are a tilth for you (to cultivate) so go to your tilth as ye will” (2:223);
- Declares that a woman’s testimony is worth half that of a man: “Get two witnesses, out of your own men, and if there are not two men, then a man and two women, such as ye choose, for witnesses, so that if one of them errs, the other can remind her” (2:282);
- Allows men to marry up to four wives, and have sex with slave girls also: “If ye fear that ye shall not be able to deal justly with the orphans, marry women of your choice, two or three or four; but if ye fear that ye shall not be able to deal justly (with them), then only one, or (a captive) that your right hands possess, that will be more suitable, to prevent you from doing injustice” (4:3);
- Rules that a son’s inheritance should be twice the size of that of a daughter: “Allah (thus) directs you as regards your children’s (inheritance): to the male, a portion equal to that of two females” (4:11);
- Tells husbands to beat their disobedient wives: “Men are in charge of women, because Allah hath made the one of them to excel the other, and because they spend of their property (for the support of women). So good women are the obedient, guarding in secret that which Allah hath guarded. As for those from whom ye fear rebellion, admonish them and banish them to beds apart, and scourge them” (4:34).
Are all those passages capable of interpretations that will allow for equality of dignity and rights for women?