Here is another report that describes the prevalence and severity of domestic violence in a Muslim country without considering Islam’s role. The broadcast version of the story, aired tonight, mentioned attempts to convince men that such behavior was un-Islamic and not what Muhammad would want; even that is absent from the online version excerpted below.
But the Qur’an (4:34) says you can beat your wife — never mind the parenthetical additions of “lightly” by some Western translators. That doesn’t help the women in Afghanistan. Nor do fanciful re-translations of the Arabic term. There can be no meaningful discussion of domestic violence in the Muslim world without acknowledging that Islam’s scriptures, believed to be the direct word of Allah, approve of the idea of resorting to violence to “control” supposedly disobedient women.
As for Muhammad, he was a wife-beater himself, as Aisha recounts in this hadith that “He struck me on the chest which caused me pain.” When, per Qur’an 33:21, a man who marries a child and beats her is your “beautiful pattern of conduct,” you’ve got a serious problem.
That problem continues to manifest itself across the Muslim world. “Exclusive: The Secret Shelters That Protect Afghan Women,” by Margaret Ako and Mark Mooney for ABC News, March 11:
Not every Afghan is hoping the Americans soon leave their country. Some are actually dreading it.
“You can’t leave Afghanistan,” Manizha, who helps run a shelter for battered women, recently warned “World News” anchor Diane Sawyer. Behind Manizha, women who were beaten, bruised and badly scarred shake their heads in urgent agreement.
The secret women’s shelter is run by Manizha — who, like most Afghans, goes by only one name — and by New Yorker Esther Hyneman. It is one of a string of shelters and counseling centers that opened in 2007 and have since helped about 1,500 Afghan women escape beatings and abuse that can shock even battle-hardened combat surgeons.
Among the most heartbreaking is the story of Bebe. She is 17, and she says her face was mutilated by her husband, a Talib. Bebe’s nose and ears were cut off as punishment for running away to escape the constant pummeling by her husband and his family.
She was married to the radical Muslim when she was 12, Manizha told Sawyer. Her marriage was the result of an outlawed tribal custom called “baad” in which the daughter was given away as compensation for a crime or offense committed by a male member of Bebe’s family.
Girls given away in baad transactions are often little more than slaves. Bebe was forced to sleep in a stable with the animals, and beatings and pain became part of life for her.
Bebe tried to escape but was captured. Her husband was ordered by the Taliban to punish her by disfiguring her face. While her brother-in-law held her down, her husband sliced off her nose and ears.
Left for dead, she crawled to her uncle’s house, but he refused to help. Bebe staggered on to her grandfather’s house. He called her father. The local Afghan hospital was unable to treat her wounds, and suggested her father take her to the nearby U.S. military base, Forward Operating Base Ripley in Oruzgan province.
“She was very scared. She covered up,” said Air Force Sgt. Lindsey Clark, a medic who was on duty when Bebe arrived three days after the attack.
Maj. Jeff Lewis, an Air Force surgeon, told ABC News he was used to seeing war wounds, but Bebe’s injuries appalled him.
“It was barbaric and shocking to see this, that somebody had done this to this young girl… It was unlike anything I’ve ever seen,” Lewis said. “I’m surprised that … it still exists, this type of problem in the world.” Despite their scars — from fists, knives, burns, electrical cords — there is an argument that the women at Manizha’s shelter are the lucky ones.These women have found a way out of their brutal marriages. Millions of Afghan women are routinely handed over for marriages while they are still children and endure lives of constant battering.
“Ninety percent of Afghan women have experienced some form of human rights violation, 15 million Afghan women probably need our help,” Manizha told Sawyer….