In his Cairo address, Obama spoke in defense of the rights of Muslim women who want to wear the hijab if they so choose. Where is he for those who choose not to wear it but are forced, as is happening in Chechnya right now? Those who are suffering under the steady encroachment of Sharia and all of its violations of human rights might not mind a little “outreach” either. But they just don’t seem to be fashionable enough of a cause, just as women’s rights are always a lower priority when demonstrating “respect” for Islam is also at issue.
“Enforcement of Islamic Dress Code for Women in Chechnya,” from Human Rights Watch, November 19 (thanks to Twostellas):
In the past few years the situation of women’s rights in Chechnya has deteriorated significantly, requiring immediate attention from the Russian government and Russia’s international partners.
Chechen women have essentially become the target of a quasi-official “virtue” campaign. For several years, the Chechen authorities have discriminated against women who refuse to wear headscarves, prohibiting them from working in the public sector. Female students are also required to wear headscarves in schools and universities. Though these measures have not been codified into law, they are strictly enforced and vocally supported by the republic’s leader, Ramzan Kadyrov, who is directly appointed by the Kremlin. This paper describes violence and threats against women to intimidate them into adhering to Islamic dress co des. The documented incidents took place from June through September 2010 in Grozny, Chechnya’s capital.
Russian law guarantees all women, including those in Chechnya, the freedom to choose how they dress as part of their constitutional right to freedom of conscience, but to date the Kremlin has taken no action to put an end to this unwritten but unlawful policy in Chechnya. In the upcoming round of EU-Russia human rights consultations, the EU should urge the Russian government to take action to guarantee the protection of women’s rights in Chechnya and to ensure that the wearing of a headscarf remains a personal choice and that no one will be punished or experience discrimination as a result of her choice.
International and European Standards
The enforcement of an Islamic dress code on women in Chechnya violates their rights to private life, personal autonomy, freedom of expression and to freedom of religion, thought, and conscience. It is also a form of gender-based discrimination prohibited under international law.
That’s Sharia for you. There may be “no compulsion in religion” (Qur’an 2:256) in theory, but in practice, there is layer upon layer of coercion designed to leave no other choice but to submit to Islamic law. And of course, there is the death penalty for apostasy, per Muhammad’s own orders.
The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) guarantees people’s right to freedom of religion, as reflected in article 18.2, which states that “no one shall be subject to coercion which would impair his [or her] freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his [or her] choice.”….