Based on Human Rights Watch, the Lord’s Resistance Military (LRA), a Ugandan insurgent group whose acknowledged purpose was to create a state primarily based on the biblical 10 commandments, kidnapped and killed tens of hundreds of individuals within the Nineteen Nineties and 2000s.
Their apply of abducting boys to coach them as troopers and ladies to power them into sexual slavery has been documented and put earlier than the Worldwide Prison Court docket in The Hague, leading to an arrest warrant for Joseph Kony, the group’s founder, together with 4 of his senior leaders, for battle crimes and crimes in opposition to humanity.
Though in line with its management, the armed group was a Christian military performing in God’s approach, few op-eds have needed to be penned arguing that the LRA’s actions are usually not in congruence with normative Christianity. It’s simply (rightly) assumed.
Sadly, a totally totally different algorithm is utilized on the subject of Muslims. The commentary surrounding the latest Taliban takeover of Afghanistan is however one instance.
Experiences have emerged that Afghan girls are being compelled to marry Taliban fighters, give up their jobs and education, in addition to endure public flogging.
Reasonably than name for increasing asylum programmes and even exerting political stress on the Taliban to reform, right-wing politicians in Europe and the USA have as a substitute weaponised the continuing instability on this war-torn nation to attain political factors in opposition to their Muslim residents and immigration proponents.
As Muslim residents of Western nations, we’ve but once more discovered ourselves defending our group and religion in opposition to these wishing to use this tragedy to propagate Islamophobic tropes – the identical tropes that have been used to justify invading Afghanistan 20 years in the past.
We are actually, as we have been then, anticipated to make clear, condemn and distinguish our religion from the actions of a militant group claiming to behave in its identify, an unfair and exhausting demand not product of our Christian compatriots, relating to any armed group or battle legal claiming to behave in Christ’s identify.
Nonetheless, regardless of the double customary, we should take these moments as alternatives to coach. So let me be clear: The normative teachings of Islam are antithetical to the Taliban’s reported therapy of ladies.
The teachings of Islam, in all their range, encourage a girl’s non secular aspirations absent an intercessor between her and God and outline her id as at the start a servant of The Devine, whose rights represent a sacred covenant. In seventh-century Arabia, Islam’s advance took a girl from being handled as property to a totally unbiased agent who had management over her monetary selections and possessions and who had the best to decide on to marry and divorce.
What about girls’s employment? From the primary era of believers, girls served as all the things, from medical staff to warriors. For instance, Rufaida Al-Aslamia was a surgeon recognised by the Prophet for her look after the wounded, her coaching of different girls as nurses, and her function in establishing the primary area hospital for the group. Nusaybah bint Ka’ab was referred to as the “Prophet’s defend” for defending him in battle, even when many males fled.
Islam’s teachings additionally emphasise the significance of searching for information, for each women and men. In reality, the primary recognized college on the earth, the College of al-Qarawiyyin within the Moroccan metropolis of Fez, was based greater than 1,000 years in the past by Fatima al-Fihri, a Muslim girl. It’s the oldest present and regularly working instructional establishment on the earth.
Fatima and her sister, Mariam, have been extremely educated and dedicated to their religion. Upon her father’s dying and her inheritance of his fortune (sure, Muslim girls might inherit property centuries earlier than their European counterparts), she and her sister determined to make use of their wealth to construct an establishment of upper studying.
The al-Fihri sisters’ dedication to the pursuit of data is way from an remoted instance. 4 years in the past, whereas on a talking tour of the UK, I had the distinct pleasure of assembly Professor Mohammad Akram Nadwi, who authored an encyclopaedia of the Muhaddithat, the feminine students of Hadith, Islam’s assortment of prophetic narrations.
He instructed me he had got down to write a brief guide about what he thought could be a handful of feminine Hadith students, and ended up finishing 57 volumes (which he needed to condense to 40 for publication) on about 9,000 of them. He continues his analysis and says there are hundreds extra girls he might write about. I discovered from him that most of the students we contemplate the pillars of our custom had feminine lecturers (not simply college students).
It is usually value noting that Dr Nadwi got down to research simply students of Hadith. Many of those girls additionally have been students of fiqh (regulation), tafsir (scriptural exegesis) and different sciences together with Hadith. I bear in mind questioning what the quantity could be had he got down to research Islam’s feminine students typically.
And but these realities stand in sharp distinction to the picture of Muslim girls within the standard creativeness, an creativeness simply persuaded that the Taliban represents Islamic devotion, not deviance, in its therapy of ladies. Based on the Institute for Social Coverage and Understanding’s Islamophobia Index, the stereotype of Muslim misogyny is essentially the most pervasive anti-Muslim trope examined amongst Individuals.
Western political figures have lengthy instrumentalised the picture of the oppressed Muslim girl in want of Western saviours to justify European, after which later American invasion and exploitation of Muslim lands. Whereas this tendency could be traced again to the Crusades, within the fashionable context, it takes the type of biased media protection of Muslim girls.
Based on a Stanford research carried out by Dr Rochelle Terman, who primarily based her evaluation on information collected from 35 years of New York Occasions and Washington Put up reporting, US information protection of ladies overseas is pushed by affirmation bias. Journalists usually tend to report on girls residing in Muslim and Center Japanese nations if their rights are violated, however report on girls in different societies when their rights are revered.
Some could argue that that is merely a mirrored image of actuality. Girls in Muslim majority nations, they contend, are violated extra usually. However this isn’t the case. Terman writes, “Even when the nations rank roughly equally on the ladies’s rights index, girls in Muslim nations are proven struggling misogyny, whereas girls in Western nations are portrayed in additional complicated methods.”
Even when their lived realities are comparable, Muslim girls are depicted as extra mistreated than their counterparts of different faiths, reproducing the false notion that misogyny is exceptionally and inherently Muslim.
We should grow to be essential customers of data, questioning double requirements and difficult bias, and never enable anybody to make use of the actions of a militant group to propagate bigotry. That is the one approach we’ll actually stand with the Afghan individuals, men and women, who should lead any effort to assist them.
The views expressed on this article are the writer’s personal and don’t essentially replicate Al Jazeera’s editorial stance.