Friday, September 16, 2005

Rape Culture

Islam is a rape culture. When cultures segregate and dehumanize women the result is rape. When women are treated like chattel instead of autonomous beings with recognized rights as equals no different from men, the result is rape, slavery, torture, and murder. When chattel slavery is enshrined as culture, then rape is a result, obviously so to anyone who cares to read even the two articles below, not to mention the myriad others available to those who care to pursue the inquiry further.

We take issue with the privileging of culture over the individual. Why, we ask, is culture valued at all? Social cohesion is some benefit? To what end are people cohesive? And if for some reason, by some wild lucky chance one can make a coherent argument that culture is a benefit because it creates social cohesion, then will one go further and claim that social cohesion is better than atomic individuality? Is the collective good better than the good of the collection of individuals pursuing their own happiness? Should the state prevail over the individual? Is the greater number better prepared to express the truth than the smaller? Or is the smaller group of perhaps Philosopher Kings better informed, nobler, wiser than the great unwashed? Should there be, regardless, a perfect monoculture? Should we all subsume our interests to the ummah?

Perhaps Islam is a great thing that all should follow. If Islam segregates women, and if from that women are property to be used and traded like any other commodity, if, in short, Islam is a good thing and women should be raped if they can be, and if culture is supreme, then all women should be raped if they are outside the protective boundaries of their protecting family males. There should be no law preventing or even discouraging the cultural Islamic practice of raping women-- or boys for that matter.

Ah, but culture is distinct, an organic outgrowth of social conditions applicable only to those within a specific group, that group based on language perhaps, or religion, or the shape of the head, the size of the nose. Rather than atomic individuals we have instead atomic cultures. Islam, having its own cultures, privileges rape. Who are we to judge if we allow the concept of particularism? If there is multi-culture, then we must allow rape as a cultural expression if that is indeed part of authentic cultural expression. Forget the individual. Think in terms of the benefits of social cohesion.

Or, take a brick to the face of anyone who suggests that culture is anything other than fascism writ big, red, and evil.

Below we have two pieces on rape in Pakistan. Rape is culture. Rape is Islamic culture. If we accept the dominance of culture we must accept the rape that goes with it as policy. Culture is for those who refuse to think for themselves. They rape if they're Muslims. No, not all Muslims. But for those who do it's culture. It's ok. Not for us, those of us with a different culture, but it's ok for Muslims. Too bad for the women, but hey, culture is supreme for those who think culture is supreme.

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (Reuters) -- Outrage mounted in Pakistan and abroad on Friday over President Pervez Musharraf's comment that many Pakistanis felt that crying rape was an easy way to make money and move to Canada.

Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin has already condemned the remarks made by Musharraf, who is in the United States having addressed the U.N. General Assembly on Wednesday.

London-based rights group Amnesty International said Musharraf should apologize, and newspapers back home decried their leader's attitude.

Musharraf told the Washington Post in an interview published on Tuesday that Pakistan should not be singled out on rape issues as other countries had the same problems.

"You must understand the environment in Pakistan ... This has become a money-making concern. A lot of people say if you want to go abroad and get a visa for Canada or citizenship and be a millionaire, get yourself raped," the Post quoted Musharraf as saying.

Dawn, Pakistan's leading English-language daily, rounded on Musharraf in an editorial headlined "Wrong thing to say".

"If this attitude, of blaming rape and other crimes against women on women themselves and ridiculing NGOs (non-government organizations) that take up such issues, begins to travel upward from ignorant mullahs and male chauvinists to permeate the higher echelons of the administration, then God help us," it said.

Amnesty International said it was outraged at the remarks by Musharraf, who is due to address an audience of Pakistani-American women in New York on Saturday.

"This callous and insulting statement requires a public apology from President Musharraf to the women of Pakistan and especially to victims of rape, sexual assault and other forms of violence that are rampant with impunity in Pakistan," the group said in a statement issued on Thursday.

"His statement is an offence to women all over the world."

Musharraf, according to media reports, told a news conference in New York on Thursday that he had been expressing a commonly held opinion rather than his own.

Earlier, Canada's Martin said he had raised the matter with the Pakistani leader during a meeting on the sidelines of the General Assembly.

"I stated unequivocally that comments such as that are not acceptable and that violence against women is also a blight that besmirches all humanity," Martin told a news conference.

Rape is prevalent particularly in rural areas of Pakistan, but local media have recently become more active in following up stories since a notorious gang rape generated massive publicity at home and abroad when the victim spoke out about her ordeal.

Mukhtaran Mai, now an icon for human rights in Pakistan, was gang-raped three years ago on the orders of a village council after her brother, then 12, was judged to have befriended a woman of a powerful clan.

Earlier this year Musharraf blocked Mai from traveling to the United States to attend a women's rights conference, but later lifted the ban after international criticism including from the U.S. government.

Mai told Reuters she was pained by Musharraf's comments in the United States.

"Nobody does it intentionally. A large number of women are molested and insulted in the country. How many of them have made money?," she said. "Such thinking about women is not good."

Copyright 2005 Reuters. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

ASI held in gang-r ape case, 3 cops absconding

By Munawer Azeem

ISLAMABAD, Sept 6: A police officer has been arrested in Rawalpindi and hunt for two others in a gang-rape case in the second case in a week, police sources told Dawn late on Tuesday.

A woman, resident of Dhok Choudhrian, lodged a complaint with the Airport police that an assistant sub-inspector, Ilyas Kalyar, two constables, Mohammad Sadiq and Bilal, gang-raped her in her house on Sunday.

On the directives of assistant superintendent of police,

Civil Lines, an FIR has been registered against the accused.

The medical test on the victim was done in the Rawalpindi General Hospital and the report is due to be released soon.

District Police Officer Saud Aziz told the BBC that three constables had absconded.

He said that a sub-inspector had been arrested in connection with the case.

The woman alleged that the police officials had arrested her husband and demanded a bribe of Rs100,000, a BBC website reported.

The victim said she paid the police Rs30,000 after which her husband was released but the officials continued demanding the remaining amount.

She accused the four officers of then barging into her house on Sunday and raping her after locking her husband and uncle in another room in the house.

The case comes after Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz and Supreme Court Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry ordered separate inquiries into the alleged rape of a woman in Faisalabad, BBC reports.

DAWN - the Internet Edition ***

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