In 2009, Afghan President Hamid Karzai issued a law called “The Law On Elimination of Violence Against Women.” Sounds like a freaking amazing idea, right? Well, when lawmaker and women’s rights activist Fawzia Kofi recently brought this law to parliament to set it in stone, parliament shot it down because it goes against principles of Islam.
To me, this failed Afghanistan law just a really, really thinly veiled attempt to keep women submissive and quiet. And this is one of the huge reasons I am an atheist, because religion has been and always will be a seemingly valid excuse for humans to do really horrible things to one another.
SFGate describes how the failed law would have protected women:
The law criminalizes, among other things, child marriage and forced marriage, and bans “baad,” the traditional practice of exchanging girls and women to settle disputes. It makes domestic violence a crime punishable by up to three years in prison and specifies that rape victims should not face criminal charges for fornication or adultery.
Kofi, who plans to run for president in next year’s elections, said she was disappointed because among those who oppose upgrading the law from presidential decree to legislation passed by parliament are women.
Talk about girl on girl crime. But among the men opposed were Khalil Ahmad Shaheedzada, who said so eloquently, “Whatever is against Islamic law, we don’t even need to speak about it,” and, “Even now in Afghanistan, women are running from their husbands. Girls are running from home…such laws give them these ideas.”
I want to know why, for the love of everything holy (pun, yes), does the religion card trump human rights every time? If some objectively cruel thing takes place outside the scope of a religious text, everyone can pretty much agree it’s wrong. Say a man goes up to another man, a complete stranger, and gouges his eyes out for no reason at all. I think under most courts of law the gouger would be in some deep shit.
But if something equally as cruel is mentioned somewhere in a religious text, like, say, beating a woman to keep her in line, we just can’t challenge it, because, duh, divinity and stuff. When I read of men like lawmaker Mandavi Abdul Rahmani who dismissed the women’s rights law saying, ”We cannot have an Islamic country with basically Western laws,” I picture a grown man sitting on the floor with his fingers in his ears, yelling la la la I can’t hear you.
But the crazy thing is that these “Western Laws” we follow over here don’t deter religious, conservative Americans from maintaining their outdated values. We have laws that are supposed to protect women and children from being oppressed and abused but all of this still goes on, and it’s often backed by religious doctrines. I don’t mean to diminish the seriousness of what goes on in Afghanistan by complaining that it’s tough here too, because if we’re seriously comparing the two, this country is a utopia for women.
It’s just, sigh. We all have such a long way to go.