• Sun, May 19 2013

Everything I Hate About Religion Can Be Summed Up In This Failed Afghanistan Law

law-and-justiceIn 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.

(photo: corgarashu / Shutterstock)

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  • M.

    Fuck religion.

    • Simone

      Yeah, I really, really want to agree, because religion has been used to disempower, marginalise or flat-out kill people (mostly women) for centuries, but in this case it isn’t actually Islam itself that’s the problem, it’s the culture that has developed around it. Although how that’s different, I’m not sure. The actual tenets of Islam were revolutionary for their time in the rights they allotted to women, and overall it’s not a terribly anti-female religion, but it’s created generations of mullahs who deliberately foster misinterpretation of the religion to support their social dominance over women.

      This law is such a basic thing – “Let’s not treat women like voiceless, passive items to which we can do whatever we like” and they couldn’t manage it.

      Actually, yeah. I’m with you.
      Fuck religion.

  • Kheldarson

    Ugh…I dislike when articles like this come out because it continues to show the real problem with the Middle East, and it’s not their religion like everybody keeps saying. It’s their culture. They follow Sharia law which is basically their ancient cultures codified. They then found “justification” for some of the absurdities in the Quran, because people like that always can (Puritans anyone? The Phelps family?). Islamic law actually says that women are to be treated as equals.

    Sharia law is what put women into separate rooms and behind closed doors.

    It’s a shame this law didn’t get passed, but guys, stop hiding behind your religion! You’re making the rest of your fellow believers look bad!

    • Unhappy Gilmore

      Oh it’s their religion, too, bro.

    • Kheldarson

      Nope, not in their religion. The only mentions of women covering themselves and keeping away from men in the Quran were in direct reference to Mohammad’s wives to ensure their safety and respectability during the time of his preaching.

      It’d be like someone saying that all Christian women need to wear veils because Paul’s wife (yes, I know he didn’t have a wife; that’s not the point) wore a veil to protect her and her husband’s image.

      The only places that hold these specific types of acts as part of their religion are from the Middle East; you don’t get them out of India or SE Asia which has more Muslims than anywhere in the world. The only thing that differentiates the practices of Muslims in the Middle East and those in SE Asia is Sharia law, which again is a cultural law not a religious law.

  • Unhappy Gilmore

    I’m happy to see an article such as this on Mommyish. Most of you write absolute drivel about nothing that matters. Seriously. But this, good job. Keep doing it.

  • Daisy

    I don’t disagree that there are people out there who use religion as an excuse to do bad things. But for every one of those people you meet, you can probably find ten or a hundred or a thousand whose religion motivates them to volunteer in the community, take care of a neighbour, forgive a friend, or help out a stranger.
    The whole point of religion is that it’s supposed to teach you to live a good life. Anyone who twists it to justify doing bad things is probably a horrible person who would do those bad things anyway. Religion is not the problem.

    • Kate

      Thank you.

  • irrenmann

    With advanced, sophisticated arguments like “duh” and “sigh,” you’ll definitely win the faithful to your mode of thinking.

    I forgot—you’re not trying to construct a meaningful argument, just building a little echo chamber to pull more clicks. By the way, it’s a tactic used by religious folks too (as in the origin of “preaching to the choir”).