Narcissus' Echo

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Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Someone explain these to me? (No apologists, please)

The woman killed for pop music

by Catherine Philp

Bright and modern, she hosted a music show in Afghanistan. It drove extremists to murder her

SHAIMA REZAYEE was the face of a new generation of young Afghan women: she discarded her shalwar kameez and burkha for Western clothes and a glamorous job as a television presenter on Kabul’s answer to MTV. But two months ago her bosses were forced to dismiss Ms Rezayee, 24, under pressure from conservative mullahs who were disgusted by the “unIslamic values” of her music show.

This week she paid for her unconventional choices with her life: she was shot dead in her home by an unknown assailant.


Extremism needs to be publicly condemned by the leaders of the religion. Using the USA and the West as strawmen no longer works. The religion needs to take responsibility and root out the cancer that is destroying the image of Islam in the world. Sure, the Puritans used to burn suspected witches at the stake, and the Hindus used to practice sati, but till the present day, Muslim women are still being murdered from exercising their freedom. No amount of excuses can change that fact.

When Freedom Gets the Death Sentence

by Sonia Phalnikar, DW-WORLD.DE

The murder of a Turkish woman and the applauding of the crime by some students have left Berlin shaken and officials pushing for ethics class. But how deep does the concept of honor run among some immigrant communities?

On a cold afternoon this week, Hatin Surucu gazed gravely from a large poster behind a bus stop lined with flowers, cards and candles.

To the people who came to this bleak part of Berlin's Tempelhof district for Tuesday's solemn vigil -- called not by the city's Muslim community but a gay and lesbian organization -- the image of the young woman in a headscarf, a baby in her arms, was familiar from newspapers and television. A few notes at the memorial read, "Hope you get a better deal in your next life," and "Live a life on your own terms."

"It's a scandal," said Ali K, 33. "All Muslims in Berlin should take to the streets to protest." Yasemin, 22, said, "It's horrific. All Hatin was doing was leading her life the way she wanted."

But it was a choice she paid for with her life. On Feb. 7, 23-year-old Hatin Surucu was gunned down at the aforementioned bus stop. She died on the spot. Shortly afterwards, three of her brothers -- who reportedly had long been threatening her -- were arrested. Investigators suspect it was a so-called "honor killing," given the fact that Surucu's ultra-conservative Turkish-Kurdish family strongly disapproved of her modern and "un-Islamic" life.

Surucu grew up in Berlin and was married off at 16 to a cousin in Istanbul. After a few years, she returned to the German capital with her young son, moved into a home for single mothers, completed school and began to train as an electrician. She stopped wearing a headscarf and was said to be outgoing and vivacious.

Days after Hatin Surucu was killed, some male students of Turkish origin at a high school near the scene of the crime reportedly downplayed the act. During a class discussion on the murder, one said, "She (Hatin Surucu) only had herself to blame," while another remarked "She deserved what she got --the whore lived like a German."


So, please, explain to me why this is happening? Don't give me excuses. Don't even attempt to invoke culture as a defence. Cultural difference is not a valid defence when we are talking about brutal murders that are unprovoked. FWIW, culture is also frequently invoked as a defence for the practice of Female Genitalia Mutilation (FGM) or "Female Circumcision, where the clitoris cut off either with a razor or a pair of scissors by a barber (while the preteen is held down by her mother and aunts).

In case anyone thinks Berlin and Afghanistan are far away, a few years ago, a man in Malaysia slit his daughter's throat in her sleep because, upon her return from USA, she declared that she was renouncing Islam. The father was found not guilty of murder by the court later. So, if you think it couldn't happen here, think again. This post may make you uncomfortable, but rest assured the experience was a lot more uncomfortable for Shamai and Surucu.

BTW, article 18 of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights clearly states: " Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief . . .."

The "International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights" of 19.12.1966 recognises the "freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice"(Article 18).

Although the right to conversion is not specifically mentioned in the 'Declaration for the Elimination of all Forms of Intolerance and Discrimination based on Religion or Belief' of 25.11.1981, article 1 paragraph 2 of this declaration defines religious freedom: "This right shall include freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of choice." The term "adopt" includes conversion.

The Universal Islamic Declaration of Human Rights' of the Islamic Council of Europe (1981) and the Cairo Declaration of Human Rights in Islam' (5.8.1990) formulate human rights according to the Sharia. The right to conversion (apart from into Islam) is not included. This is in direct contradiction of the international declarations of 1948, 1966 and 1981.

Riddah (apostasy), turning from Islam, is not specifically mentioned in the constitution of Muslim countries. However, punishment for Riddah is clearly defined in the criminal code. In countries like Mauritania (art. 306 of the Criminal Code), Sudan (art. 126 of the Criminal Code), Iran, Afghanistan und Saudi Arabia provide for the death penalty as punishment for Riddah. Early February 2000, three Bahais were condemned to death for renouncing Islam.

Pastor Mehedi Dibaj, a convert to Protestantism, was murdered in July 1997 in Iran. 22-year-old Rahila Khanum was killed by her brother on 16.7.1997 in Lahore (Pakistan) for her interest in the Christian faith. These two cases testify to the very real risk of death for converts. In Bangladesh in 1998, almost one hundred converts were forced to leave the country because of death threats. Houses and businesses belonging to converts are often plundered and set fire to.

Malaysian Federal Court rejects appeal in apostasy case

IMHO, Islam is experiencing a crisis, and direly needs her own reformation. People should be free to leave a religion if they choose to. The worse they should suffer for the act is to be excommunicated--not sentenced to death. When you renounce Islam (Riddah), the Shariah/Syriah law should no longer possess any jurisdiction over you. This is freedom of religion: freedom to enter; freedom to leave. Religion should emancipate man towards God, not shackle him in the chains of draconian laws.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

What is the case like for Singapore?

8:26 AM  

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