Muslims Blame COVID-19 Lockdown For Abusing Women
Al-Jazeera—Qatari state-funded broadcaster in the capital city of Doha—reported this week that according to a tally combined by Tal’at, an independent political feminist movement, eleven Palestinian women have been killed as a result of domestic violence so far this year, with five of the fatalities occurring since the coronavirus implementation of the lockdown in early March. Of these five, four succumbed to gun wounds.
Tal’at activist Soheir Asaad said that while for many “quarantine” suggests being safe at home, for others it is “hell.” Assad told Al Jazeera from Haifa: “It means living with someone who could end your life.”
Lamia Naamneh, head of the NGO Assiwar—a feminist Arab, Palestinian and independent Movement—said that not only are most appeals from women who have received death threats have gone unheard, there has also been a surge in cases of both sexual violence and domestic abuse against children following the implementation of the lockdown measures.
George Orwell wrote in his novel Nineteen Eighty-Four that people explicitly learn to doublethink due to peer pressure and a desire to fit in or gain status with in the “Party”—“To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient.”
There is a contributing factor that Asaad and Naameh have not mentioned, or at least al-Jazeera refuses to report, just as the feminists like Ilhan Omar and Linda Sarsour equally refuse to admit. It is not the coronavirus lockdown that has incremented the domestic violence of women in Palestine, but rather it has been the sharia-based doctrine in which a Muslim male can justify such atrocities .
As I detail at length in my book Islam: Religion of Peace? – The Violation of Natural Rights and Western Cover-Up, marriage, for example, in Islam, which is not exclusively monogamous, is founded on the reciprocal natural interest between the parties. While the husband has a duty to provide nafaka (maintenance) to his wife as long as the marriage lasts, she has a duty to obey and respect him, which is often materialized in yielding to her husband’s sexual desires. If she fails in her duty to obey and respect him, then he has the right to correct and punish his wife. Physical correction is to be used after using words and withholding conjugal relations has failed to restore marital harmony, in other words, when the wife or concubine has failed to submit to the man’s carnal gratification. Of the Quranic verses and hadiths that justify both physical and sexual abuse are:
- “Your women are a tilth [field] for you, so go to your tilth as you will” — Sura 2, 223
- “Men are in charge of women by what Allah has given one over the other and what they spend from their wealth. So righteous women are devoutly obedient, guarding in absence what Allah would have them guard. But those from whom you fear arrogance—advise them; forsake them in bed; and, strike them. But if they obey you, seek no means against them.” —Sura 4, 34
- “And take in your hand a green branch and beat her with it, and do not break your oath…” Allah telling Job to beat his wife (Tafsir) —Sura 38, 44
- A woman came to Muhammad and begged him to stop her husband from beating her. Her skin was bruised so badly that it is described as being “greener” than the green veil she was wearing. Muhammad did not admonish her husband, but instead ordered her to return to him and submit to his sexual desires. —Sahih al-Bukhari 72, 715
- Muhammad struck his favorite wife, Aisha, in the chest one evening when she left the house without his permission. Aisha narrates, “He struck me on the chest which caused me pain.” —Sahih Muslim 4, 2127 [This verse would perhaps characterize the aforementioned reported beatings of women in Palestine]
What is sad is that in most cases when physically beaten or raped by their husbands or male relatives, the women believe they have done something wrong. Hence, the numbers of victims women is much higher than reported.
So far as the sexual abuse of children in concerned, that too can also be sanctioned as necessary according to sharia law since the Prophet Muhammad, as reported by al-Bukhari, married Aisha when she was six/seven years of age, put her in a harem and then “consummated” his marriage when she was nine:
Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) narrated: “The Prophet married me when I was a girl of six (years)… while I was playing in a swing with some of my girl friends [my mother] called me, and I went to her, not knowing what she wanted to do to me. She caught me by the hand and made me stand at the door of the house…Then she entrusted me to them and they prepared me (for the marriage). Unexpectedly Allah’s Apostle came to me in the forenoon and my mother handed me over to him, and at that time I was a girl of nine years of age.”
Incidentally, a 2020 report by the World Economic Forum ranked 153 based on their level of gender equality — measured by women’s level of education and economic opportunity. Of the 153 countries on the list, the most highly-ranked one with a Muslim majority was Sierra Leon at 35th; seventeen of the bottom twenty countries are Muslim.
The moral of the story is that, while domestic abuse against women is obviously not limited to the Islamic world, it may not necessarily be viewed as a crime by Muslims because of the Quranic tenets. Yes, unlike when the Associated Press “corrected” then-candidate Trump when he said “Islam treats women horribly,” al-Jazeera and feminists who gripe about the abuse of women and children should take a good hard look at the Quranic verses and the hadiths and recognize that they cannot simply blame it on a lockdown as they have done in Palestine.
Doublespeak is language that deliberately distorts or even reverses the meaning of words. For example, when critics of radical Islam expose this extremism for what is it, their critics call them “Islamophobes.” However, what is not new is Islam’s long standing “war on women.” There is no outcry for women in Saudi Arabia or Iran or in any other country where women are forced to veil themselves. Rather, the hijab has become celebrated in the West as a feminist expression. It is a war the feminist movements and their pro-Islamic cronies not only refuse to step up and fight but refuse to acknowledge.
Mario Alexis Portella is a priest of the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore and Chancellor of the Archdiocese of Florence, Italy. He has a doctorate in canon law and civil law from the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome; he also holds a M. A. in Medieval History from Fordham University, as well as a B.A. in Government & Politics from St. John’s University.
* Sources no cited may be found in my book Islam: Religion of Peace? – The Violation of Natural Rights and Western Cover-Up.