Friday, December 09, 2005

This is absolutely horrifying:

DHAKA, Dec 9 (Reuters) - A banned Islamist militant group blamed for a series of bombings in Bangladesh has threatened to kill women, including non-Muslims, if they do not wear the veil, a statement said.

The statement by the Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen came hours after Thursday's suicide bomb attack in a northen town that killed at least eight people, the latest of a series of blasts blamed on militant groups in their campaign for an Islamic state.

"Women will be killed if they are found to move around without wearing burqa (veil) from the first day of Jilhaj," the Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen said in the statement sent to a Dhaka newspaper office.

Jilhaj refers to the Arabic month beginning early January.

"Women, including non-Muslims, are hereby advised not to go out of home without burqa. Seclusion has been made compulsory for you," said the statement in Bangla language, a copy of which was obtained by Reuters on Friday.

It makes my blood boil to think of all the ways that certain groups attempt to gain power over women's bodies, women's freedoms. I think I've mentioned that one of my characters in my novel Self Storage wears a burqa. It is (mostly, not completely) her choice to wear it in the US. To suggest such restriction for even non-Muslim women in Bangladesh is utterly outrageous.


Rachel said...
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Rachel said...

I am enraged too...

The only crime in this case is being a woman, and women will die because of the patriarchal society and belief system.

For some reason, I don't think the Western society - particularly the United States - is much above this level. Be it Muslim, Christian, or any other belief system, the story is the same; as long as the story of Adam and Eve exists, women will continue to be vilified and killed.

Gayle, please keep the blog readers informed of atrocities like this, and let's see if anything can be done at the grassroots level. Thanks!

(I deleted the previous comment, to edit and resubmit.)

gayle said...

Hi Rachel!

Thanks for your thoughts. I will definitely keep posting about such issues, and if I can find (or think up) any direct actions, I will be sure to share them, too.

Donna said...

Rachel is right, this is no different (except in scope) than fundamentalist Christian pharmacists in the US refusing to fill birth control prescriptions for women. Too many people are willing to accept the words of a book as The Word of God, even when those words promote bigotry, endorse child abuse, denigrate women, and lead to war.

I know it's not considered polite to talk about religion, and it's usually silently assumed that we should respect other people's beliefs. But when those beliefs lead to violence and oppression, we must speak out against them loudly and without fear.


gayle said...

Amen, Donna!