11 June 2009

The articles are captured from the original writer, MsMarina (with her permission). SambalBelacan is just compiling articles to make easier to find. Any comments received will remain un-respond because it's not mine.Reach her at her very own blog at
http://rantingsbymm.blogspot.com/ Please.
Wednesday June 10, 2009
Veiled view of equal rights

US President Barack Obama showed that he was mindful of who he was talking to. If only people did the same back home in our neck of the woods.

THIS is one of those surreal moments. Over in Cairo, the first American President with Hussein for a middle name was reaching out to that large diverse community he collectively calls the Muslim world and saying pretty much all the right things.

President Barack Hussein Obama greeted everyone with Assalamualaikum and was met with applause. (Meanwhile, at home, people wondered if he would be arrested if he ever tried the same thing here.)

He quoted from the Quran (in English, without citing chapter and verse, so no complaints from the conservatives here) and acknowledged that women who choose to wear headscarves were not necessarily unequal to men.

Meanwhile, at home, a political party decided that women who do not wear headscarves are not only not equal to men – any man – but also unequal to women who do wear headscarves.

And that’s saying plenty since all women, covered heads or not, are irredeemably inferior to men. According to them, to be a woman is to be a bit disabled because it renders us unable to think for ourselves especially about religion.

And if interpretations of religion are making our lives miserable, then we should just shut up and bear it, because that’s what life is like for the disabled. Who are we to complain about that when, after all, it was God who made us disabled?

Isn’t that odd, when God gave us the strength to bear children and put up with infinite patience the foibles of men?

When men admit to weakness in order to justify supremacy – as in women should cover themselves so that men cannot be tempted – you have to wonder who are the disabled beings here.

Obama is a very smart guy. He knew exactly how to word his speech because he has a vast new audience he needs to win over, Muslims.

He neglected to use the word “terrorist” even once, causing much foaming at the mouth in Tel Aviv.

He admitted that America did some meddling they shouldn’t have in Iran, and he acknowledged that Hamas actually has “some” support.

Perhaps he could have gone further; for instance, by acknowledging that bombing women and children in Pakistan is helping

to recruit new Taliban members. But for a new beginning, his words were mostly the right ones.

Translating words into action is another matter of course.

But words matter and when spoken so publicly; people can always hold you to them. Choosing the right words showed that he was mindful of who he’s talking to.

If only people did the same back home in our neck of the woods.

Instead we get a party that is supposedly trying to be open to all Malaysians calling for the investigation of a women’s group to check whether or not they are really Islamic. If not, their group should be banned and the members rehabilitated.

Oh my! A group that has always fought for equality and justice for women has to be put on trial as unIslamic. The group that has made people aware of the difficulties of women in getting fair hearings in our religious courts is deemed wrong.

So what sort of rehabilitation is needed? Are we to be punished until we agree that women are inferior beings and do not deserve fair treatment? Do we have to be waterboarded until we plead to put on headscarves?

Obama cited Kuala Lumpur as one of the capitals where economic development is possible without compromising culture and traditions.

I’m not sure he knows what he’s talking about.

He obviously does not know that in our country we can use Internet technology to spread alternative news, and at the same time, to the theme of Star Wars, deride women as lesser beings.

Of course we agree with him that women should be educated, but never about religion, unless it’s the prescribed patriarchal version of it. Everything else would be just not kosher. Women who demand (shock, horror!) justice should just be lobotomised.

I’m still waiting for a good explanation as to why Muslim women should not be treated justly.

Especially when we believe in a God who is the epitome of justice and fairness. Al’Adl, the Utterly Just, is one of the 99 names of God.

The worst part of all this is that attitudes such as these are not limited to political parties who want to impose a mono-religious form of government.

These attitudes also exist among those who otherwise put themselves in opposition to such a party.

You hear the same things at their general assemblies as well.

The danger is that these entities want to engage one another.

To engage, one seeks to find common ground. Is discrimination against women one of them?