Islam Under Scrutiny by Ex-Muslims

Arab Women: Victims of Islamic Gender Apartheid, Part I

Part 1  –  Part 2



On April 4, 2006, Kuwaiti women made history by voting and contesting in a local by-election for the first time, after the parliament granted them right to suffrage the previous year. “Today is the biggest feast we have been waiting for more than 40 years”, said Ms Khaledah al-Khadher, one of the two female contestants, to journalists at a polling station in suburb of the town Salwa. “This is the first time Kuwaiti women can show the men that we are capable, it is important that we do our best and leave the outcome to Allah”, she added. In the said by-election, some 28,000 voters, about 16,000 of them women, cast ballots to elect a MP from eight contestants, including two women.

It may be recalled here that in the first week of December, 1999, jubilant mullahs and their supporters in the streets of Kuwait City celebrated the defeat of a bill in Kuwaiti parliament that sought to approve women’s right to vote and contest in parliamentary election. The incident was enough to understand the unwillingness of the chauvinistic Arab men to allow full citizenship to their woman folk. It may be mentioned here that, among the conservative Gulf countries, only Kuwait has an elected legislature, while the rest are ruled by dictatorship in one form or another. While dissolving the parliament in May 1998, Kuwait’s Amir, Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad al-Sabah, issued a decree granting women the same political rights as enjoyed by men. But the newly elected, parliament rejected the decree in the last week of November, 1999, by a narrow margin of 3230 votes. It took another five years for the bill to be tabled again in 2004; and fortunately, it could gather more supporters this time round as sundry conservative members of the parliament crossed floor, joined the liberal camp and helped Kuwaiti women win their voting right.

It should be mentioned here that Kuwait is not yet a model of democracy either. The head of the state is still hereditary, who appoints a 15-member cabinet and nearly half of these ministers belong to the ruling Al Sabah family. The Parliament has 65 elected MPs, but they don’t have the right to embarrass the cabinet ministers in the Parliament with tricky questions. They, however, have the right to use the Kuwaiti press, the freest in the Arab world, to air their grievances.

Nearly a century ago, the arch-conservative Arab world began to rethink  women’s rights issues as celebrated Egyptian author Qasim Amin published a seminal work  in 1899 blaming oppression of women as the root cause of the Muslim world's backwardness. It should be mentioned here that, in 2001, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) appointed an inquiry commission consisting of Arab intellectuals and scholars for investigating the cause of the dearth of creativity and backwardness in the Arab world. It published the finding of its year-long investigation, called the “Arab Human Development Report 2002” (AHDR 2002), in July 2002. The investigators pointed out that the oppression of women is one of the major causes of backwardness of the Muslim community. “It (the Arab world) does not treat its womenfolk as full citizens and this suppression of women is another vital reason that makes the Arab world backward”, said the report. “How can a community prosper if it stifles half of its production potential”, the report asked.

On 1315 June 2004, religious leaders of Saudi Arabia assembled in the city of Medina to discuss how the lives of the women could be improved. Although the Saudi media highlighted the meeting, called “National Dialogue”, as a free exchange of views between men and women, the presence of women was practically invisible. However, it prepared a list of 19 recommendations and forwarded to the Crown Prince Abdullah; they are yet to be enacted.

The reluctance of the Crown Prince to implement those recommendations is not difficult to understand. Saudi Arabia uses Quran as its constitution, authored by Allah. But in pages of the Quran, merciful Allah is not so merciful to women and opposed to giving them freedom of any kind. Who will then plead for their freedom against the will of Allah? It is Allah, Who in His revealed book has permitted every male believer to have four wives, to beat his wives if it seems that they are unfaithful or unwilling to serve sex, and finally to kick them out of his house by easy oral divorce (or Triple Talaq), without any alimony. Allah’s discriminatory and unmerciful treatment of women becomes more clearly manifested when He denies the entry of women into mosques in this world and severely restricts their entry into His paradise in the next.

In fact, in Saudi Arabia, women are not allowed to drive a car, sail a boat or fly a plane. They cannot go outdoor with hair, wrists and ankles exposed, or travel without the permission from a male guardian: husband, father or son. From primary schools to the universities and in banks, restaurants and in other public places, women are kept strictly segregated. A woman who dares to anger her husband, risks divorce or being hanged. These suppressed women want more freedom, more education, more jobs and more voluntary organizations to deal with their issues. Above all, they want humane treatment from the society, not just the rights. The 19 recommendations that went to the Crown Prince, if enacted, would uplift the condition of Saudi women to a great extent. Many observers apprehend that the male chauvinism, which is at its worst in Saudi Arabia today, would strongly resist the implementation of those recommendations.

But the situation is improving. Now among the students of Saudi universities, 55 percent are girls. Female life expectancy, which was 52 years a decade ago, now has increased to more than 70. The number of children borne by the average Arab women has fallen by half in past 20 years. Particularly in Oman, fertility-rate has dropped from ten births per woman to fewer than four. The age, at which girls marry, has also risen dramatically. A generation ago, 75 percent of Arab girls were married before 20; today, many delay their marriages till 30. On the contrary, the percentage of Arab women, who wear some form of hijab or veil, is on the rise and the number vary widely, from 1020% in Lebanon and Tunisia, to about 60% in Syria and Jordan, to nearly 80% in Kuwait and Iraq and 100% in Egypt.

It should be mentioned here that a verse in the Quran Koran asks women to dress modestly, while other define modest dressing by commanding them to cover completely whole outside their homes: "O Prophet! Tell thy wives and thy daughters and the women of the believers to draw their cloaks close round them (when they go abroad). That will be better, so that they may be recognized and not annoyed" [Koran 33:59; also see Koran 24:31].

On the strength of the modesty verse, when renowned Indian actress Sabana Azmi commented against veiling of women, the Muslim clerics in India went crazy. On 10 October 2006, while receiving the coveted International Gandhi Peace Prize,  Ms Azmi said in the House of Commons of the British Parliament that “The Koran speaks about women wearing clothes to cover her modesty and she does not need to cover her face”. The comment naturally and rightly infuriated orthodox Indian clerics, who declared her a non-Muslim. “Who authorized Azmi to interpret Koran? Her profession is to sing and dance. She has no right to mislead Muslim women”, fumed Syed Ahmed Bukheri, the Imam of Delhi’s Jama Masjid. Recently, the renowned Islamic scholar Dr. Zakir Naik, president of the Mumbai based Islamic Research Foundation, has supported Ms Azmi’s view in an article in Bangalore-based weekly Islamic Voice (December 2006 edition).

Similarly, female circumcision was not a prominent practice amongst Muslims during the time of the Prophet. He introduced the practice after migrating to Medina, mainly amongst his male followers. Regarding female circumcision, the Prophet advised in a hadith not to cut the clitoris severely. The "Reliance of The Traveler", a classical text of sacred Shafi'i Laws, says (Amana Publications, Bestville, 1999, p. 59):

Circumcision is obligatory (O: for both men and women. For men it consists of removing the prepuce from the penis, and for women, removing the prepuce (Ar. Bazr) of the clitoris (n: not the clitoris itself, as some mistakenly assert). (A: Hanbalis hold that the circumcision of women is not obligatory but sunna, while Hanafis consider it a mere courtesy to the husband.)

Previously, circumcision was practised by the Jews. Muhammad introduced it amongst his followers due to his conviction that it makes a man more brave. It is, however, a matter of great relief that, the horrendous practice is confined only amongst Muslims of Egypt and Sudan and in a few other Muslim countries of Africa.


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Comments must be relevant to the topic of the article. We do not regulate the comments but if irrelevant comments, materials, adds of other websites etc. are being uploaded, we ban such nuisance posters.

Date: Thursday February 05, 2009
Time: 22:01:47 -0500


There is no Atheist or ex-Muslim in this hate propaganda site. All are fanatic Hindu extremists. They are the soldiers of RSS, Shib Sena, Bajrang Dal, etc. terrorist organizations.

Date: Thursday February 05, 2009
Time: 22:41:26 -0500



Name: The Accuser
Date: Friday February 06, 2009
Time: 01:10:12 -0500


Those who accuse others wrongly or without justification or proof is doing the works in behalf of Satan, for the Devil is also the Accuser.

Name: Ilham Abullah (ex-muslim)
Date: Friday February 06, 2009
Time: 01:13:37 -0500


Another great article Dr. Brahmachari. Well researched and well written. Women's rights in Arab countries are so low because women's rights in Islam are so low - Depite Muslims lofty claims to the contrary. It is extremely easy to quote chapter and verse from the Quran to prove the "second class status" of women. And the Quran states that ALL of it is true - regardless of its many contradictions and falsehoods. Pathetic. What a disgusting religion. Mohammed was a deceitful, depraved human being, not the perfect man.

Name: Ibrahim
Date: Friday February 06, 2009
Time: 01:31:47 -0500


another wonderful article by Dr. Achari. I have a word of caution here. there are people who are trying hijack this site by creationg confusion between the members. this is a tried and tested technique used by muhammad which muslims use to this day. i would request MA khan to kindly block this person who is trying to confuse others by commenting with others ID's.

Name: women must fight for their rights
Date: Friday February 06, 2009
Time: 02:06:04 -0500


women must fight for their rights. great humanist Karl max said "the workers of the world unite. you have nothing to loose but chains "replace workers with women.From this article it is evident that arabic women are virtually sex slaces of arabic men who are slaves of Psuedo allah.Wwhom to blame? i blame the educated humnaists of arab still remaining mute to this inhuman treatment of women. Regarding circumcision, this is superstition still followed today. This might have been followed by then deseret dwelling people who do not have sufficient water to wash and bath daily basis.this cruel self torure method is not required today.this decreases this sensitivty of sexual parts and makes them is only recommended for only those who do not have enough elasticity of fore skin due to bad nutrition or genetic reasons. sexual satisfaction becomes less due to this.For women it is torture throughout the life. Psuedo allah may not have interested in human sexual parts (it is none his business or he not a sexual partener to male or female), it is mohammad who diluded it to added to his mad manifesto Quron.

Name: abdulmannan
Date: Friday February 06, 2009
Time: 02:10:44 -0500


Muslim women have sufficient rights. They are happy in their houses and respected. I have observed that more religious is a person the better he is with his womenfolk. Perhaps it was inIslam that the women had the the right to inheritance almost 1500 years ago. Our beloved prophet has said that best among you is the one who is best to his family. Quran is the word of God and time and again it has been proved by competent people. Once we believe in it we consider yhis hundred percent true.I donot know of any othe religious book whose followers claim that to be revealed by god all from a to z.So much so that even those books do not have such claims. Most of these books have been narrated by other persons such as the companions of the prophets or other riligious personlities. There are of course sme references to God saying something. There are human rights abuses and other evils among the muslims. These have to be corrected. This is not because of the religion that muslim society has several drawbacks. But these are the Muslims themselves who should try to rectify where they are wrong. If we only try to find faults with one another on riligious grounds followers of one riligion can come out with alot of material to prove the other wrong.Let us try to understand each others point of view and of course point out where ones behavier harms or hurts the others. We must try to refrain from hurting others. Thanks.

Name: if kuwait woman want to leave everything to imaginary allah why they need to fight elections ???
Date: Friday February 06, 2009
Time: 03:24:00 -0500


if kuwait woman want to leave everything to imaginary allah why they need to fight elections ??? freedom is about taking yr destiny into yr own either believe in lies of koran or be truthful and liberate yrself.

Date: Friday February 06, 2009
Time: 03:28:18 -0500


Dont't you think that women have the right to be what they want. I mean if a girl wishes to be a CEO or maybe a scientist, does she not have the right to be one. Cmmon Nadeem, what you are saying is not at all fair.

Name: hindus need to eb fanatic to take on 14 yrs of jihad and destroy it
Date: Friday February 06, 2009
Time: 04:49:07 -0500


hindus need to eb fanatic to take on 14 yrs of jihad and destroy it,the only way to beat taliban is not to be liberal,but reply to taliban in their own language=ak-47. islamshikan,talibanshikan,koranshikan...

Name: i see in website that some woman is stoned to death for sex why no human rights for this ???
Date: Friday February 06, 2009
Time: 08:21:50 -0500


i saw a file on some website like u-tube,some woman in iran maybe less than 25 yrs was being stoned to death for ALLEGED adultry.what type of human rights do men give to woman in islam ?? in pakistan and adfganistan woman r killed in false honor killing.

Name: Excesayces
Date: Friday February 06, 2009
Time: 08:51:59 -0500


good article

Name: gwawr
Date: Friday February 06, 2009
Time: 11:24:35 -0500


It is a very good article. And it is very strange that those that say that this religion raises women to equal status of men obviously hasn't really read anything. If women were truly equal, the wouldn't need to be treated as slaves, they could also divorce (as were their right before this religion came in to play. Example here would be the "prophet's" first wife who was divorced 2 times before), women wouldn't need to be going around in tents, women would be able to choose their husbands, have rights to education, would not need 4 male witnesses to rape, wouldn't be stoned to death for being raped. This "religion" is not good for arab women. It is only good for arab men.

Name: Walter Sieruk
Date: Friday February 06, 2009
Time: 16:20:15 -0500


Nonie Darwish who is herself a Muslim wrote "Tightly controlled through verious religious laws and taboos, Muslim women are left blind to their natural human rights...they live and die never knowing of any other options, totally ignorant of the right that many women in other societies enjoy and even take for granted." [Source, NOW THEY CALL ME INFIDEL. p.87]

Name: A Reply from Zahir Ahmed
Date: Sunday February 08, 2009
Time: 06:47:15 -0500


COMMENTS ON THE ARTICLE " ARAB WOMEN....." 1. The TREATMENT OF WOMEN in Saudi Arabia or Arabian countries etc is NOT in Islam. It was Islam who gave EQUAL RIGHTS to Women at a time when women had NO rights and were treated as objects of sex and pleasure. Please read the history of civilizations at the time of Prophet Muhammad [peace be upon him]. 2. Saudi Arabia uses Quran partially . It is Quran who gave EQUAL rights to women. A distinction has been made due to the biology of men and women........there are differences in the responsibilities of women and men due to their natures.Maximum Four wives are allowed CONDITIONALLY. This is NOT a BLANK and FREE TICKET. More wives are better than having hundreds of girl friends and ruine the society with the evil of adultery, illegitimate children and hungary orphans. In Islam Divorsed women are paid by the State if the husband was not capable. Divorse is allowed in Islam on strong grounds only.Here in America they shoot and kill unfaithful wives all the time. Is this better than simply slapping them.???? Who told you that women are NOT allowed in mosques? It was Prophet Muhammad[peace be upon him] who allowed women in the Mosque!!!! Allah's Judgement is Equal to both Men and Women. Your knowledge of Islam is based on PREJUDICES and NOT the TRUTH. SAD!!!!!!! 3. Look at what has happened to the society to day including India. Adultery, Illegal Sex , AIDS , Family Splits, Cimes, Drugs, killing parents, brothers, burning brides, ...............are fast spreading. Is this allowed in Hinduism??? Certainly NOT. In Indian movies now , they dance almost NUDE , sleep in BED in a sexual style.THe Indian movie stars are ashamed to talk in HINDI when interviewed. Please do not say that HInduism gives women this type of freedom!!!! Certainly NOT. It is Islam who has been emphasising MODESTY for women to prevent the above evils. 4. Women does not have to COVER their faces. However in the past the Arab society was lawless. Hence for further protection, women covered even their faces not to attract pirates and crazy people. To day there are thousands and thousands of cases of RAPES, MURDERS, KIDNAPPING and TORTURES of WOMEN in all western societies and now spreading in the Indian socities. Why??? PLease think. zahir ahmed

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