Islam Under Scrutiny by Ex-Muslims

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Cruel Affection

OVER THE PAST FEW months, I have watched bits of programs on a channel called Animal Planet. For example:

In the southeastern corner of Michigan beats the industrial heart of America's "Motor City" - Detroit. And on the outskirts of town is the headquarters of the city's primary animal welfare agency, run by the nonprofit Michigan Humane Society (MHS).

Animal Cops: Detroit follows the MHS's animal cruelty investigators as they track down animal abusers and bring them to justice.

It was fascinating to see all these different men and women who do their best with the provided resources to help the neglected, and sometimes battered, creatures. Their genuine concern for animals was always evident from their body language.

Such shows always bring back a rotten memory or two from my life among the Ummah. In a topsy-turvy reality, Western society tries to provide a comfortable life for animals whereas the Islamic World has rules about wife-beating and where children are treated with mindless savagery.

ONE OF MY RELATIVES was having a conversation with my dad in 1996. My dad was being updated about all the different family members and their present situations. The talk soon turned to one of my uncles who, at the time, had been recently married. This guy told my dad in a most nonchalant manner, "He beats his wife practically everyday."

"Tsk tsk, that's not good," said my dad.

Then, they moved on to other topics.

DURING THE SUMMER OF 1995 in Lahore, Pakistan, my mom asked me to come with her to a nearby town as she was going to meet a tailor. My leg was aching but I agreed anyway. A few minutes later our car stopped in front of the tailor's house. My mom went in as I stood outside with our transport. It was a bright sunny day and not a single structure with more than two stories could be seen in that village.

Suddenly, a wailing noise broke the calm. It was coming from the street at my front-right. Soon, a child, who was at most five, emerged from there. He was crying his lungs out. Behind him, I guess, was his father. He was ferociously yelling at the kid. The weeping boy kept on walking as his dad approached him from behind. Then, he hit his kid on the back of the head with such revolting force that the frail boy practically leapt forward and landed on his face.

The crying stopped for a moment. The boy got up and started to weep and walk again. And again that man would menacingly catch up to him and sickeningly smack him with brutal power. It was not the first and likely not the last time that he had hit a kid. In public. No-one in the neighborhood stopped the brutal beating or even uttered a word of disapproval. There were no Kid Cops who could rescue that young boy from his gruesome fate.

IN AN OLD POST, I described the barbaric behavior of teachers in my Muslim school. I ended that piece with this:

Some of you might be asking, "How could the parents allow this barbarity to continue in schools?" You naively assume that such violence is limited to schools in Muslim lands.

I've been hit with the following list of things. By some magical coincidence, the people responsible -- parents, teachers  or relatives -- were all adherents of the Religion of Peace.

  1. Hands. On many occasions I was smacked across the face. Most of the time, I didn't even know that I had done anything wrong.

  2. Footwear: flip-flops, slippers, boots etc. My dad lovingly used to call the procedure Bata service.

  3. Clothes Hangers. Lots of 'em; mostly plastic. A few hits would break the hanger right in the middle at its horizontal part. It would leave burning pain; often I'd sob and go to sleep.

  4. Sticks. All sorts of varieties: small, thick, rounded, long, taped. In Urdu, a stick is called a dunda. I got the dunda treatment almost exclusively from my teachers. What did I do to "deserve" the punishment? Take your pick: failed a test, couldn't recite or write a verse from the Quran, didn't do an assignment, collective corporal treatment for everyone in the class because of excessive noise.

  5. A Spoon. A stainless steel spoon to be precise. It was hurled from across the room and I instinctively raised my arms to protect my skull. It hit me on my elbow and my mouth was wide open for a few moments but not a single sound came out. There was some bleeding.

  6. A Water Pipe. A stainless steel water pipe to be precise. After being hit on my left leg, I couldn't walk for the rest of the day. The affected area was bruised and I had trouble walking comfortably for a couple of weeks.

I'm fortunate to be no longer around such viciousness and to point it out. However, today literally tens of millions of kids within Islamic borders are subjected to such vile brutality. The overwhelming majority grow up and internalize this loathsome pathology, instead of rejecting it.

Violence is utilized in countless Muslim-majority schools -- not just the madrassas -- to keep pupils "in line" and in most homes to restrain a "disobedient" wife or raise "honorable" children.

Non-Muslims have to ask themselves: When most of the Ummah treats their own offspring with such an abhorrent passion, then what is in store for those whom the Muslims hate?

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