At the International Socialist conference in Copenhagen in 1910, March 8 was declared the International Working Women’s Day (IWD), which is now observed as Women’s Day. The idea was proposed by Clara Zetkin, a Marxist, of the then Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD).
Battle for equal rights of women to hold public offices, their right to vocational training, and end to inequity in other areas was the goal. Since then, March 8 has been commemorated as the Women’s Day and is a national holiday in many countries. It symbolizes an age-old struggle of women of all ethnic, cultural and social backgrounds against the long-existing gender discriminations, further expanded by the Abrahamic religions from which Islam blatantly emanates misogynistic heritage.
Despite many achievements around the world, Women’s Days in the Islamic world remains a thorn in the eyes of Islamic establishments, especially Mullahs of Iran, who seek to keep the women within their clutches. This is because of the Islamic denial of gender equity in any form. Gender equality does not fit in the credo of Islam, which considers women less worthy than men. Emergence of this day may have been rooted in the struggles against the Church in medieval Europe and in the demand for “liberty, equality, fraternity” during the French Revolution, but today it must be directed against Islam – in Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, and North Africa – all fallen or falling in the clutches of radical Islam.
International Women’s Day has today assumed a new global dimension for the establishment of women’s rights in both the developed and the developing countries alike. Nevertheless, the resurgent political Islam globally, strengthened by the Islamic regime of Iran since its advent in 1979, is a serious barrier to establishing women’s rights in Islamic countries. Despite many globally coordinated efforts, the international community, including the United Nations, practically ignores the fate of hundreds of millions of Muslim women, who are conscious or unconscious victims of the violation of their human right in Islamic states or Muslim communities.
Recent success of the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood party in Egypt and other Islamist parties in North Africa warns of new waves of misogyny in this region, where a great majority of women are still victims of genital mutilation. According to the World Health Organization, 85 to 115 million girls and women have undergone some form of female genital mutilation in Islamic countries, including 28 African countries, despite the practice being outlawed and condemned by the international community.
While March 8 was historically a secular symbol against the dominance of the Catholic Church in the West, today it is urgent, more than ever, to symbolize a worldwide struggle against the misogyny of the Islamic creed and tradition wherever Muslims live. Today, a menacing shadow of a monster called political Islam has spread its wings over a large sphere of the world, where hundreds of millions of women have fallen into its clutches. The nest of this bird of prey is the occupied territory of Iran. The bird of prey is the Islamic regime, composed of Islamist criminal cliques under various factions and colours. Their bloody claws are a new sword of Islam over the life of Iranians. The Islamic regime, reminiscent of the characters of the early occupiers of Islam, kill, torture, and rape the “infidel” Iranian men and women, and loot Iran’s national wealth as booty.
In many Islamic countries, women who are victims of rape are often killed by their Muslim families to preserve family honour. This misogynistic crime, called Honour Killing, is as a legacy of Islamic traditions. Honour Killings have been reported in Jordan, Pakistan, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Turkey and the Persian Gulf countries. While a victim of rape is killed by Muslims, for other Muslims rape is as a means of inflicting humiliation, confession, and torture upon the “enemies of God”. Rape has been used against captured women of “enemies” during the age of Islamic dominance, as part of enslaving the captured women and sharing them among the Muslim warriors.
Verse 4:24 of the Koran allows Muslim conquerors to rape “captured” women. In Iran, women opposing the Islamic regime were, therefore, raped before execution. “It is a sin to kill a virgin, because she goes to paradise”. Rape of political prisoners in Iran was so frequent that Mr. Karrubi, an unfortunate candidate of the rigged 2009 presidential election, in which Ahamadiniejad was re-elected, had to finally denounce it.
Since the advent of the Islamic regime in 1979, physical assaults, arbitrary arrests, acid-throwing, harassment and psychological pressure have become the part and parcel of the women’s life in Iran. Mr. Moussavi, the hard-line PM under Khomeini and now one of the “reformists“ and one of the two leaders of the Green Movement, had imposed Islamic hijab clearly specified that for women no other dress was acceptable. Hijab as an Islamic code of females was unofficially practised under Mr. Mousavi’s government, which was later made a law in the Islamic parliament, thus making it obligatory.
The first public demonstration of Iranian women after the Iranian revolution was short-lived. On 7 March 1979, on the eve of the IWD, Khomeini decreed that all women employed by the government must wear “Chador” (an all-enveloping black veil), an extension of the four walls of home. Thousands of women filled the streets in protest. For three days, they marched and rallied. On the third day, they staged a sit-in protest at the Palace of Justice, demanding a legal guarantee for their right to choose what to wear and where to work, at home and in society at large. Khomeini’s thugs, armed with knives, attacked the women, cursing and yelling: “Wear your head or get your head rapped.” Islamic thugs stood at windows along the parade-route and exposed their genitals, saying, “This is what you want, you whores!”
Over the decades prior to the advent of political Islam, conferences, demonstrations and commemorations have been held globally to reflect on the progress made in establishing woman’s rights. All in all, the possibility of the advent of political was not predicted. It is now time to recognize what was not predicted before, and what now happen in misogynistic Islamic states. International Women’s Day should now be made a rallying point against Islamic misogyny, poised to damage the achievements attained in the struggle for women’s rights. No international law including the Charter of the United Nations adequately addresses discriminations against women in the Islamic world, although the UN proposes gender equality as a fundamental human right. The UN is reluctant to create standards, programs and updated goals for advancing the status of women in Islamized societies. For example, the UN avoids condemning the enforcement of hijab on women in Iran.
As said, the UN Charter, signed in 1945, was the first agreement to affirm the principle of equality between women and men. However, the Charter was prepared before the advent of political Islam globally. Today, when the entire global community is affected by political Islam, the UN needs to adopt new resolutions to defend the rights of women in Islamic societies and communities. Women in Islamic societies need international support. In the light of many conclusive reports of misogyny in Islamic countries, the UN must react effectively without delay.
The UN, which fairly condemned the Apartheid regime in the past, is now expected to condemn the gender apartheid of Islamic regimes in support of full and equal rights for women. It is time for the international community to challenge the misogynistic behaviour of Islam across the globe. Widespread violation of the basic rights of women in the Islamic world has long been ignored by the UN.
Unconcerned by any backlash from the UN, the Islamic regime of Iran formed its own women groups. These groups produced a newspaper, “The Muslim Women”, run by veiled and bearded Muslims. The main task of the paper was to inculcate misogynistic norms and pseudo-scientific arguments to subjugate the mind of women. Through twisted sense of freedom and origin of women’s rights, its real role is to justify the regime’s misogynistic policy, especially for the imposition of hijab on women. Hijab is the central concern of political Islam, as it symbolizes the Islamic power as the Swastika did for Nazism. In this light, all factions of the Islamic regime stand for various forms of Islamic hijab.
In the 21st century, the international community should not accept that women’s rights be crippled by Islamic law, the “Shari’a”, a 14-century-old legal code. It is time to outlaw Shari’a internationally, because it reduces women to second-class citizens in a male-dominated society. It is time for the global community to condemn any archaic belief system that is based on gender apartheid by officially reducing women to a subhuman entity.
Thanks to the widespread misogyny of Islam, today female activists like Egyptian ‘striptivist’ Aliaa al-Mahdy bares all to protest the Sharia constitution in Egypt! Iranian female activists close to communists, socialists, democrats, feminists, freedom-loving artists, who are affected by the misogyny of Islam, follow her struggle. Their core struggles consists of the idea that Islamic hijab is correlated with misogyny and should not be tolerated for a disruptive minority of Islamists or Mullahs against an oppressive majority in Islamized countries. These new waves of women’s struggle keeps gaining more political sense than nudism.
On this International Women’s Day, let us re-dedicate ourselves to the hundreds of millions of women who are the conscious or unconscious victims of Islamic misogyny. Serious effort made to put into place legal foundations to urge the international community to remember that it is the responsibility of all of us to defend their democratic and secular right to live in dignity, freedom and gender equality.
Let us, as a part of the left, secularists, democrats, feminists and freedom-loving human beings, line up behind the struggles of Iranian women against the most reactionary and misogynistic ruling class. Since the outbreak of massive protests following the 2009 rigged presidential election, the people of Iran have found a new occasion to continue challenging the whole Islamic regime. As once Rosa Luxemburg used IWD as a focus for anti-war rallies in 1914 and 1915, let us encourage our women’s movement to topple this barbaric regime, despite the effort to sabotage the movement by all factions of the Islamic regime, including the former leaders who now call themselves the “Green Movement”, led by bearded men and veiled women, who do nothing but safeguard the apartheid Islamic regime under a new colour.
Promotion of gender equality is not only a responsibility of women, but of all humanity. Not only is it an important factor for participation of women in social and economic development, but also a necessity for a healthy development of the society as a whole. According to psychologists, as historically proved, gender discrimination creates frustrations, perversity and aggressiveness with blind obedience, all of which are typical traits of oppressed societies.
Daily examples of gender discrimination in Iran show that the regime, by imposing lower status upon women, has reduced the woman’s role to a means of procreation. Equal right between men and women has never been respected under dictatorial regimes, from the right far to the religious to all the way to recent communist dictators. And Islamist regimes have fared the worst.