Monday, October 03, 2005

Progressive Islam: Musharraf Style

Salaam alaikum,

Let's say you are the leader of a Muslim country that's not particulary known for protecting the rights of rape victims. And a recent controversy dealing with a rape victim who refuses to take her abuse has decided to use whatever tools at her disposal to confront this national problem. And a few weeks ago, you made the blunder of saying that such rape victims are using their trauma to get a visa out of your country or tarnish the image of said country. Lovely. Guess who I'm talking about? Well, the title of the post made it obvious. Here is a statement made by Musharraf.

"Mai had come under the sway of organizations determined to harm Pakistan’s image and he did not think Pakistan 'should be singled out when the curse is everywhere in the world.' He noted he had seen reports or figures about rape in the United States, Canada, France and Britain showing that 'it is happening everywhere."

Yes, rape is a global curse and it does occur everywhere. But the difference is in how the crime is handled. It's not fair to point the finger at Muslim countries for instances of rape. It IS justifiable to point the finger if your country punishes the victim rather than the rapist. That distinction seems to get by him each time. But I digress.

It seems that when he is not busy blaming Pakistan's rape victims for their suffering, he has started funding Pakistan's own progressive Islam. Many thanks to the PMUNA Debate for posting this entry on the blog. Yes, while the Islamic court in Pakistan is prevented from properly punishing Muktar Mai's rapists, he likes to dabble in 21st century styled ijtihad. And you wouldn't believe who is the head of this institute. Riffat Hassan, progressive Muslim and feminist, is the leader of this progressive Islamic institute. She speaks with glowing terms of Pakistan's current leader.

Organised by international scholar, Dr. Riffat Hassan, and featuring the views of one of the most prolific progressive thinkers of our times, Dr Fathi Osman, a project of no less controversy is now in the works. An autonomous, progressive Muslim institute - the antithesis of more orthodox organisations, such as the Islamic University in Islamabad - and headed by the bastion of the "enlightened moderation" movement himself, President Pervez Musharraf. And it will be truly global in its make and manifesto. It is envisioned that the board of directors will comprise the best international progressive scholars, whose works and teachings will be transmitted to Pakistanis around the country through multimedia sources and teachers programmes.

And here's an excerpt from the Dawn, with Riffat Hassan defending Musharraf from criticism.

At the end of his presentation, three-fourths of the people in the room stood up and applauded. The remaining one-fourth were persons who were opposed to him for personal or political reasons. Their venom toward the president became manifest in the question and answer part of the meeting. In a voice filled with anger the questioner told the president that since he had “categorically denied” making the statement attributed to him by The Washington Post, he should make a clarification to the world press.

She went on to express her disappointment at the way he was treating human rights activists who were protesting against violence toward women. The president responded to the deliberately provocative comment by saying that the many journalists who were present had already heard his clarification. He expressed his disappointment at the questioner and others like her who were engaging in what he said was unpatriotic behaviour. He said that he would always support the cause of women but he would oppose those who were using women’s cause to further their own agendas that were harmful to the country. At the end of the Q & A session, again the vast majority of the people stood up and gave the president a resounding round of applause.

Hmm, can't bite (or criticize) that hand that feeds you.


Blogger Ashraf said...


I enjoyed this piece you raise some interesting perspectives.

Keep blogging

Ramadaan Mubarak


4:22 PM  
Blogger raven said...

Would you be interested in helping out on a little project about a certain insensitive jerk?

8:10 PM  
Blogger DrMaxtor said...

Asalam Aliakum,
Nicely said. This is yet another fine example of the "enlightened moderation" this rent-a-dictator wants us to adopt.

3:21 AM  
Blogger media mongol said...

Great post, but I'd like to say the problem is not only in how the crime is handled in Pakistan (i.e. brings perpetrators to justice), but that often rape is a social crime, committed in connivance by a family or community as punishment against someone who is said to have transgressed tribal laws.

2:41 AM  
Blogger Renaissance Scientist said...

Salam Everybody ...

I happen to live in Pakistan, and I can say quite safely that Musharraf's "enlightened moderation" is one of the great scourges we have to live with. Can one even imagine that a court of justice could pass the sentence that a woman be raped? Well, that is exactly what happened in our country, where a tribal court passed that sentence for our sister Mai. And what did our "enlightened" Musharraf do to abolish this predatory system of justice? Nothing. If at all he did anything, it was humiliate an already fallen sister.

All Musharraf has done in the past is spread pornography and nudity in a supposedly Islamic country. He has allowed prices to rise sky high at the cost of the poor of the country. He has created a dysfunctional, rubber-stamp parliament composed of mega-corrupt mullahs, mega-corrupt feudalists, and mega-corrupt capitalists.

Musharraf is following in the footsteps of his predecessor Zia and is just another wicked dictator who has the endorsement of Washington.

2:03 PM  

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