Fri | Mar 22, 2019

Islam knocks violence against women – official

Published:Saturday | March 9, 2019 | 12:18 AMCarlene Davis/Gleaner Writer

A member of the Islamic Council of Jamaica has sought to invalidate the narrative of Muslim women as the victims of subjugation and degradation, arguing that that stereotype was peddled by misguided Western media.

Addressing gender-based violence at a press conference at the council’s Camp Road, Kingston, headquarters to kick off Islam Awareness Week on Friday, Hassanah Al-Saba said Islam was all about empowering women.

Yesterday was also celebrated as International Women’s Day.

“This (gender-based violence) has nothing to do with the religion of Islam, but more to do with the culture and customs. This belief is contradicted by numerous accounts of gender equality and women’s rights within two primary sources of Islamic text,” said Al-Saba.

Muslim women had parity with their male counterparts, Al-Saba told The Gleaner, and Islam promoted the right to education, employment, free speech, as well as voting privileges.

“The literal interpretations of the Qu’ran text show that Qu’ran verses favour gender equality at home, in the workplace, and in politics. The Qu’ran verses and prophetic statements clearly point out that the general rules are the same for men and women. They have the same acts of worship and are subject to similar rewards and penalties,” said Al-Saba.

STRICT GUIDELINES TO PROTECT WOMEN

Against the backdrop that one in every three women will be a victim of gender-based violence in their lifetime, Al-Saba said that Islam has strict guidelines to protect women.

“With respect to [gender-based violence], the worst case is physical abuse. Islam prevents it from even reaching the stage of physical abuse by nipping it from the point of verbal abuse,” said Al-Saba.

“For example, according to Islamic law, if a man wrongly accuses a woman of fornication, even as a joke, then he is subject to a public whipping. While his utterances are said in jest, it is taken seriously. This is one example of how Islam can protects a woman’s dignity,” she said.

Islam Awareness Week started yesterday and ends on Sunday, March 17.

carlene.davis@gleanerjm.com