Sunday, March 7, 2010

International Women's Day: Murder, rape, and torture of Maldivian women

It’s the International Women’s Day, but Maldivian women have nothing to celebrate. A year into Mohamed Nasheed’s presidency and the murder, rape and horrific torture of women is commonplace, with his government showing impunity, if not sanctioning, the spread of misogyny by the religious right.

On new year’s eve, the body of 30-year-old Mariyam Shereen was discovered under a pile of sandbags in a construction site, allegedly murdered by her own partner. Shereen’s death came after a long history of abuse by her boyfriend, according to her family and friends.

In January, this year, a group of men allegedly gang-raped a woman in Foah Mulaku, while restraining her husband. Maldives Dissent has learnt that the alleged rapists threw gravel into the women’s vagina, which caused severe septicaemia. Not surprisingly, the woman is yet to recover physically or psychologically from her ordeal.

In February, a group of men in Laamu Atoll allegedly broke into a house, tied electrical wires to the feet of a 35-year-old woman, and connected them to the mains. According to the hospital, the electrical shock severely burnt the toes of her left foot.

Violence against women isn’t new to the Maldives, but is now revealing an unmistakably misogynistic trend. This should not come as a surprise, however. Ever since the new government came into power the fastest propaganda being spread in this country is by the religious right, much of it the hatred of women.

Shortly after President’s Nasheed took office, his Islamic ministry granted a preaching permit to Sheikh Fareed, who told a congregation of more than a thousand men in a mosque that more women than men would go to hell since women sin more. But crime figures the world over indicate that the overwhelming majority of crimes are committed by men.

The Adhalath Party, which controls the Islamic ministry, last month held an event entitled “Those Who Desire Paradise’, in which Sheikh Ilyas Hussein gave vent to what appears to be male sexual fantasies in explicit detail. He described at length the many ‘houris’, or pure and beautiful maidens, that await devout men in heaven and told women that if they went to heaven they would be ‘recreated’ to perpetually be 33 years old and have with pointed breasts. Unlike men, who only have to be devout Muslims to go to heaven, women have to have been faithful to their husbands in order to attain paradise.

This may be the most serious abuse of the Quran by the Adhalath to date. In fact, Quranic descriptions of paradise use parables and the verses themselves explicitly state that parables are being used. By failing to tell his audience of this fact, Sheikh Ilyas is clearly misleading them.

But the underlying theme of the speech is the sexualisation of women and the inequality of the sexes. Yet TV Maldives saw it fit to broadcast the speech live, well before the watershed of 10.30 pm.

Sustained spread of misogyny in the Maldives has also been orchestrated by former pop-star turned Wahhabi Ali Rameez’s Jamiyathul Salaf. Ever since Rameez and his associates released a post-tsunami CD blaming the natural disaster on women, Salaf has been churning out misogyny in the name of Islam, by using its unlimited access to the private radio station Radio Atoll, and business tycoon Gasim Ibrahim’s Villa TV. It appears that broadcast standards don't apply to 'religious' content. Salaf works closely with the Islamic ministry and its CDs are now played in mosques across the country.

Last August, Salaf brought in Wahhabi preacher Bilal Philips to tell thousands of Maldivians on live TV that it was alright to marry off girls as soon as they reached puberty, even if they're only nine years old. In a country that has one of the highest child sexual abuse rates in the world, paedophiles couldn’t have hoped for a clearer endorsement of their ideology.

The Maldives state is not only showing impunity towards the spread of misogyny and violence against women children it is, in fact, perpetrating it. According to statistics from the Maldives judiciary, 174 people were convicted of zina or fornication in 2006, and sentenced to public flogging. An overwhelming majority of those sentenced, 146, were women, 19 of who were under 18 years of age. In the same year, seven women, including three minors, were convicted of giving birth out of wedlock. There is no question that institutionalized violence against women and children is condoned and carried out in the Maldives.

When Minivan News broke the story about the shocking flogging statistics, the religious right held a protest against the online newspaper and called for the deportation of its editor Mariyam Omidi. The judiciary has since removed the statistics from its website.

On this International Women’s Day, the government will give the obligatory speech via radio and TV, but is unlikely to delve too deeply into any of the real issues facing Maldivian women today. We can also expect little or no meaningful statement or commitment from the human rights commission or the UN system.

For now, women of the Maldives have nothing to look forward to but a continuation of ideological, physical and sexual assault on them. 

24 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dont forget the whole concubine fiasco! nothing could have been more well orchestrated by the mullahs n Islamic Ministry, n throw in failure to act by Police!

Anonymous said...

And there was also the gang rape of the 18yo girl at the Carnival area (last year ?) at around 6pm in the evening.

The way the media reported events, it was almost as if the girl had 'asked for it' by being in a relatively secluded area with her boyfriend, and smoking a cigarette !

shafiu said...

ަހުރެމެންގެ މިދިވެހި މުޖުތަމަޢުގައިވެސް އަނަހެނުންނަށް ތަފާތު އަނިޔާތައް ދަނީ ކުރެވެމުންނެވެ. މިގޮތުން ކުރެވޭ އަނިޔާ ތަކުގެ ތެރޭގައި އަންހެނުންގެ ހަށިވިއްކުން ފާހަގަ ކުރެވެއެވެ. މިތަނުގައި އަޅުގަނޑު ހަށިވިއްކުން މި މާނަ ކުރަނީ ތިޔަބޭފުޅުން ތިޔަހީކުރައްވާ ވަރަށްވުރެ މާ ފުޅާ މާނައެއްގައެވެ. ހަށިވިއްކުމޭ ބުނުމުން ހުރިހާ މީހުންގެ ސިކުނޑިތައްވެސް ގޮސް ހުއްޓެނީ އެއް ދިމާލަކަށެވެ. މަސާޖު ކުރާތަންތަން ނުވަތަ ހަށީގެ ވިޔަފާރި އަށެވެ. މިކަންކަމަކީ ހުރިހާ މީހުންވެސް ނަފުރަތު ކުރާކަމެކެވެ. ދިވެހި ރާއްޖޭގައި މަސާޖުކުރާ ތަންތަނުގައި މިފަދަ ކަންތައް ހިނގަމުން ދާތީ އެކަމާ މުޅި ދިވެހި ރާއްޖެވަނީ އިދިކޮޅު ހަދާ ކަންބޮޑުވެފައެވެ.

ނަމަވެސް ހިތާމަ ކުރަންޖެހެނީ އެކަމާ ދެކޮޅުހެދި ބައެއް މީހުންވެސް އަންހެނުންގެ ހަށިގަނޑު ވިޔަފާރީގައި ބޭނުން ކުރަމުން ދާކަމެވެ. އަޅުގަނޑު މިދަންނަވަނީ ވިޔަފާރިވެރިންގެ މުދާ އިޝްތިހާރުކުރުމުގައި އަންހެނުންގެ ހަށިގަނޑު ބޭނުން ކޮށްގެން އެމީހުންގެ މުދާ ވިއްކުމަކީ ހަށިވިއްކުން ކަމުގައި ނުވާނެ ބާވައެވެ؟ މިކަމަކީ މިއަދު މުޅި ދުނިޔޭގައި ފެތުރިފައިވާ ވަބާއެކެވެ. އަހަރުމެންގެ މައިންނާއި އަނބިން އަދި ކޮއްކޮއިންނާއި ދައްތައިންކަމުގައިވާ އަންހެނުންނާ ދެކޮޅަށް އިޢުލާނު ކުރެވިފައިވާ އަނިޔާވެރި ހަނގުރާމައެކެވެ. މިހަނގުރާމައިގައި އަނިޔާ ލިބެމުންދާ އަޅުގަނޑުމެންގެ މުސްލިމު އުޚުތުންގެ ތަޞްވީރުތައް ބަލާލި ކޮންމެ ދިމާލަކުން ފެންނާނެއެވެ. މާލޭގެ ކޮންމެ ހަތަރު އަނގޮޅިއެއްގައި މިނިކަމެތި އަންހެނުންގެ ހަށިގަނޑު ދުނިޔަވީ ފައިދާއަށްޓަކައި ވިކިފައިވާތަން ފެންނާނެއެވެ. އެންމެ ހިތާމަ ކުރަން ޖެހޭކަމަކީ އަޅުގަނޑުމެންގެ ޤައުމީ ޓީވީ މިކަމުގައި ވަރަށް ކުރިޔަށް ގޮސްފައިވާ ކަމެވެ. މިގޮތުން އިޝްތިހާރުގައި ބޭނުންކުރެވެނީ ވަކި ވައްތަރެއްގެ މުދަލެއް ނޫނެވެ. ސިމެންތި، ޔަންމާ އިންޖީނު، ވަޑާންކުރުމަށް ބޭނުންވާ ކަރަންޓު ސާމާނު، ލަކުޑި ، ފެން ޕަމްޕު ، މޮހޮރު މަރުތެއޮ، މިހެން ގޮސް ޢިމާރާތް ކުރުމުގެ ސާމާނަށް ދާންދެން ވިއްކަމުން ދަނީ އަންހެނުންގެ ހަށިގަނޑު އެވިޔަފާރީގައި ބޭނުން ކޮށްގެންނެވެ.

އެންމެހާ މުސްލިމު އުޚްތުންނޭވެ! ތިޔަކަނބަލުންނަކީ އެހާ ދަށުފެވަރުގެ ބައެއް ނޫނެވެ. އިސްލާމް ދީނުގައި ތިޔަކަނބަލުންނަށް ދީފައިވާ ޢިތްޒަތަކީ ވަރަށް މަތިވެރި ޢިތްޒަތެކެވެ. ހުރިހާ ހާލެއްގައިވެސް އަންހެނުން ވަނީ ޙިމާޔަތް ކުރެވިފައެވެ. ހަނގުރާމައިގެ ޙާލުގައިވެސް އަންހެނުން މެރުން ސަލާމާއި ޞަލަވާތް ލެއްވި ކީރިތި ރަސޫލާ ވަނީ ނަހީކުރައްވާފައެވެ. ލިބިދާނެ އަނިޔާއަކުން ސަލާމަތް ކުރުމަށްޓައި އަންހެނުން އެކަނި ދަތުރުކުރުންވަނީ ނަހީ ކުރެވިފައެވެ. އަދި ކިއެއްތަ ކައިވެނީގެ ޢަޤުދަކާއި ނުލާ ހިލޭ އަންހެނެއްގައި ބީހުންވެސް ވަނީ ނަހީކުރައްވާފައެވެ. އަދި އެންމެ ހެޔޮ މީހަކީ އަނބީންނަށް އެންމެ ހެޔޮ މީހާކަމުގައިވަނީ އަންގަވާފައެވެ. އަންހެނާ އަބަދުމެ ހުންނަނީ މީހެއްގެ ޙިމާޔަތުގެ ދަށުގައެވެ. ހިލޭ ފިރިހެނުންގެ އަނިޔާވެރި ވަކިތަކުން ކޫރުމެއްވެސް އެޅުނަ ނުދިނުމަށްޓަކައި ފިރިހެނުންނާއި އެކަހެރި ނުވުމަށާއި، އަންހެނުން އެކަނބަލުންގެ ޒީނަތްތެރިކަން ފާޅުނުކުރުމަށާއި، މީރުވަސް ދުވާ އަތަރާއި ސެންޓް ޖަހައިގެން ހިލޭ ފިރިހެނުންގެ ގާތަށް ނުނިކުތުމަށް ވަނީ އިރުޝާދު ދެއްވާފައެވެ. އަދި ތުއި އަޑުން ހިލޭ ފިރހެނުންނާ ވާހަކަދެއްކުން ވަނީ މަނާކުރެވިފައެވެ. ޒީނަތްތެރިކަން ފާޅުކުރުމުގެ ގޮތުން އަންހެނުންގެ ފައިގައި އޮންނަ ތަކަހޮޅީގެ އަޑު އިވޭވަރަށް ބިމުގައި ބާރަށް ފައިން ނުޖެހުމަށް ވަނީ އަމުރު ކުރައްވަފައެވެ. މިހެންގޮސް ލިޔާނަމަ ވަރަށް ގިނަ ވާހަކަލިޔެވިދާނެއެވެ. މިހުރިހާ ކަމެއްވެސް އަންގަވާފައިވަނީ އަންހެނާގެ ޙިމާޔަތަށް ޓަކައެވެ. ފިރިހެނުންގެ ފަރާތުން ލިބިދާނެ އަނިޔާއަކުން ސަލާމަތް ކުރެއްވުމަށްޓަކައެވެ.

Anonymous said...

Practically this place is going backwards...Islamic scholars advocate women to be @ home, completely covered with black hijab and no contact with outside world. Tell me what right they have.

Sadly, the crimes committed against women are not properly prosecuted. I blame media openly not addressing social, women issues etc. These days state media is hijacked by mullahs and promote MDP and DRP's political fight. Rare occasion, u can c local series or Season ans Niuma.

Dear shafiu!

You know nothing modeling and fashion industry. No one is force to anything there. those who chose to be a model, they loved being photographed and make decent living. Sometimes it can be male with a hammer, engine etc.

Shafiu, tell me something i don't know. This what everyday scholars tell you. Are trying to buy woman?
what if Maldivian women are worth Millions of dollars. Can you pay them when you want marry her?

Nothing is is more important than your freedom.

PS:"Europeans are stripped women rights" Dr. Majeed. I heard it today on TVM 6pm programme. I hope it is till in TVM archive.

cookiemonster said...

We need to figure out a way to raise these issues in mainstream media, as it's now limited to only a handful of bloggers and minivan news.

Anonymous said...

Moderates who are concerned should come together and come up with a movement to halt this excessive, extremist and intolerant use of religion to make womens life worse.

Anonymous said...

The article provides absolute facts & all rational men and woman of Maldives should be concerned about it. Religious hypocrites are spreading their shit stories & making naive women scared .. but little do i care about their stupid illogical, unbelievable stories and I wish all women do understand that it is all made up to satisfy their crazy minds... Every taxi i get into has a CD to play about how dirty women is .. this is pathetic.. am angry and frustrated about this cynical act of these dheenee beyvaruthah .

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Anonymous said...

you r sayin that the scholar was wrong when he said that more women will go to hell than men? how igronant u r! thats part of our prophet's hadhith. n even for a sec if u use your brain n common sense to think y that is tru, u l knw it. so dont go on writing against hadith. its tru that hell will have more women. u cant change that

Anonymous said...

Like our President pulling out government policy out of his ass, Ali Rameez also pulling out made-up Hadith right from his own crack. What difference does it make that these fake Hadith come out of Majeed's butthole or Ali Rameez bureeloavalhu? They are all fake. It smells of rotten hypocrisy. Aiycheee!!

Yaamyn said...

There'll inevitably be a comment here eventually that says that the 'only solution' to this would MORE Adhaalath and MORE of their misogynist agenda to enslave women.

Apparently, the best way to fight pedophilia is to marry 9 year olds.

The best way to make sure a woman is not raped is to shroud her alive in a tent. (To not tempt those poor, helpless rapists)

The best defense against your kid becoming a violent gangster is to make him a violent jehadi.

I would hate to be a woman in the Maldives. And, as far as this government is in place with the Adhaalath mullahs in the ruling throne, I can only see things going downhill for all of us.

Aneh dhivehi raajje is a huge disappointment.

Fali said...

Not to mention that harassment, groping and staring that goes on on the street. Even if there isnt such an incident there is the constant expectation of being faced with harassment. With the current mindset especially if a woman doesnt wear the veil then she is to blame for it, and it does not help that the religious preachers never talk about the part men must play in curbing harassment of women.

Being able to walk peacefully in the street of your home country is something that women should forget about in this country. And if people think that being covered from head to foot helps then they are seriously mistaken.

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The Shadowrunner said...

"...to heaven they would be ‘recreated’ to perpetually be 33 years old and have with pointed breasts"?!?!?!

WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS I DONT EVEN-

IM NOT GOING! I DONT WANT TO BE A FATTY!!! I DONT WANT TO BE A MANBOOB'D FATTY BANGING LITTLE GIRLS!! SHEIKH FAREED!! IM GONNA DROP YOU INTO HELL! (Hell is looking for you)

The Shadowrunner said...

@Anonymous : "you r sayin that the scholar was wrong when he said that more women will go to hell than men? how igronant u r! thats part of our prophet's hadhith. n even for a sec if u use your brain n common sense to think y that is tru, u l knw it. so dont go on writing against hadith. its tru that hell will have more women. u cant change that.

If your prophet is threatening our mothers and sisters, then he is not a prophet. If your religion threatens our mothers and sisters, then we will destroy your religion with spectacular military force.

Do you understand?.

XResistance said...

Well said Dissent!
Yes, it is very ridiculous that there are standards for public broadcasting but none of the media distributed by these preachers are scrutinised. Even when they are directly against the nicely drafted government policies. But then I'm sure if the government arent that serious about implementing them why should these fanatics adhere to them.

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Anonymous said...

We cant say anything against islam. The holy book and our messengers hadiths. And our islamic scholars advices. womens right is fully given by islam. This essay is nothing than to misunderstand our muslim community. I stand by our islamic scholars. quran and sunnah is what i follow. And any muslim should support or scholars

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