Saturday, May 05, 2007

Will All the Moderate Muslims Please Stand Up?

Looks like some of the Iraqis aren't down with a women's right to choose:

A 17-year-old girl has been stoned to death in Iraq because she loved a teenage boy of the wrong religion.

As a horrifying video of the stoning went out on the Internet, the British arm of Amnesty International condemned the death of Du’a Khalil Aswad as "an abhorrent murder" and demanded that her killers be brought to justice.

Reports from Iraq said a local security force witnessed the incident, but did nothing to try to stop it. Now her boyfriend is in hiding in fear for his life.

Miss Aswad, a member of a minority Kurdish religious group called Yezidi, was condemned to death as an "honour killing" by other men in her family and hardline religious leaders because of her relationship with the Sunni Muslim boy.

This is a fascinating story for several reasons.

First, if feminism was really about empowering women, all the feminist blogs would be up in arms about this one. For all I know, they may be. I tend to avoid feminists like the plague. And don't get me wrong, getting angry and posting about it doesn't do a darned thing, but they think it does. This is merely further proof of the singular position occupied by Western women. One can forgive feminists for not having learned any history while pursuing their degrees in women's studies, but when current events demonstrate that very little has changed concerning women's position, at least in certain parts of the world, they are without excuse.

Second, the piece, predictably, referred to the perpetrators as "hardline religious leaders". For all I know they may be. I've reiterated time and again that I know very little about Islam. But I do know enough to consider the possibility that these were not the actions of hardliners, but of mainstream Muslims. I have not, as yet, read the Koran, nor have I, unfortunately, studied that religion save as it has been a consistent thorn in the side of Christendom. Still, I have yet to see an explanation for why this action must have been the work of hardliners.

Actually, of course, it makes precious little difference. Excusing those actions which are malevolent as the work of hardliners, or, as is the preferred nomenclature, of radical or extremist Muslims, serves to assuage the conscience of Westerners who wisely do not wish to write off the entire Middle East. But ultimately, a tree ought to be judged by its fruits and not by the fruit which the book implies that the tree should grow. To draw from an example from my own religion, it would have been idiotic to suggest that ephebophile priests were not adhering to the tenants of the Catholic Faith. This was obvious. It made little difference to the abused whether or not the Priests were adhering to the Word of God. It was up to the Church to put an end to the abuses to prove, not only that the actions were works of renegade priests and that, more importantly, the priest who did not abuse were a large enough force to stop those who were wrecking havoc in the lives of young Catholics.

Thus reform is needed in the Islamic world. However, it remains to be seen whether this reform will be forthcoming. The article notes that "a local security force witnessed the incident, but did nothing to try to stop it". This is probably the most important line in the article and bears repeating.

I'm still not certain how democracy is going to do a lick of good when the population seems hesitant, at best, to even pretend to support Western values. And my befuddlement continues when I recall that our troops are dying so that we can give them a system of government where this sort of thing could, for all I know, become commonplace.


Nikolay said...

The killers were not Muslims at all. She was killed either for dating a Muslim or for converting into Islam.

A Wiser Man Than I said...

Then to what religion did the killers adhere? I guess I just assumed that those following Muslim law were, in point of fact, Muslims.

Nikolay said...

Then to what religion did the killers adhere?
It's in the article, Yezidi. Islamic law forbids honor killings, but they are, indeed, widespread among Muslims.

A Wiser Man Than I said...

Thanks for pointing that out Nikolay. That's definitely a mistake on my part. I assumed that, being a subset of the Kurds, the Yezidi too must be Muslims.

This proves that I have no idea what I'm talking about, which isn't necessarily the end of the world given that I admitted as much.

True too, is that the greater point holds. So-called moderates in the region hold little to no sway over those whose actions make the news.