If Malay women are like marionettes whose actions must be controlled by others, then Muslim men are like martinets, the strict disciplinarians who demand that others adhere to their rigid rules.
Have you noticed that new edicts about control are almost always directed at Muslim women? How often do you ever hear about men being warned to act properly?
Women are told: Cover your head. Cover your aurat. Stop dreaming about being a beauty queen, gymnast or ballerina. Avoid gazing directly into men’s eyes. Stop wearing jeans, use a purdah. Don’t ride kapcais (small motorbikes), with men. Don’t breed dogs.
Every insecure Muslim man and organisation treats the Muslim woman as if she were a brainless, sexual object, whose main role in life is to breed more Muslims. How often are Muslim men told to stop objectifying women? Are they taught to respect women?
The Saudi Arabians have their Wahhabism, which some Malays have wholeheartedly embraced, to get fast-tracked to heaven. The emphasis is on ritual and punishment. Men are told to control their wives and daughters, so that the husband can be assured of a safe passage to heaven.
Despite the equality between the sexes, Muslim women appear to get more attention from Muslim NGOs, PAS politicians, officials from the Islamic Development Department of Malaysia (Jakim) and other religious authorities.
The nation’s favourite pastime appears to be bashing Muslim women. On Valentine’s Day, the National Muslim Youth Association (Pembina) warned Muslim women against using emoticons in text messages. Why not warn the men, too?
Pembina is probably taking their cue from a Saudi-based preacher, Wajdi Akkari, who claimed that emojis are “haram” because symbols, like Satan, the Angel, and the hands-clasped-in-prayer, are “Christian”.
Banning Muslim women from using emoticons was not good enough for this NGO. Pembina also warned women not to use perfume. Why are men not banned from using after-shave? Is it because they should grow beards?
When a child becomes a victim of statutory rape, the Muslim rapist escapes conviction by marrying his victim. The religious authorities just shrug off the accusations that condoning child marriages gives men a licence to commit paedophilia. What do they do? They offer lame excuses about the male’s right to marry child brides, and his religious obligation to marry up to four wives.
If he fancies another woman, he avoids adultery by marrying her, but if he already has four wives, he simply dumps the wife he likes least, and gets hitched to his latest paramour. So much for equality and fairness for the Muslim girl. Can you see why the population of single mothers is increasing?
The proposal for hudud to be implemented in Kelantan is the latest assault on the Muslim population. If successfully adopted in Kelantan, the domino effect will trigger the fall of Terengganu and Kedah to hudud.
Many Malay professionals, most of whom once trained in the west, are happy to embrace hudud despite knowing that nations with hudud are failed states. Do the women realise that under hudud, they may as well kiss goodbye to their rights? They are reluctant to voice their objections to hudud, because to oppose it, is portrayed as being tantamount to a criticism of Islam.
Sometimes, women are their own worst enemies.
If some Malay Malaysians want to be judged by hudud law, then so be it. I am quite content to be the kind of Muslim as taught to me by my parents, guided by my elders and the gleanings from religious textbooks.
My opposition to hudud, as expressed in several articles, has resulted in an inbox full of threats.
The least harmless pieces of “advice” simply urged me to consult an ustaz or ustazah before giving my opinion on how Islam affects our lives.
So, are the ustaz the new ‘thought police’? The following religious people were less than inspiring.
When I last talked to an ustazah about space travel, she assured me that the moon landing was a Hollywood production, filmed in the Nevada desert. A Christian plot, she added.
Another ustaz could not tell me if I would receive 72 studs in heaven, assuming that I was heaven-bound. As he did not deny the provision of 72 virgins for the man who goes to heaven, does that mean he believes in this myth? Anyway, why lead a chaste life on Earth, only to enter a Bacchanalian orgy after death?
Another ustazah described heaven having an endless supply of Coke and other beverages, whilst one famous ustaz said on YouTube that women in heaven would receive the latest modern kitchen appliances. He may have been joking, but his women followers nodded in silent agreement, instead of challenging him for mocking Islam, and insulting their intelligence.
Pyrex. Kenwood Chef. MasterChef. Who cares? When bigots claim that women will continue to have domestic chores in heaven, albeit aided by the latest gadgetry, are we supposed to be thrilled? Not really my idea of heaven.
MARIAM MOKHTAR is a defender of the truth, the admiral-general of the Green Bean Army and president of the Perak Liberation Organisation (PLO).
Source : @ Malaysiakini