Islamic Updates (Jan/Feb 1998)

Turkey Rethinks Virginity Exams

The Turkish government is campaigning to ban a bible-based, Moslem-sanctified practice of virginity exams for young women, following the attempted suicides of five teenaged girls in September. The girls took rat poison, then tried to drown themselves after the head of their orphanage ordered the tests when they missed curfew. The girls, ages 12-16, were forced to undergo virginity tests from their hospital beds.
Women’s groups are calling for the resignation of Isilay Saygin, Women and Family Affairs Minister, after she made comments that the virginity tests are a “deterrent” and protect girls “from defamation.”

In conservative sections of Turkey, relatives routinely gather outside the bedroom of a honeymoon couple to make sure the sheets are stained with blood, as prescribed in the Old Testament.

Turkey Bans Party, Protects Wives

The Islamic Welfare Party, a powerful opponent of Turkey’s secular system, was outlawed by Turkey’s high court in mid-January. However, the party, whose predecessors have been banned and renamed twice in the past, already has been reborn as “Virtue.” Turkey’s constitution bans parties based on ethnicity, religion or communist ideology. The ruling will be appealed to the European Human Rights Commission.
Against strong opposition by the Islamic Welfare Party, Turkey’s parliament passed legislation in early January allowing husbands to be indicted for domestic abuse, even if wives refuse to press charges.

A 1994 study showed that 34% of married women in 12 Turkish provinces were beaten by their husbands. In 1997, the mayor of Konya published a marriage guide saying Islam allows men to “gently” beat wives.

Egypt Upholds Mutilation Ban Egypt’s high court issued a ruling on Dec. 28 upholding a Health Ministry decision to ban government-certified workers from performing female genital mutilation.

Medical workers face three years in prison and hospitals risk closure for performing “female circumcision,” which clerics insist is required by Islam. The Supreme Administrative Court ruled that the procedure is not one of Islam’s dictates, and is thus subject to Egyptian law. Many in Africa and Moslem Asia brutally mutilate the genitals of girls before puberty, causing death, life-long trauma, infections, and increasing maternal mortality.

Pakistan Elects Orthodox Prez

Pakistani legislators elected Rafiq Tarar president on Dec. 30, making him the most religiously orthodox president in a decade. A member of the orthodox Muslim Tableequ movement, committed to spreading Islam worldwide, he opposes women’s right to divorce and custody, and supports segregation of men and women.
As a judge he upheld amputation of limbs as punishment for theft, blasphemy laws and a ruling requiring four male witnesses for a rape conviction.

Tarar has written: “In a country where the sanctity of the prophet’s name and his personality is the basis for the existence of that country . . . miscreants who commit blasphemy should be given the death sentence to prevent turmoil.”

“His election as president will go well for Islamization of the country,” approved Islamic leader Hasan Turabi.

Ivory Coast Slavery Continues

Girls in the Ivory Coast, Africa, are still victims of slavery, according to a Dec. 13 report by Stephen Buckley of the Washington Post. The Muslim religion dictates that girls should marry by puberty, but African brides may be as young as seven.
The Koran, like the Christian Bible, teaches that a husband is next in command to God.

Pedophilia has been practiced a long time in Africa, according to prominent women’s rights activist Constance Yai. Pre-adolescent marriages are common through sub-Saharan Africa, and are particularly widespread in countries with large Muslim populations. Girls are sold into marriage, with their families receiving dowries.

Turning children into sex slaves and drudges is partly responsible for making Africa’s maternal mortality rates the highest in the world, where it is not unusual for both mother and child to die.

Drawing attention to the plight of child brides was a murder in 1996, when 12-year-old Fanta Keita killed her 30-year-old husband after undergoing nightly battery and rape. She is still awaiting trial.

2,000 Algerians Killed For Ramadan

Almost 2,000 Algerian civilians have been slaughtered by Islamic insurgents since Dec. 30, the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
Survivors described attackers slitting throats, cutting off heads and bashing babies against walls. In early January, during the weekend of the sixth anniversary of the cancellation of national elections apparently favoring the Islamic Salvation Front, about 400 mountain villagers were bombed, shot, knifed or hacked to death, many at a movie hall.

Fighters often kidnap and rape women before killing them.

No Health Care For Afghani Women?

The Afghani Ministry of Public Health issued a directive on September 6, 1997, barring women from most hospital services in the capital city of Kabul. The extremist Muslim Taliban government imposed the ban to restrict contact between the sexes.
According to news reports and the Reproductive Freedom News, a woman with burns over more than 80% of her body was turned away from a hospital; two women in mid-labor were thrown out of a maternity ward; a comatose girl was barred from an emergency room, and a young woman with active TB was sent home.

Since September, five of Kabul’s 22 hospitals have wholly or partially suspended care for women. Predictions are that by March, there may not be even secondary health services available to women.

Villagers Massacred By Taliban

The Taliban regime of Afghanistan lined up 600 civilians in a remote area of northwestern Afghanistan and shot them over a two-day period in early January, according to opponents of the ultra-Islamic regime.

Freedom From Religion Foundation