In the Name of God, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful
I am proud to say that I am another Muslim for Mukhtaran. If you have not already heard of her case, Mukhtaran Mai (affectionately known as Mukhtaran Bibi) was gang raped in Merwala, Pakistan under orders of a local village council as “revenge” for a crime her brother allegedly committed. After being gang raped in public by several men, she was forced to walk nearly naked through the streets of her village.
Her case has drawn international attention because of the unbelievable legal saga that ensued. The rapists were tried and convicted, but they were later released after being acquitted by a second court. In June 2005, the case was brought to a final appeal to the Pakistan Supreme Court. Moreover, when Mukhtaran Mai wanted to leave Pakistan to come to the United States, she was initially prevented from doing so. That decision was also later reversed, and she is now touring the United States struggling for not only justice for her, but also women’s rights in general, especially in Pakistan.
Even when typing the events that happened to her, my blood curdled in anger. From where did such a sentence come? How could a local village council even think about doing so to a woman for a crime her brother allegedly committed? What kind of barbarity is this? Now, of course, there are those who will claim that such a monstrosity is a natural outgrowth of Islam and Islamic justice. That is a bunch of hogwash (I want to use stronger language, but this blog is entitled God, Faith, and a Pen…).
Nowhere is sexual violence EVER condoned by Islam. Nowhere. Anyone who says so is completely mistaken, if not blatantly lying.
I am in full support of her cause, and I pray that God grants her victory in this world and the next. What happened to her is a disturbing example of how jahiliyah, or pre-Islamic ignorance, has slowly crept back into Muslim societies. Unfortunately, throughout human history, the woman has been given the short end of the stick (to say the absolute least). Muslims are supposed to know better, because the faith they claim to follow tells them that man and woman are equal before God.
The fact of the matter, however, is that many Muslims have completely forgotten this message. What’s worse, some Muslims commit horrific injustices against women and think Islam sanctions them to do so. How horrible. It has to end and end now. Mukhtaran Mai’s struggle is a noble one, and it is one every single Muslim should embrace. She is our sister, and what happened to her – most unfortunately – happens from time to time around the world, to Muslim and non-Muslim women alike. It should not be so. May God be with you, Sister Mukhtaran Mai, may the Lord God be with you always. Amen.