Sunday, February 15, 2009

"Loose" women to send knickers to Hindu group": My Own Thoughts

(Warning: disturbing subject matter)
This story caught my eye. A Hindu nationalist group gas taken to attacking women who frequent pubs in India. According to Reuters News Agency, the Hindu nationalist group Sri Ram Sena has provoked a world wide backlash against them by a highly publicised series of incidents in which they attacked young people out celebrating Valentine's Day.

The Statesman described some incidents as follows.

A girl was dragged by her hair by a cop, while the saffron brigade's moral police tarred the faces of cuddling lovebirds and “married off” some of them, but the day mostly belonged to Cupid as young couples kept their date with Valentine's Day across the country in high spirits.
In Karnataka, in the limelight following the Sri Rama Sene's outrageous attacks on youths in a pub in Mangalore, the day was marred by an attack by the same outfit on a party of young boys and girls at a BPO company in Belgium, injuring two persons.

Sri Ram Sena had announced their intentions to attack revelers. As a result, there was a widespread response reported by Reuters as follows.
Thousands of Indians, many fuming over a recent assault on women in a pub, are vowing to fill bars on Valentine's Day and send cartons of pink panties to a radical Hindu group that has branded outgoing females immoral.

A "consortium of pub-going, loose and forward women," founded by four Indian women on social networking website Facebook has, in a matter of days, attracted more than 25,000 members with over 2,000 posts about the self-appointed moral police.

The women said their mission was to go bar-hopping on February 14 and send hundreds of pink knickers to Sri Ram Sena, the militant Hindu group that has said pubs are for men, and that women should stay at home and cook for their husbands.

The same Hindu group was blamed for attacking women in a bar in the southern city of Mangalore in January, an incident that sparked a national debate about women's freedoms in India.

This story leaves me with mixed emotions. I have habits and opinions that might put me in the puritanical category. I am against smoking. I am pro marriage and against living together without marriage. I don't drink too much or smoke weed at all. I will even promote my choices to those who will listen.

Despite this, coercion annoys me. It is interesting how "morality police " feel free to cross all kinds of moral lines themselves. It is a problem that cuts across religious boundaries. It is common in Arab countries and in some very conservative Christian countries for there to be a sort of tacit permission given to men to harass women who appear to be immoral. All too often, this harassment escalates to rape. This has become a serious problem in Europe, where a solid majority of the rapes by strangers are committed by Muslim immigrants.

The type of people who get militant about sexual freedom are usually looking for a religious imprimatur for their own baser instincts. They are also often looking for an excuse to dwell on sex in a manner that is religiously approved.

The harassment of pub goers is actually a pretty tame form of sexual harassment in India. Far more serious is the unpunished rape of lower caste women. The late Phoolan Devi, the famous "bandit queen" brought a lot of attention to this and other problems of Indian women through her personal life, her biography and the movie based on her life.

I do not like any form of lifestyle coercion. The protests against the Hindu nationalists is a step in the right direction. But it would be unfortunate if this protest revolving around Valentines day distracted the public from far more serious issues of violence against women in India today.

The news of the Hindu nationalist's protest is greeted mostly with amusement in the West. Most of us view news from the Hindu and Muslim world as being remote from us. Unfortunately, the Islamic "alternative lifestyle" is well entrenched in Europe. reports on the status of Muslim women in Germany as follows.

In Germany the problem of domestic violence in Muslim homes is so bad that thirty per cent of the occupants in women’s shelters in German cities are Muslim (frontpage magazine 6/26/07). And even there, these unfortunate women are not safe. Husbands and other male clan members, who can number up to 300, often set up round the clock surveillance of the shelter, in which the woman has sought refuge.

One young Muslim woman, who fled a planned forced marriage and is now living what the police term a ‘submarine existence’ (she is in hiding), said her father told her when she was a child never to play with German girls because they were whores and that he would kill her if he ever caught her playing with boys. This ‘man of honor’, she says, has now threatened to pour gasoline over her and burn her to death if he ever finds her.

What happens when Islam becomes the governing faith? Women are banned from working to "prevent immorality". In Afghanistan under the Taliban, women were restricted to their homes. As a result, many turned to prostitution to feed their families with the Taliban themselves among the regular customers.

Immigrant (which usually means Muslim) crime in Sweden has skyrocketed and is targeted at Swedes The Fjordman Report explains as follows.

According to Swedish Radio on Tuesday, statistics from Sweden’s National Council for Crime Prevention show that the number of reported rapes against children is on the rise. The figures have nearly doubled in the last ten years: 467 rapes against children under the age of 15 were reported in 2004 compared with 258 in 1995. Legal proceedings continue this week in a case involving a 13 year old girl from Motala who was said to have been subjected to a group rape by four men. (Note: These four men were Kurdish Muslims, who raped the girl for hours and even took photos of doing so)

The Fjordman Report continues withh news from other cities in Sweden that is no better.

The number of rape charges per capita in Malmö is 5 – 6 times that of Copenhagen, Denmark. Copenhagen is a larger city, but the percentage of immigrants is much lower. And it’s not just the rape statistics that reveal a scary increase in Malmö or Sweden. Virtually every kind of violent crime is on the rise. Robberies have increased with 50 % in Malmö only during the fall of 2004. Threats against witnesses in Swedish court cases have quadrupled between 2000 and 2003. During the past few decades, massive immigration has changed the face of Sweden’s major cities, as well as challenged the viability of the welfare state. In 1970 Sweden had the fourth highest GDP per capita among developed countries with income about 6% above the OECD average. By 1997 it was at fifteenth place with an average GDP per capita 14% below average. Malmö has a heavy concentration of Muslim immigrants in particular. According to some estimates, it will be a Muslim majority city in no more then 10 years. Crime is rampant in the growing ghettos:

Becirov runs the Islamic Center of Malmö, on the outskirts of Sweden's third-largest city. Some immigrant neighborhoods in the city have (official) unemployment rates exceeding 50 percent. Swedish authorities have failed to lift up the area, and seem to be giving the Islamic Center of Malmö a great deal of leeway in attempting to do so. An article that appeared in 2003 noted that "a few" of the 6-to 10-year-old girls were wearing headscarves. On a visit in January 2005, fully 80 percent were covered in class--only a handful were not. In a fit of absent-mindedness, Sweden has suddenly become as heavily populated by minorities as any country in Europe. The percentage of foreign-born is roughly equivalent to the highest percentage of immigrants the United States ever had in its history (on the eve of World War I). Rosengård appears to be all-immigrant. The public schools have virtually no ethnically Swedish children. There are stories--familiar in other parts of Europe where immigrants from the Muslim world have recently settled--of students harassing Jewish teachers and defacing textbooks that treat Jewish themes. Crime is high.

France, Belgium and other countries with large Muslim countries report similar problems. This has fed the growth of right wing political parties, who are often the only ones to say out loud what is plain for all to see.

Any who have hoped that Islamic clergy would be of help in stemming the tide have been sorely disappointed

In Sydney Australia, Sheik Halil, a leading Muslim cleric had this to say after Lebanese immigrant youth were convicted of a series of horrific gang rapes that shocked Australia.

If you take out uncovered meat and place it outside on the street, or in the garden or in the park, or in the backyard without a cover, and the cats come and eat it ... whose fault is it, the cats or the uncovered meat?

"The uncovered meat is the problem."

Sheik Halil did however have a remedy.

"If she was in her room, in her home, in her hijab, no problem would have occurred."

Elsewhere in the European Union, there are occasional glimpses of the idyllic state of Islamic marriage and family life. The Times of London reports as follows on a case where Pakistani "family values " made it to England's shores.

A GIRL of 15 was tricked into a "telephone marriage" ceremony to a Sheffield man with a mental age of five in a ceremony recognised by sharia (Islamic law).

When the girl arrived from Pakistan expecting to meet the handsome man she had been shown in a photograph, she found that he was 40 years old, unemployed and disabled.

To make matters worse, her mother-in-law decided to exploit her attractive looks by forcing her into prostitution.

The family invited men to the family home to rape her before she managed to escape to the police by bolting through the front door. She was taken into care and now lives in a refuge.

The case is highlighted in a report by the Centre for Social Cohesion, which has found that policemen, councillors and taxi drivers are turning a blind eye or even conniving in enforcing the Asian community's strict "moral code" on young women.

The girl's marriage last April was not recognised by the Home Office but was approved by the Islamic Sharia Council in Britain. She is typical of the runaway brides at risk of an "honour killing". According to official figures, 10 to 12 women are murdered in Britain in honour killings each year, but the government has been warned by MPs that this is a serious underestimate. Police often record the deaths as cases of domestic violence, while other girls are driven to suicide or taken away to their family's country of origin and never seen again. Many Asian parents would rather resort to violence against their children than see their reputation tarnished by the perceived dishonour of allowing them to become "westernised".

The tactic of defiantly asserting one's freedom that was used against the Hindu nationalists was a good one. Priggish, sanctimonious individuals are a public menace. Pub crawlers in New Dehli are far more likely to have a sense of their rights than Dalits (untouchables) in a remote village.

It is unfortunately wishful thinking to dismiss Muslim abuse of women as a Pakistani, Indian or Saudi problem. Immigration has brought this violence to our own doorsteps. It is time for us to defend the values and freedoms that define us as a society. In a greater context, the story of the "loose women" in India may seem trivial, but it makes a valuable point. The proper way to promote a religious or chaste lifestyle is through education and persuasion. This is a central value in western society. It should be defended with zeal and without apology.

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