It’s really unacceptable to see Women blamed for such gruesome acts! This is inhumane… Changing the mindset of these deeply entrenched cultural beliefs takes a lot of time… Therefore, I prefer a much stricter judicial system that PROTECT women and more importantly that’s IMPLEMENTED! (That’s why we need CONVENTIONS and LAWS as with the case of the much debated issue of the protection of women from violence law in Lebanon )
Tag Archive: patriarchy
I tend to be somewhat different from a person who has lived in Pakistan for a while or views Bin Laden as a hero and martyr… I also can’t argue with a radical salafist that only accepts one absolute interpretation of the Quran or even a very literal interpretation of its verses or of the Hadiths… The argument might go forever without reaching a consensus because we seem to view Islam from different perspectives… and by this I don’t mean that there are no well-established pillars that comprise the Islamic faith and that don’t change irrespectively of time; I mean that certain issues have been debatable in Islam and one can take into consideration certain opinions/fatwas of well-reputable Muslim scholars and dismiss the others because the interpretations of some verses might be explained differently by various scholars and might have new approaches with the development of our time and age… For example, the scientific interpretation of some verses of the Quran has only been recently revealed. (You can check some of scientific miracles here: http://www.miraclesofthequran.com/scientific_index.html ) Does that mean that we need to reject them because they weren’t explained that way years before??
I had a meeting with one of those speaking against the law (and whom I valued her logical way of thinking) who explained the imperfections of the law and the ineffectiveness of it. I agree with her that the problem is social in the first place and it is related to the patriarchy-related ideas and that it needs huge efforts regarding educating both men and women… However, this law as I understand aims at the extreme cases and at people who were used to such violent acts. They call it “العنف النمطي”. As defined in the document “Questions about the Protection of Women from Family Violence Law” by the lawyer Layla Awada, the “archetype violence” is the violence used by a person as an attitude in communication.
The second point I want to address is that the law protects the privacy of the families. And as I made clear in my previous posts, if in some cases of domestic abuse the privacy of the family is not protected, I’d prefer saving a soul rather than protecting the privacy… As mentioned in Layla Awada’s document, the provision that allows NGOs to file a complaint against an abuser instead of the victim was actually retrieved. Meaning that, the victim herself is the person eligible for filing a complaint and not the NGOs or the human rights organizations. (Check the document: http://on.fb.me/qJK9nF )
I know laws are imperfect… and they might be abused including Sharia’ laws… but as I mentioned before the filed complaint would be evaluated so if it was a false one the jurists won’t deal with it…
I don’t want to go further and debate the law itself because I’m not an expert in laws. I’ll leave this to the lawyers… I’m not going to judge how effective or not the law is going to be because laws aren’t my field of specialty. What really distracted me out of this whole ongoing debate is that some Muslims are defending their “right” to use violence as a discipline, their ”right” to rape their wives, and their “right” to control every member of their households claiming that this is what Qawama obliges them to do…
The anti-law campaigners considered that this law is part of a well-established plan to eradicate the Muslim family through the introduction of some radical changes in the Muslim family and the Islamic faith. This, they argue, would be achieved through imposing UN conventions and through introducing “sugar-coated” laws like the introduction of the protection of women from domestic violence law as a first step. Some of the documents the anti-law campaigners used as a reference for rejecting the law is the document “العنف الأسري في الوثائق الدولية”( http://bit.ly/oKzKYP ) I read it thoroughly and I noticed different fallacies that I found important to note.
The document is written from a conspiracy theory perspective. I don’t know how exactly Dr. Helmy, the writer of the document, managed to tie up the domestic violence issue to a conflict in the concept of gender concluding with Israel’s involvement in the matter.
Gender and the “natural roles” issue
Second, I’ve also observed many times in Helmy’s document that she connected the concept of gender to the LGBT concept… which’s not the equivalent terminology to use. Gender is a sociological term per-excellence and in the first place. Anthony Giddens observes that gender “concerns the psychological, social and cultural differences between males and females.” The term of gender is a wide range of complex concepts and must not be reduced to one ultimate definition. (http://www.who.int/gender/whatisgender/en/ ) There are the gender roles which are the learnt roles that concern different sexes with the help of social agencies such as the family. Here comes the concept of the traditionally and clearly-defined roles vis-a-vis the modern or the individual-created roles for men and women. Men and women’s roles are socially-constructed and shaped. Helmy took one aspect of the gender term, generalized its use, and maybe wanted to understand the term like that without even looking at the context to which it was used… I really don’t agree about the “natural roles” of men and women. It doesn’t exist in Islam… I support the conventions that will lead to abolish the division of work according to one’s sex. Sometimes the woman who works outside her home from 8 till 5 goes back home to also work there: cooks and cleans whereas the man who might also work from 8 till 5 might not move his butt to help the woman considering the household duties are women’s work. Is this fair? Of course, we must work on abolishing these preconceived traditional ideas that don’t have any connection to Islamic views… Khadija was an independent merchant. She was the one who hired the Prophet, or do you want to forget that?
Third, Dr. Helmy assumed that the UN women committees embrace radical feminists’ agendas without providing any evidence for that. She went on explaining the ideas of radical feminists and digressed from the main issue under discussion… I don’t agree about what radical feminists say and there are others who don’t agree about what they say but not necessarily abandon their defense of women’s rights. I’m really shocked about how she links radical feminism to UN conventions.
A lot of terms, as observed from Dr. Helmy’s document, are put out of context when criticizing them… Concerning the issue of repression of female sexuality, this is not even mentioned in the law… In fact, the law criticizes the way people might look at it i.e. the attitude and not the actual act. By this I mean that the provision mentioned in the “Elimination of all forms of discrimination and violence against the girl child – Report of the Expert Group Meeting-2006”, to which Helmy referred to, criticizes the emphasis on the virginity of females… and not as what Dr. Helmy suggests that a woman’s virginity is actually criticized and hence considered a form of violence.
One of the issues Dr. Helmy spotted the light on in her document is child marriage. Regarding child marriage, setting an age limit for it like 18 years old would solve different problems. If a girl wants to get married at the age of 17, well, why not get married and then after a year they register the marriage officially? I want to protect the 12-14 years old girls from marrying at this age. They’re kids; they haven’t decided what to do yet in life… Their parents might convince them that this is perfect for their lives; they might think they’re going to live a Cindarella story. That’s it.
Dr. Helmy criticized how the dowry is considered as a price for the woman in return for the sexual pleasure she’ll grant her husband, but if we looked at what’s happening today this is actually happening. The concept of dowry is being abused both by men and women. It’s being used as a means for controlling women. Saudis are selling their 12 year old daughters to Saudi men for the money. An 8 year old girl was going to get married to a 47 year old man: “The girl’s father, according to the attorney, arranged the marriage in order to settle his debts with the man, who is “a close friend” of his.” http://bit.ly/pSd70y “The father agreed to marry off his daughter for a dowry of 30,000 riyals (£5,400) as he was facing financial problems.” http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/dec/23/saudi-arabia-human-rights What about this case http://www.algeria.com/forums/world-dans-le-monde/26819.htm ? Yes, they are sold in some cases. In some cases, the dowry serves as a price for the woman… the concept is being abused so why don’t we want to admit that it’s? In fact, the UNICEF report criticizes the violence-related dowry where women get killed because of their complaints when the issue of dowry isn’t settled yet… it’s not considering dowry as violence by itself.
From an Islamic point of view, women aren’t obliged to do household duties. Dr. Helmy criticized in her document UNICEF’s report. UNICEF’s report suggested that one of the factors that are leading violence to resume is women’s dependence on men in economic matters. This is because when women completely depend on men in financial matters, some men might take advantage of this and threaten to stop being financially responsible for them, so the complete dependence on men in financial matters MIGHT sometimes turn to act as a tool for subjugating women . Note: UNICEF’s document mentioned “dependence” and not partial reliance.
Marital rape and Islam…
Regarding rape, whether it’s between married couples or not, it’s still considered marital rape. Women are to be treated well by their husbands in Islam. There are definitely reasons why women might not want to sleep with their husbands… A question for religious leaders who are against the law: why don’t you want to take into consideration other Hadiths and Quranic verses that ask men to treat their wives honorably? (Check these 2 links: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BDEKJDgXO-U http://www.suhaibwebb.com/relationships/marriage-family/spouse/hurting-homes/ ) I think it’s insulting for just not acknowledging the existence of marital rape. The ones who are arguing for it claim that men have needs and the wives are obliged to fulfill those needs. Assume it is halal for the husbands to rape their wives, don’t you think it is “good manners” the husbands to consider their wives’ physical and mental needs and conditions before satisfying their own desires? Don’t you agree it’s the husband’s “responsibility” in the front of Allah to comfort and understand his wife’s needs FIRST before thinking about his needs? The defenders of marital rape used this Hadith to justify the gruesome act: “When the husband calls his wife to his bed, and she does not come to it, while he spends the night angry with her, the Malaa’ikah (the angels) curse her until morning.” It’s important to notice that the Prophet did not encourage the man to force the woman who did not respond to his call. In fact, he states that the man stays angry throughout the night; i.e. that she never came to his bed – even by his force. Rather the punishment for disobeying his needed call is that of anger of the angels and thus Allah also. Again, just because it is haram for her to leave his bed upon his call does not mean that he then has the “blessed” right to FORCE himself upon her. How can Islam allow the husbands to rape their wives when Islam is one of the icons of women’s protection? Islam forbids harming others, which includes a husband harming his wife emotionally, physically, and financially. If a wife must refuse the husband’s call for a reason, then her refusal will not incur “the angelic curse”. And lack of sex interest in itself is a valid excuse, but something that must be worked on. There is a Hadith that says: “Let none of you come upon his wife like an animal, let there be an emissary between them.” When asked the meaning of emissary, the Prophet replied, “The kiss and sweet words.” It’s also significant to point here that certain issues in Islam might be debated using different Hadiths/verses with different levels of authenticity and by using different Fikeh schools/Mazaheb. Some scholars might cherry-pick Hadiths from here and there to prove the point they have in their minds exactly as those defending marital rape in Islam were doing.
Regarding honor killings, we know that certain men who just “suspect” that their daughters/sisters are in direct contact with other men, they commit these crimes…why don’t we save the victims in this case? Even in Islam, in order that a woman and a man to be convicted of adultery, there must be four eyewitnesses and this is somewhat “impossible”… Honor killings are not permitted in Islam. The Quranic verse is very clear in this regard: “The woman and the man guilty of fornication flog each of them with 100 stripes.”
Regarding the law, I say what’s “left” from the correct way of implementing Islam is really inadequate. People have abused Islamic Shariaa practices. We have a reality and this reality is inundated with different incorrect ways of implementing Islamic teachings… These laws aim at solving or helping to solve (and here I’m not discussing whether or not the laws are going to be effective) the incorrect ways of Islamic teachings and practices and not the Sharia laws themselves… There are different Islamic concepts that have been abused like Qawama. According to Ibn Ashour, a well-renowned Muslim scholar, the Qawama verse doesn’t mean that all men take care of all women, but this is the norm. There are women who support their men and when I mentioned this in my previous post, some criticized me saying what about the feelings of men? They will feel humiliated! Why? Why humiliated??? Maybe the man is sick and even paralyzed and can’t work, so what’s wrong in woman supporting her husband financially??? Polygamy is also another concept that has been abused. Polygamy’s conditions are very restraining… it’s also accepted in certain circumstances.
I’m also shocked how the law has been diagnosed by some anti-law campaigners as “Western” and incompatible with our society while some of the campaigners themselves support blindly other deemed “Western” icons like the Hariri tribunal without questioning it… I don’t want to delve into political issues but I just wanted to note this contradiction.
First of all, it’s important to note that not all Lebanese Muslims agree about what Mufti has declared… and it’s wise enough to investigate about the Islamic organizations who were lobbying against the law and who claimed to represent the Islamic voices in Lebanon… Among the Islamic organizations that were very active in speaking against CEDAW was The Islamic Group (Jamaa Islamiya) and I just want to point here (although I’m not used to naming and highlighting the misconducts of others or judging their actions either) that this Islamic group(and I don’t want to be judgmental) is the same one that a couple of years ago used to criticize the only-women Islamic group that was rising at that time and used to give undesirable comments and hadiths that aim at forbidding women from taking leadership positions: (Some members of the Islamic Group used the following hadith to stimulate hatred against the women-only group considering the women-only group and its actions ANTI-ISLAMIC: “People won’t be successful if they appointed a woman as their leader or as responsible for their issues”. This hadith is by the way weak meaning Muslims shouldn’t take it into consideration).Ironically, the Islamic group has developed a women-only section. This group is one of the leading Islamic groups lobbying against CEDAW. The point I’m making here out of this brief historical background of the group in light of their perspective on women’s taking leadership positions is that certain Islamic organizations are driven blindly by sexist ideologies and not by Islamic ones although they CLAIM that their arguments generate from the Islamic faith.
Muslim scholars used excuses … and yes EXCUSES to conceal their male chauvinistic ideas and beliefs… Their very irritating excuse (especially that’s the way I felt!) is that Islam provides a special kind of equality and provides women with the utmost just treatment. I agree that Islam glorifies women and gives superior justice for them; however, what disturbs me is using this argument as to REFUSE CEDAW and other treaties that “endanger” the family…Logically speaking, if they believe that Islam empowers women, why are they refusing a treaty that advocates for women’s rights and especially that the majority of its articles don’t conflict with Islamic beliefs in general?? (See previous post to examine where some of articles might conflict with Islamic teachings but the issues are debatable and some Muslim scholars might not agree that some articles oppose Islamic beliefs.)
Based on Qu’ranic teachings, justice is an important element in Islamic teachings and here I’d like to quote from the publication “CEDAW and Muslim Family Laws In Search of Common Ground” (You can check it here: http://bit.ly/qIGfWz ), which is based on a Musawah research project on the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, that examines States Parties’ justifications for their failure to implement CEDAW with regard to family laws and practices that discriminate against Muslim women, (Musawah was launched in 2009 at a Global Meeting in Kuala Lampur, Malaysia, attended by over 250 women and men from 47 countries of Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East, North America and the Pacific.): “… Our notions of justice and injustice are influenced by other factors, including our lived realities. They thus change with time and context. This, too, is reflected in the Islamic legal tradition. Musawah holds that in our time and our context, there can be no justice without gender equality… In the twenty-first century, the provisions of the CEDAW Convention-which stands for justice and equality for women in the family and society-, are more in line with the Sha’riah than family law provisions in many Muslim countries and communities. As such, the rights outlined in the CEDAW Convention, particularly article 16, should be incorporated into Muslim family laws and practices.” Just a reminder, article 16 of the convention, as discussed in my earlier post, is viewed by some Muslim scholars as a threat to Islamic beliefs as it is understood by them that it paves the way for civil marriage where a Muslim woman would be capable to marry a non- Muslim man. Although I mentioned in my previous post that it’s forbidden in Islam, the issue seems to be debatable among some Muslim scholars (I claim no responsibility for this). With the presence of a law or without it, Muslim women who want to marry non-Muslim men are capable of going to Cyprus and celebrate their marriage ceremony there. In this regard, Muslim scholars’ argument is futile in light of rejecting CEDAW because of the claim that it allows civil marriage. Some Muslim clerks may suggest that the very act of implementing such a law would motivate Muslim women to marry non-Muslim men. Well, Muslim women who believe in the Islamic conviction that states that Muslim women aren’t allowed to marry non-Muslim men (Due to various interpretations of the Quran, some might not agree it’s not permissible for Muslim women to marry non-Muslim men), won’t be “motivated” to marry non-Muslim men. This is ridiculous! And the law by the way won’t force them to get married to non-Muslim men… The argument the Muslim scholars are giving in this regard is irrelevant!
WHAT ARE THE MAIN ARGUMENTS OF THE ISLAMIC ORGANIZATIONS AND THE MUFTI???
I obtained a document outlining the main arguments the Lebanese Islamic groups used in order to reject CEDAW. (ملاحظات حول مشروع قانون العنف الأسري) I’m not going to refute every comment they provided (I’ll let your logic evaluate the arguments). Starting with the second point they make, they questioned why domestic violence is considered by CEDAW to be only violence against women. Although CEDAW, by definition, is the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, where other treaties might consider domestic violence against every member in the family, this argument used to reject CEDAW doesn’t make any sense…
The document (ملاحظات حول مشروع قانون العنف الأسري) criticizes CEDAW’s spousal rape claiming that in Islam the wife and the husband each has certain rights and obligations that must not be contravened (pointing to the idea that the wife should shut the hell of when her husband rapes her and remain silent about the issue and accepts that it’s her duty to fulfill her husband’s desires even when she’s forced to). But what about spousal rape? Is it acceptable in Islam??? Of course NOT!!! There is a hadith that states: “There is not to be any causing of harm nor is there to be any reciprocating of harm.” (Recorded in ibn Maajah) Letting someone suffer according to this hadith is forbidden.Marital rape doesn’t cause physical harm only; the impact of the emotional harm might be lethal. The Islamic organizations must bear in mind that men must treat their wives well in Islam. “…And live with them honourably (ma’ruf). If you dislike them (i.e. women), it may be that you dislike a thing and Allah brings through it a great deal of good.” [Nisaa’ verse 19] This Quranic verse obligates men to treat their wives honorably. So it’s impossible that Islam would approve of marital rape just for the sake that women have duties towards their husbands regarding sexual relations! Spousal rape is an issue that has been neglected and tabooed in this region. (Check this link: http://www.danielpipes.org/comments/166844 )
Another issue discussed in the document relating to the arguments of the Islamic organizations pertains to the concern of privacy. As discussed in my previous post, family privacy is sacred in Arab societies, but this must not be an obstacle for the Internal Security Forces to do their jobs in investigating about any filed complaint. In Lebanon, unfortunately, the Penal Code is unable to protect women, as showed by a legal study conducted by KAFA. The issue of privacy must not be at the expense of the victims’ lives or their mental, psychological, or physical wellbeing.
Some Muslim scholars might contend that some CEDAW articles try to ensure equality between men and women in financial issues including inheritance. Regarding financial matters, as I mentioned earlier in my post regarding inheritance, men are required to be financially responsible for every member of the family in Islam… However, in some cases the husband’s financial support becomes a mean for keeping the wife under his control. Musawah’s publication on “CEDAW and Muslim Family Laws In Search of Common Ground” mentions that the Quran has already introduced various reforms regarding existing cultural practices in relation to financial provisions for women including permitting women to own property and giving women shares of inheritance… Here I quote from the Musawah publication: “This was the beginning of a trajectory of reform that, carried forward 1400 years later to match the time and context, should lead to the elimination of the legal logic of maintenance in exchange for obedience and to the introduction of equality between men and women in all areas, including financial matters.”
Upon examining some facebook groups related to the campaign against implementing CEDAW (http://on.fb.me/qvBuIW and http://on.fb.me/nHCX7P ), I observed that their facebook walls are inundated with mere slogans and no logical arguments are behind them… (I’m just shocked how religious educated people are following these groups!)
Because we live in a multi-confessional society, Islamic laws don’t (and shouldn’t) replace the state laws… In this situation, it’s impossible to know whether Islamic teachings are really implemented in the Muslim family… That’s why we need LAWS that would be accounted for in the Lebanese parliament and constitution in order to ensure that women don’t get victimized and to ensure equality is served between men’s and women’s rights… It’s illogical (and stupid) to use the argument that declares that Islam is a religion that already protect women’s rights for the purpose of rejecting CEDAW.
I would like to ask Mufti Qabbani and the Islamic organizations in Lebanon who lobbied against CEDAW to have a look at the “CEDAW and Muslim Family Laws In Search of Common Ground” publication, to explore different interpretations of the Quran, and not to mix cultural beliefs with religious ones!
Note: The opinions in this article are mine and don’t represent any Islamic group. I’m not an expert in Islamic jurisprudence.
I would like to thank Maryam Libdi for enriching this article with additional links and documents 🙂
First of all, I can say that some Muslim clerks are fanatically scared of the hegemony of Western concepts… and its “threat” to their values… They’re afraid of the pervading surreptitious consequences of CEDAW, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, that might affect Islamic traditions and lead to abrogate the Islamic family and society.
Muslim clerks overlooked many articles in the law that are advocating for enhancing women’s position in Lebanese society and judged the law from a minority of articles. Some of the women who were lobbying against the law whom I talked to said that they fear that if this law is passed, then the articles that don’t go in line with Islamic beliefs may be implemented forcefully.
Second, I’m pretty sure that Muslim clerks wouldn’t object on the issues that some articles of CEDAW call for and that DON’T conflict with religious teachings. Some of these issues include:
-Suppresses trafficking of women
-Helping mothers and families by providing access to maternal health care
-Ensuring the ability to work and own a business without discrimination.
-Providing educational opportunities, including access to education and vocational training
-Ending the discrimination in the field of employment, including the right to work, employment opportunities, equal remuneration, free choice of profession and employment, social security, and protection of health.
However, there are some articles that contradict with Islamic convictions. But before going into some of these articles, it’s crucial to point out that the issue of family privacy is sacred in Arab societies meaning that what happens in the family must not be disclosed to strangers despite the graveness of the situation. That’s why some men (and women) find it difficult that the law would allow women victims to report the assaults to the police station or other concerned body and expose their family issues even if the attack was a verbal one. This secrecy and the act of “tabooing” family relations is part of Arab culture. For example, even when a girl is abused (physically, sexually…) by a family member and even if the family member, say, is from the extended family, the family members would hush everyone and burry the case in the “3ayb” black hole.
As what I referred to above, some of the articles oppose Islamic beliefs. One of CEDAW’s articles call for ending forced marriages and child marriage, and ensuring that women have a right to inherit property. As one of those lobbying against the law explains: If a 17 year old girl wants to get married, the law wouldn’t legitimize it because she’s considered a child by the law and on the other hand, she can have a boyfriend. Illegal sexual relations of course are illegitimate in Islam… This is where the law conflicts with Islamic beliefs. The objection here relates to the issue of child marriage. In Islam, a girl must be consulted about the guy she wants to get married to and she must NOT be forced to marrying a certain guy. However, in Saudi Arabia, men are still raping children; all this in the guise of the holy marriage ritual. (http://news.change.org/stories/saudi-girl-12-sold-in-marriage-to-80-year-old-relative ) This is a dilemma!!! What to do in this case??? I know this is uncommon in Lebanon and prohibited in Islam, but dear Mufti, what if such thing happened in Lebanon, who’s going to protect the poor girl if Lebanese laws don’t and the father doesn’t abide by Islamic Sharia??
The second issue is inheritance. We know for instance, inheritance rights in Islam are greatly misunderstood. Because in general men are responsible for the family financially (Islam OBLIGES men to financially take care of the expenses of every member of the family), women inherit half of what men inherit. It is crucial to point here that women sometimes inherit the same amount or even more than men. (http://islamicmisconceptions.blogspot.com/2008/08/inheritance.html )
Islam tends to protect weak members of the family. If for example, a family consists of five married men and one of these men died and has little kids, even if the connection (the father) between the heir (the children) and the predecessor (the grandfather) is broken down (deceased), Islamic Sharia gives them up to 1/3 of the inheritance whereas if the father was still alive, he would inherit 1/5. ( http://www.iicwc.org/lagna/iicwc/iicwc.php?id=529 ) I included this example to explain that the issue of inheritance is not a simple thing and it doesn’t ignore women’s and children’s rights. On the contrary, it takes into consideration the various cases of inheritance conditions and ensures fair distribution of property among members of the family.
According to the law specifically to article 13, the state parties shall take all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against women in other areas of economic and social life …to ensure equal rights between men and women in particular to (a) The right to family benefits. Islamic views towards inheritance might be at odds with this peculiar article as it might offer fair but not equal shares of inheritance.
Although article 16 of the law ensures equality in marriage and family relations, including equal rights with men to freely choose spouses and equal rights and responsibilities with men towards children, the law may not be applicable in a multi-confessional (and schizophrenic) society like Lebanon whereby each Lebanese citizen is subject to the laws imposed by his/her own religious background.
Examining paragraph 1, subparagraph (b) that states that “States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against women in all matters relating to marriage and family relations…” in particular granting “The same right freely to choose a spouse and to enter into marriage only with their free and full consent”, Muslims fear that the law would permit Muslim women to choose to marry non-Muslim men which’s forbidden in Islam. I’m not going to delve into this debate to avoid digressing from the main issue here. It’s important to note that the Lebanese state has made reservations to article 16 (paragraph 1, subparagraphs c, d, f, g), among other articles, that pertain to giving women the same responsibilities as men during marriage and its dissolution, the same rights and responsibilities as men in matters relating to their children, the same rights and responsibilities as men with regard to guardianship, wardship, trusteeship, and adoption of children, and the same personal rights including the right to choose a family name, a profession and an occupation. Although these subparagraphs don’t pose a “threat” to Islamic beliefs, they may conflict with the Middle Eastern traditions. Some Middle Eastern men and NOT NECESSARILY MUSLIM men fear that the patriarchy they once enjoyed could be threatened by the law.
Mufti Qabbani should bear in mind that Lebanon is a multi-confessional society…there are also secular Lebanese… This law is not directed to Muslims only…It’s not intended to banish Islamic societies (and for God’s sake when someone argue with me about this law, please give me another plea than this. This is way outdated.) With all the respect, rejecting the law is a mere act of rashness and bigotry…
Finally, I ask the Mufti and all the Islamic women organizations to reconsider the law with all of its articles. They’ve done wrong to Islam as they contributed to the already distorted image of Islam as a religion that suppresses women’s rights… I also ask his PR committee to consider the wording of the report and not to reject it as a whole but to have some reservations on it. (Consider the headlines of the various newspapers and you know what I’m talking about: http://www.assafir.com/Article.aspx?EditionId=1879&ChannelId=44278&ArticleId=2862&Author=سعدى علوه )
Note: I’m not an expert in laws or in Islamic jurisprudence.
(picture from LAU website: http://www.lau.edu.lb/news-events/news/archive/major_theater_production_bring/)
And she slammed the door open…said “You are dancing, pigs? Keep it on!” and vanished through the other door of the dark Irwin Hall Theater. The director Lina Abyad chose this time, with her presence in the performance, to be part of Kafka’s inner psyche. Like a psychoanalyst, she invited us to take a journey into Kafka’s mind and into his life that is loaded, at least with what we witnessed on stage, misery and harsh patriarchal dominance.
“A first sign of the beginning of understanding is the wish to Die.” Kafka’s Diaries. With that quote we could draw a bleak picture of what the performance would be, but with the creativity of Abyad, the performance included some hilarious moments but still in the framework of agony and inner pain. LAU’s spring major theater production, Kafka, His Father, the Boss, the Wolf, and the Pigs, was performed on May 8,9,13,14,15,16 at LAU Beirut’s Irwin Hall Theatre. The performance revolves around flashbacks from Kafka’s bitter childhood intermixed with readings of the letter that Kafka himself wrote when he was 36 years old and that was apparently never delivered. The letter was first translated into English from German and published in 1966 titled Letter to his Father. In 2008, a new English translation was published under the title Dearest Father. Abyad and Rachid Al Daif translated the texts to formal Arabic and the performance was in both Lebanese dialect and formal Arabic. The Lebanese dialect reduced from the potency of the play, but the use of formal Arabic when reading parts of the letters regained it.
Kafka’s miserable psychological composition found a compelling theatricality when his inner psyche was revealed on stage, but maybe Abyad’s vision was too internalized, too dependent on triggering associations in the contemplative minds of audience members. Maybe the mere act of exposing Kafka’s troubled relation with his father on stage was a catharsis that Abyad wanted to be involved in. Having many actors resembling the same persona –Kafka- who rush around during which another Kafka reads some lines of his letter, aids in creating a hallucinatory dimension. It’s not only a psychic pain, but also a sense of alienation. This is shown when the thoughts of Kafka seem literally alienated from, though multiplied in number, his body where it becomes under the subjugation and supervision of the father figure. In fact, the notion of patriarchy resembled in the play goes in line with the Arab societies where the father figure sits on the top of the pyramid and controls the family members. The play’s powerful effect originates from the affirmation of patriarchal authority which motivates its plot.
Previous plays directed by Abyad like her last year’s “The House of Benarda Alba” written by Lorca tackle the same theme of parental oppression of their children and depicts the conflict between the parent and the child. With the new play, the oppressor is not the mother but the father under the same theme of traditions’ constraints. The previous play forms a trilogy expressing what Lorca saw as the tragic life of Spanish women. It is also a play expressing the costs of repressing the freedom of others. In this play, one’s individualism is threatened and the longing for freedom is seen through the symbolic meanings given by the acts of Kafka’s climbing the ladder and his conversation with the bird. The play could be also understood from political perspective where the father figure designating the Arab regimes is to be obeyed and not questioned.