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Pre-2008 Posts

Radical Muslim Women Seize Brothel Owner

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The above female seminary students have just released a woman brothel owner whom they  kidnapped on Wednesday and locked up in their school in the Pakistani capital.  She was freed when she publicly repented of running the brothel.

Authorities have arrested at least two of the seminary’s teachers in connection with the abduction of the woman and three of her relatives, including a six-month old baby.  The students said they were authorized by their religion to take action against the brothel owner because prostitution is “evil.”  Leaders of the mosque, located in the embassy district (where there is lots of business for brothels), say everyone knew the kidnapped woman was running a brothel but police did not act because the brothel owner was connected with powerful people.

The Lal Masjid mosque in Islamabad and associated seminaries which the kidnappers attend are reputed to preach an austere interpretation of Islam, and are known for their links to an outlawed group, Sipah-e-Sahaba, accused in sectarian attacks on Shia Muslims.  Mosque students recently also occupied Islamabad’s only children’s library in protest over plans to demolish the mosque for encroachment on government land, and according to Allah Pundit, it worked, and in response, the government promised to rebuild a mosque it had already destroyed.

Allah Pundit continues: 

This isn’t some nomadic tribal area out in the sticks. This is where the Pakistani seat of government resides; Lal Masjid is less than a mile away from the embassy district, according to a Guardian profile of Ghazi published eight days ago. Read it. He admits to having met Osama and practically swoons while watching jihadi snuff videos from Iraq of Juba the sniper. …

Musharraf is in a tough spot right now of his own making after he tried to remove the country’s chief justice before the upcoming presidential elections (which he’s trying to sidestep to retain power). The judiciary is in revolt and popular support is at ebb tide so he can’t crack down on the Islamists the way he might like for fear of stirring things up further. Make a mental note, though, of this cleric and this mosque because they’ve gotten bold lately and are apt to get bolder. I’m sure we’ll be hearing from them again. I just wonder which context it’ll be in.

I’ve been thinking to blog about radical fundamentalist women, like these, and like the Indonesian women protesting pornography in the photos I posted yesterday.  It is tempting, and easy, for outsiders to dismiss these women as pawns and dupes of patriarchal religion, but I’ve been a radical religious woman and I know better.  I am betting that some or most of these women oppose prostitution not only because their religion forbids it as evil, but because they, themselves, oppose it, as harmful to women and destructive to humanity.

I wish women all over the world would take action against brothels, maybe not exactly in the way these women have, not for religious reasons, but in visible, fierce ways, for feminist reasons. Reading about this incident, it is clear that most writers, even if they were racists and haters, respected these women, probably because they had religious reasons for resisting prostitution.  I can only imagine what the response would be had it been feminists who kidnapped the brothel owner.

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Heart

Discussion

6 thoughts on “Radical Muslim Women Seize Brothel Owner

  1. It’s unclear the level of violence used, or not used, in this undertaking.

    A woman from Canada spoke at the Wheelock conference about how she was a prostituted woman and now her gay son is prostituting. What she said, in a drained but determined voice, was that she didn’t think we would be able to change the current situation without using violence. Gail kindly explained that violence could not be a solution to the problems of violence no matter how desperate the situation.

    Afterwards the woman and I spoke and shared our favorite nonviolent property damage resistance techniques. Vigilante activism may not be the best solution to the enormous problem of men treating women as things but for that woman, for me, and for the women in our immediate surrounding it became clear these small acts of resistance were as much done to bolster our own morale as to send messages that not everyone is turning a blind eye to men’s predations.

    There are many days I feel spiritually closer to the Roman Catholic nuns who attacked a fighter jet with hammers than with other secular feminists my age who wear cute “If I had a hammer I’d smash patriarchy” shirts.

    Posted by Sam | March 29, 2007, 9:42 pm
  2. Sam, the stories I read say that dozens of women stormed the brothel, demanded it be closed down, then wouldn’t let the brothel owner and her kids leave until she said she would close the brothel down. It didn’t mention that the women were armed or anything like that so it sounds like the owner was just outnumbered.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | March 29, 2007, 9:52 pm
  3. What hurts me so much about the way that women, my own sister even, my own mother, refuse to stand in solidarity and in defense of ourselves against men is that they know what a tragic, global shame it is that these things happen, subconsciously if nothing else.

    When you talk to men about these things, you know going into it that he will most likely identify with the john, the pimp, the poilice officer, and even the legislator who condemns prostitution before they will ever deign to empathize with the prostituted woman. When you tell them about women sold by their families, kidnapped from their homes, or starved into prostitution, they’ll minimize the frequency of such slavery, they’ll deny that this may have been the case in the very brothel they themselves used, that at the very least the woman they paid money to use was certainly there of her own free will.

    But there is genuine empathy, a heartbrokenness in women’s eyes when you tell them these things; I can see it, and that makes it all the more difficult for me when they call the prostituted woman a whore, when they refuse to take hands with her for her her sake, all of our sakes, leaving us at the mercy of men.

    Posted by justicewalks | March 29, 2007, 10:38 pm
  4. Sorry about the pronoun issues in there; it’s painful for even me to read back over.

    Posted by justicewalks | March 29, 2007, 10:40 pm
  5. Yeah, justicewalks, so true. There’s quite a reaction on the pro-porn internet to Britta’s post about the conference, and I think it’s partly for the reason you say– that what really happens to women in these situations, when you hear it, see it, firsthand, it touches you, it hurts you. There’s all of this interest in making sure the real stories of women do not get a hearing and I know a lot of that is, women will be heartbroken by those stories and some will be moved and will act on behalf of these women.

    Heart

    Posted by womensspace | March 29, 2007, 11:16 pm
  6. China Angered by U.S. Lobbying on Rights
    http://wezo9.com

    Posted by abseseAbath | August 3, 2008, 6:36 pm

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