Thursday, February 19, 2009

Islam and Domestic Violence

Muzzammil Hassan, the founder of Bridges TV, an English-speaking Islamic television station aimed at countering negative portrayals of Muslims, turned himself in for beheading his wife, Aasiya Hassan, in Orchard Park, NY on Monday. Ms. Hassan had filed for divorce earlier this month, and there was a history of domestic violence within the relationship.

In response to this gruesome tragedy, Hussein Rashid writes to dispel rumors that domestic violence is inherent within Islam:
I believed that [the crime] would be described as an expression of innate Muslim values, as though only Muslims are capable of such a crime. Although there is no monopoly on violence, there is a discourse that projects violence as being only a Muslim trait. A typical Orientalist fantasy that holds that the “Other” is inherently violent no matter what the reality may be. Thankfully, aside from some of the fringe sites, the media has been responsible in reporting this as a case of domestic violence.

Horrible things are done to women every day, every minute, everywhere, by all kinds of people. It’s not as though we are not aware of it violence against women in the Muslim community. We are and we are trying to do something about it. But a moment like this shows how immediate the need is. The reality is that every community suffers from forms of domestic violence. It’s not about religion; it’s about power and control. (emphasis mine)

While this tragedy sickens me to my core, it is important to remember Rashid's point.

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