The Women’s Protection Act, passed by Pakistan’s largest province of Punjab last week, would seem the type of law that no civilized person could contest. It offers legal protection to women from sexual abuse and violence while calling for the creation of a toll-free abuse reporting hot line and the establishment of women’s shelters. However, the Council of Islamic Ideology, a powerful Pakistani religious body that advises the government on the compatibility of laws with Islam, has now declared that criminalizing violence against women is “un-Islamic.”
Various Islamic clerics and religious leaders previously denounced the law as conflicting with the teachings of Islam and the Koran.
Fazlur Rehman, the chief of one of Pakistan’s largest religious parties, the Jamiat-i-Ulema Islam, explained that “this law makes a man insecure. This law is an attempt to make Pakistan a Western colony again.” Wow, we certainly would not want to make spousal abusers “insecure.”
We recently discussed how Islamic clerics declared prohibitions on child marriage to be unIslamic.
Woman and girls must continue to live under religious-based, sexist systems in countries like Pakistan that not only deny opportunities of education and professional development but threaten their very lives. It is also an example of the perils of the loss of separation between mosque and state in Muslim countries.