Friday, March 16, 2012

Adultery, Prostitution, Rape, and Islam

This post is a consolidation and recapitulation of a couple of comments made across a couple of posts from the week or so, on the subject of rape in the islamic world.

Last week, Clayton Cramer posted a piece about the Beslan terrorist attack, in which he noted that the personal testimonies of the victims that some of the hostages were raped, seemed to have been scrubbed from official records, and regional reportage of the incident; and that Wikipedia had a pretty transparent apologia over the incident (go read the linked piece for the full context, I'd have to excerpt the whole thing to make sense here) quoted here:
The lack of food and water took its toll on the young children, many of whom were forced to stand for long periods in the hot, tightly-packed gym. Many children took off their clothing because of the sweltering heat within the gymnasium, which led to rumors of sexual impropriety, though the hostages later explained it was merely due to the stifling heat and being denied any water.
In his last paragraph he wrote:
The two sources that this paragraph gives for this claim says nothing that indicates that the claims of rape were incorrect. I find myself troubled by how many books and articles refer to this claim, which seems unfortunately quite plausible--and yet I can't find any immediate newspaper accounts that refer to it. Can you help me?
As someone who is familiar with the region, I responded:
You almost certainly won't; and you can guarantee any Chechnyans will edit out any mention of it in wikipedia.

Cultural rape shame in the region is EXTREME (both islamic, and christian), and it will almost certainly never be acknowledged in local sources, or by Ossetians.
This is a cultural pathology very familiar to those who know islamic culture, and balkan and transcaucasian culture; but is really not well understood here in the United States (not that rape shame isn't a huge problem here as well, it's simply an entirely different order of magnitude).

Apparently my comment (and those of the other commenters) triggered some further interest on Claytons part about rape in the muslim world; particularly in the context of Surah 23:1-11
The believers must (eventually) win through,-
Those who humble themselves in their prayers;
Who avoid vain talk;
Who are active in deeds of charity;
Who abstain from sex,
Except with those joined to them in the marriage bond, or (the captives) whom their right hands possess,- for (in their case) they are free from blame,
But those whose desires exceed those limits are transgressors;-
Those who faithfully observe their trusts and their covenants;
And who (strictly) guard their prayers;-
These will be the heirs,
Who will inherit Paradise: they will dwell therein (for ever).
This passage is taken by many muslims, as a commandment to be chaste except in marriage OR with slaves and captives. It has been used as justification by muslims to rape slaves, prisoners, hostages etc...

A few days later, Clayton posted a further missive on Sharia law and Rape:
I spent some time this evening researching the claim that sharia law requires four male, Islamic, adult eyewitnesses to get a rape conviction. This turns out to be true, but slightly misleading, or at least, incomplete. Sharia law, with its very severe punishments, does apparently require four male, Islamic adult eyewitnesses for the crime of zina (which includes rape, adultery, and premarital sex, and does not distinguish them clearly). In some countries, eight adult females can provide the testimony, or some combination of men and women.

It turns out that the standard, which may have been intended primarily to prevent a person accused of adultery from being executed without extraordinary evidence, is so demanding that a non-sharia based-law is used to punish rape, with much less severe punishments, in many Muslim countries. The reported rape rates in Muslim countries are so astonishingly low that I am inclined to think that these crimes are just not being reported.
I felt I needed to expand greatly on my previous comment about rape and shame in the islamic world:
Unfortunately, yes.

Actual rape is shockingly common in the islamic world, particularly in Africa and the Arabic portions; particularly among the lower economic classes, and among what are effectively lower caste populations of indians, pakistanis, afghanis, indonesians, africans, and other darker skinned or mixed race muslims; who are imported into the arabic and other lighter skinned muslim countries as cheap labor (because many of them speak arabic, and have no resources or education to help them protect themselves).

These people are effectively made into indentured servants, or even slaves; and their masters take the "masters privilege".

Rich arabs, particularly "royalty" (though the arabic definition of royalty is... expansive. There are thousands of Saudi princes for example) tend to view the lower class staff as fair game, or even as their due, or just reward.

Often rape is used as a means of control, or shaming, of either a woman or her family (which may "force" the family to kill the woman to "restore their honor"). It can even be used to gain business advantage.

Also, gang rape, by roving bands of young men, is sadly not uncommon. Usually, they excuse their behavior as "punishing the wicked temptress" for "tempting" them with their wicked bodies, uncovered ankles and wrists etc...

You will find, if you look closer into it, that most muslim women who are punished for "adultery", are in fact rape victims.

Sadder still, the rape gangs have moved into europe with large scale lower class muslim immigration; particularly in Germany, Sweden, and France. The city of Malmo in sweden has essentially been declared a no-go zone for white women. They have even seen some rape gang activity in Canada and the UK.

I can't even get into Africa without getting angrier than hell... In the sudan, tanzania, djibouti, eritrea, somalia, ethiopia, the congo, sexual violence is so commonplace as to be beneath notice. Again, you'll find that most women in Muslim africa punished for "adultery" or "prostitution" are in fact rape victims.

The final major factor is the cultural rape shame. It's so severe in the islamic world that there is a near 80% death rate from it; either by suicide, murder, stoning and other "punishment", and honor killings.
Frankly, I haven't even begun to touch on this subject. I personally could write a short book on it, never mind a real expert on this subject. I know there are several books on the subject of sexual violence in Islam, and sexual violence in africa; generally first person accounts by refugees, or serious scholarly/governmental report type things. I don't know of any books that seek to be serious reportage, commentary, and analysis on the subject.

For some reason, Americans in general know very little about this.

The false statistics of sexual abuse in the United States (and believe me, if you've seen a statistic on sexual violence in the American media, it's almost certainly false. This topic is so politicized as to be completely unreliable at this point) are ridiculously well publicized; but the actual genocidal horror (and yes, it is very much a part of the African and eastern European genocides, and for genocidal reasons) of sexual violence in Islam and particularly in Africa is basically unknown.

That idea simply dumbfounds me, never mind making me angry.