My Response to Inaccuracies About Islam in ‘The Hindu’ Article

Articles, International

This is my response to an article on The Hindu which has several inaccuracies about Islam.”Dear Editor of The Hindu,
In the Name of Allah the Most Beneficient the Most Merciful,As a Muslim convert featured in your article, I would like to request an explanation for several statements which appeared alongside my photo;In your editorial, on UK converts to Islam, you claimed that ; ‘Most converts were particularly critical of the concept of Sharia Council or courts operating in Britain, seeing them as a threat to women’s rights.’

In response, I refer you to the following substantive report issued in 2011 by Faith Matters. The first section of the Faith Matters report clearly states; ‘The majority of converts feel that there is no natural conflict between being a devour Muslim and living in the UK’. Also, ‘The vast majority of women changed their appearance after conversion with a significant majority adopting the hijab (either straight away or after some time)’. These findings are at odds with your spurious claim that ‘we’, as converts to Islam, fear our new faith and reject Sharia-based concepts. I have never met a convert to Islam to state such a thing and would request the basis on which you make such a statement.

At the start of your article you also make this claim ;..‘the fact is that Muslim women are more vulnerable to misogyny and cultural prejudices of their menfolk than women of any other faith. The more “Islamic” a society, the fewer individual freedoms its women enjoy’.The Quran remains the only scripture to categorically and comprehensively assert a wide ranging and comprehensive series of protections for women in relation to property, inheritance, marriage and divorce.In the area of economic rights, we have to remember that in Europe until the 19th century, women did not have the right to own their own property. When they were married, either it would transfer to the husband or she would not be able to dispense of it without permission of her husband. More than 1300 years earlier, that right was clearly established in Islamic law.
 
“Whatever men earn, they have a share of that and whatever women earn, they have a share in that.” [Noble Quran 4:32]Please note the word ‘earn’ here clearly denoting a woman’s right to employment.

By definition, in a truly Islamic society, there must be women physicians, women nurses, women teachers, because it’s preferable also to separate teenagers in the volatile years in high school education. And if she chooses to work, or if she’s married with the consent of her husband, she’s entitled to equal pay, not for equal work, but for work of equal worth.At the time of marriage, it is the duty of the husband, not the bride’s family, to pay for a marital gift. The Quran called it a gift, and it is exclusively the right of the woman. If the woman happened to own any property prior to marriage, she retains that property after marriage. It remains under her control.As far as treatment of daughters is concerned, Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Anyone who has two daughters, and did not bury them, did not insult them and brought them up properly, he and I will be like this,” holding his two fingers close together. Another version adds, “And also did not favor his sons over daughters.” For many more Quranic examples of women’s rights please follow the relevant link below from Islamswomen.com.

It is necessary, as you have chosen to falsely assert that Muslim women suffer more misogyny ‘than women of any other faith’ to point out a series of online reports into Hinduism.

Lipika Sharma states in her academic piece; ‘Since time immemorial the framing of all laws (Hinduism) have been exclusively for the benefit of man, and woman has been treated as subservient. the Hindo Succession Act of 1956 is one of the living examples of the fact that laws are Patriarchal in nature.’

Whilst, the following research article of 2012 which appeared in the New England Journal of International and Comparative Law found;

‘The status of women in India is both poignant and paradoxical. There exists a wide chasm between the de facto and de jure position of women. From cradle to grave, the violence, abuse, and exploitation that girls and women encounter, both in the private and public realms, remain unparalleled and largely unaddressed. The reasons are multifaceted. The age old feudalistic and patriarchal underpinnings of the Indian societal, communal, and familial life have been the primordial causes for this subordinate and secondary status, as women within this framework are viewed as property of men’. 

In an especially disturbing article a young, female, Indian writer goes into detail about traditional Brahmic and Hindu teachings about such horrors as ‘wife burning’ ‘bride burning’ and the slaughter of baby girls.

‘BRIDE-BURNING 

…The extent of bride-burning is astonishing. ” Government figures show that at least 7300 women were killed by their in-laws in the first nine months of 1995 for bringing inadequate dowries.” [ 2 Men ] This custom of dowry has divine sanction, since the Ramayana explicitly mentions that Sita brought a huge dowry for Rama. Worse still is the custom of consuming the flesh of the burnt brides according to the Vedic `purushamedha’. After the helpless brides are burnt alive, their bodies are cooked as if they were some animal and their flesh consumed by the pious Hindu family of the bridegroom. In addition to destroying evidence of any crime, the pious Hindus also `gain merit’ by performing the `holy’ Vedic purushamedha (human sacrifice). This custom, more than any other, reveals the beastly nature of the Hindu male’.

Now I wish to state very clearly that the articles I relate to here are merely part of a 20 minute online search. They should therefore in no way clearly be seen as a comprehensive summary of the role – or status- enjoined by Hindu teachings relating to women. I put them here merely to show how simple it is provide unknowing readers a limited – or even misleading – view of a faith.

Thus, Hasan Suroor’s assertion that Islam does not provide women with either protection or rights when compared with other faiths, can only be viewed two ways; either as poor research or as a deliberate attempt to present a false and negative image of Islam to your readers. I would like my photo removed from the said article. In the interests of good journalism I suggest you either remove or rewrite the incorrect sections.

If you need help in your research into Islam, I will be happy to put you in touch with several renowned scholars to assist in this matter.

I ask Allah to forgive any errors I have made in this and all matters and All Praise is for Him alone.

Yours Sincerely,

Lauren Booth
Journalist and Broadcaster