Afghan Parliament: It’s Against Sharia Law to Outlaw Beating Women

Did you know that it’s OK to beat the hell out of people, as long as it’s not against your religion? Oh you did? Then you might be a member of the Afghan parliament.

Late last week, the Afghan parliament failed to really even discuss the Elimination of Violence Against Women (EVAW) law because – get this – it’s against Sharia law.

“This law is just a government project, it is against Sharia… we need to discuss more about this and remove articles that are against Islam,” Abdul Sattar Khawasi, a conservative MP from Parwan province, said.

Also, evidently child marriages shouldn’t be illegal. Hmmm… that sounds about right. Fundies in every religion like to put men’s ability to control women over women’s right to, you know, live and stuff.

The EVAW law is in effect in Afghanistan, and has been since 2009 by presidential decree. But it’s important that it be passed by parliament so the next president doesn’t overturn it. However, women’s rights organizations fear that the parliament will water down the law and cause Afghan women to suffer.

Not that the last couple of years have been all sunshine and roses for Afghan women. Over the last year and a half, 50% more women have been arrested for “moral crimes,” up from 400 in October 2011 to 600 in May 2013 according to Human Rights Watch. Women who are victims of domestic violence or forced marriages are often treated as criminals.

Under Afghan law, running away is not a crime. However, the Afghan Supreme Court has told judges to regard as criminals women who flee their homes, the rights group said in a statement issued Tuesday.

“Four years after the adoption of a law on violence against women and 12 years after Taliban rule, women are still imprisoned for being victims of forced marriage, domestic violence and rape,” said Brad Adams, Human Rights Watch’s Asia director. “The Afghan government needs to get tough on abusers of women and stop blaming women who are crime victims.”

It looks like the parliament, at least, is not heading that advice. Blerg.

Moreover, girls and women who are forced by circumstance to run away are subject to forced virginity tests. According to Human Rights Watch:

Women and girls accused of “moral crimes” are routinely subjected to “virginity tests” that courts rely on for the purpose of determining virginity and whether a woman or girl engaged in recent sexual intercourse. These exams can be ordered by any police official, and some women are subjected to multiple vaginal exams without informed consent for no justifiable reason. Use of such examinations is not limited to rape cases, and examinations do not focus on documenting medical injuries or collecting physical evidence to support an allegation of sexual assault. Although medical examinations can be a legitimate form of investigation in cases of alleged sexual assault, gynecological exams that purport to determine “virginity” have no medical accuracy. Use of such tests constitutes cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment under international law.

So basically sexual assault. Great.

The situation is certainly not encouraging. However, there are indications that Afghan president Hamid Karzai is putting pressure on members of parliament behind the scenes. Maybe, with the international community watching, the parliament will do the right thing.


Image credit: Flickr


Ernest R.
Ernest R.about a year ago

@ Harley W."I have a BA in history and I love to study history". Then you should know that while criminal human rights violations are everywhere, they are codified in Abrahamic religions, and the Muslims that believe they have a right to beat their wives and murder their daughters are the observant Muslims. Christians and Jews commit many crimes but they have left in the past such religious practices as crucifixion, stoning, public beheadings and floggings, and murder of disobedient daughters and escaping wives as a community duty. In Alabama a judge says that our laws came from God. So our legislative body is God ? Some prefer to think they are.

Harley Williams
Harley W.2 years ago

Not all Muslims believe in abuse of women. Not all men no matter their religion are right in the head about how all of us are human beings and are each of us to be treated with respect and charity. We all need to oppose the abuse of any person in this world.

Susan T.
Susan T.2 years ago

this is a never ending battle. These people are not going to change but they are slowly changing my country to accept his BS and be like theirs.

I am not accepting their religion, beliefs, abuse of women, girls .... who is going to stand with me on this?

Elizabeth Koenig
Elizabeth Koenig3 years ago

Afghan Parliament: It’s Against Sharia Law to Outlaw Beating Women

It's against Sharia law to protect little girls from child "marriage", as well.

An estimate 75% of women in prison in Afghanistan are in for crimes of "Zina"--"unlawful sexual activity", which can just involve running away from an abusive or forced marriage,

And things are likely to become even even worse as the US and coalition pulls out and the Taliban begins to reassert its control.

I'm terribly worried about the women and girls of Afghanistan.

Robyn Brice
Robyn Brice3 years ago

Thanks Ali, petition signed.

Harley Williams
Harley W.3 years ago

I have a BA in history and I love to study history. The idea that Religion is the cause of these problems and removing it will solve problems ignores both Histories and human nature. Atheist regimes and governments have a terrible human rights track record. Also not all people who are religious actually believe what their religion teaches. JESUS said that those who truly follow Him will be known by their love for others. If they do not show love they are not Christians.
Manmade religions do put women down. Also human traditions down through history both Greek and Roman have treated women badly.
So if Atheists take over there is no reason to believe that stupid men will become smart and recognize that all human beings are equal. What the problem is that people desire power over others and many people do not care for what reason they can build themselves up at the expense of others. It took the U.S. a while to recognize that when Jefferson wrote : “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” That Men included all humans including women.

Robyn Brice
Robyn Brice3 years ago

Thanks Ali A.for sending me those links.
The reason I am an Atheist is simply because of all the violence that various religions are causing. I am not pointing my finger at any one religion, as far as I am concerned, they are all equally as guilty. To me belief and faith is a very personal thing and if someone does believe in God(s) that is fine, but I chose not too. On a television show I was watching, there was a contest for ad companies to sell the unsellable. What they had to sell was was atheism. One ad showed children with their faces painted in different colours according to their religion, they were all racing at at each, their faces twisted in fury, then they all stopped to play a game of cricket on a beach. The voiceover was describing the terrible toll that religion had taken on humanity over the centuries. The finals as the children laughed and played was these:
Let's lose religion...and find each other.

Andy Walker
Past Member 3 years ago

Beggars belief.

Robyn Brice
Robyn Brice3 years ago

This is why I am an atheist. Religion is always used as a tool especially against women. Disgusting.

Mulatwa M.
Mulatwa M.3 years ago