Bahraini Women's Rights Activist Ghada Jamshir Attacks Islamic Clerics for Fatwas Authorizing Sexual Abuse of Children
Following are excerpts from an interview with Bahraini women's rights activist Ghada Jamshir , which aired on Al-Arabiya TV on December 21, 2005. READ MORETo view the video, click here.
Interviewer: What do you have against the Shari'a courts?
Ghada Jamshir: I have a lot against them. What they have done to the Bahraini women is not a trivial matter. For years women have been going into these courts, only to be oppressed and treated unjustly. We have reached the point that we say: enough. We have reached the breaking point.
We have a problem with family planning. We have no family planning in Bahrain. The Shiites in Bahrain have marriages for the purpose of mut'ah (pleasure). They bring multitudes of children into the world, without thinking, who grow up in the streets.
It's accepted for a man to marry a Filipino woman, a Bahraini woman, and a third woman from Iran, and then he takes two or three women in mut'ah marriage... How many children will he have?!
Interviewer: On September 12 you declared that you call upon or advise the persecuted women of the Gulf, and especially the Bahraini women, to request "social asylum" in France...
Ghada Jamshir: Not in France, in Spain.
Interviewer: Pardon me, in Spain.
Interviewer: You want opposition from abroad?
Ghada Jamshir: The point is not to have opposition from abroad. The point is for them to live and be protected in a safe country. If a woman cannot get any protection in her country, cannot get any protection from the courts, cannot get any protection in the marital home - where will she go? Where will she go?
Interviewer: Some people say that Ghada Jamshir is a Sunni, and that this is why she is leading the battle against (mut'ah) marriages, which are authorized by religious law among the Shiites.
Ghada Jamshir: Authorized by religious law?!
Interviewer: Among the Shiites, yes.
Ghada Jamshir: Does the Islamic Shari'a authorize mut'ah marriages? Does the Islamic Shari'a authorize mut'ah according to the following classification: "Pleasure from sexual contact with her thighs." They have: "Pleasure from sexual touching." "pleasure from sexual contact with her breasts." "Pleasure from a little girl." Do you know what "pleasure from a little girl" means? It means that they derive sexual pleasure from a girl aged two, three, or four.
Interviewer: Let's not go into details...
Ghada Jamshir: Let me tell you what "Pleasure from sexual contact with her thighs" means...
Interviewer: Don't give me the details...
Ghada Jamshir: This is a violation of children's rights! This constitutes sexual assault of the girl. What does "pleasure from sexual contact with her thighs" mean? It means deriving sexual pleasure from an infant. How old is an infant? One year, a year and a half, a few months?
Is it conceivable for a grown man to have sex with an infant girl? And you people tell me that the Islamic Sharia authorizes this? Forget about the mut'ah. Let's talk about misyar. What do misyar marriages mean? You said that I'm a Sunni and that's why I'm attacking the Shiites. No!
Interviewer: Some people claim that.
Ghada Jamshir: No, no. What does the misyar marriage mean? A man marries a woman from another town, and goes to her once a month. He "visits" her. He calls her his "wife."
Interviewer: Not necessarily once a month. He might go there every day.
Ghada Jamshir: Brother Turki, this kind of marriage, this kind of behavior, diminishes the woman's honor as a human being.
All her life, the woman is a prisoner in her own home. In the past, she would not go out to work, or to study abroad. Very few women would go to university outside Bahrain. She is at home in order to cook, sweep, and raise the children. How will she get an education? There are women whose families are extremist. They even force them to marry against their will.
You tell me, why is female circumcision still practiced in the Arab world? Why? Because there is no education, no awareness. A few days ago, a four-year-old girl called An'am died in Sudan.
Ghada Jamshir: Because she was circumcised. Four years old, and she died of blood poisoning.
I am convinced that I was 100% right in everything I have done.
Interviewer: You have been accused of heresy by some places... some Internet forums.
Ghada Jamshir: So what? Even in mosques they accuse me of heresy. So what? You think that if they accuse me of heresy, it affects me?
Interviewer: You don't care?
Ghada Jamshir: No. Allah will decide whether I go to paradise or to hell, not them.
Interviewer: Don't you think that those who accuse you of heresy...
Ghada Jamshir: These are the methods of the weak.
Interviewer: They say they are right, and you say you are right.
Ghada Jamshir: Who gave them the right to accuse me of heresy?
Interviewer: Who gave you the right...
Ghada Jamshir: What, did they go into my heart...
Interviewer: They say...
Ghada Jamshir: Did they see whether I pray or not? Or maybe it's because I don't wear a veil.
Interviewer: So you don't care. It doesn't affect you?
Ghada Jamshir: It doesn't bother me at all.