“If such a crime occurs and if there are no witnesses, then both men and women are supposed to keep it under wraps and not discuss it in public.” These are the words of one Munawar Hasan, Ameer of the Jamat-i-Islami Pakistan, regarding rape.
In a recent interview on a popular Pakistani TV channel, he expressed his view that the country’s current rape laws should not be changed. The gist of his remarks was that the Hudood Ordinance is divine law, and that changing it in any way would be tantamount to blasphemy.
The purpose of this piece is not to discuss the terrible human rights violations perpetrated under the auspices of this infamous ordinance. Rather, it is to recognize how deeply such opinions penetrate Muslim society today.
The Jamat-i-Islami’s members are active in Norway. They attend conferences there; give lectures, and actively impart their opinions, as proudly touted on their own website. It is one of Pakistan’s oldest political parties. Though it has failed to attain popular backing in Pakistani elections recently, its loyalists still hold key ministries in the government.
Needless to say, the opinions of the party’s Ameer echo throughout its support network. Yet when the opinions are as disturbing as this, they must be viewed with scrutiny and caution …
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