Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Woman raped by father-in-law; ordered to marry him.

While writing the title to this post, I actually stopped and erased it because I thought it sounded way too much like some supermarket tabloid crapola. I wish it were just as bogus, but it's not. It is absolute fact that a woman is being ordered to marry the man who raped her:

::::::::BOMBAY -- Hard-line Islamic clerics in a northern Indian village have declared that a woman's 10-year-old marriage was nullified when her father-in-law raped her -- and ordered the mother of five to marry the rapist.

The fatwa, or religious edict, was issued by Darool Uloom Deoband, South Asia's most powerful Islamic theological school known for promoting a radical brand of Islam that is said to have inspired the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Oh, it gets better. The woman has also been ordered to treat her now-former husband as her son because she has now "had sex with" his father. I'll pause for a moment while you wipe your computer screen off.

The summary of the story is this: the husband, Mr. Noor Ilahi, was away on business when his father decided it would be OK to rape his own daughter-in-law. When Mr. Ilahi returned and found out about the rape, the village ordered him to divorce his wife. Want the money quote about the correctness of the decision? You'll love it:

::::::::"She had a physical relationship with her father-in-law, and it nullifies her marriage," said Mohammad Masood Madani, a cleric at the theological school. He said it made no difference whether the sex was consensual or forced. The village council then decreed that Mrs. Ilahi would have to marry her father-in-law.

Feminists and liberal Muslims reacted with fury, staging nationwide street protests.

But Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mulayam Singh on June 29 supported the fatwa, saying: "The decision of the Muslim religious leaders in the Imrana case must have been taken after a lot of thought. ... The religious leaders are all very learned and they understand the Muslim community and its sentiments."

Yeah, it sounds like the decision was "taken after a lot of thought." Actually, I thought it must've been taken after a lot of beer. To his credit, the husband told his wife that he believed his father to be the unclean party in all this and said his devotion to her remained true. Sneaking out of their village in the middle of the night, he took his family to the village of his wife's family - whereupon the All India Muslim Personal Law Board weighed in endorsing the decision made by the husband's village elders. The insanity of this situation got even deeper with their statement on the matter.

::::::::"The fact that the woman was 'used' by her husband's blood relative makes her [unclean] for her husband and there is no way she can be allowed to live with him," the law board said::::::::

"Used." I like that. Shows a real value placed on the woman as a member of their society. How about these geniuses explain something to all of us? If the act of "being used" by a blood relative makes her "unclean" for the husband to live with, would not the 10 years of marriage that produced 5 children have exactly the same effect with regard to the father-in-law? "Unclean" for the husband, who has done nothing wrong by the metrics of any legal system, but A-OK for the father-in-law who was the guilty son-ofa-bitch that started this whole tragic tale to begin with?

The "Women's" variant of the AIMPLB has denounced the decision even as their more man-oriented counterpart endorsed it. The Indian Police have arrested the father-in-law and charged him with rape, but the fact that the Islamic agencies took 2 weeks telling this woman that she had to marry her rapist will make proving the charge difficult, at best. And we all know which of the two, the father-in-law or the woman, will be given the benefit of the doubt in any court of law that uses Sharia law as a basis.