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Hijrah, Immigration: the Historical-Religious Setting

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Islam is a missionary political religion, an ever expending faith that has no borders and no political limits. It is intended to be the universal hegemonic religion for all mankind, by force of Jihad; by propagation of Da’wah; and by mass immigration, and by demography of high birthrate.

The issue of Hijrah in the Islamic Sharī‘ah is clear: it is forbidden for Muslims to leave Islamic lands and to reside in non-Islamic territories. This is according to the Hadīth:

Narrated Ibn ‘Abbas: Allah’s Apostle said, “There is no Hijrah [from Mecca to Medina] after the Conquest [of Mecca], but Jihad and good intention remain.

That means, according to Islamic exegesis, Muslims cannot leave Islamic territory and cannot live in non-Islamic states and under non-Islamic rule. As long as there is an Islamic owned territory where Islamic law is the dominant, Muslims must live in it and must not leave it. This is according to the Islamic verse (Sûrat al-Nisā’, 4:97): “… angels will say: was not Allah’s earth large enough for you to migrate…?”

Islamic exegetes translate these verses that Muhammad had forbid Muslims to live under non-Islamic rule. Muslims must leave territories in which the Islamic law is not the supreme and Islam is not ruling there, and migrate to Islamic territory as soon as possible. This commandment was never abolished, and he who violates it is considered being Murtad, who deserves a death penalty.

All Islamic Schools of Jurisprudence (Madhāhib) agree to this and in fact could not give other legal ruling, since it is anchored in the Qur’an.

Ibn Kathir, one of the most distinguished and highly influential Qur’an exegete, explains: “One who remains with polytheists at a place and lives with them, he is like them.” Hijrah is not the only guarantee to Islamic honor, liberty, and peace, but it is a guarantee the Muslims will not assimilate among the infidels.

For Zamachshari, when a person has no capability to establish his Dīn, Hijrah, moving back to the Islamic state, becomes an obligatory duty. This is also the attitude al-Tabari, who does not use the word Mamnû’ (forbidden), but Harām (religious taboo) as to clearly indicate what is the punishment of living in a non-Islamic state. Ibn Rushd insisted that Muslims are not allowed to live under non-Islamic rule, not only because the Sharī‘ah does function there (the main of the Hanafī School); and not only the Sharī‘ah must always be the supreme law (the main of the Shāfi‘ī School); but because it is impossible that an infidel rules over a Muslim. A Muslim that freely immigrates to non-Islamic territory and allows a Kāfir to rule over him is in fact Murtad, and his penalty is death

al-Mawardi, though he agrees with other exegetes, also adds to the issue as follows: a Muslim can live in Dār al-Kufr only in two cases. One, he had kept up struggle for the dominance of Islam to convert the un-Islamic system into an Islamic one. Second, having no chance of leaving the land he lives in a dislike and disrespect situation. The reason is that Islam is destined to rule and conquer and not to be ruled and be conquered by others.

Abu al-A‘la al-Mawdudi has the same opinion: a Muslim can live in Dār al-Kufr only if he makes all efforts for the predominance of Islam in that land (Iqāmat al-Dīn), or he lives under compulsion of tyranny and corruption. In all other cases he must live only in Dār al-Islām. Hijrah is complementary to Jihad and helps to establish the “rule of Allah,” the Sharī‘ah, only through the Khilāfah system.

Historically, the Hijrah was in fact the flight of Muhammad from Mecca to Medina, as the Meccans made their decision to execute Muhammad and his Sahābah. However, Islamic religious eschatology declares that the Hijrah It was a blessing act deliberately scheduled, decided, and executed by Allah for spreading his religion by means of expansion and occupation (Futûhāt) of the infidels’ territories. It was the command of Allah, promising the Muslims’ victory, a date that marked an essential stage for the establishment of the Islamic Ummah (Sûrat al-Nûr, 24:55). The Hijrah has become a cosmological transformation, an important factor in the process of consolidation and empowerment of the Islamic community.

For Islamic exegetes the Hijrah of Muhammad was the end of an era of weakness and marked a new beginning of success and victory. It was so important that the decision of Umar to mark the Islamic calendar beginning from the year 622 was accepted without any objection. The Hijrah was for the sake of the religion of Allah and the establishment of the Islamic Ummah to spread the religion all over the world. Therefore, the Hijrah is considered to be a Jihad for the sake of religion.

The Islamic eschatology declares: Medina was conquered by Hijrah and Mecca by the arms of Jihad. The first has strike the roots and the seeds of the Ummah, and the other has flourished its fruits worldwide. The first was the basis for development and the other was the pillar of manifestation and institutionalization. The first was the spirit that brought the existence while the other declared its triumph and victory worldwide. Therefore, Muslims must do their utmost to assimilate and integrate the infidels to Islam.

Muhammad forbade his followers to travel or to immigrate to a non-Muslim country: “I am innocent of any Muslim that lives amongst the Kuffār.” “Whoever collegiate or aggregate with non-Muslims and lives with them, he is one of them.” In the face of such a clearly defined prohibition, one must wonder how modern-day immigration is so widespread among the Muslims. Why is it that so many Muslims have chosen to live in the lands of the infidels, and do not return to the Islamic territory as soon as they have the opportunity? Do the economic-social burdens overcome the religious commandments?

Islamic exegesis and contemporary Muslim Imāms solve this issue as follows: it is forbidden to live in non-Islamic territory, in Dār al-Kufr, and staying there must be only temporary. Therefore, integration and assimilation of Muslim immigrants among the host states are forbidden. Yet, the sole reason for staying in Dar al-Kufr is to make all efforts to bring the non-Islamic territory under Islamic rule. If not, Muslims must do their best to leave back to Dār al-Islām territory.

This approach is elaborated in Surat al-Nisā’, 4:100:

“And whosoever leaves his country in duty to Allah, will find many places of refuge and abundance on the earth. And he who leaves his home and immigrate in the way of Allah and his messenger and death overtake him is sure to receive his reward from Allah…”

Khālid al-Mājid, one of contemporary influential Islamic exegetes, declares that it is a must upon Muslims to migrate from Dār al-Kufr to Dār al-Islām. However, it is lawful for the Muslim to stay in Dār al-Kufr under the following conditions: there is a valid reason to stay, as the necessity of an appropriate Hijrah; if he cannot find any Muslim country to migrate to, or he is persecuted there; and when he stays in Dār al-Kufr for a short period of time: to receive medical care, or business relations, or for education, or officially, serving his country as a diplomat. Under these, Hijrah is acceptable, and still the Muslim believer must remain faithful to Islam and to his brothers, and under any circumstance he should not favor his relation with the Kuffār over his Muslim brothers and Islamic belief.

Sheikh Muhammed Salih al-Munajid has issued a Fatwah: “It is not permissible for the Muslims to attend the festivals of the Mushrikīn (those who associate other gods with Allah)… Do not enter upon the Mushrikīn in their churches on the day of their festival, for divine wrath is descending upon them… Whosoever settles in the land of the non-Muslims and celebrates their new year’s festival and imitates them until he dies in that state, will be gathered with them on the Day of Resurrection.”

In answering to the question: “Is it allowed to take the nationality of the US or a European country?” Muhammad Taqi al-Uthmani, of the Majlis Mujma’ al-Fiqh al-Islāmi, answered in a Fatwah: “Taking permanent residence in a non-Muslim country, adopting their nationality, and making it one’s country of residence as its citizen is a matter of apostasy. He would not be regarded as a Muslim and is liable of being declared a Kāfir…” The best solution is the Muslim invites the Kuffār to Islam. Then, his stay in Dār al-Kufr is not only permissible, but he will be rewarded for the merit of it.

Travelling to the land of the Kuffār is impermissible (la Yajûz) unless two conditions are met: (a) that the person has knowledge (‘Ilm) to repel doubts (Shûbbahāt); (b) that he keeps his faith (Imān) to prevent him from falling into lustful desires (Shahawāt); and he keeps a strong animosity toward the Kuffār. If these conditions are not met, Muslims are not allowed to travel due to the Fitnah that exists there. Residing in Dār al-Kufr is absolutely forbidden as it involves mixing with the infidels. Muslims in a country that is not governed according to the Sharī‘ah should do their utmost to bring it under Islamic law. It is Bid‘ah not to call for and to work steadily for the implementation of the Sharī‘ah.

This also marks the ultimate message that integration and assimilation of Muslims among the host states in Dār al-Kufr are forbidden. This commandment is abiding: as long as there are infidel territories, as Dar al-Kufr exists on earth, the injunction of Hijrah continues to be obligatory up to Day of Judgment. The basis of this methodology is the Hadīth related to Muhammad:

“I charge you with five of what Allah has charged me with: to assemble; to listen; to obey; to immigrate; and to wage Jihad for the sake of Allah.”

The first three of the five commands are part of Imān, belief: to assemble means to join together the Muslim community, the Ummah, to work together for the Islamic cause, rest upon the principle of Tawhīd (Sûrat al-Baqarah, 2:255; Sûrat al-An‘ām, 6:103; Sûrat al-Rûm, 30:26–7; Sûrat al-Hadīd, 57:30). The other two, to listen and to obey means absolutely and wholeheartedly believe in Allah and his messenger, that is, obedience and submission (Sûrat ‘Imrān, 3:62; Sûrat al-Nisā’, 4:171; Sûrat al-Mā’idah, 5:73; Sûrat al-Taubah, 9:31; Sûrat Tā Hā, 20:8; Sûrat Hashr, 59:22). Muhammad, who was sent as the final prophet to all mankind, is the perfect model all believers must obey and imitate (Sûrat al-Ahzāb, 33:21; Sûrat al-Anfāl, 8:58; Sûrat al-Hujurāt, 49:22). This is Sunnat Rasûl Allāh, and Sirā al-Mustaqīm believers must follow. The other two, Hijrah and Jihad, are commanded for materializing the interests of Islam, to bring about Islam’s victory. To Immigrate and to wage Jihad for the sake of Allah are tightly connected with the best belief:

“Surely those who believed and immigrated and fought in Jihad for the sake of Allah, these hope for mercy of Allah… (Sûrat al-Baqarah, 2:218).

Surely those who believed and immigrated and fought in Jihad for the sake of Allah with their property and their souls, and those who gave shelter and helped — these are guardians of each other…” (Sûratal-Anfāl, 8:72).

“And (as for) those who believed and immigrated and fought in Jihad for the sake of Allah, and those who gave shelter and helped, these are the believers truly…” (Sûratal-Anfāl, 8:74).

“And (as for) those who believed afterward and immigrated and fought in Jihad for the sake of Allah with you, they are of you; and the possessors of relationships are nearer to each other in the ordinance of Allah; surely Allah knows all things…” (Sûratal-Anfāl, 8:75).

“Those who believed and immigrated and fought in Jihad for the sake of Allah with their property and their souls are much higher in rank with Allah…” (Sûrat al-Taubah, 9:20).

“Surely your Lord, with respect to those who immigrated after they are persecuted, then fought in Jihad in the way of Allah and are patient…” (Sûrat al-Nahl, 16:110).

This is the Islamic trilogy: belief (Imān) that leads to immigration (Hijrah) that is accomplished by holy war against the infidels (Jihād Fī-Sabīlillāh). Before Hijrah, Islam had to adopt patience and express the believers’ faith through Salāh and Zakāt; while after the Hijrah, Islam ordained for Jihad and conquests of their enemies. The primary purpose of Jihad is to create a world order characterized by total submission to Allah through Imān. These three are the components for spreading the message to establish the Islamic Khilāfah worldwide. From these verses, “those who believed” (Âmanû); are “those who immigrated” (Hājarû); and are those who “fought in Jihad for the sake of Allah” (Jāhadû). Belief, immigration, and conquests are the stepping stones for the expansion of Islam as the only legitimate lawful religion to the entire world.

Imān, Hijrah, and Jihad are tightly interconnected: Jihad is not complete without Hijrah; and Hijrah and Jihad are not complete without Imān. Each can be the pivotal goal: the primary goal of Imān is the establishment of the Islamic Ummah that rules over the world, and it is achieved by Hijrah and Jihad. It is also true that the primary goal of the Hijrah is the establishment of a world Islamic Ummah, and it is accomplished by Imān and Jihad. That is also to say that Jihad is the supreme means to bring about the Islamic world hegemony, and it is assisted by Hijrah and Imān. As Imān is basic and obligatory, so are Hijrah and Jihad. Thereby, Imān is a prelude to Hijrah, as Hijrah is a prelude to Jihad. Without Imān, Hijrah has no meaning, and without Hijrah, Jihad has no meaning. It can also be said that the aims and the objectives of the Hijrah are to revive Imān by performing Jihad, as to establish Islam’s authority in the world.

The Islamic confession ultimately states that humanity and all its governments belong to Allah and his messenger (Sûrat al-A‘rāf, 7:158; Sûrat al-Anbiyā’, 21:107). Muslim exegetes state without reference that Muhammad declared, “migration cannot be ended as long as there is Kufr in the world.” In the Ahādīth it is reiterated:

“Hijrah will continue until the sun rises from the West. Hijrah would not be stopped until repentance is cut off, and repentance will not be cut off until the sun rises from the West.”

“Hijrah ceases only when a place, a community or a country has been won over, and Fath (occupation) has been achieved. Only then, there is no Hijrah.”

As long as the enemy resists Islam and Islam is not regarded the only supreme political religious system by humanity, Hijrah continues to exit. It becomes a must by displaying and practicing the religion openly. This is the basis of the Muslims’ mass street praying in the main streets, a phenomenon that is known only in Dār al-Kufr, in Western countries. This is an absolutely 100% political declaration and it has nothing to do with religious belief, that is, “we are here and we come to dominate.” Moreover, Muslims in the West can perform Jihad and Da‘wah as a means of occupation only by multiplying the numbers of Muslim immigrants, by Hijrah. The power of Islam cannot be executed if the Muslims are few, without increase in numbers and without the arrival of more new Muslims, as it was proven all along Islamic history of occupations. As there can be no empowerment of the religion without Hijrah, Islam cannot be demonstrated in Dār al-Kufr if the Muslims were not to immigrate and settle down there as a planned strategy.

Here is the basis of Islamic demography as a product of immigration and birthrate. The emigration and settlement of Muslims in the West is a religious duty, forming and reorganizing the Muslims to establish an Islamic community, the Ummah. In due time its role will be ushering in and enforcing the Sharī‘ah as the only legitimate way of life. This is the primary objective of Islamic mission to the peoples of Dār al-Kufr, to the infidel’s states, to be occupied and be Islamized from within.

Muhammad Abd al-Khaliq recommends establishment and consolidation of Muslim communities in Dār al-Kufr by huge immigration and at the same time by practicing loyalty and allegiance to the Islamic Ummah alone. The immigrants must not accept the system of laws of the Kuffār and not to accommodate in the host societies. They must commence with the establishment of mosques everywhere; and practice their public prayers in the main streets, as a visible display of the Islamic power. The most important mission is to educate and indoctrinate the young generation born in Dār al-Kufr to follow the Sharī‘ah and by learning the Arabic language as a top priority. At the same time Muslims must produce inroads into the affairs of the host communities to weaken them from within and to facilitate their conversion to Islam, using Da‘wah and Jihad.

This is exactly how Muslim immigrants act and behave while residing in the West. Hijrah, in concert with military conquest of Jihad comprised the backbone of Islamic expansionism through history. It was in essence the Arabization and Islamization processes that have brought Islam to become dominant from Western Asia to Spain. It has transformed the Middle East, for example, from Christian-majority to Arab-Islamic dominance. Today, Hijrah is designed to subvert and subdue the non-Muslim societies and thus pave the way for eventually Islamization of these societies. Indeed, Hijrah has become one of the three Islamic strategies to occupy the world and at the same time one of the main important steps in the process of spreading Islam as the only victorious political religion.

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Over 1,200 Migrant Children Deaths Recorded Since 2014, True Number Likely ‘Much Higher’

MD Staff

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In 2015, a photo of a Syrian boy found dead on a beach in Turkey after attempting to reach Greece made headlines across the world. Since then, many more children have died during migration, but the true scale of these tragedies is unknown due to a severe lack of data.

Since IOM, the UN Migration Agency, began collecting data in 2014 through the Missing Migrants Project, it has recorded the deaths of more than 1,200 child migrants, nearly half of whom perished while attempting to cross the Mediterranean. This figure represents less than 5 per cent of the total number of migrant deaths recorded during this period by IOM.

The real figure is likely to be much higher, given that approximately 12.5 per cent of all migrants are under the age of 18, and the number of children migrating around the world has been increasing in recent years. For example, roughly one quarter of the approximately one million migrants who arrived by sea to Italy and Greece in 2015 were children, and, in the case of Italy, 72 per cent were unaccompanied.

The call to action released yesterday by UNICEF, IOM, UNHCR, Eurostat, and OECD highlights the lack of data essential for understanding how migration affects children and their families – and for designing policies and programmes to meet their needs. Data on children moving irregularly across borders, and those who have gone missing or lost their lives during their migratory journeys are particularly scarce.

“We are aware that there are a growing number of children on the move, and that many of these children face significant risks during their journeys,” said Frank Laczko, Director of IOM’s Global Migration Data Analysis Centre, which hosts the Missing Migrants Project. “In only about 40 per cent of cases where we record a migrant death are we able to estimate the age of the person who died,” he said. “It is extremely difficult to find data disaggregated by age.”

Of the 1,202 deaths of child migrants recorded by the Missing Migrants Project, their age is provided in only 21 per cent of cases. Often, sources will only mention that the deceased person is a ‘child’ or ‘infant,’ which means that it is difficult to assess which child migrants are most vulnerable. Of the children whose age was provided, the average was just 8 years old at the time of their death. Fifty-eight of these children were infants under the age of 1, and 67 were between 1 and 5 years old.

Though the scarcity of data on child migrants means that it is impossible to say which migratory route is most dangerous for children, the available data indicate that crossing the Mediterranean, especially from Turkey to Greece, is particularly deadly. At least 396 migrants under the age of 18 died while crossing the Eastern Mediterranean since 2014, with a further 164 recorded on the Central Mediterranean route, and 16 on the Western Mediterranean route.

However, as less than 20 per cent of the more than 15,000 deaths recorded on these routes contain information on age, IOM’s recent Fatal Journeys report estimates that at least 1,300 children have died in the Mediterranean since 2014.

Worldwide, the Missing Migrants Project has recorded the deaths of 137 children migrating in Africa, 20 on the US-Mexico border, and 18 on land in Europe. By far the most deaths were due to drowning – 681 children have been lost while crossing a body of water, most of whom perished in the Mediterranean Sea or the Bay of Bengal. Sixty-eight children died due to vehicle accidents or suffocation during vehicular transport; 50 due to exposure to harsh environments during their journeys; 35 as a result of violence; and 23 due to illness and lack of access to medicine.

Some 803 of the children recorded in the Missing Migrants Project database were originally from Asia, including the Middle East, while another 171 of the dead were from African nations. Sixty-one were from the Americas, while the origin of the remaining 167 children could not be determined.

Gathering more and better-quality data on migrant children is extremely important at a time when states are discussing how best to achieve safer and more orderly migration. Finding better ways to measure and document child migrant deaths is also important given the inclusion of migration and age in the in the 2030 Global Agenda for Sustainable Development. According to this agenda, states have agreed to work towards promoting safe, orderly and regular migration, and to end preventable deaths of children.

Julia Black, Coordinator of the Missing Migrants Project, concluded, “We know that our data are incomplete. The truth is that the number of children who die during migration is much higher than what we know. Obtaining better data could help to reduce such tragedies in the future, as well as help families to identify their loved ones.”

International Organization for Migration

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The daily reality of working poverty

MD Staff

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Louisette Fanjamalala, has worked hard all her life, yet, like millions of working poor around the globe, she barely makes enough to survive.

Fanjamalala, from Madagascar, lives with four teenage children – two of her own and two orphans she has adopted. Their home is a cramped one-room house in the Antananarivo suburb of Soavina. Her husband left years ago.

For years, she worked in textile factories, getting only short term contracts and earning as little as 70 000 ariary (about US$20) a month in some cases, and, at best cases 300 000 ariary (about US$90). That was barely enough to feed her family. Now, things are even worse.

“It is becoming increasingly difficult for me to be hired because I am considered as too old. It is a shame because I am qualified, I work as fast as and even better than younger workers. However, nowadays, human resources departments usually turn down my request without even giving me an appointment,” she sighed.

Because she was also a victim of violence at work, Fanjamalala recently received support from an ILO programme which provided her with new skills and a sewing machine. She now makes some money by doing sewing work at home for people in her neighbourhood. She also makes clothes and curtains that she sells at the local market. However, getting food on the family table remains a constant challenge.

“Fanjamalala’s story is unfortunately very common in Madagascar and in many developing countries,” said Christian Ntsay, Director of the ILO Office in Antananarivo. “You only need to walk in the streets here and talk to people to realize that the findings of the World Employment and Social Outlook: Trends 2018  (WESO) on vulnerable employment and working poverty translate into a reality faced by millions of people,” he said.

“Ninety-three per cent of Malagasy workers like Louisette Fanjamalala have no other choice than working in the informal economy to survive,” Ntsay added.

1.4 billion workers in vulnerable employment

“Working poverty continues to fall but – again – just like for vulnerable employment , progress is stalling,” explained Stefan Kühn, lead author of the ILO World Employment and Social Outlook: Trends 2018.

”Vulnerable employment affects three out of four workers in developing countries. Almost 1.4 billion workers are estimated to be in vulnerable employment in 2017. Every year, an additional 17 million are expected to join them.”

In 2017, extreme working poverty remained widespread, with more than 300 million workers in emerging and developing countries having a per capita household income or consumption of less than US$1.90 per day.

Overall, progress in reducing working poverty is too slow to keep pace with the growing labour force in developing countries, where the number of people in extreme working poverty is expected to exceed 114 million in 2018, or 40 per cent of all employed people.

“Emerging countries achieved significant progress in reducing extreme working poverty. It should continue to fall, translating into a reduction in the number of extreme working poor by 10 million per year in 2018 and 2019. However, moderate working poverty, in which workers live on an income of between US$1.90 and US$3.10 per day, remains widespread, affecting 430 million workers in emerging and developing countries in 2017,” said Kühn.

“The findings of the WESO Trends 2018 report is a reminder that more efforts need to be done to reduce inequalities and to ensure better living and working conditions for people like Louisette Fanjamalala and the 1.4 billion workers facing a similar situation throughout the world,” he concluded.

Source: ILO

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The Worst Horror Story – Rape

Aditi Aryal

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Photo by Zach Guinta on Unsplash

Rape in all its horrendous forms is a marred and an abhorrent trace of patriarchy and misogyny. The direct victims are majorly women, but the fact that men can be –and often are– victims cannot be discounted. Devising its roots in power-play and control, today it carries a heavier weight as a statutory offence with set penalties. Despite these penalties and a massive international attention taking forms of media outrage, studies, monetary and legal aid, awareness programs, and safe shelters, rapes of women – young and old are alarmingly high in South Asia by offenders of varying age groups.

In Nepal, as reported by a national daily, 78 rape cases have on average been reported every month over a course of five years, many of the offenders being septuagenarians and octogenarians. The Indian National Crime Bureau Report (NCBR, 2016) claimed 338,954 reports were made between 2015 and 2016 as crimes against women out of which 38,947 were rapes. It also reported an increase of 82% in the incidents of rape of children. Likewise, in Pakistan, Human Rights Watch asserts of at least one rape every two hours and one gang-rape every eight. In Bangladesh, 13,003 rape cases were reported between 2001-2017 out of which 85 were rapes by law enforcement agents such as police, jail agents, and the army. These data are only the tip of the iceberg as many cases are unreported by the victim, withdrawn upon coercion, or refused to be registered as a legit case by the authority

The Dynamics

The causes of rape are far too many, and differs from case to case. The reasons that surface commonly are sexual frustration in men, poverty, mind-sets and attitudes that reflect machismo, a sense of entitlement, unawareness, and acceptance. In 2012, a report by UNICEF published that 57% men and 53% women in India thought marital rape as not rape, and a sizeable number believed that beating of wives by their husbands was not violence. In India and Bangladesh, the legislations on what constitutes a crime declares it as not rape if the person is married to the victim and if she is over 15 years of age, excepting judicial separation.

We need to remind ourselves that in the South Asian countries, men often grow up being told and shown that they are superior to women who then grow old with a sense of entitlement as they deem it fit for a woman to be available on their demand. When these men are unable to earn for the family due to unemployment or otherwise, their frustration takes the form of rape to demonstrate their ‘masculinity’ and maintain superiority over the women.

Now, this mentality also works in reverse, where a woman is told be to weaker than men and should protect herself from them if she does not wish to get raped. In most South Asian families, females have lesser liberty of movement and choices as compared to their male counterparts. This obviously arises from expected gender behavior that good women should be meek, submissive, and obedient but is also centered around the fact that the families do not want their females to be raped.

This objective of giving women the security inside the family homes is flawed for two reasons. Firstly, rapes and molestation within the family very often exist. In January 2018, a baby girl of eight months was raped in Delhi, India by a relative in her house. Little girls of varying ages have been raped right next to a family member by another family member or neighbors in several instances in Nepal and they could do nothing, not even file a complaint because this façade of a domestic protection does not concern a female’s bodily security but societal reputation.

The Aftermath

Once a person is subjected to rape, the victim becomes unchaste and impure and is thought to bring dishonour to the family. The terminology in Pakistan is kari, referring to someone who has lost virginity outside marriage and an honour killing, karokari, is subjected by the village council. The victims often commit suicide or are killed by their own families for tainting the honour. In 2002, Mukhtaran Bibi challenged this status quo by not committing suicide after a gang rape that was ordered on her by a village council but filed a case against all her rapists. Initially, they were sentenced to death but in 2005, five of them were acquitted due to lack of evidence. In 2011, the sixth offender got acquitted too. In 2017 in Multan, Pakistan, a jirgah (village council) ordered revenge rape on the sister of an offender. In all these years, nothing has changed and even today revenge rape is still being ordered on innocent girls for no fault of their own as punishment.

The victims in other countries face social stigma and have to live in fear because once someone falls victim to rape, they are prone to more rapes because the value of a person is reduced from that of a human to a commodity that is free for public use. In Haryana, India, a girl was gang-raped twice by the same set of men who were out on bail after raping her the first time six years ago. A take-home message is that the onus lies on a woman to protect herself from men who are always lurking in hunt of a prey to rape, yet again asserting that the victim befalls such fate on themselves due to their actions, or in Pakistan actions of their family members.

Rapes are justified for godforsaken reasons and victims told they were ‘asking for it’ by travelling alone at ungodly hours, dressing provocatively, being friends with men, or indulging in so called notorious activities like smoking, drinking, and partying. The way these protectionist measures are advised always revolves around victim but never around the offenders, due to the notion that men have an insatiable sexual appetite and if women portray themselves to be ‘easy’, they are raped. Ranjit Sinha, head of Indian Central Bureau of Investigation once commented that if women couldn’t prevent rapes, they should enjoy it.

In India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, victims of rape are subjected to a two-finger test to determine their sexual activeness. This procedure exists despite so many pleas from within these countries and outside to get rid of it on the bases that it is flawed on so many levels as it renders women who chose to be sexually active out of consent as lecherous and dirty who have already been touched by a man. This violation of a victim’s body is backed by the government in the form of a random stranger determining of their worth. This is of course scientifically inaccurate, and extremely irrelevant in case of rape.

Equally exasperating is the fact that women should remain pious and dedicated to only choosing to be sexually active with their legally married husbands but when their husbands rape them, it is not recognised by the legislation. O. P. Chautala, an ex minister in India, once stated that girls should be married as they turn 16 so that sexual needs of women are met and they will not go elsewhere and rapes will reduce. However, even statutory age of marriage is above 16 in India, and marriage is not a way to end rape. Rather, such a statement renders women as cattle whose ownership belongs to the husband.

These instances prove time and again that the role of a woman is always reduced to pleasing her husband in bed without considerations.  In fact, marriage is a holy sacrament that can undo rape – perhaps why victims are married off to their rapists in South Asia who then continue to rape them for the rest of their lives.

Most importantly, the police and other protectors of law find ways to make money out of instances of rape. Like, in January 2018 in Kathmandu, Nepal, a woman of 22 years withdrew her report of rape after few days and it was later revealed that the police were involved facilitating monetary settlements between the accused and the complainant with a personal gain. In Bharatpur, Nepal in February 2018, police coerced a woman to withdraw her rape complaint. So many more cases have surfaced in the southern plains of Nepal where the police have been involved as middlemen.

Hindrance to Justice

The reasons behind rape are men-centric but they have been ingrained in the societies as acceptable by both men and women. Reporting of rape has been increasing in India, Nepal, Bangladesh, and Pakistan but the cases are not dealt with caution. The victims face injustice and have to go through denigrating treatment by the police and health officers, questioning their character and morality.

The portrayal of a victim in the media is a stereotypical one, a non-provocative, harmless, and morally upright person with no past sexual history. Any victim deviating from this stereotype probably brought it on themselves. Further, the media has been reporting on sensitive issues like rape without sensitivity like revealing the victim’s name which is illegal or slut-shaming the victims.

Lastly, even death penalties are not enough to deter people from committing rapes. In Pakistan and India, rape can be punished with death but the crime is still on the rise. After the 2012 Nirbhaya case in Delhi, India, a strong plea was made to change the judicial system and a fast-track hearing was introduced for rape because national outrage by the citizens was not deemed enough to bring a change. In Nepal, the fast-track court is in practice too, but the problem arises in procuring evidence which is substantial in these cases.

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