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Da’wah, How Muslim Propagators Deceive the Infidels

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Da’wah is one of the three arms that operate the Islamic strategy, together with Jihad and Hijrah.

Among the three Da’wah is the most dangerous, just because Western culture does not understand. It is the stealth devise, a means to deceive and to mislead the infidels about the essence of Islam, its operational aims and strategies, introducing the nice face of Islam as a religion of peace and compassion.

The motive of Da’wah is religious: the strengthening and expansion of Islam, and it is based on the Qur’an commandments, which can be observed as Jihād al-Da’wah, the spreading of Islam among the infidels by peaceful propagating means. It is intended to changing the infidels’ minds and behavior and to subverting their mode of thinking. It is a cultural coercive strategy aimed at toppling Western democratic liberal regimes by eliminating their freedoms and by infiltrating Western technology and society’s fabrics and destroying them from within. Where Jihad works on the body, on the material structure, Da’wah works on the mental–spiritual side as a persuasion means; where Jihad operates to terrorize and intimidate, Da’wah aimed at deceiving, confusing, and misleading; where Jihad acts to submit, Da’wah paves the way to Islamize.

According to these lines, Jamal Badawi, one of the known Muslim propagandists in the US, wrote an e-mail to Robert Spencer, on February 14 2005. The aim was to prove that all verses of the Qur’an are peaceful, and that Islam promotes peace and it is against violence and wars:

“The Qur’an prohibits compulsion in religion [2:256]. It teaches the Oneness of God, acceptance and respect of all prophets [2:285], broad human brotherhood [49:13], acceptance of plurality [5:48; 11:118], universal justice and fair dealing [4:134, 5:8]. It demands just, kind and respectful treatment of those who co-exist peacefully with Muslims [60:8-9]. Peaceful dialogue with the People of the Book and the emphasis on common grounds with them is a repeated theme in the Qur’an [3:64; 29:46, 5:5].

This list sums up most of the contemporary Islamic propaganda in plenty internet sites and various publications. It is distinctive and highly definitive that Muslim propagators purposely quote verses from the Qur’an that were written in the early days of Islam at Mecca, where Muhammad was weak and his followers were few and vulnerable. These passages make Islam appear a bit compassionate and peaceful. However, the Islamic propaganda that claims that the Meccan verses are dominant in Islamic teaching, is either ignorant of actual Islamic doctrine and tidings, or it practices a sophisticated deception of Da’wah.

Well, the question is are these verses quoted above really mean what Badawi says? It is easy to refute his claims as a pure propagation by introducing the real meaning of the verses.

As about verse 2:256, “no compulsion in religion,” La Ikrāh fīl-Dīn. Probably there is no verse more frequently cited by contemporary Muslims propagators to mislead the infidels. Let’s read verse 2:256 in entirety:

There is no compulsion in religion. Truly the right way has become clearly distinct from error; therefore, whoever disbelieves in Satan and believes in Allah, indeed has laid hold on the firmest handle, which shall not break off.

This verse was given after the Badr War, in March 624. According to the most authoritative Muslim exegetes, there are the following explanations to the verse circumstances:

First, the cause of this verse was the expulsion of the Jewish tribe of Banu al-Nadir, and it has nothing to do with tolerance towards the other. The women of Ansar, Arabs who joined Islam in Medina, used to make a vow to convert their sons to Judaism if they lived. When the tribe of Banu al-Nadir was expelled from Medina, some children of the Ansar were among them, so their parents could not abandon them; hence Allah revealed: “There is no compulsion in religion…”

Second, according to Ibn Ishaq, in his Sīrat Rasûl Allāh, narrated Ibn Abbas: it was revealed with regard to a man from the tribe of Bani Salim whose two sons converted to Christianity but he was himself a Muslim. He told the Prophet: “Shall I force them to embrace Islam as they insist on Christianity”, hence Allah revealed this verse. But, continue Ibn Ishaq, it was abrogated by the verses of “fighting” the infidels, in Sûrat al-Fath, 48:16; Sûrat al-Taubah, 9:73; and Sûrat al-Taubah, 9:123.

Third, according to Ibn Kathir: Allah says: “There is no compulsion in religion”, meaning: do not force anyone to embrace Islam, because it is clear and its proofs and evidences are manifest. Whoever Allah guides and opens his heart to Islam has indeed embraced it with clear evidence. Whoever Allah misguides and blinds his heart cannot embrace Islam by force. Therefore, all people of the world should be called to Islam. If anyone of them refuses to do so, or refuses to pay the Jizyah, they should be fought till they are killed. This is the meaning of “compulsion.”

Fourth, according to Nahhas, with the authority of Ibn ‘Abbas: “scholars differed concerning 2:256. Some said it has been abrogated by Sûrat al-Taubah, 9:73, for the Prophet compelled the Arabs to embrace Islam and fought those that had no alternative but to surrender to Islam. Other scholars said that it has not been abrogated concerning the People of the Book. It is only the infidels who are compelled to embrace Islam, and upon them 9:73 applies. The Prophet said: I have been ordered to fight against the people until they testify that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah. This Hadīth is taken from the words of Allah in Sûrat al-Baqarah, 2:193. Allah sent Muhammad calling people to Him, showing the way to the truth… until the evidence of Allah’s truth became manifest … He ordered him to call people by the sword…”

Fifth, according to Suyuti, verse 2:256 was not abrogated by 9:73, but this is a case of delaying or postponing the command to fight the infidels until the Muslims become strong. This view exactly supports the issue: in Mecca Muhammad was weak with few followers, and he could not resist his enemies. From here the mild pronouncements concerning fighting his rivals. However, in Medina Muhammad became strong, and he ordered the Believers to fight the infidels.

However, most important to understand the meaning of verse 2:256, is by reading the following verse 2:257, which is connected to it. This sums up the entire issue:

Allah is the guardian of those who believe. He brings them out of the darkness into the light, and as to those who disbelieve, their guardian is Satan who takes them out of the light into the darkness. They are the inmates of the fire, in it they shall abide forever.    

Concluding the issue, one has to look at the context, to realize there is nothing compassionate and peace-loving here. No tolerance and no accepting other religions as legitimate. Verse 2:257 confirms that 2:256 prove, by definition and along its entire Scripture Islam is ethnocentric, racist and homophobic.

As about 2:285, in which Badawi says it “teaches the oneness of God, acceptance and respect of all prophets.” Well, Badawi is misleading as a propagator. The verse says:

The Apostle believes in what has been revealed to him from his Lord, and so do the believers. They all believe in Allah and his angels and his book and his Apostles. We make no difference between any of his Apostles, and they say: we hear and obey, our Allah (emphasis is mine).

That is, there is no pluralism and respect of the other. It is a firm belief in Allah alone and in Islam as the only legitimate religion. Moreover, this is the proof how Islam is compulsive and abusive. According to Islamic Din al-Fitrah, all human being are Muslims from the beginning of history to the end of the world. All Jewish and Christian prophets are Muslims and all submit to Allah. It is totally opposite from pluralism and tolerance. This is not exactly what Badawi says when he deceives the infidels with his pure propagation. Islam is in fact ethnocentric and racist.

As about 49:13, in which Badawi says “broad human brotherhood.” Well, it is not exactly as he says. The verse declares:

O people! We created you from a male and a female, and made you races and tribes, that you may know one another. The best among you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous (emphasis is mine).

The verse refers to the Arabs alone. It is clear from the next verse (49:14):

The Desert-Arabs say, “We have believed.” Say, “You have not believed; but say, ‘We have submitted,’ for faith has not yet entered into your hearts. But if you obey Allah and His Messenger, He will not diminish any of your deeds. Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.”

There is absolutely no “broad human brotherhood,” but submission to Islam alone. On the contrary, by definition and along its entire Scripture, Islam is ethnocentric, racist and homophobic.

As about 5:48 and 11:118, in which Badawi says “acceptance of plurality.” The analysis is far away from what he says: verse 5:48 declares:

And we revealed to you the Book [Qur’an], with truth, confirming the Scripture that preceded it, and superseding it. So judge [Muhammad] between them according to what Allah revealed, [meaning the superiority of the Qur’an] and do not follow their desires if they differ from the truth that has come to you. For each of you we have assigned a law and a method. Had Allah willed, He could have made you a single nation, but He tests you through what He has given you. So compete in righteousness. To Allah is your return, all of you; then He will inform you of what you had disputed (emphasis is mine).

It is also clear from the next verse (5:49):

And judge between them according to what Allah revealed, and do not follow their desires. And beware of them, lest they lure you away from some of what Allah has revealed to you. But if they turn away, know that Allah intends to strike them with some of their sins. In fact, a great many people are corrupt (emphasis is mine).

To be sure, verse 5:47 says:

So let the people of the Gospel rule according to what Allah revealed in it. Those who do not rule according to what Allah revealed are the sinners.

Verse 11:118 declares:

Had your Lord willed, He could have made humanity one community, but they continue to differ (emphasis is mine).

This is not a declaration of plurality, but differentiation: those who are not Muslims continue to differ and that is why Allah has not made humanity one community. A proof comes from verses 11:117, and 11:119:

Your Lord would never destroy the towns wrongfully, while their inhabitants are righteous.

Except those on whom your Lord has mercy-for that reason He created them. The Word of your Lord is final: “I will fill Hell with jinn and humans, altogether.”

These verses do not show any pluralism. On the contrary, by definition and along its entire Scripture, Islam is ethnocentric, racist and homophobic.

As about verses 4:134, 5:8, in which Badawi says “universal justice and fair dealing.” It is important to show these have nothing to do with the subject matter.

Whoever desires the reward of this world with Allah is the reward of this world and the next. Allah is All-Hearing, All-Seeing.

This verse has nothing to do with “universal justice and fair dealing.” It says: the Muslims loyal believers will receive Allah’s rewards in this world and the next. That is all. Moreover, the verses before and after clear the issue:

132. To Allah belongs everything in the heavens and everything on earth. God suffices as Manager.

133. If He wills, He can do away with you, O people, and bring others. Allah is Able to do that.

135. O you who believe! Stand firmly for justice, as witnesses to Allah, even if against yourselves, or your parents, or your relatives. Whether one is rich or poor, Allah takes care of both. So do not follow your desires, lest you swerve. If you deviate, or turn away, then Allah is Aware of what you do.

As about 5:8. It relates only to the Muslims.

O you who believe! Be upright to Allah, witnessing with justice; and let not the hatred of a certain people [not Muslims] prevent you from acting justly [to your fellow believers]. Adhere to justice, for that is nearer to piety; and fear Allah. Allah is informed of what you do (emphasis is mine).

The verses before and after prove this issue clearly:

And Remember Allah’s blessings upon you, and His covenant which He covenanted with you; when you said, “We hear and we obey.” And remain conscious of Allah, for Allah knows what the hearts contain.

Allah has promised those who believe and work righteousness: they will have forgiveness and a great reward (emphasis is mine).

Concluding these, by definition and along its entire Scripture, Islam is ethnocentric, racist and homophobic.

As about 60:8-9, in which Badawi says Islam “demands just, kind and respectful treatment of those who co-exist peacefully with Muslims.” One can only wonder how Badawi interpret these verses. The verses are as follows:

As for those who have not fought against you for your religion, nor expelled you from your homes, Allah does not prohibit you from dealing with them kindly and equitably. Allah loves the equitable.

But Allah prohibits you from befriending those who fought against you over your religion, and expelled you from your homes, and aided in your expulsion. Whoever takes them for friends-these are the wrongdoers.

These verses prove that those who resist Islamic coercive religion and prefer not to become Muslims, their fate is to be fought. Islam is ethnocentric and warmongering.

As about 3:64; 29:46, 5:5, in which Badawi says Islam advocates for “peaceful dialogue with the People of the Book and the emphasis on common grounds with them is a repeated theme in the Qur’an.” However, Badawi reveals only a small portion of the truth. The verses are as follows:

3:64. Say, “O People of the Book, come to terms common between us and you: that we worship none but Allah, and that we associate nothing with Him, and that none of us takes others as lords besides Allah.” And if they turn away, say, “Bear witness that we have submitted.”

5:5. Today all good things are made lawful for you. And the food of those given the Scripture is lawful for you, and your food is lawful for them. So are chaste believing women, and chaste women from the people who were given the Scripture before you, provided you give them their dowries, and take them in marriage, not in adultery, nor as mistresses. But whoever rejects faith, his work will be in vain, and in the Hereafter he will be among the losers.

29:46. And do not argue with the People of the Scripture except in the best manner possible, except those who do wrong among them. And say, “We believe in what was revealed to us, and in what was revealed to you; and our Allah and your Allah is One; and to Him we are submissive” (all emphases are mine).

According to these verses it is not a peaceful dialogue but a coercive one: if Jews and Christians accept Allah as their only deity, and associate nothing with him, then there is a cooperation. However, if they stick to their God then they are sinners. Even for women it is one-sided: Muslims can take Jewish and Christian women but not vice-versa. But the issue is much more complicated. Even in their prayer, in Sūrat al-Fātihah, verse 7, Muslims disassociate themselves from the Jews, who have gone astray and Christians, on whom there is the wrath of Allah.

Unfortunately, Judaism and Christianity are rejected and not acceptable to Allah, after he has sent his final messenger to the entire world. Jews are sinners and transgressors and have therefore forfeited their status as the chosen people. They are evil incarnate like devils, since they have killed all the prophets. They have turned into monkeys and pigs destined to suffer in Hellfire forever.

As for Christianity, it is a corrupted and distorted religion based on myths and legends. Jesus is a Muslim Prophet who asserts that the foundations of Christianity, like the Trinity, are false, and that Christ’s Divinity is a blasphemy. Christians are infidels and blasphemers and have invented lies about Allah by ascribing partners to Allah, which is the worst of sins. For that, they are condemned forever to Hell. Jesus will come back and destroy Christianity by breaking the Cross, and on the Day of Judgment he will be a witness against them. Indeed. On the Day of Resurrection, Jews and Christians would take the place of Muslims in Hell.

For Badawi’s sake, here is an up-to-date version of Islamic behavior concerning the non-Muslims: fighting is prescribed upon the believers (2:216). It is Jihad in the cause of Allah (2:244 and other forty verses) against the powers of Satan (4:76), the infidels and the hypocrites (9:5; 9:73; 66:9), and the People of the Book (9:29). The order for the Muslims is to smite their necks (47:4; 8:12) and to strike terror in their hearts (3:151; 8:60), including the People of the Book (59:2), for the hereafter world (4:74). For that, the Jihadi Muslims will earn paradise (3:195: 9:72: 13:22-23; 47:4-6), and their reward will be black-eyed virgins (44:51-54; 52:17-20; 56:22-24), and the utmost tiding is that they are not dead, but alive, staying beside Allah (2:154; 3:169).

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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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Without firm action on gender equality, women’s empowerment, world may miss development targets

MD Staff

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Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

“This is an urgent signal for action, and the report recommends the directions to follow,” Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, the Executive Director of UN Women, said on the launch of the new report, Turning promises into action: Gender Equality in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Speaking to reporters at UN Headquarters in New York, she said: “As a world, we committed through the SDGs [Sustainable Development Goals] to leave no one behind,” but the report reveals many areas where progress remains slow to achieve the Goals by 2030.

Even where progress is made, it may not reach the women and girls who need it most and the ones that are being left furthest behind,” explained Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka.

Turning promises into action makes in-depth case studies in the Colombia, Nigeria, Pakistan, South Africa, United States and Uruguay, looking at what is necessary to achieve the 2030 Agenda.

Focusing on unpaid care work and ending violence against women, the comprehensive report examines all 17 SDGs and how deeply intertwined the different dimensions of well-being and deprivation are in impacting the lives of women and girls.

As one example, it points out that a girl born into poverty and forced into early marriage is more likely to drop out of school, give birth at an early age, suffer childbirth complications and experience violence – a scenario that encompasses all the SDGs.

Moreover, new data in 89 countries reveals that there are 4.4 million more women than men living on less than $1.90 a day – much of which is explained by the disproportionate burden of unpaid care work women face, especially during their reproductive years.

Looking beyond national averages, glaring gaps are uncovered between women and girls who, even within the same country, are living in worlds apart because of income status, race, ethnicity or location.

While the report addresses how to tackle existing structural inequalities and what is needed to move from promises to action, progress remains slow.

“It’s a problem in all countries, developed, developing, north, south, east west,” Shahrashoub Razavi, UN Women’s Chief of Research and Data, told UN News.

“We have a long way to go to achieve gender equality universally,” she added, calling it “a problem that stymies the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.”

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