Hatred to the other is one of the main sources as much as commandments in Islam. It is this old inherent religiously commanded hatred that is behind the terrorism of Jihad against the infidels and the criminality of the Muslims in so many places and regions around the world.
Hatred cannot be detached from Islam because it is in fact indoctrinated and motivated by Islam. The Nazi era has taught us that hatred is one of the most important policies that lead to apartheid and genocide. The Qur’an teaches hatred and commands to hate the infidels. The Islamic Caliphate State (ICS) is proving it time and again, even by destroying the archeological sites, the wonders of the old Middle East.
Consider the elements that define hate speech: drawing a moral comparison based on distinction between one’s own identity group and those outside of it; dehumanization of other groups and insistence of personal superiority against these groups; and a call to all kind of atrocities perpetuated against other groups.
The Islamic Shari‘ah qualifies as hate religion on each and every count by which we define hate speech. There is no other religion that draws such sharp distinction between its community of believers and others outside Islam.
a) Its message inspire loathing for others and the Qur’an mandates the superiority of Islam by all means. According to Muslim exegetes, there are seven major features of the superiority of Arab-Muslims over others, based on the Qur’an, among them, they are the best Ummah ever brought forth to men, bidding good (Ma’rûf) and forbidding evil (Munkar); they hold the pillar of superiority over all other world communities; and they will wage war on the people of error and the Anti-Christ.
b) It draws a deep distinction between Muslims and the others, called Kuffār, and it incites to violence and hatred. Islam is ethnocentric religion and political culture. It differentiates the world between Dār al-Islām against Dār al-Harb; between the good and righteous society and the bad and unclean society. It is Halāl against Haram; it is the right against wrong; it is the pious against the evil-doers; it is Paradise or Hell. There is nothing positive in the Qur’an and the Sharī‘ah for non-Muslims who are all infidels.
c) It perpetuate legitimizes atrocities and butchering of non-Muslims whenever they are. There are 527 verses that are intolerant to the infidels, and 109 verses calling on Muslims to make war on the infidels. As Muslims see it, Islam is for everyone in the human race and should be expanded as a winning religion, by force or persuasion, until all human beings proclaim that “there is no God but Allah and Muhammad is his messenger.” Jihad is universally understood as war on behalf of Islam, and its merits are described plentifully in the most-respected religious works.
In ancient as much as in contemporary world, Islamic dominance is characterized by the oppression and discrimination of non-Muslims, all defined as infidels (Kuffār, Kāfirun). There are no “unbelievers” or “disbelievers” in the Qur’an and the Sharī‘ah at large but only infidels or apostates. This is not only a subjective issue, but deep categorical. ‘Unbeliever’ can get neutral in conception, ‘infidel’ is totally different. The pattern of aggressive violence and disregard for human suffering is persistent in Islam and reflects the message of the Qur’an, which is one of superiority, loath and hatred. 64 percent of the Qur’an and 61 percent of the overall Sharī‘ah is related to the infidels, and there is not even one positive stand in favor for them. They are all an integral part of the abode of Hellfire.
The Kuffār are the vilest animals and beasts; the worst of creatures and demons, perverted transgressors and partners of Satan (al-‘Imrān, 3:82, 110; al-Nisā’, 4:76; al-A‘arāf, 7:176; al-Anfāl, 8:55). The Kuffār are to be beheaded. Muslims must strike off their heads and their fingertips (al-Anfāl, 8:12; Muhammad, 47:4). The Kuffār are to be terrorized. Muslims are to cast terror into the hearts of the infidels, their abode is the Hell-fire (al-‘Imrān, 3:151; al-Anfāl, 8:12, 8:60; al-Ahzāb, 33:26; al-Hashr, 59:2). The Kuffār are to be annihilated until the religion of Allah is the only one. They are to be killed wherever they are found, since persecution is severer than slaughter. Muslims are obliged to slay them until there is no persecution, and religion is only Allah’s. This commandment includes not only the infidels and the idolaters, but also the hypocrites and the polytheists, as their abode is Hell-fire (al-Baqarah, 2:191; 193; al-Nisā’, 4:89, 91; al-Anfāl, 8:39; al-Taubah, 9:36, 73, 111, 123; al-Tahrīm, 66:9). The Kuffār are to be crucified (al-Mā’idah, 5:33). They are the constant fuel of the fire burn in Hell (al-‘Imrān, 3:10; al-Taubah, 9:17; Ibrāhīm, 14:30; al-Nahl, 16:29; al-Anbīyā’, 21:98; al-Hajj, 22:19; al-Ahzāb, 33:64; al-Saff, 61:11; al-Mû’min, 48:13). “Hostility and hate” exist between the Kuffār and the Muslim believers forever until they “believe in Allah alone” (al-Taubah, 9:28, 32, 69).
The Egyptian intellectual Sami al-Rabbā’ has elaborated:
If you say that Islam is a violent faith, you are accused of being anti-Islam and “Islamophobe”. Yet, the main of the Qur’an are passages full of incitement and hatred, Jihad-killing and war-mongering.
The educational system is the main source of indoctrination and socialization to hatred and it works almost as a production line. The Muslims start the politics of hatred and Jihad ideology from infancy. The children learn to hate before everything, even without knowing why: at home, in the mosques and in schools, Madāris. They hate the infidels, because they are what they are, and not because they know anything about them. The hatred is in their drink and foods, and this fuel directs and motivates the massacres and lynches that are so pervasive around the world.
The contemporary radicalization of the Muslim youth, the “third generation” Muslims living in the Western world is enormous and alarming. A report by the International Centre for the Study of Radicalization in London claims that “European jihadists in Syria are more numerous than official statistics indicate. Indeed, they point to the existence of entire French-speaking and German-speaking brigades in the Aleppo region.” Many of them are radicalizing through the Internet extremist websites and YouTube videos; others are led by imams at mosques; and others, converted to Islam, men and women, volunteer for sex Jihad.
Sa’id al-Hamad, a liberal thinker from Bahrain
The ‘culture of backwardness’ dominates the Arab world, and it includes ‘culture of terrorism,’ which adopts beheading and lynching people; and the ‘culture of hatred,’ which propagates in the minds and consciousness of the youth deep hatred to the world.
Islam’s conceptions and behavior
Muslim groups and organizations are violent politically and fanatic religiously. Muslims cover their activities by using religious argumentations as an excuse and motivation to their behavior towards the other. Whether they butcher and cut-off heads of infidels of the West; or terrorize their own Muslim believers, Sunnis and Shiites; or massacre minorities of all kinds, mainly Christians; or when they establish Islamic institutions and mosques in Western states; or when they commit acts of horrible homicide bombings and terrorism; or when they conquer, Islamize and Arabize vast territories; or when they commit ethnic cleansing, apartheid and mass holocausts — for example, the Hindus and the Armenians in the past, and Christians today; or when they coerce and intimidate, Muslims always claim they do it in defense.
Another astonishing issue is that Muslim exegetes, preachers and propagators speak only in complete and absolute terms about their religion’s values, without the slightest self-criticism and doubts: ‘Islam is absolutely a religion of peace and harmony;’ ‘Islam is totally devoted to promote peace around the world;’ ‘Jihad is absolutely and totally defined in terms of defense;’ ‘aggression is used only rarely, when the Muslims have no other choice to defend their religion and their self;’ ‘there is nothing in Islam that is against tolerance, democracy and peaceful relations;’ and ‘Islam tolerates all other religions, acts peacefully and preaches for human cooperation and collaboration.’
One finds these slogans abound in books, article, and media resources. It is so pervasive and so totalistic that it becomes almost impossible to argue and to debate with them. Their cultural conceptions; their totalistic approach as being always and under all circumstances the righteous side; and their ethnocentric conceptions make it impossible to argue with them in rational and according to the ‘golden rule’ values.
However, when one elaborates the many verses of the Qur’an and the commandments of the Shrī’ah, he immediately attacked and mocked off as an ignorant of Islam and dismissed as being biased evil Muslim: “you don’t understand the real true meaning of the scriptures;” “you don’t know Arabic;” “you hate Islam and prove Islamophobia exists;” “you prove by your words the white man discrimination of imperialism and colonialism;” “you are racist and oppressive;” and other accusations according to Arab-Islamic imagination and aggression.
What Arab-Islamic history and contemporary tell us?
This is the political language of the Muslim scholars, spokesmen and propagators. Yet, one has to recall the following: the origin of the Arabs and Islam is in Arabian Peninsula. All the vast areas that have been conquered from year 632 on are the result of one of the deepest colonialist and imperialist occupation characterized by process of Arabization and Islamization of the occupied territories. The Middle East was mainly Pharaonic; Phoenician; Babilonian; Ugarit; Chaldean; Jewish, and Berber in North-Africa. Iran was Sassanid; Turkey, Afghanistan and Pakistan were Buddhist. Indeed, Islamic occupations of the Middle East, North Africa, parts of Europe and Asia were all imperialist-colonialist of the worst kind, as they have constantly become Arabized and Islamized.
The invasion out of Arabia was conducted under political ideological ambitions clocked in a religious banner and as an intrinsic part of Islamic doctrine. This process of occupation ended by ethnic cleansing and deportations of the indigenous population; massacres and genocide of peoples; huge slavery by hundreds of millions; and racist policies of Apartheid.
The Palestinian sociologist, Ali ‘Issa Othman, states his conviction that
The spread of Islam was military. There is a tendency to apologize for this, and we should not. It is one of the injunctions of the Qur’an that you must fight for the spreading of Islam.
Indeed, Islam has never been a tolerant, peaceful religion. It is not intolerant as a response to other’s intolerance, but it is inherently intolerant, racist and war-mongering by itself, according to its religious doctrine. Islamic hostility that practices a policy of systematic Jihad against the other are not a modern phenomenon, but deeply rooted in the Qur’an. It has been operated systematically from the 7th century on until today.
Moreover, against the religious command to love their own fellow believers, Muslims massacre by millions other Muslims. Today, it is represented by the emergence of groups and organizations that follow the Islamic ancestors’ tradition, Salafiyah, with the following division: traditional (Salafīyah Taqlīdīyah), represented by the Muslim Brotherhood parties; Jihadi (Salafīyah Jihadīyah), represented by al-Qaeda and its regional organizations (like AQAP, AQIM, al-Shabab in Somalia, Boko Haram in Nigeria, Jabhat al-Nusra in Syria); and Takfīri (Salafiyah Takfīrīyah), represented the Islamic Caliphate State.
The objectives of Islamic hatred
The Qur’an makes it clear that Islam is not about universal brotherhood and cooperation, but the brotherhood of the community of believers. The Qur’an says that all other religions as such are cursed by Allah. Whoever does not believe in Muhammad and totally follow him; whoever contends with Muhammad and Islamic tenets it means heresy that deserves death. It is the nature of Islam to dominate and not to be dominated; to rule and not to be ruled; to be superior on all the infidels. The Muslim vision is clear: there is one universe, and it must be under the banner of Islam. All humanity must submit to Islam as the supreme religion.
The Islamic excuses of the past are no more relevant. The claims they revenge only at acts that are committed against them; acts that humiliate their honor and their souls; or for defense of their nation and soil; and all other sorts of fairy-tales for the consumption of Western media to publish and public opinion to impress – these excuses are no more relevant. The fact is that Muslim groups and organizations murder and butcher and operate all kinds of horrible atrocious acts of violence are exactly for political reasons under the cloak of religious issues and as a result of cultural reasoning. They wish to conquer the world, to impose their religion and culture, and they do not feel any shame or guilt remorse. From their vantage point, they are entitled to possess everything, as it is promised in the Qur’an. They have never given up the prophetic message that Islam must dominate the entire world, and they have all the patience (Sabr) in time to bring these ambitions come true.
The Saudi legal expert, Basem ‘Alem states it clearly:
As a member of the only true religion, I have a greater right to invade others in order to impose the Shari’ah, which history has proven to be the best and most just of all civilizations. This is the true meaning of Jihad. When we wage Jihad, it is not in order to convert people to Islam, but in order to liberate them from the dark slavery in which they live.
This is apparent in an interview with Ayat Allah Kamil, a Palestinian woman who had tried to carry out a suicide bombing. When asked by the Guardian journalist: “Do you have any dreams for the future?” She responded
My deep belief and wishes that the whole world becoming Islamic, a world in which we will all live in peace, joy, and harmony, all of us, human beings, animals, flowers, plants, and stones. Islam will even bring peace to vegetables and animals, the grass and the stones… And you will be able to remain Jewish, whatever you want; it doesn’t matter, but only in an Islamic world.
…and its consequences and repercussions
The Western world reaction to this reality if fear and intimidation. One of the fresh examples is the case of Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a victim of genital mutilation in infancy and a victim of Islamic persecution today. Now she has been subjected to yet another example of Western cowardice and hypocrisy. Brandeis University has decided not to award her an honorary degree. As Arnold Ahlert observes, Brandeis honored Desmond Tutu who was an overt anti-Semite, and asserted that the Holocaust’s gas chambers made for “a neater death” than did Apartheid. He regularly accuses the Jewish State of ethnic cleansing, and insists that Zionism has “very many parallels with racism.” Brandeis also honored the playwright Tony Kushner, despite his overt anti-Semitism for Israel. He also accused the Jewish State of ethnic cleansing, and insisted its creation “was a mistake.”
Nevertheless they have been given the honorary degree. A similar case was also the University of Haifa decision not to grant an honorary doctorate to Nobel Prize laureate Yisrael Aumann, “because of his political views,” but has awarded the extreme leftist anti-Zionist Shulamit Aloni the honorary degree without hesitation.
The question is why the academia, the media, and governments in the West, founded on liberalism and secularism, would not only refuse to counter Islamic Jihad and Da‘wah onslaught against other civilizations but even deny that Islam is not compatible with the basic values of freedoms and civil rights? The answer is surprisingly simple: because they are frightened, because they are intimidated and terrorized. They are frightened of being accused of Islamophobia and racism; they are intimidated by brutal savage forces that threaten and actually attack them; they are terrorized by anarchic and chaotic groups of ruffians; and they are paralyzed by Islam’s real intent to bring us all to its 7th century traditions and way of life. Part of them, mainly the academia and the cultural hedonists, act along these lines because they hate the west and its values and they perceive Islam as a cure to what they call ‘Western malaise;’ as they embrace sick and twisted ideologies based on neo-Bolshevism and neo-Fascism.
The best to exhibit the mired reality of this Western world’s situation is the example of the British newspaper, the Guardian’s cartoonist and head of the British Cartoonist Association, Tim Benson. Anti-Semite in profession, he often sketches horrible graphic cartoons against Israel, but never against Islam and the Palestinians. When asked about this, his answer was pure and simple: I am afraid. It means, he can draw anything against Israel, the Jews, Christianity and Buddhism, and nothing happens, but he would not dare to do that when Muslims, Arabs and Palestinians are concerned. He does not want to be persecuted like Salman Rushdie, or be butchered like Theo Van Goch, to mention the few.
The academia and the media worldwide are sick, and Israeli academia and media represent a pure tragic example of this sickness, because Israel is in the forefront of the war of civilizations, the last fortified dam before the deluge. Unless these two important organs of Western society’s body that hold crucial influence on the governmental apparatus decision making stop their submission and capitulation to the forces of evil, the Western world is doomed.
Those in power are still terrified of offending Islam. Honor killing is still overwhelmingly an Islamic tradition; gender equality simply does not exist within Muslim culture and jurisprudence; women still have very few rights and are treated like beasts in Muslim states; women rape victims are punished even to death in large parts of the Middle East; and women are still forced to cover their entire bodies in dark tent. Islamic immigration wrack and havoc Western societies; and the Muslim’s third generation proves to be the most extremist and fanatic, and still Western governments appease Islam and actually even unintentionally promote its victory.
The Muslim women’s clothing is the symbol to Western world’s sick era. If “Sunlight is the best disinfectant,” then Western civilization is marching courageously to a dark era in which Islam determines the values of the future. This is a darkness era that clouds the minds of those in power in the West, as much as in the academia and the media, not to see the bright sights of Islam’s brutal onslaught of Jihad; not to hear the clear voices of Islam’s targets operated by Da‘wah; and not to smell the scent of Islamic blood-hunt that wishes to smash our freedoms and civil rights and to re-mold Western civilization according to their traditions.
This almost constitutes a perpeteum mobile, which leads to a simple mathematics: if the number of the Islamic fanatics produced by hatred is higher than those the Free World can neutralize, it means that it is losing the war of civilizations. Indeed, the Western world’s mired situation is so intimidating that it refuses to tell even to itself that Islam is engaging in a Third World War against us, and we even do not fight back, but appease and pay protection money. What we are really dealing with is not Islamophobia, but the acute danger of Islamophilia and Islamization of the Free World’s civilization.
Euthanasia, Living Will and The Analysis In India
Euthanasia, i.e. mercy killing, refers to the act of painlessly putting to death a person who is either very old or very ill to prevent further pain and suffering. It is basically a practice that is done on people suffering from incurable diseases or incapacitating physical disorder wherein they are allowed to die by the withdrawal of artificial life support system or withholding of medical treatment. On 9th March 2018, the Supreme Court of India, in a historical decision, legalised passive euthanasia and the right of terminally ill persons to give advance directives for refusal of medical treatment. Therefore, the concept of ‘living will’ was recognised which essentially refers to the document that the person writes in a normal state of mind seeking passive euthanasia when he reaches an irreversible vegetative state or when he gets terminally ill. For a comprehensive understanding of this whole topic, we have demarcated between different types of ‘mercy killing’ in the next section. Also, we will discuss the concerned judgement in detail not forgetting to mention the backdrop that led to the much-anticipated move. Additionally, we will try to summarise the arguments of both the supporters as well as the dissenters of the move before finally moving to the conclusion.
Active Euthanasia, Passive Euthanasia, Indirect Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide
Active Euthanasia refers to the deliberate act of ending the life of a terminally ill or incurable patient through the administration of a legal drug or injection by the physician. Passive Euthanasia is the withdrawal or withholding of artificial life support system when the patient requests to do so or when prolonging of his life is termed futile. Indirect Euthanasia means the provision of treatment with an aim to reduce pain and suffering, but which eventually speeds up the process of death. And, assisted suicide (also called physician-assisted suicide) refers to the situation when the doctor intentionally and knowingly provides the patient with the knowledge and/or means to commit suicide. The laws regarding euthanasia differ throughout the world. In countries like Belgium and the Netherlands, euthanasia has been legal since 2002. The practice of ‘Assisted Suicide’ is legal in European countries of Switzerland and Germany. In England, both euthanasia, as well as assisted suicide, are illegal. In most of the U.S., euthanasia is illegal but physician-assisted suicide has been legalised in ten of its states. In India, passive euthanasia was legalised two years back. The next section discusses the same in detail.
Euthanasia in India: The Aruna Shanbaug Case and the Common Cause Judgement
The case of Aruna Shanbaug has been quite instrumental in changing the euthanasia laws in India. Ms. Aruna Ramchandra Shanbaug was an Indian nurse who in 1973, was sexually assaulted by a ward boy in the hospital as a result of which she went into a vegetative state. In 2010, a plea was filed by activist Ms. Pinki Virani before the Supreme Court seeking euthanasia for Ms. Aruna Shanbaug. The Court took up the plea and finally, on March 7, 2011, delivered the historical judgement. Ms. Virani’s plea got rejected but at the same time, broad guidelines were issued legalising passive euthanasia in India. It was held that the decision to withdraw life support must be taken by parents, spouse or other close relatives in the absence of all of whom, the ‘next’ friend would be entrusted with the responsibility. In this particular case, the hospital staff that had been taking care of Ms. Aruna for years was called the ‘next friend’ and not Ms. Virani. In 2015, Ms. Aruna Shanbaug, after 42 years of constant suffering died of pneumonia at the age of 66 but not before playing a vital role in influencing upcoming euthanasia-related laws in India.
In a separate move, ‘Common Cause’, an NGO working for people’s rights, approached the Supreme Court under Art. 32 of the Constitution in the year 2005, wherein they prayed for the declaration that ‘Right to Die with Dignity’ be made a fundamental right under Art. 21  i.e. Right to Life. Additionally, they requested the court to give directions to the government with regards to the execution of living wills in case a person gets terminally ill. The argument was that subjecting terminally ill people or the people suffering from chronic diseases to cruel treatments denied them the right to live with dignity. On February 25, 2014, a 3-judge bench of the Supreme Court led by the then CJI P. Sathasivam started final hearing in the case wherein it came out that the previous judgements given in the case of Aruna Shanbaug v. Union of India (2011), as well as the case of Gian Kaur v. State of Punjab (1996), were inconsistent. The matter was then referred to a 5 Judge Constitutional Bench. And finally, on March 9, 2018, in a historical decision, CJI Deepak Mishra led bench recognised the concept of ‘living will’ that was to be drawn by terminally ill patients for passive euthanasia and also laid down comprehensive guidelines for the same. Hence, the ‘Right to Die with Dignity’ was held to be a fundamental right.
Euthanasia- a good or a bad thing?
The proponents of Euthanasia argue that allowing an incurable patient to die will alleviate the constant pain and suffering that one has to go through when in the vegetative state. The other point which they talk about is that ‘right to die with dignity’ is a matter of personal choice and no-one else should be allowed to interfere in the patient’s decision. It has also been said time and again that timely executed euthanasia could also relieve the financial burden on the family of the patient which in case of absence of the law, could exert a lot of financial burden on poor households.
Moreover, coming to the major points that the opponents say, the fact that the law on euthanasia could be misused is always talked about. It is argued that children of old and ill parents would certainly want to neglect their parents when they are needed the most. This does not fit with the kind of social and cultural environment that we have in India, where parents are supposed to be provided with care when they get too old. Also, the opponents lay emphasis on the sanctity of life and reckon that accepting euthanasia would lead to a reduction in society’s respect for life.
Benefits of recognising Living Will
Recognition of Living will indeed have some good impact. The concept essentially requiresa person to write the will as an advance directive when he is capable of making a sensible decision. And, thus, this rules out the possibility of the situation when the patient, being too ill, is not able to make an informed and competitive decision especially so in the case of Mentally Challenged patients and the patients who are incoma. Also, the living will, to much extent, would relieve the moral burden from the family member who actually takes steps for euthanasia, for ultimately, he would be fulfilling the informed wish of the patient only. Passive Euthanasia could sometimes, in exceptional circumstances, lead to the allegations of murder so the existence of a living will have a role to play in preventing such situations. In and all, the legalisation of ‘living will’goes a long way in effective implementation of the laws of euthanasia in India.
In the course of this article, we tried to explain with clarity the concepts of euthanasia as well as ‘living will’. We listed out the arguments of both the proponents as well as the opponents of euthanasia and also mentioned how the ‘living will’ is going to have a positive impact. Giving due importance to the judgement of the Supreme Court in the Common Cause Case, the long-anticipated Fundamental Right to Die with Dignity has finally been accepted. The legalisation of Passive Euthanasia, along with the recognition of ‘living will’ would make a lot of difference in how the severely ill patients meet their death. Having a dignified death is equally important as having a dignified life, so in that respect, the laws on euthanasia would come out to be of vital importance. As far as the living will is concerned, it is definitely going to simplify the entire process of euthanasia. In the end, we could just hope that the laws are able to achieve the desired objectives.
The Constitution of India, 1950, Art. 32.
The Constitution of India, 1950, Art. 21.
 Aruna Ramachandra Shanbaug v. Union of India, (2011) 4 SCC 454.
Gian Kaur v. State of Punjab, (1996) 2 SCC 648.
 Common Cause (A Regd. Society) v Union of India and Anr, 2018 5 SCC 1.
Reimagining Governance after Covid-19
What will it take to rescue the global economy in the wake of COVID-19? Are adjustments, improvements or amendments enough? Haven’t we done this before? Maybe it’s time to rethink this with a mindset, not of ‘starting again’ which would tend to invite ‘again’ thinking, but instead to begin with a completely blank slate – no preconceptions – just goals.
I suggested a new paradigm, a total reset.
Change most often happens incrementally, over decades, if not centuries and many historical truths define the present long past their relevance. For one, the fundamental principles of our global economy still rest on the agrarian and industrial revolutions. Tilling the soil and staffing factories remain the foundations of today’s economic planning – despite the fact that we have well entered the digital, automated world.
Another of these historical, yet increasingly outdated conventionsis the pervasiveness of male leadership.
The position of women has evolved incrementally and at best- unevenly – throughout the world. Although women comprise half the population, the world’s political, economic and social systems continue to be based on designs stemming from and reflecting men’s nature.
All things being equal, it is very costly to knock down the entirety of something and start from scratch. Perhaps fortunately, the devastation caused by COVID-19 is happening at a time of acute and increasing awareness of the imbalance in society. This offers a rare, first-ever opportunity to revisit the definition of effective.
That is whyit make sense to re-architect these systems now, imbuing governance with a mix of qualities of success that are peculiar to women as well as those of men.An op-ed in the British Medical Journal recently noted that to avoid ‘groupthink’ and blind spots, policy decisions must include representatives with diverse backgrounds. But during the outbreak of covid-19 the male-led governments of the UK and Sweden relied mainly on epidemiological modeling by internal advisors. Few channels were open for dissenting views. By contrast, Merkel looked to outside sources, beyond epidemiology to medical providers, and as far as South Korea’s successful testing and isolation procedures.
Two notable characteristics of leadership of women leaders during Covid-19 were inclusiveness and compassion: embracing diversity in political institutions and empowering society. In the battle against corona this meant transparency, clarity of responsibility with everything visible – not behind the scenes. It meant swiftly finding ways to allow the populace to become stakeholders in the solution. It included appealing to the citizenry with an executive demeanor that conveyed commitment and a sense that there was a consistent plan of action that demanded civic responsibility while at the same time, leaving the people with a great deal of discretion and personal influence over their own experience.
Compassion informed a compelling vision presented with warmth.
Some like Peter Huang of the University of Colorado Law School, have already noted the most important leadership lesson of COVID-19:put more women in charge. But is that enough when the system itself is informed by and imbued with male characteristics, language, energy?
Societal norms are defined and shaped by millennia of men at the helm. Thus most women remain compelled to conform to the existing framework, created by and for men, to attain and hold their positions. In most cases, that means; act like a man. Adapt to systems where leaders are expected to be aggressive, domineering and cut-throat.
The devastation wreaked by COVID-19 shows that the existing framework is no longer relevant, opening an opportunity to invent something totally new. The virus has created a moment where we can begin to see the possibilities devoid of the limitations of our old ways. The time has come to expand the definition of what is effective and reimagine measures for governance based on entirely new systems that emerge from a cooperative process of creation. For the first time in the history of humanity, society can be built on foundations rising from a fully cooperative process between men and women. With a clean slate and a balanced – male and female, yin and yang -defined approach, we have the opportunity to do it right.
Contextualizing the causes of rape: Battle of ‘wrong’ perceptions
The recent sexual assault committed at the outskirts of Lahore motorway has sparked tremendous outrage in Pakistan, from highlighting CCPO’s misogynist remarks, defending him, demanding public hanging, justice for the victim and overall security for women to spreading gender awareness in the society. However, to my utter surprise, the discourse rarely mentioned the perpetrators the way they should have been mentioned. The predominant yet absolutely fallacious focus remained on how ‘rape’ stems out of some ‘sexual deprivation’ or ‘uncontrollable sexual urges’. In other words, rapists seek ‘sexual gratification’ through rape. The problem with this statement is that it minimizes the legal responsibility of rapists and attributes the causes of rape to something beyond their control. Once the legal responsibility of rapists is removed or reduced, then either the circumstances or the victims themselves are blamed for creating situations in which the criminal lose control of themselves for sexual fulfilment. How can one consider and accept this supposed ‘uncontrollability’ of men, when this very society ‘informs’ us that men are more ‘rational’, ‘sound’ and ‘prudent’ while women are ‘emotional’ and ‘sentimental’. In religion and in wider social discourse, majority of leadership and managerial positions are reserved for men because they are considered logical and mentally more stable than us females. How can someone who is allegedly more rational, more reasonable and sensible have no control over their sexual behavior? Have no sense of individual dignity and self-restraint, personal responsibility and moral accountability? If we accept this wrong perception about men’s incapability to control their sexual desires, then, we should immediately overhaul the society and put men into the confines of their homes and must restrict their exposure to public space, because they have no power over themselves. Do you see where this argument may lead if we keep thinking that men cannot control their sexual urges and rape just happens out of lust and sexual desires?
The truth is both genders have equal sexual needs and desires, the only difference between them is that society has ‘normalized’ male sexuality and stigmatized ‘female sexuality’. And yes, both genders have equal control over their sexual urges. Rape never happens randomly and just out of extreme sexual urges, remember, it is an act carried out by the rapists intentionally. Moreover, majority of rapists (as various researches shows) have multiple venues to fulfil their sexual needs through extra-material ‘consensual sex’ and prostitutes. Paradoxically, a lot of rapists are married men, and men in powerful positions who have unlimited access to free but ‘consensual sex’. Therefore, we need to reject widespread notions that perhaps sexual impulses are uncontrollable, and because they cannot be controlled, they will ultimately lead to sexual crimes or rapists are essentially some ‘sex-deprived individuals’. The wrong emphasis will lead to wrong solutions to eradicate this social evil.
In this context, it is extremely necessary to understand the reasons and motives behind rape and sexual harassment. Various researches on this subject indicates that majority of rapists are motivated by an impulses of aggression incorporating power, acceptance of violence, revenge and anger. They are also encouraged by a combination of aggression and sexual expression emerging directly from the traditional male sex-role which is why when rapists are asked about motivations, ‘they often indicated that rape most commonly stemmed from a sense of sexual entitlement, and it was often an act of bored men… seeking entertainment’ (Rachel Jewkes, 2010)
Also, Rape is often ‘used’ as a weapon by the rapist to control, violate, and belittle the victim or to compensate for his perceived inadequacies such as lack of power, control, identity, and authority through the act of rape. There are extensive interviews of rapists available, in which, the perpetrators have elaborated how the act of rape was not really about ‘sexual pleasure’ but rather how it satisfied their wish to attain control, spread violence, and seek punishment and domination. Susan Brown miller, a feminist scholar, famously proclaimed that: “Rape is not a crime of irrational, impulsive, uncontrollable lust, but is a deliberate, hostile, violent act of degradation and possession on the part of a would-be conqueror, designed to intimidate and inspire fear…’Moreover, another feminist researcher MacKinnon found out that ‘aggression against those with less power is often experienced as sexual pleasure, an entitlement of masculinity that creates and maintains a sexual/gender hierarchy’. This has been demonstrated through Sanday’s Study on rape that distinguished between ‘‘rape-prone’’ and ‘rape-free’’ societies. Her cross-cultural study found that rape-prone societies were associated with interpersonal violence, male social dominance, and the subordination of women. In contrast, rape-free societies were characterized by respect for female authority and decision making and the near absence of interpersonal violence.
Besides, if we look at the history we will realize that rape has been used as aweapon of war and oppression throughout history. It has been used to degrade women and weak, vulnerable- unprivileged man and their communities and for ethnic cleansing and genocide. In jails all over the world, male rape is pervasive and never even highlighted through ‘breaking news’. In the famous rape case of Mukhtar Mai, the focus almost entirely diverted towards her, whereas her 14 years old brother was, also, a victim of repeated gang-rape by the three Baloch Mastoi men. And let’s never forget that it was the local Jirga who ordered the rape of Mukhtar Mai. How sick is this society where men are not punished for their criminal acts but rather their sisters, daughters, wives and mothers are punished. If a man sexually assault a woman, that man should be punished not woman belonging to his family. There are hundreds of examples where woman and man were sexually assaulted to humiliate or dominate and take revenge or inflict pain and injury either directly on the victim and their family or to disgrace one gender as a whole. Therefore, It can be established that rape has numerous motives as Beverly McPhail, renowned feminist scholar who has done extensive research on causes of rape, asserted that rape is both “a political, aggregate act whereby men as a group dominate and control women as a group,” and “a very personal, intimate act in which the body of a singular person is violated by another person(s).” She asserts further that “Rape occurs due to multiple motives rather than the single motivation… The multiple motivations include, but are not limited to revenge, power/control, and attempts to achieve or perform masculinity recreation or sexual gratification (of violent ‘nonconsensual sex).”
However, the common misperception in the society is that rape occurs because of ‘uncontrollable sexual urges’, ‘late marriages, ‘broken families’, ‘women not wearing veil’ and the like. The whole notion that the rapists might have felt ‘out of control’ is a gross rejection of the fact that rapists ‘intentionally’ commit assault to ‘control’ the victim. This line of thinking perpetuate the false notion that perhaps man are some desperate beasts and therefore cannot control their sexual urges. Unfortunately, there is a subtle acknowledgment of such wrong, delusionary and misplaced perception in the tone of so many people, who, perhaps think our society is ‘sex starved’. In fact, our society is obsessed with sex and the daily news of sexual assaults are emblematic of this. Men in our society have raped ‘dead females after exhuming’, minors, (both boys and girls) and animals. If this is not obsession then what it is? This doesn’t sound like ‘starvation’.
The major problem emerges with patriarchy and how ‘sexual violence’ has been normalized and accepted. Yes, our society has stealthily ‘accepted’ sexual violence when majority of populace of Islamic republic chants in unison the notions of ‘chadar and char devari’ to ‘save’ women from sexual harassments. Ironically women are not even safe in their homes or in some cases in their graves, and don’t forget a huge number of girls and minors are raped by family members. Such mentality forgets to look at the causes of rape, ending rape culture, and correcting male behavior, instead it just loves to assume as if ‘chadar and char devari’ has saved and protected women. Our society has accepted and normalize sexual harassment when films and media is blamed for spreading vulgarity and spoiling the young generation, as if before the advent of social media and films, rape cases were non-existent. Our society has normalized sexual harassment when male children are brought up differently than females and when the family and educational institutes do not inculcate gender sensitization in students. This very ‘Islamic republic’ tolerate sexual violence when women are routinely given rape threats but law enforcement agencies rarely take actions; when rapists are not punished and roam freely. When criminals committing domestic violence, acid attacks, honor killings go unpunished. Every time when women is stared at by men in streets (even if she is wearing burqa) , when she is groped or touched in public, in schools, universities, offices and she remains silent out of fear of retaliation and humiliation and cannot hold the culprit responsible, this ‘rape culture’ is nourished and strengthened by ourselves. Moreover, the extent of hypocrisy that is maintained through this rape cultureis such that perpetrators are virtually ‘morally acquitted’ of their heinous crime. For the most part, there is a little reference towards them being ‘real culprits’. Our society has attached no stigma no disgrace towards the offenders of sexual violence, staring, catcalling, eve teasing and the like. Instead, it dearly devotes all its energy towards ‘disgracing’ and ‘dishonoring’ the victims and their family. We never shout out and label the perpetrators as ‘disgraceful’, ‘dishonorable’, ‘criminals’ and of course ‘sinners’ as well. This society tell victims that how they are ‘disgraced’ or have ‘lost their honor’ by the sexual assault whereas in reality the victim is innocent and mazloom. The victim’s human rights are violated and s/he is oppressed, and who is oppressed cannot be ‘dishonored’. It is only the oppressor, the criminal who is disgraced and dishonored by his crimes and sins. But have we ever, collectively and vocally, renounced and stigmatized the rapists in particular and perpetrators of other acts of sexual harassment in general? Would it be wrong to say that staring, catcalling, abusing, eve teasing etc. by Pakistani men have actually become our ‘national character’ and majority of man are not even sorry for these shameful and inhumane acts. The day when sexual harassment is removed in all these forms at grassroots level, heinous crimes like rape will tremendously reduce as well.
To add insult to injury, the clergy (the Mullahs, the Allamas) has all the time in the world to ‘preach’ and perform their ‘religious duties’ during Ramzan and Moharram, and who, vociferously condemn ‘bad behavior’ in women, suddenly disappear from the scene when incidents of sexual harassment occurs. No ‘jaloos’ or ‘rallies’ by these religious leaders are organized to denounce the crime committed largely by individuals from their gender. Of course they can’t come out and condemn such crimes as most of these religious figures are themselves involved in such crimes and the others simply do not bother about the societal problems because their sole responsibility is to strengthen and disseminate their respective sectarian believes through Mosques, Iman bargahs, jammatkhanas and madrassahs. Because, they are very part and parcel of patriarchal society and all the notions of male superiority and domination have given them tremendous advantages in their personal and professional lives.
Nonetheless, it is their moral responsibility to ‘educate’ the masses (particularly males) that how grave a ‘sin’ rape is (and a crime against humanity in both national and international law), that how God has ordered men to ‘lower their eyes’ and guard their modesty. In the common discourse all the notions of modesty and chastity are only confined to women, as if God has given men the ‘freedom’ to do as he pleases. The truth is modesty (sharm-o-haya) is compulsory for both men and women as God has ordained in verse 24:30 ‘Tell the believing men to lower their gaze, and protect their private parts (from illegal sexual acts, etc.). That is purer for them. Verily, Allah is All-Aware of what they do’. Have you ever noticed that most of the time no one talks about this, people only talk about how only women need to veil and act modestly, and if they don’t ‘behave’ this way, it is the God given right to men to sexually harass them.
Sorry to disappoint you, God has not bestowed any such right to men, He has, explicitly, ordered men to guard their chastity, but majority of the men in our society have ‘completely’ forgotten and neglected to safeguard their modesty (Sharm-o-haya). In fact, if society had taught this sharm-o-haya to our men, sexual violence would not have become endemic and gender equality would not have become so hard to achieve. Therefore, if we really want to become a civilized and progressive society we need to inculcate this fundamental principal in our men with the same emphasis, because they are fully accountable and responsible for their actions. It is about time that we change our focus from ‘victim blaming’ (or women blaming) to ‘reeducate’ men in our society. To achieve this, we have to break the cycle of patriarchic values and advocate the absolute inviolability of individual dignity and equality of human beings. Don’t wait for the society to miraculously change, start with the person in the mirror.
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