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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Dua Khalil

I despise religion. I really do. So much evil is perpetrated in the name of god, and those doing it are utterly convinced of their correctness because it is sanctioned, practiced, taught, and reinforced societally using the Word Of God as the standard for every action.

Today's rage brought to you by the story of Dua Khalil, stoned to death at the behest of her uncle and cousins for possibly having interest in a boy from another religion. She was murdered, her head bashed in finally with a concrete block, in broad daylight in public. And it was recorded by someone who chose to stand by and record it rather than trying to stop it.

I first heard about this Monday from a post Joss Whedon made on Whedonesque. Read it. Go now. I'll wait here.

He's right. He's so right. And this shit has got to stop.

"Oh, but nothing like that could ever happen here!" you say. Bullshit. It happens in a million small ways across this country every day. Hell, it happened to one of my dearest friends, dragged before her congregation to have all her hair cut off because a man in the congregation believed she was having sexual thoughts and dreamed that she had masturbated. And that was just one example of the things done to her in the name of God and religion before she finally stopped it, said no, and became an emancipated minor. No, this isn't murder, but her parents let something awful happen to her because they believed in the leaders of their faith, even though any reflection on the issue would've given them pause. But I guess Falwell is right: "Christians, like slaves and soldiers, ask no questions."

I'm sick to death of people getting away with cruel, unconscionable things because, "It's part of their religious tradition." or "It's part of their beliefs." If your religions suggests that you do something to someone else that you wouldn't want done to you THEN DON'T DO IT!!! Or, y'know, here's a simple, obvious rule: Don't murder people, especially the ones you (in theory) love!

In the SFGate article, the sentence that set me off the most was this:
In an interview, Mohsen Gargari, a Kurdish member of parliament, and two other Kurdish lawmakers condemned Duaa's killing. But they noted that in February a Sunni woman had been killed by relatives for having a relationship with a Yazidi man. "Nobody talked about it. Nobody filmed it or turned it into a big issue," he said.

Oh, okay, so it's not that big of a deal then. It happens all the time. This is just a Sunni plot to make the Yazidi look bad. Well fuck that! No one, anywhere, of any religion, should ever ever ever be beaten to death by a crowd for (allegedly) being in love with someone. There's no scenario where that's okay. You can be disappointed in your niece. You could tell her it's a bad idea. You could disown her. But you may not murder her. Anyone who thinks that is a good plan really deserves no better themselves and I hope these men die a horrible, cruel, and bloody death.

Women are too frequently treated as less than an object. They are treated as less than an animal. They are treated as property to be abused or destroyed as you please. This is a thread that runs through all of the religions of Abraham, loud and clear in the Bible in Genesis 19:8, and happening repeatedly throughout that text. It is unacceptable to found our society on these beliefs. I have the right to life and liberty the same as any man on Earth, and while I live in the privileged, rarified world of the SF Bay Area, and get to live my life feeling that I do have that freedom, many women are not so lucky. The fight isn't over until every one of us can live free of the fear of being bludgeoned in the street by our loved ones.

3 Comments:

  •     I despise religion. I really do.

    No kidding.

        So much evil is perpetrated in the name of god, and those doing it are utterly convinced of their correctness because it is sanctioned, practiced, taught, and reinforced societally using the Word Of God as the standard for every action.

    I despise socialism. So much evil is perpetrated in the name of socialism.

    I despise freedom. So much evil is perpetrated in the name of freedom.

    The logic is the same. But the reality is that similarly to religion, socialism and freedom have little to do with Nazism and the IRA.

        Today's rage brought to you by the story of Dua Khalil, stoned to death at the behest of her uncle and cousins for possibly having interest in a boy from another religion.

    Possibly? “Accounts of what happened to Duaa vary, but some things are clear. She had begun a relationship with a young Sunni Arab.” That sounds pretty unambiguous.

        She was murdered, her head bashed in finally with a concrete block, in broad daylight in public. And it was recorded by someone who chose to stand by and record it rather than trying to stop it.

    All of which should be condemned. But what has this got to do with religion? It is hypocrisy to lay the blame for this tragedy on religion unless you simultaneously condemn skin color, politics, and nationalities. They have all been used as an excuse for violence against others.

        [Joss Whedon]'s right. He's so right. And this shit has got to stop.

    Is he also right when he describes this a human and cultural, not religious, phenomenon?

    That said, he’s wrong when he says that “every popular religion puts restrictions on women’s behavior that are practically untenable”. What such restriction does Christianity (or Judaism, for that matter) place upon women?

    And his claim that “the act of being a free, attractive, self-assertive woman is punishable by torture and death” is simply absurd. There is simply no Judeo-Christian foundation for that at all.

        [O]ne of my dearest friends, dragged before her congregation to have all her hair cut off because a man in the congregation believed she was having sexual thoughts and dreamed that she had masturbated.

    Presumably this group claimed to be Christian. The problem is that their action is not remotely Biblically justifiable. You can’t blame the religion for what some bizarre cult does any more than you can blame socialism, freedom, or race. It’s like blaming the car manufacturer when the driver violates the instructions in the user’s manual!

    You don’t despise GM for drunk driving fatalities, surely?!

        I'm sick to death of people getting away with cruel, unconscionable things because, "It's part of their religious tradition." or "It's part of their beliefs."

    Personally, I’m sick to death of people getting away with cruel, unconscionable abortions because “it’s part of their beliefs”.

        If your religions suggests that you do something to someone else that you wouldn't want done to you THEN DON'T DO IT!!!

    This sounds familiar…

    • “Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself.” — Leviticus 19:18

    • Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you.” — Luke 6:27–31

         Or, y'know, here's a simple, obvious rule: Don't murder people, especially the ones you (in theory) love!

    It is notable that her father tried to protect her by putting her in the custody of a Yazidi clergyman. Yet the thugs abducted her from their religious leader. Why should religion get the blame? The religious establishment was, in fact, protecting her!

        In the SFGate article, the sentence that set me off the most was this:
        'In an interview, Mohsen Gargari, a Kurdish member of parliament, and two other Kurdish lawmakers condemned Duaa's killing. But they noted that in February a Sunni woman had been killed by relatives for having a relationship with a Yazidi man. "Nobody talked about it. Nobody filmed it or turned it into a big issue," he said.'
        Oh, okay, so it's not that big of a deal then. It happens all the time. This is just a Sunni plot to make the Yazidi look bad.


    Sheesh. The politicians condemned her murder, not condoned it! They even objected to the fact that another killing had not been sufficiently covered in the media, and this set you off more than the murder itself?!

        Well fuck that! No one, anywhere, of any religion, should ever ever ever be beaten to death by a crowd for (allegedly) being in love with someone.

    There’s not much “allegedly” about it. The article makes that clear.

        But you may not murder her. Anyone who thinks that is a good plan really deserves no better themselves and I hope these men die a horrible, cruel, and bloody death.

    I wasn’t aware that two wrongs make a right. I take it then that you endorse the death penalty?

        Women are too frequently treated as less than an object. They are treated as less than an animal.

    I challenge you to cite where in the Bible women are treated as less than an animal — Old Testament or New.

        This is a thread that runs through all of the religions of Abraham, loud and clear in the Bible in Genesis 19:8, and happening repeatedly throughout that text.

    This is simply fiction. Shouldn’t we at least be intellectually honest? As I pointed out in response to your Falwell post, that passage is about how you treat guests in your home, not about gender!

    The simple fact is that, as the article makes clear, this was an ethnic conflict, not a religious one. As the article says, the Yazidi are fiercely insular, striving for ethnic purity. They are neither Christian nor Muslim. They worship a blue peacock, for crying in a bucket!

    The facts of the story simply do not add up to a religious sanction, practice, teaching, or reinforcement. And it certainly wasn't motivated by any Abrahamic religion. To claim otherwise in the face of the presented facts, as your post does, is just bigotry.

    By Blogger Michael, at 8:03 AM  

  • Michael, doubtful that I am that you will reread this post, I had a couple of questions for you.

    Did you just pick apart this post and then call her a bigot?

    quoth Michael;
    "They are neither Christian nor Muslim. They worship a blue peacock, for crying in a bucket!"

    quoth Michael;
    "Presumably this group claimed to be Christian. The problem is that their action is not remotely Biblically justifiable. You can’t blame the religion for what some bizarre cult does any more than you can blame socialism, freedom, or race."

    These sound to me like the words of intolerance. Seems to me that Jehovah has presented himself in some rather interesting forms when addressing man. And in the point you try to make regarding the church Ammy's friend attended you immediately conclude that the church she attended IS NOT a sanctioned Christian denomination and or organization, I fail to see that you are making your point when responding to, an obviously emotional, entry in a personal blog with the words that you put here.

    These are just two of many things you try to make a point on. I think that you may have missed making many of your points and maybe you missed the real point of a blog.

    I have so much more to say but I have not the time for it nor do I feel this is the right place for it. If you would like to discuss your feelings and gnostic/spiritual ideology I would be more than happy to create the proper forum and invite you to attend. Post to my open and public blog as I cannot seem to contact you through your still private posting place.

    By Blogger IckleRick, at 2:42 PM  

  • Hi Rick

    > Did you just pick apart this post and then call her a bigot?

    I’m not entirely sure why you ask this, as it can readily be determined by a careful reading of my comment. Nonetheless the answers are yes and no, respectively.

    > > "They are neither Christian nor Muslim. They worship a blue
    > > peacock, for crying in a bucket!"

    > > "Presumably this group claimed to be Christian. The problem is
    > > that their action is not remotely Biblically justifiable. You
    > > can’t blame the religion for what some bizarre cult does any
    > > more than you can blame socialism, freedom, or race."

    > These sound to me like the words of intolerance.

    Why? There is a vast difference between highlighting a distinction and expressing intolerance. Consider “Your software is a bizarre workaround” versus “I despise your software. I really do.”

    > Seems to me that Jehovah has presented himself in some rather
    > interesting forms when addressing man.


    Actually, He made quite a point about not worshipping any object. I think you will also find the Yazidi to be quite emphatic that their religion is not Abrahamic. That notwithstanding, it remains clear that the rôle of religion in this event was not to cause it but to try to prevent it!

    > And in the point you try to make regarding the church Ammy's
    > friend attended you immediately conclude that the church she
    > attended
    IS NOT a sanctioned Christian denomination and or
    > organization, I fail to see that you are making your point when
    > responding to, an obviously emotional, entry in a personal blog
    > with the words that you put here.


    I read this numerous times, but I still cannot determine your argument. I will nonetheless attempt to respond:

    1. Why did you embolden “church”? Do you claim that this implies mainstream Christianity? There is an “Ananda Church of Self-Realization” in Palo Alto which I can assure you has absolutely nothing to do with even remotely orthodox Christianity.

    2. There is no such thing as a “sanctioned” denomination.

    3. Ammy blamed religion for what happened to her friend. I observed that the cult at fault was not an orthodox Christian denomination. The institution of religion is no more to blame than the institution of politics is responsible for the Nazis.

    4. If you claim that this cult was in fact an orthodox denomination, then what was it?

    5. Emotion is perfectly legitimate, but it is never a license for baseless slander.

    > These are just two of many things you try to make a point on.
    > I think that you may have missed making many of your points


    Perhaps you have missed the points that I have made! I’d be interested to know what you think my points were.

    > and maybe you missed the real point of a blog.

    A curious assertion. Who gets to dictate the purpose of a technology? It’s rather like dictating the purpose of a telephone.

    > I have so much more to say but I have not the time for it nor do I
    > feel this is the right place for it. If you would like to discuss
    > your feelings and gnostic/spiritual ideology I would be more than
    > happy to create the proper forum and invite you to attend.


    I’m not clear as to why you believe I might want to discuss Gnosticism, but I have in any case no particular inclination to discuss either that or my “feelings”.

    > Post to my open and public blog as I cannot seem to contact you
    > through your still private posting place.


    What “private posting place”? I have no personal blog. Nor do I see the point of emboldening “open and public”. If you wish to move the discussion to your blog, just reply to this comment with a link to an appropriate post.

    Cheers

    By Blogger Michael, at 6:32 AM  

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