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Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Things which will never come up in European Arab Dialogue

This is not unusual, just one of the cases which made the news. Of course it will never make it to the mainstream media in the United States. The sixteen-year-old girl who stabbed one of her attempted rapists is still awaiting death by hanging in Iran.

Perhaps one of our MESA professors can explain how Arab-Muslim culture pioneered women's rights? I could use some re-education about now. Plus, I love camping.

KARACHI: Sixteen-year-old Isma Mahmood was deported to Pakistan last month after serving six months in shackles and handcuffs in a prison in Saudi Arabia. Her crime: being raped by a Saudi man.

“It’s difficult for me to talk about what happened to me, from rape to prison and from prison to deportation,” Isma told AFP in the office of a rescue trust in Karachi where she sat with her sister Muna, 18, who was also deported.

Isma’s parents, originally from Multan, were trafficked to Saudi Arabia around 20 years ago. But in Isma’s case, being born in Saudi Arabia was no help when she was raped last year in Medina. “I was the victim, I was raped and molested but I was named as the accused, and the man who committed the crime was not touched,” she said.

“He first kidnapped me, dragged me into his car,” Isma said. “At first he asked me to sleep with him and offered good money. When I refused and tried to resist, he warned me of dire consequences and raped me in the car.” The unnamed man warned her she would be imprisoned if she went to the police, and said that the Saudi sponsor who brought her parents to the country through a Pakistani agent would have them all expelled. The sponsor too threatened Isma and Muna, she said, asking that the sponsor’s name not be revealed to spare her family any additional grief. “I and my sister went to the police expecting justice, but after a few hours of filing the report the police changed it,” Isma said. Under pressure from the Saudi sponsor, Isma’s parents asked her to withdraw her report. “My sister Muna tried to help me out but was also arrested and put in prison only because she spoke for me,” she said.

Once in jail, their nightmare began in earnest, Isma said. The women prisoners were mostly Pakistanis, Indonesians, Bangladeshis and Nigerians who came to Saudi Arabia through trafficking networks and were charged with prostitution, she said.

“When I used to protest against the ill treatment they beat me on my back,” Isma added. “We were chained all during this period. The only time jail officials removed the chain was during lunch or when anyone went to the bathroom or at prayer time,” she said. “Once a jail official offered me help and assured me I would be released if I agreed to sleep with him. There was a Pakistani woman who was over 40 years old and developed AIDS in prison, but she remained in chains before she was deported to Pakistan,” she added.

Isma and Muna are now in the care of the Ansar Burney Trust. “It’s pathetic that all this happened with Isma at the hands of a fellow Muslim,” the trust’s president Ansar Burney told AFP. Burney says many poor women and girls from South Asia are lured with promises of good money working as maids or nurses, but their Arab sponsors and Pakistan agents later force them into prostitution. AFP

But look at the bright side, her family may not shoot her in the head, dump acid on her, or burn her alive. :D

Hat Tip: Discarded Lies

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