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WaPo Claims Muslim Wives Are Abused In US

Another seemingly unlikely story from those defenders of the faith at the Washington Post:

For Some Muslim Wives, Abuse Knows No Borders

Traditional Pressures Can Persist in U.S.

By Pamela Constable
Tuesday, May 8, 2007; A01

One was a shy, slender young woman who spoke no English when she was brought from Pakistan to enter an arranged marriage with a stranger in Virginia. The other was a self-confident professional, born in Turkey but raised in the United States, who thought she knew what she was doing when she married an educated Muslim man in Maryland.

Yet both women fell under the sway of the same powerful pressures that sometimes reach around the globe to keep Muslim wives in the Washington region imprisoned in abusive marriages, unable to fight the gossip and shame that come with defying their culture and religion, isolated from help that is just a three-digit phone number away.

“My husband beat. He show knife. I am scared for him, for all family,” said Shamim, 21, the Pakistani bride, who was rescued by police. She is being sheltered and tutored in English at a private home. “They say no money, no call mother at home. I cook for all, I not eat. I not know 911 what is. I think I go crazy.”

Shireen, the woman in Maryland, speaks with articulate chagrin about how the crushing weight of social expectation kept her in a relationship that soon turned violent. Both women’s last names are being withheld at their request.

“I was perfectly happy living alone, but the family kept pushing me to marry. I wanted to show them I was a good Muslim girl,” said Shireen, now 37 and divorced. When her husband became abusive, she said, relatives told her to be a better wife. When she took him to court, she said, “everyone abandoned me. I was the one who had done something wrong.” …

A major obstacle to recognizing and fighting abuse, experts said, can be Islam itself. The religion prizes female modesty and fidelity while allowing men to divorce at will and have several wives at once. Many Muslims also believe that men have the right to beat their wives. An often-quoted verse in the Koran says a husband may chastise a disobedient wife, but the phrasing in Arabic is open to several interpretations.

“Many batterers manipulate Islamic law or use its perceived authority to control their wives. A man who has the power to divorce can really twist the knife,” said Mazna Hussain, an attorney for abused women at the Tahirih Justice Center in Falls Church. “Muslim women want to be faithful to their religion, and the idea that you cannot disobey the word of God is very compelling, even if you are in an abusive relationship.” …

Another powerful barrier to change can be the grip of Muslim culture, with its gossip among extended families and its tradition of arranged marriages, in which brides often are sent to live with their in-laws. Immigrant brides are frequently cut off from their families and isolated in new households, where they occupy the lowest social rung and might be forced to act as servants.

Social workers and government officials said there are numerous programs in the area to help Muslim women who are abused, such as hotlines with links to Arabic and Urdu speakers and shelters that serve meat slaughtered according to Islamic ritual. But if a young woman is brought to the United States, speaking no English and surrounded by in-laws, she might be as far from help as if she were living in a Pakistani or Moroccan village…

A cudgel often wielded by abusive Muslim husbands in the United States is their power over the legal immigration status of their wives. Many brides arrive with temporary “marriage” visas obtained through husbands who are U.S. residents or citizens. Lawyers and social workers say an angry or demanding husband might threaten to “call immigration” and have the wife deported, raising the horrifying specter of her returning home in shame.

Many imported Muslim wives do not know that there are U.S. laws allowing them to seek residency alone if they can prove they have been abused by their spouses. Several legal-aid organizations in the region handle these petitions free of charge, and they help women seek protective orders and child custody…

In the case of Shamim, it took a series of contacts with sympathetic relatives and women’s rights activists for her to summon the nerve to call 911. When she finally did, the police came in a patrol car, helped her pack while her husband and in-laws watched in astonishment, and escorted her to a friend’s home.

“Now I am freedom,” Shamim said, grinning broadly as she took a tea break recently from her English studies. “I stay America. Not go home. In home, everyone blame woman, it is my culture. Everyone blame me.” …

Of course the article elides into a thinly veiled (ahem) plea for giving these long-suffering foreigners the protection of US citizenship.

But most Washington Post articles seem to end up being an argument for giving some long-suffering foreigners US citizenship.

If being a citizen of the US is such a panacea, how come the media and the rest of the left hates this country so much?

This article was posted by Steve on Tuesday, May 8th, 2007. Comments are currently closed.

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