India the “World’s Largest Democratic country” Fails Its Women

Anti-rape protests

On Friday 28th December 2012, the 23 year old Indian medical student who was the victim of a brutal assault and gang raped by six men on a bus in Delhi on the 16th of December 2012 died from her injuries. Her case sparked mass protests across India against the Indian police and government’s negligence and lackadaisical attitude towards the protection of women from sexual violence. Rape is at epidemic levels, an everyday occurrence and the fastest growing crime in India, the world’s largest democracy. Many sexual attacks go unreported due to large numbers of women having lost all faith in the system to protect their dignity as a consequence of the scale of the problem, a culture of impunity afforded to offenders by police, cases that drag on for years through the courts, and abysmal conviction rates. According to Al-Jazeera, a woman is raped every 20 minutes in India, and 24,000 rape cases were reported last year alone. The media outlet also reported that 80% of women in Delhi had been sexually harassed, while “The Times of India” has reported that rape in India has increased by a staggering 792% over the past 40 years.

Dr. Nazreen Nawaz, Member of The Central Media Office of Hizb ut Tahrir commented, “While Western governments continue to export ‘Democracy’ to the Muslim world as the best system to secure women’s dignity and rights, the world’s largest democratic country has failed spectacularly to protect its women. The atrocious level of sexual crimes against women, the lax attitudes by police towards guarding their dignity, and the apathy of the Indian government in ensuring their security is the result of the routine, systematic devaluing of women by the liberal culture celebrated by the state and embodied in the Bollywood entertainment industry. This Bollywood culture, along with other entertainment, advertising, and pornography industries sanctioned by India’s secular liberal democratic system have presented the woman as an object to play to the desires of men, sexualized society, encouraged individuals to pursue their selfish carnal desires, and promoted extra-marital relationships, nurturing a culture of promiscuity and cheapening the relationships between men and women. All this has desensitized the disgust that should be felt towards the violation of women’s dignity in the minds of many men. It is therefore no surprise that the country is playing a close catch-up to other liberal states such as the US and the UK that are amongst global leaders of violence against women. The democratic secular liberal system under which half its population live in fear is no model for the Muslim world to embrace.”

“It is Islam, implemented comprehensively by the Khilafah system that offers a robust, sound approach to safeguarding the dignity of women. Islam rejects liberal freedoms and rather promotes taqwa (God-consciousness) within society that nurtures a mentality of accountability in the manner by which men view and treat women. It prohibits the sexualisation of society as well as all forms of objectification and exploitation of women’s bodies, such that the relationship between the sexes is never cheapened or the woman devalued. It celebrates a comprehensive social system that regulates the relationship between men and women, and includes a modest dress code, the segregation of the genders, and prohibition of extramarital relationships – all of which directs the fulfillment of the sexual desires to marriage alone, protecting women and society. All this is implemented under the umbrella of the Khilafah system that obliges an efficient judicial system to deal with crimes swiftly as well as applying harsh punishments such as lashing for slander against women, or even the death-penalty for the violation of a woman’s dignity. It is a state where a single dishonourable glance, word, or act against a woman is considered a crime and would not be tolerated, creating a safe society for them to study, work, travel, and live. We therefore call the women of the Muslim world to embrace the Khilafah as the system that embodies the credible principles, policies and laws to safeguard their dignity and wellbeing.”

Dr. Nazreen Nawaz

Member of the Central Media Office of Hizb ut Tahrir

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