Appalling rise in murders of women in Turkey highlights secular liberal democracy is no model for a new Arab world
New statistics from the Turkish Justice Ministry reveal that that murders of women in Turkey rose by 1,400% over seven years, from 2002 to 2009, with over 950 being killed in the first seven months of 2009 alone. According to the government study, “Research of Domestic Violence against Women in Turkey” almost 42% of women are subjected to violence in the country.
Turkey has been hailed by many Western politicians and commentators as a model for the future political system of Egypt and a new Arab world, praised for supposedly marrying a Muslim majority population with a secular liberal democratic system. This scandalous treatment of women within the country should give serious re-consideration of whether such a system can truly herald a positive future for the women of Turkey or the Arab world.
Dr. Nazreen Nawaz, Central Media Representative of Hizb ut-Tahrir commented, “Beyond the glossy exterior of Turkey’s economic growth lies the ugly social consequences of secular liberalism where women’s security and dignity are primary casualties. Some have blamed Islam’s prescription of defined roles for the genders in family life for this rise in violence towards women, such as the man as the head and guardian of the family, suggesting that this ‘inequality’ in gender roles breeds disrespect for the woman. However, if this is the case, what explains the epidemic level of violence against women in Western secular liberal democratic states where such Islamic rules do not exist and where numerous gender equality bills are enshrined in law? In the UK, 1 in 4 women face domestic violence, 2 die each week at the hands of their partner, and the police receive a call every minute from a victim of such abuse according to Home Office figures. In the US a woman is battered every 15 seconds by a partner according to FBI statistics.”
“The treatment of women depends upon the prevalent attitudes within any society and in secular liberal states a contradiction exists between the call for respect for women and liberal freedoms that either allow the exploitation of the bodies of women in advertising or entertainment that cheapens the view of women, or promote the belief that men are ‘free’ to treat women as their desires dictate. Under such systems, whether in the West or in Turkey, legal reforms to establish gender equality are hollow, meaningless words that have failed miserably to secure the safety and dignity of ordinary women. Women in Turkey have therefore borne the brunt of this detrimental system and its values. Islam in contrast may define specific gender roles in family life but also prohibits the exploitation that devalues women as well as vehemently rejecting the ‘freedom’ of men to view women as they wish that are 2 of the main contributors to domestic violence under secular liberal systems.”
“Women in the Muslim world cannot afford nor should they tolerate any more Western inspired foreign experiments in shaping the form of their political system. They should not settle for the least worst political option in levels of stability or repression in the region. The tried, tested, and failed secular liberal democratic system as seen from Bangladesh to Central Asia, Pakistan to Indonesia should be no model for those who have sacrificed so much for a brighter and more just future. A system that continues to ban Muslim women from access to educational and political institutions simply for adopting Islamic dress can surely never be an example to emulate for those whose heritage, beliefs, and strength lies in Islam.”
“Real change for women in the Muslim world will only materialise with the establishment of the Khilafah state shaped purely upon Islamic laws. This is a system that has also been tried and tested but with a track record of centuries of success in securing the rights and respect of women. This was a state that mobilised whole armies to protect the dignity of 1 woman; a state that recognised women’s important contribution to the politics of society and that encouraged female education and generated thousands of female scholars. It is a state that on re-establishment will use its political, educational, and media systems to nurture a mentality of elevated respect towards women within society – Muslim and non-Muslim – as obliged by Islam, with serious judicial repercussions if their dignity or physical wellbeing is harmed in any way.”
Dr. Nazreen Nawaz
Central Media Representative of Hizb ut-Tahrir