Tuesday 8th March marks the centenary of International Women’s Day, a day set by the West to celebrate the victories women globally have made in their struggle to secure their rights and respect. However, the epidemic levels of abuse, rape, violence, sexual harassment and discrimination in public life faced by women in the West and the East under Western secular democracy should give serious cause for reflection as to what this political system has actually achieved for women over the last 100 years. In addition, the dire poverty, widespread illiteracy and lack of access to basic needs such as education and healthcare that plagues the lives of millions of women within secular democratic countries such as Bangladesh, Pakistan, India, Brazil and Indonesia to mention only a few, is a stark reminder of debilitating women’s problems that continue to be unsolved under this system.
Dr. Nazreen Nawaz, Central Media Representative of Hizb ut-Tahrir commented, “Rather than a time for celebration, the centenary of International Women’s Day should turn world attention to the lack of credibility of secular democracy in securing the dignity and basic rights of women. Undoubtedly, women have made much progress within the fields of education and economic and political life. However, it must be recognised that such rights were hard-earned through the determined struggles that individual women or organisations made against a system that failed to automatically guarantee these basic entitlements for women. Furthermore, while Western secular democratic states continue to grapple with huge levels of abuse and violence against women, it is unacceptable that such a system lay claim to having liberated women or be presented as a model for women’s liberation globally.”
“Women in Afghanistan and Iraq have tasted at first hand the fruits of Western democracy and it has been a desperately bitter experience. With reduced security, increased abductions, rapes and violence, impunity for perpetrators of abuse against women, and incompetent leaderships that have failed to address poverty or provide basic needs for millions of their women, many have realised that the only thing that Western democracy has liberated is the oil and gas routes through their countries.”
“Injustice, indignity, repression, poverty and misery has been the staple diet for women under the secular democratic systems of the Muslim world. Whether it is the humiliation suffered by hundreds of rape victims in secular democratic Pakistan who have been thrown into prison and then raped again while in custody; or the cruelty endured by hundreds of female political prisoners languishing in the jails of the secular state of Uzbekistan; or the shame felt by thousands of women sexually harassed on the streets of secular democratic Bangladesh, it is simply indicative of the fact that there is not one single state in the Muslim world based upon man-made laws – whether dictatorships or democracies – that can claim to be a success story for its women.”
“Many fear what the Islamic political system of the Khilafah state would bring to the lives of women of the world. However, what deserves the greatest fear is the continuation of the status quo or replacing fallen regimes with tried, tested, and failed systems that can only herald in more decades of oppression and misery for women. One hundred years is more than ample time for the secular democratic system to prove its credentials in securing the wellbeing of women. It has had its chance and now it is time for it to move aside for a radically new model for women’s liberation, the Khilafah system.”
“The rights and respect that women in Europe and the West had to fight the system for generations to establish, Islam gave to women automatically under the Khilafah state 1400 years ago. It is a system that not only guarantees the full rights of women in education, economics, judiciary, and politics but also through its values and laws places equal emphasis on the importance of securing respect for women in the eyes of men, which is the primary barrier to abuse, violence, harassment, exploitation, and the stripping away of rights. It is a state therefore that will overhaul the sexism of both Western and non-Islamic Eastern culture, turning the dream that many women globally still yearn for into a reality. We call upon those who believe in creating real change in improving the lives of women in the Muslim world and others who actively advocate women’s rights, to join the call for the Khilafah that embodies the true call for women’s rights, justice, and “women’s liberation””.
Dr. Nazreen Nawaz
Central Media Representative of Hizb ut-Tahrir