A fantastic book was recently launched in Sydney called 'The Hidden Half – Women and Islam', written by Dr Stuart Robinson.
This book brings attention to practices in Islamic societies that we must be aware of. Specifically, it uncovers the real experiences of women in the Islamic context. As Robinson mentions in his book, this is a reality that must be faced.
The book allows us to face this reality by highlighting disturbing Islamic practices and religious texts that demand violent behaviour towards women.
The reality is faced also by confronting statistics, such as in Pakistan during an 11-month period in 2013, 56 women were killed for giving birth to a girl rather than a boy, and personal accounts of ill-treatment which gives a voice to women suffering in these societies.
Some of the disturbing religious practices that are evident in this book include the prevalence of child marriage in Islamic societies. Robinson records that “the practice of child marriage is justified by claiming puberty can occur as young as eight”.
Another key issue highlighted in this book, is that because women are classified as inferior to men and bound to obey her husband her freedom is severely limited. This can be seen that even when Muslim men commit violence against women, even murder, they only receive a mild punishment, if any at all.
My own personal commitment is that we should vigorously campaign against Sharia law in Australia as this book affirms the need for Australian laws to be based on the Judeo-Christian ethic and not other religious laws.
Under Sharia law, where rape has occurred against a woman, four male witnesses must testify supporting the account. In addition to this, Robinson highlights that “Judges in Sharia courts usually deal harshly with women while being lenient toward men”. The practices outlined in Sharia law are inhumane and unacceptable and contradict the Judeo-Christian ethic which Australia law is founded upon.
As Muslim communities proliferate in Western societies, it is important to face the stark reality and conditions that women face under their religious practices and law.
There is no one more qualified to bring the matters in this book to our attention. Dr Robinson was a missionary “legend” for the gospel and humane ministry for 14 years in South Asia, interacting with Islam.
As well, he is the founding Pastor of Australia’s largest Baptist church and a reputed author on Islam. He is not a sensationalist but seeks to look to work with the facts.
This book is for all who take human dignity of women seriously.
Rev Dr Ross Clifford AM is the Principal of Morling College (NSW Baptist) and author of numerous books many of which focus on Christian Apologetics. He is a Vice President of the Baptist World Alliance, President of the Asian Baptist Association, an acclaimed international preacher and speaker, a columnist in many Christian publications, winner of many national and international awards and for many years the Sunday evening Sydney Radio 2CH host. Ross is married to Bev, father and grand father.