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  Iraqi Mistreatment of Women
by J. Grant Swank, Pastor
4 January 2003

How the "religion of peace" treats women.

A "terrifying place," Nicholas Watt, political correspondent for THE GUARDIAN (December 3,2002), put it. It is one of the understatements in journalism, for certain.

He was referring to the lot of the female under Islamic rule—in the name of the "religion of peace."

Amnesty International consistently reports Iraqi persecution to the nth degree, reason no doubt for 15% of the Iraqi population fleeing when an escape route makes itself available.

Saddam’s own family, including son, Udayy, takes demonic delight in torturing humans, particularly anyone who raises an eyebrow in question of the hellish regime. This includes women as a special category for mistreatment. Torture is "systematic," according to Amnesty. Udayy even has gone so far as to construct his own private torture chamber!

What really could one expect when a religion and politic force upon women the obligatory headcovering? With that body shield, there goes the woman’s personal, female identity. There goes any hope for legitimately enjoying her God-given beauty and physical graces. There goes her self-esteem communication by way of smiling and glistening eyes.

The woman is imprisoned behind a black veil—hot weather not withstanding. She is hidden in society’s basement. Only males then can enjoy their facial expressions—grins, smiles, winks, eyebrows raised, loving glances, angry eye shots, blushing cheeks. Islamic females never experience these varieties of human contact.

The headcovering is obviously symbolic of the female jailhouse existence under Islamic theocratic dictatorship. She wears on her head what is steeled upon her heart—no actual identity for this earth’s stay.

Then when female body torture is documented for the world to confront the Islamic reality, there is little wonder that headcovering demeaning moves cruelly into some of the most horrific persecutions.

Such mistreatment data includes: eye-gouging, piercing hands with electric drills, suspension from ceilings, electric shocks, sexual abuse, "falaqa" in which victims are beaten on the soles of their feet, mock executions, and acid baths.

With women in particular mercilessly squeezed inside the regime’s torture vice, Islamic men actually enjoy the right to murder women clan members "in the name of honour."

Further, if a woman is accused of being a "lady of the night," her head is cut off—in public, family members invited, more times than not forced, to watch. Females accused of having anything to do with prostitution rings are raped. Accusations are most frequently undocumented.

In reality, Nidal Shakh Shallal states that "the heads of many women have been publicly cut off under the pretext of being liars, while in fact they mostly belonged to families opposing the regime."

In addition, imprisoned women and men are holed up in "inhumane and degrading conditions" with as many as 700 persons sloshed into one jail in central Baghdad. The facility was once used as a police dog kennel.

In another prison, women and men are stashed in what is called the "casket"—rectangular metal boxes.

Executions are willy-nilly, according to the mood of the regime. Women along with men number 95% of prisoners eventually put to death, the remaining 5% used for police questioning.

Women at the thirteenth Congress of the Women International Democratic Federation met from November 29-December 1, 2002 in Beirut to "go public" regarding current mistreatment conditions. Five hundred delegates from over 110 nations were present. Iraqi persecution of females was top order at the conclave.

Bodily harm to women was described in all its grotesque dimensions: rape, chemical weaponry, ethnic "cleansing", genocide, cultural obliteration, forced "disappearances" of politically leading spokeswomen, religious persecution, sex abuse, torture, executions, abandonment, separation from kin and in particular the misuse of the adultery law in order to malign innocent women.

Delegates brought to the fore the Iraqi’s official "Women’s Union" as an example of political mockery. It is an entity overseen by Iraq’s ruling Ba’ath party. The Beirut conference sought to expose this organization as a sham, indeed another determined channel for the persecution of women.

A 23-page Foreign Office report to the Conference presented specific detail. It stated for written documentation the various means of torture against women in particular, such including ripping out of tongues, eye piercing, electric shock treatments, and acid dousing.

As a part of the statement, Um Haydar, a 25-year-old female, was highlighted as representative of inhumane levelings against women. She had been yanked from her home, then her head cut off in 2001 after her husband had fled the regime. Policemen then lifted her offspring and mother-in-law to an undisclosed location. They have never been seen to this date.

An English writer was told by one of Saddam’s chuckling henchmen that "we could make a kebab out of a child, if we wanted to.’

Email J. Grant Swank


Joseph Grant Swank, Jr., Pastor, New Hope Church, Windham ME

Graduate of accredited college (BA) and seminary (M Div) with graduate work at Harvard Divinity School.

Married for 41 years with 3 adult children.

Author of 5 books and over 2000 articles in various Protestant and Catholic
magazines, journals and newspapers. Writer of weekly religion column for
PORTLAND PRESS HERALD newspaper, Portland ME.

Hobbies: Traveling to South America, Europe, Middle East, Canada; writing;
watercolor painting; meeting new friends.

Current occupations: Pastor; Teacher at Alternative Learning School for
at-risk youths.

Pastorates: Calgary, Alberta; Indianapolis IN; Akron OH; Fishkill NY;
Manchester CT; Walpole MA; Windham ME.

Winner of First Prize Writing Contest which yielded a three-week guided tour
of the Middle East.

Columnist for websites: MensNewsDaily.com, IntellectualConservative.com, MichNews.com,
Chalcedon.com, rePUNK.com, ConservativeTruth.com, FreeRepublic.com (USO Canteen Chapel link), WoundedShepherds.com (Insights link).