This site is not maintained. Click here for the new website of Richard Dawkins.

← Official: 160 girls poisoned at Afghan school

Official: 160 girls poisoned at Afghan school - Comments

Ardiem's Avatar Comment 1 by Ardiem

Religion (literally) poisons everything.

Tue, 29 May 2012 14:08:58 UTC | #944223

InYourFaceNewYorker's Avatar Comment 2 by InYourFaceNewYorker

It's their Culture™ and you have to respect it! :P

Tue, 29 May 2012 14:21:54 UTC | #944227

Peter Grant's Avatar Comment 3 by Peter Grant

Official: 160 girls poisoned at Afghan school http://www.cnn.com/2012/05/29/world/asia/afghanistan-girls-poisoned/index.html

Disgusting. This insanity must end.

Tue, 29 May 2012 14:47:23 UTC | #944230

Klaasjansch's Avatar Comment 4 by Klaasjansch

Every time when I discus the subject of women’s rights in the Muslim world with Muslims I get the reaction that suppressing women is not about suppressing women but about protecting them against male (sexual) aggression, because men (the poor bastards) aren’t able to restrain themselves when ever women are around. The best one I heard was about why women weren’t allowed to pray in the same room as men, is because when the girls bend forward to submit to Allah, the men get distracted by the women’s asses. (this is not a joke, I’m serious)

How does poisoning women fit into this line of excuses?

Personally I think the men that commit these kind of hideous crimes are the worlds weakest men, who aren’t even brave enough to admit they are scared of changes in their way of life. In stead of looking at western men and asking how we feel about our lives, they decide to suppress the people they owe their lives to. (Do I sound angry? maybe I am, sorry but there goes reason for a while)

Still, things haven’t always been as cheerful in the west either. It took women in the west also quite some time to get their rights and things still aren’t all how they should be. How many female presidents have there been in the States? England had one prime minister Thatcher, Germany has Merkel now but that’s about it. (Sorry if I forgot someone but the point is clear) We’re close but not there yet. It’s a matter of time though. I was in a train recently, surrounded by a multitude of female students. I remember seeing a boy, but I’m not sure he was a student.

Tue, 29 May 2012 14:51:29 UTC | #944232

MilitantNonStampCollector's Avatar Comment 5 by MilitantNonStampCollector

Comment 1 by Ardiem

Religion (literally) poisons everything.

That's in bad taste. Whoops!

Tue, 29 May 2012 15:01:22 UTC | #944234

Metamag's Avatar Comment 6 by Metamag

The Afghan people know that the terrorists and the Taliban

But is there really a difference between Taliban and the majority of Afghan population?

After all, Taliban didn't come out of nowhere and wtf even mention the word "terrorist"?

Me thinks reporter accidentally makes shit up while forming report.

Tue, 29 May 2012 15:16:43 UTC | #944239

blitz442's Avatar Comment 7 by blitz442

Comment 4 by Klaasjansch

Every time when I discus the subject of women’s rights in the Muslim world with Muslims I get the reaction that suppressing women is not about suppressing women but about protecting them against male (sexual) aggression, because men (the poor bastards) aren’t able to restrain themselves when ever women are around.

Islam is world class when it comes to the degradation of the human race. It conceives of its women as property, it conceives of its men as unthinking animals. Doesn't say much for the original creator, does it?

Tue, 29 May 2012 15:27:56 UTC | #944240

LaurieB's Avatar Comment 8 by LaurieB

Klaasjansch

Don't underestimate the ass-distraction effect. Ever been in a mosque at prayer time? I've had the unfortunate experience of being in the back of those rooms and got to take in the hideous view of a multitude of mens asses raised up high and aimed at whoever was behind them. This was a repulsive scene to me and other non-Muslims and we all definitely rivet out attention to the ceiling and the floor, but if it was a room full of women or women interspersed with men it would be a disaster. As long as they don't have the gumption to look at their stupid vulgar prayer posture and recognize it as a bizarre relic of ancient middle eastern mind slavery then they are stuck with strict gender segregation in the mosques. If they're not embarrassed by the whole scene then they should be.

Although it might seem that Muslim women are all on board with that idea of protecting them from sexually aggressive men by hiding them away from the world, this is not supported by the average Muslim woman who is struggling to raise a family and is dealing with pretty much the same challenges that I am dealing with here in the US. Except for the extremists, most Muslim moms want their daughters to get the best education possible, a decent job where she can work without sexual harassment, a husband who will be kind, supportive and respectful, decent healthcare for their whole family, affordable housing with clean water available, and fresh food that is affordable. These women are fast to agree that their culture is in transition and the old patriarchal tribal ways are holding them back. They will also concede that several sections of the Koran are causing problems for them if you talk to them individually and if they trust you enough to to do so. I always follow with the problems that Christian women in the west have had in battling for their rights when the Bible sets a devastatingly bad example for us on that subject. I explain that American feminists have decided to ignore most of the rules from the Bible because they are too old and out of touch with how we want to live now.

My most successful phrase is, "We have to help the young people in our family to know what is right and wrong, good and bad, and WE will help them learn that, not some 2000 year old dusty book written by men of the middle eastern desert." This is guaranteed to meet with approval from all manner of Muslim matriarchs.

And by the way, the comparison between progress of women in the west with progress of Muslim women is a cheap shot. I get that thrown in my face all the time that things are not perfect for women in the US and Europe either. No female American president yet? True, I'm not happy about it but don't worry, we're working on it! Let's be perfectly clear about this. I've lived in a Muslim third world country and also most of my life in the US and it is absurd to even compare the two on the subject of women's rights. An American dog has more rights than those Muslim women have in their own countries.

Tue, 29 May 2012 16:15:32 UTC | #944253

Schrodinger's Cat's Avatar Comment 9 by Schrodinger's Cat

The worst aspect of it all is that after 10 years worth of soldiers sacrificing their lives so we can 'win hearts at minds'......we're now effectively just going to abandon Afghanistan like another Vietnam, conceding defeat and leaving everything pretty much back at year zero.

Mission most definitely not accomplished.

Tue, 29 May 2012 16:31:13 UTC | #944254

LaurieB's Avatar Comment 10 by LaurieB

Schrodinger's Cat

I can't stand the thought of what those Afgani women face on a daily basis and I can't stand the thought of keeping troops in that place for additional time either. This is a terrible conflict in my mind.

Tue, 29 May 2012 16:41:11 UTC | #944256

DaisyD's Avatar Comment 11 by DaisyD

Reading about this makes me sick. And I'm not usually squeamish. This is absolutely disgusting.

Tue, 29 May 2012 16:55:57 UTC | #944259

littletrotsky13's Avatar Comment 12 by littletrotsky13

But earlier this week, the Taliban denied responsibility, instead blaming the U.S. and NATO forces for the poisonings in an attempt to "defame" the insurgent group.

Really, do the Taliban even need defaming?

Tue, 29 May 2012 17:30:56 UTC | #944267

Okeydoke's Avatar Comment 13 by Okeydoke

Fucking savages.

P.S.: Pardon my french.

Tue, 29 May 2012 18:36:23 UTC | #944279

Alan4discussion's Avatar Comment 14 by Alan4discussion

Comment 10 by LaurieB

I can't stand the thought of what those Afgani women face on a daily basis and I can't stand the thought of keeping troops in that place for additional time either. This is a terrible conflict in my mind.

It's a mess! Western troops went charging (full of 9/11 rage) into a place where every invading army in centuries had been kicked out by the locals, and WHOOPS! Bin Laden turned up in Pakistan after all !! He must have been laughing at them during the years before events caught up with him!

Tue, 29 May 2012 18:52:58 UTC | #944284

LaurieB's Avatar Comment 15 by LaurieB

Alan4discussion

He probably did have a snidely chuckle or two but the whole rest of the Muslim world wasn't amused by the blunders of the Iraq and Afganistan wars and the disastrous US foreign policy dealing with their territory. It's all fanning the fuel of their hatred.

Tue, 29 May 2012 19:21:39 UTC | #944289

Corylus's Avatar Comment 16 by Corylus

Words fail.

Well, actually, they don't entirely, but I try hardest to maintain control when I am at my angriest.

Tue, 29 May 2012 19:34:01 UTC | #944297

Neodarwinian's Avatar Comment 17 by Neodarwinian

Words fail me, and words fail these girls.

Tue, 29 May 2012 19:36:05 UTC | #944299

The Jersey Devil's Avatar Comment 18 by The Jersey Devil

If superstition is poison then education is the antidote.

What disturbs me about this story - other then the actual poisoning of children - is that the religous memes seam to 'know' the threat that education poses to its own survival (that is to say the survival of the memes themselves).

Not that I would suggest that the memes are 'conscious'. It just appears that way.

Tue, 29 May 2012 19:51:04 UTC | #944307

mr_zero's Avatar Comment 19 by mr_zero

I'm suspicious of this story. Poisoned "with a type of spray"? What type? Who did it? Was anyone seen spraying? Were they arrested? This all sounds really odd. Could it be an outbreak of hysteria rather than poisoning? Z

Tue, 29 May 2012 19:55:47 UTC | #944308

AtheistAtItsBest's Avatar Comment 20 by AtheistAtItsBest

Now I understand why muslims keep on saying "Islam is a religion of peace" - It actually means "Islam promotes Rest in Peace (R.I.P)" !!

Tue, 29 May 2012 20:46:58 UTC | #944316

QuestioningKat's Avatar Comment 21 by QuestioningKat

The best one I heard was about why women weren’t allowed to pray in the same room as men, is because when the girls bend forward to submit to Allah, the men get distracted by the women’s asses. (this is not a joke, I’m serious)

It is the best one and probably most reasonable, except I would switch the perspective. No woman wants some guy behind her looking at her ass. It's bad enough having some guy behind you when climbing up stairs, especially wearing a dress.

Also, women and men worship differently. The strange thing is when you separate women, no matter what the religion, the dynamics becomes like the Oprah Winfrey show. If any change is to happen in the Muslim community, it will happen with the women. Times when women are completely separate from men is an ideal time. It will take a brave leader to take the initiative.

Don't underestimate the ass-distraction effect. Ever been in a mosque at prayer time? I've had the unfortunate experience of being in the back of those rooms and got to take in the hideous view of a multitude of mens asses raised up high and aimed at whoever was behind them. This was a repulsive scene to me and other non-Muslims and we all definitely rivet out attention to the ceiling and the floor, but if it was a room full of women or women interspersed with men it would be a disaster.

No kidding. Thank goodness most of the few men in my yoga classes are gay.

Tue, 29 May 2012 22:33:40 UTC | #944324

Saganic Rites's Avatar Comment 22 by Saganic Rites

Comment 21 by QuestioningKat :

. No woman wants some guy behind her looking at her ass. It's bad enough having some guy behind you when climbing up stairs, especially wearing a dress. . .

What's wrong with a guy in a dress behind you on the stairs? But seriously, I for one make it a rule not to be too close behind anybody on stairs. Men or women, old or young; all are prone to the occasional accidental fart, especially when doing something strenuous like climbing stairs, and when they do then 3 steps back is not the place to be!

LaurieB asks

Ever been in a mosque at prayer time?
No, but I was once at a dinner party when one of the guests left the table, fetched his prayer mat from his car and took it into the garden to pray. My comment 'Now that's the loneliest game of Twister I've ever seen' caused some serious tutting (about as close as the British middle-classes get to an admonishment).

Tue, 29 May 2012 23:44:55 UTC | #944336

LaurieB's Avatar Comment 23 by LaurieB

Saganic Rites

We had a similar problem with the Muslim guys- the old college buddies, coming over for friendly card games. Most of them have become devout and even fundamentalist and insist on stopping the game for an extended prayer time. The last couple of times they wanted to move my set of expensive Victorian parlor furniture to the periphery of the room so they could all pray in there together and I refused to let them. The stuff isn't known for it's durability in construction after all. I know they will knock a piece of the excessive ornamentation off and then the shit will really hit the fan! Then they requested that I get them some clean towels as they had forgotten to bring their prayer rugs. What a pain in the ass these people are. Why can't they just play cards and have a good time? We don't host those games anymore and it's sad how that community has become completely divided between ultraconservatives and "moderates" who just want to live and not be bothered with this idiocy.

The tutting may have crossed the Atlantic along with the British genes. Our version includes the phrase, "Isn't that unbecoming?.." said with a poker face. To the American WASP this is a devastating insult.

Wed, 30 May 2012 00:16:13 UTC | #944339

Metamag's Avatar Comment 24 by Metamag

Comment 23 by LaurieB :

Then they requested that I get them some clean towels as they had forgotten to bring their prayer rugs. What a pain in the ass these people are.

Very sad that you interact with them without even trying to challenge their ludicrous beliefs.

That's the real problem and it's your problem.

Wed, 30 May 2012 00:52:18 UTC | #944344

LaurieB's Avatar Comment 25 by LaurieB

What makes you think I don't challenge their beliefs? I do it all the time. Why don't you go challenge their beliefs?! I don't feel sad about any part of it. That was a cheap shot.

Wed, 30 May 2012 00:58:48 UTC | #944346

Klaasjansch's Avatar Comment 26 by Klaasjansch

@LaurieB

The comparison between the western women’s struggle and the modern day Muslim women’s struggle for their rights was not meant as a cheap shot. Western women have been suppressed quite severely and it took a lot of protesting, including violent mass demonstrations and hunger strikes to get things to change. Things have changed enormously for the better for western women but, the point still stands, we're not there yet. I do expect gradual changes towards true equal rights for men and women eventually. In many western countries the laws are already equal but culture just hasn't quite caught up yet.

That many Muslim women want the best for their daughters can't be denied. I can see it happening here in the Netherlands where it's the women who integrate into society much more successfully then their male counterparts. They perform better at school and have better job opportunities. Up until the point that some of them get shipped back to e.g. Morocco to be married to their cousin. What's best for your children might be interpreted differently in some religious families anyway.

Wed, 30 May 2012 08:53:10 UTC | #944420

LaurieB's Avatar Comment 27 by LaurieB

Klaasjansch

I should have addressed my post 25 to Metamag. The accusation of cheap shot was directed at him, not at you. He pissed me off and I shot from the hip.

I never take the progress of women's rights for granted. Huge dedication and sacrifice by many women and some men too. Moving between the two cultures can be exasperating because the contrast between the life of western women and Muslim women becomes glaringly apparent. It's very upsetting. I see how far they have to go. But in what appears to be a hopeless situation for them, I do see some small sparks of hope like education and jobs that you mentioned above. I think it's important for us to know that there is a small group of outspoken Muslim feminists and they need support from the outside. I would say at this point that some middle aged women and most of the younger ones realize that they are trapped by their traditions and religion. They see the western women living in good conditions in secular society. They walk in public freely, wearing stylish clothing, go to university, work at jobs where they earn money that they keep for themselves. Buy cars and drive around, have friendships with other females and even friendships with guys too and nobody blinks an eye about it.

With access to international TV and the internet these Muslim young people are now well aware of the cultural discrepancies right in their own geographical backyards. I'm fascinated to see what they intend to do about it. Obviously, the young men have made their discontent known in a public way all last winter. Predictably, the women will have a more behind the scenes roll to play. This is what I am most interested in.

Wed, 30 May 2012 11:48:15 UTC | #944463

papa lazaru's Avatar Comment 28 by papa lazaru

Comment 21 by QuestioningKat :

The best one I heard was about why women weren’t allowed to pray in the same room as men, is because when the girls bend forward to submit to Allah, the men get distracted by the women’s asses. (this is not a joke, I’m serious)

It is the best one and probably most reasonable, except I would switch the perspective. No woman wants some guy behind her looking at her ass. It's bad enough having some guy behind you when climbing up stairs, especially wearing a dress.

It's a biological imperative. Sorry.

We love to wear dresses, especially in summer time.

Wed, 30 May 2012 12:25:51 UTC | #944473

Klaasjansch's Avatar Comment 29 by Klaasjansch

LaurieB

No offence taken :-)

I must admit that I was taken in by some of the women who took a leading role in the so called revolution that’s going on in the middle east. (B.t.w. I expect this revolution to take years, like any decent revolution does and not the miracle revolution out media seem to want.) Women’s rights activists started small in Europe and the U.S. as well, and they finally succeeded, so there is hope. Ones the Muslim women discover and dare to use the power they have, things might speed up. I mean, just imagine all these women refusing to cook their husbands meals in a peaceful sit down demonstration which has to last no longer than a week. (I know, I’m an idealist at times but I mean well.)

But it‘ll take more than that of course and good education is a good start. Not just learning how to read the Koran and some basic house hold mathematics, teaching them to be good wives but real education in which they learn to fend for themselves. Is there any Muslim country that comes close with women education like this?

Wed, 30 May 2012 13:53:59 UTC | #944498

LaurieB's Avatar Comment 30 by LaurieB

Klaasjansch

I agree that this will take years or decades to come around. It's pretty much assumed that the fundamentalists will overrun the place and bring on their next dark ages. Their goals are political and it's frightening to outsiders to see how even the moderate Muslims are accepting of the coming hellish scenario just because they see it as the only way to crush the blight on their civilization that is Israel. The complicating factor here is that Muslim women support those political goals and show their support by wearing the hijab. Political unity and religious fervor have been joined together as one and this is totally confounding the fight for Muslim women's rights. In conversations with these women I can hardly pry them apart. When I beg them to keep religion in the background and solve political problems in different ways they tell me that it's too late for that. That they've tried that and it doesn't work. I can't argue these points because I know they're right. It's very painful for me to foresee how badly these women will suffer over this.

Wed, 30 May 2012 14:38:11 UTC | #944516