August 22, 2020

Subject: Christianity and Islam Part 18 – Women’s Rights

John 8:10 “Woman, where are your accusers? Has no one condemned you?”

Ed Croteau

“Covering her from her head down her bare toes, the burka was designed by law for her protection – protection from the roving, lustful eyes of other men, protection from the evil influences of the outside world. Inside the burka, she was anonymous to all who might care to know her – no physical marks made visible to distinguish her beauty, no bright smile to share with others, no voice to speak to her character.

She was simply a burka – a living, vibrant human being reduced to an animated sack. And today nothing could protect her. Alone, contained by her burka, she did not cry for mercy. She knew such cries were meaningless to hearts hardened by the strict adherence to brutal sharia law. Women bound by the law wore the burka outside the home at all times to conceal identity and make recognition impossible.

If the burka did anything to displease her husband, her position was in jeopardy. If the burka committed any infraction against sharia law, she faced possible expulsion from her home. There were no educational opportunities for her, either. A Taliban fatwa cited the education of women as a ‘source of seduction and depravity.’ The burka’s place in society was that of property, dependent upon the interpretation of the law by the whim of the dominant male in her life. Frequently a burka set herself on fire if she suddenly became an outcast simply because she had been unable to adhere to the burdensome demands of the law; better to burn inside the burka shroud than to endure a lifetime of poverty, rejection, starvation, and abuse.

But what had this burka done? What law had she broken? Whom had she displeased? There was a myriad of ways she could have broken a commandment. She did not understand the accusation made against her. Suddenly the beatings stopped, and the burka went airborne, her feet and legs still making frantic motions of escape. Tossed onto a rigid metal bed, the truck began to rock from side to side as the heavy weight of male bodies leapt into the bed, surrounding her and cutting off any hope she might have of getting away.

The truck sped through the tunnel leading to the soccer stadium and drove straight onto the field. The game stopped. The burka had never been inside a soccer stadium. Sharia did not allow women inside, their presence somehow an affront to Allah. They yanked her from the back of the truck. The burka did not resist. They dragged her to the center of the field. She could hear the amplified voice of the judge silence the crowd with the list of her offenses and Allah’s justification for sending her soul to hell.

The sentence passed, the crowd roared. The mullah offered no chance for reprieve. The burka asked for none. The mullah offered no prayers. The burka asked for none. Nothing could change the outcome.”

This is the introduction to ‘Kabul 24’, the true story of the 2001 kidnapping of Shelter Work International workers by Taliban in Kabul, Afghanistan. The authors recount the husband’s story of his wife’s murder under Islamic Sharia Law. What is the Christian view of women? To answer this, and compare/contrast the Christian and Muslim worldviews, we need to look at the author of Christianity – Jesus Christ.

In the Gospel of John, we see how Christ announces sentence on a woman who, unlike the burka, has broken the law. John chapter 8 is the perfect contrast to Sharia Law, as Jesus is confronted with a woman who is caught by scribes and Pharisees in the very act of adultery. They interrupt Jesus while He is teaching, standing her in front of everyone and declaring by the Law of Moses that she is to be publicly stoned to death. Then, in front of everyone, they turn to Him and ask, “But what do You say?” (John 8:5).

As usual, His response convicts them to their very soul: “He who is without sin among you, let him cast the first stone.” (John 8:7). They all dropped their stones and left, leaving Jesus alone with this woman.

He then speaks directly to her: “’Woman, where are your accusers? Has no one condemned you?’ She said, ‘No one, Lord.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Neither do I condemn you; go, and sin no more.” (John 8:10-11).

He then turns and speaks to the departing crowd: “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness but have the light of life.” (John 8:12). In Christianity, women are not subservient to men. They are not property. Women, like men, are God’s special creation, and are treated by Christ with the dignity they deserve because He created each man and woman special. And His desire for each of us, regardless of gender, is to follow Him by turning from the darkness of our sin to the light of eternal life.

Ed Croteau is a resident of Lee’s Summit and hosts a weekly study in Lees Summit called “Faith: Substance and Evidence.” He can be reached with your questions through the Lee’s Summit Tribune at Editor@lstribune.net.