While many people in the west keep falling into the trap of believing that Islam is simply about radicalism and terror, some women in Pakistan are standing up against religious authorities there over their human rights. If the clerics who decided that it should be the law of the land to allow men to “lightly beat” their wives thought they wouldn’t meet resistance, they were sadly mistaken.
Photographer Fahhad Rajper was more than a little annoyed at the concept of making any kind of wife beating legal in his country, so he started a hashtag and photography campaign that has caught the attention of people around the world. Women have been posting what would happen if men would attempt to take advantage of this law by using #TryBeatingMeLightly, and their statements have been phenomenal.
That is just a small sample of the response, and women from around the world have been showing solidarity with the Pakistani women as well. As for what this might mean for the future of Islam, that is uncertain. However, it is definitely a good sign that there is such wide support for these women who are obviously not willing to stand for being treated as second class citizens. This is also a meaningful step toward something that women like Ayaan Hirsi Ali have stated is absolutely needed – reformation of Islam. Legally enabling roughly half of a nation’s population to abuse the other half is not a recipe for stability. Gloria Steinem stated it best by saying, “The greatest indicator of the world’s stability, wealth and safety is the status of women.”