Muslims Support Pakistani Rape Survivor Mukhtar Mai
Wednesday, November 02, 2005
coalition of leading Muslim American organizations today
released a statement honoring Mukhtar Mai, the Pakistani
gang-rape victim who has received international support
for speaking out about violence against women. Mukhtar
Bibi, as she is more affectionately known, is touring
the United States this week and received Glamour
magazines "Woman of the Year" award today in New York.
She was also recently selected by ABC News to be a
Person of the Week for her courage in raising a voice
for abused women.
San Francisco -
In 2002, Mukhtar Mai was gang-raped in public on the
orders of a village tribunal in retribution for a crime
her younger brother allegedly committed. Defying social
stigma, Mukhtar Bibi refused to be silent and took the
rapists to court. The perpetrators were initially
convicted, but then released in a shocking acquittal by
a second court. In June 2005, the Pakistani Supreme
Court agreed to rehear the case.
National Muslim organizations including the Islamic
Society of North America (ISNA), the Muslim Public
Affairs Council (MPAC), and the North-American Islamic
Shelter for the Abused (NISA), in addition to a number
of mosques and community organizations such as American
Muslims Intent on Learning and Activism (AMILA),
endorsed the statement. The statement applauds Mukhtar
Mai's willingness to stand up for justice and emphasizes
that her treatment sharply contradicted the principles
The statement challenges "communities to recognize the
reality of sexual violence and to speak out against it,
and to create legal structures that bring justice and
accountability to those responsible."
"Too often, women who experience sexual abuse suffer in
silence because of cultural expectations or
unaccountable legal systems," said Asifa Quraishi, a
member of the coalition and Assistant Professor of Law
at the University of Wisconsin. "As Muslims, based on
our deepest convictions, we stand in solidarity with
Mukhtar Mai's struggle for justice."
Mukhtar Mai will be visiting Chicago, Milwaukee, New
York, and the Bay Area on her tour, and will be raising
funds for relief efforts following the devastating
earthquake this month that killed tens of thousands and
left millions homeless in Pakistan.
[CONTACTS: Asifa Quraishi, 323-829-2321; Uzma Siddiqui,
650-996-7133; Edina Lekovic, 213-383-3443]