A pioneer for women's rights in Afghanistan has been murdered. Shaima Rezayee, 24, who was a host of an MTV-like music show may have been murdered
with help from her own bothers. She had been dismissed from the show after criticisms from clerics. She said in a recent interview the she thought
she might be the target of a murder conspiracy.
A ground-breaking Afghan television host whose Western style drew praise from youthful fans and condemnation from Muslim clerics may have been slain
with involvement from her own brothers, police said Friday.
Shaima Rezayee, 24, who tossed aside her burqa for Western dress and became a host on an MTV-style music show, knew her life was in danger, according
to a radio interview she gave not long before she was shot in the head at her Kabul home Wednesday.
Her slaying highlights the struggle between urban young people and their conservative elders for the future of Afghanistan and its Islamic values.
Television and radio stations like the one that featured Rezayee — often importing music and styles from other countries — have been leaders in
probing the boundaries of acceptability.
Rezayee, like other young Afghan women, was denied schooling and forced to wear the burqa in public until the Taliban regime was ousted by the U.S.
invasion in late 2001. The Taliban also banned music — even humming on the street.
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In a country as repressive as Afghanistan as been, even before the Taliban, changes as profound as the ones taking place now are not likely to be
taken lightly, especially when one considers that murdering women to preserve family dignity is an accepted practice.
Recently, six Muslim women were murdered in Berlin because they sought to adopt Western lifestyles. Since 1996, some forty such "honor killings"
have taken place in Germany.
I don't think the religion is what produces this. There has been an idealogy pervading Islamic culture since the 20th century calling for Muslims to
retract from Western society and values. There was a Muslim revolution in the 20th century producing something extreme and fanatical, but somehow
received the term "fundamental Islam".
Especially after reading a story like this, I cannot for the life of me comprehend how anyone could be against our war and rebuilding efforts in
Afghanistan. These are the kinds of people we are up against. Radicals who have absolutely no respect or value for women or individual rights.
Everything from "honor killings" to the partial removal of women's sexual organs (to eliminate any pleasure from sex) is outrageous, especially
considering we're in the year 2005.
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