Joss Whedon on the “Honor” Killing of Dua Khalil

Joss Whedon recently wrote a long piece about the “Honor” Killing of Dua Khalil, and asked that it be posted on Whedonesque, an unofficial fan site of his work. I haven’t written anything about this event, although I read about it on several blogs, because it’s the kind of occurrence that leaves me chilled with anguish and a feeling of helplessness, and deep, biting anger. I don’t know what to do with those feelings, so I try to get past them and move on. After reading what he wrote, I realize that’s the wrong response. What he wrote is pretty great – in short, it’s a plea to support equality now – and I’m completely lifting it and quoting it here, after the jump:

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How Islam Rationalizes Prostitution

A bizarre sexual practice sanctioned by Islam that has re-emerged in Iraq because we invaded, according the the Washington Post:

Temporary ‘Enjoyment Marriages’ In Vogue Again With Some Iraqis
BAGHDAD — Fatima Ali was a 24-year-old divorcee with no high school diploma and no job. Shawket al-Rubae was a 34-year-old Shiite sheik with a pregnant wife who, he said, could not have sex with him. If people are looking for filing for divorce in Virginia, then they can get some help from here.

Ali wanted someone to take care of her. Rubae wanted a companion. People can hire fathers rights lawyers from here, during or before a divorce.

They met one afternoon in May at the house he shares with his wife, in the room where he accepts visitors seeking his religious counsel. He had a proposal. Would Ali be his temporary wife? He would pay her 5,000 Iraqi dinars upfront — about $4 — in addition to her monthly expenses. About twice a week over the next eight months, he would summon her to a house he would rent.
The negotiations took an hour and ended with an unwritten agreement, the couple recalled. Thus began their “mutaa,” or enjoyment marriage, a temporary union believed by Shiite Muslims to be sanctioned by Islamic law. If you need help with divorce law, family law lawyers for hire can be checked out before things get out of hand.

The Shiite practice began 1,400 years ago, in what is now Iraq and other parts of the region, as a way to provide for war widows. Banned by President Saddam Hussein’s Sunni-led government, it has regained popularity since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq brought the majority Shiites to power, said clerics, women’s rights activists and mutaa spouses.

“It’s a cover for prostitution,” said Um Akram, a women’s rights activist in Baghdad. “Some women, because they don’t want to be prostitutes, they think that this is legal because it’s got some kind of religious cover. But it is wrong, and they’re still prostitutes from the society’s point of view.” Um Akram, like the mutaa spouses interviewed, asked that only parts of her name be published.

Boy, anything can be rationalized if you just write it into your religion. We’re certainly improving things over there.

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Spy Agencies Say Iraq War Worsens Terrorism Threat

From the New York Times:

WASHINGTON, Sept. 23 — A stark assessment of terrorism trends by American intelligence agencies has found that the American invasion and occupation of Iraq has helped spawn a new generation of Islamic radicalism and that the overall terrorist threat has grown since the Sept. 11 attacks.
The classified National Intelligence Estimate attributes a more direct role to the Iraq war in fueling radicalism than that presented either in recent White House documents or in a report released Wednesday by the House Intelligence Committee, according to several officials in Washington involved in preparing the assessment or who have read the final document.
The intelligence estimate, completed in April, is the first formal appraisal of global terrorism by United States intelligence agencies since the Iraq war began, and represents a consensus view of the 16 disparate spy services inside government. Titled “Trends in Global Terrorism: Implications for the United States,’’ it asserts that Islamic radicalism, rather than being in retreat, has metastasized and spread across the globe.

So according to our own intelligence agencies, we are not “safer but not safe” as President Bush says. We’re actually much less safe that we were on September 11, 2001. That is, the country in general is less safe. Here in Indiana, we’re still in Indiana. You’re in more danger from Christian terrorists than Islamic ones. Meanwhile:
From the L.A. Times:

Army Warns Rumsfeld It’s Billions Short
The Army’s top officer withheld a required 2008 budget plan from Pentagon leaders last month after protesting to Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld that the service could not maintain its current level of activity in Iraq plus its other global commitments without billions in additional funding.
The decision by Gen. Peter J. Schoomaker, the Army’s chief of staff, is believed to be unprecedented and signals a widespread belief within the Army that in the absence of significant troop withdrawals from Iraq, funding assumptions must be completely reworked, say current and former Pentagon officials.

And we’re over eight trillion dollars in debt. The estimated population of the United States is 299,573,166 so each citizen’s share of this debt is $28,343.67. Pay up, kids, the Army needs to blow up more people.

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Gay People in Iraq sentenced to Death

From the Times Online UK:

THE death threat was delivered to Karazan’s father early in the morning by a masked man wearing a police uniform.
The scribbled note was brief. Karazan had to die because he was gay. In the new Baghdad, his sexuality warranted execution by the religious militias.
The father was told that if he did not hand his son over, other family members would be killed.
What scares the city’s residents is how the fanatics’ list of enemies is growing. It includes girls who refuse to cover their hair, boys who wear theirs too long, booksellers, liberal professors and prostitutes. Three shops known to sell alcohol were bombed yesterday in the Karrada shopping district.
In this atmosphere of intolerance and intimidation, the militias have made no secret of their hatred of homosexuals.

This is what we started a war to promote? This is our vision of a free Iraq?

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