Dear Malala has reminded the world of a drama most people haven't wished to see for a long time in the simplest and most sincere way. It's very difficult to be a girl in the Muslim world.
Actually it's difficult not only in the Muslim world but throughout the entire world; the strength of radicalism and a cultural tendency towards violence in some Muslim countries makes this hardship more conspicuous.
According to UN data, 49.7 percent of the world's population is women, however in most countries their existence is only recognized by the violence and pressure imposed on them. It is known that women face open or hidden forms of discrimination in different fields such as politics, business and education in almost every society. Only 13 of the 500 largest corporations in the world have a female Chief Executive Officer. In only 23 countries do women comprise over 30 percent in the lower house of their national parliament. On the other hand, women comprise 70 percent of 2 million poor people in the world and two thirds of the functionally illiterate.
When we look at Muslim countries, we see that all these problems are even more extreme; this is because various superstitions in several Islamic sources are used as evidence that women can be seen as second-class citizens in most Muslim countries. In other words, women are pressured in the name of religion and those who defend women's freedom are presented as if they are opposing religious values.
However, when we look at the verses of the Quran or study the practices of the Prophet Muhammad, we see that according to Islam women should be in a different situation than in Muslim countries now. In the Quran, men and women are equal in every way. In the time of the Prophet, women took part in every field of life together with men. The Prophet's wife, Khadijah, being one of the most important businesswomen of the region, is a very crucial fact that indicates how active women can be in social life. In that time, both women and men undertook equal responsibility in the education of people who just converted Islam, to provide social order and in other struggles.
The essence of radical perspective on women -- and this is not a perspective specific to the extremists of the Muslim world -- is based on an understanding which considers women to be deficient both religiously and mentally. Therefore, the idea that women must be managed, ruled and directed is dominant and most of the time, women are seen as so unintelligent -- arbitrarily -- that even her existence is considered as an aspect of danger and keeping her locked up in the house is accepted as the best solution to this difficult-to-control danger.
For some, it is not enough to keep women in the house; the windows of that house should not look out over the bazaar and any holes from which women can look outside must be covered. A woman's duty is to serve her husband and children. This is such an atrocity, which looks down on women, that they are counted among the things that ruins prayer.
To change this twisted perspective, which has turned into a system of oppression to women, the Islamic world must work together, clean out all these superstitions that contradict Islam's spirit and teach Muslims that religion doesn't command such nonsense through comprehensive educational programs; for as long as these superstitions exist in Islamic sources, every initiative to bring women to their deserved place in Muslim countries will remain inadequate.
Besides this urgent need for change in the Islamic world, it is clear that the world's perspective on women must change as well. Women are not created to be under the supervision of men. She is not a being that has to maintain her life according to men. Like every man, every woman is responsible for her own life and decisions given by her own mind and conscience. Women's clothes, education, occupation or social standing should not be defined by men and according to the needs of men.
If a woman wants to wear a low-cut outfit, she should be able to dress as she likes and there should not be any dress codes or standards identified in her name. If a woman wants to wear a headscarf, she should be able to do as she likes and be active in life with her headscarf. If a woman wants to work, there should not be innumerable obstacles and if she wants to participate in politics or arts she must be supported. In short, women must be as free and comfortable as possible in every part of the world so that the world can reach the beauties it has missed for so long.
Let's not forget that if a woman is under pressure, even in some hugely remote part of the world, the name of which we don't know, this should stir the whole world's conscience. It's not possible to talk about tranquility, peace and safety in a world where women are not free or active in life. Therefore, it is time for all people to understand that "women are the flowers of the world." Come, let's make up for the pains suffered by women and know the values of this beauty for a better, more radiant and happier world. The world can only be beautiful when women are free.
Adnan Oktar's article on Huffington Post: