October, 31 2008
Contrary to earlier news reports, the girl stoned to death in Somalia this week was 13, not 23, Amnesty International can reveal.
Somalia: Girl stoned was a child of 13
Aisha Ibrahim Duhulow was killed on Monday, 27 October, by a group of 50 men who stoned her to death in a stadium in the southern port of Kismayu, in front of around 1,000 spectators.
She was accused of adultery in breach of Islamic law but, her father and other sources told Amnesty International that she had in fact been raped by three men, and had attempted to report this rape to the al-Shabab militia who control Kismayo, and it was this act that resulted in her being accused of adultery and detained. None of men she accused of rape were arrested.This was the prologue to an article by Nicholas Kristof in the New Yoork Times about a female doctor running a hospital, school, and literacy and health classes for women. In Somalia. Not the easiest task, as you might imagine.
So Dr. Hawa had her hands full already — and then in May a hard-line militia, Hizb al-Islam, or Party of Islam, decided that a woman shouldn’t run anything substantial. The militia ordered her to hand over operations, and she refused — and pointedly added: “I may be a woman, but I’m a doctor. What have you done for society?” The Party of Islam then attacked with 750 soldiers and seized the hospital. The world’s Somalis reacted with outrage, and the militia backed down and ordered Dr. Hawa to run the hospital, but under its direction.Dr Hawa stood her ground where most would undoubtably cave in, and eventually received an apology, and her hospital back, although I gather it's not fully up and running yet, from the article.
I must disagree with Kristof on one point, though.
What a woman! And what a Muslim! It’s because of people like her that sweeping denunciations of Islam, or the “Muslim hearings” planned in Congress, rile me — and seem profoundly misguided.To my mind, it's in spite of, not because of, Islam that Dr Hawa's efforts have succeeded and been appreciated. There's nothing in the articles that I've read to suggest that she is religious at all - she's a divorced mother of two, which would already indicate that she's not concerned with religious views on marriage. And the comparisons with Mother Teresa don't help.
Kristof does the redoubtable Dr Hawa a disservice by lumping her together with her attackers, and the murderers of Aisha Ibrahim Duhulow.