CNN reports that 200 girls at a school in Nigeria were kidnapped by Islamist group Boko Haram, Monday night. The reason for their kidnapping seems to lie in the simple fact that they were attempting to receive an education.
Boko Haram translates as “western education is sin.” As usual though, it seems that the real problem is that the men of the group are against ANY education of women. The treatment TODAY of women in Islamic countries is much worse than the continued discrimination against women in other countries, but don’t kid yourselves, Islam is not the only religion that has traditionally (and still) discriminated against women and other groups. Both Christianity and Judaism have also been guilty of sexism, though most of the non-orthodox/non-Catholic have left a lot of that behind, even allowing female rabbis and ministers, etc.
Currently though, I do not think it is controversial to say that some Islamic countries (not all) have the worst treatment of women in the world. In Iraq they are currently contemplating changing the legal age of marriage from 18 to 9(!), and to allow men to force their wives to have sex with them. This is the Jaafari Personal Status Law, which will probably be voted on after the April elections. This is a pretty solid example of the lack of rights of women in a Muslim country.
This is the kind of religious effect on governments and people in general that infuriate atheists. Not to say that there are no misogynist atheists, but I’ve never met one that thought women should be forced to marry when they are still children, not be allowed to receive an education, and generally be denied all human rights.
Personally I think the best way to improve the world right now would be to educate and empower women. Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn’s Half the Sky Movement works to promote education and rights for women across the globe. Want to combat Boko Haram, support Half The Sky.