Wednesday, March 16, 2011

COMMENTARY: Chechnya Must End Its Cruel Policy Towards Its Muslim Women

Just when we thought we knew all of the misfortunes that women have suffered in society -- only because they were women -- we can now add a new, cruel, and incredible one to our list.

In the Russian Republic of Chechnya -- whose one and one-half-million population is 94 percent Muslim -- the Muslim leader of this Republic has ordered Chechen Muslim women to wear "modest attire" that covers their entire bodies, including their heads, when they are outdoors.

However, this is not the real dilemma for Chechnya's women. The incredible shocker is that Chechnya's leader has ordered vigilantes on the Russian Republic's streets to attack women who disobey this order with paintball guns. That's right, repulsive paintball guns!

A brief description of paintball guns will provide a better perspective of just how cruel this action really is.

Paintball guns fire paint-filled balls which burst and splatter on the individual or object they strike, because their shells are almost as weak as an eggshell. Consequently, paintballs will not bounce off the person they strike, but rather will burst and splatter paint on that individual.

Paintball guns are primarily used as a sport in which two or more individuals try to strike each other. Players are required to wear masks or goggles, in order to protect their eyes, mouth, ears, and nostrils from paintballs.

Several people have been seriously injured as a result of being struck by paintballs. In at least one case, a person who was not wearing a protective mask suffered a loss of sight in one eye.

In the United States, the unauthorized use of paintball guns can result in criminal charges, such as vandalism or even assault.

Despite the serious injuries -- let alone the mess -- that paintballs can cause, the women in Chechnya are subject to being struck by them, if their bodies are not completely covered while they are outdoors.

Needless to say, this is a cruel way to treat Muslim women.

The New York-based Human Rights Watch says the practice of using paintball guns on Muslim women in Chechnya violates their basic constitutional rights as Russian citizens. This watchdog organization is trying to find a way to eliminate this horrendous practice. Russia's federal leaders have so far "looked the other way," thus allowing Chechnya to deal with this situation by itself.

In addition to being cruel in its treatment of women, Chechnya's "paintball policy" can cause serious injury -- such as blindness -- to women who are struck.

Indeed, Chechnya's paintball usage against Muslim women is an accident waiting to happen, and a policy that needs to end -- fast.

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