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Muslims Support Pakistani Rape Survivor Mukhtar Mai
Wednesday, November 02, 2005

A coalition of leading Muslim American organizations today released a statement honoring Mukhtar Mai, the Pakistani gang-rape victim who has received international support for speaking out about violence against women. Mukhtar Bibi, as she is more affectionately known, is touring the United States this week and received Glamour magazines "Woman of the Year" award today in New York. She was also recently selected by ABC News to be a Person of the Week for her courage in raising a voice for abused women.

San Francisco - In 2002, Mukhtar Mai was gang-raped in public on the orders of a village tribunal in retribution for a crime her younger brother allegedly committed. Defying social stigma, Mukhtar Bibi refused to be silent and took the rapists to court. The perpetrators were initially convicted, but then released in a shocking acquittal by a second court. In June 2005, the Pakistani Supreme Court agreed to rehear the case.

National Muslim organizations including the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), and the North-American Islamic Shelter for the Abused (NISA), in addition to a number of mosques and community organizations such as American Muslims Intent on Learning and Activism (AMILA), endorsed the statement. The statement applauds Mukhtar Mai's willingness to stand up for justice and emphasizes that her treatment sharply contradicted the principles of Islam.

The statement challenges "communities to recognize the reality of sexual violence and to speak out against it, and to create legal structures that bring justice and accountability to those responsible."

"Too often, women who experience sexual abuse suffer in silence because of cultural expectations or unaccountable legal systems," said Asifa Quraishi, a member of the coalition and Assistant Professor of Law at the University of Wisconsin. "As Muslims, based on our deepest convictions, we stand in solidarity with Mukhtar Mai's struggle for justice."

Mukhtar Mai will be visiting Chicago, Milwaukee, New York, and the Bay Area on her tour, and will be raising funds for relief efforts following the devastating earthquake this month that killed tens of thousands and left millions homeless in Pakistan.

[CONTACTS: Asifa Quraishi, 323-829-2321; Uzma Siddiqui, 650-996-7133; Edina Lekovic, 213-383-3443]


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