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Worth Less - Aynaz “Anni” Cyrus
I learned the worth of a woman under Islam the day I sought a divorce in the Islamic Republic of Iran. I was worth less than a man, worth only half of a man. That day, somewhere in the United States, girls my age were making sure their clothes and hair were just right for a day in 7th grade (Year 9 in England). Not I. I stood before a judge in an Iranian courtroom as a married woman beaten brutally every day of my short “marriage” by my husband, a mentally unstable, older man to whom I had been sold for the financial profit of my family. I went to the courthouse, filed the documents, and waited to speak to the judge. When I was called to the courtroom, I explained I was seeking a divorce because the marriage had taken place against my will. The judge silenced me and told me to stop making excuses. He reminded me that according to the Qur’an and Islamic law I was a married woman. I composed myself, still needing to explain to the judge that the divorce was for my safety. I knew eventually my husband would beat me to death. The judge asked again why I was seeking a divorce. I gestured as best as I was able to my swollen, beaten face and dislocated shoulder. He stared at me and said inanely, “So he beat you?” When I responded, yes, he said, “Well, maybe if you would obey him, he wouldn’t have to beat you.”. I was incredulous. But it was what I was told next that shattered my world and my hopes for safety and justice. The judge went on to explain that in order to get the divorce I had to prove that I had not disobeyed and did not deserve to be beaten by my husband. The proof the judge required would need to come from either a man or two women who could validate my testimony. My injuries were meaningless to the court. My word alone was worth less. My testimony was only worth half of my husband’s in the eyes of the court. All my husband had to say was that I had been disobedient. I would not be granted a divorce unless I could find another man or two women willing to testify that I had not been legally beaten daily for disobedience. A stark realization struck me. I would not survive the marriage. I would not survive Iran. I would not survive Islam. As a woman, there were no laws to protect me. I had no rights and no one would help me. At that moment, standing bruised and battered in Iran’s Islamic court that I’d had enough. It was the determining factor in my decision to flee Iran. However, that singular day in court was by no means my only experience with the disturbing and inhumane persecution that exemplifies the true face of Islamic societies. I lived under the archaic, barbaric, and twisted ideology of Islam until I was fifteen. Prior to my fourteenth birthday, I was subjected to numerous horrors. I was raped, beaten, tortured, and imprisoned on twelve separate occasions, receiving a total of 109 lashes for various perceived offences, and then sold into an abusive marriage. My “crimes” ranged from polished fingernails that were too long, my hair that was unintentionally visible under my hijab, and singing in public. Aside from my failed attempt to secure a divorce, there were three particular experiences from my life in Iran that stand out in my memory as clear violations of basic human rights The first was the year I turned nine years old and what was known as Assignment Day. (In Farsi, it is called Jashn-e-Taklif, which translates to, “the celebration of the requirement.”) This was the day I legally became a woman in the Islamic Republic of Iran. I was given a special white outfit to wear and my first Burka. All the girls who turned nine that year were gathered together to listen as an Imam dictated our future to us. He explained, “A girl who reaches the age of responsibility (nine) should take religious directives and requirements and avoid what Allah has forbidden.” (Boys do not bear the same responsibilities or requirements in Iran until they are sixteen.) “You are turning into an adult by the law of Islam and you are required to take on the following responsibilities: you will follow Allah; you will obey Islamic rules; you will fight for the prophet Muhammad; you will get married if you are told to do so; and you will have children because it is your duty to increase the Islamic community (Ummah).” I was furious. Overnight, my world was turned upside down. One day I was a little girl without a care in the world, allowed to run and play in modest clothing, to go to school, and to sing. The very next day, I was an adult, expected to know and follow all applicable laws for adult women laid out in the Qur’an. I was forced to wear the burka at all times and faced strict punishment for any violation. I woke up on that day and instead of gifts or a party, all my choices and decisions were stripped from me. Any male in my family was able to force me to get married and possibly become a mother. All at the age of nine. The second horrific experience came when I was eleven. I was arrested and detained overnight for being at a party where boys and girls had gathered. The cell we were taken to was the same as the one used to house all adult women. In that cell, was an agitated and angry young woman in her early twenties. She had been accused of adultery and would likely be stoned to death. My friends and I huddled in that filthy cell with our backs against a wall, frightened of the unknown. Sometime during the middle of the night, I was startled by the crash of shattering glass. The young woman accused of adultery had gouged shards of glass into her throat and wrists in an attempt to take her own life and escape being stoned to death. As the guards dragged her away, my eleven-year old self struggled to comprehend what I had just witnessed. The third and most brutal experience I will recount here, was the time I was arrested for taking a taxi home. The cab had been full when I got in so I took the only seat left, up front with the male driver. I was the last to be dropped off but before arriving at my home, we were arrested by the police. I stood alone before the judge. The cab driver had already been released after lying and telling the judge that we did in fact have a relationship. Being a man, this behavior was perfectly acceptable for him. This false accusation got me in serious trouble, however. I was given no opportunity to explain my side of the incident and was sentenced to seventy five lashes. The best I could do was to pay the court for fifty of the lashes, so I would only have to endure twenty five. Three girls were waiting with me to be lashed. Waiting my turn to be brutalized by the “justice system” was a torment all its own. I was terrified. We were taken into another room one by one. The tense silence would be punctured by bloodcurdling shrieks that would abruptly stop. Each girl’s limp body was dragged from the room and handed over to her family. When my turn came, I entered the room and was instructed to remove my clothes and lay down on a metal bed. All I remember is the excruciating pain as the whip ripped through my skin. I lost consciousness and woke up in my grandmother’s home. I couldn’t move for four days nor lay on my back for over a month. These are mere glimpses into the suffering I experienced and witnessed during the short fifteen years I lived in the Islamic Republic of Iran under Sharia law. Looking back, it is more likely that I would have been captured and killed fleeing Iran rather than actually making it safely to the West. So I want to be very clear. I do not share the horrors I experienced in Iran to gain your sympathy. Save your sympathy for the millions of women and children that continue to be born into an oppressive ideology they cannot escape. Rather, I write to you to warn you that it is past time for you wake up to the reality of Islam. If you want to concern yourself over cultural diversity or political correctness then I say it is already too late for you. Those of you who say it is bigoted to reject or be fearful of Islam, I say you’re a fool. Islamophobia is the only reasoned response to such an ideology. If you willfully dismiss my experience and interpretation of Islam, let me offer you some advice. Start practicing how to properly wear a burka, ladies. Start growing your beards, gentlemen. Accept that your mothers, sisters, and daughters will be raped and beaten not only because they are infidels, but because they are just women, property to be bought, sold, and disposed of at will, and worth less. Islam isn’t merely a religion and it isn’t an ideology of peace. Islam means submission, and it is a violent, misogynistic, theocratic political ideology that demands its adherents to conquer all non-Muslims and then convert or kill them in the name of their prophet and god. They have a media arm that would have you believe that ISIS and Al Qaeda are radical extremists. They will tell you that these terrorists have hijacked and corrupted their “religion.” But I tell you with all certainty that there are no radical, extremist Muslims. There are only Muslims and non-Muslims. Despite what their spokesmen tell you on the nightly news, moderate Muslims do not exist. Your nice Muslim friend, neighbor, or co-worker is not a true follower of the Qur’an. Those kind and peaceful verses from the Qur’an those apologists love to quote, were written to Muslims about Muslims and for Muslims alone. Those who do not follow the teachings and example of Mohammed are infidels to be converted or killed. Those who claim to be moderates and attempt to assimilate to western culture will be killed along with you, when the true followers of Mohammed arrive on scene in sufficient numbers to take over our society. Islam cannot and will not coexist with the West. And still, the West is welcoming it with open arms. If you think this is not already happening, take a good look around you. Aside from the tidal wave of unchecked migration of Middle Eastern refugees into Europe, look at the dangers closer to home: A bill to ban the use of Sharia law as a defense fails in South Carolina; rape gangs roam in Rotherham, England; no-go zones exist in Paris; and Sharia patrols walk the streets in Wuppertal, Germany. These are but the first waves of the caliphate to come. When there are enough Muslims, the tide will shift, and the freedom you now enjoy will be no more than a footnote to history written in Arabic, just as the Persian culture of Iran circa 1978. The West is a civilized society in which the lives of all men and women are equally valued. It is time for us to wake up and live up to the freedoms we hold dear! The dark, deceptive ideology of Islam and its followers is at our doorstep. Do not allow Islam to steal our freedom. The enemy of a free western civilization creeps ever nearer to their goal of dominating our culture. They are quietly closing in like a silent plague ready to strip us of our liberty, our lives, and the future of our children. We must awaken from our willful slumber and act before it is too late! I have already lived through this nightmare once, and that fifteen years was enough for several lifetimes. I refuse to stand by while it happens to the free society I now call home.
To learn more about Aynaz “Anni” Cyrus, the danger Islam poses to humanity, the freedom of the west, as well as to support her ongoing work with those still living under oppression, please visit her website Live Up to Freedom (www.lutf.org), watch her show “The Unknown” on YouTube, and tune in to her weekly radio show “Live Up to Freedom” every Saturday at 6pm EST, www.blogtalkradio.com/fpcnetwork