‘Girls aren’t less than boys’: Kabul’s female veterinarians hope to cure inequality

muslim girls

Veterinary surgeons Malalai Haikal, Tahera Rezaei and Maliha Rezayi from Nowzad Conrad Lewis Clinic in Kabul. Photograph: Dr Mujtaba Rezaei/Nowzad Clinic.  The Muslim Times has the best collection of articles to promote the Muslim Women’s rights

Source: The Guardian

By Fran McElhon

A trio of vets in Afghanistan are braving bomb blasts and discrimination to head up an animal welfare practice and inspire a new generation of women

npredictable and indiscriminate bomb blasts don’t deter the three women heading up Afghanistan’s only large-scale animal shelter and veterinary clinic, in Kabul. Neither do the attitudes of the people who told them they couldn’t, or shouldn’t, be vets.

Afghanistan is one of the lowest-ranked countries in the world for gender equality. In this strictly patriarchal society, women are still traditionally married off soon after school age and remain housewives for the rest of their lives. They may face imprisonment for running away from home and many are still behind bars for “moral crimes”.

So for Dr Maliha Rezayi, Dr Malalai Haikal and Dr Tahera Rezaei to be at the helm of the Nowzad Conrad Lewis Clinic in Kabul, they are not only changing the course of animal welfare in Afghanistan, but resetting the course of history for women in society too.

The women, all in their 20s, say they are “always busy” at the clinic, which was founded by former British Royal Marine Pen Farthing. These are Afghanistan’s next generation of women, the millennials changing the future of their country, animal by animal, person by person, through a gradual but potent ripple effect.

Rezayi’s parents were born in Iran after her grandparents moved there to escape the civil war in the early 1990s. When she was 13, the family, including her six siblings, moved back to Afghanistan. Although her parents, a shopkeeper and a housewife, backed her determination to attend school and eventually go to university – and to become Afghanistan’s female boxing champion while still a teenager – her extended family were unremittingly scornful.

“My parents and brothers and sisters supported me and made me feel that I could be anything I wanted to be,” says Rezayi, 27, who had an amicable arranged marriage two years ago. “But my wider family members were not supportive. Most of them grew up in Afghanistan and thought girls can’t go out. This is not a good culture here.

“Of course it was hard, but it made me work harder, to prove everyone wrong. The attitude was that girls can’t do anything and I wanted to show them that girls aren’t less than boys.”

When she went to Kabul University in 2012, there were around 20 women and 140 men on the course. Her experience was mixed; although there were some supportive tutors, there was also a culture of oppression towards female students.

“Some of the teachers didn’t want us to do well and would mark my grades down,” she says. “In our society, there is a belief that you can’t do things because you’re a woman. So when I go out to help someone’s animal, sometimes people don’t want me to touch it. But after I get them to trust me, they thank me.”

Read further

14 replies

  1. That is the difference between culture and religion. Culture can be irrational, without reason, unjust, indifferent and suffocating especially in the third world countries. But religion, like Islam is empowering and confidence especially for women, it gives you encouragement and spiritual endorphins to boost your morale. Hats off to you girls.

  2. There are many other examples where women set an example. As a woman especially a Muslim woman we have responsibility as we are taking care of future of the coming generation .

    Woman’s issue in Islam. Are women the second class in Islam? Are religions unfair to women?
    Based on Al Quran, the Arabs were a nation that often occurred conflicts, hostility, kidnapping and civil-wars caused by different ethnicities and religious beliefs. They killed their children foolishly, due to their lack of knowledge QS 6;140. Man was encouraged to have many wives QS.4:3, a male could have many slaves, and can be traded etc. QS.24:33. QS,33;50.
    A female receive inheritance half than a male. QS .4:11. A Husband can beat his wife, if she refuse to have sexual with him any time he want. QS 4;34. A female is not allowed to be a leader or imam in Mosque QS.4;34. The most duty of female is to raise their children, cooked, serve her husband and stay home daylong. Girls do not need to get good education as boys. Man want to dominate (control) women.
    Therefore Prophet forbid women go outside without accompanied by her brother (guardian). They were at the brink of a pit of Fire.QS 3;103.

    Can you imagine how Arab people made a house? How they wrote Allah’s words? At the time of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), there was no paper to write, they wrote Allah’s words on animal skin and stone, can you imagine it? Also they made a tent from skin of animal, moveable,QS.16;80-81.
    They moved from one place to another place. And there was no police to guard people, there were no hospitals to go to when people got sick, also there was no hospitals for animals, no telephones, busses and electricity. It was very difficult to find water for bathing and washing dirty clothes. They lived in heat desert-the stormsand– ( 35-50 C ). When the strong winds come up in the desert, the heat sand or SANDSTORM can damage human skin, hair and eyes.
    Therefore Prophet Muhammad asked women to cover their entire body with a cloth. Burqa. QS 33:59, QS 24:31.This is a suggestion, not obligation.

    Read more women issue here !

    Hopefully help women’s problem in 21st century
    All love

    • Again it seems that Somi is not following the teachings of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. You would have noticed that we are encouraging ladies to study and in fact during our Annual Gatherings they receive more educational awards than their male counterparts.

  4. In Islam gaining knowledge is encouraged for man and woman equally. History of Islam is full of that examples where women were more educated than men.

  5. @somi,It’s not fair to misguide people by giving wrong references and by twisting the words of the Quran. Islam gives equal rights to both men and women, if there is any discrimination it’s because of culture not religion.
    For right knowledge of Quran and information of Islam go to alislam.org

  6. I don’t think that the Ahmaddiya Muslim Jamat are following those teachings which are not following the Islam. Islam gives the equal rights to men and women. In every field of life Muslim women are doing what they want to do, it is their choice. Women have big responsibilities and they are fulfilling their duties without any pressure and fear.

    • Islam doesn’t force anything. It guides us on the right path and guides us to safeguard ourselves. We cover ourselves to protect ourselves. It is our choice and we do so because we love Allah. But again, no one forces it.

  7. Islam has given women the same equal rights as men .Girls have the same right of education as boys or even more cause in future they are going to have a great responsibility of upbringing the next generation.

    • Every sects of Islam claim that follow Allah and sunnah, right? Even wahhabi, Salafy , Shiah , ISIS and others follow Allah and sunnah.
      The question is how does Ahmadiyyah follow the Allah’s laws and sunnah of prophet Muhammad ?
      Does Ahmadiyyah follow Ancient Islamic laws:
      Such as execution people at front of public like beheading, flogging etc ?
      Does Ahmadiyyah agree that Female will get 1/2 inheritance than male refer to Quran 4:11?
      Can you explain it here please?

  8. Progressive Muslim also follow Allsh and sunnah, but it will be different with Wahhabi, Salafy etc
    According to Allah and sunnah some ancient Islamic laws relate to wordly laws can be reformed or changed it, but wahhabi and Salafy believe that Allah and Sunnah laws CAN NOT BE REFORMED for ever.
    If Allah and sunnah can not be reformed, Islam / Muslim is like ISIS, TALIBAN, Saudi Arabia and Iran.
    Progressive Muslim want to reform Islamic teaching .
    Whats about Ahmadiyyah?

Leave a Reply