Hina was a beautiful 20-year-old who emigrated with her Pakistani family to Italy. She lived with her Italian boyfriend, smoked, was happy and free. In other words, she became westernised; Hina came to Italy an Asian girl and grew into a western woman. And, she had refused an arranged marriage. Therefore, her father killed her, slitting her throat 28 times because his honour had been sullied.
He then garnered support from members of his extended family to help him bury Hina’s body in the back garden of his home. Did he think none of her friends would miss her? No, because Hina was once again his possession. He has been sentenced to 30 years imprisonment; plenty of time to pray to Allah.
The United Nations Population Fund believes that, globally, as many as 5,000 women and girls are killed each year by members of their own family in the name of ‘honour’. This figure, many believe, is the tip of the iceberg.
Alicia Gali made the mistake of working in UAE, a muslim country. She spent eight months in a United Arab Emirates jail for adultery after complaining to police about being drugged and raped by co-workers. Alicia, 29, detailed her harrowing ordeal after filing a Queensland lawsuit against the five-star international resort where the attack allegedly took place in 2008.
Warning other women against going to the UAE, Alicia said she endured eight months in a crowded prison room with up to 30 other women after she complained to authorities about the assault. Apart from her family, no one in Australia knew Alicia had been jailed for adultery and illegal drinking, because Australian embassy staff advised her and her family not to go to the media.
“It was just traumatising,” she said. “Everything that happened was the worst thing that somebody could go through.”
“You’re just totally alone in a foreign country, with no assistance from your employer or the embassy.” Alicia, a salon manager at the resort, said she had been in the staff bar, where she was told she could legally drink, when another employee put the drug, ice, in her drink.
It was the last thing Alicia remembered before waking the next day in her room with painful injuries. “I didn’t know what had happened. I was traumatised, I felt ill. I didn’t even remember getting there or what had happened”. It was only when she took herself to hospital did she realise she had been sexually assaulted.
Later she learned she had been heard screaming in the hotel and security guards had found men hiding in her room, where she was naked and unconscious. When she was discharged from hospital she was asked to go to a police station to make a statement and then speak in front of a judge. “I realised when I was put in a police car that I was being taken to jail.”
Alicia said she was never warned by her UAE employers that she could be charged with adultery and face prison if she complained of being raped, without having four adult male Muslims as witnesses. “I didn’t even know what the charges were until five months into my sentence”.
Three of the men Alicia claimed sexually abused her were jailed, but for adultery and not rape. After serving eight months of a 12-month sentence, Alicia was pardoned, released, and flew home in March 2009. Since then she has been treated for post traumatic stress disorder, suffered claustrophobia and flashbacks. “I felt depressed, angry and confused”.
Law firm Maurice Blackburn on Thursday filed a damages claim in the Supreme Court in Brisbane, alleging Ms Gali’s employer failed to warn her of the risk of being drugged, raped, charged with adultery and jailed if she complained. Solicitor Melissa Payne said it was a complex legal case and they would consult experts in UAE law.
These two cases represent the clash between dark age religious beliefs and western freedoms. Islam means ‘submission’ therefore muslims must submit to the power of Allah and women must submit to the power of men.