Leila Hussein was a hero. She left her husband after he killed their daughter for speaking to a British soldier in public and besmirching his "honor". She left despite being beaten and having her arm broken. She left despite being disowned by her sons. She left to prove a point, that she was a person who knew right from wrong.

She was gunned down on her way from a safe house to meet a contact who was to bring her to Amman, Jordan and safety. The killers were not caught and most likely are not beign pursued.

Literalist interpretations of religious texts from eras in which life was considered expendable do nothing but revive the ghosts of this dim view of life. They are flawed, immeasureably cruel, and should not be a part of modern life. Love had a very different meaning when life expectancy was half of what it is now and early death was a commonplace event.

Lest you think this is only a Muslim problem read on. While Islam is probably the worst there are plenty of other examples of cruelty and death meted out by the edict of an ancient god.

The Southern Baptist Convention:

A wife is to submit herself graciously to the servant leadership of her husband even as the church willingly submits to the headship of Christ. She, being in the image of God as is her husband and thus equal to him, has the God-given responsibility to respect her husband and to serve as his helper

(So equal is apparently the same as being a servant and a helper? Unravelling this dichotomy eludes me.)


Submission without recourse to anyone but god creates an atmosphere in which abuse can grow and spread while being covered up in public. When this happens sometimes people die, and no matter which partner it is it should never happen.

Hindu sati (self immolation by a widow) was supposed to be an elective act yet was often compulsary. The Vedas are also full of smart, capable women rising to power and emminence despite losing chastity early in life and/or losing their husbands, yet as much as 3% of India's population is comprised of widows who have been cast out of their families to live on charity based upon flimsy religious evidence in the Hindu texts and a regard for them as hangers on who do not deserve support.

These literalist interpretations are scary and should be spoken out against. Life is much different now than is was 2000 years ago and should be treated as such.