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Islamabad , PTI:A feminist author hit back on Monday at Pakistan for censoring her article on Muslim women and sex, saying the ban exposed the depth of gender discrimination in the deeply conservative Islamic country.
Egyptian-American Mona Eltahawy, an award-winning journalist who is a vocal public speaker on women’s rights, penned a opinion column entitled “Sex Talk for Muslim Women” that ran in Friday’s edition of the International New York Times.
The article was available online in Pakistan, but the newspaper version, published by the local Express Tribune, featured a blank spot in the opinion pages where Eltahawy’s article had been.
Eltahawy told AFP that the decision to ban her article exposes that authorities think a woman “who claims ownership over her body is dangerous… and must be silenced”. “You can’t afford to publish such controversial articles about Islam,” a senior source at the Express Tribune told AFP on condition of anonymity when asked about Eltahawy’s article.
In the piece, Eltahawy discussed her decision to have sex before marriage in defiance of her own upbringing and faith, and detailed her many conversations with other women of Muslim and Arab descent suffering under the “sexual straitjacket” of virginity imposed on them by men.
“Where are the stories on women’s sexual frustrations and experiences?” she wrote. “My revolution has been to develop from a 29-year-old virgin to the 49-year-old woman who now declares, on any platform I get: It is I who own my body. Not the state, the mosque, the street or my family. And it is my right to have sex whenever, and with whomever, I choose.