"They think self-immolation will solve the problem."
It’s a "solution" that appears to be a major problem in Afghanistan, particularly among young women between the ages 13 and 25.
In the first seven months of this year, medical staff at the Herat’s burns unit – the only one of its kind in the entire country – said they have seen 51 cases of female self-immolation. Only 13 have survived.
The practice comes from Iran, where many Afghan refugees had fled to during the decade-long war with the Soviet Union (1979-1989) and the era of mujahedeen fighting that followed in the 1990s, said Jalali. But its popularity has spread among Afghan women, often from poor, uneducated backgrounds, where the tradition of child or forced marriages runs strong.
"The forced marriage is the best reason and the important reason, and it starts from the economic problem," said Jalali. Often in arranged marriages, women are viewed in very stark terms.
Syrian-American psychiatrist Dr. Wafa Sultan, author of "A God Who Hates," elucidates the Islamic rationale for bigotry against women and other minorities - and implores the modern world to demand reform and repect for minorities rights from Muslim culture. Dr. Sultan presented this video discourse at the Horowitz Freedom Center's Wednesday Breakfast Club in Los Angeles on October 29, 2009."She is here only to wash, to clean, to give baby … and nothing more," said Marie-Jose Brunel, a French volunteer nurse at the burns unit who was full of Gallic warmth and purposeful seriousness. "If they have no freedom, no possibility to study, to be considered like nothing, it’s very, very difficult." MSNBC