The West’s Dangerous Enchantment with Islam: Muslim Women Thrown “Under the Bus”

Gatestone Institute, by Uzay Bulut, Nov. 9, 2014:

There are no women’s rights in Islam; there are no women’s rights in most Muslim countries. And there is no freedom of expression in these countries; people have become virtually voiceless.

To make a positive change in Muslim countries, we need to be able to speak openly, without putting one’s life at risk, and tell the (too-often criminalized) truth about what Islamic teachings and traditions actually contain.

If one is called “racist” or “Islamophobe,” the answer is that these are the accusations bullies always use to silence those who disagree with them. The real Islamophobes are those who degrade, abuse and kill their fellow Muslims.

If oppression of women is rooted in the culture, shouldn’t one be asking, ‘what makes a culture that misogynous?’

There is a situation even more frightening. It now seems to be difficult to speak openly about fundamentalist Islam even in Western countries. The worst thing any Western progressive or feminist can do is to stay silent.

The loudest voices in the West now seem to come from many progressives who say that criticizing of Islam is racist, intolerant, bigoted and Islamophobic. Injustices, they claim, take place all around the world, not just among Muslims or in Muslim countries. The criticism, they go on, comes from wrong interpretations of Islamic teachings. They say that Islam respects women, and that there are good and bad Muslims, just as there are good and bad people in all religions.

In just seven years, however, between 2002 and 2009, the rate of murdered women in Turkey has increased by 1400 percent.[1]

There are also more than 181,000 child brides in Turkey.[2]

When those figures are provided by state authorities, they are based on factual statistics. But when they are expressed in a critical manner by Canan Arin, a lawyer and women rights activist, they are, apparently, a “crime.”

Canan Arin, 72, is a feminist lawyer who has dedicated her life to women’s rights struggles in Turkey.[3]

The Antalya Bar Association, in December 2011, invited her to its newly founded Women’s Rights Enforcement Centre to give training to the lawyers on violence against women. There, she delivered a speech about early and forced marriages, and gave two examples — one from the 7th century, the other from the 20th century — to clarify her point.

The first example concerned Muhammad, the founder of Islam, who married a girl of seven. The second was about Abdullah Gul, then-President of the Turkish Republic, who became engaged to his wife when she was 14 and married her when she was 15, in 1980.

Although both of those examples are supposedly based on the truth, speaking the truth in Turkey now seems to constitute a crime. A year later, therefore, a warrant was issued for Arin’s arrest, and on December 12, 2012, she was brought to court for “insulting religious values adopted by a part of the society” (Turkish Penal Code Article- 216/3) and for “insulting the President” (Turkish Penal Code- Article 299/1).

On May 30, 2013, the court declared its final decision, which was the adjournment of the trial. According to the ruling, if Arin commits a similar crime in three years and receives a punishment for it, her case will be reopened.

“If I do not open my mouth for three years, and do not engage in [discussions of similar] subject matters, this trial will be ignored. Their ruling is like running with the hare and hunting with the hounds. But this trial should have never been opened in the first place,” Arin said to the Turkish newspaper, Hurriyet.

It is bewildering that any prosecutor actually considers child marriage a “value.” According to the Turkish Statistical Institute, in 2012 alone, the rate of parental consent for legal marriage under the age of 18 increased by 94.2%. This increase is not taking place in a country ruled by Islamic sharia law, but in Turkey, the only so-called “secular” Muslim country.

There are no women’s rights in Islam; there are no women rights in most Muslim countries. And as there is no freedom of expression in these countries, people have become virtually voiceless.

Yet many people, especially the so-called progressives, seem to find limitless excuses for fundamentalist Islamic atrocities against women. These include beheadings, stonings, domestic violence, honor killings, female genital mutilation, official legal inequality, home confinement, child marriages, and Saudi Arabia’s prohibition against women driving, to name a few.

Statements that come up with “multicultural” excuses to provide cover for the practices of fundamentalist Islam, however, never have, and never will, help to liberate women who suffer under Islamic misogyny, gender apartheid and jihad.

To make a positive change in Muslim countries, we need to be able to speak openly and tell the (too-often criminalized) truth about what Islamic teachings and traditions actually contain. Yet in Muslim countries, it is impossible speak openly about what is in these Islamic teachings and traditions, without putting one’s life at risk.

There is a situation even more frightening. It now seems to be difficult to speak openly about fundamentalist Islam even in Western countries, in part thanks to the dangerous enchantment of Western progressives and feminists who romanticize Islamism.

Women in the Muslim world desperately need the voice of Western progressives and feminists. But when it comes to finding excuses to neutralize critical questions about Islamic violence, Western progressives seem endlessly creative. Known by an increasing number of women as “Excuses for Abuses,” these include:

Criticizing Islam is racist and reveals “intolerance,” “bigotry” and “Islamophobia.”

For the record, Islam is not a race. Moreover, if you discuss the violent and misogynous teachings of Islam, it does not mean that you hate or are intolerant of Muslims, just of violence and misogyny.

It does mean that you care about Muslim women; that you do not want them to be forced to find four male “witnesses” to “prove” they have been raped, or to be punished by Islamic courts as adulterers if their rapists do not confess. It means you believe that their testimony in court, or their inheritance, should be valued as highly as a man’s; that you do not want them to be the victim of honor killings or child marriages at the hands of their Muslim family members, and that you do not want their husbands to be able beat them with impunity.

It also means that you want children to grow up to be honest, informed, compassionate adults, filled with love for life and fellow human beings, and who can speak up for rights and liberties that can never be taken for granted — all gained as a result of centuries-long wars, struggles and social movements.

It means you do not want to see children blowing themselves up on a bus, or people buying or selling women, or killing their sisters for not wearing the hijab. And finally, it means that you do not want children getting married at the age of seven, especially to men they have never met, or to be hypocrites who have to say, “Islam is a religion of peace” to defend themselves every time another Muslim commits a crime justified by proclaiming Islamic beliefs.

“Injustices against women take place all around the world, not just against Muslims or in Muslim countries.”

If the oppression of women is rooted in the culture, shouldn’t one be asking, ‘what makes a culture that misogynous?’

What is progressivism if its objectives do not include helping emancipate women from Islamic oppression, such as honor killings, child marriages, stonings, flogging and punishing rape victims (while releasing rapists) — all of which are employed in the Muslim world, in line with Islamic teachings, allegedly to “protect” and “respect” women and to keep them “pure,” but more probably to keep women in their place?

“What you are seeing is not the real Islam; Islam has been hijacked.”

The problem with this view is that Islam actually does teach that a woman is worth less than a man. Many teachings in Islam are misogynous — from wearing veils; requiring four male witness to prove rape; issues of inheritance; court testimony; rules of marriage; rules of divorce and remarriage; a man’s “right” to marry up to four women and then beat them, and so on.

If Western progressives and feminists care at all about their Muslim sisters, they need to protest against the actual roots of this injustice: these Islamic teachings.

Many progressives, however, seem not even to want to learn about them, let alone speak out against them. Perhaps they fear that if they knew more, they might actually have to speak out. Or perhaps they remain silent from indifference or inertia. But if all they really care about in the West is their (understandable) ability to get abortions and equal pay for equal work, they have badly failed to grasp the consequences of a theocracy on everyone, not only on women.

If they wished to inform themselves, they might read just the verses of the Quran relating to women and glance at the hadith sunnah literature — all easily found on the internet. Then — if they sincerely wished to raise future generations with humanitarian values, equal justice under law, and a respect for human rights — they might educate others about those teachings, while basing their opinions on knowledge, not on wishful thinking.

“If you accommodate Islamic misogyny,” says the writer Pat Condell, “you legitimize it and you invite it into your own life and into the lives of your children … because it’s coming your way. You also help to ensure that the woman in Pakistan or Saudi Arabia, who gets beaten every day, will continue to be beaten and treated as a piece of property, as will her daughters and granddaughters all the way down the line.”

“It is not about Islam. Crimes were committed and are being committed in all places throughout history.”

The world is no paradise, but in the West, if economic, political or social causes of injustices are freely discussed, why should religious, or Islamic, causes be exempt from discussion?

In many Muslim countries, where only Islam — but not the people — has the right to survive, such discussion is impossible without extreme risk. Even in Turkey, considered one of the most “liberal” of Muslim countries, if you dare to discuss or criticize the teachings of Islam, you can be killed, arrested, attacked, exposed to social and psychological lynching campaigns, brought to court and given a prison sentence.

Do progressives not oppose supremacy and oppression? Why then do they turn a blind eye to Islamic supremacy and oppression?

In Gaza, for instance, for whom Western progressives claim to have so much sympathy, women are systematically murdered in honor killings, and the Hamas government does not protect them. Appeals court judge Ziad Thabet, told Al-Monitor that “during his time in the judiciary, he had noticed that honor killing defendants were usually given light sentences. Three years in prison was the harshest…. Life sentences or execution were never a consideration.”

Al Jazeera also reported that “the number of so-called ‘honor killings’ in Palestine doubled in 2013 from the previous year. … For the past three years, the number of women killed has increased each year.”

Can Western feminists not stand up even against a terrorist group, Hamas, on behalf of Gazan women, who cannot speak up for themselves for fear of reprisals? Or would this not be as pleasurable as condemning Israel, the only Middle Eastern country where Muslim women do have equal rights? Or can these progressives only parrot propaganda, such as, “Palestinian women are exposed to honor killings by angry Palestinian men due to the Israeli occupation”?

“Not all Muslims are the same. There are good and bad Muslims, just as there are good and bad people in all religions.”

First of all, thank you very much for this genius discovery. But how can it help reduce the Islamic violence around the world?

Of course it is true that there are many good Muslims, whose values do not follow Islamic teachings verbatim, but also include humanitarian values. They do not wage war on other religions or try to bring them under submission to Islam. In the eyes of jihadis or Islamists, however, who live by the harshest interpretation of most doctrinaire Islamic teachings, such a quality makes them “bad Muslims.”

“All religions are essentially the same.”

Well, not quite. Biblical values are far more benign than Islamic ones, and generally descriptive rather than proscriptive. Furthermore, the most violent of them were long ago abandoned.

No religion, for instance, other than Islam, has ever commanded that those who insult or leave it should be put to death. (See Surahs 6:93, 33:57, 33:61)

On September 24 after being found guilty of “heresy” and “insulting prophet Jonah,” Mohsen Amir Aslani, 37, an Iranian psychologist, was hanged in a prison near the city of Karaj west of Tehran, according to the Human Rights Activists News Agency. Aslani, it seems, had given religious classes where he provided his own interpretations of the Quran. In one of his classes, he apparently told his audience that Jonah could not have emerged from the whale’s belly; it was this statement that led to his charge of insulting the prophet Jonah, the Iran Wire websitereported.

Left: Canan Arin, a feminist lawyer arrested in Turkey for “insulting religious values adopted by a part of the society” and “insulting the President,” after she mentioned that the Muslim prophet Muhammad married a 7-year-old girl and the President of Turkey married his wife when she was 15 years old. Right: Mohsen Amir Aslani, an Iranian psychologist who was hanged in Iran for the crimes of “heresy” and “insulting prophet Jonah,” after he said that the biblical prophet Jonah could not have emerged from a whale’s belly.

How much time will pass until Islam is reformed or reinterpreted? How many people will be killed, attacked or enslaved until that happens? How many Muslims have the free will or courage to speak out? Will Islamists even ever allow them to, without threatening retaliation? Are the Islamists so uncertain that what they are preaching can stand on its merits — as the Quran instructs, “without compulsion” — that they cannot even tolerate even a single comment about one of their prophets?

What Western progressives and feminists are doing for the sake of political correctness — or a well intentioned, if misguided, “multiculturalism” — does nothing to help Muslim women. On the contrary, “political correctness,” silence, or making excuses for atrocities caused by Islam, can only add to the suffering of women in the Muslim world.

If progressives truly want to protect Muslims, they cannot achieve this goal by “protecting” Islam from criticism.

If one is called “racist” or “Islamophobe,” the answer is that these are accusations bullies always use to silence people who disagree with them. The real Islamophobes are those who degrade, abuse and kill their fellow Muslims.

The worst thing any Western progressive or feminist can do in the face of the suffering caused by Islamic teachings, is to stay silent.

Uzay Bulut is a Turkish journalist based in Ankara.


[1] According to the Turkish Ministry of Justice, 2009.

[2] According to the data of the Turkish Statistical Institute in 2012.

[3] Arin co-founded the Purple Roof-Women’s Shelter Foundation, the Association for the Support of Women Candidates and the Women’s Rights Enforcement Centre of the Istanbul Bar Association. Between 1994 and 1997, she acted as an expert on violence against women for the Gender Equality Commission of the Council of Europe.

Women in Saudi Arabia – Is There Real Reform?

Andrew Harrod examines Katherine Zoepf’s “Shopgirls” presentation exclusively for the Religious Freedom Coalition.

 

A Women’s Storefront Window on Rights, Religion, and Reform in Saudi Arabia

(Washington, DC) “You cannot assume the same starting point” for women’s rights in Saudi Arabia as Western countries, journalist Katherine Zoepf obviously understated in a September 17 presentation of her research in the doctrinaire Muslim kingdom.  Zoepf’s discussion of the “not just window dressing” reform in the kingdom’s strict “gender segregation” allowing women retail jobs, though, raises important questions about Islamic “extremism” in Saudi Arabia and beyond.

Zoepf’s Washington, DC, Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting (Pulitzer Center) address centered on her December 2013 New Yorkerarticle “Shopgirls.”  Zoepf described therein how Saudi King Abdullah decreed in June 2011 a ban on male lingerie and cosmetic shop workers, leading the way towards other women retail positions.  Though “not…immediately evident,” Zoepf wrote, a “women’s revolution has begun in Saudi Arabia.”

A “male guardian—usually a father or husband” controlling “permission to study, to travel, and to marry” makes Saudi women “effectively…legal minors.”  A Saudi female doctor mentioned by Zoepf at Pulitzer Center, for example, enjoyed travel to places like Paris for medical conferences with her liberal husband’s generous permission, but after his death came under a conservative son’s strictures.  Another woman under the guardianship of her brother was raising her son as a liberal future replacement.

A Saudi female in a Supermarket check-out counter. the sign says “families only” because a male customer may not directly speak to her. A UK Citizen was beaten by religious police this year for speaking to a female clerk at a store.

A Saudi female in a Supermarket check-out counter. the sign says “families only” because a male customer may not directly speak to her. A UK Citizen was beaten by religious police this year for speaking to a female clerk at a store.

A “devout Saudi man avoids even mentioning the names of his wife and daughters in public” and they never met the man’s friends at home in one of the world’s “most patriarchal societies,” Zoepf wrote.  “You wouldn’t imagine that they live in the same homes,” Zoepf at Pulitzer Center said of husbands and wives’ segregated lives.  Separating as adolescents after childhood, male cousins might never see their female cousins’ faces again unless they are among the some 50% of first and second cousins who marry.  The kingdom meanwhile expends “vast resources” creating what Zoepf described at Pulitzer Center as an “entire second set of everything” such as female-only shopping malls and travel agencies.

Saudi women lack a “public identity,” Zoepf argued at Pulitzer Center, as they must wear in public the abaya body and head covering, although the niqab face covering is optional.  Saleswomen, though, often wear niqabs to avoid harassment from conservative customers or the “Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice” religious police (Hai’a or “committee” for short).  In lingerie stores, “Shopgirls” noted, “most customers remain fully covered even while being fitted.”

A public service advertisement with four Saudi girls covered in black abayas shown by Zoepf emphasized this covering.  Three of the girls had red “X”s under their images, as their abayas revealed slight protrusions caused by hair tied with ribbons underneath.  They “will not see heaven, nor will they smell its perfume,” Zoepf translated the advertisement’s Arabic caption.  Only the fourth without any such ornamentation had a green check mark.

An unveiled, stylishly-dressed Saudi woman in the Pulitzer Center  audience indicated Saudi progressivism’s limits.  This law student in America came from Jeddah, described by “Shopgirls” as “Saudi Arabia’s most liberal city.”  Moderating influences, Zoepf explained at Pulitzer Center, came to the port city throughout history in the form of annual pilgrims on hajj to Mecca from outside of Islam’s orthodox heartland.

Read more at Religious Freedom Coalition

CAIR Spokesman Whitewashes Islamic terrorism, Compares Boko Haram to Mere Criminals

BedierCSP, By Kyle Shideler:

At a Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) press conference held in order to “condemn Boko Haram” Ahmed Bedier, President of “United Voices” and a long time CAIR member, took the opportunity to condemn not Boko Haram, but the Nigerian government and Americans concerned about the threat of Islamic terrorism, and to minimize the kidnapping and threat of forced sexual slavery for hundreds of young women as the “failure to apprehend a bunch of criminals.” (Starts approximately 13:11)

 

Boko Haram (Western Education is a Sin), and whose real name is  Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’awati wal-Jihad (People Committed to the Propagation of the Prophet’s Teachings and Jihad) is a State Department designated Foreign Terrorist Organization with ties to Al Qaeda.

Bedier proceeded to compare the outrage over the kidnappings, which has gone viral on the internet under the hashtag #Bringbackourgirls, to outrage over the response to Hurricane Katrina. Bedier continued, “we are tired of people coming on television and asking ‘well where does this ideology come from, this ideology comes from no where.”

The Investigative Project on Terrorism has noted that Bedier has a long history of minimizing and understating Islamic terrorism, including Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), Hamas, and Hezbollah. Bedier was a strong supporter of Florida professor, and now convicted Palestinian Islamic Jihad organizer, Sami Al-Arian.  Bedier told a local Tampa TV station news program that prior to 1995 (when PIJ was formally designated a terrorist organization) there was “nothing immoral about it.”

The issue of the State Department’s reported unwillingness, under then Secretary Hillary Clinton, to designate Boko Haram as a terror group has been a topic of fierce criticism of late.

CAIR itself was an un-indicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation terrorism finance trial, for its role as part of the “Palestine Committee” of the North American Muslim Brotherhood, which was responsible for funneling money, through the Holy Land Foundation, to Hamas. Efforts by the supposed “Civil Rights” organization to remove itself from that list failed. In his memorandum on the case, Judge Jorge Solis noted:

Government has produced ample evidence to establish the associations of CAIR, ISNA and NAIT with HLF, the Islamic Association for Palestine (“IAP”), and with Hamas. While the Court recognizes that the evidence produced by the Government largely predates the HLF designation date, the evidence is nonetheless sufficient to show the association of these entities with HLF, IAP, and Hamas.

So I guess it’s no surprise why Ahmed Bedier would like people to stop talking about the ideology that encourages foreign terrorist organizations like Boko Haram.

Kyle Shideler is the Director of the Counterterrorism Education and Analysis Project (CEAP) at the Center for Security Policy. Kyle works to inject serious research and analysis on the subject of Islamic terrorism and Shariah law into the beltway policy discussion, by challenging false assumptions and providing fully documented resources, primary research and influential talking points to policymakers, journalists, and foreign relations professionals. Kyle has previously served as a Director of Research and Communications, Senior Researcher, and Public Information Officer for several organizations in the field of Middle East and terrorism policy since 2006. He is a contributing author to “Saudi Arabia and the Global Islamic Terrorist Network: America and the West’s Fatal Embrace,” and has written for numerous publications as well as briefed legislative aides, intelligence and law enforcement officials, and the general public on the threat posed by Islamist influence and penetration operations.

The War on Former Muslim Women

Ayaan-Hirsi-450x270by :

It is a tragedy and a shame that it had to take the mass kidnapping and sexual enslavement of 300 Nigerian girls by Muslim jihadists for the world to finally express its outrage over Sharia’s evil deeds. Similar stories of Christian girls being kidnapped, forcibly married and converted to Islam by their Muslim captors, have been a reality for decades. But unfortunately, and tragically, they have been ignored by our mainstream media. Only a few “Islamophobic” journalists have cared enough to report on such atrocities in Egypt, Syria and elsewhere — until reality exploded to such a great magnitude that it awakened the world’s conscience.

Former Muslim women like Wafa Sultan, Ayan Hirsi Ali and myself have been writing and speaking about the oppression of women in Islamic society for a long time now. I have written a book dedicated to connecting the dots between Islamic law and such kidnappings, rapes and other forms of oppression of women. But instead of helping our voices be heard, the leftist media and academia have ignored us, called us names and done everything in their power to silence us. They have treated the American people like children who are told they should not be outraged about far away cultural practices — because all cultures are equal.

Advocates of cultural relativism who are brutal in judging conservative and Christian Americans, and call them slanderous names, have no problem in tolerating Islamic tyranny over women and other minorities.

After 9/11 Americans asked: “Where are the voices of Arab Americans who condemn Islamic terrorism?” This question led a few brave former Muslim women to stand up and speak. But when we did (at our own peril), the leftist media and academia called us “Islamophobes” and “racists.” What is Islamophobic and racist about warning America about the tyranny of the barbaric religious legal system that we lived under and came to America to escape from its vicious clutches?

Muslims have convinced the leftist elites that criticism of Islamic doctrine is a hateful phobia equal to hating all Muslim people. Students who wanted to learn the truth about Sharia and its implications on women, jihad, the Arab Israeli conflict and terrorism, have been intimidated and forced to withdraw their invitation to former Muslim women speakers.

Not only have Muslim Brotherhood front groups and the Left succeeded in silencing speech critical of Islam, but reports about Islamic atrocities around the world have been suppressed — until now, when one horrifying story of an Islamic crime against humanity could not be contained.

And so now, with the Nigerian kidnapping story, Islam’s dirty little secret has been exposed: Sharia legalizes the taking of female hostages as sexual slaves in the jihad battle against non-Muslims. And since the jihad battle against non-Muslims is taught as a permanent institution, the kidnapping, rape and enslavement can happen at any time. In fact, the Islamic Nigerian mass kidnappers, who are experts on Sharia, are bragging on camera about their actions because they are told by their books and Islamic education that what they did is holy and legal under Allah.

Read more at Front Page

Islam and Human Rights

militants1n-3-web-450x343 (1)by :

Recently, I met a Syrian Salafist while speaking to Leaders of Democracy Fellows about Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Islam and human rights violations in Syria.

The individual who lives in Syria, and who seems to sympathize with Jubhat Al- Nusrah (Al-Nusrah Front) drew several distinctions between Islamic objectives of the global Jihad movement, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, and Jubhat Al-Nusrah.

The argument was that these powerful movements in Syria and beyond attempt to create an Islamic state anchored in Shari’a law, the teachings of Islam, Muhammad, and Allah. But the difference between Jubhat Al-Nusrah and ISIL, according to the person, was that the mission of the Jubhat Al-Nusrah aims at only establishing Islamic social order and an Islamic state in Syria. Whether this mission spreads to other countries is not a part of their objectives, though other countries can adopt this political Islamic platform if they desire.

On the other hand, the objectives and mission of ISIL is a return to the Caliphate system and establishment of an Islamic state throughout the region. In other words, creating an Islamic state and Shari’a law-based government in Syria or in Iraq is not sufficient and will not fulfill the desire of God, Muhammad, and Islamic teachings.

Currently, we can contend that Syrian oppositional groups are functionally dominated by Jihadists from around the world, other Islamist groups, and external groups attempting to create an Islamic order and pursue their own ideological goals.

Regarding these Islamic movements, my major question is on where human rights stand for them, regardless of the minor or significant differences between these Islamist oppositional groups?

Recently, a seven-year-old boy died because fighters believed him to be an apostate. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a 15-year-old Syrian boy was also killed in the northern city of Aleppo in front of his parents because the Islamist groups believed what the boy said was heretical.

Some of the proponents of Islam and Islamic laws would point out that the ideology and religion of Islam sit at the heart of human rights standards and are totally compatible with the modern notion of human rights.

But when I delve into the issue, and going into the nuances and details of the question, they seem to dodge answering. How can Islam be compatible with a modern notion of human rights and gender equality, when social and legal laws of Allah’s words in Quran, depict women as inferior to men in every aspect?

Article three of the universal declaration of human rights, states that ” Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person”. But in Islamic countries, a person who rejects and abandons Islam has no right to life. According to Islam, unbelievers commit the gravest sin in Islam.

While article four of the universal declaration of human rights says “one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms”, slavery is officially recognized and accepted in Quran.

Article five states that “No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.” Cases of stoning, lashings, and other violent acts, are rampant in Islamic countries.

How can Islam be compatible with human rights when, according to Muslims and the Quran, Allah specifically states in the Quran that a woman’s testimony in a court of law is considered half the value to that of a man?

Read more at Front Page

 

Brandeis, Female Mutilation and the Falsehoods of a Faculty Petition

But this woman is a black, feminist atheist from Somalia. And so what we’re learning here, which is fascinating, in the hierarchy of progressive-politics identity-group victimhood, Islam trumps everything. Islam trumps gender. The fact that she’s a woman doesn’t matter. It trumps race. The fact that she’s black doesn’t matter. It trumps secularism. The fact that she’s an atheist doesn’t matter. They wouldn’t do this if it was a Christian group complaining about her, if it was a Jewish group complaining about her. But when the Islamic lobby group says oh, no, we’re not putting up with this, as I said, these jelly-spined nothings at Brandeis just roll over for them. – Mark Steyn


fgm (2)By 
Jamie Glazov:

Last Tuesday, on April 8, Brandeis University rescinded its invitation to human rights activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali to receive an honorary degree from the institution. Brandeis caved in the face of intimidation from CAIR and other Muslim Brotherhood front groups, as well as a student petition on Change.org and a faculty petition – the contents of which have now become known.

The faculty petition is a textbook case of leftist pathology and of how “progressives” demonize true heroic freedom fighters and push millions of victims of totalitarian regimes and ideologies into invisibility for the sake of their own egotistical and destructive agendas.

A case in point in this ugly leftist narrative is how the signatories of the Brandeis petition have succeeded in banning a woman from their university who is the victim of female genital mutilation (FGM), suffered under an Islamic knife because of Islamic doctrine. She represents millions of Muslim females — mutilated and mutilated-to-be. And yet the signatories of the petition are callously indifferent, because they have their progressive program to attend to and fulfill.

The Brandeis faculty petition, written on April 6 and addressed to President Lawrence, stresses “the horrible message” that inviting Ali to the university “sends to the Muslim and non-Muslim communities at Brandeis and beyond” because of Ali’s “virulently anti-Muslim public statements.” Aside from complaining about Ali’s truth-telling about Islam, the petition also issues a dire warning about the “unnecessary controversy” that the human rights activist’s presence would bring to the campus.

To be sure, who needs nightmarish scenarios like debate and intellectual diversity when the Marxist Left has already lovingly bestowed the peaceful the Party Line?

The petition then references the major issues with which Ali is concerned: female genital mutilation, forced marriages, and honor killings. “These phenomena,” the petition flippantly notes, are not “exclusive to Islam.” This is a standard and perpetual tactic of obfuscation and equivocation employed by the Left whenever a monstrous evil is labelled in a totalitarian enemy. It serves as an excuse for inaction by presupposing that if a crime is committed by someone else, somewhere else, that it somehow justifies doing and saying nothing in the face of a crime being perpetrated on a mass scale right before our eyes – and one that we can do something about.

In other words, the logic implies that if a sin or an injustice exist somewhere else on the planet, that one must never fight for — or defend the victims of — any one ideology or system (unless it is of the western variety, of course).

Thus, if one dares to show concern for the millions of Muslim girls who are victims of female genital mutilation, the leftist will reflexively retort: “Muslims are not the only group that practice FGM.”

But so what? The bottom line is that Muslims are the principle religious group that practices this sexual violence against women. And if a young girl is a victim of FGM, the chances are that she lives in a Muslim household and in a Muslim culture. And this barbarity is kept alive and legitimized by Islamic theology.

The faculty petition to President Lawrence also expresses a deep concern about the fact that Ali has suggested “that violence toward girls and women is particular to Islam or the Two-Thirds World.” This is intolerable (even though completely true) because, according to the petition, it obscures “such violence in our midst among non-Muslims, including on our own campus.”

This is another consistent tactic that the Left engages in to insert its falsehoods into dialogues about oppressed people under monstrous tyrannies. The plain fact staring everyone in the face is that while violence may exist among non-Muslims, their laws and institutions delegitimize and illegalize such conduct. For instance, if a non-Muslim anywhere in the United States, including on a university campus, engages in violence against a woman and the police are called, he will be charged. In Islam, violence against women is inspired and sanctioned by the institutions themselves, precisely because misogyny, including wife beating, is embedded in the Qur’an.

In other words, non-Muslims who are violent toward women operate despite and against the laws of their lands; Muslims, on the other hand, are violent toward women because of their laws, and that is why they are, in turn, protected by those laws.

Thus, in terms of female genital mutilation, millions of Muslim girls are victims of this horrifying crime which is rooted in Islam and is integral to Islam’s misogynist structures. The road to saving millions of Muslim girls from this crime is to do what Ayaan Hirsi Ali is bravely doing, and what the signatories of the Brandeis faculty petition are trying to stop her from doing: to isolate and pinpoint Islam as the main culprit in this context.

The point cannot be stressed enough: female genital mutilation is fundamentally Islamic and it is rooted in Islamic texts such as Umdat al-Salik:

“Circumcision is obligatory (O: for both men and women. For men it consists of removing the prepuce from the penis, and for women, removing the prepuce (Ar. Bazr) of the clitoris.” Sacred Islamic Reliance: page 59, Umdat al-Salik  (“Reliance of the Traveler”), a manual of the Shafi’i school of Islamic jurisprudence, endorsed by Egypt’s very own Al-Azhar University of Cairo — the oldest and most prestigious university in the Islamic world.

This explains why one of Sunni Islam’s “Four Great Imams,” Ahmad ibn Hanbal, quotes Muhammed as saying: “Circumcision is a law for men and a preservation of honour for women?” It is no shock, therefore, that Sheikh Muhammad Sayyed Tantawi of Egypt’s Al-Azhar University has called circumcision “a laudable practice that did honor to women.”

Read more at Front Page (with video)

From ACT! For America:

According to the World Health Organization, more than 125 million girls and women alive today have been subjected to Female Genital Mutilation (FGM).

The African Women’s Health Center of the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, report that approximately 228,000 women and girls in the U.S. have either suffered the procedure or are at risk of having it done to them. Many of these young girls are subjected to FGM when they vacation in a country that sanctions the practice. In other cases, circumcisers are brought into the U.S. – even though FGM is illegal in this country.

ACT! for America has been working diligently at the state level to see legislation passed so that no girl ever suffers the horrors of FGM – either on U.S. soil or elsewhere.

Also see:

Here’s What I Would Have Said at Brandeis

A9WSJ, April 10, 2014, By AYAAN HIRSI ALI:

On Tuesday, after protests by students, faculty and outside groups, Brandeis University revoked its invitation to Ayaan Hirsi Ali to receive an honorary degree at its commencement ceremonies in May. The protesters accused Ms. Hirsi Ali, an advocate for the rights of women and girls, of being “Islamophobic.” Here is an abridged version of the remarks she planned to deliver.

One year ago, the city and suburbs of Boston were still in mourning. Families who only weeks earlier had children and siblings to hug were left with only photographs and memories. Still others were hovering over bedsides, watching as young men, women, and children endured painful surgeries and permanent disfiguration. All because two brothers, radicalized by jihadist websites, decided to place homemade bombs in backpacks near the finish line of one of the most prominent events in American sports, the Boston Marathon.

All of you in the Class of 2014 will never forget that day and the days that followed. You will never forget when you heard the news, where you were, or what you were doing. And when you return here, 10, 15 or 25 years from now, you will be reminded of it. The bombs exploded just 10 miles from this campus.

I read an article recently that said many adults don’t remember much from before the age of 8. That means some of your earliest childhood memories may well be of that September morning simply known as “9/11.”

You deserve better memories than 9/11 and the Boston Marathon bombing. And you are not the only ones. In Syria, at least 120,000 people have been killed, not simply in battle, but in wholesale massacres, in a civil war that is increasingly waged across a sectarian divide. Violence is escalating in Iraq, in Lebanon, in Libya, in Egypt. And far more than was the case when you were born, organized violence in the world today is disproportionately concentrated in the Muslim world.

Another striking feature of the countries I have just named, and of the Middle East generally, is that violence against women is also increasing. In Saudi Arabia, there has been a noticeable rise in the practice of female genital mutilation. In Egypt, 99% of women report being sexually harassed and up to 80 sexual assaults occur in a single day.

Especially troubling is the way the status of women as second-class citizens is being cemented in legislation. In Iraq, a law is being proposed that lowers to 9 the legal age at which a girl can be forced into marriage. That same law would give a husband the right to deny his wife permission to leave the house.

Sadly, the list could go on. I hope I speak for many when I say that this is not the world that my generation meant to bequeath yours. When you were born, the West was jubilant, having defeated Soviet communism. An international coalition had forced Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait. The next mission for American armed forces would be famine relief in my homeland of Somalia. There was no Department of Homeland Security, and few Americans talked about terrorism.

Two decades ago, not even the bleakest pessimist would have anticipated all that has gone wrong in the part of world where I grew up. After so many victories for feminism in the West, no one would have predicted that women’s basic human rights would actually be reduced in so many countries as the 20th century gave way to the 21st.

Today, however, I am going to predict a better future, because I believe that the pendulum has swung almost as far as it possibly can in the wrong direction.

When I see millions of women in Afghanistan defying threats from the Taliban and lining up to vote; when I see women in Saudi Arabia defying an absurd ban on female driving; and when I see Tunisian women celebrating the conviction of a group of policemen for a heinous gang rape, I feel more optimistic than I did a few years ago. The misnamed Arab Spring has been a revolution full of disappointments. But I believe it has created an opportunity for traditional forms of authority—including patriarchal authority—to be challenged, and even for the religious justifications for the oppression of women to be questioned.

Yet for that opportunity to be fulfilled, we in the West must provide the right kind of encouragement. Just as the city of Boston was once the cradle of a new ideal of liberty, we need to return to our roots by becoming once again a beacon of free thought and civility for the 21st century. When there is injustice, we need to speak out, not simply with condemnation, but with concrete actions.

One of the best places to do that is in our institutions of higher learning. We need to make our universities temples not of dogmatic orthodoxy, but of truly critical thinking, where all ideas are welcome and where civil debate is encouraged. I’m used to being shouted down on campuses, so I am grateful for the opportunity to address you today. I do not expect all of you to agree with me, but I very much appreciate your willingness to listen.

I stand before you as someone who is fighting for women’s and girls’ basic rights globally. And I stand before you as someone who is not afraid to ask difficult questions about the role of religion in that fight.

The connection between violence, particularly violence against women, and Islam is too clear to be ignored. We do no favors to students, faculty, nonbelievers and people of faith when we shut our eyes to this link, when we excuse rather than reflect.

So I ask: Is the concept of holy war compatible with our ideal of religious toleration? Is it blasphemy—punishable by death—to question the applicability of certain seventh-century doctrines to our own era? Both Christianity and Judaism have had their eras of reform. I would argue that the time has come for a Muslim Reformation.

Is such an argument inadmissible? It surely should not be at a university that was founded in the wake of the Holocaust, at a time when many American universities still imposed quotas on Jews.

The motto of Brandeis University is “Truth even unto its innermost parts.” That is my motto too. For it is only through truth, unsparing truth, that your generation can hope to do better than mine in the struggle for peace, freedom and equality of the sexes.

Ms. Hirsi Ali is the author of “Nomad: My Journey from Islam to America” (Free Press, 2010). She is a fellow at the Belfer Center of Harvard’s Kennedy School and a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.

CAIR’s Jihad against Honor Diaries

20120418_CAIR_FSMby ANDREW C. MCCARTHY:

Honor Diaries is an important film that explores the brutality and systematic inequality faced by women in Muslim-majority societies. It features both believing Muslim women, like Dr. Qanta Ahmed (whose compelling essay about the film was published here at National Review Online yesterday), and former Muslims like Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the renowned author and human-rights activist.

The purpose of Honor Diaries is to empower women by shining a light on the hardships they endure – including “honor” killings (i.e., murders over the perception of having brought shame to the family by violating Islamic norms), beatings, genital mutilation, forced marriage – particularly of young girls - and restrictions on movement, education, and economic opportunity. The film highlights authentic Muslim moderates struggling against the dead-end of Islamic supremacism.

So naturally, the Council on American-Islam Relations (CAIR) does not want you to see it.

At Fox News, Megyn Kelly has been covering the film anyway, despite CAIR’s howling. The segments that aired on Monday and Tuesday are available on Megyn’s website, here and here.

CAIR is a Muslim Brotherhood creation, conceived as the primo American public-relations firm for Islamic supremacists, particularly Hamas – a task CAIR pulls off by masquerading as a “civil rights” organization.

Hamas, as I recounted in The Grand Jihad, is a formally designated terrorist organization under federal law. It is also the Brotherhood’s Palestinian branch. In the early Nineties, the Brotherhood established a “Palestine Committee” to promote Hamas in the United States, an agenda topped by fundraising and efforts to derail the 1993 Oslo accords – the futile, Clinton administration-brokered attempt to forge an Israeli-Palestinian peace settlement. CAIR’s founders, Nihad Awad and Omar Ahmed, attended a three-day summit in support of Hamas in Philadelphia in 1993, much of which was wiretapped by the FBI. CAIR was established shortly afterwards. By summer 1994, the Palestine Committee was listing CAIR in internal memoranda as one of its “working organizations.”

We’ve discussed CAIR here many times, including in my 2009 column about the FBI’s long-overdue severing of “outreach” ties with the organization. It is infuriating that the Feebs and the wider government thought it was worth canoodling with CAIR in the first place, but the Bureau officially ended the affair after the 2008 Holy Land Foundation terrorism-financing trial, in which several Hamas operatives were convicted. CAIR, though unindicted, was shown by the Justice Department to be a co-conspirator. In sum, prosecutors established that the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF) was the primary Hamas fundraising arm in the United States. Like CAIR, HLF was identified by the Brotherhood’s Palestine Committee as one of its “working organizations.” As terrorism researcher Steve Emerson has shown, CAIR got $5,000 in seed money at its inception from HLF, and thereafter helped raise money for HLF. The federal government shut HLF down in 2001 because of its promotion of terrorism.

Although Honor Diaries has been widely acclaimed and screened internationally, CAIR has been agitating against it. As reliably happens when CAIR plays its tired “Islamophobia” card, universities across the nation cower – especially universities with active Muslim Students Association chapters. (As we’ve observed before, the MSA is the foundation of the Muslim Brotherhood’s infrastructure in the United States.) Starting with the University of Michigan at Dearborn, several schools have now decided not to screen the film after all.

Why it is “Islamophobic” to condemn violence and abuse against Muslim women is not entirely clear to me. It is, however, clear to Linda Sarsour, a “community organizer” and “immigrants’ rights activist” who is celebrated on President Obama’s website, WhiteHouse.gov, as a “Champion of Change.” As reported on The Kelly File, this particular “champion” reacted to Honor Diaries by tweeting:

How many times do we have to tell White women that we do not need to be saved by them? Is there code language I need to use to get thru?

Thoughts like Ms. Sarsour’s make for depressing reading, but clearly she is referring to some of the filmmakers, who happen to be white women (the others include white men and a black woman, Ms. Hirsi Ali, the Somali-born executive producer who was raised as a Muslim). The film has also been promoted by yet another highly accomplished woman, Brooke Goldstein, the human-rights attorney and filmmaker who directsThe Lawfare Project; and by the Clarion Project, a New York-based organization that promotes moderate Islam and publicly challenges “extremist” Islam.

The community organizers at CAIR have obviously read a bit farther along in Rules for Radicals than Ms. Sarsour. Rather than racist tweets, they couch their character assassination of the film’s backers in the poll-tested sensitivities of everyday Americans, pretending to endorse the film’s message while telling you not to watch it. They issued a statement on Monday that Megyn Kelly aired:

American Muslims join people of conscience of all faiths in condemning female genital mutilation, forced marriages, ‘honor killings,’ and any other form of domestic violence or gender inequality as violations of Islamic beliefs. If anyone mistreats women, they should not seek refuge in Islam. The real concern in this case is that the producers of the film, who have a track record of promoting anti-Muslim bigotry, are hijacking a legitimate issue to push their hate-filled agenda.

Right. Women are being brutalized but our “real concern” should be the “track record” of some film producers. Beyond CAIR’s say-so that it is “hate-filled,” this purportedly dark track record is not described. But, after all, who would know more about what counts as “hate-filled” than a PR flack for a terrorist organization whose charter vows to annihilate Israel by violent jihad?

On Tuesday night, CAIR’s Chicago branch dispatched Agnieszka Karoluk, one of its “senior communications coordinators,” to Fox in order to regurgitate CAIR’s statement. Questioned by Megyn Kelly, Ms. Karoluk gave a dizzying explanation: CAIR, we’re told, agrees that Honor Diaries raises vital issues, opposes the abuse of women just like the film does, and is not really happy that colleges are canceling screenings (even though CAIR put out a smiley-face tweet when the first cancellation was announced). But CAIR is “disgusted” by the Clarion Project because it is - all together now - “Islamophobic.” Ms. Karoluk declined to say what makes it so (of course, to get into that would bring attention to episodes of Islamic extremism Clarion has exposed). So because Clarion likes the film, you shouldn’t watch it even though its content is accurate and significant – got it? Confronted by Brooke Goldstein about CAIR’s own record, Ms. Karoluk predictably replied, “I’m not here to talk about CAIR, I’m here to talk about the film” . . . and then continued to avoid talking about the film.

It is no doubt true, as CAIR’s statement asserts, that American Muslims substantially join the rest of us in condemning the abuse of women. CAIR, however, is in no position to speak for American Muslims – and in fact speaks for very few of them. Even if one were inclined to accept CAIR’s statements at face value, Honor Diaries is about the abuse of Muslim women; it is not about the filmmakers. If CAIR truly condemned these misogynistic practices it would be encouraging people to see the film. Instead, as Dr. Ahmed told Megyn, “They claim to be defending the vulnerable whereas they’re actually silencing exposure about the vulnerable.”

But there is no reason to take CAIR’s statements at face value. Under the old adage that actions speak louder than words, the inescapable fact is that CAIR does not condemn the horrific abuse of women in Muslim-majority countries. It is feigning condemnation in hopes of rendering people more receptive to CAIR’s actual message, which is: Avoid Honor Diaries because anyone who exposes atrocities committed by Muslims is unworthy of consideration, no matter how valid the exposition.

And I can prove it.

CAIR has a very close relationship with another Muslim Brotherhood creation, the International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT) – an Islamic-supremacist think-tank we’ve also discussed in these pages (see, e.g., here). As Steve Emerson points out, disclosure forms IIIT filed with the IRS show thousands of dollars in contributions to CAIR. IIIT was also a major financial backer of Palestinian Islamic Jihad operative Sami al-Arian, whom CAIR continued to champion even after his guilty plea to a terrorism charge.

As I’ve previously recounted, IIIT is one of the influential Islamic academic outfits that have endorsed Reliance of the Traveller, the English translation of the classic sharia manual, `Umdat al-Salik. Indeed, the endorsement, written by IIIT’s then-president, Taha Jabir al-`Alwani, is included in the introduction section of the published manual. Dr. Alwani, a revered figure in Muslim Brotherhood circles, highly recommended Reliance as both a “textbook for teaching Islamic jurisprudence to English-speakers” and a legal reference for sharia scholars.

Here are just some of the things Reliance teaches about the treatment of women under Islamic law (with supporting citations to sections of the manual):

Read more: Family Security Matters

Watch This Brilliant Parody! CAIR Reacts to Megyn Kelly’s Epic Smackdown!

download-75Answering Muslims, by David Wood:

This video is a possibly futile attempt to teach the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) a lesson about consistency.

CAIR has been attempting to block a film (The Honor Diaries) that draws attention to the plight of women and girls in Muslim countries.

After being recently steamrolled (twice) by Megyn Kelly and Brooke Goldstein, we can only hope that CAIR is finally ready to listen.

On the 100th Anniversary of International Women’s Day — What Are Feminists Doing About Honor Killings?

Phyllis Chesler

Phyllis Chesler

By :

Editor’s note: The following is adapted from a speech delivered on March 8 by the author in observance of  Women’s History Month to theGender Fairness Committee of the New York City Supreme Court.

When my Second Wave generation of feminists started out, Gender Fairness committees did not exist nor did as many women lawyers and judges or the number of feminist lawyers, both male and female, whom I see here today. As many of you know, my or should I say, our generation had the privilege of changing all that.

We also named and exposed the hidden epidemic of physical and sexual violence towards women and children.

Second Wave feminists challenged sexism in advertising, (we still do), the pornography industry, (which has grown), and prostitution which now includes human sexual trafficking.

We also challenged corporations for economically discriminating against women; that work continues. We took on drug companies whose medications caused women to die from cancer. We championed women’s reproductive and sexual rights but we also challenged birth control. We waged a war to save women’s lives. The work continues.

Courtesy of Second Wave feminist activism, more women entered previously all-male professions, and some men became feminists.

Before the Second Wave began making waves, mothers received little child support and less alimony—that has improved although custody battles have, in some ways, gotten harder, more terrible. The 25th anniversary edition of “Mothers on Trial” will be published this summer with eight new chapters.

Our generation had a universalist vision of human rights—one standard for all. I still do. While I believe in cultural diversity, I am not a multi-cultural relativist. Therefore, I have taken a strong stand against the persecution of Muslim women and dissidents. Thus, I now submit expert courtroom affidavits on behalf of Muslim girls and women who have fled being honor murdered and are seeking asylum here.

Those of us who expose the plight of such women, and this includes Somali-born feminist hero Ayaan Hirsi Ali, as well as myself, have been demonized as “Islamophobes” and racists because we do not, in the same breath, blame America, the West, or Israel for their suffering.

In my view, western academic feminists, including gay liberationists, are so afraid of being condemned as “colonialists” or “racists” that this fear trumps their concern for women’s rights in the Arab and Muslim world.

What is Islamic Gender Apartheid? Islamic gender apartheid is characterized by normalized daughter- and wife-battering, forced veiling, female genital mutilation, polygamy, purdah, (the segregation or sequestration of women), arranged marriage, child marriage, first cousin marriage; girls and women are honor murdered if they resist such practices, if they wish to divorce a dangerously abusive husband, and if they are viewed as too independent, too modern.

Today, at its most extreme, Islamic gender apartheid is characterized by acid attacks, public stonings, hangings, and beheading of women in Iran, Afghanistan, Somalia, Yemen, and Saudi Arabia—countries in which girls and women who are raped are further victimized: jailed, tortured, and executed.

Feminists should be crying out from the rooftops against these practices. Some are. I am. Yet, many Muslim men and women, as well as many intellectually “progressive” western infidels, are not. They are demanding or welcoming the imposition of Islamic religious law, Sharia law, not only in Egypt and Saudi Arabia but also in the West.

I have published two academic studies and nearly 100 articles about honor killings both in the West and in the Islamic world. How is an honor killing defined? An honor killing is a collaborative conspiracy carried out against one victim, usually a young girl, by her family of origin. Both her male and female relatives believe that their “honor” demands her death; that her “impure” behavior has shamed and destroyed her family’s reputation and community status. A battered wife—or one who dares leave her tormentor—may also be “honor murdered” by both her husband, assisted by his relatives, and to an extent, the wife’s relatives as well.

In the West, honor killings are a mainly Muslim-on-Muslim crime. Hindus and Sikhs perpetrate such killings but mainly in India, not in the West.

An honor killing is not the same as western domestic violence or western domestically violent femicide. Many honorable feminists disagree with me. They believe that honor killings are the same as western domestic violence. Understandably, such feminists fear that by singling out one group for behavior which may be common to all groups they will stigmatize the token group and minimize the suffering of all the other groups. They have a legitimate fear—and yet if, for reasons of “political correctness,” we fail to understand a crime, we will never be able to prevent or to prosecute it.

Honor killings are shameful, secretive; they are allowed to flourish and fester precisely because the perpetrators and their collaborators do not want them exposed. Instead, they blame the victim, and they blame those who expose it.

I began writing about honor killings in the United States, Canada, and Europe in 2004. My first study about such honor killings first appeared in 2009 in Middle East Quarterly, the second appeared there as well in 2010. In the most recent publication, I studied 230 victims who were honor—or “horror” murdered on five continents over a twenty year period in 172 separate incidents. (More than one person was murdered in some of the incidents).

A murder is a murder and must be treated as such. However, honor killings are not like western domestic violence or domestically violent femicide.

Read more at Fox News

Phyllis Chesler, Ph.D is an Emerita Professor of Psychology and Women’s Studies, a Fellow at the Middle East Forum, the author of thousands of articles and of fifteen books, including “Women and Madness,” and “An American Bride in Kabul.” She archives her articles and may be reached through her website:www.phyllis-chesler.com

Honor Diaries: speaking out against Islamic oppression of women

Honor Diaries trailer:

 

Message from Honor Diaries Producer Paula Kweskin:

 

Culture is no excuse

About Honor Diaries:

Women’s Voices Now is proud to be a partner in raising money for Honor Diaries.

HONOR DIARIES is an award-winning documentary featuring the exclusive conversations of nine courageous women’s rights advocates fighting against gender inequality in male-dominated, honor-based societies

These women are profiled for their efforts to affect change, both in their communities and beyond.

The film gives a platform to exclusively female voices and seeks to expose the paralyzing political correctness that prevents many from identifying, understanding and addressing this international human rights disaster.  Freedom of movement, the right to education, forced marriage, and female genital mutilation are some of the systematic abuses explored in depth.

Spurred by the Arab Spring, women who were once silent are starting to speak out about gender inequality and are bringing visibility to a long history of oppression. This project draws together leading women’s rights activists and provides a platform where their voices can be heard and serves as inspiration to motivate others to speak out.

20140319022444-Raquel_1Get Involved!

Honor Diaries isn’t just a film it’s a movement! In Honor Diaries, real women speak out about their experiences at the mercy of an oppressive society where religion and culture are cited as an excuse for horrendous abuse.

We did not intend on creating a film to shock the Western world, but to bring a global awareness of the culture of violence and cruelty in honor based societies.

Screenings of Honor Diaries are not limited to Western countries.

Now we need to take the conversation started in the film around the world.

Learn more about how you can help

 

Also see:

International Women’s Day — why America’s politically correct feminists dishonor human rights

burqaBy :

As a young bride, I once lived in a harem in Afghanistan. It was a nearly fatal adventure but I survived, escaped, and learned about gender and religious apartheid long before the Taliban.  My firebrand American feminism was probably forged in purdah in the early 1960s. However, something called me Eastward and I have remained involved with the Islamic world.

Today, decades later, I work with Muslim and ex-Muslim dissidents and feminists. They do not understand why Western feminists do not stand with them as they oppose normalized honor based violence, extreme state violence (think Iran, Saudi Arabia), and utter lawlessness when it comes to the torture and murder of girls and women.

Why would intelligent and educated Western feminists remain blind to such crimes in America?

Most recently, a law has been proposed in Afghanistan that will make it impossible for a woman whose family has beaten, tortured, or tried to kill her, to lodge a complaint of any kind. Such complaints are seen as endangering family unity. Orwell would understand this.

But why would intelligent and educated Western feminists remain blind to such crimes in America?

To their credit, American feminists exposed and opposed violence against women and championed a woman’s right to bodily integrity and  have done heroic humanitarian work in war zones, including Afghanistan. Some have critiqued the Afghan burqa (a sensory deprivation isolation chamber and ambulatory body bag) as a symbol of barbaric misogyny.

But feminists have been taken in by the false campaign against “Islamophobia,” (which does not really exist), and have backed President Obama’s approach to the Muslim world: Appeasement, flattery, a refusal to back the bravest Muslim dissidents who are fighting against barbaric totalitarian regimes, and a wholesale acceptance of Muslim women’s subordinate status in the United States.

Like Islamists, they believe that American tolerance and separation of religion and state mandate acceptance of face veiling and non-interference with close family monitoring, normalized daughter-beating, forced marriage to a first cousin, polygamy, and female genital mutilation (FGM) which exist in America, under the radar.

According to Archi Payati ,Deputy Director of Sanctuary for Families/Immigration Intervention whether they are done here or abroad, “the New York metropolitan area is the capital for (women who have had) illegal FGM procedures.”

Some Western feminists insist that the Islamic veil (niqab and burqa) is sexy, mysterious, and comfortable; others view the veil as a religious or privacy right.

Many Muslims do not.

While it is potentially perilous to involve the state in mandating what a woman cannot wear i.e. banning the burqa — feminists do not realize that women are honor killed for refusing to veil properly and that for nearly a century Muslim women fought for or were granted the right to be naked-faced in Egypt, Turkey, Persia, Jordan, Lebanon, the Maghreb, and Afghanistan.

In addition, some Western feminist academics and activists are reluctant to take a stand against honor killing in the West lest they be accused of racism or “Islamophobia”—even though the victims are women of color.

Their alleged anti-racism trumps their concerns with women’s rights. They are multi-cultural relativists who have sacrificed universal standards of human rights on the altar of “political correctness.”

As the author of three studies about honor killing, I know that this crime is rarely reported and even more rarely prosecuted. It is pandemic in Muslim countries and in parts of Hindu India. The United Nations continues to use statistics from the year 2000 which cite that “5,000 women are honor murdered each year.”

A Pakistani Human Rights Commission documents that 943 Pakistani women were honor murdered in the year 2011 alone. Statistics are elusive for North America but, in Middle East Quarterly, I have documented an escalation of such crimes based on media reports, public trials, and interviews.

Over the last quarter-century, high profile honor killings have taken place in Missouri, Ohio,  Illinois, New Jersey, Georgia, Florida, New York, Arizona, and Texas, and in Canada, from coast to coast. The majority are Muslim-on-Muslim crimes, a minority are Sikh-on-Sikh crimes.

I have worked with American and Canadian detectives, prosecutors, judges, and juries who have been warned they will be labeled “Islamophobes” if they describe the crime of honor killing as such.

Read more at Fox News

Phyllis Chesler, Ph.D is an Emerita Professor of Psychology and Women’s Studies, a Fellow at the Middle East Forum, the author of thousands of articles and of fifteen books, including “Women and Madness,” and “An American Bride in Kabul.” She archives her articles and may be reached through her website: www.phyllis-chesler.com

Also see:

The Rising Sex Traffic in Forced Islamic Marriage

tearsBy Mark Durie:

Western nations are facing what has been called an “epidemic” of forced marriages of their young Muslim women. While those who compel young Muslim women and girls into marriages could be charged with human trafficking offences and also in some cases placed on the national register of sex offenders, governments also should target for prosecution all those who are involved in the solemnisation of these illegal marriages.

This article first appeared in the March 2014 edition of Quadrant. 


In 2008, the then Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, (here) and Nicholas Phillips, Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales (here), both suggested that the UK could consider, in Lord Phillips’s words, “embracing Sharia law” because “there is no reason why Sharia Law, or any other religious code should not be the basis for mediation or other forms of alternative dispute resolution”. Williams commented: “it’s not as if we’re bringing in an alien and rival system”.

However, two recent widely reported cases of marriage between Muslim men and under-age girls raise troubling questions about these assumptions. One case in New South Wales where an imam married a twelve-year-old girl to a twenty-six-year-old man with her father’s consent is before the court.

In another case involving a custody battle, however, a judgment has been made that questions the way Western jurisdictions interact with sharia marriage regulations, specifically in relation to the widespread practice of conducting private, unregistered religious marriages. A Sydney Muslim girl aged fourteen was forced by her parents to become the child “bride” of a twenty-one-year-old man. Her mother had told her she would “get to attend theme parks and movies and eat lollies and ice-cream with her new husband”. Instead she endured years of sexual and physical abuse and intimidation before fleeing with her young daughter. Her story only saw the light of day ten years after her wedding when she pursued custody of her daughter through the courts.

This “marriage” was never registered with the state: it would have been impossible to do so because the girl was too young to marry under Australian law. A particularly troubling aspect of her story is that she reported her predicament to her school teacher, who under Australian law was a mandatory reporter of child sex abuse, but it seems no report was made, and no intervention attempted.

In passing judgment in favour of the woman, Judge Harman invited the authorities to take matters further: the “groom” could be presumably be charged by the police with sexual offences against a child and placed on the sex offenders register. He and the girl’s father—who in accordance with Islamic tradition would have been the two parties to the marriage contract—could also be charged with trafficking offences. There would also almost certainly have been an exchange of money—the mahr—handed over by the man to the girl or her father in accordance with Islamic law.

The UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, defines people-trafficking as:

the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force, or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, [or] servitude … The consent of a victim of trafficking in persons to the intended exploitation set forth [above] shall be irrelevant where any of the means set forth [above] have been used.

The forced marriage of a fourteen-year-old girl, as reported in this Australian case, fits the definition of trafficking. The girl was transferred from the custody of parents to that of her “husband” by use of deception, and he then kept her for the purpose of sexual exploitation and servitude, controlling her by violence and threats.

Pru Goward, the New South Wales Minister for Community Services and Women, has reported that there are around a thousand cases a year across Australia of women and girls being trafficked into forced marriages. She stated, “No ethnic group has a monopoly on violence against women, but some groups experience violence against women disproportionately.” Indeed. Some groups also perpetrate violence against women “disproportionately”, and it might be more accurate to speak of “religious groups” rather than “ethnic groups”. While there have been no official statistics reported on the religious affiliation of these victims of trafficking, it seems that a great many of the victims and the perpetrators involving in “marriage” trafficking have been Muslims.

Recent reports of a link between trafficking-for-marriage and Islamic marriages have not been limited to Australia. An investigation by ITV in the UK identified eighteen mosques—around one third of those approached by the reporter—where clerics were willing to conduct a wedding of a fourteen-year-old girl against her will.

Nazir Afal, Crown Prosecutor in the North of England, has reported that there are estimated to be 8000 to 10,000 forced marriages or threats of forced marriages of people against their will in the UK each year. Britain’s Forced Marriage Unit (see here) handled 1485 cases in 2012, 35 per cent of which involved girls aged seventeen or younger, and 13 per cent where the girls were under fifteen. A British government survey found that hundreds of girls aged eleven to thirteen had simply disappeared from school rolls.

Governments have been very slow to tackle the trafficking of women and girls for the purpose of forced marriage. Kaye Quek, in a recent article in the British Journal of Politics and International Relations, argues that multicultural ideals prevalent in UK society have made the authorities reluctant to criminalise this practice: they have preferred instead to treat these liaisons as violations of the women’s choice. Quek challenges the government’s preference for seeking civil remedies to forced marriages, and suggests that this is giving rise to a two-tier system of rights, in which it is acceptable for Muslim women to be sexually assaulted through forced marriage.

Read more 

Mark Durie is an Anglican Vicar in Melbourne and a Shillman/Ginsburg Fellow at the Middle East Forum, Philadelphia. He is an authorised marriage celebrant.

“Honor Diaries” is a Good Recruiting Tool

honor-diariesCitizen Warrior:

Many of us find it difficult to talk to people about Islamic doctrine and Sharia law. Some people resist listening to us or accepting what we say. A new film, first screened last fall at the Chicago International Film Festival — Honor Diaries — can help us reach more people by showing the viewer what’s being done in the Muslim world without creating resistance to the information.

The film doesn’t focus on Islam. Instead, it exposes what the “honor” system does.

The film profiles and interviews nine women who have been victims of an honor culture. The film is deliberately not anti-Muslim. It won’t cause your multicultural friends to turn away from the message. It will reach them where they can be reached: On the topic of the oppression and victimization of women. It’s a brilliant approach, and could help recruit more people into pushing back the spread of Sharia. Ayaan Hirsi Ali is the Executive Producer of the film.

 

We urge you to share the movie — have a screening, and when it’s available on DVD, buy it and share it with your friends. Share the trailer on your Facebook page. Help this film become popular. Click here for a video about the film’s Global Screening Campaign. They are officially launching the film in March of this year (2014). March 8th is International Women’s Day and the Honor Diaries promoters are partnering with several organizations at events in New York, Los Angeles, London, etc.

The main website for the film is HonorDiaries.com. Watch a trailer, learn more about the film, and sign up for updates. The website describes the film this way: Honor Diaries is the first film to break the silence on “honor violence” against women and girls. Honor Diaries is more than a movie, it is a movement to save women and girls from human rights abuses — around the world and here in America.

The film features nine courageous women’s rights advocates with connections to Muslim-majority societies who are engaged in a dialogue about gender inequality.

These women, who have witnessed firsthand the hardships women endure, are profiled in their efforts to effect change, both in their communities and beyond.

The film gives a platform to exclusively female voices and seeks to expose the paralyzing political correctness that prevents many from identifying, understanding and addressing this international human rights disaster. Freedom of movement, the right to education, forced marriage, and female genital mutilation are some of the systematic abuses explored in depth.

Spurred by the Arab Spring, women who were once silent are starting to speak out about gender inequality and are bringing visibility to a long history of oppression. This project draws together leading women’s rights activists and provides a platform where their voices can be heard and serves as inspiration to motivate others to speak out.

In the Oregon Independent, Catherine DeRego says this about Honor Diaries:

Executive Producer Ayaan Hirsi Ali, born in Somalia, is an outspoken defender of women’s rights in Islamic societies. She is also the founder of the AHA Foundation created to “help protect and defend the rights of women in the West from oppression justified by religion and culture.”

Here’s what she says about the film:

“In male-dominated cultures, like Saudi Arabia, women and girls are treated like property, forced into marriage, and suffer female genital mutilation. In Honor Diaries, I am proud to join a courageous cast of female human rights activists to speak the truth; that culture is no excuse for abuse.”

The filmmakers are asking everyone in the community to host a screening of Honor Diaries on March 8, 2014, or any time this spring to “Celebrate the stories of 9 amazing women’s rights activists,” and to bring awareness to these crimes against Muslim women. In the United States, all women are entitled to the same liberties and freedoms as men have irrespective of religion. There is no gender inequality under our Constitution, nor should there be in any other nation. Violence hidden behind the veil of one’s religious teachings is a crime against all humanity under God. Let the American people stand for freedom as we always have and join this movement to help end the violence against Muslim women in this country and across the world.