The Poisoned Veil: Are Muslim Women’s Rights Worth Fighting For?

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I am pleased to announce that Brad O’ Leary has written this exhaustively researched book on the oppression of women under sharia using, in part, archives from the Counter  Jihad Report. This is the value of a counter jihad news aggregation site for writers and researchers.

In the introducton O’Leary states his reason for writing the book:

I am writing this book because I have six daughters, six grand-daughters, and four great-grandaughters. I don’t want them to become socially or emotionally involved, date, or go into business with people who have brought values with them that are inconsistent with the values my daughters and grand-daughters fought for and won, which is basically the quality and  the personal power as females to decide their lives based on their own views, not someone else’s views.

The book includes some interesting polling data on attitudes in the United States towards some aspects of sharia that O’Leary commissioned in conjunction with Zogby Analytics. The book views the Islamic reform movement favorably and is in favor of a Donald Trump presidency for his stance on immigration. The resource section at the end of the book is impressive. I can recommend this book for anyone looking for a comprehensive and personal analysis on Islam, sharia and Muslim immigration issues.

Press Release:

Flawed vetting process and language barriers bring immigration problems

AUSTIN, TX – 9/27/2016 (PRESS RELEASE JET) — An informative and controversial new book called The Poisoned Veil: Are Muslim Women’s Rights Worth Fighting For? is the 27th by the author, Bradley S. O’Leary.  The book points out that if immigration is indeed increased to 100-200,000, more money has to be spent for the vetting process to hire more Arabic-speaking citizens and females who speak Arabic because most Muslim families won’t allow the female member to be interviewed by a man.

Many of the families coming from the Middle East have lived under political leadership or in a society that has legalized many of the problems outlined in the book. In America, many of these practices are crimes, and Mr. O’Leary gives us suggestions on how to improve the vetting process so women coming into the United States can understand their new rights and privileges, while teaching the men how to live with equality in our democracy.

The book explores Islam and Sharia law in its oppressiveness to women and denial of equal rights with men. It looks at its approval of honor beatings and killings. The law denies women’s voices, keeps them segregated, forbids equal rights and the freedom to work, seek education or have any independent freedoms at all. They are hidden behind a veil and forced to do whatever men demand.

The book delves into the following issues, many of which are crimes under American law:
-the demand for a woman to accept a forced marriage
-the laws which allow Muslim men to have up to four wives and to marry girls as young as ten
-the interpretation of a Muslim man’s right to physically enforce his will on his wife or children
-the barbaric practice of forcing young girls to be subjected to female genital mutilation, or sexual blinding, an act that has been condemned by the United Nations and Western governments, but is allowed and supported by Muslim religious leaders
-the logic behind why a woman’s voice isn’t worth the same as a man’s in court
-the problems nations in Europe and around the world have in blindly accepting Islamic refugees
-the solutions to protect Islamic women from these atrocities

The book is published by Boru Books and is available on Amazon, Kindle and CreateSpace.

Media Contacts:

Company Name: Boru Books
Full Name: Bradley O’Leary
Phone: 3108046957
Email Address: bradoleary@aol.com
Website: www.thepoisonedveil.com

A Famous Feminist Weighs in on the Burkini Affair

Phyllis Chesler

MEF, Arutz Sheva
September 1, 2016

Originally published under the title “Q & A: Burqas and Burquinis: A Famous Feminist Weighs in on the Burquini Affair.”

Does a democratic government have the right to legislate what women wear?

Phyllis Chesler: In my view, ideally, neither a government nor a woman’s family, both of which are patriarchal entitles, should have the right to legislate what a woman can and cannot wear. It is therefore very dispiriting that so many Western “progressives,” including feminists, are rushing to uphold Sharia’ law and increasingly reactionary Islamist interpretations of the Islamic Veil, (mainly the face mask and full face and body covering), even as they remain silent about the Shari’a based persecution of Christians, homosexuals, Yazidis–and Israelis–by those Muslims who are barbaric Jihadists. Even more ironic, is their relative silence about how freedom-loving Muslim and ex-Muslim dissidents, including feminists, are being severely subordinated, tortured, and murdered by Muslim Islamists.

In my opinion, as long as any woman can be beaten, death-threatened, or honor/horror murdered in the West because she refuses to wear any version of the Islamic Veil—for this reason alone, the Western democracies should consider banning it. Doing so, will not protect us from Islamic terrorist attacks nor will it necessarily help foster integration—two very essential priorities, but it may help save the lives of women living in Western-style democracies.

Aqsa ParvezSuch bans concern women’s human and civil rights; her right to sunlight, (without which she will contract all the diseases associated with a Vitamin D deficiency); her right to see, hear, and walk—or swim—easily; her right to be comfortable in the heat by wearing light-weight clothing; her right to see and be clearly identified by others in the public square or at work.

Banning the Islamic Veil is one way of refusing to collaborate with such barbaric misogyny.

There is another reason a ban on the Islamic Veil might be essential. Remember the alarmingly high rates of Muslim male gang-gropes and gang-rapes of naked-faced women all over Europe, both infidel and Muslim? Not wearing the Islamic Veil (burqa, chador, niqab, hijab) is often interpreted as: “The woman is fair game, she’s a prostitute.” Thus, wearing Islamic head, face, and body-gear targets those women who are not “covered.” And, by the way, many “covered” women have, nevertheless, been assaulted anyway.

Does a democratic, post-Enlightenment government have the right to extend the rule of law to all its citizens, including female or immigrant citizens? I’d say that it has the absolute moral and legal obligation to do so.

So what is your problem with the burquini?

On the one hand, this is a false issue. Far more important is finding Islamic terrorists before they attack in Paris, Nice, Brussels, and elsewhere in Europe. Far more important is naming, fighting, and winning the War of Ideas, the Islamic religious war against Western freedoms which has led to terrorist attacks. Far more important, is either finding ways of integrating non-hostile immigrants or of stopping “the hostiles” at the border.

burkiniMy concern with the burkini as follows: It does not seem all that comfortable to be swimming in so much yardage; it is not safe to have one’s ears blocked while swimming either. Not to be able to feel the water directly against one’s skin is equivalent to wearing a monk’s hair shirt. Women are not being permitted the simple God-given pleasures of our sensory beings. Why? What crime have women committed to be so punished?

What about haredi women’s burquini type swimsuits?

I fully support modesty as a woman’s choice. That is the difference. I believe that reasonable modesty is a woman’s choice–and a sane one given the world in which we live. I oppose unreasonable modesty that is also unsafe and uncomfortable.

Why do you think France made an issue of this when there is so much other Muslim evidence of takeover? (Maybe they are afraid of doing anything else, as Giulio Meotti has written, and this is their weak and symbolic way to ‘fight’ Islamization.)

Perhaps Giulio is right and yet, France has a long tradition of “secularism” or lacite. They have banned the hijb in certain settings (schools, government offices), and they’ve banned the burqa (or face mask) entirely. Banning the burkini is just another such challenge on the long and difficult road to integration.

The burquini and the burqa are also on a continuum of demands and challenges which face Europe and America. It is not an isolated instance in which foreign cultural norms are being injected into Western culture. Where does it stop?

Female genital mutilation, polygamy, child marriage, honor based violence and honor/horror killing have dared the West to stop such gender apartheid practices; attacks on infidels, especially Jews in Europe, are another such attempt to import religious apartheid from the Muslim world. The demand for halal food in public, secular schools, demanding that Muslim holidays be recognized as if they were national holidays, etc., are part of this continuum.

Praying, eating halal food, taking holidays, is not the problem. Acting as if such observances are sanctioned by the state which, in the West is separate from religion, is the problem.

Prager U Video: Why Don’t Feminists Fight for Muslim Women

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Ayaan Hirsi Ali on why this matters more than ever.

Truth Revolt, June 27, 2016:

Are women oppressed in Muslim countries? What about in Islamic enclaves in the West? Are these places violating or fulfilling the Quran and Islamic law?

In Prager University’s newest video, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, an author and activist who was raised a devout Muslim, describes the human rights crisis of our time, asks why feminists in the West don’t seem to care, and explains why immigration to the West from the Middle East means this issue matters more than ever.

Check out the short video above. Transcript below:

Culture matters. It ‘s the primary source of social progress or regression. Nowhere do we see this more clearly than in the status of women. The Judeo-Christian culture — and perhaps a more apt word is civilization — has produced over time the law codes, language and material prosperity that have greatly elevated women’s status.

But this progress is not shared everywhere.

There are still hundreds of millions of people that live in a culture  — the Islamic, for instance — that takes female inferiority for granted. Until recently, these cultures — the Western and the Islamic — were, for the most part, separated. But that is changing. Dramatically so.

Large numbers of immigrant men from the Middle East, South Asia and various parts of Africa have brought a different set of values to the West, specifically Europe.  More than a million arrived in 2015 alone. More are on the way.

As a result, crimes against girls and women — groping, harassments, assaults and rape – have risen sharply. These crimes illustrate the stark difference between the Western culture of the victims and that of the perpetrators.

Let me be clear: not all immigrant men, or even most, indulge in sex attacks or approve of such attacks, but it’s a grave mistake to deny that the value system of the attackers is radically different from the value system of the West. In the West women are emancipated and sexually autonomous. Religiosity and sexual behavior or sexual restraint is determined by women’s individual wishes. The other value system is one in which women are viewed as either commodities (that is, their worth depends on their virginity), or on the level of a prostitute if they are guilty of public “immodesty” (wearing a short skirt for example).

I do not believe these value systems can coexist. The question is which value system will prevail. Unfortunately, this remains an open question.

The current situation in Europe is deeply troubling: not only are Muslim women within Europe subject to considerable oppression in many ways, such norms now risk spreading to non-Muslim women who face harassment from Muslim men.

One would think that Western feminists in the United States and Europe would be very disturbed by this obvious misogyny.  But sadly, with few exceptions, this does not appear to be the case.

Common among many Western feminists is a type of moral confusion, in which women are said to be oppressed everywhere and that this oppression, in feminist Eve Ensler’s words, is “exactly the same” around the world, in the West just as in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Iran.

To me, this suggests too much moral relativism and an inadequate understanding of Shariah law.  It is true that the situation for women in the West is not perfect, but can anyone truly deny that women enjoy greater freedom and opportunities in the United States, France and Finland than they do in Iran, Pakistan or Saudi Arabia?

Other feminists have also argued that non-Western women do not need “saving” and that any suggestion that they “need” help from Western feminists is insulting and condescending to non-Western women.

My perspective is a practical one: any efforts that help Muslim women — whether they live in the West or under Islamic governments should be encouraged. Every effort to pressure these governments to change unjust laws should be supported.

Western feminists — and female Western leaders — have a simple choice to make: either excuse the inexcusable, or demand reform in cultures and religious doctrines that continue to oppress women.

Nothing illustrates this better than what happened in Cologne, Germany on New Years Eve, 2015. That night, during the city’s traditional celebrations, numerous German women (467 at the last count) reported being sexually harassed or assaulted by men of North African and Arab origin. Within two months, 73 suspects had been identified — most of them from North Africa; 12 of them have been linked to sexual crimes. Yet, in response to the attacks, Cologne’s feminist Mayor Henriette Reker issued an “arm’s length” guideline to women. ” Just keep an arm’s length distance between you and a mob of Arab men, she advised Cologne’s female population, and you will be fine.

Mayor Reker’s comments underline the seriousness of the problem: a culture clash is upon us. The first step in resolving it is to unapologetically defend the values that have allowed women to flourish. Feminists with their organizations, networks and lobbying power need to be on the front lines on this battle. Their relevance depends on it. And so does the well being of countless women, Western and non-Western.

I’m Ayaan Hirsi Ali of Harvard University for Prager University.

SIGN THE PETITION! Demand that feminist activists fight for Muslim women! https://goo.gl/MmS1kq

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Steve Coughlin drills down on the facts of Islamic law that Islam apologists either aren’t aware of or, in the case of stealth jihadists, purposely try to hide.

Responding to Muslim deceptions 1 Honour killings and innocence MRCTV:

Published on Jun 29, 2016 Vlad Tepes

ISIS’s Nazi-Style ‘Jihad Bride’ Propaganda an Alluring Trap for Western Girls

Veiled-Women-Reuters-640x384

Breitbart, by Phyllis Chesler, April 8, 2015:

Foreign girls who are lured via the internet to join ISIS are being misled by a glamorized vision of women posing with AK-47s and in martial arts positions—in essence, a vision of women performing forbidden, male-only holy mission tasks.

ISIS propaganda is capitalizing on the allure of such adventure coupled with a girlish desire for love, marriage, and children. Quilliam Foundation think tank researcher Charlie Winter notes that “this is a false image based on targeted obfuscation and exaggeration.” He quotes Glasgow runaway, Aqsa Mahmood, who writes that “the women you may have seen online are all part of propaganda.”

The reality for ISIS “brides” is dull, domestic, and dangerous. Food and electricity are minimal, there are no schools, but there are constant air strikes and gun fights. Women police and punish other women. They do not engage in battle.

The all-female Al-Khanssaa Brigade holds an anti-feminist ideology in which women’s rights are seen as part of a corrupt and material West and as having led to the emasculation of men.

According to ISIS internet recruiter and former Australian Dullel Kassab, “Reality hits  propyou when u celebrate a walimah (marriage banquet) and console a widow on the same day.”

Then, there is the scarcity of medical care. The wife of an ISIS fighter was totally ignored as her blood pooled on the hospital floor during a painful miscarriage. According to Kassab: “She wasn’t offered a chair or a bed and nobody even returned to check on her… The muhajireen (migrants) are also subjected to mistreatment and discrimination by the locals.”

The Syrians do not want to live under Sharia law. They are, in fact, “angered by… the imposition of an extreme form of sharia on their daily lives.”

In February of 2015, ISIS released a Manifesto which states that girls can marry at nine; their education, which must consist mainly of Koranic Studies and home economics, must end when they turn fifteen; they must be fully face-, head-, and body-veiled; and motherhood is the sole purpose of female existence.

This is reminiscent of Hitler’s Nazi “Bride Schools” in which office workers and career women were taught how to be wives. Propaganda photos consisted of smiling group of women in a hayfield, carrying baskets of flowers, “chopping vegetables in a kitchen, and singing along to another woman’s accordion playing.”

This country idyll promoted a six-week course in which women learned household skills such as cooking, ironing, gardening, child care, and interior design. They were taught how to clean a husband’s uniform, to pledge their loyalty to Hitler “until death,” and to raise their children “in accordance with Nazi belief.” This meant they would “promote racial values in the family.”

Traditional domesticity: confinement to the home, child care, and to a political religion (“Kinder, Küche, Kirche”) was presented as a warrior’s task.

ISIS may have taken a page from Hitler’s playbook—but they are also following the harshest and most traditional interpretation of the Koran: “A woman’s highest achievement is motherhood;” “Women must be veiled;” “The majority of inhabitants in Hell are women;” “Women are less intelligent and spiritually inferior to men;” “Women are an affliction to men.”

Most telling, “Women are not to be involved in Jihad”: “When Aisha requested of Mohammed that she be allowed to participate in a jihad, he said that a woman’s jihad is the performance of the Hajj pilgrimage. It is even important for a husband to forsake a jihad campaign to accompany his wife on a Hajj.”

A concerted effort must be made to reveal this reality to young Western girls who actually have choices. The problem is that girls in the West also want adventure through romance, love through bondage. Think of the popularity of Fifty Shades of Gray. Western girls have also been brought up on fairy tales and believe in Happy Endings. They do not understand that they are walking into a very tragic kind of danger from which there may be No Exit.

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