On This ‘Day Without a Woman,’ Don’t Leave Women Oppressed by Sharia Law Behind

PHOTO ILLUSTRATION BY LYNE LUCIEN/THE DAILY BEAST

The Daily Beast, by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, March 8, 2017:

Wednesday is International Women’s Day, and the organizers of the Women’s March are holding another protest. This one is called A Day Without a Woman, in solidarity with those women who have lower wages and experience greater inequalities.

The protest encourages women to take the day off work, avoid shopping other than in small women- and minority-owned stores, and wear red.

The problems being protested against Wednesday—inequality, vulnerability to discrimination, sexual harassment, and job insecurity—are all too real for many disadvantaged women, but the legal protections for them are in place here in the United States. Women who are unfairly treated at work or discriminated against can stand up, speak out, protest in the streets, and take legal action. Not so for many women in other parts of the world for whom the hashtag #daywithoutawoman is all too apt.

Around the world women are subjected to “honor violence” and lack legal protections and access to health and social services. According to Amnesty International’s recent annual report, throughout the Middle East and North Africa, women and girls are denied equal status with men in law and are subject to gender-based violence, including sexual violence and killings perpetrated in the name of “honor.”

The relationship between the sexes in Muslim majority countries is inspired and often governed by a mix of tribal, traditional practices and Islamic law. Algerian author Kamel Daoud recently referred to this system as entailing “sexual misery” for both men and women throughout the Islamic world.Daoud favors the full emancipation of Muslim women, yet many commentators criticized him as being guilty of “Islamophobia,” a term increasingly used to silence meaningful debate.

International Women’s Day should be a day to raise our voices on behalf of women with no recourse to protect their rights. Yet I doubt Wednesday’s protesters will wave placards condemning the religious and cultural framework for women’s oppression under Sharia law. As a moral and legal code, Sharia law is demeaning and degrading to women. It requires women to be placed under the care of male guardians; it views a woman’s testimony in court as worth half that of a man’s; and it permits a husband to beat his wife. It’s not only women’s legal and sexual freedoms that are curtailed under Sharia but their economic freedoms as well. Women generally inherit half of the amount that men inherit, and their male guardian must consent to their choosing education, work, or travel.

In Saudi Arabia, Iran, Sudan, and parts of Nigeria, where Sharia law underpins the judicial system, women’s rights suffer greatly.

There is a growing trend among some feminists to make excuses for Sharia law and claim it is nothing more than a personal moral guide, and therefore consistent with American constitutional liberties. Yet the rules that such “Sharia-lite feminists” voluntarily choose to follow are also invoked to oppress women—to marry them off, to constrain their economic and human rights, and to limit their freedom of expression—who have not consented to them. The moral conflict between Sharia and universal human rights should not be dismissed as a misunderstanding, but openly discussed.

Many Western feminists struggle to embrace universal women’s rights. Decades ago, Germaine Greer argued that attempts to outlaw female genital mutilation amounted to “an attack on cultural identity.” That type of deference to traditional practices, in the name of cultural sensitivity, hurts vulnerable women. These days, relativism remains strong. Too many feminists in the West are reluctant to condemn cultural practices that clearly harm women—female genital mutilation, polygamy, child marriage, marital rape, and honor violence, particularly in non-Western societies. Women’s rights are universal, and such practices cannot be accepted.

The revival of part of the women’s movement, catalyzed by the election of Donald Trump, has deeper roots than can be seen on the surface. Like Wednesday’s protest, a large portion of Western feminism has been captured by political ideologues and postmodern apologists. Rather than protecting women’s rights, many feminists are focused on signaling opposition to “right-wing” politics.

One of the organizers of the Women’s March movement recently tweeted: “If the right wing is defending or agreeing with you, you are probably on the wrong side. Re-evaluate your positions.”

I’m all for dissent, but that “us vs. them” mentality has caused political gridlock, even on humanitarian issues where the left and right should work together. Hostility and intolerance to others’ views have made rational discussion on important issues taboo. A robust defense of universal women’s rights should welcome support from both the left and the right, overcoming domestic partisan divisions in order to help women abroad attain their full rights.

This International Women’s Day, we should protest the oppression of women who have no access to legal protections. We should support those Muslim reformers, such as Asra Nomani, Zuhdi Jasser, and Irshad Manji, who seek to reform Islam in line with full legal equality between men and women. And we should strive to overcome domestic political divisions to defend the universality of women’s rights.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali is a research fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford, and the founder of the AHA Foundation, which exists to protect women and girls from abuses of the sort described in this article.

Also see:

Anti-Trump Women’s Movement Teams Up With Islamist Terrorist

Rasmea Odeh speaking at the International Working Women's Day 2016 (Photo: Video screenshot)

Rasmea Odeh speaking at the International Working Women’s Day 2016 (Photo: Video screenshot)

Clarion Project, Feb. 27, 2017:

The liberal left has teamed up with extremist and violent Islamists in its next salvo against newly-inaugurated U.S. President Donald Trump.

On March 8, International Women’s Day, a follow-up event to the January 21 Women’s March on Washington, will be staged.

One of the co-authors of the “militant” manifesto behind the nationwide event is convicted Palestinian terrorist Rasmea Yousef Odeh.

Odeh was convicted in Israel in 1970 for being involved in two fatal bombings. Odeh spent 10 years in jail before she was released in a prisoner exchange in 1980.

She moved to the U.S. by omitting her terror conviction on her immigration papers and served as the associate director of the Arab American Action Network in Chicago and later as an ObamaCare navigator. In 2014, she was convicted in the U.S. for concealing her past and thus illegally obtaining U.S. citizenship.

After claiming she forgot about her conviction and imprisonment in Israel due to post traumatic stress disorder, she was awarded a new trial which is currently pending.

The women’s event manifesto, printed as an open letter in The Guardian, calls for “striking, marching, blocking roads, bridges, and squares, abstaining from domestic, care and sex work” and “boycotting” pro-Trump businesses.

All women are requested to wear red in solidarity for a day of “anti-capitalist feminism.”

Odeh’s co-authors include Angela Davis, a self-professed communist professor (now retired), who was a supporter of the original Black Panthers and a 1960s radical icon. Davis was prosecuted and acquitted in 1972 for an armed takeover of a California courtroom that resulted in the murder of a judge.

The January 21 Women’s March on Washington was organized by Islamist apologist and activist Linda Sarsour, a supporter of shariah law.

Shariah law is reasonable and once u read into the details it makes a lot of sense. People just know the basics,tweeted Sarsour.

As for women with whom she does not agree, Sarsour tweeted, “Brigitte Gabriel=Ayaan Hirsi Ali. She’s asking 4 an a$$ whippin’. I wish I could take their vaginas away – they don’t deserve to be women.”

Also see:

Law Against Beating Wives Challenged by Sharia Council in Pakistan

Pakistani women

by CounterJihad, March 8, 2016:

March 8th is International Women’s Day.  On this occasion, we would like to draw attention to a story out of Pakistan, where legislators in the Punjab have tried to improve the status of women.  Taking note of the abusive nature of many traditional family arrangements there, the legislature passed a law that would establish a 24-hour hotline for women to call if they were abused by their husbands.  Those calling the hotline would be rescued and removed to government shelters without their husband’s permission.  Sometimes — but not always — the husband might even be forced to leave his own home for beating his wife.

Pakistan’s Council of Islamic Ideology declared the law to be a violation of sharia.  They demanded that it be submitted to them for a formal review before it could be put into practice.  If lawmakers fail to do so, they threatened to issue a formal finding that the lawmakers were engaged in blasphemy — an offense punishable by death.

Even where the council does not formally rule that blasphemy has occurred, their informal charge that a political figure is blaspheming Islam is often enough.  The governor of Punjab was assassinated following such a confrontation with the council.

The danger is real enough that an earlier attempt to protect women from becoming child brides by raising the age of consent to 18 was abandoned after the council declared it to be blasphemy.

The Islamic Council says that the protections of sharia are enough for women in Pakistan.  Statistics show what those protections really mean:

In a report last month, the British Home Office noted Pakistan has been ranked as the “the third most dangerous place in the world for women,” referring to a 2011 Thomson-Reuters survey.

In 2014, more than 600 Pakistani women were killed in so-called “honor” killings, including 362 in Punjab province, the Home Office noted.

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, which supported the bill approved by the Punjab Assembly, has  estimated as many as 70 percent of Pakistani women are victims of domestic violence.

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan are activists, of course, and one may question their statistics as it is in their political interest to inflate the figures.  However, a similar group of activists in the United States puts the number of women suffering from domestic violence at 1 in 3, or 33% — less than half the rate claimed by the group in Pakistan.  In part that is because the United States has clear laws opposing such violence.  The United States also has domestic violence shelters and a host of legal protections ensuring that women are free to leave an abusive relationship.

Groups aligned with the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamic organizations are doing their best to seduce Western powers into accepting Islamic standards on blasphemy.  Western protections for women can only be undermined if they succeed.

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

When Women’s Issues Hide Humanity’s Problem

20080404_niqabBy Diana West:

You may have missed it, but March 8 was International Women’s Day, a holiday unconnected to a religious rite or person, and with no national or even seasonal significance. It is socialist in origin, and it was Lenin himself who made it an official holiday in the Soviet Union. Not surprisingly, it is now a rite of the United Nations.

In these origins lie the day’s basic fallacy: that womanhood is an international — global — political state of being; that there is a universal female political condition, which urges, a la Marx, “Women of the world, unite!” Against what? The common foe — men.

As with Marxism itself, for such a sisterhood to coalesce, even on paper or in elite committees and multinational organizations, the profound cultural and religious differences that shape and guide people’s lives have to be minimized, denied or actually destroyed. In real life, however, culture and religion will out, as they did on this year’s International Women’s Day.

In post-U.S. Iraq, Reuters reported on the International Women’s Day activities of “about two dozen” women — a brave handful — who demonstrated in Baghdad against new, sharia-based legislation now before Iraq’s parliament. Known as the Ja’afari Law after an early Shiite imam, the legislation would allow Iraq’s Shiite Islamic clergy to control marriage, divorce and inheritance. Among other things, this would permit marriage between a man and a 9-year-old girl, according to the marital example of Islam’s prophet Mohammed. Indeed, by the Gregorian calendar, as The Associated Press pointed out, such legislation would apply to girls who are 8 years and 8 months old. (The Islamic calendar year is 10 or 11 days shorter than the Gregorian calendar year.)

Guess who has approved of this child rape legislation — some den of social outcasts? No, the ministers of Iraq’s cabinet. They preside, of course, over a government created in large measure by great expenditures of U.S. blood and treasure. The draft law now awaits a parliamentary vote.

The Baghdad protesters shouted: “On this day of women, women of Iraq are in mourning.” At least two dozen of them are, anyway. But more than Iraq’s women should be in mourning. After all, child rape — not to mention marital rape and discriminatory divorce and inheritance practices also legalized in the draft legislation — shouldn’t be defined as “women’s” issues alone. If they are so pigeon-holed, by feminist implication, the modification of “male” behavior will ameliorate all. What these women are protesting, however, aren’t men or the “patriarchy” generally, but rather the brutal impact of Islam and its law on women, on children, on the family itself — the basis of civilization. It is here, in the treatment of the weak and the young, of motherhood, marriage and childhood, where core, existential differences between Islam and most of the world’s religions and cultures emerge. They are obscured as “women’s” issues.

In pre-withdrawal Afghanistan, the celebration of International Women’s Day took place inside the heavily guarded New Kabul Compound. It was an upbeat event, at least according to a Defense Department report, featuring several laudable and prominent Afghan women doctors, who naturally talked up education and the need to retain post-Taliban gains made on behalf of women in Afghanistan. Tragically, the State Department’s most recent report on the shockingly low state of human rights in Afghanistan reveals that such gains for women — not to mention children, boys and girls alike — are already mainly on paper only. As the armed utopians withdraw, the dust of tribal Islam settles.

Read more: Family Security Matters

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:

“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.