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Feminislam? By: Julia Gorin
FrontPageMagazine.com | Thursday, April 19, 2007


What is it with feminism’s affinity for its opposite extreme — Islam? First, there is the by now widely observed trend of bolstering Islam by the politically correct crowd which includes feminists. The mildest of examples catching my attention over the weekend came in the form of a woman named Jumana Musa, Amnesty International’s Advocacy Director for Domestic Human Rights and International Justice. This former Jesse Jackson staffer advocates on behalf of Guantanamo Bay detainees, and in a recent email droned on about the “horrors” of the Guantanamo Bay camp (without actually naming them). The satirical part of her bio is that she used to work as a policy attorney for the National Network to End Domestic Violence.

So she wants to release, or give due process (effectively the same thing), to a few hundred extreme cases of the kinds of guys that the following woman is talking about:

 

“Violence is in every home in the Arab world,” a woman told the Christian Science Monitor last April. She works at Syria’s only, and secret, women’s shelter, and asked for anonymity because of the sensitivity of the shelter’s work. She was commenting on a UN Development Fund for Women study that came out at the time showing that one in four Syrian women is a victim of domestic abuse. “The number of abused women is more than 1 in 4,” she said.

 

In a related weekend discovery, I caught an item posted by The National Post’s Jonathan Kay on the Political Mavens blog:

 

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A female university professor in Canada was inviting the “strong intelligent” women of the campus to wear a hijab, to know what it’s like to be a woman who chooses to put one on.

 

The major practical function of the hijab and the covering-up in general has something to do with the fact that no culbability is placed on the Muslim man who, if he sees a woman he wants, feels entitled to take her. In the Muslim world and in Muslim neighborhoods across Europe, as we by now know, covering up is done for the woman’s own protection so as to not tempt the men.

 

In some parts of Europe, it’s not a choice even for non-Muslim women, who are told to cover up if passing through Muslim neighborhoods, again for their own protection. In Western courts, Muslim men use their “cultural beliefs” as a defense. In the case of one of four Pakistani brothers who gang-raped two teenage girls in Australia, lawyers argued “that their client’s strict Muslim upbringing in Pakistan meant he had traditional views about women…”

 

This eldest brother said in court that he thought he had a right to rape “promiscuous” girls, in this case aged 13 and 14. He told the court “that this was because the girls did not wear headscarves, were drinking alcohol and were unaccompanied when they went to his Ashfield home.” All but one of the brothers had committed several other rapes in Australia. As well, Muslims regularly rape Western women in Sweden and Norway, such that a group of Swedish teens had to design a sort of chastity belt to serve as a deterrent.

 

Given the main practical purpose of the hijab and the full-body veil, enlightened bimbos like McMaster Professor Walker — and all the women who choose to wear the headdress or more — are in fact giving a nod to a man’s right to rape women — and bringing us back to chastity belts.

 

But there’s more than just common results between feminism and Islam. There is an actual pull of feminism toward Islam. Recall England’s “alternative holiday message” this past Christmas. Channel 4 in Britain decided that its annual message would be delivered by a woman in full veil. The woman who did it was a white, British-born convert to Islam.

 

The Daily Telegraph reported that the woman, named Khadijah,

 

used her five-minute speech to condemn Commons leader Jack Straw for speaking out against the full veil, or niqab, earlier this year… “I wonder if Jack Straw would have the same difficulty communicating with a woman who wore revealing clothes as he clearly does with a woman who wears a veil.”

 

Khadijah said she started wearing the niqab around two years after she converted and said she saw the garment as a symbol of liberation.

 

“To look at me you would never guess that my great-grandmother was actually a suffragette”, she said…”We are seen as oppressed. “Since I’ve started covering I feel much more liberated, which I know a lot of people possibly won’t be able to understand.

  

Feeling “liberated” by wearing a burqa, together with her family’s feminist history, plus the woman’s back-handed criticism of women who wear revealing clothing together explain this bogus trend of feminislam. Though feminists traditionally have sympathized with the raped woman who wore revealing clothing, telling society and its courts to not blame the victim and say “she was asking for it,” they simultaneously resented women who dressed that way — mostly because feminists generally don’t look like Gloria Steinem (at least they didn’t used to). So as for the feeling of liberation that we “won’t be able to understand,” there is an explanation — perhaps one that even Khadija hasn’t considered.

 

It’s a crass and shallow but often true statement that many feminist bashers (this writer included) have made over the years: that feminism is an innovation by and for ugly chicks. Certainly to an ugly chick, a full veil would be liberating, as it is the great equalizer. (Meanwhile, it’s interesting to note that both feminists and Muslims disapprove of scantily-clad women.) The advice found on a website called “Modern Traditional: unconventional people who prefer traditional styles” illustrates this point. “Hijab — It’s not just for Muslims!” exclaims the writer, trying to appeal to the modern woman who doesn’t like to be “objectified”:

 

So, to all you non Muslim women out there, if you’re tired of being seen as your body, the next time you see a cute caftan, thobe or jilbab in a catalogue, don’t worry that you’re not Muslim. Order it. You will not only be helping yourself, but helping others to break the stereotypes about Muslims, and about women of other faiths and belief systems.

 

…No more chafing from tight clothes, and no more dependence on the details of your body shape for determining how people will perceive you. You get to be just you, and not just your “sexual market value”…If you’re trying to attract or keep a good partner who values you for your personality, then it helps to present your personality before your body…if you don’t like exposing your physique for the sake of trends, or you want to break out of the body obsessed mentality, then why not just do it?

 

Indeed, when some young Latinas get tired of the whistles that their curves attract, they don the hijab and niqab.

 

Jasmine Pinet of Union City, NJ feels that she has found greater respect as a woman by converting to Islam. “They’re not gonna say, ‘Hey mami, how are you?’ ” Ms. Pinet says of Muslim men. “Usually they say, ‘Hello, sister.’ And they don’t look at you like a sex object.”

 

My brother-in-law has his own theory as to why liberated Western women defend and empower movements such as Islam (and Communism, for that matter), which have the effect of putting them right back into futureless drudgery. He said that the modern woman lost respect for the man who liberated her. She subconsciously sees him as weak, and instinctively hankers for the brute he used to be. A reader named Lowell Blackman touched on something similar:

 

When you look at it, there is really little difference between the totalitarian mass movements of the 20th Century and resurgent Islam of the past 15 years. Submission — as what Islam means — and subordination to a higher cause makes the drudgeries of daily life and the wrestling with free will much more palatable and tolerable to many. It is also not surprising that many more educated German women find Islam an attractive alternative, given the recent dislocations and role reversals in German society. Islam, in a sense and as they see it, empowers them in a way that modern German society could not, because it gives them a place that is their realm alone, one which they do not have to fight and struggle as many modern women do — at home, as parents, as lovers, and by needing to prove themselves in the workplace. Granted, that realm lies within strict confines, but they own it, so to say.

 

So there we have it. The logical conclusion of women’s lib and the sexual revolution — that is, of feminist enlightenment — is enshroud-ment.



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