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Gender Apartheid -- Not Our Agenda. Part One By: Phyllis Chesler and Marcia Pappas
FrontPageMagazine.com | Tuesday, March 24, 2009

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The issue of Islamic/Islamist gender apartheid is one of epidemic and global proportions. Although it has reached American shores, the feminist establishment here remains tragically ambivalent about how to deal with forced veiling, arranged marriage, separatism, and honor-related violence, including honor killings. Many feminists fear that, were they to tie the subordination of women to a particular religion or culture, especially to Islam, that they would be perceived as “racists,” or “Islamophobes.” This fear trumps their sincere concern for womens’ rights and womens’ lives.

The issue, quite simply, is whether or not non-Muslim white folks can discuss Muslim-on-Muslim crime or black-on-black crime or whether only people who share the same faith and skin-color are allowed to raise this issue.

The issue is also whether American feminists really support an American foreign policy, which both President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton have indicated can or should be tied to womens’ rights. Feminists viewed President Bush’s post 9/11 invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq as morally outrageous and as far more hurtful to Afghan and Iraqi women than was their pre-existing subjugation. Some feminists believed that women had been better off, at least, in Iraq, before the American invasion. We may disagree with this analysis but, nevertheless, why would American feminists hesitate to condemn crimes against women which are being committed on American soil by immigrants, including Muslims, from Third World countries?

The authors have both been speaking out about honor killings in the West and have both described the recent Buffalo beheading of Aasiya Z. Hassan by her husband as an Islamist-style honor-related killing.

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Dr. Phyllis Chesler is a well known author, an Emerita Professor of Psychology, and the co-founder of the Association for Women in Psychology, and the National Women’s Health Network. She may be reached through her website: www.phyllis-chesler.com. Marcia Pappas is a feminist/activist, holds a Bachelor of Science in Cultural Studies, and is currently the President of the National Organization for Women-New York State.

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