Price of Honor: Muslim Women Lift the Veil of Silence on the Islamic World

While women can be mistreated by individuals in any society, Islam, at least extreme Islam, sanctifies the systemic abuse of all women.

“A man loves first his son, then his camel, and then his wife”
Arab Proverb

This book, written in 1995 by Jan Goodwin, describes the sometimes gruesome position many women find themselves in just by living in many predominantly Muslim countries. It lays out a theory wherein the rising popularity of militant, extreme, Fundamentalist Islam is the main reason for the deterioration of the rights of Muslim women, as these Islamists increase they’re power base at the expense of women’s rights. Goodwin goes on to say that there is little or no basis in the Koran (the Islamic Holy Book) for the deteriorating position of women in many Muslim countries. The scope of women’s disenfranchisement varies from mild to severe from country to country as Goodwin addresses conditions in the ten countries she visited. It also varies according to the beliefs of branch of Islam to which the woman’s family belongs, Fundamentalist being the most oppressive. She also describes how this creeping tide of militant fundamentalist Islam in a danger to mainstream Islam and moderate Muslims. Though life in moderate or mainstream Muslim societies is very hard on most women it borders on slavery under extreme societies.

“There is no fun in Islam”
Ayatollah Khomeini

In the Peoples Islamic Republic of Iran, Khomeini lowered the marriage age for females from eighteen to thirteen (ya hear that Jerry Lee), but permitted girls as young as nine, even seven in some cases to be married if a physician signs a certificate agreeing to their sexual maturity. (pedophilia heaven). However, to the Ayatollah’s credit, he drew the line at seven, stating that it is forbidden to have sex with girls under seven!

“If a man and woman are alone in one place, the third person present is the devil”
Prophet Mohammad

“Under the law as it stands in Pakistan, women who have been raped can be charged with adultery or fornication. The proof required for zina (sex outside of wedlock including rape) is that there be four Muslim adult males of “good repute” present who can attest to the act of sexual penetration. No male witnesses of good repute, of course, are likely to stand and watch a rape in progress without trying to stop it. And because of this requirement it becomes impossible to punish the rapists. Instead the victim is prosecuted. Her legal complaint of rape is considered a confession of illicit sexual intercourse.”

“The majority of Muslim women find their lives controlled by their closest male relative. They are the daughters whose future marriage partners continue to be determined by their fathers. They are the brides who must be virgins on their wedding nights in a culture where, if they are not, honor killings are common and often carried out by the girls own brothers”


Muslim Irony

Fundamentalists restrict women from working, leaving the house unescorted and unveiled, being clergy, driving, reading the Koran, marrying an infidel, going to school after the sixth grade if at all and more.

The Irony of this treatment is in this Quote: “Such restrictions on women are necessary. They are to protect women’s honor and they are also a symbol of our enormous respect for women”

CONCLUSION

This book and several others like it document the ugly, onerous, abhorrent living conditions perpetrated on many Muslim women by Muslim men in the name of Islam. In fairness, The Author has on numerous occasion stated there is no basis for this treatment in the tenets of Islam. In Islam, especially the fundamentalist version religion is power. The Clergy gain power by elevating their male adherents, as do the adherents, over the females. They also gain power by espousing enmity toward a common enemy as Khomeni did toward the U.S. This is the politics of Theocrats. (The last three sentences are my observations)

As for the book, I highly recommend it. It’s 358 pages is well written, easy to read, compelling and chuck full of insights. The author, Jan Goodwin, did a tremendous amount of research, visiting and living in some ten countries, interviewing hundreds of, sometimes shy and reluctant, women to publish this very comprehensive book. Many of these women gave interviews, even though it endangered them. A couple observations I came away with is that the exception of Saudi Arabia, the holy seat of Islam, the quality of women’s living conditions increased with the wealth of the country or in large countries the area. Also it seemed to me that for the average Muslim male, appearances took precedence over the welfare of his womenfolk.

There are so many other things I would like to bring out, like how many Muslim women are malnourished by getting only leftovers, while doing three times the work of her counterpart but you really need to read the book.

July 27, 2008. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Atrocity, Islam, misogyny, religion, review, Sharia, Shiite, Sunni, Terrorism, Wahabism.

9 Comments

  1. Shaheen Khan replied:

    Really, I have to ask exactly how many Muslim nations have you visited? Why not take a trip through a few as you have the interest,and it seems the financial ability?

    A few thoughts:
    1)“A man loves first his son, then his camel, and then his wife”
    Arab Proverb

    Heard the English proverb, “A woman, a horse and a hickory tree, the more you beat em the better they be.” Can I conclude that all Englishmen are vigorous wife beaters? Thats the conclusion my Iranian education wanted me to draw, but thankfully, even when I lived in Iran I wasn’t quite as gullible.

    I haven’t found my life or my most of my friends’ lives hard at all.Quite the opposite. Why do so many writers take such an extreme interest in “exposing” the troubles in the lives of specifically Muslim women? Why aren’t there for instance even a tenth as many books documenting the lives of women in South Korea with its horribly skewed sex ratios at birth? After all, South Korea is an extremely prosperous nation(I’ve been there, Seoul dazzles the eye , while parts of Tehran look like a dustbin, and I’m not exaggerating)and as you yourself said in another post, 70% of Iranians live in poverty. Or the lives of Christian women in South Africa, often accused and killed of “witchcraft” or infected by AIDS by their husbands who regularly frequent brothels? Misogyny is sanctified not only in Islam but in the other Abrahamic faiths and possibly non Abrahamic faiths as well.

    The Iranian Revolution was bad definitely, but the Shah was extremely corrupt.Placing the Shah on Iran’s throne was another instance of unneccessary interference on the part of the West, like the present war in Iraq and one that had catastrophic consequences, like this Iraq war is likely to have.

    Honor killings are unheard of in the world’s largest Muslim nation Indonesia, its neighbours Malaysia and Brunei, or Muslim Sub Saharan Africa. Thats’ quite a bit of the Muslim world.

    The condition of women in the Western- and I mean by Western European, American and Australian world is extremely good, sadly isn’t so in the rest of the world.The African woman, the Latin American woman, the Indian and Chinese woman are all in various ways inequal.

    Are women in Pakistan and Bangladesh neccessarily worse off than neighbouring Indian women? Are Ethiopian Muslim women worse off than Ethiopian Christian women? Are Thai Buddhist women a lot better than Malay Muslim women?Are Hui Muslim women of China worse than Tibetan women? IMO, thats how these issues need to be addressed,rather than comparing say Saudi women to Norwegian women and concluding that a general adherence to Islam opresses women.
    Had the world’s largest Muslim nation Indonesia the female infanticide rates of its neighbour China, I’m sure Western writers would scurry to write about how horribly Islam treats its women.How many writers have written about the millions of Indonesian Minangkabau,who’ve managed to be both Muslim and matriarchal? How many writers have written about the the Catholic women of Africa’s Uganda, AIDS infected as the Church forbids condoms? In contrast in African Tunisia, AIDS is among the world’s lowestand the last honor killing happened in 1991. Honor killings are legal in the penal code of Christian Latin American Haiti.

    I’m sure many of these writers mean well, but IMO such singling out a particular faith will result in little good . To give a rather silly analogy, think of a naughty child in a class where the teacher always targets him and ignores the misdeeds of other kids who are often just as naughty. He gets little praise when he does something right, but is blamed out of all proportion when he does anything wrong, but other naughty kids go off scot free. This will not encourage the naughty boy to alter his behaviour, it will only make him feel that he’s being unfairly singled out and he’ll likely become worse.

    Innumerable books on Islamic and specifically Islamic misogyny will have the same ill effect.I myself have felt quite p***ed off when people ask me how misogynist my dad is or if wife beating is accepted as a normal part of married life in my family.

  2. Dee Dawning replied:

    Shaheen, You know I value your opinion, but pointing out mistreatment of women in other societies, which if you read my first paragraph, I acknowledge, does not neutralize the abysmal treatment of women in Islam.

    Why do authors concentrate on Islamic misogyny? I don’t know. Perhaps because one in six people in the world are Muslim, which makes it a larger problem. Or maybe it’s the images circulating the world of women wearing hijabs and burquas looking like ghosts instead of human beings. Images of women in Afghanistan being executed in soccer fields or buried to there neck in Nigeria and stoned–in many cases after being raped. Yes, I know it’s not universal and some Muslim countries are relatively progressive.

    The fact that you and your friends haven’t found your lives hard, really doesn’t prove much. You sound like you could have been somewhat privileged. If not I apologize, but I really don’t think things will change or evolve if left alone. After all there are Islamists who are still living in the ninth century. The facts seem to show that as Islam radicalizes the mistreatment of women increases. The problem is that Islamic men feel entitled and won’t up their perceived superiority easily.

    Have you ever read the book Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Her story should be an inspiration to all women of the world, not just Muslims. This is a self made woman who rose above her position in life.

  3. Shaheen Khan replied:

    Answering some issues you raised:
    “… but pointing out mistreatment of women in other societies, which if you read my first paragraph, I acknowledge, does not neutralize the abysmal treatment of women in Islam.”
    I don’t attempt to neutralize the mistreatment of women under Islam, the primary reason I left Islam was misogyny(followed by support for jihad and plain unbelievable and unprovable claims).

    “Why do authors concentrate on Islamic misogyny? I don’t know. Perhaps because one in six people in the world are Muslim, which makes it a larger problem.”

    Umm, one in three people in the world is Indian or Chinese so they’re twice as big. Actually, both these nations have been at the receiving end of Western criticism, in the 19th and early 20th centuries, during India’s colonization and China’s Opium wars.The Britsh in order to justify colonizing India, heavily criticized Hindu misogyny, and the same holds true for Chinese misogyny and footbinding. Today, thanks to these countries booming economies, the fact that they don’t attack or pose physical danger to the West and\or Israel and the success of immigrants from these countries to the West,(while Muslims languish in prisons, live off welfare or plot terrorist attacks) they’ve had an easier time. There were loads of authors documenting, (and often exaggerating and making unsubstantiated claims) horror stories of what Indians and Chinese were doing to their women and thus these “barbaric nations” needed to be colonized in the last century.Afghanistan once gave women the right to vote(later Taliban took it away) in 1919, a year before America.Just look at history, how much U.S. supported the Taliban’s rise to power to trouble the Soviet Union and what role the West had in putting that corrupt Shah Reza Pahlavi on Iran’s throne.

    I’m slightly digressing but speaking of Israel, I don’t hate it, King Cyrus the Great of Persia(Iran) a Zoroastrian, returned Israel to the Jews in 500 BC outlawed slavery throughout his empire and gave the world the first Charter of Human Rights.

    ” Have you ever read the book Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali.” Her story should be an inspiration to all women of the world, not just Muslims. This is a self made woman who rose above her position in life.

    Yes, read it and its a good and inspiring read. Have you read a similar book by another Somali immigrant Waris Dirie? This book is called “Desert Flower” Waris Dirie an internationally acclaimed fashion model and has a very similar story of gnital mutilation, a more horrifying one actually.

    My guess is that you probably haven’t even heard of Waris Dirie. Why? Because she doesn’t blame her genital mutilation on Islam so guys like Spencer don’t promote her. Hirsi Aliclaims that although Islam didn’t invent female genital mutilation, its today mostly done in nations that are Islamic. Really? Ethiopia is one of the oldest Christian nations, and is still majority Christian. 90-95% of women are circumcised. The Jews in Ethipia routinely circumcise their women too.Israel had stringent laws banning it, yet Ethiopian immigrants continue it.Eritrea is half Muslim-half Christian and practically all women are circumcised. Togo, Central African Republic and Chad to name but a few African nations have mixed Muslim-Christian populations. The religion in Egypt after the Pharaohnic period was Coptic Christianity which was the majority faith in Egypt until the 12th century, and they did nothing to stop female circumcision. Even today, the Coptic Church of Egypt doesn’t baptize uncircumcised girls.

    If I could truly blame female circumcision on anyone, I would be more on the mark if I blamed the Black Africans. The African nations like Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco which aren’t Black but Arab- Berber and almost 100% Muslim absolutely and I repeat absolutely do no such thing, while so many blacks whether Christian, Muslim or Jewish do it. I’m no racist by the way, just saying that a black hater would be more on the mark if he\she were to justify slavery and colonization of Blacks citing FGM in so many Black nations, than Hirsi Ali is in pinning the blame on Islam.A huge majority of Muslims, like a huge majority of Christians and Jews had no idea of this practice.

  4. Shaheen Khan replied:

    I would like to repeat that I’m absolutely not a racist and opposed to any form of racism. I’ve met very few Africans in life and they’re nice people, it is just that this gross practice of FGM is prevalent in a huge chunk of Africa,and people of African origin in nearby places,irrespective of whether the prevalent faith is Islam, Christianity, Judaism or various forms of Animism.Christians, Muslims, Animists and Jews elsewhere don’t do it.The religions which are actually completely free of it are Hinduism, Buddhism and other Eastern faiths and only because they’re not prevalent in Africa.

    Ayaan Hirsi Ali could well have been an Ethipian Jewish woman or an Eritrean Christian woman, and her account of FGM would be the same. Telling people that its mostly the Muslims who do it today is quite misleading. Support for FGM is found among African Mullahs, Rabbis as well as priests.An extensive UNICEF study in 2005 showed that there’s no direct link between FGM and any particular faith, and its much more cultural than religious. Ask the most oppressed and illiterate woman of Afghanistan and she’ll show absolutely no awareness of this practice, while a Nigerian Christian woman will almost certainly have experienced it.That apart, I do respect Ayaan Hirsi Ali, its just that connecting Islam to a practice an overwhelming majority of Muslims haven’t heard of and which is done by a significant number of non Muslims is being dishonest and misleading.

    The Muslims in Somalia and other African nations where it prevails will tell you that the Koran sanctions it which the Koran for all its barbarity, foolishness and misogyny doesn’t. The Christians of Ethiopia, Eritrea and elsewhere would similarly say that in the Bible Abraham and his wife Sarah were both circumcised, but fact remains that only Abraham and not his wife or other Biblical females did it.

    The issue that other cultures treat their women badly (or give them too many rights, as the Spaniards accused the Filipinos of doing!) has been used by the West against many cultures at many times, with literature documenting oppression of women, and thus justifying oppressing or colonizing them. FGM has received a huge amount of interest in the last decade which is a good thing, as hopefully it will be eliminated soon. It was in some ways fortunate for the Blacks that it didn’t receive this global attention during the Civil Rights or Apartheid Era as they would immediately be branded misogynist brutes who treat their women abysmally and so don’t deserve equality with the chivalrous whites.

  5. Shaheen Khan replied:

    You say,” Or maybe it’s the images circulating the world of women wearing hijabs and burquas looking like ghosts instead of human beings.”

    The burkha is not mandatory anywhere in the Muslim world except pre U.S. attack Afghanistan, present day Saudi and Iran and the vast majority of Muslim nations do not mandate it.Among women in nations or families where its not compulsory many don’t wear any sort of head covering.Most of my relatives on my father’s or mother’s side don’t. Among Muslim women who do wear it, from my personal experience a majority choose to do so and no, the reason isn’t support for misogyny or terrorism.A particular couple who we’re well acquainted with lost their son a year back rather tragically in a motor accident.They were telling us that at first they grew angry and cursed Allah, but later “realised that whatever Allah does is for the best, and they’ll be reunited with their son in the Afterlife.” The couple have become very devout, the husband once clean shaven has grown a beard as that is what the Prophet did and the wife now wears the burka as thats’ how the Prophets’ wives lived.And at least these two don’t force their views on others, their only other child their daughter lives with her White non practicing Christian boyfriend and even has a child with him, and although they fear that “she’ll go to Hell for displeasing Allah, one loves one’s child no mattter what.” and even babysit their grandson when their daughter works.And they don’t preach Islam to him, as his mom has strictly decided to let him choose when he grows up.Shame these people won’t feature in a book, as there’re so many of such people I know.:-(

    I do consider myself pretty knowledgable about the Muslim world having had first hand experience, and from my overwhelming experience, even among poorer less educated people, a majority of Muslim women don’t wear the veil supporting misogyny or terrorism, not even to hide themselves from men’s lustful glances as is imagined, its simply an essential part of their Islamic identity, as say the turban is to a Sikh man.A devout Sikh man will not dream of chopping off his long tresses under his turban, never mind how uncomfortable it may be to him, nor will he shave off his moustache and beard although they do make him look far less attractive than he would without them. Some Sikh men who take their religious practices lightly would of course not wear any turban and the same holds true for millions of non hijab wearing Muslim women. Muslim men who grow the beard also are often simply asserting their religious identity rahter than plotting attacks or beating up their wives! The Tuareg Muslim men who cover their faces with blue veils while their women go about unveiled are perhaps asserting their specific Tuareg cultural identity rather than their religious identity.

    Amongst the Ultra Orthodox Jews,women not only cover their heads, but also sometimes shave their head and wear a sheitel or wig over their bald head after marriage. I’ve come across Ultra Orthodox women in both Tehran (jews have lived in Iran for millennia)and where I live now. A Haredi woman was our family paedriatrician and a close family friend. She told me that Jewish women are required to purify themselves after the mizvah (end of menstrual cycle)and the water must touch all the woman’s body, which hair prevents.Shaving head and wearing a wig,purifying after something as natural as menstruation-all sounds terribly misogynistic to me, but then as I said its her life, her desire to assert her religious identity.

    Personally I won’t buy into patriarchal women controlling religious beliefs, but like this Haredi doctor many pious Muslim women I know who are professionally extremely qualified and successful but extremly devout and have managed to somehow reconcile their feminism and religion. If they are happy with their lifestyle, it isn’t fair to infer that all of them are oppressed based on inadequate knowledge, is it?

  6. Shaheen Khan replied:

    “Images of women in Afghanistan being executed in soccer fields or buried to there neck in Nigeria and stoned–in many cases after being raped.”

    Actually, both men and women are stoned for adultery, men being stoned somehow doesn’t get enough attention.I’d written about gay teens being hanged in Iran, which didn’t gather half as much attention in the International community as it should have. The two stonings that I know happened in Iran(many aren’t widely known)were both men.

    Afghanistan and the Taliban has a distinct history.Everyone in the world who follows news knows about the Taliban, its religious fanaticism and misogyny, but how many know that Afghanistan was a Communist State between 1978 and 1992? Afghanistan like many other impoverished nations in other parts of the world had strong Marxist Leninist movements and the People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan which was a Marxist Party wholly opposed to Islam took over. With USSR help,they destroyed mosques, women wear forced to not wear any burka or head covering, while men had to shave their beards.The religious everywhere have protested against state atheism, and Afghanistan was no exception, but what made matters worse for Afghanistan was that it held on rather more tenaciously to its religion. Asking a British Anglican to drop his religion is far easier than say an Amish.The Afghans were at least as devout as the Amish, and Islamist style movements emerged against Communism. U.S.A. poured huge amounts of cash into mujahideen activities. Pakistan, which was U.S.’s buddy then set up camps for these guerilla massively funded by U.S. aid.The rest, as they say is history.

    For an extremely devout people like the Afghan, who had been forced to abandon their faith for so long,they readily welcomed the Taliban, who they at least at first felt were returning them their religion.

    What do I think about this history? Communism and militant,exactly by the letter Islam are both violent and dangerous, but Communism is at least not women oppressive.However, for the devout Afghan woman under Communist rule, she might have felt that her most fundamental right wearing the burka, and its not difficult to imagine how such men and women would welcome any violent form of Islam.Knowing what sort of ideology the Taliban had, the U.S. shouldn’t have provided them with financial aid in the first place, without which they’d never have taken over.

    After the Soviet Union has fallen, its former Muslim members like Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan or Azerbaijan are all pretty secular where apostasy isn’t a crime, nor are women without rights.According to a recent Pew survey, only 35% of Kazakhs consider religion “very important” compared to 65% Americans. Circumstances, and unneccessary U.S. intervention changed Afghanistan’s fate for the worse.

    I’m not denying Islam’s violence or misogyny, they’re facts. Its just that there are people who have some definite Islamophobic agenda, who’ll ignore all contradictory evidence or attempts at an unbiased look at events.Some like Spencer or Geert Wilders are obvious examples.Others like Hirsi Ali, who’s definitely a very courageous woman, might blame misfortunes in her life like genital mutilation, which a vast majority of Muslims haven’t heard of and which is done by all people irrespective of faith in the geographic area from which she hails.

  7. Shaheen Khan replied:

    I just checked up the Global Gender Gap, which tracks the status of women vis a vis men by country.Of course, the Nordic countries top the list.Many European nations follow close at heels.

    For a comparison of Islam vis a vis other faiths in perspective,and since you’ve mentioned Pakistan various times, I compared it with other nations in the Indian sub continent-India and Nepal which are majority Hindu, Bangladesh which is majority Muslim and Sri Lanka which is majority Buddhist.Buddhist Sri Lanka came 15th, which was the highest rank obtained by any nation in the sub continent. Next and a long way off, came Bangladesh at 100. Hindu India came 114th, Hindu Nepal came 126, just one spot above Muslim Pakistan which came 127.Had Islam been the only cause of women’s oppression, Bangladesh would’ve ranked below both India and Nepal.

    “In Islam, especially the fundamentalist version religion is power. The Clergy gain power by elevating their male adherents, as do the adherents, over the females. They also gain power by espousing enmity toward a common enemy as Khomeni did toward the U.S. This is the politics of Theocrats. (The last three sentences are my observations)”

    This is true of any religion on Earth excepting perhaps the newly invented ones like Unitarian Universalism or the Bahai faith, a popular faith in Iran, which came into being in the late 19th centuries, when gender equality was already in the air.Or religions like Reform Judaism, which seem to ignore most of the Old Testament.

    Even today’s U.S. fundies insist wives submit to their husbands’, those like Jerry Falwell blamed 9\11 as a “divine rebuke” on the gays and feminists, and they want to ban abortion even in cases of rape or incest, or deny Emergency contraceptive pills after rape and incest.Bush effectively makes secular nationalist Iraq sound like another U.S. hating Taliban and U.S. Evangelicals have the highest support for the Iraq War.

    Women fought a long war for equality in the West, give Islam some time it’ll come around.U.S.A. banned slavery in 1865, Saudi in 1965 but today slavery is illegal in all Islamic nations.

    “The fact that you and your friends haven’t found your lives hard, really doesn’t prove much. You sound like you could have been somewhat privileged.”

    Yes, of course, I am privileged in many ways, I come from a very well off family and both my parents have PHD’s. My maternal grandmother was a pilot while my paternal grandmother whom I wrote about before was a Law Professor and later Principal of one of the best Universities in Tehran.But pardon me for saying so, it does prove something, if only that Ayaan Hirsi’s experience isn’t the only one, there are others.Have you read Nobel prize winning Turkish author Turan Dursun’s book Istanbul? He too comes from a Muslim family similar to mine- quite wealty, liberal and his parents were non practising Muslims, like mine. Hirsi Ali’s writes how she was taught how everything in the West is bad and evil, while my family like Turan Dursun’s family were very pro West.Hirsi Ali will have many Islamophobe or simply ignorant readers believe that every Muslim woman is circumcized, while Christian and Jewish African women are either not circumcized at all, or have long abandoned the practice.I and a Turkish classmate were horrified when asked by a classmate whether we were circumcized, and she’d got the notion from Hirsi Ali’s book.Having watched the circumcision of little boys in Tehran, I’d vowed I’d never do this to my son, if and when I have one.Later I learned that most American boys are circumcised too.I’m glad that I’m not in Hirsi Ali’s position, who’s been at the receiving end of not only Koran sanctioned Islamic misogyny, but also sub Saharan African misogyny, as that could make me bitter and less than objective.For example, in Somalia although the Koran promises a women half the inheritance of a man, and Somalia, like Turkey has full equality in inheritance laws,Somali women have traditionally not got any inheritance and still don’t. Is that Islam’s fault, Somalia’s national laws’ fault, or simply men’s selfishness?

    “The facts seem to show that as Islam radicalizes the mistreatment of women increases. The problem is that Islamic men feel entitled and won’t up their perceived superiority easily.”

    Not really.Iran is a place I’ve grown up in. not read about in books, and I’ve seen changes.My mom hated the headscarf so Islam certainly made her life uncomfortable, and mine too, but I’ve seen changes in rural and illiterate families.The fundamentalist Iranian clergy while in many ways women oppressive, managed to convince even the most backward rural families that it is allright to send their daughters to Universities for higher education.Today there are even more women science and maths graduates than men, the age at marriage in Iran is the same as Europe. The pro West Shah couldn’t raise the avarage are of marriage for women from 15.I don’t wear a headscarf, and certainly it shouldn’t be compulsory but as Queen Rania of Jordan says,women should be judged by what is in their head, rather than what is on it.

    Islamic men have given up many of their “perceived superiorities.” More women University graduates than men even in fundamentalist Saudi Arabia and Iran, sub replacement birthrates in Muslim Algeria, Tunisia, Iran, Lebanon, Brunie and Turkey without sex selective abortions, women Heads of State in 4 Muslim nations,other ways will happen too. The last honor killing in Tunisia happened in 1991.

    However, constant criticism even displeases me so I can well know how it makes many devout Muslims feel, who are nothing like those portrayed in these books.Many will become West haters due to Spencer and his ilk, I fear.

    No other group in recent times, not Blacks, not Jews, not East Asians no one has been so singled out.

  8. Shaheen Khan replied:

    “describes the sometimes gruesome position many women find themselves in just by living in many predominantly Muslim countries.”
    How so? I’ve checked out the Global Gender Gap and as Muslim majority Bangladesh ranks quite a few spots above India, shifting a woman from Muslim Bangladesh to its neighbour Hindu India would probably make her position worse.Similarly, as Muslim Pakistan and Hindu Nepal rank just one after the other, shifting a woman from one nation to another would do her little good.Similarly, had Ayaan Hirsi Ali been shifted from Somalia to Ethiopia,she’d still have to undergo genital mutilation. Of course, then her story as a Christian woman victim of genital mutilation,wouldn’t be promoted by Spencer and his ilk, so her books wouldn’t sell half as well.On the bright side though, she wouldn’t have to live under constant surveillance. 😉 Had she lived in any of the Christian African nations like Botswana or Uganda, she might’ve been infected by AIDS, as the AIDS rate in Christian African nations(eg. Botswana 30%) are so overwhelming, while in Muslim African nations(eg. Hirsi Ali’s Somalia 1.3%), its not much more than other parts of the world.And these Christian African nations promote virgin brides as an effective way to avoid AIDS.Of course, if husbands visit prostitutes, virgin brides get infected from them.In African Muslim Senegal,where prostitution is legal, effective measures keep the AIDS rate at just 0.8%, a stunningly low figure for Africa.

    Similarly, had an Indonesian Muslim woman been shifted to Catholic Phillipines, her life would pretty much be the same, except of course no artificial contraceptives would be available to her, so she wouldn’t have control over her reproduction.

    A close comparison of Muslim nations with their non Muslim neighbours would illustrate that more than simply Islam,its certain regional misogyny which predominates,and a Muslim woman isn’t neccessarily in a worse situation than her non Muslim neighbour.

    “Though life in moderate or mainstream Muslim societies is very hard on most women it borders on slavery under extreme societies.”

    Check out so called “moderate” societies in Istanbul of Turkey, or Tunis in Tunisia, which are both lovely places. Women stay out until well past mightnight, were the skimpiest of bikinis to the beaches.As an American, you might’ve seen Orthodox Jewish women. These women also use only separate swimming pools, don’t they?

    Orthodox Jewish women also need a “get” from their husbands to get divorced, while Turkey, Tunisia and the world’s biggest Muslim nation Indonesia have women filing 70% of all divorce cases.

    “They are the daughters whose future marriage partners continue to be determined by their fathers.” Not only father,father and mother or father and other elders.Its surprising how much Westerners see something like an arranged marriage as a sourse of “women’s oppression” Arranged marriages co exist with love marriages in Tehran, and very often even when girls have full freedom to select someone themselves, they let parents do the choosing? Why?
    Remember that in Iran the avarage marriage age is now mid twenties, and as more women attend Universities than men, women have ample opportunities to select someone.Marrying someone their parents have chosen is simply like a parental dating agency.Many girls have an opportunity to reject the person their parents have chosen.Unfortunately, there are sometimes forced marriages, I won’t deny that. Yet there are forced marriages of men as well.And no, a man can’t take a second wife if he doesn’t like the one he has.Only the very rich men can usually do so. As George Bernard Shaw said, “Polygamy when tried under modern deomcratic conditions is doomed by the revolt of the mass of inferior men who are reduced to celibacy by it, for the maternal instinct leads a woman to prefer a tenth share of a first rate man than exclusive possession of a third rate one.”Already rich old men in the West like Murdoch get pretty younger wives, had polygamy been allowed,and socially acceptable(it isn’t in many Muslim nations)Bill Gates would have a dozen wives, while the poor garbage cleaner would have none!

    Most traditional societies be they Muslim,Indian Hindu, Chinese many Japanese have arranged marriages. Don’t most Western people meet someone they eventually marry through their friends, workplace, Universities etc? So whats the harm in meeting the one you marry through your parents?

    “Fundamentalists restrict women from working”-only the Taliban, not even Saudi and Iran
    “leaving the house unescorted and unveiled,”-Only Taliban and Saudi
    ” being clergy,”- Most religions do this, the Catholic Church, Orthodox Judaism etc. China has women imams.
    “driving”,Only Saudi.
    “reading the Koran,” Only the Taliban did. Orthodox Jewish women aren’t allowed to read all the Torah either.
    “marrying an infidel”A Muslim man isn’t also allowed to marry a non Muslim woman in places like Malaysia.
    “going to school after the sixth grade if at all” and more.Far more University graduates than men in Saudi and Iran speak more eloquently than I could.

    Of course, books like Jean Sassoon’s “Princess” don’t mention the bit about more women University Graduates in Saudi.In Sassoon’s third book of the Princess Trilogy, she mentions an incident about an Egyptian genital mutilation, but conveniently doesn’t mention the support for this practice by the Coptic Church of Egypt.

    The Irony of this treatment is in this Quote: “Such restrictions on women are necessary. They are to protect women’s honor and they are also a symbol of our enormous respect for women”

    Again true of any other religion.The Catholic Church says that artificial contraceptives and women clergy are against women’s honor, Orthodox Jews thank Yahweh for not making them a woman and give the reason that women are supposedly more holy than men yada yada.

    A close examination of Muslim nations will reveal that they’re not neccessarily worse than their non Muslim neighbours while a study of the Koran would reveal that while definitely mosogynistic, it isn’t worse than other holy books.

  9. Tess MacKall replied:

    Damn, Dee. Looks like your commenter needs to get a blog.

    I so agree with you, Dee. Pointing out the misery of women in other countries doesn’t justify it. And in Iran, just yesterday, six gay men were executed. I guess the fact that these same people call us infidels and support terrorism against us is maybe why we study their culture in earnest and point out its failings.

    Great blog, Dee.

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