Skip to comments.A Response to Feminists on the Violent Oppression of Women in Islam
Posted on 01/24/2008 5:32:26 AM PST by SJackson
A Response to Feminists on the Violent Oppression of Women in Islam
By David Horowitz and Robert Spencer
FrontPageMagazine.com | Thursday, January 24, 2008
The David Horowitz Freedom Center has succeeded in putting the feminists and Islamists on the defensive. As David Horowitz and Robert Spencer note in the article below, the DHFC's exposure of the feminist movement's lack of attention to women's rights in the Muslim world has caused many of the movement's most prominent activists to sign a letter protesting that they originated concern fro Muslim women. The letter, drafted by feminist writer Katha Pollitt, has been signed by such notables as:
The letter spread quickly, beginning on the website of the far-Left's flagship publication, The Nation. (The Nation's piece was also picked up by Yahoo News). Soon, it had been posted on Mother Jones, the Islamic Forum, the University of Maine, and many other sites -- including that of a woman named Heart who is running for president. Not all are pleased; at least one insists U.S. immigration laws and Israeli treatment of Palestinians are a more direct affront to women's rights than clitorectomies. (She asks, "Does Ms. Pollitt think that 'Muslim countries' are particularly hostile to womens rights for some reason?") Nonetheless, the very fact that the Left, so long silent about the crimes countenanced by its Islamic partners in the antiwar movement, now feel they must mount a rousing defense is vindication of our efforts. -- The Editors.
This week, seven hundred feminists signed an Open Letter complaining that columnists and opinion writers from The Weekly Standard to the Washington Post to Slate have recently accused American feminists of focusing obsessively on minor or even nonexistent injustices in the United States while ignoring atrocities against women in other countries, especially the Muslim world.
We recognize this Open Letter as a delayed response to the Freedom Centers Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week, which protested the silence of feminists over the Oppression of Women in Islam on campuses all over the country last fall, organized sit-ins at a dozen Womens Studies Departments to protest the absence of courses and department-sponsored events confronting the issue, and made this a matter of national discussion and debate. This is why the signers of the Open Letter complain that Womens rights are human rights was not a slogan dreamed up by David Horowitz or Christina Hoff Sommers, two of our speakers for Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week. (We never claimed it was.)
The signers of this Letter claim that, contrary to the accusations of pundits, they support Muslim feminists in their struggle against female genital mutilation, honor murder, forced marriage, child marriage, compulsory Islamic dress codes, the criminalization of sex outside marriage, brutal punishments like lashing and stoning, family laws that favor men and that place adult women under the legal power of fathers, brothers, and husbands, and laws that discount legal testimony made by women.
Well, we welcome these avowals of support for the rights of Muslim women. However, forgive us for doubting their sincerity. As one of us pointed out in a speech given at the University of Wisconsin during Islamo-Fascism Week:
One of our concerns is the failure of the Womens Studies Movement to educate students about these atrocities. There are probably 600 Womens Studies programs on American campuses, which focus on the unequal treatment of women in society. We have had a very hard time locating a single class which focuses on the oppression of women under Islamic law.
What was true last October is still true today. As recently as December 10, a Muslim teenager was strangled by her father for refusing to wear a hijab without a protest from the American feminist movement. And that is only one of many crimes committed in the name of Islam against Muslim women over which the feminist movement continues to be silent.
On New Years Day, Amina Said, 18, and her sister Sarah, 17, were shot dead in Irving, Texas. Police are searching for their father, Yaser Abdel Said, on a warrant for capital murder. The girls great aunt, Gail Gartrell, told reporters, This was an honor killing. Apparently Yaser Said murdered his daughters because they had non-Muslim boyfriends.
The signers of the Open Letter say that they are against honor killing. Here is an honor killing in the United States. Where are these feminists on this issue? Why are they not supporting the hunt for Aminas and Sarahs killers and organizing a campaign in the Muslim community to stop such practices?
On Sunday, January 20, the New York Times published an article, A Cutting Tradition, which falsely described female genital mutilation practiced under Islamic law as circumcision and portrayed it in a generally positive light, and even warned against blindly judging those who practice it. The article made no mention of the physical effects of this barbaric practice, which affects 140 million Muslim girls who have their genitals sliced off yearly, and in some 15 million cases their vaginal tract sewn up. These effects, as enumerated by the British Medical Journal in 1993, are Immediate physical complications include severe pain, shock, infection, bleeding, acute urinary infection, tetanus, and death. Long-term problems include chronic pain, difficulties with micturition and menstruation, pelvic infection leading to infertility, and prolonged and obstructed labor during childbirth.
Where is the feminist outrage over the New York Times article? Where are the feminist demonstrations against this practice? Where are the campus teach-ins? Where are the candlelight parades? What Muslim organizations have been confronted for their complicity in this assault on female Muslim children? This is a horrific crime against the female gender -- global in extent -- and yet one would be hard-pressed to identify a single public event, protest or march organized by feminists to oppose it.
The Open Letter mentions the feminist V-Day organized to protest violence against women. We challenge the signers of this letter to identify the speeches given during V-Day that protested female genital mutilation in the Islamic world. We challenge them to identify the Vagina Monologue of Islamic misogyny.
We are encouraged by the fact that these American feminists feel the need to respond to our challenge over their silence as a movement on violence against Muslim women and to assert their opposition to these barbaric practices. We challenge them now to put actions behind their words.
Join us in sponsoring a campus tour on the Oppression of Women in Islam with speakers such as Nonie Darwish, Wafa Sultan and Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Form academic committees to provide curricula on these subjects in Womens Studies courses. Devote a major segment of your V-Day demonstrations to the plight of Muslim women. Join us during Islamo-Fascism Week II this spring in appealing to campus Muslim organizations to condemn these practices.
Then well know youre serious.
I think feminists would have to argue, if they would have consistent logic, that it’s a women’s right to choose to be treated like a dog.
Feminists might well argue that, though it really doesn’t have much to do with the treatment of women in the Islamic world, since they didn’t choose to live under its barbarism.
Heck I’d argue for a woman’t right to choose to be treated like a dog, but in defense of the goth chick who, as a style statement, let her boyfriend lead her on a leash, and got bounce from a British bus for it, not in defense of brutality against, or second class citizenship for women.
I don’t know if you had a chance to catch this post featuring a highly articulate Arab-American woman. It might be of some interest:
“Feminists” are simply secular socialists (liberals). They don’t really advance the cause of women, just liberalism. For example, see their absence of defense of the women abused by Bill Clinton and his wife.
Like all liberals, they side with any and all enemies of Western/American traditional culture, having the same goal of its destruction, thinking that they will be able to replace it with their own dystopia once it’s destroyed.
wow..i hadn’t read their “letter” before...it’s amazingly weak, and seems more interested in salvaging their own reputation than actually calling for the press to report more aggressively on womens rights abuses around the world. Quite sad.
Also they are making good salaries in the ‘women’s studies’ department. Can’t endanger that.
They have a good thing going in academia. They are sayng what the academic males want them to say.
Feminists are slavish in their obedience to academic males.
Besides Moslem men might have strenuous objections.
Yeah, libs tend to only protest and attack those they know won't attack them back [babies], because libs, at their core, are cowards.
Ever since Clinton's Lewinsky problems, these ladies can't rouse themselves to condemn rape.
Maybe they’ve been busy handing out kneepads.
They only protest things in countries they know that gang rape and head chopping are not under the Federal sentencing guidelines.....
Idealism works great until it falls under the effect of your personal life, then the your position is to walk away whistling as though you never said it, comforted in your good intentions.
I think a lot of us here have wondered over the past few years why these self-proclaimed feminist leaders have been strangely quiet over the treatment of women in the Islamic world.
I've never understood that either. I don't see any political upside in it, why not simply state they concerns are women in the US and leave it at that. Maybe not the most ethical position, but defensible.
“I’ve never understood that either. I don’t see any political upside in it, why not simply state they concerns are women in the US and leave it at that. Maybe not the most ethical position, but defensible.”
U.S. academic Women’s Studies faculty have been coopted by the far Left’s anti-Israel international agenda, so these “feminists” would be even more hypocritical than they already are to try to claim geographic isolationism when it comes to Islam’s abuses of Middle Eastern and other Islamic women.