True, as I suspected, I had to share the time with a burqa-wearing woman (who remained unnamed) and with a pro-hijab ex-parliamentarian from Turkey. She kept insisting on the right to wear hijab (the headscarf) and I kept repeating that the French ban on the burqa (the face-veil) in public concerns only the face veil not the headscarf and that I do not oppose the headscarf. Nevertheless, the Turk turned out to be something of a closet Islamist and a believer in the false concept of “Orientalism,” which concept she wielded as a club meant to shame me into silence. It did not work. I referred her to the work of Ibn Warraq which has utterly demolished Said’s claims, and I talked about Islam’s long history of racism, imperialism, colonialism, white slavery, black slavery, and apartheid. Reasonably, I pointed out that the West is not the only culture which has engaged in extremely bad behavior and that Muslim-majority countries may have actually surpassed us.As I said, read the whole piece.
“Why don’t you busy yourself in criticizing how badly the West treats women before you start criticizing a culture you know nothing about.”
Ah, dear lady: For more than 40 years, I have specialized in criticizing discrimination against women worldwide and have challenged much else under the sun. What I refuse to do is to limit myself to Western culture only. In fact, I said, “the new colonialism consists of westerners abandoning the concept of universal human rights. It’s a way of saying: ‘Let them (Muslim women, Muslim homosexuals, Muslim free thinkers and Muslim truth-tellers) eat their barbarian cake.’ They are not worthy of any universal human rights.”
She then proceeded to lecture me about how women are treated as sex objects in the West. I pointed out that face-veiling women in Muslim-majority countries does not prevent those very same women from being routinely battered, raped, force-married, and honor murdered; that sexual slavery and prostitution are very much alive and flourishing in Muslim-majority countries; and that the “good girl bad girl” dichotomy that veiling creates justifies an even more open aggression against naked-faced women. I conceded:
“Half-naked Western women, unwed teenage pregnancies in the West (a point she raised) are far from ideal—but is the solution to throw a garbage bag over a woman’s head or to keep her entirely hidden at home?”
Friday, April 15, 2011
More from Phyllis Chesler
This piece is well worth reading though as it describes the non-sensational struggle of somebody who tries to speak the truth about the position of women in Islam. Of course, she also has to fight genuinely misguided and unimaginative "liberals" and "libertarians".