I was just watching this interview with Maryam Namazie, whom I respect a great deal and strongly hope you will all pay attention to her blog and her message, and it got me thinking about the repression of women in Islam, which led me to the bigger picture, which is the pass that we give to the faithful for bad behavior.
This is hardly isolated to the treatment of women, nor do I intend on discussing all religions and all issues, but it’s as good a place as any to start. We often shake our heads and tut to ourselves at the horendous record that Islam has towards the women in its fold. This behavior starts at birth and continues throughout the lives of the faithful, and it frightens me.
Women in Islam, at least as I perceive it, are targets. Yes, you may be a woman in a very liberal church in a liberal city who does not wear a veil and sees herself as the equal of a man, but your faith does not match your opinion. Take the hijab, for example. I have had Muslim women explain to me that the hijab is a garment of their choosing, and that they prefer to be humble and demure, showing their hair only when they feel like doing so. That is a perfectly reasonable sentiment, but that is only the surface of the lake.
Why is showing a woman’s hair a brazen act? Certainly, men are not bound by the same restrictions, nor would men see their hair as an immodest feature. It’s just their hair. But women’s hair is different. It can inspire lust in the heart of a man, so she should hide it to prevent herself from accidentally arrousing a man. After all, inspiring lust in a man is wicked, isn’t it?
The thing that is missing here is the responsibility of the man. I, for example, may see a ravishing woman in a bikini walking down the street. This is less likely to happen today, as the streets are covered in snow and there is a cold wind blowing. But let’s pretend that it is summer and a woman walks by me immodestly and, without intention, inspires my lust. What is my response?
If you guessed “rape her”, you guessed wrong. My response honestly would probably be to admire her. I would try not to be overt about this because it would not be my intention to give her the willies, but I was, am, and ever will be a fan of the female form. Still, that would not inspire violent sexual acts from me. I have self control. In some countries, a woman who is raped is guilty of a crime and can be sentenced. Obviously, she was a harlot if she could inspire a man to rape her. What a disgusting notion!
Those who insist a woman wear a hijab are intrinsically making excuses for bad behavior. It isn’t about immodesty from the woman, it’s about disgusting behavior from the man.
But when I say that I’m against women wearing the hijab, it is often refered to as intolerance. And yes, as Maryam says, I am intolerant when it comes to horrible behaviors. It isn’t an anti-Muslim stance I am taking. It is an anti-repression stance.
Why does this faith get a pass on treating women like crap? The hijab is the least of the evils perpetrated by women in the name of Islam. What about honor killings? Female genital mutilation? The fact that a woman’s word is worth half of a man’s word in a Shariah court? I could go on for days, but I won’t. I don’t need to. We see the track record of Islam towards women, and (unless we support that sort of thinking) we shake our heads.
So why is it wrong to point this out? I’m told that we don’t have the right to look at another culture and judge it from our closed Western perspective. But y’know what? To hell with that. I absolutely do have the right, even the responsibility to do just that. We don’t allow faith to protect murderers. We don’t allow faith to protect theives. But we let rapists and other sexual predators get away with treating women badly because they are Muslims, and we must try to understand and tolerate those weird little quirks.
Christianity is no better. Throughout the Bible (and here come the relativists) is documentation that women are somehow less goodly, less clean, and less loving than men are. It isn’t that Christianity’s perspective has softened, implying a moral adjustment to accepted Christian dogma, it is that society by and large chooses to ignore those sections of their faith. We make the morally correct choice _in spite_ of our religious leanings.
Yes, there are women who choose to wear the veil in one form or another. But these women do so because they have been raised to believe that it is good to do so, an ever-expanding acceptance that the veil is right.
I refuse to give faith a pass on anything. Why should we accept bad behavior? If a church existed that called for the murder of its enemies, would people defend these murderers as religious figures? No. We don’t say anything because we feel cowed when we are told that it is a matter of religion, and not one of morality. Funny, I keep getting told that the two are one and the same.
Yes, I am intolerant. I will not tolerate evil, even if it’s done by people who think of themselves as good. That’s all there is to say about that.