Ashley Herzog

The responses to my column last week on Islam’s subjugation of women were completely predictable. Self-described radical leftists accused me of “hate” for not respecting cultures that stone rape victims. And encourage wife-beating. And force little girls to undergo female genital mutilation.

One email I got said simply, “the only conclusion I can come to is you must be a JEW!” I’m not, but it shows what anti-Semites these people are: they think calling someone Jewish is a vicious insult.

However, the most revealing responses were the excuse-making ones. A commenter on my school newspaper’s Web site, responding to the fact that two-thirds of rape suspects in Norway are Muslim men, said it was the Norwegian women’s fault: “Scandinavian countries are hardly welcoming to their Muslim minorities.” (In feminist circles, this is known as “blaming the victim” and is absolutely forbidden—unless the rapist is Muslim.)

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They also keep raising the pointless factoid that female genital mutilation (FGM) predates Islam in parts of Africa—as if that’s relevant today. As I wrote last week, Sheikh Muhammed Sayyid Tantawi (“the highest spiritual authority for nearly a billion Sunni Muslims,” according to the BBC) supports FGM, calling it “a laudable practice.” He’s one of many modern Muslim leaders who defend FGM on religious grounds. (Elizabeth Chinn said she “search[es] for a deeper meaning” to FGM.)

Attempting to justify despicable cultural practices is bad enough. But even worse is when the radical left ignores the voices of ex-Muslim women who speak out about Islamic gender apartheid. Nonie Darwish, an Egyptian woman whose father founded a Muslim terrorist group, wrote of a speech she gave at ultra-liberal Wellesley College: “As I described the plight of seven Iranian women awaiting death by stoning for sexual violations, I saw no compassion towards their sisters in Islam. I saw only rigid faces and hardened, unsympathetic hearts. Some even made faces at me as I spoke.”

They’re not interested in the work of women like Egyptian feminist Nawal El Saadawi, who says that girls are valued so little in Muslim culture that they’re often killed and disposed of at birth.

Ashley Herzog

Ashley Herzog can be reached at