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.)
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.
“As a child, I saw one of my paternal aunts being submitted to resounding slaps on her face because she had given birth to a third daughter,” Saadawi writes. “The father so hated this child that he used to insult his wife if she used to care for her…The baby had died before she had completed forty days of her life, and I do not know whether she died of neglect, or whether the mother smothered her to death.” Palestinian writer Souad, whom I mentioned in my last column, says that her mother suffocated nine of her own baby daughters.
How could the left possibly defend cultures like these?
Because they hate their own culture. They hate Western civilization and believe Western countries, especially the U.S., are racist, sexist colonialist oppressors. (Or as leftist intellectual Noam Chomsky calls America, “a leading terrorist state.”) They desperately want to believe woman-hating Third World cultures are morally superior to our own.
They’re not. When it comes to the rights of women, the West is vastly superior to Muslim cultures. This fact is undeniable to everyone except those on the radical left.
“United in Hate,” indeed—with people who hate women, that is.