Thursday, June 29, 2006

Muslim Women -- Not Blameless

Until recently I have felt very sorry for Muslim women in general -- considering them to be relatively innocent and helpless victims of their brutal and repressive societies. But the more I read, the more I see that many have bought into and actively advocate the ideology responsible for their situation, with quite a few even participating in the physical horrors and repression. For example, in the story below, an aunt was instrumental in trapping the murdered girl, just as women were the traps in the Halimi case. Consider also the wives of the recently arrested Islamic terror suspects in Canada who made thousands of internet postings supporting jihad and violence in the name of Islam. Similarly, Palestinian mothers who are so proud of their murdering suicide spawn -- and extol their example for others to follow -- are actively promulgating the most evil of ideologies and actions; they are not simply innocent victims of a monstrous society. Or take this recent case in Thailand where twenty Muslim women are charged with beating and clubbing a teacher to near death. You can find similar examples of Muslim women actively involved in the horrors of their society daily, not to mention the almost universal tacit support that they show for their religion and its consequences -- all of which leads me to feel much less sympathy or pity for the average Muslim woman than I once did.

Of course, those few women who do stand up to their societies are among the most admirable of heroes, but sadly women like Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Wafa Sultan are not exceptional primarily because of their immense courage (though it is obviously exceptional), but more so for their intellectual independence -- a trait which gradually allowed them to see and challenge the evils of their faith-based societies. This type of independence is very rare in Muslim society precisely because the basis of a religious society is the very antithesis of independence and objectivity: blind faith and acceptance. Thus I see little reason to feel optimistic about the likelihood of change coming from within the Muslim world (particularly given that an essential part of the Muslim faith explicitly condones the use of violence to suppress and eradicate any intellectual dissent).

(HT LGF for the story on the wives of the Canadian Islamists.)


Blogger SN said...

Women teach their sons the same ideology as their father do, and send them off to war.

9:38 PM  
Blogger One Man Laughing said...

For these women to act differently, I think they would need to be aware that it is possible to do so, and that it is morally preferable to do so.  I don't mean to make them sound like innocent victims, but the joy of the west is that it is easy to be good -- that the system allows people to be moral.  For these women to be moral (I almost slipped and typed "to be what we consider moral"), they would have to be able to be moral without being beaten, they would have to have others around them who expect moral behavior.

You can take a work environment, and under a particular boss and system, the workers will be rude, gossiply, and unproductive -- but if you change the boss and system, well, need I say more?

You mention Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Wafa Sultan, the former whom I greatly esteem, and the latter less so merely because my only knowledge of her comes from that video that was on LGF.  But, Hirsi Ali "stood up to her society" in Holland, and Wafa Sultan, I believe, lives in America.  I mean, come on: any woman who stands up to her society while in the society would escape being beaten into submission or paradise by quite a fluke -- I couldn't name one such woman, not that I'm an expert at all!

I completely agree with you here: "Thus I see little reason to feel optimistic about the likelihood of change coming from within the Muslim world (particularly given that an essential part of the Muslim faith explicitly condones the use of violence to suppress and eradicate any intellectual dissent)."

6:43 PM  
Blogger Amit Ghate said...

Hi One Man Laughing,

I agree that a precondition to being moral is knowledge and awareness that it is possible, and women in the darkest corners of the Middle East may be kept in such ignorance that they can be held relatively blameless. But many of the cases that I cited occur in the West, some from women who have become much more Islamic than their parents (the Canadian case is striking in that regard.) I don’t think you can argue that they weren’t aware of other choices, nor that they were coerced into taking the actions they did. Instead I think you have to say that as soon as someone takes the ideology of Islam seriously, then dire consequences ensue. That is why the battle must be fought primarily on the ideological level, and why it will be impossible to win the so-called “war on terror” if we do not name the ideology animating our enemies (much less go out of our way to assure everyone that it is a “great religion of peace”).

3:46 PM  

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