Do Muslim Women Need Saving?

The Western crusade to rescue Muslim women has reduced them to a simplistic stereotype

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A moral crusade to rescue oppressed Muslim women from their cultures and their religion has swept the public sphere, dissolving distinctions between conservatives and liberals, sexists and feminists. The crusade has justified all manner of intervention from the legal to the military, the humanitarian to the sartorial. But it has also reduced Muslim women to a stereotyped singularity, plastering a handy cultural icon over much more complicated historical and political dynamics.

As an anthropologist who has spent decades doing research on and with women in different communities in the Middle East, I have found myself increasingly troubled by our obsession with Muslim women. Ever since 2001, when defending the rights of Muslim women was offered as a rationale for military intervention in Afghanistan, I have been trying to reconcile what I know from experience about individual women’s lives, and what I know as a student of the history of women and of feminism in different parts of the Muslim world, with the stock images of Muslim women that bombard us here in the West. Over the past decade, from the girls and women like Nujood Ali, whose best-selling memoir I Am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced was co-written, like so many of the others, by a Western journalist, to Malala Yousafzai, they have been portrayed as victims of the veil, forced marriage, honor crimes or violent abuse. They are presented as having a deficit of rights because of Islam. But they don’t always behave the way we expect them to, nor should they.

(MORE: Forbidden to Drive: A Saudi Woman on Life Inside the Kingdom)

Take the veil, for example. We were surprised when many women in Afghanistan didn’t take them off after being “liberated,” seeing as they had become such symbols of oppression in the West. But we were confusing veiling with a lack of agency. What most of us didn’t know is that 30 years ago the anthropologist Hanna Papanek described the burqa as “portable seclusion” and noted that many women saw it as a liberating invention because it enabled them to move out of segregated living spaces while still observing the requirements of separating and protecting women from unrelated men. People all over the globe, including Americans, wear the appropriate form of dress for their socially shared standards, religious beliefs and moral ideals. If we think that U.S. women live in a world of choice regarding clothing, we need to look no further than our own codes of dress and the often constricting tyrannies of fashion.

As for Malala, she was subjected to horrible violence by the Taliban, but education for girls and Islam are not at odds, as was suggested when atheist Sam Harris praised Malala for standing up to the “misogyny of traditional Islam.” Across the Muslim world girls have even been going to state schools for generations. In Pakistan, poverty and political instability undermine girls’ schooling, but also that of boys. Yet in urban areas, girls finish high school at rates close to those of young men, and they are only fractionally less likely to pursue higher education. In many Arab countries, and in Iran, more women are in university than men. In Egypt, women make up a bigger percentage of engineering and medical faculties than women do in the U.S.

A language of rights cannot really capture the complications of lives actually lived. If we were to consider the quandaries of a young woman in rural Egypt as she tries to make choices about who to marry or how she will make a good life for her children in trying circumstances, perhaps we would realize that we all work within constraints. It does not do justice to anyone to view her life only in terms of rights or that loaded term, freedom. These are not the terms in which we understand our own lives, born into families we did not choose, finding our way into what might fulfill us in life, constrained by failing economies, subject to the consumer capitalism, and making moral mistakes we must live with.

(MORE: Brides Before Bombs: Nigerian City Fights Terrorism With Mass Weddings)

There is no doubt that Western notions of human rights can be credited for the hope for a better world for all women. But I suspect that the deep moral conviction people feel about the rightness of saving the women of that timeless homogeneous mythical place called Islamland is fed by something else that cannot be separated from our current geopolitical relations. Blinded to the diversity of Muslim women’s lives, we tend to see our own situation too comfortably. Representing Muslim women as abused makes us forget the violence and oppression in our own midst. Our stereotyping of Muslim women also distracts us from the thornier problem that our own policies and actions in the world help create the (sometimes harsh) conditions in which distant others live. Ultimately, saving Muslim women allows us to ignore the complex entanglements in which we are all implicated and creates a polarization that places feminism only on the side of the West.

MORE: Saudi Cleric Says Driving Hurts Women’s Ovaries

184 comments
venivici.andy
venivici.andy

In the world of academe, much as in the world of the Wizard of Oz, diplomas confer supposed expertise, wisdom and authority. In the movie it was comical and entertaining.  In life it is sad because much false thought is accepted by the mass which fails to see naked emperors.  One is reminded of an interview on CBS in which Eric Sevareid asked the interviewee, Eric Hoffer, what he thought of intellectuals.  Hoffer said, "Wonderful people. Give them everything but power because they are the most corruptible people on earth.  They are able to rationalize and distance themselves from reality which can become very dangerous.” To be fair, I have not read Lila Abu-Lahoud's book but the very title reveals her stance.  She is not an anthropologist but a propagandist for Islam. If you want an honest and true assessment of Islam, read the comments by Cocogtz right here on this page written by a Mexican who went to a Muslim country with an entirely open mind.  Here you get reality and it ain't nice. 

HariharanHaran
HariharanHaran

Why con't you ask do Muslim women need children like men ? Savings and interest they will and a need of future life. 

cocogtz
cocogtz

Well first of all im mexican, and here in mexico we dont have a seizable muslim minority, we have some christian lebanese and syrians that have been here for a few generations and they are basically mexicans now.

The reason im saying this is because a few years ago i had the experience of going to work to a muslim country in north africa( Algeria) and i spended 4 years over there, at my arrivail i really didnt know anything about them i thought that basically they were like all third world countrys, with a bad economy and social injustice, so basically i said they are like us mexicans, to my surprise and shock i arrived to a place that has even worst human rights legislattion that my country has , i was shock to learn the following things:

-Women need a guardian to get marry no matter the age.

-Women by law can only inherit half of what they brothers inherit.

-I cant get marry with an algerian women unless i Convert to Islam and change my name, even in mexico we have civil marriage, in mexico yo can be budist and marry a christian or whatever, it does not matter  what religion you are.

-Even if i convert and get married i cannot give my child the name of lets say my grand father (ricardo)or some other name it HAS to be a muslim name by LAW:

- If i have a kid and decided to raise it with other religion or no religion, the kid still will have to follow and learn islam, which is in all school curricula by law , islamic teachings are compulsory.

- the state keep all the imams in public payroll, basically they are part of the state like any other goverment employes.

-Its punishibale with jail time if you proselitayse or talk about another religion other than islam, in mexico we get bothered from time to time with the likes of the jeohava witness and mormons and others, and even if they are obnoxious, i think EVRYONE has the right to talk about they belifs.

All of the above are just a few examples, and also the personal experience of living in a country like that was really a cultural shock, no women on the streets when it gets dark, bands of young men harrasing women on the streets, sexual frustration all over the place etc. etc. i can go for hours.

Man after the first six months i decided that my country with all its flaws (narco, violence and corruption) is 1000 times better than beign in a place that has no joy, and that everyone even if they are tired of living like that ,cannot say anything, because they are not allow to say anything against religion in this case islam, so they all tell you that is an american conspiracy and bla bla bla, basically they live in denial.

Well  to finish  i know that someone is going to say that in mexico women are mistreated, and let me tell you is true, but the Diference is that we HAVE laws that protect women against this, and every year we legislate more and more in their favor, so we are in the right track and we have HOPE a thing that must muslim countrys dont have, i think the only one that is still a kind of good place is turkey and this thanks to his secular constitution, all the other ones are horrible hell holes worst than juarez or tijuana,( at least over there yo can get drunk.)














AzwawChiko
AzwawChiko

Actually, there is much more in that chapter of stereotyping muslim women than the author is talking about: the West is in fact portraying muslim women as shallow mindless traitors who don't mind working hand in hand with a foreign invador who killed and still kills their fathers and moters, their brothers and sisters, their sons and daughters for the sake of going to school/wearing prostitute clothes/driving fancy cars.

For instance, I for one am very confused about how naive westerners who fall in this stupid "liberating muslim women" propagnada are! I mean, I can understand well that they're not informed enough to know that while advocating for the right of (rich) Saudi women to drive, there are 100.000's of political prisonners in Saudia Arabia amongst whom are women (and sometimes even women that are emprisonned with their young age children and toddlers), women that are sometimes molested, tortured and left without any medical care*, but do they (westerners caring for muslim women well being) ignore how criminal their governments and their proxies are with those same women? Are they gullible enough to really believe that those shameless criminal governments do really care about those women? Those governments that don't even care about their own people?

* Among those thousands of Saudi political prisonners there are "surpringly" almost no woman who is emprisonned for driving a car which tells a lot about how that government REALLY feels about this issue and about how well western campaigns adress critical issues...

TehminaKazi
TehminaKazi

I don't agree with this article at all.

For starters, I don’t think Malala has been portrayed as a victim, but a survivor who thrived and persisted with her amazing advocacy despite being shot by the Taliban. Nor has she been presented as having a deficit of rights because of Islam - at least, not in the mainstream discourse. Her faith is clearly important to her; she just interprets it differently from how her detractors do.


As for the burka, of course women are not going to take them off straightaway if they’ve been brainwashed as to the “consequences” for doing so (both here and in the afterlife). It is clearly what you would call an adaptive preference: choosing the “least worst” of a terrible bunch of options.
The “constricting tyrannies of fashion” in the West don’t compare to this in any way, shape or form! I might find high heels uncomfortable, but not a single person has shamed me for not wearing them. However, I know many women who have been ostracised for not wearing hijabs or niqabs, or for removing them.
Abu-Lughod’s paragraph about girls’ schooling was debunked by Bina Shah in the New York Times on 16th October 2013: “In 2011 the ratio of girls to boys enrolled in primary and secondary school was only 79 percent - one of the lowest in the world, according to the World Bank. Much more so than boys, Pakistani girls are malnourished: Young girls have disproportionately higher rates of vitamin deficiencies and low blood pressure. Across South Asia and the Middle East, the sex trafficking of girls is a persistent scourge.” And while Abu-Lughod’s assertion that more women attend university than men in Arab countries (and Iran) is probably true, she hasn’t explained what happens to this education afterwards. What is the rate of graduate employment for women as opposed to men in these countries, not to mention career progression thereafter?
Abu-Lughod claims that we do not “understand our own lives” in terms of rights or freedom. I cannot speak for anyone else, but rights and freedom have been THE dominant theme in my own life. And sorry, but how can one compare the “constraints” of a young woman in rural Egypt to a university-educated professional of Pakistani descent who was raised in London?
Also, just because I recognise and speak out against the abuses committed against Muslim women abroad, I certainly have NOT forgotten “the violence and oppression in our own midst.”  In fact, I worked on the biggest inquiry into UK human rights law to date! 
Finally, I want to address Abu-Lughod’s claim that stereotyping of Muslim women distracts us from our own policies and actions in the world, and the “harsh conditions they create.” I spent YEARS protesting against the war in Iraq, and its consequences in terms of human rights violations. So this argument doesn’t wash either.

topshot
topshot

As someone who has lived in the Middle East, I believe one reason women prefer a veil is to protect themselves.  A woman without a veil (or burqa etc)  is considered immodestly dressed and "asking for it" and is completely vulnerable to inappropriate touching, grabbing of breasts/genitals, and other physical and verbal harassment.  If you live with this kind of apprehension every time you leave your house, you are darn right it's a whole lot easier to give in and wear a veil.

sandloover
sandloover

I'd like to back up Inga's claims with some statistics.

http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2013/06/07/worlds-muslim-population-more-widespread-than-you-might-think/

"Although many people, especially in the United States, may associate Islam with countries in the Middle East or North Africa, nearly two-thirds (62%) of Muslims live in the Asia-Pacific region, according to the Pew Research analysis."

So yes, while the Middle East/North Africa region appears to be the "hub of terrorist activity", let us take a while to consider the statistics: you are looking at only the region that houses less than a third of the Muslim population worldwide. Among the people living in the Middle East/North Africa, probably only a fraction of them experience these day-to-day abuse/denial of rights/are terrorists (as evidenced by the article above-- where a there is a large proportion of women in med sch etc)

I am not saying that we should shelve these issues aside. These are very real problems that fly in the face of basic human rights. In fact, if you learn more about islam, you will understand that Islam does not condone spousal abuse and terrorism, too, among the many issues. My point is that there is just a disproportionate amount of media attention focusing on the problematic parts of the Muslim world; the fundamentalists that have twisted Islam. It is not fair for you to apply a blanket label to the rest of the Muslim world and lump them under the same category as them when, again, they are a minority.

To those who claim that Muslims outside the Middle East/North Africa region live more peacefully because they have been "enlightened" by Western values, take a look at Brunei, Malaysia and Indonesia. These are countries which have a Muslim majority and their laws even have some sharia influence to a certain extent. The girls there have a right to education and drive, among the many of the counter-examples I can provide.

Best wishes.

sixtymile
sixtymile

This is a a really fine piece. The reality is that the opportunities, powers, and freedoms of the sexes in different cultures are more differently balanced than they are unbalanced.

IngaTurner
IngaTurner

I wish everyone would just understand finally that not all Muslim women are oppressed.  Yes, some are, and some of those by culture, some by a twisted form of their religion, and some by a mix of the two.  I wish I had links to the articles I have read to show those who say that Islam forbids women education that it's not true.  That yes, Muslim women -when given the same access to education, whether culturally or economically- are just as educated as men.  That Muslim women are involved in medicine, engineering, politics, you name it.  Some do it wearing the hijab, some don't.  The whole point of the article was that the veil is not a 'symbol of oppression', as the current popular soundbyte says.  And if you want to talk oppression, there is widespread oppression in all religions, and in the absence of religion.  Also, please people, finally understand this... oppression of this sort is CULTURAL.  I hear the 'Muslim women can't drive!' thing.  That's in Saudi.  Can Muslim women drive anywhere else?  Yes?  There goes that argument.  'Muslim women have to wear the veil or they'll be killed or maimed!'  Where?  Does that happen in America (typically)?  No?  How about Canada?  Or just to toss out a European example, Italy?  No?  So is it religious? Or cultural?  I can hear it: "Well those are Christian (ish) countries!  Not countries ruled by Islam!"  Okay, look at China and Japan.  Not ruled by Islam.  Check out their history, ancient, recent, and contemporary.   Also, is Islam the only religion to be hijacked and perverted?  No.  Want an example that's as American as apple pie?  Look at the KKK.  Shoot, look at Westboro Baptist Church.  Look back a few years to the Waco Massacre (search the Wackos of Waco in Google).  There are no black and whites, is what I'm trying to say here.  For every 'terrorist', there is a dozen or (much) more good men and women trying to fight against them, same as the troops we send over in the name of freedom.  Do you really think that every able bodied man, woman, and child who live in these countries are evil?  Fighting for world dominion?  Or is it possible that some, if not most, might actually be good people?  Do you really think that every Muslim husband is a raping wife-beater who will maim the women and children in his family at a whim?  Or can there be some good men?  Do you really think that every Muslim woman, who wears the hijab or not, is really a cowering, unintelligent, weak minded, broken, weak willed, gibbering fool who can't stand up for herself, can't speak for herself, or even think for herself?  Is that what you think? 

Finally, if Islam is so bad, why is it the second largest religion in the world and the fastest growing?  Why, if women are so mistreated in Islam, are women converting at a rate of 4:1 of men?  Why are these educated, independent, strong European, Asian, Scandinavian, North and South American, and Australian women converting to a religion that you claim defiles and marginalizes them?  Are you saying they are all stupid? Weak?  What does that say about your own view of women?

ptolemeia
ptolemeia

Your comments about Malala Y. are misleading: SHE has not said Islam and education are at odds. Quite the opposite. Time and again she has pointed to these passages in the Koran. Hopefully people will choose to listen, including those who bomb girls' schools in their own countries. These girls may 'graduate at the same rates', but at what cost? You brush off "sure she got shot in the head but....." as if it does not point to something deeper, insidious, and indeed directed at girls. I think it's cultural, not religious -- in fact, Ms Yousafzai would clarify it has nothing to do with Islam at all.


ganeshran
ganeshran

Equality is NOT a western notion. It is a human notion. The west is in war with the region not for the noble purpose of liberating muslim women but for strategic purposes and for securing energy sources.

The reason why women don't take off the veil even after being liberated is because of the social conditioning which has forced them to believe that the veil is divine order. It will take decades of freedom to change these preconceived notions

MarkJansen101
MarkJansen101

I wonder if Lila Abu-Lughod took the time to interview Malala Yousafzai to ask her whether Moslem women need saving. Certainly Malala seems to need our help and all because she wanted to be educated. What a crime!

If Islam is really a religion of peace then perhaps moderate Moslems need to stand up and speak out and retake their religion back from the radical extremists who seem to have hijacked it.

DeweySayenoff
DeweySayenoff

(DISCLAIMER: I am against ALL of the big three religions.  They have no basis in fact.  They are man-made and badly constructed reasons to further divide and separate each of is.  They provide ready-made rationales for murdering each other at the command of those who will only benefit from it and never dirty their fingers by doing it themselves.  They are the refuge of the weak minded and I firmly believe that anyone who believes in them should do the future of humanity a favor by not breeding with anyone ELSE who believes in them.)

Now, that said, no they don't need saving.  It's their myth.  Let them live it as they wish.  It's pretty nuts to think that anyone's religion has some moral superiority or influence over someone else's religion.  Middle Eastern men can't handle modern (that is to say 21st century) sensibilities.  So they impose 8th century sensibilities on themselves and "their" women.  Their problem.  They need to deal with it.  The only way WE could deal with it is to kill every last one of them - man, woman and child - until Islam, and all traces of it, are eradicated from the face of the planet.

That isn't going to happen, so we have to deal with it as it is.

I see it as a self-correcting issue, myself.  Darwin dictates that those who can't or won't adapt will die off.  Society changes.  One way or the other, the resistance to adapting to change will kill them ALL off.  I expect they'll probably take the rest of the world with them, but eh...  That's the way the mushroom cloud blossoms...

The epitaph for humanity: They died arguing over who had the best invisible friend.

09_tm1
09_tm1

Witness: I came face-to-face with the shooter

in case of EMERGENCY

LAURA CHRCH:  PILYO/PILYA O/ AROGANTE/IGNORATE MAN 

MAYROON  SANANG MAGAGAWA NG ERA STUDENTS UPANG 

MALAMAN NG "ORDINARY FOLLOWERS"  ANG  MEANING 

PAGBIGKAS  SA  SALITANG  "A=M=E=R=I=K=A=N=A"


stowevt024
stowevt024

MY word, of course they do! They are the most hirsute, hairiest women on the planet and possibly the entire known and yet unknown universe.  Ooopppssss, Ohh, I'm so sorry. I misread the title. I thought it read "Do Muslim Women Need SHAVING", not "Saving".  My Bad!  In that case, No,  let them continue to live in their 8th century lifestyle that their religion dooms them to. 

CruxMDQ
CruxMDQ

@MarkJansen101 : 'terrorism' is a rather nebulous term. Someone straps a bomb to his chest and blows up a bus, it's called 'terrorism', but a drone fires a missile into a crowd to eliminate an 'enemy combatant', and the other ten-plus civilians killed are 'collateral damage'. And maybe we should not delve into the issue of whether all-pervasive surveillance could be considered a form of terrorism since it does, um, well, scare people and makes them feel rather insecure.

Chalking up 'almost all of the world's trouble' to 'the same backward nations' denotes egregious ignorance to say the least. Much of that 'terrorism' and 'trouble' is nothing less than the consequences of U.S. government actions, or of those of someone they sponsor. If the United States minded their own business instead of pretending to 'liberate people' while stealing their oil and gas, maybe those problems would vanish in a generation... 

Minding their own business would mean, as the author put it, paying attention to 'the thornier problem' about the U.S. 'policies and actions in the world help' causing that problem to exist in the first place...

But as the late George Carlin put it, 'we don't have time for rational solutions!'

MarkJansen101
MarkJansen101

Lila Abu-Lughod writes: "Take the veil, for example. We were surprised when many women in Afghanistan didn’t take them off after being “liberated,” seeing as they had become such symbols of oppression in the West. But we were confusing veiling with a lack of agency" Of course they didn't take them off, they were too afraid of the consequences should militant, terrorist Islamists regain control.

Abu-Lighod, another apologist for a religion that has kept its people back and left them in a state of servitude and poverty.  Why is it that almost all of the world's trouble emanates from the same backward nations? Why is it that terrorists, perpetrating terrible atrocities are almost exclusively Moslems? 

Abu-Lighod then goes on to write: "Representing Muslim women as abused makes us forget the violence and oppression in our own midst. Our stereotyping of Muslim women also distracts us from the thornier problem that our own policies and actions in the world help create the (sometimes harsh) conditions in which distant others live." Yes, the West has its problems, but we don't send women and children strapped with explosives to blow up innocent people.



Sofs
Sofs

Sorry, 'we' do not need saving. Back off that thought. By all means, support independent cases and causes but don't for one second give us your pity. I am as much talented, intelligent and free as you and I was raised by both my mother AND father. 

NekPiel
NekPiel

RAPE : Brother rapes and commits incest with his sister -

(a) "Howbeit he (Amnon, one of the sons of David) would not

hearken unto her (his sister Tamar's) voice: but, being stronger

than she, forced (raped) her, and LAY (had sex) with her." 2

SAMUEL 13:14

Son commits incest and rapes his mothers wholesale!

(b) "So they spread Absalom (another of the sons of David) a tent

up on the top of the house; and Absalom WENT IN (had

intercourse) unto his father's concubines (same as "wives", see

KETURAH in the index) in the sight of ALL ISRAEL." 2 SAMUEL

16:22

NekPiel
NekPiel

I think Christian women have been pressed for too long.They are told to shut up in Church.They are told to be subservient to men.Yes they need saving. 

WOMEN : Forbidden to open their mouths in the Church -

".. for it is a SHAME for women to speak in the Church." 1

CORINTHIANS 14:34-35

LiberatedMuslima
LiberatedMuslima

NO, we don't need saving, and more than that, we don't need people speaking on our behalf. If your info about the region comes mainly from white people reporting on it, you should probably go do some independent, objective research. How can any rational, educated person think that all Muslim men as "oppressive and cruel" or all Muslim women as "helpless and oppressed"? It's puzzling how most of these "white knights" who want to save us can't see the irony of forcing us to accept and adopt their ideology.  Take your pretensions, self-righteous attitude and shove it where the sun don't shine. 

Lady
Lady

@topshot If muslim men followed their religon they wouldn't touch women and they'd lower their gaze. The quaran just says to be modest, a burqa isn't modest, it's an invisability cloak. Can't the middle east at least let women wear victorian clothing? covers the whole body but not above the collar bones. men need to get used to seeing women's heads and have prostitutes available, and porn. Of coarse that won't stop rape because that's about victimising, but it will lower sexaual frustration.

MarkJansen101
MarkJansen101

@IngaTurner You certainly know how to ascribe to someone words they never actually said and opinions they do not hold. I never said ALL Moslem men are terrorist and ALL Moslem women are oppressed, weak and stupid, these are your projections, your words not mine.  It is a technique that helps to muddy the waters and take the focus away from the central and important issues - the majority of terrorist activity currently experienced in the world is instigated by Moslem radical extremists; Moslem women experience dangers and human rights abuses that are not tolerated in Western countries: that seeking an education should be fraught with so much danger. 


It's not just about Saudi women not being allowed to drive, it is about Afghani women not being allowed to pursue their own course in life and seek an education, it's about Yemeni women being woefully neglected in the economic, social and political spheres of their own country, and all Pakistani women being able to choose who they marry. These things are largely, albeit at times imperfectly, accepted rights and taken for granted in the West

It should make you pause and think that in Western countries Moslem women enjoy freedoms they can only dream of in their own native lands, yes they can drive and they can vote and be heard, they can seek redress for injustices and get a full education if they wish.  

 You write: "if Islam is so bad, why is it the second largest religion in the world and the fastest growing?  Why, if women are so mistreated in Islam, are women converting at a rate of 4:1 of men?" I would love to know where you got that statistic, personally, nothing I read seems to indicate a great rush on the part of Western women to convert to Islam. As for the spread of Islam I do know that a great many Christians are being forced to leave their Islamic country through threats and intimidation (consider Iraq, Syria, Pakistan, Iran, Ethiopia, Sudan and other places). I do know that to convert from Islam to another religion risks the converts life in a great many Islamic countries.

Finally, Inga, there is Black and White in the world. Your brand of moral relativism equates the beheading of innocent people and the killing of bystanders, going about their life in a shopping mall, with the defensive actions that need to be taken to exterminate this pestilence that is extremist Islamic terrorism.



MarkJansen101
MarkJansen101

@ptolemeia You're right up to a point. Malala may not have said that Islam and education are at odds, the fact that she sought an education indicates she thinks otherwise. It was the men who tried to kill her by putting a bullet in her head that indicate to me that there are those in Islam who think it wrong for women to be educated. Also your point about it being cultural not religious in nature neglects the fact that in some countries, mostly Moslem ones, as the West has clear distinctions between Church and State, culture and religion are inseperably connected.

MarkJansen101
MarkJansen101

@ganeshran Equality may not be a singularly Western aspiration but it is strange , don't you think, that Western countries and those countries which have been exposed to Western values, seem to enjoy the most freedoms and equality in the world.

aztecian
aztecian

@MarkJansen101 you make some big generalizations here.  muslim women don't need any help from miley cyrus or the now.  they are perfectly happy with who they are in their culture.  

sixtymile
sixtymile

@DeweySayenoff All about religion, religion, religion. What do you have to say about society and cultures? Well, often these are not separable from the dominant religious system. Religion and society are different things only in the modern industrialized West.

MarkJansen101
MarkJansen101

@CruxMDQ @MarkJansen101 The "ten plus civilians" you describe as collateral damage are the victims of cowards who choose to hide behind the skirts of women and who use children as shields. Tell me CruxMDQ where do you live? If you think America is so evil and protective surveillance so fearful I do hope you find comfort in a more enlightened country such as Syria or Iran.

You say the US should mind its own business. I am rather grateful the US takes a vital interest in world affairs and with its blood and treasure helps keep the savages at bay, the same savages who, having ruined their own countries, seek to ruin the rest of the civilized world.

As for stealing oil and gas, look no further than Middle Eastern countries to find the tyrants and despots who suck the marrow from their people and denude their own countries of all that is of value.


You need to get out more, perhaps you exist in a cloistered ivory tower?


ptolemeia
ptolemeia

@MarkJansen101 Right, caring about abuse of women in other countries does not preclude caring about it here in the US as well. I cannot stand false dichotomies like the one you point out. They are weak arguments.

stowevt024
stowevt024

That's great!  But dont get any ideas of not wearing a veil or a bag over yourself when you go out.  That is if you are allowed to.

meestermouse
meestermouse

@Sofs Except you can't drive a car or date who you wish. Or are you want of those hypocrite muslims from a privledged background?

aztecian
aztecian

@NekPiel oh here we go again stereotyping.  looks like the right wing has dropped in to spew their propaganda.

azumaguy
azumaguy

@NekPiel  Sorry, dude, not one in one hundred thousand Christians pays any attention to that garbage.  Your academic probing is a giant FAIL in real life.  Yet Islam is universally oppressive to women. Today and every day.

jkaravidas
jkaravidas

@LiberatedMuslima

Nobody cares what your oppressive and backward religion commands you to wear. The nuns in Christian religions dress up like you, but we don't force all Christian women to dress up like that.

The intolerable thing is that if a woman goes to a muslim dominated country like Iran or Saudi Arabia is obliged to wear at least a scarf on her head!! how liberated you think this is??

You can dress up in any way you see fit and even walk naked if you believe so, without me caring or losing any sleep over it. But you can't force anybody to adopt your religion's anachronistic beliefs and demand them to dress accordingly.

stowevt024
stowevt024

Most, if not all Westerners could care less about helping you.  You are forces to wear a rag over your head and a bag over your body.  Try walking down your street without them and see what happens to you. 

MarkJansen101
MarkJansen101

@LiberatedMuslima True not all Moslem men are "oppressive and cruel"  and not all Moslem women are "helpless and oppressed" BUT it is true that most of the world's terrorist activity is currently the result of Islamic fundementalism and it is also true that for many Moslem women even such a basic thing as getting an education is fraught with danger and may possibly result in death. It is not the West that preaches the establishment of a world wide Caliphate.

stoppretending345
stoppretending345

@LiberatedMuslima 

"White knights"? Hahahah. Pretty obvious that you're a white male "men's rights activist" and not a Muslim or a woman. Pathetic, dude.  No real Muslim woman would actually refer to herself as "LiberatedMuslima" and then put her portrait on an internet comment. She also wouldn't say "take your.....attitude and shove it where the sun don't shine". Lastly, I noticed that you created an account just to make this sockpuppet, and that you've only made one comment. 

So who's picture is that? Nice Try.

redzandolie
redzandolie

@LiberatedMuslima couldnt have said it better! A lot of people simply arent open-minded or SMART enough to realise that their social norms and practices do NOT constitute the only way one should live to be happy. This concept that they and their way of life alone constitute the centre of the universe is one of the main reasons for all of the violence we see today....

MarkJansen101
MarkJansen101

@aztecian @MarkJansen101 I supposedly "make some big generalizations here" and then you go and equate Miley Cyrus as being typical of Western women, you then generalize that Moslem women "are perfectly happy with who they are in their culture." Really? All of them? Perfectly?

I would suggest you take another look at the situation and take the blinkers off your eyes. Ask yourself why a girl like Malala, who simply wants to advance herself and get an education gets a bullet to the head instead.

I certainly don't want to see Moslem women twerking but I think they have a basic human right to make a choice about their own life and about their education.

Stace101
Stace101

@MarkJansen101


Interesting that you think the only people who die from US drone attacks are "cowards who hige behind women and who use children as shields." This is ignorant and turning a blind eye to reality...  Even though I'm not muslim, I am aware that the US is killing innocent people in places like Pakistan through drone attacks, you should do your research before denying it.

Also, the US has funded, triggered, or exacerbated the killing of civilians in middle eastern regions for years, because as you say "they take a vital interest in world affairs" but this is in no way for the benefit of anyone, but the Western world. This in turn has fuelled anger amongst the middle east, and retaliation, which the west call "terrorism" - and I am not condoning terrorism, but everyone knows the terrorists are doing wrong. The shocking thing is that the US are able to hide behind a veil of "doing good" when infact there are unreported deaths, "collateral damage" etc in huge numbers, but the world doesnt care as much whenwhen non Western people die.

You are very attacking in your post back to an excellent point made by CruxMDQ, and I think your style of writing says more about you than anything else.... does not bode in your favour!

MarkJansen101
MarkJansen101

@ptolemeia @MarkJansen101 Too right, we should care about the rights of women both overseas and in the US, that goes without saying. But my point still stands, the strapping of explosives to women and children seems to be a tactic adopted in exclusively Middle Eastern, Moslem countries.

Stace101
Stace101

@meestermouse @Sofs

You are confusing religion and culture.

Islam does not deny a woman a right to drive a car - only Saudi Arabia does. (Saudi Arabia is a country.)

Also Islam does not say you have to cover your face, it recommends dressing modestly. I've tried both - dressing modestly, and also dressing not as modestly, in keeping with western society. The latter means that I am automatically judged, sized up, checked out and sometimes even viewed as a piece of meat. Science has shown that by covering up, the "connecting with human being" part of a male's brain is activated upon seeing a female, as opposed to one say wearing a bikini, which actually specifically activates the "manually manipulating objects using hands" section of the male brain. When I learnt this and explained to my female friends and colleagues, they tried covering up a bit more and felt positive effects on their self esteem and identity, as well as other things, as they realised they were being seen as people first rather than constantly feeling like the exterior is most important, and feeling objectified. (Having worked in an eating disorder unit for 15 years, I have developed an interest in this topic.)

Islam's recommendations, if not seen at face value, often represent some amazing deeper understanding of humans. 

KathrynWarner
KathrynWarner

@jkaravidas @LiberatedMuslima Oh,  except our repressive backward society forces us to wear clothing!  Women can't walk around topless while men can!  How oppressed we are, to be slaves to the shirt and bra in the mid-summer heat.  

Try getting a woman to walk around topless and see what happens. 

Oh, wait, its only oppressive if its THEIR clothing code?  Why gee... isn't that convenient...

Stace101
Stace101

@MarkJansen101 @LiberatedMuslima 

When you say terrorist activity, do you mean most of the deaths in the world are caused by Muslims fundamentalists?

I'd say you are wrong.

I would say there are far, far more deaths occurring as a result of non-Muslim people than muslim, however they aren't reported in the media. Every day there is another report of Afghani's killed, Pakistani's killed by drones, etc etc. They just don't get shown on TV because there isn't much interest in foreigner's being killed. But what?! 2 white people were killed in America?! Oh.My.God. Front page news. So hence, those who don't know do their research about the world and only follow mainstream propaganda, think terrorists are the only ones causing death in the world

KathrynWarner
KathrynWarner

@stoppretending345 What the heck?  I'm only making this one comment.  People do, you know, make accounts JUST to respond to particularly hurtful or frustrating articles (or the frustrating comment section).  

I tend to have my portraits on internet comment sections because I use facebook to sign in and don't usually give a hoot if people see it.  And what the hell is with your attitude?  Can women now not tell you to shove it?  Because I'm bang alongside her.  Shoving it seems like an appropriate activity in this instance, given people are narrowminded cultural bigots who can't see beyond their belief in their own superiority.

MarkJansen101
MarkJansen101

@Stace101 @MarkJansen101 I really don't care that my style of writing doesn't "bode in my favor." Your opening sentence misrepresents what I wrote and if anything shows your own ignorance. You say you do not condone terrorism and yet you reserve all your condemnation for the US, remember it is not the US that flies planes filled with innocent people into buildings, killing thousands. It is not the US that seeks a world caliphate, nor is it the US that gasses its own people. And please, before you go shooting your mouth off, do your own research and perhaps you will realize that more Moslems have been killed by Moslems than by other nationalities (think of the Iran-Iraq war, think of the atrocities of Sadam Hussein, Assad and other despots).

jkaravidas
jkaravidas

@KathrynWarner @jkaravidas @LiberatedMuslima 

is this what you understood from my comment???? read it again please

stoppretending345
stoppretending345

@KathrynWarner @stoppretending345 Yeah, okay. It's not just that he made one comment or that there is a picture next to the name; it's a combination of things. I know what I'm talking about. He's using language that only so-called "men's rights activists" use, and that picture is clearly like, a professional head shot or something. It's aztecian's sock puppet. Look at aztecian's comments. He keeps using the phrase "white knight".
"LiberatedMuslima" disappeared completely, which lets me know I'm right.