An opinion piece in Saturday’s edition of the New York Times by writer Kamel Daoud lobbed a fire bomb into the tinderbox of Islam, women’s rights and sex. Calling the Arab and “more generally” the Muslim world’s relationship to sex “sick,” he goes on to show how repression of the sexual urge only leads to deranged cultural norms and a holocaust of female mutilation, mistreatment, abuse and psychological horror.
Earlier this week came a report stating that Nigerian authorities and humanitarian aid workers fear the Islamic militant group Boko Haram is starting to employ more women in suicide bombing attacks on refugee camps. This is just the latest outgrowth of Boko Haram’s horrific treatment of women, including repeated rape and sexual violence designed, in part, to impregnate the women and create a new generation of terrorist fighters.
Then the (unsurprising) news that Pakistan is complicit in, if not downright helpful to, Islamic extremist groups, including the Taliban which still threatens Afghan stability. World leaders have been pushing negotiations with the Taliban as a viable option for the region, yet no mention is made of the treatment of women at the hands of these Muslim fanatics. Suffocated by the burqa, stripped of education and employment, denied access to adequate healthcare and routinely beaten or stoned for minor infractions, including laughing too loudly or exposing an ankle, women were imprisoned by fundamentalist insanity during the Taliban’s rule. And negotiating with these people is a good idea?
All that leads us to what will be a very unpopular thesis: Islam, a patriarchal religion centered around a male deity with a fragile ego, is a fertile seedbed for misogyny. Look no further than the burqa or even the hijab, aka burqa-lite. The accepted practice in Muslim countries and communities is that women, at the very least, cover their luxurious locks out of “modesty,” a rule not originally imposed by women, but by men.
I’ve heard Muslim women say that they like the hijab or other levels of covering, because it makes them feel respected, it’s their choice to be covered, it’s part of their Muslim pride, (#stockholmsyndrome), but answer me this:
Could you, as a woman living in Saudia Arabia, Iran or amongst devout Muslims in any Islamic community in the world, just as easily choose to walk around uncovered? Would there be any negative consequences, subtle or gross, to your making the choice not to wear the veil? Would you rouse the ire of other people or could you freely walk through the streets without anyone giving you a second look?
I didn’t think so.
That being the case, let’s all stop dicking around, because the dicks in these countries are the ones causing the problems. In a religious system that promises men a garden of paradise replete with sighing virgins just ripe for the picking, can anyone honestly pretend that the religion of Islam is good for women? (Or men, for that matter?)
Perhaps there is some irony in the universe, though. The Kaaba, Islam’s holiest site visited every year by millions of devout Muslims, was built over an ancient goddess temple, and in the corner of the black cube is a silver flourish that looks shockingly like…a vagina. So while Muslim men are studiously erasing the female body from their sight, they circumambulate it, hoping to lay hands on it and praying to a jealous god who, just like them, can’t stand being in thrall to the power of a woman’s sex.
Until next Sunday…the heretic’s day.
Other news of the faithful:
A Catholic boys choir in Germany has long been a hotbed of physical and sexual abuse at the hands of clergy. And who ran the church’s choir from 1964 – 1994? Why, Pope Benedict’s brother.
A professor at an Illinois evangelical college is told to take a hike after she showed support for Muslims. It’s hard to imagine why the administration should take issue with a Middle Eastern warrior god so very similar to their own.
Karma’s long, inexorable arm strikes down a priest who is believed to have killed a young woman decades ago.
Freedom to discriminate…er, I mean religious freedom bills are all the rage with more people outraged at being forced to make oodles of money off same-sex couples intent on getting married.
Ah, politics and religion, such comfortable bedfellows, as seen in the complex propaganda surrounding the historic meeting between Pope Francis and the leader of the Russian Orthodox Church.
The famed black stone of Mecca.