Below is an op-ed by Naser Khader from Monday’s Jyllands-Posten. Naser Khader, as regular readers will recall, is a secular Muslim and prominent Danish political figure. His outspoken stance against radical Islam and in favor of modern secular democracy have earned him anger and death-threats from his more zealous co-religionists.
Thanks to TB for suggesting this piece, and to Kepiblanc for translating it.
The face of Islamism — now with lipstick
By Naser Khader
When someone says “Islamist” our minds are automatically focused on a long-bearded and overweight man, badly dressed with stumpy trousers and a kinky hat. But dear reader, the Islamists are getting increasingly beautiful.
Here in the wake of the Women’s International Liberation Day let’s look at women’s part in the universal battle of values. The battle between democracy on one side and any form of religious cerebral stroke on the other.
In this battle women play a special part. Firstly because it’s their rights — or lack thereof — we’re fighting about or for. Secondly because the women themselves hold a major, active part in this battle of values. Fortunately we now see strong women who dare force a showdown with religious men and dogmas.
Only worth half
On the other side in this battle are the Islamist women, and too often we tend to overlook them.
Those women intend to go very far for their “true” version of Islam. A version of Islam which instantly reduces the very same women to B-humans: they’re worth only half of men when it comes to inheritance, have no or only sparse rights in relation to their children, and in those countries where their mission is accomplished — where the real one-eyed version of Islam is practiced — women are not allowed to go out alone, drive a car, own a passport, or have any right whatsoever not shared with eventual in-house stock.
Those women struggle to submit themselves and other women to a judicial system like Sharia, where a woman’s testimony counts only half of men’s. As one female Iranian parliamentarian explained to me during my recent visit to Iran: “Women are so affected when seeing a traffic accident that they turn their heads away, and that’s why they are inferior witnesses than men, who stand such things far better. That’s why women’s testimonies are worth only half of men’s”!!
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And it’s in this Sharia we find gory punishments as well, such as stoning — something one Danish imam has a hard time distancing himself from, because it’s prescribed by Allah. Honestly, Abdul Wahid Petersen [a native Dane, Reino Arild Petersen, who converted to Islam while serving jail time for drug trafficking — translator] you should witness a stoning yourself, where a woman is buried up to her shoulders thereafter the crowd throws stones at her until she is dead. Which most often takes several hours. It’s a disgusting and ungodly punishment invented by man.
The problem for women is that they very seldom can produce four male witnesses to a rape, and that’s why the conclusion is that it’s the woman who commits adultery. Those witnesses must be Muslims and in such close proximity to the crime that they can testify to penetration.
So, that’s the kind of punishment those Islamist women fight for on behalf of their own and sisters. Unbelievable. But all over the globe it appears that Islamist women are far tougher, far more dedicated to “the cause” than their male counterparts. For example, in Saudi and Iran the female officers in the religious police are far more fanatic than their male peers.
In “The Department of Terror” we see more and more female suicide bombers — many of whom have children, and one wonders what motivates them. But probably it’s a dream of the ultimate union with Allah. “I love the Prophet far more than my children,” as one Arabic, female journalist recently told me. Well, she wasn’t about blowing herself up at the moment, but it’s a telling remark. To her remark, I could only say, “You are insane.”
In another part of the battle of values, the one about words and arguments, we find Islamist women on the front lines as well. And increasing number of totalitarian states have female parliamentarians. In the West we applaud them because “Oh, what progress.” But many of them are in fact appointed by Islamist parties in those states. And just try to talk with them. Listen to what they say. It’s fundamentalist propaganda of the worst kind.
Here in Denmark we still tend to admire those outspoken, educated and emancipated opinionated, bloggers, spokeswomen and would-be parliamentarians who joins the debate on behalf of Islam. And who refuse to distance themselves from Sharia law, claiming that religion trumps democracy.
They are given an incredible amount of time by the journalists who focus on their form rather than their opinions. They seldom meet resistance — Asmaa Abdol Hamid [immigrant female from Lebanon — translator] got some, but many just slip through, for example the chairwomen of “Critical Muslims”, Sherin Khankan. And it can be hard to decode them. The problem is the circular and insistent arguments which is difficult to counter, because most journalists consider themselves too “Quran-illiterate” to strong-arm those ladies.
But they don’t need to. They could just apply the “bulls**t-test”, just like they do with us politicians. And beware: a long time ago those Islamists figured out that bearded, fat, language-challenged spokesmen don’t sell tickets in the media. Islamists attend courses in communication as well and they’ve got an extremist-makeover. But don’t let that confuse you, their words are telling. Lip gloss or long beard. Same thing.