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Posts Tagged ‘womens rights’

Not the Onion: Lesbians protest against transgenders

Posted by Richard on July 9, 2018

I’m sure this is troubling to advocates of intersectionality theory, but it left me grinning from ear to ear:

In a bizarre scene Saturday, a group of “lesbian activists” disrupted and stalled the London Pride Parade, in what they called a protest against the event’s inclusion of transgender individuals.

Local media reported that the protesters stalled the parade for around ten minutes, and as they were carted off, one could be heard screaming that, “A man who says he’s a lesbian is a rapist” — an apparent reference to male-to-female transgender individuals.

… The lesbian activists who disrupted the parade said they’ve felt left out of Pride events this year, after noting to organizers that lesbians prefer sex with only biological females, not transgender men who might dress and live as women but who have not completed gender reassignment surgery.

“We don’t want any kind of penis in our bedroom,” an activist told media. “I’m really sad I have to reassert this again.”

Men who don’t want a relationship with a “woman” who has a penis are routinely excoriated by the “woke” left as hate-filled cis bigots. How are they going to deal with women who feel the same way?

Grab the popcorn!

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Malala Yousafzai for Person of the Year

Posted by Richard on December 4, 2012

From ACT! for America (via email) (emphasis in original):

Time Magazine is currently accepting votes for their 2012 “Person of the Year.” One of the nominees is fifteen-year old Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani student activist who was viciously shot two months ago by the Taliban’s radical Islamists while riding her school bus.

Why? Because Malala fights tirelessly for young Pakistani girls to have the right to an education.

Amazingly enough, another of Time’s nominees is Egypt’s current President, Muslim Brotherhood-backed Mohamed Morsi, who is doing his best to turn Egypt into a hard line sharia-governed Islamist nation.

We think the right choice is abundantly clear and we need your help putting little Malala over the top and in the winner’s circle. After all she has endured, it’s the least we can do and it also will demonstrate to the world the type of character and individual who should be highlighted as a “person of the year”—and who should not.

The deadline for votes is at 11:59 p.m. (EST) on December 12th.

The winner will be announced on December 14th.

Will you help make Malala Time’s 2012 “Person of the Year?” Here’s how you can!

*** 2 Important Action Items ***

 

  1. Please take just one minute today to click HERE and cast your vote for Malala Yousafzai as Time Magazine’s 2012 Person of the Year.
  2. Then, click HERE to vote “no way” for Mohamed Morsi’s selection as Person of the Year.

 

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Honor killings

Posted by Richard on September 9, 2010

I've often defended the superiority of Western Civilization and the values of Reason and the Enlightenment against the prevailing liberal dogma of "multiculturalism" — the misbegotten insistence that all cultures are equally valuable and worthy of respect. Nothing proves my point more forcefully than Robert Fisk's four-part series, "The honour killing files," in The Independent this week. Part one begins thus:

It is a tragedy, a horror, a crime against humanity. The details of the murders – of the women beheaded, burned to death, stoned to death, stabbed, electrocuted, strangled and buried alive for the "honour" of their families – are as barbaric as they are shameful. Many women's groups in the Middle East and South-west Asia suspect the victims are at least four times the United Nations' latest world figure of around 5,000 deaths a year. Most of the victims are young, many are teenagers, slaughtered under a vile tradition that goes back hundreds of years but which now spans half the globe.

Fisk goes on to provide a lengthy catalog of specific examples of honor killings, mostly from the Middle East, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, but some from the West. Read it. Steel yourself and read the entire gut-wrenching, horrific, and disturbing thing. Then, if you can, read the other three parts and related stories (linked in part one). 

Then ask yourself if all cultures are really equally valuable and worthy of respect. 

To understand the belief system in which such barbaric acts are not just defensible, but natural and noble, you have to understand the difference between shame cultures and guilt cultures. An excellent introduction is Dr. Sanity's 2005 essay, "Shame, the Arab Psyche, and Islam." ShrinkWrapped's 2006 post, "Guilt vs. Shame," is also worth reading. 

In his series, Fisk goes to pains to point out that honor killings aren't exclusively a Muslim phenomenon, and that's true. There are other shame cultures besides Islam, and it predates Islam in the Arab culture. Although, as Dr. Sanity pointed out, "it is only in the fairly recent history of Islam (e.g. in the last century) that Islam appears to have fully embraced the subjugation of women under the guise of 'protecting' them and preserving honor." Interestingly, that's about the same time period over which modern Islamofascism (Wahabbism/Salafism) came to the fore.

It's telling, too, that this most barbaric manifestation of shame culture has followed Islam around the globe — wherever Islam went, it brought this vile Arab tradition with it. And those that adopted Islam embraced honor killings as well.

It's also clear that the vast majority of honor killings around the world are by (and of) Muslims. Fisk dug up a Sikh example here and a Coptic one there, but almost every horrific story he relates is about Muslims. 

It's often been said that not all Muslims are terrorists, but almost all terrorists are Muslims. The math of honor killings is similar. Not all Muslims are misogynistic, murderous barbarians, but almost all misogynistic, murderous barbarians are Muslims. 

Make of that what you will. What I make of it is that not all cultures are equally valuable and worthy of respect.

UPDATE (10/9): It's natural for shrinks like Dr. Sanity to focus on the personal, psychological aspects of shame. But I want to emphasize something that's hinted at, but not focused on, by Dr. Sanity and ShrinkWrapped (and that's true of other discussions of shame culture I've looked at).

I think the critical point to understand about the difference between the two kinds of cultures is that a "shame culture" focuses on people's perceptions, while a "guilt culture" focuses on objective reality — what is the truth? Did you do that bad thing, or didn't you? What is reality?

Some discussions of this issue suggest that "guilt cultures" are somehow the consequence of Judeo-Christian values. I don't think that's true (although there is a vague, indirect connection, via St. Augustine, Aquinas, etc., leading to the Enlightenment). A culture's advancement from shame-based to guilt-based is a consequence of its embracing of reason and objective reality, and its abandonment of faith, whim, and perception. 

That's why Western "guilt cultures" produce more scientific advancements, innovations, patents, etc., in a single year than "shame cultures" have produced in more than a millennium.

Reason works. Objective reality exists. Until you recognize these facts, you're a primitive barbarian. And you're of no consequence to the rest of us, except to the extent that you represent a threat. 

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Extremist Muslim women demand equal right to be terrorists

Posted by Richard on June 5, 2008

OK, I've been trying to wrap my head around this story, and I can't decide. Is it good news or bad news that fundamentalist Muslim women are criticizing al Qaeda for not giving them the right to blow up infidels just like the menfolk?

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Gay rights, the Enlightenment, and the War Against Islamofascism

Posted by Richard on August 19, 2007

Roger L. Simon (emphasis added):

For me gay marriage is a human rights issue. It is a natural development of the civil rights movement of the fifties and sixties, part of extending to gay people what was extended to African-Americans at that time. Simple equality. … 

All that said, I doubt I will be voting in 2008 because of the candidate’s stand on same-sex marriage and not just because (see above) it is difficult to determine what those candidates really think on the issue. Those of us concerned about human rights, about the separation of church and state, about gay rights and women’s rights, about democracy itself, have bigger fish to fry – the War on Terror. And here is the connection in my belief system.

Because I am such an adamant adherent of gay rights, women’s rights, human rights – the values that evolved out of the Enlightenment – I have to vote for the candidate I think will best carry forth that war (by whatever means appropriate at the moment) to defend those Enlightenment values. This means, unless I am very lucky, that I will not always love that person in all areas. Indeed, I may have to swallow some very bitter pills, but these are serious times, by far the most serious of my lifetime. And I was born at the end of World War II.

I never cease to be amazed – and perhaps it is my own myopia – that my former colleagues on the Left can be blind to this situation. They act as if the threat is not real and is only a blip caused by a post 9/11 overreaction by George Bush, thus ignoring virtually all of Western history since the year 800, not to mention the overwhelming demographic changes of recent decades. (John Edwards – interestingly an opponent of gay marriage – recently called the “War on Terror” a bumper sticker. At least, he’s consistent.) The very people most threatened by the ideology of Islamism and the institution of Sharia law – gays, women, freethinkers – are often the very people least likely to defend themselves against it. What we have on our Left is a culture of denial equal to, if not exceeding, the German Jews of the 1930s and one that has taken the canard about all politics being local to an almost ludicrous extreme.

Bravo! Bravo! Bravo! Read the whole thing.

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Islam, feminism, and fecklessness

Posted by Richard on May 13, 2007

Happy Mother's Day! If you are a mother, have a mother, or know a mother, if you care about mothers, if you're at all interested in or concerned about women's rights, please go read Christina Hoff Sommers' outstanding essay, "The Subjection of Islamic Women." Subtitled "And the fecklessness of American feminism," it's the cover story in the May 21 issue of The Weekly Standard. It's not a screed or diatribe, and it's not a catalog of atrocities and outrages. It does point its finger at the feckless, but more in sadness than in anger, and it gives credit where it's due. It's a thoughtful look at a shameful situation, but with a hopeful ending:

The subjection of women in Muslim societies–especially in Arab nations and in Iran–is today very much in the public eye. Accounts of lashings, stonings, and honor killings are regularly in the news, and searing memoirs by Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Azar Nafisi have become major best-sellers. One might expect that by now American feminist groups would be organizing protests against such glaring injustices, joining forces with the valiant Muslim women who are working to change their societies. This is not happening.

… During the 1980s, there were massive demonstrations on American campuses against racial apartheid in South Africa. There is no remotely comparable movement on today's campuses against the gender apartheid prevalent in large parts of the world.

… For a brief period before September 11, 2001, many women's groups protested the brutalities of the Taliban. But they have never organized a full-scale mobilization against gender oppression in the Muslim world. The condition of Muslim women may be the most pressing women's issue of our age, but for many contemporary American feminists it is not a high priority. Why not?

One reason is that many feminists are tied up in knots by multiculturalism and find it very hard to pass judgment on non-Western cultures. They are far more comfortable finding fault with American society for minor inequities (the exclusion of women from the Augusta National Golf Club, the "underrepresentation" of women on faculties of engineering) than criticizing heinous practices beyond our shores. The occasional feminist scholar who takes the women's movement to task for neglecting the plight of foreigners is ignored or ruled out of order

Sommers offers a number of examples and cites some women's rights champions critical of their peers to back up her thesis. What most bothers me is the pervasive attitude of moral equivalence. Feminist leaders speak of "Christian Wahhabism" and equate Focus on the Family with the Taliban. The Penguin Atlas of Women in the World describes both the United States and Uganda as having extreme restrictions on women. In Uganda, a man can claim an unmarried woman by raping her. The U.S. got the same rank, according to author Joni Seager, because "state legislators enacted 301 anti-abortion measures between 1995 and 2001." Never mind that U.S. abortion laws are still among the most liberal in the world. 

Sommers takes on Nation columnist Katha Pollitt for her moral equivalence argument:

Soon after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Katha Pollitt wrote the introduction to a book called Nothing Sacred: Women Respond to Religious Fundamentalism and Terror. It aimed to show that reactionary religious movements everywhere are targeting women. Says Pollitt:

In Bangladesh, Muslim fanatics throw acid in the faces of unveiled women; in Nigeria, newly established shariah courts condemn women to death by stoning for having sex outside of wedlock. . . . In the United States, Protestant evangelicals and fundamentalists have forged a powerful right-wing political movement focused on banning abortion, stigmatizing homosexuality and limiting young people's access to accurate information about sex.

Pollitt casually places "limiting young people's access to accurate information about sex" and opposing abortion on the same plane as throwing acid in women's faces and stoning them to death. Her hostility to the United States renders her incapable of distinguishing between private American groups that stigmatize gays and foreign governments that hang them. She has embraced a feminist philosophy that collapses moral categories in ways that defy logic, common sense, and basic decency.

It's not just an essay about the depressing state of American feminism, though. In the final third, Sommers describes the growing Muslim feminist movement: 

The good news is that Muslim women are not waiting around for Western feminists to rescue them. "Feminists in the West may fiddle while Muslim women are burning," wrote Manhattan Institute scholar Kay Hymowitz in a prescient 2003 essay, "but in the Muslim world itself there is a burgeoning movement to address the miserable predicament of the second sex." The number of valiant and resourceful Muslim women who are devoting themselves to the cause of greater freedom grows each and every day.

The courage of Muslim women fighting for their rights is inspiring. As Sommers notes, early American feminists risked being shunned or ridiculed; Muslim feminists risk imprisonment, beatings and torture, even death. But their cause is important not just for women and not just for the Islamic world, as Sommers, quoting Canadian journalist and human rights activist Irshad Manji, observes:

In her 2004 feminist manifesto, The Trouble with Islam Today, Manji writes, "We Muslims . . . are in crisis and we are dragging the rest of the world with us. If ever there was a moment for an Islamic reformation, it's now."

Manji is right: In particular, a feminist reformation could be as dangerous to the dreams of the jihadists as any military assault by the West. After all, the oppression of women is not an incidental feature of the societies that foster terrorism. It is a linchpin of the system of social control that the jihadists are fighting to impose worldwide. Women's equality is as incompatible with radical Islam's plan for domination and submission as it is with polygamy. Women freely moving about, expressing their opinions, and negotiating their relationships with men from a position of equal dignity rather than servitude are a moderating, civilizing force in any society. Female scholars voicing their opinions without inhibition would certainly puncture some cherished jihadist fantasies.

Go read the whole thing. I think it's a truly important essay, and I felt hopeful and uplifted at the end. 

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The camel caravan limit

Posted by Richard on March 19, 2007

Go to Little Green Footballs right this minute. Read about how German judges decided what rules should govern the participation of Muslim schoolgirls in school field trips.

Words fail me.

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Islam and female genital mutilation

Posted by Richard on February 6, 2007

In early November, I posted quite a rant regarding a news story about an Ethiopian immigrant convicted of female genital mutilation. A regular reader gently informed me offline that it’s an African thing, not Islamic. It’s a valid point — the custom is practiced by non-Islamic Africans and probably predates Islam.

But I wasn’t ready to believe that the practice had nothing to do with Islam. I vaguely remembered some evidence to the contrary (including references in hadith). And then there’s the distinctive attitude toward women that’s a hallmark of Muslim culture, which suggests that this barbaric practice would be readily embraced in Islamic societies. Back in November, I sarcastically put it this way:

Khalid Adem could be a Southern Baptist, a Unitarian, a Jew, a Buddhist, a Hindu, or maybe a Wiccan… After all, it’s not as if there’s some particular faith or culture in which men are taught that women are inherently dirty and inferior, that they must be completely subjugated and treated like farm animals, and that they offend God if they express themselves, exercise free will, or experience pleasure.

It seems my suspicions were justified. A heavily-footnoted article in The Middle East Quarterly entitled "Is Female Genital Mutilation an Islamic Problem?" persuasively argued that FGM is quite widespread in Middle Eastern societies and is believed by many — including many Muslim clerics and scholars — to be either required by the Qur’an, or at least condoned or approved:

Religion is not only theology but also practice. And the practice is widespread throughout the Middle East. Many diplomats, international organization workers, and Arabists argue that the problem is localized to North Africa or sub-Saharan Africa,[4] but they are wrong. The problem is pervasive throughout the Levant, the Fertile Crescent, and the Arabian Peninsula, and among many immigrants to the West from these countries. Silence on the issue is less reflective of the absence of the problem than insufficient freedom for feminists and independent civil society to raise the issue.

The authors present evidence from a study in the Garmian region of Iraqi Kurdistan that found a mutilation rate of nearly 60%. They argue that rates in other countries of the region are likely as high or higher, but the societies are too closed and repressive for the evidence to come to light (emphasis added):

…  That diplomats and international aid workers do not detect FGM in other societies also should not suggest that the problem does not exist. After all, FGM was prevalent in Iraqi Kurdistan for years but went undetected by the World Health Organization, UNICEF, and many other international NGOs in the region. Perhaps the most important factor enabling an NGO to uncover FGM in Iraqi Kurdistan was the existence of civil society structures and popular demand for individual rights. Such conditions simply do not exist in Syria, Saudi Arabia, or even the West Bank and Gaza where local authorities fight to constrain individual freedoms rather than promote them.

But the problem is not only that autocratic regimes tend to suppress the truth. There also must be someone in place to conduct surveys. Prior to Iraq’s liberation, it was impossible to undertake independent surveys on issues such as malnutrition and infant mortality. Saddam Hussein’s regime preferred to supply data to the U.N. rather than to enable others to collect their own data which might not support the conclusions the Baathist regime desired to show. The oft-cited 1999 UNICEF study claiming that U.N. sanctions had led to the deaths of 500,000 children was based on figures supplied by Saddam’s regime, not an independent survey.[31] The U.N. undertook its first reliable statistical research on the living conditions in Iraq only after liberation.[32] Syrian, Saudi, and Iranian authorities simply do not let NGOs operate without restriction, especially when they deal with sensitive social issues.

As if our own selfish interest in weakening the enemies of Western Civilization weren’t enough, here is yet another good reason for us to promote freedom, human rights, and open societies in the Middle East.
 

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Could be a Baptist

Posted by Richard on November 3, 2006

For the first time in the U.S., a man was convicted for genital mutilation the other day:

LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. – An Ethiopian immigrant was convicted Wednesday of the genital mutilation of his 2-year-old daughter and was sentenced to 10 years in prison in what was believed to be the first such criminal case in the United States.

Khalid Adem, 30, was found guilty of aggravated battery and cruelty to children. Prosecutors said he used scissors to remove his daughter’s clitoris in his family’s Atlanta-area apartment in 2001. The child’s mother, Fortunate Adem, said she did not discover it until more than a year later.

AP reporter Errin Haines went on to warn us against being culturally insensitive and jumping to conclusions about Khalid Adem (emphasis added):

The practice crosses ethnic and cultural lines and is not tied to a particular religion. Activists say it is intended to deny women sexual pleasure. In its most extreme form, the clitoris and parts of the labia are removed and the labia that remain are stitched together.

Khalid Adem could be a Southern Baptist, a Unitarian, a Jew, a Buddhist, a Hindu, or maybe a Wiccan… After all, it’s not as if there’s some particular faith or culture in which men are taught that women are inherently dirty and inferior, that they must be completely subjugated and treated like farm animals, and that they offend God if they express themselves, exercise free will, or experience pleasure.

It’s not as if there’s some particular faith or culture in which women are stoned to death for committing adultery. Or rape victims are whipped for being alone with a man to whom they aren’t married. Or gang-rape victims are compared to "uncovered meat" and accused of "sexually provoking" men by not being "modestly dressed" and by venturing out of the house unaccompanied by a male family member.

No, women are oppressed in all sorts of faiths and cultures. In some, women average only 78% of the pay of men and they can’t become priests. In others, they have the same moral and legal status as goats. It’s all the same, right?

We mustn’t think that some cultures are better than others, or finger-point and criticize those whose values just happen to be a little bit different from ours — why, that would be judgmental and intolerant.
 

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