Lately, western Muslim “feminists” such as Linda Sarsour or Yasmin Abdel-Magied claim that Islam is a “feminist religion” that respects women’s rights. “Islam to me,” says Abdel-Magied, a Sudanese-Australian author, “is the most feminist religion”.
By claiming that Islam is “feminist,” these self-appointed advocates seem to be trying to convince others that Islam is keeping up with modernity, human rights, and democratic values. This, sadly is a lie, and one that unfortunately seems told to facilitate the assimilation of Islam into Western countries and to improve its image.
The religion of Islam is supported by Sharia, a set of religious laws that organize the lives of all Muslims. Sharia — originally, in Arabic, “The Path,” but in modern times meaning Allah’s laws and recommendations — is based on the Quran and the hadiths, which are sayings and deeds of the prophet Muhammad, regarded by many Muslims as the perfect man.
Under Sharia, however, Muslim women enjoy fewer rights than men. In inheritance for instance, “The male shall have the equal of the portion of two females”(Quran 4:11). This law is applied even in countries such as Tunisia or Algeria, in which the legal system is not based on Sharia. As a result, Muslim women habitually inherit far less money than men, an injustice that virtually forces them, economically, to stay submissive to men. It is also a situation that has built into it the reason this law is never repealed by any parliament.
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“Islam is a religion of peace, but you can’t have peace without justice,” said self-styled “civil rights activist” Linda Sarsour at the Muslim American Society-Islamic Circle of North America (MAS-ICNA) convention in December 2016. Sarsour, who describes herself as a “Palestinian-American feminist,” is but one example of a radical Muslim in the West who has carefully cultivated an image of herself as righteously preoccupied with liberal values and social justice — and Islamist organizations, such as MAS, ICNA and the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), have tried to do the same.
A highlight reel from the MAS-ICNA convention features author Yasmin Mogahed declaring, “We have to care about the pain and struggles of others,” as well as a prominent imam, Omar Suleiman, asking, “What have we done for the marginalized in this country?”
In a promotional video released in 2016, the organization’s president, Azhar Azeez, boasts of “bringing a very positive impact to our communities across the nation.”
According to Muslim feminist bloggers, however, who write regularly for the site muslimgirl.com, MAS, ICNA, and ISNA are blatantly racist. One such observer, in a piece titled “Mainstream Islamic Conferences Have a Longstanding History of Normalizing Anti-Blackness,” writes:
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Earlier this month, the UJA Women of the Federation of NY presented Phyllis Chesler with a lifetime achievement award, on which occasion Chesler gave a talk on the problem of what she called Faux-feminism. The respondent was Linda Scherzer, a former CNN news reporter stationed in the Middle East in the 1990s and currently the Director of Community Relations at the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ. Together they fielded questions afterwards.
The speech was vintage Phyllis Chesler: Incisive, fearless, and devastating to her “faux-feminists” for refusing to recognize the problems with Islam, thereby betraying their Muslim sisters who are the target of a crushing, veiled war from Muslim men, and compensating for their silence about Muslims with shrill denunciations of Israel for flaws, real and imagined:
A postmodern and postcolonial feminism which passionately condemns Christianity and Judaism as the greatest danger to women’s rights but dares not critique religiously supremacist Islam for this same reason; an intersectional “faux feminism” which condemns only Western imperialism and refuses to acknowledge the long history of Islamic imperialism, colonialism, slavery, anti-black racism, and religious and gender apartheid; a “faux feminism” which is far more concerned with the alleged occupation of a non-existent country, (“Palestine”), than it is with the occupation of women’s bodies, faces, minds, and genitalia world-wide—including those women who are being forcibly face-veiled, death-threatened, and honor killed in the disputed territories; a “faux feminism” which is heartlessly and irrationally anti-Zionist.
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The social democrats and so-called feminists have been raising their voices for all to hear. They boast about advocating gender equality, individual rights, and advancing women’s rights. They argue that these values are universal; that every person, especially every woman, everywhere in the world, is entitled to these “inalienable” rights. Speeches are given, fundraisers are held, and an army of champions charges toward the cause.
Everyone is equal, and everyone deserves these rights. The chants, the inspirational lectures, the determination that echoes through television interviews, and is spread across the pages of magazines, all fill their followers with enthusiasm. But what is the reality?
Alongside other social democrats, Federica Mogherini, the current High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, recently visited the Islamist state of Iran to attend the official endorsement and inauguration of the regime’s president, Hassan Rouhani. Instead of enforcing the standards she professes — such as the strong support for women — she folded in with those around her. Others who accepted Iran’s invitation were North Koreans, members of Hezbollah, and leaders of Hamas. All three of these groups are known for cruelty, especially against women, and crimes against humanity.
The presence of such people makes the issue of despotism more complicated than it needs to be. By attending these kinds of events, social democrats such as her repeatedly endorse and give legitimacy to repressive states that implement Islamic law, Sharia. As Mogherini rubs elbows with men who have ordered the deaths of thousands of women (and men), she toes the line of their expectations. Instead of evolving their mindset, she allowed all of the women she claims to represent, to remain oppressed, as they have been for so very long.
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Muslim activist and Women’s March organizer, Linda Sarsour, has helpfully exposed a side of Islam that is pro-Sharia and pro-jihad:
“I hope that … when we stand up to those who oppress our communities, that Allah accepts from us that as a form of jihad, that we are struggling against tyrants and rulers not only abroad in the Middle East or on the other side of the world, but here in these United States of America, where you have fascists and white supremacists and Islamophobes reigning in the White House.”
Although Sarsour later protested that the word jihad literally means “struggle” or that “our beloved prophet … said… ‘A word of truth in front of a tyrant ruler or leader, that is the best form of jihad,'” that is not what the word jihad means in general parlance to anyone you might ask in the Middle East. The people there know only too well that if they even tried to speak a “word of truth” to someone in power, that could possibly be the last word they would ever utter.
The word jihad is not a matter of left or right or liberal or conservative, except when it being manipulated to repackage and sell as something warm, fuzzy and non-threatening to trusting people in the West.
In Sarsour’s world, women who do this are called feminists, but, in reality, they are as dangerous to women’s rights, the peace of a nation and stability of its government as male jihadists.
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