In spite of repeated and verified accounts of the physical and sexual abuse of women and girls throughout Muslim parts of the world, Western feminists at best remain silent, and at worst supportive of the male oppressors.
It seems illogical for self-described "progressives" to turn a blind eye to the misery of fellow females forced to endure the kind of unimaginable treatment documented by best-selling authors Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Azar Nafisi. The reason for that is rooted in a regard for "multiculturalism" in which anti-Americanism and anti-Zionism are considered more vital than the victimization of women.
In such a value system, the highest priority is the ultimate goal of destroying pluralistic and democratic Western values, which the far-left views as a euphemism for conservative, capitalist, colonialist, imperialist ideals that must be eradicated. They do not even bother to realize that throughout history, Muslim conquests -- not even speaking of Asia -- but of the Christian Byzantine Empire, the Middle East, North Africa, Eastern Europe, Greece, Spain and Northern Cyprus have been even more repressive, brutal and absolute. According to this "liberal," essentially totalitarian, worldview, the United States and Israel are what the Iranian ayatollahs call the "Great Satan" and the "Little Satan," while radical groups and regimes that oppose America and the Jewish state are supposedly allies.
It is thus that Judith Butler, professor of comparative literature at University of California, Berkeley and a "gender and third-wave feminist queer theorist," justifies her support for Islamist terrorist organizations such as Hamas and Hezbollah, which she referred to at a 2006 anti-Israel teach-in as "social movements that are progressive... part of a global Left."
This view is exactly upside-down and backwards. Hamas, the Sunni terrorist organization that rules the Gaza Strip, and Hezbollah, the Iran-backed Shiite terrorist group based in Lebanon and with a foothold in Syria, are not only mass murderers, but would subject Butler herself to Sharia (Islamic) law and deny her all human rights, let alone those associated with her womanhood and lesbianism. Butler is living in a fantasy world if she considers radical Islamists "progressive" in any shape or form.
As far back as 2001, Bronwyn Winter, a senior lecturer at the University of Sydney and the Director of the Faculty of Arts International and Comparative Literary Studies program, noted that the "'multiculturalist' discourse... legitimates even the most fundamentalist Islamic voices in the name of 'cultural difference.'"
This well-intentioned but sadly misguided view -- which then would presumably approve of Aztec human sacrifice, slavery and the former Indian practice of suttee, in which widows were thrown live on their husband's funeral pyre -- was expounded upon by Kay S. Haymowitz in an in-depth 2003 analysis of left-wing feminist attitudes to radical Islamism. Among the groups she examined were the postcolonialists, according to whose outlook:
It is not men who are the sinners; it is the West. It is not women who are victimized innocents; it is the people who suffered under Western colonialism, or the descendants of those people, to be more exact. Caught between the rock of patriarchy and the hard place of imperialism, the postcolonial feminist scholar gingerly tiptoes her way around the subject of Islamic fundamentalism and does the only thing she can do: she focuses her ire on Western men.
To this end, the postcolonialist eagerly dips into the inkwell of gender feminism. She ties colonialist exploitation and domination to maleness; she might refer to Israel's "masculinist military culture"—Israel being white and Western—though she would never dream of pointing out the "masculinist military culture" of the jihadi. And she expends a good deal of energy condemning Western men for wanting to improve the lives of Eastern women.
There is, of course, never any mention of the "people who suffered under Eastern colonialism," such as the Iranian victims of the current regime, or the victims of al-Qaeda and ISIS, or the nearly 11,000,000 Muslims killed since 1948. Of these, 90% were killed by other Muslims; only 3% by Israel.
Phyllis Chesler, professor emerita of psychology and women's studies at the College of Staten Island (CUNY), put it this way: "Western feminists have become totally Stalinized and Palestinianized." The author of 14 books -- most recently An American Bride in Kabul: A Memoir (2013), about her 1961 marriage to an Afghani and her time spent in his harem -- Chesler strongly counters the message that leftist feminists are conveying to persecuted Muslim women: that the road to their salvation lies in the defeat of Western civilization, rather than in the overthrow of Sharia-dominated cultures and regimes that degrade and dehumanize them.
If not for genuine feminist warriors, such Chesler, Hirsi Ali, and Nafisi, Muslim women the world over would feel completely abandoned and betrayed, and justifiably so.
If not for genuine feminist warriors, such Phyllis Chesler, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, and Azar Nafisi, Muslim women the world over would feel completely abandoned and betrayed, and justifiably so. Pictured: Ayaan Hirsi Ali, on April 7, 2016. (Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images)
A. Z. Mohamed is a Muslim man born and raised in the Middle East.