Symposium: Hate Behind the Niqab 4

Kasem: Dr. Chesler mentions that a tiny minority of Jews practice hijab/niqab for their women. If this is the case then we must also condemn this hijabisation of the Jewish women. Veiling a woman against her will for religious reasons is plain wrong, and goes against the basic right of a woman to chose her dress. If Allah/God really meant a woman to be hijabised/niqabised then why did He let women be born naked? During birth the all powerful Allah could have easily covered her private parts with hijab.

It is true that some Muslim women are subservient to forced hijabisation. As mentioned earlier, it is primarily due to fear and intimidation. Even a few educated Muslim women extol the perceived virtues of hijab/niqab and entice other women to adapt to such Islamic dress code. I liked Darwish’s comment when she wrote: “Very often it is women who force other women into conforming to the Islamic dress through a ‘holier than thou’ attitude. Muslim women often turn against each other instead of supporting and standing by each other’s rights to say no to Niqab. That is one reason why we do not see a strong Muslim women’s feminist movement.”

From her comment it appears that Muslim women are their own worst enemy when it comes to confront the niqabisation. Truly, so far as I could witness, the strongest voice against hijabisation comes from men. It is an irony that men have to fight for Muslim women’s rights, while Muslim women quietly surrender to the draconian demands of a raging Islam.

Darwish also mentions the demand by the Islamists to force hijab on non-Muslim women. This is already happening in places like Australia , where the imams in mosques advise infidel women to cover up. Amazingly, we hear very feeble protests from un-Islamic women, and none from the women’s rights groups.

Dr. Kobrin wrote: “The men tell us through this very revealing nonverbal behaviour of the niqab that they are terrified of the female and they feel themselves to be wholly inadequate and emasculated – therefore the Muslim man has to rape infidel women and their own. Pathetically they know of no other way to relate to a woman.”

This is an important comment. A woman’s desire for sex is as strong as a man, if not more. In the game of sex women can usually easily outdo men in terms of duration, excitement, repetition, style and inventiveness. A woman, in general, is more artful, intimate, demanding, and loving in sexual matters than a man. Perhaps, to restrain such a powerful urge for sex in women, and with the fear of losing control on sex Muslim men consider hiding her under cloak.

Then again we must ask: why must Muslim women be compelled to suppress their natural urge for sex and intimacy with men, married or not. In Islam? Sex outside marriage is haram—punishable with severe penalty. However, for a Muslim man it is not an offence to have sex with infidel women. Then why must a Muslim woman be restrained from seeking equality in sex? Herein lays the unfairness.

Brigitte Gabriel also echoes similar ideas postulated by Dr. Kobrin. I agree with him that the niqab is a symbol of control by Muslim men to establish their complete control of their physical, emotional, and sexual expression.

Gutmann is of the opinion that hijabisation of Muslim women living in western countries is to prevent the infidel men from touching/being intimate with them. This is a good observation. I would go one step forward and state that this attitude is more prevalent among the male of middle-eastern/Arab origin. Please note that these men have no qualm sleeping/having sex with infidel women, but they will never tolerate infidel men being intimate with Arab/middle-east women. There are instances when Arab men have murdered infidel western men for having sex with hijabised/Arab women. The message is very clear: hijabisation is to prevent the Muslim women from mixing/ being intimate with infidel men. Thus, besides strictly repressing the sexuality of a Muslim woman, hijab/niqab is also meant to establish a permanent barrier between a Muslim woman and an infidel man. Mentioned before, note again the double-standard: Muslim men are free to have unfettered sex with infidel women, but the Muslim women cannot have the same privilege.

Earlier I mentioned that Muhammad’s last instruction to Muslim men was to beat women and treat them as domestic animals. A Muslim woman’s hijab/niqab truly reflects this servitude of women to Muhammad’s command. A hijab/niqab is a leash on a woman, much like a domesticated dog. A hijabised Muslim woman is no better than a domestic dog.

Chesler: First, I love Kobrin's connecting of latrine-based veiling in Mohammed's time to the anal-sadistic-erotic dimension of Islamist suicide killers. It is also slightly hilarious. By the way, the indirect aggression that characterize female-female behavior is universal and exists among women of all ethnicities, classes, and countries. All women collaborate in shunning and slandering other women, often with deadly consequences. I have written about this at length in my book "Woman's Inhumanity to Woman." I agree with Kobrin that it is crucial that we set limits and boundaries where jihadic-separatist behaviors are concerned, especially when the cultural difference is a form of gender apartheid which subordinates women.

I both agree with and disagree with Darwish. She is right: The only contemporary path to "success," so to speak, for Arab Muslim women is to embrace their own invisibility and subordination--and yet, some of the bravest feminists in the world are coming to us from the Islamic world. I am thinking of the Iranian feminists who keep demonstrating despite terrible threats and even more terrible likely consequences; and the various Muslim and Arab and ex-Muslim feminists who are speaking out both in the East and in the West. Alas, feminism is not moving in the Islamist world the way it once did in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. This is something that Darwish and I have talked about and mourned.

Gutmann is right about the Muslim male fear of female sexuality and his desire to openly and visibly be seen as in total control of it and to be sure that all his wife's children genitally belong to him--and yet, things are also more complicated. Many Arab and Muslim men are repulsed by women and much prefer man-boy love or man-man love. Since this is taboo, it is denied. I am told that many Muslim men rape their wives anally as well as vaginally either as a method of birth control, as an act of sadism, or as something that is considered "normal" for men who are sexually repressed for a long time and who are not allowed to get to know women in a friendly or normal way. Lessons in how to sexually please one's wife may not yet exist in the Islamist world. There are many, many individual exceptions in this area.

Let me make one point that no one has really touched upon. While I agree that niqab/hijab are visible statements of jihad, I also believe that some Muslim women truly view such clothing as religiously mandated and as a way of avoiding street harassment, loss of reputation, and possible honor murders. Even so, we in the West cannot treat forced female subordination as a free religious choice. If there were no jihadic war being waged against infidels and women; if Muslims could safely convert to another religion, or simply cease practicing Islam without risking death--if this were really the case--then I might have a different view about those women who freely choose to wear hijab.

I doubt I would ever have a different view about niqab or burqas.

FP: Dr. Nancy Kobrin, Abul Kasem, Nonie Darwish, Brigitte Gabriel, Dr. David Gutmann and Dr. Phyllis Chesler, thank you for joining Frontpage Symposium.


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