Head, meet desk:
While accepting a prize this month from the German multimedia company Axel Springer, Somali-born Dutch AEI scholar Ayaan Hirsi Alispoke on the “advocates of silence” — those she admonishes for purportedly stifling criticisms of radical Islamic extremism.
Says Ms. Hirsi Ali:
Fourthly and finally, that one man who killed 77 people in Norway, because he fears that Europe will be overrun by Islam, may have cited the work of those who speak and write against political Islam in Europe and America – myself among them – but he does not say in his 1500 page manifesto that it was these people who inspired him to kill. He says very clearly that it was the advocates of silence. Because all outlets to express his views were censored, he says, he had no other choice but to use violence.
A man does not kill 77 people because no one will let him talk about the horribleness of Islam or the evils of multiculturalism. This is not a consequence of having been silenced by politically correct society. This is about the way he views human life. He killed those people because he thought their lives were worthless and their deaths were trivial. It’s possible that such an attitude is highly correlated with having anti-multicultural views, but one cannot honestly blame the liberal culture of Norway for his violence because no one wanted to hear his rantings about the brown people taking over. Being “censored” by a “politically correct” society does not turn a guy into a killer. Being a violent, racist, misogynist (and arguably, in need of psychiatric help that he wasn’t getting) xenophobe is what turns a guy into a killer.
One government official said that the law was designed to make everything more Dutch. “People should be able to look at each other’s faces and recognize each other when they meet,” he said.
Kind of makes you wonder how blind people ever manage to get through life.
I still think this “I must see your face” reasoning is pulled out of the ass to rationalize an act borne of mental discomfort. If the Dutch government is worried about men dressing in women’s coverings and carrying guns under their veils, then they should come out and say the law is about security. If they’re having issues with veiled women refusing to remove their coverings in places like courthouses, where facial identification is necessary, then they should freaking well write the law accordingly. If there’s an argument to be made about security, that makes a lot more sense than blithering about how we all have the right to see each other’s faces. No, we don’t. No one’s rights would be violated if I were to walk around Arlington with a burlap sack on my head. I’d look ridiculous, but it would be no skin off anyone else’s nose.
Whenever a group has “Family” in its name, it has to be a hate group. There’s just no way around it. You may have heard about corporations such as Lowe’s pulling out of advertising on All-American Muslim because the Florida Family Association is pressuring them. Dodai Stewart went and read the FFA’s website so that we don’t have to, and here is what the assclams have to say:
Clearly this program is attempting to manipulate Americans into ignoring the threat of jihad and to influence them to believe that being concerned about the jihad threat would somehow victimize these nice people in this show.
They complained to Lowe’s about advertising on the show because, of all things, TLC is showing the lives of Muslims who aren’t trying to blow shit up. They think it’s a threat to American liberties to show non-violent, non-threatening TV. They think it’s a problem when a show discourages bigotry.
We wouldn’t want to celebrate the family values of people who use a different name for God, after all.
My first thought about this is that it’s not that much of a leap. It’s no accident that the veil is such a gendered custom. The idea that women must be covered up while men’s bodies are allowed free rein is a feature, not a bug, of cultures that expect women to cover their heads. It’s rooted in the idea that men see, while women are seen, and therefore need to conceal themselves ostensibly to control the terms on which men see them.
So, it doesn’t take a very radical mind to look at that asymmetry and say, “well, guys, if the veil is not a problem for women to wear, why don’t you try it on?” It’s not as unhealthy as four-inch heels or as uncomfortable as a push-up bra or as tedious as eyeliner—although one of the guys pictured is also wearing eyeliner!—but it is nonetheless sexist. It doesn’t take a Master’s Degree in Gender Studies to notice the double standard.
What really gets my attention, though, is that the guys who are posting their pictures here must have some serious guts. They’re not covering their faces in those photos. They’re easily identifiable, and that could make them extremely vulnerable.
As more information comes out on Anders Behring Breivik, the reactions are all over the map.
Sam Harris, for example, complains that Breivik is making his side look bad:
What cannot be doubted, however, is that Breivik’s explicit goal was to punish European liberals for their timidity in the face of Islam.
I have written a fair amount about the threat that Islam poses to open societies, but I am happy to say that Breivik appears never to have heard of me. He has, however, digested the opinions of many writers who share my general concerns—Theodore Dalrymple, Robert D. Kaplan, Lee Harris, Ibn Warraq, Bernard Lewis, Andrew Bostom, Robert Spencer, Walid Shoebat, Daniel Pipes, Bat Ye’or, Mark Steyn, Samuel Huntington, et al. He even singles out my friend and colleague Ayaan Hirsi Ali for special praise, repeatedly quoting a blogger who thinks she deserves a Nobel Peace Prize. With a friend like Breivik, one will never want for enemies.
He then goes on to pout over crossed arms that now no one will want to talk about the awfulness of Islam anymore. While I am unimpressed with his attitude, at least he acknowledges that Breivik’s actions cannot be laid at Islam’s door.
Ashraf Azad, dumbassed older brother of the lovely Afshan Azad (aka Padma Patil in Harry Potter), has been sentenced to six months in jail for trying to kill her.
“The background to this offence lies in the concern that you, and perhaps other family members, had about Afshan’s relationship with a young man who was not of the Islamic faith.”
He added: “This is a sentence that is designed to punish you for what you did and also to send out a clear message to others that domestic violence involving circumstances such as have arisen here cannot be tolerated.”
IOW: the judge is having none of that “this is just our culture” nonsense.
I stand by my opinion that this family was colossally stupid to treat their daughter this way after she got her face on movie screens all over the world. It’s not quite as simple as the whole family turning on Afshan; Ashraf’s wife, Sonia, tried to get him to stop attacking his sister. She seems to be the only one still in that house with sense; their father suggested sending his daughter to Bangladesh for a forced marriage, their mother called her a prostitute. And now their names are in the news for all the world to see because the daughter they threatened and attacked is a famous film actress.
For her part, Afshan was bright enough to get the hell out of that house and move to London. But all that said, it shouldn’t really be surprising that she’s now asking the courts not to punish her brother. This is the only family she’s ever known, and she loves them. Besides, if this is how they treat her for dating a Hindu guy, just imagine how they’ll blame and shame her if her brother goes to prison “because of her.” It’s one thing to “know” your family’s attitude is bullshit and you shouldn’t have to live like this, and it’s quite another to cut ties and risk never speaking to them again. Perhaps she’s afraid the situation will escalate; that Ashraf will track her down after he finishes his jail term and attempt to kill her again if she doesn’t make a show of defending him. Somehow I suspect that her sticking up for him will only placate him temporarily, if at all. But those of us looking in have the privilege of not having grown up with that family. It’s easy enough for us to say that her brother’s a monster who forfeited her loyalty when he tried to strangle her, but it’s not so simple for her.
Clare Banoeng-Yakubo reports on the Addressing Unsafe Abortion in Africa conference:
There are different opinions among Islamic Scholars about when life begins and when abortion is permissible, but most of them agree that the termination of a pregnancy after 120 days (the point at which, in Islam a fetus is thought to become a living soul), is not permissible. Every Muslim Scholar knows that the termination of a pregnancy before 120 days is not an issue for discussion.
Given that 120 days is nearly four months and well outside of the first trimester, this actually places Islamic scholars in quite a liberal zone of the abortion rights spectrum.
Via Jezebel, we have the story of Noor Almaleki at Marie Claire, who was killed last year by her father for failing to uphold his Iraqi patriarchal honor. This is one of those “honor killings” in which “honor” means that men’s self-respect is held between women’s legs, and a man’s ability to maintain that “honor” is more important than a woman’s ability to have a life.
The author at Jezebel, Irin, as well as some commenters, are asking what the difference is between Islamic cultural honor killing and Western intimate violence which sometimes culminates in murder. At first glance it may look like the sort of mindless cultural relativism that tends to get Irshad Manji up on her badassed soapbox, but after reading the Marie Claire article, it’s not a bad question. The way Noor’s parents stalked and terrorized her after she moved out sounds a lot like the way many abusive men, coming from more liberal cultures, control their wives and girlfriends when they try to leave. But Noor wasn’t getting this abuse from her boyfriend or husband. She was getting it from her parents. I think that’s the primary difference between Western misogynist violence and Middle Eastern control of women. So-called “honor killings” by men from Islamic cultures can be attacks on their wives, but are more often directed at daughters and sisters. These are men whose culture encourages them to view their daughters and sisters as property which must be controlled, and the sight of that property refusing to accept that control makes these men feel personally attacked.
Whereas in Western cultures, even abusive men tend to expect a certain level of independence in their daughters. I’m not saying that Judeo-Christian-secular American men never kill their daughters, but when they do, they don’t have a culturally-sanctioned rationalization handy like Faleh Almaleki has for his actions. In Western misogyny, it’s the wife or girlfriend who needs to walk a tightrope to avoid violence. Then you may ask if this is a meaningful difference, and actually, I think there is an important distinction to be made here. The difference is in the culture of marriage.
Afshan Azad, the lovely actress who plays Padma Patil in the Harry Potter films, has apparently been the victim of an attempted murder by her father and brother.
The BBC doesn’t say anything about motive and doesn’t utter the words “honor killing,” but ultimately, it doesn’t really matter whether People is correct in reporting that the Muslim family guys tried to kill Afshan because they didn’t approve of her dating a Hindu man. I’m with Sam Harris on this one: any man who is willing to kill his daughter or sister to maintain family honor obviously does not love her. Any man who’s willing to kill his daughter or sister (or wife, or any family member) for any reason other than that she was about to kill him or someone else, obviously does not love her. Abdul and Ashraf Azad do not love their daughter and sister, and if it was their religion or culture (as if the two are discreet entities) that drove them to attack her, then that religion/culture is opposed to love.
That’s not the part that makes me shake my head, though.
HOW FUCKING STUPID do you have to be to try to kill your daughter/sister who happens to be a famous film actress? Afshan has appeared in extremely popular, internationally distributed films, and she didn’t have a major part, but it was enough of a part that a lot of people know her name and recognize her face, and if she suddenly disappears or turns up dead, people are going to notice and the constabulary is going to take an interest in the case. Does misogyny turn your brain to packing foam? What in the shit did you fuckheads expect to happen?
Irshad Manji has an excellent new post up on the limits of multiculturalism.
“All cultures deserve respect,” I relentlessly hear from students. Anything else isn’t just racism; it’s unthinkable. Therein lies the rot.
We’ve stopped thinking. And, in the process, we’ve stopped feeling for those who tell us that they need to escape their cultural caves, or risk death.
She is referring to the case of Aqsa Parvez, the victim of an honor killing by her father and brother in 2007. If there’s an ideal example of a culturally contingent practice that creates a challenge for multiculturalism, honor killing is an excellent candidate.
I’m younger than Ms. Manji, but probably older than most of her students. I’m part of the generation that was indoctrinated with multiculturalism from a very young age. The ideas we were taught were basically things such as: People from different cultures do things differently from you and yours, and this is not a bad thing. Rather than react with hostility to something outside of your experience, seek to understand it first. “Different” does not have to mean better or worse.