Posts Tagged ‘ FEMEN ’

On Nude Protests: Open Letter to MuslimahPride and Friends

Dear Muslimahs,

You deny that you’re oppressed. That may very well be true, but consider the following:

In the early 1900’s, an organization known as the National Association Opposed to Woman Suffrage (NAOW) was operating unflaggingly to prevent women, such as your yourselves, from being able to vote. Interestingly, this anti-suffrage movement was being spearheaded by prominent women like Mrs. Arthur Dodge and Mrs. Crannell. These women too did not believe that they were being oppressed by being denied their voting rights.

Femen, or feminists in general, are not opposed to your right to wear hijab, or cover yourself up however you please. We do have concerns about this kind of self-imposed clothing restrictions that men don’t have to put up with, but forcing you not to wear such clothing would defeat the purpose of feminism. Your right to wear these garments has never been in question.

But know this..

Pardah (conservative clothing) is never really your ‘choice’ unless you have the right to refuse pardah also. Claiming that it is your choice is like standing outside a closed mall saying that you “choose” not to shop there. What other option do you have?

If a community where relieving yourself of pardah would be perceived as a green signal for harassment, or even get you in trouble with the law, you are not choosing pardah. You are submitting to it. The only question here is, are you submitting willingly or unwillingly?

Please repudiate the notion that the Western idea of gender equality is different from yours; that is is acceptable for Western women to be able to wear what they wish, but you’d rather not have that freedom because you’re Muslims. Besides, the movement is not just about you. It is about countless women out there who are forced to follow Islamic values against their will.

There’s a growing paranoia among the Muslim world that the Western feminists are marching in to rip the hijabs off your heads. That is not how this is going to be. Nobody is promoting nudity! That is simply an art of protest that screams: “My body, my choice”.

Lastly, you may be concerned about FEMEN’s alleged disrespect towards your religion. You need to understand that your religion is consistently used for moral dictatorship and causing tremendous suffering to the cultural and religious minorities in Islamic countries. It is impossible to condemn what happened to women like Aliaa Elmahdy and Amina Tyler, without addressing the ideology that inspires such problems again and again.

I acknowledge that Islam is not a monolithic faith, and that your interpretation of it may not be the same as that of the Islamists who threatened to stone Tyler to death for her nude protest. But you’re missing the point FEMEN is trying to make with provocative statements like “Fuck your morals”; it is that we should not have to debate over the interpretations of religion to reach a conclusion that enforcing our values on others is just plain unacceptable.

We, as civilized and tolerant human beings, should be able to decide upon that using our conscience alone, regardless of what your religion has to say about it.

To each, her own. And yes, this freedom is for you too.

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Nude Protests: Is Feminism Different for Different Cultures?

It’s understandable why the Islamists would protest against FEMEN’s ‘jihad’ campaign. It escapes me why any educated liberal, in the Western or the Muslim world, would support the #MuslimahPride on this.

Western feminists of the Jezebel variety have, through their opposition to FEMEN, set an example that their cherished concepts of gender-equality and freedom are not applicable to the Muslim world. Being able to wear what you want is a Western-thingy, and preaching the same to the Muslim world would be “culturally insensitive”. Note that FEMEN members have employed the same tactics when protesting against the Catholic Church’s misogynistic policies.

For Western liberals, it has become fashionable to revere foreign cultures as it allows them to feel more open-minded. In their outstanding ignorance, they often become apologists for cultures and ideologies that are consistently inspiring unspeakable crimes against humanity, and women in particular.

This is but the only conclusion one may draw from the act of supporting Amina Tyler for nude protests and cursing FEMEN for doing exactly the same!

The peaceful religious people being offended by Femen’s protest are the theist apologists who do not have the decency to flatly disown a source of unfathomable suffering to the world.

It’s those who are still mucking about with translations and interpretations and no-true-Scotsman fallacy, trying to unlink themselves from all the damage being generated by the ideology they revere. Those who are more enthusiastic about defending their ‘precious little believies‘ than defending human freedom and well-being. That’s the reason the MuslimahPride group is practically teeming with self-righteous assholes, generally more concerned about women’s modesty than the suffering inflicted upon countless women like Amina Tyler.

Being an anti-Islamist doesn’t make you anti-Muslim by default. Take it from a liberal Pakistani man with Muslim parents, mostly Muslim friends, and a whole bunch of Muslim heroes, none of whom I intend to offend by my criticism of their religion.

If Todd Akin ever issues a statement, “Women are a tilth for men to plant seeds in however they please” (Quran, 2:223), heads will explode from London to New York. Nobody will excuse this incident fearing that an attack on Akin would be an offense to all his political supporters because, you know, not all his supporters endorse this statement. No liberal would defend him saying, “Oh, you’re misinterpreting Mr. Akin’s words” or “You need to read all of Akin’s statements ever made before you decide whether you like him or not”.

At least in theory, there should be no confusion among us that these are harmful ideologies unworthy of our defense. Whether we choose to tread lightly or act diplomatically to safeguard the world from them, without endangering the peaceful Muslims, is another matter.