In Islam, the responsibility for men to control themselves sexually lies entirely with women; hence Atagana’s recommendation. His recommendation also points up the contradiction within the multiculturalist ethos: if Canadian authorities do what he says, they will restrict women’s rights and adopt Sharia assumptions. If they give his recommendation its due regard, which is none at all, they’ll be “Islamophobic.”
Canadian laws should be changed to require women to “cover themselves” to prevent sexual assaults, says an Islamic street preacher in Toronto.
Al-Haashim Kamena Atangana, a 33-year-old Islamic convert, called for legal change in response to recent sex attacks at York University.
Atangana is connected with a group called Muslim Support Network and is one of a number of street-corner clerics commonly seen at the Yonge and Dundas Sts.
In an e-mail to the Toronto Sun, Atangana said “the reason … these sex attacks are continuously happening is because (of) Canadian laws, which give too much freedom to women” when it comes to how they dress.
“You should take your example from the way Muslim women dress,” he wrote. “Why does (sic) Muslim women who wear long dress and covers her head aren’t targeted for sex attacks?”…
Atangana, who plans to distribute his views on paper in the coming weeks, went on to state that “the reason … a woman gets raped is because of the way she (dresses),” and suggests that “Toronto (become) the first city in North America to introduce laws that would make it illegal for women to dress provocatively.”
If Toronto did this, Atangana said in an interview, other Canadian cities would follow suit.
“If (women) want to prevent being sexually assaulted, they should cover themselves,” said Atangana, adding that while he doesn’t expect Western women to dress as Muslim women do, they should have a “dress code” and take note of the burka the head scarf and face veil some Muslim females wear….
According to a 2008 report from the Egyptian Center for Women’s Rights, 83% of Egyptian women had experienced some form of sexual harassment or assault at some point. And well, over half of those surveyed around 70% wore veils of some kind, particularly head scarves.
“These results disprove the belief that sexual harassment is linked to the way women dress,” the report states. “This confirms that the stereotypical ideas of a patriarchal culture that blames women even if they are victims, is opposite to reality.”
But Alia Hogben of the Canadian Council of Muslim Women sees things differently: Atangana’s opinions are not as much to do with Islam as much as they reflect a general patriarchal desire among some men to control women.
“There is absolutely no connection between how women dress and being sexually assaulted,” Hogben said, adding that other religions from Judaism to Christianity have traditional dress codes of their own. She did agree, however, that “good, pious” Muslim women are sexually harassed, despite wearing modest and traditional clothing.
“If (Atangana) thinks good, pious Muslim women are not sexually assaulted, he’s wrong. If he thinks this is not happening in India or Egypt … it is not true.”
As for Atangana, who converted to Islam in 1998 after finding the Trinity of Christianity the belief in God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit too “confusing,” he remains steadfast in his views.
“Women here should have a dress code,” he says. “That would prevent sexual assault.”
So would teaching self-control to men.