In PJ Lifestyle I discuss British socialist-feminist Laurie Penny’s ridiculous claim that “Islamophobes could not care less about women of any creed or colour.”
Concerned about the Islamic oppression of women? The divine sanction for the beating of women (Qur’an 4:34)? The commodification, the polygamy, the child marriage, the female genital mutilation, the honor killing? Ah — that just confirms that you”re a racist, bigoted Islamophobe — at least as far as the British feminist writer Laurie Penny is concerned. And Penny is by no means alone: her article just provides a particularly egregious case study of the general tolerance of Western feminists for Muslim misogyny.
“Islamophobes,” wrote Penny with admirable certainty in The Guardian last week, “could not care less about women of any creed or colour.” These wicked fellows only criticize the Sharia mistreatment of Muslim women because of their bigotry and hatred. According to Penny, “misogyny only matters when it isn’t being done by white men.” Penny complains:
As a person who writes about women’s issues, I am constantly being told that Islam is the greatest threat to gender equality in this or any other country — mostly by white men, who always know best. This has been an extraordinary year for feminism, but from the Rochdale grooming case to interminable debates over whether traditional Islamic dress is “empowering” or otherwise, the rhetoric and language of feminism has been co-opted by Islamophobes, who could not care less about women of any creed or colour.
How does Laurie Penny know that those whom she tars as “Islamophobes” really don’t care about women? Because, as you”ll see below, some baddies from the BNP and EDL allegedly said some rude things. And that means that any critic of Islamic gender oppression must be using feminism as a cover for his “hatred,” doncha know.
Penny grumbles about a report from Student Rights, which she describes as “a pressure group not run by students,” that stooped to “vastly exaggerating a suggestion by Universities UK that male and female students might be asked to sit separately in some lectures led by Islamic guest speakers.” In the wake of this, she said, “unfortunately, rightwing commentators and tabloids seized upon the issue to imply that Islamic extremists are taking over the British academy.”
Whether or not “Islamic extremists” are “taking over the British academy” or not, there was talk about some Muslim gatherings separating male and female students. If some conservative group had done this, Laurie Penny would have been loudly outraged; but now she has branded those who are concerned about Muslim gender apartheid as bigots and hatemongers. If it is not permitted to speak out against this relatively small matter, will there be anyone left to speak out against the oppression of women in Islam that is quite real, and is not by any means simply the vaporing of the right-wingers whom Penny hates and fears far more than she does the Muslims who stone women to death for adultery, mutilate their genitals, deny them the right to leave the house without permission from a male, and beat them when they displease them?
Oblivious to the oppression she is enabling, Penny continues:
It’s the dishonesty that angers me most. It’s the hypocrisy of men claiming to stand for women’s rights while appropriating our language of liberation to serve their own small-minded agenda. Far-right groups like the English Defence League and the British National party rush to condemn crimes against women committed by Muslim men, while fielding candidates who make claims like “women are like gongs — they need to be struck regularly”.
Some of their members tell me that since they are standing against the sexism of Muslim barbarians, as a feminist I should be on their side. When I disagree, I am invariably informed I deserve be shipped to Afghanistan and stoned to death.
I don’t think Laurie Penny should be shipped to Afghanistan and stoned to death. I”m just sorry that she doesn’t have more concern about women who are already in Afghanistan, or Iran, or Sudan, and in danger of being stoned to death “” concern enough, at least, to avoid demonizing their defenders….