Essay on a Harmful Hypocrisy
The Dangers of Political Correctness
The views expressed in this essay do not reflect the opinions of Honor Diaries
By: Soren Lindbo
Every rational and moral person should feel betrayed by modern liberals, whose meme of political correctness and cultural sensitivity has helped arrest the development of women’s rights globally. Liberals’ dedication to order rather than to justice is devastating. We’re playing a pathetic ’white guilt’ game of ’who can be the most tolerant’ at the expense of millions of oppressed women and mutilated girls.
The Burka, Niqab the Hijab and the Chador symbolize oppression of women. Claiming that any of these garments represent freedom and not oppression is at best self-delusional and an unintentional mockery of the women forced to wear it under threat. The veil might represent freedom to an individual but I would argue that it is a false freedom. Illegalizing it, however, would constitute a tremendous error. The problem is the childish and cowardly honor of men.
The denial of Islam’s theologically constituted role as one of the most misogynistic institutions today is dishonest and a disservice to women. Women’s rights must come before cultural sensitivity. We should rather criticize Islam honestly and offend millions of people than risk not advocating the freedom of a single woman. Right now, however, we are doing the opposite: neglecting the freedom of women in order not to offend. What obstacles hinder an honest scrutiny?
First and foremost, we need to acknowledge the actual content of the Quran and the Hadith with which apologists perform intellectually dishonest obfuscation with the articles of faith. Misogyny is mainstream Islam, “Men are in charge of women by [right of] what Allah has given one over the other…” (Quran 4:34). To improve the conditions of women around the world we need to empower the brilliant Muslim and ex-Muslim men and women who are trying to reform Islam.
Cultural sensitivity is cowardly, dangerous and an indicator of moral impotence when directed towards a culture that perpetuates the oppression of women such as the Islamic culture of honor. Jainism which practises complete non-violence is not mocked because there is nothing about it to ridicule. They do not cry for cultural sensitivity because nothing about them demands scrutiny. Where are the Tibetan Buddhist suicide bombers destroying Chinese administrative buildings?
Shouldn’t we respect all cultures? Of course not. We should have no time or respect for any culture that would condescendingly advice women to wear a garment in order to remain modest or mutilate her vagina to keep her virtuous. A Muslim man who is faced with absolutely unacceptable bigotry at work can go home and beat his wife. People can be victims in one context and oppressors in another. The fact that Muslims face bigotry is unacceptable, but it must never be used as a ward against criticism of the misogynistic culture some of them practice and perpetuate. Only a fraction of Muslims actively punish adulterers and other theological dissidents, but an alarming amount support it. We need to be able to say this.
The biggest obstacle is that in the question of scrutinizing Islam, the political right and left have polarized themselves. When liberals abandon the fight we forfeit the discourse to right wing extremists and radical Islamists, effectively abandoning women.
We need to acknowledge white privilege and stop feeling white guilt. If white non-muslims are to feel guilt because our forefathers crusaded, then Muslims should feel colored guilt (silly, right?) over the expansion of the Ottoman Empire and the taking of hundreds of thousands of white slaves. Instead, should we not all unhinge ourselves from past events over which we can assert no control and merely scrutinize ideologies independent of anything but the merits they claim for themselves?
The media needs fair coverage of Muslims. If the media is willing to create public outcry over a couple of Imams in a western country encouraging Muslims not to vote, they must cover the vast majority of Muslims who completely disagree with this and vote happily.
We need to condemn the dishonest use of racist and the meaningless word islamophobe. You can convert or revert to Islam and apostate out of it. It’s not a race. Thereby, any criticism of Islam cannot be racist. Calling someone a racist for criticizing Islam draws biological connections between ethnicity and ideology and is therefore actual racism in itself.
Islamophobia, at best, means nothing as explained by Andrew Cummings, “A word created by fascists, and used by cowards to manipulate morons.”
Saying we should treat our daughters well is akin to saying we should treat our cars well. I appreciate the intentions behind this paradigm of saving our women, but it remains advocated in a misogynistic discourse. These women are not our sisters, sweethearts, mothers or daughters. They are us.
All this is coming from an educated white male living in Scandinavia so I’m among the most privileged groups on earth. I fully acknowledge this but that does not diminish my right to speak out on the behalf of others. Having said this, I beseech everyone to turn their attention to the actual reformers risking their safety to change things right now.