– fordi tiden kræver et MODSPIL

02. Jun 2006

Kvindeundertrykkelse i Islam? Om historiske fakta og Hirsi Ali og Irshad Manjis skriverier

MoorishGirl aka Leila Lalami skriver i en anmeldelse i The Nation af Ayaan Hirsi Ali's The Caged Virgin and Irshad Manji's The Trouble With Islam Today om den vestlige forestilling om de stakkels undertrykte muslimske kvinder:
The abundant pity that Muslim women inspire in the West largely takes the form of impassioned declarations about "our plight"--reserved, it would seem, for us, as Christian and Jewish women living in similarly constricting fundamentalist settings never seem to attract the same concern. The veil, illiteracy, domestic violence, gender apartheid and genital mutilation have become so many hot-button issues that symbolize our status as second-class citizens in our societies. These expressions of compassion are often met with cynical responses in the Muslim world, which further enrages the missionaries of women's liberation. Why, they wonder, do Muslim women not seek out the West's help in freeing themselves from their societies' retrograde thinking? The poor things, they are so oppressed they do not even know they are oppressed.

The sympathy extended to us by Western supporters of empire is nothing new. In 1908 Lord Cromer, the British consul general in Egypt, declared that "the fatal obstacle" to the country's "attainment of that elevation of thought and character which should accompany the introduction of Western civilization" was Islam's degradation of women. The fact that Cromer raised school fees and discouraged the training of women doctors in Egypt, and in England founded an organization that opposed the right of British women to suffrage, should give us a hint of what his views on gender roles were really like ...
This context--competing yet hypocritical sympathies for Muslim women--helps to explain the strong popularity, particularly in the post-September 11 era, of Muslim women activists like Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Irshad Manji and the equally strong skepticism with which they are met within the broad Muslim community. These activists are passionate and no doubt sincere in their criticism of Islam. But are their claims unique and innovative, or are they mostly unremarkable? Are their conclusions borne out by empirical evidence, or do they fail to meet basic levels of scholarship? The casual reader would find it hard to answer these questions, because there is very little critical examination of their work. For the most part, the loudest responses have been either hagiographic profiles of these "brave" and "heroic" women, on the one hand, or absurd and completely abhorrent threats to the safety of these "apostates" and "enemies of God," on the other.
Lalami foretager en sådan kritisk bedømmelse (som nok er værd at læse i sin helhed), men konkluderer:
The Caged Virgin and The Trouble With Islam Today are billed as profound meditations on faith and searing critiques of Islam's treatment of women and minorities, but they are riddled with inaccuracies and generalizations. In their persistent conflating of religion, civilization, geographical region and very distinct cultures, these books are more likely to obfuscate than educate.
Hvilket er en skam, givet at disse forfattere er blevet så populære - som Lalami også anfører, er der virkelig problemer nok at tage fat i.

Link til anmeldelsen i The Nation.
Via MoorishGirl.