Covering Over Islam’s Treatment of WomenPosted: April 23, 2014
Covering Over Islam’s Treatment of Women
by JBS President John F. McManus
Ayaan Hirsi Ali hails from Somalia. As a youngster, she endured the kind of treatment many female Muslims are forced to endure. Genital mutilation, forced marriage, and severe punishment for honor crimes are common in lands dominated by Islam. She eventually fled her home country and, with a sizeable group of other women who had left their homelands for similar reasons, participated in the making of a film entitled “Honor Diaries.”Hirsi Ali rose to win election to the Dutch parliament. While living in Holland, she wrote the screenplay for “Honor Diaries” and then saw her colleague, the film’s producer, murdered. Even though the film includes respect for moderate Islam, she received threats that she too would be assassinated so she fled her adopted country. Her 2010 book, “Nomad: My Journey from Islam to America” contributed further to creating awareness about the extremes practiced on women by well-entrenched Islamists. She is now a fellow at Harvard University’s Kennedy School and holds similar status with the American Enterprise Institute.
An outspoken foe of the extremely harsh treatment accorded women and girls in Muslim-dominated societies, Hirsi Ali accepted an invitation to receive an honorary degree from Brandeis University, a non-sectarian Jewish-sponsored institution in Massachusetts. Her work as a crusader for women’s civil rights seemed worthy of special acknowledgement by Brandeis officials. But the U.S.-based Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) thought otherwise and successfully stirred up resistance to the plan on the campus. The invitation was withdrawn. Of note is the fact that this brave woman doesn’t completely condemn the religion in which she was raised, only its extreme practices. Her urging that there be alterations in the Koran to reflect more modern values regarding women surely upset the more militant elements within the Muslim religion.
As a supposed champion of civil rights, especially women’s rights, Brandeis leaders would likely have been wiser to have scheduled a debate in which Hirsi Ali could have merely participated. But perhaps even that would have stirred up CAIR and likeminded Islamists. Ironically, the cancellation of her appearance and the withdrawal of the honorary degree have generated far more attention to the cause she represents than the scheduled visit to Brandeis. The Wall Street Journal even published the speech she intended to deliver.
We hear a great deal about the need for devoting attention to women’s rights but not much at all about Muslim treatment of females. Feminists across the land who should have been revolted by the treatment given Hirsi Ali and other women in Muslim lands have almost universally remained silent. All of which confirms that fear of retaliation to any amount of criticism of Islam exists here in America. This is certainly not good. If Catholics, fundamental Bible believers, and others can be criticized when a need for condemnation about deficiencies is obvious, the obvious inhumane practices within Islam shouldn’t be ignored.