Jamie Glazovâ€™s recent dispute with feminist Naomi Wolf grew out of Wolfâ€™s August 30th article in the Sydney Morning Herald, â€œBehind the Veil Lives a Thriving Muslim Sexuality.â€ In that piece, Wolf states that â€œ[t]he Western Christian tradition portrays all sexuality, even married sexuality, as sinful.â€ She then informs us that Islam, by contrast, â€œnever had that same kind of mind-body splitâ€ â€“ and thus has traditionally allowed Muslims to â€œchannelâ€ their sexuality â€œinto marriage and family lifeâ€ in a manner that â€œis seen as a source of great blessing, sanctioned by God.â€
This cheery view of the Muslim world, coupled with theÂ dark depiction of the Christian West,Â is entirely a fabrication of Wolfâ€™s imagination, an imagination whose musings are rooted in the leftist paradigmÂ that divides the world ever-so-neatly between two distinct spheres: the evil West (especially America)Â on the one hand, and the far-more-noble, non-Western world on the other.
The lines of thisÂ dichotomyÂ are clearly drawn by Wolf and her comrades on the Left: Capitalist America is the forum of a feveredÂ struggle betweenÂ the dominators and the dominated, the oppressors and the oppressed, the victimizers and the victims. Capitalism itself is cited as the cause of thisÂ barbarous arrangement, and, by logical extension,Â as theÂ wellspring ofÂ innumerable social ills and vicesâ€”greed, racism, sexism, alienation, homophobia, imperialism, etc.
In the calculus of the Left, capitalism is the agent of tyranny and exploitation that targets a wide array of victim groupsâ€”blacks, Hispanics,Â women, homosexuals, immigrants and the poor, to name but a few. That is why according to the Left, the United States — the standard-bearer of all capitalist economiesÂ – can never seem to do anything right.
Surely youâ€™ve noticed that on every social issue imaginable, leftists hold the U.S. to a far higher standard than they hold any otherÂ nation on earth. Any American imperfection, however slight,Â is magnified a thousandfold and is presentedÂ asÂ evidence of our societyâ€™s inherent worthlessness — and, by necessity,Â of the need for its wholesale transformation. On the flip side,Â the flaws of other societiesÂ are not only judged mildly, butÂ are themselvesÂ frequently attributedÂ to corruptingÂ American influences.
In his book United in Hate, Jamie Glazov explores in depth such widespread Islamist traits as â€œbarbaric misogyny,â€ â€œthe fear and hatred of womenâ€™s sexuality,â€ the â€œwar on sexuality and private love,â€ â€œgender apartheid,â€ â€œmale domination,â€ and genital mutilation.
But Naomi Wolfâ€™s hatred of the West, coupled with her equally passionate adulation of the non-Western, non-Christian world, preclude her from being able to assess with any degree of objectivity Islamâ€™s unsavoryÂ traditions regarding the status of women.Â Instead, she chooses to paint a smiley face on a custom (the wearing of the veil) that is emblematic of womenâ€™s historical and profound subjugation in the Islamic world. Moreover, sheÂ blithely dismissesÂ all Western criticisms of that custom as nothing more than the ugly manifestations of Western intolerance, narrow-mindedness,Â and ethnocentrism.
Would Ms. Wolf even care if someone were to inform her that the Prophet Mohammed — who founded the Islamic faith and is viewed by believers as the embodiment ofÂ moral purity,Â divine wisdom, and human perfectionÂ – said quite plainly: â€œI have witnessed that most of the people in Hell are womenâ€ because they â€œswear too much and show no gratitude to [their] husbandsâ€? How would Ms. Wolf rationalize away Mohammedâ€™s assertion that he had â€œnever come across anyone more lacking in intelligence, or ignorant of their religion, than womenâ€? Can the â€œthriving Muslim sexualityâ€ that allegedly lives â€œbehind the veilâ€ be adequately reconciled with Mohammedâ€™s declarations that â€œthe testimony of one man is equal to the testimony of two women,â€ or that it is permissible for a man to beat his disobedient wife, or that an adulteress â€œmust be stoned to deathâ€ for her transgression? Has Ms. Wolf never heard that in Islam, a womanâ€™s old age is considered a valid reason for her husband to divorce her?
All cultures are not equal. Nor is Western culture inferior to non-Western cultures. Yet those two sentencesÂ rank highÂ among the notions against which leftists like Naomi Wolf have fought some ofÂ their fiercest battles, for decades.