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The Scourge of Islamic Gender Apartheid: An Infidel Task Force Interview

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Posted on May 5 2011 8:00 am
Phyllis Chesler is an Emerita Professor of Psychology and Women's Studies at City University of New York. For extended biography visit The Phyllis Chesler Organization.
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I was just interviewed by The Infidel Task Force about my work on Islamic gender apartheid.

There I am, right up there with Jordanian anti-Islamist Jihad Alawneh; Iranian author Ali Sina, who has written a psychobiography of Mohammed; Dr. Laina Farhat-Holtzman, who is married to an Iranian and who lived in Iran in the past; and Pastor Terry Jones, whose threat to burn the Koran led to the murder of Americans and Christians abroad by enraged Muslim mobs. Jones was arrested in Dearborn, Michigan to prevent the violence that Muslims might have engaged in had Jones been allowed to demonstrate outside one of the city’s mosques. Jones took his protest to Dearbornistan’s City Hall.

Well, what grand company I keep! Here is a wee bit of the interview itself, which you can read at length here.

ITF: For viewers who are not aware of the term “gender apartheid,” could you give us an overview of just what it is?

Gender apartheid—and I am mainly talking about Islamic gender apartheid–consists of all those practices which condemn girls and women to a separate and subordinate sub-existence and which turn boys and men into the permanent guardians of their female relatives’ chastity. Because of polygamy, boys and men are condemned to compete with siblings and half-siblings for a wealthy and polygamous father’s attention and inheritance; and condemned to lead lives in which men are extremely uncomfortable with women, whom they have been taught to view as only sex objects and breeders. Any other emotion might fill a man with shame.

Islamic gender apartheid is also characterized by normalized daughter- and wife-battering, forced veiling, arranged marriage, child marriage, first cousin marriage, and sometimes, female genital mutilation. In addition, women are honor murdered if they resist such practices. Imagine growing up female in such a setting: You know that your family-of-origin intimates and protectors might become your executioners based on idle rumor or fact.

Today, at its most extreme, Islamic gender apartheid is characterized by acid attacks and the public stonings to death, hangings, and beheading of women in Iran, Afghanistan, Somalia, Yemen, and Saudi Arabia—countries in which girls and women who are raped or who report being raped are often accused of adultery and sometimes jailed and executed. Islamic gender apartheid is also characterized by the honor murders of girls and women who want to choose their own husbands, or who have dared to resist total subordination. Women, both veiled and unveiled, are routinely harassed by men in extreme ways on the streets in the Middle East, in Southeast Asia, and in North Africa.

ITF: Islam has settled into almost every country in the world, and yet the barbaric honor killings still continue. Why does it continue? Is it education or the lack of? Is it the fact that Muslim women are generally treated as property and it is something they live with? Or is it because Muslims put their submission to Allah and the Quran before anything else, such as their wives, daughters or the love of family?

Wealthy, educated, and powerful Muslims honor murder their daughters, as do poor, uneducated, Muslims. Whether honor killing is commanded, allowed, or prohibited in the Qur’an or whether it is a hold-over pre-Islamic tribal custom is irrelevant. As my studies have shown, ninety percent of the honor murders in the West are committed by Muslim immigrants. Hindus and Sikhs confine such crimes to India. Of course, honor killings are also rampant in the Islamic world. Often, people confuse “custom” with religious law; more often, people do what their parents and neighbors do—as long as they can get away with it, as long as they are honored for it. This ugly practice will continue to flourish if Muslim religious and political leaders do not speak out against it and if governments do not prosecute such crimes seriously.

Today, in the West, pro-Islamist academics, politically correct feminists, and Islamist religious leaders, all insist that honor killings are simply “domestic violence” (I have shown that this is not the case). Or, they claim that it has nothing to do with Islam or that “everyone” does it or that it is a “teenage” problem. Such Defenders of the Faith also insist that honor killings are a pre-Islamic tribal custom, that Christians and Hindus do the same thing, and that singling out Muslims-only is “racist” and “Islamophobic” and that doing so also downplays the much larger number of less sensational murders of women in the West.

Continue reading here.

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