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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Great Muslim Cover Up

Over in Toronto, a Muslim cleric with the unwieldy name of Al-Hashim Kamena Atangana had a great idea. Al-Hashim's idea was for Toronto to pass laws forcing women to wear Burkas. "Cover up or get raped", was the implied message. Toronto only has an estimated 5.5 percent Muslim population so the Toronto Taliban probably won't be getting their way until they have higher double digit numbers, but they can wait.

Meanwhile in Egypt where the population is 90 percent Muslim and the other 10 percent are running for their lives, a new TV channel represents a brave new frontier in Islamic feminism. Maria TV features women giving lifestyle and makeup tips while wearing the Niqab, which covers their faces and leaves only their eyes exposed. According to some Saudi clerics who think that women are only allowed to leave one eye exposed, this makes them either a bold feminist experiment or shameless strumpets.

In a country where Tahrir Square has become synonymous with sexual assault; the Al-Hashim paradigm is taking hold. There are photos of female students at Cairo University from the 60's and 70's that showed them dressing like women did in the 60's and 70's. But by the time Obama showed up to praise Cairo University as a great representative of Islamic civilization, the cover-up had begun. The question is where will the cover-up end and what will the Cairo University class of 2020 look like? They probably won't have faces, but will they even have eyes?

You can attend a university with your head covered, even with your face covered, but it gets harder to attend class when your eyes are covered. If the trend means anything in a decade Muslim feminism will mean fighting for the right to keep one eye open in a religion that wants everyone to keep their eyes shut.

The liberal West has reacted to the Islamic cover-up with its own cover-up. The Western liberal will run through the gamut of his own civilization's sins before reluctantly admitting that some parts of the Muslim world may not be an ideal place to be a woman, but he immediately reaches for a rolled up copy of the New York Times and uses Tom Friedman's latest report from an airport's luxury lounge in Dubai or Kuala Lumpur as proof that the reforms are coming.

Indeed if you read anything from Tom Friedman, who is expert at writing books about how the world is becoming a global village because it's so ridiculously easy for him to fly anywhere on his frequent flyer miles, that is all he can talk about. Saudi Arabia is constantly being reformed. Why in 1962 it abolished slavery and recently the Saudi king has agreed to let women vote in municipal elections in 2015. This is naturally a big deal in an absolute monarchy that has been ruled by the same family for longer than it had oil companies.

There is no question that King Abdullah is a great feminist. If you doubt that just ask any one of his 13 wives. It may be true that women in Saudi Arabia are not allowed to drive or leave the country without permission from their husband and have their lives controlled by a male guardian; but so long as Tom Friedman has a comfortable seat and an alcohol-free drink whenever he flies to Saudi Arabia, the reports of reforms will keep on coming about this cheerful outpost in our global village.

Outside of an airport there is no such place as a global village. International travel hasn't flattened the world. It may be possible to fly to a remote location in twelve hours, disembark into a luxurious modern terminal designed by British architects and constructed by slave labor, but it can take you another twelve hours just to make your way through a city that may be ornamented with the occasional noveau riche skyscraper but is still built on a plan designed to defend desert tribes from nomadic raids. Travel twelve hours out of that city and you will encounter millions of people living in actual villages who don't think that globalism is flattening, but do think that the world is flat.

Jet setting is exciting, but not transformative. Tom Friedman in Jeddah is still the same man he is on Fifth Avenue. The only difference is that there's more sand in his shoes and sweat under his mustache. And the Saudi whose great-grandfather grew up in one of those villages, fought the Ottoman Empire, bought children from Syrian traders and kept them as slaves or concubines, and taught his children that living this way is what convinced Allah to open up some oil wells under the desert, is still that man even when he's having lunch with Tom Friedman on Fifth Avenue.

We all live in villages. Our village is a place where women are considered human beings, but in the village that is an ocean and a desert away, women are considered property. For all the ridiculous noises about Islamic feminism and all the reforms coming out of Riyadh, a proper Muslim can no more consider a woman his equal, than he could consider a sheep or an African slave his equal.

The problem is that lately our two villages have been overlapping thanks to the heap big magic of the airport. Americans travel to Saudi Arabia, where they are told to cover themselves up and respect the local customs, and Muslims travel to Canada where they tell the city of Toronto that it needs to cover up its women or they won't be responsible for the consequences. Our village just can't seem to win.

This is not the sort of stuff that you put in tourist brochures, this is the sort of stuff you cover up, and these days our nations exist as long tourist brochures covering up the problems and extolling the virtues of all these people who visit, move in, learn to fly planes and ram them into buildings because a medieval warlord claimed that a fellow named Allah wanted him to conquer the world, but didn't provide him with any transportation more reliable than camels and a flying horse.

Our tourist brochures say, "Diversity", but diversity is another one of our village's unique virtues. It's not a virtue when you reach Saudi Arabia, and it's not a virtue when Saudi Arabia reaches us. Our noble commitment to diversity leads us to diversify by investing in multiculturalism, but many of those villages full of men with thirteen wives and sharp knives are not interested in multiculturalism.

The Taliban showed us what they thought of multiculturalism when they blew up Buddhist statues and the Islamists in Mali are showing us what they think of multiculturalism with a rampage directed against Sufi shrines. The Muslim Waqf in Jerusalem is continuing its vandalism of the remains of the Second Temple. All of them are following in the footsteps of Saudi Arabia which has waged a campaign of destruction against the cultural artifacts of every other culture.

In India, Hindus had the temerity to sing in their own country during the month of Ramadan, which ended in violence as furious Muslims tried to explain their views on multiculturalism with big rocks. In that same spirit, Al-Hashim Kamena Atangana, like so many other Muslim clerics, is trying to explain to us that while in our village it may be the custom to treat women as human beings, in his village it is the custom to treat them as property.

Common sense says that our village means our customs, but diversity says that our village is on the shores of the global village which is moving into our village and insisting that it's now their village. This is a problem, but only for those of us who are Jews, Christians, Hindus, Atheists, Zoroastrians, Wiccans, Buddhists, Sikhs and Bahai. Not to mention female or in any other way differing from the Muslim male that runs the other village and is trooping through our airport with thirteen wives in tow.

It used to be that when in Rome, you did like the Romans. Now it's when in Toronto, you do like Al-Hashim says. Because his voice is the booming echo of  diversity and like all the voices of diversity, it isn't promoting multiculturalism, but a single culture. Their culture. One Ummah, one Caliph and one Burka.

The Muslim Brotherhood succeeded in changing Egypt through the twin expedients of propaganda and violence. 70 years after educated Egyptians wanted to be more Western, the Brotherhood is in power and Westerners are told to want to be more Muslim. The Al-Hashims bellow that Western women should act more Muslim and Western feminist groups encourage their members to try on Hijabs as gestures of tolerance and servitude. That great Islamic feminist, King Abdullah and his thirteen wives, whose kingdom spends billions on such propaganda, no doubt approves, and wishes they would move on to not driving cars as another gesture of tolerance for our new wonderfully diverse village.

The Hijab is the gateway to the Burka and both are just forms of mobile Purdah, the segregation that requires a woman to stay at home. And if she can't stay in her tent, then she can only go out while wearing a big black tent that goes everywhere she goes. The cover-ups function like a cattle brand informing other Muslim men that this is someone else's property. That was the ancient function of the garment when bands of Muslim raiders were collecting slave women and some distinction had to be made between married women who couldn't be raped and slave women who could.

Under the Burka, the Muslim woman is still locked up in her room in her husband's house even when she's out and about in the marketplace. It is a liberal concession that allows her to occasionally leave the house while still being locked up in the house. And this brilliant bit of Islamic feminism, this reform which says that women can occasionally leave the house and shouldn't be raped so long as they're wearing a tent that makes it look like they're still in Purdah, is just one of the ways that Islam is enriching our multiculturalism with its monoculturalism. To say nothing of all the Muslim rapes of women who refuse to walk around wearing tents.

Western liberals respond to the problem with the same methods as Middle-Eastern Islamists. Their solution to everything is the great cover-up. Muslims cover up women, Western liberals cover up the Muslim abuse of women. Muslims are afraid of dealing with the idea that women are more than mobile property and Western liberals are terrified of dealing with the idea that this is what Muslims actually believe about women.

Sunlight is the best disinfectant, whether it's for the bacteria that thrive under full body robes or the kind that thrive in ideologies which try to control everyone. No matter how many cover-ups are made and how many cloaks, Hijabs and Burkas are thrown over the truth, sooner or later the cover-ups have to end and the truth has to shine forth.

24 comments:

Anonymous said...

Great article

Respect from Egypt

Amira Taher

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

thank you

lemon lime moon said...

"And then you smear the lipstick on thickly using a trowel while holding the Hijab out like so....
If it gets on the material it's okay because it can be rubbed on the cheeks as blush.
Don't worry if you get too much on, no one will see it anyway.
To preserve the hair, spray it liberally with lacquer that your husband uses on furniture.
This not only will hold your hair but harden your head for the beatings he will give you"....
(transcript of Hijab Makeup show)

Keliata said...

Jumping to horrific conclusions, I fear that these men would start blinding women for using eye make up. It would make them appear alluring.

Islamic no no.

Anonymous said...

Last year the Toronto Police Chief said that if women don't want attention then they shouldn't dress provocatively. Outraged socialists and feminists responded with a "slut walk". Repressive Muslims are not a target of this selective outrage.

Empress Trudy said...

If Muslim fanatics limit their fanaticism to their own, then so what. Let the Muslim women of Toronto deal with it or be raped and killed or mutilated or whatnot. Let the Muslims in London worry about honor killings of their own, or not. Eventually Islamic autonomous regions will come to the west and as long as they restrict their Medieval stupidity to themselves and never creep across the line to rest of the world, I say do it. But if they creep across that line, come down on them with the infinitely huge hammer of the state without hesitation or restraint. Apply THEIR punishments to THEIR violation of OUR laws up to an including death and dismemberment.

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

Demographics means that those regions stand a good chance of eventually becoming the majority, certainly in Europe.

And Islam is incapable of limiting the scope of its authoritarianism.

fsy said...

Sorry, Sultan, but this is where I get confused.

Judaism also is in favor of modest dress, and some of their ideas are copied from the Talmud. I know we believe that women are people rather than property, but I don't think we demonstrate that with "slut walks". Somebody has to think this all out very clearly and precisely, or we'll end up either abandoning our own beliefs or turning into them.

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

Modest dress is one thing, mobile purdah and facelessness is another. Modest dress is an individual choice, it's not the compulsory acid backed dress codes.

Most societies have expectations for how people should dress, but they're not about making it impossible for women to function in public life.

fsy said...


Modest dress is one thing, mobile purdah and facelessness is another.


You're saying exactly what I said. The tone of the article and of much of what is being written on this subject, however, seems to go to the opposite extreme in order to fight the Moslems. Should we cut off our nose to spite our face?

Daniel Greenfield @ the Sultan Knish blog said...

The opposite extreme of a compulsory dress code is the belief that a society can naturally make those decisions without a religious police force making those decisions for them.

So I suppose yes, the opposite is not such a bad place to be.

This is different than endorsing something like the slut walk as a moral imperative.

Anonymous said...

These intractable conflicts will undoubtedly continue and escalate until/ unless all Western countries (that includes the U.S.) enforce the consequences of the fact that they are Judeo-Christian in origin and recognize that they must maintain that culture and belief system or die as nations and cultures. Muslims are not confused about who they are, and it is fatal for us to be confused...as we now are. For us to come to grips with the reality of the challenges which we must face, we will also have to abandon the fantasies of Liberalism, Multiculturalism, and all other associated ideological baggage. I greatly doubt that we as a nation are capable of the insight and strength that is needed. This site has provided readers with uniquely important commentaries about the issue, but there is a lot to be deeply depressed over. Everything Friedman writes is toxic to any reader, and he continues to have a prominent voice in a major newspaper. We will know that there is some hope when Friedman is put to pasture. I am not holding my breath, but despair is a sin, so I try to suppress that sinking feeling.

Anonymous said...

Since many Jews are afraid to weare a coin size kippa, there come the MUslims with no such neuroses and show us how to be a proud Jew. Also don't you think that a society that has became devoid of any shame, where women dress in a manner never thought of 60 years ago (and it doesn't matter the age) will have to change at some point? The opposites--burkas are coming and after a big fight we will see who wins.

An Indian said...

Ask any Muslim about his identity and his nation and the answer is a direct "Islam is my identity and I am a member of the Islamic nation." And yet the left seems to think that multiculturalism is going to make them a part of any other nation.

The Muslims have been living in Indian subcontinent for 700 years and yet they never assimilated, all they managed to do was to break it into Islamic Nations in a country which has been historically for thousands of years a Hindu nation.A country that even after all this is still a democratic, secular country. And yet the left fails to see such examples.

I am Indian and have seen how Islam and everything else is incompatible and this brazen surrender to their violence and dogma is a as great a threat today as nuclear holocaust.The surrender of the west, which represents the only possible hope against such ideology,is making me shiver and really worried about where we are heading.This fear is especially compounded by the fact that they breed like rabbits and will result in demographic changes just like in Europe.

The only way to fight such an ideology is to treat it like cancer; an intense and focused dose of radiation to nip in the bud. Otherwise it'll be like a cancer that just keeps coming back until the civilizations as we know it today is dead.

Empress Trudy said...

Well maybe that's the problem WE suffer. Instead of meekly worrying about having our kippahs knocked off, the next time it happens, do what Muslims do and burn down 5 or 6 whole apartment buildings and kill 80 people. Some Arabs insult us? Kill them in the street and carbomb their shops. How can they object when it's their very own tactics.

Edgar Davidson said...

Outstanding article. And here is another example of the left's paradoxes with respect to Islam. The (unelected) European Commissioner for Home Affairs is a Swedish socialist called Cecilia Malmström who has announced the EU's new policy in response to the "Arab spring". The policy, in a nutshell is as follows:

1. We think the Arab Spring is a fantastic move to democracy but to make sure everything turns out fine we are going to transfer massive amounts of money and other favours to the Arab countries involved.

2. The EU has an ageing population and a lack of "skilled and talented" workers, which together means the EU will eventually collapse unless we invite millions of Arabs to emigrate to the EU, especially those from the 'Arab spring' countries.

This buffoon (and presumably the entire Western leftist elite) fail to see the obvious contradiction/paradox in the above two policies. For more see:

http://edgar1981.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/the-left-has-real-problem-with-islam.html

Edward Cline said...

Great article, Daniel. One of your best. You know, centuries from now someone might want to write a satirical novel on a dystopia and in the course of his researches, come upon this particular column, and think it was satire, as well. Then he'd exclaim, "Damn, I thought I was being original! Funny in a tragic sense! Hyperbolic! Did these things really go on way back then?"

lemon lime moon said...

Nothing is compulsory in Judaism. If you don't want to wear modest clothing you don't have to.
That's the difference.
And modesty isn't overboard for most Jews

rachel slomovic said...

karpe diem

i find it interesting that all religions without exception find that women's hair is something that is too alluring and that needs to be covered. who or which religion started that?
just curious.

mindRider said...

@lemon lime moon Do not be too sure about the choice to wear modest clothing or not. Some time ago a group of Dutch Jewish students, both m&f, invited to a Tisch where walking in Mea Shearim where harassed by Haredi youngsters shouting "kurve"(whore) to the modestly dressed women of that group and threatening them with physical violence . The group had to run to get away safely.

occupant 9 said...

Daniel, I always feel wealthier and enriched after reading your articles and the many comments of like minds.

It is possible for us to save our nations but it won't be through sanity. The Powers have long abdicated any form of response (for career and "justice") that would enhance societal sanity.

I used to think we were merely being misguided by the Negligenstsia, but now I think it much more sinister. The misguidance is by comeuppance-free design; those responsible will walk but not before ruins are made.

Islam is a zero-sum ideology which should make the math quite simple.

David Barry O'Connor said...

Dan, you make a great point with "Sunlight is the best disinfectant,".
I wish more people would read by it.

Thomas said...

Multiculturalism and diversity are simply euphemisms for no Whites, Jews or Christians allowed. We know how Muslims feel about "diversity" as they are quick to show us how "tolerant" they are of those not of the muslim mindset.

lemon lime moon said...

@ mindrider,
When in Rome.

@Rachel: hair covering is very old. Orthodox Jews have practiced it for married women since long ago.

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