It is about women’s rights, stupid


AmirAshkan Pishroo
by AmirAshkan Pishroo

The violence of fathers against their daughters, of brothers against their sisters. The genital mutilations of Muslim women. The outright murders: the so-called honor killings of women by their fathers or brothers because of some transgression of the sexual code. Is there any educated person today who has not given a few thoughts to this horrendous issue?

About Hirsi Ali we do not have to wonder: where does she stand on the question of stoning women to death? Or on the obligation for husbands to beat their wives? Read one page by her and you will know the answer.

But what about Tariq Ramadan, who is named by Time magazine as one of the 100 most important innovators of the 21st century, and regarded by some as the interlocutor for dialogue between the West and Islam. The truth is he remains a double-faced, dangerous Islamist. Ramadan has taken a remarkable reactionary public stand. His position emerged during the course of a debate in 2003 between him and Nicolas Sarkozy (who was then the French interior minister and has just now become president) on the French television program "One Hundred Minutes to Convince:"

Sarkozy: Just one point. I understand you, but Muslims are human beings who live in 2003 in France, since we are speaking about the French community, and you have just said something particularly incredible, which is that the stoning of women, yes, the stoning is a bit shocking, but we should simply declare a moratorium, and then we are going to think about it in order to decide if it is good.... But that's monstrous-to stone a woman because she is an adulterer! It's necessary to condemn it!

Ramadan: Mr. Sarkozy, listen well to what I am saying. What I say, my own position, is that the law is not applicable-that's clear. But today, I speak to Muslims around the world and I take part, even in the United States, in the Muslim world.... You should have a pedagogical posture that makes people discuss things. You can decide all by yourself to be a progressive in the communities. That's too easy. Today my position is, that is to say, "We should stop."

Sarkozy: Mr. Ramadan, if it is regressive not to want to stone women, I avow that I am a regressive.

And this "regressive" man, the French president, has offered to protect all women worldwide who are oppressed, offering citizenship to Ayan Hirsi Ali.

Something like a campaign against Hirsi Ali could never have taken place a few years ago. A sustained attack on an authentic liberal dissident crying out against injustices in remote parts of the world and even in the back streets of Western Europe, a sustained attack that appears nearly to have erased the very mention of women's oppression and the struggle for women's rights from discussion-no, this could not have happened yesterday, except on the extreme right. This is a new event. This is a reactionary turn in the intellectual world.


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