As I mentioned, in my horrid sarcastic mocking horrid way, I’m getting called Islamophobic a good bit these days. I’m getting called it here and even on the chat threads at Pharyngula, The Lounge and Thunderdome. (On the other hand it’s by the same people, so it doesn’t add up to more, it just adds up to repetition.)
I think this is frankly stupid. It’s as if the people who call me that had never heard of Maryam Namazie. Surely it can’t be the case that they’ve never heard of Maryam, can it? They don’t go round to her place and call her Islamophobic do they? Or do they.
Sometimes I really don’t know what more to say.
What else can be said about Sharia law that– at least in your gut – you don’t already know?
It is based on the Koran, the Hadith and Islamic jurisprudence. Its criminal code includes stoning to death for adultery and execution for apostasy and homosexuality. In Iran, for example, there are over 130 offences punishable by death.
Its civil code – which is imposed by Sharia courts in Britain – is discriminatory and unfair particularly against women. Basically it is a code of death and despair.
Not breaking news, is it? After all it is religious law. And that’s what – in my opinion – religion does best. A court based on the Bible and Torah would be similarly discriminatory and barbaric.
Yet the numbers of people who continue to defend Sharia courts in Britain as people’s ‘right to religion’ is staggering.
Well? How about it? No cries of Islamophobia yet? No accusations of punching down?
In a Sharia court in Britain, a woman can’t even sign her own marriage contract; a male guardian must do it on her behalf. Child custody goes to the father at a pre-set age irrespective of the welfare of the child. Marital rape is seen to be the prerogative of the husband – a sharia judge recently said calling it rape is the act of aggression. The rules here in Britain are the same as the ones women in Iran face in family courts.
And they are also dealing with child marriages, which is nothing more than religiously-sanctioned child rape and paedophilia. In 2010, around 30 cases of child marriages were reported in Islington alone. At least three 11-year-old girls and two nine-year-olds had been forced into marriage with older men. The oldest girls were 16.
In the latest scandal, which by the way has only been covered by the tabloid rags like the Sun and Daily Mail, an investigation by the Sunday Times found imams in Britain willing to “marry” young girls after being approached by an undercover reporter posing as a father who said he wanted his 12 year old daughter married to prevent her from being tempted in to a ‘western lifestyle’.
Question these and you are often accused of Islamophobia, racism, intolerance, and denying people’s very right to religion and belief.
And punching down. Well, how about it? Anybody prepared to accuse Maryam of that?
I have a question for those who use human rights and anti-racist language to excuse and apologise for inequality, discrimination, violence against women and barbarity.
Even if it were people’s right to religion (most rights are not absolute and anyway Sharia courts are about politics not religion) – and even if they were real choices (let’s put aside the many threats and intimidation for now), what is your position on it?
Do you have one?
Do you think it’s wrong?
Whilst you may be very happy to promote it for the ‘other’ – what I call a racism of lower standards and expectations – would you like if for yourself and for your loved ones?
If not, then please stop apologising for it.
Hiding behind ‘rights’ and ‘choice’ to excuse misogyny is a betrayal of human principles. After all, years ago, certain men only had the ‘right’ to vote and own slaves.
Remember good old fashioned international solidarity – how I miss it – when we actually joined forces with those suffering under racial apartheid in South Africa for example.
Nowadays, many liberals and post-modernist leftists side with those imposing apartheid – sex apartheid – because it is considered the ‘right to religion’…
It’s a betrayal of human solidarity.
And this solidarity is fundamental particularly given that Islamism and Sharia law have killed a generation in what I call an Islamic inquisition.
Muslims after all are not a homogeneous community as Islamists portray. When you give group rights to the ‘Muslim community’, you basically give further power to the dominant elite – the imams and Islamic ‘scholars’ [as Richard Dawkins says, you do need to read more than one book to be considered a scholar] – at the expense of women, and many others.
Conflating Islamism (and its Sharia courts) with Muslim is part of the effort of feigning representation and is the narrative peddled by Islamists. In fact Islamism or political Islam is part of the project for controlling the population at large and is not an exercise in people’s rights and choices.
To accept the Islamist version and narrative is to hand over countless individuals – many of them dissenting – to the far-Right Islamic movement and to ignore the resistance, the political, social and civil struggles, and class politics. Conflating Muslim and Islamist is like conflating Christian or English with the English Defence League or the British National Party.
Very often also a criticism of Islamism, Sharia or Islam is touted as being racist, discriminatory, and Islamophobic. It’s not. Let me give you an example of this. When a British court told a Muslim hospital consultant that he must pay his ex-wife maintenance even though under Sharia he believed he owed her nothing, the doctor said that the ‘Family law in Britain is biased against Muslim people’ but isn’t his wife Muslim too?
It does all depend on how you look at it and whose side you choose to take.
This has nothing to do with racism.
Such accusations of racism are particular to the west.
If you are criticising Islam, the veil, Sharia law, or Islamism in Iran, Egypt or Afghanistan the debate is not framed in the context of racism or Islamophobia.
When the Saudi government arrests 23 year old Hamza Kashgari for tweeting about Mohammad, it doesn’t accuse him of racism, it accuses him of blasphemy – an accusation punishable by death.
But that same government will accuse critics of Saudi policy at the UN Human Rights Committee as Islamophobic and racist.
What I’m trying to say is that Islamists and their apologists have coined the term Islamophobia – a political term – to scaremonger people into silence.
These bogus accusations of Islamophobia and offence serve Islamism in the same way that Sharia law serves them where they have power. It helps to threaten, intimidate and silence criticism, solidarity and dissent.
They work like secular fatwas and are used not to defend Muslims from bigotry but to defend Islam and Islamism.
So. Explain to Maryam why she’s wrong and she really does have “a massive blind spot” on this subject. I dare you.