Nothing but shame


Shaheen Hashmat has thoughts on Islam and Honour Abuse.

It’s not just Islam. On the other hand it’s not completely independent of religion either.

I look back on my own experiences and I know that religion was used as justification for absolute control and horrific abuse. Some awful things were done to me by my family.

That’s the thing, you see: it’s used as justification. Nothing else can do that as effectively. One of the projects of atheism is to make it less effective that way.

It doesn’t work to say “I forced my fourteen-year-old daughter to marry a man of fifty because we’re socialists.” Or “…because we’re Federalists” or Labour or Tory or Christian Democratic or Communist or Libertarian or Masons or golfers or vegans or teachers or plumbers…

…or anything you can think of, other than religion.

…the point is that I was made to understand the absolute inferiority of my place as a female in my family, and when I was old enough and had learned how to ask questions about this without courting further abuse (because to question the rules of oppression would be to question absolute authority), I was told that this was the way things are in Islam. The head of our family apparently said once that ‘women bring nothing but shame, from the day they are born, until the day they are buried.’ In my personal experience, intense abuse was closely linked with religious rhetoric.

But there is a lot of Islamophobia, she adds. And yet…

But I will say this: I have nothing if not a right to question, criticize and ridicule any type of Islam that seeks to oppress women in the same way I was. I am deeply angered by those who dare to suggest that my story (and others like it) fuels Islamophobia and that I too could be deemed Islamophobic. There are those who claim to provide a platform and a voice to marginalised individuals in one breath, and then in the next accuse a survivor of the Bosnian anti-Muslim genocide of being Islamophobic before blocking her on social media, simply because she very politely questioned an editorial decision to publish a post defending gender segregation in UK universities, written by a spokesperson for an extremist organisation! You couldn’t make this shit up!

Another comrade.

 

 

Comments

  1. Francisco Bacopa says

    I really think it’s time to exclude Saudi Arabia from international athletic competitions. South Africa was excluded for a couple of decades, does Saudi Arabia merit more lenient treatment?

  2. sc_770d159609e0f8deaa72849e3731a29d says

    “religion was used as justification”
    That is the charitable view. Religion is often the inspiration for horrible and cruel behaviour.

  3. Minnow says

    That’s the thing, you see: it’s used as justification. Nothing else can do that as effectively

    That’s not really true, honour societies don’t need religion to justify them, it is just so happens that primitive patriarchal practices in the modern world tend to be more often than not Islamic, but they needn’t be. A Roman patriarch didn’t need to invoke Zeus in order to justify his wishes for his daughter, his honour and dignity were reason enough and motivated untold monstrosities. And the idea of honour needn’t even be particularly strong, the British Royal family treated its disabled members with appalling cruelty without any need to appeal to religion, the idea of ‘dignity’ was enough.

    Of course, it goes without saying, so I won’t say it, that most religious people, including most Muslims, do not treat their daughters cruelly in this way, and most of them would consider their religion to provide the moral imperative not to.

  4. aziraphale says

    “Of course, it goes without saying…”

    It may go without saying in a Western, predominantly secular society. Not in a society where Islam dominates (as is, officially, the desire of every Muslim)

  5. Minnow says

    Not in a society where Islam dominates (as is, officially, the desire of every Muslim)

    Weren’t we just trying to poo-poo the idea that there is such a thing as Islamophobia?

    If it is any reassurance, I can tell you that it really isn’t, officially, the desire of every Muslim to dominate. It’s not even unofficially the desire of every Muslim. In fact, I am not sure there are even any Muslim officials.

  6. Argle Bargle says

    Islamophobia does exist. However much of what is called “Islamophobia” is actually criticism of actions taken with Islam used as a justification or rational. The Saudi refusal to allow women to drive is justified as “decreed by Islam” when it actually is a power play to keep women in the underclass.

  7. sc_770d159609e0f8deaa72849e3731a29d says

    The Saudi refusal to allow women to drive is justified as “decreed by Islam” when it actually is a power play to keep women in the underclass.

    Except that if you accept the conservative and literalist interpretation of islam common in Saudi Arabia it is the direct word of god and god knows best. End of debate.

  8. dmcclean says

    It doesn’t work to say “I forced my fourteen-year-old daughter to marry a man of fifty because we’re socialists.” Or “…because we’re Federalists” or Labour or Tory or Christian Democratic or Communist or Libertarian or Masons or golfers or vegans or teachers or plumbers…

    …or anything you can think of, other than religion.

    I would submit that “hungry” has probably been a quite common thing to fill in that blank.

    Your essential point stands because for the most part people don’t go around encouraging desperate hunger, praising adherence to it, and teaching the next generation to carry it on. (Intentionally. There is quite a bit of encouraging and teaching that has this effect, but that’s another issue.)

  9. says

    Good point. But as you say…it’s not said with pride or self-satisfaction or self-righteousness. It’s only religion that can do that.

    Minnow @ 3, I used the present tense. I’m not talking about ancient Rome, I’m talking about the modern world. Talk of “honor” doesn’t get anything like the deference that talk of “faith” does in that world.

  10. says

    Talk of “honor” doesn’t get anything like the deference that talk of “faith” does in that world.

    However, there is a lot of violence against women in “domestic” situations in more secular societies justified by something closer to “honour” than “faith”–the sense of entitlement some men feel with respect to their female partners which ends in “you will die rather than leave ME” (especially if there’s another man involved) or “that’s MY child you’re carrying; that means you belong to ME”. That’s one reason I’m uncomfortable with the whole classification of “honour killing”. As if that only happens in Middle Eastern, South Asian, or Far Eastern cultures. It seems to me it’s all about ego and possessiveness. Not to say that when you’ve registered your ownership title with God, it doesn’t make it all a whole lot easier.

  11. says

    But that’s personal, individual. You don’t get whole cultures or chunks of cultures cheering that. It’s not socially ok, it’s not valorized. There’s MRA culture, to be sure, but that certainly doesn’t get the kind of respect and deference that religion does.

  12. rnilsson says

    Ibis3, I heard that Tom Jones wrote “Delilah” as an expression of a strong opposition to that kind of possessive violence and was quite dismayed to find it instead regarded as a love song. And a sustained smash hit at that.

    Wasn’t this even discussed here at one time?

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