Sarah Khan has an excellent public post on Facebook saying it comes from all sides.
Misogyny, objectification & hypocrisy about women on ALL sides. Maajid Nawaz by going to a strip club is happy to pay for women’s objectification for his sexual purposes. If you believe in women’s dignity and rights, you don’t just challenge Islamists’ abuse of women; you challenge all those capitalist corporations and services which seek to make huge profits on the exploitation of women’s bodies and for sex. (I believe in the rights and dignity of sex workers by the way who are regularly abused and denigrated.) You challenge unequal pay. You challenge all the inequalities that continue to exist between men and women in our country.
I suppose most of you have seen the story about Maajid? The Daily Mail reported it last week and he added some points afterward. He went to a strip club, it was his “stag night” (silly expression, and idea); his future wife was fine with it.
On the other hand I have seen how male community leaders and imams have paid for services of prostitutes, who have had secret nikkahs without their first wife’s knowledge and permission, and who silence women’s voices and marginalise them in all walks of life. What I find distasteful is the pretence on ALL sides by those who claim to care about women’s rights but who have been shown to abuse and denigrate women in in one shape or form. Often Muslims say “the West” oppress women by sexualising them; but so do many Muslims on a daily basis. That’s why women have to cover, that’s why women’s voices are allegedly “awrah,” that’s why women should be segregated because women ARE sexual objects and responsibility and blame therefore falls on them. We are told this is because women and women’s sexuality are responsible for the moral fabric of society. Such normalised attitudes yet so wrong.
One of the reasons why we set up Inspire was not only to challenge extremism but to address gender discrimination and the abuse of women’s rights and their objectification. And we will continue to do so within Muslim communities but also in wider society too. Hence we support the Everyday Sexism project, and many other women’s campaigns and groups. Which is why I oppose Maajid’s use of strip clubs, but also the deceitful “concerns” of people who have never genuinely supported women’s rights or feminism – but who are now jumping up and down pretending to claim the higher moral ground.
Yeah, religious zealots don’t make the best feminists.