An Excellent Response to Stupidity

I just love this excellent letter written by Pakistani journalist Kunwar Khuldune Shahid. Such a wonderful response to those ‘educated’ women who are proud of being veiled Muslims and who foolishly defend Islam, the anti-women religion. The author of this letter is a man. I am proud of men like Kunwar Khuldune, who believe in women’s rights.

A letter of gratitude to #MuslimahPride social media jihadis!

Dear Muslimaat,
I don’t have words to express my gratitude and appreciation for your noble battle against evil. Your #MuslimahPride movement against #Femen was a slap on the collective face of Western imperialists who believe that Muslim women can’t fight for a cause. It was also a resounding reminder for the rest of the world that you have what it takes to spark a revolution. What the ignorant world does not realise is that once you have the permission of your husbands, fathers, brothers, uncles, the approval of your neighbours, in-laws, their relatives and the consent of your spiritual guardians, their God and their scriptures, you can be quite the rebels.

It takes a lot of courage to ridicule something that is already taboo where you live. It takes volumes of bravery and valour to bow down to the status quo, and toe the lines that have been forced upon you. It takes unbelievable amounts of gallantry to act out a script that someone else has written for you. And it must take guts and the proverbial cojones to take a stand against cruelty and the personification of tyranny that a horde of topless women is.

Who on earth are those damn Europeans to try to steal your voice? Do they not realise that your lives were defined a million-and-a-half ago by the Arabs, who protected your rights and guarded your modesty by ensuring that you don’t have much of a say in most things? Who are those unabashed infidels to protest on your behalf? Do they not realise that you are not allowed to express, let alone clamour in favour of, anything that contradicts the ostensibly divine scriptures? Who are those shameless activists to try and liberate you? Do they not realise that you can’t be liberated without the permission of your mehrams?

I can’t thank you enough for choosing to be more offended by naked bodies than dead bodies. And since there are so many different kinds of you to thank, I’ll try to address you one by one.

Dear ‘guardians of modesty’ Muslimaat, thank you for letting patriarchal societies define ‘modesty’ for you. Thank you for accepting contrasting definitions of modesty for men and women, and for not being a source of strength for your sisters and daughters, vindicating the men’s claim of you being the weaker sex. Thank you for teaching your daughters about the sin that having sex is, throughout their lives, and then compelling them to do it immediately with a man they first met a couple of hours ago, after signing a few papers and getting the clergy’s approval. Also, thank you for blaming your fellow women when they are raped, since men have the divine license to refuse to keep their emotions in the right place. And thank you very very much for being more misogynistic than any male chauvinist can ever possibly be.

Dear ‘feminist’ Muslimaat, thank you for being a ray of hope for bacon-eating vegetarians, god-fearing atheists and peace-loving terrorists. Thank you for reiterating the fact that your mehrams choose to overlook the divine orders and allow you to think freely and take your own decisions. Thank you for citing your personal example to highlight how you wear the hijab by your own choice, ignoring the fact that an overwhelming majority of Muslim women are coerced into doing so. Thank you very much for making the whole debate about you, when it was always about the torment and suffering that most of the Muslim women are going through.

Dear ‘liberal’ Muslimaat, thank you for defying the orders of your deity by choosing to not cover your heads. Thank you for disregarding other restrictions that your religion commands, and then having the audacity to condemn someone who is critical of these very commands. Thank you for cherry picking the commandments and making your ideology sound compatible with the 21st century, only to castigate those that take the same ideological orders literally and implement them. Thanks a lot for elucidating that you don’t need liberation and for paying no heed to the fact that the most of the women in your country do. And thank you very much for clinging on to those very shackles that have enchained the prospect of women empowerment in your country.

Dear ‘revolutionary’ Muslimaat, thank you for ignoring the life threats that Amina Tyler and many others like her are facing, after choosing to protest against the harassment that they have to bear on a daily basis. Thank you for overlooking other lesser issues like terrorists attacking a 15-year-old schoolgirl; female genital mutilation; women being raped with judicial approval just so they don’t die virgins; two-year-old girls being forced to wear veils because the disgusting men in your country have no self-control; and fathers legally getting away with raping their daughters by paying a few riyals. Thank you very much for screaming bloody murder over half-naked women’s claim of representing you, but accepting rapists, pedophiles and sorry excuses for human beings as your state leaders and role models.

#MuslimahPride is not just a hashtag, it’s a symbol of integrity and pride. It’s about taking pride in inequality, in half testimonies, in blaming rape victims and in gender discrimination. It’s about taking pride in chauvinism, where men have divine permission to beat and rape their wives, marry multiple times and possess slave girls. It’s about taking pride in patriarchal societies where husbands are categorically told in detail how they should punish their “disobedient” wives, while not a single text exclusively tells women what they should do with unfaithful husbands. It’s about taking pride in not being allowed to vote, let alone lead your nations, and about finally being allowed to ride a goddamn bicycle – under a mehram’s supervision – in the year 2013 AD.

The #MuslimahPride jihad will be written down in history as the moment where Muslimaat made it clear to the world that no one should protest on their behalf, half-naked or otherwise. Thank you, dear Muslimaat, for saving the rest of the world’s time by clarifying that you’re fine living in the 7th century AD, and no one should push you towards the enlightened times, regardless of whether they have clothes on or not. Thank you for being a source of inspiration and an illuminating example for everyone. We all know that you have what it takes to transform the plight of the women and change the dynamics of the world, as long as you are back home before sunset.

More power to you.

PS: I hope being addressed as ‘dear’ does not land you in trouble with your oversensitive male guardians.

Yours thankfully,

Kunwar Khuldune Shahid

Bravo Kunwar!

Free Femen

Caroline Fourest, the courageous French writer and journalist and I have joined a Tunisian secularists’ demonstration held in Paris day before yesterday.

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We showed our solidarity towards Tunisian secularists and Amina as well.

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We have been campaigning for Amina,the Tunisian Femen activist.

Francois Hollande, the President of France is going to visit Tunisia in July. We ask him to remember four names, Amina, Pauline, Josephine and Marguerite. A Tunisian, a German and two French women. Four FEMEN. They are now in prison. Three of them, including two French activists, just scoop four months in prison for protesting topless in front of the courthouse. An act considered “indecent assault, indecent and disturbing public order”. It was a peaceful protest, demanding the release of Amina, the first Tunisian Femen, which is even arbitrarily detained for several weeks.
Her crime? She wrote a word on a wall. Femen. A word on the wall made 40,000 Salafists angry on May 19. Amina has been accused of “indecency”, “grave desecration” and “conspiracy.” Amina would be sentenced to 6 to 12 years in prison. Amina, Pauline, Josephine and Marguerite are political prisoners. They are not the only ones to endure this kind of repression since the revolution. Ghazi Beji and Jabeur Mejri, two bloggers were sentenced to seven and a half years in prison for blasphemy. One in absentia. He had to take refuge in France. The other is serving his sentence in terrible condition. The Franco-Tunisian journalist, Hind Meddeb continued for denouncing the severity of the sentence of rapper Weld el 15: two years in prison for singing an irreverent song to the police.
The filmmaker Nadia El Fani can not return to the country of her childhood, where she faces up to six years in prison for having made a film about secularism ”Secularism Inshallah”! Her lawyer has also recently been persecuted for “sodomy”. Through these highly political judgments, the Tunisian justice shows a terrible face: nice with terrorists and hard with free spirits.
We are not asking the president not to go to Tunisia. Rather, he should go there for the release of these political prisoners. Undaunted by those who cry to interference or convene the past. Nothing, not the “stability” of Franco-Tunisian relationship or economic interests that justify overlook these unjust laws and how they are applied. François Mitterrand, at the time, was able to forget the diplomatic modesty to defend the cause of dissidents during his trip to Moscow.
Today, dissidents are in Tunis, Cairo, Algiers, Doha, Riyadh, wherever international theocratic attempts to gain ground on democracy and universal values.
On behalf of its voiceless dissidents, we ask the president to challenge his counterpart, the Tunisian president who claims to be a former activist of Human Rights, who had taken refuge in France when he was even persecuted under the former regime, but is silent about violations of the basic right to freedom of expression by its own government.
When President Hollande will be in Tunis, he should demand the release of Amina (18), Pauline (27), Josephine (age 19) and Marguerite (22 years), not because both of these political prisoners are French nationals, but because women’s rights and the right to freedom of expression are universal. This trip will be a challenge for the French president, whether these words have at all any meaning.

At Caroline’s house in the evening, Femen leader Inna Shevchenko came. Inna had to leave Ukraine because Christian fundamentalists were threatening her for cutting down the holy cross. Franco-Tunisian film maker Nadia El Fani also came. We all raised our voices to free Amina who is now in a prison in Tunisia.

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Freedom of expression is still a distant dream.

Women should know that their body belongs to them.

Feminists around the world have been supporting Amina, a 19 year old Tunisian girl who posted a topless photo of herself bearing the slogan “my body belongs to me, and is not the source of anyone’s honour” has been threatened with death.
Tunisia was once considered one of the most liberal Muslim countries. But unfortunately Islam does not allow state, society, people to be liberal, moderate, secular, tolerant, understanding, sympathetic, considerate, compassionate, humane, kindhearted, loving, generous, thoughtful.

You were born to a Muslim family.
You are a woman. You want to have your freedom. But no one around you thinks you deserve any freedom.
If you say you are a Muslim, but you want to enjoy your human rights, the protectors of Islam will curse you, beat you up, lock you up, and show you hundreds of Quranic verses and the Hadiths that say god and prophet do not want women to have rights and freedom. Those verses are not the words or the interpretations of illiterate Mullahs. You will definitely lie if you say that god and the prophet did not really say anything against women. Now, what should you do? You have only one life. Do you want to destroy your precious life by living under Islam? Is there no option but to surrender yourself to Islam?

There is a way out. Just leave Islam and live your life. Don’t convert to any other religion. All religions are more or less the same. They will be bitching about everything you do because you’re a woman.