Thank you “Muslimah Pride”

Well thank something for Kunwar Khuldune Shahid and his blistering retort to “Muslimah Pride.” Thank Abhishek Phadnis for sending me the link.

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.

All the more so if you dress it up with rebel-like noises about colonialism and Orientalism and “Western” liberalism. Yeah! That’s what the left has always been for: encouraging women to be more obedient to theocratic rules. Utopia looks amazingly like life under the Taliban.

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?

Exactly! Down with solidarity! Down with internationalism and giving shit about people far away! The noble thing to do is just say “it’s their culture” about everything ugly and brutal. It also leaves one delightfully free to go to the mall.

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.

Oh dear. Just as I did, Shahid is saying that “feminist” and “Muslim” are not easy to combine or reconcile. That’s heresy in some circles.

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.




  1. theoreticalgrrrl says

    “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.”

    Que the Hipster Feminists: But you’re taking away Women’s Agency!!! If you choose to put on the chains before they force you to, it’s feminism!!
    Now I’m off to do the dishes and scrub the toilets ironically. It’s my big F.U. to Patriarchy.

  2. miraxpath says

    Thanks Ophelia for remaining realistic and sane about the muslimah-type ‘feminists”. There’s not much on FTB apart from you and Namazie that one can read about islam-related topics . Taslima Nasreen is frighteningly rigid in some of her pronouncements and best avoided (for me).

  3. miraxpath says

    Kunwar Khuldune Shahid kicks ass on regular basis. One should read his other columns. Remember what a dangerous place Pakistan is and you get some idea of his awesome courage.

  4. says

    The noble thing to do is just say “it’s their culture” about everything ugly and brutal. It also leaves one delightfully free to go to the mall.

    Brilliant point: they’re telling off the westerners who actually care about people somewhere else.

  5. theoreticalgrrrl says


    Why Taslima? I’m curious. She seems to get a lot of venom from some Pharyngula commenters as well.
    I think Taslima is awesome. She doesn’t defend the status quo or sugar-coat it, maybe some people can’t handle that?

  6. miraxpath says

    Taslima,hmm. She is very passionate and she’s been through a lot, so I have nothing but admiration and respect for her in that regard. Her writing makes me cringe quite often – she writes with very broad brushstrokes, the recent one on men’s penis size sort of left me flabbergasted. I don’t drop by her blog often , so I may just have missed all the brilliant entries.

  7. miraxpath says

    >>Brilliant point: they’re telling off the westerners who actually care about people somewhere else.<<

    Not all of us who are worrying about the rise of islamism are westerners or live in the west. The 3rd wave feminists who worry about intersectionality and about imposing western cultural norms on non-western people dont live where I live or get where people like Gita Sahgal or Maryam Namazie come from. They will be very uncomfortable with a demand for say, a uniform civil code in India ( or even in Britain) because that is seen as islamophobic or as irredeemably tainted by hindutva. The western converts to islam who rock their hijabs and their deen at Jezebel are more upset with Femen's baring of ''pert'' breasts than Amina Tyler's plight. I am too old fashioned for the new feminism.

  8. says

    theoreticalgrrrl, I’m one of those people at Pharyngula, and my reasoning is simple: her first posts here erased the voices of sex workers. Then she posted almost gleefully about how women no longer need men to reproduce. Then she did that recent post about penis size.

    Anyways… on the topic:

    Brilliant point: they’re telling off the westerners who actually care about people somewhere else.

    As miraxpath said: “Not [everyone] who are worrying about the rise of islamism are westerners or live in the west.”

    I made my mistake on Cultural Relativism on the other thread, and at the end of the day, human rights trump it. We have an issue of human rights, here, and there are actual people being victimized for trying to obtain it. We can’t help them if we try to be all culturally relativistic n’ shit. Amina doesn’t need cultural relativism.

  9. says

    I’m a cycling nut, so particularly noticed this sentence in Mr Shahid’s piece:-

    “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.”

    This refers to Saudi Arabia allowing women to cycle – as long as it’s in a park, not going anywhere, and with a male relation escorting you.

    Bicycles were a liberator for women in the early twentieth century. They could pedal to jobs and Suffragette meetings, and they also had to get rid of cumbersome clothing. Whether they will have the affect in Saudi Arabia remains to be seen.

    In the thread under The Guardian article a woman who lives in Saudi says that even cycling round a park is a step forward – at least it’s a chance to take some exercise.

  10. Rebekah, the Wily Jew says


    she writes with very broad brushstrokes

    I would actually list overly concerned pronouncements on “broad brushstrokes” as part and parcel of the postmodernist, left-of-centre defences of Islam, which includes 3rd Wave feminism. If Islam cannot be defended on its merits, then a leftist looking to make common political cause is forced to disrupt the very act of debate. Constantly demanding that exceptions and minority ‘liberal’ trends in Islam, i.e. the areas ‘covered’ by a broad brushstoke, be accounted for grinds debate down into a “what is this “Islam” of which you speak’ game. It is a powerful tool of prevarication and obfuscation since all useful debate involves generalisations.

    Further the fact Taslima draws such opprobrium from some quarters is disturbing since she has the deepest personal experience at FTB in terms of being threatened by Islam. PZ draws some very far-left types, the sort who see all criticism of Islam as de facto ‘racism’ because Muslims fall under their dodgy rubric of “brown” (Ms. Daisy Cutter springs to mind as having made exactly such a pronouncement). To see a “brown” person savaging Islam is just not acceptable in their racial-political worldview. Even if the basis and route to her criticism differs entirely from the standard bête noir (i.e. white, Christian far-right), even the coincidental similarity is enough to make her views unacceptable.

    Similarly someone on Maryam”s blog attacked FEMEN as “racist” and “fascist” because totally unconnected white supremacists were also protesting that day. These are people more worried about being “not like teh far right” than they are in promoting liberalism and human rights.

  11. theoreticalgrrrl says

    “her first posts here erased the voices of sex workers.” That is pure bullshit. That you don’t see the parallel here is pretty pathetic. Saying there are women in sex work or prostitution who don’t want to be there and who live under the threat of violence is no more erasing anyone’s voice than saying there are women in Islam who don’t find God’s mandated subhuman status for them liberating.
    Erasing voices? Let’s erase the real economic oppression women experience, the violence and dehumanization, let’s erase reality for the sake of pretending everything’s OK. Where are the voices of women who want to get out and how does it help to deny they exist or assert that they’re a minority. And then having the nerve to blame feminists for causing violence against sex workers, and not the fucking misogynist customers who think women in prostitution are subhuman shit.
    Just ignore women like Rebecca, exited women, erase /their/ voices.
    I really don’t care that there are privileged middle-class white women out there who choose to “slum it” by being sex workers for fun, when there are women who don’t have that luxury or the opportunities that the hipsters take for granted.

  12. theoreticalgrrrl says

    “Further the fact Taslima draws such opprobrium from some quarters is disturbing since she has the deepest personal experience at FTB in terms of being threatened by Islam.”

    Exactly. What does Taslima know about Islam?

  13. theoreticalgrrrl says

    Great Christina? I’ve heard this shit before. “Extremely well” is a matter of (your) opinion.

    This is called:
    “Looking for Unicorns”

    I am tired and exhausted by how “discussions” round prostitution are controlled by a constant search for two unicorns.

    The unicorn of the prostituted women who have never had bad experiments, is completely in control, has no past experiences of sexual violence, and is able to leave at any time.

    The other unicorn that others are desperate to discover is the good punter – the punters who would report any abuse or under-aged prostitutes without testing the goods first, the punter who would not dream of making the prostitute into living porn, you know that Richard Gere punter.

    Well, if you are on the search for these unicorns, you are more than wasting your time, you are diverting the work of the abolitionist movement.

    Look within yourself, why you need there to be good punters and happy hookers – why do have the need to make the reality vanish.

    I know many prostituted women who when deep inside the sex trade who will say they are happy and in control.

    I also know that their words are the language of the sex trade – the language to please the punters, the language to avoid punishment from sex trade profiteers, the language of defiance when in the public gaze.

    It not the words of freedom, it is not words that comes knowing their authentic selves – it is the language of the brain-washed, the language of the tortured, it is the language of women who can no longer imagine hope.

    This is what you find in your search for your happy prostitute.

    What I want to know, what most exited women want to know – why do believe every word that prostituted woman says when in front of your eyes it is clear she is in conditions of torture.

    I know that many women beaten by their partners will say many times that everything is good, say how much in love they are.

    But most feminists would not take their word for it.

    The same with acquaintance rape. The language of maybe he didn’t understand that she didn’t want it, that she wants to forgive him, that it must have been her fault somehow.

    These are words we choose not to believe.

    But if a prostituted woman said she is happy – then we discount her past, we make invisible any present violence and degradation , and we make the choice to poison her future.

    We refuse to see any past for the prostituted woman when it is decided she must be happy.

    We cannot allow that she may have been abused as a child; we must discount that she enter the sex trade from poverty; we ignore that she lied to, coerced or threaten to become a prostitute; heck, we must destroy any past of pain and confusion to make into our happy prostitute.

    We cannot see that being paid to be a sexual object feels and is being raped over and over and over and over again; we mustn’t know that most punter pay to sexually torture the prostituted; we mustn’t know that most prostituted survive by being so dead that none can matter.

    All this must vanish, so others can believe in the unicorn of the happy prostitute.

    That is a betrayal of all of the prostituted.

    Looking for the unicorn of the good punter is not just wrong, it is also endangering for the prostituted.

    If all you care about is finding that good punter – then you can live with ignoring the extreme violence and hate that nearly every single man who make the choice to buy the prostituted puts into her.

    You will abandoned the prostituted, or they get in the way of your rose-tainted scenery. For that I will damned you to hell.

    One myth of the good punter is the concept that punters will say and even shop if there are prostituted women in danger, if he sees prostituted may be trafficked, that the prostitute is under-aged, that the prostitution is run by crooks.

    This is utter bullshit – but it is nice to believe such rubbish.

    Punters know and don’t care that all those types of prostitutes are easy to access. Most punters see and hear the prostitutes being beaten, raped and mentally tortured – even if he make the choice to be “gentle”, he is in the environment where he has full permission to be sadistic.

    I hate to burst your balloon – but if punters do report abuse or trafficking, it is usually to save his own skin in fear of being arrested or having his name known. He would have fucked the prostitute before he chooses to report it – he gets his money worth.

    There is no such thing as the good punter – for if a man has “good” in him he would not even think to buy a prostitute for his selfish sexual wants.

    If a man is to be good, he will part of the movement for the complete abolition of prostitution – not looking for the endless excuses for why men must have the prostituted class.

    Just remember there are no unicorns – forget the myth of the Happy Hooker and the good punter.

    Stop getting in the way of abolition – for prostituted women and girls are being destroyed as you hunt a dream.

    By Rebecca Mott

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