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Monday, May 6, 2013

Liberals Who Support Jihad and Gender Apartheid. Why?

Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Champion of women's rights.
One of the most courageous, outspoken women in the world.
Should be a liberal heroine.
Liberals have accused her of being an imperialist, hateful, Islamophobe.
What gives?
Zubeidat Tsarnaeva. Maleficent.
Martin Richard, the Boston bombers' youngest victim. "No more hurting people. Peace."
Why wouldn't this innocent child the person we defend? The passing we mourn?
The kind of loss we vow to prevent?
It is a frequently commented upon counterintuitive phenomenon: a critical mass of – not all but a significant number of – liberals defend jihad and gender apartheid, two of the problematic features of Islam.

How do some – not all – liberals defend jihad and gender apartheid?

In my experience, their defense consists most significantly of demonizing any critique of jihad and gender apartheid. If one dare say in public that jihad, which entails killing people in order to spread Islam, is a bad idea, these liberals become agitated and verbally aggressive. They denounce any such criticism as tantamount to an invitation to commit genocide against Muslims.

The two factors here are bizarre: the refusal to allow critique of jihad and gender apartheid, and the insistence that any such critique is tantamount to an invitation to commit genocide against Muslims.

An example. When I was a humanities grad student at a major research university, if clitoredectomy came up in class, liberal grad students and professors would rush to defend it, insisting that clitoredectomy was in every respect comparable to the Catholic rite of confirmation.

Is clitoredectomy comparable to confirmation? Please read the opening pages of Nawal el Sadaawi's The Hidden Face of Eve. She describes what it was like to be awoken one night, when she was six years old, dragged, naked, by strangers, into a bathroom, thrown on the floor, and sexually mutilated. It is a terrifying, unforgettable passage. You can find the full passage at
this website.

***

Why do some – not all – liberals do this? Why do they demonize any critique of jihad and gender apartheid, while not only allowing, but encouraging, criticism of the failures of Catholicism and Judaism, the foundational faiths of Western Civilization?

The reasons are complex, but a recent dustup on Facebook offered some clues as to what is going on in the minds of those liberals who defend jihad and gender apartheid.

Zubeidat Tsarnaeva is the mother of the Boston Bombers, Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. I was repelled by Tsarnaeva's announcement to CNN that she didn't care if her son Dzhokhar was killed.

Tsarnaeva made other ugly public statements. I won't post them all, but one got me. She insisted that the Boston bombing was staged by the US government, and that the blood was merely paint. I thought of eight-year-old Martin Richard, the bombers' youngest victim. His blood was real, human blood. To call it paint is atrocious.

I posted a photograph of Tsarnaeva on Facebook and compared her to Maleficent, a Disney villainness.

And my Facebook page burst into flames.

Liberals jumped down my throat. How dare I disrespect this grief-stricken mother? After days of craziness, the message morphed into, "If you post a picture of Zubeidat Tsarnaeva comparing her to a Disney villainness, your ultimate goal is to foment a genocide of Muslims."

Let's address this bizarre accusation right now. I have criticized the Catholic Church, in published writing. I have criticized Protestants, in my published writing. I have criticized Jews and Hindus and Buddhists, in my published writing.

No liberal has ever told me that I should not criticize Catholics or Jews or Hindus or Buddhists or Protestants. No liberal has ever told me that such criticism is tantamount to fomenting genocide against Catholics or Jews or … you get the idea.

These liberals maintain a double standard. In fact, a couple of the liberals who jumped down my throat maintain a steady stream of anti-Christian, anti-Israel and anti-American posts on their own Facebook pages.

***

After the Boston bombing, my politically conservative Facebook friends were distraught. They posted photos and news stories.

If I had viewed only my liberal friends' Facebook posts after the bombing, I never would have known that the bombing even happened.

I pondered all this for days. What was going on in the minds and hearts of those among my liberal friends who defended jihad and gender apartheid?

***

I think that liberals sincerely care about other human beings, suffering, and injustice.

The liberals who defend jihad and gender apartheid seem to think that evil is perpetrated mostly by white, Christian or Jewish, American or Israeli men.

The same people who appeared not to have noticed the Boston bombing were all worked up about the explosion of the fertilizer plant in West, Texas. "See! See! Capitalists are evil!" They get all worked up every time an accusation is made that Israel did this or that bad thing. "See! See! Imperialist Jews! They are just like Nazis!"

I think that that is part of why some liberals rush to defend jihad and gender apartheid. They see evil as the property, exclusively, of white, Christian or Jewish, Western men. Anyone who is not like the group they identify as evil must, therefore, be good.

I think they think that Americans, Westerners, Christians and Jews are just so darn bad that if it were not for the constant monitoring by liberals, average Americans would just rise up and start genociding randomly.

Tamerlan, Dzhokhar, and Zubeidat must be really good people, simply misunderstood, or framed, or, at worst, driven to do something bad, because they are most unlike the population these liberals believe to be the source of all evil: white, Christian or Jewish, Western men.

So far, so good. It is easy to find evil deeds by bad, bad white men. The Atlantic slave trade was really bad. Jim Crow: really bad. It is right and proper to condemn these things.

Here's the thing, though. Liberals get a payoff. They are thought of, they want to be thought of, as society's conscience. They want to be thought of as the sensitive, caring, compassionate people in the room.

When a Facebook friend posts a photo of the West, Texas, fertilizer plant explosion that killed fifteen people, that friend may not just be saying, "Bad, bad capitalism! Rah, rah, workers' rights! Bring on the revolution!" That friend might also be announcing, "I am compassionate. While the rest of you frivolous chuckleheads are posting cute cat photos, I am concerned with victims of industrial accidents."

These liberals tsk, tsk, they tut, tut, they get huffy. "While you get all whipped up by mass hysteria invented by Fox News" – which they like to call "Faux News" – "I care about the victims of Western aggression and imperialism! Dzhokhar, Tamerlan and Zubeidat are the real victims! America overthrew Iran's government in 1953! Christians murdered Muslims during the Crusades! Westerners are the true victimizers and deserve to die! Muslims are the true victims!"

Again, so far so good.

But when these liberals are confronted with the realities of jihad and gender apartheid – that jihad justified, even demanded, the death of innocents like eight-year-old Martin Richard, when gender apartheid demands that a fourteen-year-old Bangladeshi girl, Mosammet Hena, receive one hundred lashes for the crime of being raped – she died after being lashed seventy times – these liberals freak out.

Why do they freak out? That's the question that haunted me after the dustup on my Facebook page in response to something as trivial as a comparison between Zubeidat "I don't care if they kill my son" Tsarnaeva and a Disney villainness.

I don't think liberals, when they are freaking out in this way, really care about Islam. I don't think they care about Muslims. I think they care about themselves. I think they care about their social position.

I think what makes jihad-friendly liberals freak out so badly is that their hypocrisy is exposed, and they lose their social position of being the compassionate person in the room, the person who posts photos of a fertilizer plant explosion while others are posting photos of cute cats.

I think they freak out because they like being thought of as different and special and more moral, and their defense of jihad and gender apartheid threatens that, and so they must lash out with a frenzy, with fury, with relentless verbal aggression, and exaggeration – "You are trying to foment genocide!!!" – against those who speak plainly about the problematical features of jihad and gender apartheid.

These liberals are used to being seen as the compassionate person in the room. They are used to being seen as society's conscience. They are used to being seen as supportive of peace and freedom and gender equality.

Suddenly, they are in a public forum, Facebook, say, and someone who isn't one of them criticizes jihad. And they know that the person voicing this criticism is wrong, because all the bad things in the world come from white, Western men.

And this person criticizing jihad or gender apartheid cites evidence. Evidence! Clitoredectomy. Bombing victims. Stonings.

And the liberal freaks out. Freaks out because – "If there were something bad going on in the world, I would oppose it! Me and my comrades! We would know all about it and we would already have a committee formed! We would be on top of it! Not your scummy Faux News watchers!

And these Faux News watchers can't be allowed to state these disturbing facts publicly! About fourteen year old girls being whipped to death for the crime of being raped!

Because if this news gets out, I will be seen as a hypocrite. I will be exposed as not caring about victims of gendered violence. I will be exposed as not caring about innocent bombing victims. I can't allow these things to be stated publicly! I must demonize them! Because righteous indignation, compassion, and activism belong to me, me, liberal me and my comrades! And badness and evil are the exclusive property of Western men!"

Look at it this way. A girl is known as the most fashionable at her high school. She is famous for her long, elegant dresses. A new girl arrives. She wears miniskirts, and really rocks them. Suddenly, the girl who had previously seemed fashionable seems out of date. Of course the girl whose position has been usurped is going to trash talk the miniskirt girl.

Those liberals who defend jihad and gender apartheid are not doing it because they love Muslims. They are not doing it because criticism of jihad and gender apartheid will precipitate a genocide against Muslims, any more than coverage of the Catholic Church sex abuse crisis, the Crusades or the Inquisition will precipitate a genocide of Catholics. Those liberals who defend jihad and gender apartheid are doing it out of purely selfish, ego-driven motives.

Or that's how it looks. If I'm wrong, please correct me in the comments section.

2 comments:

  1. John Joseph Cash sent this in:

    I liked your blog posting. I want to pose a dilemma to you, which may shed some light on liberals. -- Let's say another local court in Bangladesh, run by Islamic clerics and following Shariah law, finds another girl guilty of being raped and issues the same sentence, and its carried out, with the same results. So I read about it on facebook, in a post citing Fox News, which has numerous comments from readers who agree that, therefore, Islam is bad. What do I do? On the one hand, I find Shariah law wrongheaded, basing itself more on religious precepts than on morality (it is immoral to whip a girl to death, it's a heinous crime, regardless of the religious precept). On the other hand, the blanket disgust at Islam in general is also wrongheaded, condemning millions of morally upright believers on the basis of this instance of Shariah law. -- In fact, to do justice to the girl, and to the believers, it is more important that I find a way to effect change in the situation. One way to do that is to inform myself about the situation (in the process I learn that a majority of Muslims in countries like Bangladesh resent Westerners trying to effect change there, just as they are appalled at any ideas a former-Muslim-turned-atheist may have). Another way is by electing folks who will face this on the international stage (and I learn some candidates want to treat Islam as threat and a moral wrong, and others want to risk letting Muslim countries decide how to fix injustices on their own). -- But choosing where and when to sound one's voice is tricky. Your voice can get mixed with others with whom you don't always agree, co-opted by those interested in using it, and what it says can be condemned solely on the basis of one's own religion or culture. -- I'd like to see room in your model of liberal behavior for those liberals who are silent on jihad and Shariah law, not because they want to maintain their own individual reputation, or strengthen the alleged moral superiority of liberals as a group, but because they are careful where to raise their individual voices in order to effect change.

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  2. As a liberal feminist myself, I will freely say that your observations are valid to a point regarding press coverage of gender issues and Islam. But we should not forget that many feminists have spoken out about this liberal blind spot, and many have worked hard to help Muslim women access education, reproductive health care, legal protections, etc.

    It seems to me that many American conservatives also defend gender apartheid around the world both directly (for instance, when they have defunded women's access to birth control) and indirectly by trying to undermine the women's rights movement in America. Labeling U.S. feminists "feminazis" surely does not help to combat gender apartheid in Islamic countries, or anywhere else in the world. Young conservative women and men are generally discouraged from international feminist activism against gender apartheid because they are afraid to be associated with anything people think of as feminist or in any way liberal.

    Thanks for addressing these issues in this blog post. You made me think about them differently.

    --Linda Kornasky

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