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Appalled, Disgusted, And Unsurprised

As my colleague Michael noted last night, CBS reporter Lara Logan was reporting on the protests in Egypt when she was caught up in the turmoil.

That's "caught up" as in "sexually assaulted by a mob."

As the headline says, i am appalled. I am disgusted. But I am not surprised.

Very few like to talk about it, but there is a deeply misogynistic element in Islamic culture. All these elements are readily found in many Islamic societies, and Egypt is hardly an exception.

Women are essentially seen as property. They never achieve full "adult" independent status. They are considered the property of their fathers (or, in his absence, an uncle, brother, or other male relative) until they marry (at the direction of their owner). At that point, they then become the property of their husband. Oh, they dress it up with terms like "guardian," but they are still the property of the male.

Men are allowed up to four wives. However, in agreement with the Bible's stricture about "not having two masters," women only get one husband. Further, divorce in some strains of Islam is simple: the man simply has to say "I divorce you" three times. For a woman do divorce her husband, she needs his consent and the consent of religious figures. (Bribes are often useful, but that's usually difficult, as the woman's money and other assets are property of her husband-owner.) And even then, she simply reverts to the property of her nearest male relative.

In Egypt and other places, young girls are "circumsized" at a very young age. But for girls, it's a bit more extreme than for boys. They remove the entire clitoris and occasionally portions of the labia; the idea is to deprive them of their full potential for sexual pleasure later in life. That is to remove the temptation to stray from their husband-owners and reduce the rewards of infidelity. That it also makes them far less likely to challenge the virility of their husband-owners is a happy coincidence.

Women are strictly segregated within Islamic practices. They are given their own separate prayer area in the mosques, apart from the men. Further, the idea of a woman holding anything even resembling authority in the faith. Compare this with the "rampant sexism and condescending patriarchy" of the Catholic Church -- who forbids the ordination of women. These "Neanderthals" of the Catholic Church at least grant women a place within the Church's hierarchy, including positions of power and authority. Ask any survivor graduate of a Catholic school about what kind of authority a Mother Superior can wield.

Which brings up another point -- the education of women. In most Islamic cultures, it's seen as about as sensible as sending a cow to school. Women's only purpose is to learn how to be good (meaning obedient) wives to their husbands and mothers to their children (especially sons), so educating girls is rather pointless. Especially when you factor in the costs of setting up those separate schools, as they must be segregated from the boys. That's why in Afghanistan, one of the Taliban's more frequent targets are schoolgirls.

And women in public? They must be covered up. Veils, burqas, hijabs -- all women must be covered in some degree. Sometimes it's just the hair. Sometimes it's all but the face and hands. In some cases, it's their whole bodies except for the eyes -- and even those are occasionally screened. This is to protect their "virtue." If they preserve their modesty, then they are protecting themselves from being perceived as a "woman of loose morals."

And that is a very dangerous thing. Because in Islamic culture (and here is another thing that isn't talked about), women are extremely powerful. They can provoke uncontrollable lusts in men just by exposing their arms, their hair, their faces. And when those lusts are provoked, the men are utterly helpless to resist and can't be blamed for acting on them immediately. No, the fault is strictly on the women.

Funnily enough, these lusts only afflict Muslim men. Us Western men, us unclean, evil kaffirs, us barbarians, us brutal oppressors and haters of all things Islamic, can gaze upon an uncovered woman without losing control of ourselves. Personally, I have seen women in the complete absence of any kind of clothing or modesty whatsoever and have never been so overwhelmed that I utterly disregarded her wishes and forced myself on her. (Even without a large, burly bouncer nearby to discourage such conduct.)

In legal proceedings, the word of a woman is officially worth less than that of a man. Hell, in most Islamic countries, a charge of rape must be verified by two Muslim male witnesses. And in the absence of that proof, then no rape occurred. However, the woman has just admitted to sexual contact, so she has confessed to fornication or adultery and must be punished.

What happened to Ms. Logan was an atrocity, an outrage, and utterly predictable. By the very tenets and principles and beliefs of Islamic culture, every single Muslim man is the feminist propaganda nightmare of "a potential rapist." But he's a "potential rapist" with a hair trigger -- all it takes is the sight of a tiny bit of female flesh (or even hair) and he's utterly unaccountable for whatever actions he takes, and it's the woman's fault for provoking and tempting him.

Lara Logan, as the picture shows, was in the middle of a huge mob of Muslims (mostly male) while going around with her hair, her face, and her hands uncovered, and these devout adherents of The Religion Of Getting A Piece chose to go berserk. The only surprising element is that there apparently was a large enough group of women (presumably Muslim women) nearby to see what was going on and to help rescue her.

Logan's treatment was entirely in accord with the tenets of the Islamic culture in which she was surrounded. And the utterly vile and loathsome comments of Nir Rosen that Michael quoted demonstrate the "respect for other cultures" that we have been told for years is something we must all tolerate, and even embrace.

To hell with that. All cultures are NOT equal. And I will proudly say that Western culture is intellectually, morally, ethically, and socially superior to Muslim culture in pretty much every way. (As I'm not an absolute expert in both cultures, I'm allowing that there might be some exception.)

I am reminded of one of my great heroes in the struggle against "multiculturalism," General Sir Charles Napier. He was one of Britain's colonial leaders in India, and was confronted with the Hindu practice of suttee (or sati) -- the burning of a widow alive atop her husband's funeral pyre. Sir Charles' response to this time-honored cultural practice was one for the ages:

You say that it is your custom to burn widows. Very well. We also have a custom: when men burn a woman alive, we tie a rope around their necks and we hang them. Build your funeral pyre; [then] beside it, my carpenters will build a gallows. You may follow your custom. And then we will follow ours.

I suspect that Ms. Logan would appreciate Sir Charles' sensibilities. And I suspect that, were he still alive and in Egypt, Sir Charles' carpenters would be very busy indeed.

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Comments (24)

Excellent article. I don't ... (Below threshold)
mag:

Excellent article. I don't even consider Islam a religion, to me it is some kind of pervertion. It is utterly digusting to me.

I assume this explains the ... (Below threshold)
Don L:

I assume this explains the total lack of mini skirts in the mid-east.
Unfortunately, we've gone to the opposite extreme. Why is it our feminist left is so quiet about radical Islam? Could it be that liberalism, the hatred for Judeo-Christian standards, is really the common thread?

I spent some time in Saudi ... (Below threshold)
SteveG:

I spent some time in Saudi Arabia a few years ago. What Jay says here is spot on. The Saudi men will claim up and down that their treatment of women shows how they "put women on a pedestal"! Maybe a pedestal surrounded by razor wire and designed to keep her in her place.

I don't know about other Muslim cultures, but the Saudi women do get to exercise a bit of control over males when the males are young: there is a twisted practice of the Saudi mothers manually "pleasuring" their young boys. I'm not sure gender relations could get any more bizarre and repressive than they are in Muslim culture as a whole.

There seems to be so many w... (Below threshold)
Gladius:

There seems to be so many women in America that don't understand what Islam would mean for them. Liberals and islam have some common thread. When one starts to get the best of them they change the subject,ignor the facts and start calling their oppnent names such as racist or islamophobe. Great article Jay. Thank you.

It gets a bit more complica... (Below threshold)
James H:

It gets a bit more complicated than this, Jay Tea. A few interesting tidbits:

1) The "all women must wear ... " provision is interpreted any number of ways. Interestingly, the most liberated women's clothing codes came in some of the Muslim world's most autocratic regimes, including Saddam Hussein's Iraq (before Saddam rediscovered his religion) and Hosni Mubarak's Egypt.

2) Along the same lines, some researchers looking at pictures from Central Asia from the 1950s to the 1960s found that in Afghanistan's urban areas, very few women were wearing even hijab (the scarves over their hair). However, outside of urban areas, the old customs ruled.

3) This makes me think that the excess emphasis on hijab, abaya, niqab and so forth manifests from a tension between urban Islam and rural Islam. Meaning that these regulations are a way of the rural, traditionalist components of the societies to assert themselves over the more cosmopolitan cities.

4) What's really messed up about these laws, up to the honor killings and so forth, is that you can often find women agitating for the laws' enforcement. Very screwed up.

5) One question to close things out. Nations such as Syria and Turkey have actually banned the wearing of hijab within government buildings. Isn't this just as tyrannical as requiring that it be worn?

I think if a wife and her f... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

I think if a wife and her friends new of a mistress her husband was sleeping with would very much be FOR the punishment James H.

I have no idea how James H can even try to mitigate this behavior to this reporter and/or women in general. He pulls a report from the 50's and 60's?

I think Islam is driven by insecurity and weakness. They have divised quite a life. Publicly implying it is not them directly hurting the women, they are only following Allah's wishes. Pure bullshit. Islam is a bastardized faith brought on by a bastard son Ismael because Abraham could not wait for his aged wife to bare a child so he "hooked up" with a prostitute.

JT, "The Religion Of Getting A Piece" line may have given me grounds for you paying for my next keyboard. Spit my coffee on that one. ww

I'm guessing that this more... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

I'm guessing that this more of that multiculturalism' that we're supposed to respect. You know, not being 'judgmental' or anything. Guess that explains the silence on the left. The only reason we've heard anything is because one of the MSM's own was attacked.

"I suspect that Ms. Logan w... (Below threshold)
Les Nessman:

"I suspect that Ms. Logan would appreciate Sir Charles' sensibilities. And I suspect that, were he still alive and in Egypt, Sir Charles' carpenters would be very busy indeed."

Maybe, maybe not.
There's a lot of Westerners who have abandoned (or never had) any pride or respect for our culture. There's plenty of mealy-mouthed MultiCulties here.
Whether or not she was/is one of them...I guess we'd have to ask her.

I have no idea how... (Below threshold)
James H:
I have no idea how James H can even try to mitigate this behavior to this reporter and/or women in general. He pulls a report from the 50's and 60's?

Not trying to mitigate here. I'm drawing a contrast with previous norms.

This is just dispicable. Wh... (Below threshold)
Razorgirl:

This is just dispicable. What a terrible thing to have happen to her.

So will the liberal left consider this a "teachable moment"?

Let me restate:I'm... (Below threshold)
James H:

Let me restate:

I'm not trying to mitigate or excuse in this case. No excuse for what happened. And fundamentalist Islam's attitudes toward women are clearly wrong. But I am trying to look for a root cause. The misogyny, I think, can be attributed as much to medievalism as to religious rundamentalism.

Just like a rabid beast, th... (Below threshold)
914:

Just like a rabid beast, these muslim dogs should be put down.

"Interestingly, the most... (Below threshold)
Oyster:

"Interestingly, the most liberated women's clothing codes came in some of the Muslim world's most autocratic regimes, including Saddam Hussein's Iraq (before Saddam rediscovered his religion) and Hosni Mubarak's Egypt."

True, but if the woman's "owner" demanded that she wear a burqa, hijab or whatever, no one would stand in his way to force her or defend her right not to wear such clothing.

"4) What's really messed up about these laws, up to the honor killings and so forth, is that you can often find women agitating for the laws' enforcement. Very screwed up."

I've seen this and for the life of me I can't understand it.

James, Oyster, maybe it's o... (Below threshold)

James, Oyster, maybe it's one of the few ways they can exercise any kind of power?

Like James, not trying to excuse it, but understand it. And James seems to get my point -- none of these are universal practices, but common in various parts of Muslim culture.

J.

IMO, the practices are part... (Below threshold)
James H:

IMO, the practices are part and parcel of conservative Islamist factions' beliefs. And those factions come to power as a reaction against the thorougly modern, thoroughly secular, yet thoroughly corrupt and thoroughly oppressive autocrats in the Middle East.

Saddam Hussein (before he started exploiting religious imagery), the Shah of Iran, and Hosni Mubarak were all these kinds of autocrats.

As for why so many Muslim women function as enforcers in this kind of culture .. I think it hearkens back to some traditionalist notions of women that cross cultural lines. The idea of women as keepers of the family, or as preservers of tradition probably plays a huge role ...

So the West is inferior?</p... (Below threshold)
The Truth No One Wants to Hear:

So the West is inferior?

Tell me when the Chinese or Indians or Arabs ever created sonatas, concertos, and great musical works..BEFORE they encountered the West.

I fine it very strange that the people who built the pyramids couldn't produce a Beethoven.

For what it's worth, the an... (Below threshold)
Tim:

For what it's worth, the ancient Egyptians weren't Muslims.

Nor were they Arabs. The mo... (Below threshold)
John S:

Nor were they Arabs. The modern inhabitants of Egypt are descended from Arabic invaders.

Again, the apologists for r... (Below threshold)
Jim Addison:

Again, the apologists for radical islam wish to blame the "oppressive" regimes which they claim somehow lead the fundamentalists to come to power.

Of course, it's completely false. There has never been true democratic leadership in any of these middle eastern countries (except Israel). "Autocrats" and monarchy have been their history.

In fact, one of the most radical versions, wahhabism, came to prominence with the House of Saud. It is what is being preached in madrassahs around the world today (including in the USA), funded by Saudi petrodollars.

The standard of living in Iran under the Shah was not only the highest in the Middle East at the time, it was higher than it is today.

Lastly, the Egyptian protests were NOT about democracy, oppression, or even Mubarak to begin with. They were protests over high food prices which were leading to shortages - prices caused in part by the insane diversion of two full American corn crops per year to subsidized ethanol.

So when you hear a leftist begin to "explain" islamic fundamentalism, there are two questions to ask yourself: 1) Is he deliberately lying, or is he really that stupid? and 2) Does it really matter in the end?

Give them long enough to prattle on, and they will eventually "explain" to you how it is America's fault.

Jay says he's, 'not exper... (Below threshold)
gaius piconius:

Jay says he's, 'not expert in both cultures but in virtually every way the civilization of the West is superior to the musselmens' realm'. We are in fact, Jay, totally superior in every way, except for one....had there emerged in Islam, even for an instant, anything that acted even remotely as devoid of common sense as our progressive movement, they would have moved immediately to lop it's ballocks off for consignment to the charnel heap of little girls' sensitive parts. 'Caught up in the turmoil', explains that observation quite well I believe.

In Egypt and other place... (Below threshold)
Tina S:

In Egypt and other places, young girls are "circumsized" at a very young age.

Actually the paractice is illegal in Egypt.

Egyptian Clerics Say Female Circumcision Un-Islamic


Tina; I will give you the... (Below threshold)
gaius piconius:

Tina; I will give you the lyrics, you just tap out this old Victorian music hall melody with your foot:

It's the soljers of the Queen me boys,
who've been me boys, who've seen me boys.
In the fight for England's glory boys, of
her world wide glory let us sing...

I apologize for me now scratchy voice, Tina, but I can still manage this advise, having been, (and seen...precisely there). It is not illegal in Egypt...and if you ever get a chance to try it yourself...DONT!

Tina, speeding is illegal i... (Below threshold)

Tina, speeding is illegal in the US. So is betting on sports. So, I guess that means they don't happen?

Whoops.

A 2005 report by UNICEF suggested that 97% of Egyptian women between the ages of 15 and 49 who have never been married have undergone some form of FGM or circumcision.

A more recent study by the Egyptian government found that 50.3% of girls aged 10 to 18 have been circumcised.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2007/jun/30/gender.humanrights

J.

A 2005 report by UNICEF ... (Below threshold)
Tina S:

A 2005 report by UNICEF suggested that 97% of Egyptian women between the ages of 15 and 49 who have never been married have undergone some form of FGM or circumcision.

A more recent study by the Egyptian government found that 50.3% of girls aged 10 to 18 have been circumcised.

Jay, it wouldn't suprise me if it is still occuring to some degree, to what degree, I have no idea. However, the procedure was made illegal in 1997. The 2005 report includes women between the ages of 15 and 49. That means the vast majority of them had the procedure prior to it becoming illegal.

I don't have enough information on the second study by the Egyptian government to comment on it.




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